Tears Can Be Healing Too

Sometimes tears are needed to heal.

Advertisements

Life doesn’t always give us answers, some dots they won’t connect until the years go by.

– Where does the Time Go (A Great Big World)

 

Sometimes the weight of everything we are going through is crushing. It’s so very hard to watch what I want, be given to others and sometimes it’s to people who don’t even want it. I question the injustice of it a lot more than I allow anyone to see. People tell you not to be resentful, that you might not see what those people are going through. Maybe they needed that baby more than I did, but it’s incredibly difficult to let it go. Each month that passes it becomes just a little bit harder to hold myself together.

There are a lot of days in which I don’t like myself. I don’t like how my body doesn’t want to cooperate, I don’t like how all the treatments make me feel,  I really am starting to hate these doctor appointments and feeling like a pin cushion sucks. Four appointments now in which I’ve been told my body isn’t doing what it should be. It’s more than frustrating to watch something you want so badly float further and further away from you. The world isn’t fair and sometimes it feels cruel in the way it taunts me. I’m not searching for comfort though, I know this journey isn’t easy and I don’t expect it to be. I just want to cry without being told it’ll happen eventually. Sometimes I just need to vent without the promise that all of this will amount to something because the reality is it might not. It sucks, there’s not any good way to put it. But it’s a harsh fact that sticks in the back of my mind that I might not get what I want, at the very least it may not come the way that I wanted. I want to be uplifting and inspirational, but this journey isn’t easy and it’s not fun. There’s nothing pretty about being stuck with needles and the countless doctors appointments. I’m not giving up, but I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t feel sad about it. This journey is hard and we are barely beginning it. It’s not just hard on me either, it’s hard on our marriage and it’s already had some moments where I wasn’t sure if this was going to be worth putting us through.

I feel a lot of pressure to not let people see me breaking because there are still quite a few people in my life that don’t think I’m ready. I want to appear strong and capable because to them I’m too young to be doing this. Any sign of weakness and it turns into a “maybe you should wait” debate. As if waiting is going to cure my problem. I wish so badly that I could get it across to the whole world that infertility is a disease. It’s not something that just goes away. I could walk away and more than likely I’d end up right back here. A few miraculous conceptions and people believe it’s common place. I will admit I feel the need to get everyone’s approval, it’s something I try to remind myself isn’t needed but it is there. I want people to want me to succeed and not everyone will is the reality. I know I am young, but does that make me incapable of having infertility? Does my age make me unfit to be a mother? I get frustrated because I thought I did everything right. I got married, we have the money, we have a home, but we still get met with opposition. Opposition that isn’t just from other people but also from my body.

My point is, no matter what age or point you are in this journey it’s painful. It’s not something words can cure, it’s a deep pain that isn’t easily solvable. I appreciate the support we’ve had and it’s been wonderful to see that there are so many that care and I really hope this didn’t come across as a pity party for myself. Sometimes I just need to vent in order to go on and keep moving.

Infertility Appointment #1

Update about our journey, along with our first infertility appointment and Mark’s SA results.

So, Wednesday was the big day! The first infertility appointment of what is likely to be many happened and it was not anything like I expected…. So I guess i will start at the beginning.

15672704_10207525121378416_165107535086450226_n

For those that do not know, I am being seen at Naval Medical Center San Diego or as most people call it… Balboa Hospital. It’s a huge hospital and the infertility clinic is located on the same floor as the maternity ward… which I will talk about later. Anyways, to get to the clinic you have to take the elevator and walk through this long hallway pictured above. As you can probably tell I was super nervous, but extremely excited to of finally made it this far. The moment I entered those clinic doors though, everything changed.

I was terrified. Everything became much more real when I walked into that clinic. There were people there waiting all in different stages of this journey and the one thing they had in common is that everyone was nervous. You could quite literally feel the nervous energy in the room. I was handed a lot of paperwork… a lot of it I did not even understand. I thought I knew quite a bit until then.

