Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hope: My Struggles With Infertility




hope
hōp/
noun
noun: hope; plural noun: hopes
: the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen 
: a feeling that something good will happen or be true
: the chance that something good will happen
: someone or something that may be able to provide help : someone or something that gives you a reason for hoping


So many times I've thought about if I should share something so personal on my blog, and if so how do I finally open up and articulate what has seemed to consume my life for the past year and a half.  The idea of sharing my struggles with infertility on a public scale scares the hell out of me, but it also gives me a little hope.  Hope that by telling others about my journey I can set my own feelings of sadness & anger free, and also hope that I could possibly help someone else along the way understand that you're not alone in this.  For a long time I didn't even tell any of my girlfriends what I was going through.  I felt ashamed by the fact that I couldn't get pregnant on my own, and didn't want anyone to know about it.  Struggling with infertility can sometimes be a dark, lonely hole and the silence that seems to surround the topic only makes it that much harder.

Very few people in my life know that today I will be going in for surgery to hopefully correct some issues that have been preventing me from becoming pregnant. It has been a long process that has brought me to this surgery, so I want to start from the beginning.

I always assumed that getting pregnant would be so easy.  I'm still young, I'm healthy, I exercise, I take my vitamins, I'm happy, so in love with my husband, and we're ready to start a family so it should be easy for us, right?  I went off birth control right away after Adam & I were married last year, and for the first few months we were just enjoying being newlyweds.  While not actively trying to get pregnant, we weren't doing anything to prevent it, and I guess you could say that we had the "if it happens, it's a blessing and we're ready for it" mentality.  After several months with this attitude, and nothing happening, I started actively charting my monthly cycles so that I would know when I was ovulating.  This went on for 6-7 months, and each month like clockwork, I would get my period.  I started to feel like something was wrong.  Call it women's intuition or just being in tune with my body, but from early on I just had this feeling like something was off.

I never wanted to be one of those girls who was so desperate to get pregnant.  I had always joked that I would never use the ovulation detector pee sticks because the idea of using them just seemed so unromantic to me.  I didn't want this process of trying for a baby to ruin my sex life with my husband; for sex to become a "chore" rather than something we both enjoyed.  Like I said earlier, I just assumed it would be so easy to get pregnant.  I had so many friends who conceived their babies within the first few months of trying, and I never thought it would take this long for us.  Wanting to get pregnant started to consume my life.  I began reading books on natural fertility, taking various vitamins to make me more "fertile", drinking cough syrup at certain times of the month {I won't get into specifics here, just google it if curious}, charting various bodily fluids {sorry if that is TMI}, and yes, even started using those dang pee sticks that I swore I'd never use, but month after month nothing happened.  It's almost ironic that I spent the majority of my adult life taking daily pills, and having devices implanted in my body trying to prevent pregnancy, but once I actually wanted a baby more than anything else I just couldn't seem to get pregnant.

Somewhere near the one year mark feelings of frustration, and sadness started to creep into my life.  Something was wrong with me.  We should have conceived by now.  Each monthly period would bring the tears.  I cried a lot.  I cried to Adam, I cried to my mom, but mostly I just cried by myself.  I felt so angry at my body.  As women, this is what our bodies are designed to do and I felt like mine was failing me.  I also felt so alone in all of this.  None of my friends experienced problems with conceiving.  I didn't have anyone who I could relate to; no one who could tell me about their own experiences & feelings. 

For our one year anniversary, we took a trip to Israel & Italy.  While in Jerusalem, I wept at the tomb of King David praying to be blessed with a child, while Adam prayed with a Rabbi over on the men's side of the room that I would be able to conceive.  In Italy, I hoped that our prayers, combined with much needed wine + relaxation would be answered.  My period was 6 days late that month and I thought this was it!  Finally, I'm pregnant!  I took a pregnancy test every day during those 6 days, and every single one was negative.  It was such a letdown once I finally started.  My mom began urging me to go meet with a specialist.  Since it had been over a year of us "trying" at this point, I knew in my heart that it was time.  I was so afraid to call and make that appointment, so I put it off for a couple months.  I was afraid of all the testing, afraid of what they might tell me, and afraid of how certain results might affect my marriage.

