The Who and the Why and the What Now

It has taken two years to work up the courage to write even this little sentence. But, here we are. Courageous, ready and hopeful.

The Who: My name is Carol. I am 29 years old (or 26 for the third time as my fertile mind likes to pretend). I am happily married to the love of my life and the most incredible man I have ever met. Jack and I met 5 years ago and were engaged 4 months later. When you know, you know, right?! We knew we were meant to be, we knew we wanted a life of adventure, and we knew we wanted a big family. We also, foolishly, believed we could control all of those aspects of our life. We were wrong. Which leads me to the “why”….

The Why: We want to be parents. Infertility has decided that’s not in the cards.

The What Now: Infertility Sucks, there is no way around that. We have spent the past 2 years exploring options, treatments, procedures and resources. While I could easily ace a test on infertility and treatments from the resources we’ve come across and the procedures we’ve had, I haven’t found a resource that helps me to heal. A resource that stops giving me statistics and numbers and dollar signs and simply allows me to come to grips with this challenge we’ve been forced to overcome. This is my resource. I’ve always enjoyed writing and decided that the journal I was keeping might be beneficial to someone, somewhere, going through something similar. My goal in writing this, at the end of the day, is to help me deal with the roller-coaster that is the “Big I”. If someone along the way gets a laugh out of it or is able to stop crying through a clomid induced breakdown,  I’ll feel I succeeded in helping someone while I helped myself.

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Silent Treatment

The chilled morning air has started here in the mid-west. Some hate it and immediately start to think about the agonizing winter. But me, I love it! The end of August, and the inevitable entrance of fall had me reminiscing about our summer. Boy, did we have fun. We spent the summer traveling, enjoying each others company and really focusing on ourselves for a change. August was a whirlwind month… with travel through/to 6 states under our belt! We started the month in beautiful Pennsylvania and ended the month in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. August brought with it new memories, some much needed oil changes and a few too many glasses of wine. August also marked 2.5 years of trying to get pregnant.

Here’s the weird thing… 2.5 years is a hell of a lot easier than 1.5 years. Wait, what?  What I mean is that last year at this time, I was distraught. WHY WASN’T IT HAPPENING?! That’s not to say I don’t still have my bad days where I feel like there must something wrong with my water because everyone else seems to be drinking theirs and getting pregnant. Call it acceptance, call it downright delusion, call it whatever you want, but 2.5 isn’t too bad (at least today).

At 2.5 years….our conversations have shifted. When we were dating and first married, our lives were planned around babies. I even made sure my husband bought a truck with 4 doors because “it’ll be easier with car seats”. It was always “when we have kids” or “our kids will do this”. Basically, we were a young, married couple who didn’t know what they were in for. Shit, these conversations and phrases were still being uttered up until a few months ago. But lately, something has changed. It’s not as if we don’t want to be parents, we absolutely do, but we’ve changed the way we *phrase* our life. We don’t talk about “when we have kids” anymore. Writing that makes it sound sad, but it isn’t sad. It’s freeing.

I realized on Monday that Jack and I hadn’t talked about babies, treatments, infertility in general lately. We were sitting outside, enjoying the weather and as it hit me, I realized I didn’t want to bring it up. It felt so glorious to just be living in the moment without the weight of another tough conversation.

So, that’s where we’re at. It’s not avoidance, it’s not fear, it’s just plain ol’ nice to have a break. We’ll see how long it lasts but for now, I’m enjoying the silence.

 

 

It happened… No, not that!

Hello! I’m not dead, I’m still alive…just, apparently, completely unable to grasp time seeing as it has been almost 3 months since I last posted. And no, for anyone out there listening (reading?), I am NOT pregnant. One of my very best friends is though… that was a fun shock. Guess how long it took her… go ahead, guess! Yep, one month. To be fair, I am truly ecstatic for them. We have made it to the “tell me everything” phase of your BF being pregnant and I’m happy to admit that I haven’t had a full blown meltdown over it (yay me!). So far, she feels miserable, looks adorable (belly line and all) and has yet to fully accept that a little human is growing inside of her. This and more in a different post, for another day.

So, why am I back now? Funny story… I got a call from my dad today. HE FOUND MY BLOG. *CRINGE*. Someone knows it’s out here now! With that being said, I can’t think of a better person to have found it. I can’t really explain the panic that went through me when he told me he found it. Mostly because I don’t know why I was panicked! This is a PUBLIC DOMAIN. Literally anyone can read this at anytime and yet knowing someone I know is reading this had me thrown for a loop. But again, why?

