Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Spontaneous Easter Breakfast

Joey and I love easter egg dying but unfortunately we both hate eating hard boiled eggs, and I just couldn't justify wasting eggs just to dye them. So we decided to skip that tradition this year.

However this morning we had a little extra time to make homemade pancakes for breakfast, and we figured--Hey! We're already eating gluten, why not toss in a little artificial food coloring too and make easter pancakes!

I will say that we loved these pancakes the most of any batch we've made--maybe it was swapping the vegetable oil and milk for coconut oil and almond milk--delish!
And of course, just a little snuggle time with the fur balls before heading off to work.

So, lets talk about that mustache.
For those wondering where on earth that came from---Joey's class at power school is now the senior class and the next one to graduate (hooray!), and its tradition that the senior class grows a mustache---called a "comp-stache"---until they take their comprehensive final just prior to graduating. And you can trust me when I say that he wouldn't be growing it if it wasn't for the tradition. He's one week in and so far he's not too fond of it!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Here We Go.

Well, turns out I didn't end up having to wait the full ten days.

So Tuesday morning I went to the clinic to officially get started with my treatment. I did some blood work (which resulted in a blown vein and subsequent nasty bruises), did an ultrasound to check uterine lining, ovaries, follicles, etc (thank goodness everything looks good right now), and then I met with my nurse to go over my medications and learn how to give the injections. 

She gave me the injection pen, a mock cartridge, and a needle and had me assemble everything, then showed me how to measure the right dose, and finally had me practice how to give it with a little rubber square. When I unwrapped the needle and began screwing it onto the pen, I just burst into tears. 

Because ya know, part of me was really hoping that this last cycle would be the winner, that everything would finally work out and I wouldn't have to pursue fertility treatments any further, and everyone could say "see Megan, you made a big deal out of nothing". I was willing to swallow my pride and accept that statement. 

But as I sat there, staring at the needle, I just couldn't believe that this was all happening. I couldn't believe that Joey and I are actually doing things that for months were just talk, something we said we'd worry about once we got there. As my nurse and I went over all of the paperwork and the medications and procedures and calendars, I felt like a bit of a human experiment---and taking some medications and doing injections isn't even the craziest thing people do just to have a baby! 

But anyways.....I started Letrozole, my first medication on Wednesday morning, and waited for my other three to be delivered on Thursday.

As I unpacked the large box and cooler of medications, I was completely overwhelmed. Everything I felt while learning to give injections came flooding back as I held the needles, the alcohol swabs, the vials and bottles of medication in my hands. I felt scared and nervous---what if we mess up? What if I forget a day, or we give the wrong dose of Follistim? What if we don't inject in the right spot? Its so nerve-wracking. I mean I now have my own biohazard box for crying out loud! And I'll spare you the details of how mood-killing and awkward it is to have to schedule every intimate moment with your spouse when you're doing a medicated cycle. All of this isn't what you think about when you day dream about starting your future family. But this is where we are now. 

Sunday night I have my first injection of Follistim. This weekend I'll be teaching Joey what to do because he most likely will be giving it to me. I just don't think I can bring myself to deliberately plunge a needle into my stomach. I'll do another shot of Follistim on Monday night, and then I'll go back to my specialist for another ultrasound to monitor my progress on Tuesday. Depending on what they say, I might have to return again on Thursday or Friday. There are two other meds--Ovidrel, another injection, and Prometrium--but I don't start those until I get the go-ahead from my doctor, based upon how my body is progressing.

Despite feeling overwhelmed, the one positive thing I have been feeling since last night when I unpacked and organized all of my meds and supplies, is gratitude. In the information packet I received there were receipts for the medications. It included the copay that I paid, and then the actual cost of the medication. One medication alone, without insurance, is over $2,500. And all I had to pay for it was $17. 

