Saturday, November 20, 2010

Infertility and My Babies

**I am putting this out here to help someone who may be in the shoes I once had to wear.  What shoes?!  The shoes of an infertile, heartbroken woman.  Though I am no longer in those shoes; no longer heartbroken with empty arms, I don't want to forget how it felt back then.  Everything felt hopeless. It truly makes me appreciate what who I have been given. I want to help someone else who may be wearing those shoes.  I want the women who feel they have no hope to have hope.  Some of it is embarrassing for me to share but I am tired of people being quiet about infertility.  I am speaking out.  Please keep in mind this is an abbreviated version even though it is still long.  And most importantly, never give up hope.  It happened for me.  I pray it can happen for you too.**

With the holidays upon us, I feel it necessary to share some of the things for which I am thankful. I had planned to add something that I was thankful for at the end of each blog post and that hasn't happened. Having a good memory is not something I can be thankful for because that is not one of my gifts. :) I wanted to talk a little bit about a long and lonely journey I lived through: Infertility.

You will notice from the pictures in the sidebar, I have not one, but TWO gorgeous girls. :o) One is five and a half and one just turned three.  Hang on, it was a bumpy ride and some of it is painful for me to share.

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty

I must share a little more on them. Or rather, what it took to GET them here. When I was younger, maybe 14 years old I KNEW something was wrong with my "woman parts." Doctors agreed, I was put on birth control pills to help with the symptoms and I sent on my merry way to get some ibuprofen. I would miss a few days every month of school because I was too sick to move.  Women on my dad's side of the family notoriously have to have a hysterectomy young.  We just don't seem to be able to keep all our parts.  ;o)

I would later find out that I would have to fight to keep my own parts in my own body.  I had to tell doctors that they were wrong, that I would live with it, somehow, just so I could be a mommy.  I cried and fought and I begged and I pleaded.  With the doctors, sometimes my family, and with my own body.

Years and years of suffering later I found out I had endometriosis. This disease put me through about four surgeries in my early twenties. Why? I was in chronic pain, not just monthly anymore and left untreated, endometriosis can leave a woman barren. Sometimes I couldn't even get out of the bed. Sometimes the laparoscopic surgeries and the removing or burning of the endometriosis helped. Sometimes it did not. If it did, the relief was short lived. I wasn't going through these surgeries and procedures just for temporary relief. I was putting myself, my family and my future husband through this for the chance to maybe have ONE baby one day. I still have the pictures, (though I have NO idea where they are) and I probably sound crazy to some of you, but after the fourth surgery something amazing or miraculous happened. All signs and traces of the disease were gone. A disease that has NO CURE. Even a scar I had across my uterus (no one knew how or why it was there to begin with) was gone. No one knew how to explain why it was gone. My dad knew. He told that doctor it was God. And it was. :) The doctor had to agree. Those painful problems, for the most part, were in the past.

I got engaged and five months later we got married.

I thought I would get married, get pregnant a couple months later as is the tradition in our family if you marry in November, but no.

A few months went by.

A few more months went by.

Then a year went by.

We had a faint positive pregnancy test at some point in there but we didn't even get to celebrate it as it was over as quickly as it began. It was painful and scary and many people still don't know about it but I felt we didn't need to upset anyone more than we needed to.

And it didn't happen again. No more faint positive lines.

By this time we had seen a Reproductive Endocrinologist (who had done my previous surgeries) and he began working with us so we could have a baby.

We did everything the doctor said to do. Private things became public and we felt like all the love that was supposed to create our baby was taken away. So much is taken away when you are diagnosed with infertility. I felt like a science experiment and my poor husband comforted me every month when the answer was "No." I cannot stress to you how heartbreaking infertility is. It makes you question everything.

You get poked and you get prodded. You get shots and medicines that make you feel like you are the hardest person to live with and you feel fat and just plain crazy.

The last time we tried IUI (I put this in abbreviated form so those not wanting to read anything too graphic can skip it) was a no go. I had two eggs, stimulated by the drug Clomid. This drug alone made me feel pregnant. I was moody and cranky and felt like a crazier person that I normally do. The doctor told us that the eggs were not big enough and we would not do the IUI this time.

At this point I gave up trying to make it happen. IVF was the only hope in my getting pregnant. I told the doctor that we would do IVF but I would need to work a couple of years to get the money to do it. Our insurance did not (and may still not) cover such things.

I was OK. I lived through what I didn't think was possible. I prayed and now that I look back, I didn't give up.

