Stronger

I’m at 7 DPO and I think my progesterone has been trying to ruin my life!!!! Not really but my mood has been down the last few days. I’ve been having “Why Days”. Why me? Why can’t it be easy? Why did we wait so long? Why can’t I just move on? Why am I allowing this to affect my marriage? But last night while watching the Biggest Loser, a contestant said something that clicked for me. They showed his story. His wife was diagnosed with cancer after two months of marriage. She basically fought cancer their entire marriage and eventually she lost her battle. He discussed how, indeed, his story has been tough but then he said, “You have to be stronger than your story.” WOW!!!! Isn’t that exactly what life is about? There probably isn’t a person out there who hasn’t faced something tough. Some of us face things that are more tough than others but we all have hardships. We all struggle. And we all rise up and are stronger than our story or whatever crappy hand we were dealt. And when you don’t think you have it, you somehow find that strength.¬†

I pray that my blog friends who are facing a failed IVF, IUI, or cycle or a loss (whether it was your first or 10th) can hold on through this pain. You are strong. And you will find a way to be stronger than your story. Thinking of all of you ūüôā

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One Giant Leap and Positive OPK

I don’t know if I’ve expressed on this blog how the issues with my husband’s family were weighing on me and affecting my marriage. I got some good advice over the weekend which made me decide that I needed to move forward on this. It was such good advice that I’m going to share it here. This was from a wife of one of my husband’s friends. We have never really had much in common and it’s always been superficial conversations between us. But this weekend we went to visit and I think it was a God-send that we did. Here are the high points:

  • I can’t control the sperm count, I can’t control my fertility and uterus but I can control the stress that this conflict has been causing both me and my husband. Not to mention my marriage.¬†
  • While they are totally wrong and should be the ones to make the big or first move, I have to be the bigger person because they aren’t emotionally equipped to handle these types of situations. I shouldn’t have to but I’m stronger in this area that I can do it.¬†
  • Maybe I was put in this family to help them become better at dealing with these issues and also to bridge the gap that their lack of communication creates in the family. (ie. My husband didn’t know his did was having surgery until the day before. His mom thought he was mad and then his dad told him. etc) And maybe I was put in this family to become stronger.

I know you can spin a situation however you want to but these were really eye opening for me. So I took a GIANT, GIANT step and I had a talk with my sister-in-law. We spoke about my issues with her and both of our feelings about her pregnancy occurring close to my miscarriage (She didn’t want to be a reminder of what I lost and I didn’t want to be a reminder of what could go wrong). She agreed that she should have been more supportive and genuinely seemed remorseful. I felt validated and supported. She was interested in our infertility journey and my grief. I told her what I need from her and she agreed to word towards this. I also agreed to discussed my issues with her at the time rather than isolate myself. I gave her a gift for my niece.¬†

It’s like a weight has been lifted. I was brave despite being scared. I was strong despite feeling weak. I was the bigger person and it paid off. And I can already tell my husband is feeling less stressed. I’m not going to lie and say there won’t be hard times as I try to support her during the remainder of her pregnancy but I’m going to at least try and not isolate myself.¬†

And we had a clearly obvious positive OPK and a possible temperature shift. We decided to keep on trying and hoping and praying for the best. If not, we have answers that we can continue to work on.

Miscarriage

So I said I’d write a separate about my insomniac thoughts on miscarriage.¬†

This is the Merriam-Webster definition of what a miscarriage is.

mis·car·riage

noun¬†\ňĆmis-ňąker-ij, -ňąka-rij,¬†ňąmis-ňĆ\

medical : a condition in which a pregnancy ends too early and does not result in the birth of a live baby

 

That’s fine and all but really? 20 words is all we get? That’s not acceptable to me.¬†

Miscarriage is a physical and emotional experience. The physical part is usually pretty straightforward; the fetus leaves your body before viability. It’s the emotional part of a miscarriage that is hard to put into words. At least in a concise fashion.¬†

The physical part of my miscarriage was over July 19, 2013. The emotional part of my miscarriage is just down waning at 6 months later. I do know that I took my miscarriage pretty hard and maybe others don’t experience the emotional aspect for 6 months but I know a lot of women who do.¬†

There are approximately 180 days in 6 months. I probably think about my miscarriage 100 times a day at least. That’s close to 20,000 thoughts about this experience. That’s a significant number. It’s definitely more than you can put into 20 words. These thoughts have consisted of me questioning, trying to accept, questioning again, wondering what it would be like if I hadn’t miscarried, wondering why people can’t be supportive, why should I feel ashamed to tell people about this, why are people close to me acting like it didn’t happen, will I ever be a mom, what’s wrong with my body, what’s wrong with my mind, why am I being punished, do I have the strength, is this going to break my marriage, is this going to break me, why was I so unlucky, and you get the picture. You’ve been there.¬†

Do you feel like this major, significant life event is not given the credit it should have? To me it deserves more than 20 words. To me it changed my world. Changed me completely. Changed my marriage. Changed my relationships. 

