The sundry side of my life….

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So thus far this blog has been pretty much solely infertility-centric.  Infertility has been my biggest hurdle in life, partly just the effort it takes to go through it but mostly because the outcome is so unknown.  It’s also been challenging to not really have a venting outlet as so many people just Don’t. Get. It.  By creating this blog (and also joining an online support group I found through Facebook that my fertility clinic set up for patients) I’ve found people who understand , and reading all your stories has both broken my heart and given me hope.  The “Scrambled Eggs” part of my story has been discussed ad nauseum, and to be sure it will keep being discussed, and often!  But what I’ve come to find out is that the “Sundry” part of my story is just as important, and has proven vital while going through this journey.  All the other aspects of my life have helped me to recharge, refocus, and basically kept me (semi) sane.  So here’s just a little look at my other life interests when I’m not sticking myself with needles, keeping dosage calendars, running to the RE every five seconds, etc., etc……

Yoga

In my 20’s, I was what you would call “deceptively unfit”.  I was thin despite not being very active and eating like total crap.  One of the many advantages of being young!  Well once 30 came knocking on my door things started changing, and I wasn’t very happy about it.  I read in a magazine that Jennifer Aniston did something called Bikram Yoga, so I thought hey, if it’s good enough for her I can surely try it!  So my yoga course was charted.  I practiced Bikram for about 2 years, than moved on to hot vinyasa for a couple years, and am currently incorporating yin and more restorative yoga elements into my practice as well.

Yoga has changed my life.  It’s been a slow change, but when I look back to where I was both mentally and physically when I started practicing and where I am now, the differences are stark.  In the beginning, whatever I was dealing with at a particular moment would get expressed when I was on my mat.  Within the last year or two, I have started to reverse that.  Instead of letting all the other variables in my life affect my yoga practice, I am learning to start at the yoga mat, be present and mindful when I am there, and let that feeling spill over to other aspects of my life.  Coincidence that this change organically started to manifest itself right around the time my infertility challenges were peaking?  You be the judge 😉

Volunteering

I think by virtue of being a woman nurturing comes very naturally to me.  I like to help, I like to be needed.  I like to contribute.  I work for a water utility company that is very active in community events, so every now and then I would volunteer for certain events, a beach clean up here, a Habitat for Humanity building day there.  I found out I loved it so much, I started seeking out ways to help out my community on my own time.  I’ve worked on a domestic violence crisis team, volunteered at a homeless shelter, and taught children’s yoga in underprivileged neighborhoods.  I would love to foster shelter animals until they find their forever homes, but my husband has said we need to wait until we move into a bigger home to do that.  Practicality is such a buzzkill!

Knitting

So I am putting this in the list to hold me accountable to actually do it!  I learned to knit six years ago because my closest cousin who is like a sister to me was having her first baby.  I thought, “I’m going to knit her a blanket; how hard can it be?!”  Word of advice – if you have never knit a stitch in your life, DO NOT make your very first project a full size blanket.  It was a bit ambitious, but I did finish it!  Since then I’ve knit a couple more blankets, hats and golf club covers for my husband, scarves, and countless baby booties, hats, and mittens for friends and family having babies.  I just finished one this past weekend.  Hopefully someday I will be knitting for my own little one (all roads lead back don’t they?).

Myself

I know what you must be thinking – she’s putting HERSELF on this list of interests??  EGO much?!  I know it sounds a bit selfish, but I am starting to realize that making oneself a priority is actually the most SELFLESS thing a person can do.  Learning who I am is helping me become a better wife, friend, employee, and someday hopefully a better mom (foster kittens here I come 😉 !)  I have to say this process has been very hard.  Trust me it hasn’t consisted of me looking in the mirror every day and telling myself what an awesome cool chick I am.  It has consisted of me facing some traits I don’t really like about myself – I can be selfish.  I can be stubborn to the point of getting angry.  I can be very insecure.  I can be a bit of a know it all, which stems from said insecurity.  This hasn’t been easy to admit.  However, I’m also learning to not judge myself.  To be patient with myself.  To listen to myself and my body.  To trust that change occurs organically and at its own pace.  I am at the very beginning of this journey that I know will be a lifelong process.  But hey, I’m stuck with myself for life, so I guess I have the time!

So……that’s probably more sundry than anyone wanted!  There’s definitely more I’m passionate about – my work (the job I actually get paid for!), cooking, wine, coffee, and of course my absolutely AMAZING husband and my littlest love – my ten year old shi tzu Niko.  I hope to discuss all these people/things in time because they all hold an important place in my crazy life.

Infertility can make me forget about all these things sometimes.  It consumes me, as it does for many people going through the struggle.  Each day on this Earth I feel different than the day before.  However I am learning that the best days are when I let myself acknowledge that my life is already full; already has meaning.  It’s not easy to get to these realizations; it takes work and conscious effort.  I am putting in the work, and hopefully there will be many of those days to come ❤

My Scrambled Story

So here is where I share my infertility story and how it started.  Full disclosure – my journey up to now has not encompassed years and years of trying to conceive naturally.  In fact, when I found out my diagnosis I was not trying to conceive AT ALL.  Which is one of the reasons this whole experience has been so surreal.  I just want to say I understand if people are turned away from my story because I have not been suffering with this for years.  I get that.  I also have done this to people who are in different predicaments than I.  Rationally I know everyone has their own story and I shouldn’t judge or dismiss them, but what can I say, I’m human.  Hopefully blogging about these thoughts will help me (I judge a lot of people.  That will be another blog).  This whole experience has made me both more empathetic and also less understanding all at the same time.  Bottom line is I understand if you do not understand!