When I started writing here it was truly just meant to be an outlet. A way to express my thoughts (and throw some tantrums, let’s be honest..) in a “safe” space. Most of the people reading this have gone through or are going through infertility. It feels safe and it does make me feel less alone. One might ask why I didn’t just open up a Creedthoughts Blog (Office reference.. #Creedthoughts) aka just write/type out my feelings. GREAT QUESTION! The answer: I have no clue.

All in all… I’m glad he found it and I’m glad he told me. Because honestly, I haven’t been motivated to write and now, here I am!

In true dad fashion… he made me feel like a million bucks. Since I’m guessing he is/will be reading this… thanks for inspiring me to get back to writing this, Dad. Love you infinity worlds!

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^^^ The face I made when he told me he found it…. Not kidding.

Frustration Station

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to be just barely out of reach? Where nothing happens the way it’s supposed to and you just feel generally out of whack with the world? I’m having one of those weeks. I am in a constant state of frustration this week and I can’t shake out of it. I’m not sad or blue or down, I’m just stuck… and it’s really freaking annoying.

  1. Have been waiting on a promotion for over 6 months.. was told it was happening.. only to find out this week that it’s “in the works” and they don’t know when it will go into place.
  2. Assumed something like #1 would happen so I applied for a new job. First interview went well… was told I’d hear back either way within 2 weeks. HAVEN’T HEARD A THING. I find myself glaring at my e-mail every time a spam e-mail comes through. Why do you have to play with my head like that, gmail?!
  3. Checked the calendar and tried to count back to when I had my period… thought I was a week late, jumped up and down, recounted… not due until next week. (Side note… I’m very regular and so I don’t typically track. I’ve just felt so off that I thought I would take a look and I’m clearly a little out of it if I can’t count a whopping 28 days)
  4. Re-activated social media accounts after 10 months… should have known that would be a mistake. There must have been something in the water (just not in my house) because EVERYONE is pregnant. For real, I was actually laughing out loud (only a little bit like a crazy laugh) at how ridiculous it was.
  5. Family Junk

Trust me, I realize that in the grand scheme of things these aren’t a big deal. BUT, one of the main things I try to do while going through this shitty infertility journey is find the positive in other aspects of my life. This week… I’m just frustrated by everything. Sure, it could be PMS. Sure, I could be overreacting but in this moment, I’m annoyed. I could use some sunshine and positivity in my life, damn it! OK, rant over.

On a side note, if anyone knows where I can find some pregnancy water to drink, let me know!

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NIAW… The Fear of Flipping The Script

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It is National Infertility Awareness Week. Just saying it (well, typing it) makes my heart swell. I am absolutely filled with love and hope as I see so many advocates cheering on those who are struggling and really working to #flipthescript. My heart is full and I’m proud of my sisters (and brothers) in infertility. I’m proud of their commitment to flipping the script and to educating the public. I’m proud of their attitude towards research and moving closer to understanding infertility. Mostly, I’m so freaking proud of their bravery…. and not so secretly wanting some of that bravery to rub off on me.

I’ll be honest… only our closest friends know of our struggles. Well, let me re-phrase that, I have only told MY closest friends of our struggles. My husband is much more open about it, which completely boggles my mind since he is such a private person. Anyways… I have struggled with whether or not to post anything about NIAW. And the weird thing is… I have no clue why! Why am I not shouting from the rooftops that we are struggling with this? I am constantly in a position where I could talk about it. Friends, family and co-workers are constantly getting pregnant. I’m always asked when we’re going to start trying (which, as we all know is the worst question of all time). And yet, I always shrug it off. “Ohh, we’re just enjoying married life” “Ohh, one of these days” etc. etc. etc. I even had a co-worker tell me that, gasp, it took them 3 whole months to conceive. And you know what I said? NOTHING!

I had read an amazing post by Heather from thecysterstory and it talked about the feeling of failing. Failing yourself, your spouse, your expectations etc. It got me thinking… am I afraid to share what we’re going through because I’m afraid of exposing my failure? Will others view it as a failure? Am I the only one who views it as a failure and I’m just letting my head turn into a hamster reel (not un-likely)? I don’t know that there are answers to these questions but I have to believe there is an answer to why the hell I can’t get over the hurdle. Obviously there are so many people who are struggling (1 in 8 HELLOOOOOOO) and not everyone is talking about it. I feel guilty that here I am, living with this and I’m too afraid (if that’s the right word) to speak up and let those other 1 in 8ers know they’re not alone. W. H. Y?