I won't lie to you. dealing with insurance through all of this is a headache. And sometimes I don't feel its fair that artificial reproductive methods aren't covered by the majority of insurance companies so people have to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to have the same reproductive capability as everyone else. But right now, I'm so grateful that at least at this stage in the process, the large majority of it is covered and that we can afford it. Sure, it stunk to pay the forty dollar copay for the whole package of medications and supplies, but considering how much its actually worth (both monetarily and as the potential method of creating our family), its practically an insignificant price to pay. I pray so much that we won't have to think about doing IVF or some of the other expensive procedures. I don't even know how we would do it. But for now, I'm glad that modern medicine progressed enough that there are medicinal ways to help fertility, and that right now, we can afford them. It makes me feel so blessed that as a young married couple, barely a year out of college, we have a stable job which provides health insurance. If it wasn't for Joey's job in the Navy, we might not be able to afford everything involved (the insurance, the copays, the meds, the gas to drive to the fertility clinic almost weekly) and we would have to put our dream on hold. While life in the military is certainly demanding, it is a blessing in our lives right now.


Tonight Joey and I are going to the temple (after having to reschedule from Saturday), and I just can't wait. I love being there with my best friend and getting to have a truly special date night. 

I hope you have a great weekend, too!

Monday, March 25, 2013

An Unexpectedly Delightful Saturday

So all last week, Joey and I had been looking forward to our monthly trip that we'd be taking on Saturday to the temple in Columbia. Its a great chance to take a step back from life and kind of....recalibrate our minds and spirits. Going to the temple helps us better get through some of the things life can send our way.

Well, as we started to make our way to the temple in the drizzling rain, we noticed that the traffic near our home was significantly thicker for a saturday afternoon. And, after a little research, we realized that the Color Me Rad run that had taken place five minutes away had just ended. So, thanks to the color run and the resulting traffic, we got so far behind that we never would've made it to our scheduled session at the temple which unfortunately, was the last session for the day. 

I will admit, I was pretty upset that we weren't going to make it. I had been excited to go all week and I knew that I really needed to be there to help me and prepare me for the coming weeks. But after rescheduling our trip for this Friday and coming up with a new plan for the rest of the afternoon, Joey and I ended up having a quiet, cuddly, just as wonderful Saturday at home.

We decided that on our cozy, rainy Saturday we would make some paninis, one of our favorite things that we hadn't made in quite a while---I'd also like to add that this required us to make a stop at the local walmart (which we haven't stepped foot in for over two months) for bread while still in our church clothes, and we were asked why we were so dressed up.....

Oh. So good.

And apparently, neither of us were in the mood to take some sincere photos.

With the addition of a couple movies, homemade chocolate peanut butter cookies, a little impromptu dancing in the kitchen, and some cuddling with our Remy and Marley, it turned out to be such a great Saturday with my love and best friend. 

And while I'm on the subject----
Guys, Joey is the greatest and I love being married to him. From some of the comments and messages I've received I feel like there's some concern out there that, because I'm frustrated and sometimes very upset about this infertility thing and not being able to conceive right now, that people think I'm completely oblivious to the blessing it is to have Joey and to be married to him, that I'm ungrateful for an amazing husband. Just because both of us want a baby and I struggle with the fact that things aren't going the way we had planned, doesn't mean that I completely forget about my husband and how loving and kind he is. I know that its a blessing to have him in my life. I don't know what I'd do without him or our marriage, especially at a time like this. He gets me through so much and I can't imagine my life without him. I hold on to those special days like Saturday that we get together and I'm so grateful for every moment I get to spend with him. So don't worry about that, friends. We are so happy with each other, and though we have been married a short time, we are stronger than ever and its only getting better. 

All right, enough of the mushy gushy-----have a great Monday, everyone!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Something Cool Happened

I woke up yesterday morning slightly anticipating a less than enjoyable day.
However, even the smallest, perhaps insignificant thing can turn a day around.

Yesterday, that thing was walking over to our bedroom window to water my little starter pots of strawberries and poppies, and seeing these four fragile yet enthusiastic little sprouts!

You guys. I am the worst at growing things. Truly. The worst.
In college I was always trying to grow something--herbs, flowers, anything green really--but was never successful. One summer my old art professor asked if I would take care of his plants in the art studio while he was on vacation, and I'm pretty confident I brought them all close to the brink of death. Last summer, I was given an adorable strawberry plant and, despite my best efforts, it quickly withered away into a shriveled, brittle mess. A couple months ago, I decided to get a small house plant after reading that having a living plant in the home to nourish can be therapeutic. But again, in spite of my truest attempt to keep it alive, it too suffered a quick death. 
And believe it or not, having your life-plant-that's-supposed-to-make-you-feel-better-about-not-being-pregnant die, is not, in fact, therapeutic!

