Mommy's heart for Baby Jacob

Monday, July 11, 2011

Is My Faith Strong Enough?

You know, I wanted to write a week ago.  Right after the 4th of July I was beaming with joy.  Not at being pregnant unfortunately, but because of the wonderful time I had with my family on the holiday.  There were just so many joyful moments that day.  I was full of love for my boys and am so very thankful for them.  I had so much I wanted to write in my blog but didn't get to the computer as quickly as I would have liked.  Recently then, my mood has shifted again...no, I'm not NOT thankful for my boys--I am and always will be.  It's just that I don't feel all peppy and hopeful enough to write the post I had planned.  Been feeling frustrated lately.

So forgive me for the tone of this post, I guess I have to write about the good and the bad, the optimistic and the doubtful...I know the more inspirational stuff will be back.  I just need to get this out of my system because I hate feeling like this. 

Why the frustration?  I'm sure you can guess.  Well, for one, finding out I had those cysts which are preventing treatment this month was a downer for sure.  I just hate how they keep telling me that "we can't afford to waste any opportunity" but then they tell me I have cysts so can't do treatment this month but that "it's very normal when taking fertility drugs."  Talk about pressure. I tell you it's a wonder I don't hear an old-fashioned alarm clock literally ticking out loud...following me with every "tick tick tick" and then those bells on top...at some point I know they will go off--"BRRRIIINNNGG!"  You know how the alarm sound (digital or old-fashioned) can send your heart flipping sometimes?  That's how I feel.  Like I'm waiting for the alarm to go off signalling that my chances at another baby are over.  Done.  Gone.  Serious biological clock ticking away.

If the cysts weren't enough to spike my frustration, the negative ovulation tests are.  Now, I don't know if I ovulated early or perhaps if I just missed it with my random testing.  Who knows.  I just have a bad feeling that I'm not anywhere in the game this month.  The RE had told me that some couples do conceive in "off months" because the medicines had helped the eggs to mature in quality so that did give me hope.   But if I'm not even seeing a positive on my ovulation predictor, where's the hope in that???  My nurse had told me not to bother with the tests this month, just to time intercourse appropriately.  Did she tell me that because she knew my chances were slim and she wanted me to save the $25 this month?   That's what I'm thinking.  I don't know, maybe I would have rather them told me to not even try this month because I'd have a .00000001 chance instead of 5% or whatever my normal percentages are.  So frustrating.

As a result, I just haven't felt that in to it this month.  I think that's why I may have started testing too late.  I also haven't been testing totally regularly either--you're supposed to test at the same time every day and preferably in the mornings.  I've tested whenever I thought about it.  Each time a big hollow circle stares at me from the digital screen.  No happy face this month--on the read out screen or on me.

It's almost like I don't even care to try.  I mean, I want to and I'm still trudging through it but I keep hearing, "Why bother?" in my head.  Of course, time with my husband is nice but I know it's not achieving anything in the baby area so why sacrifice sleep on some of these nights?  We could just skip it and wait until we're on vacation or something.  Why even try now?

Additionally I haven't called my RE yet to ask all of the "what if" questions about my next cycle and the timing of potential treatments. I think I mentioned in my previous post that we're going to be out of town sometime at the start of my next cycle.  That's just great.  This would prevent me from making it in to the office for the ultrasound (obviously) and hence, cancel any treatment for that month...again. 

I've been agonizing over what to do.  Could I ask my husband to bow out of this work trip?  Yeah, I guess I could.  And his boss might allow it, although I kind of doubt it.  But, this is a once a year trip and a pretty important one at that in our nation's capital.  It's just not the best thing to try to back out of.  I've looked at the dates backwards and forwards and analyzed the times my period may start until I gave myself a headache that one night sitting at my dining room table.  My calendar was there and I kept looking at the dates...trying to guess when the next show would start.  It comes down to a slim window of when my period may or may not start and trying to make an appointment before we leave for D.C.   I keep joking that my luck my period will show up an hour after we're on the road.  Talk about depressing.

I just don't know what to do about the whole D.C. thing.  Trying to put off making the decision about the appointment and subsequent departure city (long story) until the last minute.  And it's coming up on me fast.  Tick, tick, tick.

