Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Awesome News!

Hi Everyone!!

So guess what?!? I've been contacted by a local news station about telling our story on the news!! I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this opportunity! I'm not totally sure if it will happen yet, but the fact that someone read my blog and was touched enough by our story to want to pass it on, makes me feel so good! I'll keep you all posted!

I am also excited to say that I have only one week left of school! While I know that may not be exciting to all of you, I am overjoyed! I am so ready to start writing more blog posts and start volunteering more. Oh yeah, and start working on having a baby of our own!

Exciting stuff is happening! Stay tuned!

~Tonya

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Can I get a little Motivation Please?

Hi All!

Again I apologize for the delay in posts. Maybe this blog will help explain why it's been so long.

I've realized that dealing with infertility is a rollercoaster of emotions. People use that term often, but until you've actually been on the "ride", I find it's hard to understand. I've been seriously struggling with motivation lately. I find that I have no desire to do anything, which is very frustrating when I have so much I need to be doing. If you could see the inside of our house, you would see what I mean by lack of motivation. I love you all, but I will not be inviting you over any time soon! Our house is an absolute disaster. It's ridiculous. I keep thinking to myself that I might feel better if I just cleaned some stuff up. Maybe unpack my bag that's been sitting in the living room since we got home from Sedona on Sunday or do some laundry. We bought a mail sorter thingy so we wouldn't have mail cluttering our counter, and where do you think the mail is? Yep, you guessed it, on the counter! It's like we try to do something and then we lose motivation and just let it all slide.

This motivation problem is not limited to cleaning. I've also been struggling with motivation at work, school, and with this blog. I have all of this stuff that I need to be doing, and I just don't want to do any of it. It's like it gets so overwhelming that I just completely shut down and all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch TV. I just started my last two classes. In 7 weeks I will be done with school, but before I can be done, I have 13 papers, 2 presentations and 4 quizzes to do. You can see why I might be a little overwhelmed with school! The thing is I know I can do it, I will do it. It's just really hard to do things when the motivation to do them is not there. I find the end result ends up being a little lacking.

The last big thing, and maybe the reason for this current slide into no motivation land, is our donor IVF process. I finally called the donor agency to see if the donor that we had selected is still available. She is and if we want to use her, we will need to put $2000 down to hold her until we are ready to start in February. I also got a list of clinics in Texas that this agency has worked with. I need to call them all. I need to do research to find out how much it will all cost and the success rates of each. I need to compare them all. I'm thinking maybe I need to do a spreadsheet of some sort to keep it all straight. This part stresses me out so much. I don't know what to ask, where to start. I hate making phone calls and not knowing the right questions to ask. Now to be fair, all the people I have talked to so far at clinics have been so wonderful. They are used to talking to emotional people who don't know what to ask, but it doesn't make it any more comfortable for me.  I know I need to do it, that this is what we want, but there is that motivation problem again. I don't want to do it. I'm procrastinating.

It hit me that I am probably slightly depressed. It's not uncommon for infertile people to jump back and forth between the stages of grief. This is all part of our infertility journey. But does that make it ok? Well I'm not totally sure and let me explain that. I'm very big on feeling what you are feeling while you are feeling it. Wow that's a lot of feelings! What I'm trying to say is that I think it's very important to not suppress your emotions. I truly think I have been able to deal with all of this because I'm a very transparent person. People know how I feel. But how long should I allow myself to feel a certain way before I try to move past it. I'm not saying that I should just get over things. There is no getting over infertility, but I also don't want to live my life the way I currently am. I don't like not having motivation. I don't like feeling like this. And since I now have a self-awareness of what is actually going on, I feel like it is my responsibility to do something about it.  It's my life and if I don't like it, I'm the only one who can take steps to make it better. I don't like the idea of using our infertility as an excuse to linger in this current state. Is it ok that I'm feeling this way? Absolutely! But now it's time for the next stage.

So what's a non-motivated, slightly depressed girl with a to-do list as long as her arm to do? I have some ideas. But since I think this post is getting a little long, I'll have to tell you in a later post how it all works out. I have no doubt I'll be back to my old slightly more motivated self very soon! God willing...

Stay tuned!

~Tonya

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Isn't it ironic?

Hi again! Two days in a row! Cool!

