Working Through This, Together

I had a recent comment on one of my posts about men and how this infertility journey for them can sometimes seem so different to ours, mainly because they aren’t quite so vocal about it. Which I think is true. 

Grant has been an awesome supporter of me in this journey. He’s held me while I’ve cried. He’s listened and not tried to fix things. He’s offered advice and reminders (although not always wanted!) about being a good friend to my fertile, pregnant friends. He’s attended appointments and asked questions. He’s been involved and he’s shown up, strong and resilient, through all of this. And he’s been willing to put up with crazy mood swings, the most awesome side effects of the drugs, even without the highly desired end result. 

I started writing because I felt so overwhelmed by this whole infertility journey and emotions and it seemed as if Grant didn’t feel the same. I could tell that he was upset by the doctors report, but it just didn’t seem like he felt the same way as me. He wasn’t as vocal as me. 

I’ve really been working on how I’m feeling and dealing with everything. Trying to be honest and real and allow myself the opportunity to really process each emotion. While at the same time trying to move on to acceptance and peace. And I think I’m starting to get there. I’m starting to feel like, for now, I’m in a good place. 

And that’s when my husband voices his feelings. 

This past week he’s made a couple of passing comments. When I told him I was feeling nauseous (a very out of character feeling) he said, “maybe you’re pregnant.” At first I laughed it off. It was just a passing comment. But he kept finding different ways to mention it. 

So tonight I asked him about it. Because clearly I’m not pregnant. (It’s not that I don’t think God can perform a miracle and I can get pregnant naturally. It’s just I’m not pregnant right now.) 

He replied that he was speaking it out. 
He was speaking pregnancy over my life. He was speaking hope, and expressing his desire for a baby.  

I’ve always worried that this journey will affect his faith. And here he is speaking in faith. (Thank you God!) I don’t ever want to knock down his faith and I wouldn’t dream of asking him to stop his comments, now that I know his heart behind the comments.

He did couple it with bringing up how yesterday we heard of three different people being pregnant. He spoke of how unfair it all felt. How he doesnt want to become bitter, but that he was sick of hearing about other people. 
Basically, he is feeling all the things I have been feeling for the past year and is finally voicing it to me. 

The silver lining I’m choosing to see here is that I’m in a good place, and he’s now chartering a course I’ve already sailed. It’s now my chance to be his rock. To listen, to sympathize. To help him navigate this journey. I’m so glad now that I asked him about his comments this week because he opened up in ways I never could have foreseen. 

This journey is far from over. Although we are biding our time til April 2015 we obviously still have a lot to work through together. And we are going to take it one step at a time. I’m looking forward to the day where we are both in a good place of peace, hope and faith – whether we have children or not. 

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The Path Of Life

The Path Of Life

Glennons blog, Momastry has become increasingly popular and it’s not hard to see why when she posts amazing thoughts like this post. As I read it I felt so encouraged and inspired to keep walking this rocky path of life (and infertility.) I love her catch phrases like “we can do hard things” and “life is brutal and beautiful – life is brutiful.”

It’s been an interesting week for me and the rollercoaster has been running at a steady pace, but thankfully not full force. I put it down to sleepless nights and being sick. On the whole though I am feeling more relaxed and more at peace with where we are at for the moment – cruising along, not actively trying and trying to enjoy the childless lifestyle.

A Change of Direction

Its been a while since I last posted something on here. Time has quietly passed on here for a number of reasons.
Firstly because we (finally!!) moved house and we had no internet.
And secondly because I didn’t know how or what to write. And at times I didn’t want to write. Because writing it down, or saying it out loud, somehow makes it more real.
 
So here goes…
 
ivf is our only option. We have one shot left of making a baby.
 
I know we are EXTREMELY lucky to qualify for funding. There is actually no physical way we could afford to pay for this ourselves.
 
There is an 18 month waiting list, so our one chance has been allocated to April 2015
 
Right now 2015 seems like a whole lifetime away but Grant and I are going to take this in our stride. We have been talking about how good it is, how it means we can really prepare ourselves (as much as possible) emotionally, physically, financially for this. There’s also talk of a wee holiday which makes me excited.
 
