Continuous disbelief

Thank you so, so much for all of your comments.  Your support for us on this journey has been astounding and although I know for many of you that announcement may have come with its own set of other reactions, I appreciate your kind words and thoughts in spite of that.  Your prayers mean to the world to me and as I have always been better about praying for other people, I continue to keep you all in my prayers as well.  Special thanks to my prayer buddy out there who must be working overtime…!!

It hasn’t gone away.  The disbelief.  Will it ever?  My prayers for myself are now to keep my baby safe and with us as long as possible and for me to never take this for granted.  This miracle.

I wasn’t able to do the blood draw the other day (long waits, work hours, and same clinic problems as last time – I didn’t realize that PPVI wanted to run it themselves) so I had to wait for today.  Only it wasn’t a blood draw, just another stick.  I found out through my new insurance I have to confirm the pregnancy before they’ll allow me to see a doctor anyway.  So I went in first thing in the morning and had to do another pregnancy test.  I was so excited and happy and the nurse was deadpan.

“If the pregnancy test says ‘yes’ is that good news?”

Yes, of course!  Wait, how else is that question answered? 

Immediately my heart sunk as I remembered in our insurance plan book we got this summer than said explicitly stated that abortions only require a co-pay of $15.  And then I thought of the search engine hits “why can’t I be infertile” that lead to this blog.  Yes, this is a very, very welcome miracle.  It breaks my heart that those other couples I saw in the waiting room might not have been so excited at the results of their test.

I finished the paperwork and like any good, fiesty PPVI patient I ran the meeting in order to figure out how I can still do my labs and  showed how informed I was (although when she asked me about where I wanted to deliver and I just blinked.  Birth?? I just want to get through the first trimester!  That probably made me look silly but seriously, I’m still trying to process what happened, lady!).

After finally realizing all it took to get her for us, at the end of the meeting she shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said “Congratulations”.  I teared up and ran out to compose myself.

But that was nothing compared to when I got down to my car and saw that they materials she gave me said things about “my baby” and its growth, etc.  My baby.  I lost it.  I was the weird girl crying tears of joy in the parking lot because it said my baby.

I wish that everyone could have tears of joy after seeing a pregnancy test.

I did nothing to deserve this miracle.  So many have suffered longer and better.  So, so, humbling.  Like I said, continuous disbelief.

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I pushed play, He pushed fast forward

I had planned on writing about how my first days of school work went this week (its going well, in case you’re interested) or maybe publishing one of the half posts that I had started this summer and never finished, but then something else happened.

Starting with the number 18.

Peak + 18.

I’ve gotten to 17 before, a few times.  But then reality always comes back, in the form of blood.

Crushing.

Saturday I started to have hope, maybe it was possible.  I knew as soon as I thought about it I’d get my period, because that’s what happens.  But I went there, because I needed that hope.  It had been so long since I even felt a little hope of pregnancy, especially these last few weeks.  The disappointment would be worth those few  moments of hope.

But I had never reached day 18 before.

This is what 18 looks like.

I still can’t believe it.  I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop.  For someone to jump out from behind the wall and yell “Gotcha!” but then this.  I didn’t know these things came in positives.  One day I was preparing for the worst, scheduling my start date around my period, and the next I’m pregnant.  How can things change so quickly and yet still so slowly?  It would have been two years next month.  Two years of beautiful cycles and still nothing.

I’ve been waking up at night suddenly and then I stop, smile, and go back to sleep.  I remind myself, I am still pregnant and I enjoy the moment.  This is not a dream.  Lately, I couldn’t even dream dreams this good.

I’m pregnant.

Those words still don’t feel right together but there they are.  I get my blood test tomorrow.  It is early and if there is anything that sub/infertility has taught me its that a baby is the goal and pregnancy is only step 1, so please pray with me that we get to hold this little one on earth.

Praise be to God.

*If you know me in real life, I still appreciate your prayers but lets keep this between us only!  We will wait to tell the rest of the world in time. 

Another day, another perspective

I bought flowers for myself for the first time after the other day.

Can you see the pink water?  I think regular sunflowers would have been a little more cheery (these look a little bloody/Halloween-ish…) but at least I get bonus pink water to look at as well.

And I’ve cried more this week than I have in the last 8 months probably.  Good, hard cries that just needed to come out.  I’ve just been trying to ‘be ok’ with everything and I just really needed a honest moment with God.  And my husband.  Thankfully, both were in a listening mode.

Today I’m taking a solo beach day as my ‘last day of freedom’ before work starts on Monday (because we have other things to do this weekend, including a ‘blind date’ with some NFP teachers I found!).  Did I mention I got a job?  Well, I got a job.  Three months ago the idea of getting a job gave me such anxiety, like I was choosing to be a childless couple by getting a job.  Like I was proving I was an unfit mother and I was sealing my fate if I chose to work instead of diving 100% into making a baby and doing all I could, 24/7.  But who am I kidding, its not my choice and it never has been.  I’m just trying to play the hand I was given.  Sometimes you have to protect what sanity you have and I think know this will help me do so.

