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Showing posts from 2013

14 Ways I'll be a Better Infertile in 2014

We are counting down the moments until we usher in a new year. As always, holidays lead me to so many memories. It also makes me stop and think about all of those in my life for whom I am grateful and whom I hope have a safe and happy time celebrating.

For me, New Year's Eve is a time for reflection and also for looking forward. We make resolutions that sometimes we even keep. Many of us drink too much and count down the dwindling seconds in the closing year. Jeremy and I tend to like a quiet New Year's Eve, generally with some movies and junk food, perhaps even a bottle of bubbly. I remember so many New Year's Eves filled with hope, brimming with expectation. On the eve of 2014's arrival, I think there is more melancholy than joy in my heart.

Tonight, as I watch that ball drop, I will be closing out a tough year for the two of us. We've spent an entire year medicated on Clomid or Femara, which means I have been hormonal for an entire year. My body has been in a up…

Country Roads, Take Me Home (A Christmas Carol for the WV Girl)

I'll admit something that might flabbergast some of you. I don't like Christmas music all that much. It annoys me that it starts before Thanksgiving and on some stations, it's all you hear for more than a month. I'm not a total Grinch-- Christmas music is ok in small doses, especially as we approach the actual holiday. However, the soundtrack to my Christmas travels is a little less season specific.
         If you've never heard John Denver's factually inaccurate love song to the Mountain State, then you clearly aren't from West Virginia or have never attended a WVU football game. In either event, if you haven't heard it, you should. The opening line, echoing one of West Virginia's mottos, says it all, "Almost Heaven, West Virginia." Every time I start planning for a trip home, that melody echoes through my mind. If you've never been to West Virginia, it really is as picturesque as the song makes it out to be. Gorgeous mountains…

Silly Infertile, Christmas is for kids

I've been away from this blog for quite a while. I've had a rough couple of months where nothing worked out with anything related to fertility treatments. Hopefully, the setbacks have helped us create a better plan going forward, but in the moment, it is hard to feel hopeful.

Today, I was out doing a little Christmas shopping for my nieces. Jeremy and I genuinely love buying for them and sometimes we go a little overboard in our Aunt and Uncle way. However, today a got a little bit of unwanted advice that stole a bit of my holiday joy.

I bought a toy at Walgreens. Seems innocuous enough, right? The cashier tried to bring out a little holiday spirit by asking about my children, since I was obviously buying a toy. I give folks the benefit of the doubt since there is no way to know I am an infertile. I explained I was buying the toy for my creative niece (as well as a tube of red lipstick for the girly girl niece) and tried to turn the conversation to them. But, she just wouldn&#…

I hope you never really understand

I started this blog back in April asking for love, support and friendship. Along the way, I have tried to break down some of the infertility myths and educate people on what is and is not true about infertility. Back in April, I thought I wanted people to understand what Jeremy and I are going through. Our story is not unique-millions of folks are going through the exact same things right now- but our story is ours and the only one I can tell. I thought sharing our journey would open a door into what infertility feels like, while giving me a place to put my feelings on "paper". But, what I have realized is that unless you are going through it, the best I will ever do is pull back the curtains on the window of infertility. I can show you a glimpse of this world but, in truth, unless you endure it, you will never understand it. 
Some people believe infertility can be compared to the grief one feels when losing a loved one. Others would say there is no way it feels like that. I…

Thirteen, Halloween and Other Ominous Signs

Last month, Jeremy and I took some time off from ultrasounds and IUIs. Dr. S did do some blood work to confirm my ovulation and my levels were good. Actually, they were great. However, once again, we are not pregnant.

This month, we are staring down medicated cycle #13. We have been doing medicated cycles for more than one year. I never imagined I would still be here, in this infertility purgatory, holding pattern when we started this process. But, here we are.