I think my worries are that I'm losing time faster than fast.  Since I may not be ovulating on my own this month, is that just due to the cysts or perhaps the oncoming menopause??  I do know that cysts can supposedly interfere with ovulation and that's one of the reasons they don't give you medicines during that time.  I'd love it if that's why I may not have ovulated this month.  I hope that's it and not that I'm taking big strides towards the "end."  Just makes me sick to even think about.

Of course I know I simply need to call and pummel a nurse with all of my fears and questions.  I just didn't have the desire to do it last week and didn't have the energy today.  I'm going to force myself to make the call tomorrow.

I have to make that call and one more.  I have to call to find out how MUCH all of the next round of treatment will cost, provided I can be here for it.  I have a feeling it's not going to be pretty.  I know again it's just a simple call to the pharmacy company that researches and handles it for you but I'm just not looking forward to the answer I may get. 

Fear of the unknown.  Yup, that's me in a nutshell.  I'm totally panicked at what might be out there---what if I can't afford the meds for this month?  Let alone next month?  What if I can't make the appointment this month?  Will I still have an opportunity next time??  How much longer can I try?? 

Yesterday I made it to church despite having a short night of choppy sleep. I've been trying to go more regularly...that's another story for another post.  Anyway, something the pastor spoke about hit home with me.  The sermon was based on Matthew 13:3, "And He (Jesus) told them many things in parables, saying:  'Listen!  A sower went out to sow.'"  You may remember the story--depending on where the seeds fell affected how well they grew.  Seeds that fell into thorns were choked out, etc.  Jesus went on to make his point in the story and explained that only the person who hears the word and understands it will be like the seeds that fell on good soil. 

I wonder where I am?  Do I really understand God's word the way I should?  I'm not talking about the facts--dates, places, and such but rather the message that God wants us to get out of His word.  How we come to Him in times of trouble.  How we are supposed to give everything to Him. 

I know my faith isn't as strong as I'd love it to be, I can't deny that.  I don't question God in Jacob's death..I know it was for a reason.  He had Trisomy 13, yes, but I believe God has a plan for everything--even Jacob's short time here in his mommy's belly.  Was his death to bring me closer to God?  Was God calling me back because I hadn't been going to church regularly?  Oh yes, I pray regularly and I read lots of religious books.  I belong to a Christian Writing Group here in Ohio and also in Texas. I started writing devotionals a few years go.  But church?  I have to admit that life had gotten in the way of what I grew up doing and did for years and years--going to church regularly every Sunday.

I know I've needed God more in my life and am thankful that I'm taking steps to make that happen.  Even going to church more regularly is helping.  I can feel it.

I can imagine that there are a ton of reasons that God had for what happened to my baby.  I would never be able to guess them all and that's okay because no matter what I'm thankful that I carried Jacob for those 13 weeks.  I love my baby so much.  He continues to be a part of our lives and I am so happy about that. 

There are so many things that I'm thankful for since losing Jacob.  I'm grateful for the healing that I've felt since losing my precious little baby.  It still hits me hard some times but I'm really trying to turn my grief into something good--I'm trying to find ways to help others, to connect with other Baby Loss Moms and to never take anything or anyone for granted.

I thank God that I've been able to grow so much from Jacob's passing.  My Christmas stories about Jacob's death won and were printed all over the country and even in Canada.  I still am so amazed that my words reached others during the holiday season and hope they were inspired by my story of hope.  As you know, I've also been blogging and trying to make sense out of this crazy journey that I'm on and I'm grateful for the opportunity to write as often as I have.  I'm also so very thankful that my writing has touched others.  Thank you for sharing that with me when my posts do hit you in some way!  Your comments and support means more to me than you'll ever know! 

So, to sum it up, I'm still trying to have another baby.  I'm still on this journey.  But I feel so shaky...like maybe I'm the rocky soil or the bad dirt that was mentioned in Jesus' parable yesterday and that this baby won't take root because I'm not strong enough in my faith.  Does this make sense?  I feel like I can't get my words right tonight.  I wonder sometimes if I'm doing the right thing?  Should we just give up?  If we give up, then that's telling God that we're done, right? How can He help us if we don't take the steps to let Him help us?? 

