Quick update…

I don’t definitely remember the first time I felt infertile, but I was pretty young. Maybe 16? The first time I remember it was when I was at another doctors appointment about why I never had my period (my endocrine issues got me way too many OBGYN appts. for a teenage virgin). And I remember feeling like a freak when the nurse doing the intake asked me about the first day of my last period. And I said, “uhhh like maybe a year and a half ago, that’s why i’m here?”; and the nurse looked shocked like she had never heard anything like this before. I remember talking to the doctor and asking if I’d be able to have children, and she wasn’t sure. And I remember sobbing, and feeling that it was weird that I’d feel emotional about having a likely future fertility issues at such a young age. Moments like that hurt my heart.

There were many times at young ages that I felt different and infertile because of my slew of endocrine issues and being told I’d need massive fertility treatments by several doctors who were completely puzzled by my case. And it wounds my heart to think about. I try to move past it. Enjoy the fact that when we were ready, somehow, regardless by the Grace of God, we conceived naturally in only a year and a few months and I’m almost 16 and a half weeks pregnant with my miracle baby. I try to take happy weekly bump pictures and focus on my joy and excitement, share part of my experience with others hoping I’ll catch on and it will outweigh my anxiety and negativity somehow. and I AM SO EXCITED because rationally, chances are I will be a mommy in around 5 months from now!!!!! Being a mommy is my dream. But there is a part of me that feels broken and terrified that my broken body will screw up and hurt my baby. I can’t fully connect with it for that reason.

It feels too good to happen to me that I could naturally conceive and have a healthy child after this journey that was one of the most painful things I have ever been through. I am thrilled. I am also terrified that it will end. At every test I half expect terrible news. Scenes of horrible, tragic scenarios of awful things happening to this baby run through my mind. I cannot stop myself from googling potential things that could happen. Could my baby have tripolody (an extra set of chromosomes) or some other terrible condition that would make it incompatible with life? Maybe another chromosome issue. Maybe my body will reject the pregnancy even if the baby is healthy and lose it in the 2nd trimester. Maybe I’ll have placental failure. For years I feared I’d never get pregnant long before we tried. I had this recurrent nightmare for years that I was pregnant and I knew something was terribly wrong, but I didn’t quite know what. I never thought good things would happen to me in this area.

Well, now I am pregnant. There is a baby in my belly, that God has placed there. Pregnancy is scary because I can’t control anything about it. I can’t knit my baby together or protect it. All I can do it lay hands on my belly and pray God’s hand of protection and that His blood will cover my little one. Because that’s all I really can do.

I just had to see my baby again before the 20 week scan, so yesterday at 16+1 or 2 my husband and I took an impromptu date to one of those private scan places. We saw our little one moving around, which was beautiful to see. It grew a lot since 12 weeks (or 11+5 when I had my nuchal test). And we asked to know the gender. To our shock, it looks like…

babygirlie16weeks

When she told us that I started crying. Honestly, I always hoped to have at least 1 girl, but from the moment I suspected I was pregnant I totally 90% thought it was a boy (and I was so used to that idea I really thought it was and would also love a little boy). I still don’t believe it because I was so sure and had been saying “he” (yet I also didn’t believe I was pregnant for weeks either because I was so sure it would never happen). It feels too good to be real. Could I really have a healthy baby, AND a girl??? Maybe? I’ll believe it’s a girl if another sonographer tells us that at 20 weeks. I just hope baby is healthy and pray that every day many times a day. If she is a girl, we are not 100% sure but are leaning towards the name “Selah”… it is from the Psalms and it means to pause and reflect. And God willing baby is healthy (if it IS a she, which I’m not convinced of yet!), I want to frequently thank God for her and reflect on His goodness and Grace to me. and to her. … but we also like the names Maaya, Eowyn, Zoe, and I like Hope and Grace, but Richie’s not as into those. We aren’t sharing gender with anyone for a long time (esp. because I don’t quite believe it yet!)… our parents didn’t even know we did this extra little scan.

Terrified as I have part 2 of my sequential screening this coming week. Praying so hard for perfect results. If that and the upcoming anatomy scan goes well, I think I’ll relax a bit! My mom had me and my sister quite early, so I’ll probably get anxious again a few weeks after that. I was a 32 week premie!!!