As time has gone on, I have been able to just focus on the positive of working.  Like, this will give us a chance to pay off student  loans faster and save up for adoption quicker.  It will give me something productive to do instead of sitting around, reading blogs and getting sad (As much as it helps me, sometimes I can get sucked in too much and out-stay my welcome).  And I’m using what I went to school for so long in at an amazing opportunity and company that has a position that seemed to be tailor made just for me.  Do I really not take it because of what might happen but still hasn’t happened for the last two years?  I feel like I’m choosing to press ‘play’.  Not the ‘play’ I imagined but still, a story is unfolding anyway and its ours.

I met a woman through this volunteer thing I’m doing that was also looking for work.  She had asked if I really needed a job and I was honest with her.  We didn’t need the job in the financial sense and I had been considering a myriad of other opportunities including doing NFP stuff more full time or going back to school (shh…).  That was probably a bratty thing to be honest about because it turns out she’d been out of work for 16 months and had two kids.  ‘Do you have any kids?’ No.  She still offered to help me since she knows an engineering head hunter.  She emailed this past week to get my resume and I had to tell her thanks, but I found a job.  I told her there had been many things we’ve been dealing with lately so this looks like a turn for the positive and that I hope she found work too.  She wrote me back with a really short email that said she was happy for me.  That was it.  I knew it was forced and she probably was thinking in her head, That girl didn’t even want a job and here I’ve been looking for over a year and I can’t find one.  That perspective is all too familiar to me.  How do these people get pregnant so easily when they don’t even want more kids?  So I realize I have something good here.  Its a good thing to have employment and its something a lot of people want/need.  I am grateful.  This is a good thing for us.  (Incidentally, apparently its also a good thing to have an engineering background, as those jobs seem to have less people qualified to take them).

I had more to say but I don’t feel coherent.  One thing I worry about is that I’ve been feeling so, so exhausted lately and really dizzy and lighted as well more frequently this week.  I don’t feel like myself.  I’ve been on my diet for 3 months now, so I really don’t think its a nutritional thing, but maybe related to the parlodel or T3 I’ve been taking this month?  Maybe I just keep standing up too fast.

Either way, beach day today and work on Monday.  I’m not letting comparison steal my joy!  (Thanks Faith!)

Such is life

I feel like a broken record.

One day everything is going seemingly OK and then…

One day I’m completely content with the fact that I’m going back to work next week instead of having the opportunity to be a mom and then…

One day I’m committed to making this our last month of “treatment” because too many things are giving and not enough ends are meeting and then…

Well, not exactly.  I’m still pretty convinced I will take next month ‘off’.  Maybe permanently.  Two days ago I was happy about it.  Then I hear a pregnancy announcement (from this couple no less, I mean, they planned it, why wouldn’t it happen perfectly according to their plan?)  and it feels like a smack across my face.  Who am I kidding.  Its not like I have a choice to be pregnant or not next month.  The only choice I have is to take drugs that make me feel like I’m crazy but hey, its probably not even the drugs, its probably all in my head because who has to take drugs to get pregnant.  Its supposed to just happen.

There are days when I think I can do this and be really, truly happy and then…

And then there’s days like today.

A (not so) encouraging story

The third clinic was the charm today.

That’s one thing that stinks about moving to a new area and trying to explain to each receptionist that you need your blood drawn for hormone testing, but that your doctor is out of state so you’ll actually just need that blood back now thank you.  I’m just gonna go pop it in the mail and hope the USPS guy doesn’t ask me what it is.

I even pulled out the “this is for my fertility treatments and I have to do this today” line on the first two clinics and nada.  One told me it was against California state law to give me my own blood back.   Really?  Don’t tell that to the 3rd clinic…

Anyway, during the blood draw the nurse was extremely nice.

So this is for fertility treatment?

Yea.

Oh yeah, sometimes it just takes a while, you know?

(So I’m realizing…)

You know, I tried for quite a while to get pregnant before I did.

(Oh awesome, she understands!  Kindred spirits!)

Yeah, me and my first husband (red flag!) were together for 5 years and tried but nothing.  They told me I had one ovary and it wouldn’t happen.  It put a lot of stress on our marriage, you know.  He was from a Hispanic family and his mother always asking “where are the children??” So we divorced.  Then on my second marriage I didn’t ever use birth control because I didn’t think we could get pregnant and now I have three children!

Oh, wow!  I guess its about couple fertility, huh?

So, it took me a minute to figure out her actual point, but I can only conclude it was, “Leave your husband and get pregnant”?  Ummm, yeah.  Not so encouraging.

There was that other time our lab cleaning lady told me that lovely story about her Indian friend who “came over from India and married a white woman who couldn’t have children” so he left her and had an arranged marriage and was “popping them out so fast” right after they got married.   Yes, I shifted nervously in my seat, scratched my arms and tried to change the subject because really, what’s more fun than talking about husbands leaving their worthless-non-procreating wives?!  (Just about anything!!)

