Thursday, December 26, 2013

Faith and Infertility

A funny thing happened on the way to infertility; I found my faith. I'm finding my faith, rather, a little more every day. I have debated writing a post like this for a while because I wasn't exactly sure what to say. I still don't know exactly what to say, but it's time I say something. Recently, I have encountered some pretty negative commentary about God's Will and infertility. I think that is a main reason I want to write this. I want to clarify how I feel about God's Will when it comes to my infertility, when it comes to my desire to be a mother.

When I was in the depths of infertility, and before I started seeing my counselor, I was angry. I was so angry that if I wasn't dismissing God altogether, I was blaming Him for my infertility and for my miscarriages. I felt like I was being punished and I wanted no part of whatever I thought was punishing me. I would scream and cry and question, "God, if there is a God, why are you letting this happen to me? Don't I deserve to be a mother? Am I not good enough to be a mother? Why do I keep experiencing loss"? There was a lot of that for many years. So, that is where I was, and that is where I lived. I lived in my anger. It was all consuming, but it was easier to be angry and blame God then to just accept that some people are fertile, some people are infertile, some women have healthy pregnancies and deliver their babies, some women have miscarriages. And now I am coming to a place of acceptance, which is helping me be less angry. Acceptance doesn't mean that I am happy, it doesn't mean that I don't wish things were different. Acceptance is just part of recovery. It is part of moving forward. It is part of finding peace.

So, this brings me back to infertility and God's Will. I have been told on more then one occasion that if I were meant to be a mother, God would have made me fertile instead of barren. Those are some of the most hurtful words anyone could say to me. Those are words that would have made me angry with God 5 years ago, or a year ago or even 6 months ago. But through my personal and spiritual growth, I have realized that the people who say things like that are people without compassion. They are people who like to prey on the insecurities of others. They are people who are religious, but who are not true Christians, even if they claim to be.

I don't believe that it is God's Will that I am infertile. I don't believe God makes or lets bad things happen to people, or in the world. I believe that those things are just an imperfect part of living in an imperfect world. But I do believe that there is a purpose for what I have experienced and I do believe that I am supposed to use my experience to help others. I do believe that I am supposed to use the loss and grief I have experienced to grow stronger and to push forward. And that is what I choose to believe. And I don't know if it is God's Will for me to be a mother, but I certainly know that it is my will. And I don't believe I would have such a strong, innate desire to be a mother if I wasn't meant to be.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thank you Missy Briscoe and Fran Meadows!

I had an exceptionally emotional few days last week. Going through infertility and the adoption process will do that, I guess. I got home from work one day at the end of the week to find a manila envelope waiting for me on the kitchen counter. Just the pick me up I needed. I excitedly opened it and took out The Cherry Blossom Sakura Tree Drop Pendant, deisgned by Missy Briscoe ( I won it in a Hope and Fertility jewelry give away sponsored by Fran Meadows, author and infertility advocate. You can visit her website and blog at

I had actually been searching for a special piece of jewelry for a long time. I contacted a couple custom jewelry makers and scoured the Internet, but just never found something that I connected with. This necklace represents exactly what I had been looking for. From the detail of the cherry blossom tree, to the what the garnets and moonstones represent, and the message of hope on the front and back. Thank you Missy Briscoe and Fran Meadows!


Thursday, November 7, 2013


I have been on cloud 9 recently with our decision to adopt. We have been making plans (that I never thought we would make), we have been busy attending adoption workshops and reading adoption books, tending to our adoption Facebook page. Really, doing a lot of things that have distracted me (a welcome distraction) from my infertility. Being distracted doesn't mean I have forgotten about my infertility; it just means it has been on the back burner. Here is the thing about infertility; it never goes away. Some people learn to accept it and live with it, some people learn to ignore it, but none of us forget about it. Infertility becomes part of who we are. It helps shape us, it helps us grow, it changes the way we think about some things; the way we think about ourselves. So, I have been distracted and happily so, but sometimes those reminders of infertility just creep up on me. I never know what they are going to be, or how to anticipate them, or what my reaction will be.

A few years ago, I checked the mail when I got home from work. I opened the mailbox and there was a package from Gerber. The package contained a congratulations letter on the recent birth of my child and a full size canister of formula with coupons. I had forgotten that when I found out I was pregnant, I signed up on some website for free baby stuff. Well, I never had our baby, and holding a canister of formula in my hands was a reminder that I had no baby to feed it to. Here I am, in the street, in front of my mailbox with formula in my hands just crying; sobbing. I remember it very vividly.

Commercials, commercials, commercials (said in my whiniest Jan Brady voice)...they are huge culprits that find the most obnoxious ways to remind me of my infertility. Several weeks ago, I saw a commercial for a new pregnancy test. Clear Blue Easy can now estimate how far along in your pregnancy you are; 1-2 weeks, 3-4 weeks, 6+ weeks or some nonsense like that. And the commercial was of two women having coffee and the one decides to share with her friend that she is 1-2 weeks pregnant and they have a laugh and a happy moment. And in my head I am thinking, "This is a stupid &*#$% commercial and a stupid &*#$% test". You know why I thought that? Because all my pregnancy experiences taught me that you don't tell anyone you're pregnant before you're out of the danger zone. By the time I usually found out I was pregnant, I was already miscarrying. I never could have taken a test like that and been excited, and that made me angry and sad. Why does someone need to know they are 1-2 weeks pregnant anyway? And then, just the other night, a commercial came on with a crowd watching a football game. A pregnant woman walks into the room wearing a shirt that says future fan on her belly, and then a man walks over and places his hand on her belly and they kiss. And I cried. I will never have that belly and my husband and I will never have that moment. Yes, we will be parents through adoption and we will have a lot of exciting and joyous moments. I am not taking anything away from that, but remember, one thing does not replace the other.

