Monday, October 27, 2014

journey of a thousand cycles...

Weird title?  Sorry, I couldn't come up with anything clever.  It's still early and I'm listening to a typewriter in the background at work.  (yes, I said TYPEWRITER).  We still have one and it still gets used.  Something to do with contracts or legal documents of some sort of.    
But, back to the subject at making.
Or the lack thereof.  

I mentioned a while back (in this post) of my struggle with infertility.  I never really went into all the details; probably because there weren't a whole lot back then.  Even though I'd known for many years that children wouldn't come easy for us, I wasn't willing to use medical intervention.  I was relying on my Faith in God to bring about the miracle of a child.  I clung to the theory that it would happen, on its own, if it was really meant to be.  I wasn't willing to manipulate my body; I felt it was unnatural.  I also didn't want to go through grueling testing and costly procedures, only to find out that there was no hope.   I rarely discussed this with anyone, except my husband (obviously), and my mom and sisters.  (when my mom was still here, she was probably the one who encouraged me the MOST to pursue all the avenues I could.   She wanted a "little Dawn" running around.   She was all set to take care of baby L, while we worked.   I couldn't think of anyone I'd want to do that MORE than her.)  Of course that won't happen now, but I feel like she was instrumental in helping me make the decision to just take the leap, finally.

For the past 5 or so years, each time I went for my yearly exam, my gynecologist would ask if I still thought about having children, and/or did I want them.   Of course I had!  I've dreamed of being a mom since I was a young girl, as many women have.  BUT, I also knew that it wasn't going to be easy.  I was so bitter sometimes that it couldn't "just happen" for me, like it did for others.   My doctor knew, based on my history, that I needed a specialist.  So, on one occasion, she'd given me the business card for a reputable fertility specialist in our area, who'd come highly recommended by her and her peers.  I kept it in my purse for a long time and eventually tossed it in the garbage.   As badly as I wanted to have a child, I was hell bent on believing that it would  happen, with no help.   But it hasn't.   

Then, when my mom died, I swore that I'd definitely never consider having children, because she wasn't here.  I felt like I was slighting her, because I'd never pursued it further, while she was still living. She probably wanted me to be a mom, just as much as I did.   I went through a weird phase where it wasn't even an option anymore. I couldn't do that to her. 
Then, this July, I went to the doctor again, (for my yearly appt).   I pulled up to the office and looked at my clock.   It was 8:26 -   My mom's birthday.    Hmmm..    
 Two pregnant women were already sitting in the waiting room. (this wasn't unusual).  I was signed in and soon brought back to the exam room.   Of all the years I've been going here, I was always grateful that I was never put in the room(s) with the sonogram machines ..although I'd often heard other women in the (thin walled) rooms, listening to their babies' heartbeats, and it was just as saddening.   What were the chances that this day, I was actually put in a room with a sonogram machine.   I felt like maybe my mom was giving me some signs, and if she was, I wasn't really getting it, at the time.   Per the usual, my doctor came in, examined me and then asked the loaded question:  "Are you still thinking about having children?".   I said I was still considering it but wasn't sure what my next steps would be.   She went on to tell me that based on my age, I should decide soon, because soon my eggs wouldn't be viable, and if we needed to go the IVF route, they only store your eggs up to age 40.   We talked a bit more and she said she'd give me a script for some prenatal vitamins, a script for a 21 day progesterone check, and a prescription for Clomid.   I walked out of the office that day, so anxious and excited.  I felt like I was ready do this!   But it was equally as scary, as it was exciting.    I kept the prescription in my purse and thought about it all month. Of course, my husband was in on the "thinking".    It's not something I would decide on my own. He'd be very instrumental in this venture too.  *wink wink*     We both, very much, want a child.  He just never really pressed the issue because he knew early on that it was an obstacle for me.   We dodged the "when are you going to have kids" question so many times.   NEVER because I was ashamed, but more so because I didn't want to "get into it".   I hate that some of our family and friends think we just didn't want children.  Trust me, people, if I didn't struggle with infertility, I'd have had kids long before now.  Unfortunately, my reproductive malfunction started as early as 17 years old.   It was a mystery for years - even after 2 (holy hell,  painful) endometrial biopsies, I hadn't really been given any answers. I finally was diagnosed with PCOS and as a result: anovulation.    Fun, fun, fun!    So, fast forward to the Clomid diaries.  I finally started it in August... The first dose definitely had some interesting side effects like major hot flashes.  But the 2nd one wasn't so bad.  I skipped October, because mentally, I just had too much going on and couldn't handle the stress of charting everything.   I think I bought some serious stock in ovulation predictor kits.   Those things are neat!
Of the ones I took, those 2 months, they did indicate that the FSH hormone was present but I later found out that it doesn't mean you will ovulate.  It just meant that the hormone was present in my body, that would indiciate I should ovulate. Apparently we (women) all produce it.  We don't really know  if there was ovulation until I get the 21 progesterone test, which I didn't do that first month.  This month, I went without the Clomid but am still going to get the labs done to see if my progesterone numbers indicate ovulation.  That would be sweet .... But we'll see.

Two weeks ago, my sister and I attended a St. Gerard mass at a parish not too far from our own.  It was such a beautiful mass with speakers and prayer.   Lots of babies were present with their grateful moms who were true testimonies to their Faith in St. Gerard, as well as pregnant Moms and gals like me who were hoping to conceive.  We were able to touch an actual St Gerard relic and were given the opportunity to have a personal blessing with one of the attending priests.  Of course, I couldn't pass up that gift.  That was so emotional for me and my sister both!   (we both cried during the blessing and my niece thought we were nuts).   Before we left, we were able to take a blessed St. Gerard medal and a prayer card.   I don't expect all of my readers to believe in those things, but I do.   If I didn't, why did I go?
I have been wearing my medal on a medallion bracelet (because I can't take off my mom's thumb print necklace).   So I hope that wearing it gives me an extra "in".   I know I won't 'try' forever, but at least until the end of the year.  Truth is, we're not getting any younger.   I will keep praying and thinking POSITIVE.    And hopefully one day I'll get to post a Big Fat Positive story.

This was just never something I wanted to put out there because it is a very personal, very difficult struggle.
Lately, I've been thinking 'why not share it?'.   I'm creeping around on Instagram reading about others' journeys with infertility but I'm afraid to put myself out there because I don't want to have one collective let-down.    So, no more of that... here it is.   Raw and real.

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Hi, thanks for YOUR thoughts on MY thoughts! Happy reading!