Yeah, I know of the saying, "When God closes a door, He opens a window."  I had a dear friend tell me recently that God might just put a young woman in our paths who has a baby for us to adopt.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  Yes, I'd love to have my own baby but I'd be just as happy adopting one.  There's only one problem with this--we just wouldn't have the money.  Plain and simple.  So that's that.

To me I see my options as 1--keep trying until I've exhausted everything I can or until I run out of time and hit menopause or 2--give up now and "move on."  I've said before that I wish God would just write it in the sky or something--"Here's what Kim is supposed to do about the baby thing..."  I keep hoping that I'm reading the "signs" right.  We make it to our appointments when we've come in late from out of town.  I have a new RE working with me to up the medications and to be more aggressive.  So far I've come up with the funds I've needed.  Stuff like that.  I figure that these are all good things, right?  Or despite these things, am I to just give up and stop trying?

I ask again, is my faith strong enough?  I know in the end what will be, will be.  I'll have to find a way to deal with it--to get through it--to 'move on' if that's what it comes to.  I don't look forward to it if that's what's coming, I can be honest.  But...where does faith play in to all of this?  Am I to have faith that things will work out somehow, someway and that we should just keep trying?  Isn't the Bible full of stories of people who didn't understand the whys and whens but they kept holding on to faith anyway? 

I was flipping through a book the other day that talked about that very thing.  All through the Bible, people were told of Jesus' coming.  They just didn't know when.  They waited.  They waited some more.  They waited a whole lot more.  And then, finally, He came.  They had to keep believing.  I think faith is kind of a key to everything...faith in Jesus brings us salvation.  Believing.  Holding on.  Trusting. 

Remember Abraham, was it??  The man who found out he'd have as many descendants as the stars?  I don't know why but that story has popped up so many times in books and devotionals that I've read.  I would love to think that it's trying to tell me something or teach me something, I don't know.  Abraham and his wife were past childbearing age and hadn't thought it possible, but then...a baby.  More importantly--they trusted God.  They believed Him.  They had faith.

All I can do is to pray again tonight and every night that God speaks to me, that He quiets the clamor and fear and distrust in my mind and helps me to focus on Him.  I know I can get in the way so often.  I'm the queen of worry warts, the one who tries to work so hard to plan, plan and plan some more.  I know I need to get out of the way and trust God completely in this.  If I can just be quiet, I hope I will be able to hear Him more clearly.

Sorry if this post has you wondering why I'm all over the place...I know what I'm trying to say but struggling to explain it.  I am desperately holding on to hope that things will work out for the best, whatever that means.  I'm also desperately holding on to hope that anything is possible and that we can have another baby if God wants us to.  I'm just struggling with how to balance both of those views of hope.  Wow.  I think that's it in a nut shell.  Wow.

Looking for silence tonight my friends, silence and of course, God's calming voice to lead me to where He wants me to go.

Wishing for all of you quiet moments to pray, to reflect, to love or to simply pause in your life...

Kim :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Red, the White and the Blue...

Happy 4th of July everyone!  This weekend, so many Americans will be applying lots of sunscreen as they they race towards the lakes, the camp grounds, the festivals and parades which will help commemorate our nation's birthday on Monday.  Having just returned home from a trip to TX, we are plotting which events we'd like to attend this weekend as well.  For anyone who knows us, we keep busy.  Sure we just drove 15 hours yesterday and 10 the day before.  Sure we had to get up early today to shuttle some stuff to storage and make my 1:15 doctor appointment before crashing for a 3-hour family nap....busy, busy, busy.  But we're anxiously looking forward to the weekend's events to enjoy as a family.

Red, white and blue.  The colors of our patriotism and July 4th in this country.  And, well...also the colors of my mood and status along this month's journey of fertility, baby loss and desperate attempts to hold on to hope.  I find it ironic that the timing of the holiday and my progress meshed so well.

The red.  I'm sure you all can guess what that means.  No luck this round.  :(  My flowers and seeds might be growing outside, but it appears that nothing is growing inside this month.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  I guess I have 2 cysts.  They're growing.  Or rather, they grew.  Two follicles apparently didn't do what they were supposed to last cycle and they've filled with fluid and become happy little cysts.  Two little boogers.  Luckily they aren't big (maybe 15 cm and I forget the other one's size) but they are too big for me to do Femara this month.  BOO!   

