Friday, July 20, 2007

Keep your eyes on the goal but don't forget the journey

To my wonderful husband......

This is a journey. It's a journey I never wanted to go on and one I'd never wish on anyone, but it will shape the rest of our lives. From the changes in our relationship, the type of parents we will be, to how much more we appreciate our family.

This journey has taught me more about family, about you and myself than anything else in my life. It has made me realize what is important in life and what is not. Every thing that has happened to us has made us into the people we are today. And I wouldn't change that at all.

Love You
-Hope

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

Not a lot happening today but its FRIDAY!!!! Quiet weekend planned with hubby and kids. Only 5 days til testing but I am not getting my hopes up, I dont feel anything!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Journey So Far...

Where do I start? Hubby and I have been trying to conceive for 13 months with no luck at all. I work for a construction company, not labor or anything just fold paperclips as my brother would say. It is a small company so often throughout the day I have free time on my hands and usually spend it researching infertility and have become obsessed with the internet and TTC. I have lots of time to read and chart, I think I have it down to the point of it being scary. I have tried posting on some pregnancy boards with little response. Seems like everyone just wants to ask questions but not respond to anyone else. Its also emotionally draining. The hardest thing to be on a board is one, having women post their BFP and even more so pictures of their positive pregnancy test. (Do we really need to see a picture?) and two when you don’t conceive having move to the next months board and starting off with “Well ladies, nothing happened for me last month so here I am again with my fingers crossed. Only 13 days till I ovulate again….anyone with me?” Its like, not only am I not pregnant but I have to make an announcement about it every month. I will keep up with my board for as long as anyone shows an interest in it. Why put a book down that you love when you get to the middle? I also love the thought of looking back on my journey. I would love the opportunity to share with the child that may come out of this exactly how they we brought into this world.
To begin my story first, after 13 months I too am getting way more familiar than I ever wanted to be with infertility terms. We started seeking fertility help two months ago and still do not know anything. I know the feeling of having my “who ha” shown to the world. Every time a new doctor hands me a gown and says that he just wants to take a look I think “Why not everyone else has.” I have decided to refer to all pregnant woman at just "fat". (I read about another infertile woman doing this and I think it will really help me) It seems that they are everywhere. Every time I go to the doctor’s office or the hospital I want so badly to park in the “Expectant Mothers Only” Parking space. Of course I have to park in the back because I am not expecting, only having a HSG done so I get to enjoy my cramps all the way to my car in the back of the parking lot. God is having his fun with me.
I am already a mother to three (four). When I was 14 an looking for maybe a father figure of some sort (mine left when I was 6 not to be seen again till I was 17) Way too young to be pregnant but never the less was. I went into premature labor at 24 weeks and gave birth to a still born baby girl weighing 1 pound 2 ounces. Everyone said I was way too young to have a baby anyway and it really seemed like most people were happy in a way, like the problem had taken care of its self. Young I may have been however it hurt just as much as it would anyone. I got to hold the baby for about an hour after she was born and my mother and I looked at every inch or her. She was perfect, just too tiny. I stayed in the hospital for a few days and I remember staying on the oncology floor. They told us that when you loose a baby they do not put you on the maternity floor. Like I was going to freak out or something? Although I think it was the best idea I just didn’t like them saying “your baby died so we don’t want you around other mothers and their babies.” I recall very vividly being in the hospital and my mother asking me if I wanted her to take the nursery down that we had just completed or if I wanted to do it myself. I had her put everything away before I got home. I didn’t want to be reminded of this at all.
Age 17…I find myself pregnant once again. Although again unexpected this time was going to be different, so I thought. Everything was going well until 30 weeks. My placenta had abrupted and started hemorrhaging at my moms house. Luckily she was there. She rushed me to the ER and ran in announcing my condition. The whole way to the operating room I was screaming “Its happening again, Its happening again!” My doctor just happened to be at the hospital and had just finished with a C-section so everything was ready for my emergency. All in all I lost a little over a liter of blood. I gave birth to another baby girl just 2 years and 2 days after the first. She weighed 3 pounds. Everything happened so fast, from the time I started bleeding to the time she was born, including putting me completely under was 40 minutes. It was so quick they cut me from the belly button down. I have a terrible scar but because of why I have it I have never had any issues with it. They brought the baby in my room lying in an incubator and already covered with wires and monitors. They let me say Hi before they rushed her to a hospital with an NICU. A nurse had taken two polaroids of her and taped them to my IV pole, that’s all I had of her for three days. Unlike the first time they put me in a room with a woman who had her baby with her. Crying and keeping me up all night. She also had several visitors who came bearing gifts. My baby was not in the same hospital with me and near death so why am I forced to stay in the room with a very happy mother and her baby? Why was this different from the first time? I spent everyday after I was released at the NICU. I never thought at 17 I would be pumping breast milk and putting it in a cooler then driving for an hour so my baby could eat. Shouldn’t I be at prom or something? After a very grueling 10 weeks she came home on her due date weighing a little over 5 pounds. Shelby Taylor turned 13 in March.