So we’ve known for a couple of weeks but we’ve really only started telling family and friends (the ones who are already in the know about our journey) these last couple of days, because its hard to tell people to say the words out loud, some days its just hard to talk about and it can be hard to carry their reaction/one thousand questions as well. 
 
Its hard knowing that our hopes, dreams and desires rest on this one shot in 2015.
 
I’ve been working on letting it go, and for the first time feel like I’m actually letting it go and not just talking about letting go. I guess its easier to let go when you no longer have anything to control.
 
I’ve stopped tracking my cycle for ‘getting pregnant’ purposes.
I have also stopped trying to time our ‘relations’ for when I think I’m ovulating.
I’ve stopped taking herbal supplements.
I’ve stopped monitoring my sugar/bad food intake. (Yes Im still going to manage what I eat and be healthy, but not for the purposes of getting pregnant.)
I’ve also given away all the baby stuff I was hoarding for my future children. I do this not in a defeatist way but have actually found it surprisingly liberating and its been nice giving away ‘the best’ things to my friends. To them its just another baby item, but to me it means so, so much more. I’m giving them my hopes, my dreams but also the ‘best’ designed items – because I would only ever have the best for my kids. And it hasn’t been as hard as I anticipated. It was harder thinking and deciding on doing it than actually doing it. Instead, I felt good giving it away, in a blessed kind of way.
 
I think I am finally starting to come to terms with the idea that we may never have children. Trust me, it got a little dark there in places. While I put on the happy, brave face, what was going on inside was a different story. And I understand that this is a journey, a process, and that some days I’m going to believe that I have reached the destination of acceptance and peace only to wake up the next day and realize I wasn’t at the destination, but rather at a rest stop along the way.
 
In one such dark space I started compiling a list of “I will never”
This was a list of all the things I will ‘miss out on’ because I am not a mother.
It was both a pity party and quite cathartic.
 
It was my intention to post it on here – my big whinge on all that was being robbed from me.
The day I was going to post it I was reading through some blogs that I follow and I read one entry who did the same thing, but made it thoroughly positive. Well damn.
It was a fun and entertaining list of all the things that were great about not being pregnant/having children.
Maybe one day I’ll write my own and post it on here.
 
While Grant and I are still on this infertility journey 2015 is a long way away and because of this I feel that the nature of my blog is going to change, is going to need to change. I don’t think I can go 18 months talking about infertility because I’m going to run out of things to say. We are still on this journey so I will still address what I’m thinking and feeling but I believe these types of posts will (read should) become less frequent.
 
I still believe that I am called to be someone who occupies hope and that I am to share this with others. I believe I can encourage others in their journeys. And this blog is one way in which I can do this. I’m not entirely sure of how this blog is going go but I’m going to take it one step at a time and see where I end up. I hope you will continue to come along for the ride.
 
Much love,
Anna.

The Waiting Game

My Dad was away for a lot of my childhood, his work took him traveling around the world so when he was home he often wanted to rest or he had jobs to do and things to catch up on. So I clearly remember it was a surprise one rainy Saturday when he came to my brothers and I and suggested a game of monopoly. We eagerly agreed.

Things turned sour though when one of us decided we’d had enough and started counting the money to see who had the most (and therefore the winner.) Dad interrupted our counting to announce that a game didn’t end when you’ve had enough, the game ended when everyone, bar one player, was bankrupted.

A long game ensued. Loooooong. And painful.

And that’s how I’m feeling now.
It feels like everything is far more difficult than it should be. That this waiting is long and painful. And I just hope that it doesn’t end with emotional or spiritual bankruptcy.

I hate waiting.
I’m sick of being patient.
I’m tired of hearing scripture about patience.
Waiting sucks.
It’s long and painful.
The weeks are limping along and I hate wishing my days and my life away.

We have to wait at least a week and a half to find out if Grants second sample test attempt is good enough for oi injections or whether we will need to skip them and go straight to ivf. Because the specialist who makes that call has gone on holiday. (Lucky them)

If we do go on to ivf, it has an 18 month waiting list.

We’re also waiting two weeks to move into our new house because we can’t move in sooner for a host of reasons, one being that the moving truck is booked.

I’m so frustrated.
I just want to know now.
I want it all now.
I want to move now.

I’m feeling very impatient.

I understand that this could be seen as a good lesson in patience and trust in Gods timing. But it’s a lesson I don’t want to learn (stamps foot and tantrums enough to put a two year old to shame.)

I know God has perfect timing. I have seen it so many times. God has come through in ways I could never imagine. Most recently this has been with our house. At the time it felt like we were missing out on some great houses because the timing was all out. But now, on the other side of the waiting we can see how God has moved and how this house is so so perfect for us, more so than all the other houses we ‘fell in love with.’ This house is a complete blessing, I see that now. And I know deep down that this infertility journey is going to be a similar situation. I know God has perfect timing. I know he works all things for good. I know he has a plan for us. I just wish he’d hurry up about it.

Fathers Day

Here in good ol’ New Zealand it’s Father’s Day today. At church there was a big celebration, songs and items, prayers and blessings for the fathers.

And that’s when it hit me. Again.
I should’ve prepared myself, but it honestly didn’t enter my head. All week at work we’ve been making and creating crafts with the kids and it didn’t enter my head once.

Grant may never be a father.

And I can’t help but feel like I’ve let him down. It’s my fault.

I know it’s not something I wanted to happen. No one chooses infertility. People choose to not have kids, but they have the choice.

We may have that choice taken from us. Decided for us.

And it’s all because of me.

I know that Grant doesn’t see it this way. He’s nothing but supportive, encouraging and kind. He doesn’t blame me or feel like its my fault. And I know deep down that its not. But sometimes that’s where my thoughts go. Somedays I’m not a happy bright ray of sunshine. Sometimes I have dark wandering thoughts.

So suddenly sitting in church became hard. It was hard to sit there and hear the prayers and stories and praise and encouragements for fathers. Because I know that my Grant will be an awesome dad, just like his dad and just like mine. And I hate that he may never get the chance to be one.

Our Pastor also spoke about plans and purposes today. And it was just what I needed to hear and be reminded of. I believe that God has a plan for Grant and I. I believe that this journey we are on has a purpose and that at the end, whether the end is parenthood or not, there will be something beautiful and good. Because that’s just who my God is.

One of the biggest things for me about infertility is if we don’t have kids what kind of legacy will we leave?

My thinking around legacies is changing. Just because we don’t have children doesn’t mean that we can’t leave a legacy. I just need to change my view of what our legacy can be. I don’t have any answers yet, maybe a few vague ideas at most, but I’m excited and hopeful about the prospect that God had a plan and a purpose for our lives. And right now it may not be what we thought it would be but I know that God is in control. And He is walking with us, beside us, before us, every step of the way along this journey.

Overwhelmed

I have not been sleeping well this week.
During the day I longed for home time, and bed time. I promised myself I will go to bed early.
And some nights I did, others I stayed up later than I should have.
But it didnt seem to matter.
Once the lights were off my brain switched on.
My body may be tired but my brain is ready to run marathons.
I think about a myriad things.

I find myself making lists, and lists of lists of things that need to be done now.

I think about
Our (potential) new house and all the things that need to be sorted
Our future
Our health
Infertility and babies and our plan

And its overwhelming.
And Im tired and its escalating things.
And its become a bit of a cycle.

Im feeling impatient. I want to start organizing our house now.
I want to know whats happening with my infertility now.
I want everything now, now, now.
I want to know whats happening with Grants fertility now.

I mentioned in my last post our grand plan for baby making. And it started with my lovely husband providing the lab with a sample to test. He has already done this once and they said he was fine, not great, but fine. So we werent worried, it was a routine thing.
However he got a call from our specialist this week saying that the latest sample doesn’t look good and wants to retest him. If they get the same result then we cannot do the ovulation induction. We cannot do the fsh injections because the chances of it working is too small.

It would mean that we have one chance left. One round of ivf. And an 18 month ish wait for our turn at our one shot.