How ironic that in April, I think it was, this very same thing happened.  We came racing back to make my appointment from being out of town for Easter only to find out that I had a cyst so was unable to start treatment with my new RE.  Then we do two rounds--May and June.  We come racing back from this TX trip--25 hours of travel over 2 days--only to find out that we're sitting this round out.  Again. 

Apparently it's not unusual.  It's very common and the doctor and nurses reassured me that it happens all the time.  Fertility drugs must aid in the cyst development somehow.  Probably all of that messing around down there.  Frustrating for someone like me who "can't afford to waste any opportunity."  That was what my doc said this afternoon.  Like I haven't heard that before.  Talk about pressure.

The good things in this "red" speech?  Well, my period started Wednesday, the starter day of my trip.  What fun, huh?  Luckily though, it wasn't overly heavy or crampy so I was spared the extra agony of that while travelling for such a long time on the road.  Also positive, the timing worked out in such a way that I was able to make my baseline ultrasound appointment today on Day 3 of my cycle.  I'm so thankful that nothing in our trip interfered with this appointment.  Originally they had scheduled me for my pregnancy blood test which I obviously cancelled.  One other good thing, I didn't waste the pregnancy test I had bought to take "just in case".  I guess that's good, right?  Nothing like saving a few bucks here and there.

Really, I am trying to focus on the positive things and being grateful for what I have, what I've learned and such.  Please know through this post as I'm writing though, I'm sighing quite a bit...a lot actually.

Another good thing?  Well, I saw a different RE today.  I never know what these people are doing from one day to the next.  Last round I learned that they were changing procedures and having the doctors do the baseline ultrasound rather than the nurses.  Hence I was able to see my RE last month for the first time since we met him back in February???  Then today I find out that only the one RE is doing them from now on and he's not my original doc.  Will he be my new one?  Who knows. 

He was nice, younger than my doctor and very proactive.  I really appreciated that.  After finding out that I had two cysts and wouldn't be doing treatment this month, he went into a rapid discussion of a 'long-term' treatment plan.  I was too tired to absorb it all but I think I got most of it.  Can I still get pregnant this month?  Sure, sometimes it takes awhile for the medication to improve the quality of your eggs so they've had lots of couples get pregnant on "off months" without stimulation.  Wouldn't that be great????

What else did he tell me?  Oh, we're bumping up my meds.  More aggressive?  More money??? Yikes. I think so.  He told me that they usually only keep a woman on a treatment plan for 2-3 months before changing it. Apparently they are only giving me 2 months so to not "waste those opportunities" that I mentioned.  He rambled off a list of statistics for conception--with just Femara/Ovidrel I'm only at a 5-7% chance per month.  Man, I had forgotten that it was THAT low!!  Makes me wonder what it is without that intervention???  With adding more meds, I think it ups my chances to 10-15%??  Then if we add IUI at some point down the road it would take me to 20-25%. 

My head is still spinning a bit.  While I was grateful for the plan and more aggressive action, I am finding myself getting more nervous.  Am I getting close to "the end"?  What if we do the additional meds but have no luck and then have to switch to IUI but can't afford it?  Is that all?  Are there other meds to try without IUI??  Of course we didn't get to talk through all of that but I'm sure at some point I'll have to.  In the mean time I know I need to do a lot of research and start thinking and planning about the $$ that will be needed in the future.  So worried that the costs will be more than we can afford. 

The other fun thing I learned is that these meds are injectible that I'll be doing next round (provided the cysts shrink).  Oh boy.  I couldn't even do my Ovidrel shot by myself last time!!  Supposedly I'll be doing one medicine for 7 days and then 2 Ovidrels.  I don't even want to think about all of those injections.  I am totally not a needle person.  AT ALL.  For anyone that doesn't think Fertility treatments are a TON of work--mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.  WHEW!  I know I'm going to have to suck it up and figure out how to inject myself without looking and how to handle it without totally freaking myself out.  Oh boy, I say it again, OH BOY.

