Friday, December 11, 2015

Our Bumpy Ride

Hi Everyone!
It’s been a long time. I’ve been thinking about how to write this post for weeks now, and  I’m still not totally sure how I’m going to say everything I feel like I need to say, but here goes nothing.  
Instead of making you read to the very end of what I’m sure will be an incredibly long post, I’ll share the amazing news first.
I’m pregnant!!! By some miracle, Ryan and I are expecting our first baby in June.
I’m sure you are totally shocked and wondering how on earth this happened. Well, join the club. Ha. I’m 15 weeks pregnant and I still can’t believe it most of the time. In order to really explain the last few months, I feel like I need to update you all on what has been going on since my last post in February.
This year has been kind of rough for me. After our failed IUI’s at the beginning of the year, I just sort of pretended like none of it actually happened.  I didn’t really deal with the many emotions that came from those failures. That’s not healthy for anyone, but it turned out to be really unhealthy for me.
In late February I started having abdominal pain and was convinced I had severely pulled a muscle in my abdomen. I even went to the doctor to make sure I didn’t have a hernia. This pain went on for weeks, until it slowly went away. The doctor never did find anything wrong, but I continued to have random flare ups that just made me feel like I was totally crazy. In May and June I started to have panic attacks. At the time I was still working my second job at the daycare, and it hit me that seeing cute little kids every afternoon was hard. It seemed like out of nowhere all these emotions where coming to the surface. I was miserable and would literally panic as I drove to work. I ended up quitting, and for a little while I felt great.
In August Ryan decided he wanted to do a training hike for a 55+ mile backpacking trip that he was going to do with a friend and I decided to go with him. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I love to hike, but backpacking will never be my thing. It ended up being a 12 mile hike and it was so awesome and so so horrible at the same time. I’m not ashamed to say I cried a few times. When I got home that night I noticed what I thought where a cluster of bug bites on the right side of my lower back. I just assumed a bug had gotten under my shirt and bit me. Turns out that wasn’t what it was at all when I ended up back at the doctor’s office with really bad abdominal pain again. I had shingles!! We realized that all of the abdominal muscle pain that I thought I was feeling was actually shingles nerve pain.  I was relieved to actually know what the problem was, but seriously concerned that I got shingles.  
It was around the shingles diagnosis time that I decided I needed to go back to my naturopathic doctor and do another cleanse. I had gained about 10lbs, was eating horribly and drinking every single day. I also felt like my hormones never really recovered from the fertility treatments. I just felt off in every sense. I had also started to look for counselors because I was really having some major emotional issues surface. I honestly haven’t felt so emotionally unstable in years. I knew that I needed to do something.
My appointment with the naturopathic doctor was Monday, September 14th.  I remember at one point during that appointment we were talking about pregnancy, and I looked at her and said, “I know I’ll never get pregnant naturally.” The minute it came out of my mouth I heard how angry and bitter I sounded. I then started crying and told her that I realized I needed to see a counselor. She agreed that that was probably a good idea, but also suggested the new doctor, who had just started in their office. He was a chiropractor but also a mind/body healer and specialized in kinesiology. She really thought that he might be able to help with some of the issues I was having. I love that kind of stuff so I said I would definitely go see him. Since it was his first week there, I was able to get in right away.
On Wednesday, September 16th I had my appointment with the new guy. I was nervous and just didn’t know what to expect. Never did I expect what actually happened. I walked in his office and we started talking about the shingles right away. I then told him that we have been trying to get pregnant for 6 years and haven’t been able to. He stopped talking, looked at me, pointed at my cross necklace and said, “You know anything is possible with that.” I was so caught off guard I just stared at him. He had me lie down on the table and he started doing all his mind/body kinesiology stuff. I can’t begin to explain it all, it’s weird, but so cool, and if you’ve ever been to someone like that you can understand.  But throughout the hour long session he placed his hands on me and prayed over me like 3 times. I have failed to mention up to this point that while I was a mess physically, emotionally and mentally, I also wasn’t doing so well spiritually. There was a part of me that kept wondering if it was even professional for him to be praying so much and if it was even allowed. The other part of me thought, just be in the moment, be in the prayers, clearly you need to be here. He was an amazing doctor, and I felt so much better after my appointment. He sent me home with homework. I needed to do some positive self-talk, because I was not feeling great about myself and I needed to do some relaxation exercises. As he walked me to the checkout counter I asked him if I needed to see him again and he just said, “We’ll see.” I thought that was so strange. This was his third day of his new practice in a new town, how could he not want to follow up? Plus, I’ve never met a chiropractor who didn’t want to see a patient again. So weird, but I checked out and left feeling better.
