Friday, January 30, 2009


When we hit our one year mark of TTC, we didn't head to a Reproductive Endocrinologist like most couples. Instead, we switched Gynecologists, because the closest RE is 3 hours away and not covered by insurance. So when I met my new gyno at my annual last year, I was excited to see that he was more aggressive than the last and more willing to help us. He still gave me the you're-still-both-young-and-healthy-so-I-wouldn't-worry-it's-only-been-one-year speech, but he suggested an HSG to ease my mind. After the HSG came back clear, and a few more months passed, he indulged me in a LAP even though he didn't think it was necessary. Turns out he was right, everything was once again, perfectly normal.

A few months later, and a year and a half into our journey, we headed back to my gynecologist who finally referred me to one of his colleagues who could perform an IUI for us to help mother nature along.

Enter in our current Gyno, Dr. "P".

We liked him right away. He was warm and friendly, and most importantly optimistic. After reviewing our files and our unexplained diagnosis, he gave me a prescription for 50mg of clomid and instructions to come back in a few weeks. When I returned, we did a sonogram and found a beautiful follicle measuring almost 30mm. He sent me home with a trigger shot and told me to come back the next morning for our first IUI. After the IUI was complete, he patted me on the leg and said "well, we had about 2 million sperm post wash, which is the minimum, but this should do the trick".

It didn't. And neither did the second IUI, which was performed with even less sperm.

Our story picks up after the second failed IUI, which was about 4 months ago. Since then, we have contacted an RE who was offering free consults during infertility awareness week back in October, and have been instructed to use ConceptionXR vitamins for 3 months and then return next month for a "proper" sperm analysis.

So there I was yesterday, receiving my annual exam and filling Dr. P in on what the RE had told us during our phone consult. He seemed confused, until he pulled out my charts to study the previous SA's, and finally realized that although our overall sperm count is great, our quality may not be great, and that could be where the low post-wash numbers are coming from. Then he tells us that if we visit the RE for another SA and our numbers aren't up, he wouldn't recommend any more IUI's. And at that point our best-and possibly only-chances of conceiving would be with IVF, which we've considered and will do if necessary, but still have some reservations about. And since explaining these sensitive ethical issues would be a post of it's own, here's a link to an entry in the blog Me Vs. You, called The Ethics of IVF where our exact thoughts are displayed perfectly by Rachel.

So yesterday I went in for my annual gynecologist appointment with intentions of discussing my never ending spotting issues, but instead,came out with IVF handouts, packets, and Dr. referrals. Not exactly what I expected. But then again, nothing about infertility is what I expected. Infertility itself was unexpected.

We're relieved to finally have some answers, even knowing that the odds of receiving great SA numbers next months are against us. But we also know that God is in control, and with Him, anything is possible. So now we wait, anxious to see what February's SA will hold, waiting and praying once again, for the unexpected.

“Nobody says you must laugh, but a sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, and smile through the day.”
-Ann Landers

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Not To Wear

Most women-fertile and infertile alike-are scared of maternity clothes. Scared of what they mean, what they represent, what they're made to cover up. But not me.

Ever since we started trying to start our family, I just haven't been able to bring myself to waste money on something that won't stretch over my belly when I get pregnant. I'm guilty of trying things on in the dressing room and stuffing my giant purse up under them, imagining what I'll look like with a huge pregnant stomach. Then I'll throw open the curtain, and stand back and view myself, oblivious of the sympathetic looks I'm accumulating from strangers looking at my lumpy, distorted stomach. The problem is, after two years of failed attempts, I'm still not pregnant.

But that hasn't stopped me from wearing a belly-friendly wardrobe.

I didn't really view this as disturbing until I was choosing my outfit this morning. I put on my plum eyeshadow in anticipation of wearing my favorite eggplant shirt with my distressed jeans, brown heels and vintage beaded gold and plum necklace. As I headed to the closet to grab the shirt, I noticed the tag sticking out, with Love Me Kiss Me Maternity written all over it.

