Thursday, November 20, 2014

So much to do...

So it's been over a month since we've last posted... not much has really changed in the last month, besides the fact that we are running around like chickens without heads trying to get everything ready for our upcoming home study. When we started our adoption journey, many people we talked to told us about all the work it takes leading up to the home study, but you don't really realize how much work it is until you are in the thick of it.

For those who don't know, applying to adopt includes filling out approximately 5,785, 986 questions about your life, your spouse, how you sneeze, if you like lemons or limes, why you like one over the other, if you can spell Mississippi without singing the grade school hop scotch song, and if Jim has 10 apples and he gives away 3, how many pancakes do you have on your roof?! Okay... so maybe the questions don't follow that exact pattern, but we do have to answer at least 100 questions about ourselves, our upbringing, our families, our relationship, how we plan to parent, and what our hopes and dreams for our child/ children are. Don't get me wrong, all of these are great questions to consider, but when you are working, trying to get all the projects done around your house, getting ready for the holidays, and just dealing with daily life stressors, adding a doctoral dissertation to your to-do list can be a little much to take!

Like I've said, to get ready for the adoption we are also doing projects around our house to make the home study go much smoother. By the grace of God, we have an AMAZING landlord who has encouraged us to make any changes necessary and is helping to pay for those changes. So, Skyler and our best friend have replaced the shelving units in most of the rooms in our house, we are currently in the process of combining our office and our den into one room, we are getting our soon to be nursery ready for furniture and deep cleaning, and are organizing the whole house. It's a lot to do, and most days it feels like we don't get anything accomplished, but in the long run things are coming together.

What's really interesting is that when we tell people that we have to do all of this, they are shocked that people who can have children naturally don't have to do even a fraction of the things adoptive parents have to do. I think we could let that fact frustrate us, but I think we're to the point where everything that we have to do for the adoption is only making our love for our little love baby (that's what I've started to call our future child) that much stronger. The time between now and when our baby comes home will only help solidify our decision to adopt and make our sacrifices now well worth it in the future.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hoarding

         It's safe to say I married a hoarder. S has a very hard time throwing anything away or going through things. We both know it's a psychological response to how he was treated as a child. The hardest part for me isn't the clutter, even though that does drive me crazy. The hardest part is the mental and emotional anguish he suffers when he has to go through things and get rid of them. Each time we do this it's like he's reliving the emotional abuse he suffered before his parents adopted him and it makes my heart break.

         Now that we are getting ready for our home study, we really have to clean and purge. I know this was overwhelming for S, but he did so good! He threw things away, made a garage sale pile, a donation pile, and truly evaluated why he was keeping things. Now that our little love baby is closer to coming home, S explained that he doesn't ever want our kids to accumulate stuff like he does. My husband never ceases to amaze me and I love his selfless spirit more and more each day!

#MicroblogMonday's

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Building your support system

         When we announced to everyone that we had decided to pursue adoption, most people were very supportive of us. Both of our parents told us how proud they were of us to begin our family through adoption. Our siblings came along side us and celebrated our choice to adopt. And our friends, both those who knew and didn't know about our infertility, congratulated us on the decision we had made. Yes, there definitely were some people who couldn't understand why we made that decision and tried to talk us out of it, which lead me to this blog post.
         When everything in life seems to be going like it should, whatever that looks like, the people who say they will support you through your ups and downs are pretty numerous. But when you start to experience hardships you really realize who is there to ride those emotional rapids with you. The people you might have thought were going to be there are all of a sudden "too busy" and can't offer the emotional support you need. We've experienced this quite a bit, at different times in our lives, and the same holds true regarding our decision to adopt. And it can be easy to focus on those that leave, but being the eternal optimist I am, I've chosen to focus on the unexpected support we've gotten.
         With all the cyber connections we have in today's society, it's easy to say you're still "friends" with people you met during school because you're Facebook friends. We all know that's not true. But when we announced to everyone we were adopting, one of my friends from high school and my undergraduate program, sent me a private message and offered her support in any way possible. We might not have spoken for several years, in person that is, but I can safely say she is one of our biggest supporters. She has come along side us and has gently offered guidance, but mostly she has just encouraged us and loved us. Just writing this now makes me tear up because of how genuine her support is. We've had a few other experiences like this that have helped us forget about those who question our decision and focus on those who support us.
         We know that it will definitely take a village to raise our little love baby, and I am so excited for them to meet the "villagers" we've chosen to take part in our lives. It can be hard to let go of those who you thought would always be the ones to help, but it's heart warming to know that people out there love our baby just as much as we do.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Application Day!

         We're turning in our adoption application today!!! We've decided on our agency and are ready to go full steam ahead into the next step of our adoption journey! Now to get ready for the homestudy and making our adoption profile- any words of wisdom you all can offer?
#MicroblogMondays

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Back to normal

          The hardest part of going through all the fertility treatments, in the past, was how the medicines effected me. Many may not know, but I have the paradoxical effect to most substances. Caffeine puts me to sleep, my Magnesium supplement wakes me up (it puts most people to sleep), and some vitamins can make me really hyper. So when we were told about the side effects of the fertility drugs, we knew I would either experience them all or I would experience the reverse. Lucky for me I had both experiences on different cycles! Yay! Oh wait...

         When I was in grad school I took a class on psychopharmocology (the study of medicines) and learned about the half life in medicines. The half life is how long the medicine stays in your body after you've finished taking it, as it works it's way out. It's important to know the half life because if a drug is in your system, but you think it's not, you can overdose or do more harm than help to your body. So about a month ago we learned that Clomid has a half life of 6-8 weeks!! No wonder I was going insane. Letrozol on the other hand, has a half life of a couple days. Either way, though, just like the side effects I had from birth control, I continued to have side effects from both Clomid and Letrozol for quite some time.

         So when talking to my mom yesterday it was really nice to hear how she feels I'm back to normal. We talked about how I lost myself through all those medical trials, but how now things are so much better. I know there will be hardships with the adoption process and I know it won't always be easy, but I don't have any paradoxical effects to love! No matter when our baby comes to us, the love I have for them already will just continue to grow and grow! Love also doesn't have a half life! We are in this 100% and can't wait to share that love with a baby and a birth mother some day!

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Maternity" Pictures

         Yesterday we took our adoption "maternity" pictures! It was so much fun, and to top it off our photographer is one of my friends from high school who is also a champion for adoption. We had the best weather and our fur child, Magic, got to wear his new bandana that says, "Can I be Your Big Brother?" It's so nice to finally have something positive to look forward to!


#MicroblogMondays

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What about IVF and surrogacy?

         When we announced that we were pursuing adoption most people were very excited for us. But there have been some who don't understand exactly why we're going with adoption instead of pursuing IVF or surrogacy. So here's my attempt to explain why we aren't going down those roads.

         Ever since I was diagnosed with PCOS I kinda knew that we would have to do infertility treatments just because that's the nature of the beast so to speak. I knew IVF was always an option, but for some reason I never felt pulled to pursue it. I knew it cost a ton of money and that results were never guaranteed. No matter how many times our doctors recommended that we look into it, we never did. Luckily Skyler feels the same way. After all the reactions to the medications I've had, I'm honestly terrified to see how my body would react to that procedure. I'm happy that IVF works for some families, but I know God has been shielding me from that pain because I couldn't handle it. Simply put, we're not pursuing IVF because we don't want to.

         When it comes to surrogacy, I didn't start looking into that until a few months ago. I don't really know that much about it, but I do know it would make my husband extremely uncomfortable to have another woman carry our baby. And frankly I would be totally jealous that she could carry my biological child, but I couldn't. Surrogacy reminds me that I'm broken. Again, I'm extremely happy it works for some people because they are the experts in their own lives. But for us, surrogacy feels strange and emotionally more painful.

