Thursday, 1 December 2016

New Site! Find me there!

So I'm finally making the changeover to a new site. Yay! I've loved this site, it gave me an outlet, a voice when I felt I had none, but the time has come to move away from the "Femme InFertile" name and embrace positivity. I AM fertile, I am more than my infertility, and I refuse to continue to let it define me. So in honour of our upcoming FET I really want to do away with any negative connotations and a fresh start with a new name felt like a perfect opportunity.

If you've been reading my blog you'll know I have a YouTube Channel, so this is really just linking it all together. I hope you'll continue to follow along with our journey over there! Thanks so much for joining us thus far!

https://liv4todaysite.wordpress.com/


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

YouTube Vlog

Hey guys, so as some of you know, I've been vlogging on my YouTube Channel so others can follow along with the journey. I still plan to write here now and then, but in terms of updates and what is happening on day to day, that's the best place to find me. It became a bit too much to do it all super consistently, but I do what I can. You can also find me on Instagram @liv4todayvlog !

Here are my three most recent videos:





Thursday, 24 November 2016

100th Post - Grateful for Infertility... Hear me out...


Wow... 100 posts. When I think about that number... and think about the span of time it covers, I feel slightly saddened. I had hoped by now I'd have welcomed a beautiful little baby of my own into this world. Or perhaps at least was expecting one soon! But here, 100 posts later, I'm not much further from where I started.

Infertility is an interesting beast. And I think "beast" is an appropriate word to describe it. It's scary, it's enormous, it's powerful in its own right, and it sure as heck is unpleasant. Odd thing is, I felt doomed to experience this path long before we started trying. I can't explain that adequately to those who've never had an overwhelming gut instinct or premonition about something. But I did, and it knocked me to the ground that day. Nonetheless, I could never have imagined how consuming it would really be. How crippling, how isolating, how devastating, and how utterly frustrating the experience would feel. I also never could have imagined how much I'd learn and grow in the process.

See today is U.S. thanksgiving, and in tradition I pause to reflect on what I'm most thankful for. This is one of the first years I can place infertility and grateful in the same sentence, because in a strange way, I AM grateful for my infertility. I am, and I mean that so truthfully. I wouldn't wish infertility on my worst enemy, and I sure as heck would like to come out the other side now, but what I have gained in the process I'd never want to take back.


I'm Grateful for Better Health
Since I can remember I've struggled with my health. I was chronically fatigued, major food sensitivities that came with bloating and constipation... I had insanely painful spells where I'd be on the bathroom floor sobbing dripping in sweat trying not to vomit from abdominal cramps. Normal painkillers wouldn't help... narcotics only slightly. I'd leave social engagements and be accused of being a hypochondriac or drama queen. Sadly, I was actually chronically ill, and it sucked. Only in my university years when I became sexual active and subsequently found that intercourse was painful for me, did a diagnosis of endometriosis get tossed around. Without an openness or willingness to have diagnostic surgery, I ignored it... hoped they were wrong, that it would simply go away or magically get better on it's on. When we started trying for a family and discovered it wasn't going to be easy for us, I finally opted to make the necessary lifestyle changes to up our odds. I sought out acupuncture, naturopathy, food intolerance testing, and made substantial changes to diet. Years into our fertility journey, during a routine biopsy cells indicative of endometriosis were found, and our suspicions officially confirmed. That was the moment I started taking it even more seriously. I followed up with allergy testing (spoiler alert - I'm allergic to everything), and started making my health a priority. Now, I'm more vibrant than I ever remember being. I have more energy, I have a better appetite and all around just feel MUCH healthier. I can't say I'd be here if it weren't for this journey.



I'm Grateful for Perspective & Empathy
Ignorance is bliss isn't it? When you aren't subjected to certain experiences in your time on earth, you have the privilege of turning a blind eye. You don't have to imagine what it would be like. You probably couldn't do justice in your imagination if you tried in most instances. Cancer? PTSD? Infertility? It may be surprising, or sound unjustified to put those three together, but many experienced psychologists have drawn comparisons between them. They break you down into little pieces, and its up to you to decide to fight through it or not.... whether or when and how you will try to put those pieces back together again. And trying doesn't always lead to success. Sometimes it's outside our control... outside our capabilities. Having gone through infertility, having experienced it personally, and deeply, I've gained a tremendous amount of perspective. All those questions I used to see as perfectly acceptable, no longer made sense to me. Flaunting my successes or happinesses on social media, not so satisfying knowing it could cause others pain. It doesn't just apply to infertility. I won't ask people the age old questions like "so when are you popping the question/getting married?" for how am I to know if marriage is something they even believe in, or want? "When are you going to start having kids!?" An infertile staple I've become so sensitive to from the personal experience of being there in that moment, at a party surrounded by people I don't know, trying to choke back the flood of tears boiling beneath the surface. I know how it feels to have to excuse myself early because I feel so embarrassed, so uncomfortable, so much a failure in society's eyes. In my own eyes. Instead, I choose to carry myself through those interactions and life with compassion, and without assumption.

Research has shown that women with infertility have the same levels of anxiety and depression as do women with cancer, heart disease and HIV+ status. While this may surprise some, it actually makes sense. Procreation is the strongest instinct in the animal kingdom. You are facing genetic and social pressure to have a baby. You are likely surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and a society who conceive easily. Infertility can be very lonely.


I could probably list others.... grateful for my relationship's truest test... and passing with flying colors! I am grateful for the community I've found in women going through infertility and the relationships forged in the trenches. I am grateful for my spiritual journey through which I've also learned that these lessons and this idea of gratitude extend beyond the boundaries of infertility. My mind and heart are so much more open than they used to be. If I could go back and magically change my journey would I? I'm not so sure anymore, because I wouldn't be where I am today, wouldn't be who I am today... and I happen to like the me I am.

To all of you out there still struggling with accepting your journey, still working through the pain, the depression, the sadness. Let yourself grieve. Love yourself. Take breaks. Remember you are MORE than your infertility. But above all, learn to be grateful. Learn to find gratitude in your life wherever you can find it. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be blessed with some positive shifts as a result.

Blessings to you all. And good luck ;) I know we could all use a little extra of that too!
Much love.
Liv

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

FET Cycle Underway

Usually when I start a new cycle I'm a mix of emotions. And don't get me wrong, this time is no exception, but the emotions themselves are a bit different this time around. Instead of fear and anxiety mixed with hopefulness and excitement, I'm mostly just excited and impatient. I just wanna get the cycle over with and have our results one way or the other so we can move on to the next step. Don't get me wrong, I'm also hopeful, but a lot of the fears I've had in the past are gone and I feel strangely at peace.

