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