Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting and Blog Silence

From the recent blog silence, you can accurately conclude two things:
  1. I have been busy.
  2. Nothing new is happening in infertility land.
Last weekend, we traveled north for a wedding and to visit family. Usually, we allow at least a week for these trips, but this one was a quick four days. Don't worry, we managed to cram ten days of activities into the four days. Now, we are home, sick, and tired. On the day we traveled home, my poor husband was up from 5:45 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. One of our flights was delayed, so the trek from the airport stretched into the wee (or brutal) hours of the morning. We may not be old, but we are definitely too old to stay up until 3:30 a.m.

While settling back into normal life, I am getting impatient to see if the Clomid worked. Our schedule this weekend was crazy enough to throw any person's body off, but I'm hoping that it did not make round one pointless.

Regardless of what we find out, God is good. He is in control. Scheduling chaos and lack of sleep will not surprise Him. Whatever we walk through is for our good and His glory.

And again, we wait...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Some Days, My Life Doesn't Revolve Around Infertility

In the infertility department, we are in a waiting phase. Some people call it the two week wait. I will spare you the details, but just know that there is nothing we can do at this point. In a few weeks, we will know if the first round of Clomid was successful. Until then, all I can do is take prenatal vitamins (just in case) and take care of myself. This time, the waiting phase is just what we needed to forget about infertility. 

Don't worry, we aren't bored. On the contrary, in fact. We started house shopping and just put an offer in on a house. Throughout our six years of marriage, we have rented. Right now, our apartment is too small to comfortably host people. We had been looking for houses to rent, but buying seems to be much more reasonable in our area. So, we jumped into the first-time homebuyer process with both feet. It's a little scary to think of putting so much money in one place, but we are excited, too. 

Do any of you have home-buying tips to share? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

If Only There Was an App for That

If I want to get somewhere, I enter the destination into the map app on my phone. The handy app will then show me the fastest routes available and approximately how long each route would take. I can choose an alternate if desired, but the app will automatically send me on the fastest route otherwise.

Wouldn't it be nice to plug a life goal into an app and have the route options presented to us? At this phase, I would be looking for the best routes to having children. With the destination plugged in, I could evaluate the options and pick one.

Unfortunately, there's no app for that. So, we are left trekking various avenues trying to choose the best next step. Infertility treatments might be a dead end, but we won't know unless we try. Adoption might be the longest route, but it might be the only one that actually reaches the destination. Foster care to adoption might be the fastest and least expensive route, but it also has the highest possibility of long-term struggles. I could honestly get excited about any of the routes, but I wish the best one was obvious. If only there was an app for that.

Thankfully, God instituted this wonderful thing called marriage. My husband is somewhat (or WAY) better than I am at making decisions. I can put myself through all the confusion of internet "research" and get overwhelmed with all the options. When I blurt out all the chaos to him, he usually brings clarity to the situation. Then we can agree on a next step.

We are currently trying the fertility treatment route. At this point, both of us are hopeful that it will take us to the destination. So, we travel on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

And Now, We Wait

I finished round one of Clomid. Thankfully, the worst side effect was a few headaches. At this point, we have no idea if anything changed. In a few weeks, we will be able to tell if the treatment was successful. Until then, we wait. Again.

In spite of the fact that this treatment was a shot in the dark, we feel a little hopeful. I find myself making plans for round two and round three as if round one failed, which it hasn't yet. I'm so used to getting the "no" that I can't imagine getting a "yes." Part of me still is holding on to hope that it would be this easy, that one round of Clomid would do the trick. Wouldn't that be nice? I certainly think so.

That's all for now. I have more thoughts, but will have to share those when I have more time. Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Clomid Update

Today is Day 3 of our first round of Clomid. Clomid can have some pretty crazy side effects, but thankfully I have missed them so far. I had a headache yesterday and may have been a little dizzy in the night, but nothing too intense. Per advice from ladies who have done this before, I am taking the pill at night in order to sleep through the most severe side effects. So far, so good.

I was a little nervous to mess with my hormones. A few months before we got married, I started taking a "low-dose" birth control pill. I have never been so sick in my life. It absolutely wreaked havoc on my body. Between the severe side effects and additional scientific information presented to us, we decided to avoid hormonal birth control.

Obviously, I was relieved to get past the first twenty-four hours of Clomid without side effects. I have three more pills to take, so hopefully the trend continues. We appreciate your prayers.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Clomid, Here We Come

I plan to start taking Clomid tomorrow. As far as treatments go, Clomid is pretty straightforward. I just have to take a pill every day for five days. Side effects can range from hot flashes to mood swings to cysts. Hopefully, the side effects are minimal (especially because I just started a new job), but success would be worth a few side effects.

After our last appointment, I started focusing on adoption, reading a book* and even researching adoption agencies. Now that the Clomid prescription has been filled, reality is sinking in. I'm even feeling a little hopeful, which is scary. Since my last post, several ladies have shared Clomid success stories with me. Also, I realized that this is the first actual treatment we have tried. There's a chance that it could work. A slight chance. Still, hope is sneaking in.

*We are reading the book Adopted for Lifeby Russell D. Moore. In my opinion, his personal journey through infertility lends credibility to his handling of adoption. I think it would be harder to take the message from someone who had not experienced infertility. If you have even a slight interest in adoption, I recommend reading the book.

NOTE: I enjoy writing about things I like and am not being paid to endorse products. I am, however, an Amazon Affiliate. If you click a link that takes you to Amazon and then purchase something, I receive a small percentage. To my knowledge, you will not pay more.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The End of the Line: Closer Than Expected?

