Monthly Archives: April 2012

Artificial Reality

The past few weeks I’ve been floating around in an artificial reality.  How is it the fates refused to smile down on me in regards to fertility?  The irony of it all is I have built my life around caring for young children and I, as of yet, have been unable to care for a child of my own.

When I talk about my upcoming IVF procedure it doesn’t yet seem real.  Never in a million years did I ever think that IVF would be our only answer in building the biological family I dream of.  Even during all the IUI treatments I went through years ago did I imagine that I would be in the situation I find myself today.

As I played phone tag with the IVF team at Conceptions of Colorado my artificial reality transformed into uncertainty, looming fear, and overwhelming anxiety.  On May 11th my husband and I will spend the better half of one day (a little over 4 hours to be exact) going over the details of my procedure and completing additional diagnostics.

This is quickly becoming very real.  My heart is exposed, and I am praying I’ve played all my cards right.

I am apprehensive that through this journey my resolve will crumble for fear that what I want most will never be.  I fear that I am putting all this hope, love, and trust into something that will prove futile and that I will never feel the love a mother has for her child.

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At my appointment next week I will be undergoing several diagnostic tests to ensure my uterus is ready for pregnancy, blood work to determine I’m healthy and that I don’t have clotting issues, medication training/review, financials, and our timeline.

If you are reading my blog, and have already been through this, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility, IVF | Tags: , | 8 Comments

On Genetics

When the RE told me that he recommended genetic testing on our embryos, and the chances of conception (at least at his clinic) raises to 80%, I did not question the decision to move forward with the testing.  Why would I?  Odds are important in this game, as I have never been one to win at slots.

But reality and emotion play a role in decisions…not just odds.  And probably for good reason.  An 80% chance of conception does not guarantee I’m slotted for a percentage within that window.  I could spend the money necessary for the preimplantation genetic testing (PGS), wait an additional 8 weeks before completing the embryo transfer, make some difficult decisions on which embryo/s to transfer and then find out that my luck ran similar to my luck at the slots.

No baby.

A team of doctors 20K richer, and me left paying a bill every 30 days with nothing to show for it.

I am not unrealistic, this could happen in a non-PGS IVF cycle – but for one difference.  That money that was spent on genetic testing ($5,000) could pay for a frozen embryo cycle and a second chance of making our dreams come true.

That mean green is always a factor, but not always a deciding factor.

As I sat through the consultation with the RE and he continued to explain the genetic testing I began to feel a little uneasy about some of the things he was telling me.  In all of my years dreaming of motherhood I’ve had this feeling that I was going to have a little girl.  With genetic testing I could make that choice.  I could decide if I wanted baby A or B, boy or girl.

The decision was mine…and that unnerved me.

Yes, the odds are better.  But I’d rather take my chances (twice if I have to) for a baby that I am supposed to have and not that the doctors or I think I should have.

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What is Preimplantation Genetic Screening/Diagnostics?

Simply put, it’s a procedure where one cell is removed from an oocyte (cells grown to day 5) that is sent to a lab and tested for ANY and ALL genetic complications that could occur.  Additionally, information is gathered on where the problem occurred (which chromosome and whether it occurred on the maternal/paternal side), and the sex.

This is a valuable tool for many couples, especially if there are egg health questions or for individuals who are carriers of diseases or genetic conditions.  It may also be a valuable tool for women who have had repeated miscarriages or many unsuccessful IVF/IUI cycles. Information gathered can help determine if selecting a healthy oocyte or if donor eggs are necessary (problems all arise on the maternal side) to allow a mother to carry a child to term.

I have read that there are some questions as to whether or not the removal of the single cell is detrimental to the growing oocyte, but could not find anything definitive on the subject.

To read more see here (this is from my RE), here or here.

If ever you find yourself in the situation where genetic assessment is recommended, do your research and follow your gut.  I know I will.

-R

Categories: Infertility, IVF, Preimplantation Genetic Screening, Procedures | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Round Bellies and Gifts

Some days I dream of round bellies and gifts wrapped in pale blues, pinks, and greens.  I can feel the joy, the excitement, and the love of everybody in the room.  But I can’t see the face of the woman standing front and center, belly swollen and radiating an energy I can feel.