A big reminder is coming up for me this month; November 20th. The third time I got pregnant was thru an IUI we had done in February of 2011. I found out I was pregnant around my birthday in March. My due date was November 20th. Of course, that date came and went with no baby born because at the end of April, just a few weeks before that 12 week mark I was so desperately hoping and praying I would make it to, I miscarried. I grieve my other 4 miscarriages, but the third one was significant for me in a way the others weren't. Maybe because of the IUI, maybe because we actually made it to an ultrasound, maybe because we had an official due date; I don't know. It's a different reminder.

There are other things that sneak up and remind me. Every cute Facebook pregnancy announcement or ultrasound picture, every time I log into my on-line support group and find that another one of my IF sisters has graduated to pregnant status and left me behind, every babyshower invite, etc. Of course these reminders are not personal attacks, but that doesn't mean they don't sting. I can be happy for other's, but feel a bit of sadness for myself at the same time. I feel it, I acknowledge it, and then I move on from it. Until the next reminder.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 15th

Yesterday, October 15th, was Infant And Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day. I wish I would have written about it before now so that I could have raised more awareness thru my blog, but I did use my Facebook page and I talked about it in the hopes that people would join me in paying tribute to all of the pregnancies and infants lost. At 8pm last night, I took part in a candle lighting with hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of other people who wanted to remember and/or honor their angel babies, and also people who just wanted to show support for their loved ones. I thought I would be sad when I lit my candle next to my little teddy bear. I kind of even hesitated for a second. But, I lit the candle, closed my eyes for a second, and then I felt a little smile come across my face. It was a bittersweet moment. Yes, it was a little sad, but in that moment, I didn't feel alone in my loss. I knew that all across the country and maybe even in other parts of the world people were doing the same thing. We were all coming together and we all understood. There is no grief like infertility, miscarriage, or losing your baby. I was part of a Facebook group and we all posted our pictures and messages. Here is my candle for my 5 babies that live in my heart and for all of the other people who have experienced loss. And this is my "burden bear" that my good friend Sara gave me to help me with my grief. There have been many moments I have squeezed this bear as close to me as I could and just cried thinking of the babies that should be here with us. This little teddy bear and poem have helped my healing process so much, I hope Sara knows the difference it has made.

October is a month of awareness for so many causes and one of those is Infertility Awareness. Please don't be afraid to talk about it, to educate yourselves or others, to reach out and support someone you know who is suffering through infertility, or to ask for support if you are the one struggling. 

If you need resources, information, or education you can visit, The National Infertility Association.

You can also check out this website It is the website of a woman, and author, who is an infertiliy advocate I recently connected with. Her name is Fran Meadows. You can check out her story, blog and even connect with her on Facebook. Yesterday, she did something amazing and thoughtful. She recognized anyone who emailed her their info, by releasing a virtual butterfly on her Facebook page, to honor and remember all the pregnancies and babies lost and the families who miss them every day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Garage sale fundraiser, the toy, and the collection

Two weekends ago, Dan and I had an adoption fundraiser garage sale. We had been planning it for about a month. We collected so many donations of items to sell that our house literally looked like an episode of Hoarders. Dan was pretty stressed out and every time our poor dogs turned around, they knocked something over. But you know what, it was worth living like that for a short period of time because it helped us earn money for our adoption fund. It taught us some things about ourselves. It showed us the amazing support system that we have. And we even met some awesome people. We advertised it as an adoption fundraiser, so even strangers came out to show their support. People came to share their stories and experiences with adoption with us. They came to tell us good luck. The words of encouragement were so meaningful and appreciated. Everyone helped us from donating their time to help us set up, clean up and stay organized, to lending us things like tables, clothing racks, a cash box, their truck and trailer, and even their home and yard so we would have an ideal location. It could not have been more successful.

So, it was hard for us to decide to have the garage sale as a fundraiser because we did not want people to think that we were asking for any kind of hand out. We didn't want anyone to feel like they had to help us. We know that pursuing adoption is our plan and our decision. It is our responsibility. But I remembered something someone close to me once said about my infertility. We were having a very emotional and in depth conversation about how isolated and angry that, I, especially felt while we were going thru our IUI. When we decided to do that, we didn't tell anyone really because we thought we had to keep it private. And that was stressful. And she said to me that she wished she had known we were going thru that because she would have wanted to offer any support she could have. And there were some other things, but the bottom line was because we kept people in the dark, we didn't give them the option to support us or not (and I don't just mean financially). We took away their ability to offer love and support and be there for us in any way they were comfortable or able. So the adoption process is going to be different. We are going to be honest about what we are going thru. We are going to allow our friends and family and coworkers, etc to support us however they are comfortable. And with that in mind, we planned the garage sale fundraiser. We ended up raising around $2500 from the weeks leading up to the sale, the two days of the sale, and in the few weeks since. Pretty amazing! We have a long way to go, but that was definitely a great start with what we had saved already (what we had saved was going to be for another IUI, but plans have a way of changing and we truly believe the adoption is a change for the better for us).
Roly Poly Chime Ball-First toy for Baby Howard

The Roly Poly Chime Ball pictured is a toy that was in our garage sale. Dan found it and brought it over to me. It was a moment with just the two of us. He showed it to me and said, "Look at this. Isn't it cool? This is a really old toy. I think we should keep it and it will be our baby's first toy". A super sweet moment that melted my heart and showed me a glimpse of how much Dan is looking forward to us being parents. I still don't think he really understands how much that moment with him, and that toy means to me. We have nothing for a baby. We have nothing on purpose. And one of the guidelines we have been given is to not get baby items or a nursey or anything like that too far in advance. And I understand why. And I am following that guideline. But we are keeping the toy because it is a reminder for us of what we are going to have. Besides, it's a little memento from our garage sale.