So, I started thinking about the worst thing that could happen if I announced it. I figured I would get a lot of “my cousin tried this” “it’ll happen when it’s meant to” all of the advice that I’ve heard 290838402 times. I can live with that. But then, I thought about those struggling who have been struggling for so much longer than we have. I got to thinking about whether or not I had earned the right to announce, publicly, that we are plagued by the “Big I”. Sure, these two years have been hell but what about those couples, families, individuals who have been struggling for so much longer. What if my 2 years feels the same as my co-workers 3 months… a moment in time, nothing to be upset about?

At the end of the day… I’m scared. I’m not sure what I’m scared of but I’m guessing this fear is the same thing that has stopped me from going to the support groups, the meetings, the meet and greets. I’m hopeful that one day I’ll figure out what exactly I’m scared of and that I can be that beacon of bravery that I find myself looking up to lately.

P.S. If you’re reading this and have any tips for getting over this fear/anxiety/whatever the eff it is, I would love to hear it.

P.S.S If you are feeling the same way, maybe we can connect. I’d love to know I’m not alone!

 

 

MIA, furbabies and tears…

I’ve been MIA for awhile… a long while. If I’m being honest, the past month and a half has been an epic battle. This isn’t a fertility post, but it is a baby post, for me anyways. And, it’s not a happy post, either. So feel free to skip it because we’re about to get real raw up in here.

On March 9 we had to send our best friend to heaven.. our Goose. She was our everything for 7.5 years. And yes, she was a dog. A beautiful black lab/huskie mix to be specific. And yes, I know people will roll their eyes when they read this, and that’s okay. Not everyone will understand the absolute heartbreak and grief the past month has been consumed by and that’s okay, too. But, like many people, I find I work through my emotions and thoughts more effectively when I write, so here I am.

It all started back in October of 2017 (which, for reference, was definitely the worst year). I had just returned home from helping to pack up my Grandfather’s house after his death (like I said, shitty year). We were laying on the couch and my husband was rubbing Goose behind her ears. He non-chalantly said he felt something…. a bump right near her jaw. They had been at the cabin the weekend before while I was gone and so we assumed it was some sort of a bug bite. She wasn’t acting strangely and it didn’t seem to bother her when we touched it. Flash forward a couple of days and the bump kept getting bigger. Being the pro-googler I am (hello TWW message boards!) I got busy. Of course I was horrified with what I found. It could be a number of things but the most likely were: a bug bite (nothing to worry about, right?!), Lymes Disease (common where we live, shitty but treatable) and the dreaded of the three… lymphoma.

I remember hiding in the bathroom stall at work, sobbing and asking the vet to please make some time for us to come in that day. In my heart, I already knew what it was. The year had been so terrible and, in my pitty party, I just assumed that God had one more trick up his sleeve (my anger during this time with life and with God is going to be saved for another post… but damn, I was fucking pissed). Anyways, we go in, the doctor tells us to relax, she thinks it’s just an infection. She doesn’t believe that the bump is where Goose was actually bit but is a reaction to an infection. The bump we are feeling is actually a swollen lymp node (this is what I was afraid of). But again, she tells us it’s nothing to worry about. We’re sent home with some strong drugs and told to give her a call if it gets worse, which she highly doubts it will. Two days later, we’re back at the vet, after hours again as it has not only gotten worse, but it’s doubled in size.

The vet tells us that she would like to do a biopsy of it. She still doesn’t’ think it’s lymphoma but to make sure we don’t miss anything she’d like to set it up for Monday. We say okay, but at this point, we’re petrified. The entire ride home we are both in tears. We spend the weekend doing everything she loves and prepping the house for her for after her biopsy. The biopsy goes great and now we wait a week. This week of waiting was like a TWW on steroids. I called the vet every single day… no results, no results, no results, yes, results are in but the Vet needs to talk to you. Heart plummets. I am at work, in the hallway in the middle of the afternoon when the vet told me the news… GOOSE IS CANCER FREE! They aren’t sure what they lump is, but they’re assuming it’s an infection. Stop and grab even stronger drugs, but she’ll be fine. The rest of the night was literally spent jumping up and down (I’m not kidding… literal jumping up and down).

