Saturday, November 26, 2011

I just can't do it today...

I'm supposed to be on my way to the last of five Thanksgiving dinners that DH and I were to attend. Supposed to be... I thought I could do it. I even made my cheesecake last night and was going to put the hash brown casserole in the oven this morning.

I got up like any other Saturday morning and went to the gym at 9:30, had a great time and was in a pretty good mood. When I got to the car and checked my phone, I had a text from my mom, "Hey, just a heads-up, your cousin "R" may be coming with her new little boy. Just didn't want it to catch you off guard. Love you." I guess that's what turned my day. Now let me explain, I couldn't tell you the last time I saw R and had no idea she was pregnant. I believe this is her third. I wasn't too excited about going anyway, but that kind of sealed it for me.

We've held it together pretty good this week through the other four dinners but I knew this one would be rough. My mom is one of six kids and all of them have several kids each. Which translates into alot of cousins with a lot of little kids. If I've counted right there will be at least a dozen kids about 6 and under there today. At least half of whom have been born since we've been ttc. (There are more than that in the family, but they won't be there today). Two cousins and my sister have one year olds and my sister is pregnant again. I don't think alot of the family knows that so I'm sure they'll find out today.

I text my mom back and just said "Thanks Mom, but I don't think we're coming. I just can't do it today." I was a little worried she'd be upset but she was supportive and just said, "Ok honey, do you want me to let you know if she's not there?" I just said no, that we weren't really up to it either way.

I can't take the pictures with grandpa showing four generations. I can't take the discussions about who's kid is walking and who said their first words. I can't take the pregnancy announcement again. I can't take all the adorable little kids running around having fun and getting in trouble.

The question comes up, "What's new with you guys?" What are we going to have to share... The child that should be at this dinner with us? Our next IVF cycle? How we've been saving money for months years in order to have another chance at what you so easily achieved?

My grandpa is in from out of town and I haven't seen him in months - I feel guilty. Why is this so hard? I know we did the right thing for us and I'm glad we didn't put ourselves in that position, but it makes me crazy.

I'm trying to think of something for DH and I to do... maybe we'll catch a college basketball game tonight. I wan't to do something fun and get out of the house. I feel worse when I just sit here... I need a little distraction sometimes...

Does this ever get any easier?

Friday, November 25, 2011

My First Award!!

Given to me by Cristy at Searching For Our Silver Lining! Thank you!!                           

Liebster is a German word meaning dearest, and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers 
with less than 200 followers.
Here are the rules:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!

The 5 Blogs below are the ones that I want to pass this award onto:
BW at Mummy, are we there yet?
Ally at Praying for a Pregnancy
Lady Bug at My Journey to Conception
Emily at A Blanket to Keep
Megan at Infertile Myrtle  (I know you have alot of followers but I like your blog!) :-)

Much love ladies and thanks again Cristy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First ICLW

So I'm still pretty new to the whole blogging world and this is my first ICLW... I love it!

It's so nice to be able to connect with other women in this community, share our stories and in turn, hopefully bring a little encouragement to each others lives. I've been so busy trying to comment and find new blogs to follow that I hadn't taken the time to post myself!

When I finally decided to start a blog, my original intention was to send a link to some friends and family members and use it as a tool to tell them about what we had been through. Very few know the details of our situation, and even fewer know that we did IVF. The more I thought about it, I didn't send that link out because I knew I would forever have to be careful and censor what I wrote on here.

After my first couple of posts, I quickly realized that this would be an avenue for me to express my true feelings. As I started getting my first comments I understood how powerful this could become. For me, blogging was not about telling family and friends our story, that can come later. This is about community. It's those of us who are part of a club we never would've asked to join, but trying to make the best of it anyway. We don't even like the criteria for membership, but the shoe fits. Sharing our feelings, the good days and the bad, and reaching out to those around us to lend a helping hand through a difficult time in their lives.

I've realized through my own journey that no matter where you are in life, there is always someone out there who can use your help. Be ready. Listen. Support. Care. Reach out. Be the person for someone else that you need someone to be for you... it will come back around.

Thanks to all of you who have visited my blog and those who have commented. It's already making a difference in my life after only a few short weeks.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Holidays Start Today

Well today marks the unofficial start to the Holiday Season in our family. DH's family is big and everyone gathers at Grandma's on Thanksgiving Day. So big that we may barely see or speak to his parents and sister since there are so many people there. In turn, his mom decided to have Thanksgiving Dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving so that we can all spend time together.

Don't get me wrong, I love his family and we all get along great. And this will actually be one of the easiest dinners we attend (his sister started having kids before we got married). But it's still the beginning of a season that I'm not quite ready for.

I just can't help remembering that this time last year we were just beginning our first IVF cycle and were due to start our shots Thanksgiving week. Even with the huge unknown that it represented, it brought with it a level of excitement we had long been missing. We dreamed about how it would be the last Holidays with just the two of us and how different things would be this year. Thanksgiving dinners were hard last year, but they were just a little easier with the special little secret that we shared (gotta get home to get the shot done on time). What an exciting time it was!

Things are different this year, but certainly not in a way that we expected. More family members are pregnant (again), and we'll be joining the Thanksgiving Feast with just two (again). We'll put our strong faces on this year too and try to make the most of it.

Who knows what emotions tomorrow will bring but I guess we'll just wait and see... Waiting is something we're all accustomed to by now! Stirrup Queens had a great post the other day about getting through the holidays . Check it out if you have a chance. I know I picked up some great tips from her list.

