Infertility · trying to conceive · ttc

infertile

I realized on Saturday (just before my sister-in-law announced her pregnancy on social media, by the way. Made Saturday *super* fun) that by standard health definitions, we are officially ‘infertile.’

“Infertility is…characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.” https://resolve.org/infertility-101/what-is-infertility/

I guess I thought that infertility had be diagnosed after doctor visits and testing and all that jazz. Nope. Turns out we hit that mark back in August.

I know that we still haven’t been trying all that long. Part of me feels guilty even taking on this label when I know there are so many others who have been trying longer than we have or who have gone on to have all the above testing and be presented with the list of options nobody ever wants to have to use or received a hopeless diagnosis.

But the other part of me is grateful to have a title. It allows me to identify with others going through the same struggle, and to empathize a little better with a new group of people. It allows me to validate our journey and say more than just a “it feels like a long time (at month 3…6…9 etc) and I’m frustrated.” Not that I wanted any of that. But there’s a strange sort of relief in a title (even a crappy one), and it opens the doors to begin pursuing help and looking into options if we need to.

(And honestly, trying unsuccessfully for even ‘just’ 3 or 6 months can still feel like an eternity when having a baby is something you want so much. It’s not like the TWW is easier if you’ve done less of them. So I don’t mean to invalidate the struggle of those who aren’t at a year…I was at those points too and they sucked then. You just add in more complex emotions and new fears the longer it goes on and it starts to suck differently.)

So. We are 1 in 8.

Maybe this cycle will be the one that breaks that statistic for us, but given my husband’s level of stress right now I have a feeling his little guys have not been at their healthiest so I’m trying to mentally prepare for Aunt Flo to arrive sometime next week and we’ll start looking into at least talking to a doctor.

 

 

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

On hope

Hope while TTC is a rather strange thing.

The thing I hear consistently from others who have tried for a long time is “as soon as you give up hope, that’s when it will happen.” I guess in a way that makes sense, because the point at which you give up trying and tracking can be the point at which your body is finally able to do its thing naturally.

But I don’t believe in giving up hope. There’s always hope; God is always able. This journey, this struggle…isn’t too big for God to handle. Giving up hope isn’t something that Christians are supposed to do.

So I don’t lose hope overall. Despite my deeper fears that this isn’t going to happen, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still hope it will.

Yet within each cycle I struggle to maintain the right amount of hope. When AF arrives I’m sad, angry, frustrated, etc; and those fears that it’s never going to happen set in…then that passes with the period and I get hopeful again; I mean, without hope, there’d be no motivation to try. Each new cycle is a new chance, right? Then my body does weird things and I have a hard time determining when (or if) I even ovulated…which leads me to be less hopeful that this will be the month (since if I didn’t ovulate at all there’s no chance, and if I ovulated at a different time than I thought we may have missed our shot by not having sex when I was *actually* fertile). Then that passes and I think; “Well, this is all in God’s hands anyway so if it’s meant to be this month it’ll happen.”

So my “two week wait” turns into a juggling act of wanting to believe that “this could be it, it has to be…just wait a couple weeks and you’ll get that positive” and knowing that the more hopeful I get, the more disappointed I’ll be when the test is negative and AF shows.

The hope comes from my belief that this is in God’s hands…and this is what keeps me sane during the wait but it also sets me up for more sadness. The hopelessness comes from my lack of clear indicators that I even ovulated (and the numbers stacking up against me…months trying, age, etc)…and this makes me depressed during the wait…and ultimately doesn’t make me any less sad when it turns out to be true.

So perhaps that’s the answer right there. Keep hoping. I can’t see what’s happening inside of me. I can’t control what’s happening inside of me. But I believe in a God that is able. So when it’s time, it will happen.

I just need to add in trust and contentment to the mix to make the disappointments less acute.

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

Reminders and motives

My husband has a knack for saying the right things to help me navigate this journey. He wants to be a dad; but he is able to be strong when I break down and he helps me refocus on the things that are true.

  • He reminds me that God has done something beautiful with our story and that this is just another chapter
  • He reminds me that God has already blessed us both so richly in bringing us to each other after both of us experienced having a spouse who no longer wanted to be married.
  • He reminds me that he is happy for now just being with me and thankful that we have each other.
  • He reminds me that we still have so much ahead of us.

So that alone should be enough to snap me out of my funk. Which it usually does, and that’s why I keep talking to him when I have bad days or weeks.

But the last few times it has come up he has asked me, ‘what is motivating this desire to be so strong and to take so much of your attention?’

My first and most obvious answer is, “I just want to be a mom, I’ve wanted it so long and now it’s finally a possibility.”

Another answer is just that honestly, it’s been a lonely season (and husband being extra busy at work the last few months hasn’t helped)…so having a baby to focus on would distract me from some of that loneliness. And yes, I know that’s a horrible reason; but at least it’s not the only one.

But the other day I verbalized what I think may be the deepest reason of all.

I’m afraid it’s never going to happen for me. 

I’ve always had very irregular cycles, so I’ve expected for most of my adult life that I would have some difficulty conceiving. But as I’ve begun tracking my cycles and monitoring parameters and all that…I worry that my body just doesn’t have the right balance of hormones to produce and sustain a pregnancy (I’ll probably go into all my stats another time).