I had to write about this because I just thought it was so ridiculous, funny and ironic. But before I go into my story, I want to preface it. Please remember, while reading this, that I am infertile. I am writing this from my current perspective. I don't think the world should revolve around me and absolutely don't expect people to change what they do. My goal, with this blog, is to help people understand what it is like to live everyday with infertility. If that maybe makes someone a little more aware of what they say or do and how it affects people, then that is awesome. Infertility sucks, but I've gotten very good at seeing the humor in it all.

When you are infertile, not a day goes by that something doesn't remind you of the fact that you can't have a baby. There are the obvious reminders. Pregnant women and babies EVERYWHERE. Pictures of super cute babies all over the place. This recent Facebook "game" to raise awareness for breast cancer. I'm not sure how posting a fake pregnancy announcement helps bring awareness to breast cancer, but I can tell you, it did not make me think, "Wow, look at all these people doing good for beast cancer by pretending to be pregnant. Go team breasts!" Even fake pregnancy announcements can sting for someone who can't have a baby. Then there are things that are not as obvious, but to me, are still reminders. Things such as my teacher asking, "Who has kids in here? Raise your hand." I feel like there is a blinking neon sign above my head that says, "Infertile! Can't have kids." Or having to read some research about a new science called epigenetics. The title of the article is Why Your DNA isn't Your Destiny. I have to use donor eggs, so I've been doing a lot of thinking about genetics and DNA. It is incredibly interesting stuff and I really want to learn more about it, but how could I not think about my situation while reading that? I'm not saying that this was a bad reminder, it was just a reminder.

All of that brings me to the reason for this post and specifically the title. Two weeks ago my teacher started talking about this activity we were going to do. She told us that she was going to give us all a "baby" and we had to take good care of it (see, another reminder! This was the first day of class people!). We were supposed to bring something, about the size of our hand, to class to take home our "baby". So last Wednesday I go to class with an old cell phone box with some tissue paper in it. My teacher comes to class with a carton of eggs and some markers. We were told to grab an egg and create our "baby" with the markers. Then we were told that we were supposed to take that "baby" with us everywhere and when we got upset about something we were supposed to mark on our "baby" with a permanent marker. Now I totally understand the reason for this assignment, and it did help me to be more conscious of why I got angry. When you have to create marks for every time you get upset, it makes you think about why you are getting upset in the first place. Plus it was a very visible reminder. I did not carry my "baby" with me everywhere I went, but I did keep track of the times I got mad. I just couldn't really get into this assignment, which I think is totally understandable. As I was walking to class last night with my egg "baby" it dawned on me. This teacher gave an egg "baby" to a person that can't have babies because she doesn't have any eggs. So I repeat, isn't it ironic? Ha ha

Here is a picture of my egg "baby" in his cell phone box home. I named him Logan.


 P.S. I'm really sorry if you now have that song in your head.

 ~Tonya


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm an author!

Hi everyone!
Yesterday we received the Fall RESOLVE newsletter in the mail. This is the same newsletter that contains the article I was asked to write about my Walk of Hope experience. It was so cool to open up that newsletter and see a whole page devoted to what I said. There are even two pictures of me! I feel proud at what I have accomplished in such a short period of time. But sometimes I also feel like all of this isn't real. Like I'm going to wake up and my life will be back to normal. What that looks like, I have no idea. And maybe I don't want normal. Normal sounds boring and my life is anything but boring. I'm happy. I really am. Are things going the way I thought they would? Absolutely not, but I am thankful for what I do have in my life. My wonderful husband (who's birthday was yesterday!!), my awesome parents and brother, and all of my very supportive family and friends. Without all of these people I would not have had the opportunity to write that article, because I would not have won that trip to Atlanta. So thanks everyone! Thanks for supporting us! We truly appreciate it.

Read my article here.

Here are some pictures from Atlanta:







~Tonya

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A little self-assessment

Hi all!

Another 2 weeks has gone by since my last post. It's true what they say about time going faster the older you get. I can hardly keep up. It just flies by. I close my eyes and open them and another month is gone. It's kinda scary.

