Showing posts with label expectations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label expectations. Show all posts

It is what it is

I'm sitting in the waiting room while ML is undergoing FNA MAP #2. The SA that we had done this morning showed no sperm. Not such a big surprise, but still a disappointment.

Last time I cried while I waited, but today I feel ....

How do I feel?
I'm not crying.
We've done everything that could possibly be done to try and get this sperm. This is the exhaustion of all our options. We've left no stone unturned. So, at this point, it is what it is.

It is strange to not have my head full of racing swirling thoughts at a moment like this. Instead I feel strangely calm and collected. I might even say that I feel capable of rationally making decisions about what to do next.

We won't get our results from this FNA map for two weeks - by October 15th. The results will give us some percentage of success at finding sperm in an mTESE. One way or another, we will be able to move forward after October 15th. This part of the waiting game will be over. We close this chapter of the book and move on to a new chapter.

ML's doctor, I'll call him Dr. Junk since he gets to play with ML's junk, is a really nice guy. He is the first doctor who we met with who didn't leave me in tears. He has a really nice way of putting us at ease and making us feel like we are in really good hands. He is also really good at giving us information so that we can make the best decisions for us. I really really like him. I would so highly refer anyone facing male factor infertility to him, if even only for a 10 minute phone consultation. In retrospect, one of the things I would have done differently on this journey was to get our consult with Dr. Junk much earlier. He has a blog too, and I'd encourage all my male factor bloggy friends to check it out...

I planned to take the rest of this week off work, as I've learned to plan for the worst with every procedure and every time we get test results. I am also going to block off some time after we get the results. Grieving is really hard work.


Hope Hope Hoping

I am hope hope hoping that the Cade Foundation selected us for their 2011 grants cycle. They will be announcing their awards before the end of September and I am counting the days. I really think that we would be an awesome couple to represent their work, for so many reasons.

I hadn't realized that the month was almost over until this weekend when my mother in law asked about 'the grant'. She was visiting us for the weekend. She is so sweet and well intentioned, but doesn't always deliver her loving comments the way we'd like to hear them. It was the first time she's visited us since our wedding over 6 years ago. I know it meant a lot to ML to have her come up to see us and see our home.

Ohh, Cade Foundation, please make your announcement soon.


A new Support Group?

My mom sent me an email a couple weeks ago about a woman who approached her and wanted to start an infertility support group.

My mom runs a parent education program for new moms to attend with their little ones. It is an amazing program that she started twenty five years ago. I could brag about my mom all day long, she really is an incredible woman who has helped so many thousands of new moms grow into beautiful loving supportive parents. Her program is like the one stop shop for all new parents in our community, and absolutely everyone knows my mom. Because she talks about me and my sisters in all of her classes, and has our pictures up all over her office, everyone also knows me.

So anyways, I'd thought a lot about whether or not it would make sense for her program to host an infertility support group. Her program is so loving and supportive, and although it is a center designed for moms and babies, it somehow seemed logical that it would be the perfect place to host a support group. The nearest RESOLVE group is hours away from our little community, and although I don't know anyone else here who shares our struggle, I'll bet that we are not the only infertile couple in town! 

The challenge I struggled with was whether or not I would be able to actually engage with a group that was offered at my mom's program. There would be no anonymity. If I attended, everyone would know who I am. Regardless of agreements of confidentiality, anything I shared would inevitably seep its way into the small town memory where everyone knows everything about you. As much as I'd love to have a group of infertile friends who I could meet and share support with, I concluded that it was a little too close to home for me. And really, even if I could have reconciled the other issues, I just didn't have the energy or capacity to start and facilitate a group.

But then when I got the email from my mom about a lady who was going to start up a local group, I got really excited. I wanted it to start meeting right away. I wanted to meet some local friends who understood, who I could get together for lunch with, or go for a walk with. It seemed so perfect.

So yesterday I opened my email to get another email from my mom with a flyer attached for the support group. I downloaded the pdf. It was a double sided trifold, a little overwhelming to start with. It announced a new Infertility and Adoption support group that would meet once per month. It had a few quotes from women mentioning isolation. And then there was a statement saying that "babies are welcome, as always".