Then I wake up and realize that it was only a dream, as real as it seemed.  I usually frown in disappointment because I’ve been unable to harness that experience as my own.  But this morning I decided to BELIEVE that the woman in my dreams is me, and I just have to wait.

I think this shift in reaction has something to do with the fact that I now have real answers, a game plan, and more love and support than I ever imagined I had.

Gifts come in many forms…not always wrapped in pretty papers or adorned with ribbons.  Sometimes they come unannounced and in the shape of something as commonplace as a hug, an offer of time or assistance, or a simple check to see how I’m doing.

As I tread water, it is important to realize that those around me are really there to support me in whatever manner they can or I need.  And I want everybody to know that I love you, and appreciate everything you do.  Though I may not be able to express myself (sometimes because I’m on the edge of tears) your actions do not go unnoticed.

I pray that one day we all will be in a room together – round belly, gifts wrapped in pale blues, pinks, and greens – celebrating the life I’ve dreamed of creating.

-R

Categories: Infertility | Tags: | 2 Comments

Imagine…

It’s funny how in sharing my struggles with infertility the true heart of those around me is revealed.  And not necessarily in the manner in which I would have imagined.  Often times there are people in our lives, without significant struggle, who we would never truly see.

This struggle is like nothing I have ever experienced…nothing.  And no matter how many ways I try to explain the pain I experience, nobody every really understands, but I’m going to try.

Imagine having your child taken away from you, of never being able to feel the flutters of your growing baby, of never experiencing that rush of joy and undying love the moment your baby is placed in your arms.  Imagine never experiencing your babies first smile, first laugh, first step, first loose tooth, or first crush.  Imagine never seeing yourself in the expressions or actions of your son/daughter.

Now, imagine being told that you have a disease that removes your ability to have a baby and it isn’t covered under medical insurance.  If you want treatment, if you want a baby, you would have to come up with at least 15K for one shot at making your dream come true.   Imagine having to do that multiple times.

Imagine feeling the weight of 10,000 moons crushing your soul because a little piece of the love you have for your spouse will never materialize into a perfect, beautiful person.  Imagine the happy little genetic evidence of your inability to create your own being thrown in your face multiple times each day.

Imagine people ignoring your pain, side stepping conversations, or pretending nothing is wrong.  Imagine people casting opinions on something they have no ability to understand.  Imagine people in hush-hushed voices, telling eyes, and withheld opinions read through their bodies.

Imagine putting yourself out in the world, asking for help for something that comes without price to most.  Imagine knowing that people are going to think what you are doing is wrong.  Imagine realizing that some of those people you thought would understand and be supportive are pulling back.  Imagine having to face this all seemingly alone.

Now realize that this is my reality…and the reality of thousands of couples.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility | Tags: | 5 Comments

Don’t Ignore…

Don’t Ignore…The Elephant in the Room.

Many of you probably know 1 or 2 couples that are openly struggling with infertility, and probably 3 or 4 more who are doing it in silence.  I used to be one of those struggling in silence…but I refuse to live with the elephant in the room any longer.  I speak up when I see it necessary, help when I can, and try to raise awareness to the fact that infertility is more common than most perceive and that elephant isn’t getting any smaller.

