Monday, March 21, 2016

A Few New Additions...

Today's post comes in the form of a few newly added pages to the blog... See the links above or click for More About Me... or to check out Our Fur Family or the Blogs I Follow

Sending love, strength, and positive prayers to everyone today!

Friday, March 18, 2016

I Need a Break...

After that last "Cruel Trick" it was back to square one again, and onto the next cycle. The plan was the same as before: a medicated cycle on Clomid with an IUI. So a couple weeks in, I was back to the office for blood work and another ultrasound scan to check the size of the follicles and determine when the hCG trigger should be given. Well, here we go with more bad news... Apparently I had a "non-response" to the Clomid and didn't have any follicles of decent size. Only one small one. Well, this sucks... I've never had any issues ovulating, like ever. And here I am taking medication to strengthen and increase something that's not really even broken in the first place, and it has the opposite effect. Awesome. So, the nurse sent me on my way and told me to come back on Monday morning (this was a Friday) to see if at least that one follicle has grown some. At this point, I already knew this cycle was going to be a bust, but still tried to be positive. Low and behold, I ended up ovulating on my own at some point over the weekend (obviously, probably with an immature follicle), so even though we tried to take matters into our own hands and time things up well, no dice. AF (Aunt Flow) showed up right on time that month to scream, "YOU SUCK" - Another failed cycle.

A couple weeks later, the Groundhog Day movie that was quickly becoming our reality started all over again as we tried for round three. Third time's a charm, right? Back to the office. Back to the ultrasound scans. Back to the Clomid (this time it worked!). Back to the hCG trigger shot (in the "tail-feather" this time might I add, as I learned from my first rodeo back in this post). And back to another "Romantic" Baby Dance in a doctor's office. Then, time to embark again into the dark abyss of the 2WW... always a fun time to try and keep your sanity and not completely loose all rational abilities (ha, yea right, like that's really possible).

At the end of that torture, on the morning of March 4th, I scurry my way into the doctor's office (frantically having to leave work for a bit in the midst of hosting a huge conference) for my Beta Blood Pregnancy Test... and later that day when I get the oh so personal voicemail: Drum roll please...

BIG.FAT.NEGATIVE... Awesome...

Third Time's a Charm?... How about Three Strikes You're Out!

And now my friends we're fully caught up to speed in this circus act of infertility that has become my life ... aaaaaaaaaand, I.NEED.A.BREAK.

Done for now and taking this cycle off... Oh my goodness, I can feel the relief of pressure already. I just want to have a sliver of my normal life back, even for just a brief moment. To remember what it feels like to not have to wake up to my 6:04am alarm (yes, I'm weird and cannot set alarms ending in :05 or :00) to shove a thermometer in my mouth. To not have to obsessively stalk my own Fertility Friend app. To not have to become best friends with Clomid, hCG shots, or progesterone inserts. To not have to (unintentionally) be aware of every single freaking twinge, pinch, pain, and weird feeling (seriously, I can't even successful ignore this stuff when I try). To not have to try and make a baby with my husband through a catheter in a doctor's office. To not have to live in a doctor's office every few days. To not have to know exactly what day of my cycle it is and what I potentially should be feeling/ seeing on that day if I were to be pregnant this month. To not have to anxiously stare at my phone and wait for those dreaded calls with "results" from the nurse. To not have to accept the reality of my infertility... just for a brief moment.

But let's be real, even though we're technically "taking this cycle off" and not going the medical intervention route (man there's a part of me that feels guilty about this though), as if I'm really not going to still obsess about some of these things. Truth is, we're still obviously going to "try," so many of these things have just become second nature to me. I couldn't get away from them if I tried. Apparently, this is my "new normal"... and you know what, for the most part (and on most days), I've just accepted it and learned to try and take it in strides, with grace. After all, God has a plan in all of this, right? He's got to. I just need to hang on for the ride, learn and grow however I can, and keep looking forward... At least this month I don't have to drop my pants and bend over for a shot... I win.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cruel Tricks