Best of luck to you all as the holiday season rolls upon us!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dear Similac

Maybe some of you can relate to this as well...

Dear Similac,
I was having a perfectly "fine" day until I came home and checked my mail. As I opened the mailbox, the contents nearly fell into the road because there was little room for them after the box of formula samples you sent me. Now I've gotta tell you, this is not the first disturbing delivery I've received from you, I receive your coupons on a regular basis. I'm not even sure how I ended up on your list.

However, the problem is that I don't need your coupons or your samples. You see, back in February we suffered a miscarriage. I'm sure that our baby would've loved your wonderful product and I would've appreciated the coupons. On several occasions, I've thought about writing you to ask you to please take me off your mailing list because it still hurts to receive these items. Then I wonder about the future and think "maybe someday we'll want to receive these things again..." and then I'm a mess.

I'm sure your deliveries are normally received with great pleasure by it's recipients. But I just wanted to bring to your attention that there are those of us out there who dread them. We understand that things don't always work out how they should.

Maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive, but it still hurts, almost 9 months later.

P.S. This goes for you too Baby Talk Magazine, Enfamil and Pampers!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hope Deferred

Proverbs 13:12 - Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope deferred has been the story of our lives for the last four years (we're still waiting on that "desire fulfilled" part). In July of 2007 we decided that we were ready to start our family. Neither of us were in a big hurry so when things didn't happen immediately, we weren't too concerned. About a year and a half into it, we followed up with my gynecologist who ordered some tests but didn't seem too concerned.

We began to really feel the effects of infertility in 2009. Everyone around us seemed to have no trouble starting or growing their families. Friends, family, people at work... the list just kept growing, but our names weren't on it. Every time someone else made an announcement, the obvious question followed... "when are you guys going to have kids?" While meant innocently, it was salt in a wound for us. Those emotions flood in every time the pregnancy announcement is for someone other than you. It's happened more times than I care to count in the last four years. We waited and prayed, thinking that it was bound to happen eventually.

2010 followed in that same pattern and we realized that we had to do what we could. During that year, we asked our doctor to refer us to an infertility specialist. We were given three names but quickly realized that we were at the right place with the first one we visited. In a world where we had no idea what to expect or even what to ask, these people were angels! Once we got the ball rolling there we both felt we were on the right track. It took a while to come to grips with the fact that this is where life led us, but with a slight delay during the summer due to a car accident Fourth of July weekend, we continued moving forward towards IVF. We had been through so much and waited so long, we were ready to move forward.

This time last year we were starting the process and things progressed along quite well. At the same time every evening DH would faithfully give me shots (I was too wimpy to do it myself); we were so excited at the thoughts of what this could bring! Doctor's appointments followed, typically 1-2 times a week, to make sure everything was going as planned. A week before Christmas we had our transfer and that started the longest two weeks of our lives. Two healthy embryos were transferred back to us and the rest was out of our hands. It would be two weeks before we knew if the transfer was successful but those fourteen days, while scary, were some of the best days we'd had in a long time... this might be our long time dream fulfilled!

On January 3 we went for bloodwork for our pregnancy test and within a few hours received the best news we'd ever heard... the words, "You're pregnant!!!" Words cannot describe the pure joy that came over us in that moment. The nurse on the other end of the phone kept talking but neither of us could remember much of what she said because we were both crying and laughing by then. We quickly started making phone calls to the few people who knew so we could share our news with them. While we wanted to shout it from the rooftops, we waited until our first ultrasound to start telling other people. Our entire life was turned upside down as we started looking at nursery decor, paint colors, etc. and were finally able to walk into Babies-R-Us with a smile instead of avoiding it like the plague as we had for so long.

After several appointments with the specialist, everything looked great and we had been released to go back to our regular doctor. Of course, I scheduled that appointment for the end of February and couldn't wait for it to get here. Sadly, we never made it to that appointment. On February 21st, I started to have some pain and cramping and immediately called the doctor. They advised me to take it easy and stay off my feet but to call if I didn't get any better. By the next day I was worse so they got me in for an ultrasound where our worst fears were confirmed. I don't remember much of what the doctor said that day except the haunting words, "I can't find a heartbeat." The next days and weeks were just a blur as reality began to sink in. After everything we'd been through already, I never imagined that this would happen to us. It wasn't a thought that had even entered my mind. We had come so far!

I know some of you reading this may have different emotions and opinions about our choices. Maybe you've faced similar things in your life and you can relate to us. Maybe you haven't and you question the choices we made and think, "I would never do that." Let me share one thing I've learned in the last few years, you don't know what you'd do in someone else's situation because you've never been in their shoes.

There are some of you that know us but had no idea about any of this. It's been a long hard struggle for us and a very personal one as I'm sure you can imagine. We made the decision early on to only tell a very few people that were closest to us. It was the safest thing to do. And while we don't regret that decision, we both feel that moving forward we'll approach it a little differently. People struggling with infertility need a voice. They need an advocate. They need a shoulder to lean on. What if that awareness starts with us?

I'm sure that this post will get some people talking, and maybe that's a good thing. Educating and making people aware is the first step towards changing things and bringing this disease out of the shadows. I guess that's the whole point of this post and hopefully this blog. If our story can help a few other people, create awareness, open minds and plant a seed of hope then we've succeeded.

Here's hoping for better things ahead...