Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear Raley's and Bel Air,

Dear Raley's and Bel Air Supermarket Advertising Department,
I recently visited your Bel Air grocery store in California, as I was visiting my hometown of Sacramento for my sister's bridal shower. I needed some produce for a salad. As I walked up to the cash registers to pay for my produce, I came across several banners, hung neatly above each of your 15 registers. All staring back at me, repeating over and over to me the phrase "It's a MOM's world, we're here to help." These banners were not only insensitive and offensive to me as someone who can not have children and struggling with infertility, but also ignorant to the rest of your customers. I am here to tell you it is NOT (just) A MOM'S WORLD!!! As I looked around me in line. The customers in front of me were young collage kids, buying beer, chips, and a watermelon. The couple standing behind me in line were a gay couple with their little 3 year old daughter. And then of course there was me. Infertile me with the words "It's a Mom's world" glaring back at me, reminding me that I'm not allowed to join the club of motherhood. Please think twice about your advertising and your customers who shop there before putting up such offensive ads. It's already hard enough for those of us who are infertile and can not have children to make it through Mother's Day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stupid Superstitions

I know it sounds silly, but when you are trying to get pregnant for as long as I have, stupid superstitions will haunt you. Like somehow starting a blog on infertility would ironically help me get pregnant. Haha. I wish. And with starting a blog, you have to chose a color and background. Oh no, here we go again...I never realized how colors like pink and blue now annoy the heck out of me.'s a good one: A greenish-yellow, like soggy eggs, like how I'm feeling, with cute swirls. Yep, that'll be my background.
I would say the best and worst time for me is during my "two week waiting period." During that time, I am always thinking in the back of my mind that "I might be pregnant." And depending on how I am feeling that day, it could be a bad thing or a good thing. The bad thing is when those stupid superstitions come into play. This thought of "maybe I'm pregnant" starts to rule my life. I think things like "Ugh, my back hurts. I need like 800mg of advil. Oh, I might be pregnant. Better take tylonol instead, even though it does nothing for me." "Oh, I better not eat that deli sandwich from Subway. I might be pregnant. I hear that the deli meat has a bacteria on it that can cause miscarriage." "I better not move that furniture or lift anything heavy...I might be pregnant." "Oh, no caffeine for me." This thought of "I might be pregnant" has literally cause a panic attack on a mountain, skiing once. It was my first time skiing at The Canyons so I didn't know my way around the slopes. (Trusting that my sister, who had been there several times, wouldn't take me anywhere too difficult.) Wrong. My sister's way of helping me learn how to ski better was forcing me into black diamond hills. I remember thinking "What am I doing here? I might be pregnant. I shouldn't be skiing." So on top of being out of my comfort zone with my skiing skills, I'm now being controlled by these stupid superstitions. I broke down right there in front of everyone on the slope having a full on panic attack. My husband was there, bless his heart, to try and help me, but my fear of going down a now icy black diamond hill and fear of being pregnant took over. It was embarrassing, but the ski patrol ended up carrying me down. It sucks, because it's always there in the back of my mind. Especially after having two miscarraiges , I'm worried about when I finally do get pregnant, if it will happen at all, about my well being. Am I going to be able to handle being pregnant without letting the stress take over? I think I will need some serious counseling if I ever do get pregnant for fear that I might loose it. (Both the baby and my mind.) I get pissed off when I hear of pregnant women doing stupid things like skiing when they are pregnant, going boating, four wheeling, or especially things like smoking/drinking! Hello!!!! It's like they have no worries at all about what they are doing when they are pregnant. They live care free like they aren't pregnant at all! I wish I could do that: live carefree and I'm not even pregnant!!!! It is impossible for me to just live my life and not let those stupid superstitions of "possibly being pregnant" take over.
But then there are good times when the thought of possible being pregnant help me. Like in yoga, during meditation. I try and imagine what is going on in my uterus. Visualizing the multiplying embryo finding a nice spot to grow. Or when I run into a friend or a patient at work who is pregnant, I have to think positively...maybe I am pregnant too. But to be honest, after more than three years of trying, that thought is permanently in the back of my mind. It's hard to just let it go and live my life. I wish I could do that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Shower: To go or not to go? That is the question.

