Friday, May 29, 2009
In summary, we received the diagnosis of PCOS and MFI but had no outside support or advice. So we trusted our doctors opinions and went directly on to infertility care.
Maybe the following will help someone else as they ponder their diagnosis of infertility and how to proceed:
1. Get a second opinion right away. If your OB/GYN diagnoses you, ask to get a second opinion. When you are referred to an infertility doctor aka Reproductive Endocrinologist, visit them and also get a second opinion from a different doctor (preferrably at a different practice or clinic). With both RE's go over an action plan for your diagnosis. If you have unexplained infertility, still make an action plan so that you understand all the steps you will take up to a certain point to try and get pregnant. Find out your options. Don't let the doctor dismiss your diagnosis or unexplained infertility as an easy fix due to age, etc. This is very important to you and sometimes they need reminding of how difficult it is to go through infertility.
2. Your RE should be available to speak with you over the phone. If you are only able to speak with the nurses, it is your right to ask to speak with the doctor. Often times the nurses will not answer questions and say they will call you back after speaking with the doctor. Things become less confusing if you are to speak to the doctor yourself. Write questions down ahead of time. Make sure you feel comfortable about your treatments.
3. Don't rush into treatments. Take time to think about your action plan and soak in the information. BE INFORMED. As a patient you need to advocate for yourself. You cannot effectively do this without being educated. Go on-line, read books, get on message boards- ASK QUESTIONS. Ask questions of others and ask your doctor tons of questions. That is their job. Make them work for you.
4. When you start treatment such as taking Chlo.mid and you have questions for the nurse or doctor, don't be afraid to call them three times a day. That is their job.
5. Medications- Generally with IUI's the medication portion is less confusing. If you undergo in vitro fertilization, there are many different types of medications to take at different points in the cycle. If you need an extra consult on when and how to use each medication, ask for it. Label the packages if necessary. Do anything to make the process less confusing. Some doctors give you a chart. If that doesn't work for you, make your own guideline or chart to follow as you switch medications and have a timeline until your egg retrieval.
6. Injectables- Ask if you doctor or clinic will do the first injections for you (especially if they are intramuscular which means that the needles are larger and more difficult to inject). For those of us who are not RN's, MD's or in the medical field have never given a shot, mixed a medications for the vial or used very large needles on ourselves or others. For me, this portion of treatment was treated lightly and we were not given enough education on how to administer the shots. Luckily my mother is an RN and Nurse Practitioner and we had guidance.
7. With multiple failed cycles or pregnancy loss including miscarriage and/or ectopic pregnancy, this is a time to collect information about your body and why this loss may have happened. It could be an informative way to receive another diagnosis, enhancing your treatment and chance of conceiving. ASK QUESTIONS.
8. Take a break. I know that when you are in the midst of TTC, sometimes the only way to cope with a loss or BFN is to plan for the next procedure. But, I recommend taking a mental and physical break at some point. It was very beneficial for me, and it helped me to feel healthier in body and spirit. Remember it is okay to take a break between cycles. In fact it can change your perspective and give you time to reevaluate if necessary. We all know that taking a vacation does not cure infertility, but taking some time for yourself or to reconnect with your spouse can make coping with the stress easier.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
That being said, I received some news last week that offered a small amount of hope for our chances of natural conception. When I say small I am purposely minimizing it because I am trying immensely hard to not let this news overtake my thoughts. As a woman with PCOS ovulation is my biggest hurtle (I have others). Through a blood test ordered by my RE we discovered that I am ovulating. I may skip a month or two but somehow the eggs are dropping. As many of you know when women become older who have PCOS, in order to go into menopause their body begins to kick in and ovulation occurs regularly. I was told that this begins around age 35, usually older. I am 31. You understand my skepticism.
At any rate we still have MFI and a longer than normal cyle. It is very hard to predict when I may be fertile. After all of the money I have spent on HPT, I refuse to indulge the makers of OPK. We will leave it up to dumb luck and a fighting chance. My husband plays the lottery at least once a week. I have repeatedly said, I hope we have a better chance of getting pregnant than winning the lottery. That would make me feel a little better.
The goal of pregnancy is still a part of my life because I do have a chance. However small it may be it rests in my being. The biological connection is no longer the driving force. For me it is about family building and giving Luv Bug a sibling. I want to see two smiling faces in the morning. I want Luv Bug to be a big brother because I know he would be the best. Adoption has allowed the sting of the BFN to act like a prick of the skin. Very quick and relatively painless. The BFN still leaves me with the hope that lies within. I won't let a negative pregnancy test take that away from me because I will have another little baby whether it is through adoption or pregnancy. I have options and I am lucky for that.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
There is a button on my side bar to add to your post.
One of the first points in the book is that being on the Infertility Committee means that we are broken into subcommittees. There are many different reasons for wearing the badge "infertile," but all the committees suck.
Click here to learn more about the book
Click here to buy your own copy.
p.s. Mel and I will get the chance to meet at RESOLVE's Night of Hope Annual Dinner in NYC where she is receiving the Hope award. I told her I would have my book in hand for an autograph.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
When we hear of pregnancy, the reaction is easy- joy. The questions and comments are commonplace. When are you due, do you know the gender, what names have you picked out? With adoption there is a lack of understanding that the adoptive parents feel all the same emotions as expectant parents through pregnancy: anxiety, excitement, financial worries etc. In fact, many don't regard adoptive parents as expectant parents at all. They are looked at in a different light. There is a story behind the adoption that harbors curious questions or thoughts. Adoptive parents often receive comments like," Oh, well you'll adopt and then get pregnant right away." This is hurtful because it diminishes the excitement of the adoption by making it sound like it is a means to an end and not a happy and joyous way to become parents. Other remarks include,"Oh, that child is so lucky to have you. You saved their life." Or "How much did your baby cost?"
Again, the adoptive parent is faced with negativity when trying to celebrate the milestone of their pending parenthood. As adoptive parents we are trained on how to answer insensitive questions gracefully by reminding people that we as the parents are very lucky to have our adopted child. We educate people by pointing out that the baby didn't cost anything, however the adoption process entails paying agency fees, attorney fees, and travel fees to name a few of the costs. I have never heard anyone ask a pregnant woman how much she paid in medical bills to have her baby.
Generally adoptive parents are open to questions about their adoption because they want to share their planning for the child's arrival and the feelings associated with bringing a child into their lives. Just as a pregnant couple speaks of the ultrasounds or the baby kicking in the womb, an adoptive parent will be excited to fill everyone in on the steps they are making towards bringing their child home.
The decision to adopt is very exciting, and can be equivalent to the announcement of a pregnancy. "The Match," when adoptive parents find out who their child will be, is like an ultrasound. The child is visible, the concept of becoming parents becomes more real. Progress reports from the adoption agency which sometimes include photos would be comparable to the different stages of pregnancy and how the baby develops. An adoptive parents gestational period can unfortunately be much longer than nine months. Depending on what type of adoption a couples undergoes the entire process can take years. Our wait period from the time we received our referral (the match with our son) until he came home was rather short, 7 months.
The concept of having the bag packed and ready to go when the mother's water breaks holds true for adoptive parents as well. We were given a rough estimate of when our son would come home, but we waited anxiously for "the call" from the agency saying the paperwork had cleared, and he was ready to come home. I received the call at work, and it was one of the most thrilling days of my life. My son was finally coming home after all of the waiting and planning. We had tried for 4 years to conceive a child; the ability to say our son would be in our arms in 3 short days making us parents was a huge milestone for my husband and I.
The "delivery" of our son was a lot less painful no doubt. He came over from Seoul to JFK escorted by someone hired by the agency. When he rounded the bend in his umbrella stroller, he looked exactly like his pictures. He was there in the flesh and the kisses and hugs we received melted our hearts. At 15 months he was too big to be swaddled, but he was our little bundle of joy. We were elated to feel his skin, smell his hair, and look him in the eyes.
It was so wonderful to have a baby in the house. The adjustment consisted of sleepless nights, fumbling with bottles and baby food, and changing our first poopy diapers. We were learning about him and he was learning about us. One thing we did not have to learn but felt the instant we saw his picture was love. Our hearts and minds were open to a little boy that came into our lives through circumstance and luck.
How we become parents does not matter; we are caretakers and providers to little beings who need our love and guidance. After the baby showers, and births, and adoption finalizations are all done our children grow day by day. We face the same and sometimes different challenges with our children. We will explain to our son that he is adopted and tell him the story of his birth and how we became a family. Another set of parents may have to deal with a learning disorder or health problems. The love we feel for our children has no boundaries, it is colorblind and all encompassing. A child’s existence in our lives is a miracle no matter how the family came together.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Head of over to Lori's for more Perfect Moments
Luv Bug is saying all sorts of new words and phrases. They don't all come out perfect, but we are enjoying hearing his "voice" and thoughts grow.