On another note of fundraising, Dan has the most thoughtful and wonderful co-workers. I just found out today that they started a collection for us at his work. When I saw this picture, I literally started crying. Part of it was the stork. Isn't is silly how that image could evoke such an emotional reaction from me? I don't know how to explain it. It's about what it represents, I guess, if that makes sense. The other reason that I was crying was because of the generosity. These are people who work hard for their money, people who have their own responsibilities, families, needs, etc., but they want to help us financially. More then financially, though, they want to help us acheive our dream of becoming parents. Dan has worked at his job for 13 years. I always knew he had good co-workers and friends. But they are so much more then that. Now, they are a part of our story. They will have a hand in helping us to one day bring our baby home. I don't know if they all know just how grateful we are, and how much this gesture truly means.

So, to our family, friends, co-workers, family and friends of family and friends, and even strangers; thank you. Thank you for helping to make this possible, thank you for being there, thank you for your support and generosity, thank you for believing is us and believing in our dream. Also, thank you to anyone who reads my blog. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The next steps

This post will not be as long, I promise. Just want to give a brief outline of the next few steps we have to take.

Step 1: Sign our contract. We are hoping to do that in October. We have to save the contract fee first, which we are working on. We are having a yard sale fundraiser September 6/7 to go toward that cost.

Step 2: Once contract is signed, attend 2 day adoption workshop which will outline the entire adoption process, give us an overview of the homestudy process, answer all questions, address concerns, etc.

Step 3: Start and complete homestudy. This can take up to approximately 3 months. We are most anxious about this step. We have to have an approved homestudy before any birthmothers can choose us; before we can even have a profile with the agency.

Step 4: Once homestudy is approved, profile goes live on adoption agencies website. We get a 1-800 number. Birthmothers can contact us, or the agency about us, and hopefully we will be matched sooner rather than later (the whole process from signing the contract to finalizing an adoption can take anywhere from about 15-36 months on average).

Step 5: Birthmother chooses us and we bring baby home. Hey, whether this takes a year or three we will be parents at the end.

So, of course there is a lot more to this. Many more steps. Risks and complications. Disappointments and waiting. But if there is one thing my infertility and losses have taught me, it's that I can handle those things and come out stronger. And Dan and I can do it all together.

Big Decisions leading up to the biggest decision...This will be a two parter

While dealing with infertility and recurrent miscarriage, Dan and I have had to make some very big decisions. Some very difficult decisions. Nothing was ever easy. Nothing was ever quick. I mean, these were life altering decisions that had a huge impact on our future, on our finances, on our marriage, on our health. When we first started out, the only decision we had to make was do we want kids, and the answer was yes. After a few years of trying and failing, we were kind of at a standstill. Now, I can't speak for Dan, but in my mind at that time, I was willing to go through pretty much anything the dr told me would make me a mom. At first, it was just some medications. Pretty simple. A few pills and some bloodwork. And then when that didn't work, my dr told me he couldn't help me any further. I would have to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Getting Dan on board with that took some time. I think the stress of having to travel and going to someone who specialized in infertility was scary. And uncertain. And kind of insulting. But we did it. At the time we went to see the RE, I had experienced two miscarriages, we had been trying to have children for 2 years, and I had been diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder, which was part of what the doctors thought was making it difficult for me to get and stay pregnant.

The RE was confident he could help us with a procedure known as an IUI (intrauterine insemination). So, we had to decide if we would be willing to subject ourselves to a procedure that would require me to go on hormone injections (not fun and kind of painful) to stimulate my ovaries and hopefully increase egg production. I would have to be monitored by ultra sound regularly to make sure follicles were growing, and when they got to the right size, we would have to go in for an insemination. So, making a baby was no longer Sara+Dan. It was Sara+Dan+medication+Reproductive Endocrinologist=maybe baby. Because there was no guarantee it would work. This was not a cheap procedure and it was not cheap medication (although I have an amazing friend who helped me with that, and she knows who she is). So there was this heavy weight on our shoulders. What if the procedure didn't work? What if we were out all of that money and didn't have a baby? Insurance is a crock and didn't cover anything related to infertility. Because "having a baby isn't a medical necessity". So, it had to work. We had a good chance.

And it worked. I got pregnant. All of that money, all of those medications, the doctors, the travelling; it had all been worth it. This was March of 2011. We went in for our ultra-sound. So exciting. We would get to see our baby for the first time. No such luck. The dr said we would have to come back in a few weeks, he couldn't find what he was looking for. In other words, I had gotten pregnant, but the baby stopped developing. And about 2 or 3 weeks after that I miscarried. That was the most DEVASTATING thing I had ever been through. And I will spare you the details, but I would never be the same after that. The dr recommended another IUI, but we weren't ready to jump back in and took some time to think about what was best. We thought eventually we would try another IUI because the first one worked. But as more time passed, even though Dan said he would be supportive of one more try at IUI, I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I couldn't imagine going through all of that again and it either not working, or worse, it working and me miscarrying again.

We decided to just be us again for a while. We planned a trip to Vegas for my 30th birthday in 2012. Amazingly, in February of 2012, I got pregnant. But it was short lived. We found out on Super Bowl Sunday and I miscarried later that week. So, another set back. That was my 4th miscarriage. Many people said to me, "Look at the bright side, at least you know you can get pregnant". Didn't do much good if I couldn't stay pregnant. Another year went by and around my birthday this year, I decided I was ready to try another IUI. Dan was still supportive. I was feeling good emotionally and had lost 30 pounds (which I thought would make a difference, for some reason). We had saved a little money and the dr thought we had a good chance of being successful. As I was making arrangements for the procedure, we got a surprise. I had become pregnant on my own again. But immediately I knew this pregnancy was not going to make it either. I was already bleeding when the dr confirmed the pregnancy. I was so ANGRY. Angry that I had gotten pregnant, angry that I had miscarried, angry that I didn't get to be happy for even a minute.