For the class I am currently in, our last assignment is a self-assessment. Kind of a "where have you been, where are you going, how have you changed since coming to our school" type thing. This has been an emotional assignment for me. I've been going to school for almost a year. I feel like the person who started school last August, and the person who is sitting here writing this, are two different people. I say that my diagnosis has changed my life, and that's absolutely true, but school has also changed my life. I have more confidence since going back to school. I feel like I'm better at public speaking and writing.  Like I'm more interesting and maybe a bit more intelligent now. I said that I didn't want to go to school and deal with infertility, but I'm so glad I've had the distraction. School has helped me cope with this. Being able to write papers, and look at it all from a different perspective, has helped. There are days when, for a few minutes, I forget that this is happening to me, that it's my life. But then I'm given this assignment and it all comes flooding back.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is so important to evaluate your life and goals, but it's also not always easy. Are you where you thought you would be at this point? Have you accomplished your goals? Do you even have goals anymore, or are you just trying to make it through each day? When Ryan and I first started dating, we wrote some goals on a couple pieces of paper. Well it was actually our "shit to do" list. Yep, that's right, that's what we named it. There may have been some adult beverages involved during the writing of that list, but we still have those pieces of paper. Some of the things we have accomplished. Like "go to Vegas", "get married", and "go white water rafting in Colorado", others, like, "go to Paris", "swim with great white sharks", and "have 3 kids" are taking longer to accomplish. We rewrote them out again after we got married, and we did dream boards, with pictures of all our goals. But, just like most people, we have not looked at those goals in a long time. Not since this class, have I really thought about it.

But back to that self-assessment. It's important. It's important for everyone to self-assess every now and then. Life is short, time flies. We all know this. Just look at old pictures. It feels like yesterday that I was running around outside with my friends, buying dresses for the dance, graduating, and getting married. Now I'm thinking about infertility non stop, working, and doing homework, and planning my 30th birthday.  If I've learned anything during all of this, it's that life does not go as you plan it. Ha. It's actually funny that I thought it would just all fall into place. Life's not that easy and I should have known that God has different plans. It's hard right now though, because I feel like we're in a bit of a limbo. We made the decision to wait to do any treatments until school is over and now, well, that's what we are doing, waiting. I don't want to live my life wishing time away. It already goes too fast. Plus I believe I have more to offer the world.

So, where have I been, where am I going? Well I know where I've been, but where I'm going is partly out of my control. All I can do is write out those goals again, and start living my life to accomplish some of them. After all, if God has decided to put this in our lives, He must have bigger goals for us!

~Tonya

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Found a donor, now what?

Hi everyone!

So, you are probably all wondering what happens now that we have chosen our egg donor. Well the answer to that is nothing, at least for the next 6 months. Let me explain.

I am stressed, like super super stressed! Working full time, going to school, and dealing with infertility is alot for one person to take. I feel very overwhelmed many days. After we found the donor that we'd like to use, we were so ready to start it all right away. We are excited! We are ready to start our family! But the more I thought about it, the more nervous I was. You see, I am absolutely terrified that if we were to start it all now, while I'm still in school, it would fail. I feel alot of pressure because it is my body that the embryos will be transferred into. We all know that stress can have a profound affect on the body, and I truly feel that right now, I am just too stressed to start it all. I know that I will never be stress free, and that there will always be something else, so this reason was not the only reason we decided to wait.

The second reason we have decided to wait is my 30th birthday. I will be 30 on January 24, 2012. Before we knew about our diagnosis, I decided that I wanted to really celebrate this milestone birthday. So, we are going on a cruise the end of January. And it just so happens that I will also have my Bachelor's degree in December, so it will be a double celebration! We work for a travel agency so we were able to get an great deal on a Celebrity Eastern Caribbean cruise, in a room with awesome spa amenities. We booked this cruise a long time ago and it is fully paid for.  In all honestly, we did briefly consider cancelling, because of the huge cost of the infertility treatments. But, if I have learned anything while going through this, it's that life goes on. I refuse to stop living my life because I can't have a baby like everyone else. I feel like that would make me a victim, and I am not a victim. Let's face it, things happen in life that suck, and you can either lie down and take it, or stand and fight. I choose to fight. We are going on this cruise because we need a vacation. This year has been the hardest year of our lives, and it's not going to get any easier when we start treatments. We feel that going on a nice relaxing vacation will help prepare us for what's ahead.