As I pulled the shirt off the hanger and onto my not pregnant body, I had a flash back of my sisters baby shower a few months ago. Since it was a surprise shower, I figured she'd panic when she arrived because she wouldn't like the outfit she had on. So being the ever so anally prepared sister, I left two of my shirt-shoe-necklace-combos on my bed for her to pick from and change into.

Of course she chose the the same bold eggplant hue combo that I put on this morning. And in all of her eighth-month pregnancy glory, she filled out the shirt perfectly. Totally rocked the outfit. And that wasn't the first time my sister had borrowed a shirt-shoe-necklace combo of mine during her two pregnancies either. In fact, she was always raiding my closet before any sort of event, knowing she'd be guaranteed to find the perfect outfit to compliment her growing belly inside my overstuffed closet.

No, none of the shirts really look like maternity tops when I'm wearing them, and I'm proud to state I don't own any sort of elastic waisted maternity jeans. My addiction is limited solely to tops and dresses. Oh, and a pink tank top that in bold black letters says Pregnant, Not Fat, but don't worry, I haven't worn that yet. And in my defense, I shop mostly at Ross where the maternity tops are often sloppily mixed in with the the regular clothes, and yes, I do own regular clothes. A lot of them. But still.

After this confession I fear that Stacy and Clinton from TLC's What Not To Wear will be coming for me, the crazy girl who can't give up her 2 1/2 year old maternity wardrobe even though she's never been pregnant. I can see it now; they'd have all of my clothes displayed out on that medal rack, somewhat impressed by my regular clothes but unable to understand why in the world at least a quarter of the tops are maternity wear, criticizing my inability to let them go. Because I can't, because that would feel like I'm giving up on being pregnant. I'd sit there and cry like all the other women as they throw the tops and dresses into the big silver trash can, lecturing me on dressing to fit my "now" body, not the body I hope to have, attempting to purge me from my past addictions and instill new fashion rules into my emotionally clouded mind.

And then they'd hand me the $5,000 credit card and I'd go shopping-most likely making the rookie mistake of still picking up tops that can be worn when pregnant-and Stacy and Clinton would sit there, shaking there heads in disbelief as they watch the video footage. Eventually, they would come and get me, help me shop for appropriate attire, give me a pep-talk. Then I'd sit with Nick, argue with him about cutting off my long hair, and over to Carmindy who'd give me a makeover and the perfect "smokey eye". When they'd finished, I'd stand in front of the mirror-no doubt impressed-and check out the new me, maternity top free. And I'd be happy, I know I would.

But I'd still wish I were pregnant.

So I'm going to keep my maternity collection. I'll promise to not wear them as much, but I'm still keeping them. Because I just can't let go of the fact that I will need them someday. And when I do, they'll be there, pink Pregnant, Not Fat tank top and all.

“We live not according to reason, but according to fashion.”
-Seneca (Roman Philosopher)

Monday, January 12, 2009


Today is my twenty-sixth birthday, but I only feel eighteen.

I have to admit that as I sit here thinking back on my life, I'm not exactly where I thought I'd be at twenty-six. I'm far from it, actually. My original plan was to get married around twenty-one, start my family around twenty-two, and have all four of my beautiful children before I turned thirty. But at this rate, I'd need to get pregnant right now and pop out a baby every year for the next four years to hit that target.

Have you ever heard the saying, If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans?

So true.

I didn't get married at twenty-one, I got married at twenty-three. But I'm the luckiest girl in the world, God sent me an amazing man to take care of me for the rest of my life. I didn't get pregnant at twenty-two either, but I'm growing and changing and learning more about myself every day. And I can pretty much guarantee that I won't have those four gorgeous babies before I turn thirty either, but the older I get, the younger thirty seems to be.

So I don't mind God laughing at my plans. In fact, I'm learning to laugh with him. No matter how hard we work, we can't control and manipulate the future to be exactly as we would like it to be. But if I trust that God has a plan for me, and continue to believe that His way is better than mine, life will turn out even more beautiful than I could have imagined.

I have countless blessings to be thankful for, and I have no doubt God will continue that trend this year, so here's to year twenty-six being as amazing as the first twenty-five! I'm excited to see what He has in store for my life this year!

