Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thankful for my Infertility

Yes, you read the title correctly. I AM thankful for my infertility.  Now before you start throwing viral middle fingers and screaming obscenities at me, just hear me out.

Would I wish this on my worst enemy, no. I would not wish infertility, loss, or anything surrounding infertility on anyone, but the fact is my husband and I suffer from it and will live with it everyday. If you read our story from the beginning then you know that we unfortunately suffered in silence for almost 9 years.  We didn't tell anyone and we dodged all the questions about when we were going to start a family while we cried alone behind closed doors. You also know that all of the treatments that we finally did do, never worked. The praying never worked. The IUIs never worked. The IVFs never worked. The pleading and crying, begging and negotiating never worked.  So one would think after all that, and everything we went through I would be bitter, angry and annoyed at everyone and everything. Sure I have my moments, I'm not going to lie, but not today.  Today I'm grateful.

Nine years after we started trying to expand our family (see what I said there...I said EXPAND, not start. Dave and I became a family when we got married.  Most people forget about that detail. He is my family and I am his. We wanted to expand our family, not start one!) I found a local Resolve support group by accident. A friend and fellow teacher told me about it and I went.  That day changed my life, more than I thought it ever would.

Because of my infertility and that group, I did things I never thought I could...or would.  I opened up. I talked about our infertility, our struggles and my fears on using fertility medicine and my hesitation. I finally didn't feel alone. I became part of a group that KNEW what I was going through, they didn't just pretend or empathize. They got it. Unfortunately, they knew all too well exactly what we were going through, because they were going through it too.

Because of my infertility, I met some of the greatest, kindest and most giving people in the whole world. These people are not only some of my dearest and closest friends to this day, but they ARE family. I celebrate the births of their babies with them and I hold their hands when yet another fertility treatments robs them of expanding their family. We laugh together. We cry together. We vacation and travel together. We talk, we text, we message, and we check in with each other. We are there for each other and I am so grateful for them and having them in my life.

Because of my infertility I was introduced to essential oils and how to detox my home and my life. I can now take control of my health, my family, my home and not let it control me. I am healthier now than I was 20 years ago and before the infertility treatments wrecked complete havoc on my body and soul. My skin is practically flawless (yes, I'm bragging because being over 40 means more lines and creases and I'm loving how my skin looks right now).

Because of my infertility I am more patient. Fertility treatments mean waiting....LOTS of waiting. Waiting the two weeks after your procedure to see if there are two lines. Waiting for the next injection. Waiting for the next meeting. Waiting for the all clear from your doctor to try again. Waiting to have sex (yes, sometimes you have to abstain from sex to have a least in the infertility world you do!). Waiting to build up your bank account so you can try again. Lots, and lots of waiting.

Because of my infertility I am a better person. I think I would have made a better mom too if I was fortunate enough to get pregnant and carry the baby full term. I look at life differently now. I don't judge as much and try not to give advice "what I would do if..." I'm just different.

It's taken me a long time and lots of struggles to get here, but I can honestly say I am here and living my best life. I may not have the life I planned or hoped for, but I really do have a great life. This Thanksgiving, I hope that each of you reading this can take a moment and be thankful for something good in your life.  Share that love with someone else and pay it forward. Be a shoulder to cry on for someone in the depths of despair or in the midst of yet another infertility treatment. Be an ear for someone who just needs to vent without judgment. Be thankful for your family and your extended family. Be thankful for your friends that get you and understand you. Be thankful for the roof over your head or the meal that you are about to eat. Just be thankful for something....even if it's something as strange as what infertility has brought to your life and the people you met because of it.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Hi! Remember Me?

Hey friends! Remember me....the smartass blogger who writes about the ins and outs of my uterus and infertility journey with a funny twist. Wow, it's been longer than I thought.  A lot longer!  I thought my last post was a few months ago, maybe even a year, but to see that it's been two whole years is kind of shocking, and embarrassing! Cue the face palm emoji.

I used to love blogging.  I still do.  I miss it greatly. But here's the thing, I wasn't quite sure what to write about now that our journey with trying to conceive is over. I'm happy with our decision, and I felt guilty for that. I feel like I'm the constant reminder to people still going through infertility treatments that they don't always work, and people don't want to think about that.  No matter how much you pray, spend money, try, wish and bargain with God, sometimes they just don't work, and that’s shitty.  I'm that black cloud in people's dreams.  I'm the one that wanted it SO badly, but now is living a childless life.  I'm the one that tried for 13 years before changing paths.  I'm the one where the injections, the IUIs and the IVFs didn't work. People don't want to be reminded that no matter how desperately you want a baby, sometimes it doesn't work out the way you hoped or planned.  For this reason, I have backed away from helping with our monthly Resolve support group meetings.  I want people, especially the new people, to have hope. I want them to be excited in this shit show of circumstances they were forced to accept and I don't feel I'm the right person for that at this moment in time. I've been through a lot and have suffered a lot, and I want them to still have hope. I don’t want them to hear about everything we endured and have nothing to show for it.

