A girl with a secret
- Cycle Day: 15
- Treatments: 3 follicle scans to check egg growth process, IUI scheduled for this week!!
- Meds: 225 IU HMG (7 total), HCG injection to trigger ovulation
- Mental State: Calm, Ready.
This photo was take last November, right after I found out I was pregnant. Weeks before it was all ruined by an ectopic pregnancy resulting in emergency surgery, losing my baby as well as a Fallopian tube.
At that moment though, I felt so mischievous knowing such an important amazing thing… that I could share with no one…..
Oh who am I kidding. We were bursting at the seems!!!! We didn’t tell everyone– but we did blab our big news to a handful of people. Mostly people we’d been sharing or struggles with. Infertility and treatments are so isolating– all you want is for people to understand what you’re going through and to feel valid and supported in your choices it was so nice to finally have something GOOD to share with those people!!!
We decided not to tell our parents, not yet anyway. We had already sort of planned to get both my husband’s parents here for Christmas and I knew it wouldn’t be TOOOO hard to get my mom here so we’d wait until Christmas to put together some magical way of telling all of our parents at the same time.
Along the way, there were a few people who were surprised at our decision to share so early on “oh it’s too early!! You should wait til after the first trimester” WHY I thought!!??? It did not even occur to me that early loss could be our reality all I knew was that THIS WAS IT…..
And then it wasn’t.
If someone shares with you that they’re pregnant please don’t question why they’ve told you– at whatever point. They’ll probably spend the rest of their lives thinking they jinxed it…. because that’s what you’re saying.
Plus, if the unspeakable should happen— it’s your job to be there for that. In whatever capacity they need you to be.
I wonder daily if I jinxed my baby… and I wonder when I get pregnant (because I will!!) — if I will jinx it again!? I doubt I’ll keep my pregnancy super secret in the future because throughout this journey I have found such comfort in sharing the experiences and growing a cheering squad that would make any sports team green with envious rage— and why wouldn’t I share the good stuff too!!! That, and also because I need support. I need people in my corner. Celebrating, and praying and sending all those good vibes into the world! Live in this world with me, please.
Please recognize that If someone shares their life with you, they’ve picked this time and this place to be truthful, even if it hurts. Even if it doesn’t turn out like it should. Please don’t judge people for craving that connection and letting you in.
For now, we are going into the following week with our insemination scheduled, hoping, praying, and willing for this time to be IT!! I don’t know when I will feel open to sharing more news, but when that time comes I trust you will be there….
New Cycle Feels!
- Cycle Days: 2 & 3
- Treatments: 1st Ultrasound, Initial Blood work, 75mg Femara
- Mental State: Day 2: Nervous, Day 3, I got this.
This is me… taking a breath before going into my Cycle Day 2 ultrasound. This is me making a choice, opening up my head and heart to a new possibility. A possibility to realize my dreams… or to have them puréed…. which will it be???? Have to wait and see!!!
(And PS I don’t even wanna hear it about my stupid filter. I love it, I’m adorable, it’s my thing, get over it haters!!!! Hahaha)
I’m super nervous as I turn the handle and push open the heavy wooden door, it loudly creaks open. The first step down into this rabbit hole. One I’ve fallen down a number of times, yet each time it’s a new an foreign sensation. My stomach and head are spinning… wondering what kind of news I’ll get… as we shake the magic 8 ball that is my vagina.
The seating in the waiting room gives me almost as much anxiety as the appointment I’m there for. Pompous dark fluffy couches that are basically a foot off the ground… I know with 100% certainly that I will not look graceful when I try to remove myself from it. They wait the perfect amount of time to call my name… not long enough for me to stress spiral, but just long enough for my ass to have made an everlasting bond …. and with that it’s time to hoist myself up and out of the fluffy trap I’ve been bamboozled into. Oh the life of an awkward girl…you can take this moment to picture it, and laugh- it’s cool. Go ahead!
This appointment signifies one year of treatments. Which is disappointing, but also helpful in that we now have whole year’s worth of measurable data. Data to analyze, compare, and obsess over. This data will help us come up with the best plan! Plans are good…. there are a few different scenarios that could come to pass, and I’m grateful for the facts, the honesty and the options I have to choose from. Choices are good. Data is good. The hope and promise of a possibility… is good.
And then we cut to today…
Blood work for the upcoming cycle, which is basically a rework of the original blood work because we’re now a year in we need to … you guessed it analyze and review!
I am typically a “hard stick” at the ol blood bank. Meaning all the phlebotomist see me coming and run for cover. They take turns drawing straws… which is a total waste of time – but I’ll get to that!
