family · hope chest · how to · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

IUIs and hope chests

I’ve been busy with moving and settling in to our new home; and I started an Instagram account to document our infertility journey (@baby_hope_chest) so that’s been more my focus than this blog…but here’s a quick update.

We had our third IUI on Tuesday; I only produced one follicle in response to the clomid this time around so I’m not feeling quite as hopeful (given that #2 failed and there’s one less egg) but I guess it’s better to keep my expectations low so I’m not as disappointed if it didn’t work. My doctor said if this round doesn’t work, we can continue with IUIs but she will switch me to injectable meds since I seem to be developing resistance to the clomid.

I’ve been eating a thick slice of pineapple every morning since Tuesday; and I didn’t stop taking the estrogen this time. So maybe. Obviously none of that will help the egg actually get fertilized/develop; but if it does I want the lining thick enough to support it.

I started my hope chest. It’s really been so helpful; my mom was afraid it would be more harmful but it really is keeping my focus more on what I hope to have (and waiting well) than on what I don’t have right now. Plus the idea of having things purchased/made for our baby before he/she even exists is just really neat.

I purchased three items for the three failed cycles since the miscarriage; newborn onesies, matching socks, and a set of swaddles. I also put several of my stuffed animals in there and books I remember from when I was really little. I’m also working on a quilt and have been writing letters to the baby. My mother-in-law gave me the two blankets she made; and my mom is working on a white baby outfit with embroidered olive branches on it.

This baby (whenever/if they come to be…) is so very loved and I think that knowledge is helping me wait a little better too.

family · Infertility · trying to conceive

Tangible hope

I decided today on one of my trips between our apartment and house (we’re moving this weekend!) that I know what I want to do with my hope chest. It’s been sitting in our garage since we moved to this apartment, and now that we have a house I think it needs a better home. It doesn’t work with our bedroom furniture, it’s awkward to have in a walk-in closet, and there won’t be space in the office.

But there’s room in the third bedroom. The room that will hopefully be a nursery someday.

So I’ve decided to put my hope chest there. And instead of being a traditional hope chest (for a young lady preparing for a home and a marriage); it’s going to be a place where I store things for the baby (or babies) that we so desperately hope to have. Children’s books, things I want to pass along to my children; and maybe I can even start making baby things once my craft room is all set up. I also think that I may start purchasing a baby related item every time my monthly visitor shows up as a way to distract from the disappointment and do something productive instead that keeps me hoping that eventually there won’t be a failed cycle.

After deciding this (and running it by my husband); I reached out to both my mom and my mother-in-law to ask that they make various items for the chest. My mom has sewn/embroidered little outfits for each of her grandchildren, and my mother-in-law crocheted several blankets for her granddaughter. I wanted to include them in this process, and while it’s weird to ask for gifts for a baby that doesn’t even exist, I figured they’d both be at least understanding of the request.

My mother-in-law responded almost immediately with a photograph of an already completed baby blanket with a sticky note attached to it reading “2019; My HOPE blanket, Rainbow Baby (Boy), ***** and ****.” She went on to say that she has two blankets made and would love to add them to the chest.

My heart feels so full right now. It was so very comforting to have that visible (and tangible) evidence that I’m not alone in this after all; and to be reminded that others are not just hoping with us but actually planning for our future child(ren).

So here’s to filling a hope chest with tangible reminders to wait and hope and keep praying for a someday baby…here’s to tangible reminders that I’m not in this wait alone…and here’s hoping I don’t have to purchase all that many items before there’s an actual recipient for them.

 

grief and loss · Infertility · journal entry · sermon takeaways · trying to conceive

The loneliness of infertility

I haven’t felt like writing very much recently. Part of that is just being so busy with work lately; and between that and trying to do work on our new house and start planning for a move…there’s hardly any time to think.

But it’s been a while (again) and I’m finding that I’m in a rather uncomfortable place emotionally so I need to try and sort things out.

Things are fine during the day. I’m occupied with the aforementioned work/house tasks and that keeps me distracted. And most of the time I’m so exhausted at the end of the day that I just crash.

But lately I’ve been finding myself overwhelmed by a cloud of negative emotions and I can’t get myself out of it (other than by going to sleep; which ends up being difficult if I get down enough).

This infertility journey has become very lonely. I feel so isolated. Yes, there’s people I follow on social media and various blogs; so there’s indirect encouragement sometimes. It’s helpful to see that I’m not alone; but that isn’t translating to my immediate day to day life.

People have all but forgotten about the miscarriage; and I don’t think they realize that the continuing to unsuccessfully try is almost as hard for me now as the miscarriage was, and how difficult it has been to deal with the unsuccessful IUI. And they don’t ask. I want to be heard; but I don’t want to force my emotions on anybody so I keep them inside until someone asks.