Fast forward 3 weeks, countless calls the vet and another emergency vet appointment. The meds aren’t working. The mass has now TRIPLED in size. They finally agree to see us and by that point, we find out that not only is that lymph node swollen, but all of the lymphocytes in her body are. Whatever it is, has spread and it has spread fast. At this point, the vet believes that the biopsy was wrong and that Goose does, in fact, have lymphoma. And, by now, it’s spread so far that our options are limited. We cannot start treatment until we have a definitive diagnosis, so yet another biopsy is completed and you ready for this? It comes back IN-FUCKING-CONCLUSIVE!!! Yep, that’s right, still no answer which means no treatment. Our Vet, at a loss for words and getting emotional on the phone herself when she talks about it decides she wants another opinion from a University hospital in Colorado. Yet another biopsy completed…

On Saturday, November 25th after we just walked out of my husband’s best friend’s mothers funeral we got a call from the vet, after hours once again. We knew it was bad. The results were revived and Goose was officially diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma. Her prognosis was not good with how much it had already spread. We sat in the parking lot of the church, clinging to one another’s hands and discussed how we wanted to proceed…

We started her on prednisone two days later. We were scared that she wouldn’t respond well to it but no one could have imaged just how well she did. We were told we would be lucky to get another 6 weeks with our little girl… we got 4 1/2 months with her. She was her perfect self up until the night before we had to say goodbye.  It’s true what they say, they’ll let you know when they’re ready. We promised ourselves that the second she was in pain, we would make the call. She had been her spunky, energetic self… until she wasn’t. And when she wasn’t, it was time.

Her last night with us was a tough one. She was refusing her medicine and wanted nothing more than to be outside where it was cool (we learned later that the cancer had spread to her internal organs and the vet thought that she wanted the cool concrete to help ease some of the stomach pain she had). That night was a frigid 17 degrees, but that didn’t stop by husband from pulling out all of our blankets and sleeping with her outside. To say I love this man would be an understatement. I always knew he would be an amazing dad… but I forgot sometimes that he already was.

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So, thank you, Goose. Thank you for being the biggest light in our life. Thank you for loving us the way you did. Thank you for being mama’s biggest protector. Thank you for sleeping with your head on my tummy when my heart was breaking. Thank you for loving your puppy brother, even when he annoyed you. Thank you for staying with us as long as you did, knowing we couldn’t bear to let you go. I could thank you for a million things but most of all, thank you for making me a mama.

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Sometimes, It’s Worth It

Well, the Two Week Wait (TWW) has come and gone and I, as usual, was left with cramps, a terrible craving for anything chocolate and another little hole in my heart. But, this post is not about that little bitty hole. It’s about how that tiny hole gets patched (along with the holes in the drywall in our office).

I woke up Saturday morning and felt a bit “off”. My period was officially one day late. I’m fortunate to have an extremely regular cycle and haven’t been half a day past 28 in almost 6 months. So… one day late was a BIG deal. I raced out of bed, grabbed a pregnancy test (which we obviously have in bulk) and proceeded to wait. Now, I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to the wait. I no longer sit and stare at the test, or even tell my husband that I’m testing anymore. So, I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair, looked in the mirror and wondered where my monthly chin pimple was and then headed over to the little stick that holds alllllllll of the answers.

This isn’t my first rodeo so I don’t get excited or nervous anymore. But, I do still imagine what it would feel like to see two lines. What would I do? Would I faint? Would I run down the stairs and incoherently tell my husband or would I be the cool wife who came up with an awesome way to let him know? Who would we tell first? I wonder what color the walls to the nursery would be. Where would we move the craft room? You know… THOSE thoughts. It’s not as if I hate thinking these thoughts, because as we’ve discussed, hope happens. I do try to control them so as not to get my hopes up too high but, meh, it happens. As any reader who has tried for more than a year knows it’s one thing not to spend 3-5 minutes staring at the test, it’s another to completely separate yourself from the idea that maybe this is the month.

It wasn’t. And it’s true, it does get easier. Instead of sitting on the floor and crying I simply threw the 1 lined test into the trash (I made sure to bury it under tissue so I wasn’t reminded of it… Duh), looked in the mirror and checked one more time for that pesky chin pimple and then organized my tampons for what was sure to come. Alright, I wasn’t exactly THAT calm, cool and collected. Let’s be honest, before I pulled out the tampons I grabbed my phone and googled “BFN 15DPO then BFP?” I know, I know… the WORST! Hope can be a big ol’ bitch sometimes.