4 Things You Can Do To Out That Elephant!

  1. Speak Up – If you are living with infertility or know somebody who is, share your story or speak up for those to ashamed to do it themselves.  It is painful, scary, and often silence feels like the easiest way out.  But it’s not.  Ignoring the elephant in the room only makes things worse.  Trust me, I know first hand.  For years I shoved my feelings deep inside and hid my actions and fear from those I loved.  In doing so, I became depressed…to a point that I should have asked for help…but I couldn’t see it.  I was so consumed by my inability to make a baby that it was the ONLY thing that mattered.  It wasn’t until I finally saw what I was doing to myself, and addressed the elephant in the room, that I could move forward with life.  The small act of talking with others was a huge help in bringing me out of depression.  The more I talked about it, the easier it was for me to move forward.  And moving forward doesn’t mean that I am happy with the fact that I struggle with infertility.
  2. Advocate – There are many ways to advocate for those who struggle with infertility.  Speaking up for people with the disease is one powerful way.  If you can do more, I suggest checking out RESOLVE.  They can keep you informed on legislation and help guide you in ways to advocate at a national level.  Be it through awareness or legislation.  Do your part….advocate for those who can’t find the strength to do it themselves, for those who are just finding their voices, and those who are on the front lines.  We need to educate the nation on the impact infertility has on people, and the injustice those diagnosed face. If we don’t speak up, that elephant will continue to grow.  PLEASE click here to see how you can help.
  3. Allow Yourself to FEEL – Allow yourself to openly and truly feel all the emotions that come with infertility (no matter if it is you that struggles, or you are somebody who loves someone who is).  I can name at least a dozen emotions that I feel daily!  Fear, confusion, hopelessness, hope, weakness, strength, anger, frustration, loved, longing, grief, and supported.  They come in waves.  Sometimes I cry because I’m sad, and sometimes I cry because I can’t believe how supportive my husband and my family/friends are.  A few years ago I realized that every emotion I have is valid and that I need to embrace those feelings, learn from them if they have something to teach me, and move forward with life.  They make me who I am and are part of this journey.   As a reminder I got a tattoo of a lotus blossom and the Reiki Symbol for emotional healing.  Every time I see it I am reminded of how far I’ve come, and that beauty can come from the darkest and murkiest of places.  Push the elephant aside and really feel.
  4. Do Your Research – If you have a question, ask.  There are dozens of issues that can impact people with infertility.  It is hard to keep the facts straight.  Asking questions and getting a clear picture of what is happening or what to expect is important.  Understand that information on the web is ENDLESS, but should not be considered as the final say.  There is a lot of conflicting, false information on the web.  If you find something that is of concern or interest, write it down and ask your RE.  And if you don’t feel you can do that…you need a new RE.  I wish I had known this 4 years ago because I could be in a very different place in my life had I known what I know today.  Additionally, if you feel there is a problem, trust your instincts and seek help.  Don’t wait.  I know it is hard, and the information you receive is probably something you don’t want to hear, but the sooner you hear it, the better off you’ll be.  Arming yourself with information is powerful.

To Read More on Infertility:

About National Infertility Awareness Week

Basic Understanding on the Disease of Infertility

Don’t ignore the elephant in the room.

-R

Categories: Infertility, National Infertility Awareness Week, RESOLVE | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Circle and Bloom

Circle and Bloom – An amazing way to help lessen the stress of trying to conceive.  And because I’m a blogger that talks about infertility I was able to partner with them.  A percentage of sales that come from my blog will come back to me…another way to help us raise the money needed for IVF.  Please consider purchasing one of their amazing programs.  I used the Natural Cycle program while doing acupuncture and trying on our own…it is deeply relaxing and puts you in a positive state of mind.  HIGHLY recommended…if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t even consider putting it on my blog.

Here is the run down of each of their programs and if you are interested, just click the program icon and it will take you directly to Circle and Bloom’s website!  And some extra good news….April 22 – 28, 2012…for National Infertility Awareness Week, Circle and Bloom is offering 35% off products with the code: NIAW35. 


For the advanced medicated cycle. IVF and IUIs is an involved complicated process that may make you feel overwhelmed. This program allows time each day of your cycle to relax and use guided visualizations that work with your cycle to promote mind-body effectiveness. Start today to feel in greater control over your fertility success. This program has 18 different audio mind-body programs with special sessions covering the trigger/egg extraction, transfer procedure and the two week-wait.


Use mind-body visualizations that are specifically designed for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to promote hormonal balancing for reproductive health. Listen to a special program for each day of your cycle.


Start today to feel in greater control over your fertility success. This program has 28 different audio mind-body programs designed to be listened to each day of your cycle. 15 minutes a day to relax and focus on your fertility success.


This special pregnancy program is an essential addition to your prenatal toolkit for a healthy pregnancy and fearless delivery. Reducing stress throughout your entire pregnancy should be as high on your priority list as taking your vitamins and eating well. Our program gives you 15 minutes per day for yourself to use proven mind-body techniques to reduce stress, and best balance and prepare your body timed to the changes occurring during each of the trimesters.


PCOS for Health is for those wishing to address the symptoms of PCOS using guided visualization, including insulin sensitivity and reduction, weight-loss, reduction of male androgens to minimize excessive hair growth, healthy circulation and reduction of depression. The program consists of 5 tracks each covering a specific symptom of PCOS, designed to be listened to how often you wish, alternating the tracks as you see fit.


