Category Archives: birth

Everything No One Tells You – Self Image Post Baby

So you spend 9 long months, nurturing and growing a human. You surrender your waistline, you eat things you swore you never would, you give up your desire for sushi, peperoni pizza and tuna fish and you switch from the Retin-A and Salicylic acid acne creams that were working for you, to some all natural store-brand crap that doesn’t work; all in the name of Motherhood.

By the time your little Bambino is ready for the outside world you have pleasantly put on 30-50 pounds, give or take.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

No one tells you that  most of this weight will remain attached to your body after the child is removed. Your hips are wider, you have love handles for the first time and you have to continue to wear your maternity cloths just because you have nothing else that fits.

You will do everything you can to feel like yourself faster then your body allows from crash dieting, to extreme workouts, and even using rubber bands to hold your pants together just so you can convince yourself your pre-pregnancy clothes fit.

With my first pregnancy I was introduced to the world of Spanx. The idea behind it was great; a simple undershirt or slip to hold IMG_9199everything in place.  The downside? All that extra weight is also extra skin…..and your have nowhere to tuck that stuff in when you use Spanx.  Epic Fail.

With my second pregnancy, post C-section, I felt better sooner, but not like myself again and ready to exercise until about 3 months post-birth. Started slow and eventually lost the weight running for about a year. I was actually in the best shape of my life and at my heaviest … then, pregnancy #3! Surprise!

After you have a baby, your body still does not belong to you. Your boobs are bigger then you ever dreamed they could become, although you are kind of secretly hoping to slim your waist line Flinn and Momwithout effecting your cup size.  Your pelvis still feels like it could snap in half, your knees buckle when you bend and your feet ache as much as they did in pregnancy.

Intimacy? Even if you wanted too, you tell yourself that if you cannot look at your own body, then you shouldn’t make your husband. IMG_9273

No one tells you that there will be days you look in the mirror and literally Hate Yourself; blotchy facial patches, hormonal acne and bags under your eyes.

No one tells you that it will take you an hour to pick out an outfit because 1/2 of your choices make you feel fat and frumpy and the other 1/2 make you look like you are still pregnant. You will retreat and hide in your home because you have convinced yourself that you do not fit into the socially acceptable post-baby mold.

No one tells you that you have to love yourself no matter what your dream body looks like. There is no right or wrong to it all and it is only a matter of taking it slowly and enjoying the ride. For crying out loud…You GREW A HUMAN!!!  Not everyone is given that opportunity or that superpower – SO CELEBRATE!Mom and Grant

I went out for my first run post-baby #3. Two Sports bras to hold the weight and knee braces so they didn’t give out mid-mile. I was proud of a 12 minute-mile for a 3.2.

Run 2: The additional skin of my body didn’t bounce as much which made the run feel better. 11:20 minute mile for 3.3.

Run 3: 11:50 minute mile…my toughest run this week. I wanted to give up and came home hating myself.

Run 4: 10:28 minute mile for 4.6

Ladies, it is all about encouraging each other! Love yourself first and your love for others will be pure and unconditional. Be patient with yourself and remember it took you 9 months to put on the weight…it should take you at least that long to lose it! Stop comparing yourself to others and to what you believe society thinks you should look like and try to focus on the important stuff…

You ARE A MOM and already PERFECT in your children’s eyes.2014 11 15_4102

Everything No One Tells You – A Parenting Revelation

I went for a run this morning. It was just my 3rd workout post baby. The moment my feet hit the pavement I knew it was going to be a tough run. Everything felt heavy and weighted – including my heart.

No one tells you that when you become a parent, with the birth of that first child, that sound of their first cry and that first time their eyes meet yours….something changes inside of you. Instead of solely a simple, elated and boundless love you end up with concern, fear and worry. You worry about everything from clipping your newborns finger tips when you cut their nails to how many different ways you could lose this child you just met.

My ‘mother induced anxiety‘ kicked in on this morning’s run. FullSizeRender (4)

I am not someone who listens to head phones on a run. I like the quiet. I long for the quiet since I became a mother. I can think, create, relax and meditate. I still hate running…just enjoy time to myself.

I thought about the article I read of that poor 13 year old girl the victim of an attempted kidnapping IN FRONT OF HER MOTHER in a grocery store.  I thought of how Brave that mother had to be. What would I do?

I pictured the worst case scenario and how I could or would react in the same situation. I have 2 hands….I have 3 children. I thought about all the people in this world who don’t get to save their child…who don’t get to be with their child….who don’t get to have a child….