To recap, waiting for a possible Christmas miracle (aka: to find out if our IUI had worked) was more than sheer torture. Anyone who is TTC, and especially those who are struggling through infertility, know the agony that exists during the time after ovulation and before either getting a positive pregnancy test or getting your period... this time is also known as the "2 week wait" (2WW). Well, long story short, exactly 2 weeks after our first IUI (which was done on Christmas Eve), I went in that morning for my Beta Blood Pregnancy Test. From there, of course it was another waiting game throughout the day while anticipating the call from the office to find out if the test was positive (or negative for that matter). Of course after starring at my phone all day, the moment I step away, I miss it. Onto to listening to the voicemail it is... "Hello Tiffanie... we are calling in regards to the results of your pregnancy test from earlier this morning. The office closes in about 15min. so if you could please give us a call back right away."... Uhhh, half way through the message I thought, "ok, this is weird, please just get to the point - it's either positive or negative, right? How hard can it be to just give me a straight answer?"... Well, as you think I would have learned by now, apparently life's not always black and white, nor are pregnancy tests - as I had to learn the hard way.

The rest of the message went on to explain that when HCG levels are tested during a pregnancy test, anything over 25 is a confirmed positive and anything below a 5 is a confirmed negative. So for me, of course, of course I had to find my way into the freakin' gray area. My HCG level was at 8.5 and my progesterone was low, so they wanted me to double up on the progesterone suppositories that day and then come back for another blood test in the morning to, "...see if they can figure out what's going on." Really?! Are you kidding me?!? Come on, how hard does this have to be on us? It's like a cruel trick being played. Having a confirmed negative would have been hard enough, but to have this tiny, minuscule glimmer of hope (even though I knew in my heart that it wasn't going to be positive) was simply an inhuman, heart-wrenching joke that wasn't humorous. God, why are you doing this to us??? We're barely surviving this trial as it is, why does it have to be taken to this level? So, for the next 24hrs, my husband and I had to live in yet another, even more devastatingly difficult state of "not knowing."

Long story short, the test came back negative the next morning. They think it was just trace levels of the HGC left in my system from the trigger shot. So again, it all seemed to be just a cruel joke designed to make this whole fiasco of a journey even more difficult... Well, it's not funny... and I'm not laughing...

Friday, March 11, 2016

A "Romantic" Baby-Dance

So thus far, I've tried to spare some of the more potentially personal details of this whole circus act, but in this post I tread lightly no more. Therefore, if you're not interested in some of the more personal details of our "adventure" (yea, that's an interesting word for it), then I suggest you pass on this one. For everyone else, let's embark on the oh-so-romantic baby dance of an IUI...

Here we go...

After the surgery and recovery period, the next step of our treatment plan was to do 2-3 medicated cycles on Clomid (a medication that helps stimulate ovulation) paired with an IUI (intrauterine insemination). Here's where the real fun began. An IUI is basically a procedure where sperm is taken from the male, and "processed" through a washing technique to basically remove everything but the sperm itself... then injected through a long catheter directly into the woman's uterus. The point is to time it all up perfectly and get the sperm stationed in place at the moment ovulation occurs. Often, an IUI is used when male factor's are a variable contributing to infertility, such as when sperm count is low, they don't live long, and/or have difficulty swimming. For us however, none of these factors were true. In fact, my husband's guys are rock-stars with no trouble at all (so I'm sure they're beyond frustrated with my apparently broken eggs at this point - seriously, sorry guys). Anyways, all in all it's quite the process. Of course, no where near as invasive as IVF, but still medically involved.

The IUI process starts with an internal ultrasound (yup, imaging wand up the whoohaa) to make sure there are no cysts or other concerns on the ovaries, and once you get the ok you can start on the Clomid (for me, it was 50mg once a day for Days 5-9 of the cycle). Then, starting on Day 11 I had to begin using an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) to test for the LH surge (a hormone that typically surges about 24 hrs. before ovulation). Within a day or two, I was right back into the office for blood work and another internal ultrasound to monitor the size and growth of the follicles (aka: small little sacs in which the eggs grow in). My doctor is very particular in closely monitoring the growth and number of follicles throughout the process (because he obviously doesn't want to be responsible for creating the next octo-mom - I'm thankful for this) and because if the follicles aren't responding well to the Clomid, the cycle will be a bust and the IUI basically pointless.