         I know my perspectives on these topics are just that, mine. I don't want to impose my beliefs on anyone else, but I would also like people to just accept my decision. Once I go through the above explanation with people I then tell them that we are adopting because I know, without a doubt, that I can love an adopted child the same as a biological child. One of my friends who is also looking into adoption said this week, "my son/ daughter is going to be exactly who they are meant to be, they'll just be coming to me in a slightly different way." And I couldn't agree more! I feel God has blessed Skyler and my heart's with the ability to love a baby no matter how they come into our lives- an ability I'm proud to have!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Adoption and Humanity

         As part of our adoption journey we've joined the Adoption Love Link-Up, which can be found at Adoption Love.
        This month, Kristen asked, " How, if at all, has adoption changed your view of humanity (for good or bad)?" This question definitely holds a lot of emotion in it, and has taken me quite some time to think about.
         When I first read this question, I instantly reverted to the hormonal 15 year old who had to learn how to live with a younger adopted sibling with RAD.  If I'm answering as that 15 year old, then my response would be focused on how money driven some adoption agencies seem to be. Research has shown that if a child doesn't have a consistent caregiver for the first six months of their life then they are more likely to have an attachment order. If this is well known information, then why would national and international agencies withhold that information from families? (I know, now, that many agencies provide education on attachment disorders, but when I was 15 I felt that no one wanted to give us the real information my family needed to help my younger sister.) From this perspective, I would say that my view of humanity was negatively impacted. I felt like information was being withheld so that children would be adopted, no matter what the impact would be.
         Now fast forward ten years, and my view of humanity, as it relates to adoption, has definitely changed for the positive. Every night on the news we hear about all these horrible things that happen in our society, but when we decided to share our story, the out pouring of love was simply amazing! The support we've received has shown me how no matter what happens in this crazy world, if we continue to show God's love in all we do, only good things can happen!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

When you close one door...

        This week we officially closed the door on infertility treatments. We are no longer living in both the infertility and adoption worlds simultaneously. We're all in for adoption, and we decided to make it FB official! Recently, Skyler and I have taken a break from social media to reevaluate everything. When we fully committed to our adoption journey, though, we wanted to get the word out to as many people as possible. And the outpouring of love and support has been amazing! Finally, we have made a decision that works for us!

If you want more information about #MicroblogMonday's visit Mel at Stirrup Queens.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's have fun!

          In our last post I talked about how we are going to really start pursuing adoption, but not for a couple of weeks. When I had my latest breakdown in the parking lot of our RE's office, Skyler insisted that we take a break for a couple of weeks and take some time for ourselves. So that's what we're doing :-) When going through everything that comes with infertility treatments it can be easy to push the needs of your relationship aside because of the focus on trying to have a baby. Skyler has always been my rock and also my protector. He knows when I've reached my limits before I usually do. So to thank him and to get our minds off of having a baby/ adopting a baby for a couple of weeks, we're going to really get into Halloween this year!

         Halloween is Skyler's favorite holiday and he is so excited to decorate this year! Watching him plan his decorations and have fun thinking about how he's going to play with the neighborhood kids is simply adorable! He loves to have fun and I am so excited to see how he passes that fun loving nature down to our kids.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Listen to your heart

          This past week I had all the signs and symptoms of ovulating! I had that twinge of pain on one side, I had some spotting, and my ovulation test was positive! So on Saturday we went in for a confirmation ultrasound thinking that things were actually happening this time... but they weren't. I had no mature follicles, my lining had actually gotten thinner (for which they had no answer), and they didn't know why I had all those symptoms. What it came down to, like it usually does, is that I'm the hard case. Our RE talked about how the next step would be injections and then went on and on about other treatments and IUI'S and IVF, but I didn't really listen. But then I had a revelation... It was okay to stop listening to society- something I should've done long ago. It was time to listen my heart. A heart that has kept saying (as you can read from the beginning of the blog) to begin a family through adoption :-)

#MicroblogMondays

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Selfless love

         Most guys like cars. My guy loves cars! Skyler has always had a fascination with cars, can fix pretty much anything with wheels given enough time, and is what some may refer to as a gear head. A couple of months ago Skyler bought a really awesome sports car that he has always wanted. I told him if we bought this car it would be his birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day, anniversary, and anything else present for the next 5 years! I also thought he deserved it since he'll be getting his degree this year after working very hard to get it for the past few years. Even though I might have not seen the awesomeness of this car like he did, we still bought it and he was super excited!

         Well a couple of months go by and we're now paying our RE (reproductive endocrinologist or infertility doctor) hundreds of dollars each visit. Anyone who has gone through this knows how expensive infertility treatments can be. So as we were waiting for my ultrasound technician to come in yesterday, Skyler explained that he was thinking of selling his new car. He talked about how he sees the impracticality of it, how it will be a project car because it is older, and how at this time we don't really need another car. Needless to say I was shocked that he said this since this was his dream car!

         We talked more about it today and he said, "I don't need this kind of car right now. We have more important things to worry about and to put our money towards." This is the exact reason why I love this man so much. Skyler loves me just as Jesus loved the church. I know it might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people that he's selling a car, but it's so much more than that. By selling this car he's putting a dream on hold for me so that we can work towards our dream of beginning a family. Skyler's selfless love never ceases to amaze me.

         So thank you baby, from the bottom of my heart. You mean the world to me and I hope you know how much I love you. I promise to get you that sports car again some day, and hopefully when that day comes you'll have a little buddy who can help you work on it :-)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Poked and prodded

         Today begins another round of procedures to find out what exactly my body is doing. Today we'll find out if my body is doing what it's "supposed" to be doing. The question that comes to mind, though, is what if this is what my body is supposed to be doing? What if this is the normal for me? Isn't that good enough?

#MicroblogMonday's

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tears, fears, and years

          Hormones make you cry. Or at least they make me cry. Luckily, though, this round of the prometrium (progesterone) has been much easier to handle then previous cycles. I've only cried a few times, but mostly I've just been sleepy. The same is true for the letrezol (medicine that makes me ovulate). I haven't had very many emotional outbursts and luckily a nap fixes any side effects I might be having. So that's the good news. That's what has gone well this cycle. But... like everything else, we did have quite a few hiccups through this whole new process.

          Like I said in my last post, every day has basically been scheduled out for me. I take the progesterone for so many days, should start my period on a certain day, should have a period for a certain amount of time, then I take the letrezol for a certain amount of days, and during all that I go in for two procedures to see how everything looks on the inside. Well, just like everything else we have done on our infertility journey, that schedule didn't exactly work out. I did take the progesterone and I was supposed to start my period two weeks after taking it... instead I started a week into taking it and had to continue taking it, which resulted in the heaviest and longest period I have ever had! I'm pretty sure there were a couple days where Skyler and Magic thought I might die from blood loss! The good thing from this, though, is I have had a lot of steak lately! Anyway... once I started my period I then had to schedule my procedures for cycle days 5-12 because I had to have finished my period but not have started to ovulate yet. So I scheduled my procedures for yesterday, cycle day 9, because in the past my periods were completely done by cycle day 7... but not this one! On Tuesday, which was cycle day 8, I was still bleeding, so I called my doctor to see what I should do. I probably called ten times throughout the day talking to different nurses who all said different things. Some said the amount of bleeding I had wouldn't interfere with the procedures and others said that I missed my window for this cycle and would have to reschedule for my next cycle cause they didn't have any openings for the rest of the week.

         Getting conflicting information was hard enough, but hearing people say I would just have to wait for my next cycle was heart breaking. One because that's what I've been doing my whole life... waiting for my first natural cycle! Two because the nurses didn't seem to get it. I explained that it takes so much for me to do a cycle and waiting for another one could take a while, but there wasn't very much sympathy or empathy. So I cried. I cried with Skyler, with my best friend, and with my boss. I just kept wondering why nothing ever seems to work out. Why everything always has some hiccup in it that totally throws off our game plan.