I heard  a car coming up behind me as it slowed and immediately the fight-or-flight kicked in. Do I look back or run? I wish I had a gun. Why did I leave my mace at home? I need a taser gun. Guns….maybe he has a gun….maybe there are more then one of them.

I turned my head slightly to the side to catch the car and anyone in it within my peripheral vision. I noticed a hand reaching out the window and instantly realized it was the newspaper delivery man….same one who almost hit me on a morning run last summer.

I waved. Just keep running.

I tried to focus on birds, on the noise my feet made as they hit the ground. Tried singing a song to the rhythm of the noise.

My worry kicked in regarding family finances. Crap, I forgot to send that check in. I am sure they will send me straight into collections for being late. Then they will mess up my credit. I should call my husband and have him fix this. I cannot call him, he has enough to worry about. How can we get out of this debt? How do we have so much debt just because we had a baby? What is medical insurance actually good for anymore?

Another car came at me, but this time much louder then the last. A middle aged man with what I would usually refer to a ‘clunker’ of a car. Back bumper missing and trunk ajar from a previous accident.

I was reminded that there are so many others who have it worse than me.

dead snimalAbout 2.5 miles in and almost home, I saw something in the road.

It was a squirrel. A dead squirrel.

Now, I know this sounds odd, but this squirrel reminded me of something; to have faith. When this squirrel died his arms were stretched high in the air….like someone in complete surrender to a higher power.

Almost audibly I hear the words; Let go and let God.

I want to be Brave and Let go and let God.

I think of a friend who lost a baby shortly after birth and how her faith helped her to prevail and heal.  Let go and let God.

I think of a woman I met last summer, who is now a friend, who’s spirit I admired her limitless, in-your-face, happiness even though her husband was out to sea for months and she was basically a single mother of 3 small children. Let go and let God.

I think of a friend who has suffered more loss then anyone should in a lifetime, never mind before her 30th birthday. Let go and let God.

I think of a mother who’s child is fighting cancer and a mother who just lost her daughter to cancer and Mothers and Fathers who are facing the disease themselves. Let go and let God.

I want to be brave.  I want to Let go and let God.

I signed on for a new adventure this last week in hopes of relieving some of the daily stresses of being a mother, wife and business owner.

I have to be Brave. I have to let go and Let God.

Be encouraged that someone is looking out for you ALL the time. So whether you find peace in cross-cross-apple-sauce medicating to the hum of the AC, or  in the 2 am feeding in which you hear sucking and gulping as you literally nurse your child to life – try to listen. Try to hear that voice that is speaking clearing and directly and allow it to take those worries away.

Throw your arms in the air and simply Let Go….and Let God.worship**Check out my sweet friend Beck L McCoy and how she is being brave! www.BeckyLMcCoy.com or www.facebook.com/BeckyLMcCoy**

 

 

Everything No One Tells You – Trying to Conceive After a Miscarriage Cont’d

To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.

We began our 3 insurance covered rounds of gonadotropin injections –

Round 1 – Not pregnant.

Round 2 – Not pregnant.

Negatice PG Test

Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….

If you have ever been in a situation which required an IUI, it is a process you do not easily forget. Something which is supposed to be done in the privacy of your own home suddenly becomes a forced, planned and a very calculated event.

Before 9am, my Prince was required to drop off a sample so that it could be tested for agility, speed and form….and No, not the kind displayed by the Broncos at the Super Bowl last night….

Then I headed into the office after 11am for the Intra-uterine insemination (IUI).

I arrive as schedule, they take me back into a room and discuss the results of the semalysis from this morning’s sample and then they make me read all the labels to make sure it is My Husband’s sample they are holding and are going to use for the insemination; Very controlled and very calculated events.

I then am asked to get into a gown and so happily toss my feet into the stirrups at the end of the office bed before draping my lower extremities with a cloth piece of fabric which was obviously supposed to make me feel more comfortable with the whole naked thing. Fail.

The nurse walked in.

Now to her credit, she was an APRN, very sweet and incredibly talented. However, she was unwed, single, no children and very emotionless when tending to my bedside…none of this made the process any easier.

The drape was lifted and she tried for the first time, to insert the catheter.

Now men, feel free to shy away at this point as you might get queasy.

For an IUI, there is a flexible catheter threaded through the iuiwoman’s cervix. This requires that there is room between these pieces of cartilage which means there must be slight force used. For a women trying to conceive, never been pregnant or has never had her cervix altered, this can be painful…as one could imagine.

Her first attempt, she hit a wall. “Oh,” She stated like a Head Cheerleader trying to let you down easy that you did Not get on the squad, “Your cervix is tilted.”

My first though? What the crap does that even mean? But I did not speak aloud.