Well, after my 2 minute google search and tampon organization I headed downstairs. My husband isn’t a cycle tracker and as I hadn’t been overly moody or crampy (except for the week before.. um helllooo implantation cramping anyone? NOT) he would never have known that I was late. I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat with him as he stained our beautiful new kitchen table he had made the day before (hubba hubba). Eventually I let him know that I had taken a test because I was late (I’ve learned not to say that I’m late first… he get’s excited and then I have to break his heart. It’s the worst, I’m thankful it doesn’t happen very often) and that it was negative. Without missing a beat he reminded me that he would be perfectly happy with just me. I smiled, a genuine smile, gave him a kiss and proceeded to drink my coffee, in our kitchen, with our dogs while my incredibly handsome husband worked on our table. It snowed the night before so I gazed out the window at the trees in our yard and the cardinals at our bird feeder and I realized, like I do every month, that just him and me wouldn’t be so bad… in fact, it would perfect. Just like being pregnant would be perfect and adopting would be perfect. Sometimes, it’s just a frame of mind.

Now, when I woke up Sunday with a throbbing uterus, I wasn’t feeling so perfect. BUT, I was reminded that the little hole in my heart felt smaller than it had 24 hours before. So, with a heating pad, some essential oils and New Girl on the TV I let my chances at being a mom this month slip away, or I guess technically, shed away. And you know what, it’s getting easier. Don’t get me wrong, it still effing sucks, but it’s getting easier. I wish I could go back to the completely heart broken woman I was two years ago and tell her that she has a loooooong road ahead but the road is sometimes paved with gold and in all honesty, sometimes you step in some crap but I am really starting to believe that it’s all worth it. Even if I end up an old woman, with no children, I think I will have learned a lot and lived a lot. I’m holding on to that and I’m hoping that two years from now I can look back at this entry and see another massive transformation. I know there will be hard days, months (hopefully not years) but I hope that it will all be worth it. Fingers crossed.

The Big D caused by the Big I?

Yesterday we found out that our closest friends are getting a divorce. There’s no easy way to sugarcoat that sentence and there’s certainly no way to sugarcoat that fact. Their marriage is coming to an end… and one of them is 8 months pregnant.

Gasp, I know. I truly can’t even come up with the words to describe the emotions we’ve felt over the past 24 hours. Actually, that’s not true. I do have one word to describe how I’m feeling and that’s guilt. I feel guilty that I feel so damn emotional about this. I feel guilty that I’m not just sad I am really effing pissed off. I also feel guilty that the one who made the decision to end the marriage is MY best friend. I stood by her side as her Matron of Honor and gave a speech about how I knew their love would last forever. Apparently, I lied. Woof… yesterday sucked.

Here’s the deal, these two ex-love birds (let’s call them X and Y) have had a rough go. My best friend (X) married her wife (Y) about 2.5 years ago. The ceremony was perfect and they were truly smitten with one another. Not only did they love one another but Y had grown to love and truly view X’s son (from a previous relationship) as her own. They were finally a family, which as someone who had witnessed the rise and fall of X’s previous relationships, was ecstatic about. They didn’t want to waste anytime and so they decided to begin pursuing fertility treatments right away so that Y could conceive. They chose a donor who resembled X and began the process of growing their little family. Long story short… the process was not what they thought it would be.

I don’t believe that an inability to conceive was the straw that broke the camels back (my dad would be so impressed that I said that). But, I do believe it contributed. Why? Because they said so. I’m not going to air their dirty laundry, that’s obviously not my place but I do think it’s important to acknowledge that infertility or an inability to conceive can wreak real friggin’ havoc on a marriage. X and Y tried to conceive for about 2 years. They stopped for a period of about 4 months a year ago because they realized that the stress and emotional turmoil associated with it was ruining their marriage. They almost called it quits then. But, they rebounded. They began treatments again and low and behold, they finally conceived! They did it, no more shots, no more IUIs, no more stress! They fixed their problems and now a baby was on the way, what more could they ask for? Apparently, a lot.

We just saw X and Y two weeks ago. We rubbed Y’s belly, we talked about nursery colors and about her birth plan. I purchased the supplies to make a baby blanket this past weekend and was gushing to my mom about how happy they both looked. But, apparently, it wasn’t enough.

The emotions and stress associated with trying to make the baby didn’t go away once that little stick had 2 lines. They were too far gone. Even as I write this, I’m mad. It’s so difficult to navigate this situation because on one hand I want to be there for more friend, but on the other, I’ve been in Y’s shoes, shit I AM in Y’s shoes! And to leave at 8 months pregnant… how? How can she do that? I simply cannot understand. And you know what, if I’m honest, I’m really disappointed in her. And I’m effing pissed off, too.

I realized I’ve been rambling for most of this post, I guess that’s what happens when you’re emotionally posting. But, this entire thing had me grasping for some solid ground last night. When I told my husband (who also stood in their wedding party) what was happening, he was so incredibly angry. He held me while I tried to wrap my head around this crazy situation. And then, out of nowhere, I realized part of my emotion was fear. Was he going to do this to me? Was the stress and sadness going to be too much for him? Is divorce really contagious? Being the information junkie I am I immediately went online for different tools to help my friends through this difficult time and I came upon multiple articles about divorce being contagions. One article literally stated that if your close friend gets divorced you are 147 times more likely to get a divorce within the next four years. WHAAAT?! So of course, I immediately showed this to my husband. He, of course, laughed, pulled me in for yet another hug and told me the words I needed to hear, “he’s not going anywhere”.

My fear calmed for about half a second and then my mind started running again (of course). What is it about infertility that makes marriage so hard sometimes? I started doing some digging. A study published by the U.S. News & Word Report stated that Infertile couples are 3 times more likely to divorce. They sited things such as money, grief, stress, inability to communicate. Well, shit. We’ve dealt/are dealing with all of those. What makes one couple more likely to make it through than another? How can we ensure that we don’t become a statistic? I asked my husband if maybe we should stop focusing on having children… I, the woman who so terribly wants to be a mom, considered giving up our journey. That should tell you a little bit about where my head is at in this moment.

I wish I knew how to fix this and make it better. I wish that my friends weren’t having to deal with this. I wish more than anything that the precious little baby that they prayed so long for would be born into a loving, whole family. But, as infertility so rudely shows us, you can wish/hope in one hand and shit in the other… see which one fills up faster (again, my father would be so proud that his crude language has rubbed off on me). How do I console both of them even with all of these feelings that I have? How do I not resent one of my very best friends for doing this to her wife? How do I separate myself from their divorce and not project what is happening to them onto my relationship? How do I not look at future treatments without fear of them ending my marriage? H-O-W?

So… on the eve of what is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year, I will be searching for answers to the zillions of questions that are buzzing in my mind. I’ll be grieving for two of the greatest people I’ve ever met and the little baby who doesn’t know what he’s lost. And, I’ll be holding my husband a little tighter from here on out, and thanking him every single day for the being the greatest man I’ve ever met.

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One More Shot

Last night we watched the Documentary “One More Shot“. The documentary follows a couples journey to conceive and doesn’t leave out any of the hardship, heartbreak and happiness associated with starting a family. I was absolutely blown away by the realness and honesty portrayed and I wasn’t the only one.

I had been dying to sink my teeth into this documentary but poor Jack has been working non-stop and hasn’t been up for watching anything that would require more brain waves than The Simpsons (his words). Luckily, he had a few hours to spare and while tired, agreed to sit down and watch with me. He gave full disclosure that he may fall asleep and that he was interested but wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it through the whole thing. Fair enough, I thought. We made it about 30 minutes in and then we took a break to eat dinner. To my surprise, Jack right away mentioned how much he liked the documentary.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect him to hate watching but I just didn’t’ expect him to thoroughly enjoy it like he was. He couldn’t believe how similar it was to our experience.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about my husband when it comes to infertility… he wants to fix it. The largest emotional tie for him thus far in our journey has been to me. That’s not to say he isn’t sad that we haven’t been able to conceive or that he wasn’t equally as devastated when the month that we were assured would be our month resulted in 3 negative pregnancy tests. But, his coping mechanism is to fix it and when he can’t… he simply doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand why I can’t move on or why the idea that I will never be a mother impacts me so deeply. He doesn’t understand why every search on my phone is related to infertility. And as we watched One More Shot, I literally saw his eyes opening to the fact that my emotions and his emotions are not only okay, but they’re common. For me, it was a relief to see him grasp that my neurotic need to know everything I can about our options is not specific to me. And that his desire to fix it and his inability to do so is also not specific to him. We’re not alone in how we feel, we’re not the first ones to feel this way and unfortunately, we won’t be the last to feel this way either.

I knew I was going to take a lot away from the documentary but I just hadn’t anticipated how much Jack would, too. We’ve put our treatments on hold for awhile while we figure out the best move for us going forward (and to save up some cash, let’s be honest here). When I regurgitate facts and figures and things I’ve read online about infertility and our options it doesn’t register with Jack like it does me. He does his own research and has a very analytical understanding of what our options are. Last night, though, it felt like he was seeing it all from a different perspective. He was shocked by the staggering figures and how our age (talk about effing’ timing with my last post) really does impact where we go next. He was outraged at the fact that our state specifies that medical assistance cannot provide coverage for fertility drugs when specifically used to enhance fertility. What the hell?! Long story short… he was moved by what he saw and he certainly took away a hell of a lot more from watching then he has from me spewing facts and figures at him.

This wasn’t easy to watch, for either of us. It brings up a lot of emotions… deep, scary emotions. In truth, I needed to pause some parts to take a breath and re-charge. But, I didn’t go to bed feeling depressed, I went to bed feeling understood which felt like a huge gift to me. We were both truly moved by One More Shot and I simply can’t recommend it enough. I cried, I smiled and as the credits rolled I felt so grateful that these two people were brave enough to share their story.

ONE MORE SHOT

For more information: http://www.onemoreshotfilm.com/ and the documentary can be found, as of January 15th on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon (how we watched it) and Vimeo on demand. Run, don’t walk, to your couch and turn this bad boy on. I promise you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

The Final Countdown…

My age has never been a scary thing to me. Sure, I’m not a huge fan of it but when it comes to myself growing older, I’ve never really had an issue with it. To clarify, I’m not looking forward to growing old but growing a year older doesn’t terrify me. Sure, there were the fun birthdays that came along with some new part of life; a drivers license, voting and (the occasional) casino trip, being able to drink legally, renting a car, paying for my own insurance (wait, that’s not fun). Once those were gone I still wasn’t bothered by my birthday or by growing a year older. It just was what it was and it usually meant a big party and free drinks (bonus!). So, I haven’t been overly concerned with this year. When I tell people I’m 29 the most common thing I hear in response is “are you ready for the big 3-0?”. Prior to a couple of weeks ago I would have said absolutely, bring it on. But, suddenly those two little numbers hit me like a ton of bricks. And now, NO, NO, NO! I am NOT ready.

The catalyst for this sudden change of heart was a comment made, with love, by my mother. In her defense, I don’t believe she even knows what she said and she certainly would not have said it if she knew it was going to hit me this hard. We were on our way to do a little Saturday shopping and were chatting about anything and everything (a typical mother-daughter day). Somehow my birthday came up, well actually, turning 30 came up. I told her how I really wasn’t dreading it and that we weren’t planning to do anything special. Then it happened, the words came out and the panic started. “You don’t have much time left”. This comment was in reference to my biological clock. And in that moment, it hit me, she was right.**

What’s funny is that this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this. I was having a conversation with a family friend over the holidays. She was talking about her daughter and said that she was “really old when she had her”. For reference, she was 26 when she had her daughter (old, shmold). Now, this particular family friend isn’t aware of the difficulty we’ve had getting pregnant so I quickly played it off and changed the subject so as not to make her feel uncomfortable with what she had said. But in the back of my mind I remember thinking, super old? Jeez, what does that make me?!

Don’t get me wrong, I know that I have years and years left to continue to try to conceive a child. Science is an absolutely beautiful thing and allows us to pursue our dreams long past the ripe age of 30. The reasonable, level headed part of my mind is telling me I’m being ridiculous thinking of 30 as a big deal. But, suddenly it’s like I can see a massive, blinking countdown and I can hear the ticks of every second… each tick a second closer to my Uterus’s death sentence and about 15 dogs instead of children. Insert crazy laugh here. I get it, I’m panicking over nothing but the fear and the disappointment feel real. Suddenly, on the drive home from Church yesterday, I realized why exactly I was feeling this way. In the back of my mind I have been holding out hope that we would be able to  conceive, carry and deliver a baby on our own. No more science, no more treatments, no more tracking. Just a baby conceived out of love on a night with one too many glasses of wine, or a romantic night out, or in an unexpected moment of passion. You know, the way you always assumed it would happen (thank you rom-coms)? From the conversations I’ve had with women who are going through something similar and there is one word that describes a common thread: HOPE. It’s miserable. Hope that this is going to work on its own. Hope that God was just giving you a little extra time to get things in order. Hope that this was meant to be. Hope, the same damn thing that makes the Two Week Wait a frustrating, exciting, nausea inducing time. It’s what makes you do “just one more” round and what makes you take yet another pregnancy test, just to be sure. It’s what makes you buy another pack of ovulation kits and makes the disgusting progesterone suppositories seem worth it. It’s important to have, but sometimes, it makes accepting our circumstances a little bit harder to swallow.