 

Blessings…

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Blessed is she who believes

blessed-is-she-who-has-believed-that-traci-beeson

I always pictured that pregnancy would be one of the happiest times in my life. I have always dreamed of being a mother.

Sadly, it’s actually been emotionally one of the hardest times. Sometimes i just lay crying on my bed at night. Anxious. Trying to get up to make some food. Because I have to eat. Because I’m pregnant and need to gain weight. For the baby. But I can’t. Then I end up eating a peanut butter sandwich, with a high calories smoothie (my go to). Then I feel guilty because of my horrific food choices (pre-pregnancy I was a paleo healthy cooking guru). And then crying about feeling guilty for not enjoying this time. I always pictured I’d be so into healthy eating when pregnant, because I usually am. But instead I’m scared to eat. I wonder if it’s just being anxious or depressed, of if it’s my anorexic tendencies creeping in without my consent. I don’t think so. I worked through that. I am not scared to gain adequate weight. When i lost lots of weight early on I was scared because I hadn’t been so thin in years. I’ve had a few people make comments to me that (I guess other than my belly), I look thinner than before I got pregnant. That hurts my heart. With what I’ve been through over the years fighting to be healthy in this area, it hurts. I just want to be healthy. Those comments make me feel like I’m starving my baby. I love when people tell me I’m getting a belly. This makes my heart smile, that despite my mistakes, maybe my baby is happy and growing. I obsess about eating healthy. About eating enough. And I feel like a failure when I feel like I didn’t make it. Enough that some nights I’m too anxious to eat because those thoughts make me feel so anxious. So… I just hate food. My go to is 2, 700ish calorie smoothies a day (packed with vitamins, coconut oil, almond butter), and then  hope i get in 1000 other calories. Food is a chore.

I worry all the time that something bad will happen to the baby. I still worry. I’m almost 16 weeks and worry that we’ll find out at some test that the baby is sick and not going to live. i’ve spent years being told it would be difficult to have children and it’s very hard to switch from that to believing my body can grow and healthy baby. ever since I was 15 I considered myself infertile. We were seeking out fertility specialists when we got pregnant. It’s very hard to believe this will be ok. I pray it will be. I worry when I feel sick. I worry when I feel ok. I’m worried about my next blood results. And my anatomy scan. What if they find something??? I’m horrified that in my anxiety I’ve become OCD with using a doppler. I used to think I’d never do that (for goodness sake. forget dopplers, I used to think I’d avoid microwaves and hairdryers when pregnant… such high hopes). But I do. Every. Single. Day. Or I believe my baby has died. I don’t even let myself believe that it’s a baby. I love the idea of my baby, but it feels intangible that there is a baby inside of me. A little miracle boy or girl. The doppler helps me feel slightly connected.

Sometimes life feels hard. I just pray I can be a good mommy if this does work out. The mommy my miracle baby deserves. I feel like I’m already failing. Oh by God’s grace I pray everything will be ok. God, please help everything to be ok and keep the baby safe. That’s what I’ve prayed the whole time and still pray…

 

 

 

To my baby…

So, I went off progesterone and my levels went from 25 to 12.7. I’ll be 10 weeks tomorrow (or today based on the scan). That scared me, but the doctor said it was fine… what!? So now I’m scared out of my mind in bed.  Now I’m back on the meds and praying it’s ok. I thought I’d write a letter to my baby.

__________________________________________________________________

My Dear Baby,

I cannot believe you are inside of me. I last saw you and heard your beautiful heartbeat exactly a week ago. Every time I’ve seen you and heard you, I’ve been in disbelief, love and have cried my eyes out. It is so surreal that God has placed you inside of me after I have wanted you and prayed for you for so long. Last week you had little arms and probably legs even though I couldn’t see your legs on the scan.

You are what I’ve prayed for, for so long. Ever since I was a teenager and I was told having children would likely be difficult, and I cried. I sobbed and prayed. For you, dear. That some day God would make me a mommy. And then when I thought it would never happen, God gave me you. You are truly everything my heart wants. Holding you in 7 months is all my heart longs for every day, that thought though, seems so far away. It seems unreal to think of that happening. But I know when and if it does, I will shower you with kisses and tears of joy. I will hold you close to my heart and tell you how much I love you and God loves you and how you are mommy and daddy’s miracle.

