Mother’s Day Message

For so many years this day has given me pause due to my strained relationship with my own mom and my struggles with infertility.  Today I saw these messages and thought they summed up the feelings surrounding this day.  You are seen and not alone…

To those that gave birth to their first child this year – we celebrate you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the sleep deprived trenches everyday with little ones – we appreciate you
To those that experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions or running away – we mourn with you
To those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising – we anticipate with you
To those hiding in church when they ask the mothers to stand – we pray with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears and disappointment – we walk with you
This Mother’s Day, we are all seen and heard… you are not alone as we are all warriors

 

 Is the Holiday or the Week After Worst?

So after finding out our FET was unsuccessful, I was convinced that Mother’s Day was going to be another painful day. It also did not help that our “WTF” appointment was the same week leading up to Mother’s Day. 

As if we did not have enough reminders that yet again our chances at being a mom were not successful, we had to go to our RE to talk about what could have gone wrong and next steps. We spent time researching the web (you know your enemy when you are TTC) and trying to find any reason why all of the positive things leading up to our transfer did not result in a positive pregnancy test for us. The only thing we could find was some research on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The symptoms of this disease are fatigue, weight gain, pale or puffy face, feeling cold, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry and thinning hair, heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods, depression, a slowed heart rate, and problems getting pregnant and maintaining pregnancy. In addition, most individuals have goiters, which I do. So maybe this is the problem.

We get to our RE appointment and we can tell that our RE is dreading the conversation as much as we are at that moment. She says that she didn’t think anything went wrong, just that yet again it was not our time for whatever reason. We ask her if we should do PGS (Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening) of our embryos. She said that since the embryos are already frozen it is not a viable option and that she does not believe there is a genetic issue. However, if we go through our seven embryos and still do not have success, than they would perform PGS with our next IVF cycle (umm who says we are going to do cycle 3). We asked her if she thought we needed to try an non-medicated FET, she felt we could but did not believe it would give us better odds. Since my cervix is tricky and she knows it best, a non-medicated cycle would result in whatever RE is on service doing my transfer once I ovulated, so they could struggle with the transfer and compromise our embryo (which is what happened with our fresh IVF cycle last year). We asked if she thought I had a thyroid disorder that was causing implantation problems, she looked at my thyroid panel and I am in the normal range, so no alarms there but said they would run my panel again (got the results end it is still normal). She did indicate that they can try assisted hatching next time if the embryos are not already hatching themselves. We still have four that are pretty high grade and three that are average. Of the four, two are starting to hatch, so that is a good sign. So her recommendation, is that we continue with the current plan of endometrial scratch and cervical dilation the cycle before meds, estradiol and progesterone, sedated transfer and hope that are next attempt is the right time.

While it was definitely painful to want so badly to become a mom and know that another year has passed without that distinction, I tried to make a point to not discuss the holiday, or be on social media with all of the constant reminders. Mother’s Day is always difficult for me in general (see previous post Unanswered ) so I was dreading the day. We went to Mother-in-law’s for a cookout with all of my wife’s family. I told my wife that I was going to try to put on a smile and push through but that I did not want anyone to ask me about it. While I know they all mean well, I could not listen to the advice of “just relax, it will happen.” Actually no, we have to plan, prepare, it will not just happen. I made it through the cookout with out any breakdowns, but lost it once we got home. For three years now, we have longed to be a mom and celebrate the love we have for our child on that day. Yet for whatever reason, we have not yet been granted that distinction.

So I had made it through the holiday and thought well now, I can move on and be ok. Oh how I was so wrong. Monday morning at work started off with everyone asking people “how was your Mother’s Day?” Ugh … I am not a Mom, thanks for the reminder. Work yet again is stressful, busy and frustrating right now, so add the emotions of our failed FET and needless to say I was a mess at work, at home, driving in the car, you name it. I don’t think I have cried as much as I have over the past two weeks. I have had so many breakdowns, that even I am annoyed with how much I am crying. 

People keep asking me so what will you do? Just continue to push through the work chaos, focus on my fitness and enjoy our little break before we hit the roller coaster again. When you want something so bad, you have no choice but to just keep moving forward…..

Closing out NIAW

So sad to see NIAW go…but hope the conversation and awareness will continue to grow.

The Bloggers Unite Conference is closed out with a great post about keeping the line of communication open along your journey.  Infertility is a hard pill to swallow so it is important to make sure that you are having the conversations with your spouse so that you are both prepared for what is the next step.

Miss Conception Coach
In Due Time

Unanswered…

I was up at 6:30am, mind wandering, tears flowing, questioning. This week has been another hard one for the books.We knew going into this week that it would be a tough one.  It was the 10th anniversary of my grandmother’s death and Heather’s dad’s 2nd birthday with him gone.   I went into the week so excited and hopeful that our lives would change. Our family would be complete and we would get the miracle for which we have so longed.  Yet it started with a heartbreak..another negative HCG beta with less 2miu/ml results.

Less than 2 miu/ml…that means there was no chance that our beautiful embryo found a home and grew inside of me.  It leaves us with so many questions..

