Friday, December 28, 2007

What does IF feel like

For me, the following youtube videos captures what it feels like to be on this road, the deep pain that only those who have gone through this can remotely understand.
Thank you to those who have captured those feelings in images and song.

Seasons of Love -
Infertility Seasons of Hope and Despair -
I Would Die for That -

Christmas - IVF style

Well, it has been two weeks since I have blogged. It has been a time of great excitement, frustration, and also stagnation all swirled into one. Of course, we were thrilled to know that they got nice looking sperm i.e. swimmers from my husband. That was a HUGE relief. I started my birth control pills that same day. I was happy to feel like I was "doing" something finally with regard to the IVF cycle.

The excitement wore off as we just waited - waited for the end of the 10 days of birth control pills and the next four until our appointment to actual start. During that time period, I received my IVF Christmas package. Like so many of the packages I had received earlier that week from online stores, this one came in a big brown box. In the large box was several smaller packages - a cooler for drugs that need to be stored in the refrigerator, bags AND BAGS of needles, more drugs that did not need refrigeration, alcohol wipes, and my sharp's container. Opening it up was both exciting (this was really happening) and scary (OMG - the number AND SIZE of some of those needles)!

I was also kept extremely busy planning part of our Christmas Eve program at our church. I wrote a short drama that had my husband, two stepdaughters, and two other kids from our church and another adult in illustrating the true meaning of Christmas. It was stressful, but in the end great. It seems that people were touched by the service and that is all I ever wanted. Christmas was nice but very hectic. My beloved's ex stays with us on Christmas Eve when we have the kids, we (the three of us) put out the last few presents, stayed up and talked about what we (beloved and myself were doing - IVF), and watched the Pope's Mass. It was nice. Christmas morning went fine as well - opened presents and had a great breakfast that DH (dearest husband) fixed with our next door neighbor. The true chaos started when the 14 guests that DH invited at the last minute for dinner began arriving and dinner was two hours late. It was fun but stressful trying to get all the food prepared and entertain. I think my oldest put it perfectly when she said, "It was fun having all our friends over for Christmas dinner, but I like it better when it is just us." I could not agree more. Next year, maybe we stick to all getting together for dessert instead of the whole dinner.

The day after Christmas is when it really hit me - the culmination of all the stress (stress from the Christmas Eve service, stress from Christmas, and stress from IVF).
I had just gotten off the phone with the hospital that will be doing part of my monitoring (my clinic is 2 hours away and so we made arrangements to have some of the monitoring done closer to home - it has to be done every other day towards the end of the cycle). The hospital still had no record of me (after a week of trying to take care of this) and so I could not make an appointment for my ultrasound. At that point, I could not handle it any more. I began to cry and did not stop for at least an hour. It is a small thing (not being able to make an appointment) but when you are stuggling with IF and feel like you have no control over anything, even the small things that you think you should be able to control and still can't, can really set you (me) off. I just cried about everything - fear of what my body was going to go through, fear of the shots, fear that it may not work, guilt over what my husband had already gone went on and on about everything.

Thank God, my beloved was there because he got me settled down. Told me to not even try and take care of the appointment business that we would do it the next day (Thursday) at our appointment at the clinic and that they would teach us how to do the shots the same day. I finally got myself together and made it through the rest of the day - although I was not my usual perky self. I prayed Wednesday night for God to help me through this.

Thursday - the BIG DAY - went great. God answered all my prayers with a resounding "Yes, I will see you through this." Bloodwork and Ultrasounds came back normal so I was free to start my meds. The nurse took care of all the monitoring issues. I had my appointments set and at very convenient times. She taught me and my beloved how to give the shots. We each got a turn to practice with saline on me the human pin cushion. And weirdly, it was fun - I think because it relieved such huge amounts of stress from me. My husband was excellent at it.

Last night, I started with the REAL deal. I gave myself two shots. Only 30-40 more to go.

Right now, I am feeling pretty good. I am nervous about the effects of the drugs (the ovaries the size of grapefruits sounds awfully unpleasant) and egg retrieval. I hope I am one of those women that have fairly easy recovery.

But most of all, I hope all of this is not for nothing.

