The Lucky One

I often reflect back on how I knew that we were going to do this IVF thing and we were going to be in it together. Before my husband and I got married, we would talk about the children we were going to have, we would dream about our future family, talk about how we would raise our kids, heck we have had a little girl name picked out, set in stone, for a couple years now. Sometimes I brought up the conversation, “What if we can’t have babies?” “What if we have to seek help to have a family?” and when someone close to me had to go through IVF, I remember asking him, “What if we have to do that someday?” Now, keep in mind, we didn’t know what our future held at this point, it was just a conversation. I remember we always came to the conclusion that we would do anything we could to have our own babies. There was never a doubt in our mind that we would ever give up if it came down to it.

I remember I used to get so frustrated with AJ because he would tell me that he couldn’t wait for me to have his children, or he couldn’t wait for me to be a mother to his children, or he couldn’t wait to have a family with me. The reason I became frustrated is because at that point in my life all I wanted to hear was, “I can’t wait to marry you someday” or “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.” Now, if you really dig down deep and think about it, he was saying what I wanted to hear just in a different way. He was telling me he couldn’t wait for our future together and for us to have our own little family. This is a direct reflection on how important family is to my husband.

Fast forward to trying to have a baby and getting let down every month. Some months I would cry when my period came and he would hold me and tell me not to worry because we would have children one way or another and it would happen in time. It just wasn’t our time yet. Now let’s jump to learning that IVF was going to be our solution and that is the ONLY way we could have these children that we’ve dreamed about for years. It definitely was a tough pill to swallow. I would often pick AJ’s brain and I think the reason behind it was, I needed to feel better and I needed to hear his response to make me feel better. I would tell him that I bet he wished he would have known this before marrying me, or I would apologize for being this way, or I would tell him that this would be a good reason for him to leave me because I know just how much having kids meant to him. He was always quick to reassure me that it wasn’t my fault and he still loved me so much.

Then one day he said this, “I would rather be with you and not have kids than not be with you and have kids.” Okay, cue the tears. All of the tears. That man. Wow. What in the world did I do right in my 24 years of life to end up with a man like this? Wow.

Ever since that day, I knew that we had this. I knew that we were going to go through this storm together and when we come out of it, we would still be hand in hand. I know that our relationship is as solid as it gets. Not everyone finds a love this deep, strong and dependable but we have found it and I thank God every single day for that man. He will tell you over and over again that he’s the lucky one, but truth be told, I really am the lucky one.

Human Pin Cushion

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Last week I got to come off birth control and take a horrible tasting antibiotic. I also had my IVF Baseline appointment. I was like a kid in a candy store attending this appointment, our journey was becoming so real and away we went. A Baseline appointment is where you pay for your IVF cycle, do some blood work and have an ultrasound to base where you’re at for your upcoming cycle. During my ultrasound, which I now refer to (thanks to a friend) as being wanded, the nurse kept saying, “Wow, everything looks great.”, “Oh my gosh, this is looking really good.”, and “Seriously, everything looks just the way we want it.” Needless, to say I left my appointment feeling really, really good about this road we are on. I’m also getting really used to hearing the words, “Undress from the waist down.” while the door slams behind me. Let me tell ya, IVF is a super romantic way to conceive some mini’s.

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Today was our first day of stims. I say “our” because it really was OUR first day. My husband wants to be involved in this as much as possible. I may be the one getting poked and prodded at like I’m just a pin cushion, but he is there every step of the way. He wanted to watch the videos of how to give these shots with me, he wanted to know what the side effects of these meds I’m injecting myself with are, and he wanted to be the one to give me the shots. He told me a couple weeks ago that he felt like he needed to do something and that giving me the shots is how he wants to help. I really just think that poking me with needles is his idea of fun (ha ha). OK, totally kidding on that, kind of. But it was so sweet that he wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone and do anything and everything he could.

This morning, though, he had to leave earlier for work than when I was planning to give myself my morning injection so I did it by myself. Now, I’m pretty independent and I don’t like help on many things so I wasn’t too bothered by him not being here for it. I got everything ready and took the above picture and I just couldn’t do it. I pinched my skin and kept putting the needle to it, but I could not push it in. I tried a few times and nothing. This brought tears of frustration and fearfulness to me. I almost called my husband and told him I couldn’t do it. But then I just did it. No thoughts to talk me into it, it just happened like someone else took over my arm and hand and gave me my shot. It was seriously nothing. The worst part was the poke from the needle, I couldn’t believe it.