Everyone who knows about you (mostly immediate family at this point) are already so happy about the possibility of you coming!!! Mommy is scared to be too happy yet and to plan too much, but hopefully I will soon. Grandma is already excited and planning! You will be the most loved baby. There is so much I want to do with you. I can’t wait to sing to you. To watch you explore God’s creation and discover the beauties of life. I can’t wait to watch you grow. To watch you run around and play with (and probably annoy your future cats)… To Imagine. I can’t wait to nurture you, teach you. I want to find out who you are!!

I love you. I honestly, more love the idea of you at this point. It still feels unreal that you are real. Esp. after some scares. I’m scared to get attached to you, love, because I’m so scared of losing you. So scared it hurts. I hope that you feel safe and warm inside of me and that you don’t feel my anxiety. I want to always protect you and give you all the best things. Even now, I feel like a failure sometimes because I forget a prenatal vitamin from time to time, or don’t eat perfectly for you… I know you need lots of love, you deserve I’m scared to fully love you. But I pray that someday I can.

Even so, I pray for you every day, sweetheart. I have since the day I found out you might be there (Father’s Day weekend 🙂 ). I didn’t believe it could be. I almost didn’t want to tell daddy because I didn’t believe it was real. But then during church that day it hit me. And I went to the bathroom and prayed for you and it hit me that this might be it (I had never gotten such a dark line on a pregnancy test before and I had a feeling deep down maybe something was different, but I couldn’t believe it just yet). Even in my lack of faith, I have prayed for angels of protection to surround my womb, to protect you, love. And I pray they are still there. Keeping you safe, till Daddy and I can hold you and keep you safe. You are so special, and loved.

Stay safe, little baby. I love you more than words can say. And all I want is to hold you and whisper that in your little ear.

… my miracle…

pregnancyteststicksbfp

I’m scared to post this and jinx it or something, because I’m still in complete disbelief… It feels weird saying it, but I think I’m pregnant (4 weeks today, 14dpo)… This past cycle was very strange. I was sick the week of ovulation with a low grade fever, and I didn’t have as much EWCM as usual. I thought being sick had delayed ovulation and very quite upset. When I got better I started to have signs of ovulation and did get 2 days of EWCM, not my usual 4, and to my surprise, on the first day of EWCM, I thought “maybe I should run an OPK” which I did at work and didn’t expect it to be +- I was caught off guard (I don’t usually get a + until the 3rd day of EWCM)… I texted my hubby that we had to do it like ASAP so I got home and we had a quickie and then next day… … Then my temp jumped bit, but not as much as usual. It stayed borderline post O for a few days. I thought this cycle was a complete flop; that my body tried to ovulate and didn’t quite make it.

This is my 50th cycle charted since I got my cycle back and I couldn’t believe it was shutting down and I couldn’t think of what I did wrong or so drastic that this was happening. I figured that next cycle I’ll go on some herbs to try to regulate things… Finally my temp jumped to my normal post O range. I was just happy this cycle could end at a definite time, so that a “prettier” cycle could begin. I didn’t think anything of it, but it’s a habit to take a pregnancy test around 9dpo… there was a faint line. I’ve had those before and seem to every few cycles, so it’s not too shocking or hopeful, but I have wanted to figure out if these faint, disappearing lines I have sometimes are early chemical pregnancies or maybe I have faulty cheapie tests, so I ran ASAP to a walk in lab in another state about 30 minutes from my home (because walk-ins are not legal in mine).

Usually the faint lines go away, but I doubled up on my progesterone cream dosage (started that last cycle) and started taking baby asprin (a few ladies told me that it could help to prevent early loss), and they got a bit darker the next day, which has never happened before. I expected the line to go away by the next day, but figured if it somehow didn’t, I’d go to my RE and get another beta on Monday… (we deferred treatment with him, but I emailed him and said he was willing to test me)… Monday was a whirlwind of emotions for me… I finally got my long awaited beta back from Saturday. It was… 5. I called the lady from the walk-in-lab for my results and I got disconnected from her mid-call as she was saying my levels were right between the not pregnant and pregnant range and she doesn’t know what it means… 😦 😦 😦 I went to the bathroom at work and sobbed for about a half an hour. Why is my body so broken that all it can have is chemicals???… I was right I had been having chemicals.