The paperwork ranged from genetic testing forms to acknowledging Zika Virus and a lot of stuff I don’t even know what it meant. I wasn’t really prepared to have to make decisions that day so it kind of took me off guard when I had to decide then and there if I wanted certain testing done. I’m told I can change it later on so for now I selected not to do genetic testing just for the reason that I don’t have a  reason to do it yet. Also there were several forms that had to do with my husband… who I did not bring to this appointment. Something I will note for later appointments is that pretty much everybody brings their spouse! Yes, I probably should of thought of this but I didn’t.

Anyways, I spent about thirty minutes on paperwork… I might mention it is super awkward in there too. The waiting room had about 4 couples there when I got there and everybody seemed to stare at each other as if to say, “what are you in for?” There was even a girl there that was pregnant with twins! I chose to take comfort in the fact that at least for her, the fertility treatments worked.

About 45 minutes in I was finally escorted to an exam room where let’s just say I met a very straight-forward doctor. At this clinic there are 3 doctors, all of which I will eventually meet but unfortunately for me the worst one of the 3 always sees the newbies. We will call him Dr. C. Dr.C is pretty unperson-able… I’ll be honest most of the doctors as this hospital are not known to be very good with their bedside manner because well… they are Navy, but I have heard wonderful things about Dr. L who is the main doctor at the infertility clinic and who I will hopefully continue my care through. Dr. C on the other hand I pray to God I never see again.

Dr. C was just very cynical and seemed to want to be anywhere but there in that room with me. He seemed to enjoy telling me how painful the HSG test would be, which is something I will likely be doing very soon. His decision was that we would do Cycle Day 3 and 21 blood testing to see if I really am ovulating… I am pretty certain I am but I expected we would have to confirm that. The one thing I disagreed with him on was putting off the HSG test till those results come back. I personally feel that we should go ahead and get it done since it is routine and it’s wasting time to put it off. However, that is something I will have to wait to bring up at my next appointment at the end of January.

I know infertility is a big waiting game, but man I wish it moved faster. We won’t begin actual treatment till February and that is only if my blood results yield something strange. If they do not then I will be scheduling an HSG… a test I am very scared of now thanks to Dr. C and the internet!

One other little piece of news I have before I close this out is that Mark’s Semen Analysis Results are back! His numbers were great… according to him he now has “super sperm”. So we can cross the husband off the list, so it does look like our infertility problems are because of me. I can’t say I’m super thrilled over that, but we did expect it due to me having a few things that do effect fertility. We will know more in January so until then this will likely be my last update until after we make our move to 29 Palms!

 

 

Being Thankful for Small Victories

 

I went into this season with a lot of negativity towards this holiday. It’s hard to be thankful when you feel like you are being denied the one thing that would complete you. It’s the season where families come together which means that unfortunately it’s a season filled with reminders that I am still without a child and that undoubtedly makes me question a lot of things, including my faith.

For me, one of the hardest things in this journey has been keeping faith in God. I grew up in a small, Free-Will Baptist church and my faith is very important to me. I don’t talk about it often because for me this is a part of me that is very personal. I know this sometimes leads people to think that I am just not as deeply connected to God as I should be, but I feel this is just who I am and I feel my relationship with Him grows each and every year.However, it’s been hard to not be resentful sometimes or all the time… It’s difficult for me to try to understand why He would make this journey so hard on me, especially when I see people everyday that shouldn’t be having children. Keeping faith is tough and I don’t have any answers as to why God is allowing this to happen to me. I may never have answers and I would be lying if I said that didn’t bother me, but I also know sometimes that sometimes keeping faith does not come easy and that is just part of it.

What has helped me the most of late is a story in the Bible about Job. As a child I thought that this was the worst thing that could ever be done. I couldn’t even begin to try to understand why God would allow someone who obeyed and loved Him so much to endure so much pain. It seemed incredulous to me that God would kill a righteous mans family  along with many other horrible things just to prove to Satan that Job would remain obedient to God. Yet, now I can see that in putting Job through all that suffering, Job was able to witness to his friends who didn’t believe. Through Job, God showed that even though it may feel like there is absolutely no reason on this planet that you should have to be suffering He has a plan and if you keep your faith in him something good will come of it. I may not see the end of this dark tunnel yet, but I know there is a light at the end of it. Just as God gave Job double the blessings in the end, I know that eventually good will come of my own suffering. It may be a long time before I get to see that good, but God always has a reason and that is something that this holiday I was able to see a glimpse of.