At this point, everything looked good. I had two follicles of decent size and all my other hormone levels were good according to the blood work. So it was time for the HCG trigger shot (given to trigger ovulation within the next 24-36 hrs.). For the trigger shot, I had two choices: in my stomach or butt... ohhh, this is a fun choice. Let's be conservative and not have to drop my pants and bend over (really though, like I had any modesty left at this point after all the poking and prodding), but I decided to go with the stomach option. Well, piss-poor choice on my part. For the next 3 days, anytime anything remotely touched my injection sight, it didn't feel good. Seat belt strap in the car, waistband of my pants, bending over and putting even the slightest pressure on my abdomen all caused pain. But, suck it up Tiff, you want a baby, right? I'm sure many women prefer the injection in the stomach, but note to self: If there's a next time, let's try the tail-feather.

The next day was the day, on Christmas Eve might I add (well this is a fun way to start the holiday season).

Ok, so I know I've said this before, but honestly this time it's true - here's where the real fun began. Step 1: collect the sample from my husband. Although this wasn't our first rodeo of this (since he had to initially have an analysis done), the stakes seemed much higher this time around. We chose the "at home collection" option - seemed a bit more personal than a sterile doctor's office, but still an awkward situation all around. Then frantically rushed over to the doctor's office since the sample had to be delivered within an hour (and the office was about 45min away), collection cup in my husband's waist band to keep his guys at body temperature. Once there, it took about 45min.-1hr. for them to process his sample and then they called us back for the procedure (soooo grateful that my husband was able to be there with me through the entire thing). Step 2: After some initial minor difficulties with the catheter, the procedure was done and all in all took literally 2-3min. I then had to lay there for about 10min. before going home. Once the nurse stepped out of the room, my husband came over, grabbed my hand, and we looked at each other and said, "let's make a baby" (yes, this is exactly how I imagined it being the day we conceived our little bun). Step 3: From there I was ordered to start progesterone inserts once a day for the next 2 weeks (yes, the dreaded 2WW - 2 week wait), and let me tell you the fun these things were... actually, I won't. I'll spare you the graphic details, but say that thankfully I didn't have the adverse reactions to progesterone itself that some women have, but still lived in a state of constant uncomfortable-ness for the next two weeks. Again, anything for a baby, right?

Then it was living through the torturous waiting game to find out whether or not we had successfully conceived a Christmas miracle... Come on little eggs, please hatch this time around...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Living in a "Parenting" Obsessed World

No doubt in our society we are inundated with "parenting" all around us. Pictures of friends' and families' kids on social media, advertising depicting families with children, diaper and other baby product commercials, conversations all around us revolving around topics and issues that more often than not, relate back to people's children and parenting. For those of us battling through infertility, at a time when it's the most difficult topic in our life, it seems to be the number one topic in everyone else's. Of course, not that this is a bad thing in any way, shape, or form for others, but for those of us struggling through infertility, it's just... different. Don't get me wrong, the last thing that I would ever want is for someone to feel uncomfortable, or even worse unable, to talk about their kids when they're around me, because that's definitely not the case - at all. My husband and I often try to have this conversation with our close friends who have children, to try and reassure them of this and let them know that the last thing we would ever want is for them to ever think twice (even for a split second) about sharing something with us related to one of their kids; because we love those little peanuts dearly. These actually are never the moments that bring us back to our infertility issues. Hearing about our friends' amazing "littles" aka: kids (for anyone who watches Odd Mom Out, ha) or pregnancies, actually fill us with joy, laughter, and excitement about what we have to look forward to one day. It's those random little moments that actually catch you off guard and send you reeling back face to face with your infertility. It's those moments that you least expect. The ones where your infertility struggles are actually the last thing on your mind for a brief moment, and then something happens that quickly takes you back to the reality of it all.

I distinctly remember the very first moment when this actually happened to me. It was this past fall when I was at a huge 3-day conference for work. Here I am sitting in this auditorium filled with hundreds of people during one of the break-out sessions, and the presenter paused for a moment and asked everyone to, "Raise your hand if you're a parent." His point was to use an analogy to parenting to make a connection to something he was presenting; but, at that very moment I was flooded with this rush of an awkward feeling. Granted, this awkwardness was most likely something only I realized... but nonetheless, it still felt uncomfortable. I just remember having this feeling of wanting to slink down in my seat, almost in shame, by being one of the only few people in the entire auditorium who not only didn't raise their hand, but couldn't raise their hand. It was this stark reminder that there was this entire "club" of people out there who were parents, and I didn't belong to it. It was the first time in my life that I actually felt ashamed at not being a parent, while so desperately wanting to be. In years past (before infertility became a constant in my life), the feeling would have never even registered. My world simply consisted of either not being married yet (therefore kids were still in the distant future) or still being a newlywed (so again, kids were still a bit in the future). However at this point, we had been TTC for over a year with no luck, and for the first time it was a moment when I so desperately wanted to belong to the "parent club," yet I was surrounded by the harsh reality that I wasn't able to be.

In a world when it seems the one thing almost everyone has in common is being a parent, it's hard to not only continue to be on the outskirts of this, but to constantly be faced with the uninvited (yet often unintentional) reminder that you just don't belong. Someday, I not only hope, but I know I will have my blessing of being initiated into "the club," but for now it simply continues to be an opportunity to build strength and practice true faith in whatever God has planned for our future... until we have our moment...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Surgery (Part 2)...

Our arrival to the hospital consisted of checking into the surgery department, completing (more) paperwork, and transitioning into the pre-op. area to begin preparation for surgery. The first step of course was to change into the ever so fashionable hospital gown, but only after cleansing from head to toe (literally) with these niffy little rag wipes designed to remove and minimize any post-op. infections... it was like a sponge-bath party in a package, woo hoo. After some down time of hanging with my husband (and eventually my parents) in my pre-op. waiting room, things started to take a bit of a difficult turn... But first, I of course had to take a pre-surgery selfie, you know, just to keep things light-hearted and interesting (I mean really, who does that?!)...

All smiles at this point :)

So, the difficulty began when it was time for the nurses to get my IV started. Nurse 1: Try 1 = fail, couldn't find my vein. Nurse 1: Try 2 = fail again, couldn't find my vein even after some "jigging" back and forth of the needle in my hand (yea, that was fun). Nurse 2: Try 1: fail, with some more "jigging" back and forth of the needle. Nurse 2: Try 2: success, or so we thought. It seemed as if the needle was in properly in my vein, until about 10min. later when my hand started to blow up and they realized that the needle had actually gone through my vein. Time to wrap my hand and whole arm in a warm blanket for a bit to break up the IV fluids. A while later, Nurse 3: Try 1: finally success!... after deciding to place the needle in my arm rather than my hand. Throughout all of my medical ventures, I've never had anyone have any difficulty finding a vein. Problem this time was, apparently I was significantly dehydrated due to the oh-so-fun cleanse I had to do the night before. Anyways, at this point the IV was in and we were ready to rock and roll as they wheeled me out to surgery. Amazingly, throughout the whole pre-op. process (even with the IV fiasco ), I was surprisingly calm and at peace - and anyone who knows my neurotic self knows that this is the complete opposite of what you'd (and even me) would expect. And honestly, the only reason for this was truly the peace and strength that the Lord gave me on this day... and that's something that I will forever be grateful to Him for, as this was a huge piece in successfully getting me through the day.

Three and half hours worth of surgery later, I was moved out into the post-op. holding area, while the nurses worked to get my pain management under control; and then I was moved into my recovery room where I was reunited with my husband (who was another amazing source of peace and calm for me throughout the entire process) and my parents (who were also greatly supportive). The next four-ish hours or so (yes, that long!) consisted of flooding me with fluids, and conducting multiple bladder scans until I could FINALLY go to the bathroom, before being able to be released - again, apparently because I was soooo dehydrated prior to surgery (no fun).

After that, the next few days were spent recovering and building myself back up to being able to move around and sit up again on my own with no pain (took awhile after abdominal surgery). From there, it was laser focus ahead to making a baby - medically speaking of course ;)

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Surgery (Part 1)...