         Through my break down with my boss, she encouraged me to still go to the appointment because the worst they could say is that I would have to reschedule, but the best thing they could say was that they could do the procedure. Well long story short, Skyler and I kept my appointment and went in for the procedures yesterday. When we were taken back to the ultrasound room I told the nurse who checked us in that I was still bleeding and she explained that the doctor should be able to still do the procedures- phew! Then our doctor came in and I told him the same thing and he felt he could still do the procedure- thank goodness. His nursing assistant then came in and explained to the doctor how she was one of the nurses who told me that I would have to reschedule for my next cycle since I was still bleeding. Luckily our doctor stood up to her and said, "Kate has to go through a lot to have another cycle, it just doesn't happen for her. We're going the procedures today." The nurse wasn't very happy about that, but Skyler and I were.

         So we did the first procedure to see how my uterus looked and if I had any polyps or cysts and thankfully everything looked great! Then we started to do the second procedure where they put a saline and air solution through my fallopian tubes to see if I have blockages or anything like that. Well that procedure hurt so bad and the nurse wasn't going as slow as she should've been, but in the end everything checked out good there too. After all of that our doctor took us back to his office and asked about chromosomal testing. He said usually if a girl hasn't menstruated by age 16 they do a chromosomal test to see if fragile x syndrome is a contributor at all. Our doctor then had me go get my blood drawn to have the genetic tests done and sent Skyler and I home. Well like most people nowadays, as soon as we could we both stayed researching fragile x syndrome as much as possible and found some very interesting things.

         Basically, fragile x syndrome is a mutation on the x chromosome that is highly correlated to autism, learning disabilities, and behavioral disturbances. Individuals can be carriers without having signs or symptoms, but some women who are carriers have infertility issues and a lot of the same signs and symptoms of PCOS. We also found out that when passed from father to child the gene doesn't mutate further, it'll just give the child a greater likelihood of being a carrier as well. If a mother passes the gene to the child, though, the chance of the gene mutating into fragile x syndrome is very high.

         So now we wait for our results. Depending on what the answer is will result in what path we pursue next. And as we've been telling people what has been happening, most say how sorry they are, but I'm not. I finally have a doctor who after ten years is trying to truly help me. I might get an answer that for ten years no one has wanted to give me and for all of that I am overjoyed! I finally have a sense of peace knowing that everything isn't totally my fault and that there is always a new path to go down :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Big Brother

          For those of you who don't know much about my family, I have an older sister, an older brother, and as my previous posts have explained I also have a younger sister who was adopted. There are quite a few years between my older sister and I and my older brother and I, so when we were growing up we were all in very different developmental stages. When my mom was pregnant with me she talked about how my sister really wanted a baby sister, but then I was born and didn't really enjoy doing girlie things. I was pretty rough and tumble and wrestled with my brother and got dirty and all the typical Tomboy things little girls do. (Luckily I am in to some girlie stuff now, so my sister did get the little sister who she could do girlie stuff with after all, it just took a while!)

         Since there is over ten years between my sister and I, she went off to college when I was only 7, which meant my brother was the only one left for me to follow around- and boy did I ever! Ever since I can remember I wanted to do everything he did- I played t-ball because he played baseball, I went to every football game he played in because I wanted to be near him (and I got free piggyback rides from all his friends), and I started going to church because he did and I wanted to do what he did. Like any little sister, I know my following him around was probably annoying, but he didn't complain too much. Even when he was the most popular guy at school and wasn't home very much, he still made time for me and we did little things that I don't really do with anyone else. For example, my brother used to love video games and some of my favorite memories are watching him play his games and both of us laughing so hard we cried. I loved watching him play, but I realize now that I loved how he made me feel, which is something I still love to this day. My brother is one of the only people that I know who makes me feel better about myself by just being himself... if that makes any sense.

          And feeling better about myself has definitely been my focus over the last couple of months. Throughout all of these hormonal ups and downs there have been times when all I want to do is talk to my big brother. Some days I would call him bawling my eyes out and I know that was hard for him to hear, but he was always so encouraging. Just like when I was little, he would say, "it'll be okay kiddo" and it was. I didn't have to give him specifics for him to know I was essentially dying emotionally. I know if he could've helped more he would've, but unfortunately he was a few thousand miles away... until about 4 weeks ago.

          Four weeks ago my brother took the lead pastor position at a church only 6 hours away from us! So this past weekend we went to go visit and boy was it perfect timing! Even though we didn't have too many "deep" conversations, he got to see what Skyler and I have been going through. One night I was telling my sister in law everything we've been going through and my brother was watching t.v., but he was listening the whole time. I know it's kinda weird to hear about your sisters personal issues, but with Skyler there I think my brother really got to see the battles we fight every day and how we need help to fight those battles from those closest to us. After that night, and during the rest of our visit, some things changed. Instead of giving me the quick hugs like he usually does, my brother would hold me tight, pouring all of his love into me through his strong arms. He made me laugh and lifted me up with his words, higher than he ever had before. He may not have solved any of our long standing issues, but he did help more then I can explain. He helped build me up and helped heal my spirit, just like only a big brother can.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Here we go again...

So we finally saw our infertility doctor. And after wards I had mixed emotions… but I’ll start from the beginning so that everyone can understand what the process was for us.
When we first arrived to check in, all the girls up front were really nice and helped us through all the paperwork we needed to fill out. We only had to wait for about 5 minutes, which was very nice. And instead of having a nurse bring us back to an exam room, Dr. “T” came and got us from the waiting room himself and took us straight back to his office to talk about our situation and my diagnosis. When we got back to Dr. “T’s” office he briefly looked over my chart records from my other doctors, glanced at my medicine list, and shuffled through my labs that I had just gotten done. He asked a few questions, but I lead the conversation about our past experience and what we have tried thus far to get pregnant. I know he is a busy man and that he has a protocol to go through with new patients, but I felt like he wasn’t totally listening to everything I was saying. When he asked about Clomid, I flat out said, “We have tried doing Provera and Clomid for 3 rounds and by the end of round 3 I was experiencing major depression symptoms and started to have suicidal thoughts.” Just like my nurse midwife, at the mention of suicidality, Dr. “T” took off his glasses and then started to listen to me. He apologized for the side effects I had experienced and said that he would try his best to not have to put me through that again. Dr. “T” then said, “So you want to get pregnant right? Well I’m pretty sure we can help you achieve that dream and work with your biochemistry to best meet the needs of you and Skyler.” That’s all we wanted to hear. We wanted him to hear us and to validate that I wasn’t a hard case. And in all actuality while he was looking at my chart he didn’t once say he was worried about any of my blood work or that I was “the hard case”.
After talking in his office for about fifteen minutes, Dr. “T” then asked if we could do an ultrasound to make sure that everything was okay to continue treatment. We had mentioned that some doctors didn’t think that PCOS was the right diagnosis for me. Upon doing my ultrasound, though, Dr.”T” showed Skyler and I exactly why I definitely had PCOS and explained why my ovaries looked the way they do and how my cysts are caused by immature follicles that aren’t releasing eggs to be fertilized. After doing a quick ultrasound Dr. “T” then asked how I wanted to proceed. He explained that I would need to go back on some of the meds, but that we could alter it to use more natural versions. So instead of taking the synthetic progesterone to induce a period I could take the bio-identical version of progesterone which does the same thing. And instead of taking Clomid, I will be taking Letrozole which does the same thing but usually doesn’t have as many side effects.  Skyler and I were very happy to hear that and that he actually listened to the seriousness of what happened over the last few months.
Dr. “T” finished up my ultrasound and then explained to our nurse what he wanted to do. He then looked at Skyler and I and said, “Thank you both. We’ll work on this together and figure out what is going on.” The nurse took us back to an education room at that point to talk about all the steps I will have to take on the new medicine. The best thing, though, is each day is totally mapped out for me. They told me when I needed to start the progesterone, what cycle days I need to start the Letrozole, and what days I should test to see if I’m ovulating. Unlike the directions on ovulation tests, which say that you should start testing the day after your period ends, our nurse said that we should not start testing to see if I ovulate until day 12. If we test before then we will most likely get a false positive. If I don’t ovulate by day 16, though, then I will need to go into the office to get a shot of hcg that will definitely make me ovulate. During this whole process I also have to go in for two procedures ; one to see exactly how prepared my uterus is to hold an embryo and to make sure I don’t have any polyps or anything like that. The other procedure will be to see if my fallopian tubes are open and if a mature follicle is available. Our nurse who explained all of this to us was so patient and answered every question we had. She also talked about the prices openly and what to expect with the medicine and the procedures. She then asked about the symptoms I had in our first 3 cycles and after hearing everything we went through, she looked at me and said, “Why in the world did you stay on all of that?!” I then asked her if she thought Dr. “T” felt optimistic about us getting pregnant and she said that she thought he was. She said I am going to be closely monitored and that I have the support of all the staff who have been doing this for years.
After our visit I was pretty emotional. Like I said at the beginning of this post, part of me felt like Dr. “T” hadn’t really spent as much time as I hoped for with us, but Skyler reminded me that I had brought everything he needed and that most of his questions were probably answered before we even sat down. Skyler told me that most patients aren’t as well prepared for the first visit like we were and that even though Dr. “T” didn’t appear to sit with us for that long, he was able to catch on very quickly and Skyler felt very comfortable with him. I think I was also emotional because we have to start this whole process over again. I get so discouraged about how much time this all takes and how nothing is ever guaranteed. What does help is that I have guidance this time. I know exactly when to test, and I can call for support at any time.

