Saturday, December 10, 2011

{Infertility}

  I know I don't normally write personal posts.  I craft and blog about it because it takes me to my happy place.  But I have to believe that we go through things so that we can help others or at least let them know they are not alone.  This will be a long post, and I don't blame you for not reading it all.  But I have to share this.  So, here goes...

INFERTILITY

I hate that word.  I hate typing it, I hate thinking it, I hate saying it, and I hate that I feel like part of my identity is wrapped up in it.

{Source}
I have had my whole life planned out since I was in high school.  I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, who I was going to marry, how long we would be married before we had children, and how many children I wanted.  I married that man right before I turned 21.  (I know that's young, but I KNEW he was the man God had for me!)  I planned on being married for two years before we started having babies.  When the two years rolled around, we started trying.  I had nurseries, new family traditions, and cute family photos on the brain.

I don't remember how long we actually tried before I finally went to the doctor, but I eventually went, and he told me just to do those home ovulation kits.  I was young (only 23), and those would help us.  I tried that...for months.  The next step was to get my husband checked.  After we realized the ovulation checker wasn't helping us, he got checked.  He was pretty much fine, so, of course, I had to be the problem.

I finally made myself face the fact that something was wrong with me, and I "womaned up" and went to the doctor again.  He wanted to do a series of ultrasounds throughout the month to see what my ovaries and follicles looked like and if I was ovulating, etc.  I did these for a while.  He noticed that I had some cysts, and he told me that he was almost positive I had endometriosis, but he would have to do surgery to know for sure.  I remember being in shock when he told me that.  How could I have endometriosis?  Would I ever be able to have children?

I had the surgery.  I was out of it when the doctor came in the room after the surgery, but he told my mom and husband my endometriosis was REALLY bad.  My right ovary and fallopian tube was completely covered with endometriosis.  It was so bad my appendix was wrapped up in the mess.  The left side had a bit of endometrial tissue, but it was fine, and he ran dye through that tube to make sure it wasn't blocked.  His recommendation was that I go on something called Lupron for six months.

I started the Lupron with the knowledge that it would make me feel like I was going through menopause at 25 years old.  I looked on the internet to see what people were saying about the drug.  Some people had no side effects and others had every side effect you could think of.  I took the one shot a month like I was supposed to.  I had hot flashes and night sweats, and I was an emotional wreck.  Looking back now, I think I was depressed for most of the six months I was on the drug.  

I'm really good at hiding how I really feel, but most days when I was on Lupron, I felt like I was in this dark hole that I couldn't get out of.  I was so happy when I took my last shot!

I started feeling like my old self when the medicine started leaving my system.  I had to wait to start my period before we could start trying to get pregnant again.  When I finally had my period, we started trying, but to no avail.  The doctor decided to put me on a fertility drug to make me ovulate, and I would have an ultrasound every month to make sure there were eggs there.  I think this might have gone on for five or six months.  Every month there were eggs, but every month I didn't get pregnant.  The last time I talked with the doctor, he told me there was a chance I would have to have surgery again.  If I had to have surgery, though, it would have to be with someone else because he was retiring from his practice.

I am a person of patterns.  I stay in my comfort zone with the people I'm comfortable with doing the things I'm comfortable with.  I was comfortable with my doctor.  I didn't want to find another doctor.  At the same time, I almost felt free, though, because I was pushed into going to someone else.  For a while, I was feeling like my doctor didn't really know what was going on with me.  And the office staff at his practice was often times rude.  So I chose another doctor who I heard loved dealing with infertility.

On my first visit with this doctor, I learned more than I had in the three or four years I had been going to see my other doctor.  He spent lots of time with me, did an ultrasound, and told me I might also have something called polycistic ovarian syndrome.  He was so nice and understanding.  He told me that if I were his daughter, he would tell me to go see an infertility doctor.  He said he would work with me if I wanted him to, but I could be wasting my time.