So I have to keep going back to the reminders at the top. But recognizing and verbalizing this deeper fear…maybe that will help me in the journey.

In the meantime; I realized I can’t not track at all. Not having any idea if I might be ovulating is making the waiting so much harder because I don’t know how long I even have to wait. So I started opks yesterday on cycle day 20. I think it may have been positive. Today it may have been a little lighter. Who knows what that even means. But at least I feel like I have an estimated end date for this cycle and that makes it a little easier to hurry up and wait.  

 

Uncategorized

Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
and all is darkened in the veil of tears,
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

-Catharina von Schlegel, translation Jane Borthwick

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

Tired

I’m tired today. Tired of waiting and wanting. Tired of stressing. Tired of overthinking and overanalyzing. Tired of being jealous and sad. Tired of not being able to shake all these feelings and patterns. None of it is helpful; none of it is healthy.

But here I sit. Mid cycle, I think…I’m really irregular and never get any clear ovulation signs. I stopped tracking everything last cycle just to give us a break and to see if ‘not trying’ would work any better.

It’s been helpful in some ways; it means that we can just be intimate when we want to be and my husband doesn’t feel the pressure of performing during my fertile window. But since I am so irregular it means I have no idea when to start looking for my period, when to start getting hopeful. It also means I have even less of an idea if and when I ovulated, and so any missed days of intimacy get me stressed out more than they would if I knew I wasn’t even fertile.

Started Fertil-Aid yesterday. Maybe it will help. Maybe it won’t. I know in my head nothing I do or don’t do will make this happen any sooner but I still can’t help doing something.

I just want this so badly. I want to be content with where I am now, where we are now; but I guess I want this more even with all the meh that comes with it. It’s not worth the ‘meh’ but I can’t move out of this place.

 

appointed time · trying to conceive

Welcome

Genesis 18:14

“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you…and Sarah shall have a son.”

I read this verse in June, about 6 months into our TTC journey. It really stuck out to me, and may have been the first thing I underlined in my newest Bible. When I decided to start this blog, it wasn’t hard to decide what the theme would be.

  • Nothing is too hard for the Lord
  • If it is not now, it is not yet the appointed time.

I hope the appointed time is soon. I wanted it to be last year. I hope we don’t have to wait another. But I am grateful for the solid foundation I have and for a husband who continues to remind me that God knows what is best for us and challenges me to just enjoy life right now as it is because we won’t get this time back.

I have a few ideas for blog posts; I’m honestly not sure where to even start. I probably will have a few emoting posts; hopefully interspersed with what I’m finding encouraging at the moment (verses, songs, truths), and some occasional lessons learned along this journey.

(This is supposed to be the first post, not that it really matters…but I don’t know why the site rearranged them and I’m not good enough at blogging to figure out how to fix it)

how to · journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

On pregnancy announcements

Last month my sister-in-law found out she was pregnant. This week my sister told me she’s pregnant. As with any pregnancy announcement while you’re still trying, each one was a mix of emotions. Joy for them, excitement for the new lives (and future nieces or nephews), but also jealousy and that aching sadness that it still isn’t you. However, I noticed a few differences that has made one so much harder to process.

My sister-in-law and I were on the TTC journey together. They got married two months before we did, they conceived their first month of not preventing (which was a few months after our miscarriage), then they had an early miscarriage and had been trying unsuccessfully ever since. She and I were often in our FW and TWW together, and we shared every OPK and BBT shift and negative HPT.

She texted me within moments of taking that first test (with a barely noticeable line), which is understandable, given our history…but since that moment it is has been all her pregnancy and how she’s feeling. There was not (and still has not been) a single acknowledgement that this might be a little hard for me; especially since I’ve been trying longer. I don’t want to steal the joy out of it for her, and having walked through a miscarriage and month after month of failure as well I am happy that she finally has this. But I lost my TTC buddy and I now get to watch every moment of her pregnancy while still struggling to conceive.

My sister, on the other hand, called me up and spent a good 15-20 minutes letting me talk about how I was doing (she’s known about this struggle for some time) and letting me share my frustrations and emotions. She then chatted for a bit, and as the conversation was coming to a close she broke the news. She immediately followed it with, “I have a strong support network and plenty of people who can provide me what I need emotionally, I don’t need to you to fake that you are only happy for me, I know you are happy and I also know that you don’t want to be unhappy but I’m sure that you are hurting; this has got to be hard for you.” She absolutely and generously gave me the space and freedom to be that person who has to be told gently, because she understood and valued the complexity of emotions I was feeling.

I absolutely hate that I can’t fully rejoice with these dear people in something so beautiful and wonderful. I hate my selfishness that keeps me focused on what I don’t have. It’s something I’m trying to process.

But right now, that’s there. And being given the grace to have those emotions without judgment-and thereby having those emotions (and the TTC struggle) acknowledged-is making the transition to only being happy for them a lot easier.

—–

  • TTC: trying to conceive
  • FW: fertile window
  • TWW: two week wait
  • OPK: ovulation predictor kit
  • BBT: basal body temperature
  • HPT: home pregnancy test