So here we go again. I started the progesterone today and over the next 3 weeks I will start the medicine to ovulate and go in for my procedures. All we can do at this point is continue to pray. To continue to pray for patience, hope, support, love, and a healthy pregnancy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hormones, Laundry, and Fish Tanks- Oh My!

         We see our fertility specialist for the first time next week. We will possibly see the one person who could change our lives forever in just a few days. In knowing that our appointment is coming up, both Skyler and I have so many questions. What is really going on with me? Are there other medical conditions besides the PCOS that are hindering us from conceiving? Where do we go from here? Will I need surgery? How much will all of this cost? Will I ever be able to get pregnant?  It seems like every day I have new questions come up, and for the most part so does Skyler. Yesterday during lunch we talked about what we wanted to get out of our first visit. And like the wonderful man he is, Skyler said, "All I want to know is that you're okay. I want him (the doctor) to say that you're not a hard case, that he's seen whatever is causing our infertility before, and that he has a good idea on how to help us."

         And I think that's what we've always been looking for, help. As I reflect back over the past several years I am amazed at all the help we have gotten. Like we've said before I have an amazing medical team who is always there for us, day or night. I have an amazing support system in Skyler and family and friends. And I know that the help we will receive from our infertility doctor will just reinforce the support we already have. But... there is always the unknown. There is always the "what if's" that come up without any warning. What if he can't help us? What if the recommended procedures are too expensive? What if I have to go back on all those crazy meds? And so on. The only thing that has changed, though, is the "what if's" don't cause me as much anxiety as they used to. Through this whole experience I continuously learn that I am not in control. I have free will, which is nice, but ultimately my roadmap for life has already been designed, printed, copywritten, illustrated, and hardwired into me... I just need to remember to follow the directions instead of trying to find an alternate route that I'm not supposed to be on.

         The rewards for staying on the path that God designed for me have begun to unfold, almost on a daily level. In trusting in Him we have begun to see great strides and changes in my health, but also in the health of our marriage. Going through something as life altering as infertility can either make or break a relationship. I know for a fact that some of my hormonal outbursts on Skyler have pushed his buttons, but he never alters. He is always my rock- the one person in this world who I want to help me pick up the pieces when I feel shattered. Case and point- last weekend I was super hormonal and picked a stupid fight with Skyler about laundry and fish tanks. (I know they don't sound like they go together, but in this house they do!)  Like most disagreements, I wasn't really upset about laundry and fish tanks and at the end of it I ended up crying in Skyler's arms saying over and over again, "I'm scared."  Which sums up how we both feel: scared. Scared of the unknown, scared that we don't have control, scared that there might be something else wrong with me, scared that we could be parents one day, scared that we may never be parents, and scared that there may never be a answer.

         Whatever is meant to be will be, however. And no matter how scared we are or how many "what if's" come up, we are ready to tackle whatever is thrown at us. It's easier to tackle the unknown, though, when happy surprises come along: like a positive ovulation test- the first natural, non-medically induced test that has ever been positive for us! Those happy surprises are what keep us going and keep reminding us to stick to the roadmap.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I will fight for you

             There tends to be a huge difference between hearing the phrase, “You’re not alone in this,” versus knowing you are not the only one in this world going through an infertility journey. A couple of weeks ago my mom recommended that I get the Kindle book Perseverance by Kristin Peck. It’s a very short read, but is an honest look at how hard it is to deal with infertility. In her autobiographical tale of her own infertility, Kristin talks about everything that women facing this journey go through; From those crazy old wives tales to IUI (inter uterine insemination) to IVF (in vitro fertilization) to adoption and surrogacy.  In reading this book I couldn’t help but put myself in Kristin’s shoes, especially since our first appointment with an infertility specialist is in a couple of weeks.
                With our appointment getting closer and closer each day I can’t help but think about what the doctor might say is the problem. We’re 90% sure that the issues are because of my own hormonal imbalance, but until we get there we don’t know what else could be hindering the process. Like I’ve said before, we were pretty sure that we would have to pay for all infertility treatments out of pocket, but when I got the call yesterday that we would definitely be paying for everything out of pocket, I felt defeated yet again. Like I told Skyler, it just feels like I try to be the healthiest version of me that I’ve ever been, but there always seems to be something that hinders the process.  If 1 in 8 couples are facing infertility at some level, why wouldn’t health insurance help support couples in some capacity? Like Kristin talked about in her book, she trained for a triathlon and was doing everything she could think of to be as healthy as possible. The same is true for me and so many other women I know going through infertility.

                After getting the news yesterday that we definitely have to pay for everything, I cried out to God to heal my heart. I then opened my Bible app on my phone and my daily verse came up, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent,” (Exodus 14:14). Talk about an eye opener! I do ask God for healing every day, but sometimes I forget that God already knows what is going on in my life. He is fighting for me even when I can’t fight for myself. He knows exactly what I need and I don’t even need to ask for anything. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Namesake

         Just like every other couple, Skyler and I have talked a lot about the names of our future children. We both feel names are very important and can be a true reflection of who that child becomes. Skyler is very fond of uncommon names, as he has one, but is very adamant that we will not be using Skyler for our children's name (his biological mother named him after a soap opera character, so he would rather give a name to our children with a little more meaning and depth).  We both also like the idea of carrying on family names in one way or another, and have decided that if we have a girl they will get my middle name. And in all actuality it was very easy for us to come up with girl names, but not so easy when it came to picking boys names.

         Both Skyler and I have had very influential men in our lives, who have truly shaped us into the people we are today. Like I've talked about in a past post, one of the most influential people in my life was my Uncle Richard. Skyler has also had very influential men come into his life as well; one being his childhood best friend, Kyle, and his childhood counselor, Max. Sadly, ten years ago Kyle was killed and Max closed down his practice and wasn't heard from by Skyler or his parents. There really aren't words to describe how much Kyle and Max meant to Skyler, nor how much they helped shape him into the man he is today. I know I will be forever grateful to both of them for teaching Skyler all they did and guiding him through a rough childhood. So when talking about boys names I felt that to honor Skyler, we should incorporate Kyle and Max's names somehow.