Attempt #2 = Wall

“Ok, honey.” She placed a hand on one of my knees at this point, speculum-aforcing gravity to take hold of the metal speculum and instantly creating a pain and discomfort to my now full bladder. “I am going to try one more time, but your cervix is J-shaped and tilted so I am having a hard time getting the catheter through.”

After grabbing hold of the speculum again, obviously not thinking of the fact there was a human attached to it, she shoved the catheter in again.

The sensation was no different from the first two failed attempts, but she said she got it through….so in goes the sample.

Now the standard process for an IUI is to lay with your hips elevated for 10 minutes after the process is complete in order to keep the chances higher that something from the Sample will do what it was supposed to.

She removed the catheter and with it, what felt like the entire specimen sample, exited as well.

I immediately knew, she did NOT make it through my deformed and confidence-shaken cervix and we just wasted an ENTIRE CYCLE trying to conceive; but I was too intimidated to say anything.

I lay there, for 10 minutes more, praying that just 1 sperm would stay behind and help us to have a baby. I prayed that the Nurse would come back in and tell me she messed up. I prayed that my tearcervix was a better performer. I prayed for the baby we never got to meet. I prayed for my now bruised bladder to hang in there so this didn’t become one of the most embarrassing events. I prayed this would be the fastest wasted 10 minutes of my life.

Round #3 – Not Pregnant.

Everything No One Tells You – Trying to Conceive after Miscarriage

“You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.”

We started our Gonadotropin injections as soon as we were allowed too, having passed the injectable class. It required a daily injection in the abdomen, a trigger shot, an IUI (Intra-uterine insemination) and the usual blood work and ultrasounds. The schedule looked something like this-

myfertilitychoices.com
myfertilitychoices.com

New Cycle:

Day 2- Blood work/Ultrasound

Day 3 through 11 – Injections + 3xs Blood work

Day 12 – Ultrasound, Blood work and an injection

Day 13 – Blood work, Ultrasound, Trigger Shot

Day 14 – A physical break

Day 15 – Specimen Collation, IUI,  Blood work

Day 17 – Progesterone Inserts 1-2xs daily as the doctor checks blood work very 5-7 Days

http://whenrugonnahaveababy.blogspot.com/2012/05/crinone-8_19.html
http://whenrugonnahaveababy.blogspot.com/2012/05/crinone-8_19.html

A side note about progesterone Inserts; They are disgusting. Stop reading  and move to next paragraph if you are easily grossed out. The are a cream filled tampon you must insert to which gravity applies. Think about it. They are gross and required everyday after an IUI during an injectable cycle. Invest in some panty liners!

Now, the Prince and I had been through the general process 3 times before this cycle and used to do every step together. Things changed after the miscarriage. We became very determined and goal orientated. instead of taking it step by step.

I no longer walked to the dungeon of shame with him and instead, I sent him on the 1 hour drive alone to give a sample before 8 am, as required, while I waited back at home for the scheduled IUI the same afternoon. It became routine; no longer enjoyable.

http://newmyanmarpyi.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html
http://newmyanmarpyi.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html

To be completely honest, I think the miscarriage took more out of us emotionally then either of us were willing to admit. We still had faith in the process, but had lost hope it would work for us.

Getting a shot in my gut was a tough transition from simply swallowing pill. Even though I took the class, there was still the mental challenge of sticking myself with a needle, on purpose. I envisioned myself trying to fall onto it, or sticking my finger or my husband instead of my love-handle. I knew that the greater purpose for this was a baby and that helped when my husband did the shots, but it was so different when I had to do it myself.

To add a little pressure, all of these medications were scheduled and needed to be given within an hour of the same time which they were given the day previous.

I recall one time in particular; I was on work travel and it was the first time I had to give myself a shot alone. At dinner, I snuck a piece of ice into my cheek thinking I could numb my gut in the bathroom. When I finally arrived to my stall, the ice was gone and I was faced with sucking it up and sticking it to my gut, all alone, or quitting.

I am Not.  A. Quitter.

At the risk of being found, passed out on the floor of a public rest room, with a syringe in hand, I took a deep breath, grabbed as much skin on my abdomen as possible and shoved that need in, like a butter knife into a well-done sirloin. As my hands trembled, I pressed the back of the syringe into the front and injected the meds into wherever the tip of the needle had landed (I could only imagine).

Success.

The only obstacle now was to exit the bathroom stall with an expression that explained the fact that my feet were no where near the usual ‘sitting on the toilet’ position and my skin tone had gone from a nice fuchsia to a translucent cream.Feet bathroom stallI smiled at the first person in the long line that made eye-contact.

I watched the tiles pass my feet on the floor, to pass the rest.