Here's the thing though.  I don't regret it. Not one treatment, not one second spent trying, not the tens of thousands of dollars spent out of our own pockets, not the millions of tears, nothing.  I still think I'm one of the lucky ones.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I'm super lucky.  You know why....because we got to try! Do you know how many of my friends are sitting in limbo because they can't afford to even try?  It's heartbreaking.  We got to try.  We got to try a lot.  In total, we tried nine IUI treatments and twice with IVF...without insurance coverage (don't even get me started on this subject! Grrrrr)! I'm lucky for getting to try.  I'm grateful.  I can honestly say, that I'm happy.  It's not the life I planned or hoped for, but it's my life and I'm happy.

So now what?  Where does my blog go from here? I'm not quite sure yet, but I know that I miss sharing my life with all of you and I miss the free therapy I get when I'm writing. So expect to see a lot more of me, my sass and where my new childfree life is taking me!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Next Chapter In Our Infertility Book

I've been thinking about it seriously now for about a year, but I haven't said anything...not even to Dave. I didn't want to crush his dream, so I kept it in. They may only be two words, but those two little words would change everything. I didn't utter them out loud or even dare to put them out in the universe. I pushed the words and thoughts to the back of my mind and locked them deep inside. Once they're said, there would be no going back. So I hid them deep down, and soon forgot about them. 

Then it happened! Out of nowhere at one of the infertility support group meetings hosted at my house, I said them. When it was my turn to speak and talk about where we were in our journey, I just blurted it out.  The two words that I hid deep down and forgot about, came tumbling out of my mouth and I couldn't stop them...

"I'm done"

Oh my gosh, what have I done?  What did I just say?  What the fuck?!  What the hell was I thinking?  Please tell me no one heard me.  Please tell me, I didn't just say the words...those two words! But I did, and I couldn't stop the other words that came behind them or the tears streaming down my face. They just came pouring out of my mouth! What have I done?!  I just told my friends the words and the story that I've pushed deep down and locked away before even telling my own husband, but I couldn't stop them.

With diarrhea of the mouth, everything just came spilling out in what seemed like a panic rush! "I'm done! I want to get off this roller coaster. I'm okay now with not having a baby. I just want to stop! But I can't. I can't do that to Dave. I need him to be ready too. I just wish we were on the same page, but we're not, so I'll keep going."  The sentences were random, out of order, barely coherent, but I need to say them. All of them! I couldn't stop. Tears were streaming down my face as the two words not only came out, but everything else that I kept hidden away. Hidden from my husband, and even hidden from myself.  It hit me like a ton of bricks and then I just stopped talking. I didn't say anything else. I just looked down, and wished I could take it all back. I felt like I betrayed my husband. Betrayed myself. My goals. My dreams. What have I done!

As the meeting ended, and everyone went home, I just stood in my kitchen alone trying to figure out what to do next.  It was then that Dave walked in. He had left our house earlier that night so we could have our meeting and went out with a friend's husband from our support group to have a man-to-man meeting. I asked how it went, and made small talk. He said it went well and he talked about the beer he drank, and how he talked about what he wanted to do next. My heart sunk. I felt like I couldn't breathe and my stomach was in knots. It literally felt like a ton of bricks landed on my shoulders. Here we go again. Buck up Kristy, and put that smile on your face. So I did. I looked up, smiled and asked what he wanted to do next. Save up for another round of IVF or just attempt another IUI? My face sank back towards the floor as I waited for his answer, bracing for the blow. I couldn't look him in the eyes, especially after what I just confessed not only 30 minutes ago.

"I told him I wanted to stop" Dave said. Wait, what?!?! I looked up and made him repeat what he just said. I could see the pain in his eyes as he was bracing for my blow. "Are you serious?" I asked. "Are you sure? Is this for real? I'm done too!" My eyes lit up. His eyes lit up. And we just stood in the middle of the kitchen speechless!

He talked about how he's been done for over a year now, but kept going for me. I told him how I've been done and ready to move on for a year and was waiting for him. It was then that we realized that the last 3 IUIs and the cancelled cycle we went through this past year, we did for each other. We were both done but didn't want to disappoint the other or ruin each others dream.

"How could this happen? How could we not talk about this, but go through these cycles for each other, and not talk about our true feelings" I asked! "Love" he said calmly. "Love!"  We love each other that much that we were willing to forgo our wants for their dreams. It was at that exact moment that it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I could breathe!

We high-fived each other, opened a bottle of wine and toasted in the middle of the kitchen.  "To new dreams, and new beginnings!"

It's been three months now since we made that toast in the middle of our kitchen. We haven't told anyone until now, and I can honestly say that it's been a great three months. We look at life differently, now that we're finally off that fucking infertility-roller-coaster. I like to think I'm happier. There's been a weight lifted. I can finally look in the future with a new set of sunglasses. We are starting to make new plans. New dreams. New adventures. New beginnings....together!

We know that a lot of people will be upset, or even disappointed, in our decision and we are okay with that. But this is our decision and we both agree that this is best for our family. Our family of two four (Dave and me & our boys, Zeus and Poseidon)!

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...

Dave 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!