Friday, August 11, 2017

Apparently God Hates Me

Apparently God hates me! This is the only thing I hear when you tell me I can't get pregnant because "It's God's Will'. Those three little words, It's God's Will, turns into these three big words, GOD HATES YOU! So stop it! For the love of all things holy, just stop.

Yes, I'm a Christian. Yes, I know God loves me. Yes I pray every day for a baby (or peace, or just an answer) so I don't need you adding to my stress and telling me how I'm not worthy and God hates me. I also know that sometimes God's answer is no, which doesn't mean he hates me.

'It's God's Will' and 'In God's Time' are two of the worst phrases you can say to me.  Are you saying that the crackhead neglecting her children deserves her kids?  Or the child molester who has children is a better Christian than me because he has children?  How about the mother who has 14 children, can't pay for any of them, & pimps them out on the street...oh yeah, it MUST be God's will! It sounds ridiculous right?  Well it's the exact same thing in reverse. If you wouldn't tell the children living in this hell that 'It's God's Will' for them to live this way, then why the hell would you tell the childless woman trying everything under the sun to have a baby, that things happen in God's time and it must be God's will?!

I have enough on my plate and enough stress in my life trying to figure out how we are going to pay for the next treatment (if we're even going to do another treatment!) and I don't need you adding to this stress by making me question why God has blessed certain people with children and not me.

Instead of saying "It must be God's Will", say "I'm praying for you!"
Instead of "It's God's plan", say "I'm praying for you!"
Instead of "In God's time", say "You're in my thoughts"
Instead of "God has a plan for you", say "You are in my thoughts and prayers"

See where I'm going with this?! Please, just stop. Think before you speak....or don't say anything at all. That works too!

Pray for me. Pray for us. Pray for all of us. Yes, I know there is a plan. Yes, I know sometimes the plan is not what I envisioned.  Yes, I know it takes time. Yes, I may not like the plan or the outcome or the results, but just know that I do pray. I need your prayers. I need your good thoughts. I need some peace.

God doesn't hate me!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Listen Up, I Can't "Just Relax!"

I've heard it. You've heard it. Everyone in the infertility community has heard it at least a million times on their journey...the dreaded phrase, "Just Relax!"

Fertile people think this is the magical saying. The phrase that will somehow instantly make a baby appear in our wombs. My womb? The same angry womb that has denied me a baby. The womb that has suffered through years and years of infertility medications, shots, embryo transfers, and surgeries. The very womb that has ignored my every plea, every tear and every demand to work. If I would only 'just relax' then the 13 years of pain and suffering I have endured would simply just...go away!

I wish it were that easy.  If so, then all the years of my yoga and meditation classes would have worked.  I would have been pregnant many times over.  I would have a baby in my arms and a toddler (or two) on my hip by now.  Don't you think I've tried to relax and stay calm?  Don't you think I know that stress isn't good for my body.  Do you really think that me being stress-free is the answer?  Do you think my stress is causing my infertility? Do you think infertility treatments are an easy walk in the park? I wish there was a magic pill I could take to relax during this utmost stressful time. I wish I could relax and make it all go away. I wish I had an answer. Most of all, I wish I could get pregnant as easily as almost every other woman around me, but I can't. That in itself, is extremely stressful.

Infertility is not hoped for, wanted, or even a choice. It's a disease.  A disease that affects 1 in 8 couples. Yes, 1 in 8! Infertility isn't something you can wish away. You can't "just relax" and it will disappear. That's not how infertility works. You wouldn't dare tell a cancer patient to 'just relax' thinking that would instantly cure their cancer...would you? How about someone with epilepsy, or diabetes or even dementia? Of course not! So please stop telling me to relax, hoping that it will miraculously cure my infertility and make me pregnant. Infertility is stressful enough. It can destroy marriages and people. I've seen it.

In my last post, I wrote:
"I will not let infertility define me or destroy me, but instead, I will let it remind me of how far I have come. I am more than my infertility. I am strong."

