How do you like your eggs?
Today is the first day of the October 31 days of blogging challenge. The premise is simple. Bloggers choose a topic and write a blog post each day in October, for a total of 31 posts. Sounds straightforward enough, right?
Since I usually stick to infertility around here, I'm going with my strength. But, I am leaving myself open for additional inspiration.
For this year on my blog, the theme of 31 Days of Blogging will be: One Tough Egg-- Eggs in Every Way.
I think the analogy is pretty good. In the past several years, I feel like this Tough Egg has been a little bit of everything. Why? Let's take a trek back through my infertility journey.
For the first several years of our marriage, I took the nonchalant approach to trying to conceive a child. I believed the conventional wisdom and truly thought "it will happen when it's supposed to happen." The women around me would say everything happens in God's time, so I sat back and waited for the man upstairs to decide that my time and his time were coinciding. I thought faith and faith alone would bring me to motherhood.
However, as it has often been said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. After many fruitless years, I decided it was time to get an opinion from someone who could offer me some earthly expertise. No offense to the Man in Charge, but a Type A can only wait around for so long. Besides, I could practically feel the cobwebs starting to gather in my uterus.
Sunny Side Up
When I met Dr. S, and he told me there were medical reasons for my difficulty conceiving, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. For the first time in many years, I had hope. It wasn't all my fault. I wasn't irreparably broken. The optimism was tinged by the fact that I had to have my first-ever surgery to investigate some abnormalities on an ultrasound. All in all, the surgery was fine, I recovered quickly and Dr. S soon whisked me off to the land of Clomid rages and painful ovulation. But, it was the land of ovulation, and that was a huge step in the right direction. My body was doing what a woman's body should do. Step one. Check.
While I did not get pregnant under Dr. S's care, I will always be grateful for the optimism he brought to my case and continues to bring today. It's great to have an OBGYN who is in my corner, despite what obstacles I might encounter. It's also good to know that he can be the voice of reason, an impartial third party when I am weighing my infertility options. Everyone should have a medical expert like him when they are fighting for motherhood.
The best way to characterize my experience with Dr. M all comes down to the egg preparation: hard boiled. I was left on my own, to wonder (and stew) and guess about what was happening. I never saw my doctor until the last minute. In fact, I only saw him twice in the year I was his patient. I met almost every staff member of the BIG INFERTILITY CLINIC and received conflicting advice from several of them. Dr. M had very little feedback for me, and when he did, it was short and blunt, without any sort of bedside manner or sense of human connection. He was as uncaring a doctor as I could imagine.
The egg preparation analogy holds here. After my time at the university clinic, I felt as though I was completely done and beginning to crack. I was cooked all the way through, maybe even more than I should have been. It hurt to hope. In truth, there was none of that left My perception of myself faltered. I, once again, felt like a failure and saw the entire prospect of becoming a parent slipping from my grasp. I couldn't see any other possibilities for having the family I've dream of.
Upon "firing" Dr. M as my Reproductive Endocrinologist, I definitely felt fried. I had more than my fair share of heartache and I was unsure of what step to take next. Dr. M urged me to pursue bariatric surgery, but Dr. S didn't particularly like that option for me. In truth, I have never been more grateful for Dr. S's support than in the time of deciding what was right for me as a human being. In truth, the notion of enduring a risky and invasive surgery for weight loss frightened me more than I would admit. I was willing to do whatever it took for motherhood, but Dr. S reminded me that there were lots of steps we could take before going down such a risky path. I know I sing his praises often, but thank goodness Dr. S stopped me from criticizing myself and helped me find a good path to healthy.
When an egg is "fried," there is little that can be done. Luckily, "un-frying" is infinitely more possible in humans than it is in eggs. So, Jeremy and I took some time and distance from actively trying to conceive and instead focused on our health and our relationship. While is has sometimes been difficult to let go of the dream of getting pregnant during this time, it has been wonderful not to stress about doctor's appointments, medicines and the emotional cost of investing myself into each cycle. In short, taking a break has let my eggs, and my brain, reset.
This past July, I met Dr. D. I really think I will like working with him so much more than I ever liked working with Dr. M. He was all the things Dr. M wasn't: kind, compassionate and willing to see me as an individual.
Despite the positive beginnings, I still think of myself as a scrambled egg. I fluctuate every day as to how I feel about my chances of becoming a mother. Will the injections work with IUI? Will adding a trigger shot be my miracle? Or, will I need to top-of-the-line, gold standard IVF treatment to get pregnant? I'm willing to try a round, but will one round be enough? Will we have extra embryos if we go that route? Will spending $20,000 get me to my goal? Will adoption feel like a natural next step, if the procedures don't work? Will my heart hold out during all of these ups and downs, or will it break into a million pieces?
There are few easy answers in infertility. We all take in as much information as possible and make the best decisions we can with what we know. But, in the end, sometimes it feels like I am back at square one, waiting on it to "happen when it's supposed to happen" or "in God's time." But, as Dr. S once told me, there's no shame in searching out a medical treatment for a medical problem. Most agree God is OK with doctors treating our medical conditions, and often see the lifesaving and involved work of doctors as doing some of God's work.. Way back when I started on this Merry-Go-Round, Dr. S told me that "God helps those who help themselves." That's precisely my take on this as well.
Of course, I guess I have to believe that. What else would help a Type A Tough Egg like me make peace with one more go in the frying pan?