Yesterday was November 22nd... our baseline blood work appointment. 11/22! If you don't know us you'd have no idea just how significant that felt to us. Quick rundown... tons of birthdays in our families on those dates (ie. brother on 22nd, mom on 11th, Eric's sister on the 22nd etc etc.). We got engaged on the 11th, married on the 22nd. It's just ongoing in our lives. So the fact that we started this cycle on that date... well set me up to be so hopeful. I believe in signs, call me a kook but I do.


In complex trains of thought signs are indispensable.

- George Henry Lewes


Speaking of signs... I took it as a sign that I wasn't meant to have intralipids this time around given how much of a nightmare it was trying to get it approved. I literally wanted to pull my hair out (although it needs little help these days... seems to be falling out on its own with these meds. Eek. True story. But anyways, I tried and tried and tried but because we were out of state, and because this isn't a common thing it was just road block after road block. I was supposed to have my appointment on the 22nd and started trying to get it organized weeks in advance and just wasn't happening. Then I saw Dr. Braverman (a reproductive immunologist) on a forum talking about how he is probably going to be moving away from using them as treatment, so I took that as a sign that it just wasn't meant to be. It didn't help us last round so I'm sure it won't be the be all end all this round either.

So anyways, I went for blood work yesterday and that was all fine. Dealing with making sure the results are sent to my clinic on the other hand, a bloody nightmare. So not cool. So I spent hours on the computer going back and forth between clinics; "did you fax it?", "they're faxing it now", "did you receive it?", "they didn't receive it, did you fax it?", "they're faxing it again..." Seriously. It was ridiculous. Eventually they got them (right around 5pm which is absurd), and gave me the green light to start meds today, which is the 23rd.

This morning I took my first injection of Lovenox (I have generic enoxaparin, same thing), and that stung like no other. Small price to pay though... I can deal. I also started prednisone, vaginal viagra, and femara (letrozole), as well as continued on with my Lupron. Tonight Eric has to give me my delestrogen shot intramuscularly.


I'm praying for a Christmas miracle. Please let this be it for us. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

IVF a US vs. Canada Comparison

Undergoing IVF is no easy task. It is not only financially draining, but mentally/emotionally and perhaps most noticeably, physically as well. Each doctor, each clinic, is going to do things a little differently. Their processes will differ, so will their protocols... but overall IVF is IVF. Broadly looked at, we go through very similar experiences: injections, ultrasounds, egg collection etc. But when we narrow in, you'll often find each individual's journey is vastly different from the next. And I'm not only referring to how much medication is administered, how many days of injections there are, how many eggs are produced, or what fertilization rates were, but rather the process itself.

Having been born and raised in Canada, I was afforded the comforts of public healthcare. I never knew or understood what all the fuss was about in the US. I would hear grumblings over lack of insurance, or grumblings over Obamacare, but I never really had a grasp of what it all meant. I was privileged to not have to find out. I had my coverage, and that's all that mattered to me. When I discovered I was dealing with infertility, a little question in my head lingered... "Why would Americans complain when even IVF is covered there!?" Well not for everyone... and not everything. Let's compare.



When we underwent our first cycle of IVF back in Canada, we had been waiting for ages it felt like. Once referred, we had a long wait with no information. Our names were submitted and we were to wait for the call. Months went by before we finally did receive that call, only to book an appointment months out from there. It was a long arduous wait to even BEGIN the process. But once we were there we felt well cared for. We loved our doctor, he gave it to us straight, and we made the decision to go straight to IVF which he allowed us to do.

Because IVF is not covered under public health in Canada, IVF would be out of pocket. So signed the crazy amounts of paperwork, paid our deposit (I can't recall the dollar value, but as you can imagine, not cheap), and we officially were beginning our cycle. We had an in person appointment with the nurse to go over injections, how they're to be administered etc. and on our way out of the clinic we were to stop by the pharmacy window located in the office and were handed our bag of medications. It was in a purple plastic bag, all well organized with everything we would need for the entire cycle. We were fortunate to have good insurance coverage that allowed for basically all of our meds to be covered, but that was it. The price tag of monitoring, egg retrieval, ICSI and transfer were all bundled up into our out of pocket expense for IVF.

Each appointment we had a different doctor, as about 6 or more doctors rotate in that clinic... perhaps due to it being public health, I don't know. And it was the only clinic in our province!!! So we literally had no other options. I didn't see my own doctor once between stimming and transfer so when we went for our follow up "wtf" appointment, he was a bit surprised to hear we weren't successful given our age and "unexplained" diagnosis. When I told him the transfer was difficult, he was also surprised given it wasn't noted in my file. Hmm...

The second round wasn't much different, except we lucked out and ended up having him perform our transfer. It went much smoother and he gave us hope touting that perhaps our lack of success previously could have been attributed to trauma to the embryos. Our second "wtf" appointment didn't offer any new considerations, and when I asked about a lot of new techniques, tests and otherwise, I was told studies weren't yet conclusive so they won't try them. And in regards to testing, well even if it did show something was wrong, they didn't have means to treat any of it because the treatments were not yet proven. I felt like I was going in circles, and so we took a long break.



When we moved to the states for my husbands work, we were excited to give it another shot. I had been in many forums with these women trying all sorts of different techniques and treatments and was hopeful that intralipids were my winning ticket. (spoiler alert: they weren't). This time we had the luxury of actually choosing a clinic to work with. We did a lot... and I mean a LOT of research, and I eventually stumbled upon SIRM. We chose the clinic specifically due to their stance on immune related factors, something that in my gut I attributed our failures to, and set up a consultation. I could have gotten in within a week or so with one doctor, but I chose to wait and work with the clinic director, someone who I trusted based on women's experiences with him. But even the added wait was only a few weeks long, a far cry from the months to get into the clinic in Canada.

So we had our consultation and it was refreshing to hear him take all my concerns seriously and offer the various tests and subsequent treatments. Unfortunately, many of these tests would NOT be covered by insurance. So in the end we couldn't afford all the testing we wanted to have if we were going to be able to afford IVF. We had to learn quickly about co-pays and out of pocket caps and ignoring "bills" that were not bills, but could be bills... Our heads were spinning. Had I not already undergone IVF and understood the ins and outs of the actual process, it would have nearly made me collapse to the floor in sheer overwhelm combined with the complexities of insurance. In the end, portions of our treatment were covered, but even to this day it's not clear exactly how much we spent out of pocket. We still are disputing bills that should have been covered by insurance. And on top of that, a lot of medication wasn't covered.

The process itself was also different. Each and every time I went in I was seeing the same nurse, my doctor, and oftentimes the same receptionist and blood draw nurse. It had a real sense of care, and they remembered me, and I them, and I felt an investment in my care. On top of it, my doctor makes himself accessible via email anytime... which is a daunting task when you have numerous patients. I try my best to not over utilize this, respecting boundaries, but it's nice to know if something comes up In Canada I'd often have to wait for a call back, or for next appointment or whatever, to get my questions answered... and usually from a nurse. This felt like a luxury and was so much appreciated.

But when it came to getting meds, I was having them sent in the mail... something totally foreign to me. I stressed about the medications that were needing to be refrigerated, and how well they'd be packaged. Turns out, they've done this a time or two before ;) they know what they're doing. But I definitely had to do a lot of coordinating and playing middle man between provider, pharmacy and insurance. It was stressful, and confusing, a far cry from my little purple "gift bag" carried out with me back in Canada.

I'm now undergoing my next FET again here in the states. This time I further complicated things by moving states and having to do remote monitoring. Because you're not their patient, they don't seem as invested and take their sweet time getting results sent to your actual clinic. And then you have to play middle man also between the clinics ensuring one sends and the other receives. On top of it, prescriptions are further complicated when they won't ship from state A to state B. Intralipids!? Forget about it... can't be prescribed by an out of state doctor. The hoops I'm having to jump through this time are absolutely shockingly ridiculous. I'm not sure how it would have worked as an out of province in Canada, though I'm sure there'd be hoops there too. I would have happily just lived in NY for 2 months, but as you can understand, that's not exactly a cost-effective option.

Anyways, my point is, there are always pros and cons to each system. Decide for yourself what's most important to you to make your call. Anything I missed?

CANADA PROS
- pharmacy on site
- clear instructions and overall helpfulness
- ease of insurance (no playing middle man)
- clear costs
- nice facility

CANADA CONS
- long wait time
- only one clinic
- rarely see own doctor
- no email communication access
- out of pocket IVF (no coverage available)*
- coverage for meds dependent on your insurance plan
- refusal to try experimental testing/treatments

USA PROS
- short wait times
- choice of clinics
- see own doctor each time (generally speaking)
- email accessibility
- IVF coverage available (dependent on insurance)
- openness to new (perhaps experimental) tactics, testing and treatments

USA CONS
- IVF and Medication coverage entirely dependent on insurance (no equality in treatment)
- unclear out of pocket expenses
- dealing with confusing insurance providers and pharmacies
- bills
- US attitude (this is a thing... service providers by my experience have been quite a bit friendlier in Canada)
- having to be a much more active advocate in your care/service
- price gauging on medications

* my understanding is that certain provinces are starting (and some already have) to offer coverage for limited cycles. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Financial Coordination Call

So we had the financial coordination call with the clinic and all is good to rock and roll. We have fantastic coverage under the new insurance and feel super duper grateful and blessed. It's a huge relief as you can expect since we've already paid so much up to this point. The well eventually starts to run dry...

We have a call with the nurse on Friday to discuss the calendar and meds so hopefully the costs associated with the cycle medication aren't astronomically high... we're anticipating a little bit at least out of pocket since we have quite an extensive cycle planned and much of it is out of the realm of a typical transfer so who knows what they'll be willing to pay for. That remains to be seen.

We've booked our flights and looks like my mother might be able to come watch our dog while we're away which is a huge stress off if it works out. He suffers from pretty bad separation anxiety so it's nice for him to be properly taken care of while we're gone. We board him when we're gone for shorter periods but we're gone for about 2 weeks and that's just not fair to him at all. Cycling out of town makes things a little complicated but oh well.. that's where my embryos are!!! haha... not too shabby anyway to have to go to NYC, twist my rubber arm ;)


Speaking of transfer, found out my RE really wants me to be sedated again... says the transfer is too difficult to do without it so that's a bit cray cray. Makes me feel hopeful though that if the reason for our prior failures has been difficult transfer, that now that he's done it once, it may go more smoothly... plus the addition of immune protocol... please oh please let it work!!!

ps. if you haven't already checked out my YouTube Channel, you can follow along with my journey there! :)


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Slowing Ramping Up

So been in contact with the clinic these last few days, sorting out a few final details about the plan and scheduling our call with the financial coordinator.

I'm really nervous for that call, which will actually fall on Halloween, simply because we aren't sure what our coverage will look like under this new insurance plan. So basically, we will be going over the covered expenses, and things that will be out of pocket. Hopefully the former will be the majority, but we'll have to wait and see.

At some point, we'll also have to get all the meds ordered which I'm terrified about. Meds cost so much and so far our coverage hasn't been the best. Boo. So we'll see what that turns out to be. I have a weird feeling it's going to be higher than past cycles especially since we're on all sorts of immune meds and they'll be coded for infertility likely and not immune related since we're not working with an RI (Reproductive Immunologist).

That aside, good news is our lovely friends back in New York have offered up their home for us to come stay at. We are definitely planning on taking them up on that, as it will immensely save on the cost of the cycle. It also alleviates a lot of stress too surrounding timelines since with IVF and FETs you never really know your dates for certain... It's all very fluid and changing, so when you have to be going with the flow it makes booking accommodating a bit tricky. Anyhoo, glad that's sorted as we don't even know our rough dates at this point.

I DO know that I need to start looking into where I'll get my intralipids done. Since I need to do one infusion 20 days prior to transfer, and a second one 10 days before transfer, it'll be best if I can find a place that will do it here in Texas. Otherwise I may have to fly out for the first one, come back to Texas, and then fly out for second one and probably just stay out there at that point. Even so, if I do that, it'll be almost 3 weeks that I'm in NY for, which isn't ideal. Need to figure out what to do about our dog. Eek.

Finally we feel like we're getting moving again though which is nice, so I'm glad to be back "in the game" so to speak. I have a pretty rigorous plan for our upcoming FET just diet wise and the "additional" things we're going to try like brazil nuts etc, so we're really hoping this is the one. Plus, not being home and around my dog which I'm allergic to, may be just what this little embaby needs to stick around.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

We Be Stimmin'

Hey all... I'm running a limited time Shirt Campaign. I personally LOVE funny printed t-shirts. For anyone going through a fresh IVF cycle, or medicated cycle (or egg banking cycle or what have you), these shirts a fun way to celebrate the crazy that is stimming!!!

The campaign is running for a limited time. Basically if at least 5 people buy, then the shirts will be printed and shipped. It runs until Oct 31st and will be shipped within a week or two of that date, so this is ideal for someone cycling mid November or later!

Have a peak!

Share with your TTC sisters!!!!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

So it's still hot hot here in Texas... and not just because of the weather. ;) I've been having some serious hot flashes these last few days in particular. I'll literally be lying in bed with a hoodie since I have AC up so high, then the next moment I'm all but flinging my hoodie off myself, kicking off all the covers and fanning myself to cool down. Menopause hot flashes aint no joke let me tell you.

I thought I was having some, but these flashes recently have shown me just what a hot flash truly is. Good times. Wouldn't be so much an issue if I were still up in Canada where in my prior home of Alberta it has already snowed, but I'm in hot and humid Texas now. I don't exactly need help staying warm when it's in the 90s.

Insomnia seems to be improving slightly. It could be because I was so incredibly busy these last few days that I genuinely was exhausted falling into bed. We had friends in town and had them over for dinner and some good old fashion card game fun... while watching the Jays vs. Indians game. Then we went to the Renaissance Festival the next day in the blistering heat and walked around all day. We could barely stay up until 8pm haha. I feel like I've recovered now but hoping I beat insomnia for good. Cross your fingers for me ;)

I also have had breakthrough bleeding for the last week. Hoping it goes away eventually which other ladies in my support groups have assured me.... well other than that one woman who has had breakthrough bleeding every single day of the last few months. She didn't give me much hope haha, but trying to ignore her and focus on all the other women who only had it the first month. God I hope I'm in their group, not the former. All I can say is I'm super stoked I invested in large THINX panty collection. Phew, they sure are coming in handy.

Otherwise not much to report on. I've been giving myself reiki treatments, in particular around the reproductive organs. It's funny because if you've ever trained in reiki you know you can actually sense the energy and heat (or lack there of) and my ovaries etc. are fully shut down. Obviously this is what is supposed to happen on Lupron Depot, but still a bit unsettling. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Hard Day

I don't know why, but I'm feeling really really anxious and down. I just want so badly to be pregnant. I want so badly to have my happily ever after. I want so badly to finally be the one celebrated in the forums for finally attaining the elusive BFP. But some days, like today, I just question entirely whether it's ever going to happen for me. I doubt I'll EVER in my life get to experience seeing two little lines on a HPT. And that's a crushing blow.

When I think of our upcoming FET I get butterflies in my stomach. Are these good butterflies because we're going to be successful finally, and I'll get to be a mom!? I sure hope so, but all the more likely the butterflies can be attributed to the crippling sense of fear and doom I experience at the thought of yet another BFN. How can I cope? How can I pick myself up off the floor again and go on with life as if a little part of me didn't die.

Truth is, I have lost too many little pieces of me. I feel beat down and broken, but I act like I'm fine. I act like there is more to this life that I am grateful for. But my baby blinders make it difficult for me to truly feel that way. I WANT to, trust me. I want nothing more than to move on with my life and feel truly happy and complete. If that could happen without kids it would be amazing, but I want to be a biological mother so very badly. I don't know how to let that go quite yet.

Even in the infertility community I'm beginning to feel like others are passing me by. Women join the forums as they start up their first ever IUI or IVF cycles. They're full of hope. Full of the promise of the success IVF promises. But I know better now. I know that IVF is far from a guarantee. I have crowned myself the Repeated Implantation Failure Queen for that reason. But all in all, I really like to believe that I will be a biological mother. Somehow. Someday. Some way. But sometimes it feels so far away, and feels like a distant dream that will never come to fruition. All I can do is hope and pray.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Energy Gone. Poof. Vanished.

Oh good golly.... I cannot believe that it was only two weeks ago that I had my Lupron Depot injection. Ugh. Knowing that this is going to last months is pretty discouraging, but hopefully all worthwhile in the end I suppose.

Truth be told, I chose to be on the medication, so I have a hard time complaining about it. I made the decision believing it was the best one for me, even having been forewarned of the side effects, so I really can't say I have any regrets. It just doesn't make the symptoms any easier to cope with.

My insomnia is pretty awful. Have a very very hard time falling asleep, I'm sleeping a bit better in the night but crazy bizarre dreams and tossing and turning a bit, but I wake up at the slightest disturbance, so once hubby is up, so am I (and he gets up eeeeeearly).

I'm not sure if it's just the insomnia causing my fatigue but I have like zero energy overall. I feel like a zombie. I feel very foggy and slow. A bit like when you have the flu, but I obviously am not sick. Actually... feels like the flu in a lot of ways really... the aches.... the hot flashes... Oh well.

Otherwise I'm just hanging tight at the moment. I flip flop between whether I should be getting surgery or not, but I have to believe that we made the right decision, and if this doesn't work, then surgery it is. We have to take the long game approach, but no more delays or breaks now.

I guess that's partly why I haven't been blogging much. Not much to tell ya. Oh... hoping to give the Autoimmune Paleo Approach a try. I have a few books.... we'll see. It might be pretty tough especially since I don't eat meat/pork. I've been putting it off but need to get my ass in gear. Any tips be sure to let me know! <3

On that note, gonna go make a fresh green juice.
Ciao for now!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Lupron Side Effects

Oh good golly miss molly... Lupron = no fun at all. So yesterday I was getting the full flood of the emotional side effects and then last night and today I'm having the physical ones starting up.

Lupron Depot Symptom 1 - STOMACH ACHE
So my stomach is a gurgling mess. TMI alert but generally my "system" doesn't flow too regular... now its the opposite problem. I feel constantly mildly nauseous.

Lupron Depot Sympton 2 - INSOMNIA
So was super tired... yet I could NOT for the life of me, fall asleep last night. Nor could I stay asleep. I was a tossing turning mess. Couldn't sleep in either. So the cycle continues with me being very tired today.

Lupron Depot Symptom 3 - NASAL CONGESTION
Okay, so I have allergies and have recently seen a massive shift in the volume of my nasal congestion. I have basically had none (between allergy shots, and an air purifier). Yet as of yesterday, more so today, I have a serious stuffy nose going on. I did a quick search and it doesn't seem to be correlated, but I'm including since everyone is different and I believe it has had this affect on me. I'll update if it turns out I have a cold or something else random I can blame it on.

Lupron Depot Symptom 4 - HOT FLASHES
So far I don't mind this so much. I hate being cold... so I'm not too bothered. Ask me in a few weeks.

Lupron Depot Symptom 5 - CLAMMY SKIN
So my hands are now permanently clammy. They have a nice sheen to them constantly. Hubby won't so much want to hold my hand anymore. Maybe I should invest in a nice pair of pretty gloves?

So far that's all I'm experiencing that I can tell.... the symptom list from web md looks as follows so who knows what the future has in store for me... I'm particularly looking forward to facial hair. Ya that sounds fun... NOT.

