Hello & happy 2010!
Man, I am excited about this new year! From the get-go, this year just seems hopeful and promising. For one, this year is mine & Stuart's 5 year wedding anniversary!!! I know that is not the longest marriage ever...heck, we are basically still freshman in the married world, but it is a milestone none-the-less. And one that I am excited to cross over!
I think my joy and anticipation for 2010 comes because 2009 was a very hard year for us. I feel like since I shared my heart last January, that you guys deserve a recount of our year, as I left it pretty open-ended! (Well, still not much to report, but I just want to update you where we are... I figure one update a year is not too intrusive in to my business world!)
So to jump right in.... on that post from last year, I wrote that I believe our baby will come to us "naturally". Well, the Lord is holding me to that! (And why shouldn't He?!) My human desire got the best of me and we went to a fertility specialist last spring. (This could go in to great, deep detail, so instead, I am just going to give the Cliff's Notes version with the hope that it might bring hope to just one woman reading this.)
After some testing in April, we did one month of Femara (just taking a pill), starting in May. That is basically just a different version of the medicine Clomid. We were taking that while we were in New Mexico last year, and of course I was filled with hope that the vacation would be relaxing and be our month! I was already planning our February 2010 birth. Well, not so much.
Then plans were made that the next month we would do our first IUI. Let me tell you, if you have not been getting pregnant naturally, you all but BANK ON an IUI working for you! Seriously. I even had huge, huge debates in my head how I was going to tell Stuart that the test was positive. What's more, the date that we were scheduled to take the pregnancy test was ON STUART'S BIRTHDAY! Oh yeah. Super duper plans to have this huge grand celebration. I seriously had no, what-so-ever thought that it would not work for us. Well, not so much. (And yes, his birthday afternoon was sad, but we went out that evening and had a good night!)
Okay, on to round two of IUI! This time surely, surely it would work. I started talking with women who had gone through the same procedure, and for every one of them, if they didn't get pregnant on their first IUI, they got pregnant on their second! So this time was fool proof! Well, not so much.
Also, just to share the medical side of this. To help stimulate my body to do what it needs to do, for each of the IUI's, I was on a combination of taking Clomid pills, and giving myself shots in the stomach everyday. Yeah, it sounds horrible at first, but it's amazing what you will do, and what after a couple months of going through, becomes natural!
Then the next month, because my body was not doing what it needed to do, we took a break and did not do anything medically. *Insert hope that it would happen on its own for us that month!* Well, not so much.
To give you a time line, we are now in to last September. And of course, with each month that passes, I envision my baby's new birth date. So with this September trial, I think, oh the baby will have a June birthday, just like their Daddy! My mind just goes there every month! I envision what month the baby will be born and I find something good about that particular month that the baby will come and already make that month the final due date of my baby! Anyways, so, I go in for an ultrasound before it's time to start taking medicine, everything looks good to go, except this time, since it has not been working for us, my doctor suggests that instead of combining Clomid and my shots, that we only do shots, to see if that will have better results. Well, my body kind of revolted and even though we were pumping me with meds, it took a back seat and did not do what it needed to do, so we had to call off the IUI that month.
Okay, next round! The next month, since my body did not respond the previous month, the doctor put me on new medicine entirely. It was still in the form of shots that I had to give myself, but it was totally different medicine, supposedly stronger medicine - (the doctor even gave me a couple talks of the potential of not only twins, but triplets!) So you can imagine, that if the doctor is going over the options of multiples, that surely you are hopeful that at least one baby will come from this! With this medicine, the doctor had to see me every 2 days to watch my progression to be sure that I did not over-stimulate. Nearing the time when I should be progressing, and I was not really progressing, the doctor upped my dosage to where I had to give myself one shot in the morning and one shot in the evening. Then it was time for the procedure to take place, but once again, my body did not respond the way it should have and we had to call off the IUI because the medicine did not do what it needed to do.
So by this point, of course I am basically consumed with hurt, anger, helplessness, bitterness, jealousy, and guilt. I don't know. Without diving too deep, it is amazing how during a trial, and growing period in your life, the world seems upside down. Everything you have known your whole life - joy, happiness, faith, a prayer life - everything is tested.