My favorite phlebotomist Sean is there and I’m happy. Many many times he’s saved the day and got my blood when no one could…. but today…. might Sean has struck out!!!
I need to fill up 7 vials… he tries and manages to get some blood, but it’s not enough and we end up wasting what he did pull because it clotted up and was no good. He tries two more time, with similar failing results. Next!!!
I go through every single technician in the joint! All 5 literally took a stab at me in order to kind of fill the 7 more vials needed! 5 techs, 8 puncture wounds to remember them by, 7.5 vials filled-ish, 2 and a half hours spent with my “friends” at Sonora Quest…. Normally this sort of thing would really take the wind out of my sails. Normally I would be broken and beaten down. Believe me — it was no cup of tea — and given the option I would certainly pass…. but today, I can’t be phased. Steps in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for!
But as it always is…. our kid would be worth all of this and so much more!
One week later and the bruises are still there but hopefully leaving soon!!! So lovely!
Cycle Day 1
Mental State: Grateful
Here’s the thing about Cycle Day 1. Apart from being what it is- which is sort of miserable and tedious in general, if you’re someone who is trying to get pregnant it tends to represent the finality of failure in your efforts, at least for that cycle. It sucks. It’s also not physically pleasant, which also sucks. It all sucks. It just does-anyone who tries to tell you different waives any and all rights and in so doing provides tacit compliance to receive a direct punch to the face, chest or groin- dealers choice. (I’m kidding, I’m kidding….. who’s gonna punch the chest?? Go with the face or groin.)
Having said all that I have really been trying not to lose myself in all the negativity that comes with TTC. Perhaps it’s working, because today when my Aunt Flo (AF) finally arrived after 50 full days — I felt nothing but grateful, and relieved.
Relief, that despite my lack of pregnancy my body is working again. This means I have another chance!! I am in control of whatever choice that is ahead! And, for me any control is better than none at all!! I’ll be heading back to our specialist to analyze the causes for such a long cycle and what our options are going forward.
Being grateful is the most powerful weapon any of us really have against negative feelings. I feel like I’m a better, braver, stronger person when I am free from those toxic feelings. And to proceed and keep fighting I will need to be brave, and strong.
In the meantime, who’s gonna bring me some chocolate!??? 🍫🍫🍫 And just for fun, here’s my favorite bit of period related humor:
Key & Peele, Menstruation Orientationhttps://youtu.be/ihRHIGpyspA<br
Anxiety Power Struggle
- Cycle Day: 42 (17 days past possible late ovulation)
- Pregnancy Tests: Infinity ⛔️
- Mental State: Impatient
This week’s excerpt has been one of the hardest for me to complete. Which, is astounding when you consider the very personal and detailed information I’ve shared over the last few months.
This week not unlike others, I struggled. I was emotional, confused, scared, angry and fearful about nearly everything but mostly the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the future. Being stuck in an extended holding period like I am, causes a lot of anxiety– apparently.
This cycle is lasting a very long time which is both good and bad. It’s good, because there is still a glimmer of hope that I could turn out to be pregnant, but bad in that despite my period being late I have not yielded a positive pregnancy test. This uncertainty tends to unhinge me a bit, and it causes the less rational and destructive parts of my brain to take over the controls.
I have never even realized that this alternative psyche existed until recently. I’m very rough on myself. Far more critical to myself than I would be to anyone in the outside world. I tend to have the highest of expectations, and very little patience for failure or for waiting in general. Not a good thing when your primary goal involves mostly waiting!
I found myself mid meltdown this week trying to figure out what tipped me over the edge…. and I couldn’t! I sat crying in a bathroom stall at work, feeling afraid, sad, and guilty for feeling all of the above! Nothing specifically happened to me, other than this sudden tsunami of emotion, that may have been purely hormonal.
Luckily, since my loss in December I have started seeing a therapist. I have regular appointments set every few weeks and while some times I see her with nothing serious or upsetting to report, others like this week I was able to work through all of these feelings to a constructive end. There is no measure for the benefit I have realized with therapy.
In times like these, the only thing to do is: LABEL the feeing….. “I am anxious because I do not have control of these circumstances”. Then, TAKE AWAY THE POWER, by doing anything that you CAN control. Any distraction is typically GOOD distraction. The last thing to do, is to reaffirm positive statements to yourself. For me, the internal voice comes at a whisper and usually I don’t even realize it’s happening until the damage has been done. It whispers of failure, paralysis, weakness and all at once I am consumed by a deep fog of doubt, fear and sadness. The only way to prevent or reverse the hostile take over is to remind myself that this place is not permanent. My journey is far from over. I am doing everything I can to make my dreams come true– and I am.