Then a few hours later the RE office called and told me my beta was 39.7, progesterone 17.something. It was during a staff meeting, which I missed and never was able to come because I was so emotional from the call. I still remember the words that the nurse said… “Hi, Elizabeth, your beta came back positive”. What!???!?! I seriously couldn’t breathe in that moment… does that mean I’m… pregnant!? No. I couldn’t believe it, but texted my husband and a dear friend on this journey and my friend called me right away and was like, “OMG, you are having a baby!”. It was one of those moments in which I felt like I was in a dream.

I got a repeat beta yesterday (Wednesday)… and it came back at 144. This doesn’t feel real yet. I have had bad experience after bad experience, and just last cycle when I got my last period, the week of our anniversary, I was sooo convinced my body was incapable to ever getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. This darkness about my infertility consumed me. I’ve had so much bad news in my life about this over the years (starting as a teen when i was told I probably couldn’t have kids easily) It’s really hard to switch suddenly to a positive mindset that this really could be all good… that maybe in 9 months this is the miracle baby we’ll deliver. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m praying for special angels to surround this baby. My story is that I recovered my cycles after years of no period in November of 2013, have been pretty regular since then, but we’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive since April 2016 no success because of other issues.

We didn’t quite know what was going on (I have an adrenal condition which maybe contributed, but it’s so mild we aren’t sure… my husband has sperm on the low end of normal, but still nothing that bad). A month or so ago we were told it was unexplained and we had a disgustingly low chance. Oh and I didn’t do that much different this cycle, except have an odd cycle (I’m usually VERY regular and predictable and the exact same CM patterns every time), it’s my 2nd cycle on progesterone cream and now I have switched to suppository supplements, which I requested bc I was using the progesterone cream (which I’m slightly scared will harm something somehow being natural minded, but feel safer taking it than not), we had LESS sex that usual around ovulation (maybe that helped with DH’s borderline numbers)… I have been resting/ no high intensity exercise for the last 6 months which didn’t hurt… and I was on dexamethasone and went off and my adrenal levels dropped to normal a month before we conceived, which I hear can happen in women with NCAH… oh and I had some women pray over my womb last week. For healing. Was at a low place w/ this… and I felt joy and hope for the first time in a long time. One of them looked at me after praying for me and told me, “in a year from now… you will have a child”… I thought she was crazy… but maybe God healed me. Lessons to be learned: Anything is possible… There is Beauty and Perfection in Imperfections (look at this cycle i thought was my body shutting down)… and God heals and sometimes it’s quickly (and I pray sooo hard that He keeps His hand on this pregnancy and this is our baby)…

 

Another opinion- just an overview

Hey there… so update on one of my second opinions. Saw one today from Cornell and will see another on Thursday recommended by an NCAH friend. I thought it went ok. Interesting how the opinions vary a lot. I thought he was more comprehensive. He took like 10+ tubes of blood including some more genetic testing 😳…Looked at past records. Thought DH’s morphology was slightly low and wants a repeat semen analysis. He then did an ultrasound (kinda awkward on my period)… So he actually said my ovaries don’t look enlarged (which I was told from the other doc), just lots of little follicles. Lining fine for during period (4.5). He actually said he still saw a corpus luteum from my right ovary (interesting cause i’m bleeding but he said it wouldn’t necessarily be gone- i’m hoping it’s not a big cyst or something since that sounds kinda odd for it to be here at this point).

So for this point in my cycle (cycle day 3 coincidentally) it’s normal. He wants to do a monitored cycle and see me again next week for another ultrasound. He talked about perhaps clomid and an IUI so that I can improve chances (but if i already release 1 egg a month from what i know- unless i somehow am anovulatory; at this point nothing would shock me; but would another necessarily improve the chances? i’m not personally convinced this will up our odds). He wanted a retest w/ NCAH levels before changing anything w/ my level of dexamethasone so staying put on that for now. I have 1 more appt. on Thursday and I will wait weigh out my 3 opinions before having DH do his test and if i like this doc better i’ll cancel the monitoring for next week…

For His Glory??

This morning I woke up to obviously premenstrual symptoms. It’s 12 dpo and I have the usual signs that my period isn’t far away. My temperature started to drop, I had no line on the cheapie pregnancy test I ran, spotting a tiny bit, and just an overall yucky feeling. Will very likely get my period tomorrow. I hate having to feel my infertility. To live in a broken body. Usually around this time of the month I just want to hibernate in bed and cry, especially if I’m lucky enough that it falls at a time when I don’t have to be at work. If I have to go to work I pull it together and float through the day holding back tears. Today, though, the day wasn’t about me. Today was my cousin,who is also my dear friend’s bridal shower. I tried to put myself aside and pull it together to bless her.