Well, of course all of this future treatment fun is dependent on timing.  I need to look at the calendar and project when my next cycle may start.  We are supposed to be heading out of town in 2-3 weeks.  How on earth to people do this?  I think you're supposed to keep living your life, right?  Yeah, RIGHT!  Not really.  It seems like you're supposed to drop everything to make all of these appointments and keep up with the schedule.  This time I got an actual calendar which spelled everything out for the next treatment round.  Good grief. I can't even imagine what couples who do the more extensive treatments have to go through.  So stressful.  I'm trying not to think about July and when all of this may or may not hit.  What if my cycle starts when we're in Washington, D.C.?  Do we just throw away that opportunity??  It would seem so. 

The Blue.

I'm sure you get it by now.  I'm feeling blue.  Sad.  Frustrated.  Depressed.  Concerned.  Worried.  Anxious.  And it stinks.  I hate to feel down.

If I had every month open and totally free with lots of extra funds I probably would just sit back and do my best to get through this whole crazy process.  But, add on the extra unknowns and it gets even more stressful.  How are couples supposed to do this?  You have to live your life, but still work in fertility treatments.  It's a priority but should it drive your life???

I think I knew that things didn't work this time early on.  At least I didn't have to suffer through the waiting process and the hopes for something that just wasn't coming.  This past Tuesday I felt crampy all of a sudden and thought, "I bet I know what that is."  Sure enough, the old period greeted me around 2 AM Wednesday.  Not much of a 'wait-and-see' there. 

Even though I was grateful that I didn't have to wonder my whole trip--you know, take a pregnancy test Wednesday and get a negative result but still hope that maybe it was too early for the HcG to build up in my system only to have to wait until Friday afternoon to get a confirmation one way or another from the doctor's office--it kind of was hard getting hit with the news that sudden that our hopes were crushed again this month.  I cried as we were leaving TX.  I was definitely feeling blue. 

I think I felt a little more hopeful this month since we had the Ovidrel shot even though I know that the odds aren't all that great.  It's just SO HARD knowing where to put your head and your heart.  Have hope, but not too much.  How does one do that?  I just don't know.  I wish I could figure it out.  Then I'll share my secret with you all and we'll all be great.  Now, if someone already knows this, please tell me.  I just don't know how to do this. 

The White.

As my 'Red, White and Blue' analogy came to me in the last few days, I've been wondering what was "white" in my life right now.  I don't know that I have any clever insights but I do know that I've seen a few things and thought of a few things along my trip home that I'm holding on to as "white"...as hope.  I think that's what white represents to me--hope along this journey.

At one point on our drive from Texas to Ohio, I spotted a bright white bird landing in a field that had goats and a few horses and ducks in it.  I think we were in East Texas.  Having never been to that part of Texas, I was enjoying the scenery and all of the small towns that we drove through. I had been showing the boys the ducks walking with the horses when I spotted the bird.  It was so white.  Sparkly in the sunlight.  Not a dingy pigeon white but something more bright.  It was also a little bigger than your average bird.  It was so pretty.  It doesn't mean anything, I know, but it was just nice seeing something so white and pure in that field.  It made me think of my life and the things I'm trying to hold on to in order to get me through this.

The only other "white" representation I saw was today.  Again, it doesn't mean much, but I guess to me, if something stands out and makes me stop, think, pause, reflect, smile, whatever, well...than that is significant.  And that's good enough for me.

So today I'm checking out my flowers and admiring how happy my petunias and marigolds look.  I noticed that the impatiens by Jacob's angel didn't look so good though.  I tried not to get sad but wondered why they were doing more poorly than the impatiens I had planted in a similar shady area in the front of the house.  Why did those flowers have to struggle while we were out of town?  I quickly went in the house to do some watering before my doctor appointment.  When I came out to what I hope to make Jacob's memorial garden I was about to dump some water on my struggling flowers when I spotted something about 15 feet or so away by the fence.  A deer!  And not just any deer, it was a baby deer lying in the grass!! 

Just a few moments earlier I had spotted a deer two houses down snacking on the neighbor's pachysandra--a leafy ground covering plant.  I was surprised to see her there but remembered that deer are very common in our neighborhood.  It's the norm around here to see deer roaming through the yards and streets at any time of day.  The most I saw at one time was around 20 or so.  What's so cool about these deer is that they aren't often afraid of humans.  They get pretty close to houses, people and just fit in well with the neighborhood.  They are such a wonderful benefit of living here.