That miscarriage changed everything. We had lost 4 pregnancies before that, and they all took a little piece of me. But this miscarriage took the last little bit of hope that I had. And I decided right then, I would not subject myself to another IUI, let alone IVF (which would have been the next step). We had already decided we would not ever pursue IVF anyway simply because of the cost and the emotional damage it could do. I had met several women who were 10s of thousands of dollars in debt (one was $100,000) with nothing to show. I decided that I had to learn how to start coming to terms with the reality that I may never be a mother. People are happy and can be happy and fulfilled without children. How could I make myself one of those people? Dan always told me if we never had children, he would be happy with just the two of us the rest of his life.

And just when I thought that was it, Dan said the most amazing, wonderful, surprising words that I never thought I would hear him say, "Maybe we should look into adoption. Why don't you get some information". That was what led to the biggest decision yet and leads me into my next blog post...

The adoption option

Throughout our struggle with infertility and miscarriage, adoption was something that was brought up a few times. And I will spare you the details, but for those of you who asked or wondered, "Why don't they just adopt", it was never that simple. Of course we knew adoption was an option. As with most individuals or couples who struggle with infertility, we were well aware of all of our options. We just didn't want to rush into something we weren't ready for, or feel pressured to do something that may not have been the right choice for us. Treatment plans, medications, doctors, infertility, adoption; it is all very personal, and each person who struggles has their own timeline and their own boundries. And the truth is, that sometimes, even a husband and wife aren't on the same page about those things.

The journey through infertility has been complicated, long, emotional, expensive, and overwhelming (to say the least). The thought of moving onto adoption, which is in its own right, is complicated, long, emotional, expensive and overwhelming was something we definitely had to be on the same page about. We could not easily transition from one path to the other, in part because it felt like giving up on something we had been trying to make happen for so long, but also because it was scary. Adoption would come with a new set of challenges, fears, disappointments, etc.

Adoption was never a new idea. But for me, I had to come to the realization that even though I so desperately wanted to be pregnant and have that experience, and create a life with my husband, what I wanted most was to be a mom. And what made me come to that realization was my most recent miscarriage. After 5, I finally acknowledged we were (most likely) never going to have children the way we were trying. The doctors couldn't help me. The medications couldn't help me. My body just couldn't carry a baby. And getting pregnant did no good if I couldn't stay pregnant. And I was so sad. I lost the last little bit of hope I had that I would ever be a mom, or that Dan would ever be a dad, or that we would raise children together. And what happened next, just when I was giving up, shocked me. About 2 months after my miscarriage, Dan simply said to me, "Maybe we should look into adoption". It was something to that effect, and it was all I needed to hear. Those were some of the most beautiful, thougthful, selfless words he had ever spoken to me. By the next day I had looked into 3 agencies, researched open vs. closed adoption, looked at agency vs. lawyer, cost, funding, etc. Dan and I went to an info session with an agency the following month and decided after we left that was the agency for us and this was the new plan for us. And we were at peace about moving forward with our plan to adopt. In the first paragraph of this entry I stated that a husband and wife aren't always on the same page, and for a long time we weren't. And now we are very much on the same page, and what an exciting page it is.

Something that I had to realize when moving onto this new chapter is that it does not erase everything else we have been through. Adoption does not fix my infertility. Adoption is not us giving up on one plan. It is just giving us the opportunity to pursue parenthood in a different way, and that I am grateful for. I will keep you updated on our journey with the adoption option.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Not everything is about IF

I have the most amazing news to share. Last night I met someone who I never thought I would meet; my biological sister. I found out about her when I was about 12. My mom told me I had a younger sister that she placed for adoption at birth. We always talked about her and she was always a part of our life. But, we knew that it would not be our place to search her out and invade her life. My mom registered our information several years ago so it would be available if my sister ever wanted to find us, and even though I hoped and prayed almost my entire life she would want to find us, I never thought she would.

Yesterday was the best day of my life since I married my husband. It was one of the best days of my life ever. I hugged my sister for the first time last night and I didn't want to let her go. She is beautiful and amazing and I cannot wait to get to know more about her. We have almost 30 years to make up for. There will be more to this story. I am so excited for this chapter of my life.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I haven't written in a while. Not because I don't have anything to say, and not because infertility has magically disappeared from my life (although I can't say I don't wish it would)...What was that ecard I saw a while back? Oh, I remember, "I wish I could punch infertility in the face. She is such a bitch". It's true; I do, and she is.

The truth is, I have just been very busy with life, but very lazy with writing. So tonight, I decided I needed to write. I typed the title of my blog into Google, and to my surprise, a lot more then just my blog that popped up. I saw that people pinned my blog on their Pinterest board, it has been put on blog rolls, other people (including an author) have linked it to their Facebook page! How cool and humbling and emotional for me to see the impact that my blog is having on other people. My goal with this blog was to help me in my healing process, to be a voice and an advocate for the infertile community, and reach just one woman who felt like she was alone. And I am excited that all of those things are happening!

You know, people tell me how strong I am for enduring infertility and miscarriages, and how brave I am for sharing my story, but I'm not. It has taken me many years to get to a place where I can acknowledge and talk about my experiences and share private information with all of you without breaking down into tears and/or going into a depression. In fact, I still have bad days, sometimes several in a row. It's just that I have learned how to acknowledge those days and those feelings, but then move on and not let it control my life. Infertility no longer defines me, but it is a very important part of who I am now.

For the first several years of our infertility journey, I was in a constant state of depression and isoloation. I was angry and it affected all of my relationships; including my marriage. My low point came when my husband told me he just didn't know how to help me anymore, and didn't know what I expected of him. And when he indicated to me that he felt less important, and that he felt he was coming 2nd to me getting pregnant and us having a child, that hit me like a brick. I was risking the well-being of my marriage because I was letting infertility control me, and I was refusing to acknowledge that what I was facing (infertility and recurrent miscarriage) was a very real medical, physical, mental and emotional issue that wasn't just going to go away or get better. I needed to talk to a professional for my sake, for the sake of my marriage, and for the sake of my relationships with my family and friends. So, I decided to seek out a counselor.