Babies in public
- Cycle Day: 35
- Days Late: 2ish
- Pregnancy Tests: 5 (I’ve been impatient) all negative
- Mental State: Impatient and a bit anxious, but I think we covered that with the amount of tests I’ve taken…..
On my way home from work on Wednesday I was thinking about what to have for dinner. I’ve been going pretty hard on a daytime juice fast– so by the time dinner comes around I’m crazy excited for whatever meal Is going to happen- yay food!! I decided to whisk my husband away for a midweek date– ’cause we can. One of the benefits of not having kids that we frequently cash in on, is that we can do whatever we want without having to also consider a wee one.
We find ourselves at a local Mexican food eatery, and at the table closest to us is an adorable baby, probably 8-10 months old. Adorable. Squishy. Chunky baby!
She locks eyes with me and for the rest of our meal is giggling, smiling and reaching for us. Not an uncommon reaction I might add. My husband is always so cute with little ones, making faces and raspberry noises at them. He’s a giant kid, so naturally they all gravitate to his playful and hilarious charm. It’s the cutest damn thing ever.
There is a nuts part of me that just tends to linger on these fleeting moments and wonder…. where the heck is our chunky baby!?? And it’s hard not to feel shafted, angry, sad, resentful… and a thousand other things. For now, I’m focusing on her beautiful smile, how her giggle echoed and clanked off the walls of the restaurant and how good it felt to draw her attention even if only for a few moments, for whatever reason. She picked us.
For now, I can do nothing more than mentally pin that baby to my vision board… and hope the universe makes good at some point! I’m real exhausted, keeping the faith is my cardio!
Secret Baby Pinterest board full of cute babies!! Helps me remember how exciting and worth it this all could be! Can’t go near the thing though once AF hits!
- Cycle Day: 29
- Status: Two Week Wait in full effect
- Mental State: Hopeful
I’ve never really told the story of Karate James…. I figure now is a good time. Since, some day around this time he would have been born.
It was our third attempt at IUI. I was several days late and had already tested negative a few days prior. Feeling some symptoms, I reluctantly bought a “good” pregnancy test – anyone TTC knows there are good ones, and the ones you buy in bulk cause who can afford the “good” ones at the rate we blow through them! I sat there staring at the digital hour glass waiting expectantly for “not pregnant” to appear like it always does… bitter and annoyed that obviously any minute it would pop up and ruin my day…. and then all of a sudden…. the greatest word appeared, “pregnant”. “What!?!?” I audibly asked this thing I just peed on… “WHAT!???”
We’ve always joked and never quite been in agreement about what we’d name our kid some day. At times there were names we both could agree not to hate. In the end we figured that was a problem for “Future Us” to solve so we never really negotiated to completion on the subject. One thing I knew, was that our kid would need a really awesome name…
While watching the Olympic summer games there was an athlete named Karani James. Except, every time the announcer called his name it sounded like Karate. We both laughed and agreed that’d be a badass name for a kid. We’d never actually do that of course… would we??? No of course not that would be ridiculous……
I swear, the minute we knew I was pregnant, even though we didn’t know the baby’s sex we started calling our kid Karate. It was the perfect name for our “pre-kid”. Karate, was obviously awesome and James is my husbands middle name so we’ve covered our basis there with some tradition– BAM!? Perfect! I mean sure, we’d come up with a real, suitable name for him in the next several months, but for now —Karate James was all that mattered.
I got to hold Karate for a grand total of 8 weeks. Thanks to a troubling ultrasound at 5 weeks, half of that time was spent worried that it would all end. Wondering if it was ever even real. And knowing that as fast as it all began it would soon be over. I did consciously decide to enjoy how much time I was granted, but it was really tough being given an open end on something so precious. “Maybe this will work out – and maybe not”.
I have found out a lot about myself since I lost Karate. It’s ever unfolding and evolving, but I persist. In the pursuit of a family, I know in my gut we will have some day.
Every single day, I see something that reminds me of those 8 amazing weeks where I was a mom, and I’m desperate for that feeling again.
I went for a walk the other day, and a breeze kicked up and all around and I felt him there. I closed my eyes and let the wind blow my hair and face, and I felt a powerful peace sweep over me…. I’m thankful for moments like that. Times where I can connect with him somehow, and I feel him nudging my life forward.