I said in a previous post that I am now feeling like the miscarriage is in my past and that I’m not living it day-to-day. The tears don’t come as easily but they still come. The thoughts are less frequent but they are still there. Miscarriage will always be a part of who I am and now that I’m feeling stronger I hope that I can help others and help bring to light that this is a life event that shouldn’t be swept under the rug. We need to support people who have gone through this because it is life changing.¬†

I prayed for strength and God has made me stronger despite evil trying to break me. I hope that anyone else who has gone through miscarriage can recognize their strength to move forward.

Insomnia Thoughts

So last night sleep was not happening. I don’t often have problems with insomnia but when I do it’s pretty much no sleep for the night. Once I realize it’s taking longer than usual to fall asleep, it seems like my mind starts racing. And racing it was last night. Miscarriage. Fertility or should I say infertility. Family. Future. Garden. Work. All of this racing through my mind.¬†

I will have a whole other post for my thoughts on miscarriage.

Infertility – Why is this even a thing? Why can’t it be easy for us like it is everyone else? I just want to be a momma, I never thought it’d be this hard. I understand how this statement might be perceived by some but I’m gonna type it anyway. After going through a miscarriage and infertility, I KNOW that when I eventually do become a momma, it will be an experience I will appreciate at a level that I would not have if I hadn’t gone through all of this. I will love my baby like I wouldn’t have been able to before. I know people who haven’t gone through this love and appreciate their children but motherhood following miscarriage and infertility will be different. I will not take it for granted. I will thank God for the good, the bad, and the ugly.¬†

Family – Even though things have been much better since I went to the in-law’s Christmas, I still can’t open myself up to these people. I find myself thinking, “If they couldn’t be there for me and support me during my darkest days, then why should they get to celebrate the good days.” I understand this is my husband’s family but the wound is deep and still healing. If I were to become pregnant this cycle, I don’t know that I would want them involved. Any advice or words of wisdom? Also, I went shopping for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. I won’t be attending the shower but I did want to give her a gift. I got a set of 5 onesies that are adorable. It was really hard to shop in the baby section…..

Future – Will I ever be a mom? I it isn’t work out, where does that leave me? What happens? If I do get pregnant and have a healthy baby, will getting pregnant again be this hard? I don’t know how much of this I can handle!

Garden – With the summer off, I’m planning things to keep me busy. The original plan was I’d be with the baby all summer but we know how that worked out. I am planning two raised beds with plenty of veggies. My husband and I will be ordering the seeds tonight!!

Work – Work is going great. Couldn’t ask for better. So here’s my Silver Lining. I’m extremely lucky to be employed and to do something I love. Work with children!

You Were Right!

So quick update. I had a doctor appointment scheduled for a TB test and physical for my new job. Well after the suggestions I got from you lovely ladies, I decided to have her look at the TSH. I didn’t know the number when my doctor called but it was a 4.29. From what I’ve read, another over 2.0 can play a role in infertility. BINGO. Well actually I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high that this is our magic fix but I do think it’s a step in the right direction. I’m starting¬†levothyroxine tomorrow. The symptoms I can attribute to hypothyroidism is fatigue, hair loss (came out in handfuls right after the miscarriage and has steadily since), depression, constipation, dry skin, and irregular periods. I’d say my mood changes are my biggest concern. There seems to be a pattern that within a couple of days following ovulation (or mid-cycle for anovulatory cycles), I become depressed, hopeless, and feel like I don’t want to keep trying on this journey. There’s a lot of “why me’s” and “this isn’t fair”. My husband, bless his stinkin’ heart, noticed a pattern a while back but it’s hard to argue with me when I’m down that road. Once I start my period I’m back to my old self; hopeful, positive, and stable.¬†

I said I wasn’t going to track this cycle but I broke down and did OPK’s. I had faint positive’s but never a true positive. If we didn’t get lucky this cycle, I’m going to follow up with the doctor about treatment options. And I think that I’ve decided that if we aren’t pregnant by June, I will ask for a referral to a specialist. We still need to do the semen analysis but after paying all the bills earlier this week, I decided that we will wait on the outcome for this cycle before we get that done. I hope we don’t have to but I have a feeling we will. At least we will have that information!

