Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Club

For the first year of our journey, the only people who knew we were trying to conceive were my mom, my brother and a very close friend.  To my knowledge I had only one friend who had any struggle with getting pregnant .  Only 1 needed Clomid and after taking it for a few months was pregnant.  Everyone else I knew, friends and family, were able to get pregnant simply because they wanted to (or in some cases by accident).  I felt alone and during this time reached for empathy from message boards and blogs.  Knowing there were others in our shoes was helpful, but for me was not the same as knowing someone in our shoes.

As we began to explore the world of diagnostics and treatment I began to open up more with people at work.  There I discovered were men and women who had previously walked or had recently walked in our shoes.  These fellow educators were no stranger to IUI, IVF, drugs and other aspects of IF that those in mine inner circle were happy to listen to me drone on about, but didn't "get it".  The role I play at work is supervisory and while I get along well with these fellow educators I hesitated to 100% accept their invitations to talk whenever I needed to in the name of professionalism.  Additionally, all of these men and women were "on the other side" and had one or more children to call their own.

At about this same time, we decided to find a church and through church joined a small community group.  As I am sure God had planned, our group included a couple struggling with IF.  Their struggles are in a different vein in that they have experienced multiple miscarriages, but for the first time I was able to commiserate with a fellow IFer in person, over wine, whenever I needed.

Over the last year I have come to discover a few more friends who are walking their own IF journey.  I generally think of clubs as organizations people choose to join, but for some reason or another the words "Welcome to the club" comes to mind.  While this is not a club I ever would joined of my own volition I can say with certainty that I have discovered the following about the members of my local chapter:
  • They are tough as nails.  Even through their tears, there's a sense of hope and perseverance.
  • They are always willing to lend a listening ear and to share their perspective.
  • They are willing to answer any questions if it helps another on their path.
I am glad to have them in my life.  This stage of life would have been much bleaker without the club.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Waiting Game

I was at a doctor's office today.  A not-so-patient patient became agitated and went up to the receptionist to make the her aware that the appointment had been scheduled to begin at 9:50, she had gotten there 5 minutes earlier, and now it was 10:20 with a look that said "Now what are you going to do about it?".

I imagine the receptionist wanted to point out to her:

a.  I am not the doctor.
b.  I have no control over his schedule.
c.  You do realize you are in a doctor's office, right?

The not-so-patient patient ended her brief, but passionate, rant with a haughty "Well, that's not right.".   In retrospect I have been in the not-so-patient patient's shoes.  For the better part of three years I have become frustrated with the waiting game that is infertility.  First there is the bane of women TTC everywhere--the dreaded 2 week wait.

I can download an entire book to my Nook in less than 10 seconds.  I can make a nutritious dinner for two in less than 10 minutes.  I can travel from my home on the east coast to Hawaii in less than 10 hours.  However, it takes 14 days for my body to decide whether or not it is pregnant.  In our instantaneous society this part of the wonder of the human body feels unforgivable.

Sperm meet egg.   Egg meet sperm.  Congratulations you are now a zygote--get comfy.  Two weeks-really?!

When you multiply these 14 days times the 36 months we have been playing this waiting game, I just calculated and I have spent nearly half of the last 3 years waiting (Note:  For those of you who are good at math, I know you just rolled your eyes and said duh:). 

For a healthy part of that year and a half, I have been an agitated not-so-patient patient.  In reflection, I imagine that great receptionist who art in Heaven would love to point out to me:

a.  I am well known for my perfect timing.
b.  I will be the first to celebrate with you when it is your turn.
c.  You know I'm God, right?!

When you put it that way the only way I have left to say is "Well you got that right" and while the waiting game continues I can almost feel my haughtiness melt away.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How do you cope with hope?

I am by nature a glass is half full type of girl.  I believe in self-fulfilling prophesies and that if there is a will there is a way.  IF has tried its best to knock that kind of thinking right out of me.  There have been times IF has won and I have just assumed that pregnancy is not in the cards for us and there have been times when I have turned my thoughts to verses such as May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

But mostly there are the times that I don't know what to think or feel.  It has been awhile since I have shed tears over our plight or really felt anything other than "Yep, seems about right" when the cramps begin to roll in for a new cycle.  In reflection that mindset indicates a lack of hope and acceptance of our current state.  I now recognize that this defensive shield serves as my security blanket because until now I didn't think I could go back to that crushing feeling of defeat month after month.  I guess this defensiveness is best summarized by a word we all know well-fear.

I was never the little girl who thought there were monsters in my closet or the teenager who backed down from bullies, but I, for whatever reason, have morphed into a woman who is scared of what I may not become-a mother.  Admission is the first step right?  Well then I admit it's time to shed the blankie of nonchalance.  In order to do that I have to put my big girl pants on and re-introduce the word hope to my head and to my heart.    This will be easier said than done...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Am I Doing Here?

I was in second grade when I decided I would become a teacher.  I had received a “Teaching Kit” as an 8th birthday present and, while I cannot explain how, it solidified that plan.  Most of my work from that point revolved around caring for, educating, and doing my best to improve the lives of young children.  My first paying job was a babysitter, which  as a grew older translated to working in daycare centers and summer camp, when I was not participating in classroom observations or conducting student teaching experiences.  Upon graduation from college I took my first teaching job and over time recognized a passion for educational leadership which I felt would have a lasting impact on children beyond the walls of a single classroom and resulted in a Master’s degree in School Administration and a principalship.
            I cannot say with as much certainty the path that led me to my desire to become a mother. All I can say is that being a mother was never something I considered to not be an option.  I grew up as one of four children surrounded by a close extended family.  It never once dawned on me that my turn to become a mother may not come; however, that sense of certainty began to change in late 2010. 
As with all other aspects of my life, when my husband and I decided we were ready to have children, I was ready to hit the ground running.  My cycle was regular from the word go; however, months passed without success. Everything I read explained that it can take a healthy couple up to one year to conceive, and so month after month we waited expectantly to see if this was the month only to be systematically reminded every 26-28 days that it, in fact, was not our turn. 
            Exactly one year after we began to try to conceive, I set up an appointment and we began to undergo diagnostic testing.  Test after test showed nothing irregular, and so Clomid was offered as a possible solution.  Three months of Clomid resulted in only one late cycle which ended at day 31 with nothing but a negative pregnancy test and a lot of tears.  After the third cycle of Clomid we sought assistance from a well known RE. 
Additional testing  showed some numbers in the lower end of the normal range, but no irregularities which led to a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”.  As a result, over the next year we explored treatment in the form of IUIs, Fermera and Ovidrel, undergoing a total of three cycles (March 2012, June 2012, and  January 2013).  For each of these the numbers and timing were what they should be, so with each one our hearts were expectant to just be crushed when my cycle arrived like clockwork on day 28.
After the third failed IUI, we were told that we could undergo a fourth IUI or move down the path to IVF.  We have chosen the latter.  However, without insurance this path is going to take time as we save for the possibility of achieving a dream that many of our friends were able to achieve with barely a second thought.
For reasons that are not fully clear, God has granted us with a lot of time to think.  As a result, I am going to use some of this time to reach out to fellow travelers down this less traveled road.  Many of the blogs I read are from women who have traveled down this road, but have reached their destination.  I guess I feel it is my turn to step out and to be a voice for those of us whose destination is not yet in sight.  That is the short story long of what I am doing here.