Age 19….I meet who I think is the most wonderful man in the world. He is everything that I need and though he was 10 years older than me I was ready to settle down, so I thought. Three months I am pregnant again. Again? I thought? As you can imagine the fertile mertile jokes were coming from everywhere. We were married when I was four months along and very happy. I never wanted for anything. He was very good to me. I thought I had it all, toddler, baby on the way and a wonderful marriage. I gave birth at 38 weeks via VBAC to a healthy baby boy. This November Noah Andrew will be 11 years old. His father being the wonderful man that he is turned out not to be so wonderful for me. I look back and think our age differences had a lot to do with how everything turned out. When Noah was four we separated for a year and the divorce was final when he was five. Noah stayed with his father and Shelby went with me. I knew that Noah needed his father, I also knew that his father would never get past it if I took him. He was also very reasonable. We are still friends to this day. There was never visitation set up nor child support we have always shared Noah and it has worked out for everyone. We do not fight over Noah and for him have carried ourselves in a very mature manner.
The divorce was hard. I thought I knew how my life was going to be and I was very wrong. My world had crashed. Being alone and vulnerable I took comfort with a man who I worked with after I was having marital problems but before the divorce. He was more my age. When hubby and I split I started seeing the new guy seriously. We dated off and on for a few years and twenty five, I am pregnant yet again. What is the deal I thought? It seems that a man can “take care of himself” in the next room and I would get pregnant. I did have thought of terminating the pregnancy. I was newly divorced and not ready for this at all. Even my Ex husband told me that I needed some alone time to figure my life out. However I had a good friend of mine tell me that God wouldn’t give me something I could handle. I wasn’t very religious but it made perfect sense. I once again had a very normal pregnancy. As with Noah I took no chanced and ran to the L&D floor at the slightest twinge. The last time I went in the nurses that had come to know me so well were just as surprised as I was to find that I was six centimeters dilated. I gave birth at 39 weeks again via VBAC to a healthy baby girl. Emma Elizabeth turned six this past May.
This relationship was also turning bad but not down the same road my ex-husband and been down. This man turned out to be very mentally abusive. Although we never married we bought a house together and lived there for about four years with the girls and of course Noah was over all of the time. This man loved his daughter but didn’t care for my other children. This was so hard for me. Sometimes I am so ashamed of my self for staying so long but I stayed by justifying it. I told myself that my kids had a beautiful home and it wasn’t like they were beaten or anything. I didn’t want to rip apart my kids lives again as I had done with my husband. I have learned that there was no justification for any of it. One time, just one time, he got physical. That was it. I called the next day and got a protective order against him. I took the day off from work and loaded everything I could get into two truckloads and moved myself and the girls in with my brother. I spent about six months getting to know myself and my daughters all over again. My brother and I also became very close. I was making my own money, paying my own bills and growing a great appreciation for single moms. I loved my newly found freedom. My Ex-husband was right all along, I needed “my” time.
Even though only six months had passed I was ready to find someone again. I decided that I had been ready to settle down for years I just got caught up with a jerk. Right time, wrong man. So many bad choices I had made in my life but from this point I could just move forward. All of these things in my life that had taken place so far had been in the state of Texas. I was born and raised there and figured I would die there. I had been out of the state only a handful of times when I was younger, my family was all there my friends were all there, it was all I ever knew.
To my surprise after being vocal at work about wanting to try a relationship again I got so much support. Most of my coworkers were suggesting online dating and I did some but it never really worked for me. I love my children so much but they were at this time my dating handicap. I did not want to end up as I did before. A good friend at work approached me one day and wanted to know if I would be interested in meeting a friend of her and her hubby’s. He was actually the best man at their wedding. I am not so sure about this. She brings in her wedding album the next day and I take one look at the picture and literally shrug him off. Cute he was just not my type not to mention the picture was several years old. To top it all off he was enlisted in the Navy and though he grew up in Houston as I he currently lived in Seattle, Washington. He comes home shortly after this for a three week stay. My friend talked me into coming up to a local bar for “dart night” so I drug my brother along and thought one drink wont hurt. I knew who he was right away. To go along with the sense of humor I would come to know so well he was wearing a t-shirt that said “your mom would like me” We talked and laughed some but one drink right? Yep so after that my brother and I went home. I woke up the next day not being able to stop thinking about him. I was so intrigued. I wanted to learn more. I tried to shake it but I couldn’t. Although I was still so leery about a guy who lived across the country. Two days later I was invited to the friend’s house for dinner and drinks. I showed up late. He says now he thought for sure I wasn’t coming at all. Once again we hung out all night. The next day we got up early and all four of us went to a local festival of sorts. We again were up all night talking. Monday came and on my way to work I knew I had found the man I would spend the rest of my life with. It was different than anything I had ever felt before including with my husband. People say “when you know, you know.” I have learned that is so true. I got into work and told a couple of friends including the matchmaker that I met the man I would marry. A little after noon a dozen baby pink roses arrived and then I told everyone “Told ya so!” I wasn’t sure how this would play out with living so far apart. I had a good job and the girls were all settled but I knew this was coming. From the day we met we couldn’t spend more than four days apart. A few weeks and a few plane trips later we decided that the girls and I would move to Seattle. Huge, I know but it was so right.