Cycle number thirteen sounds ominous, right? We had confirmation of the failed cycle twelve on Halloween, a spooky day in its own right (and, coincidentally, my favorite holiday, since I'm an October baby myself.) But, the eerie connections go further. I am scheduled for an ultrasound on Day 13, November 13. Thank goodness the office only schedules ultrasounds in the morning, or I know it would have been at 1:00 (or 13:00 military time). I just can't escape the bad luck number running through this month.

All this talk o…

Infertility Hat Trick

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I grew up with a sports loving dad who had no sons. Hence, it is no surprise I love sports. Jeremy was quite excited that I got into Mountaineer and Steeler football each fall and that I love Mountaineer basketball. I even know a little bit about volleyball and softball because my sister played both. However, my dad was never much into hockey. I guess it just wasn't his game. My husband, however, is a different story.

Jeremy loves the Pittsburgh Penguins. He loved them in the Lemieux days of his childhood, during the dark days before Crosby and he loves them still. (To be fair, he has loved the Pirates since childhood... and finally got a bit of a payoff for the first time in 20 years.) During our marriage, he had long tried to bring me into his world of hockey, but I resisted. However, for Valentine's Day 2013, I bought him two tickets to a Pens game and told him he could take whoever he wanted. He picked me.

Long story short, taking me to a game is all it took. I fell in lov…

I get knocked down, but I get up again...

In keeping with the theme of being busy throughout October, Jeremy and I spent last weekend out of town catching up with some friends we hadn't seen in years. We went back "home" and spent the weekend in a gigantic cabin in the woods with some fantastic people. All in all, it was a great weekend. The folks we were meeting up with were our former fellow debaters. You may or may not know this about us, but Jeremy and I met as a result of being members of the intercollegiate debate team at WVU. We both joined because we thought we wanted to be lawyers (and neither one of us ended up going that route). We are actually the second married couple that could be credited to the WVU debate team. We stayed on the team because, as much as you might think it is dorky, it was unbelievably fun. The reason for all that fun? The people. The debate team was an eclectic group of people you probably wouldn't find together anywhere else. Some of the cool kids, some of the dorks (like me…

Driving the lane, parallel parking and making babies

I don't do very well with failure. I'm one of those annoying overachievers who works hard until I conquer my goal.  There are very few times in my life I can remember true and utter failure. Most recently,  getting pregnant has moved to the top of the list.
My first memorable experience with big time failure came in 6th grade.  I learned all about basketball from my dad as I was growing up.  I guess that happens when you're a one of his two daughters and he's a guys guy. He shot foul shots with me in the driveway and he tried his best to give me pointer.  I was proficient in the rules of the game.  I even understood the fundamentals of plays. So, my parents and I decided it would be good for me to join the girls basketball team.
My middle school sponsored one of those everyone makes the team basketball teams.  As such,  I started practice with the other girls.  After only a couple of practices,  it became apparent I was utterly and horribly terrible at basketball. A…

So why don't you just..... get a lemur?

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October is the month of busy, busy, busy for the two of us. I planned an outing to the Conservator's Center   about 20 minutes outside of town on Saturday as a way to do something fun and festive for the fall season. We discovered the Conservator's Center this summer when I purchased a Groupon for one of their education tours. It was amazing. I usually hate zoos, but I like this place. Yes, the animals are in enclosures. Would their lives be better if they were never in captivity? Probably. Actually, the folks at the Conservator's Center would agree with you on that point most of the time. However, many of the animals they house are there as a "home of last resort" because they were seized by government officials or abused or not properly cared for by owners who either didn't understand the implications of having an exotic, wild animal in your home or were trying to make money at a cost to the animal. When you walk through the area, it is clear the animals ar…

Infertility in Real Life (or 10 Ways Hollywood gets it WRONG)

When you're dealing with infertility, you see it everywhere. Innocuous abbreviations in your work life turn into moments when you are wondering why your education job is looking at luteal phases or interuterine inseminations. (For the record, they meant lesson plans and interdisciplinacy unit interims). It seems like everywhere you turn, it is difficult to get away. It is lurking everywhere. It disrupts your thoughts at the most inopportune moments. It puts everything in your life under a different lens.

