Monday, August 30, 2010

another weekend in an infertile's paradise

The universe's ability to kick me when I'm down seems to be getting worse. For instance, I missed my therapy session on Saturday morning because I wrote down the wrong time. Then, I went to acupuncture, where I let me sweet doctor convince me that I could possibly be pregnant. I promptly drove home and peed on an OPK, the only kind of stick left in the house.

An empty circle.

AF responded by arriving during Joey and I's first dinner date in months: right before the couple next to us with the adorable little boy asked if we "had any of [our] own."

Nice, huh?

I can't blame the couple, though. It's not like I walk around with a sign tattooed on my head:

No, I can't have children. Yes, I do relax.

On the bright side, dinner was wonderful. I'm already looking forward to this weekend, when it looks like we'll be taking a little trip up to Gainesville for the first Gator game and then to Savannah for the rest of the weekend with friends of ours.

Joey is feeling good, for those of you who asked. His stomach is improving. He even managed a beer this weekend (shhhhh . . . no one tell his doctor). And he's fine from the car accident. The car is still at the shop. We are supposed to have it back at the end of the week. It has a lot of structural damage, but it's nothing the dealership can't fix.

That's about it for the weekend recap. One week of grad classes down, and I already have a ton of homework. I'll have to do a whole separate post on grad school. And maybe a Danica update. I think she's hit the terrible twos stage!

Happy Monday. Or, for me, happy CD2 of cycle #29. Is someone going to throw me a party when I hit cycle #30?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the lonely orchid

Since May of 2008, trying to have a baby has consumed my life. From the way I eat to the way I sleep, “baby” is always on my mind.

As much as the dream of having a baby is still alive, it’s nice to hide it in the back corner of my closet. It’s not dusty and covered in cobwebs (I don’t think I can ever let it get to that point), but I pull it out just a tiny bit less every day. Will I ever get to the point where I can go one hour without thinking about infertility?

I don’t know.

But I’m trying my best to divert my focus. This is the main goal I have for myself, and the main goal my therapist has for me. She said:

You are in the middle of a field filled with beautiful flowers. There are gorgeous lilacs all around you. But you don't see any of them. All you see is this one, rare orchid in the distance. You are so focused and so determined to get to that orchid, that you don't see the beauty surrounding you.

She's right.

I have tunnel vision.

When I'm out and about, I like to glance around at younger couples. So full of bliss and life, they are what we used to be: innocent and naive. I try to remember what it was like to not feel so jaded and worn. I try to remember what it was like when I thought a night of passion could lead to a child. Or not. And I didn't care. I try to remember what it was like to live carefree. I try to remember what it was like when all of my friends and family members supported me. To think that everyone would be there to hold my hand during the tough times. I try to remember what it was like to have complete and total faith in a higher power. In karma. In "good things happen to those who wait."

Each day is a daily struggle for me to look beyond the orchid and remember how to believe in all of these things: happiness, love, innocence, and the good in humanity.

How do I gain each of these back after infertility has slowly taken them away?

How do I undo the tunnel vision?

I am trying to take in the sight and smell of the beautiful lilacs that surround me, instead of tearing them down on my quest for that orchid. It's a work in progress. I know it's not supposed to happen overnight, but it's a burden I am tired of bearing. Realistically, I know that it will never truly end until that orchid is in my hand. Like an addict, it is physically painful for me to turn my back on what I so desperately crave. But I have to. Concentrating on the lilacs is what is keeping me alive. It's what keeps me moving.

The orchid will come.

I have to believe that the orchid will come.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

you're number one

The universe has decided to tell us that we are number one. And not in a good way.

After reading my depressing blog post yesterday, the universe decided it would be fun to fuck up my day even more.

Joey got into a car accident.

He's okay. We aren't sure about the Jeep. The tow truck wasn't able to drop it off at the dealership's collision center until almost nine last night, so they were already closed. We should hear from them, as well as the insurance appraiser, sometime today. 

It was Joey's fault. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't angry. But truthfully, I was/am mostly angry at our luck. It gets back to the fact that nothing ever goes right for us.