Friday, December 14, 2007


WE HAVE SWIMMERS on ice (sounds like a cheesy Ice Capades show) - I repeat WE HAVE SWIMMERS on ICE.

I finally feel like I can breathe again. My darling husband had his procedure yesterday - fortunately it was a PESA (less invasive) rather than TESE. It took a couple of tries, but they were able to retrieve enough sperm definitely for one IVF cycle and possibly (hopefully it will not be needed) for two. And in the event that the boys do not thaw well, they know that can get some more fairly easily.

He is doing well - at least he is telling me he is not having any pain today. But he is the type of man that would hide it from me, so that I did not worry.

I have been praying a lot lately, for myself and others. My first concern is for a coworker who is going through some pretty terrible medical issues, praying for her, her husband, and child as well. I pray that God will heal her and I pray that God comforts them all (physically and emotionally) during this difficult time.

This whole IF seems small when compared to her issues, but I still do pray a lot about IF and IF treatments. I pray regularly for all the women I meet on the message boards. It is funny how this IF brings people into your life that you would have never met and although you only know them from the boards, you care deeply for them because you know the pain and stress they are going through because you feel it everyday yourself.

I prayed almost non stop yesterday - well it actually started the night before yesterday. I prayed that beloved's procedure would go well, that he would not have any complications, and finally that they would be able to get sperm. All those prayers were answered - Thanks be to God. My biggest concern of course was for my husband because if they did not get sperm, I truly felt that God was answering me with regard to "Is this what I am supposed to be doing?" but did not want him to have to go through pain and suffering unnecessarily. Yesterday, the answer was yes, for right now, this is the path that we are supposed to follow (The next adoption meeting is scheduled on the same night as yougest daughter's choir concert so we cannot attend - the last meeting was also scheduled on a night that we could not attend due to school activities). I gave a prayer of "Thanks" to God for protecting my husband and for providing for us. Prayed again in the tree stand for all my blessings and gave "Praise" for all His Glory!!!

I received my IVF calendar this morning and will be truly starting in less than two weeks. Right now, I feel more excited than nervous, which surprised me because up until this point, I just felt anxious.

So now, I take my birth control pills for the next 9 days and then wait four more with no birth control pills before I stim. I don't start the heavy duty drugs (the shots) until after Christmas (which will make the holidays that much brighter). I finally feel like I can focus on other things now that I have a plan. Today - the focus is on students grades. After they are done, I will focus on the Christmas Eve service at my church. I am on the worship design and have somehow become one of the main organizers of the event. It is a pleasant but somewhat stressful distraction from IF.

But right now - in this moment - I am just enjoying that we have some positive news to share and that our hopes to have a child are still alive and well.

Monday, December 10, 2007

On your mark, get set......

Well, we have the appointment set for my husband's procedure. In three days, we will know if we are going through this IVF procedure or not. To say that I am nervous, is a HUGE understatement.

I am nervous for him. I can't believe all that he has to endure so that we can have a child. I love him so much. I think about all the selfish husbands who wont even get a vasectomy because they are afraid of the discomfort and then I think about my beloved who did that for his first wife, then had it reversed for me (a very painful surgery) and is now going through another procedure 18 months later on that very sensitive area. I am so lucky. In fact, I just sent him the following note - "I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE YOU SOO MUCH! Thanks for all the sacrifices you are making in order for us to have a child. You are the BEST husband ever!"

I think IF can tear a lot of relationships apart. It has not done that to us. We are already so close - best friends that share everything - but this has brought us closer in a spiritual way.

I am also getting nervous on my end. I will be starting my period any day now, which means that I will be cycling very soon. At first I was excited - now I just am scared - scared of how my body will react to the meds, scared of the PIO shots (progesterone in oil shots that are intramuscular), scared of ER (primarily the pain afterwards because I hear they knock you out pretty good for that), and MOST of all scared of a negative pregnancy result after all of this.

I do have faith though, that it will all work out according to God's plan eventually. Having said that, however, it is still hard to wait. I am not a person that handles not knowing well. But I will wait and I keep replaying the words to a song that helps right now "There's a light at the end of this tunnel". I heard it yesterday on the way to church and felt very reassured that my time will come.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It has been awhile

I did not realize that it had been that long since I blogged.