Most people know that I have been waiting a long time for an appointment with the infertility clinic. It’s a very long waiting list and the last time I spoke to the appointment line I was told to not even expect to be seen until later this coming summer. To say it was disappointing would be an understatement. So it was a giant surprise this week when I got a call from the clinic letting me know a spot had opened up and it was mine! I am now going to be seen on December 21st. It may not be the big blessing I am holding hope for, but it was something and it came right when I needed it.

God didn’t however stop there this week. As some know, Mark decided to reenlist and so we have been waiting to hear where his next duty station would be. Yes, I might have been hoping for Hawaii (who wouldn’t?!) but we found out the other day we will be heading to Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert, in late January. It isn’t the most enchanting destination for sure, but it does mean that we will be able to continue our infertility journey with the clinic at Balboa Naval Hospital. Which is a big blessing when you think about it as Balboa is one of the few hospitals out there for military and their families that has an infertility clinic that also applies some discounts towards treatments. So while it will be a bit inconvenient to drive 4 to 5 hours to my infertility appointments it is a much better outcome than we could have hoped for. There are so many other bases Mark could have been sent to next that are much, much farther away so perhaps God was looking out for us after all! And who knows, maybe the next base we go to will be Hawaii! A girl can hope!

That Light, Pink Line

Sometimes, moments of hope bring the most pain.

 

When I met Mark I saw a future that I didn’t ever think about. It sounds corny I know, but I suddenly realized all I really wanted was a family of my own. It’s not a huge dream but it was my dream and that was enough. I started dreaming about raising our own kids. We’d take them to church every Sunday just like my parents had done with us. We would teach them to be kind, I would teach them to love reading, Mark would teach them how to shoot, and how to be brave. I had a whole future planned for us by the time Mark asked me to marry him. Everything was falling into place, or so I thought.

Then everything sort of unraveled. I kept getting sick and landed myself in the hospital twice while my husband was deployed. I had been to the ER a few times prior over ovarian cysts I kept getting. Doctor’s didn’t really seem concerned so they would just give me pain medication and tell me to follow-up with my primary care doctor. Of course, nothing came of it so it settled back into the back of my mind. Then one night my heart rate decided to just shoot up. It didn’t really alarm me till the next day when I realized it wasn’t going down and it was starting to hurt. So back to the ER we went. The doctor’s found that my thyroxine levels were extremely high. I was given beta blockers to lower my heart rate and a referral to an Endocrinologist. Again, I didn’t really think much of it.

When I finally got in to see my Endocrinologist I had to get a Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test, where I basically had to swallow some sort of pill and come back later for a scan that took forever to see how much of the radioactive tracer my thyroid absorbed from my blood. From that my doctor diagnosed me with Grave’s Disease. I was then taken to a room where a panel of doctors laid out my options for treatment. I was a little overwhelmed by so many people firing off their opinions on what was best so I chose what was in my opinion the least invasive – Antithyroid Medication. It seemed pretty simple, take the pills and my thyroid function would hopefully go back to normal. I was upset when I learned I’d have to wait till my levels got back to normal to try to get pregnant but again I thought I’d be okay and went along with it.

Some time went by and the pills just were not working. My thyroid levels were fluctuating dramatically and to make matters worse the pills were extremely difficult to swallow. They tasted so bitter and for some reason I found it hard to take them without tasting them. I was irritated because all I wanted was to get back on the baby making train. I knew my health was important but I was starting to doubt my ability to wait. Then, I developed a case of hives that would not go away. I went back to my Endocrinologist who decided to switch me to PTU which my body responded to much better. I was told to wait a few months and then I could start trying to get pregnant. I was happy. Good news for once.