So this morning, I'd like to ask the universe a big favor:

GIVE US A FUCKING BREAK ALREADY, WOULD YOU?

Thanks for indulging me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

things I don't understand

Why I can never catch a break.
Why I haven't completely lost it yet.
Why people who don't want kids have them.
Why some people can just decide to have kids and get pregnant.
Why others have to wait months or years for their gift.
Why people who have kids don't appreciate them.
Why it matters what gender your child is.
Why pregnant women complain.
Why pregnant infertiles forget.
Why I have to go through another holiday season infertile.
When I'm going to get what I deserve.
When my heart is ever going to stop hurting.
When enough is enough.
When I am going to get my happy ending.

Monday, August 23, 2010

square one

I turned down the job.

I know it was the right thing to do. 

So why do I feel so yucky?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

torn

I am the worst decision maker. Ever.

When my husband asks me where I want to go for dinner, it can take me up to an hour to figure it out.

When it came time to make decisions about infertility treatments, I often went back and forth from one choice to another, not sure which path was the right one for us.

Now, I (potentially) face another choice.

The, um, meeting went well. I think some of you were able to read between the lines and figure out that it was a meeting about a job. You were right. The position is everything I thought it would be, and I enjoyed speaking to both of the ladies who interviewed me. Let's just say that this would be the perfect stepping stone to a career in library studies after I earn my master's degree.

So, you may wonder why there is a choice to make.

It involves money.

You know, growing up I learned that money isn't everything. This saying became a joke when we started going through infertility treatments. Money IS everything when it comes to your body not working and wanting to have a baby. And when it came time to make a decision about IVF, money played a dominant role in our final verdict.

Now, I'm faced with an opportunity that is strong in the long run. But in the short run? I'm going to be perfectly honest: the pay is at least $13,000 less a year than what I make now. That's not just a small pay cut. That's a significant decrease. Combine this with the fact that Joey is likely going to part time in the spring because he'll have a full course load.

Yeah. Not good.

And what about living our lives? Isn't that a major reason we decided not to pursue IVF? We wouldn't be able to live much of a life taking that kind of pay cut. And what about the dream of having a baby? I would have to stop acupuncture. We'd also have to stop trying naturally. I'm willing to give up medical intervention, but I'm not willing to give up any chance at all.

This is a tough decision. I'm torn between doing what I want to do for the rest of my life and having money with which to live my life. There's a secret piece of me that hopes and prays I'm not offered the position.

This way, I don't have to say what I know in my head is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

i'm not dead

Just swamped. I sincerely apologize for the lack of comments this week. Between off-site meetings at work and prepping for grad school classes, I'm spent. It's only Wednesday, and my mind and body feel like they do on a Friday evening. In short, I feel dead. Do you forgive me?

Obviously, I haven't had time to post, either. But here's the gist of what's going on:
  • I'm officially in the 2WW. Today is 5 DPO. It feels so weird to type that! My acupuncturist was excited to hear this news, as was my therapist. Both did a little happy dance for me. It was a good feeling. It still is.
  • Classes start on Monday. I am taking two courses: History of Reading and Foundations of the Information Professions. (My program is Library and Information Studies.) At the risk of sounding like a complete nerd, I'm both excited and nervous to start school again. My courses are on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 8 to 10 pm.
  • Joey is feeling much better. He went in for blood work this morning, but his upper GI and ultrasound are still scheduled for next Thursday. The medications and adjustments with his diet seem to help.
  • My neighbor still sucks, and we had to complain about him AGAIN to our HOA. This makes three months, about ten complaints, countless letters, and now three very hefty fines for the homeowner. We are at the point where, if nothing continues to change, we may seek legal representation. There are only so many sleepless nights (and driving to work after those sleepless nights) we can take.
There is one more thing going on that's a little more exciting, but I don't feel comfortable posting it yet. What I can say is that it's good, and it's happening on Friday morning. So if everyone could keep their fingers crossed about this "meeting," I would appreciate it. 