Things have been going okay for us - some minor downs but they have been followed by ups, so once again I know I am blessed.

Our minor down was on Thursday. My husband I went to his urologist which is about 100 miles away for what we thought would be his testicular aspiration. Needless to say it was a stressful drive for the both of us. We both made small talk and discussed everything EXCEPT what we thought was about to happen to him (a needle inserted into his epididymis to extract swimmers) or worse a section of testes removed. I always feel so guilty when I think about the tremendous sacrifice he is making for me. We get to the appointment after an hour and half drive only to find out that a mistake has been made and my clinic is supposed to schedule his procedure not the urologist. So, we will have to go through this all over again - the sleepless night before and the stressful drive to the clinic again.

As I said, we have also been blessed with many ups. The urologist was very encouraging about the fact that we should be able to get the all important sperm (one positive). I just got off the phone with my insurance and all my medications are covered. That is by far the biggest UP - because the meds would have cost about $4000.00 out of pocket.

I have found some first-time cycle buddies who are very encouraging and positive. We are creating a nice internet support group.

And I finally feel like I can focus on some things other than IF and IVF for the moment. I did lots of decorating for the holidays and may even do a little Christmas shopping today.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Well, Thanksgiving is over, but it is never too late to give "Thanks."

I am thankful for: my wonderful husband, my beautiful stepdaughters, my father, my mother in Heaven, my sister, my friends, my life, my health, my pets, my home, the food in my refrigerator, everything. I am so blessed, it is a shame that I have to sometimes remind myself of that - it seems I should just know it all the time. I always feel so ashamed when I realize that I often focus on what I don't have instead of what I DO have.

Thanksgiving went okay. It was not perfect but it could have been much worse. My beloved went hunting in the morning. I stayed home in my toasty warm house, drank my coffee, watched the parade, and relaxed. It was delightful. My husband showed up about an hour before I expected him and I thought for sure that he got a deer. Instead, he told me that someone had tampered with his stand (removing the straps that tie it to the tree). When he climbed up (about 12 feet high), he said the stand just did not feel right. So he reached down (mind you in the dark) and felt that the straps were gone. He took several deep breaths and reminded himself that he got up there okay and that he would be fine. He went to check on our friends (to make sure the straps were not gone on their stands). All were fine. He was quite shaken when he got home, even though it was two hours later. You see I was supposed to be in the tree that morning. So I am most thankful that my husband is safe and sound. I would be lost without him.

He is still shaken by the event. He was telling me yesterday after church that he could not believe that someone would do that (potentially hurt or kill one of us - our kids get in those stands too). He also could not believe that it was "that stand" because he has knelt beside it separate times to pray - for me and my sadness regarding our infertility, for our family and that God will allow it to grow, and for his anger. I told him that he should not view it that God allowed someone to tamper with that stand, but rather that God made him realize that he needed to check the strap and protected him while he got out of it despite the fact that someone tampered with it. He had not thought of it that way.

Friday was great. I had a nice morning with my family. My husband made a nice breakfast for us and we just got to relax. That is rare for us. Usually there is sports, dance, children Bible study groups, Girl Scouts, 4H, youth groups, etc. that we are racing off to attend. I spent the evening in the woods. It was cold, but gorgeous. I watched the moon rise over a small pond. It was golden and made the ice on the pond sparkle. I gave Thanks to God right then for allowing me to see such beauty. We, my husband and I, then went our small town's Christmas parade (tractors and trucks covered in Christmas lights). We then watched the Live Nativity, where our oldest played an angel. It was wonderful. She looked so precious up there - in the spotlight, with her angel costume on - another reason to give thanks. The youngest was particularly loving - tickle fighting and cuddling. The person in charge of the Nativity, came up behind me, put her hand on my shoulder and asked "Do you feel as blessed as I do." I told her "Yes, I am certainly blessed." Before she left, the youngest came running and jumped into my arms to give me a big hug and a kiss. I told her, "I love you soooo much". I gave thanks for that moment.

Saturday, we got our Christmas tree. It was fun. The girls danced around the trees and were as usual just plain silly. We decorated it that evening while we watched Elf. It is the simple little things that make me so happy.