With the threat of failure looming over my head, I stubbornly decided that once again I would try to grow something. Come hell or high water, this would be the year that I finally grow something!

So, you can imagine my delight when I looked in the pot and saw four wee sprouts greeting me with their delicate little leaves having popped up overnight! With this discovery, and the fact that I created a new gluten and dairy free soup recipe yesterday as well, I was feeling pretty successful, creative, and darn it--I felt proud of myself, for the first time in quite a while.

Let's just pray that I can keep this little guy going and end up with some beautiful poppies for the rest of spring!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Slept on It, And Here's What I Want to Say.

In the past 24 hours I have written two different blog posts. 
The first out of frustration and hurt feelings. The second out of questioning myself---or rather, pretty much being lied to, I guess to make me feel like I was wrong (and so I questioned my response), only to have them admit (in a convoluted, we-did-but-we-didn’t sort of way) that they were in fact talking about me and judging & criticizing me. But that is neither here nor there. Neither of my posts have appropriately said what I want to say. 

So here it is:

This blog is about my experience. I have been clear in previous posts as well as in our “about us” and “why blog” sections that we are new to the world of infertility, that we got a head start on the process because we were operating under the assumption that I had a certain diagnosis (PCOS since I was 14-15), and that we had no idea how long this journey would last. I am not lamenting after only trying to conceive for two months. Its been a little over ten months now, and I have had serious medical conditions that clearly interfere with fertility. I have every right to seek the treatment I feel is appropriate, and to write about my experience.

As I said before, I started writing about my experiences because many friends and family asked and encouraged me to write, to help them understand what its like and how they can be the most supportive. I have actually received emails thanking me for my honesty about my experiences because it has helped them open up about their own infertility problems and to seek help.

My decision to write about my experience doesn’t negate any reader’s personal trials or problems. My trial isn’t greater than the trial of someone who has experienced infertility for years, or someone who is going through a divorce, or someone who has lost a parent. And for an individual to say that, by writing about my own life (and not theirs), I am in some way disrespecting the life and memory of a loved one they or someone they know have lost, is unkind and unfair. Do not think that my character is so cold, unfeeling, mean, and selfish that I take away from the severity of another person’s grief, just by experiencing my own. 

I still stand by this quote from Resolve---
"Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job? Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen. People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel..."

I would never tell (and have never told) someone that their trial is any less than someone else's. I've never said that my problem right now is bigger than any other problem that anyone else has or has ever had. I have not judged someone else’s trial and how they decide to handle it, whether its drinking, declining to talk about it, or choosing to write about it, as I have. I have never told someone that they don’t know what true pain, suffering, grief, and trial are because they haven’t experienced things in life that I have. And I would appreciate and think I deserve the same courtesy. Just like everyone else, there are many things about my life and my past that few--if any--know about. It is unfair, wrong, and quite hurtful, actually, to assume that I know nothing of pain, just because the details of my life are unknown to some. If someone else’s trial and grief is valid, so is mine, because right now, this is the hardest thing for me to go through. Maybe it won't be next year or in five years, or thirty. But right now, it is. I don’t know how else to explain this concept. 

I have taken great care to make sure, to the best of my human ability, that I don’t write things that hurt or offend others. I spend multiple hours and go through several drafts before content is even published (yes, even yesterday’s post). I try not to write and publish in a state of uncontrolled emotion. With the exception of these last couple posts, I do not write about other people (you know, real, actual acquaintances). I’m not perfect, but I at least try to be tactful and considerate. It is unfortunate if someone read something that I wrote and chose to be offended and bothered by me and my story. I think sometimes people are looking for things to be offended by because of the experience they are having themselves. I am not disregarding everyone’s feelings--quite the opposite. I am making my best effort to be kind and aware. But there is only so much I can do. I hope that the true tone and purpose of my writing is evident (and again, I have done my best to be clear about my purpose and where I am coming from), and I do my best to understand why people feel the way they do towards me, however if someone chooses to be so outraged and offended by me, that’s their decision. I am doing my part to be kind and considerate, but when someone still chooses to be mad and rude to me, I make no apologies for my writing or even my decision to write about my life on my blog. 