I promise to put up a real post at some point this week and catch up on all of my commenting. Pinky promise.

Friday, August 13, 2010

dancing into the weekend

Wow. Thank you all so much! I can honestly say I've never seen so many people excited about my pee on a stick. And, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever been so excited myself about peeing on a stick.

Yesterday was CD 14, which means that the egg will drop sometime between yesterday and CD 16. I'm still in shock, but relieved to know that (thanks to acu!) my body is working again. My acupuncturist will be so happy to hear this news, too. Funny, I don't even care if I don't get pregnant. I'm just thrilled to know that I ovulated, sans pills and injections. It's amazing to no longer feel broken.

And thank you all for the good thoughts and prayers for Joey. He's on several different medications and feeling a little better, which is good considering that they can't get him in for an upper GI until August 26. Do you believe that? Apparently, coughing up blood and vomiting is not considered urgent. For now, we wait it out.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! It doesn't take a genius to figure out what we'll be doing . . .

Thursday, August 12, 2010

breaking news

This just in:

Tonight, I got my first positive ovulation test in over 1.5 years, and only my second one ever.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for someone who doesn't ovulate on their own. It means that acupuncture is working. It means that my efforts aren't going to waste.

It means that, though small, there still is a chance this can happen on its own. 

The smiley face says it all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

busy bee

The great thing about having an empty uterus and a broken heart is that I don't have much time to think about either right now. Life is on autopilot going about 100 mph, and I'm busy focusing my energy on other things.

Last night, I officially became a RESOLVE volunteer with the Central Florida chapter. I'm very excited about this. It's an ideal way for me to be involved in this community in a different capacity than I am with blogging. I've attended the meetings for about a year now and have grown very close with my support group leader. My entry into volunteering was a mutual thing: she hinted that she needed help, and I was waiting for the hint. Next month will be my first big event: I'll be working the RESOLVE table at The 6th Annual Paths to Parenthood Conference. So if you live in the area, stop by and say hey. I'll be the one looking extremely nervous

We're planning trips! One is already booked: we are going to visit my brother in Atlanta in mid-October. I'm excited to meet some of his college buddies and go to my first Georgia Tech football game (the first Saturday in a long time that I won't be wearing orange and blue). We are also getting ready to book our flights to Knoxville in early November to see Joey's sister and her boyfriend. And, since we made a "one big trip a year" pact, we decided on a location for next year's vacation: San Francisco and Napa. Neither of us has been to either place, so we are looking forward to it. We plan on going around the same time of year we went to New York, in late May, to celebrate our anniversary and Joey's birthday, but we have to wait to book anything until we get our official school schedules straightened out for spring and summer semesters.

My first semester of graduate school starts in less than two weeks, and registration is on Monday. I haven't been in school in over three years. Will I remember how to write a college-level paper? Am I truly ready for the 18 hours a week of "homework" I will need to complete? I don't know. But, I do know that I'm excited and looking forward to the challenge. Please remind me of this statement this time next month when I'm whining about group projects and a full DVR.

Speaking of school, I'm proud to announce that my husband earned his AA degree! He's worked so long and hard to achieve this, and I couldn't be more excited for him. Because the deadline to enroll in UCF's orientation passed, he won't be able to start on his BA until the spring. He's a little disappointed, but I keep reminding him that the semester off is good for him before he starts again with a full course load. Plus, this means he can keep Danica company on the two night a week that I'm in class.

Danica is just as happy and wonderful as ever. We've had her for less than two months, but it's hard to remember what life was like before she came home with us. She's incredibly loving. At first, she was more affectionate with Joey than with me, but now she loves to love on me. When she wakes up in the morning and Joey puts her on the bed, she immediately plops herself down on my chest, puts her paws on my face, and buries her head in my neck. She isn't a replacement for a child, but I am so glad we have her. We love her to death!

Finally, I have to ask for some good thoughts. Joey hasn't been feeling well lately, and yesterday he broke down and went to the doctor after coughing up blood. He goes in for an upper GI and an abdominal ultrasound sometime early next week.

