Archive | Infertility

His Time

Today at Kelly’s Korner she wrote about how this is National Infertility Week.  She wrote about her struggle with infertility and asked her readers to leave a comment with their stories.

I didn’t really think much about it and added mine.

Ovarian cancer at 15.  More ovarian surgeries.  Left with 1/2 an ovary.  Tried for 13 months and conceived our miracle.  After a high-risk pregnancy we were blessed with a perfect daughter.  Tried for 7 more cycles with fertility meds.  Miscarriage.  Have been trying for 4 more.  Saying prayers and counting our blessings.

That’s our story.  To me, it’s a rough story filled with many tears…both the heartbroken kind and the my-heart-is-so-full-of-happiness-it’s-going-to-explode kind.

And then I read about other women and their struggles to have children.  It makes my own struggle looks so very silly and small.I just wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self that it would all be okay and that I would have a child (because I worried about my future fertility then).  And then by the time we had been trying for 13 months? Well, I was a basketcase.  It is so hard to have faith when you feel like there is no hope.

Then we had MM and my faith was renewed.  I believed we would (easily) have the large family I always longed for.

That was until we started trying and after 11 cycles I have to admit, the fear is starting to set in again.  Daily I tell myself, ‘In His time, in His time’.  I’m doing my very best to just let all the stress and worry go because I know if we are only blessed with our Mary Margaret, then we will be more than fine.  We are infinitely blessed.  At least once a day I stop and watch her because she is just so perfect.  I am in awe of the gift I have been given.  But then I get wrapped up in the whole infertility struggle again and seem to forget that.

So, tonight when you say your prayers, please say a prayer for those 136 commenters {and counting} who left their stories over at Kelly’s today.  And one for me too–to daily treasure my blessings and to not worry about the future.  It’s all in God’s time after all.

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. ~Psalm 113:9 {ESV} 

5


Hope Floats

I am pregnant.

I am seven weeks today.

We found out on New Year’s Eve.  We celebrated the new year planning and dreaming for our new family of four.

But because of the person I am, I worried.  I realized I worried because I felt funny.  I started taking my blood sugar and I realized my Gestational Diabetes was back.  I went to the doctor at five weeks.  My blood sugar numbers were crazy like I was pregnant with twins, I was told.  We did an ultrasound and saw a black dot, which is perfectly normal for five weeks.  We found two corpus luteum cysts–like you would have with twins, I was told.  Maybe the other twin was hiding.  We’d look for it again next week.

Twins?  Could it be?  How wonderful!  What a blessing!  Our little family would be complete.  How perfect would it be to have a boy and girl?

I went back at six weeks to see if we could find both babies and to see the heartbeats.  What we saw was a black dot.  The same as the week before, but bigger.  Nothing inside but blackness.

Oh.

‘Perhaps your dates are wrong,’ I’m asked.

But I know they’re not.  When you have fertility “issues”you know your days.  We’ve been trying for seven months.  Seven long months.  And three cycles of Clomid.  And taking my temperature and charting and using ovulation predictor kits.  Baby-making in an infertile couple is time, monitored, and the most unspontaneous thing ever.  I know because it took thirteen months to have MM.  My dates are perfect–there is no way I could be measuring behind.  She tells me I’m measuring five weeks, one day.  There is only a gestational sac.  No yolk sac.  No fetal pole.  No heartbeat.  There should be a heartbeat at six weeks, but there’s not.

Oh.

‘Oh. Oh.  Oh,’ I think back in the waiting room.  I know what’s going on, but refuse to let myself think it.

Oh. Oh. Oh.

I sit on the examination table waiting for my doctor who is, thankfully, also my friend.

She comes in.  We chat.  She makes sure I’m certain on my dates.  She doesn’t say the words–the words I’m hiding in my heart.  The ones I’m daring myself not to say.

Blighted ovum.

She says we’ll do some blood tests today and in forty-eight hours.  The same HcG tests we did with MM whose numbers doubled so perfectly.  She said she would call me personally on Monday and let me know herself.  She then uses the word–miscarriage–and everything kind of goes still.  She says we can try again–that she’ll help us to get pregnant again.  But everything might be okay too.  We’ll find out on Monday.