Often, I turn on TV or watch a movie to unwind in the evening. It seems like every time I sit down to watch something new, there is a pregnancy or infertility story line. I know that art is supposed to imitate life, and I understand for many people pregnancy is a natural part of life. However, the real issue I have with Hollywood depictions of pregnancy and infertility are the huge and glaring inaccuracies they are allowed to pass off as truth.
Fertility and infertility seem to be…

Even She-Ra takes a day off once in a while

There isn't much a pair of gold boots (or flats) can't solve, right? She-Ra routinely beat the bad guys all while rocking the crown and boots, so a little infertility should be nothing. Yes, my ovaries were super-heroine worthy, yes all the other metrics looked "great" to "fantastic." Yes, optimism and hope abounded. Then, my flying unicorn crashed firmly to earth. One more time, I am not pregnant.

     Here's where the superhero analogy ends. I wasn't a superhero this month. Not even close. I took the "not pregnant" extremely hard. Dr. S warned me when I got some great test results back to temper my optimism because the high levels were not necessarily correlated with pregnancy. In the same conversation, he also said he knew I would hold on to those results and get hopeful. He was right on all accounts. I think the ideal circumstances made me feel like this should be our month. I think I put a lot of karmic hope in my mother's dr…

My inner Princess of Power

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When I was six years old, I had the best Halloween costume ever. I seriously wish I could find a picture. I was She-Ra, Princess of Power.

I distinctly remember my grandmother making a leotard get-up with a skirt for the main costume. Some combination of my mother and my aunts created the elaborate headpiece, probably out of glitter, paint and cardboard. My dad took a boy's play sword and spray painted it gold so it would look like She-Ra's. Then, there were the boots.

My dad took the same gold spray paint and painted my once brown boots a sparkly gold color. I thought they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I wore those boots even when I wasn't in costume. I wore them until they were far too small and hurt my feet. My family taught me as a girl, I could do anything I wanted. My drive and ambition were the only limitations they told me I had. So, in my mind, I was She-Ra and She-Ra was awesome. She might be a princess, but she wasn't sitting around waiting …

Precisely My Mother's Drug

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Most of you who follow my blog knew my mother, either in passing, or as a dear friend. Honestly, it was hard to know my mom in passing. She loved people and getting to know them. It was part (but only a small part) of what made her special and remarkable.  I'm sincerely sorry if you never got to know my mom. She was an extraordinary, ordinary woman, brimming with life, love and hope, always. She didn't know the word "quit" and would give anything for those she held dear. She embraced the path before her, even if it was difficult, because she always saw the tools she had to navigate it. Typically, she not only conquered the path, but found a way to light it and make it a little easier for those who followed her. She was one of those rare people who quietly changed the world of everyone she met, be it a friend, a student, or a member of her family.

Many times on my journey through infertility, I find myself missing my mom. She never dealt with infertility, but she kne…

I dwell in possibility

I have a confession: I have a crush.

Yes, I'm a married woman, but my husband doesn't mind. You see, I've loved this person longer than I've known my husband. She (yes, she!) has been with me through thick and thin, offering observations and insights on life that are beyond my comprehension. She never fails me and always makes me think. In fact, my mother introduced me to her. She's an inspiration in my career. Who is she?

She is Emily Dickinson.

Yes, my crush is a literary crush. It's not romantic love, but a love for her observations of a life she barely lived. It's the depth of the emotion she conveys in a few simple lines. It's the simplicity and beauty of her words. I've been in love for a long time.

You might wonder why Emily Dickinson is appearing my in blog when I typically talk about infertility. Today, Emily Dickinson met my world of infertility.

It's not a secret that Jeremy and I have been pursuing IUI over the last few months. I to…

The Nine Years of Marriage (Happy Anniversary, Jeremy!)