I even feel like I can’t really talk to my husband about it. Which is absolutely not true; I know I *can,* he always is willing to listen. But I know I sound like a broken record whining over wanting to be pregnant and whining over who didn’t say or do what I thought they should have, so I just get tired of repeating the same things and making him feel badly for not being able to fix it or make me be able to move on.

He made a comment recently indicating that he wouldn’t have even been able to remember our baby was due in October; and that really stung. I know those dates are more meaningful to me, but I guess I thought he would at least remember our due date and hoped that when the time came he’d acknowledge it.

So even in the processing of the loss (which was definitely set back by the failed IUI) I feel very alone and forgotten. I get a sense of, “why are you still being so angsty about this” from people whenever I do bring something up related to it.

I can’t handle pregnancy and birth announcements. I can’t handle seeing moms with newborns. I want it to be me so badly and every month it isn’t I feel like it’s less and less likely and the ache just gets deeper and heavier.

I know in the journey of all this I’ve all but forgotten God. I’ve pushed him off to a corner to try to deal with everything on my own; and so unsurprisingly he feels far away. As my pastor pointed out, “we shoo God off to a corner and then wonder where he is when we need him…he’s probably still sitting over there saying, ‘I’m here, I just gave you the space you asked for.'”

I’ve been trying to get back into reading my Bible (amazing how when I forget one day it completely throws me out of the routine even if I’ve been doing it consistently for weeks…) and I picked up a book on spiritual disciplines that I need to spend some time looking at. The sermon on Sunday was really applicable as well, he was talking about the function of lament as a means of helping us to respond well to despair; so perhaps I need to take some time to form my own lament in an attempt to reconnect with a God I believe to be good even if none of this feels good right now.

And I guess I also should just talk to my husband. He can’t fix it, but he can be there and I just need to let him.

grief and loss · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Grieving a baby that never existed

It’s weird to grieve a baby that never existed. But we were so very hopeful this time around; given that it worked before, there were two eggs and a good sperm count, and everything seemed to be lining up so perfectly (again).

So when yesterday brought another negative test, I found myself in a very emotional place. I knew it would be hard if we weren’t successful, I didn’t expect the grief to feel so intense.

I grieve the loss of a life that never even was, the continued emptiness of my womb, the loss of all the plans of a pregnancy over Christmas and a baby or two in the spring. I re-grieve the miscarriage and I grieve in advance for the upcoming due date that will not have the joy of a healthy pregnancy to offset it.

I am sad. I am angry. I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am empty.

And I’m going to feel very silly posting this if I simply tested too early with a cheap test and things come out positive tomorrow (the official 14 day mark) or AF never shows; but I really don’t have much hope for that at this point.

Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

It’s not looking too promising

I made the mistake of testing out my trigger shot. I knew it would probably be a bad idea and didn’t plan to do it,¬† but once my box of cheap tests arrived I almost couldn’t help myself.

Sunday afternoon (8 dpo, 10 dpt) there was the faintest line. I knew that was absolutely the trigger. Monday morning (9 dpo, 11 dpt) it was about the same. Given how faint it was on Sunday I got hopeful that the line I was seeing was the beginning of real hcg and not the remnant of trigger; though I didn’t use morning urine for the first test so I’m sure that was a factor.

Yesterday morning (10 dpo) the test was completely negative. Not even a hint of a possibility of a line.

I know 10 dpo is pretty early to get a positive, especially with the cheap tests…and if I had a later implantation it’s going to take a few more days for anything to show up. But my positive last time came at 12 dpo and it was enough of a line even on the cheap tests that it seems that the hcg had probably been around for a day or two prior.

So I’m trying not to lose hope since it’s still early, and I’m not out until AF arrives…but my sense of optimism all but disappeared with the trigger lines and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the negative I anticipate on Friday while still knowing that even if I prepare for the disappointment it’s still going to be really difficult to have it be true.

Note to future self: just don’t test out the trigger shot. The possibility of knowing just a day or two earlier is not worth the emotional roller coaster¬†that comes with it.

appointed time · Infertility · iui · trying to conceive

Another IUI, another two week wait

We had our second IUI on Saturday the 13th.

It went really well. I triggered on Thursday evening, felt a decent amount of right sided cramping Friday afternoon through Saturday morning, and a little bit of left cramping Saturday morning.

We were the only ones there in the morning so hopefully my husband felt a little less awkward doing his job (though I think it still bothers him quite a bit to have to do that and to have people know that’s what he’s doing); and we had a scheduled procedure time which was also such a nice change from before (a first come first served sort of situation).

The doctor actually did an ultrasound prior to the procedure; my lining had thickened up nicely on estrogen and she could see from the existing (smaller) follicles that an egg had already been released on each side (with a third follicle that could still release) that morning. Husband’s sperm counts were good (I think); so we are both really hopeful between that, the first one having been successful, and the knowledge that there’s at least two eggs that could potentially be fertilized. And maybe both will be?!?