I am going to keep writing about my experience. I try to balance the good with the bad, but sometimes life just doesn't unfold that way. If an individual doesn’t like that, they are welcome to stop reading. Not every post will be about infertility (though to those individuals who told me that “everyone” thinks that its not worth reading, my posts where I write about my real life and my real experiences have quadruple the reads as any other kind of post I publish). Sometimes there might be three in a row that are about infertility. Its my blog and my choice. However I can’t stress enough, if someone doesn’t like it, they aren’t being forced to read it. 

I do try to get people to see that infertility isn't just cured or even alleviated with a cruise, or having more sex, or by just forgetting about having babies. Its a serious trial with serious emotional, mental, and physical ramifications. And I won't ever say its anything less than that. I won't apologize for explaining just how devastating it is, whether someone thinks it actually is or not or whether I deserve to feel that way at all. I do not need to be ashamed of my experience and the emotions I feel. 

I don’t expect everyone to approve or agree with what I write. I recognize that one of the consequences of writing in a public way is the opinions of readers. I am not afraid of critique or a difference of opinion. But am I bothered by rudeness and unwarranted, passive aggressive meanness.

Not all of our friends and family agree with my course of treatment (or pursuing treatment at all) or our desire to have children right now. They don't understand why this hurts me so much. But they still try to be supportive as best they know how. For those people, we are very grateful and we love you dearly. I know that the majority of those we know and who read fall into this category. A couple of our acquaintances fall in the former. And that’s fine, they don’t have to support me (and apparently they don’t even have to be nice to me). But as long as we have that majority of loved ones who care about, love, and support us, I’m going to keep writing.

As much as I wanted to say my piece, I will not drag this out anymore. This post will be here for anyone to read, and I have done my best to...make disclaimers, if you will, about my blog and my decision to write about infertility. I have done as much as I can, and now it is up to readers and how they will choose to react to my words--with offense or with at least some measure of understanding. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Playing the Waiting Game

[one of my favorite moments from the weekend. I sure do love them]

Ten days have never felt so long-----scratch that, every post-ovulation-waiting-time feels so unbearably long. 

This time, things can go one of two ways: first scenario is, my next cycle doesn't start in the next ten days (this current cycle's day 35), and I call my doctor and we will try to find out what's wrong (he's concerned because my last cycle was 42 days---12 days longer than my normal). Or, I do start my next cycle and I start my first round of meds and injections next month.

The waiting game is the worst. Time passes so slowly and my mind just fills with every possible scenario that could unfold. Sometimes I get hopeful and think, "this time it worked, this is all over". And then almost instantly those thoughts are replaced with, "how naive of you, Meg, there's no way you're done with this trial". Honestly, being positive and hopeful is really difficult, because I feel like I just get let down. Positivity in this is easier said than done for me. The fall to frustration and sadness is a lot shorter when your hopes aren't that high. 

I sound awfully cynical. I'm trying to have more faith about all of this, but its a challenge for me! And I feel guilty that I can't get to that point of peace and hope.

I read so many talks and books and articles about people going through infertility and other trials, and they talk about how they overcome it and trust that God is taking care of them and that everything is ok and their faith carries them through everything.

And I'm just not at that point!

And I'm doing what I can to get there, but its just not happening. 
And I'm afraid that God won't help me because I can't yet accept what is happening to me and let my faith be greater than infertility. 
And then I become more frustrated.

Today marks the start of my life sans job (for the time being), and so far its going well. I have a lengthy list of projects, activities, crafts, chores, recipes, and general to-dos that I can spread throughout the next few weeks until Joey graduates from Power School in May. The truth is that I'm very excited about this time. I will be less stressed. Joey will be less stressed. I can schedule my various appointments at the fertility clinic without having to worry about missing work. I can have the time to take a mental break and cry on the really hard days. I can work on things that will uplift me and and help me feel productive and creative during a time when I sometimes feel like a broken waste of space. I think that at this time in my life, this is going to be good for me. 


Well, here we go. Ten days.

A Weekly Moment of Food Weakness

Joey and I are still sticking with our modified paleo diet (I call it "modified paleo" because that's much easier to get out than "no gluten, dairy, refined sugar, or processed foods") six days a week as best we can, but....

One night a week we just say "forget this!" and indulge in some of our old favorites. 
This time, it was wood-fired pizza at EVO.