Round 1 – Not pregnant.

Round 2 – Not pregnant.

Round 3 – and the last round our insurance would cover….. and something went wrong….

Everything No One Tells You – Healing from Miscarriage

My first miscarriage was more painful both physically and emotionally then I ever could have imagined it would be.  I realized very quickly that those who knew what had happened didn’t know what to do or to say so, I didn’t talk about it.  Instead, I avoided the topic and secretly cried myself to sleep for many nights.

Every time another friend announced a pregnancy secretly hated them.

women suffering

I build a wall; an emotional barrier that I refused to cross as a means to protect myself and my little angel.

In March, about 8 weeks after the miscarriage, we decided to try a new treatment; Gonadotropin Injections.

A side note: You Never completely Heal emotionally from a miscarriage. When you decide to move forward with more treatments, it will sometimes feel as though you are turning your back on the child you lost. You will torture yourself with imagined scenarios of siblings, of your lost child’s reaction to your decisions. You will inaudibly consult your child on decisions that you feel they need to be a part of. A miscarriage creates a scar on your heart- and there is no healing scars. You just learn to live with them. Do not be ashamed of them. Embrace them, and make them part of your life. You will be stronger for it.

“Gonadotropins are hormones (LH and FSH) that can be given in an injection to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce follicles, which contain an oocyte (egg). Women who have not been able to become pregnant with clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) may be encouraged to try gonadotropins as a next step” (www.uptodate.comcontents/infertility-treatment-with-gonadotropins-beyond-the-basics).GonadInjectables

“Gonadotropins are two hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which are normally produced by the pituitary gland. These hormones stimulate the ovaries to produce a follicle, which contain an egg (oocyte).

Most gonadotropin preparations used for infertility treatment are created in a laboratory (called recombinant preparations) and must be injected under the skin to be effective. For most women, a preparation containing only FSH injections is recommended. Women who do not have regular menstrual periods and who have very low levels of LH and FSH require a preparation containing both LH and FSH” ( www.uptodate.comcontents/infertility-treatment-with-gonadotropins-beyond-the-basics).

In elementary terms, it was Clomid in a liquid form that had to be injected in the abdomen once, daily. It was supposed to increase the cd8-us-left-ovary-folliclesnumber of follicles I developed so that upon HCG injection (trigger shot) I would be able to conceive (35% chance I was told) when combined with yet another IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination).

We had to take a class for this round. From what I was told by my trusty Google searches, I should expect in this class, to use a syringe in a citrus fruit.

Google fail. practicing injections

We showed up at the class to sit for 2 hours and listen to how to inject yourself in the gut and then sent home. No example, no practice, not even a fruit in the room.  Awesome.

For someone who was afraid of needles her whole life, this girl had some major overcoming to get through – but nothing compared to what I had just gone through.fear-of-needles-trypanophobia

We picked up our mound of needles, vials and booklets of instructions and went home to get prepared….

When suffering from infertility and trying to find away to ‘make things work’ there is a lot of stamina required . You cannot turn away from events you once ran from. You truly have to be able to face all these challenges head-on if you want to get through it. So many couples feel unsupported that they surrender and decide it wasn’t meant to be.

If this is you – Don’t Quit.

Take a break, take a vacation or have a cold glass of wine in a warm and bubbly bath; but don’t quit.  If there is a desire, a need, to feel a child grow within your womb, then follow your heart and try anything and everything you can. If that desire is there, it will come. Maybe not in our timing, but it will come.

Try not to despise those around you who seem to get whatever they want. Try not to push them away because they have what You want. Try to understand that they truly are no more deserved then you, it is just in the timing.

You Cannot experience True Joy Unless you have suffered Great loss. 

You. Are. Not. Alone.

hope

Everything No One Tells You – Our Baby Is Dying

So there I was, New Years Eve, and 2 hours from the start of 40 friends and family coming for a party and I was curled up on the cold, damp garage floor sobbing because of the news the Fertility Clinic just called with; our baby was dying.

Everything no one tells you:

  • although there is a high chance of conception with fertility assistance there is also a higher chance of miscarriage
  • every pregnancy conceived under ‘normal’ circumstances has a 31% chance of miscarriage (about.miscarriage.com)
  • each miscarriage you have increases your chances of future miscarriage
  • No One, not even your doctor can give you the actual reason you miscarry. They don’t really know

bad news phone call

I had to pull it together and muster the strength to get through the evening. I went into the house, freshened up and did exactly that. As friends and family shouted Happy New Year with smiles and laughter I faked a grin and tipped my glass (of water) to theirs.