         As I said above, Max wasn't heard from by Skyler's family for some time, but Skyler always had a desire to reconnect with him. Thankfully Google came out and we had the ability to search for Max, but could never find anything about him. Then just a couple of years ago Skyler was doing another search for him and remembered that his daughter lived in Virginia, so Skyler searched for Max in Virginia and in just a couple of hours found out that he as living in an assisted living facility in Virginia! Skyler was then able to get Max's direct line and called him up. I know from listening to that phone call that both of them were so surprised and awe struck to be talking again. It was an emotional call for both of them and that's when Skyler learned that Max has stage 4 lung cancer. Once I heard that news I knew that we needed to get out to Virginia to see him, but also to ask his permission to name our son after the man who helped shape Skyler into the amazing person he is today.

        So a few things happened in life and a couple of years passed, but this past week we made it out to Virginia and saw Max. Seeing Skyler and Max together was one of the most heart warming things I've ever witnessed. The love they have for each other was so evident and you could tell their connection was stronger than mere counselor and patient. We were able to visit with Max a couple of times during the week and he just beamed about how proud he was of Skyler for facing all the adversity he did as a child and becoming such an amazing man. At one point Max explained that after the first few years he didn't see himself as Skyler's counselor, but as a second father figure, which opened up the conversation of us wanting to name a boy after him if that happens in the future. Max was so touched that he just held Skyler's hand and openly wept about how honored he would be if that ever happened. For the rest of the visit we all cried and hugged and created so much love that I can't even explain the feeling. All I know is that when our little boy is born he will know all about his namesake and that he was loved even before he was known.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Predicament of the Process

      One thing that we’ve heard from almost everyone who has read our blog is that they didn’t really know how hard this journey has been for us until they started to read our posts. And for that we are truly sorry. Our friends and family provide our strong foundation to get through the ups and downs of our infertility journey, and I don’t think Skyler and I realized how much we had not exposed about everything we go through. I know we don’t consciously keep it a “secret,” but I thought a lot about it today, and I just kept coming back to the idea that we most likely haven’t shared our feelings and emotions about this process because, in a way, that means we have to admit that we aren’t “normal;” that we are, in some ways, broken and unable to fulfill the directions set for us by God. In our heart of hearts we know that we will be able to have the family that God has designed for us, but it’s hard when things don’t happen naturally. Like we’ve said before, it’s hard not to question God about why we have to go through this, but this past Sunday we had a guest pastor come to church who, yet again, put everything into perspective.
                During service our guest pastor talked about how when the Israelites were going through their exodus from Egypt, there came a time when they began to lose hope about finding the promised land and told Moses and cried out to God that they wanted to go back to Egypt where they had food and water and knew what to expect.  Even though they had just gone through 400 years of slavery, the Israelites were ready to give up hope and go back to being slaves because at least they knew what was behind them instead of waiting for what was ahead of them. At this point during service, the pastor talked about how the “Predicament of the Process” is the most trying aspect of being a Christian. It’s easy to have faith when you decide to give your life to Christ (the beginning) and to know where you are going when you die (the end), but it’s the middle, the process, that is the hardest to get through.  This feels so true for the infertility process we are going through. It was easy to have faith when I was first diagnosed with PCOS that things would happen when they were supposed to. And it’s easy to have faith that one day we will have a family, but it’s the in between that is the hardest.

                The in between seems to be the hardest for a few reasons. The biggest one, for me at least, is just the amount of time it takes to get answers and try different procedures. I am a very impatient person, so knowing that each step could take 3-6 months is so hard for me to deal with. Skyler and I have said multiple times that it would be much easier if we could get one answer: to keep trying to have a baby biologically or to start our family through adoption. Another reason the in between is so hard is because there is no definite answer. Infertility is unfortunately not like Algebra; no matter how many variables we know about, we never seem to be able to find the answer to “X”.  What we just have to remember is no matter how hard the process is, we know the outcome. We know that God will answer our prayers one day and until then we will use the strength from those closest to us to keep us going.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sometimes you just gotta laugh!

            Even through all of the emotional ups and downs that this process is full of, Skyler and I like to think that we are able to laugh about most things. One of the things that makes me laugh a lot is all the different advice we get on how to become pregnant. Today I thought I would compile a list for you all to enjoy J and who knows maybe these will work one day! (We haven’t necessarily been given all of the following advice, but some of our friends have!)

How to get pregnant:
  •        Sleep with the curtains open so that the moonlight can come into your room and make you ovulate
  •          Stand on your head for at least 10 minutes after intercourse (wouldn’t you pass out after that long?!)
  •          Get a puppy
  •          Men should eat more bananas to increase sperm levels
  •          If you want a baby boy you should take a tablespoon of honey every day; you should eat red meat
  •          If you want a baby girl you should eat a lot of chocolate
  •          Sit on a pregnant woman’s chair (similarly: rub a pregnant woman’s belly)
  •          Drink grapefruit juice
  •          Plant a rosemary bush and avoid mints
  •          Eating yams will give you twins
  •          Don’t eat strawberries because then your baby will have birthmarks
  •          Men should take their socks off while in bed
  •          Don’t look at mice they give baby birthmarks
  •          Women should give someone a gift of silver to get pregnant
  •          Swim in the ocean when it is warm (Good thing we are going on vacation soon!)
  •          Don’t sweep or vacuum under your bed (Now I can justify not cleaning our room!)
  •          Eating sweet and salty foods at the same time will give you fraternal twins (This one will probably make Skyler nervous because I absolutely love sea salted caramel!)
  •          Take two hot bricks, rub honey on them, and fan your family with the vapor

These all definitely give me a good laugh when I need it, but I know that some of these suggestions have helped people get pregnant. They all most likely correlate with a placebo effect, which to me just shows that we never really know when anything is going to happen in our lives. When my mom was trying to get pregnant with me, my godmother talked about the fertility powers of snakes. A couple of weeks later my mom saw a huge bull snake in our front yard, and 9 months later I came along! My mom and I laugh about this a lot especially since Skyler and I have a pet snake in our room!


I think I also get a good laugh from suggestions like this because I imagine this advice is quite amusing to God too. Ultimately He is the only one who knows what will work for us and it all just goes back to being patient and letting nature take its course. But in the meantime, maybe I’ll make some sweet potato casserole for dinner tonight! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just Relax and Don't Worry About It...and Other Such Things


As we're going through a battle like this we end up talking to tons of people from family, friends, doctors, coworkers, people at church and many others.  During these conversations there are things that we hear on a pretty regular basis that tend to drive us nuts and can actually be quite hurtful even though they are usually said with the intent of helping.  Most of the time the individuals who have said these things don't even know that what they've said has had a negative impact and we honestly probably won't tell them since it wasn't meant to.  I’ve thought about a couple of different ways to write this post and I think that the easiest way is to just go through four of the most common and impactful statements we hear and explain our thoughts and feelings about them.  Without further ado… 

“Just relax and don’t worry about it” – this is undoubtedly the most common thing that we hear and it absolutely drives us crazy.  Infertility is one of those issues that is always in the forefront of your mind and can very easily be all-consuming.  I know that people say it because they want to help and it is honestly good advice but it’s a little impractical when you have multiple reminders about it daily.

“You’re still young and have plenty of time” – Yes, yes we are but that doesn’t mean that we want to wait and deal with this struggle in 5 or 10 years.  We can easily wait 5 years to try again but nobody knows how long this battle is going to take.  It’s easy to think about when to start the struggle but the vast majority of people don’t think about the unknown duration of the battle and take that into account when thinking about timelines.  We would rather fight this battle now and have plenty of time than wait and feel like our clocks are ticking which would just further the stress.