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
-Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

It seems like forever that I've been saying, It's been almost two years since we've been TTC. Really, after I hit that 18 month mark, it just sort of turned into almost two years in my head.

Well, now it really has been two years.

I thought I would be ok with it, that I would welcome the challenge with open arms this coming year, not at all like last year when I was sad, upset, even a little bit mad. And I was definitely bitter. But then something changed, and I spent this last year happier then ever. I enjoyed baby showers, welcomed new pregnancies, and in the midst of it all handled two failed IUI's rather nicely.

But today, as I struggle to write my feelings in this entry, I find that it still hurts. Actually hitting that two year mark proves even more devastating than the one year mark I hit last January. And I didn't expect this at all.

As my infamous spotting returns and I prepare to start my 24th cycle, thoughts from the past 2 years have come flooding back. I remember November 2006 when my husband asked me, in the middle of the theater during Charlotte's Web, if I was still on birth control. The original plan was to ditch it a year after getting married, which became six months, and here we were, at only two months. I smiled I said yes, knowing where this was going. He simply asked, "Why? I thought we were going to have a baby?" I just stared at him, trying to keep my cool and act non-chelant while I was bursting inside. And right then in there, in the midst of watching an adorable pig talk with his unlikely spider friend, we decided to secretly finish off the last pack of birth control that I had just purchased and start our new family in January of 2007.

January came, but not soon enough. I was more than happy to throw out my third and last empty pack of birth control. I spent the entire month preparing for the baby that we'd have in nine months, mentally turning the guest bedroom into a nursery, evaluating how my clothes would work as a maternity wardrobe. I'd even picked out the announcements that would go out with the sonogram picture on them, sharing our pregnancy surprise with everyone. And I'll never forget shopping with my mother in-law; passing my reflection in a store window and patting my belly while I whispered a few words to the child that I just knew was growing inside of me.

About a week before my period was due my sister called to let me know she was pregnant with her first, and I was thrilled inside to know that we would be pregnant at the same time! She would have a boy, I would have a girl, and we would make our parents grandparents together.

But it wasn't meant to be, for either of us. My sister lost that baby just a week later, about the same time my period came. We were both devastated. Fortunately for her, the very next month brought a new pregnancy, and the little boy she always wanted.

Our baby plans finally became public about 8 months later in August. I suppose I'd tried so hard to hide the pain, fear and questions for those long 8 months that I needed them released before they consumed me. It felt so good to let it out to our families, to feel their love and support lifting that weight. I came alive again, surrounded by their prayers and kind words encouraging us not to give up. But none of us had any idea how long we'd have to wait.

We're still waiting.

I debated whether or not to write this post. I know I'll look back on it tomorrow and part of me will want to erase it. Because it doesn't fit. It's not as happy as the rest of them. It doesn't match.

95% of the time I am happy, and that's a pretty good statistic from where I'm standing. But 5% of the time I'm sad, confused, frustrated and self-absorbed. I'm only human and I know it's normal to have these feelings, but I'm still embarrassed by them sometimes. I'm disappointed in myself for being disappointed, month after month. It's like I have this huge scar that I'm constantly covering up and an infertility label that I let define me, simply because I don't understand it. Sometimes I still don't believe it.

Although this post isn't as uplifting as I'd like it to be, it's not all that bad. It's raw, honest-and despite the negativity-hopeful. Because no matter how frustrated I get with this battle, I'll always have God on my side. And when I step back and take a look at the bigger picture of who I am today compared to two years ago, I'm proud to say I'm a much better person because of it. All the pain, tears, frustrations and questions have made me harder, more determined. But they've also brought compassion, honesty, and wisdom. They've improved my relationship with God and my family. And they've encouraged me to shine in the dark void of infertility, to show others-and even myself-that God can turn even the most seemingly unfair situation into something to hope for.

For 2009 I have no set resolutions to turn into broken promises, no unrealistic goals to grudgingly follow through, no senseless plans to watch fall into place-or fall apart. Just the undying hope that whatever this new year brings will continue to chip at me and soften me, making me a better, stronger person.

And a mother.

"Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings."
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross