Sunday, March 31, 2013

When pride goes out the door, hope enters

One of the things that has become clear over the past month is there is no pride in infertility treatments. When a backless hospital gown becomes a part of your regular wardrobe and the majority of your conversations with your doctor happen while your feet are in stirrups you realize that your modesty is long gone. Perhaps the most surprising revelation has been that in the midst of letting go of my pride I've found this crazy burst of hope. With every pill, patch, blood draw, exam and shot, I feel that we are one step closer to starting our family. 

For too long in the back of my head I have held onto my worst case scenario mindset. "We'll do this treatment, but when it doesn't work, we'll move onto xyz." I don't know if it's the estrogen talking or a for real shift in thinking.  But I'm planning to embrace hope.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to terrify a salesman...a case study

Last week while shopping at Home Depot, I was approached by an eager young salesman. He had a clipboard in hand and enthusiasm in his eyes and began to tell me about the "amazing opportunity" he had for today's Home Depot customers. He was excited and likely thought I would be an easy mark, so I politely let him finish his spiel. The deal was simple, sign up today for a free in home consultation to have my kitchen cabinets replaced.  

I thanked him for the information, but told him that I wasn't interested. Here's how the rest of the conversation went:

Salesman: Can I ask why you aren't interested?

Me: It's just not a good time, but I appreciate the information.

Salesman: But we're offering a limited time offer of a free consult and can complete the install of your new cabinetry within 3 days!

Me: I just don't think I can have my kitchen torn apart right now, but thank you. (Inching away and towards the exit)

Salesman: You can still use your kitchen during the install.  Did I mention we're offering special financing today to our loyal Home Depot customers?

Me: Okay, I'm going to be honest with you. I'm undergoing infertility treatments, and spending a small fortune to do so. The last thing I should do is add a demolished kitchen to the cocktail of hormones I'm taking.

Salesman: (once he picked up his jaw from the floor) Ummm, I...I've never had that response before.  Ummm, good luck with that. Have a nice day ma'am. 

That's right, I got "ma'am-ed" but I also didn't have to hear any more pushy sales tactics.   Feel free to use this the next time you get a telemarketing call during dinner or get cornered in a store. I'm wondering what other uncomfortable situations this could neutralize...parking tickets? 

Pop Quiz!

Guess who has two thumbs and an awesome uterus? This girl!

This week I had more "lady doctor" visits than any one person should have in a year. After 2 hysteroscopies, one ultrasound, a doppler exam and trial embryo transfer, the doctors and nurses agree that my uterus is a great place for an embryo! So far the mock cycle has been a success. I've responded well to the pills and hormone patches and things are moving forward as planned.

We're headed into the final week of the mock cycle and now the fun part begins...the injections.  The awesome nursing staff taught Ken how to deliver the shots with what I hope will be minimal discomfort and even drew circles on my rear with a magic marker so he has targets. I'm very thankful Ken isn't squeamish about needles and is up to the task!

Eyes on the prize! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Infertility FAQ

When we have chosen to share our infertility story, we are often asked the same questions.  If you have other questions about infertility or want more resources on how to support the people in your life struggling with infertility, please check out these resources at RESOLVE.

Q) Why can't you get pregnant on your own? 

A) I have a severely diminished ovarian reserve.  Basically, my eggs are kaput.  The doctors don't know why this is the case.  I'm fortunate to have a healthy uterus, but don't have the necessary healthy eggs to conceive and sustain a pregnancy.

Q) Why don't you just forget it and adopt? There are so many babies out there who need homes.
A) We are not opposed to adoption, and for many it is a happy resolution to infertility.  We want to explore medical treatment prior to considering adoption.  I would really like the opportunity to experience pregnancy, child birth and nursing. 

Q) Why don't you just relax? Take a vacation and drink some wine, that's how we got pregnant!
A) While relaxation is important, infertility is a disease of the reproductive system.  The stress and emotions felt are the result of infertility, not the cause of it.

Q) Do you think this is God's way of telling you that you two aren't meant to be parents?
A) I don't know God's plan, but I do know what loving parents Ken and I will be and we are pursuing all our options to create our family.

A Few Good Eggs

While this blog title might conjure images of Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson battling it out, this post isn't about a dramatic court marshal scene in A Few Good Men. It's about me sharing my truth. That truth is that I struggle with infertility, and I mean struuuuugle. Some of you reading this have been a part of this journey from the beginning and some of you will be surprised about the candor in the contents to follow. Consider yourself warned! :) 

Six and a half years ago, I married the best guy and after attending a toddler's birthday party a mere 6 months after our wedding, we decided we wanted to start a family. Throwing caution (and birth control) to the wind, we were sure that within months we would be welcoming a baby into our 600 sq ft apartment. Almost a year later, no baby had arrived. We weren't too concerned yet. We had recently relocated to Colorado from Texas and were settling in to new jobs and a new life and assumed the timing was just off. After a four month trial on Clomid, my doctor recommended turning to a specialist. I still don't think we had grasped that there might be a problem. Infertility happens to other people, right?

We met with our reproductive specialist for the first time in the fall of 2009. He came highly recommend by our friends who had just welcomed a beautiful baby girl thanks to his help. After getting over the initial giggles that the man who was going to help us conceive was named Dr. Bush, we got down to business. We both underwent multiple tests and learned a new language from diagnosticians and nurses and after much poking and prodding sat down to receive our results. The bottom line was that at 30 years old, I was out of good eggs. For unexplained reasons, I had a "severely diminished ovarian reserve." This was a crushing blow. I ugly cried in front of our doctor while Ken held my hand and slid me tissue after tissue. Why was my body failing me just as I was ready to start a family? It wasn't fair. I wanted what seemed to come so easily to so many others. I was angry, frustrated and disappointed in myself and my inability to do what women are made to do. It was just so hard.

Our doctor was very direct with us. The odds of conceiving without assisted reproductive technology (ART) was very low. He recommended that we try IUI as our first treatment because of its (relatively) low cost, and because we might get lucky. We saved up for a few months and got ready to do the treatment in the summer of 2010. In this window of time I poured myself into preparing to get pregnant. I began weekly acupuncture treatments, drank disgusting tinctures and herbal teas, listened to soothing music, tried fertility yoga and had a Mayan abdominal massage. I was READY! We went through one round of IUI and weren't successful. After many tears and shaking an empty angry fist at God, I made the call that I needed a break from "trying". Since 6 months into our marriage, I had counted cycle days, scheduled sex and spent a small fortune peeing on sticks.  Enough was enough.

We spent the next year and a half living the DINK life: buying our first home, taking trips, and drinking fantastic microbrews all over Colorado.  It was a nice break, but at the end of the day I still longed to be a mommy and start our family. We returned to Dr. Bush to get his opinion on how we should move forward. He told us our best option for conceiving would be to pursue IVF with egg donation. After much consideration and saving, we have begun the treatment process.

A dear friend recently encouraged me to share my story and be transparent with what we are going through.  It is my hope that sharing will help me get through the process (its amazing how cathartic just writing this blog has been!) and may help others in the same situation.  

So, now you know the background on what we hope is going to be our happy ending. The blogs to follow will keep you posted on our treatment and will hopefully evolve into a pregnancy blog in the months to come.  Thank you for your support!