I gave it to God.

A few weeks later I felt different. The mere mention of one of my favorite foods made me feel like I'd hurl a million times. I thought, "Could it be?! Are you serious?!" It was time to go buy a home pregnancy test. I could not wait any longer! It was Father's Day 2004 and I found out I was pregnant. The line was faint like before, but not as faint. And I felt different this time as well. The sickness was heightened. I was pretty sure there was more than one baby in there. We have twins in our family and there is a higher occurrence of multiples on the fertility medicines I was taking.

We would find out later that I was indeed pregnant with twins. We lost one at nine weeks. Once again, my world came tumbling down. It didn't seem to affect anyone else the way it did me. I didn't want to seem ungrateful to God because I was getting ONE baby and that's all I had ever hoped and prayed for but part of me hurt and longed for that other baby. And to be even crazier, I am sure it was a boy. I put on a happy face because I was pregnant and yes, I was happy. But I was sad too. I kept the hurt inside though and moved on.

I guess having twins was not meant to be and God knows what He is doing because if I had had the twins I probably would not have my Sleeping Beauty and I cannot and will not imagine my life without her.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oh, Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down...

This picture has no editing in the colors - it was just darkened and look at the colors shining on them!! :)

Looking at this picture I thought of God and Heaven and then these lyrics to the song "Shine" by Collective Soul.

Songwriter: Ed Roland

Give me a word
Give me a sign
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground
Fly me in the sky
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

Love is in the water
Love is in the air
Show me where to look
Tell me will love be there
Teach me how to speak
Teach me how to share
Teach me where to go
Tell me will love be there
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

I'm gonna let it shine
I'm gonna let it shine
Heaven send a light, let it shine on me
Hey Yeah
Hey Yeah
Heaven send a light, let it shine on me
It's gonna shine on
Shine on Me
Its gonna shine on

Well come on and shine

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The "Super-Center" Time Warp

These days I do my grocery shopping in the morning.  The days of waiting for my husband to get home in order to have the luxury of food shopping alone is rare these days.  I am DONE by the time he gets home and it is a miracle I get something semi-edible (it is debatable) on the table every night.  The thought of going BACK out, well, it makes me want to be shot.  With Cinderella in school, taking one child to the grocery store doesn't seem as daunting.  And it isn't.  One child is a cake walk.  When I think back to the days of taking a two year old and a teeny,tiny newborn shopping I shudder.  I had Sleeping Beauty in the infant carrier/car seat that didn't seem to fit right in the top of the shopping cart no matter how much I sweat, frammed (it's a word to me, rhymes with rammed) and fussed with it.  If I put her and her carrier in the big part, I'd have no room for the groceries and where would I trap put Cinderella?  Sleeping Beauty was too small to even sit up so that was out.  Going to a grocery store with two small children strikes fear in the hearts of mothers everywhere.  There simply isn't enough room for the baby, the car seat, the diaper bag, the snacks, toys and the toddler and the food - the main reason for the whole fiasco! 

Eventually I learned Cinderella was trust worthy and she held on to the end of the shopping cart.  She had to ask permission before she was allowed to let go and wander.  By wander, I mean hold on to some other part of the cart.  Some days she'd sit in the big part but after many flat sandwiches were eaten I gave up on that.  I still don't think I've yet to make it home without the bread smashed and at least one egg broken.  What is up with that?

Those days are behind me now and I barely miss them.  When I do miss those days, I remember how hot and sweaty and anxiety-ridden I felt and I am quickly over it.

Now Sleeping Beauty and I will come back home for a little bit after we drop Cinderella off at school and eat breakfast and get laundry going.  On the days we have to grocery shop, I will get my coupons together, make a list and do some quick chores around the house.  Sometimes I have to print the coupons out and then cut them.  All the while Sleeping Beauty is eating breakfast, destroying the house and generally making my life unbearable.  Inevitably there will be a mess by this time and it takes a few more minutes of my attention.  Many times I give up and deal with it later.  More times than not, I can't bring myself to deal with it most of the day.  Then we load up and off we go.

I have often joked about "Super-centers" being a great big time warp.  You go in and get a few things, walk around and look at stuff you have no business looking at, let alone buying.  Then you wait in THE line for 15 years.  Yes, the ONE LINE.  There is rarely more that one lane open.  Finally, after all that time you pay and then leave.  Ever notice how you can go in for laundry detergent and leave with everything BUT the laundry detergent?!  And yet you seem to spend over $100 a trip! 

Sleeping Beauty and I were sucked into this time warp a couple of weeks ago.  I had a lot to do that day and we had a morning like I just mentioned earlier.  I talked to the King of the Crazies on the way to the Super-center at it was after 8:30 AM.  We didn't have to buy a lot.  It wasn't a big trip.  


When we left the store and I looked at my watch it was after 11!!  

We got what was on my list - nothing more - but probably a few items less as I ALWAYS, without fail, forget something.  And it is always an important something.  Remember, laundry detergent?! (Sigh.)  We looked at the clearance Halloween stuff, the new Christmas displays, the fish and then the dog toys, the kid toys and princess row, books and cute baby clothes.  I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY WE WERE GONE ALL MORNING!!

I just kept getting sucked in farther and farther.  I would think of "one more thing" I wanted to look at and then my little helper, Sleeping Beauty, would ask to see something else, on the other side of the store.  Some days I am amazed I ever get anything done!

:o)  The Super-center time warp.  Am I right, people?

Here are a couple of pictures from back in the day:
I guess it was all worth it.  :o)
Valentine's Day 2008:
Cinderella was almost three and Sleeping Beauty was four months old.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prayers Please

Please pray for a friend of ours who will be having her third baby in the next day or so.  Pray she and her little girl come through healthy.

Please also pray for B and K (my friends I posted about a couple of weeks ago.)  They are going through what may even be a harder time than when they lost their daughter.  I am trying to be there for them and I am praying all the time.  This is when they need their friends and family more than ever.

Thank you!  I am thankful for friends who will pray when I ask them to.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Amusement Parks: The Rides Are Only PART of the Amusement

Truly a reality TV show could be filmed daily at amusement parks.  I never realized the name  "Amusement Park" could be so literal until last year's October trip to Walt Disney World with my husband and kids.  A woman, clearly not an American, was wearing spandex pants.  And she wasn't exercising or on her way to the gym.  But that is not the worst part.  When she bent over to attend to her children, the material went see-through and we were all treated to a Halloween G-String.  The pants were pretty much nonexistent.  As in INVISIBLE!   Yes, at a family place.  The look on our faces was priceless I am sure!

The Happiest Place On Earth.

The Land of Rated G Movies...

And I had to shield the eyes of my then four year old and two year old daughters.


Since then my husband and I have been to Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL and this past weekend we went to Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando without the girls.  We take a yearly weekend trip sometime in November for our anniversary.  I guess I had a memory lapse or something because it wasn't until later in our day at Islands of Adventure on Saturday that I realized the general population could be rating's gold for a reality show.  I didn't (read: could NOT) get pictures of everything that we saw after that point in time that was horribly wrong but here are some:

This dude was clearly not from here.  Acid washed jeans?!  Hello, 1986.  Black and white zebra sunglasses?  I had those in 1987.  Really.  Maybe that's where they went!!
He reminded us of the character Christian from the movie "Clueless."
Just thought it was funny her bags and/or camera needed to be kept warm. 
Harry Potter fanatics:  More on this in another post.  
It was ca-razzzzy!
This boy is in a straight up dress/cape!!  If it was from the Harry Potter collection it truly looked more like a dress.  Poor kid.  He thought he was rockin' the look of wizardry. 
Santa Claus apparently vacations in Downtown Disney.  Later, he ate lunch at the T-Rex restaurant right near us.  I really wanted to climb into his lap and start rattling off my Christmas list.  ;o)
It's Super Boy!!
We also saw some teenaged boys (about 17 years old) in air brushed "Toy Story" t-shirts.  Now you KNOW they weren't from here!  They'd be beat up in no time.  They wouldn't stop staring and I just could NOT take a picture with them looking at me!

Faces blurred to protect those completely lacking any style:
No, no.  That's not a sweater under the tank top.  
Though I wish it were.
 And, not just one purse man bag, but TWO.  One was hot pink with fringe!  These two weren't Americans either though that is hardly an excuse.  I also think he was wearing "jams."  Anyone remember jams?!
I told my husband that he had probably seen the "Friends" episode where Joey has the "man bag."  You remember, right?  He was thinking, "Amerrrrican men wear-a the pursssse."  (It isn't as funny if you don't hear me saying it.)
Yeah, that one.  He wanted to look sophisticated for an audition and he got the bag from Rachel.  The world wasn't ready for Joey and his bag...  :o)

And lastly, look at the kind of crazy I married and went on the trip with!  ;o)
I am so thankful for our fun weekend away.  :o)