So after going through those months of giving myself shots but then in the end having to call off the IUI, (so the shots were for nothing!) I knew I could not do that again. Not to mention the financial stress. As much as you'd think since you are trying to bring a baby in to your family, and not just investing in something frivolous, that insurance would cover something, ANYTHING! But alas, no, and so I do think a small part of the fact that my body did not respond well is that subconsciously, I was well aware of the money pumping in to my system. So the next month we decided to just take Clomid. Good old fashioned Clomid, just a pill, and no IUI. It was somewhat stress-free knowing that all I had to do was pop one pill for just a couple days! Well, my body responded great! It did what it needed to do, and my doctor was very hopeful and amazed at my body's response to the medicine! Well, the results came in, and you guessed it...not so much.
By this point I was DONE! I can honestly say it was the darkest time of my life. I really struggled with prayer. And on top of that, up until that point, the whole time we had been seeking medical help, I struggled with "by taking medicine, am I taking it out of God's hands? But didn't God create doctors for a reason? Other women are getting pregnant after going through medical treatments, why aren't I? Are they getting pregnant only because no matter if you use medicine or not, it is still up to God? Was it still in God's plan that even though they used medicine, they were to get pregnant that particular month anyways? Is it because I am not believing God can do it naturally?"
I mean, it's amazing the thought process going through this. One minute you have hope & faith, and the next you are questioning everything! Literally, my emotions and feelings could turn on a dime. I had never experienced that before. It is tormenting at times how your mind works!
So I knew after going through all that medical stuff that we needed an indefinite break. So for November and December, we did nothing. No medical intervention at all. And slowly, my heart and mind began to repair itself. I began to pray more and believe and regain my hope and faith. I know it is different for everyone, but for me, since seeking the medical help, you feel like it is a guarantee that it should work. So when it does not work, you feel like a failure. I believe that I have been able to feel better lately because I don't have it in the back of my mind that "surely, it HAS to work this month or else I am a horrible, infertile woman!"
Anyways, for the month of January, I really had planned that if it didn't happen naturally in Nov/Dec that we would go back to the doctor in January. The time to go to the doctor came and went and I just felt a peace about not going. And since then it has been wonderful. I am starting to feel like myself again. I think this is where my renewed hope for this new year comes in.
And of course I would love to end this update with positive news, but we are still in the same boat. Although, actually a different boat all together. At the beginning of last year, I believed we would be pregnant by this time this year. I believed that our journey was coming to an end for this part of our lives. Little did I know it was only beginning and that 2009 was the most intense, stretching, growing year of my life. I can look back on it now with thanks. During the middle of it, I can't even begin to put in to words the dark, hateful side of me that came out. But I know that was just a season of my life. I now have come through that and know that even if we try to step in and control the situation, that in the end, NO MATTER WHAT, God is in control. It is freeing and scary to say that at the same time. I am thankful for this lesson and grateful that I could be taught that at a relatively young age. I pray that even me going through that might help and encourage a complete stranger reading this right now. It is an incredible mountain to climb, this infertility thing. You really have no idea what a beast it is in the beginning. And obviously, I am not even on top of the mountain yet since we are still a family of 2. (4, if you include our two pups!) So I know that more trials and struggles are to come (even after we are blessed with a baby. I know raising a baby reveals a whole new mountain of trials!)
I worry about how sharing this will come across. I worry that to some degree, it could sound boastful, like "hey, I'm a good Christian, look what I endured!" Of course that is the furthest from how I mean it and in all honesty, I felt like I should write once more about this topic, basically because last year, you all were so wonderful when I wrote that first post on the subject, and gave such an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement. I felt that I owed you an update so that I did not just share my struggle with you, receive your prayers, and then close the book on the topic and leave you hanging!
I promise, the next time I write about this, it will either be with that blessed positive result, or... perhaps next January 2011, for a recount of this year, if it is not yet our turn. Either way, I am blessed, and thank you with all my heart for your prayers.
And one more thing. I realize that we are not even done with our journey yet, but if there is someone reading this right now that is in the middle of this and would like a friend who has (and still is!) there, I would be MORE than happy to talk and share together. This is a crazy, hard road, and no one should have to go down it alone. (Trust me, though it may feel like it, you are NOT alone.)
To get in touch, my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Okay, now this novel of a blog post is complete! And finally, (FINALLY!) blogging pictures will resume! :)