Yes, I am strong and I won't let infertility beat me, but I still cry. I still wonder why. I still ache and long for the baby I will never have. However, I also know that I have tried. I have given my all. I never gave up. I can hold my head up high. I am proud of myself. I am going to be okay.

I am enough.

So listen up, please stop telling me and other infertile couples to 'just relax'. Instead of giving unwanted advice like: 'just relax', 'just adopt', 'just foster',' just use a surrogate' etc., how about you just listen.  Listen to us. Listen to our story. Listen to our pain, our journey, our triumphs, our decisions. Listen to all the things we have overcome, accomplished, and persevered through. All the steps we have taken on Capitol Hill, and all the congressmen and senators we have talked to, while advocating for infertility rights. Listen to the decisions that we have made pertaining to our family building, especially if that decision (whether made by us or if we are forced to choose this) is to be childfree. Listen without judgement. Listen without advice. Listen without persecution or feeling sorry for us.
Just listen.

Monday, April 10, 2017

I'm Stuck in a Life I Didn't Plan

Today I am dedicating my blog to National Infertility Awareness Week and to the launch of Justine Brooks Froelker's latest book The Mother of Second Chances, based on her blog Ever Upward releasing on April 17th. For five weeks 25 amazing women will share their stories of infertility and loss as part of this incredible blog tour, because together we can shatter the stigma. 

Friday, Erica shared her story, and tomorrow we will hear from my amazing and dear friend Candace from Our Misconception

We would love for you to participate by sharing these posts far and wide. We’d especially love to see your own broken silence by sharing your own infertility story using the hastags: #NIAW, #infertility and #EverUpward. 

I love living by the ocean!  There's just something about breathing in the salty air, with your toes in the sand and looking out at the waves rolling in that will bring a sense of peace and calming over your whole body. I find myself sitting in the sand and staring out at the ocean a lot more lately, needing that calming feeling I'm so desperately trying to hold on to. During my latest TWW (two week wait), a little over a month ago, I found myself here often just thinking about everything and focusing on staying calm.  I sat there trying to read my book but found my mind wandering. Thinking about my life and how it didn't go according to my plan. I always knew I wanted to have kids one day, but I kept changing my mind on exactly how many. Never in a million years did it ever cross my mind that I wouldn't be able to have any.  You see, unfortunately, infertility treatments never worked on me.

In the infertility world (and in my own math-geek mind) everything is about numbers. How many follicles? How many embryos? What is your LH? What is your FSH? How many ml of each injectible medicine will I take?  How many times a day will I need to inject myself? So many numbers. Here are some of my important numbers:
40, 14, 13, 9, 5, 3, 3, 2, 1 and 0.

40: How old I will be this year.
14: The number of wonderful years I have been married to my amazing and loving husband.
13: The number of years we have been trying to conceive.
9: The number of years we were silent about our infertility.
5: The number of failed medicated IUIs we have tried.
3: The number of cancelled cycles.
3: The total number of beautiful embryos we transferred.
2: The number of failed IVFs.
1: The number of lines I see on every pregnancy test.
0: The number of babies I have in my arms.

I could also add the numbers 10 million (the number of tears I have cried throughout the 13 years) and one thousand (the number of pregnancy tests I have peed on).

When I look back at these important numbers, I can't help but focus on the number 9.  We were silent for nine whole years.  NINE!  I try not to play the whole "what if" game, but I can't help it.  What if I wasn't silent?  What if I found my wonderful Resolve support group sooner; would we have had the time to try more treatments?  What if I talked about infertility during those nine years; would that change my outcome?  Would I have a child in my arms now if I talked about it?  The honest answer is: I don't know. I don't know if talking about infertility openly would have changed my outcome, but I do know that if I would have talked about it instead of being ashamed of it, I could have been empowered so much sooner.