7/16/10 So there's this baby shower this weekend. Ugh! Normally I don't go to these things, but it's a baby shower for a V.I.P. friend. Do I go? I know it's a little crazy to consider going after everything that has happened. But I do want to see my friend. Don't get me wrong, I gave up on going to baby showers a long time ago. In fact the last time I went to a baby shower (a couple's baby shower-husbands included) was a over a year and a half ago and it was torture. It was a few months after my first miscarriage, and the only reason why we went was because the couple the shower was for are good friends of ours. They were a couple we did a lot of double dates with. It was hard being there. What got to me the most was that almost every wife there was pregnant or toting around their little newborns and/or toddlers. Apparently, some people thought it was okay to bring kids. Screaming kids. Poor pregnant friend of ours had a wake up call of what was to come. Anyway, they all lined up together to take a picture of their cute preggy bellies. I remember thinking to myself "I would have been the ninth pregnant one up there taking a photo with all of them, had it not been for my miscarriage." I at least wasn't alone. I had my husband to hang out with so I wasn't bombarded with preggy talk. And there was another gal there who knew somewhat of what I was going through. She too, also wanted a baby. She has since had a successful IVF...or so I've heard.

I don't want to be rude or offend anyone by not going to their baby shower. So for a while I use to buy gifts and drop them off as a way to avoid going. But it got to a point where I learned to avoid going into Babies-R-Us all together. Then I use to buy cute baby books from Barnes & Nobles as gifts, but even buying books is hard for me to do now. I see books that I grew up with, and had hopes for sharing with my future children. The best way for me to handle baby showers, especially those forced on me, like the ones at work, is to simply buy a gift card with a card from Wal-Mart. I've also come to the conclusion that unless the baby shower is for someone I consider a "sister" or V.I.P. I'm not going to go. Nor will I get a gift. Period. And usually the invitations or baby announcements end up straight in the trash.

So as far as this weekend is concerned. I will probably go, depending on my mood, at least stop by with my card/ gift card. I know it sounds crazy, especially after an IVF failure so recent. But there are certain friends that come along and are considered a "friend for life" or VIP. Even though we get busy in our own lives and don't talk as often as we would like. Really, I'm going just to see her, not for the whole baby shower thing. It will definitly depend on my mood whether I go or not. If I start feeling at all like breaking down and crying on my way, I will turn the car around. There are certain times of the "month" where it is easier to handle these sort of things. I've noticed when I'm in that "two week waiting period" I can be a little more optimistic because I am always thinking in the back of my mind that I might be pregnant. That's how I've been able to handle going to church on Mother's Day so far. Anyhow, at least I have my sister's bridal shower next weekend to look forward to. I'll have more fun at long as no one asks me about when Marc and I are going to have kids.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Take that you stupid eggs!

So I've taken up golf lessons. A good way (and bad way) to blow off some steam. Here's me, looking down at my golf balls, pretending they are my stupid eggs. Take that you stupid egg! I'm actually getting quit good. Still a novice, but I can hit a mean ball. That is what I am hoping this blog will help me do. Blow off some of my anger.
I heard somewhere that 70% of adult conversation is centered around kids. When you don't have any children of your own, it feels more like 95% and when you live in Utah, it's 100%. I work at a dental office as a dental hygienist. And unfortunetly since dental tools are in my patient's mouths, I am limited to small talk. Small talk is ofcourse centered around kids, jobs, and the weather. I had a soon to be grandmother in my chair the other day. She was going on about how her pregnant daughter was, and how horrible it has been for her living back east with the hot weather and how she has to stay indoors because of the humidity. I hardly felt any sympathy for her daughter, but faked it ofcourse, because if I said what I was really thinking, I would probably loose my job. I feel like people look at me, assume my age, and automatically think I have children and think I can relate on a certain level with their poor daughter, themselves as moms, or sister, or whomever. I feel like a lot of my conversations at work go somthing like this: "Oh, blah blah children...Sorry I'm late. My children....blah blah...Do you have any kids?" "No. Not yet." "Oh, well I love being a mother. It's the best thing! So.....(akwardly trying to change the conversation) what does your husband do?" "Well, because of the economy and with construction managment jobs not available, he's decided to go back to school to get his MBA. He's got about another year left." (Basically, using going to school as an excuss for being unemployed. And with todays economy, it's not like having an MBA will qualify him to have a job right after he graduates either. ) Anyway, not to be depressing, but that is what our life is like right now. I try to avoid talking about us not having kids or my husband's unemployment, because I really don't feel like talking about it. Usually at work, I am best at sticking to topics like the weather and teeth.
As far as a diagnosis, the doctors consider us at this point as "Unexplained Infertility." Basically they don't know why. And let me just say something right here. It's not my husband who has the problem. When we handed our fertility doctor his sperm anaylisis. The doctor's eye's widened, and he was impressed with his results. YES, my husband is a MAN! He also passed his hampster egg penitration test with flying colors. 100% When it comes to me...all my hormone levels are normal, normal thyroid, normal healthy sonohystogram, no clotting disorders were discovered. One thing the doctor did notice was my follicle count for someone my age was low. Let me explain here. Each month a woman has so many follicles. And out of those follicles, one egg will develop, and be released. With fertility meds, the follicles are stimulated to produce more eggs. Clomid or Femara will give about two or three eggs. And injectable hormones, like they use with IVF, will give you, depending on your age, many eggs. From what I understand. Someone my age should have about 18-20 follicles to hopefully produce 18-20 eggs. I only have 8-12 follicles. Out of the 12 eggs that were extracted with our IVF cycle, only 8 were healthy enough. 8 were fertilized thanks to my husband, but only two were left to transfer. The other embryos didn't survive. So the doctors believe that it is a genetic problem. Especially since our other embryos didn't survive. And the embryos we did use, well basically didn't develop properly. Genetic testing is not covered by our self-pay insurance and would cost us some where around $4000.00 which we don't have.
I also inquiered with my doctor about checking for endometriosis before we did IVF. I feel like screaming because this is what I think I have, but the doctors have been so conservative. I don't have the obvious symptoms of extreme pain with endometriosis. But my mother has it, and just recently my sister found out she has it. I have two aunts on both sides of my family who have it and couldn't have kids because of it. The reason why the doctors are wanting to be so conservative is because the surgery for it can damage my eggs/follicles. Possibly leaving me with no eggs. They say the only way to determine if you have endometriosis is by going in surgically with laproscopy. Once they are in there and discover if it is present, they cauderize it, (burn it off) Most of the time, endometriosis is found around the overy. Burning it off my overies is what can damage my eggs.
My plan at this point, it to obviosly wait and give it some time. Then when we are ready. Finacially ready. Have the genetic screening done, and consult my doctor, once again to see if they can still do the laproscopy and just not touch my overies. Down the road we could do IVF again. If there is an issue with the genetics, the next step is IVF/PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) Basically too expensive at this point.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just stuck. Numb and hopeless.