The third reason we decided to wait awhile to start is that we need some time to save money. The cost of this procedure is seriously ridiculous. The fee for the donor and the donor agency are around $10,000. The IVF fees, if we do a money back guarantee program, are close to $35,000.  Yes, I wrote that right! We are looking at about $45,000 out of pocket to MAYBE have a baby. Obviously we do not have this kind of money. The fact that insurance does not cover any of it, is a huge injustice, but that's a post for another day.

So, now you have our reason's for waiting a little while. I still have tons to write about, so the posts will keep coming!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Can I Have Some of Your Eggs?

Hi everyone! In today's post we are talking about egg donors and all the decisions that go into choosing one. Enjoy!!

Ok, I want you all to imagine for a minute that you can't have a child that is genetically yours. What physical characteristics of yours did you always want for your child? What qualities of yours did you want to be passed down? Now I want you to imagine that there is nothing wrong with you, but your spouse can't have a genetic child. Thinking about your husband or wife, what characteristics and qualities that they possess are important to you? What part of them did you hope to see in your future child/children. If you can choose the person who contributes their genes to your future child, and you can't choose your spouse, who do you choose? How do you choose? What's important when making this decision? Do you choose someone you know or a stranger? These are the types of questions that have been running through our minds. It's alot to think about!

Our first decision was the choice of using an anonymous donor or a known donor. This was a hard decision to make. There are pros and cons to each. The biggest pro of going with someone that we know is that we know that person's history. If it's someone that I am related to then we share genes, which is a very compelling reason to make that choice. The child may actually look like me if we choose a family member and I really liked the thought of that. The biggest con about choosing someone we know is that we know them and so does our family. We needed to think about how often we see that woman? How will she feel about the child? How will we feel about her when she is around the child? When the rest of the family looks at that child will they be thinking he or she looks like the donor. Ultimately we decided to go with an anonymous donor. The more we thought about it, we just were not comfortable using the eggs of someone we know. It's already a very emotional situation and we decided going with an anonymous donor made it a little easier for us. We did have a couple very sweet women offer to donate eggs. And I just want to say to those women that we truly, from the bottom of our hearts, appreciate the offer. It takes such a giving person to offer part of yourself to someone else. I thank God for these people in our lives.

So now onto looking for an anonymous donor. Through research I found an agency in Texas, called The Donor Solution, that I had a really great feeling about. When I emailed the lady that runs it she emailed me back within 15 minutes and sent me the database of donors. Searching through a database of girls, looking for someone to replace my genetic contribution, is a very strange experience.

I like to compare choosing an egg donor to what I imagine online dating would be like. I would like a girl that has dark brown hair, green, maybe hazel eyes, 5'4", loves shopping, reading romance books, long walks on the beach... You get the picture. I would see physical characteristics of someone and say, "Ok, she sounds like what I'm looking for." Then would click on the picture, not like what I saw and say, "Nope, not going with that one. On to the next." This whole process made me feel very strange. I found myself getting very judgemental about the girls I was looking at. I knew in my head that it wasn't right to judge someone based on one picture and some things they wrote on a questionnaire, but this person is important! This decision is important! So I judged. I would see a girl whose physical appearance I was ok with, but then something in her questionnaire would make me rule her out immediately. This went on for a little while until I clicked on a girl that fit all my requirements. I emailed Ryan and told him to check her out. Haha! Pun intended. He said that she reminded him of me. We both believe strongly in first impressions and following our gut. There was just something about her that felt right. I knew she was the one because we were both so excited! We wanted to start it all right away. Of course there are other things that we need to consider before we can start and I will discuss those in a different post.

You know, I can joke and laugh about it now, but it took some time getting to that point. Let's face it, choosing someone else to contribute their genes to your child sucks! We really had to mourn that genetic connection. It was hard and involved alot of crying, but I believe we have come to the point that we are excited about what our future holds.


Wondering what happens next? Stay tuned for my next post!

~Tonya

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughts before Choosing a Donor

So I know I said that my next post would be about choosing a donor, but I feel like before I delve into that, I need to go into a little more detail about my diagnosis. I realize that there are many people who still don't fully understand why we are not trying other options to get pregnant using my eggs. I just want to address that before I talk about choosing a donor.