“You just haven’t been trying long enough yet” – not to be rude or a smartass (well maybe a little bit of a smartass) but the only people who know if we’ve reached out limits are Kate and I.  I am going to venture out on a limb and say that suicidal thoughts due to the medications would be a pretty good limit for a lot of people.  Just as in every aspect of life we all have different thresholds and tolerances.  On the flip side to this I know and understand that it is usually said in the context to be a supportive statement and to help encourage us, I ask though that anyone who reads this thinks twice about how to phrase this type of comment before saying it.  We very much appreciate the encouragement and support but there are other ways to phrase this sentiment.

“You haven’t done enough yet” – Please see above paragraph, multiply it by 2, and remove the thoughts about it being a supportive statement.  If a person has made a conscious decision and stated that they have reached their limit then respect that and know this is just a thing to not say to someone going through this.  Period.  Please respect others decisions and keep in mind that what was easy for one person to do could be devastating for someone else, nobody is the same.  If you can't tell, this statement is my least favorite to hear!

 With all of the above said I just want everyone to know that we really do love and appreciate everything that you all do for us.  Without the support and backing of all our family and friends we would not be even close to the place that we are now and for that I want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Is infertility the new fertility?

Society seems to constantly be making comparisons of the changing times. For example, I've heard countless times that "30 is the new 20" and statements like that. In doing research on fertility, I almost think that infertility is the new fertility. One of the main infertility websites, www.resolve.org recently published the newly updated infertility statistics. Here are a few that Skyler and I found very interesting:

  • 7.4 million women, or 11.9% of women, have ever received any infertility services in their lifetime. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
  • 1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
  • Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained. (www.asrm.org)
  • A couple ages 29-33 with a normal functioning reproductive system has only a 20-25% chance of conceiving in any given month (National Women’s Health Resource Center). After six months of trying, 60% of couples will conceive without medical assistance. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
  • Approximately 44% of women with infertility have sought medical assistance. Of those who seek medical intervention, approximately 65% give birth. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
  • Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF). (www.asrm.org)
The statistic that stuck out to me first and foremost was that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant! That is just crazy to me! If it's that high, why aren't there more conversations about it? Why aren't there more places where couples can go for support and education? What I've noticed, though, is when you start to tell people about your infertility, you learn that you most likely know someone who is going through it too. In our case we actually know over 20 different couples who are currently going through infertility, or who have gone through it and conceived or adopted. I know that Skyler and I are not alone in this journey, but it also astounds me that we have so many friends who are going through the same thing, which makes me wonder why are infertility rates going up each year? Why does it seem harder for couples to naturally conceive today than 50 years ago? Was infertility just as big of an issue 50 years ago, but it just wasn't talked about then? What has happened to us?

The statistic that stuck out for Skyler was the last one we have listed; 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures and that fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Even before we started on all these hormones, Skyler and I both felt that we didn’t want to pursue IVF. We feel as a couple that IVF isn’t right for our family, but know that it definitely works for some people. Skyler was happy to know that the drug treatments that I’ll most likely have to go through actually do have a high success rate.


At this point, I know many of us who have traveled down Infertility Way have heard the common sentiment of, “You’re not alone; so many others are going through this exact thing.” And at times that statement does help, but at other times it also makes me sad for all those that I know and love who are suffering emotionally and physically too. I know when I’m able to talk with my friends about the infertility we are all facing, it does help. And seeing the statistics helps somewhat too. Unlike “30 being the new 20,” though, I wish that infertility wasn’t the new fertility. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fur Baby :)

         Going through all of the emotional ups and downs that are associated with infertility the thing that has helped the most, besides Skyler of course, is our dog Magic. He is my best friend and knows exactly how to raise my spirits no matter what the situation.


          Skyler and I both grew up with dogs and always had them in our lives since we were very young, so when we moved into our first apartment we only lasted a month without one. We went to countless adoption events and saw some amazing dogs, but for one reason or another we weren't able to adopt them. Then one day on petfinder.com I came across these pictures:



And we absolutely fell in love with him! Just look at those eyes! When we went to the animal control center that he was at he was so pitiful. Apparently, Magic had been there for 3 months and no one had come to look at him or even take him out of his cage. He was an owner surrender and we don't think he was abused, but he was definitely neglected. When we took him out to go to the meet and greet area he was very shy, but warmed up to us quickly and we decided to put a 24 hour hold on him. That night we went home and talked it over (our conversation lasted a whole 5 minutes and included us saying how cute he was and how much we wanted him) and the next day we signed the papers to adopt Magic.

         When he first came home with us, it definitely took some adjusting, especially for me. All my life I had primarily outside animals, including dogs. Skyler, on the other hand, had only had inside animals and was used to having an inside dog. So for the first four days we had him, we locked ourselves in our tiny one bedroom apartment with him and loved  on him like crazy. Skyler had to teach him how to be a dog (Magic was definitely NOT leash trained when we got him, and was terrified of dog toys) and he also had to teach me about life with an indoor dog. I'm not going to lie, the first few months were a little rough! Since Skyler was working so much so that I could go to school full time, Magic and I spent a lot of time alone together. We definitely had to learn quickly how to co-exist so that everything would work smoothly.

         Within the first few months of us having Magic, Skyler and I decided that he definitely needed some training classes, and so did we. So every week for 2 months we would go and learn new and different techniques to use with him. Magic is very smart and picked up on his training very fast. We continued to work with him every day and as the months went on I began to think that some day he would become a great therapy dog. Well a couple years passed, I finally graduated from my master's program, and after some trials and tribulations, I ended up at a local hospice as the Bereavement Coordinator. In entering into this field, I learned very quickly how helpful my clients found their own animals, and began to seriously think about how much Magic would be able to help people. After talking it over with my supervisor, I was given the green light to pursue therapy dog training for Magic.

        The process took quite a while, and we both had to go to classes and seminars, but then last September we were able to test and Magic passed with flying colors. Since then, we have been able to meet with patients and clients as a therapy dog team, and use animal assisted therapy to comfort those in their last days. 


Magic has the perfect temperament and always brings a smile to everyone's face. He is the best thing to ever happen to Skyler and I and he lifts our spirits daily.

         In talking with friends and family lately, I've been reminded that all good things take time. All those who know me, know that I am not a very patient person and it is extremely hard for me to "let nature take it's course". But then I think back on Magic's journey with us. We found him at the exact time we were supposed to, he is the perfect dog for our life style, and he brings so much love into our house. I know he will also be a very good big puppy brother, and when the time is right we will have our baby at the exact time we are supposed to. We can't wait to add more love to our family, and I definitely have to thank Magic for teaching me the true meaning of unconditional love.