And even though our bodies felt awful and our stomachs hurt terribly the next morning from the dairy and gluten, my pesto, mushroom and havarti pizza and Joey's Pork Trifecta were cheesy, crusty, bubbly moments of mouth-watering bliss.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And Saturday was Wonderful

I realized I didn't get a chance to write about our fabulous date on Saturday---
it was AMAZING.

See, there's this place here in Charleston called the Peninsula Grill that Joey and I have wanted to visit. We knew it would be pricey (and boy we were right!), so for the past two months we saved the majority of our budgeted date money so that we could treat ourselves to a fancy date at one of the hottest places in town.

I was so nervous as we got ready to go---did I look ok? what if I said the wrong thing? what if I dropped my fork? I was so concerned with whether or not I would belong there. I mean, I feel I have a decent measure of class and etiquette, but I'm definitely not fancy-schmancy, and most of the time I still feel like a gawky teenager in those kinds of situations. Luckily, we got the nicest host (you rock, Jonathan!) who made us feel totally welcome there. Annnnd! I didn't drop a single bite of food!

I wanted so badly to photograph our plates (I'm one of those people), but considering this was the kind of place that had a dress code, put napkins in your lap, called you mr. & mrs. Fleshman, and had a wine menu with bottles more expensive than our monthly grocery budget....I figured I'd better not. But because I just loved it so much, here are the highlights:
  • It was our first time having an amuse-bouche to cleanse the palate---a little cup of poblano bisque with duck confit.
  • Joey and I both got a lobster chowder with basil butter for our first course, and let me tell you what, I could've had a whole bowl of it and been perfectly content. We had to try so hard to resist the urge to use our yummy bread to wipe the bowl clean!
  • My main course: grilled swordfish with a ginger-lime beurre blanc and a sherry tomato vinaigrette, with and asparagus in a truffle hollandaise and goat cheese potatoes. 
  • Joey's main course: Sauteed duck with a winter vegetable hash, wilted arugula and a cherry-onion marmalade.

And not only is their food spectacular, they also have a reputation for their coconut cake. Ohhh, the cake.....well here, let me just show you----

I know. Amazing. Twelve layers of creamy, coconut goodness.
This cake is so popular that when I told my coworkers we were going to Peninsula Grill for dinner and I was going to try "the cake", everyone knew exactly what I was talking about. It has even garnered praise from the likes of Food Network, Martha Stewart (for what that's worth), the New York Times, and Southern Living. On the restaurant's website, there's a whole page just for the cake---and what's so dangerous: how you can order a whole one.

Needless to say, Joey and I saved room for that cake (or as much room as we could) and loved every bite of it. We also got their chocolate creme brûlée to try, and between the two of those desserts, we were in delicious, sweet heaven.

Though this isn't the kind of date we can do all the time (or would want to--sometimes you just need a dang burger!), it was so fun to get dolled up (I even curled all of that hair and put on eye shadow for the first time since our wedding) and go out for the night with the best guy a girl could ask for. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Today is Better

Difficult, but better.

Night time is the hardest, because I've gone all day trying to hold it together and by the end of the day, I'm just spent. 

But today is better.

Its how it always goes. Things seem to be going ok enough, and then depression and confusion and desperation and anger all rear their ugly heads, and I break. After a couple days the crying lessens, and I pick up and try to keep going again--at least for as long as I can.

But today is better.

I opened our bedroom window this morning and let the fresh spring breeze flood our room. 
Fresh air is one of my favorite smells in the world. 
It makes me hopeful. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Its Not Just a Case of the Mondays

Today is a stay-in-bed-and-eat-your-feelings kind of day.

Unfortunately, I absolutely had to go to the grocery store this morning or we'd have a heaping plate of nothing for dinner tonight.

But you can bet that as soon as I came home, I crawled right back in to bed, unwrapped my embarrassing yet craving-satisfying Taco Bell burrito, and resumed the way my morning began---in tears. Of course, I had to go to work a couple hours later. And now I sit at my desk, eyes burning, swollen, and red from crying, praying I can just hold on for four hours and then I can go home, away from everyone.

Its one of those days where I wish I could just sleep forever, because that's the only true moment of solace and escape from the heartache. 