I was really scared to go to the infertility doctor.  I had always said that I wouldn't do IVF.  I didn't understand it, but I knew there were ethical concerns and it was expensive.  And I knew there were lots of shots.  I decided it wouldn't hurt to go talk to the doctor, though.  So my husband, mom, and I went to the clinic.  Everyone was really nice, and the doctor was amazing.  She explained everything to me and was very professional and hopeful.  She calmed my ethical concerns because her practice refuses to destroy embryos.  She made me feel comfortable because she acted like this was every day business for her and that I would get pregnant.  And the price, though expensive, was something we could handle with help from family.  This was in May of this year.  I felt like I was nearing the end of an almost five year journey!

I started the drugs to make me super-ovulate in July/August.  The doctor retrieved my eggs, fertilized them with my husband's sperm, and put two in my womb.  I waited hopefully for two weeks to find out if I was pregnant.  I wasn't.

I was crushed.  The doctor wanted me to come back for a failed IVF consult.  I went back, and she told me the ovulation drugs hyper-stimulated me.  I had too much estrogen for the pregnancy to work.  She wanted to do a mock cycle with estrogen patches to get my level right.  Then I could try again.  I did this.  In November, she put two thawed embryos in me.  I found out two weeks later that I was pregnant!  I was so excited because I didn't think that I was, and I had already accepted that.  But to get the news that I was pregnant had me over the moon!  Everyone was so excited--my family, my friends, my coworkers!  Then I went back two days after the positive test for a routine recheck of the blood work.

My level was down two points.  It's supposed to double every day.  The doctor thought one of the embryos was dropping out, but that my level would be back up in two days.  I went back after two days.

My level was up again.......but only two points.  The nurse said, "We don't know if this is going to be a good pregnancy or not."  She told me I had to wait a week to find out if everything was okay.  A whole week.  A week of worrying.  I tried to remind myself that worrying helps nothing.

When I went back, the doctor did an ultrasound and there was nothing there.  I had my dream in my grasp for two whole days where I wasn't worried and was excited.  Then it was snatched from me.  I was so angry!  Angry because I got my hopes up.  Angry because I thought God gave me peace, and what was there to have peace about?  Angry because people told me to have faith, and I did, but it didn't work.  Angry because I had told people I was pregnant, and now, not only was I not pregnant, I had to go through the heartache of telling people I wasn't.  Just ANGRY.

I've had a few days to think.  A few days to recoop.  A few days to remind myself of this.

The doctor is hopeful that after some extensive labs she can find out why I reject my pregnancies.  She said it's a good sign that I got pregnant because that means I can get pregnant again.  I know that mentally.  My heart still aches a little.  What if I do it all again, and it doesn't work?  What if I use all my frozen embryos trying?  Do I do everything all over again?  Do we look into adoption?  I don't have the answers to all this.  But I do know this: I have a good life.  I have a God who loves me.  A husband who is very supportive.  An awesome mom, dad, and sister.  Wonderful, supportive friends and family.  I may not have everything I want in life, but I am so very blessed to have all I need.

And even in my darkest hours, I still know this.  One day, I will have a baby--whether biological or adopted--to buy this onesie for.

So if you are going through the same thing, you are not alone.  First of all, God is there for you.  And, second, there are soooo many women who have gone through the heartache that you have.  We just have to keep this in mind...

To read updates about my journey, read "A Bit of My Heart" and "My Future."

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19 comments:

  1. Wow, Bethany! What a beautiful post. Sending you prayers for clear directions and answers from God. May He guide, comfort and bless you as you continue down this path. Love to you.

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  2. All I can offer are my thoughts and prayers and I will gladly give it!