Having trouble sleeping or having enough energy to accomplish all of your goals? This program is for you. There are four unique mind-body guided visualizations that take you inside your body to help it find balance from a metabolism, endocrine and circulation perspective. And then a special program designed to help you sleep soundly and deeply.

Click here to visit Circle and Bloom.

Categories: Emotions, Infertility | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Game Plan – Not What I Was Expecting

Yesterday my husband and I went in for our consultation to discuss our IVF options based on the new testing that we had completed.  I thought that this meeting would be like the one I had at the end of March, where I was informed that Standard IVF with ICSI would be recommended and that my husband and I would both be able to answer question, set the cycle date, etc.

I was wrong.

Because of our history, the RE is recommending we do genetic testing on our embryos after day 5, freeze them (so we can wait for results), and then do a frozen embryo transfer 6-8 weeks after the egg retrieval.   This will cost an additional $5,000.

We are shooting to start our cycle in July.  This will begin with 3 weeks worth of birth control pills and then medications starting on day 1 after I finish the three weeks of birth control pills.  And 100% of payment will be due on day 2.

In addition to the genetic testing, there are a lot of other fees we were not prepared for.  Communicable disease testing on both of us (standard for IVF), cost of care fees, cryopreservation for embryos that are not transferred,  time off work (they want you off your feet for 2 days after the embryo transfer), and anesthesiology.

Here is a run-down of the costs:

  • IVF Procedure (with ultrasounds and blood work) –      $10,600
  • Anesthesiology –                                                            $400
  • PSG (genetic testing) –                                                $5,000*
  • Cost of Care Fee –                                                         $927*
  • Cryopreservation –                                                        $840
  • IVF Medications –                                                        $3,500
  • Communicable Disease Testing –                                 $1,500

GRAND TOTAL – $22,767 *   $16,840

*Update: We have decided NOT to go through with the genetic testing and found that the Cost of Care Fee is included in the $10,600 IVF price.

This is a LOT more than we anticipated…and I’m freaking out!  We were already struggling to find the money for $12-15K but NOW.

I don’t know what to do…I’m conflicted on the genetic testing, so if anybody has had this done or recommended I would LOVE to hear your thoughts.

If you have suggestions or ideas on ways we can raise money, PLEASE share!  And if you can find it in your means to help, I am putting myself out there (and with a lot of humility – this decision hasn’t been an easy one) and praying that with the help of family, friends, and those who find my struggle worthy of assistance we can have our family.

-R

Categories: ICSI, Infertility, IVF | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Hysterosalpingogram – HSG for Short

At my initial consultation it was recommended that I go in for a hysterosalpingogram (I still can’t say the word correctly, so for all of our sakes, we’re gonna just say HSG) because I had an appendectomy as a teenager.  The RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) said that abdominal surgery can build up scar tissue that can impact fallopian tube function and she just wanted to ensure that my tubes were clear.

Easy enough.

It is a simple procedure.  The RE injects a contrast dye through a small tube into your cervix and up to your uterus and watches the dye move through the uterus and fallopian tubes via an x-ray.  I was told to take a pain reliever before the procedure because cramping is normal, and to bring a panty liner as spotting is typical.  No anesthesia…I could drive myself home.

I showed up at the hospital for my procedure, put on the fashionable paper smock, climbed up on a table and waited for the RE to show up.  I sat in the room with the x-ray tech for about 10 minutes before the doctor arrived.  Once she came in she explained that she would be pushing the contrast dye through my cervix and into my uterus and then my fallopian tubes and that we would be able to see the dye moving through on the x-ray screen.

I was more than a little anxious.  Within a minute of starting the HSG I began to experience a LOT of pain.  I don’t even know how to explain it, but I imagine it being similar to passing a kidney stone or gallstones.  It was all I could do to keep myself from pulling away from the doctor and keep tears from escaping my eyes.  I couldn’t even focus on the x-ray monitor, but I KNEW something was wrong.  Everything I had read said that the HSG was almost painless…this was not.

The doctor asked me to roll from side to side while pushing more and more dye into my uterus.  The RE didn’t say much…just that there was a blockage and sometimes moving around can push the blockage out.  We tried, I quietly moved from side to side in pain, and finally the RE gave up.  There was no pushing out the blockage…I was damaged.