Rewinding back to the moment I found out I needed to have surgery... As I sat there on a Tuesday afternoon in late October, trying to level my head that was swimming with racing thoughts, in the faint distance I hear the doctor ask his nurse coordinator about scheduling availability. His voice then comes in clearly as I hear him say to me, "Looks like we can get you in as early as Friday for your surgery." Friday?? FRIDAY!! Uhh, that's like 4 days away and I'm still barely processing the reality of this whole situation. Talk about a quick turn around time. I then quickly hear the nurse coordinator chime in (I assume because she saw the striking look of terror rather quickly come across my face), "Or you can go home today and talk it over with your husband, and we can schedule you for a future date next month. Either way is no problem at all." Well, that simple statement helped ease me for a brief moment, long enough to quickly process and be able to say, "Ok thanks, sounds good... I'll talk with my husband tonight and then give your office a call." The only problem was, it didn't sound good... as a matter of fact, it didn't sound good at all. I was in this crazy fog of a panic as I walked out of the hospital to my car thinking: THIS.JUST.GOT.REAL.

Well, once the initial shock wore off and after I was able to discuss everything with my calm and rational husband (seriously, thank God for him!), we crazily decided to go ahead and as Nike would say: Just Do It... Yes, I had just decided to move forward with having a major surgery in only a few days - and a surgery, may I remind you, that I had no definitive answers about what it would even entail. What the heck was I thinking??...

Well, what I was thinking was, "I want a baby darnit! So whatever it takes, right? - Might as well not prolong the inevitable." Ha...

From there, the next couple of days flew by as I coordinated with the surgical nurse to prepare for Friday. Mounds of forms to complete, pre-surgical blood work to schedule, pre-surgery phone interviews and questionnaires to complete, and then the real fun began the day before surgery. As soon as I woke up that morning, I had to start on a clear liquid diet (blah) until midnight, and then nothing to drink at all after that. The highlight of my clear liquid diet though was the Citrate of Magnesium I had to drink that afternoon to flush my system...

Bottoms Up!

The remainder of my evening consisted of many helpings of jello, chicken broth, sorbet (yum!), juice, and water. Needless to say, I went to bed feeling more than hungry that night. The next morning was go time. I woke up in good spirits, actually worked for part of the morning, and then headed to the hospital with my husband to check-in for my scheduled surgery time of 3pm. As we drove to the hospital, it all still felt rather unreal. Really, seemed just like another car ride to run an errand or something. But, once we got to the hospital, parked, and started walking in... the reality that I was about to under-go surgery slowly started to set in. And now, I started to get a lit bit nervous...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Making Friends with Your Problems

"Make friends with your problems..." what an interesting concept, but one that's definitely worth pondering. Trust me - it's worth it. As hard as it is at times to face our problems and continue to move forward, weathering to get through the storm can have an unexpectedly positive purpose. Remembering that through all things, God is still in control and continuing to have that strong trust in Him can be difficult, but it's an important reminder. The following comes from a daily devotional (Jesus Calling) that my amazing mother-in-law shared with me from this weekend, and it's a uniquely fitting reminder from God of His plan and purpose in everything...

"MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE. Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece that I created you to be. The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall if you react with distrust and defiance. The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me.

The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties. You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you to approach them with familiarity rather than with dread. The next step is to introduce them to Me, enabling Me to embrace them in My loving Presence. I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one of them."
~ Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

Everyday I'm constantly faced with two choices: I can remind myself that even through these trialing times of infertility, God has a plan and purpose in all of it, or I can allow my problems to consume me. I often try to consciously choose the first; however, like anyone, I have my weak moments (and rough days) when the latter becomes true. Regardless, as long as I can continue to hold on to the faith that God's working through this difficulty (in some way, shape, or form), I can continue to rely on the strength He provides me to get through all of this... and keep looking forward.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Suffering in Silence