I wasn’t even uncomfortable afterwards. I cramped most of the day after the first one and was really grateful to have the day to rest; so I expected the same here. I was pleasantly surprised!

So now we’re back in the two week wait. Essentially halfway done; I can probably test in a week and have the results be pretty accurate as the trigger shot should be out and pregnancy hormones should be detectable if they are present.

It’s different this time; there’s this sense of confidence that it definitely worked and it’s just a matter of waiting to confirm it, but I’m also trying to be realistic and not get my hopes too high in case it didn’t work. Plus I’ve been insanely busy (for me) with work; and we close escrow in a week so I’ve had plenty to keep me occupied without even having to try.

Here’s hoping I’ve got a couple little ones growing and that we get to start filling our new home next spring.

 

appointed time · home · Infertility · iui

Brief update

Things have been busy around here; I haven’t even really had time to think about posting. But for the purposes of this blog/journal space…here’s a quick summary.

1-Currently in IUI cycle 2. My period started Friday, got in to the clinic that afternoon; and apparently everything was clear to go. So I have one more day of Clomid and a monitoring appointment Monday; but given that the maturation process for me even on Clomid was still on the slow side, I don’t anticipate much growth. But regardless, assuming all goes well, we could know by the end of the month if we are pregnant again. I told the doctor we were ordering twins this time; she laughed. (No significant side effects from Clomid noted this time around; maybe some sleep disruption? I’m usually able to fall asleep quickly, especially after a certain point in the night…last few nights it’s been really hard to go to sleep. Small price to pay I guess, there could be worse things!)

2-We are in escrow on our first home (no more apartment life)!!! We are due to close at the end of this month as well…so it’s going to be a busy few weeks. (On the bright side, it will keep me distracted during the wait for the IUI and the wait after the IUI). We are so….everything. Excited and still in a bit of shock (it happened very quickly), feeling the stress of taking on such a big financial burden (and a substantial increase to our monthly expenses), nervous about the responsibilities of maintaining a home, and just relishing the moments of planning what everything should look like and getting to imagine our life in our new home. It’s a three bedroom house; and everything really lined up so beautifully that it really seems that this is exactly where God wants us (I’ll write another post on this whole thing later even though it’s not fertility related)….so maybe this is his way of showing us that we just need to trust in him and that he does have children in store for us. I so desperately want that to be the case.

 

Infertility · iui

A miscellany

After a whole headache’s worth of phone calls on Wednesday between our medical group, our insurance provider, and the clinic…finally got all the authorizations we needed. Unfortunately we still have to pay 50% of everything, and insurance won’t cover the actual IUI procedure, but it’s better than 100% of everything.

It was probably the fastest “initial consult” of all time. Since I’m new to this clinic, I had to schedule an initial consult with the doctor. But she already knows me and knows our history…so it was basically a “well, the protocol we did last time worked well, so I’d like to just try that exact same thing again…call on the first day of your cycle and we’ll get started!” We chatted a bit about what could have gone wrong before (she still thinks it was most likely a chromosome issue, but assured me if it happens again that she’ll do a workup on me), but I was in there no more than 5-10 minute. She was happy to see me, it was very sweet and that made me feel encouraged.

Also just grateful to know that we can jump back in right away. I’m expecting AF sometime the end of this week or anytime next week…so assuming there’s no problems (cysts etc), we could maybe be pregnant again by the end of July? I guess in the grand scheme of things that’s really not that far away.

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Still just feeling super blah and disinterested overall. I was keeping a thankfulness and productivity log and after a stressful couple of work days last week I sorta got out of the habit. Maybe I’ll try to start again on Monday, it definitely keeps me more accountable. I’m keeping up with my chore chart and trying to occupy some of my time with productive activities but I just don’t see the point in any of it and I’m really struggling with a lack of purpose. Tried bringing that up in my most recent spiritual care meetings but it didn’t seem to get heard.

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Definitely had a very memorable highlight this week; my favorite artist was in the area (ish) and was going to be performing at a convention. He *never* comes to the West Coast, so I had made note of the event some time ago. I had forgotten to follow up on the dates of the convention or look into tickets or anything until Thursday…and as of Thursday afternoon I realized that his concert was *that night* and that I had no way to find out if there were even still tickets available; so I didn’t think it was worth it to make the two hour plus drive in the chance that we couldn’t even get in. I was so bummed out that I’d missed an opportunity to finally see him perform.

My husband is basically the greatest; he gave up his evening with no advance warning and drove us out there anyway. He has heard a song or two by this guy, but doesn’t really know his music so had no real interest in going other than to make me happy. We made it to the convention center (barely!); had no problem getting tickets and were able to get seats surprisingly close to the front.