But I hope those stories suffice all those people who type “husband leaves infertile wife” into the search engine and find this blog.  Apparently it happens on occasion, as depressing as it is.  If you want some helpful things men have said about infertility, here is something by my husband.  He’s a pretty quiet guy on the subject, no matter how much I beg him to share his thoughts.  He deals with it differently than I do, there’s no doubt its not as all-consuming for him and obviously his hormones don’t effect the way we discuss things as much, but I do catch glimmers of what is really going on in his head.  I’ve come to appreciate his non-emotional side as being the rock that gets me by, although it can be frustrating when I want to say “Man, isn’t it awful that they already got pregnant?” and all he can say is “No.  Good for them.”  Because really, good for them.

And those are all the stories you’ll find about husbands leaving their infertile wives on this blog.

Maybe we could all say a little prayer for couples coping with this extra stress tonight.  Lord knows we all need it.

 

*Updated to add a little info on getting your blood drawn for PPVI Institute:  In Texas I had the most success with Any Lab Test Now.  They were amazing at helping me and when I went there I saw at least 3 kits for other women who were doing the hormone panel as well (they even store it for you the whole month!) so I could not recommend them enough.  Unfortunately, they don’t have one in California, so here I tried Que.st Diagno.stics and Lab.Corp, who both were not able to do the draw.  I finally found success at a local hospital’s outpatient lab and from what other commenters say, that is the most frequent place they have found success as well.  I also had to do a draw in a small beach town and randomly had success with the local “for minor emergency clinic”, although that could have been a fluke.  I played up the “I’m going to have to drive 2 hours unless you can help me and I can’t have a baby” card hardcore for that one.  

Shocking

I just got off the phone with the Family Life Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest diocese in the United States, which serves almost 5 million Catholics.

That’s like, an insane number.

And do you know how many Catholic infertility support groups she knows of?

None.  Not a single one.

There are support groups for widows and separated/divorcées, but none for couples suffering from infertility.

I’m still in shock, but realizing how desperate this need is.   Much bigger than I had any idea about.

So for anyone who thinks this is “just another problem” you can have that’s not any worse than any other problem, clearly it isn’t if we can’t even talk about it.

I’m still in shock.

How to tell its time to move

How do you know when its time for you to move?

Everyone in your local sub/infertility group is either pregnant or has adopted.

Yup, it was time for us to get a move on.

I say that (partially) in jest because of course, we didn’t actually decide to move because all of our infertile and sub-fertile friends had finally adopted and/or conceived without miscarriage.  A while back I wrote that we had a little group going of couples who hadn’t been able to conceive, led by the priest who witnessed our marriage.  It was awesome to meet with these couples, all who had been trying far longer than us (8, 6, and 3 years).  Not even necessarily from the things they said, but they were able to give me comfort that “it was going to be alright” and that I was not alone.

The last time we met in May, we went mainly to say goodbye and to meet the new baby our friends had just adopted.  We were thrilled to meet the little guy, catch up with the parents, and say goodbye to the rest of the group.  Right before we left, that’s when I heard that the third couple was pregnant.  After 3 surgeries, 2 miscarriages, and almost 6 years of trying, they had finally made it to the second trimester.

My first thought was, Miracles are being worked in this group!  A year ago no one was pregnant, now there has been a birth, an adoption in record time (3 months) and what looks like a healthy one on the way!  God is listening to us!

My second thought was, I am alone.  And unfortunately, that thought hit while I was still talking to the new parents.

I was so happy and surprised for our friends.  They had tried for so long and had all but given up the summer before (and they conceived by making diet changes, no drugs, etc.)  Her joy was contagious.  I knew her struggle and I shared in her joy.  But that could not stop my tears.  I just kept smiling.  I knew they were tears of joy, but I also knew that they were tears of something that’s a lot harder to put my finger on.  So did she.  She tried to calm me  as I desperately tried to hide my tears that would not stop for the life of me (which I blame partially on the fact that I was already emotional from saying goodbye).  Luckily, it was literally the last exchange that happened before we left so it wasn’t too terrible that I was teary-eyed.  We made a quick escape.

As we drove off to our next good-bye dinner that night, I kept thinking how I was glad to be moving on, at least in some way.  To stay there while the rest of our group had reunions with children, man.  I mean, of course its fitting I’m the last one, I’m years behind these women in terms of trying.  But still.  I kept thanking God that he hadn’t left anyone behind that may have needed my support in person.

Which leads me to my next proposal.  While I’m glad no one needs my support in Texas, I sure as heck would love a support group here in California, specifically southern California.  I know there seems to be a large contingent of people on the east coast, but is there anyone out here who would like to meet up?

I guess I have a love/hate relationship with the thought of making friends solely based on our shared inability to procreate, especially considering that unlike motherhood, its a label that often changes as time goes on.  However, the relationships that I’ve made on the blog-world and carried into more personal relationships and the support I felt from that group were extremely important for my socialization and remembering my humanity, in that my problems aren’t unique to me alone (just a small percentage of people…).  And now, all of those people are with child.  And I miss them.   I understand there’s a danger that more people may go on to leave me as well, but I guess its better to have be-friended a sub-fertile than never to have friended at all, right?

Seriously, if anyone is in Southern California, let’s even make it “the west”, and either is looking for a support group or knows of one already, please let a gal know.

As always, appreciating your prayers.