One of the main reasons that finally drove me to actually start blogging about this journey was to break the stigmatizing silence that often surrounds infertility. For many reasons, it seems to be a topic that isn't often talked about openly, and something that I personally struggled with myself for a very long time. When we first started our journey in "trying to conceive" (TTC), I was adamant in telling my husband that I didn't want to tell anyone that we were actually "trying." Initially, my thought (and hope) was that I wanted it to be this huge, exciting surprise, especially for our family and close friends, when we could finally announce that we were pregnant. In my own weird, illogical head, I wanted people's response when they found out we were pregnant to be, "Oh my gosh, I had no idea you guys were even trying!" Why this seemed so appealing to me at the time, will never make sense to anyone... really, not even me. Then once our exciting journey started to turn into the reality of facing infertility, my insistence on remaining silent grew even greater. I didn't want people to know. I didn't want people's pity. I didn't want to be "that couple" that couldn't get pregnant and that everyone felt bad for. This whole mess was hard enough, the last thing I wanted was to be viewed as the girl who couldn't have a baby. I didn't want people looking at us and thinking, "Man, I feel so bad for them. I can't imagine what they're going through." Why that was such a bad thing to me, again, no rational explanation. Then one day my husband finally said to me, "Who cares if people know and if they feel bad for us? If they genuinely care and sympathize with what we're going through, why is that such a bad thing??" I pondered this thought for awhile and finally came to the conclusion that he was right, there was no real rational reason why it was a bad thing... it wasn't a bad thing.  In fact, if people who love us want to encourage us, show support and love, and offer prayers, that actually wasn't a bad thing at all... it was a GOOD thing. So slowly, but surely I began to break the silence... and this was one of the best decisions I made.

The Results Are In

After 3 or was it 4 months (minor details at this point) of trying to have an HSG done, FINALLY on Oct. 26, 2015 I had it done ... and the result were in, well sort of: some sort of tubal defects, but in the words of my doctor, "I'm sorry, but I just can't really tell you what's going on at this point." Wait what??? "I'm sorry doc., I didn't quite understand you the first time, could you please tell me that again?" Apparently, he saw from the test that there was a problem, but couldn't tell what exactly the problem was? What the heck does that mean?? There was something blocking the left tube, but the right was ok... or wait, no, the right might be partially blocked too... or maybe it was the left that looked like it may have collapsed in on itself, but couldn't quite be seen from the scan... or no, was is the other way around with the right being collapsed? My head was spinning at this point and nothing made sense (imagine what that was like when I went home and tried to explain all this to husband that night)... So, what did this all mean? Well, it meant surgery. SURGERY? Oh my gosh, is this really happening? Surgery is serious. And not just any little surgery with local anesthesia, but under general anesthesia and one that initially is going to be primarily exploratory in nature to find out "what was going on"... and then ultimately correct whatever's found. So again, no real answers. No.Real.Answers. Not even an answer as to what kind of surgery this will be or even how long it will take? At this point, my denial quickly lost all of it's traction... this was real: We are that couple who is the dreaded word "infertile"... and now I'm about to face surgery because of it...


Fast forward about 3 months into the diagnostic testing process and working through this crazy waiting game to finally be able to have one last diagnostic test, a hysterosalpingogram (say that 5 times fast) or HSG, which by the way was the WORST of all the tests - wouldn't wish it upon anyone. Problem was, random things kept happening that were out of my control and that kept postponing the test. Typically, most if not all of the diagnostic testing is done within the first month or so (at least within my doctor's practice), as every test is time-sensitive and very dependent upon which day of your cycle it is. However, here we were almost 4 months in and had every other test done and complete, except this one. The first month the doctor's office had a glitch and didn't transfer my file over to the correct scheduling nurse, so when I was scheduled for another test and supposed to have the HSG done at the same time, no one realized that (including me) until I was at the appointment and at that point it was too late. The office genuinely apologized, which I understandingly accepted, but it was still frustrating because this meant I had to wait another month to be able to schedule the HSG, since it had to be done at a very specific (yet very limited) time frame within my cycle, and since the doctor typically only performed the test on Mondays, as it needed to be done at the hospital.

So, let me digress a moment: The purpose of an HSG is to look for any abnormalities and/or blockages within a woman's fallopian tubes and uterus. Without getting too graphic, a dye is injected and then viewed to see if it's able to travel freely through both tubes, or to determine if there are any blockages, scarring, or abnormal structures, which ultimately could be preventing the egg from making contact with the sperm. The HSG is typically done sometime between days 6-12 of your cycle (after your cycle starts, but before ovulation).