We set up everything for the shower and then she finally arrived and was completely surprised and delighted. I was delighted too, yet at the same time, this darkness and sadness is always at least in the background (and often times in the forefront). I am so poor at handling this sadness I live with in a graceful manner of surrender when it’s what my heart longs for more than anything. It’s so prevalent in my mind that it’s hard to fully push it away, especially when i’m PMSing.

I was sitting at a table with my cousin’s future sister in law and a few other girls. We somehow got on the topic of age and how we couldn’t believe we were in our late 20s and felt much younger than that. The sister in law said that she was 22 but often felt 70 because of some condition she had (she didn’t go into details about this). She said it was a miracle that she walked down the aisle last year. I told her, “oh my, I’m so so sorry to hear that”. She looked at me and said, “That’s ok… God gave it to me and I will use it for His glory”.

This beautiful attitude spoke to my heart that she can handle whatever situation she is in with such grace. I wish I could be like that about infertility. I wish I could accept this as the thorn in my flesh that I can use for His glory. But sometimes the overwhelming sadness feels like too much. But how do I do that? I actually don’t believe that God chose to give this to me- I can’t believe a good God would do that or it makes me not like Him to be honest… i believe that infertility is an illness like anything else and God didn’t give it to me, but He holds me as I cry through it… But I do believe that He wants me to use it for His glory. Usually. There are times lately I doubt His goodness and presence because I feel He hasn’t heard my prayers. He has been silent about this for a long time. I feel sometimes like my faith is waning, especially because my husband is not in the best place spiritually so when I question things He tells me how faith is silly anyway… and my views of God are too.  I have so much pain deep down in my heart with this situation. It’s so hard to just accept something that feels so unfair and hurts my heart so very deeply.

Sort of looking forward to getting a second and third opinion from fertility specialists this week after the bad experience with the first reproductive endo. Also tired of it all and not looking forward to more appointments, more tests, all of that.

My two biggest journeys and how they are related

There was a time in my life when every day was a struggle for me. I felt like I had to hide the biggest part of my life- this huge prison I was in, yet keep a smile on for the world. I had to show them I had it together. If only people knew the Liz I really was. Yet I was in constant inward turmoil. My whole life centered around finding food and binging out of control- sometimes stealing food from others, out of body completely out of control eating experiences, or eating out of garbage cans; feeling disgusting and like a fat worthless pig; and compensating; calculating; starving myself during phases I was “more in control”; exercising for hours at all costs to feel ok. or ok enough. I frequented the college gym and when it was closed I had a private stairwell in a part of the school no one used. I’d run up and down between classes to burn calories. Some nights i’d wait for my family to go to bed and stay up and binge. Looking forward to it in a sense, yet feeling out of control and despising the situation.

A few times my mom found me and was so upset. I’d plan trips to the grocery store to buy “forbidden foods”… These behaviors made my body feel terrible and function poorly. There were so many really low moments in this shameful prison and often every day was a struggle against an the entity called “ED”. Sometimes my whole life felt like a low and I couldn’t see a way out of the struggle. I wanted God to free me. I called out to Him and wished He would touch me like He did people in the Gospels and tell me “Daughter you are healed. Your faith has healed you”. Well, that wasn’t my story. God has been healing me more than I ever could have imagined but it’s been a slow journey over several years, not a one time event.

Just tonight, I realized my infertility journey, my other biggest life struggle, has many parallels (and in fact they used to be related). It’s lonely and isolating. It feels out of control and unfair to have to be going through this, esp when others don’t and it is so easy for them. Many days I feel like I’m pulling it together, having to hide from the world a big part of myself. Sometimes I really don’t see a way out. I truly believe that it will always be like this. I sometimes want to be able to just walk up to Jesus and touch His cloak and have Him heal me. Now. to hear “your womb and adrenals are healed. Be fruitful and multiply in my Name”… But maybe that’s not the plan. Maybe the answer is not today, but maybe in the future; maybe even several years from now I will look back and see how God worked in His way and time. Just like my other journey.