  • hot flashes (flushing)
  • increased sweating
  • night sweats
  • chills
  • clammy skin
  • tiredness
  • swelling of the ankles/feet
  • increased urination at night
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, mood swings)
  • dizziness
  • injection site reactions (burning, redness, stinging, pain, bruising, swelling,abscess)
  • acne
  • increased growth of facial hair
  • breakthrough bleeding in a female child during the first 2 months of Lupron Depot treatment
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • skin redness/itching/scaling
  • joint or muscle pain
  • vaginal itching or discharge
  • breast swelling or tenderness
  • testicle pain
  • impotence
  • loss of interest in sex
  • sleep problems (insomnia)
  • rash (including a painful rash with fever)
  • memory problems
  • blisters/sores
  • facial swelling
  • vaginitis
  • weight gain
  • headache

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Batsh!t Crazy

Oh no.... so it begins. First I go to Starbucks and lose my sh!t at the woman for messing up my drink. Chalked it up to me being tired and not full awake yet. Fast forward to this afternoon and I literally turn into an angry mean warrior at Kroger. Homme InFertile had a serious look of fear on his face. Walk out to our car and burst into tears apologizing. Proceed to come home and once again in comfy clothes am a bright ray of sunshine.. until I cry again.


Holy hell.... this is one roller coaster. Lupron Depot... you and I are friends off. And yet... you're in my system for the next who knows how many months. I blame you ENDOMETRIOSIS. Hmm. Good times... gooooood tiiiiimmmmes.

CD3 Lupron Vlog

Hey guys...

Youtube channel is up and running and we've posted our first few videos. Subscribe and follow along!

Most recent video is of hubby and me tackling the ginormous Lupron Depot Injection. Spoiler alert: hurt like a b!&@#.  My arm was so sore I could barely sleep that night. Feeling a bit better today thank goodness.


So now we wait. Looks like I'll start meds etc. at the end of November, so a full few months of nothingness now. Hurry up and wait. Thus far I don't have any symptoms. Although I was super emotional/angry this morning when they messed up my green tea latte at Starbucks... so maybe that's a lie. Time will tell haha.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Frustrations

Okay really!?!?!?

So I go in for remote monitoring (US/BW) early this morning to get checked for the all clear for my Lupron Depot Injection which will basically put my body into a menopausal state (aka hormone crazy time, bone loss, aches, and no more reproductive cycle hoping to stall endo). Great. All goes well, I pay the $300 out of pocket (ugh) and then proceed to wait for my clinic to call with the results once they're forwarded.

I wait and wait.... no email/call. So finally at 3pm I email to follow up. I'm an hour behind NY so that's still 4pm and an hour before their end of day.. should be plenty of time...

They respond almost immediately asking where I had blood drawn. I immediately reply with all their info. Hmm... maybe it didn't get sent automatically.... good thing I followed up. 10 minutes later I get an email with my results saying I'm cleared to inject.

Okay... so I email back right away.... Does this mean that I inject today? Respond immediately simply
"yes!"

Alright so I've got my answer that I'm clear and approved to inject, and then instructions to do so today... but where?? I open the container and it says intramuscular... should I do it in the arm? the thigh? the butt? It says to be determined by doctor. So I email again... we're talking immediately (it's now 3:25 my time). No response.

I wait 30 min. 4pm I email again to follow up... they're going to be leaving for the day and I don't know how or where to inject this frickin thing!!!!!!

...no answer...

Finally at 530 my time I receive an answer. Do it the same as your hcg trigger intramuscularly.

So fine... technically this is answering my question. Sort of. But this is a stressful thing giving injections, making sure it's on the right day, doing in the right spot etc. Had they taken an extra moment when giving me the go ahead to do the injection, it would have been nice to either receive a phone call to let me know to go ahead, if there was a specific time, where to inject etc, and provide an opportunity for questions. But they're busy, I get it. So maybe don't respond just YES. Maybe take an extra few seconds and type out a response that includes instructions and maybe even if the mood strikes a dash of encouragement. It could be a simple copy and paste response as follows:

"We have reviewed your blood work and ultrasound from earlier today and you have been cleared to go ahead with your Lupron Depot Injection. This is to be done anytime from now to end of day. This is an intramuscular injection and should be done in the arm muscle. This is similar to that of the HCG trigger injection. Should you wish to refer to the video, you can do so here. If you have any questions or concerns just let us know, we are here until 5pm EST."

Anyways... maybe I'm overreacting, it's possible... I am PMSing after all, but I mean come on! We infertiles have enough stress going to appointments, billing, insurance, simply BEING INFERTILE, that we don't need the stress of lack of communication from doctors who just expect us to know things, thrown on top of it all.


UGh. Rant over.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Appointment Tomorrow

Wow... so it's happening... things are getting underway again and I'm feeling a bucket of emotions. Excitement to be starting another cycle. Impatience that this cycle will take so long. Apprehension at the drug I'll be taking (Lupron). Anticipation of what to expect with the other drugs along the way. Butterflies at the possibility that this cycle could work. Fear that it won't. It's like a smorgasbord of emotions, most of which aren't pleasant. One of which.... hope... drives it.

So tomorrow I go in for remote monitoring at a clinic here in Texas. They just need to make sure I don't have any cysts and that my bloodwork (hormone levels) looks good before proceeding with Lupron injection. Costs $300 out of pocket for one measly appointment. Boo hiss.

Then once my doc has a look at my results I'll (or Homme InFertile will) administer the injection. And then we wait...

So if all goes well, looks like I'd be starting the meds for this cycle November 30th with transfer slated for December 15th. Fingers crossed all goes according to plan. Who knows how my body will respond. Eek. We just need to decide if I'll do monitoring locally here in Texas, or if I'll go to New York for a few weeks. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Thanks!

Thanks to all that voted for the Hope Blog Award. As you may or may not know, I was selected as a nominee, however I just found out I did not win. Congrats to Shelley Who Writes who did! I'm a bit bummed, but I don't do this for awards, I do this for therapy (for myself) first and foremost, and as a support to those of my infertility sisters out there so they feel less alone.

That being said I DID start an instagram account today. Follow along @femmeinfertile !!!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Waiting on CD1

So here we go again... sorta... in a new kind of way I guess. This next cycle I will be taking my first ever Lupron Depot shot. It is an injection that puts your body into a state of menopause basically and is thought to calm the uterine lining and any inflammation that may be present. Sounds promising but of course who knows if it's my winning ticket or not.


Unfortunately we have to wait and try and see when CD1 comes... see it's all about timing because the shot is a 3 month injection and then we set up for a Frozen Embryo Transfer and this all seems to align very close to Christmas... and of course there are clinic closures etc.

So we wait and see. If not this month, possibly next or at worst the one after that. I'm not tied to any of these timelines, I no longer feel this sense of urgency. I'm in no rush to go through all of the ups and downs again, but I AM ready.

I've been questioning a lot lately whether or not I should be getting a lap first (for endo). What I came to the decision of, was that surgery is risky, and if Lupron could work, why not try it first. But then you ask yourself, "but what if a lap is the answer and I'm unneccessarily wasting good embryos?"... but truth be told if I did lap, I might be asking the same thing of if I did Lupron. So let's just say that it's a coin toss. I have to be okay with the idea that BOTH may be part of my future. And that one vs. the other isn't going to make a difference. I have to just trust my gut and go with it.