AJ pointed out that one of his cars is a convertable. Luv Bug's translation is "wegawegabull" said very fast. Try that one 10 times in a row fast.
I will take this time to post my usual Luv Bug Top 10.
2. He loves doing Eskimo Kisses now. He will do them with inanimate objects such as the coffee table (that is so him- loveable).
3. His dancing. Hilarious.
4. Doing well with potty training
5. He does peek-a-boo (kee-boo) at random times. Last night I told him it was time to go to bed and he shut his eyes tightly saying "kee-boo" thinking I couldn't see him.
6. He has to have a koozie on his sippy cup
7. He calls his crocs- Fox
8. We introduced him to our friend Chuck and he said,"Hi, F*ck!"
9. He can now count to 20 and gets the concept of counting objects.
10. And as I usually say- everything he does is in my "Top Ten" List
Sunday, May 17, 2009
What Am I Here For Anyway?
My heart is full and heavy at the same time.I have created a new life with a new life beside me- he just isn't here yet.Inside I am teaching the ABC's and going for walks in the stroller.The baby food in my cupboard is collecting dust along with the plastic sea animal dishes.His clothes hang on turtle hangers in his closet and they smell like detergent.His socks lay in a drawer stark white never having had a chance to get dirty.As spring has sprung I open his window to relieve the store-like smell that fills his room. Every item in there is too new, sitting unused.There are no scuff marks or stains. Please bring me the stinky smells and the dirty clothes and the banged up walls.
His stuffed animals have begged me to be carried by their arms around the house. The rocker yearns to be in use-not to sitting in the corner all alone, listening to lullabies, it's semi-circle legs not being exercised. Everything screams at me to be able to do their job. The Little People on the farm are bored and want to use the tractor and slide to down the slide.The blankets are sick of hanging on his crib, their fluffiness going unused. Everyone feels that their roles are not being fulfilled, including mine. The books are feeling neglected that their bright and shiny pages are not seeing the light of day.
Motherhood is laying dormant and I know how they feel. They, like me were put on this world to fulfill a job and we cannot do that without him here. His arrival will bring a carnival of life to all those people and objects that patiently wait to be hugged and played with and used so they can live up to their given expectation- to be held, loved, and used as stepping stones to build a new life.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Landscapes by Jeanette Musliner
I got these in the mail this week and was thrilled. This is only a sampling.
They will be for sale inf the form of blank notecards on our website soon.
Visit the rest of Show and Tell
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
We have quite a few get togethers. We threw an outdoor party at our new house last summer, and it rained all day. There were waves of sprinkles breaking into pouring rain and then cycling back again. It sucked. We made the most of it, but the food got ruined, everyone was wet, and the kids couldn't play outside in our new yard.
This past weekend we went to our cottage. Friday was beautiful but Saturday and Sunday it was overcast, cold and rainy all day. When I woke up Saturday the sky was gray but it looked like the sun was going to break through. We kept saying it'll probably clear up so we can go outside and have fun. The feeling of dread when seeing the overcast skies coupled with the glimmer of sunlight peeking through the clouds ignites the hope that the weather will clear and the sun will shine.
I have had that feeling of disappointment for many picnics, parties and weddings when waking up in the morning. For one of my best friend's weddings it rained all day, and we could only hope it would clear for the outdoor pictures. I felt so bad for her and we kept glancing up at the sky when the rain would halt. Amazingly the weather did break for the pictures but resumed for the rest of the evening.
Going through ART my skies were pretty much always overcast. Gearing up for each procedure and during the two week wait I would try so hard to see those rays of sun pushing their way through. The power of positive thinking and all that crap. The first IUI was exciting and the weather looked pretty good. But, after that failed and the proceeding 5 others failed, my weather report was quite glum. It was around 95% chance of precipitation.
The first IVF was also exciting; we upped the odds. This was going to work. But, the entire time I sat cautiously optimistic trying to feel positive and envision the BFP. That IVF resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. Any miscarriage or terminated pregnancy is a long drawn out reminder of what you have lost. It took two months for my HCG level to get below 10. It was a long, dreary summer.