Now, back to my scheduling conflicts... Since you typically have to wait to actually start your cycle to even schedule the test, the next month when I called to let the office know that I had started and to try and schedule the HSG, I was told that the doctor was unfortunately going to be out of the office that following Monday so I had two choices: 1) wait until next month or 2) start on birth control for a number of days in order to prolong my cycle and prevent ovulation. Umm, WHAT? You seriously want me to go on birth control for a week and screw up my cycle which is apparently already broken? No thanks. So, I guess that meant we were waiting for yet another month. So the next month came and wait for it... same story. The doc. was out of town at a conference and it would be too late in my cycle by the next week to perform the test (again, unless I went on birth control). Come on, this is just ridiculous torture at this point. I mean, I truly love my doctor and he's one of the best in the region, if not the country, so it wasn't that I was dealing with an imprudent office, it was just the uncanny timing of everything that happened to be interfering. Month after month came without being able to schedule this stupid HSG, and with the secret hope that maybe it would be "the month" when we got pregnant on our own and could simply stop all this foolish chaos. I couldn't help but wonder if this was maybe God's way of prolonging something that He knew wouldn't be necessary? Maybe the test would come back normal and it was only a matter of another month before we'd be pregnant, so perhaps it was His way of preventing me from going through unnecessary poking and prodding? That had to be it, right? Hold on to the hope that this would be the month, Tiff...

Looking Back and Trying to Find the Why

Another blow of devastatingly negative news came yesterday afternoon (another failed IUI, but more on that at another time), again causing me to reflect back on the journey of where my husband and I started... and the determination of where to go next. Let me back up for a moment though. Our journey of "trying to conceive" (TTC) started almost 2 years ago.  To this day, I still distinctly remember the rush of excitement when we finally both agreed to start "trying." The rush of emotion that comes from the unknown, from the "wow, we're really doing this," and from the exciting thought of what could soon be still lingers in the back of my mind. However, all of those feelings slowly, but surely started to turn into what I often described as my worst nightmare. At first, as the reality slowly started to set in that we were beginning to approach the 6 month, 7 month, 8 and 9 month mark of still not being pregnant, I still refused to accept the reality that we were potentially becoming "that couple" who couldn't get pregnant. I refused to accept the fact that we may be on the brink of facing the dreaded-word: i-n-f-e-r-t-i-l-i-t-y. I kept my hope and held onto my strong faith that "when the time was right, it would happen." Well, low and behold, almost 2 years later that time still hasn't come. In the moment when we stood face to face with our arrival upon the finite 1-year mark of unsuccessfully TTC, it became official - we were facing what the medical profession diagnoses as "infertility." The one and only positive thing about that (and I use the term "positive" very lightly) is that it opened the door to being able to see a fertility specialist. However, although we had reached this point, I still held on tight to my denial and bucked hard against even making an appointment. Truly, I just didn't want to be "that couple". Reluctantly, I did make an appointment though...

Fast forward two or so months worth of intrusive (and I mean INTRUSIVE), uncomfortable, diagnostic testing to try and determine the cause of our infertility. Throughout the diagnostic process, I couldn't seem to shake the statistics from the back of my mind: approximately 40% of the time the medical cause lies within the woman; 40% of the time within the man; and 20% of the time is unexplained. WHAT?! Unexplained?? Are you serious?? How does anything in our day and age of medical advancements, diagnostic testing, and high-tech. medical exploration even remain "unexplained" regarding a diagnosis? Anyways, obviously I had convinced myself that we would no doubt fall into this "unexplained" category, which would only further my own neurosis in this whole mess. So when test after test (for both me and my husband) kept coming back as "normal" or even "above average," I was torn between this awkward emotional pull of being relieved and disappointed. On one hand, nobody roots for wanting to find something wrong with themselves, but on the other we were looking for some reason, some "explanation" for why we weren't getting pregnant. There had to be a reason, right? This whole crisis in and of itself was hard enough to accept and at this point my only solace was at least being able to have a medically-based reason as to why - is that too much to ask?

An Unconventional Start

My start here will be a little unconventional at first, as the birth (pun-intended) of this chronicle is coming at almost 2 years into my journey. However, after some initial back-tracking and closely spaced posts to explain where I've (well, really we've, since my husband is amazingly in this with me) come from, I do believe that the pieces will begin to line up and make sense... at least that's my hope :)