The numerous infertility treatments we endured may not have ended the way we hoped for, but I am glad we tried (even if it meant we drained all of our savings because insurance didn't cover anything). We decided together that we are not going to pursue adoption, or foster or even surrogacy, not at this point in our lives and no matter how many people try to guilt us into it.  I may try another IUI again, but I don't know how much more I can take...physically and emotionally (not to mention financially!).  I know deep down that I have to face the facts, but I also don't know if I'm ready to take that step. I still have a little hope left, but I also must be realistic.

I know I have to be thankful for what I have in my life right now, and I am. I have an amazing husband, 2 crazy and wild labs, a house, a career and so much more.  So many wonderful things. I know I should just try and focus on all the good, but part of me can't help thinking about that missing piece and the plan I had for my life. The plan that included children and grandchildren. The plan that did not include infertility. This isn't the life I planned, but it is the one I was dealt. I just need time to grieve. Time to mourn the life I wanted, the life I planned and for the child I will never have.

Talking about our infertility is helping me move on. So I will continue to talk about infertility, advocating for infertility rights and supporting others going through it.  Not just during National Infertility Awareness Week, but all year long. I want to help other women and couples feel empowered and not feel ashamed. I want them to know that they are not alone.

I don't know what the future has planned for me, so for now I will spend a lot of my free time soaking up the sun, breathing in the salty ocean air, feeling the sand in-between my toes and watching the waves roll in. I will stare out into the ocean and be thankful for the life I have and the people in it.  I will take time to grieve, but I will also make sure I take time to focus on the future and what lies ahead.  I will not live in my grief, but instead soar above it.  I will be okay, and I will live a full life even if it isn't the life I hoped for or planned. I will not let infertility define me or destroy me, but instead, I will let it remind me of how far I have come. I am more than my infertility. I am strong.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The TWW....What It's Really Like!

So for all of my non-infertile friends, TWW stands for Two Week Wait.  This is the two week time span in-between when your infertility procedure (IUI, or IVF transfer) happened and the day you officially take a pregnancy test or blood BETA test.  So in other words, TWW really stands for mind fuck!

Here's how my latest TWW mind fuck went...

videoDave and I have been preparing for a back to back IUI for the last couple of months now and it seemed like all the stars have finally aligned!  I started my oral stimulation meds and had my last pill on Valentine's Day (good sign #1).  As long as my body would follow my verbal demands and nagging and not ovulate over the weekend (since my clinic doesn't perform IUIs on Sundays, because heaven forbid a woman ovulate on a Sunday *insert eye roll here!*) - Check out the video of me doing an ovulation test while camping! Yes I had to pee in a cup, and then bring back said cup to our campsite....longest walk ever!

As luck would have it, I was actually late ovulating this month and was able to do my trigger shot Sunday morning (while still camping!), so this would be good sign #2!
We went in Monday morning (President's Day - good sign #3) and had our first IUI (thanks for the awesome shirt and IUI socks!!!) Today's theme: Fuck Infertility! I will beat you!
Then back in Tuesday morning for IUI #2!  Today's theme: Wonder Woman!

Now here is where the real fun begins..... the TWW mind fuck

Day 1 - Doctor tells you to act like you are pregnant (so now I'm PUPO-Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise), and to take it easy.  Bed rest, meditation, visualizing, praying, begging and pleading have now begun! This is also day one of my progesterone the ass! Right butt cheek is up for duty.

Day 2 - I feel a twinge and some cramping!  YES!  That must be implantation right??!?  No it can't be...too early.  Should I take a pregnancy test just in case?  NO!  Just relax!  2nd ass shot (left ass cheek)

Day 3 - Go back to work. Can people tell I may be pregnant? Am I glowing?  C'mon people, say wait, don't! I don't want to tell anyone.  More cramping. This must be implantation, even though it's way too early! Right ass cheek back up for duty.

Day 4 - More cramping.  I just want to stay home and caress my fat roll/possible baby growing area.  More visualizing of the process (sperm meeting egg, doing the dirty deed, creating embryo, traveling down Fallopian tubes, implanting into uterus, bells and whistles going off, party happening in my gut etc.).  Lots of praying, begging & pleading.  Was that a twinge?   Maybe I should still too early.  Resist testing, Kristy. Resist!  Left ass cheek ready!