 

He was here for my night shot though! He’s feeling a bit under the weather today but he still jumped up at the chance to mix my meds up for me and give me this horrible shot. Can you believe I trusted this goofball to mix my meds up all by himself, he only had a few questions but he was a pro! Let me tell ya, this shot was awful and I’m not sure I like his sly smile from laughing at me in this photo. But, seriously how would we ever get through all of this if we weren’t able to laugh through it?

I almost feel like an addict because if I’m being honest, I’m already looking to my next shot tomorrow. I’m looking forward to every shot from here on out because there is a greater good coming from it. If I have to be a pin cushion and be poked and prodded at, then so be it. I will be okay. This is so small compared to what is ahead and we are looking so faithfully into our future and what this IVF journey is going to bring us.

Babies are everywhere. Seriously, everywhere.

You know that feeling when you learn a new word or new phrase for the first time and all of a sudden, the word/phrase just starts popping up everywhere? Well, that’s how life has been since trying for a little one. All of a sudden, I feel like we are having a baby boom again. There are literally babies everywhere.

I get emails at work with pictures of newborns. There’s a new pregnancy announcement on my social media accounts weekly if not a few times per week. Walk to grab some lunch? Baby bellies. Need to grab some milk on the way home? Babies. Go down to the local bar for dinner(small town Iowa guys, unless you want gas station food, that’s your only option on an “eat out night”)? Brand spanking new baby. Holy Moly. That sure is one way to make your ovaries feel like pumping out some offspring. I am invited to not just one but two baby showers in the same weekend. Like, seriously I’m not kidding when I say there are babies everywhere.

Apparently my email also thinks that I am pregnant or have a baby of my own because I get email updates on all baby stuff. OR maybe I am just completely obsessed with the idea of starting our family that I continually look at everything baby and everything maternity and then have to fight myself not to buy anything. I’ve even gone as far as to ask my husband if it would be a good idea to start stockpiling diapers and he had to calmly tell me that I might just be getting a little too excited.

Thank goodness our journey hasn’t turned me bitter. Far too often, I have heard stories and even heard people admit that they are so bitter towards those who are pregnant or have just had a baby. I’ve had conversations with people that have said that they had to very carefully break their pregnancy to a friend who has struggled to get pregnant because she was just too bitter. Now, don’t get me wrong sometimes I have a good little cry when I hear of another pregnancy announcement but I would never be bitter about it. How in the world can you look at a baby and feel bitter?

So, in my world, there are babies everywhere.

Shots for 24! …literally

The day after my birthday this week, (which if you know me at all, you know the day after my birthday is still considered my birthday – ha ha!) I received a very large box. This box was not full of typical fun birthday stuff but rather all of my meds that I will need through our entire IVF process. Yay… Cheers to 24! or should I say, Shots for 24! ….literally, shots. Lots of shots.

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IVF is a super sexy way to have a kid… lots of meds & shots

Last week, I told you all of the meds I was taking and this week we added in an antibiotic to take twice a day. Both of us have to take this antibiotic for 7 days to fight off any infection that could be in our bodies and to prevent us from getting any type of infection.

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This is all of the pills/vitamins I will be taking per day this week

This past week I have felt like complete crap. My week was full of nausea and pounding headaches. Again, I’m not sure if it’s my body trying to get used to everything, stress, the anxiety from the unknown or a combination of all of them but nearly everyday this week I have felt like I spent my nights closing down the bars instead of barely staying awake for the 9 o’clock news. Now, I am definitely not complaining about this, I know that we are extremely blessed to have the opportunity to do this because I understand that this is not something that everyone is able to do and I am very thankful that we are in a place where we can go down this road. I’m okay with feeling like complete crap because hopefully we will have a happy ending someday. But, when I started this blog, I wanted to show you what this is really like and show you all the raw moments because this is definitely not a rainbow and butterflies type of situation. So, this week I have felt horrible, I’ve been exhausted but I’ve also been extremely excited. It all balances out.

This week it just hit us and all of this became so very real. We received our IVF calendar and realized that if everything goes as planned and my body responds in a healthy way, that we could transfer and be PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise) in just one short month. Everything that seemed so far away and so unlikely for us just a very short while ago, could happen in just one month. I’m not sure if it was the fact that we received our calendar and these meds in the same week or what happened, but all of a sudden it just clicked for us. I almost feel naive for being excited but truly, I’m excited for this journey. Now, I’m not exactly excited for all of these shots, BUT I’m not complaining about them either.

IVF become SO emotional

Well folks, we finally have started our IVF journey. As opposite as it may sound, when your time comes to go down this path the very first step is….. BIRTH CONTROL. Yes, you heard that right, as part of protocol, they put you on birth control for 3 weeks and a few odd days depending on where your cycle falls. We made some fun out of this and I made sure to text my husband and tell him not to worry cause I can’t get pregnant now that I’m on birth control (ha ha!).

This week and next week are our easiest weeks. The only medication I will be taking daily during this time is the birth control, a baby aspirin, my prenatal vitamins and Vitamin D 4000 IU. After next week, the meds just keep adding on. I don’t even like taking Advil when I have a headache but here I am putting many medications and vitamins into my body all to hopefully help us start our family.

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Oh the irony…

I don’t know if it’s my body trying to get used to the bc pills, the anxiety of how this will turn out for us, my husband being gone for the past week, the busyness and stress of work right now (thanks Uncle Sam) or maybe it’s a combination of all of them, but I have turned into Bipolar Betty.

My poor husband. He has to hear about every meltdown or any small thing that sets me off. Let’s just get this out there, it’s never him, I’m never mad at him, he just is the one that has to hear about it. This week I realized that I forgot to pay one of our bills this month, I mean really not a big deal, pay it and be done with it, right? Wrong. I went on for an hour having a total meltdown over this until my husband was able to talk some sense into me and pick me up off the floor.

I cried at least 10 times yesterday literally over everything, I cried because my husband won an award, I cried at a commercial on TV, I cried because it was snowing and then I cried and I thought to myself, “Why are you crying?”. I didn’t have any reason other than I just was. This is coming from a person who rarely cries, honestly, not much makes that happen, but this journey sure will.

I haven’t even started stimulation injections yet and I am already this emotional, I wonder how the next 6 weeks are going to go? I made a comment to my husband about how we still have 6 more weeks of this and I’m not even into the worst part yet and his only reply was, “Bring it on.” Seriously, that man is a Godsend. I would not be able to go through this without him.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we endure this journey that could be so life changing for us and as our wait for Baby A, God willing, comes to a close. Also, maybe ask the man up above to give my husband the strength he will need to listen to my meltdowns. Thank goodness he grew up with 2 sisters and dealing with these type of things is second nature to him.

 

It’s not so bad to wait

Currently, we are in a waiting phase. Our past few months have been full of ‘hurry up and wait’ moments. We have had moments completely full of excitement that we are finally getting somewhere and moments that have been full of waiting, dreaming, hoping, wishing and waiting some more. Both my husband and I are instant gratification people. When we set our minds on something, we make it happen and will go to all ends and extremes to achieve it. Then, we decided we wanted our own Baby A.

We have been told over and over that God’s timing is perfect. We have been told that He will make it happen when the timing is right. We have been told that God is in control. We have been told to have patience because God has a plan.

After initially feeling a bit defeated when learning what our future held and at the same time begging God to just let this happen for us and we would never ask for anything else ever again, I have realized something so completely important. It’s not so bad to wait. Not everything has to happen so instantaneously. There is so much truth behind those things we were told.

Just because we have been asked to wait, does not mean that we are sitting around twiddling our thumbs. We have filled our time with preparation for our future, laughter as our days to give our full selves to each other one hundred percent of the time are numbered, learning and making every moment count. This waiting period for us has been a hidden blessing.

When the time finally comes that I can tell my husband we are expecting the way I have always dreamed about or when we get to argue over baby names or when we finally get to share the moment of bringing life into this world together or when we get to teach our mini’s to ride a bike or take them to their first wrestling or dance practices, the wait will be worth it. The wait will make things that much sweeter.

 

 

 

His timing, not mine.

It has been about 5 days since we took a leap of faith and shared our story on social media. When I started blogging I only shared my posts with, like, 4 people. I was so hesitant to let people in to see me so vulnerable and raw. Once we learned that IVF would be our future, I immediately wanted to share our story mainly because I wanted to open conversation with others and luckily my husband was on the same page as I was. But here’s my problem, I like people to think that I am hard, have thick skin all of the time and that there isn’t anything that’ll shake me. I’m not a crier, I see the positive side of almost everything, I can go with the flow, and I do have thick skin but I’m human and sometimes my guard does comes down and that is what you see in my blog, all of these vulnerable, raw moments. So with that being said, there was a lot of hesitation and once I finally posted it, I immediately felt like I couldn’t breathe because I didn’t know what kind of feedback we would get. Was it going to be positive, negative, or would there be any at all?

After posting my blog and a quick blurb about our reality we had so many people reach out to us. It was amazing. People I haven’t talked to in years sent me messages telling me they are so glad I shared our story and that they had a similar story. Complete strangers reached out to me to tell me their story. Complete strangers reached out to me to tell me they have been touched by our story and will be praying for us. I learned that there are many people who have been through IVF or who have had a close friend/family member go through this process. When we posted our story, it was incredible to see how many people were open to sharing theirs with us. It made my heart ache to hear others stories and to hear them say how they didn’t feel comfortable opening up to people about their experiences. It makes my heart hurt that they had to face this struggle on their own. I had people reach out to me and tell me to make sure that AJ and I lean on each other through this and that we are kind to each other everyday. I heard stories from others who said that their infertility ruined their marriage because neither them or their spouse were sure how to handle that much heart break. This breaks my heart right down the middle. Maybe if we lived in a society that was more educated about infertility or one that doesn’t look the other way when the talk of infertility comes up, there wouldn’t be so many relationships being broken by it. I agree, you should be able to lean on your partner during this, but at the same time, the more people that know, the more people you have to talk to about it and you aren’t relying 100% on each other to put all the pieces back together every single time you break. It’s hard to think about anything else or put energy into anything else once you get started down this road and that can weigh so heavily on both of you. Just having someone else, like a neutral ground, to listen to you blow off some steam can make a world of difference.

It’s 2018. I don’t think infertility is as scary as a topic as it used to be, but it still isn’t something that gets brought up very often. I totally get it, I was a little embarrassed by it at first as well and had a hard time talking about it. I kept thinking I’m 23, how in the world am I not reproducing like a rabbit? I should be reproducing like a rabbit. But as it turns out, our story is different and these are the cards we have been dealt. God is in control. He is always in control. I truly believe that He will bless us when the time is right. His timing, not mine.

AJ and I were so extremely blessed when we posted about our struggle publicly. As his mom said, we have an army of people praying for us and our story really has touched so many people. We have received nothing but positive feedback. We are still overwhelmed by all of the people who have been encouraging, kind, shown their support and love, who have let us know that we are in their prayers or who have told us that they are thinking of us. I have no words to accurately explain how thankful we are for all of these people who are in our corner and cheering us on. Not only are we blessed to have all of this support but our future Baby A or A’s are already SO blessed to come into this world someday with all of you rooting for them.

 

 

Are you sure?

I had surgery to tie my tubes on Friday. Yes, I’m 23 years young and already have my tubes tied. I guess when they don’t do the job that they are supposed to, we might as well just kiss them good-bye.

When the nurse brought me back for surgery prep, she did all the normal tests and then started asking me questions. It started out with if I had ever had a heart attack, a stroke, fallen and hit my head in the past 6 months, when I ate/drank last and if I had any metal in my body. Lastly she asked me what I was there for and what kind of surgery I was having. I told her a laparoscopy to either tie my tubes are remove them completely. She asked me if I was sure about that and I told her I was positive. She came back in the room 10 minutes later and asked AGAIN. I gave her the same answer and her reply was, “Well I am going to talk to your doctor to see what he is doing during the laparoscopy today.” OK lady, I’m pretty sure I know what I am here for, I’m already not excited about it and I’ve never had surgery so I’m a little nervous as it is, so could you just take my word for it and leave it alone? I saw her outside of my prep room talking to my doctor and he gave her the same answer I did. I wonder how silly she felt. I mean I do get it. I’m only 23 years old and I don’t have any children. Most doctors won’t tie your tubes unless you have kids, have a medical reason (me), or are a certain age.

My surgery went great and when I woke up, I really wasn’t in much pain. I slept for most of the day. The day after and today, I have been more sore than I was the day of. My husband, as always, has been a saint. He has kept track of when I take my pain meds, when I can take them again, when I take ibuprofen and when I can take that again. He has made sure I have ice packs and even has gotten up in the middle of the night to grab my meds. My paperwork says I can’t lift anything over 10 pounds, I’m super stubborn so I haven’t exactly been following that rule, except for when my husband gets mad that I am carrying something that looks heavier than my limit (I keep reminding him I just had surgery and I’m not incapable of doing these things, but he does not agree with me on that one). I’m not too sure what I did to get this lucky, but I am so blessed to have him.

Now that surgery is over, we are one step closer to our IVF cycle and to our Baby A. The anticipation and the wait may nearly kill us, but (hopefully) it will be so worth it in just a few short months.

 

 

 

12 Weeks

Yesterday we sat through our mandatory IVF class. The amount of knowledge and information that was thrown at us was enough to take our breath away.

During our class the nurse talked about the usual, taking vitamins, don’t smoke, try to eat a balanced diet, try to do something to relieve any stress you may be having, only have adult beverages in moderation, basically just try to live a healthy lifestyle overall.

Then the nurse started going over how the egg evolves from an egg on retrieval day, to an embryo, and then on day 5 to a blastocyst. Seeing pictures of this and being able to see through the microscope at what the lab techs look at every day, is pretty darn cool. After day 5, we have the option to do PGS (Pre Genetic Screening) on our embabies. This will screen our little ones for any genetic abnormality that may lead to an unsuccessful attempt or miscarriage. If we do decide to do this testing then whatever embryos are left will all give us a greater chance of being successful AND we could know what gender all of our embies are at that point, if we choose. Our hold up? Normally, a fresh embryo cycle lasts 6 weeks from BC pills to transfer. If we decide to go with PGS testing then our IVF cycle will last around 12 weeks. 12 WEEKS! That sure is a long wait for a mama and daddy who were ready to have some offspring like yesterday. When we discussed it after the class we talked about how we have already been together 6 years without kids, what is a few more weeks at this point? Especially if it could give us better chances with a successful pregnancy.

We had to sign legal documents agreeing to the clinic’s terms. We also had to think about if we had any leftover embies when we decide that we are finished having kids. We would LOVE to have 4 kids if we are able to. What if we have extra after we have our 4 babies? What will we do with these ‘leftover’ embryos? We have decided that we would donate them for embryo adoption. Our Dr. told us at our consult that the clinic currently has a 1 year wait list for embryo adoption. I mean, how cool would that be to be able to give a couple who are unable to have their own biological children a chance to take on the roll of mom & pops? Also, how weird is it that we could potentially have little baby A’s out there that we are not raising ourselves? It almost makes me a little sad that we could decide we are done having children but still have some embryos left that we aren’t going to use because in my mind, those ARE our kids already.

We will be starting the official process towards the end of March. Since we plan to do the PGS testing and a frozen transfer, we won’t be transferring until the middle of June. I am so excited to see what is ahead for us and hopefully be able to begin a countdown to Baby A.

A letter to my friends

To my friends, I’m sorry if I have been absent in the recent months. As it turns out this idea of IVF has consumed my entire life and mental capacity.

It seems that IVF is all I can talk about these days. I want to talk about it constantly. I could say the same thing over and over and over again and still not feel like I have spoken enough to get it off of my chest. Even after all of the support we have received from you, I know that some of you wouldn’t understand the struggle and that you would get tired of hearing about it constantly, I know this and I don’t blame you. I actually totally understand it.

My Facebook feed has quickly changed from seeing all of your posts to being completely full of stranger’s posts from an IVF group. Quite frankly, I am OK with this for now. I have gained so much knowledge from these stranger’s experiences. My faith and hope that this will work out for us has significantly increased just by living vicariously through these people’s lives.

At any other time in my life, I would put you all before myself and do anything you needed at any given moment but I have decided that during this, I need to be a little more selfish. I need to make sure that I am putting myself and my husband first. This journey means everything in the world to both of us and I am going to do anything and everything in my control to make sure that we are successful even if that means I need to be a little more selfish and self-consumed in the upcoming months.

I know that you will understand this by the outpouring love, support and encouragement that we have received from all of you. Don’t worry I will be back to my normal, not self-absorbed self, before long. & I can’t wait to be able to tell you that we are expecting our Baby A or A’s. Our baby/babies will be the luckiest kids in the world to have people like you in their lives.

xo