The next day I drove to Albuquerque to visit family for the weekend. When I got home I fully expected to start my period in the next couple of days. It never started. Every day that week I would go to the bathroom and for some strange reason I started telling myself that when I started it was good thing, and not a bad thing. It meant I still had eggs, my ovaries where still working. When I stopped having a period was when I was in real trouble.  Until then, all it takes is one good egg. I also started thanking God for letting me pregnant. I don’t know why I did this. No one told me to say that, and it wasn’t part of my homework from the crazy mind/body guy. Although, he did tell me that I needed to believe that it has already happened. That stuck with me, so I started thanking God for my pregnancy instead of asking for it. I also did my positive affirmations in the mirror. I did this every single time I went to the bathroom that week. And I felt so much better. I felt lighter, calmer and happier then I had in a long time.
On Friday, September 25th Ryan and I went for a walk at lunch. I still hadn’t started my period and wanted to get a test. I didn’t feel pregnant.   I didn’t think I was pregnant.  But I wanted to know for sure.  As we started our walk my stomach felt a little upset and I started gagging. I gagged a few times during that walk. I thought I had just had too much coffee that morning and it had upset my stomach. Ryan thought I was pregnant. We got the test, came home and I threw it on the kitchen counter and went back to work. After a couple hours I couldn’t take it any longer and decided to just do and get it over with. I walked down the hallway to the bathroom. As I passed Ryan’s office I heard him on the phone. Looking back I wish I would have waited until he wasn’t booking a cruise, but I didn’t know. I peed on that stick and set it off to the side. It was a plus sign kind of test, and the negative part of the line shot across immediately. I’ve taken plenty of these tests so I’m used to seeing that instant negative. I set it down and told myself that it was fine. Negative is ok. I know how to do negative.  I’ve had plenty of experience with negatives. When I glanced back at the test I saw the faint plus sign. To say I was shocked is the biggest understatement. I grabbed that test so fast and just stared at it. I started crying and shaking uncontrollably. Of course I had to tell Ryan. I walked into his office, while he was on the phone, and held up the stick crying and nodding my head yes. He got super quiet on his call for a few seconds, smiled and then continued talking for another half an hour before he could actually react to the fact that we are finally having a baby! It was ridiculous and not at all the way I had envisioned telling my husband, but we can laugh about it.
I don’t understand how or why I am pregnant. I do believe that that doctor helped in some way. I believe that God has blessed with him with some amazing gifts and I was blessed to see him. Ultimately, I believe it’s an absolute miracle and all the credit goes to God. I thank him every single day for a healthy full term baby and a healthy full term pregnancy because that’s what I believe is going to happen.
This is the part of the post I have been struggling with how to write. Emotions are weird, and infertility sucks. I want to make it crystal clear that we are so very excited to finally be getting the family that we have wanted for 6 years. But, I have struggled a little bit since finding out I am pregnant. Guilt was one of the strongest emotions that was surfacing before I found out I was pregnant and it remained afterward. I felt so guilty that I couldn’t get pregnant and that our infertility was my fault, and then I felt guilty that I was pregnant. Ha, I told you emotions are weird. I didn’t understand why I was pregnant when there are so many other amazing, deserving couples, who I have met while going through this journey, that still are not and may never be. I felt guilty that we didn’t do anything. We didn’t pay thousands of dollars on IVF or even get pregnant doing an IUI. We got pregnant naturally and it made me feel guilty. We told our families pretty early, and I was so thrilled to tell them, but then so uncomfortable with the attention. After 6 years of trying, 5 years of actual infertility, it still feels very strange for me. We’ve had a few people innocently say things like, “Oh, you just finally relaxed and it happened!” or “You stopped thinking about it and got pregnant.” These comments provoke a very intense feeling of anger in me and for a while I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. I knew it upset me because I wasn’t relaxed this year! I was a mess. A heathy relaxed person doesn’t get shingles or panic attacks. But moreover, I realized that those comments made it seem like it’s been my fault all along. That if I would have just relaxed over the years, we would already have a couple of children. Comments like these trivialize our struggle and it’s unfair. Plus, it taps into the guilt I’ve been struggling with, and brings it all up again. So for a moment I’m going to be bossy and ask that you please don’t say things like this to us, our families or anyone you know who has been struggling to get pregnant and are eventually able to. Just say congrats and that you are happy for us or them.
I had a genetic blood test done so we were able to find out the gender earlier than the normal 20 week anatomy scan. The doctor called on Monday to tell me that we are having a healthy baby and that I could come get the gender results. I went and picked up the sealed envelope with the gender results in it on Monday afternoon.  On Monday evening we went into Ryan’s favorite fly fishing store downtown, grabbed a pink and blue onesie that said “I may be small, but I’m a keeper” and asked the guy working the counter if he would open the envelope and put whichever onesie applied into the gift bag that I had brought. We gave him cash and stepped outside. We grabbed the bag and went to dinner. We opened the bag before dinner and pulled out a little pink onesie. It’s a girl!!!! We both knew we would have a girl. We are so excited and it is starting to feel more real.

We are pregnant.  We are blessed.  We are so incredibly happy, but infertility changed me forever.
Our 8th Anniversary Dinner
Holy Crap It's Positive!!!!

We're having a baby!!

Had to remind the boys

8 week!

On the beach in Cancun
Baby Neuf Due June 2016

Cancun

13w4d

Looks like a baby!!! 

Fun wine labels 

Cheers!

Our baby will most definitely be a Royals Fan!

Going to dinner to find out what we are having!!!

Is it pink or blue?


PINK!!

It's a GIRL!!!


So happy!


Boys aren't so sure about a girl....

15 weeks yesterday!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sad

The second IUI cycle didn't work. We are not pregnant, yet again. Not really a huge surprise, but a massive blow. I'm taking this negative very hard.

I had such high hopes. I went into this whole IUI journey feeling so sure this was our path. We'd taken a break. The last two years have been so amazing, but I always secretly hoped that we'd get pregnant naturally. That all that bullshit advice I get from people would actually work. You know the ones, "just stop thinking about it and it will happen", or "go on vacation and relax and you'll get pregnant", or one of my personal favorites, "just get drunk and have sex". Well, we stopped thinking about it for two years. Our lives are basically like vacation, we live almost completely stress free and it's great. And we do enjoy going out and drinking a little too much every now and then. But none of that worked. We didn't get pregnant naturally, so when I felt so sure and at peace with the decision to go ahead and start treatments again, I really hoped it would work.

When the first cycle failed, I looked at the timing of the second one and I liked it. I thought it seemed like such good luck. Most people wouldn't think getting inseminated on your birthday would be fun, but I figured if I have to do this, what a great day. I was bad and looked at a due date calculator to see when we'd be due when it worked. I felt so sure it would. We would have been due on our anniversary. I thought that was just so perfect. And most of all, the sweet baby who sort of started me on this journey was visiting us during the second cycle. I had a full week of holding and snuggling the perfect baby and hoped my body would respond positively to that. I just really felt like it was all so perfect and right.

Unfortunately, the second cycle didn't go as planned. I didn't respond well to the drugs at all. I had to have 3 extra hormone shots just to get my one single follicle big enough to ovulate. It took longer than expected so I wasn't inseminated on my birthday, it was on a Monday. Even though the cycle was so stressful, I still had hope. I still thought it would work. It just had too.

Yesterday was supposed to be my test day. They tell you when to take a pregnancy test and then to call them with the results. I started my period on Saturday. I didn't even make it to test day. I have a freaking pregnancy test that I wasted my money on sitting under the sink in the bathroom.

I don't think I'll ever get to use that pregnancy test. This cycle was eye opening. My body is not working. It barely worked with all the drugs they used, and the Dr. agreed that by itself, every month, it's not doing what it needs to do to get pregnant. My ovaries and eggs are crap. I feel like we are back to where we very first started. Donor eggs.

I feel heartbroken, so angry and completely hopeless. I always just assumed that we would have a baby at some point in the future. I always thought that someday I'd be pregnant. I don't feel that way anymore. I'm pretty sure that I'll never be pregnant, and that thought is the hardest one of all, because that's all I've ever wanted. But, I can't picture it anymore. I don't know when I stopped picturing it, but I think it was awhile ago. We do not want to do IVF and we do not feel called to adopt. And even if that changes down the road, neither path is an easy one. I don't know if I want a baby bad enough for the money and stress that those options come with. I sort of feel guilty about that, but then I remember that most couples get pregnant without spending thousands and thousands of dollars! They don't have to make the decision of whether they should save money to buy a house or save money for IVF and the chance at a family. That's our current situation, a down payment or IVF? Screw that!

All this leaves us in a very unsure place. We are putting it all on hold again, but I don't know when or if we'll come back to it. I honestly can't explain to you all how much we absolutely hate fertility treatments. They don't feel right for us. So, are we saying that we are choosing to live child free forever? Maybe. Right now that's the decision. Nothing is set in stone. Maybe in a couple years we'll feel the need to do more, to try again. I don't know. But, for right now, I am the saddest I've been in years and I just need time to mourn.

~Tonya

Monday, January 12, 2015

Results

I so wish I could give you all good news, but I can't. I'm not pregnant. It didn't work.

I'm honestly doing OK. We are sad and disappointed, but overall, OK. I knew it didn't work. When the day came to take the test, I knew it would be negative. There was a small part of me that hoped I was wrong, that wanted to doubt what I instinctively knew, but unfortunately I was right. I know my body. And I'm an old pro at not being pregnant.

This is the part of infertility treatments that is so extremely hard. The constant ups and downs. I started the cycle off so positive. So happy, ready, excited and hopeful that it would work. I know the odds and they aren't necessarily in our favor, but I hoped anyway. I wanted it to work. I was ready for it to work. But as the days went by, the positive feelings died. I tried so hard this cycle to keep them alive, but the closer it got to test day, the more those positive feelings just left me. I doubted and I feared and I was right. I wish I wasn't, but I was. It didn't work.

I had a bad day earlier last week. I was so emotional and I cried a lot more than I normally do. It's been a long time since I cried over all of this. We've come a long way in this journey and I don't get as emotional as I used to, but last week I was super emotional and almost panicky. Looking back I think I knew it didn't work and I was mourning this cycle. I told Ryan that day that I just don't want to do this over and over again. I'm not strong enough to keep doing fertility treatments. They are so exhausting. Living my life based on what cycle day I'm on sucks so much. Sometimes I feel so weak because it's just easier to stop treatments, give up and live our lives childless, than it is to keep at it. I'm very good at that. I succeeded in ignoring and avoiding it all the last two years and it was a great two years. Infertility treatments are so so hard and no amount of me telling you this can make you understand how hard they are.

There is no break. Not much time to wrap your head around the negative result before having to jump right back into it. You can't take a break. If you take a break, it's for a whole cycle and then you are losing an opportunity to get pregnant. I'll be back at the Dr's office in about three days to start another cycle and if everything goes according to plan, I'll probably be inseminated on my 33rd birthday. At least this month I'll know what to expect. I'll be prepared for all the side effects from the drugs and the possible low ovarian response. I'll know what the IUI feels like and I'll remember how much the 2ww sucks. And again we'll hope and pray that it will work, because otherwise, what's the point?

I honestly don't know what will happen. I felt so strongly that this was the right path. That we needed to start treatments again. That we needed to have a baby. After a negative cycle, I don't know what I feel. It completely makes me question everything. Sometimes I feel like I might not want a baby bad enough. I'd be lying if I said I didn't love our lives without kids, but that doesn't mean that I'm fully ready to accept that as our path. I will say that as of now we are not ready for IVF or adoption. So, if the IUI's don't work, I don't know. I just have to believe it will work.

I want to thank you all so much for your prayers, positive thoughts, texts and messages to both Ryan and I. We've received so much support over this last cycle and it's meant so much to both of us. I felt those prayers and positive vibes. I felt calm and at peace for much of this last cycle. And even though I currently feel a little unsteady, I know that there are so many people out there rooting for us and that makes me feel very supported. You're all holding us up right now and we are so appreciative for every single one of you.

So, onward we go. Onto the next cycle. And we will try to be happy, ready, excited and hopeful again.

~Tonya

Monday, January 5, 2015

Insemination, A New Year and the 2WW

Hi Everyone!

Well, I've been inseminated and now we are waiting. I sort of explained how the whole process worked, I took drugs to stimulate my ovaries, got lots of ultrasounds to check my follicles, got a couple different hormone shots and then the insemination happened. I'm not going to share the exact date of the insemination because I need to at least keep that to us for now.

When I went in for the first ultrasound on Christmas Day to see how my body responded to the first 5 days of drugs I felt a little discouraged. I only had one good follicle on my right side and that was it. In a really good scenario you want 2 to 4 follicles. But this is my issue. This is why I'm infertile. I don't have the egg quantity that I should. I voiced my concern to the Dr and he said not to worry, it only takes one, so I've been trying to  focus on that since then. It only takes one. All I need is one good egg!

The day of the insemination I was so nervous.  I just wanted it to be done. Since this was our first one, I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't know how it would feel, or how long it would take. I'm so happy that it went smoothly. It was actually really easy, you know, minus the whole having to be inseminated part.

So, now we wait and try not think about any of it. I've actually done really well so far. I really dislike fertility treatments. Doing this cycle reminded me of that fact. The drugs are hard on my body. I had a headache for nearly 7 days, I felt so emotional and sensitive and just not myself. It's a very stressful thing for couples to do and I hated how it felt, so after that insemination was over, I felt so relieved! I felt like myself again. It was wonderful. I think that joy of feeling normal has gotten me through a good portion of the 2 week wait, but that does not mean it's been easy.

When you do fertility treatments and are in the waiting stage, there is a fear of hope. You don't want to get your hopes up too much because if you do, the failure is so much harder to take. I went into this cycle very positive and feeling really good. I still feel pretty good and feel pretty calm, but keeping the hope and faith gets harder and harder as the days goes by. This is what infertility is. A constant roller-coaster of emotions. You have hope that you're pregnant, that it finally happened and then you get your period and you come crashing down. And when this happens month after month, year after year, it gets harder and harder to have any hope at all. I tattooed the word on my wrist. I look at it every day. I had to have that permanent reminder to keep hope alive. It's not easy and it's a constant internal struggle. All day I'm trying to squash negative thoughts that pop into my head and replace them with positive ones. I'm trying to picture myself pregnant instead of planning out next months treatments. It's never ending and it's exhausting.

I will say that your prayers, positive thoughts and words of encouragement have helped us so much this cycle!! So so much.We feel them all. That's why I've felt relatively calm and at peace with everything. It's still hard, but it has helped knowing that everyone out there is hoping and praying for the same outcome that we are. I'm sure some of you have wondered if I will share the news if when it works! I thought about this before I ever shared this cycle and we've decided that we will share the news. Here's hoping for great news and an excellent 2015!!!

~Tonya

P.S. I know some of you out there have wanted to ask us how we are doing or what's going on but have been concerned about bugging us. I appreciate your desire to give us space, but please ask. Please feel free to check in and see how we are doing. We love receiving messages from our friends and family. A large reason I created this blog was to educate people about infertility so if you have a question, ask me or Ryan.You will not hurt our feelings if you don't quite understand how it all works.