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  3. Oh honey good luck! Of course I read the whole post and cried a wee bit! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. And don't be afraid to be real ever on a post. We are all real people out here in blog land just like you.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I tried for several years and never got pregnant - wasn't anything wrong medically. That marriage ended and 2 years later God put a wonderful man in my life and we are the proud parents to a wonderful 3yr old. God is always on time. And yes something this wonderful is worth waiting for. Will keep you in my prayers.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I tried for several years and never got pregnant - wasn't anything wrong medically. That marriage ended and 2 years later God put a wonderful man in my life and we are the proud parents to a wonderful 3yr old. God is always on time. And yes something this wonderful is worth waiting for. Will keep you in my prayers.

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  6. Thanks for the encouragement and support ladies! I am humbled that you would take the time to pray for me. :)

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  7. Bethany, Please don't give up hope! I have endometriosis & was pregnant 5 times. My best friend went through all the fertility treatments & she has a darling 2 yr. old son. Another friend had endometriosis so bad that they removed 3/4ths of her ovaries and she now has a beautiful 8yr. old daughter. You WILL have that child someday and that baby will be so incredibly blessed to have you all as parents! I'm praying for you and miracles do happen! Tis the season for em!!!

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  8. I agree with Sarah! Brittney - that is what we are here for. Remember WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD, and GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.

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  9. Sorry that is supposed to be Bethany - darn auto correct.

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  10. Hi Bethany, I'm a new reader who found your blog through a Pinterest link of your embroidery hoop snowman (love it). This post really touched me, as I struggled with what I call the "Scarlet I". While nothing was available medically to help, I am the super proud Momma of two little punkins (thanks to the amazing blessing of adoption). When I was in a very deep, dark place a good friend told me this "God already knows who your children are and how they are coming to you. Just breathe and trust Him to bring you together." Those words brought comfort to me then and I share them now with those I meet who are going through this soul wracking struggle. Please email me anytime if you need to chat with someone who has been there. You are in my prayers.

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  11. Thank you for writing this post Bethany. It comes at the exact time I need it. I'm currently going through fertility treatment and praying every day for it to finally work only to be disappointed every month :-(. I know there's a plan for us and I have faith that one day I'll have my little miracle but it can get so discouraging sometimes. Thank you for putting into words the feelings I have in my heart. I wish you lots of luck and pray for your miracle to come to you as well.

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  12. I had to read over this again to recall how much your strength and faith amaze me. You are the strongest young lady I know. I know your heart was crushed, yet I can see you still believe and still have faith. I know you aren't sure how it will happen but you trust God that it will. I trust that it will also. I believe you are going to have the chance to be a terrific mom, and me a grandma. Baby you never cease to amaze me. Don't ever loose hope for with God and by God all things are possible, and our hope is in God. Words are not sufficient but I sure do believe and I am so thankful you do as well. I love you soooo much more;
    gulledjr@dhec.sc.gov

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  13. Many prayers coming your way, Bethany.

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  14. I read this over again tonight, my heart still breaks as I know yours does. I still, and always will believe that God is going to bless you with children. I don't know the perfect plan but I know the one who holds that plan. I have said it before and I will say it again you are an amazing lady. I am waiting patiently on the Lord to reveal His plan and His blessings in your life. I love you MORE!!!!

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  15. i finally was able to get pregnant when i was 37 but little Noah went to dance before Jesus and attend Angel school, then when i was 38 i had Josiah who is special needs but my blessing nonetheless

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  16. Your story is almost exactly the same as mine. Married at 21, started trying at 23 to have kids. Same diagnosis, same surgeries. When it came down to IVF, I chose adoption. We have a 10 and 12 year old sons Alex, and Logan. The lights of our life and joy of our families. Our journey took 10 years of on and off infertility, and then with in 3 years, we had two wonderful boys, whom we believe God kept safe just for us. Good luck and God bless. It is worth it in the end, just keep on keeping on.
    Lisa

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  17. Hi Bethany. Your blog was recommended to me by Leslie at Gwen Moss. I too have endometriosis, struggle with infertility and getting ready to start my second attempt at IVF. You're a beautiful writer and I'm looking forward to following your blog.

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