Things I’ve learned from Infertility

I blinked and March is over and again, I’ve had TWO post this month – TWO!  I really did have the best of intentions to sit down and get inspired to write more and share more but with everything IVF going on in our world right now, it’s been hard to do that.

I had quite a few of you reach out to me with some questions about IVF and IUI.  I’m thinking of doing a Q &A so if you have questions, feel free to email them to me at Happilyevergriedls@gmail.com – they’ll be anonymous on the blog so ask away!

I began thinking about our journey as we get prepared for this next step (and hopefully the end of our VERY long chapter to become parents) and reflected on everything I’ve learned over the last 2+ years. Despite all the uncertainties, I came to realize I actually have learned valuable lessons throughout this process.

The 10 things I’ve learned:

  1.  Patience: I am one of the most impatient people and this journey is all about patience. It’s not on our time and there’s a lot of waiting.  I have a hard time not knowing when it will happen and IF it will happen but I’m learning to “enjoy” the ride.  I grew up thinking of a timeline for when I’d get married and have babies but infertility has taught me that it doesn’t go by my agenda.  I know that when it does happen for us and we become parents, our journey will be exactly what it was meant to; and it will all be worth it! I’m still working on the whole patience thing for now though…
  2. You never know what someone is going through: Although someone may have a sweet smile on their face, it doesn’t mean there isn’t more going on in their life and they’re hurting. In fact, “sometimes the strongest ones around us are those who smile through the pain, cry behind closed doors and fight battles nobody knows about.” Be nice to everyone you meet and do me a favor, don’t ask “when are you having kids?!” because one day you’ll ask the wrong person at the wrong time.
  3. Relationships are number one! You need a good support system who is there when you want to talk about it, cry about it or vent.  Trials can bring you closer to those you love and help ease the heartbreak.
  4. Life is hard about 90% of the time.  It’s not fair. It’s heartbreaking and it just plain sucks. The trick is to start each day with gratitude for the good parts of life and remind yourself of those things over and over and over again throughout the day.
  5. Things do not always go the way we plan; in fact, it rarely does. If plan A doesn’t work, then we go to plan B or C… Luckily, there are a lot of letters in the alphabet. I’m hoping Plan B/C will be our answer!
  6. When life is too hard to stand, kneel; There is someone who is always ready to listen and knows EXACTLY what you are going through. He has your life planned out and knows the reasons for your trials.  Go to Him through prayer.
  7. Never, ever give up: There are times that I want to and there will be times that you DO but pick yourself up and try again.  And hope for a better outcome the next time.
  8. Choose to be happy: After you have a few hours minutes of tears, pick yourself up and carry on with a smile. Life is so much more than what you’re going through and always remember number 4; gratitude.
  9. You’re stronger than you think: Infertility is a funny thing; it makes you dig deep to find the strength to keep moving along everyday through all the medications, confusion, procedures, negative outcomes and the just plain unknown. After the last few years of “trying” I realize that all of my trials growing up have prepared me for this time in my life. It’s prepared me for the struggle we’re in now. I know I’m stronger because of all those times I didn’t understand and for all the times I still don’t understand.
  10. Everything happens for a reason: This has always been a quote in my head since I was  younger – anytime the bad stuff happened, it happened for a reason, right? This is the same situation – I know this is meant to be our journey and when we have that little one, we are going to be SO grateful but right now, we have to remember there’s always a reason for everything that happens, even if we don’t see the reason for a very long time.

aKristi

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When trying isn’t enough..

I’ve written this post in my mind over a million times but can never find the right words to express my feelings about this journey we’ve been on the last 26 months.

When it comes to {really} personal matters, I’ve always believed that those should remain private.  Sure, I love sharing my life and documenting even the little moments on this blog but something this personal, we’d decided to keep between us and our families. To be honest, it’s really hard to talk about (especially for Logan) in person and he was worried, the more people who knew, the more they’d ask.  After much thought and discussion with Logan, I’ve decided to open up to you all about the struggle we’ve been having which is much different than the “perfect” life some of you think we have thanks to social media.

The Defeated Phase:

We all have friends who decide they don’t want children or want to wait until a certain age but from early on, I always knew I wanted to be a Mom and Logan a Dad.  A few weeks after we met (8+ years ago!) Logan mentioned he wanted a big family and didn’t want to waste too much time.  I found that to be very intriguing as most guys don’t just gush about having kids right away.  I told him we needed to wait until we were engaged because due to things in my past, I have just a few trust issues.  He took his sweet time and 5 years later, we were engaged and a year and a half after that, married!

We took no time trying to become parents after our wedding. We kept thinking “this time, next year,we’ll have our own little one and be parents!”.  We just couldn’t wait! I wasn’t naive in thinking it would just happen for us (based on those past things, things have never come easy for me) right away as it did for the majority of our friends.  We heard “it happened the first time trying” more times than we can count! But I also didn’t think it would take this long and a countless amount of shots, either!