Throughout all of this, Adam was so good to me.  He put up with my extreme mood swings, and consoled me when I cried.  I know I was so difficult to deal with, there were many moments when I was a flat out bitch, but he was always there by my side encouraging me to stay positive, and to think positive.  As much as he encouraged me, I couldn't get past the resentment that I felt towards my body.  This whole process had really messed with my feelings of self worth, and I started to become a bitter, disappointed, angry and sad person all at the same time.  People announcing their pregnancy on Facebook or Instagram had the ability to immediately derail my entire day.  It didn't help that everyone around me seemed to be getting pregnant, or having babies and while I was truly happy for my friends, I would always think why not me?  Why can't I have that moment where I get to stare down at a pregnancy stick and realize that I'm carrying a life inside of my body....

This past summer, I finally made that call & found a fertility specialist in my area that I really liked & felt comfortable with and we started the long process of all of the testing.  Adam was the first one to get tested to rule out the possibility that it was him.  Once he came back with an excellent report, we knew that the "problem" was me.  Over the next couple of months, I had blood drawn 5 times during various stages of my cycle, had vaginal ultrasounds performed, and a couple other invasive tests done.  All of these results came back perfect, which meant that my hormones were 100% not the problem.  They then scheduled me for an HSG test.  This test is an x-ray test that is performed by injecting dye through a catheter into your uterus & fallopian tubes.  The results came back that I have one fully blocked fallopian tube, which can not be repaired due to the significance in which it is blocked, and also that I have scarring in my uterus.  At this point to finally hear that we were doing everything right, but there is a problem with my body is almost a weird relief.  We were told that I'd need to have surgery to remove the scar tissue, and since I only have 1 working fallopian tube our chances of conceiving naturally on our own are slim. 

And so that brings us to today - surgery day.  I'm a little nervous since it is a surgery that involves full anesthesia, and I'm not sure what to expect in terms of pain, but on the other hand, it will be nice to make some progress towards starting a family!  The doctor told me that if everything goes well with the surgery, I would have to wait through one full cycle, and then we could start the process of IVF.

More than anything, I want to be a mother.  I long to experience those 9 months of pregnancy, to hear the pitter patter of toddler feet in our house, to cook weekend breakfasts with mickey mouse pancakes for my family, to experience all of life's first moments with a little human that I created with the love of life, to give Adam the gift of fatherhood and dedicate my whole life to my family....I want all of that more than anything else.

I know that there is a silver lining in all of this, which will reveal itself some day, even if it's just to make me a stronger woman.  But for now, all that I can do is hope.  Hope that the surgery goes well this morning, hope that I'm mentally strong enough to handle all that comes with IVF, and hope for a family.

Hope.

36 comments:

  1. What a brave blog post. Good luck with the surgery and I hope that by writing about it, you have not felt so alone. Good luck xx

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  2. I love you sister! You are so brave for sharing this. ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. This was so brave to put out there and thank you so much for sharing your story with us!! I'm praying for you and Adam and hoping you have a successful surgery today!! xo

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  4. Praying for you, Adam and your doctors. I believe in God's healing. I believe posts like this brings us women closer together to encourage, listen and uplift our spirits.

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    1. I completely agree, Megan. Thanks for the prayers! xx

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  5. Thinking about you today and thank you for sharing your story! I feel like you will make a great mama one day, no matter how the babies come into your life! Sending you wishes for quick healing!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Leslie! I appreciate them :)

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  6. Oh... My gosh, this made me cry! This is the first time I've ever posted on your blog, I've always enjoyed reading your blog and often wondered when your pregnancy announcement would pop up. Your blog seemed to be one of the only ones left that wasn't focused on adorable baby belly pics and fun mommy stuff which was really hard for me as my husband and I have been battling with infertility for three years. My story was almost identical to yours. My husband and I are both young, super healthy, eat really well, ready for a family... etc. I Charted, monitored body fluids, timed sex, special diets, you name we tried it. Only to be greeted by my lovely period every month. It was heartbreaking. All of my friends seemed to get pregnant on the drop of a dime so eventually I KNEW something had to be wrong. Of course... their was. After SO much invasive testing, blood work, the process of IVF, hundreds of shots, more doctors appts then I can count, three surgeries, and 2 full rounds of IVF... we FINALLY just got our very first positive pregnancy test 2 days ago! Three years almost exactly to the date we started trying. The process is not easy and we had some really really bad days, (like horribly tough) but going through all of this has made me so much more grateful, and honestly I wouldn't change it. Just remember you are not alone, and if you ever want to reach out to me please do. I'm wishing you and your husband all the good thing and patience for your upcoming journey! Huge hugs!