Premature ovarian failure, which is pretty much what I have and affects only 1% of the female population, can be hard to grasp.  I am young and healthy and I think when I say I will be going through menopause in a few years, people tend to think I'm exaggerating. I wish that were the case. But the truth is that my ovaries are failing. They will stop working completely. I will stop having a period, which if I'm looking at the positive, will be pretty nice. No more worrying about periods on vacation! There is no drug that will help with this situation. Something I did not know before all of this is that a women is born with all the eggs she will ever have. Once they are gone, there is no getting them back. And you can't have a baby without eggs. When I saw that ultrasound I didn't understand, but when I got home and did some research it was very clear how severe my situation is. I am not going to have a baby that is genetically mine. Period. End of story. It was a huge blow.

I know that may seem like I am being negative or pessimistic and believe me I've been accused of it, but I don't think of it like that. I honestly feel like we are lucky in a way. Now let me explain that. Infertility is hard. It can be an incredibly long process. Some couples literally spend years trying to get pregnant before they are told that nothing is working and they should consider donor eggs. Imagine going to the Dr. and being given some drug and told to take it, chart your temperature, have sex at a certain time, and come back in 3 months if it doesn't work. Then in 3 months when still nothing is happening going back and having the Dr. up the dosage and having to do it all again. How frustrating and heartbreaking! These couples spend years, and thousands of dollars and all they get is failure. And more than the time and money is the emotional toll infertility can have on a person. These situations truly test a relationship and there are couples who do not make it through. I really could go on and on, but I won't. The point is we are lucky in that we don't have to go through all of that. We were told right up front that our option, if I wanted to experience child birth, was donor egg IVF. And while that was shocking and came out of nowhere, at least we know. We don't have to spend years of failed fertility treatments to get to that point.

I will tell you that our Dr. gave us the option of doing IVF using my own eggs. So now you are saying, "Well why aren't you doing it?" There are a couple reasons why. First being that it won't work. The success rates are absolutely horrible for someone with  my diagnosis. And I know, absolutely know, in my heart that our first child/children will not be genetically mine. I can't explain it, I just know, we both do. Second is that it is extremely expensive. The Dr. told us that we could do it more for peace of mind, to say that we at least tried it, so we would be able to move on. We don't have the money to spend on "peace of mind." Third, without going into too much detail, is that women with premature ovarian failure often test positive for the Fragile X gene mutation. This means that if it did work with my own eggs there is a possibility that we could have a child with Fragile X syndrome, which is a form of mental retardation. After we talked about everything we came to the conclusion that we were going to skip all of that and go straight for what has the highest success rate, which is donor egg.

I want to end with the fact that I know miracles happen. I pray for one all the time. But I also know that sometimes things don't work the way we planned and it ends up being better. We are both extremely excited about what we have ahead of us. We have already started the donor picking process and I promise the next post will really be about choosing a donor.

Stay tuned!

~Tonya

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some Good News

Hi all! I feel like it's been a long time since my last blog. I have been a busy girl. I wish I had more time to devote to my blog, but at least until the end of the year it comes second to school. I will have my Bachelor's degree in December! It's always been one of my goals so I'm happy that I've been able to accomplish it. Now if I only knew what I wanted to be when I grow up...

Anyway, since my last blog I do have some good news. No, I'm not pregnant if that's what you're thinking. I wish it were that easy. My first bit of good news is that my thyroid levels are normal. Now you're probably reading this and thinking, "Well I didn't know you had a thyroid problem. Did she tell us she had a thyroid problem?" No, I did not share that news in my previous posts. I try to keep my medical problems to one per every three posts. Not really, but sometimes it feels like I have so much wrong with me and I figured the egg situation was the big one. Now on to the thyroid situation...
When we first went to the RE (reproductive endocrinologist) for our infertility workup I had to have a bunch of blood work done. Well it tuned out that along with my lack of eggs, I also had hypothyroidism. Our RE told us that he would not treat us until my thyroid levels were in the normal range. Of course he couldn't do anything for the thyroid so I had to make an appointment with a regular endocrinologist. Let me tell you, finding a good endocrinologist that doesn't have a waiting list a half a year long was not easy. I ended up still having to wait 3 months before I even got an appointment. Once the time finally came for my appointment the Dr. took more blood work, and did an ultrasound of my thyroid. She said everything looked good and luckily my thyroid levels were not that far from normal. She gave me some thyroid medicine and said that she thought it would only take 6 weeks to get my numbers where they needed to be. Well on May 31st I got the good news that my thyroid levels are normal! Yay!