I sit there numb.

Oh.

I don’t say much on the way home.  Then I cry.  The animal-like cries of someone who’s heart feels like it may quit beating.  I’m angry.  I’m sad.  I’m confused.  I ask C. what did I do to deserve this.  He tells me I’m crazy to think that, but it’s hard not to.  I have just one partial ovary left.  I’ve had cancer.  Cysts.  Surgeries upon surgeries.  A year to get pregnant with MM.  And then such a horribly complicated pregnancy that it almost killed me.  More cysts.  Fertility drugs.  Now this.

Why?  What did I do to cause this?  Why can’t it be easy for me to be a mother?  I go through the rest of the week in a daze.  There are moments when I accept the fact that I am pregnant, but that there’s no baby.  Other times I have faith that there is a baby hiding in there or perhaps the black hole we saw will just start growing like it should.

Maybe.

Perhaps.

If I didn’t have my sweet MM during all this I don’t know what I would have done–I can assure you I wouldn’t have handled it so peacefully.  All I had to do was look at her face and it confirmed what I already knew–that even if I only have this one precious child then she is more than enough.  But it doesn’t stop the yearning for another or the feeling that our family isn’t complete.

Thankfully, no one said the horrible, ‘Well, you can have another one.’  This week God was looking out for me there because I probably would have hit them.  Those are words no one going through this should ever hear.  We’re not talking about a cake that didn’t turn out, shoes that don’t fit, a bad day–we’re talking about a child.

I went back for my second blood draw on Thursday.  I peek at my chart and saw my number from two days ago was 1428.  Low, yes, but still within the normal range.  At 1428 you would only see a gestational sac (you don’t see a heartbeat until 20,000).  I start to feel hope.  I try not to, I really, really do.  I’m trying to stay numb for the news on Monday, but I can’t help feeling hope.  I pray over and over, ‘Please God, let that number double like it’s supposed to’. 

Over the next four days I think about that number–1428–every single minute.  I haven’t had many symptoms so far, but when I wake up in the middle of the night nauseous, I smile.  Maybe it will all be okay.  Then my mind says, ‘Don’t get your hopes up, Natalie.  Maybe not’.

But my mind can’t keep my heart from hoping.

Then Monday comes.  I wake up knowing that I will remember this day for the rest of my life.  It could be a day of happy tears and disbelief.  Or…

Monday crept by.  I had my phone in my pocket, but it didn’t ring.  Finally, at 1:15 she calls.  I know instantly it’s not good.  My numbers went down from 1428 to 1200.  We discuss my options.  I decide to have a D&C on Wednesday since I have no signs of miscarrying on my own.

So, there it is: I’m pregnant, but with no baby.  And I won’t be in 48 hours.

I’m really trying to feel numb about it all, but it’s hard.  My emotions–the overwhelming sadness, pain, hurt, and fear that it might happen again–well, it’s hard to supress those.

Please say a prayer for me this week.  I’m really going to need it.

24


I’m Still “Infertile Myrtle”, Baby or Not

I have realized lately that you can give an infertile woman a baby but she will still feel barren. I’ve had my period twice since I had Mary Margaret 14 weeks ago and each time I realize that it’s “that time” my heart sinks and I get really sad.

Why??

We’re not ready for another child (or the possibility another awful pregnancy) and we’re even using birth control.  But that old heartbreaking feeling returns each month because it’s what I associate with my period.  Period = no baby = crying Natalie over no baby.

Since I was 15 I was anxious about my fertility.  As soon as I lost that one ovary 50% of my eggs were gone.  And then at 24 when I had another large cyst and almost lost my last remaining ovary, I almost became panicked.  C. & I weren’t ready for kids at that point since we’d just been married four months, but I remember getting anxious every month after that just the same.  And then when we did start trying and nothing happened…and nothing happened…and nothing happened, well, it became devastating.