So I got to see Andrew Peterson perform. It was so good. I especially enjoyed getting to hear him talk about some of the stories behind the songs that he played; it really gives them another layer of meaning.

And then at the end we were able to go through the book signing line and meet him. It’s one of those awkward “I have so many things I want to say but I have to try to condense it into a short couple sentences for the sake of everyone else in line; and chances are he’s heard this ten thousand times so I’m just another face saying the same things but I still want him to know his music has meant something to me.” So I managed something, he signed the book we purchased, husband snapped a photo of him signing with me on the other side of the table, and we headed back home.

 

after miscarriage · grief and loss · Infertility · iui · pregnancy loss · sermon takeaways · trying to conceive

The valley of “should be”

I can’t help but think about the fact that today I should be halfway through my pregnancy. We should already know our baby’s gender, we should be planning for baby showers and where to fit a crib in our apartment…I should be starting to show and…and…and…

I thought when my period came a few weeks ago that things clicked into place and that I was ready to be okay again. In some ways, I have been; I’ve at least been able to be productive and not zone out in front of the TV for hours on end (see previous post).

But every time I see a baby I want to cry. Every time I hear about another pregnancy it’s a gut punch. Every day of my cycle feels like it’s another day closer to be reminded of failure; because at this point I really don’t have a whole lot of confidence that we’ll be able to conceive completely naturally.

I’m just so tired of this being all consuming. But I honestly don’t know how to think about anything else.

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On a separate note, at least things are in process again with infertility treatments. It was super stressful for a couple weeks; I was beginning to be afraid that our new insurance wouldn’t be accepted anywhere (though technically I didn’t even know enough about our plan to get accurate information from any of the clinics I called).

But after a bunch of phone calls and (unnecessary) stress…I was able to switch our insurance ‘group’ to the one that is accepted at the clinic where our previous RE already works. I’m very hopeful that because she knows us she will just let us jump right in to another round of IUI with my upcoming cycle and not make us go through all the testing again; though if it’s a matter of getting insurance to cover things maybe she’ll still have to. I don’t know. I’m just grateful to be able to go back to her; it’s a small blessing in all of this.

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I’ll close with a couple reflections from one of my pastor’s recent sermons. He just finished going through Psalm 23; and the sermon on verse 4 (“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”) had some especially helpful observations.

First was just the quote that he started with…an ancient proverb or something. “All sunshine and no rain makes a desert.” Enough said about that.

He also pointed out the following observation, something I’d never noticed before. The first three verses of the psalm refer to the Lord as “He.” (he leads me, he restores…etc) After the valley…after the first part of verse 4, David refers to the Lord as “you.” (“You are with me, you prepare, you anoint…). Walking through the inevitable valleys of life deepen our relationship with our shepherd and make it personal. We’re not just sheep being herded around…we are children walking through life with a father who pursues us with goodness and mercy. (that was in today’s sermon; the word for follow in verse 6 actually can be translated as “pursue.”)

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And as I pondered a title for this post I realized that the whiny first part is it’s own type of valley…so I guess I need to actually take what I just shared to heart. Hopefully it encourages someone else but apparently I also needed to be reminded of it again.

Infertility · journal entry · motherhood

Purpose

It’s been a harder week than I thought it would be.

I’m doing better on the outside overall; I actually started a “productivity and thankfulness log” so that I can keep accountable to do more than just sit around and watch TV. I write 5 things I’m thankful for and make notes throughout the day of what activities I’m doing. I’ve been reading, playing piano, doing puzzles, reading my Bible, cleaning…so I feel better at the end of the days because I’ve actually done things I enjoy or that I need to.

But I’ve gone back to being sad. My little niece was born on Tuesday; and initially I was okay (while sister-in-law was in labor etc) but after we saw and held her…it just put that ache back inside and I haven’t been able to shake it.

I think I’m just struggling to feel like I have a purpose right now. I’ve reflected on that before; that I believe motherhood is one of the things I’ve been called to do and until I’m able to fulfill that calling things it just seems like something is missing.

And so the days have an emptiness to them. I can do all the ‘wife’ things….I can do all the ‘nurse’ things…but I still have hours of time that I’m stuck just thinking about the ‘mom’ things that I want to be able to do.

Filling the time with hobbies is a distraction but it’s not a cure. It makes me feel productive, but it doesn’t make me feel purposeful.

I know my ultimate purpose is to enjoy (know) and glorify God. So obviously, motherhood or not, I have a purpose. But when I’m still working on getting back to a good place spiritually it’s hard to see how that would fill all the hours of the day. Especially when raising and loving children feels like it could be the best medium for me to do that.

Maybe I’m fooling myself there. Maybe motherhood is so much of an idol after all that this is the last thing that could help me know and glorify God and that’s why it’s being withheld for now. But I want to believe that I would seek to know God more if I had little lives to shape; that I would seek to glorify God in my response to the day to day challenges of motherhood.