Around August of 2011, I started seeing a counselor. She has helped me understand that what I was feeling was grief. I was, and still am, grieving the loss of the lives my husband and I created; greiving the loss of the children we should have; grieving the loss of the ability to do what I believed my body was supposed to do; grieving the loss of what I believed our future was going to be. And there were a lot of other things that the grief over my infertility and miscarriages brought up. Seeing a counselor has been one of the best decisions I have made.  It has been about two years since I started seeing my counselor, and a little over 5 years that we have been battling infertility. So, its not that I am brave or strong or anything like that. It's just that I have gained some insight and experience through this very difficicult ordeal. And part of the insight I have gained is that in order to heal, and in order to help other people, and in order to educate and reach people, I have to be able to be honest and open, but that realization has taken a lot of time.

A funny thing happened on the way to infertility; I found a silver lining.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

IF is a merry go round not a roller coaster

I have often said that dealing with IF and recurrent pregnancy loss feels like a rollercoaster. I always thought like a pretty good analogy. Then, last week, I saw some kids playing on a merry go round. They would slow down and then all of the sudden, one or two of the kids would jump off and push it around really fast. And then it would slow down and just when it was going to stop, one of the kids would spin it again. The merry go round just kept going in circles. There was no way to tell when it was going to come to a full stop. With a roller coaster, the ride goes up, hits a really exciting (or terrifying) high point and then descends to a super low point and maybe it goes up again and then down and then it comes slowly to a stop. You can see the stopping point ahead of time.

Right now, I feel like I am on a merry go round rather than a roller coaster. And I hate merry go rounds. They make me feel sick and they give me headaches. There are no high points, there is no end in sight. That is exactly how my IF feels. I just go around in circles and when I think the merry go round is slowing down, someone comes by and gives it a big fast spin.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is it like?

I can only imagine what it's like to have a normal pregnancy, a normal ultrasound, a normal doctors visit. I wonder what its like to see those two little lines on a HPT and not instantly have your heart stop and your eyes well up with tears because you know its only a matter of time before those two little lines go away. What is it like to just see those two lines and be happy, or at least indifferent? I wonder what it's like to not want to rush to the ER or call your doctor immediately upon feeling a twinge that shouldn't be in your side, or an ache in your back that wasn't there the day before, or worst of all; bleeding? What is it like to make a doctor's appointment for a routine pregnancy check up? You know, one where you're not going in to find out your pregnancy isn't viable, or one that isn't a follow up to a miscarriage. What is it like to see an OB who isn't telling you they don't know why you can't get pregnant, they don't know why you can't keep your pregnancies, they don't know why the medications don't work? What is it like to not even know what a RE is? What is it like to have your first ultrasound where the baby is healthy and you can see it and the tiny little heartbeat? What is it like to get past the danger zone and actually be comfortable sharing your pregnancy news? What is it like to feel that precious life growing inside of you? What is it like to watch your belly grow and have people ask you the most annoying questions over and over again; how far along are you, do you know what you're having, do you have names picked out, when are you due, can I touch your belly?

Infertility steals the ability to know the answers to these questions (and so many more) firsthand. Infertility leaves you with an emptiness and a hopelessness and a desperation that is unexplainable. Infertility makes time fly by. In the beginning, you don't even know that's the battle you're fighting. And then one day you realize five years has flown by, (really longer, you just weren't "trying"), and here you are writing a blog torturing yourself with questions that you will probably never have answers to.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Infertility Sucks!

First and foremost, let me say infertility sucks. It sucks for me, it sucks for my husband, it sucks for our family and friends.

Second, let me clarify something. Infertility is not a mind over matter situation. Infertility is a medical condition that affects millions of people. People who suffer from infertility, usually suffer in silence and in isolation because there is such a stigma, and so much misunderstanding of what it is. No, you can't tell by looking at me, or anyone else who is afflicted by this medical condition, there is something wrong. That doesn't mean what is wrong isn't serious or doesn't exist.

Infertility sucks for me because I have a very difficult time getting pregnant. I don't know exactly why. I have unexplained infertility. My uterus is fine, my fallopian tubes are fine, my ovaries are fine. My weight doesn't keep me from getting pregnant, my stress doesn't keep me from getting pregnant, my trying to hard doesn't keep me from getting pregnant. And when I do finally get pregnant, I miscarry, usually early in the pregnancy. Usually, by the time I find out I am pregnant, I am already miscarrying. Infertility sucks for me because it makes me feel crazy. It makes me feel alone. It makes me feel sad. It makes me angry. It makes me jealous. It makes me moody. It makes me feel worthless and less than, at times. It makes me feel out of control and hopeless. Infertility sucks for me because every babyshower invite, every ultrasound picture, every pregnancy announcement just rubs salt in the wound a little more. Infertility sucks for me because even though what I have is a medical condition, it is not covered by insurance. Infertility sucks for me for all kinds of reasons.

Infertility sucks for my husband, because while there is nothing wrong with him, he knows there is something wrong with me and he can't fix it. Infertility sucks for my husband because at times I am not happy, and that makes him unhappy. It sucks for him because I think at times, my infertility has made him feel like he comes 2nd to my ability to get and stay pregnant. And that's not fair to him. Infertility sucks for my husband because it is a stressful situation that takes up our time and our money. Infertility sucks for my husband because he sees our family and our friends having children so easily, but it's so difficult for us.

My infertility sucks for our family and our friends because they want to be supportive, but they don't always know how. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because they feel like they don't know the right things to say, or if they should say anything. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends, because at times it has kept us isolated from them. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because most of them don't understand what we are going through or what we have gone through. Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because they don't always feel like they can share their good news (pregnancy announcements, etc) with us (me specifically). Our infertility sucks for our family and friends because even though they shouldn't, some of them feel guilty. And mostly it sucks for them because they love us, and care about us, and want us to be parents as badly as we want it.