Not every day is this bad---some days I go on with life.
And then, something happens that brings you right back to reality---broken, barren, a failure. 

Everyone tells me that this isn't a punishment from God, but it sure feels like it. 
Everyone says that its not the right time, but then I think about all of the teenage girls, the women who have one night stands, the irresponsible, the abusive, the drug addicts, who are pregnant. Is it the right time for them
I got an education. I got married in the temple. I did everything I could to be someone that would make a good (or at the very least a decent) mom. I married a good man who is trustworthy and kind. We can actually afford to care for a child. We pay our tithing. We go to church every Sunday. We fulfill our callings.
But its not the right time for me? For us?

I sound horribly dramatic. But,
Studies have shown that women dealing with infertility experience the same stress, depression, and general negative feelings as someone with cancer or the loss of a loved one. The grief of infertility is no less than the grief of illness or death. 
So every 33-42 days, I'm left mourning the loss of a child that doesn't even exist yet, a dream that once again didn't come true. I'm mourning my failure as a female, my inability to perform the greatest privilege God gives to women. I'm mourning my stupidity for getting my hopes up every month and thinking 'this could finally be it'. I'm mourning being mocked by my body that lies to me and makes me think the nausea, tenderness, headaches, bloating, and initial absence of a period are all signs that this pain is over. 

I've done ten months of this. 
And though that might seem like nothing to some, 
its been an eternity for me. 

Despite all of this, I'd at least like to say that I'm touched by those who reached out to me over the weekend and who encouraged me through blog comments, Facebook messages, and emails to tell my story. I'm grateful for your support and love.

***update 3/21: Saying that the grief of infertility is similar to the kind that comes with cancer or death is not meant to offend anyone or make those trials less painful and horrible. It is not saying that they are the same experience. They aren't. It is saying that the level of grief is similar. This doesn't lessen the pain people feel during the death of a loved one or through cancer. Likewise, the grief of realizing you miss a child that never existed, isn't to say that you know exactly what its like to lose one of your actual children. It is simply mourning the loss of a dream, every month. As Resolve, the National Fertility Association explains, 
"Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal."***

Saturday, March 9, 2013

$5 Happiness and a Question for YOU

You know what one of the best sights in the world is?
Your handsome husband in his Navy uniform, walking through the door after a day at work, flowers for you in hand.
---- And I'm married to the guy!

That was my Thursday afternoon, and I loved it. 

I had a friend when I was younger who was adamant that fresh flowers are a useless gesture because they just die (yeah I'm calling you out, Trav!), but I have to whole heartedly disagree. A vase of flowers is one of my favorite things in life, and receiving a surprise bouquet from my best friend and love brings me so much joy. I'm so grateful for a husband who thinks of me, and remembers that a five dollar bouquet of flowers can turn my whole day around.


So, I have something to run by you guys----
Well, I've been so touched by the love and encouragement that I (and we) have received as I've opened up about our infertility experience. It was a bit of a surprise to me.

You see, I've come to realize that I regularly create my own judgments for myself, and assume that others around me have them about me. I feel some nebulous judgment and guilt when I buy organic. I feel it when I don't buy organic. I feel it when I comment in groups or forums. I feel it when I blog. I feel it when I think about writing about infertility. Maybe I'm just a narcissist for thinking people think things about me that much (I know they most likely don't, but I'm still paranoid). I don't know. But what I do know is that I allow judgements I assume other people have about me (whether they actually have them or not) to stifle me and keep me from trying things I might want to try. 

Well one of those things I've been thinking about trying is writing more about my infertility experience. I originally approached my experience with the mentality that none of my friends or family would want to know about it because it would make them feel uncomfortable or they wouldn't be interested or care, quite frankly. I didn't want to be one of those people that are too open and alienate all of their social contacts. I just didn't want people to judge me and say "That Megan, she's crazy. What is she thinking?! Talk about awkward". 