I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt as though God was taunting me with things I wanted but wasn’t ready to have. I wanted someone to blame and the only option seemed to be myself.

yolksac
www.ultrasound-photos.com

January 4th – in for more blood work. This afternoon phone call was different then all the others had been in the last 8 months; I didn’t want it to come. When, ultimately it did – the results were the same- our numbers were too low to sustain a pregnancy but not low enough to confirm a miscarriage.

This meant – that even though the Doctors said we were losing our baby, my body wasn’t ‘doing that correctly either.’ My body was hanging on to hope.  My body was continuing as if the pregnancy was ‘viable’ and all numbers were where they needed to be.  It was on this cold day in January that I decided to stop listening to the Doctors and start listening to my body.

I gained Hope. I gained Faith that my Child might be able to pull through. That maybe I could beat the odds. I even went as far as to talk to my son. Tell him to ‘Hang in there’ and ‘Don’t give up yet.’

Somewhere in my mind I knew he couldn’t hear me, but it made the pain more tolerable to think he could.

January 8th – More Blood work.

January 11th – Blood work and ultrasound for confirmation of pregnancy loss.

On the Evening of January 11th the spotting began; a sure sign that I was going to miscarry. The Doctors celebrated – I mourned.

blooddrawStill hope?

Spotting January 11th – 17th with no pain.

January 18th – more blood work and another ultrasound.

If you have not been tracking the time line I was about 8 weeks pregnant. I had developed an image, relationship, status for this pregnancy that the doctors said never existed.  They did photos of my empty uterus other than what they referred to as a Yolk Sac….as if the word ‘baby’ made them ill. After a second ultrasound with no visual change they told me I needed a DNC.

I refused.

The last thing a woman needs when she is mourning the loss of a baby is to be told she needs surgery to ‘get it out.’ That she needs to go through physical pain in order to heal the emotional.  That her body, yet again, isn’t doing what it should,  and it needs medical assistance to ‘move things along.’ To be told she needs to ‘get on with this and move forward.’

I refused.

After a lengthy and private conversation with the office’s Nurse Practitioner Staff the Doctor begrudgingly offered a secondary option; Misoprostol.

www.abortionpilldoctor.com
www.abortionpilldoctor.com

“Misoprostol is a medication used to start labor, induce abortions, prevent and treat stomach ulcers, and treat postpartum bleeding due to insufficient contraction of the uterus” (Drugs.com)

It can also be inserted vaginally for inducing abortions – which just happened to by my doctors recommended. Punishment I guess for refusing the DNC. I was to insert 4 tablets for 2 days in the evening. Nothing other than that was discussed, no side effects other than passing the ‘yolk sac’ and bleeding precautions.

I followed instructions for two days until in the middle of the night, day two, I woke to empty my bladder and felt some of the most horrifying pain I have ever felt in my life.  I was less than half way between my bed and the bathroom and it hit instantaneously. The pain was so furious I lost control of my entire body and fell to the hardwood floor. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t catch my breath, I couldn’t muster the strength to make it all the way to the bathroom…so I stayed in the middle of the hallway shaking in pain. My husband was about 20 feet away from me and I couldn’t even call him for help.  It wasn’t until a few hours later that I woke, in a cold sweat, still in the hallway and in disbelief at what had happened. The pain was still present, but tolerable.

I slowly stood and made my way to the bathroom and then back into bed. I was too embarrassed to call my husband to help; I mean I wasn’t even woman enough to keep a baby safely growing within me so I didn’t feel like it was his responsibility to feel sorry for me.tear

I cried. I cried until my body ached and finally I fell back to sleep.

My baby died. I will carry that with me for the rest of my life with the wonder of what he looked like, whose eyes he would have had and whose sense of humor he would have inherited. I will never know.

There was only ONE thing that was said to me through the entire ordeal that felt helpful or supportive. My mother, who suffered miscarriage herself told me, “At least you know they will be there to greet you when you get to Heaven.”memory miscarriage

Something to look forward too. That is what I needed. Thanks Mom.

Everything No One Tells You – Fertility Testing (Continued…)

questions
www.answerconstruction.com

Results? A Clean bill of health…..yup…..there was absolutely nothing in our samples that would lead the doctors to believe we would have trouble conceiving. So now what? I was even more frustrated at this point because I had no answers!

I am not getting pregnant and now they are telling me that I there is no reason for it! Do they think I am doing something wrong?

Hysterosalpingogram2
www.lookfordiagnosis.com

The Nurse on the phone continued politely and spoke softly, “Dr. O would prefer if you have what is called an HSG (hysterosalpingogram). This test will show us if you a have a blockage in either of your tubes by injecting dye into your abdomen and taking an x-ray photo.”