Days 5-7 First week down.  Resisted temptations to take a pregnancy test. Tried to stay off Dr. Google with all of my symptoms and non symptoms....failed miserably! Right, Left and then back to right ass cheek for more shots.

Days 8-9 Enough of this shit already!  I just want to know.  I go to take a test, and resist again.  Too early! Pat myself on the back for resisting temptation.  More shots, more ass bruising, more time sitting on a heating pad! My end table is starting to look like a drug dealers haven!

Day 10 - I can't take it any longer!  Time to test.  BFN (Big Fat Negative!)  That's ok was too early. Mind Fuck! Mind Fuck! Mind Fuck!  I should just have a glass of wine and relax...nope can't do that, I'm PUPO!  Another day, another ass cheek, another shot. Check out that needle!!!  Yep that goes in my ass every night!  I feel like a human pin cushion, but I'm not complaining because it will all be worth it in the end...dammit! It's just getting harder and harder to walk each day but trust me, I'd rather do the shots than the suppositories any day of the week!!

Day 11 & 12- Maybe today I should test?  No, give it another day or two.  Resisted testing.  Try to stay focused at work (in an elementary school)  More Dr. Google at home before my next shot.  More time on my heating pad.  More praying, begging, and pleading.  Maybe I should look for a church so God knows I'm serious about my bargains and pleads.  Was that a twinge?  Did I just feel implantation this time? Do my boobs hurt (grab boobs to check...nope.  Have Dave grab my boobs to see if there's any soreness....nope.) Dammit!

Day 13 - I can't take it.....I test again.  BFN.  That's ok.  The test was broken.  I've heard of that happening before. You hear of people (you know, the one in a million) where they get the false negative.  That must be me!  Then I start contemplating what great odd that is, and think about going for a lottery ticket, but my ass hurts too much and I don't want to move off my heating pad.

Day 14 - official test day!  BFN on the first test.  Take another test because that bastard must be old and past expiration.  2nd test, negative. 4 tests later, same negative results.

Dammit, fuck, no!!!!!  Pull myself up off the bathroom floor, dry my tears, start breathing normal again and decide that I'm changing religions and joining a polygamist cult....those bitches NEVER have infertility issues!  Then I remember that I am WAY too sassy to be stifled with boring dresses and neutral colors!  So instead I put my big girl pants on , raise two middle fingers and scream, Fuck You Infertility!  Fuck You!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Pink Lines

Well since I already have my two front teeth, I was thinking maybe I should ask Santa for two pink lines for Christmas this year instead. It has a nice ring to it don't you think?  Sing it with me now,

"All I want for Christmas is my two pink lines. My two pink lines. My two pink lines.  All I want for Christmas is my two pink lines. Then I could have a Merry Christmas!"

Ok a little dramatic maybe, but hey, it doesn't hurt to ask Santa right?!? You never know, unless you ask!

Seriously though, seeing two pink lines on a stick that I pee on has been my Christmas wish for years now (12 years to be exact, but who's counting....oh yeah, that would be me!)  Actually, it's only been 11 years that I've had that wish.  One year, the only thing I wanted was for Dave to make it home safely from Iraq. Out of all of his deployments, he's only had to miss one Christmas.  In 13 years of marriage, I've been very lucky and fortunate! That Christmas, I wished and prayed for his safe return! That prayer was answered!

Now, does that mean for the other 11 Christmases I've been the Christmas Grinch or an awful bitch to be around? Depending on who you ask, I would say the answer is no! (Well...except for that one Christmas two years ago. That Christmas was the worst one for me. I suffered two failed back to back IVFs that year, so I allowed myself to mourn quietly in our house that Christmas. No family. No friends.  Just the two of us, alone. That year was the exception.)

Christmas in general though is amazing.  I love Christmas!  I love everything about it.  The lights, the music, the present buying, the decorations, the food, the mistletoe, the singing, the movies, the cheer...and let's not forget about the Christmas vacation (remember, I'm a teacher!)! I love Christmas! If it were up to me, I would start decorating the house the day after Halloween.  I'm THAT person!