So thank you to anyone who gave me advice and encouraged me to ask more questions. 

Miscarriage and Infertility are Expensive!!!

So while I’ve made a lot of progress, I did have a meltdown yesterday.¬†

There are still bills for the pregnancy/miscarriage that hadn’t gone through insurance properly so I just got them settled and paid them. And it was tough. Over a year ago, when I knew I was going to be quitting my job, I started saving money in a Health Savings Account. I had a fair amount of money in there that were to help with the pregnancy and delivery. Well needless to say, it’s been completely wiped out by the bills from the miscarriage and the fertility testing. It was so frustrating that I worked hard to save that money and it went to things I had not intended it to go to. It was another reminder that this journey hasn’t gone as planned and that I am not in control. But I wiped my tears and found comfort in my husband’s embrace.¬†

Now on to the fertility testing. I had cycle day 3 labs a couple of days before Christmas. My doctor called me a few days ago and told me that every thing was in the “perfect and fertile” range. She did say my TSH indicated some possible, mild hypothyroidism. She said she would refer me if I wanted but didn’t think it was necessary. We still need to complete the semen analysis and I did have a normal cycle last cycle so I decided to wait and keep trying, as well as get the results from the SA. Getting this news was good but then I got home to the bill. I just about died. It came to a grand total of $1500. FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!!! I absolutely could not believe it!!! I knew it would be expensive but I was NOT expecting that. And because I am on a student insurance plan that doesn’t cover infertility, it was ALL out of pocket.¬†

My journey to motherhood has been the completely opposite of what I expected and dreamed of. But I’m still on the journey and I’m thankful I am able to afford these expenses and not go without. And to get the news that everything seems to be favorable for pregnancy and to have a normal cycle, well I just don’t have too much to complain about. Money is just paper.

Checking In

Things have been better. I’ve been feeling more hopeful and less depressed. Maybe I’m starting to come out of this fog. I have been keeping up with all the blogs I follow, your stories mean so much to me, as does your support.¬†

I’ve been thinking lately that up until this point in my life, I haven’t truly appreciate life and the moments that are important. Thus far in my life I’ve just been living to the next goal, checking events off my life to-do list but never really living in the moment. I always have my next move planned. Maybe it’s age or it’s the miscarriage and reality check from life but I want to look back and be able to say I lived in the moment. That I breathed in the life of each situation I was in. Good and bad because you have to take the good with the bad. I went to a concert with my husband and some friends over the weekend. At one point I just looked around, looked at my husband, took note at how amazingly lucky I am. For many reasons. I had so much to be thankful for that night, as I do every day.¬†

For the last 4 months, the negative thinking has been my norm. I caught myself last week trying to have a positive thought but the negative just pushed it out. It’s like I’m the opposite of how I used to be. I used to be able to push those negative thoughts out and focus on the positive, hence my blog’s name. Now it’s like my mind can’t have a positive thought. I know this is grief and I have to grieve however I need to but I think I’m ready to take control back. To be able to say, “Yeah I got shitted on by life but I have a lot of other great things in my life.” And I’m even becoming more hopeful about becoming pregnant again. Maybe there is a reason I didn’t get pregnant right after the miscarriage. Maybe I needed to grieve so I would be ready. I don’t know but I’m ready to find the silver linings in my life again.

This week I see my doctor and I’m hopeful I’ll get some answers about what’s going on. I think knowing either way will be good but also living in the moment some more will be the best thing because I know I’ll be okay no matter what happens if I just focus on the present.¬†

10 Steps Back

So today sucked. No other way to put it. There were tears. There was hopelessness, wanting to shut everyone out, wanting to give up, and too many other things. Every time I feel like I’m starting to find solid ground, I’m knocked back down. I can’t remember how many times I’ve written that in this blog.¬†

Today I saw something that really spoke to me but I don’t know how to do it.

November 13

God loves you. And He knows the secrets of your heart.

But you’ve let the past come between you and God.

Turn the past over to Him. He is strong enough to take it.

Give Him your future, too. ¬†And He’ll make you strong enough to face it.

 

How do I let Him in? My past is part of me, how do I turn it over to Him? I have said before, I prayed for strength and He is making me strong (no matter how bad of a day it is). But some days I feel weaker than ever. My faith falters and I am not a good wife. I push my husband and others away. I’m afraid I’ll push too hard one day. But this experience is so lonely and I just want to protect myself.¬†

We Have A Record!!

So I went a whole week without crying! WOOHOO! Not that I’m not still sad and grieving, it just isn’t completely consuming my life. So that is my silver lining. Now I’m gonna get real.¬†

My week-long record was broken by some family drama. But I’ve set my limits and this has helped so much. The drama basically revolves around the fact that I have supported my in-laws in every way possible for the more than 8 years I’ve been with my husband. There have been things along the way that bothered me but I just saw past it in order to keep the peace. Well I got very little support from them after the miscarriage and it’s even more complicated by the fact that I got a text that my sister-in-law was pregnant hours after my doctor confirmed my miscarriage. No one knew at that time because my husband wanted to wait to tell everyone so this is not an issue on their end, even though the timing was terrible and was a connection I had to work through. (But isn’t every mention of pregnancy kind of a kick to the gut? Dang it!) Anyway, I worked through it and was able to open communication about the issue with my sister-in-law. I sent a text. I got no reply until more than 4 days later. And that text contained an excuse that she was vomiting and that’s why she didn’t reply. Who uses a pregnancy symptom as an excuse not to reply to my text about my miscarriage for four days? So that’s where my limits come in to play. I’ve been able to deal with things in the past but this is not something I can overlook. I have decided that right now, due to finishing school and continuing to try to get pregnant, that I don’t need any added stress. I feel like I’m not worth enough for them to support when I needed it the most and that hurts more than anything. So I have requested space and am carrying on with my days not focusing on this. I have been doing much better since but the holidays bring about a whole set of issues with this. We are visiting my mother in Alabama for Christmas so this helps but Thanksgiving will likely be stressful. It’s too bad that sometimes family issues cause the holidays to be a source of stress.¬†

Anyway, the continued silver lining is that my husband is standing by my side. I have not kept him from interacting with his family, as I would never do that but he is standing by my decision to have space and continue through my grief without added stress. I wish I never had to face these situations but like the counselor said, miscarriage and grief is now a part of me and these are the things that come with it. “There are pages where it hurts to look…” This is a song lyric I often think about. Hopefully this time is only a couple pages out of my book.¬†

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

I am out for this cycle, my 3rd cycle post-miscarriage. (So much for being more fertile after a miscarriage right?) Anyway, this cycle was an emotional nightmare for me which prompted me to make an appointment with a therapist. I don’t know if it’s the progesterone, the grief, or all of it together but I hit pretty close to rock bottom. Good thing it’s still allergy season here in Kansas so I could blame the puffy face and watery eyes on that.¬†

As I continue to read the blogs of others, I begin realize my distress about not being (successfully) knocked up yet may be irrational. We are nearing the 9th month (I could have a baby by now!!!!) and 12th cycle since beginning this journey. Others have struggled for YEARS and had multiple losses. Who am I to complain. Well there is a piece of the puzzle missing. Something no one in my life but my husband and best friend realize. 

When I got married I was right in the middle of a master’s program. Right as soon as we married, baby fever hit and I was desperate to be pregnant. My husband, the always level-headed, rational person he is, thought we should wait. So every month we would have the same scripted argument. “I really, really, reallllllly want a baby. Let’s wait Alexis.” So I waited. And waited. And waited. Graduation came and went. It was now, “Let’s get settled. Let’s work on us. Let’s not fight so much.” The ONLY thing we fought about was this disagreement!!! So I kept waiting. And waiting. Desperate the whole time. And then I decided to go back to school. So we waited. Eventually I think my husband began to realize the emotional toll this was taking on me and my feelings towards him and the marriage. I was becoming resentful because for 4 years, I wanted something more than I’ve ever wanted anything. And he was keeping me from it. I understand the need to make these decisions together but I think my sacrifice of 4 years was a little excessive. So we started trying in March so that if I were to conceive right away, it would be right after my graduation in December. HA! That really worked out.¬†

Anyway, back to the missing piece. While I am only on month 9, I feel like I’m on year 4 of this journey. I hope I don’t offend anyone with this statement but I truly feel like this is why I am having such a difficult time moving past the miscarriage. It felt like 4 years of hopes and dreams had been ripped from me. A slap in my face for sacrificing for the sake of my marriage. When I’m being really crazy, I think I should have just gotten pregnant behind his back. (What would he have done? Leave me? Don’t think so.) But I know that deep down I have more respect for my husband and my marriage. And that is not my character. So I am proud but still sad. The only good thing about the witch coming, is starting over. So cheers to starting over!