It's been 5 months since our appointment with the RE and almost 7 months since that fateful ultrasound. I've had alot of time to come to terms with our diagnosis. I think being forced to wait gave us both some time to just let it all sink in and honestly to sort of forget about it all. Not that we ever truly forgot about it, but we couldn't do anything, so we didn't feel like we needed to make any decisions. But now that we are not waiting on anything I feel kind of excited, nervous and overwhelmed. We have alot of stuff to talk about now and alot of important decisions to make. Choosing a donor is a huge decision. One that will impact us for the rest of our lives. One that I will discuss further in my next post.

Now for my second bit of good news. I was asked by Resolve to write an article about my experience with the Walk of Hope for their fall newsletter! This made me tremendously happy. I really feel like I've come a long way in the 7 months since finding all of this out. It's sort of weird, but I've found a passion. Never in my life did I think I would feel so passionate over something like infertility, but I do. Don't get me wrong, this has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life, but I don't think I would take it back. This has changed us. I believe it has made our relationship so much stronger. So I feel proud that Resolve has asked me to write this article. I hope that it is the first of many. I also hope that I can take this passion and do something to help others who are struggling with infertility.

That's all my good news for now. I will leave you all with some beautiful pictures that Ryan took while we were on vacation last week in Colorado. It was a very relaxing vacation. Something that I think we both needed. Enjoy!













~Tonya

Stay tuned for my next post on choosing a donor.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"You can always adopt"

I hate that phrase. Ok, so maybe hate is a strong word. I dislike greatly that phrase or anything similar. Now before you think I'm some horrible person who doesn't like adoption, let me clarify. I think adoption is wonderful. There are many children out there who need loving homes and many couples out there who would love to have those children. Adoption is an absolutely great thing for many people. I don't hate or dislike adoption.

So now that we're clear on that, lets get back to why I dislike the phrase, "Well you can always adopt."

When I was a little girl all I ever wanted to be was a mom. I loved babies. I never had any career goals, my goals were always focused around having babies. I loved them so much that my first job and the next 4 after it where in daycares. It was perfect! I could get my baby fix everyday at work.

When I met Ryan I was 23 and when we got married I was 25. Based on my previous statements, you would think that we would have jumped right into the baby making, but we weren't ready. We both felt very strongly about being married for a couple years before we had kids. And even knowing all that we know now, I still don't think we would change that decision. But we couldn't wait to have babies together. I was so excited to be pregnant. To have our child growing inside of me. Pregnancy is a miracle and I wanted to experience it.

From the moment I met Ryan I knew that he would be an amazing dad. We even had names all picked out for when we children. It's human nature. You fall in love with someone, get married and then you have babies. That's all I've ever wanted. You know it's more than just raising kids with someone. It's that basic need to procreate. When you find that person you want to spend your life with, you start to picture what your children will look like. Will she look like me? Will he have his athletic abilities? These are things people think about when they start trying to have a baby. And after you have the baby, you pull out all the old baby pictures and everyone oohs and aahs over how much the baby looks like you or him. I wanted that, we wanted that. We are not going to get that.

Sorry if you are now crying, but I tell you all that to maybe help you slightly understand some of what I think about. The emotional toll of infertility is a very hard thing to convey. Unless you have been told that you will not be able to have a baby the same way everyone else does, then you just don't understand. You can't.

So when I finally started to tell people that we were struggling with infertility and the response I got from some people was, "Well you can always adopt" it made me want to scream. Of course I didn't and most people who said that to me or Ryan were trying to be encouraging and truly do care about us. But for us, telling us to adopt was like saying, "Well it's really no big deal that you can't have your own baby. You can always just go adopt someone else's." It can feel like one of the most dismissive comments, like people just don't care. Our lives are in turmoil. We are trying to come to terms with this huge life changing situation and the only thing someone can say is that there is always adoption?