Monday, June 30, 2014

Modern Family

         One of my favorite definitions of family is, "1. a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for and look after; 2. a group of people who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and frequently, live together; 3. a group of people united and guided by certain convictions, beliefs, and morals; 4. relatives who love and care for one another deeply and oftentimes, put each others' needs and preferences before their own; 5. a group whose love is not hindered by time, space or circumstances." I can't think of a more complete way to look at what family is and to explain to others what family means to me.
         Growing up, everyone was either an Aunt or an Uncle to my siblings and I. My parents had very strong friendships with people they had known for years, and so it was never weird or strange for us to call a friend Aunt or Uncle. Okay, I take that back, there are some people that I won't call Aunt or Uncle no matter how close they are to my parents, but that is few and far between. The closest "Uncle" I had growing up was the man I refer to as my godfather, my Uncle Richard. He was my parents next door neighbor and I was his little buddy from day one. That man had my heart from the first day I saw him and I know I had his too. Uncle Richard was also my dad's best friend, so we saw him and my godmother, his wife, very often. Uncle Richard was the brother my dad never had, and he and his wife were there for us through everything. One of the hardest and saddest days of my life was when Richard passed away right after I graduated from high school. There is still a void in my heart that I don't think will ever completely fill up. He was one of the most amazing men I have ever met, and the hardest thing for me to think about now is how my children will never get to meet him. The one thing that does bring me solace, however, is that I know in the future they will have their own Uncle Richard.
         I know they will have their own Uncle Richard, because our best friend, "R", has already made it a point to be a part of their lives. "R" and his son "L" have been living with us since the beginning of this year. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the four of us became an instant family and have been working on our own "modern family" every day. Currently we fulfill all aspects of the family definition above, and for some reason unbeknownst to all of us, our modern family runs very smoothly. As in any family there are definitely bumps that come up along the way, but we are learning how to smooth those out and work as a unit to make life easier and better for all of us involved. When "R" and "L" (or as we refer to them as "the boys") came to live with us, lots of people told us that we were doing such a great thing "taking them in" and helping them in their time of need. I just don't think they thought this would be a long term endeavor. Luckily my family is very accepting and adopted the boys right away and now think it's weird if they don't come to family functions.
          Needless to say, the boys came to live with us right around the time I started the Provera and Clomid cycles. They, like Skyler, have been amazing through my emotional instabilities, and have supported us, like any good family does. When we talk about our future children "R" and "L" talk about how excited they are for our family to grow and for all of us to be able to take care of them. Seeing how they live the fourth part of the family definition ( 4. relatives who love and care for one another deeply and oftentimes, put each others' needs and preferences before their own) I know that God is already working on our family. I have never once questioned that Skyler will put our children's needs above his own because he does that for me. But watching "R" do that for Skyler and I, truly reminds me of my Uncle Richard. But most of all it reminds me that God has given us the ability to choose who we call family. And He has given us the ability to love unconditionally, to love without bounds. To love beyond bloodlines. To love those most in need. Knowing this, it is no wonder that we believe and feel that God will provide us with the child/ children that we are meant to have. The children we are meant to teach how to love in our modern and ever changing world.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

You saw a naturo- what?!

         As you can tell from our past posts, the conventional medicines used for women with PCOS to promote menstruation and ovulation really took a toll on my emotional well-being. Throughout the last six months I would talk with my older sister about how the medicines were effecting me, but that I was trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Being the sister and friend she is, she supported our efforts, but also encouraged us to look at more natural avenues too. About a month ago we were talking on the phone and she told me how she had recently seen a local naturopath and that she thought their advice was very helpful and useful. She encouraged me to go the the website: www.naturopathic.org to research what exactly naturopathy is and if there was a Doctor of Naturopathy (DN) near us.
         It took a couple of days for us to go to the naturopathy website; one because I was tired of trying at that point. I was exhausted to the core of my being and didn't want to spend more time looking for a cure I didn't believe was possible. This was about the time when we decided to stop the medicines and as they started to work their way out of my system, I began to feel like it wouldn't hurt to look into what a naturopathic doctor could offer us. Basically naturopathy is the use of natural therapies and supplements in conjunction with modern medicine to treat the whole person.  Naturopathic doctors focus on the healing power of nature, identifying and treat the causes, do no harm, using the doctor as a teacher, and focusing on prevention. Through this website I was able to find a DN close by who was also a RN and a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM). On the website it talked about the initial forms to fill out and the what visits would cost since insurance wouldn't cover our visits with her. (A side note on insurance: in a nut shell it doesn't cover most things related to infertility. Any non-western specialists, any alternative therapies, or any intense fertility treatments are not covered at all or only minimally covered. Well at least by our plan. Our only saving grace to see different specialists is the employer sponsored health savings account through Skyler's job. Thankfully we are able to put money into this account each month which covers out of network costs. It would just be so much easier, though, if our health system promoted healthcare as a right for the people and not a way to make money, but that's a whole other post!)
          So after talking about it, Skyler and I decided to schedule a visit with the DN to see what she thought would help with the PCOS and our goal of having a baby. To schedule a visit with her, though, we had to fill out 35 pages for her intake form! It took us a couple of days to do, but it actually felt good telling her EVERYTHING that I was feeling and going through. After completing the forms I sent them to her and we scheduled my first visit for this past Friday. It was about a two week wait from when I sent the forms to her to when I finally saw her and as the date got closer to seeing her, we became more and more excited to see what she would say.
         Upon arriving at her office we immediately realized this would not be a regular doctors visit. Her office was in the middle of a spiritual healing center, with no receptionist, and signs that said, "Please whisper, treatments in session." Skyler and I just sat down in the chairs and waited and right before my scheduled time our DN came out and introduced herself and brought us back to her office. We then had an hour long conversation about my symptoms and what exactly I was experiencing. She taught us about different ways to live healthier and then "prescribed" me lots of vitamins and minerals to take. When we walked out Skyler and I didn't say much to each other. We both agreed we liked her, but didn't know what else to say. We had a lot to think about and in all honesty we also had to learn and re-teach our brains that western medicine was not the only way to fix problems.
         When talking about our visit later that night, I asked Skyler if he thought the suggestions from the naturopath would help. He answered honestly, as he always does, and said that he trusted her suggestions more than western medicine as naturopathy and oriental medicine has been around for centuries longer than modern day medicine.  He told me he was glad that she talked about natural remedies, but was also very honest about the fact that I would most likely have to go back on Provera and Clomid when we see our fertility specialists later this summer. She explained that it was good that we took a break and that hopefully over the next month or so we can get my body regulated with vitamins and minerals so that when I have to do the next round of hormone treatments I'll be able to handle them better.
         As our visit with her came to an end she asked if we had any questions. Mine, like usual, was to know if she had experience with other women with PCOS and how or if their infertility was resolved. She was very honest and explained that yes she does have other patients with PCOS, and that now some of them do have babies, but that the most important thing is that they all talk about feeling healthier. She explained that since all of our body systems are connected, it would take a while for everything to become balanced and begin to work optimally.
         So we bought all the vitamins, minerals, and supplements she recommended and as of now I'm on day two of the regimen that she put me on. Of course our main goal is to become pregnant and have a baby, but as of right now I'm just excited to feel better. I'm excited to have more energy so that I can enjoy the amazing life God has given us so far. I'm ready to be the best version of me that I can be :)
       