I met with a beautiful (inside and out) woman off one of my support forums (Hi if you're reading this!) who encouraged me to follow my gut. She like so many others I've chatted with have been around the block just as long or longer than myself. Maybe not always in years passed, but in tests, and procedures and cycles etc. I just wish we could all have our happily ever afters. But it was nice to meet someone face to face and feel like I was understood. When my food came and it had cheese on it she immediately knew that I needed to send it back. See dairy for immune or endo girls is a no no. She didn't even need to know that I was also allergic to know that I shouldn't be having it. That's a refreshing experience, as small as it might seem.


Anyways... as I write this I am filled with hope, fear, anxiety, anxiousness and excitement over the prospect of getting back on the horse so to speak. The countdown is on... well as soon as CD1 appears I guess.




Friday, 16 September 2016

Terms

So I saw a post on Facebook the other day... from the account "Simple Reminders" and it was a story about a pregnant woman wearing a t-shirt with a rainbow over her belly. The story illuminated the fact that this term has become widely more understood, and therefore certain strangers knew instantly that this woman was indeed carrying a "Rainbow Baby". Beautiful of course, and great that awareness of miscarriages and pregnancy after miscarriage is becoming more widely understood and all, but it left me feeling a little empty.



Why? Because, well, like many others, I simply have never been pregnant... at all. And should I fall pregnant, there is no "term" for that baby I would be carrying. It wouldn't be a rainbow baby, no, because I've never experienced a miscarriage. But I HAVE experienced 5 years of infertility, failed treatments and months upon months of disappointment, heartache and crushing of dreams. So why when I get pregnant do I fall under "Pregnant after Infertility"? Not really glamorous, and honestly... those "rainbow babies" also fall into that category too. Maybe "Miracle Baby"? I've heard this term thrown around, but truth be told many other things also fall into this category... premies, babies born with some kind of illness or disease, babies born to women after going through menopause.

I guess part of the question I ask myself, is why do I feel I need to be defined by a term? Why is this important to me. I like to self reflect when I'm feeling angry or upset and really delve into the deeper rooted issue at play. In this case, I think why I feel so frustrated I'm not given a term is that I don't feel validated for the pain I'm enduring. 

Women who go through a miscarriage are warriors. They deserve all the recognition and celebration in the world for their little Rainbow Babies. I don't EVER want to take away from that. But at the same time, I want that recognition and celebration too one day... and it just doesn't seem to be a thing. And I find that disheartening.

So I'm brainstorming a moment here... what kind of term could we coin for such a thing? For women who have repeated implantation failure (in this case we'll specify that to include at least 3 failed transfers).

One idea I have is based on the quote "It's always darkest before the dawn."

Dawn Baby
Sunrise Baby


Next idea is "Risen from the Ashes" because we women of repeated failure feel like we die inside each and every time.

Phoenix Baby


Based on the calm after the storm

Storm Baby


Final idea is based on the fact Hope is eternal, and that we never lost hope, never gave in to failure.

Hope Baby


I'd love to hear any and all ideas anyone has.... or if there already is a term out there, I'd really REALLY love to know about it ;)






Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Weekend Getaway

Homme InFertile and myself took a belated Anniversary Trip to Orlando and NY this weekend. NY wasn't originally part of it but hubby had to go for work last minute and I conceded and joined him ... Though it didn't take much convincing.

I'm a super big nerd and have been wanting to go to Harry Potter World. Through treatment schedules and draining of funds, we just hadn't been able to make it happen. Plus we all know "pregnant women shouldn't ride" and well I kept hoping that I'd indeed get pregnant therefore rendering any plans useless. 5 years later with not a single positive hpt and I finally said screw it. So off we went. 

I was a little nervous about being around so many kids but the excitement and energy was infectious. Plus more adults than kids this past weekend I swear. I guess I'm not alone in my childish joy. 


Jurassic Park Ride though was my fav ride-wise. So much nostalgia. 

Also made time for some nice meals and poolside RnR. 

Then it was off to NYC which was exciting for me. I hadn't been back since we moved. Was great to revisit lots of my fav spots. 

Room with a view and room service was definitely a stark contrast to living there haha. 

All in all was great for us just to get away and reconnect as a couple. We've been through so much together: infertility, two massive moves, job loss etc, that it was much overdue. I smiled so much, and my heart felt fuller than it had in a long time. ❤️

So this is a great reminder to be sure to do things for yourself every now and again. It's so easy to be swept up in the infertility race that we forget to take care of the child inside ourselves. I'm glad to have been reminded of the importance of that this past weekend. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Un'Supported

It's not a new topic, but one that we (Homme InFertile and myself) continue to revisit. Support. It was what my blog post during Infertility Awareness Week was about. (Ps. if you haven't voted and are enjoying my blog, I'd love your "support" ;) vote here). But support is something I'm realizing not only ebbs and flows, but is and always will be something we have to ask for, seek out, muster within ourselves, and accept the lack of. 

Support shouldn't be hard to come by, but for infertiles it often is. Perhaps because the topic of infertility is so taboo. Perhaps because the topic is so sensitive. Perhaps because the majority of people don't (and/or can't) really understand. Perhaps because many of the people in our lives aren't capable of giving the kind of support we need. Regardless of why... it sucks. And it hurts.

See being infertile means a lot of things. Your identity is thrown to the wolves, and you either let them gobble it up, or you fight to retain as much of it as you can. But no matter what, you lose a little bit of yourself along the way. You might be hardened by the fight, you might be broken and lost. Each journey is unique... and ever evolving. For me, I am constantly fighting to regain a part of myself. But what I've been learning is I have been changed. I can no more easily become the person I was before, than a soldier forget the war. I have never served in the war, and I cannot imagine what it is like. However, comparisons to the mental-emotional damage have been drawn by experts and I am not surprised. I feel like I'm fighting a war. Each failed cycle a battle lost. But the war forges on without an end in sight.

But I have my husband, and I remind myself how lucky I am to have him, how lucky we are to have such a solid supportive marriage. Some days we're enough for each other. Other days we're both down and broken and we need someone else to pick us up together. It takes a lot of strength to pick someone up when we too are broken, but that's what our marriage has become. I put my own pain, sorrow, misery on the shelf for a moment, and hold him in my arms and tell him it'll be okay. I tell him I love him, and support him. In that moment, no one is supporting me. Another day, and he does the same for me. It's survival. But it's not easy.

When you have been on the infertility journey as long as we have (5+ years) you notice that people you open up to and share your vulnerability with choose one of three paths.