My oldest was very worried about the move, my youngest didn't care and Noah well although we would get to see each other at much he handled it very well. I went into work on a Monday morning and told my boss of my decision. I spent the rest of the day taking the girls out of school and packing. John (yes he has a name!) flew up that night and we left straight from picking him up at the airport for a three day drive. My mother was at the airport and told him to take care of her girls and he has done nothing but that. We were married about a month after we came here and it has been bliss ever since. I know its cliché but I know in my heart that we were meant to be. He takes care of me and my daughters although he has no children of his own. He is a great provider and a wonderful Husband. He has taught me so much about myself and what it really means to have a family. He talks to my girls very openly. He wants then to know that they can talk to him about anything. I truly believe that my daughters will turn out better women due to having John in their life. Some days I feel like I don’t deserve him at all. Once again in my life, I want for nothing.
This brings me to today. Living in Seattle with my girls and John. New place to live, new friends, new job, new car, a new life. Starting a clean slate and very very happy. Everything in my life was finally coming together until He and I decided that we wanted desperately to bring a child in this world to complete our family. I would love the chance to give him the gift of fatherhood. He says that if it never happens then that is ok, he has the girls but only due to a lack of knowledge and experience does he say this. I want him to know the feeling of creating and growing a child. I want him to see his child be born. I want him to see his child sleeping and see their heart beating through their chest and think “I made that!” I want him to experience going into his child’s room first thing in the morning and watch as the biggest smile ever appears on their face just at the sight of him. I want him to know that when my six year old says “just one more cookie mommy….pretty please” Why I say yes. I always wanted more children. I often pictured my house full of my kids, the neighbor’s kids and whoever else’s kids showed up. I always thought that there will be enough food for just one more. I figured the next time it would be different, that I would actually get to “try” (well I got that wish and then some) that when I announced my pregnancy this time everyone would be happy for me instead of the looks that clearly stated, “not again”
As I stated in the beginning, we have been TTC for 13 months. I didn’t think anything until about month four. Then it was very clear that do to my fertile history something was wrong. He tries to help by saying that it will just take time but I know better, not me. Now I am at the hands and mercy of Navy doctors which isn’t that great of a thing. I have charted, monitoring ovulation upped my vitamins all with a result of nothing. John has been checked and is normal. I had an HSG done last week and it shows that my right tube is completely blocked. The doctor said not to worry that you can still have a baby with one tube and that it may have been blocked my whole life. YEA RIGHT! I had an ultra sound right after showing one dominate follicle on my good ovary measuring at 2.5 cm so once again after lots of "homework" we are crossing our fingers. The day following my ultra sound I received my test results on my pap smear it turns out it came back abnormal. So on top of the infertility issues I am scheduled in two weeks to go to the hospital and have a Colposcopy done before they will know if a biopsy is needed. And once again strangers will get a good look at all of my girly parts.
As you can imagine or may know every month it gets harder and harder. John is scheduled to go to sea next September. He will do a three year sea tour, away three months and home three months. If I am pregnant this month the baby will be only three months old when he leaves the first time. Every month that we loose is a another month he wont get to experience with his child. The doctors I have seen so far are no help at all. They keep saying that because I have kids that I shouldn’t have a problem, but how muck time needs to pass before they say “Even thought you have children you may have a problem now.” I feel like I am getting the infertility brush off because I already have children. Hello? My husband has no kids. Even though they are working on me very slowly its like I am second in line to anyone who is infertile but has no children. They keep dodging the clomid inquires made by me and my husband by saying “Well you don’t need clomid, you have had children so obviously you can get pregnant.” We have an appointment at Madigan Army Center’s infertility clinic next month. They are apparently one of the largest in the US. Hopefully after that we will at least have a game plan. Money is also a huge concern for us. Navy does not pay anything for any ART procedures. They will pay for meds but only if they are being used for baby making sex, if it’s for ART you are on your own. Living on base doesn’t help very much either. I feel like I live in a town of stay at home moms and “fat” women. I just found out that hubby’s best friend’s wife is pregnant with their second child and boy did that hurt! As if the news of it wasn’t bad enough she gave all of her fertility monitoring stuff to her hubby to give to me. I was to say at the least offend and didn’t take it. They had only been trying for a couple of months. I know she was trying to help but it was like she as telling me that I should try what she did because she made it work and whatever I am doing is apparently not working.
If I never have another child I am afraid that I will always feel that there is something missing. Even though John would say that this is not true, I will always feel like I let him down, that I failed him. I love being a mother and I love watching my girls grow up. I also know now that as I travel through my thirties I am not done. I want another child. It hurts just as much to be infertile after having children as it does before, I assure you. I have never had the thought “at least I already have kids.” I constancy feel like it’s not fair. Even know I have done all I could for my children I am so much more prepared for motherhood it now. For now we will just keep trying even if time is working against us. I hope you choose to follow my story and hopefully it will have a very happy ending...
-Hope