Two years, two months, 17 days

Migration on the Eastern Shore

Migration on the Eastern Shore

Two years, two months, 17 days. This is the amount of time it took to see a positive pregnancy test. Hundreds of negative tests, thousands of tears. Countless hours spent wondering about the future, unsure if I would ever be where I am today. Many people have been in that dark place for much longer, or dealt with much worse. And many are still there.

After everything, it is hard to believe it is real. Have I graduated from this club that no one wants to belong to? Did I sneak out the back door in the nick of time? Now that the reality of being pregnant has really sunk in, I’ve been wondering where my voice fits in. I feel so connected to the emotions of others who are going through what I went through, but does my pregnancy status only cause pain in this community?

What I’ve ultimately decided is that infertility is such a huge part of me and my life experience, and it would feel disingenuous to just leave this all behind. Blogging help me immensely during my darkest times, and the support I’ve found here is amazing. I want to continue telling my story – hopefully a happier chapter. If you find hope from my infertility journey, please continue to follow me and share your story with me. But if reading my pregnancy updates causes you pain or makes your journey more difficult, I will completely understand if you choose to no longer follow.

A Plea for Compassion

Beautiful wildflower

Beautiful wildflower in bloom

A few days before Christmas last year, I got a call from my brother in the middle of the night. I’m thankful every day that I woke up and answered.  He told me that he didn’t trust himself and that he was going to pack some things and check himself into the hospital. I talked to him until he made it to the psychiatric ward, and then called my parents to make a plan. What followed were some very rough months for our family, trying to understand how he got to that point, and how to help him. My brother has dealt with depression for quite some time, but this was a new low — what I hope was rock bottom.

I think about my brother and that phone call every day. When suicide is in the news like it has been recently with Robin Williams’ death, people come out of the woodwork with their opinions. I understand suicide is a charged topic, and everything from religion, to family values, to personal experience helps to shape your feelings. While I don’t kid myself that I’m offering anything new to the conversation, I just want to stand up and be counted on the side of compassion. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand my brother’s depression, but I know that he is a good person and deserves love and happiness. He is intelligent, loyal, hilarious, creative, spontaneous, full of life, and has so much to offer this world. From the outside, you would never guess he struggles with depression. He deserves to live in a world where mental illness is understood for what it is — an illness — not a personal weakness or shortcoming.

Finding out how alone and desperate my brother was feeling made me realize that you never know what someone else is going through. My family is very close, but he was able to hide these feelings from all of us until it was almost too late. He is feeling better now, thanks to therapy, medicine, support from family and friends, and lifestyle changes, but I know that there is always a risk of him falling back into that dark place.

Instead of seeing people call Robin Williams selfish and blame his suicide on addiction, my wish is for people to have compassion and realize that someone you love may also be in a dark place and feeling like they don’t have any options. Instead of broadcasting your hatred and judgement, offer up your love and support. Your compassion goes a lot further than your hate.

 

IUI Swan Song

Goodnight NYC

Goodnight NYC

I’m writing from my hotel in NYC. Check out my beautiful view! Today we had what will be our last IUI. If we aren’t successful, we’ll take a little break and then start IVF in the fall. We found out yesterday that because of hubby’s low morphology on two semen analyses, our insurance will allow us to move forward with IVF before completing our required six IUIs.

I’m feeling good about the cycle, and know we’re finishing up this phase of treatment on a high note.  I had two mature follicles and hubby’s count was the best yet at 17 million post-wash. My lining was 8.25, by far the thickest yet, meaning the switch to injectables did the trick.

If this doesn’t work, we’ll at least feel like we gave it our best effort and will be ready to move forward. But for now I’m feeling hopeful!

 

Missing What I’ve Never Had

You were in my dream last night, little one. I’ve had many dreams where I’m anticipating your arrival and know you’re growing inside me. But this time, you were a toddler — a boy — curly-haired and full of energy and wonder. We were playing by a lake, and you dropped your toy into the water. I jumped in to fish it out for you while you stood on the dock and giggled at me. We each got a cone of ice cream — soft serve, vanilla and chocolate swirl. Daddy called and we told him how much fun we were having. We were at a place that I’ve never been before, yet it seemed so familiar to me. When I woke up, I felt a real loss. How could you not be real? I can no longer picture your face, but I won’t forget how happy I felt spending the day with you in my dream.