I quietly walked back to my car and sobbed.  I called my husband, tried put on a brave front, but ended up crying on my cell phone in the middle of a parking garage.  My fears had been realized.  I was broken.

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Reasons for an HSG:

  •  Determine if there is a blockage in the fallopian tubes.
  •  If blockages are found, the dye may help push the blockage out.
  •  Find problems in the uterus: fibroids, polyps, adhesions, abnormal shape/size or structure.
  • Often for women having difficulties getting pregnant.

What I learned:

  • Take somebody with you! – Even if you don’t expect anything to be wrong, you just never know.  Prepare yourself for the worst.
  • Take the day. – The morning I had my procedure I found myself wishing I had taken the day off work.  How on earth was I supposed to go back and focus on all the little three and four-year-old kiddos running around the classroom?  If it is possible, take the day.  Even if nothing is found, you have the rest of your day to do things for you…something necessary to keep you sane during this whole process.
  • You can still get pregnant naturally with one fallopian tube. – Yes in deed, it only takes one tube and one ovary to achieve a natural pregnancy.  And contrary to what I thought, you don’t always “alternate” ovulation between ovaries.  The eggs decide when they are ready and you could go months and ovulate on the same side each month.  Having said that, it will likely make getting pregnant more difficult, if not more time-consuming (you have a 50/50 chance of ovulating from the side your tube is on).  There has even been documented case of women achieving pregnancy with one tube and one ovary on opposite sides of each other.  Fallopian tubes are not confined to the side of the body they are located and are ACTIVE seekers of eggs!  Promising news!

-R

Categories: Infertility, Infertility Testing, My History, Procedures | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Ebbs and Flows

There are days when it is difficult to pull myself out of bed in the morning because I’m being crushed by the weight of infertility.  And then there are days when I crawl out of bed with a renewed energy and faith that things are going to happen for us.  Constant ebbs and flows as I travel through this journey called infertility.

Since I started this blog (just a few days ago), I’m amazed at how often I am brought to tears…and not for the reasons one would think.  Though I know I am loved, it wasn’t until I put myself out in the world that I truly realized just how much, and by how many.  The texts, messages, and offer of support (both emotionally and monetarily) have allowed me to push aside feelings of fear that this blog has brought about.

I knew full well when I hit publish on my very first post that I was putting myself out into a world full of people with very different opinions, perceptions on my life, and I was quite possibly calling a few “enemies” into my court.

But I did it anyway.

And each time I hit publish I feel anxiety over what others might think, or how I might be treated by those who know me.

But, then I tell myself this:  “It doesn’t matter.”

And I’m right.  It doesn’t matter if people don’t understand my posts, or if they agree to everything I say or do.  Those people who really matter will try to find a way to really “hear” what I am saying or “feel” what I’m feeling.  I shouldn’t worry myself with the idea that others will think poorly about me because of an emotion I had.  It is my emotion, and if I’ve learned one thing from this journey, it is to acknowledge EVERY emotion, learn from it, and move forward.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Lump In My Throat

When I hear the words “I’m pregnant” its like getting the wind knocked out of me, and it’s all I can do to choke back tears.  I get a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball and find it difficult to push a smile across my face.  One more reminder, in a sea full of them, that my ability to join in the ranks of motherhood is compromised.

In that moment, as selfish as this sounds, I can only think of me.  Of my desire to feel such joy, and the heavy realization that it may never happen.  In that moment, I mourn the loss of every single egg that never found a warm, cozy home in my uterus.  In that moment, it is hard for me to share in your excitement.  In that moment, I am lost and trying to find my way home.

Please, don’t take my inability to express joy in your blessings as a lack of excitement for you.  I truly am grateful you are able to build the family of your dreams and not face the issues I do.  The road I travel is rough, and I do not wish that upon anyone.  Ever!

Please, understand that in my silence I grieve and just need a little time to process my feelings so I can experience with you the joy you share.  In time I will be able to show you just how excited I am for you.  Because in all honesty, I am happy for you…and not once do any ill feelings about you or your growing family cross my mine…it is just that with that happiness comes a flood of emotions I am unable to swim through without some time.

-R

Categories: Emotions, Infertility | Tags: | 2 Comments

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