I love everything about Christmas. Some people have asked me how I can still love Christmas and the holiday season with everything that I've gone through with my infertility. I may not have a human baby to spoil on Christmas morning, but I still think I'm blessed.  I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing husband, two full-of-life dogs, a wonderful home, a rewarding career, and amazing family and friends both near and far.  I'm blessed. I'm happy. I'm still full of life and smiles. I'm full of Christmas cheer! Lots of Christmas cheer...the kind of cheer that sickens other people around me, but hey, fuck 'em!  It's Christmastime! Time to be happy, damn it! :)

But even with all the cheer and happiness beaming out of me,  it doesn't mean I don't mourn what I don't have. My lost dreams. My empty house. My broken heart.

I still dream about wrapping a positive pee stick under the tree and seeing Dave's face as he opens it and comprehends what it is. I still look at the Christmas tree in our living room and imagine it full of presents for our imaginary kids. I picture their faces as they open their presents and only play with the boxes and the wrapping paper. I picture what it could be, what it should be, what could have been.

Today, as I reflect on this past year and this upcoming Christmas, I realize that no matter how happy I am with my life I still long for a baby of my own. I'm sure I always will. I don't know if or when that Christmas wish will come true, but I will continue to ask Santa for two pink lines and a healthy baby in my arms. This year, I will soak up all the Christmas spirit and celebrate all that I have. I will continue to sing at the top my lungs (very much out of tune like a screeching cat dying slowly in a blender) while decorating and wrapping presents. I will do all of these things, but in the back of my mind I will still mourn. I am grateful though that it will be in the back of my mind and not in the forefront like past Christmases.

For those of you still grieving, still trying, still quietly hoping and wishing, please know that I understand.  This may be a hard time of year for you.  I get it.

For those of you at family gatherings with the newly married couple, please don't ask them when they are going to start a family. Please don't ask the couple who's been married for 5 years when they will have babies. Please don't be upset at the married couple who is opting out of family functions (even on Christmas) because they can't be around little children right now because they are struggling themselves.  They are not being selfish, they are self preserving. Please try to understand.

For those of you that know someone going through infertility and you're not sure what to say this Christmas, just say "I'm praying for you" or "I wish all your dreams come true" instead of telling them about your boyfriend's second cousin's teacher's friends neighbors who went to Jamaica to relax and got pregnant after they stopped trying so hard and after they got a puppy and started the adoption process.  Trust me...that's the last thing we want to hear.  The only thing that story will make us want us to do, is throat punch you at the dinner table.  Not pretty! Just listen. Don't offer advice, unless asked. Don't offer opinions or stories. Just offer a glass of wine!  Wine makes everything better!

So with my glass of wine in hand, I wish all of you reading this a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope all of our dreams come true!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

12 Years and Counting...

Today, June 1st 2016, marks the official day twelve years ago that we started trying to have a baby.  Today marks the 12th year!  12!  TWELVE! Fuck!  I can't think of anything else that I have tried doing for twelve years over and over again (with only negative results) that I haven't given up on yet. Seriously....fuuuuuuuck!

So as I sit back and reflect on this, and this number, I have come to realize that I am either one of two things:

  1. A complete dumbass
  2. A complete badass

Anyone that knows me would have to agree I'm most definitely a little bit of both, but I like to lean towards the second...a complete and utter badass. So as a self-proclaimed badass I'm just going to raise a glass of wine tonight and toast to my badass-ery! Yes that's a real least in my world, and since it's my blog I'm using it! :) 

How many people do you know that would try over and over (and over...and over...and over...and over...) again with nothing to show for it? I just continue to pick myself up off the floor (literally) and try again.  The next round of shots and stirrups seem to be getting longer in between the round before, but I'm still at it. I'm still fighting. I'm still trying. I'm just not ready to give up yet. That in itself is what makes me a badass!  I may need to give up soon and move on, but for now, in this moment, I will continue to wear my invisible badass cape, raise a glass of wine and reflect on these past 12 years. I will reflect on the amazing friends I have made (and the friends I have lost). The pressure this has put on my marriage and the knowledge of knowing that my marriage is rock solid because we have come out swinging and fighting and have done it together. The fact that I have no regrets knowing that I have tried almost everything in my power. So many reflections, so many memories, so many struggles, and yes, so many triumphs. 