Because He makes all broken things beautiful in His time… so even though it’s hard and I struggle to have faith, I have to wait and trust that He will put the puzzle together in His way.

A Bad Surprise. Starting over.

Yesterday afternoon I finally got a call from my reproductive endocrinologist regarding my blood results post dexamethasone. I was at work so I threw on my coat to go outside so that I could talk without having my coworkers here me mention the words “ovulation” “cycles” and “periods”. Finally I get on the phone with the doctor (who by the way has no bedside manner and is completely rude). He tells me that my levels are not suppressed and got higher. What!? So I try to ask questions to see what is going on. He then scolds me, “I cannot talk to you because you keep cutting me off”. After giving me all my levels that are higher than ever, I asked him about some of the herbs that I am taking. He goes “WHAT!? you didn’t tell me you were taking herbs?! (i know i briefly mentioned at least one of them and did my own research to ensure there were no dangerous interactions) You need to get off those immediately! Either follow my protocol or find a new doctor. I will be happy to refer you to one”. After that exchange I felt attacked and like I couldn’t ask anymore questions (I tend to feel rushed because of this I can’t even think of the right questions to ask when on the phone with him). He told me to increase my steroid medication if I am going to continue working with him and then repeat blood work in two weeks, so I thanked him and said goodbye.
So my free testosterone is 8.8, my 17OH progesterone is now 3500, my regular testosterone is 90 (in recently years it’s most typically been between 60 and 70). My follicular progesterone, which can act as a mild birth control effect (should be below .6 for optimal fertility mine is usually between 1.5 and 2). Honestly with this kind of response, I am worried that this is not the correct medication for me, and also worried since this sounds pretty atypical for NCAH (levels should be suppressed) that something more complicated isn’t going on. I have two other opinions set up during April break and I am praying that they say similar things. I am very nervous about increasing medications, especially when this one seems to have either had no effect on my body, or a negative one.
I have been very consumed with trying to conceive lately. And it feels like my efforts keep failing even though I’ve tried so hard. Because my levels are worse, we are not even trying this cycle. We aren’t using birth control, but I’m not charting, I’m not OPKing, I’m not timing sex- we can be sexy when we want to be sexy (or not if that is what we feel like). We are not trying hard again until my levels are going in the correct direction. I want to try to let go for now. This journey has been consuming me, and want to find myself again. I feel like everywhere I turn, I hit a dead end with this.
Another thing, is several people (both the doc but people in online groups) have told me recently that perhaps it would be best to get off of the herbs I’m taking. This fertility journey has been a several year project for me. I had amenorrhea for most of 8 years, and even before TTC, I wanted to prepare my body to have a baby, so I started making changes in my life to try to make this happen. At 23, I came to a point that my biggest goal was to get my period back. I went after it with dietary changes, exercise changes, and herbs/vitamins (and other things like seed cycling). I started throwing so many fertility enhancing remedies at my body hoping it would somehow turn on my dormant endocrine system- and it did! My cycles which were extremely scant (at most I’d get one or two light periods a year, many years sometimes a few in a row during that time I’d have no bleeding at all), suddenly started coming every single month. I watched my luteal phase increase from a meager 5-6 days to 11-12! I rejoiced to watch my cycles regulate like this (i’ve charted 46 beautiful and not so beautiful cycles since I got my period back; in fact this cycle is the first one I’m not charting), almost like a miracle. Oh how I hoped that when the time came we would be able to conceive, and for the first time in 8 years I had hope that maybe we would!  My cycles, which used to never come started to look like they could be model cycles in the “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” textbook. I thought I healed myself. I actually liked my cycle including my period.
When we started trying to conceive (casually last spring, most seriously last summer), I continued to research and throw all these remedies and more at my body- surely I wanted to make it the most fertile it could be. But month after month I’d watch my temperature drop, and my period come. By the late summer or fall, I started to become upset and realize that maybe this was actually going to still be the challenge I worried it would be and hoped it wouldn’t. So I started trying harder. and Harder. and adding new natural remedies as the months with no baby kept passing by. In addition to my herbs and vitamins, I re-added seed cycling (which is taking different seeds at different times of your cycles to try to balance and harmonize hormones). My diet became more and more organic. I developed a ritual of getting a pineapple each month after I ovulated (to aide implantation). I started drinking fertility smoothies with more vitamins, maca, wheat grass, and Royal Jelly all aimed to increase fertility. Using special cleaning and hand products (no endocrine disrupters in this home!!). Special lube to increase fertility. I cut high intensity exercise. Added new supplements. OPKs… Added healthy carbs (because I read low carb can actually be bad). Spent all my free time researching fertility and how to increase it. But still month after month of all of this there was no baby in my tummy.
(Just some of my supplement craziness)…
I am starting to see maybe this is ridiculous. And just maybe there’s a small chance it’s actually hurting things. I’m scared to give it all up, because if I’m not fertile with all of this extra stuff I’m never going to be fertile without it. I’m scared that my cycles will become irregular if I stop all of this. At this point, though there really isn’t anything to lose. Clearly it’s not working. Clearly it’s just consuming my life, making me depressed as it fails, and there is a chance all of these things are making things worse. If nothing else, I just want a break from it all. At this point, I feel broken and honestly can’t picture it ever happening. So I’m trying to step away for a while. No temperatures, only vitamins, no special lube, no timed sex, no seed cycling. Sigh.
So that’s where I am at. I hope someday this happens. I want this with all my heart. I need to be a mom. But for now we are just trying to figure out where to go from here.