After scanning the area for any more deer I figured the lone deer I saw munching was on her own.  I admired her color before heading to water my flowers.  Only when I saw the baby deer nearby did I guess that they were mama and baby!!  They had the same coloring--brownish/reddish.  It was a rich, pretty color.  What caught my attention wasn't the brown necessarily but the white of their tails and bellies against the brown.  Again, the white was so stark against the darker color--it almost popped brilliantly on their tails.  And of course, baby had white spots.  Such a pretty little deer, I admired her for quite a long time.

My baby deer hung out for about 5 hours today.  When we returned from my gloomy doctor appointment, she raised her head out of the grass to check us out.  I greeted her and told her I'd bring her some water later.  Over lunch Alex and I talked about how we hoped her mama would come back for her.  After lunch when I went out with a bowl of water I saw she wasn't there and worried that she ran off on her own.  I thought, "Great.  Just what a woman like me needs to be fretting about today--some goofy baby deer."  Obviously, my emotions are a bit higher right now with the stress of the last few days of travel, having my period come and finding out that I'm sitting this month out of treatment due to cysts.  Throw a lost baby deer into the mix and I'm just thankful I wasn't a blubbering mess!  :)

But then...hope.  This evening after our family snooze time (we were all pooped from the long trip) I went out head of my dogs, just to see if the baby had returned and I didn't want them to scare her off.  Well, I look across the street and there's the white tails!!  Mama and baby deer were in our neighbor's yard.  Mama was enjoying our neighbor's flowers while baby was sniffing a bush nearby and keeping her ears tuned in to the sounds in the neighborhood.  I said, "Hi Baby!"  and told her I was glad she found her mama.  After about 15 minutes, they turned and strolled up the street--in the street--and across the corner.  I hope they made it back to their home safely tonight.

I checked the bowl of water that I had put out and wouldn't you know, it was on a slant in the tall grass (we need to mow since our grass grows so fast in all of the rain and we've been out of town).  It also looked like it had been drank out of!  Now, maybe some other critter came to drink, who knows.  But maybe my baby did.  I put it right next to the spot where she had laid throughout the day--the grass is all crushed down and I even took a picture of it.  I know, I'm such a goof. :)  I don't know. I  just wanted to capture that moment and what it had meant to me.  I did take pictures of my little friend earlier too.  Will post those at some point whenever I get better at that sort of thing.

So there you have it my friends.  The Red, the White and the Blue. I hope no one is offended at the analogy that I chose to write about.  Please don't be.  I don't mean any disrespect to our nation or it's servicemen or women.  It's just how things jumped out at me and how I've been able to sort through my feelings leading up to this holiday weekend.  It's also given me a framework to use to try to make sense out of everything.  It always helps to not only identify my feelings but to sort them out and to try to learn from them in some way.

The red--my period came again.  I caught myself and only said, "My stupid period" once.  I know that I need to be thankful that I'm still having my periods.  That means I still have a shot at having a baby.  I quickly corrected myself on that one and am working to be grateful for everything--even the somewhat stinky things.  So I guess I should say, "Yay period!", right? 

The blue--feeling sad because my baby chances are nil for this month, and probably next month too without any medical intervention.  Not much positive to say about being blue other than that it's okay.  I'm okay with feeling a little sad right now.

And, I guess you never know right?  That's where the white comes in.  Or at least what white means to me--hope.  Hope that isn't tarnished by fears and anxieties.  Hope that shines against the blue sky and green field or against the brown fur of mama and baby deer.  Hope is where I need to focus.  It's always possible that we could conceive this month without anything--after all, that's what we did last August.  Our precious little Baby Jacob was conceived solely out of love--no testing, no horrible AMH numbers, no progesterone levels, no gut shots, no funky pills.  Just us.  And then, him.

Happy 4th of July Everyone!  Enjoy this weekend with your friends and family.  I'll be celebrating at various festivals, parades and fireworks.  I know the boys are really looking forward to it.  Our family lives for these festivals and the like throughout the summer.  We are total festival gurus and soak them up like the suns rays.  I'll be watching for my boys' smiles and loving every minute of it...every single minute of their joy as they wave their flags, gawk at the fireworks and who knows what else.  And of course, I'll be watching for the white tails of my new friends this weekend too.  Mama found her baby.  Baby found her mama.  May I find my baby soon too...

Kim :)