The pursuit of parenthood doesn't halt when faced with an obstacle(sssss). If that were the case many of us infertiles would be quitting long before our minds and bodies are ready.With infertility we are basically party planning with the idea that we have no control over the weather, and we will need to rent a big tent or serve indoors. The event was scheduled for a reason and it cannot be rescheduled, so to speak. For the disappointment and loss when things fall apart is far greater than facing the idea that party will never happen at all. The party goes on rain or shine.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Today, I feel that there is so much riding on our little gummy. There’s major life events coming up, and Shelby’s pregnant belly plays a huge part. It completes everything.
Mainly it’s about my brother who is getting married in September. They’ve announced their intentions to conceive immediately. The part whose been trying to have a baby for so long will be crushed by being robbed of being the first. If they don’t conceive quickly, I’ll hurt knowing their pain of infertility. It’s something I don’t wish upon anyone, let alone my brother and his new family. I’m in a constant state heaviness, but none of it could compare to the agony of a second loss.
You’re not cruel enough to rob us of these happy times, and of parenthood.
Yes, dealing with infertility has been painful.
Yes, the wait for adoption can be hard.
But, I want to also be very clear that in the midst of our trials, we have found so much beauty. I'm learning that the most wonderful of life's blessings often come in the most oddly wrapped packages."
Saturday, May 9, 2009
When I returned home there was a box of flowers with the vase (which happens to go wonderfully in my living room b/c it is my accent color) from my OMG You Rock partner Jendeis from Sell Crazy Someplace Else. Thank you so much. They are on my mantel to look at all day long.What a fun event. Thank you to Liv for the genius idea. We should find another good reason to exchange things.
Here is something else that was at my door when I returned home. My BFF went to India last month and brought me home this beautiful piece of pottery.
NOTE: My first show and tell post was about my brother's Ronnie Reagan tshirt. Thus the comments. Because I wasn't home this weekend my brother's fanatical relationship with RR was the most interesting thing I could come up with when I was up in the North Country- 1000 Islands, NY.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Now we have stationary notecards for sale on our website. Buy a gift and make a donation all at the same time!
Our first set of cards are Black and Whites donated by Jess Klem.
We will have watercolors by our favorite third graders at The School at Columbia University. Be prepared to be wowed by these lovely and thoughtful pieces of artwork.
And we will have landscape art donated by Jeanette Musliner.
Here is a sample of her work.
We also have PFM t-shirts for sale.
100% pre-shrunk cotton.
9-12 mos, 18-24 mos, 2T, 3T
Visit parenthoodfor me.org
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Here is the comment cut and pasted. Please do what you can to help to get this essential tax credit extended. It is often the saving grace for those looking to adopt. Without this credit hundreds of thousasnd of people may choose not to adopt, and because of this the possiblity remains that hundred of thousands of children will remain orphans, in the US and across the globe.
Thank you for this and for all you do. One thing I learned yesterday is that the federal adoption tax credit is set to expire in 2010. Unless Congress votes to continue it, but this bill is currently languishing in committee where bills go to die. Below is something from my friend's blog (I'm not linking b/c right now I'm trying to keep my RL and blogging life separate):The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213 will keep the adoption tax credit from being repealed, and *may* make the tax relief measure permanent.
It only takes a few minutes to email or call your senators and congressmen it's important for them to hear from families impacted by the tax credit.Currently, there are 76 State Senators and Representatives cosponsoring H.R. 213. However, there are 16 states that currently have no sponsors of this bill, including eight on the East Coast* (one of the largest areas of the US with internationally adopted children). H.R. 213 is currently in committee, where most bills die.
It imperative that adoptive families, and all friends of children waiting for families, act now. Find out which of your congress members support the bill http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-213 .
It only takes a few minutes to write, call, or email your representatives and ask them to support H.R. 213. If they are already a cosponsor, please take this opportunity to thank them for supporting this important piece of legislation. Do it today!
Email Your Senator:http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Go to Mel's for more Show and Tell
Friday, May 1, 2009
Everyone has to pay their dues in the working world. First jobs are meant to be tortuous, low paying, demoralizing, and plain old boring. I was a foreign language major. I cannot tell you how many times I told people my major and was inevitably asked
"Are you going to be a teacher?"
"Uh, well no. I never even considering being an Italian or Spanish teacher. Education is not my thing."
"Oh, then what are you going to with that degree?" (chuckle, chuckle)
If they caught me while I was in school, my response was something like, "Work in international business or government."
Then the the eyebrows raised and the tone completely changed; Suddenly I looked pretty good.
