Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resolve to Know More...About Infertility

I’ve read blogs before. Both for personal reasons and work related, but I’ve never actually blogged before. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? Who would read it? Why would they care? What would be so different about my story than from others? What would I have to blog about that hasn’t already been written? I’ve never talked about infertility to anyone besides my husband (and my awesome RESOLVE support group) and now I’m actually thinking about blogging about it!  What’s wrong with me?  How can I think about going from completely silent about our infertility to putting our struggles out on the web for anyone and everyone to see? All of these things went through my head over and over before I actually decided to do it…

For the most part writing about our years of struggles with infertility has been helpful for me, but come to find out it has also been helpful for others. I have heard stories from friends and family members about their struggles with infertility that I never knew about. Stories that they kept private for so many years.  Stories of their own struggles of loss and miracle conceptions.  Stories that were private and personal that they shared only with a few.

Then there are also those few that are offended by my blog. Comments about how they wished I wouldn't talk about it so much because it makes them uncomfortable or it makes them sad and they feel sorry for me. I’m sorry that you’re uncomfortable, but imagine me trying to get pregnant with doctors and nurses all in the room while I’m in stirrups...then we can talk about who’s uncomfortable! I'm not here to offend you, but I'm also not going to keep quiet about my journey and struggles because it makes you uncomfortable.   It took me almost ten years to talk about it publicly and I’m not about to stop now!  I'm on this infertility roller coaster, and I’m already strapped in. Trust me, I want to get off but unfortunately I can’t, so hold on tight because it’s about to be a bumpy ride!   You’re lucky because you have options: 1. Get on and buckle up or 2. Jump off!  At least you have a choice!

I decided the moment I hit the 'Publish' button on January 1, 2014 that I was going to be a voice and a face for infertility.  I want to educate people. I want to stand up for what is right and be that annoying buzz in the insurance company’s know the ones that don't have mandatory coverage for infertility treatments in most states. Don't even get me started on that one! I read all of my insurance company's documents and I actually called my insurance company and double checked to make sure they wouldn't cover anything...nope, not a single piece of our journey is covered by insurance.  Unfortunately I was correct.  I have insurance and I can't even use it! They don't cover the transfer, the medicine, the ultrasounds, the hydrosonograms, or the injections. But you want to know what they do cover...they would cover my rehab if I decided to VOLUNTARILY take a needle full of heroin and inject it into my body! If I made the choice to start injecting illegal drugs into my body, they would cover that! I did not make the choice to have fertility problems.  I did not make the choice to make it so difficult to have a baby. I did not make the choice to have it nearly impossible to create another human life. Infertility injections full of medicine that could help me get pregnant are considered elective and they DO NOT cover those injections! One needle is full of disgusting drugs that will kill you, and the other needle is full of an 'elective' medicine to help your body conceive a miracle baby. One of these needles will lead to death, and one of them to life.  One of these needles was injected by choice, and one was injected by necessity. One is covered by insurance, and one is not. I just don't understand, and I never will!

So, I'm sorry if I'm offending you in some way or making you uncomfortable, but no I'm not going to stop typing my thoughts or talking about it. I always thought we were alone in our journey, but unfortunately there’s a lot of us….too many of us!  If I can help just ONE couple not feel so alone, then I did something positive in the infertility world! Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility?  How many of those couples do not seek treatment because of the out of pocket cost? How many couples can only endure one or two treatments because of the ever rising expense?  How many couples go to different states looking for infertility treatment because the laws are different in that state? The numbers are shocking! 

I don’t expect you to stand next to me marching at the next infertility awareness parade, but I would love for you to listen and read what we’re going through.  Maybe our story can help someone you know.  Maybe our story will help one of your family members silently going through the same thing.