She paused, obviously sensing that I was both terrified and frustrated. She spoke to break the silence, “Why don’t you talk to your husband and think in over tonight and if you decide to do it we will schedule in the morning. OK?”

A brief silence. “No. Schedule it now.” I was ready for anything they were going to throw my way as long as it meant we would have an answer as to why we did not have a family of our own.

The  HSG, or hysterosalpingpgram,  is a photograph (x-ray) of your abdomen to include your uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and the areas surrounding them.

Hysterosalpingogram
www.pic2fly.com

There is a balloon placed in the cervix and inflated slightly in order to place the contract material through the narrow space and into the reproductive system. Once set up, x-rays are taken as the dye enters and travels through the fallopian tubes. This allows the scan to detect any blockages in fallopian tubes which could prevent travel of egg, travel of sperm to the egg or both.  This scan can also help in detection of issues within the uterus which could hinder blastocyst implantation. The dye in this test is also sometimes used to clear small blockages that my exist. (Paraphrased from WebMD.com)

The day comes for the test and I get ‘admitted’ to the hospital. This is a necessary process for paperwork, but completely unnecessary for your anxiety level. They send you up to x-ray, give you a changing room behind a curtain and tell you that you must be stark naked before putting on your ‘gown.’ Now if I may say…a hospital ‘gown’ is the most poorly named article of clothing in all of history. hospgown Most definitely not “a long dress, typically having a close-fitting bodice and a flared or flowing skirt, worn on formal occasions” (oxforddictionaries.com).

ANYWAYS….I digress. I do as asked (there is a lot of that in fertility testing and infertility treatments; just doing as you are told to do).

I am walked into the x-ray room by an x-ray tech where we meet up with Dr. O. He is sitting in the corner of the room reviewing papers. God I hope those are not directions….

He explains the process, “Ok, I am going to have you lay on this table and place your legs in the stirrups.” I did so, without question at this point. He talked to himself more than he did me at this point and every now and then when I thought a direction was meant to be heard; I followed.

The balloon catheter went in and he stopped, “ok, now I am going to blow some air into the balloon and dilate your cervix. This will allow me to get the larger catheter through in order to inject the dye. I need you to tell me once the level of dilation get uncomfortable so that I can stop. Ok?” I nodded.

TIP: Don’t try to be a hero in infertility. If the doctor tells you to say STOP once you are uncomfortable than DO IT! Don’t try to bite the bullet and let him get your cervix open enough to deliver a child and then say STOP. I WISH someone was there to give me this advice…

I waited too long before saying STOP and I was in more pain then I had felt in longer then I can remember. Dr. O reached over to the button under the x-ray bed to get it to move up and in position for the x-rays. There was a click and Nothing. The bed was broken.  The Doctor looked up at me with fear in his eyes and after he spoke I realized why, ‘uhm, I am going to need you to lift yourself and scoot up higher on the table so I can get the right angle on the x-rays.

So, cervix artificially dilated, speculum in place, catheter hanging, in a glorious hospital gown which was now lifted over the waistline baring everything I wanted to hide and in massive pain…I did as asked and without protest or complaint.

In 30 seconds it was over. The, dye injected, x-rays taken and balloon deflated and withdrawn. One deep, yoga-breath later, Dr. O was gone and the x-ray tech was back to make sure I didn’t pass out as I sat up.

“Everything looked good from what I saw,” she said kind while she waited for the color to come back to my cheeks. I smiled at her, but didn’t have the energy to speak.

I went behind my curtain down the corridor, changed into public appropriate attire and headed home. I waited. I waited for a reason why I didn’t have a  baby yet. I waited to find out what was wrong with me. I waited for what I thought was the answer I was actually searching for.

In infertility, you want nothing more than answers and reasons for why you are facing what you do, but something the journey teaches you more about yourself and your partner. It will grow you together or grow you apart. Force it to grow you together. The journey is not easy and you will need each other.

Everything No One Tells You; Infertlity Testing

Doctor O said “Ok, we will need samples from both of you before you go home today so that we might have a baseline. This will allow us to compare results from future samples as well as let us know if there is something hormonally abnormal for you [Me].” My Prince and I nodded and said our good-byes with standard hand-shakes. With wide-eyes in anxiety we headed to the lab (which was actually within the same office).

blood test

I sat in the chair of torture, reminding myself of that time in  High School when I passed out getting routine blood work. I smile, facetiously as I felt my heart begin to beat harder with fear of history repeating itself. I HATE needles….but I knew it was a necessary part, for US, towards becoming a family. I offered my left arm, with the good vein, and found my Husbands eyes to distract me. She poked…..