The truth is that people don't know what to say. Infertility can be a very uncomfortable topic for people. And honestly I'm going through it and still don't know what the right thing to say is half the time. I do know that if you have anybody in your life going through infertility, do not bring up adoption. Wait until they bring it up. I've mentioned before that infertility is a grieving process. You can't be told that you can't have a baby and then go, ok cool well I'll just adopt. It doesn't work that way. It takes some couples years to come to that decision. Plus adoption is not that easy. It can be just as expensive as infertility treatments. As of now we have no interest in adoption and I don't feel at all bad about that. We may never want to adopt and that's ok too.

So to bring it back around. I dislike that phrase but I think adoption can be great. Just don't tell us to do it. Tell us that you are thinking about us, or praying for us. Tell us it sucks and that you are sorry that we are going through this. Act normal around us. If you have a question about infertility, just ask. I've been pretty open about all of this so if you want to know something I'll tell you.

Lastly and then I promise I'm done. If you have told us to adopt, please don't worry about it. This is new for all of us. We don't hold anything against anyone. The point of this blog is to educate people, not make people feel bad for something they may or may not have said. We have been blessed with many very supportive people in our lives and we love you all!

~Tonya

For more info about what not to say to someone struggling with infertility go here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Atlanta

Hi all! I figured I would write about last weekend's trip to Atlanta. For those of you wondering how it went, or for those of you wondering why I went, here it is. But first I guess I should tell you a little bit about how I ended up there.

When I found out that my body is old I was in shock. I found myself going from researching pregnancy symptoms to researching premature ovarian failure and low egg count. I basically switched one obsession for another. During all of this I was also going to school and expected to write papers and do homework. To say I was having a hard time concentrating would be a huge understatement. I mean, I had just had my life turned upside down, and this teacher wanted me to read about dead Psychologists and write a research paper! Didn't she know that my life had just changed profoundly? Couldn't she tell that I had something on my mind? Well of course she couldn't because when you find out that kind of news it usually takes some time to process. You are not running around yelling from the top of your lungs that your body is defected and you are infertile. Although I have to say from almost the very beginning I've told people about this. I just couldn't keep it quiet. I couldn't sit in class, or sit at work, or sit anywhere people I knew were and not say something. So when it came time to choose a topic for my research paper I decided to write about the emotional effects of infertility on a couple. Hello! I was living it, it should be the easiest paper I have ever written.

You may be reading this saying, "Ok, what does this have to do with Atlanta?" I promise I'm getting there. 

Because it was a research paper I had to have resources and that is how I found out about Resolve. Resolve is the National Infertility Association and I loved them from the moment I clicked on their web page. These were people who understood what we were going through. I felt relief and sadness at the same time. Relief because we are not alone, sadness because we are not alone. I was on their website everyday. You can add them to my list of obsessions.

Anyway, I wrote my paper and I got an A on it. I better have, how could I have messed that one up?! I was also still on Resolve's website everyday. That was how I found out about the Walk of Hope. I kept seeing the link for it and one day decided to click on it to see what it was all about. I read the rules and I decided that this was something I needed to do. They were running a contest where the person that raised the most money by April 30th won a free flight and hotel stay in Atlanta so they could attend the Walk of Hope. I called Ryan and asked him what he thought. I couldn't possibly raise money for infertility without telling people we are infertile. And I definitely couldn't tell people we are infertile without the support from Ryan. He was ok with it, so I create a team and started sending out emails. I also made it public by posting it to Facebook.

Obviously I won the trip. I kinda wish I could be humble and say that I never thought I would win, but that would be a lie. I signed up with the absolute goal to win. I was going to win that trip and nothing was going to stop me. I didn't care how annoying I got sending out emails asking people to donate. By this point in my journey I was pissed! Infertility is like grieving and I was in the angry stage. The only positive was that my anger was focused on the fact that infertility just doesn't get the support it needs. I had made the decision that I was not going to suffer in silence. People were going to know about this disease and I wanted to help educate them.

When they called to tell me I won the trip I was so happy. When the lady from Resolve emailed me the Tuesday before the walk to ask me if I would give a short speech, well I had a bit of a panic attack.  All that big talk and I was seriously freaked out. But I also knew that I had to do it. No matter how scary the thought of talking in front of people is, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

My mom and my friend went with me to Atlanta. It was a fun trip from the start. On the Saturday morning before the walk I was so nervous. When we got to the park I almost immediately calmed down. I'm not totally sure why. Maybe just knowing that I was around so many people that knew exactly what infertility is like. Plus I knew I couldn't mess up my speech. I was talking about something I know very well, myself. I was a little surprised by the amount of kids there at first. It kinda caught me off guard, but then I realized that all of these people had went through all sorts of treatments to get their beautiful children. It was inspiring to see them with their children and also to see that they hadn't forgot what it took to get them.