1) Stop asking.
These are the people who don't know how to handle it. Our situation makes them uncomfortable. They don't know what to say, nor do they know how to ask what to say, so they just stop altogether. Maybe they themselves have gotten their happily ever after and life has become busy and overwhelming for them. They're not capable of supporting, so they don't extend the olive branch. Or maybe they harbour guilt, so they avoid the source. Maybe they themselves are also going through some sort of emotional life crisis. No matter the rationale, in my humble opinion, none of these are a valid excuse. If you love someone, "Stop Asking" is not an option. You're only further isolating those individuals and making them feel more alone, and unsupported. I don't stop being a part of my friends lives because I'm struggling. I still call up and offer support to any of my loved ones when they need it. I might not always be the best support, but I'm there, and they know I care even in moments I can't fully show it.

2) Ask. Provide support.
These are the people who may have experienced infertility themselves. Or they have had close friends or family members go through it. Or they are just damn good people who can put their own sadness/pain on hold and provide support to another person in need. These people are the ones who ask what they can do, even when they have no clue how to handle it. These are the people who check in, and call you just so you know you still have friends and family members who care. These are the warriors of our lives. Thanks to these people, we feel less alone, and know there is support when we need it.

3) Try and help.
These are the people who feel helpless and powerless watching infertiles struggle. They try and offer well-intentioned advice in an effort to fix our problems for us.  Having to tell them we've tried that, or that's not relevant to our journey, or why that's not a valid option for us, only creates more stress. In reality, the only way to really help someone struggling with Infertility is to become an "Ask. Provide Support" person. It's not your job to fix us. That's our job, and our doctors and specialists.



Anyways. I'm saying all this because we as infertiles need to learn to ask for the type of support we need. It's not always easy telling someone that the way they are handling your interactions is unhelpful or causing more harm than good. But it IS necessary. If those people can't handle or respect your needs/wishes... then maybe it's time re-assess that friendship. That being said, remember that your struggle is no more or less than anyone else's. Wanting people there for you, means being able to step outside of your own struggles and be there for others when they need you too... especially if this hardship sticks around for you as long as it has for us.


Finally, an end note. I often write poems to express the way I feel. So a new one below about the identity struggle of infertiles:


I
Me. I. A dissolving persona.
Masks of truth.
Masks of youth.
Me. I. A broken fraction.
Full of sadness.
Full of madness.
Me. I. A hopeless dreamer.
Years are passing.
Years amassing.
Me. I. A mother, a father.
Without a child.
Unreconciled. 
Me. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Vision Board'ing

So my friend and her boyfriend recently made vision boards (also referred to as Dream Boards) and it sounded like so much fun that I figured I'd make one for myself. Of course, I've had the flu so didn't really feel like buying magazines and shuffling through to find accurate pictures and then cutting/pasting etc... although I'm sure fun, just didn't have the energy. Doing it online was a nice easy activity to pass time while at home by myself, sick on the couch. 

Anyways... after a quick search I came across the website Dream It Alive where you can make them online for free. Cool tool. I'm sure I could have done an equally or better job on photoshop, but I liked that it encouraged you to fulfill different categories and write affirmations.

As an infertile, I found it an incredibly great thing to do. Law of Attraction ya'll! I'm sure you can make some educated guess about some of the elements in there ;)

My finished product:

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Reiki Reactions?


As infertiles, we're willing to try just about anything to stack the odds for success. That is one of the reasons long ago I began looking into holistic health and wellness practices. Diet being one of the first and most important contributors for me personally. I also tried various form of "holistic" treatments including acupuncture, craniosacral massage, and reiki.

I have been interested in learning Reiki since I first received it years ago while struggling through this whole infertility journey. It was a pretty profound experience then, and I believed my body was working through some things. I have since had sessions with various practitioners (some better than others as is always the case). Over the years my body has in fact gotten to a happier healthier state, though I admit, there are a lot of contributing factors... But as you take on all these infertility treatments; pills, injections, exams etc etc... it's nice to have a treatment that feels gentle and supportive. Some people love and swear by acupuncture... I could never really fully get on board with it. I tried... for one it didn't seem to help me all that much, and I also hated going. It felt like an annoyance and I didn't really "relax" during the sessions. It caused me a bit of anxiety being pricked with even more needles (when I was doing it daily for fertility drug injections and blood draws).

Due to recent studies (link1, link2) that have shown benefits to acupuncture, more and more REs are encouraging or supporting patients to pursue it in tandem with fertility treatments and IVF cycles. Personally, I have to believe that reiki has the same effect. By gently getting the energy moving through the bodily more smoothly/efficiently, and breaking up blockages, I believe the patient is getting the same result that acupuncture promises. Call it an airy-fairy wishy-washy theory, but if you haven't experienced reiki before (at least from a qualified and experienced practitioner) I strongly urge you to look into it.


Anyways, I believe, and I guess that's all that matters in my case, whether placebo or not. So this past weekend I went on the journey to becoming a practitioner in order to help myself first and foremost, but also others on their healing journey. There are 4 levels of Reiki training, and this was just my first. Basically we learned about the history of Reiki, the principals. How to give ourselves treatment (hand placements etc), and also how to give to others. In addition, we receive something called Reiki Attunements. In total over the course of the weekend we received 4 attunements which basically "plug" you into the energy. Again, I know this may sound a little far fetched to some, but experiencing is believing so don't knock it until you try it. It was pretty intense, and I experienced a wide range of physical sensations and emotions throughout the attunements. In particular a blockage I've felt in my right trapezoid for years was being released... towards/through my ear, no less. So it came as no surprise when I woke up the next morning with a massive ear ache.

The belief is that after receiving the attunements, your body pushes out the old dense energies and makes room for the lighter brighter reiki energies. Great... this is a good thing, and hopefully will aid in my overall sense of well-being... however that meant first I was going to get sick. Very sick. I had a horrible flu with aches, chills, fever the whole kit and kaboodle. In addition of course was the ear ache and a very swollen gland all on my right side. Coincidence? Maybe... but seems pretty crazy that first I feel the energy releasing that way and THEN it actually manifests in the physical.

I'm starting to feel better today which is nice. My ear still has a mild/dull ache.. not as bad as before, and it feels plugged, but the flu symptoms seem to have dissipated. I'm hoping that once I'm healed I'll have released that which no longer serves me and be on a path to feeling healthy and full of vitality!



Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bans Begin

Oh no...


I'm sure a bit proponent of this is in fact the tax component, but then the humanitarian in me wonders if these women are just in desperate times and resorting to desperate measures to support their own families...

Such a fine line.

With me considering surrogacy and having no one to really feel comfortable asking that huge burden of personally, and the cost locally being so high... options like this give infertile women like me a little glimmer of hope. And now looks like this is being taken away.

But the self-less part of me knows these women probably don't CHOOSE this... they do it because they have no other choice. Wonder if maybe it's ultimately a good thing for them. I dunno. Ugh.... so messy.

Thoughts?