Surrender

God, how do I do everything I can from my end that would increase chances of conceiving, without making this an idol… how do I continue to dream and hope, to rest my body and nourish my body so that I give it nutrients it would need to help it carry a baby; without having my heart broken when it doesn’t work out, month after month. How do I try everything I can and run towards this desire I believe you have put in my heart, while keeping my heart and will in your hands and my hands opened in surrender to whatever your will is for me; for our future family?

I surrender

Please show me God. I don’t even know what this looks like. I am a failure at figuring all of this out, but all I know is that I’m weary of hoping and trying, yet getting my heart broken. Of each cycle getting less and less hopeful and the despair and hopelessness of each failed cycle starting to bleed into the next. Yet, Lord, there is truly nothing I want more in this life than to be a mother. I know it will be a hard path, yet I long for it with my whole being; I have to do this… I truly believe this deep rooted yearning is from You… That’s why it’s so hard that it is not being fulfilled in my time.

Please show me sovereign God how to keep my hands opened to you- to not spend all my time using them to search, to strive towards this desire and goal, but to hope and keep them opened to you. To keep trusting that you put that desire there and you will fulfill that promise to me. That you will in your time and I can trust you, Jesus…

Even when it’s hard, Lord and when my heart is broken and hands are heavy and tired I lift my hands to you… Lord my hands are weary and my heart is unfocused, and it’s so easy to turn my eyes to myself and despair; but please help give me strength to keep my arms opened. To wait on you. for you are good.

luke145

Where I’m at.

Wow, it’s been over a month since I last wrote. The day after I wrote that post, I decided to try medication for my NCAH (.25mg dexamethasone). I figured I might as well try the medication, because I have much more to gain than lose.

I am natural minded and quite hesitant about taking medication, so I took my first pill with great trepidation. I had been debating going this route for a while. I even filled the prescription a few days before, but was still not sure. My husband finally cut the pill in half (the dosage is half of a .5mg pill), and took half himself (to show me it was safe to consume; he is awesome) and then gave me the other half, which I couldn’t turn down at that point. Thankfully I felt fine and have continued to feel fine; no notable side effects. The plan that my reproductive endocrinologist determined is I take the pill before bed each night and then get blood work around every 3 weeks.

I started the medication on day 2 of my cycle and (as expected) that cycle did not lead to pregnancy. I am now waiting for those blood results (measured on cycle day 3) to come in so we can see if I am on the correct dose, if my levels are being properly suppressed, or if not I will need a higher dosage of the medication. I am praying it helps, but I am not confident it will, given I already have ovulatory cycles without the medications (and the major mechanism it works by is suppressing levels enough to cause ovulation in anovulatory women).

I have not been in the best place mentally. This past cycle was cycle 12 TTC. I think it hit me in some way that I’m really, clinically infertile now. I’ve felt like this for a long time, but now I can say I’ve tried for 12 cycles and it didn’t work (to be considered medically infertile you have to have unprotected intercourse for a year if you are under 35). I’ve been feeling an even bigger sense of hopelessness. Due to my complex endocrine issues, for years I have considered that I may have fertility issues, but I never understood the dark cloud that consumes you when you are in it. Honestly, I feel like I’m trying so hard, and I can’t even picture seeing those two amazing, life-changing pink lines staring back at me.