Anyway, on October 18, 2013 I was diagnosed with extremely low AMH, which means I have a very low egg reserve for a woman of my age.  What this means is that I don’t have a lot of eggs left, if any, and if I want to conceive a child of my own I need to start now and will most likely need the help of fertility drugs.  Now let me put this into context – I decided mostly on a lark to have this test run at my gynecologist.  I heard about this test on the show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” of all places and decided to just have it run and see how those little eggs were doing.  I honestly was expecting a normal result and didn’t worry about it one bit.  So to say the least it was a shock to find out not only did I have less eggs than is normal for a woman my age, my eggs were virtually UNDETECTABLE and more akin to those of a 45 year old.  I was stunned (still am truthfully).  I am a relatively healthy woman, never had any serious medical conditions, get my period every single month and have very regular cycles.  I exercise, try and eat right and try to lead a healthy lifestyle.  How could this happen??  Well, I still don’t have an answer to that and I probably never will, but here I am nonetheless.

At the time of diagnosis M and I had been together for approximately 15 months.  He came with me to the RE.  The doctor was a fast talker and gave us much information that left our heads spinning.  She told us we should start the IVF process as soon as possible if we wanted the best possible chance to conceive a child.  We took this news in and that night decided to stop using protection, something we had never once done since we started dating.  Not wanting to completely jump the gun, we gave ourselves 6 months to try.  4 months passed, nothing happened.  In February 2014 I decided to see an acupuncturist, who ironically was pregnant herself.  I started seeing her once a week in addition to taking some Chinese herbs twice a day that she says will promote fertility.  I was feeling pretty good about this but the month came and went and still no pregnancy.  She did tell me results would take 3 to 6 months.  I am not the best when it comes to patience.

In April 2014 I found myself back in RE’s office.  Once again M accompanied me (more on him later).  She again told me the same thing, the chances of conceiving on my own are virtually none, and IVF is the best option, although obviously nothing is a guarantee.  She even suggested using donor eggs since mine are apparently so flimsy.  I was again overwhelmed and yes a few tears were shed.  I felt defeated, and any positivity I was feeling from the acupuncture treatments drained right out of me.  I was shuffled in a haze from her office to my nurse’s office, who set up an appointment to get a semen analysis for M and further testing for me, which included but was not limited to an HSG test that hurt like a mf-er.

My HSG came back clear so my tubes aren’t blocked.  However one week after that procedure my RE wanted to perform a saline sonogram because the radiologist said it seemed as though I had a bicornuate uterus (heart-shaped).  Two good things – the saline sonogram was not nearly as painful as the HSG and it seemed I may only have a slight bicornuate or possibly none at all.  Of course, nothing is simple and she did see something in the uterus, a polyp, cyst – she wasn’t sure.  So now I needed to be booked for a hysteroscopy which happened about a month later, June 8.  The good thing about this procedure it I was completely under anesthesia and didn’t feel a thing, during or after.  The crazy thing was that my doctor found that little blip on the sonogram was not a polyp, but a septum that ran the entire length of my uterus!  I am thankful this procedure was done, as if I had somehow gotten pregnant naturally there was a chance I would have miscarried since my uterus was essentially half the size it should be because of the septum.

Meanwhile, M’s SA came back and showed that he had both low morphology and motility.  Again in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say I was kind of happy about this news.  Happy may not be the right word, but at least I could say that the problem wasn’t just me.  Either way, it seemed we were both striking out at every turn.

With my shabby & scrambled eggs and M’s misshapen & lazy sperm, we made the decision that we would go forward with IVF.  Now as anyone who has ever made this decision knows, surprise!–it is not easy.  The financial burden was a consideration (more on insurance, big corporations, and how both are f’ed up in a subsequent blog).  Also the emotional toll.  In addition to that, M and I are not married. We are not even engaged.  Neither of these things bother us, as we know both will happen in the future.  We know we would like to have children someday.  We just thought it would be in two, three years, not now.  And not this way.  So we researched and we asked questions and we had frank conversations.  I prayed and meditated about it.  We figured this may be our best chance.  If by some miracle we get pregnant naturally in a few years than great!  We’ll take it!  But we don’t want to pin all our hopes on that chance.  IVF is not a guarantee, which we have had the privilege of discovering first hand, but at least it’s SOMETHING.

Fast forward to one cancelled IVF cycle later, here I am.  I know it’s cliche but this has all been very unexpected, confusing, sad, anxiety promoting, and many other superlatives.  I mean M and I weren’t even planning on THINKING about having children right now.  I know I am not in my twenties anymore, but I still thought I would have time.  So I went from being momentarily child free and happy to starting IVF procedures within a 10 month span.  I feel like my life just changed and I am just trying to keep up.  So that’s my scrambled story.