when it rains, it pours… — May 27, 2016

when it rains, it pours…

Literally. We’ve had 8 inches of rain in the last 5 hours. 

Today was a bad day. I didn’t want to get up for work because I had stayed up late the night before. There was no reason for staying up so late other than watch an episode of Melrose Place on Amazon Prime. The acting is terrible and the fashion is 1992. 

I finally got myself into the shower and ready to go. I had a counseling appointment and then off to work. At least that’s what I thought. I became tearful during the session. Overwhelmed. Work and personal life have been crazy this last month.  It seems that everywhere I go, stress finds me. 

Feelings are crazy. I feel like I’m walking a tight-rope some days, doing everything I can to maintain balance. There are constant ups and downs between my job and personal stuff. Some days are great, others are bad. Some days I have kids graduating the program, other days I am sending them back to the hospital. Some days I am hopeful, other days I am terrified. 

The lab up in Massachusetts called yesterday to let me know they had recieved the blood work that was drawn on Monday. Now the waiting starts. That’s another thing about infertility. The wait. I feel that I am always waiting for bad news. It feels morbid to wait for bad news, but I have become used to it. It’s an attempt to guard myself from getting too excited. 

When I first thought of infertility, my mind went to multiples. It went to thinking about a struggle with success. You hear about that more. Success stories of infertility are much more publicized than defeat. I think that’s part of my why. Why I write about it and why I talk about it. I told my counselor that I want to become more involved in helping others. She mentioned that there is a need for a peer-led support group in our area. I’m toying with the idea of stepping up and leading it. I want to talk to my pastor about leading a group at church. I want to talk to my doctor about becoming more involved. 

I want to be a voice. A voice of hope. So that when the rainy days come, there is still a silver lining. 

claim to fame  — May 25, 2016

claim to fame 

I was asked to write my experience with miscarriage for Austin Moms Blog last October. I have a friend who is a contributor and asked for my 2 cents. The post was put up for National Infertility Day, which is October 15. 

I was pregnant for the 5th time when I wrote this. I had my 5th miscarriage at the end of that month. I was so hopeful when I wrote this post. I thought we would be so close to having our baby in our arms by now, as I would have been due mid June

My hope is that by sharing my story, I can educate those who may not know someone affected by infertility, but also to encourage those in the trenches. Those who are giving themselves shot after shot. Those who feel as though their life revolves around a calendar or ovulation chart. Those who anxiously look toward their FET. Those who might be in the 2 week wait. Those who may be experiencing heartbreak and loss. 

I am still on this journey. I have good days and bad. But, as always, I have hope. 

Click here for the story I shared. 

more labs — May 24, 2016

more labs

Today was the second day of my cycle. Sorry if that’s TMI, but I’d like to point out that you are reading a blog where the author posts about infertility and IVF. It is what life has become. 

I called my doctor’s office and went in for a blood draw. Just 2 vials today, compared to the 17 last week. This was for the ovarian assessment report. The labs had to be drawn on day 2, 3, or 4 of my cycle. I called the representative in Massachusetts this morning and let her know to be expecting them in the mail tomorrow. 

Again, I did not have to wait long to be called back. They knew I was on my way. Apparently this is all new to them too, as the last 2 visits I’ve had both phlebotomists and a nurse looking through the box and deciphering the instructions. I get it though. It’s nice to have a break from the every-day-routine. 

I never thought it would get to this point. I really thought going to see a specialist was overkill. Even after 4 miscarriages. I think that hope has been what keeps me going. Or I’m just naive. Can you be too much of an optimist? 

I think I’ve shared in a previous blog post that I was so ready to be embarrassed when the first clomid cycle was successful. Except it wasn’t. Neither was the second or third attempt. 

And here we are, 2 cycles of IVF later. Still no baby. 

Someone I work with told me I was brave today. I immediately responded that I have to other choice.

I keep going because if I stop, there will be no result. My desire is to build my family. Still not entirely sure what that will look like, where it will take us, or what it will involve, but I know it will happen. 

I went to a monthly support group tonight with the husband. I had not been since last September. This was his first time to attend. I recognized one person and met two new people. It was a great group. One thing that I was reminded of tonight was when the therapist who leads the group spoke about a time when we will be able to look back on this time and know that it was worth the struggle. Unfortunately, we do not have that advantage currently. The struggle is what we know. We are living in the struggle now, and it is difficult to see beyond where we are. 

sermon notes: having patience with the thorn — May 22, 2016

sermon notes: having patience with the thorn

In Sunday School this morning, we discussed the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit. As someone else in the group was reading aloud, I was following along in my Bible. Galatians 5:22-23 says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things, there is no law. 