Sunset from the dock

Sunset from the dock

Day 8 Update

At my day 8 appointment for ultrasound and bloodwork my follicles hadn’t grown much from day 6. They were at 12.5, 3 at 11, and one at 10. My E2 came back at only 44 (way down from 150 on day 6). My nurse said this is because they decreased my dosage and it will go back up once it is increased again. Anyone else had this happen? I’ve read that it isn’t a good sign for this cycle.

I’m back up to 50 iu Gonal f last night and tonight and then back to monitor tomorrow morning. The nurse practitioner who did my scan said that they’re still concerned about too many follicles at this point (5), so they don’t want to bump up the dosage too much. And my cyst is still hanging around, but not getting any larger. 😦

The plan is to enjoy a glass of wine on the back deck and then head to sushi with my hubby tonight to try get our minds off this cycle. Can’t complain about this view with the blooming trees!

Backyard in bloom

Backyard in bloom

Keeping Busy in the Two Week Wait, Part Deux

Last IUI cycle, I had grand plans of keeping busy in the TWW. I did a pretty good job of distracting myself, and when my period started, I didn’t feel like my world was crashing. This time around, I’ve let myself slip a bit and have found myself in that dark place once again. Time to revisit all the things I should be doing instead of obsessing!

Working Out/Reading
I’ve been struggling to keep up with working out lately. I stopped running in May and I miss it a lot. My nurse advised that I take it easy with my workouts and said that running in the summer heat would not be great during our treatments. Instead, I started working out on our elliptical. I was doing ok for a while, but then got bored with it. If I’m being totally truthful, I’ve just been slacking and using our treatments as an excuse. I MUST get back into the swing of things, for my physical and mental health! I’ve been slacking on my reading, too. I finished The Fault in Our Stars over the Fourth of July. It was a good, quick read, but grab your tissues! My brother-in-law is an author and I’m currently reading the beta version of his second novel. You can check out his first novel, Earthman Jack vs. The Ghose Plant here. It’s an entertaining read – sort of like Harry Potter meets Star Wars. If you’re into young adult Sci-Fi, definitely check it out!

Earthman Jack and The Ghost Planet

Earthman Jack and The Ghost Planet

Framing
I made some progress on my framing projects. I updated the travel photos in the frames in our guest bedroom, and also hung the wall gallery in our upstairs hallway. I ordered some prints for those frames, and now I just have to pick the ones I like best and put them in the frames. Here are some pictures of the progress.

Frame gallery sans photos

Frame gallery sans photos

Frames in our guest bedroom

Frames in our guest bedroom

Gardening
This year was supposed to be the year I honed my green thumb. This has been a pretty major fail, as our garden in the backyard is a mess. My pappy was an amazing gardener and I have really happy memories of summers picking sweet corn and raspberries, and getting to choose my own pumpkin in the fall. Maybe gardening is a good retirement hobby? 🙂 BUT, I did manage to grow this beauty! I experimented with Dahlia bulbs in the spring and they are finally blooming. Our Crape Myrtle tree is also in blooming and looking beautiful.

Beautiful dahlia in my garden

Beautiful Dahlia in my garden

Crape Myrtle in full bloom

Crape Myrtle in full bloom

More QT with my Furry Friends
How can you be sad when you have these two cuties to hang out with? My parents dog is visiting again while they are on vacation. So fun to have two pups in the house!

Little T and Big T

Little T and Big T

Travel Planning
One big win in my book – I’ve finishing planning our trip to Scotland and Ireland! I’m really looking forward to getting away and spending time with family without the burden of fertility treatments. We’re spending time in Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, and the Isle of Skye, before traveling to Dublin to see Penn State play their season opener at Croke Park. My dad, husband, and I are all alums and it will be great to experience this game together! I’m not pregnant by then, there will be many whiskys and beers to sample!

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland (click for photo credit)

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland (click for photo credit)