Unfortunately after graduating I moved home to a place where my degree was of no use unless I was an education major- oops. We can't always plan these things in life. I majored in something I loved and I do not regret it to this day.
I ended up working an entry level position that a monkey could do; I found that out in the first hour of my training. The pay was decent especially since I didn't have to wait tables and stay up until 2 in the morning in order to collect my tips. But, it was hard adjusting to the grind. Looking back I wonder why I didn't take some more time to find myself. Probably because my parents paid for me to go away for 2 semesters to study abroad. Anyway, I was good. I spent the summer after graduation working my regular summer gig at an outdoor bar/restaurant with my friends, and then I sent out my resume to the real world. I got a job in September and moved on to a new phase in life: 8-5, bills, 401K's, happy hours, and discussing with all my co-workers how the F we got these jobs.
No, it wasn't that bad. I loved my co-workers. I left that job six years ago and still keep in touch with some of them. It was a great learning experience- as most jobs are if you want them to be. It taught me a lot about myself and a lot about what I did not want in a career. Overall it was a great experience.
So I had to go back to the building of my former employer today. It is in the heart of downtown and houses many different companies and agencies including the social security office. I was there to get Luv Bug's SS# since being adopted. We were unable to file our taxes on time b/c he doesn't' have a SS# due to the fact that he just became a citizen - yay luv bug. When I went to another office in Rochester, the "B" behind the counter didn't know what she was talking about and told me I didn't have enough information to get a card for him and sent me away seething mad because I knew I had what I needed and she had no idea what she was talking about. Hey you out there. I was right and you were wrong.
Today I was brought back to a time in my life when I was very young, single, finding my way in the world, extremely depressed, dating my future husband and living the life of a 20 something. I left that job when I was given the opportunity to be an Italian teacher at my Alma mater. I taught 7-9 grade Italian for a year. I had absolutely no experience and was scared to death but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I will have to dedicate a separate post about my experience teaching. Incredible!
Today got me to thinking about dealing with infertility in the working world. When I worked in an office with cubicles and hundreds of employees, I was 22-24 years old. I was too busy getting through my hang overs and IM'ing people during working hours to care about babies. I remember there were a couple of baby showers but I wasn't really paying attention to that dynamic of the office.
When I was struggling with infertility, I was working for my father's business. I basically determined my own hours so leaving 3 times a week for ultrasounds and blood work did not add any further stress, not really. It was very manageable, a pain in the ass but manageable. I didn't have to worry about revealing to my boss or co-workers why I was leaving so often. I did not have to face pregnancies and being around the chit chat for 9 hours out of my day.
I had it good and I still couldn't deal with things. I was still crying at my desk almost every day. I could cry at my desk because I had my own office and I was usually the only one there. I had it good and I still couldn't make it to work after appointments. I couldn't be seen in public because my emotions were all over the place. It was hard for me to deal with real issues and be professional. I was a wreck even though I was relieved of a lot of the stress involved with the demanding second job of infertility. I knew at the time I was lucky to have my job. I remember thinking there was no way I could make all of my appointments if I still was a teacher or in my first job.
The conflict of dealing with infertility and holding a job is tremendous. That creates enough stress to knock out an elephant. Add hormones shots, negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, operations, vaginal ultrasounds, constant blood draws, watching co-workers bellies grow by the day, people gushing over their glowing skin and office pools over the sex of the baby and you're going to have a person who is seriously on the brink of insanity.
I was immune to many of the social situations that can make life unbearable as an infertile; however, I was a complete basket case. It was enough for me to deal with friends and family getting pregnant, questions about our family building time line and loss of my own hopes that I would get to walk around my office with a bulging belly and have my dad brag about his little girl having a baby. I am so sorry for the women out there that not only have to live with the disappointment of IF in the privacy of their own home, but have to go to work everyday hearing about burp clothes, baby sitters and seeing sonogram pictures. I give you credit. You are amazing.
This morning I found myself in the lobby of my former office building heading up to the 14th floor to get a social security card for my son who was born in Korea. Life is crazy and random and hard and wonderful. That was the last obligation in my adoption journey. A huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Soon I will be able to close the 4 inch binder of Luv Bug's adoption and put it in a safe place. I amy need to dust it off in the near future as a reference guide for another adoption. Or perhaps it will remain amongst his other important things like his first pair of shoes and first report card not to be touched for a decade.
Who knows. Who really knows what lies ahead. I can think and hope and wait but what's next will come when it comes.