Thursday, November 20, 2014
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
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!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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
Thursday, September 25, 2014
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
Saturday, September 20, 2014
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
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
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
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
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?
Thursday, September 4, 2014
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
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
Friday, August 8, 2014
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
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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
Friday, July 11, 2014
- 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
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
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
- 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)
Friday, July 4, 2014
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:
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
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
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
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 :)