  • Why are our embryos not growing in my uterus?
  • What is happening between transfer day and beta?
  • Is there a bigger problem with my uterus that our RE has not found?
  • Do I have a hostile uterus that kills all life (sperm, eggs, embryos)?
  • Were the symptoms I experienced made up in my head? Am I crazy?
  • Did traveling during my implantation window compromise our embryo?
  • Do my hormones go on the fritz after implantation/transfer and fight to kill whatever is in my body?
  • Are our embryos genetically destined to fail?
  • Will our other seven embryos meet the same fate?
  • Am I sterile?
  • Will we be childless?
  • Are we wasting time, money, and emotions on a hopefulness dream?

There are so many unanswered questions that I am not even sure our RE can answer at this point.   God help her…

I know we are not alone, but we cannot help but to feel isolated.  I know we cannot compare our journey to others but it is so hard to not know what our problem is and how we can fix it, especially when we see others finding the answer or miracle. 

This week is the week that I truly dread with all of my being every year…Mother’s Day week. Not only do I dread this week because I want so badly to be a Mom, but because of my own mother-daughter relationship.  Every year I struggle to purchase a Mother’s Day card for my mom.  The cards always talk about how great the relationship is; your mom is your best friend; no matter what Mom was there and loved you unconditionally.  I do not have this in my life.  For years after I graduated from college and told my parents that I was gay, they abandoned me and we did not speak or see each other.  My mom and I are not close, we are not best friends. We are better now than we have been but it is still a surface level interaction.  I know that my mom does not love all of me because I am gay and I have accepted that, but it doesn’t make this holiday any less awkward or hurtful.

Can I just skip forward to Memorial Day?

Christmas feelings

Like most of us, my day was filled with a mountain of emotions.  I know I am blessed to have a loving wife, a beautiful home, a good job, great friends and family, and for the most part good health.  However, I found it very hard getting excited about Christmas knowing that the one thing I know my wife would love to have is a child of our own.  

Being that this has been a difficult year for us with a parent lost, failed infertility treatments and the everyday stress of life, my wife surprised me with a beautiful Tiffany&Co smile necklace. I was so surprised and touched that all I could do was cry.  She reminded me that through the storm, we still have each other and that we need to smile more. It is a great reminder that we are happy as the two of us and that we have to not let the delay of some of our dreams stop us from enjoying the beautiful life we have together.

Christmas has a rain cloud for me when it comes to my family.  Five years ago my wife and I rushed home from her family’s Christmas to prepare a dinner for my family.  That year, we were all ready and excited to spend Christmas with them because it would have been the first time my family spent Christmas at our house.  As we waited for them to show up, the night got later and later.  I called them a number of times and no one answered, so I figured they were not going to show up.  Here we had rushed home, my wife prepared a lovely dinner and they couldn’t even show up.  Shortly after I finally got them on the phone and I could tell they had no interest in really coming to my house so I yelled at them, told them don’t bother and hung up the phone.  My wife and I ate dinner, put their gifts outside on the porch and sat in our house holding each other.  Two hours later they showed up, but I refused to answer the door because I was so hurt.  They finally took the gifts and left.  That was the worst Christmas of my life!  

That Christmas unfortunately forever stays in my brain when I think about my family.  Last year, my sister was in between houses so needless to say my parents didn’t really have a place to stay, so after us living in our house for eight years, they finally decided to come spend the night at our home. Yet here is the kicker, my sister came with them….what the hell?!? You can’t spend the night or come to my house without my sister, why??!?  Are you going to get the gay virus??!?  

Knowing these two stories, this is the anxiety that I carry around dealing with my family and the holiday, so needless to say I was not the most excited about them coming over this year. My sister, nephews and parents were to come over for Christmas dinner and my parents were going to spend the night.  Well around 1:30, my dad calls me and this is the conversation that takes place. 

  • Him – “Are you home?” 
  • Me – “Yes, we are waiting for you, what time are you coming?” 
  • “Well I want to ask you something?” 
  • “Ok”  
  • “Can we change our night that we spend the night at the Satterfield lodge?” 
  • “Umm I guess” 
  • “We want to spend the night tomorrow night” 
  • “Umm ok, are you still coming for dinner?”  
  • “Yea, we are coming we will be there at 3:30” 
  • “Ok”

3’o clock, I look on Facebook and my sister and mom have cooked at her house. 3:30, not here….4 not here…. 4:30 they finally show up.  I was so annoyed that I couldn’t even be excited that they were here.  My mom comes in and immediately starts going on and on about how I need to help her and my dad with their cell phones.  Seriously, how about saying sorry that you are late; sorry that you switched plans on me, hope it is ok we stay tomorrow.  None of that occurred.  While my wife cooks, we talk about my dad’s health (he has MS and doesn’t take care of himself…ie see a Neurologist)and shoot the shit.  Finally, I have enough of trying to explain to my dad the importance of his health and decided to give my nephews their gifts.  That was the best part of the night, their faces lit up with excitement and I think they were truly shocked and excited.  We ate dinner, which they enjoyed, since food is actually one of the things my family cares about.  Afterwards, we watched a little bit of a movie, while my dad complained about his leg hurting because he didn’t have his muscle relaxers.  They left shortly after.  At no time did my sister, my mother or father say to myself or my wife, I am sorry that you two are going through what you are; or hope your procedure went well Tuesday, how are you feeling? Clearly, they don’t care, they just came over to get gifts, free food and clear their concscience…..Merry Christmas….