I caught my breath when I read it. I mean, this place where the group will be held is designed for moms and babies, all of their classes and programs welcome babies. It is like the most supportive welcoming place for babies. So I don't know why I was so surprised to see that... but I was. 

I kept reading. There was a description of the group, and it talked about infertility and adoption. Then it talked about parenting issues that adoptive parents face. Then it had a very brief bio on the facilitator that included a statement about how she is adopting a baby thru the local adoption center.

I know that I am super emotionally sensitive, but my god, why am I so bothered by that brochure. I read the brochure and thought immediately and instinctively, this is not a group for me. This is not a group for infertile people. To clarify, this group sounds awesome for infertile people who are at a very specific place on their journey, and it is a place that I am just not at.

The thing is, my mom sent me the flyer to get my feedback. So I replied with a few of these initial thoughts. It sounds like it will be a great support group - for parenting after infertility. (and I totally think that is an important and necessary topic!!) I guess I just feel like it is too presumptuous to assume that we will all need that kind of support. 

This has all settled into my heart and stomach in a funny way. an unsettled way. I think I wanted it to be something else. I wanted it to be something for me. So here I am with a funny feeling. Should I go to the first meeting, and see how it plays out? It might be awesome, and give me hope for the future. Or it might be terrible and leave me feeling assaulted. (Where did that word -assaulted- just come from? I just typed it out, and there it is.)

I'll talk to my mom, she knows the facilitator lady and will probably have a better assessment of her intent, and maybe we just need to change the flyer. Maybe I am just a basket case.


Just Because - Favorite Children's Books

I remember our home always being rich with children's activities. We had books galore, and always had someone to read to us.

Kakunaa wrote a great post about her favorite Children's Books, and it got me thinking about all of my favorite books.... the books that I want to include when I build on my vision for my Someday Family. When I picture my future with children's things scattered around the house, I picture these things laying around.

I think that The Runaway Bunny might be my all time favorite book. It is so sweet and shows the unconditional love of a mother for her little bunny. Sometimes I feel like our journey to parenthood shadows this story.

“If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother, "I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

“If you become a rock on the mountain high above me," said his mother, "I will become a mountain climber, and I will climb to where you are.”

“If you become a bird and fly away from me", said his mother, "I will be a tree that you come home to.”

Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel is another one that I love. I think that I have probably read it a thousand times, as it was one that I used to carry with me in my babysitting bag of tricks and all the kids I watched loved it as well. Again it is a story about loyalty and unconditional love, mixed in with determination to persevere thru the most hopeless and challenging conditions.

Reading it now, I relate to the outpouring of love and support that helped fuel Mike and Mary Anne (his steam shovel) to achieve what seemed impossible.

I recently discovered this series of books by Sibylle von Olfers. I love the illustrations and the way that each story connects nature with imagination. I actually bought a whole bunch of these books off ebay - some of them are for gifts, but there is a complete set sitting on my bookshelf for My Someday family.

Someday, I will read these stories to my children and talk about the seasons, and imagine that snowflakes are really little snow children.

Please tell me that you all remember this record... I LOVED this record as a kid. I remember listening to this record in the living room while my mom put my little sister down for her nap. I was 3, maybe 4 years old. The record was a mix of songs and little stories, all with the message that you are perfect just the way you are.

There was a 25th anniversary edition book published recently that I randomly found at the book store. It is crazy how all of my memories of these songs and stories came rushing back to me. I bought a bunch of copies of the book, and have been giving them away as birthday presents.

It feels so good to think about the future so positively. I really do have a section of my bookshelf reserved to hold the growing library of books that I will someday read to my little ones. Until then, I am grateful for this space and for being able to share these books with you.


No Miracle for Us

The doctor finally called with the results of Fridays SA.

No sperm.

Pretty much what I knew deep down to expect. I toyed with other expectations, but can't say that I actually believed that we would get any other news. As I told ML, we only get bad news.

So, thats that. We'll continue with the $1,600 /month FSH injections for another two months, then do another SA, then another $3,700 FNA MAP biopsy. Same plan as before.