Sunday, it was our turn (my husband and I) to be in the Nativity. I was Mary and he was Joseph. It was fun. I must say, that I enjoyed pretending to be pregnant and adoring my new infant with my husband by my side. Perhaps one day, I will be giving thanks for a real pregnancy and infant to be adored by me and my husband.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Feeling Hopeless Today

I had a really tough night last night. I woke up around 4am feeling so totally hopeless in everything. I sat there for a half hour trying to fall back asleep, but eventually started crying and then woke up my husband. I felt terrible for waking him up because he was so exhausted. You see, he just defended his dissertation proposal earlier that day. I was very proud and happy for him. But at the same time, depressed for myself. I defended my dissertation proposal almost two and a half years ago, but have made very little progress with regard to the actual dissertation. It is not for lack of trying, it just seems that I cannot get the necessary support to actually make the project happen (funding, academic, etc.). So in the middle of the night (because that is when these things happen), I was filled with fear that I will never finish and fear that if I do find another project - it will be so lame that I will never be able to get another job at a top institution (should we need to move).

Eventually that fear was transferred onto my infertility struggles. What if we can't get pregnant. What if adoption doesn't work out. What am I going to do if I can never realize my biggest dream - that of becoming a mother - and then I don't even have a career to fill part of that hole.

Yesterday, I fell to my knees praying to God that he blesses me with a child. I then prayed that if that is not His will, that he takes this desire from me.

I was still depressed this morning, so I decided to clean my office (cheer myself up with clean surroundings). I was clearing off my desk when I noticed that my notepad was turned over. I turned it right-side up and could see that something was written on the sheet just beneath the top one. It said, " I love you!". My stepdaughters were in my office yesterday and the oldest had left me a secret note. It made my day. I am still fearful, but I know I am loved by my family, my friends, and of course God and that no matter what happens - it will be okay.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Here we go - almost

Day 1 is today (all the IVF'rs know what this means) but for the non-IF/IVF'rs - Day 1 is the first day of your menstrual flow. I do not think I have ever been so happy about my period before. Now we can officially begin this IVF cycle. I have called my nurse and am waiting for her phone call regarding our next step.

I just got off the phone with the nurse. I had two options. Option 1: Go in this weekend, take birth control pills for 1 week, start stimulators (drugs to hyperstimulate ovaries) the week after Thanksgiving with retrieval at the beginning of Dec. Option 2: wait until my next period (mid Dec.), go in, bcps for a week, stims for a week (right after Christmas), retrieval around Jan 1st and transfer between Jan 5th and 7th. I chose option 2. Apparently they want to run a short course with me. I originally thought I would do a slower course (take bcp's for three weeks, Lupron for 8-10 days, and then stims, with retrieval around the same time of option 2).

It was tough to decide. My beloved husband goes into the urologist for a epididymal aspiration on Thursday 11/29. I am praying that there is sperm and that they are healthy. If they do get some, they will freeze it on the 29th. However, since we are not sure what they may get, I decided to not go through ovarian hyperstimulation, even though I want to get this started (and over with) as soon as possible. The other bad thing about option 2 is that transfer (God willing that we get embryos)will occur right when MSU starts up again. It will be tough to take it easy. But that is what I already had somewhat planned on. At least the good part is that I will be on break during the stimulation and observation period (so that will be easier than having to go through that while working and preparing for the holidays).

So, I am on hold until Dec. waiting again for my period, to get this baby-ball rolling. I just cannot believe what we are having to go through for a child.

I must admit, I think I chose option 2 because I am more than a little scared about all of this. But I also have to admit that for the briefest moment, I cherished the idea that I could possibly be pregnant over Christmas. It is that second thing that scares me most - that I am already getting those hopes up (even though I try to consciously tell myself that odds are that this will NOT work). My darlin hubby is right - it is going to be very sad if I get the dreaded Beta Negative.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Catchin up

I have not written since last week. Not a lot to report on. I had my mammogram (or as my youngest calls it - the boob squishy thing) on Friday. Those are NO FUN. I was pretty uncomfortable, especially when they had to do one twice in a row, because the computer did not read the signal. I feel a lot better though just having it done. I also got a flu shot on Thursday. I guess the one good thing about this whole infertility treatment stuff is that it is making me take better care of myself. I think had we been able to get pregnant naturally (and easily), I would still be taking my health for granted. I know I would definitely still be taking God's place in my life for granted. So today - I rejoice in my infertility and how much better and stronger I already am because of it.