I know it makes no sense because I’ve only recently begun treating this medically, but I really feel like I will never be able to create, carry, hold a precious child that is our own and it breaks my heart. This journey is wearying. I feel like I have spent the last year (but also several years preparing my body in attempts to regulate it because I knew I wanted a baby so much; working hard to heal from my amenorrhea which I did but even that took a long time to figure out; reading TCOYF a few times learning about cycles and charting my own before I had even had sex and I was in awe of my body whenever it ovulated; there was the hope after so many years of being told I had a f’ed up endocrine system that maybe someday my body could have a baby. And that was beautiful and what I wanted more than anything.), running after and hoping after this goal that my heart holds so dearly, and I have continued to fail.

I realized recently that so much of my life consists of decisions related to TTC (from what and when I eat, to how I spend money, to the supplements and vitamins I consume, to the exercise I do or don’t do, to my sleep schedule, my temperature charts and OPKs, even the products I put in my hair!). I don’t hope much anymore, but each month we time things perfectly and then I have that little glimmer of hope in my heart “what if this is it?” I have a post ovulation ritual of calculating my potential due date (and it always seems like the absolute perfect time to have a baby); and of course going to Whole Foods to pick up my organic implantation pineapple and rationing it into perfect sections core and all trying to get my uterus ready to implant our baby. Then I wait, analyze my temp charts, and pray. And hope a little bit. And then my temps drop after 11-12 days or so and I bleed. Every. Single. Time. And I feel like my heart bleeds too. My heart beats and loves with a mother’s heart and so much love for my future babies. And I am not able to hold or know them yet. Being a mommy is what I want more than any other thing in this world.

So often lately I have had dagger in my heart moments related to this. Just a few are when I was at my sister in laws house celebrating her son’s 2nd birthday- she also has a 5 month old. And her sister starts talking about her own pregnancy. Moments like that make me feel like a freak that my body can’t do what a woman’s body should be able to do so easily and I do everything right- and I’m only 27 (or 26 but I will be 27 next month)!! There have been so many pregnancy announcements lately on Facebook. One of my friends is having her third baby and she is younger than me. Another just had her second and I saw a post of someone congratulating her mother on being a grandmother again. I am not close to those people anymore. I cannot be close to people with children because it hurts my heart so much because they have what my heart so longs for and I cannot have. This journey has brought out a bitter side of me that I did not know I had.  I am in my cousin’s wedding in 3 months; she is a dear friend to me… but I was thinking  today about how upsetting it would be if they get knocked up before us… I am the oldest grandchild I have this dream of bringing the first great-grandchild of our beloved grandparents into the family (and even have the dream of giving our son Grandpa’s name as his middle name) and I just cringe at that thought of her being the one to do it, when we have been trying longer! It’s hard to open up, but when I do to people not dealing with infertility, most people just say hurtful things like “it’s not God’s will” or I’m not trusting Him enough.

Even today in church we saw this couple around our age sitting in front of us. They had a beautiful daughter who looked around 2 and it was clear that the mother was expecting again. The little girl sat between both parents and looked into our row and smiled and waved at us. In the past I would have loved interacting with this precious child. I smiled and waved back but it tore up my heart; because what I’d give to have a little girl. Then she turned around and gave her mother a kiss and gave a goldfish cracker to her daddy. Sometimes I cry out to God, but sometimes that hurts too much. Because I feel like this might be a sign of His disfavor in some regard. And because I know He can change this so easily. But he doesn’t.

Maybe the Lord is trying to get me to trust Him more. It’s been a very hard few weeks, but I think I need to just get on my knees even though I have nothing to say. I can just tell Him “I am yours and you are sovereign”… though that hurts right now. Lately I have felt like giving up. I realized that I gave up exercise around Thanksgiving and have not gotten pregnant. A part of me is thinking about not trying as hard; loosening up on my TTC protocol that has not doing anything. Maybe working out a bit again to see if it helps me to cope better with this would help. The last few months I have not been doing any more physical activity than walking (cutting back from almost every day doing high intensity workouts either running or at the gym), and I’m still not pregnant and I miss it and think that giving up on this no exercise thing might be a nice diversion…