I'd been expecting to get our SA results on Friday, but the nurse informed us it usually took 24 hours for the lab to get back with results. She promised to call us as soon as she had the info, most likely on Monday. I asked that they email us instead of calling if it was Monday before the results came. (I didn't want to be waiting by the phone all day.) We didn't hear from her on Friday by the close of business, so I figured first thing Monday we'd be getting a call and/or email. We got neither before ML and I left for work. I texted ML at noon to see if there was any news. I called him at 1:30 and asked him to call the office. He spoke with the nurse who said that she had the results, but didn't want to say anything about them and would have the Dr call us at 3:45pm.

This is what I wrote while I waited for 2 hours until we heard from the Doctor. (disclaimer: I really do LOVE this doctor and his nurse and his office. I just had to release my anxiety into words, and in this post he unfortunately gets the brunt of my pain.)

You can help. You can help minimize my anxiety and the trauma of this experience by setting clear expectations for me. The process of waiting for test results is so often more stressful than the actual test itself. Please be clear about when the results will be ready and how you will share them with me. Please do not ever again hold MY test results so that YOU can call me at your convenience to tell me about them. That is a really mean kind of torture. That is why I hate you right now. and why I hate having to deal with doctors. I promise you that my imagination is far worse than anything you could ever tell me. Your nurse could have told us what the results were, emailed us a copy of the labs, and then had you call us to discuss it later. You really don't have a clue about how hard this is for us. for me. this waiting is the worst kind of hell. 

So, either there is no sperm and we keep doing what we're doing... or there is sperm and we start freezing it for ivf. You told us before that those were the options. Is there some other option that you're going to spring on us now? please don't. Are there sperm, but there is something wrong with them? Are there a gazillion sperm and we can get pregnant naturally and you just wanted to be the on to tell us? F. You, because the stress hormones that you've flooded my body with will sure as hell interfere with that plan.

Your nurse said that she would call as soon as she go the results. But then we had to call her and she is making us wait to talk to you. damn it. 

I am trying so hard to just be present right here and now. Its not like my knowing at this moment will change anything. It won't. So I try to breath and focus on this first day back to work. But I just cancelled a meeting so that I can be by the phone for your call. F. You. It is hard to breath when that anxiety band around my chest feels so freakin tight. 

I may be a little neurotic about this, but I know what I am not alone. I know that all of my IF sisters will say the same thing as I am right now. It is a huge comfort for me to know that, and should be a huge lesson for you - one that you and your nurse need to learn and remember. In all other regards, you've been awesome, and I really do love you. I just wish that you cold know how hard this is for me to wait right now and that there are a few things you could have done to prevent this unnecessary anxiety. 

For what its worth I did tell him when we spoke that i wished his nurse could have given us this info when ML spoke to her hours ago and that it was really hard to wait. He apologized and said that he always gives critical information personally, and that she shouldn't have told us that she would call. For what its worth I think he might have picked up on the stress in my voice and will be more careful about the expectations that he sets with his patients from here on out.


Baby Showers and Blog Posts

My best friend was twenty weeks pregnant when we got our azoos diagnosis. I had always pictured us being pregnant together.  I hosted her shower a few months after that. It was an intimate brunch with her closest friends and family. I sat at the table with tears running down my face. We went around the table to share words of wisdom as she became a mother and to share the meaning of our gifts to her. I had so much to say, but was unable to speak. It was all I could do not to burst out sobbing. The tears just rolled down my cheeks, my chin quivering on the verge. I love her so much and wanted so much to be a part of this special occasion, but the pain I felt was almost unbearable. Somehow I held myself together. I later apologized to her for not being able to say the things that I wanted to that day. She understood. She is a good friend.

I worried that seeing her baby would be hard for me. I wanted so much to love this little girl. We arrived at the hospital shortly after the birth, sweet baby was passed around to grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncle, and then to me. The tears came, but they were not of my pain, they were of a happiness and love for this little girl who had been born to the most wonderful family, of which I was a part. It was easy to place the little bundle back into the arms of my friend, her mother, right were she belonged. It was totally different than the baby shower. While I long to experience motherhood, this perfect little baby is somehow separate from that longing. I don't long for that baby, I long for my baby.