Surprisingly I’m not too worried about only potentially have one shot left. Its the not knowing, the long wait we have before we find out whether we can do the injections or not. Im frustrated that we had a plan, and that we were feeling so hopeful and sure. And now we are back to the unknown.

So much is unknown. And Im learning that this is ok. And that there can be a sense of joy in this.
Im learning to trust that God is in control, and that I can let things go to Him. And when I do, the weight lifts.
Sharing how Im feeling to Grant, and having him just listen helps more than words can describe. There is so much to do but we are writing a list and are going to cross things off one step at a time.

Through this journey I’ve learnt that when I’m tired and overwhelmed by the weight of all that’s heaped on my plate, that’s when I need to run to Jesus for comfort, hope, joy and peace. I hope I never stop running.

Moving Forward

Lots has been happening lately.

First off we have, conditionally, bought a house. Obviously we are super excited about it and have a two week wait of a different kind! We have two weeks to get all the conditions met and if everyone signs off then the house is ours! It’s been a busy few weeks house hunting, organizing people and businesses, meetings with the bank and making big decisions. The house is amazing and we are praying that everything comes together.

While all this has been going on we also have had a few health things going on. Grant had minor surgery on his hand yesterday so I’ve been playing nurse as he can’t use his left hand. I’ve also done potential nerve damage to my hand and got a sinus infection. On top of all this my doctor did a routine blood test and now thinks I have slight anemia so this week I have to have more blood tests to check my iron. I’m completely surprised by this and I’m not worried about it at all, it’s just a hassle more than anything. This weekend we have been relaxing at home and concentrating on getting better. We make a fine pair!

This week we also had our meeting with the fertility specialist.

I think the biggest piece of news is that we qualify for public funding. This means we do not need to pay for any further treatment. It’s overwhelming thinking about how lucky and blessed we are to qualify as there is no way we could afford to keep trying. Thank you God for public funding!

Moving forward we have a plan and this is great because there is finally an end date on this. It’s a relief to know that if the treatments don’t work then we can happily walk away knowing we have done everything we possibly can to create a family. It’s also a relief to know that there is a plan of attack and to know exactly what it will entail.

So once all the funding paperwork is signed off we will begin fsh injections as part of the ovulation induction process. I will have to inject myself once a day for a maximum of four weeks. During this time I will be having numerous blood tests and scans. They are unsure about the dosage so they will start me off with small amounts and increase once they determine how my body responds. If I over respond then the cycle is cancelled. If I under respond, and nothing happens after four weeks, then the cycle is cancelled.

So we are funded for four cycles of fsh injections. If they don’t work then we are funded for one cycle of ivf. There is an 18 month waiting list for ivf and we are unable to get onto the list until we have tried the four rounds of fsh injections. After this, if it doesn’t work, then we can walk away knowing we have no regrets. Obviously we are being positive and hoping that the first cycle of injections work but its nice to know there is a plan if it doesn’t.

I’m feeling much more relaxed about the injections after having the nurse walk us through it. At first I was so unsure about injecting myself but Grant is willing to inject me if I find I can’t do it. I’m so lucky to have someone who is supportive and caring.

This week Grant is having another sperm sample tested. He was tested over a year ago and there were no issues so we are expecting the same result. This test is just routine as we have decided to go with iui or insemination of Grants sperm when the fsh injections cause me to ovulate. This is to ensure that the sperm end up in the right place. Kind of like doubling our chances, because we will also have sex when I’m ovulating. I know it’s quite a “medical” process but ivf is so medical and involved and it can’t hurt to increase our chances of getting pregnant. It would be awful to finally get the injection dosage correct, ovulate and not get pregnant. (This actually happened the first round of clomiphene, it worked perfectly and I just didn’t get pregnant. Then my body never responded to clomiphene again).

I’ve been advised to stop the herbal treatments as the doctors are unsure about how the herbs will react to the injections so I have stopped taking them. It was too early to know if it was having any affect on my cycle but I have no regrets on giving it a go, even if it was for a short time.

So there’s lots going on at the moment but we are feeling positive, hopeful and excited about the very certain future that’s before us.