This update is a few days late. We had an appointment on Wednesday and have been trying to process coherent thoughts since then. I will try to make sense.

The blood work showed normal hormone levels. As a result, we still do not have a problem to fix.

We plan for me to start a round of Clomid in a few days. A round of Clomid involves taking one pill a day for five days. Clomid is intended to fix issues that I do not seem to have (ovulation/luteal phase issues, for those of you who want details). It's kind of a starter drug for infertility. The doctor said he has seen it help people like me. At the same time, he emphasized that more than three years of trying to conceive is not a great sign. If Clomid doesn't work, we will have some difficult decisions to make.

Since they haven't found any issues that warrant a specific treatment, the next steps are very much up to us. We could repeat the ultrasound for signs of endometriosis. Two years ago, it cost $675 and showed nothing. We could both have the initial tests done again to see if the results are different. Even if they were different, the doctor says they would have likely been at least as good at some point in the last three years. We can go to a specialist, who will likely have us do all of the above plus a laparoscopy. We can skip right to the laparoscopy. The HSG will most likely cost us around $1,500 total. The laparoscopy is a surgery involving anesthesia and would be in the thousands for sure. We do have insurance, but much of the expenses would be out-of-pocket.

And then you have the stewardship issue. I only have one body, and we have limited funds. How much poking, prodding, and medicating is wise? With a medical problem, people often have the option of living with the problem or treating it. They have to decide if the benefits of the treatment outweigh the side effects. I'm not going to say their decision is easy, but at least it makes sense. We are faced with basically trying treatments for an unknown problem. Clomid MIGHT work. It also might cause other problems, like cysts that require surgery. We are willing to take the risk, at least for one round.

I think we have decided to avoid surgery unless medically necessary. If it becomes clear that I have severe endometriosis that needs to be treated, we would consider laparoscopy. If not, we won't (I think).

Okay, so that means we would be at the end of the line. Already. I know there are many other things we could try: diets, NaProTechnology, cleanses, acupuncture. I just don't want to waste our time and money. We want children. We don't want to pour endless time and money down a drain that may lead nowhere.

And so, we could be close to pursuing adoption. As I have shared before, we always wanted to adopt at some point. We planned to adopt after having a few biological children (I guess that could still happen). For some reason, the realization that we might choose to stop fertility testing/treatment soon comes as a shock. Clomid could be the last thing to try, then we might be done.

I thought I would be a mess when faced with the likelihood of never having a biological child. I'm not. I don't know why. I guess I feel like choosing adoption now doesn't mean we can never resume infertility testing. Maybe I will be a mess tomorrow, but I'm not today.

We could really use prayer. As you can see by this atypically long post, we have a lot to think about. Please pray that the Lord would guide us clearly, that we would truly seek and desire His will rather than our own. Please pray that Clomid would work. Please pray that God would build our family in His perfect way. Thanks for your prayer and support.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Open Letter to Family and Friends

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for providing prayer, encouragement, and support to us throughout our infertility journey. I started this blog to give insight to those of you who cannot relate and encouragement to those who can. Unfortunately, I did not think through the ramifications of this openness. I am afraid that some blog posts may have caused hurt, confusion, or awkwardness, and I apologize.

Please allow me to clarify how we feel about several things:
  • The world doesn't revolve around us. I/we have chosen to be very open about our struggle with infertility. The openness does not indicate importance. Your struggles are as important and possibly as difficult as ours; they are just different. Please don't think that we expect everyone to tiptoe around because of our publicized problem.
  • Our infertility is our problem. We do not want anyone feeling awkward about or planning their lives around our struggle with infertility. 
  • If you are married and want kids someday, what are you waiting for? As we have learned, families cannot always be planned. Make sure to evaluate your reasons for waiting very carefully.
  • If you are pregnant and/or have children, we still like you. ;) Sometimes all the mom/dad and pregnancy talk gets overwhelming, but we realize that is your life. We do appreciate when you choose topics intentionally, realizing that we would love to have the thing (kids) that you may be complaining about. 
  • If I have robbed anyone of joy, I am sorry. Please take joy in your phase of life, regardless of us. If you are pregnant, enjoy it! In my selfish moments, that baby bump picture might cause twinges of pain; I can look away. In better moments, I will get excited with you. Pregnancy is a miracle. I don't get to enjoy it myself, but most days I am happy to enjoy it secondhand. 
  • If you wonder about something, please ask us. If you don't know how to approach us, just pretend you have no idea about infertility. If you would have called us in a life crisis before, please still do. If you would have announced pregnancy, please still do. Just treat us like "normal" friends or family members. Extra tact is appreciated, but not required.
Thank you for being in our lives. We love you.

C and Davy 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We All Have Burdens

I have heard about several very difficult situations lately. The more I hear, the more I realize that everyone has a burden.

That grumpy cashier at the grocery store? Maybe she just found out her grandson has cancer. That rude phlebotomist? Maybe her husband is leaving her. That perfect couple down the street? Maybe one of them struggles with mental illness. That popular family with cute kids? Maybe they have an estranged sibling or an ill parent.

In the midst of suffering, we often feel alone, like the people around us have easy lives. They can't relate, because they aren't going through our exact type of suffering. Maybe they aren't, but maybe their burden is just as heavy. As I type, I am reminded of this video from a few years ago:

Let's open our eyes. Rather than zooming in on our own pain and suffering, let's come alongside our co-sufferers. Let's do what we can to ease their burdens. In the process, we may lose sight of our own burden for a little while, and maybe it will be lighter the next time we notice.

May our suffering open our eyes to the suffering of others.
May our suffering help us treat others with grace and kindness.
May our suffering make us selfless, not selfish.