We hope it's nothing serious. But the way things roll around here with our health, I'm not going to make any assumptions.

Monday, August 9, 2010

when push comes to shove

This weekend, I attended my first therapy session in almost two years.

The first five to ten minutes were pure torture. I spent that time dodging her suggestions as to which doctor I should see next and why I shouldn't wait too long for treatment since I'd just gotten my laparoscopy in February. Finally, I politely but firmly reiterated that I did not want to see any more doctors right now, and that we were not ready to take the step to IVF. 

After that, she was great. She went through infertility herself, so she understood my anger and pain. She also understood and didn't judge when I admitted that part of my hesitation to move forward was financial. In reality, it would be easier for me to push through with IVF insurance covered it and if all I had to worry about were my emotions. But that isn't all I would have to worry about, so I must accept that this is part of what's telling me to stop. Together we outlined a loose plan to help me get off the couch and back onto my feet. 

Overall, I was pleased with the rest of the session, but her initial questions and comments about my desire to put on the brakes got me thinking: Why are people so insistent on pursuing fertility treatments? 

And not just pursuing them, but pursuing them immediately. I'll admit it: I've been overly encouraging sometimes when it comes to suggesting that friends see this fertility doctor or try this medication. Looking back, I'm embarrassed at myself, and I sincerely apologize if you are one of the people who I pushed to do or try one thing or another. Because now that I'm on the other side, I understand what it's like to feel pressured. To have someone say, "You shouldn't wait," even though every part of my mind and body is telling me that I should. It's a tight rope we walk on, and only we know how best to balance ourselves so that we don't fall and get hurt.

My theory is that some people push because they think that by not moving forward, it's a sign of giving up. I think that others push because they don't know how to stop or say no.

Why do you think that people try to talk themselves or others into further (or initial) treatment?

Friday, August 6, 2010

let there be cake

"I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy." -- Mean Girls

Happy 300th 200th Friday Blog Roundup! If you don't know what the Roundup is, go check out (the amazingly fabulous) Mel's blog and then come back and see me.

---

I've always said that life events or crises teach you who your true friends are, and I've found this to be true with infertility. When doctors first diagnosed us with infertility over a year and a half ago, I had no one to turn to. Most friends and family members didn't understand what we were going through and what we were about to face. They are fertile. They don't know what it's like to go crazy because they aren't able to fulfill their motherly or fatherly instinct. They don't know what it's like to go for broke in every aspect of your life to have a child. They don't know what it's like to cry until your body shakes after a failed cycle or a miscarriage. They can smile and try to lend a hand (or make completely inappropriate comments), and then just like that, they move on. But we don't move on. We carry this burden day in and day out.

When I began blogging, I had no idea that there was such a large community whose members were going through the exact same things we were going through. I credit Mel for this. If it weren't for her blog, I wouldn't know many of you. I would have never read your stories, felt your pain, or had your support--and all of those things have been vital in making me who I am today as a blogger and as a person.

Each of you is more than a friend. We are a family. We laugh together and cry together. Sometimes we disagree, but at the end of the day, I know I can come on here and pour my heart and soul onto this page without fear that someone will judge me, or think I'm insane, or try to talk me out of one decision or another. It's easy to get wrapped up in thinking that you and your partner are the only couple in the world that is facing this. But reading your blogs and your comments reminds me that we are not alone. We are millions strong: united we stand and divided we fall. My hope is that we always remember where we came from, and we always value each other's worth.

To those of you reading this who have been there to support me at any point on this journey: thank you. Thank you for not being a mean girl, and for filling my cake with rainbows and smiles so that my darkest days may not be so dark. And thank you to Mel. As much as it sucks being infertile, it's people like you who make me love being a part of this community. Cheers to you and happy birthday to the Roundup.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the morning after: picking up the pieces

How do you pick up the pieces of a shattered dream?

I'm not quite sure where to begin at this point. I feel as if I'm staring at piles of puzzle pieces. There are thousands of them, and each one represents a part of me and a part of my life. My task is to put the puzzle back together again. But what if some of the pieces are missing forever? What if I can never get those parts of my life back? What if I simply can't put it back together the way it's supposed to be? What if it takes me the rest of my life to solve this puzzle?