Another childhood friend recently had a baby shower. It was a long awaited pregnancy, following years of infertility, and I really am so happy for her. But I had the hardest time getting out of bed the morning of her shower. Instead I curled up and watched the 16 and pregnant marathon, and cried. I finally got to the shower an hour late. I smiled and managed not to cry, but actively avoided any conversations. I stayed long enough to participate in a few of the activities and watch her open my present, a little baby blanket that I made for her sweet baby girl. Then I left.  She understood, I know she hurts for me still. 
My sister in law has two adorable little ones. I love visiting them and wish they lived closer to us. Being with my nephew and niece has been okay too. These sweet little kids are hers, and while I love to visit them, I don't have any desire for her kids. I long for my family, the family that my lover and I will raise and love and nurture.
So many of our friends are starting their families. One couple, who I suspect may have struggled with infertility themselves, are celebrating the first birthday of their adorable little son later this month. This circle of friends does not know about out struggle. The thought of going to the birthday, of the people we'd see, and the conversations that are bound to take place, its more than I am up for. I don’t think that it is the baby that I am avoiding, it is the grown-up, the wives. I sent this friend an email, thanking her for the invite and saying that we love them but won’t be able to come to the party. I hope that she understands, even though she doesn’t know what’s going on with us right now. I’d hate to have her think that we are avoiding them because they are in a different place in life now. Its not that. 
I left the longest comment yesterday. I didn't realize how long it was until I submitted it. That comment became the basis of this post. There are so many incredible posts that really get me thinking. This post is really in response to two recent posts:

Mrs. Wood at Our Adventure with Infertility wrote a post about not being able to attend a friends baby shower. It is a struggle that got me thinking about the showers I’ve been to this past year and the emotions that have emerged.

Katie at 'from IF to when' wrote a post about bellies vs babies. It is an insightful post and really shines a light on what it is that I am feeling. I want so much for the experience of being pregnant, of having my belly grow big and round, of having my lover feel my stomach and the life growing inside with love and tenderness. I want that so much. I think about that so much. 

A trip to Australia by Diane Armitage

I've seen this posted here and there. I think it was originally written about adoption, but sure seems fitting for all of us grieving the ability to conceive naturally.

"Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place, you've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip. So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you; you'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait--and wait--and wait. Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax. You'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!" After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat." "By BOAT!" you say. "Going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat. It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. (Isn't that the truth!) You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip. Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather then by air. People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are about to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible; traveling by sea is so easy." You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself."

By Diane Armitage printed in the April 21, 1995 "Dear Abby" column.

My Expectations of Life

One of the things I have really appreciated being a part of this community is that it is safe to explore. To explore other people's stories, to empathize with those who are just starting this journey, to feel like I am not alone with those who at the same point in their treatment/diagnosis as we are, and to learn from those who are moving on to options that I never thought we would consider.  When we started there were options I was sure I would never consider, but even then I reserved the right to change my mind at any point. Maybe part of that close-mindedness was the grief that I felt over the loss of natural conception. And the fear - the fear that I still can't seem to match words to. 

At first it was so hard to focus on anything other than the loss of a dream. Being a mother was the only thing that I have ever expected out of life. I've never known what I wanted to be when I grow up, I didn't have a vision of the man I would share my life with or the kind of wedding we would have or the house we would live in, or anything like that. I just knew that I would someday be a mother. Lucky for me my life has turned better than I could have ever dreamt it could possibly be. Somehow I met and married the most amazing man who I adore and respect and absolutely love sharing my life with. We have a beautiful home and the sweetest dog. I have a job that is both challenging and so rewarding. I look at my life and am overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Since I've known my husband, my dream of someday being a mother has only grown stronger, seeing little glimpses of the amazing father that he would be someday. My dream expanded to being a parent, with him, of us together raising our family. Seeing him years ago with our new puppy, so lovingly anticipating and meeting the unmet needs of this helpless little animal. The first night we had the puppy, back when we thought it would sleep in its crate, climbing into bed, hearing the puppy cry, and watching him so quickly get up and bring the little animal into our bed where it would be safe and warm. As my love for him has grown over the years, my desire to share with him the experiences of parenting have only grown stronger. I see everyday the way that his strengths compliment mine and just know that we would be such a great team as parents. 

Clearly we've encountered some speed bumps on this journey to parenthood. But I have a renewed faith that we will someday get there. In large part thanks to this community. Thanks to  being able to see that there are so many who have been here before us and successfully moved on to make choices that I once considered impossible to make. 

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