Sometimes in the midst of infertility struggles, you fail to focus on the gifts you’ve been given in your life. Today is nine years ago since I walked down the aisle and married my best friend. I am truly grateful for my crazy, dorky, sweet, handsome, amazing rock of a husband. He’s the one person who is always here and who rarely gets to turn off my crazy. His gentle reassurances keep me moving forward when I don’t feel like there is any more gas left in my tank. Sometimes, I know the only way the gas gauge moves is the fact that he is syphoning off some of his for me. He offers me hope and makes me want to keep going. I really thought I loved my husband the day I married him. The rocky path we’ve traversed together shows me that August 14, 2004 was only the tip of the iceberg. The depth and breadth of our love has grown in ways I have never imagined. We may not always agree, but we always back one another up. In my opinion, that’s what marriage should be.
So, enough with the sappy se…

The First Day of School or How Nausea is a Good Thing

I've been a bit under the weather over the weekend... so Jeremy decided to offer up a guest blog from his perspective.

Well, it's getting to be that time of year. Yes, I am a teacher that likes his summers, but I absolutely detest the first day of school. I don't mean to sound like I hate teaching, because I really do think I belong in education; I just hate the first day of school. Nothing is ever set in stone, the first day schedule is never what the routine is, everything is constantly in flux, and if you don't set the right tone from day one in the classroom, it will be weeks (if ever) until you get it back. First days are incredibly stressful (and the students are still mostly on their best behavior so they don't show their true selves for a few weeks... but that's another time).
In the area where I grew up, school started today (a few weeks earlier than the district where I teach). My Facebook timeline was full of high school acquaintances saying “…

It’s all been done before, but here it goes again

I recently got a new cell phone when the contract on the old one was up.There is a standard process that yields the best results at our house. Jeremy evaluates all of the options, buys the phone, plays with it, then convinces me I should get the same one. That’s what happened again this time. So, I had to do all the things that go along with getting a new phone: merging contacts, setting up email and creating ringtones. I, like most people I know, have one main ringtone for my phone. However, “important” people who call often get their own ringtones so I know without looking who is calling me. Jen has one, (Hey Soul Sister), Dad has one (Kashmir), Jeremy has one (Moves Like Jagger) and so on. Usually, it’s a song that makes me think of them or something they like. So, I decided with the new phone, Dr. S and Dr. M will get their own ringtones. I mean, it IS important that I know when they (or the nurses at their offices) are calling, and they call pretty frequently anymore. …

The Best of What's Around

Disappointment has a name. In this moment it is “canceled cycle.” After all of my nerves and anxiety for the impending IUI cycle, we were canceled before it even had much of a chance. I guess I'm getting better at dealing with these things because I don't feel absolutely devastated. I'm actually grateful that my doctors are not wasting my money and my hope on fruitless endeavors. Here's your fair warning... I'm going to give a more detailed explanation.
In order to do IUI, I continued the drug Clomid to induce what they call “superovulation.” I sounds pretty cool, and maybe it is, but my body doesn't seem to want to cooperate. They did an ultrasound mid way through my cycle to see if I had mature follicles (which become egg producers). Dr. M wanted 2-3 mature follicles to make IUI worth my money. I had 0 which were actually mature. I have a couple that are about half way there. So, it's a no go since he doesn't think it's worth it.
Here's the …

A New Direction

It's Becky again and I'm in my cerebral place where Jeremy tells me to get out of my head. I've been thinking a lot about fear, success, failure and what my life's path is supposed to be lately. I've been trying to come to terms with the next step Jeremy and I are taking in the infertility journey. I've also been trying to decide how much is too much to share, being that I promised not to inundate you with TMI way back when I stated this blog. So, in the name of full disclosure, I'm going to share a bit that some of you might find personal. It's OK if you don't want to read, but it's necessary to explain what's happening so you might understand my personal fear factor.
In the next few weeks, Jeremy and I will be undergoing our first IUI (inter-uterine insemination) fertility treatment (hopefully). I've been on meds to get me ready and I'll be monitored to see if my body has responded properly. If it does, then we head back to the d…