I also raise a glass to all of the couples out there still fighting, like us, to beat this disease and to overcome the hand that was dealt to us. To those couples that have tried & moved on to childless lives, and to those that have resolved your family building, you too, are all badasses!  So here's to us...all of us!  
The #1in8 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Don't Stop, #StartAsking

As soon as I saw this years Blogger's Unite theme, I immediately got excited. Not only because I love to overuse #hashtags on a daily basis on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, but because of the open-ended topic.  There were so many possibilities.  So many directions I could go.  So many ways I could use my blogging voice to speak out about infertility. I had so many ideas running through my mind, and just like that...I couldn't think of a single thing to type.  I had too many ideas running through my head, and I just couldn't narrow it down.  One week goes by and my blog canvas was still blank. Two weeks....nothing.  I started to panic, but decided to give myself just a little bit more time before I was going to force myself to narrow down my ideas....that's when it happened, out of no where my topic hit me like a ton of bricks! Ms. Marty!

Let me first start with a little bit of background....a little foreshadowing on this blog post if you must. Our local Resolve support group decided a while ago to have a donation garage sale to raise money for those of us traveling to Washington D.C. in May for Advocacy Day (eek!  This will be my 1st time at Advocacy Day! I. Can't. Wait!).  We collected items, set the date, advertised, and held our garage sale with an amazing turnout.

We met a ton of interesting people throughout the morning.  We explained to each person that stopped by, that this was a donation garage sale and we were raising money for our Resolve support group to attend Advocacy Day.  We expressed that if an item didn't have a price tag on it, just make us an offer and it's yours.  We even placed our post cards on the tables explaining our support group and what infertility was.  We talked about our journeys and how infertility affected the three of us there that day.

I couldn't believe the amount of people that then opened up to us about their struggles with infertility, someone in their family that struggled, a close friend that went through it.  The stories never stopped.  All morning we heard them. We weren't alone in our journey, and now neither were they. The donations kept coming. The prayers, the tears and then...Ms. Marty arrived.

She was an angel.  An angel sent to us, straight from heaven.  We started by welcoming her to the garage sale and explained what we were doing, who we were and a bit of our stories.  You could see her stop in her tracks (and to this day I can still see that beam of light radiating off of her...and her halo!) She then told us about her story. She talked about her amazing children that she never thought she'd be able to have in her late 30s and she talked about her sweet and precious angel baby that she lost when she was 41. She started asking us questions and listened to each of our journeys while she looked around. After we finished our stories she immediately stopped what she was doing, held up her hands and just prayed for us.  Literally stopped and prayed out loud for US!  I will never forget her or that prayer. Tears stream down my face now as I type this remembering that life changing moment.  It was at that moment that I knew what I was going to write about. I just had to write about her! Ms. Marty gave me hope, but she also reminded me to never stop and to never give up. She will never know just how much she affected me that day.

After 5 failed medicated IUIs, one failed un-medicated IUI and 2 failed IVFs, my journey may be over (or maybe not...) but my voice will never be silent. I will never stop asking questions about why infertility is not treated like any other disease.  I will never stop asking insurance companies to cover infertility treatments and making it more affordable.  I will never stop advocating for infertility rights.  I will never stop being a voice for those that aren't comfortable talking about it goodness, it took me over 9 years of trying before finally talking about it out loud.  I will never stop asking for help, for funds, for support.  How could I ever stop? Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of! #StartAsking for support from your friends, your family, your congressman, your insurance company.  Don't stop!!

I am an IF warrior.  
I am brave.  
I am 1 in 8.