I’ve read, heard, and recited these 2 verses countless times. I learned something new today. One of the words in my post title is patience. The version of the Bible this person was reading from had patience as long-suffering. I’ve seen this many times before as well, but today it just clicked. Just about anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a patient person. My husband says it, my friends say it, and even the teenagers I work with have mentioned it before. 

Infertility and long-suffering go together. The definition of long-suffering is “having or showing patience in spite of troubles.” The lesson in Sunday School rang so true to me today. I love how God can show me something new with a verse I have heard over and over my entire life.

The sermon our pastor shared today was entitled “When Hurts Won’t Heal.” 

I was immediately intrigued. I have my new realization of long-suffering very fresh on my mind (um, Sunday School let out 5 minutes ago) and now I see the phrase when hurts won’t heal. Okay, God, I hear you loud and clear today. 

The scripture reference was 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10:

A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being conceited. Three times I pleaded with Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

 The “hurt that won’t heal” I am experiencing in this season of my life is infertility. Others might be facing the loss of a loved one, a broken marriage, an ill family member, and the list goes on. 

There were a few things I wrote down during the sermon because I wanted to remember them. The first was something that Bruce shared as he was preaching: God is too wise to be mistaken and He is too good to be unkind. Just let that sink in for a minute. 

Yes, we will face hardships. I’d be doing myself a great disservice if I went through life thinking that because I am a Christian, everything will be sunshine and rainbows. In fact, one of the times I felt closest to God was just before I went through one of the most difficult times in my life. But you know what? God used that time in my life in a huge way. Not just for me, but for my family, my friends, and even strangers in my community. 

God is faithful. Period. 

He does not make mistakes and He is not unkind. 

In the letter to the Corinthians above, Paul wrote about boasting in his weaknesses. The thorn in his flesh represents weakness and it remained so that Paul would not become conceited. Bruce also shared that our faith should not be a competition. We can’t play the game where we go thru hardships, but because my faith was so strong, I was blessed. That discounts the faith of others who are experiencing hardships, but do not receive the answer for which they prayed. My faith is not better than anyone else’s. God heals not because He is blessing us, but to show His power. 

So, that difficult time in my life I mentioned before? God showed off in a mighty way that day. I was in a freak accident with an inflatable slide. This is a series of blog posts all on their own, but for time’s sake, I’ll just share that I was thrown over 130 feet. Over a grassy area, over a street, over the top of a camping trailer that served as the first aid area for this particular event. 6 broken bones, a partially collapsed lung, bruised spleen & kidney, and a traumatic brain injury. I am alive, I can walk, and I smile when I think back on that time, knowing how faithful God has been in my life. 

He was faithful then and He will be faithful again. 

Don’t get me wrong. With all this infertility stuff, I sometimes get down and think to myself that I know I have a purpose, but did God save me that day just to go thru all this?

What if He did? 

conquering infertility — May 21, 2016

conquering infertility

Guess what arrived in the mail today? It may not be too exciting to some of you out there, but it sure is to me. A book! And not just any book, but one that I took a picture of in my counselor’s office last year and have been meaning to order it since then. Yeah, okay, a whole year later, but it was finally ordered and delivered to my home within 2 days (thank you, Amazon Prime). 

If you are reading this post and happened to have read the book, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. I’m going to start reading it this afternoon and let you know what I think. 

To find out more about this book, go here

the third shipment —

the third shipment

The box with the Ovarian Assessment Kit arrived yesterday (Friday) morning. This is the lab work that needs to be done on day 2, 3, or 4 of my cycle. There is less stress with this one as it is just 2 vials (I think) and does not have to be shipped back on ice. 

Also, I recieved a call from the lab around 1:30 in the afternoon yesterday to inform me that all our lab work had arrived and was being processed. It is such a relief to have that part over with. 

Yesterday was a busy day at work. I had an assessment that lasted almost two hours, then was running late to a lunch we gave for our interns these last two semesters who are graduating with their masters degree. One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with counseling interns still in school as they navigate their way toward the end of the race. Graduation!! I was in their shoes not too long ago and remember what it was like to have worked so diligently toward a goal. I will miss having them hang out in my office, helping with groups, and, let’s be honest, write my session notes for me.

After we got back to the office from lunch, I prepared for the adolescent group that afternoon. Had 6 kids in group and then 5 more joined in the last hour for aftercare. It was chaos with 11 teenagers (some with significant behavioral and boundary issues) on a Friday, with school just days away from being let out for the summer. But I loved it. 

Last night, I spent some long overdue girl time with one of my cousins. It was such a relaxing evening of wine, sushi, and conversation. I am definitely in a better place today compared to where I was at the beginning of the week. Amazing what a little time and perspective can bring. 