Everything seemed to be back on track for me. For the first few months I really thought that all that waiting was over. I was convinced I’d be pregnant within a few months and so I told my husband we shouldn’t stress about it. We’d just let it happen naturally. Three months into that and I started getting antsy and so my obsession with buying ovulation tests and pregnancy tests began. I became what people in the infertility world call a Pee on a Stick Addict. I read everything I could get my hands on that dealt with getting pregnant. Many of the things I read said stress would affect your ability to get pregnant so I did my best to not be stressed. Then, I’d say about 7 or 8 months into trying I started to panic and so I joined every TTC group I could find. I learned how to temp, how to chart, how to read cervical mucus, I learned and tried about anything and everything people suggested. We used special, sperm friendly lube that cost a ton. Nothing was working. It had been over a year and a half at this point and I was angry. I was angry at the people who got pregnant so easily, I was angry at the people who had kids, I was angry at my doctors for giving me hope, and I was extremely angry at myself.

I stopped liking myself. I couldn’t give up on my dream and yet I was so tired of it all. It seemed so hopeless and every month that went by, every two-week wait (that time in between ovulation and period time) I would get my hopes up and then sit in the bathroom and cry as I held another negative test in my hands. It was infuriating and I didn’t think it could get much worse. Then worse came. It was the first of what would be several where I would get a positive. I was so excited. The first positive pregnancy test I got, I rushed to show Mark and my friends. I was beaming as I showed my friends at the pool one day. I hadn’t even had it confirmed by my doctor yet, but I didn’t care. I thought we’d be okay, I thought this was a win. And then it was gone. That positive line faded the closer I got to Monday when I could go in to confirm the pregnancy. I was terrified. I didn’t know what was happening and everything online was scary.

Monday came. I was a week late for my period by that point. I started bleeding that day and so I didn’t go to confirm. I knew it wasn’t a good sign and I just didn’t want to let my hope go yet. At least at that point all I had was fear, I could still hope I was wrong. On Wednesday I went to my pcm who explained what a chemical pregnancy is. She explained that they are fairly common when trying to get pregnant. Most people don’t notice they’ve happened because usually you will only be a few days late before you start your period, the ones who do catch it are usually the ones that are testing before their period. Basically it’s any miscarriage that occurs before or at 6 weeks. It all sounds so clinical, like they can’t acknowledge that there was something. Even if it was small it was something. I didn’t know how to feel. Of course, she went over how it was normal to still feel grief and that if anything my period would just be a little heavier than normal and then she sent me on my way.

I tried to push it to the back of my mind. Telling the one’s who had known about it, that it was gone was awkward. I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. On one hand I had been pregnant but on the other all I had to remind me of that was a very light, pink line. The bleeding was just like a normal period for me and to be honest I had hoped it would be worse. I wanted something to remind me that it had been there, but nothing did. A couple more months went by and I pushed it all back into the deeper parts of my mind and focused back on TTC again.

Then… I got another light, pink line. This time I didn’t say anything. I told one person in confidence and decided to wait to confirm till the line got darker. After all, I was testing early again. The line never got darker. I was pretty sure I knew what it meant but I tried to hold hope. Another trip to my pcm confirmed another chemical pregnancy. At this point my pcm was a little concerned and told me that if it happened again she’d want to see me. Sure enough a month later the same thing happened. I went back to my pcm after the bleeding was over and she decided to try me on prednisone around the time implantation would occur if we were successful in fertilizing the egg that month. Supposedly prednisone helps with implantation and preventing early miscarriages. Unfortunately, for me it didn’t work.

And now we have arrived back to the part of the journey I am currently at. I’m not trying right now as my husband isn’t here to try at the moment and I am waiting to be seen by the infertility clinic. Hopefully the beginning of November my husband will be able to get his Semen Analysis and I will hopefully be seen by the end of October. It’s been a rough two years of trying and I know that it may be a while longer and maybe not the way we planned for it to happen but one day I’m going to be a mom. And once I have that sweet baby of mine, all the pain and the tears will be worth it.