I thank God that you don’t understand or know firsthand what it’s like to go through infertility. I thank God that you don’t understand what it’s like to chart, test, wait, agonize, and hope only to be disappointed time and time again year after year.  I thank God that you don’t know what it’s like to lay on your bathroom floor in a puddle of your tears after the thousandth negative pregnancy test. I thank God you don’t know what it’s like to be poked and prodded and then have all of your intimate insides put on display on a TV screen for doctors and nurses to talk about as if you weren’t in the same room naked and mortified.  I thank God you don’t know what it’s like to scream ‘Why Me?’ one hundred times over. I thank God you don’t know what it’s like to plea, cry out, and have your faith questioned only to turn around to feel guilty for ever having those thoughts enter your mind. I thank God you don’t know what it’s like to try and create a baby with you, your husband, a doctor, a couple of nurses and an intern all in the same room. I thank God that you don’t know what it’s like to feel the financial burden of trying to create a family in just the hope that it works this round. I thank God that you don’t know what it’s like to lie to your friends and family because it’s just easier to lie about ‘not wanting to have kids’ than it is to admit that you’ve been trying for 10 years with no results.  I thank God you don’t know what it’s like to have hope that maybe…just maybe this IUI or IVF round was ‘the one!’ only to find out yet again it wasn’t.  I thank God you don’t know what it’s like to have a constant pit in your stomach or physically feel the ache in your heart before you test again only to confirm what you already knew.  I thank God you don’t know…

These are the reasons I’m grateful for my voice!  It may have taken me awhile to use it for infertility, but now that I have, I will not back down or stop.  I can’t promise you that my story will end with my miracle baby, but I can promise you this…I won’t stop being a voice and I refuse to give up hope! I resolve to know more…do you?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Single Dandelion

I was co-teaching in a first grade classroom the other day and we had the students take the iPads outside to take pictures of evergreen and deciduous trees.  Instead of having them just draw a picture of the tree and labeling it on a piece of paper, they were going to create a digital story using the pictures they take with the iPad camera and then record their voices talking about each picture!  Demonstrating comprehension in a fun and an engaging way... this is why I LOVE TEACHING!!!

Anyway, a little boy came up to me when we were outside and hands me a dandelion. Now, to you and me a dandelion is just a yellow weed growing in the lawn, but to this little boy it was a beautiful yellow flower!  He hands it to me and says, "This beautiful flower is for you Mrs. Taxson!  I love you!"  Let's all say it together now....awwwwww!  Yeah...he really said that!  I of course responded with, "Thanks buttercup! I love you too!"  Now this prompted another little 6-year-old to hand me a dandelion, and then another and then another.  We obviously got a bit sidetracked in our lesson and before I knew it a little girl shouted, "Look how much we love Mrs. Taxson!  The flowers keep falling out of her hand!"  I looked down and sure enough my "flowers" were overflowing right out of my hand!

This got me thinking.  Some of us see what we have as weeds, and others see them as flowers.  It's all about perspective.  I was in a pretty good mood even before working with this class, but my heart was so full and my smile so big by the time I left. Who would have thought that a single dandelion...a weed...would have made my day brighter and better!

Some days when you get yet another failed pregnancy test or go through another failed infertility treatment, it's really hard to look at the world with rose colored glasses or see the yellow 'flowers' in the grass. My bouquet of 'flowers' came at the perfect time as I wait and wait to see if I get into my infertility clinic's IVF study. Sometimes the waiting can be the worst.  We wait during our 2 wait weeks, we wait for our cycle to start so we can start yet another treatment hoping that this one will work, we wait the 3-5 minutes for the pregnancy test results, we wait for our baby to be conceived...we get used to waiting.

Today though the sunlight was shining strong, and my agonizing waiting perspective changed...even if for just a brief moment. As I held my yellow flowers, I remembered the times I picked 'flowers' for my mom and how she would always put them in vases around the house. Then I imagined my 'child' picking flowers for me. I thought about all the things I would teach my child about life and love and perspective.  I thought about all the good that was still in the world and how to never give up on our hopes and dreams.  It was like a fast movie playing in my know the scene that happens right as the person is falling to their death (ok bad analogy...but you get the point!) I thought all of these things in that brief moment as I looked down at my hand and saw it over-pouring with love from all the these wonderful 6-year-olds. How can you have a bad day after that?  You can't! :)

I never thought a single dandelion could change my life, but it did! So here's to all the dandelions in the world! May you see them as beautiful yellow flowers like a 6-year-old does and not an ugly weed like most adults do!