But the more I read infertility blogs and group posts, etc, the more I feel like I might be able to provide a new point of view----

The past couple days I've been feeling like I don't fit in anywhere. 
I don't fit in with my group of pregnant friends (which seems to grow every day) because we're having practically the exact opposite experience. I don't fit in with my friends who don't want kids for a long time because some of them don't understand why I would even want a baby at 24 anyways. 
But then I feel like I don't fit in with a lot of the infertility support groups I've been sort of participating in because the majority of the women are several years older than me and have been going through infertility for four, five, six...ten! years. And I'm sitting here at the ten month mark. And maybe this is all in my head (you know, that whole paranoid judgment narcissism issue I seem to have?), but I feel like they look at me and think, "Who does she think she is? She has no idea what this is really like".  Toss in the Mormon and military thing (which both add their own logistical, emotional, and spiritual challenges), and I'm kind of feeling like a square peg in a round hole. 

***Now let me make a disclaimer and say that I in no way intend to offend anyone or seem ungrateful. We are blessed with some great friends and I'm grateful for those that try so hard to support and love us. But we find comfort in people that are going through the same things as us, you know?***

----OK, after all of that rambling (sorry if you're sitting there thinking, "Where is she going with this?"), I'm thinking that I would like to start writing more about my experience. I want to add my voice and help to open up the dialogue about infertility, a subject that has made women (and men!) feel embarrassed, broken, and ashamed.

I want to provide my point of view as someone who is just starting out---decoding the many acronyms, figuring out all of the different medications, coming to terms with the reality of seeing a fertility specialist, working to accept yourself and still feel feminine, finding purpose and motivation in a path you had never planned on....

Sure, we have no idea how long we will go through this. Maybe just a couple more months, maybe several more years. We don't know. But even if its for a small amount of time, I think my experience could still be valuable and could help other people who find themselves in this same situation.

So would this be ok with you guys? Would you read it? Would it be helpful?

I can't wait for you feedback---so please give it! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meg's Update

 Been day dreaming about this Italian paradise lately

Well, on this sunny Thursday you can find me in bed, cuddled up with Remy and Marley, watching my own 30 Rock marathon as I recover from my little surgery I had yesterday. I figure that while I sit here, I might write a little something for our friends and family who are interested in my/our current infertility experience. Like I said when I first talked about it here, I don't plan on writing a lot about it or updating frequently, but I thought it would be ok to give an update on where I'm at.

Two weeks ago I had my first appointment with my new fertility specialist, and though it was overwhelming with a barrage of information, I'm glad I was able to get the referral and that Joey had the day off so he could come with me. I really like my doctor and my nurse, and everyone at the office is very kind and patient, which I really appreciate because sometimes I feel totally crazy trying to get through all of this. My doctor went over the next few steps over the coming months, including a couple diagnostic tests, a little surgery (which I did yesterday), moving on to medications and injections, and then on to IUIs

So, the main mind-blower was that, after doing some more blood work and ultrasounds, my doctor has determined that I don't in fact have PCOS---you know, that condition I've been told I had and have been treated for since I was 14. Yup, don't have it. I won't bore you with the details of how we arrived at that conclusion, but I trust that he's right and that I was misdiagnosed. It still is kind of crazy to me that I don't have it, and there are things about my body that I was told were a result of PCOS (but apparently aren't) that I'm having to reconcile and understand, but I know in general, its a good thing that I don't have it. The downside is, with PCOS being ruled out, Joey's tests coming back above average, and ultrasounds revealing that all of my errrmmm... hardware is working just fine, that right now my diagnosis is unexplained infertility. And I don't know about you guys, but I think in general, I would much rather know whats going on instead of saying 'well your insides look perfectly fine and seem to be working, but you're not getting pregnant and we don't know why'. So that kind of stinks, but at least we are moving forward and are going to try some things to help.

About yesterday. 
Remember in that first post I talked about that I mentioned I have a bicornuate uterus? Well yesterday I had a hysteroscopy to basically get some more info on what exactly is going on. The HSG test I did that first indicated the BU only shows the outline of the uterus, but we needed to see the inside. After the hysteroscopy we learned that the abnormality wasn't as extreme or "bad" as the HSG made us thought (apparently the X-ray from the HSG isn't as valuable as the hysteroscopy), and could easily be repaired right then and there. So my doctor went ahead with the surgery (I guess that's what you'd call it) and made a few incisions to create a more normal uterine shape. Oh, and did I mention I did it without any anesthesia or pain killers? Booyah. Yeah yeah, I know its not like having your femur sawed in half, but he was still cutting at my insides, and that hurts! But doing it right then without any meds was pretty much our best option, otherwise I'd have to wait for my next cycle (that's the tricky thing about infertility stuff. With a lot of things, you have to do it on a certain day and if you miss it, you have to wait another 30-40 days!) to reschedule, and because their anesthesiologist wasn't licensed with our insurance the anesthesia wouldn't have been covered anyways, so I just bit the bullet (only metaphorically) and went ahead with it. I will say that it wasn't as painful as I was thinking it might be, but it was still painful and left me feeling pretty light headed and dizzy for a while afterwards. The rest of the day (and still this morning) I've just had pain like really bad cramps---but thank goodness for a loving husband who took such good care of me. 