Allergies Abound

So I went in for some allergy testing about a month ago... You'd think after being poked and prodded for years with ultrasound wands, injections and blood draws would make me a tougher cookie, but apparently I'm still a wuss.

I had the back scratch test, and my back blew up.. no really. The doc walks in and just goes, "woah okay ya, that's quite a reaction." When he asked me what I suspected I was allergic to and said everything, I think he didn't believe me... or just thought I was kidding. He slowly learned that living in a bubble may in fact be my best solution.

Unfortunately, because I had such a severe reaction, they worried that the ones I didn't react to with the back scratch test, may still be in fact allergens for me. So I had to go back in a separate day to get under the skin testing. Then a bunch more things added to the list. Oh man.

Finally... I went back again a third day. That's three torturous days in a week. This is when I did the venom test for allergies to bees/wasps etc. They start with a scratch test on the forearm and then progress to under the skin shots slowly upping the does. Honeybees and Yellow Jackets were added to the list. I have an epipen for those because I've had mild anaphylactic reactions in the past. And I seem to get stung a lot. It's like they've got it in for me...


Oh and did I mentioned they discovered I have asthma too!? Fun times. So yesterday I had my first day for injections/shots and we couldn't get through all rounds unfortunately. Basically because I have so much I'll allergic to, I get 4 shots. 1 for trees/grass/weeds etc. 1 for cats/dogs/dust mites etc. 1 for honeybees and 1 for yellow jackets. Well my arm blew up after getting the trees/grass/weeds shot, and then I started getting a rash/hives on my chest so they gave me a prednisone tablet and had me sit there to make sure things didn't progress, which luckily they didn't.

It all begs the question, if I am so allergic to these things that are so prevalent in our environment, and my body is in such an inflammatory, reactive state all the time, how would I ever get pregnant? I'm not looking for an easy quick fix here, but is it possible that my allergies are really what are preventing me from getting pregnant? Hmm..

Interesting further was the prednisone tablet they gave me for my reaction. It was the same dose my doc has talked about using for a future FET cycle. Other ladies have that low of a dose as well, but now I'm wondering if mine needs to be a little higher given the extent and severity of my allergies.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Resolve's Hope Award - Best Blog Nominee


Wow. Just WOW WOW WOW!

So very honoured that this here blog, Femme InFertile, was selected as a nominee from over 200 submissions for Resolve's Hope Award - Best Blog! So cool.


Listen, infertility is no cake walk, and giving back in a little way to the community by sharing my story so openly is the least I feel I can do. I really would love to do more, but for now, I do what I can, and what I do best is write about it, talk about it, and above all be open about it. So I guess really blogging is just as much for the blogger as it is for the reader, hey? In my case that's true at least.

That being said, I really am truly so very passionate about speaking up on what infertiles deal with each and every moment of each and every day. I love this excerpt from an NBC News article:

"The longer the process drags on, the more uncomfortable they tend to become talking about it to other people. “Even in well-meaning attempts to make you feel better, people say something that makes you feel worse,” says James Grifo, M.D., director of the New York University Fertility Center in New York City. “Isolation is a defense mechanism against overload. It isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s what infertility patients do to protect themselves.”

And it's absolutely true. Opening up isn't for everyone. Nor are support groups or counselling/therapy. Each person going through infertility has a unique journey. No two journeys are alike. Trust me, I'm part of many communities and although we draw similarities here and there, there are always different factors at play. So just like those journeys are not the same, the way we cope and deal with it naturally aren't either. And they can evolve along the way too! Nothing is constant in this life.

Listen, I'll be frank, I personally think stewing in your sadness is a horrible idea... especially alone. Made worse only by the fact that those around you are not even granted the opportunity to show compassion and sensitivity towards you. Case in point, the bright eyed young pregnant co-worker next to you complains about the baby kicking...


But I'm also not ignorant to the fact that opening up to those around you brings its own perfect sh!t-storm of fun. You know how it is... there's always a type.

The Uneducated Well-Meaning Advice Giver:
"just relax and it'll happen" - you try to relax when giving yourself daily injections, having massive debt, and dealing with a revolving door of dissapointment. But sure, I'll just relax.

"have you tried accupuncture?" - no actually, I've been living in a bubble and haven't done any research on things to try... 

"You should just adopt" - because we all know having a biologically child that you carry in your own womb and birth into this world is the same experience to adoption. NOT. Can they be equally rewarding experiences? Sure... at least those who have adopted have told me so. But it's still not the same experience, and a person wanting one over the other is valid. 

The Overnight Seer:
"I know you're going to be a mom, trust me, I just know" - oh doooo youuuuuuu? Willing to bet your first born on that statement? Didn't think so.

"It'll happen. You're meant to be a mother." - oh good... because if I wasn't it wouldn't. *head scratch*

The Preachers:
"Maybe this is the universe's way of saying you're just not meant to be a mother." - oh good, because that 16 year old crack addict was higher up on the stork's list, ya that makes sense. 

"God has a plan." - Ya, well f*ck the plan.

Don't get me wrong. I am highly spiritual, and I do actually believe that everything happens for a reason, but not only is this incredibly unhelpful, it is also diminishing. Someone experiencing pain doesn't need to be reminded that this is their fate. They know it, they live it each and every day. Ugh. But as infertiles we have to remind ourselves that as hurtful as those interactions can be, more often than not, the person is well intentioned. They are doing what they think is helpful. Instead of just nodding and sweetly smiling, prepare yourself with some answers. I.e. "Actually, we've tried the whole relax thing, it didn't seem to work in our case, likely because we have actual medical reasons for not conceiving. Also new research has shown that stress has no impact on the ability to get pregnant." Of course, depending on the context, the person and the way you say it, it can always come off "cool", but it can also come off genuine and educational, or maybe you put your own funny spin on it like me. My husband and I like to joke around and we often laugh it off in public which tends to make people extremely uncomfortable. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Long and short of the point is that it took me a long time to get to a place where I felt safe and ready to share my story. I was quite open with people from the get-go compared to most, but the ugly truth side of our journey? Ya... left that for after the 2nd failed IVF. And that's when this blog was born.

So all I want to say to you my readers. I know you. I see you. I get you. I'm here... in the trenches with you. I don't have my happily ever after yet... maybe I will someday soon. Maybe you'll beat me to the finish line like so many others before you. But know that I'm rooting you on. I'm wishing you success on your journey, but I also know that some days its so hard to see any glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is a fickle thing, but we women are born fighters. So month after month, failed treatment after failed treatment, we pick ourselves back up again. Why? Because we know what we want, and we'll do anything we can to get it, and we won't let anyone be ignorant to how f*cking hard it is.

ps. do me a solid and go give my blog a vote if you're enjoying.
http://www.resolve.org/vote