Hi out there! My name is Ra'Chelle and this is my first time blogging. My blog is about infertility, and yes, did I mention I'm Mormon? I was inspired after reading the book Silent Soroity to start a blog about my process of dealing with infertility. Living in probably the MOST fertile state in the USA. (UTAH!!!) I'm constantly bombard with fat pregnant bellies. Reminders of what I desperatly want and may not be able to have. I got the idea for the name of this blog from a friend, who at the time 3+ years ago, before we started trying to get pregnant, told me joking. "We better hurry up before my eggs get cold and soggy." I was 27 at the time. Late start for a Mormon chick.

My husband and I have been trying to have a baby now for over three years. This has included a year of trying, followed by four months of clomid and Suprise! I'm pregnant! Oh, but wait, it's not the happy ending to the story I was told I would get. MISCARRAGE! At 10 weeks, we went in for my first check up. (On Halloween) The Dr. told me there was no heart beat. The baby had made it to 6 weeks. Ironically, around that 6 week marker, I was in a fertility yoga class. The yoga instructor told us to meditate and place one had over our heart and one hand on our belly and feel the connection of our heartbeats. I remeber thinking "I don't feel a heartbeat...that's probably because I'm new to this whole pregnancy thing and I still don't feel pregnant." Turned out I was right on connected to my body and what my dying baby was going through. Despite the greif from this horrible experience, being the optimist that I am, I thought: "Okay, so I got pregnant, I can do it again." We tried another 9 months taking the clomid, then switching to femara after a wierd visual psycadellic reaction to the clomid. It got to the point that I would need a break, but my strong desire to try would return and we would try again. At that point, my Dr. refered my husband and I to a fertility clinic. We went to the University of Utah. This was followed by three unsucessful IUI's and so far, one IVF, that pretty much didn't work. Another MISCARRAIGE! An empty sac...This time, the pain was and has been intense. On top of that, none of our other embryos made it far enough to be frozen. I didn't get that second chance I thought I would get. I know for some of you infertility veterans, three years may not seem like much, but it has been three years of hell. (Dealing with other issues including my spouse's in-and-out of employment with the crappy economy.)

I have often found myself praying and asking God when will things get better? When will life start turning around for us? Please let my husband get a good stable job. Please let me get pregnant (and actually have a healthy baby.) But we've just been stuck in a rut. Life not moving forward. Just stuck. Numb and hopeless. I try to count my blessings, which are many. But for most people, things like getting a job and getting pregnant just come natural and easy. Not for us. But one thing I can tell you. I've gotten really good at faking a smile.