So here I am, swallowing our circumstances (ew). We still have time to do this our way, the way we thought it would happen (see, I still have hope). BUT, we have LOTS of time to explore other options we haven’t tried to allow science to help us out. So, instead of dreading every tick-tock of the biological clock, I’m just going to suck it up and keep telling myself that 30 is nothing to be afraid of, and I’m going to believe it, too (well, I’m going to try to anyway). Oh, and I’m going to embrace 30 by starting to lie about my age… guess who is 26 now?!

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** My mom has been one of our very greatest cheerleaders as we have been TTC. She is usually the most hopeful, positive person about the process. I firmly believe if she really knew the outcome of her statement she would be devastated. Thus, we haven’t talked about it and will continue to keep it on the down low. **

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I asked my niece this question last weekend. She listed three things. When she grows up she wants to be an astronaut (love it!), a rock-star (obviously) and lastly… she wants to be a mom. I quickly scooped her up into a big bear hug and tried to get my emotions under control. Once the tears had been swallowed and I could get air into my lungs we started discussing these goals of hers. We talked about how important science was in order to become an astronaut. We talked about the stars and all of the places she would want to visit (“definitely the moon, Auntie, and maybe Jupiter… but definitely the moon”). We talked about becoming a rock-star and the importance of continuing with her piano lessons and dancing classes. We talked about how much practice it would take. We talked about how brave she would need to be. And then it came time to talk about the third thing she wants to be when she grows up…

I grew up much like an only child would. I have a brother but he’s 8 years older than me and so we weren’t exactly “buds” growing up. I had to make my own fun and ended up playing by myself most of the time. This led to an extremely active imagination. What did I do with that imagination? I was mom. I was mom to stuffed animals, to dolls, to barbies, to blankets and pillows. This trend continued throughout my teen years (not with dolls and animals, but taking care of friends and families). What I’m getting at is that I have always been a caregiver. So, the idea of becoming a mom wasn’t so much a conscious “I want to be a mom when I grow up” as it was a foregone conclusion that I was absolutely going to be a mom. The though that one day this life of mine wouldn’t materialize never crossed my mind.

When I met my husband the foregone conclusion that I would one day be a mom turned into a massive desire. I wanted so badly to make my husband a father. I wanted desperately to create a little person that was so perfectly him and me. That desperation doesn’t go away. If anything, it gets harder and harder to handle with each passing month of negative tests. I’m more than thankful that I have such a supportive man in my life who wholeheartedly believes that his life would be just as full if it were just him and I. I’m working on coming to terms with that thought myself, but it isn’t easy.

I have met many women who have always been sure that they did not want to be a mother. They were warm, caring and, coincidentally, usually a fierce animal parent, but they knew in their heart that ‘mom’ was not a title they wanted. They were extraordinary people but I found myself pitying them in some ways. I couldn’t understand the lack of desire to have children, to be a mom. What’s funny is that now, in a lot of ways, I envy them. I envy their completely intact heart, one that hasn’t been shattered by the need and want to have children. I envy their freedom, freedom that doesn’t come easily when managing fertility treatments, cycles and two-week waits. I envy their ability to live their own life and do things for them, not planning every decision around a baby that may never come. Mostly, I envy their ability to live their life without feeling like a massive piece is missing… the motherhood piece. My how the tables have turned.

All of these memories and feelings and a whole lot of insecurities came rocking through my body as my perfect little niece told me that she wants to be a mom when she grows up. It was quick and it rocked my world. I would never tell my niece not to believe in her dreams. I would never tell her that becoming an astronaut or a rock-star “might not happen”. And yet, in that moment, I felt like I wanted to protect her from the fact that we don’t live in a perfect world and fairy tales don’t always come true. Instead, we discussed becoming an astronaut, we discussed becoming a rock-star and then, we discussed becoming a mommy. We talked about what a great mommy she would be. We talked about the names she wanted to name her babies and how many babies she wanted to have. We talked about how great her mommy was and her grandmas. And then, with a hug and kiss, she ran off to play with what I imagine is the perfect picture in her mind of her grown up life when she’s a rock-star astronaut, playing shows on Jupiter with her kids in tow. I pray with every fiber of who I am that those dreams come true.

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