For now, I cherish the miracle that we had to give back. Because, no matter the outcome he sure was a miracle. Happy Unbirthday Karate.
The will to believe
- Cycle Day: 13
- Days to fertile window: Brace Yourself…..
- Mental State: Clear, hopeful
I did some decluttering at work today. Just trying to make my outward self match up with my inward one. Cleaning out junk that doesn’t belong. Trying my best to think thoughts independent of infertility and just enjoy whatever is going on RIGHT NOW.
I was relishing this rare moment of clarity, and just as quickly as it began I was jolted back to reality when I stumbled on something that whipped me around and stopped me in my Fung Shui tracks, cold.
It’s been nearly a year since I started treatments with my current specialist. Through each cycle, I buried myself in positive thoughts. Not that I was actually feeling positive or enlightened during this time, but I felt like I could trick myself into feeling that way and it would be better for me and ultimately help me conceive. Not sure exactly where the notion came from, but I was committed to it. Sure, there were times where I couldn’t be fooled and things were just shitty…. but my whole plan was to psyche myself out and end up really believing by accident.
A big part of this plan was written affirmations I left for myself at work. My way to sort of a Jedi Mind Trick myself…. (yes I’m a huge Star Wars geek— and this is only 1 of of the things that makes me awesome). I changed them periodically, always written on a big sticky note and placed on my computer screen. I never cared who saw it or what it would mean if they did. It was my way to own my feelings, the choice to “try” and to remain positive! Also, as a bonus side effect it made me feel like I had a smidge of control- which I desperately needed.
When I lost my baby in December, I was out for about 3 weeks to recover. I came back to work still broken, still teary eyed, still sad… and the first thing I saw was my yellow sticky note….. I shattered.
I was not the same girl that wrote this note.
I felt so betrayed, those words mocked my very existence. Before the tears could spring out, I grabbed the note and shoved it in my drawer under a bunch of nonsense with a dozen others just like it never to be seen or thought of again… until today.
I found my personal affirmation hope chest. Every time I turned something over in that drawer I would find another one!! Sheesh Past Me– how much positivity does one really even need?!??
Reading though them, was reminded of a girl that truly wanted to believe that it was all just a case of mind over matter. Believe these wonderful things, and they will be real. In my heart, I do still believe… I felt my body relax and I felt happy. Perhaps my mind trick worked? Clearly I knew then that I was capable of believing again. After all I only stashed the notes. I could have easily thrown them in the trash, but I tucked them away beneath everything else somehow knowing I would need and want those positive words again eventually. Feeling a well of hope bubble up inside, I picked one out of the crowd and proudly displayed it on my screen… it feels good to believe. It feels familiar, and warm.
In the end… we are all just looking for something to believe in. It worked for me once, and it will work again!
Also… it’s clear I owe my work a pack of sticky notes…. 😳
Somewhere I belong…
- Cycle Day: 12
- Days to fertile window: 5- tick toc man!!!!
- Mental state: Amazed
So, as we’ve previously covered my husband and I have been trying to (or in some cases trying not not avoid) start our family for about 8 years. We began as most couples do, just expecting that it would happen.
I was brought up believing that pregnancy would surely happen if I didn’t keep my lady bits under lock and key! After all, with no skill or plan involved I was conceived by an impressionable teen who had no thoughts of children or family in the immediate plan, so naturally I was terrified of perpetuating this pattern before I was ready to do so.
Here we are, years later still unable to just let this happen to us! It’s heartbreaking to want something so badly, and feel like you’re broken, damaged, unlucky or inept at just making this seemingly simple thing happen for yourself.
It feels so lonely!! No one talks about it!!! Ever!!! The fear, doubts, anger, and isolation I was feeling couldn’t possibly be unique to only me?!! And if not, where the heck were all these women and why weren’t they speaking up, DAMNIT!???
Now, since starting my blog it’s purpose and direction have changed several times – already!!! I’ve only been writing consistently on the topic for about three months! It took a month of writing for me to gain the courage to publish some of it to the internet and even today my focus and direction seem to be an ever evolving animal that I’m getting to know as we all go along together! Now that I’m writing about it, and speaking out I’ve been looking for others that have been doing the same… and what I found is staggering. There are extremely limited choices in the category of relatable books on infertility that focus on humor, intelligence, sharing experiences and helping others to cope, thrive and survive it!