Friday, June 27, 2014

Praying to be healed

         Our church has a prayer time every couple of weeks where people are invited down to the front of the congregation to receive prayer from our prayer team. Since we just started going to this church, Skyler and I didn't go down to the front of the auditorium the first time. I think both of us were thinking and feeling that we weren't sure if we wanted everyone to see that we were in need of prayer. That something was wrong in our lives. I mean everyone tries to portray that life is just perfect, right? But over the weeks the verse from James 4:10 kept playing over and over in my head, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up." I knew that if we were going to receive healing we needed to admit to ourselves, our family, our friends, and those at our church that we needed God to heal us. We needed God to intervene and give us a miracle.
         So this past Sunday was another invitation to come to the front to be prayed over. Before the invitation, though, one of our pastors had a couple come forward to talk about how with prayer and God's provisions, their newborn son was healed from a terminal kidney disease. The couple discussed how all the ultrasounds kept saying that their son had weak kidneys and that he might not live upon delivery. Once born, however, his kidneys were fine. Countless tests were done on the new baby, but everything was normal. Our pastor talked about how the couple would come forward to receive prayer and say, "We just need a miracle." The part that hit home for Skyler and I, though, was we know this couple. We've gone to church with them for a while, and have met their family. So when the prayer invitation was given on Sunday, Skyler and I both walked down to the front without even having to ask if the other wanted to go.
         When we got to the front we were ushered to one of the prayer team members who asked us what we would be praying for today. I simply told her, "Infertility" and she said, "I understand" and then began to pray. I don't really remember her prayer, but I do know that I felt this heaviness begin to lift off of my shoulders, something I haven't felt in a very long time. I cried through the whole prayer, but in a sense I didn't even know I was crying. I felt so moved that I just let any emotion come through that needed to. Even though the prayer had lasted for just a few minutes, it felt like years of stress, anger, hopelessness, shame, sadness, and despair had lifted.
          What is interesting, however, was a couple of weeks before this we had a guest pastor come talk to our congregation about not letting yourself get stuck in a rut and asking God to help you in your time of need. The aspect of his sermon that stuck with me the most was how he said when we pray for healing we need to be specific. We can't just say, "God please heal me." That isn't what God wants. The pastor explained that God knows what it going on in our lives. He knows what our troubles and sorrows are. But healing can only occur when you humble yourself in front of Him, acknowledge that you are finally aware of what is going on, and specifically ask for healing.
          As the events of the last couple of weeks have unfolded, I have begun to pray for healing. I wasn't doing it as often as I felt I should, but that all changed this week. This week I had two baby dreams. ( Let's take a moment here to let all those know how important baby dreams are to those of us who are dealing with infertility. I know that for Skyler and I, baby dreams are a sign that things are alright. Things are going to happen in God's time and we will get our babies when we are supposed to. But having two in one week is EPIC in my book and I was really excited about it!) One dream was silly and funny and I remember it well. The other one I don't remember I just know that I had an uneasy feeling about it when I woke up. But after both dreams I immediately started to pray my specific prayer for healing and that we would become pregnant soon. And now that seems to be a habit. Every night before I go to bed I pray our prayer for healing and every time I wake up in the middle of the night I pray the same prayer while I fall back to sleep.
         As I've been writing this post, I've been texting Skyler about my prayers and he told me, "I've been praying for the same thing. It's like a constant prayer for me. I pray for healing for you all the time. That's pretty much all I've prayed for the last 3-4 years." And when talking to others in our life I know they pray for us every day too. Praying seems to remind me that we are not in control. Not in the slightest. Just as Jeremiah 29:11 states, "For I know the plans I have your you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." And thankfully our hope is starting to be restored :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Wisdom of Yoda

Hi everyone, it's Skyler.  I felt like it was time for me to write a post of my own and go into a little more depth about a few things that were covered in my interview last night :) There were a few questions that stuck with me so I felt I would elaborate more on my perspective(s). I’m going to do this over a few posts since I don’t want to get to long winded…and I have the whole “squirrel” thing going on so my attention span might be kind of fleeting.  I'm sure that you'll all realize pretty quickly that Kate is much better at this journaling thing than I am but here goes. 

I’m sure that the people who know me have noticed that I’ve never really been one to show too much of my emotional makeup.  Showing who I really am leaves me exposed, vulnerable, and open to getting hurt.  None of which seem like good options to me.  It has always been easier for me to harden myself, push the feelings down, ignore them as best as I can, and move on.  This scenario worked for me for a long time but dealing with this infertility stuff has been harder than I ever imagined and has become a catalyst for me to face some of my own personal issues and demons on top of the infertility fight.  Why am I saying this?  Because I want to be able to convey my true raw emotions and not put a mask on.   After a while ignoring and hiding from what you feel is just as hard as, if not harder than, acknowledging and dealing with your emotions.
     
The first question that stuck with me from Kate’s interview is "Over the years, how have your feelings developed further or changed about our situation?".  This is a question that has a couple of different aspects for me, there is of course the personal side of our own situation but then there is a side that covers infertility as a whole.  I stated in my response that I have gone through the entire gambit of emotions but that is incorrect.  There are still plenty of emotions that I’m experiencing that I didn’t even know existed, both good and bad. 

            A wise little green guy with big ears (Yoda, in case you didn’t guess) once said “Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”  This is a pretty good way to describe the overall feelings I’ve had through this infertility journey.  My fear started when we realized that something was really wrong and Kate started to look for people who genuinely cared and wanted to help figure out what was going on.  Over time Kate has found an amazing team of medical professionals that have done their best to help figure out what is going on with her, I am eternally grateful for these people.  Even with an awesome team like Kate has, there are no guarantees about anything.  As time went on we noticed that the treatments that Kate was being prescribed were having no effect (minimal enough to not really notice if there was anything) and we started to pursue making sure that we even had the right diagnosis.  This is the time when we started getting answers like “oh…hmm… you’re a hard case” but it seemed like they wouldn’t take the time to investigate deeper, nor did they really care.  Here is the point where the anger really started setting in.  “Why wouldn’t anyone do anything to help?”  “Why don’t any of these doctors care about Kate?”  “How dare your diagnosis be “chunky” (this guy almost went flying through a wall).”  “Is PCOS even the right diagnosis? How can you be sure?”   Even after all these questions we were no further in our quest for answers and I started getting really angry.  I was angry at the doctors, at their lack of caring, at the fact that there weren’t any answers, but more than anything I was mad at God.  I was furious that he was letting all this happen to her, in no way did she deserve this.  I will admit that I’ve done some messed up and bad stuff in my life and I’ll accept the consequences of my actions but why would God put this kind of punishment on Kate when she has done nothing to deserve it?  I didn’t and still don’t understand why it has to be her that has to deal with this but at least I’m more understanding that I won’t always know why.

            After being angry for so long it is very true that this anger turns into hate.  I hated everything about the infertility, the meds and their effects on Kate, and I hated God more than anything for Kate having to go through all of this.  This continued and stayed pretty much status quo for a while but when a few issues came up in other aspects of life it pushed all my hate into the suffering stage and I hit some of the lowest points I’ve ever felt.  It was only at this point that I finally started letting my anger and rage about everything go.  It wasn’t and still isn’t an easy process but I am finally once again starting to feel hope that everything will end up ok and that there is some reason unbeknownst to us that all of this is happening.  I’m actually finally starting to feel better about everything than I’ve felt in a long time.  I am a firm believer that when there are times that shake the core of who you are you have two options: 1) let the situation drive you to hate, anger, and away from God or 2) let the situation humble you and drive you toward God.  Luckily I’ve decided to let it drive me towards God and getting back on the track that I feel Kate and I should be on.

            In regards to the overall fertility issue a lot of people don’t think about the other partner when they hear that a couple is facing this challenge.  I can’t blame them, when someone says they are going through something like PCOS a person’s natural reaction isn’t to look at their partner and ask if they’re ok.  More than anything I just want people who read this to do their best to think that even though the person dealing with the health issue directly is in vital need of support please don’t forget that the other person in the relationship is dealing with just as much mentally and emotionally.  As a partner in this journey I don’t have to worry about cysts on my ovaries (I’m sure you’re all glad to know that huh?!) but I do have to worry about Kate getting them and the possibility that they can potentially raise her chances of ovarian cancer in the future. I have to worry about the meds that she is having to take and the side effects that come with those.  I’m worried about her mental and emotional well-being and how to best protect her from her own brain at times.  I’m concerned that when the times come that I need to be the rock and strength to pull her out of the dark places that I will be able to pull myself out of the same darkness enough to help her out of hers.  I am using a lot of personal examples but all partners in this situation I’m sure are going through many of the same things.  When you love someone with all your being you hurt when they hurt, you laugh when they laugh, they are your reason for being and it can be insanely hard to watch something beat them down and tear them apart knowing that you are powerless to do anything to help.  It might not take much but the offer a hug and a “how are you doing?” to all of those involved in this struggle can go much farther than you’d think.


I think that’s good for this first post.  I feel like this was a pretty dark post but this is the starting place of where I have been. It gets better and brighter, I promise. I do want to say thank you and let you all know that Kate and I are eternally grateful for the support that we’ve gotten from everyone.  It’s a hard process but it would be immensely harder without all of you.