“Hum…” The plebotomist shrugged as she pulled out the needle, “I really thought I had you there.” She looked up at my face as an apology, “I am going to have to stick you again. Sorry Hun.”

My mind immediately went into a fury. Hon? What the crap is that, some kind of an apology? Does she not understand that we are here because we cannot conceive on our own? A little freekin sympathy would be nice!

AN ASIDE: What is difficult to understand about getting and going through fertility assistance of any kind, is that there is instant shame in those experiencing it. There is some kind of unexplainable embarrassment for couples who cannot do things the ‘normal’ way and it makes us extremely defensive over everything.

“Hey,” My Prince whispered as he lifted my chin back towards his gaze as a distraction. Then he silently mouthed ‘relax’ with a half-grin. I listened.belly heart

Baseline testing for fertility requires a number of very specific tests. I will try not to go into too much detail as the risk of boring you, however, I believe it is important to know some of this stuff.

FSH – Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) helps to control a woman’s menstrual cycle and more specifically the production of eggs.

Estradiol – This is an important form of estrogen and it measures a woman’s ovarian function and helps in the evaluation of the quality of eggs the woman will likely release during this cycle.

Luteinizing Hormone Level – (LH) This hormone is linked to ovarian hormone production and egg maturation.  The LH test measures woman’s reserve (egg supply).

Serum Progesterone – Progesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries during ovulation. It causes the endometrial lining of the uterus to get thicker, making it receptive for a fertilized egg. A serum progesterone test is used to determine if ovulation is occurring.

Prolactin – The hormone prolactin is made by the pituitary gland and causes milk production. This test is done to find out why woman are not menstruating, or why they are having infertility problems.

Androgen – Testosterone is probably the most well know androgen and it affects function of both men in woman in the conception process. For woman this test is used to determine the cause of irregular periods or a low libido.

(Paraphrased from www.fertilityauthority.com)

After a third poke and 12 vials of blood, I was finished. I took a deep cleansing breath and sat up. My husband took the seat of torture. I spoke as an effort to convince myself I was not going to pass out, “Your turn for torture!” I pointed at him like a gossipy teenage girl. The plebotomist turn to us “Oh no. I am sorry they were not more clear. They do not need a blood sample from you, they need a specimen sample.” My husband and I looked at each other in confusion and then back to the now red-in-the-face young girl. “They need a Sperm sample.”

My naïve mind pictured how the heck they were going to get that and I felt my head tilt to the right as my eyebrows scrunched together. The young woman, whom wcupe would get to know very quickly as Elizabeth, pointed down the hall from which we had just walked. “I will get someone to take you.”

My husband and I joined hands, sweaty palms and followed the Nurse Practitioner. I felt more like I was walking the Green Mile then I did a Doctors Office. She stopped in front of a door with a window, bordered by dark brown faux-wood, vinyl blinds closed. She placed a sterile cup on the counter with a brown paper bag and started her rehearsed speech as she pointed throughout the room like a seasoned flight attendant.

“There are magazines in the lower cabinet as well as videos in the upper cabinet. Please be sure to fill this form our completely so that you can turn it in with your samples today. You can turn it in at the checkout counter.” She left the dungeon without a salutation.

My Prince and I looked around the room in disbelief. There was an IKEA made brown ‘leather’ love seat in the corner of the room nestled next to a small end table with a Walmart-priced lamp.  In the corner, between the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ cabinets there was a stainless steel sink with a hospital grade paper towel dispenser. The focal point if the room however, was the chair in the center of the room…..looked like a dentist chair more than somesample room kind of chair which would make one feel more ‘at home’ for what we were required to do in here. My eyes glanced towards the door imagining myself abandoning my husband, but my gaze caught some sort of religious statue on the table next to my escape route……I guess to pay our pennants for what we were asked to do in this dungeon of shame.

We looked at one another and just started laughing….seriously, if you cannot find the humor in all of it, then what were we going to do?

xrating

 My husband and I did as asked, walked the hall of shame to drop off our brown paper bag, placed on our sunglasses and bowed our heads as we exited the lobby.

I wept in the car from sheer embarrassment…..for some reason my husband seemed very proud.

We wait for a phone call.

PS There is a lot of waiting in fertility testing and fertility treatments. Get used to it.

Upcoming Blog Post: Fertility Testing for the Ladies

What No One Tells You

We are starting a segment on this blog in the coming weeks called ‘Everything no one tells you.’

It will start with a segment on conception; the truth, insane as it may be, on what we do and do not truly know about the conception, growth and birth of a baby. It will then move into Everything No One Tells You about Pregnancy and Birth. We will laugh as fellow mothers, cry as friends in loss and rejoice in holding our children for the very first time.