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    1. First off, congrats on your pregnancy! You're story is so inspiring, thank you for sharing it with me! You're journey sounds so similar to mine, and I'm really curious how your experience with IVF was. If you get a chance, shoot me an email andreaadler4206@gmail.com I'd love to chat more with you. Thanks again for sharing your story, it means so much to me! xx

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  7. Thank you SO much for sharing this! I cannot tell you how alone I feel through my struggles of infertility as well, I have had so many doctors appointments that sometimes the last thing I want to do is go to the doctors office again! But we keep pushing through! I wish you are your husband the best!

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    1. Hi Leticia! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and for your kind words. All the best to you during your journey. xox

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  8. Hi Andy. Thank you for sharing your story. I understand the frustration of seeing friends and strangers get pregnant. We went through a similar struggle but found out my husband an issue. Most of them were fixed by drastic lifestyle changes. Also, we used Preseed and got pregnant within a month. There are mixed reviews but I believe it works. (Of course, doctors will say different)We had been trying for about 6 months. I hope your surgery goes well . Have faith and know that you will be blessed with everything you are meant to have. Take care.

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    1. Hi Erica, thanks for sharing your story! I'm familar with Preseed and used it for quite a while after reading about it in one of my fertility books. I'm so glad that it worked for you guys! Congrats on your pregnancy! All the best xx

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  9. Goodness this absolutely brought me to tears!! I'm praying for you Andy. Praying for a quick recovery from the surgery and for God to bless you with a healthy baby. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments Crystal! xx

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  10. Hi Andy, It was so brave of you to share your journey with us, It was very moving! I will keep you in my prayers, and hope that your surgery goes well, and that you can have the family you have always wanted! Thank you for sharing your story, sending you lots of happy and positive thoughts! Take care!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts & prayers Nicole! xx

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  11. Wishing you all the luck with your surgery Andy. My husband and I have been trying for over 3 years now and after all the same tests we found out I have a uterine septum which is almost completely blocking my uterus. I recently had the surgery myself to remove the excess tissue and now we are just waiting for the greenlight to start trying again. Fingers crossed. I know it is beyond frustrating and a roller coaster of emotions but just know that your time is coming. Sending positive energy to you! xo

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story! After reading quite a few other commenters similar stories, I'm starting to realize how common this can actually be. Good luck to you & your hubby - maybe we'll be pregnant around the same time! xx

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  12. Andy, what a brave and honest post (and written so lovely). Thanks for sharing it with us. I have been following you for awhile now...Thoughts and prayers to you and Adam and well wishes for a quick recovery!

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    1. Thanks for the thoughts & prayers, Whit! xx

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  13. You will make an amazing mother one day. Although I cannot relate to the struggle you're dealing with I do know one thing that has been proved to be true all of my life: everything happens for a reason. As cliche as it sounds, its so damn true. There is a perfect time for everything and you need to trust in God, or whomever you look up to that you will be guided when the time is right for YOU. You WILL experience being a mommy one day, hearing little feet running into your bedroom in the morning, hearing your baby call you "mama" and seeing your hubby be a father. One day I promise. Wishing you the best of luck and as I said before, keeping you in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Meghan! I really appreciate them :)

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  14. Hi Andy. While I cant relate to what you are going through, I read your post and somehow just have a feeling that things are going to work out for you. I hope your surgery went well and I will keep you in my prayers!

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  15. This post brought me to tears Andy... I really am sorry to hear you are going through this, I hope the surgery went well and I am positive all will work out for you both...Please keep us updated..Katiexxx

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    1. Thanks Katie! I'll definitely keep everyone updated...

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  16. This post brought me to tears. Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you and Adam. I believe God has a plan for us all and doesn't give us anything we can't overcome. Keep us updated! xoxoxo

    Meggan

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  17. Jena Charles (Green)November 8, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    I just read this blog post and my hearts and prayers go to you and your husband. I know the feeling you are through to a certain extent. My husband and I want children as well but it's not happening as easily and being 30 scares me because I know the clock will start ticking louder and it makes enjoying the process a little more difficult. I know we've lost touch since those young OCS days but you have a beautiful life that I can feel through your pictures and blog. The best days are yet to come :) I have faith in my situation and I have that faith for anyone who struggles with this subject as well...best wishes.

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    1. Thank you Jena. Best of luck to you and your husband as well.

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  18. Andy, sorry as I am late to comment, but I just wanted to thank you for such honest, brave and genuine post. I will be praying for you and Adam to be blessed with family soon. I hope your recovery went well. Please stay strong, you will make an amazing mother one day. The way you opened up is truly inspiring.

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    1. Thanks for the well wish Regina. I really appreciate it!

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