And then miracles of miracles, I became pregnant.  And my HcG numbers doubled like they were supposed to.  And we saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks and heard it at 9.  I felt her kick at 23 weeks.  And because of my complications I got to see her twice a week on an ultrasound.  But until they laid her in my arms I thought it was too good to be true.  Like it was some big joke being played on me–how could I, the infertile, barren woman that I was, carry a child?

And now as the weeks tick by since I’ve been pregnant–it feels almost like the pregnancy was a dream itself–the old panicky feelings have returned.  It’s really amazing how your mind can play tricks on you like that.

That infertility thing is one tough cookie.

4


Blessing

I mentioned earlier this week that I feel blessed to be pregnant.  Some people may know why I say this, others may think it’s just a pregnant woman waxing on and on.  (It is a little of both I must admit).

 

For all you new readers out there, here’s my history:

 

I was adopted when I was two days ago.  This in and of itself would make me want to have a biological child if only just to see what he/she would look like.  I’m used to looking different than my family, acting differently, having different interests, etc. and it would be beyond my wildest dreams to actually look into my child’s eyes and see a little of myself.

 

But that’s not the only reason M.M. is a blessing to me.

 

Right before my 16th birthday I was rushed to the hospital with extreme abdominal pain.  They discovered I was hemorrhaging internally, but it was hard to determine the problem.  Eventually they figured out it was a softball-sized cyst on my right ovary called a dermoid cyst.  It—plus my ovary—were removed; I spent a week in the hospital, and was sent home for three additional weeks of recuperation.  After a week I received a call telling me the cyst turned out to be cancer (teratoma, to be exact) and that began my monthly trips (for five years) to my oncologist.

 

If that wasn’t enough to scare me about my fertility, in 2005 I was diagnosed with a baseball-sized fluid-filled benign cyst on my left ovary.  I was told going into surgery that there was a chance—about 50/50—that I would lose my ovary and therefore my ability to have children.  By the grace of God it was spared and the doctors said that I *should* be able to get pregnant (though it would take awhile) as long as I did it before 35.

 

In 2007 we decided it was about time to start giving having a baby the old college try.  Three months passed, then six.  As the year mark approached I began to get very worried.  You always read that the “average” couple has a 90% chance of getting pregnant within a year.  I decided to make an appointment with my doctor to begin going over infertility treatment options at month 13.  About this time C.’s sister became pregnant accidentally and rushed to marry her boyfriend of six weeks.  To find out his sister got pregnant accidentally when we were trying so hard (we had been doing charting/keeping track of body temperature for eight months at that point, we had been married for three years, we are stable people with a house and two jobs…none of this describes her situation) devastated me.  I almost lost it mentally.  The only person who could relate to me was my mother who had been through six grueling years of infertility in attempts to have a child.  It gave me perspective on my situation—and other women who were battling infertility—I mean, if I was this distraught what must it be like for the women who tried for years and years?  It made me extra sensitive to my mother’s pain and her gradual acceptance that she couldn’t have a biological child.  It made me realize why I was such a blessing to her.

 

April was a month of enlightenment for me.  I gave it over to God (I’ve always thought that was such a cheesy expression, but that’s what I did) and just tried to embrace the life I had been given—a wonderful husband, a fabulous family, awesome friends, a rewarding job, and a nice house—and enjoy it.  I came to terms with my possible infertility and accepted the road I would have to take if we wanted a child.  I tried my hardest to be happy for C.’s sister.  I made an appointment with my doctor for May 19th.  I booked us a trip to Puerto Rico for two weeks after the appointment (the big ovulation week) to relax and hopefully make us a baby. It was a tiring and emotionally draining month to say the least.

 

Around mid-May I began to feel different physically.  I took a test and for the first time in my life there was a second line.  We were going to have a baby.  That realization still amazes and awes me.  And that big baby-making trip to Puerto Rico?  Well, it turned into the morning sickness-sleeping trip, but that was okay for us. 

 

And that, my friends, why I feel like such a blessed woman right at this moment.

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