Now having said that, I was not rejoicing on Sat. night. I was having quite the pity party for myself after hearing that my oldest stepdaughter was going to go dress shopping with her mom and possibly her mom's boyfriend and his daughter. I had expressed earlier to my daughter that I wanted to go with her also when they looked for dresses, especially being so involved with the dance (being on the decoration committee and volunteering to chaperone). I was broken-hearted Saturday night, once again being not so subtly reminded that "I am not their mother, nor will I ever be." I just excused myself for a bit and shed a few tears. For whatever reason, that event made the ache for my own child so severe that night. My beloved offered to call his ex and make sure that I could be included as well - but who wants to be included that way.

My sweet husband then got the kids going with a pillow fight, which cheered me up. It was the perfect way to blow off the hurt and anger. We had a ball even though a little glass was broken (pillow gone astray) and I (and the kitchen floor) ended up soaked. My littlest came sneaking in the kitchen with her pillow, when I turned and asked "What ya doing with that pillow?" - her reply was "I was just gonna lay down in here." So I turned my back and went back to washing dishes. As she approached (she is not subtle), I whipped around and covered her face with wet soapy hands. She, however, got the ultimate revenge at the sink (I thought I was very funny giving her wet-willies and laughing), when she grabbed the sprayer, put it over her shoulder and let go. I got drenched, but we both had a good laugh. I love my family!

All in all - a great weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sweet moment with youngest

Last night, my youngest stepdaughter asked if we could pray for her schoolmate that has been in the hospital.

We all took turns praying for the young child, who was seriously injured in a car accident *anyone reading this, please add your prayer for this child and her family* . During our prayers, both my husband and myself, also thanked God for our sensitive and loving child that is so worried about her classmate.

A little later that evening, she (my stepdaughter) was telling us about something she wrote in school. The topic was "change". She told us that she chose to write about her parents divorce - about the changes that occured with that. It always breaks my heart a little when she talks about it (their divorce) because I know it hurts her, but she actually surprised me a bit and said with a smile on her face "I wrote that my parents divorce brought good change and bad change. The good change is that if they didn't get divorced, I would not have such a nice and loving stepmom."

It was lucky that she already ate a healthy dinner, because after she said that, I would have let her eat cake and ice cream for dinner if she wanted it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Adoption papers arrived today

Today, we received two packets from the adoption agency we will likely use.

One packet contained the formal application for international adoption. I started looking it over but did not filling anything out. I don't know why adoption frightens me so much. The thought of all those shots, potential physical pain from procedures, and even emotional pain of failure some how seems easier than the emotional pain of getting attached to a living child only to have the adoption process fail.

The other packet was for embryo adoption. My husband and I have discussed that if we create more embryos (children) than I can carry and care for, we would would consider putting them up for adoption. This decision is much easier for him than for me. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of 1) having more than enough healthy embryos and 2) being able to give the chance to have a child to another infertile couple. I just think I will forever wonder, how is the child - would I be able to recognize him or her on the heaven..will he/she understand why we could not keep him/her. For the first time, however, I thought about adopting an embryo. The thought of it before today, honestly never entered my mind.

The one thing that I really do not like about infertility (well there is lots of things) but for right now - it is all the REALLY difficult decisions that have to be made. I am so envious of those couples that get to make a child the traditional way. No signing of consent for storage of your embryos, or releasing your rights to them in the case of divorce, death, wondering if one choice is more selfish than another worrying about all the money that it is going to cost you just to get a child (by whatever means it happens) and then still having to worry about financially supporting that child after they God-willing arrive (the 10-20K spent on artificially conceiving/adopting the child that could have gone to a college fund) worrying about if you are forcing your will over God's worrying about if you are making morally correct decisions.

There are times when I am so frustrated and sad about this journey, but I HAVE TO remember that although it is difficult I MUST BE GRATEFUL for it. It has already strengthened my relationship with God and I believe that is bringing my husband closer to God as well.