Now, let me say that as much as infertility sucks, and as much as it has had a negative impact on our life and on our dreams, it has also done something positive, at least for me.

Infertility has made me stronger. It has taught me so much about who I am and who I can be. I never thought 3 or 4 or 5 years ago I would be at the point I am. I never thought I would be able to make it through one miscarriage, let alone 5. I never thought I would have joined support groups, or counseling. I never thought I would become an advocate for a cause that is so important to me and for people who need a voice. My counselor told me that I have made so much progress and that she is impressed with how I don't run and hide from my infertility any more. Believe me, I still have hard days, and I allow myself that, but I make it through.

Infertility has made our marriage stronger. We have been together 14 years and married 7, and this has been a true test of commitment, of love, of values; and we have passed all of those tests. I appreciate my husband and my marriage even more now. I know we have more hurdles ahead of us but we can do it together. My husband has grown leaps and bounds through this. He has amazed me and I am proud of him.

Infertility has shown me, even more so, what an amazing and supportive group of family and friends we have. Just being there to listen, to cry with me, to tell me I will be a mother one day, to have faith and hope at times I didn't, to listen to me screaming on the phone. They have read my blog and commented on my crazy Facebook posts. They have hugged me, taken me out, given me recommendations and advice. Sometimes there were people who I never would have expected that offered support and encouragement. I don't think I can thank them enough for letting me know I'm (we're) not alone. These are the people that, if  or when we do become parents, will be in our child's life. And I couldn't ask for a better group of people.

And finally, if or when we become parents, we will appreciate that gift even more then if we would never have gone through any of this.

Why do you want to be a mom?

Why do you want to be a mom? I've been asked this question several times over the last 5 or 6 years by several different people. I can give you the standard answer; I have always wanted to be a mom. That's true, I have always wanted to be a mom. In my heart and in my mind, not only do I want to be a mom, but I am meant to be a mom. There are so many reasons I want to be a mom, and I will try to share them all with you.

There was a time, many years ago, I thought just because I wanted to be a mom, I would. Before Dan and I got married we had the "kids" conversation. We agreed that we both wanted kids, and that was that. We just assumed it would happen when it was supposed to, but it wouldn't take that long, right? So, in the first year or two when it didn't happen, we weren't overly concerned. We were enjoying our married life. And then, in January of 2009, I found out I was pregnant. I had never felt that kind of excitement and that kind of joy. We did it; we created a life together and it was our turn to be parents. All of these thoughts raced through my mind. When and how would I tell Dan? Should we tell our family and friends right away? When would I see the doctor? Shortly after we found out about the pregnancy, I miscarried. I was devastated, but the doctor assured me this unfortunately happened to a lot of women and that I shouldn't be overly concerned. So, we worked through it. And more then ever, I wanted to be a mom and have a child with my husband because it had been taken away from us. Why us? We deserved to be parents, right? We would be good parents, wouldn't we? Those are haunting questions.

Over the next several years, we experienced more miscarriages (5 total). We saw 6 doctors (including 2 Reproductive Endocrinologists and a Hematologist) to try to get answers about my recurrent miscarriages and infertility. I started to see a counselor to help me understand my emotions and deal with my grief (she has helped a lot). I guess I'm telling you all of this because I think it is important to have the history as well as the reasons why. Something that we thought was going to be so easy, something that we thought was going to happen naturally, was turning into the hardest, most trying times of our marriage and definitely a personal battle for me. But even through the losses and the dr's appointments and the treatments and the heartache and the difficult times, I never lost my desire to be a mom. I just wanted it more. So, why do I want to be a mom?

I want to be a mom because I want to raise a child with my husband (who will be an amazing dad, even if he doesn't think so sometimes). I want to pass on our values and our legacy. I want to be a mom because I want to carry on, and also create family traditions. I want to create memories and stories that involve our children. I want to be a mom because I want to experience firsts with my child. Their first smile, their first laugh, their first tooth, their first step, their first birthday, their first day of school, etc. I want to be a mom because I want to relate to my friends and my relatives who have children. Sometimes I get tired of being treated like I don't know what I am doing with kids just because I don't have any of my own. I want to be a mom because I want to give our parents, grandchildren; our siblings, nieces or nephews; our nieces and nephews, cousins. I want to be a mom because I want to include my children in the family picture. I want to be a mom because I want to do the things with my child that my role-models, my mom and my grandma, did with me.

Mostly, I want to be a mom because I have so much love to give a child. As Aunt Sara, I love my nieces and nephews, and my friends' children more than anything. Being Aunt Sara has brought me so much happiness. But my nieces and nephews, and my friends children are not my children. I don't care for them every day. I don't put them to sleep. I don't make their ouchies go away, or dry their tears. I want to be able to do those things for my own child.

I have told these things to people before and its funny the different reactions I have been met with. Some people have really listened and understood and those people have tried to offer support and encouragement, which I appreciate from the bottom of my heart. Some people have questioned me further about why I would want to give up my kidfree, carefree life just to have the burden of children. Some people have said to me that having kids isn't all good and easy like I may think; like I can't possible understand how difficult it can be to be a parent. Some people have said really hurtful things like my marriage should be enough to fulfill me and make me happy. Well, let me tell you, my marriage is happy and fulfilling, but being a wife and a mom are two different things. It might be difficult for people who don't want children, or for people who resent having children to understand my reasons. It might even be difficult for people never struggled to have their children understand why I want it so much. And that's ok. Everyone has their own beliefs, their own reasons why or why not. All I can do is share my story.

Share your story with me if you want, if you're ready, and if you're comfortable. Whether or not you're a parent, whether or not you want to be a parent, whether or whether not you can be a parent. Everyone has a story and a journey of their own.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Balanced Translocation Part 2

Yesterday I received a call from the nurse at my drs office regarding the results from the karyotype that was ordered a few weeks ago. She let me know that when the bloodwork got to the lab, they canceled the test because they said they already ran it in January of 2012. They weren't going to run it again because the results from a test like that wouldn't change and if they did the test again, we would be billed the full cost (which apparently is very expensive, although I don't know how much and probably don't want to know). And for whatever reason, the RE never received any results and I didn't even remember going for the test. You would think I would have remembered something like that, except I have been through so many tests and had so much bloodwork drawn, I can't keep things straight.

Results: neither of us is a carrier of balanced translocation. This is a good thing, right? So, why do I feel so lost, frusterated and hopeless? Because if neither of us is a carrier, then we still have no answers as to why these miscarriages are happening or if they will keep happening. Will I even be able to get pregnant again? Why does it take so long for me to get pregnant? Is it a coincidence that all of the miscarriages have happened between the months of Jan-April? Maybe there are no answers. Maybe I am just not meant to be a mother, at least not to a biological child.

I don't think I have ever felt a bigger betrayal then the betrayal I feel from my own body.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tested for Balanced Translocation

I made a post on Facebook the other day about how we want quick and easy answers to the problems in our lives. We want someone to tell us that what we are doing is right or wrong, fixable or not fixable, etc. And by we, I meant me. I want someone (specifically a dr) to tell me why I am having such a hard time getting pregnant, and when I do finally get pregnant why I lose that pregnancy. But the problem is, with every answer, or non-answer, there are more questions.

So, with this 5th miscarriage I went to see my RE. For those who don't know, an RE is a Reproductive Endocrinologist; a specialist reserved for those of us who are super lucky in the deparment of fertility (said sarcastically). I had more questions like could there be a problem with my ovarian reserve (my eggs)? Could there be a problem with my ovulation? Well, the dr. looked thru his notes from our last visit in Jan of 2012 and mentioned to me that he wrote down we were supposed to go in for chromosone testing, but that he didn't have any results. Well, that was because we never went. I told him I didn't recall being told that or anyone ever following up with us. So, he said we should do that now. He told me that it sounds to him like either myself or my husband could be a carrier of something called balanced translocation. You can read about balanced translocation here:

And here is a simple diagram:

We have to wait 3-15 days for the results. I am not sure what I am hoping for. If one of us is a carrier of this, that will be an answer. That will explain so much. But while it will explain so much, it won't make things any easier because this is not something that is treatable. Its not something that gets better. There are one of 4 things that can happen if this is our issue:
1. We can stop pursuing any medical course of treatment and just try naturally and risk the recurrent miscarriages (risk of miscarriage is 50% or higher). Do we (I) really want to keep taking that risk?
2. We can use an egg donor or a sperm donor (completely out of the question for financial and personal reasons).
3. We can try IVF with something called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). A round of IVF with with test is around $20000, so that is obviously not going to happen. And even if it was a possibility for us, there is no guarantee that it would be successful.
4. We can just quit trying :(

Of course, it could come back that neither of us is a carrier. It only affects about 1 out of 625 people. So, if neither of us is a carrier, then we fall back into that mysterious 30% of people who just has unexplained infertility, yippee.

It seems like a crapshoot no matter what. What's my best case scenario, you ask? Well, I would like to just either wake up one day and not want to be a mother, that way I wouldn't be heart-broken and devastated EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. But as that is unlikely, what I would really like is to forget about all of this; all of the tests, all of the "trying", all of the drs. (you know, there have been 5 of those now as well), and pursue the alternative of adoption. Adoption is another blog for another time, I guess.

The way I ended my Facebook post about questions and answers was that sometimes we just have to trust and have faith that things will work out the way they are supposed to, even if its not the way we planned. I have a hard time practicing my own advice.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The worst place to be

Today I had the dreaded visit to the OB/GYN office. It was for the follow up after my miscarriage. When the nurse called me last week and told me it would be a good idea for me to come in and meet with my doctor, I told her that unless he was going to tell me something new or more helpful from what the other 4 doctors had told me (2 of those doctors being Reproductive Endocrinologists), I had no interest in seeing him. She was very nice to me and just said, "Oh, hunny, you don't have to do anything you're not ready to do. You just call when you're ready to see him". So, I called a few days later because I did have a couple questions, you know, with this being my 5th miscarriage.

So, back to today. I pulled in the parking lot of the office and instantly I felt this immense sadness. I wasn't there for the reason I wanted to be there. I wasn't there for the reason I should be there. I walked in and what is the first thing I see? A pregnant woman, probably 4-6 months standing up with her husband's hand on her belly. It didn't matter where I sat, I was in an office full of pregnant women. A cruel reminder of what I had lost.

I went back to the exam room and didn't have to wait very long. Within a few minutes the dr was in there giving me his condoloences for my loss. He said to me that one of the things he disliked most about his job was seeing a woman like me, who wanted so much to be pregnant and become a mom and who had been thru so much, and then to go into the next room and have a patient who was pregnant and didn't want to be, or didn't appreciate it, or couldn't care for herself or the children she already had. It just wasn't fair he said, and I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The non-existent nursery

We have a spare room in our house. For the first few years, it was used as extra storage. There was junk in there and old furniture. Then, we cleaned it out and it became our dogs' room. We put their blankets in there and cleaned all of the other stuff out. And it just stayed the dogs room with the intention that it was someday going to be a nursery.

With every pregnancy, I would go into the spare room and see the empty space and I would envision the color of the walls. I knew we wouldn't paint pink or blue because we decided not to find out the gender early. I knew we wouldn't paint pastel yellow or green because those were overdone. I found some crib bedding online that I really liked. It was ABC, 123 themed and had little owls in like an aqua and tan color. And there was some orange or peach. Those would be the colors of the walls. The crib would be a natural color wood or white. I pictured a rocker in the corner by the window and that is where I would rock our baby, by the light of the moon and the twinkling of the stars and I would say nursery rhymes and sing little songs to put him or her to sleep. The rhymes and songs that my mom used to say to me:

CiCi my playmate, come out and play with me
Bring your dolly three
Climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rainbow into my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends forever more
Shut the door

I would go in there, in the middle of the night, when the baby woke up crying and rock him back to sleep, or maybe stay up for hours with a screaming baby because they don't always go back to sleep so easily. And maybe the dogs would be curled up on the big area rug next to the crib, you know for protection.