It will walk you through a 7 year journey to parenthood. A mother’s first pregnancy loss as well as first successful pregnancy and birth. You will endure the physical and emotional struggle with her as she journals the events.

The Blog is going to cover what no one tells you about these events in life, both medical and emotional as well as open your eyes to the honest, and yet sometimes raw, truths about becoming a parent.

Please share with anyone you know who is struggling to get pregnant, or maybe a friend who just suffered a miscarriage because we will work our way through these events in laughter, tears and joy. Healing is on the horizon my friends!

Selecting a Carrier

After all the research I did on the benefits of Baby-wearing I just knew this would be the answer to our sleepless nights. I was determined to find the best carrier for Bean and me.

Pix from phone 104I started with a free Sling from Seven Slings (www.sevenslings.com).  Well, I paid the $12 shipping and got a free sling. After a number of attempts, I just did not feel like my daughter was safe in it. If I put her in the newborn hold (like a nursing or feeding position) her chin would rest in a deep slouch on top her chest. I felt like she wasn’t able to breathe in this position and because this particular carrier is not size adjustable, there was no other position that worked for a 15lb, 4 month old. I tossed it to the back of the closet.

Next, I pulled out a strap carrier. It was one I found in the local Walmart clearance section while I was pregnant. I don’t remember the brand, but it was the same style as a standard Strap Carrier, with soft cushioning all around. The upside, was that she could sit in front and rest her head on my chest, which is what I was looking for. The downside, was that the straps were not meant for a person my size and I never got it to fit well enough to wear. There was also no head support in this one,  so I continuously had to hold her head while I wore her – which in the end, kind of defeated the purpose of wearing her.

At my baby shower, before my daughter, and thanks to technology, I had received 3 Moby wraps. If you have never heard of this type of baby carrier you can learn more about them here – (http://mobywrap.com). However, as a brief summary – they are about 6 yards of 95% cotton/5% spandex fabric that you contort around your bodice and hips in order to hold the baby. It took me a number of attempts as well as a lot of You Tube videos in order to figure this one out….but when I did….magic. I felt as though it held Bean safely, her head laying on top my chest so she could hear my heart. According to my Dr. Sears ‘bible’ if I wore her for 3 or more hours every day  she would rest better at night….well….I think I wore her for 8 hours that first day….and for the first time in her 4 months of life, she slept a full 3 hours between feedings! I was in love! I worn Bean as often as possible; cleaning the house, vacuuming, washing floors, in the bathroom, walking to get the mail, walking the dogs, talking on the phone, grocery shopping, at church, at restaurants, and schools. Bottom line; she loved it, she was safe in it and I could simply pull the fabric over her head in public places so no creepy strangers would try to touch her. Heaven.Pix from phone 091

So, I know what you are thinking – this is too good to be true. How could the answer to this ‘high-needs” baby just be in a baby carrier? Well, you are not wrong unfortunately. Although the Moby was my saving grace for those first few months, she outgrew it quickly. I tried to DIY a wrap with more fabric, or wider panels, but it was a flop. The Moby found its way to the carrier graveyard with Dr. Strappy and Mr. Seven Slings.

I had a $200 gift card to Babies-R-Us…so shopping I went. I had been eying an Ergo a friend had for sometime but was waiting to buy it. Well, with ‘cash’ in my pocket I took the plunge. I knew nothing about the Ergo carrier before I bought it, other then the fact I had 2 or 3 friends who’s children lived in it. I bought it in black, with the infant insert. (http://store.ergobaby.com). I went straight home and took it out of the box and started trying to figure it out. My first impression, “holy crap – this is huge!.’ Bulk, it had a LOT of bulk to it and even if Bean liked it, it was not going to be easy to fit it into my diaper bag or purse.

Pix from phone 064Moving on.  I got her in it. Then, I walked.

You know the ‘walk.’ That walk that every parent does to soothe their crying child. You go in circles, or up and down the hall. Anything to make the crying cease…..am I wrong? Aren’t you smiling right now because you ‘remember those days’ or crying because ‘today are those days.’

I digress.

As I walked, I realized that I must have put it on incorrectly because it began to hurt my shoulder blades. I ignored the pain and continued my walk….until she fell asleep. I reached up behind my head and unclipped the strap to a euphoria similar to the one where you unbutton your pants after Thanksgiving Dinner. I sat, or plopped, onto the couch, sleeping baby on my chest, Ergo strapped to my hips and started crying. Was I ever going to find a carrier that worked for us?

Back to the books. And the coffee.  Pix from phone 099