After 7 months of trying, we finally saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test at the end of July 2016 and we were so eager to have our little one in April.  We had our first appointment and everything was confirmed “We were pregnant!” and more over the moon than you’ll ever know. We couldn’t wait for our next appointment – the ultrasound!  We got to our appointment bright and early (7 am before Logan headed to the office) and couldn’t contain our excitement! I drank all the water that morning and got ready for the ultrasound.  We had already told our immediate family and some close friends and had heard all the “can’t waits!” before our appointment.  A few minutes after seeing our little “peanut” on the screen, the tech let us know gently that she couldn’t find a heartbeat from our little one. It was the most surreal moment of my life and the most heartbreaking for both Logan and I. I couldn’t believe it – this was supposed to be the best day ever and it was turning into a day I wish I could forget. I couldn’t bring myself to even look at Logan as I walked into the bathroom to change out of my gown as I knew just the sight of his pain would completely break me.  I wasn’t stupid.  I knew the statistics for miscarriages and I understood they are common but that doesn’t take one ounce of that hurt away.  This article explains my feelings almost exactly – if you’ve been through it then you know, it’s just heartbreaking.

  I never knew I could grieve someone I’d never met.

I can’t even explain to you my feelings about both of those days.

Life went on around us and we continued to receive SO many pregnancy announcements.  As happy as we are/were for every couple, I couldn’t help but feel so much jealousy and sadness.  And the re-run of questions “when is it our time?! when can we have it happen for us?!” Those pregnancy announcements have turned into babies and then 1st birthday parties.  Finally, after about 10 months of more trying, because all doctors believe it can take up to 12 months to get pregnant before there’s concern, I went back to my OBGYN and expressed my concerns.  We clearly weren’t getting pregnant and I didn’t understand why – especially when it did happen the one time! I just kept thinking “do we only get the one chance?! And that’s how it ended for us?”

The Testing Phase:

My OB suggested we do a few tests on both myself and Logan to see if there was a reason this wasn’t working for us.  We started what seemed like a million pokes, prods and dyes and I could feel myself “hoping” they’d find something wrong with one of us. I mean, if there’s a problem, they can surely fix it!  But everything came back clear for both of us and at that point, my OB referred us to a fertility clinic.  We met with the fertility specialist and he explained that we have what’s called “unexplained infertility” and they have no idea why we aren’t getting pregnant.

Certainly not the words I wanted to hear.

We asked for next steps and he suggested IUI (Intrauterine insemination) treatments.  These treatments entail fertility medications taken for a number of days to produce an additional egg or two during your cycle.  Followed by multiple vaginal ultrasounds, I then had to do a “trigger” shot to trigger my ovulation.  Exactly thirty six hours later, I’m be back in the clinic to be inseminated (with L’s sperm). This option only had a 10% chance of working but it was worth a shot.  I never truly understood the magnitude of having a baby and getting pregnant until after all these appointments. It’s truly a MIRACLE that anyone has a baby!

We tried IUI 3 times before realizing that again, that isn’t working for us. I was still getting my period every month and it was still so depressing every month.

We decided to take the month of December off to give my body some rest from all the fertility meds and shots and just enjoy Christmas before moving onto the next {bigger} step.

Where we are currently:

We spoke with our doctor about IVF after our unsuccessful IUI attempts in hopes this is our answer; it has a 60% chance in working and we just knew we had to give everything a try before knowing if it just wasn’t going to work for us.  Now, IVF is insanely expensive and insurance only covers a small portion so it was a big decision we had to make – we might only get one shot at this – was it something we could afford to risk?  We didn’t have to discuss much because we both knew in our hearts we were meant to be parents and if this is our journey, then we’ll walk it together.

We started our IVF journey earlier this month.  Those are probably the most emotionally loaded three letters I’ve ever typed.  The fertility ride is a roller coaster and you never really know how far along on the ride you are.  That’s one of the hardest parts.  The ultimate unknown and worst part of all this, is we can go through all of this without success.  That we’re doing all of this for just a chance to be parents and you might have to do it again and again (if money allows).

Through this journey, I’ve felt frustrated and embarrassed that my body isn’t doing something that so many others are.  Lonely because the  majority of our friends have children and haven’t gone through this to understand what I’m feeling.  Jealous every time there is a new pregnancy announcement on social media and always swearing I’m going to deactivate all my accounts to avoid having the hurt every time I open up Facebook. Guilt for even feeling this way. I’ve felt left behind as I watched almost every friend move onto this next chapter, wondering when it will eventually be our turn.  And so silly because I know there are so many women going through more years of infertility, more miscarriages and so much worse than us.

But at this point, I need to focus on our next step which happened to be daily injections (multiple times a day) and working on getting my body to do what it’s meant to.  It meant blood work almost every other day along with vaginal ultrasounds. I hoped that after so many injections, I would get used to the pain and it would become the “normal” but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. You are never prepared for the injections or the unnatural changes to your body from the insane amount of hormones. You can’t be prepared for the lack of control you have on any outcomes.

I had my retrieval a little over 2 weeks ago and while we sat there waiting for the CRNA to take me back to the surgery room, I couldn’t believe this was our life.  I couldn’t believe this is what we are doing right now.  I never imagined this would be our life.

We have a LONG way to go from here but it’s a good start to hopefully the end our journey to become parents.  Infertility and IVF is talked about so much these days – on TV (have you seen Fuller House?!) as well as through friends of friends that it almost seems like common.  But that doesn’t take away from how tremendously brave and strong each woman is throughout her unique journey. It’s something that should be talked about more because it’s something that no one should have to take on alone.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to open up about this to the world and share my personal feelings but it’s not something we’re ashamed of and it helps to have a supportive team/friends.  Thanks for listening to our journey and about this time in our lives, whether you have children, aren’t quite there yet or are in the thick of it, thank you!

aKristi