I have so many questions swimming in my head. And I have to learn that not all of them can be answered.

I thought that a logical first step in solving this jigsaw might be to find a therapist. I know that therapy may not be able to glue me back together, but it's a start. I spent the earlier part of this week researching therapists in my area who have extended hours and who specialize in infertility. I also wanted a woman. No offense to any men who read this blog (probably just my husband), but we all know women process infertility differently than men. I need someone who understands my physical yearning to carry a child.

My first appointment is Saturday, after my acupuncture appointment. I need this. I've needed this for a long time. I went to therapy at the beginning and stopped. I thought I was doing well, doing better. But I'm not. Yet another thing I must accept that.

It's tough admitting that I need help. It's tough admitting that I am not ready mentally and emotionally for the next steps. It was difficult enough for me to say this to myself, let alone to my husband. And then to post it here, for hundreds of people to read. To sit down and write, "I'm a fucking headcase because I can't have a baby. What now?" Instead of getting easier, each day proves more difficult. Each day there are more reminders of what I don't, and may never, have.

How can a decision be so right yet so painful at the same time?

That might be the most difficult question yet.

Monday, August 2, 2010

let go

Joey and I made a big decision this weekend. It is a decision that may or may not change the rest of our lives forever.

We are not going to pursue IVF, at least not in the near future.

As difficult as this is to write, I need to put down my thoughts. I need to find some way to spew all of the emotions that I've been trying to sort through and put them into coherent sentences.

The truth is, I've been feeling less and less excited about the possibility of IVF over the last few weeks. This weekend I finally admitted to Joey that I just don't know if I'm ready for this. IVF is a huge gamble. By gamble, I don't necessarily mean financially. I mean with my heart. My heart is broken.

After more than two years and four IUIs, I (as a person) am broken. 

This break has given me the chance to sort out these feelings and begin to accept the fact that I may never be a mom. It hurts so much, but I think going through IVF and possibly coming out on the other side with no baby would hurt ten times worse. At this point, I fear that a failed IVF might push me to the point of no return. I can't handle that now or anytime soon. Infertility has already changed me in so many ways. It's taken a long time and a lot of work to get to the point I am at now: where I am not angry every single day, where I can attend a baby shower or event every once in a while without having a complete mental breakdown, where I can genuinely smile as a person talks about their pregnancy or baby. I think about what I would be like if we did this and it didn't work, and it's impossible to bear. Recovery from that would take a long, long time.

It might sound selfish, but I need to put my health first--mental and physical. It's not just about my emotions. It's about my body. Physically, I'm exhausted, and I'm not well. Acupuncture is helping, but I think it's going to take time for me to feel normal again. My body is not a good place for a baby right now, which is probably part of the reason why we can't get pregnant. Deep in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, "What if this new lump in my breast just doesn't go away and I need another surgery? Is it really smart to keep going through fertility treatments when this keeps happening?" I know the risks. I know they are low, but they are still there. And with my family history and what's gone on in my own body over the past two years, I fear that I might be pushing my limits right now. Spending the last few months without hormones or drugs in my body has felt incredibly liberating. I want to keep feeling this way.

And we need time as a couple. Our marriage is not in trouble by any means, but I miss being just us: a couple who does not have to save every penny and stress every detail about baby-making procedures that, time after time, leave us disappointed. We need to live for a while. It doesn't mean we won't try naturally, and I'll continue to see my acupuncturist. But it just means that IVF is off the table at this point in our journey. As for adoption, that's really not on our radar right now, either. It may never be. I don't know. My goal is to take things one at a time.

I hurt. Like hell, I hurt. The pain that I feel at this very moment is impossible to put into words. I feel as if something died, and in a way something did. I would be lying if I said that this didn't kill a part of me, if I said that admitting this made everything better. But I would also be lying if I didn't admit to myself and everyone else that I can't do this right now.

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go."