I did my speech and I believe I did well. I didn't feel nervous at all once I got up there. The people I met while in Atlanta were amazing. I hope to keep in contact with them. I also hope that Atlanta is the first of many speeches I give about my infertility journey.

For those of you that haven't seen my speech and would like to I will try to get it up later. I tried to upload it a couple times but it wasn't working for me. 

I want to end this post with a huge thank you to all the people who supported us while we raised money. I would not have been able to go to Atlanta without all of you very generous people.

~Tonya

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've started a blog!

Caution: In order to talk about infertility I can't be shy or reserved. If you are at all uncomfortable with the idea of reading about my Dr. appointments and all the details then stop reading now. Otherwise be prepared to know things about me that you never thought you would! :)


I've decided to start blogging about our infertility journey. So much has happened since we found out we are infertile and unfortunately it is just the beginning. I'm sure some people are wondering, "what exactly is wrong with you? Why can't you have a baby?" I know infertility is a broad diagnosis but I assure you we know exactly what is wrong with my body. In short, I am an old lady! Lol. I laugh because for a long time I have said that I was just an old lady in a younger body. I have a hard time staying up late, I have aches and pains and I'm sure there are other things that I can't think of right now that made me say that. It was always a joke between Ryan and I. Well imagine our surprise when that turned out to be true.

I have diminished ovarian reserve that will turn into premature ovarian failure. A little history of how we got to this diagnosis.

Ryan and I started trying to have a baby in about July of 2009. By November of 2010 I just had a feeling that something wasn't right. They say that if you don't get pregnant within a year of trying then you should see a Dr. So on November 22, 2010 we went for our first appointment with the Reproductive Endocrinologist. We didn't leave there feeling very positive. Did you know that if you are young and healthy and do not get pregnant after a year of trying, then your chances of conceiving naturally drop to 5%. I know right?!?! It's crazy! The Dr. told us the first thing that needed to be checked was my ovaries. One the third day of my period, which just happened to be November 27, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I went in for a vaginal ultrasound. Ryan was out of town on a boys camping trip so my mom went with me. Sitting in that cold room undressed from the waist down with that ugly robe wrapped around me, I was so nervous. And boy was I totally unprepared for what I was going to find out that day!

When the Dr. was doing the unltrasound he said, "Hm, I can't seem to see your ovaries. This looks like what I see when I'm looking at a menopausal women." WHAT!!! Now I'm no Dr. but I knew that this could not be good. The last time I checked women go into menopause when they are old. I was only 28! I mean, I guess I was closer to 29, but still! I can't be menopausal.  And what does that actually mean?!?! He then went on to explain that normal women my age should have any where from 10 to 20 antral follicles on each ovary. The number of antral follicles is a good indicator of how many eggs a women has left. Someone my age should have alot of eggs. So I'm sure you're dying to know what my number was, right? Well I had ONE follicle on each very small ovary. Now the old lady comment is starting to make sense right? I knew that wasn't good, but I still didn't fully understand what it meant. Well after some research on my own and then confirmation from the Dr. at our appointment for our test results we were given the bad news. He said if we want to have a baby we will need to either adopt or do In Vitro Fertilization using a donor egg. Yep! You read that right. If I want to actually experience pregnancy, which I very much do, I will have to use an egg from some other woman. Talk about one hell of a shocking diagnosis. So there you have it, the story of how we found out we are infertile.

There is so much more I could say but I'm going to end it here. The point is that this is a very serious and upsetting situation for us. What makes it worse is the absolute lack of support for people struggling with infertility. Insurance covers nothing for us. We are looking at costs up to $30k to do donor egg IVF and there is no guarantee that we will even get pregnant! I don't know about you, but we do not have that kind of money laying around. So I'm going to be pretty damn vocal about all of this. I have nothing to be ashamed of!

Stay tuned for more in the Neufeld vs Infertility battle!
Tonya