So what now? 
Well now that I essentially have a "perfect" uterus and we've determined that I don't have PCOS, we are moving forward under the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. So that means that when I start my next cycle, I will start Letrozole, an oral medication, and Follistim, a medication that is injected into my abdomen (yikes!). Basically the goal of these is to increase my monthly chances. So right now, I'm sitting at a 4-5% chance of getting pregnant each month (normal is 20% each month), and these medication should bring it up to 10-15% (I think, don't quote me on that though). Joey and I will decide how many cycles we want to try this way, and if they are unsuccessful, we will move on to IUI. We are hoping the medications work because they are essentially our last free options, because IUIs and other "artificial" methods are not covered by Tricare, our insurance. SO cross your fingers!

I'd be lying if I said I was fine through all of this, but I'm trying harder lately to have a positive outlook. I've definitely had some hard days where I just feel so confused and upset and devastated, but I'm trying. Sometimes I find it easier to be sad and depressed because if I'm completely negative, then I can't go any lower. But if I get my hopes up, I can always be disappointed. But I know this is no way to live, so I'm just trying to get through each day and find a way to be hopeful, even when there are setbacks. I do keep a separate journal dedicated to my experience that I can write about the bad days and the hard moments---I am a firm believer that sometimes you have to write about the ugly so that poison in your life can be released and you can move on. While I don't necessarily think the rest of the world needs to know about those ugly moments on a regular basis, I can tell that getting them out in a private way has been very therapeutic for me.

I've also been working on not being hurt by others and their comments, as good as their intentions might be. See, when you start being more open about infertility, more people start to share their opinions, advice, etc. too. And sometimes, while they might mean well (whether to lighten the mood, focus on the "positive" or what you have now, or make it seem like its not that bad), people say things that are actually hurtful----"you're only 24, you shouldn't be worried about kids!" "just relax, you're trying too hard and that's why its not working" "have you tried doing it more?" "maybe God has a different plan for you besides having kids" "just don't worry about it, we weren't even trying and we got pregnant!" "you want kids? take mine! once you have kids you'll wish you hadn't!". And dang it, sometimes its just too easy to be offended and sour. So I'm trying to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that their heart is in the right place, even if their comments aren't as helpful or uplifting as they might think. We are definitely grateful for those who think of us and want us to be happy.

Finally, I've decided to quite my job because it was adding unnecessary stress. Plus, infertility treatments require a lot of unexpected appointments because everything has to be scheduled on certain days of your cycle which you can't always predict so I wouldn't be a very dependable employee. Joey and I feel good about this decision and we think this is the right thing for me right now. I plan on filling my days with new books and projects, more exercising, and other activities to help me find fulfillment and happiness throughout each week. 

Well, if you read allllll of that, congrats! Go get a cookie. You earned it. 
I know it was a lot, but it helps me to write things and I know there are some friends and family who wanted to know what's been going on, so I figured I'd get it all down in once place. 
We love you all so much and are grateful for your prayers and well wishes. I know we haven't been dealing with this as long as other people out there have, but even so, its a difficult experience no matter what point in the journey you're at, so we certainly appreciate the support. 

Much love and happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Marley Just Keeps Getting Better

I call this her 'come hither' look...

Well as if Marley isn't crazy enough, she has recently taken to chasing her tail! At first she would only do it in one particular spot in the house, but lately she has moved on to other locations, including the back porch, and my personal favorite: the bath tub. 

Chasing her tail, playing fetch, drinking from the faucet--what will this goober kitty do next?!

Want more of Marley? Well in case you didn't see it on Facebook, click here to see a video we got of her last week, chasing the shadow of Joey's YoYo. It still cracks me up!

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