There would be a shelf on the wall with the first ultra sound picture and the first picture of the three of us in the hospital together. And on the opposite wall would be big hanging letters spelling out his or her name.

I used to imagine all of that. And I never did anything with the room because I didn't want to put a lot of work into just to have to re-do it all when I finally got pregnant and had a baby. And now, there is no reason for it to stay empty; there is no reason to keep imagining that nursery.

After my miscarriage was confirmed last week, that nursery I had been imagining was replaced with an idea for a more realistic guest room. I decided that I couldn't stand to look at that empty room any more and I needed to start decorating it right away. I had to do something productive with all of the rage and sadness and grief that I was feeling, so I went shopping. I went out and bought a big grey area rug and picked out a silvery-lavender color for the walls and dark purple curtains. And I decided that instead of a crib, I would buy a futon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

5th Miscarriage

It's really hard sometimes to see life still going on around me. I think because I am hurting and sad and grieving that time should stop, just for a little while. I want to throw a pity party for myself and just stay in my bed. And then I feel selfish because I know there are things in this world that happen that are so much worse then what I am going through. And I also know that there are very happy things that are happening that I should be celebrating, but then it feels like I am betraying the loss that I just had.

This has been an extremely hard week for me. Very emotionally draining. This was the 5th time I got pregnant. Completely unexpected. And because it was completely unexpected, there was a little teeny-tiny piece of me that thought and hoped and prayed this was going to be the baby that was meant to be (and of course, I thought the other 4 babies were the babies that were meant to be). When the nurse told me I was pregnant, I just started sobbing. I told her she had to be wrong. This couldn't be possible because we weren't trying and I wasn't being monitored. But the test was positive and I was pregnant. I tried to stay cautious and I was never really happy, I mean how could I be? It was just instant fear because of all of the complications and losses we had already experienced. Every woman who wants to be a mom should be able to feel nothing but happiness and joy and excitement when they are told they are pregnant.

When will I get to feel that? When will it be my turn to have a happy, healthy pregnancy and baby? When will it be our turn to be parents? When will we get to see our baby on an ultrasound and hear a heartbeat and feel a kick and plan a shower and decorate a nursery? When will we get to bring our baby home and build our family?

Maybe never. When I lost this last pregnancy, I lost so much more then the physical aspect. I lost part of who I was and the last little bit of hope I had that we would ever be parents; that I would ever be a mom. I know people want to tell me that it will happen some day, somehow. But if that were true, wouldn't it have been one of the last five times I got pregnant? The truth is, that just because I want to be a mom more than anything, and just because I feel like I was meant to be a mom and that I was meant to raise children with my husband, that doesn't mean it will happen. There might be lots of ways to have a family, but those ways don't work for everyone. They're not a reality for everyone.

5 years of trying to conceive and 5 losses just seems like a sign, a very sad sign, but a sign.

Join the Movement-I am joining the movement and you can too

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and I am joining the movement. Over 7 million people suffer from the reproductive disease of infertility. I am one of those 7 million people. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 5 years and have been thru 5 miscarriages. The most recent one was confirmed last Monday, 4/15. While the pain of that is still very fresh and my emotions are still very raw, I know that I can't let it pass by without talking about it. I am not going to be silent because that is what so many people in the infertility community do. We stay silent.

We stay silent out of fear of judgement. We stay silent out of the shame we think we have to feel. We stay silent because we don't want to make other people uncomfortable. We stay silent because we think we must somehow have deserved to have the precious gift that was given to us taken away. We stay silent because we think its supposed to be a private matter. We stay silent for lots of reasons. But 7 million people staying silent gives infertility a lot of power. How can we, in the infertility community, expect to get support from those who love us and from those who can make a difference like doctors and insurance companies and law makers, if we don't give them a chance to support us? If we don't give them a chance to join the movement?

If you want to support me, if you want to support National Infertility Awareness Week, if you want to support the over 7 million people who are battling the dream crushing-heartbreaking-devastating-emotion draining-hope stealing-kick me in the face while I'm down jerkface infertility, then join the movement. Check out these links:

Thank you for reading this. It means a lot to me that you care enough to visit my blog.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Infertility isn't ha-ha funny

I chose the title for my blog because sometimes I just have to laugh. It's not a ha-ha funny. It's more of an "I can't believe this is happening to ME" kind of funny. It's an "I can't believe this situation" kind of funny. It's an "If I don't laugh, I'll cry" kind of funny.

I chose the title because if I think back far enough, there were signs of my infertility long before I knew to look for those signs, and long before we started "trying" to have children. It's funny that we spent so much time being careful to not get pregnant because there were so many other priorities, and now that we're ready, its not happening.

I chose the title because its funny that what seems so easy for everyone else, is so the opposite of easy for us.

Sometimes I feel like if I don't find something about my infertility to laugh at, I will just cry and believe me, I have done my share of that.

Why I'm writing this blog

I'm writing this blog for a few reasons. To tell my story, to help myself heal, and most importantly to educate, inform and bring awareness to infertility, a medical condition that affects over 7 million people in the U.S.

I'm writing this blog to be a voice for a medical condition that is very quiet. I'm writing this blog to be a voice for a community that is often very quiet. I'm writing this blog to bridge a gap between us (the infertile myrtles) and them (the fertile myrtles).

I'm writing this blog because I am tired of feeling ashamed and guilty and inferior because I am infertile. I don't know where my journey with infertility is going to take me, or where/when it is going to end, but I do know that I'm not doing myself or anyone else any favors by not being open and honest about it, so welcome to my blog.