Had a solid 9 hours of sleep last night, woke up feeling refreshed, and, after a cup of coffee, took our dog Pepper on a 2 mile walk. Came back to the house, cleaned up, and made eggs and a fruit smoothie for the Husband and I. Then we went to watch our best friends’ 3 year old play in his last soccer game. It has been a good Saturday so far. 

couple’s immunology lab work  — May 20, 2016

couple’s immunology lab work 

Today was the day they took 17 vials of blood from me and 3 from Ross. The phlebotomist there, Lori, is amazing! Most of the time I don’t even feel the poke from the needle. It was all routine from the time we got there today. No one else was in the waiting room and we were called back in less than 5 minutes. We carried in our two boxes that had been shipped the last few days. The first box with the vials was opened and Lori began taking out all the contents and reading thru the instructions. 

Before I knew it, she had everything organized and I was in the chair. It took about 10 minutes to draw all the blood. My veins kept giving up and I had to be poked a total of 3 times. She said this was because I have such small veins. It really wasn’t too bad. I’ve had other blood panels that have used 19 vials and 21 vials all at once. 

Ross went next and was done in no time. All in all, we were in and out in about 30 minutes total from the time we walked in until we were back out waiting on the elevator. Typically I have a 30-45 minute wait at the office, so this visit was a breeze. After putting so much effort into the timing of the shipments and this appointment, I was a bit apprehensive to just leave everything and trust that they would get it all packed and ready to go. 

Today was also the first time I was back in the doctor’s office for an official appointment since having my 5th miscarriage confirmed at the end of October. We had been back 2 times for consults with Dr. G. Once in November and again in December. It was great seeing some of the best nurses!! They are very compassionate and you really feel as though they are just as invested in this process as you are. 

It should be a maximum of 6 weeks to go over all the results with Dr. B up in New York. Actually, he will go over the results with Dr. G and then we will have a consultation with Dr. G. It’s a complicated process and because Dr. B is consulting with Dr. G because of the whole out-of-state issue and not holding a medical license in Texas, it adds more chaos into the mix. Just enough to keep life interesting. 

It’s crazy to think that our lab work will be in Massachusetts tomorrow. A distance of 1,867 miles from our house. Because we count travel time in Texas by hours (it takes forever to get anywhere around here) I looked at my good friend, Google maps, to find out that it would be a 27 hour drive. I’ve never been to Massachusetts, but my blood has. Weird. 

the second shipment — May 18, 2016

the second shipment

The dry ice arrived just as I was leaving for work this morning. One more thing checked off the list. In all this hoopla, I forgot to mention that the lab is sending another vial kit Friday morning for another blood draw for me. It has to be drawn on day 2, 3, or 4 of my cycle. That will likely be sometime next week. It’s for an Ovarian Assessment Report. 

the first shipment — May 17, 2016

the first shipment

This lovely box arrived around 9:45am at my house via FedEx. I can check one thing off the list from yesterday. Tomorrow the dry ice should be here and on Thursday, we go to the Doctor. 

lab work — May 16, 2016

lab work

What a Monday! I have been on the phone with a lab in Massachusetts several times since last Friday trying to coordinate my upcoming lab work. The lady I have been speaking to has been phenomenal and such a great help. She has been on the phone with me and my doctor’s office several times to get everything ordered.

She is sending the first kit to our house tomorrow (Tuesday). This will include 17 vials for me and just 3 for Ross for the couple’s immunology testing (all blood work). On Wednesday morning, the dry ice will arrive. We are to keep everything sealed until Thursday morning at 11am for our blood draws. The doctor’s office will then ship everything on dry ice back to Massachusetts to the lab that afternoon so that it arrives by Friday.

It has been quite the job to get all this set up with the right timing. I have been feeling very overwhelmed since completing all the paperwork and juggling phone calls, schedules, and work.

I set up a counseling session with a therapist I saw last year a few times who specializes in infertility. I will see her next week. I am also rearranging my work schedule so that I can attend a monthly support group meeting next Monday night. I have been especially anxious the last few weeks.

I am both excited and anxious for what the future holds. I am nervous for all the testing, but I was talking to my mom about this earlier this morning and she pointed out that I may have more answers after the testing. We may find out that we can go ahead with the next IVF round, we may find out I need to go to New York for a laparoscopic surgery to rule out endometriosis, or we may find out we need to begin the surrogacy process.

What I hope for most at this point would be more direction. Some sort of answer. Or at least eliminate some things that may or may not be contributing to infertility.

The good news for today: I was emailed last week by a former patient. She told me that she was graduating from high school in the next few weeks and that I had made it possible. Wow! It was such a sweet email to receive and a great update from her. She is presenting an 18 page thesis she completed for her senior project on Clinical Depression and the Church tonight and I will be attending the presentation. She interviewed me for the paper at the end of her treatment here back in August 2015. It is wonderful to have former patients follow-up and let me know how they are doing.