In my research, on this and other topics, and ways to share my own writing I stumbled upon a Facebook group for Infertility and Loss. With one simple (and albeit reluctant click) I fell down into a deep rabbit hole where I would find over 16,000 women, just like me that were looking for answers, friendship, camaraderie, help, and a way to share and discuss their experiences! What!?! How could I have been missing out on this amazing untapped resource!?! I felt like I had stumbled into the bar in Cheers and instantly been accepted as a regular. Everyone there was completely different than me… but yet somehow exactly the same!
That is one thing I will give infertility credit for… diversity. There are women every size, shape, color, ranging in background, lifestyle and location! Yet, every single one of us could relate to the feeling of loneliness, and rejection that is ubiquitous of whatever type of infertility we are facing individually.
We make connections, answer questions for each other- for all I’ve been through, here are women standing on square one of a road that I’ve traveled!?! I actually have legitimate insight and answers for these girls!?! I find myself constantly wishing I could go back and warn myself about things— and I can do that for these people!?? What!?!? We support one another on good days, on bad days, on days where we’re just waiting for future days to happen. We make jokes — yes jokes???!!! Ones only we can relate to! I chuckled with one gal, “Wondering when my Bachelors Degree of Reproductive Sciences would be coming in the mail-we’re all getting those, RIGHT?!?” Because seriously for all the research and development I’ve done on the subject I truly think i should have at least earned a degree of some sort for my troubles!! It felt good to joke… it felt good (and foreign) to know these people would get it without explanation or judgment!
For the first time, in a long time… I belonged somewhere. Among a sea of strangers, I felt like I was accepted and understood.
Shockingly obvious observations and other things I know
- Cycle Day: 7
- Fertility Treatments: none
- Mind blowing epiphanies: Infinity
- Emotional State: Calm
One really gross thing you may not know, when beginning an IUI Cycle, the first order of business, alongside blood work is a very graphic and intrusive transvaginal ultrasound on the 2nd or 3rd day of your cycle. I mean, of course it is! I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do on the 2nd day of my period that have a dude jam a 12 inch rod up there and poke around a bit!! — Said no one ever! It really is terrible – and I’m sorry if that was more than you bargained for, but its reality man, deal with it! So it’s really no wonder why I wasn’t rushing to start a new cycle after the completely brutal failure from IUI #5.
Leading up to the start of this cycle, I was running away from some very strange feelings. I tried to brush them off has hormonal nothings, and ignored some pretty clear messages I was trying to send myself. At that point the only message or feeling I was into was submission. I felt like I was being shoved into a locker by a bully and just decided it was easier to stay in there hidden in the locker instead of facing my bully. Just do whatever Infertility says, go along and somehow this will all be ok. The bully will go away and I’ll get through this!
Finally the voice inside had enough, got irritated, spoke louder, and all of a sudden it was clear to me. “Stop. You just needed to stop. You need rest. You need to recover. You are not ready for more hormones, and everything that comes with treatments. And, all of that is totally ok.” Whoaaa!?! Voice in my head, that’s a lot to take in! The concept here is really scary and foreign to me! Anyone who knows me, knows if I’m in-I’m all in!!!! It’s been the same with fertility treatments, we’ve gone head first into this world and I just expected that if I just keep plunging forward everything will be ok. It’s not. Apparently, there is a breaking point and I had finally reached it. Fighting against it only made everything worse.
Now, it was all starting to come together. I heard the voice, clearly and leaned into those feelings instead of pulling away. I was amazed, how easily I was able to own these words once I said them out loud. I expected them to be rough and poisonous as they left my tongue- I expected to feel ashamed, but instead l, felt a freedom and peace I have not felt in months- maybe years!??
That internal conversation has caused me to question everything I’ve felt for the last several months and years of my life. I’ve been consumed with making a baby that I have completely neglected to listen to even the most basic messages coming from inside for fear I would be judged, fear I would fail, and fear that I would miss my chance.
Trying to make a baby has made me so frantic!!! It’s more than the cliche internal ticking clock. I had bullied myself into thinking that time is my enemy and it was quickly running out! “Can’t waste a single cycle!” “Try harder, you’re not trying hard enough!” “This is all your fault, you could have done this better” — jeez I’m such a jerk to myself!!! I would never talk to any of my friends like that?! Why was I being such a jerkface to myself!!??
When I really stop to think of all the times when I am depressed, saddened, lost, or confused it’s horrifying to realize that the reason is because the bully inside me has been saying these awful judgey things and I’m just going along believing them all!!!!
Sure, going through this struggle with infertility makes me hyper aware and sensitive to shit most people don’t even think of, and that’s tough. But this whole time I’ve been made to feel like there is a whole suite of exterior pressure coming from others when in reality the only one applying any pressure is me.