But right now I am still waiting for the answer of what we are supposed to do.

I will get to pretend and imagine what it would be like to be pregnant around Thanksgiving. I just volunteered today to play Mary in the Living Nativity in front of our small town's courthouse. My loving husband will play Joseph and I am hoping that the girls may be able to play Angels that night. We did it last year and were the Inn Keepers, but this year I specifically asked if I could be Mary. I don't what it was, but I felt that I was supposed to play her this year - perhaps it is God's way of letting me experience being pregnant in His own special way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Just took my prenatal vitamin. I don't like taking these right now. It feels like I will be that much more disappointed if the IVF does not work. Yet, I do it anyway just in case.

It looks like we should start the IVF cycle in December. I am both excited and nervous about the whole process. Excited about the possibility of finally having my own child and feeling what it is like to be pregnant. I also feel terrified about all the shots, potential side effects, and worst of all that after getting my hopes up it wont work.

We also have our pre-approval in for a Christian adoption agency and will go to the information meeting in January. I am still waiting to "hear" God's voice about what we are supposed to do. Both feel so right and honestly, I can think of nothing better than to give birth to a child and adopt one at the same time. If only we had unlimited financial resources, I would do both in a heartbeat.

I have been spending a lot of time in the woods lately. It is my time to escape all the stress of infertility (IF) and dealing with an ex-spouse's really really poor parenting choices (that is the MOST difficult thing about step-parenting - loving the kids as if they are your own and having virtually no say in half their upbringing). But mostly, I pray while I sit in my tree-stand. I give thanks for the beauty that is around me, pray for my family, pray for the other people I meet struggling with IF, and pray for peace (my own, others, and for the world).

On Friday night, I got treated to quite a show. Two fawns came in, a button-buck and a doe fawn. The milled about and ate. I can't explain to those that have not experienced it, how cool it is to see deer so close (with 5-10 yards). After they finished eating, they each took turns licking each other's faces. It was very sweet. Then the little button-buck decided he was going to act like a grown -up buck and began thrashing the tree (a tiny little sapling). It is the pre-rut right now, so the bucks are making rubs (where they rub their antlers and scrape bark off the tree to mark territory and let females know they are in the area) and scrapes (where they scrape all the leaves away to expose a patch of dirt which they then scent mark). So this little guy, makes his first rub as I said on the skinniest of trees (I actually giggled a little out loud when he did it), then he went over to a larger tree and tried, but really just hit his head. He made a few scrapes and one more rub before leaving. It is just awesome (and funny) to get to watch that.

It is hard to feel sorry for myself regarding IF struggles and other irritations when I have been so blessed to be able to do and see the things like I did on Friday night and on top of all that have a partner in my life to share it all with - I just need to keep reminding myself of that sometimes.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Just starting down this road of fertility treatments and options

Where do I begin? I feel so new to this journey, yet realize that I have already been on it for many years.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a "Mom". I wasn't in a rush, however. I went to college...met my college sweetheart...married him 4 years later...decided to wait a bit before starting a family and enjoy "just being married" as so many had advised .....

and then hit the first break in my path ...... my new husband changed his mind and did not want to have children anymore .... "just wait" others said "he will change his mind." ...and so I waited....four more years of hoping and encouraging "but you will be such a good Dad"...and still nothing...two more years of troubled marriage...

and hit the second break in my path...filed for divorce....

a year later found a new path...fell in love and married my best friend...but this path although easy because of love is a rocky path to motherhood because my beloved husband had had a vasectomy. This road, however, also has the joy of stepmotherhood - to two beautiful and loving girls. Six months after the wedding, my husband had a vasectomy reversal...and after eighteen months of trying to conceive with no luck we went back for a recheck....and have found that we are now on the path of infertility....

so here I am today... traveling along my broken road to motherhood and realizing that all the bumps along the way have made me who I am and although it is tough and I am afraid will get tougher, I am blessed because in some ways - I already am a "Mom" to my stepdaughters and I have found my soulmate, who will be by my side as we face this fork in the road of IVF - or adoption...

I don't know what tomorrow will bring...but I pray that whatever happens it is God's will and that I will know enough to be happy for it.