That Lonely Feeling

I’m a terrible blogger. Two weeks (at least) since my last post? Slap slap! My usual excuse that I’ve been sooooo busy really doesn’t cut it this time. I was busy.  I am busy. But then again, who isn’t? Anyway, lots of things going on that I will have to fill you in on.

I thought of this blog a few weeks back. It was a Sunday evening and we were relaxing in front of the TV. Louie was peaceful beside me. I was knitting and Eric was doing Eric like things which I usually don’t pay mind to. I thought about how nice it would be to have a little family; one with a tiny human being in it. We have a family, I know that. It’s just, I wanted, at that moment, something to snuggle or feed or burp. Something to take care of. At first I couldn’t quite figure out what the feeling was. And then I realized it was loneliness. Or maybe a mixture of lonely and sad.

I don’t feel this way very often. Just in the quiet moments when it can sneak in and take me by surprise. I usually am filled with busy things such as work and clubs and reading or knitting or fill in the blank. When this feeling comes across I stuff it down a bit. I consider the people who are sick with cancer. The family who doesn’t have a place to live. The animal that was hurt at the hands of an owner who they had nothing but unconditional love for. That’s when I feel grateful this is all we have to deal with. I’ve talked about this feeling of gratefulness before and I swear it is a Godsend. The ability to be grateful puts things into perspective for me.

But enough of the sad stuff for now! I have to let you know about a newfound passion for fun in the way of motorcycling. Yes, I know. Motorcycles are dangerous. People get into accidents and get hurt or sometimes die. The same thing happens when folks drive a car or ride a bicycle or take the train to work. I mean, take a look at that lady in Chicago who recently got hit by the mirror of a megabus. How random! It’s all relative.

After taking a motorcycle riding class last year I’ve been itching to try it on my own. Eric has encouraged me to get on my neighbor’s bike for some time now. As a flight attendant she is rarely home. She offered up her 600cc Honda Shadow as it sits in the garage most of the time. She gave me the thumbs up to take her out and I haven’t looked back. I had Eric take me to parking lots on the weekends so I could practice all the skills I’d learned in the class. Parking lots, being relatively safe, gave me the confidence to want to try more. Yet, I hesitated. Could I really do this? The third time in the lot Eric looked at me and said, “You’re never going to learn to ride if you don’t get out on the street and just do it”. Scared out of my wits, I agreed and haven’t looked back since. Is this how it is with parenting?

A few weeks ago, much to my mom’s dismay I’m sure, I purchased my first bike. A beautiful little Honda Shadow 600 with two sets if bags and a brand new windshield. Eric was delighted. He has a new toy to play with and fix and put parts on. I love watching his eyes light up like a kid a Christmas when it comes to motorcycles. I bet he’ll be the same way with a little boy or girl when and if we have one. This will have to do for now. 🙂

I feel like I have to justify this purchase. After all, the money we spent could have paid for another IUI treatment. I just wanted something that I could feel good about. And I do. I am having a ton of fun and it makes me happy. That is what life is about anyway.

Isn’t she pretty? The next time you see it she’ll have a beautiful new paint job!

The other cool news I wanted to tell you about was the birth of the Davis twins. I mentioned them in the last post. Mom and I will be seeing them in September at the Birdies for Babies event. I am wrapping up the press release on that soon and will post a link once it is published.

Thanks for reading!

Deciding Not To Do IVF

I’m not in the mood to write tonight but I feel I need to give some updates. The last few weeks have been filled with work meetings, spinning, laundry and house cleaning.  I am neglecting the dog and haven’t stocked the refrigerator since almost two weeks ago. It’s a vicious cycle.

Over the past few weeks Eric and I have talked extensively about our decision to move forward with IVF. It is a hard decision to make but we have opted to postpone the treatments in order to pay down current debt. A few people told me to just pull out all the stops and find a way to pay for it. The problem is, there are no guarantees. If we paid the money and didn’t come home with a baby, we’d be devastated and broke. Does this make it sound like I don’t really want a baby?

Truth be told, I have never had that strong urge to have children like some people have.  Now that I’ve gotten older my confidence in my ability to raise a child has grown and maybe with that the desire to have one. I just wish I was strong one way or the other. Either I don’t or I do. Yes or no. Black or white.

But things are not so black and white in this case. There are benefits to being childless; no doubt about that. But we also wonder what kind of little being the two of us would make together. What would they look like? What kind of personality would they have? Would they be healthy and happy?

Part of the talks we’ve had also include adoption. I would be open to this but Eric has hesitated. He’d rather exhaust all options with treatment to see if we can have a natural child rather than adopt. These are the dilemmas we discuss wrapped up under the covers when we can’t get to sleep at night. We talk during commercial breaks or over coffee on a weekend. We communicate that which is important to each of us. Compassion and understanding are qualities we both appreciate.

I am not sure what the future holds for us in terms of children. I just know that we are living each day at a time and are doing the best we can with what we have. I am pleased to say I’ve become more involved in Birdies for Babies. I’ll be interviewing the couple selected as this year’s recipients of the golf outing funds. I will recap that interview on Tuesday. A friend asked me today if it was hard to be happy for this couple. I told her I was thrilled for them. I harbor no hard feelings for anyone who has been blessed with such a gift. Anger serves no purpose as far as I can see. I’m just glad to be a part of such a special journey – even though I have not met them yet!

Stay tuned!

 

Birdies For Babies

We have sweltered in the heat long enough. These 100 degree temps have got to go. And I mean now. To catch you up, I am on CD12. I will pull out the LH test packs and start monitoring this week. I wonder if those tiny little test strips work. Trillions are made so they better be accurate! I will wait patiently for the double line and hope we time everything right. Pray!

I mentioned Birdies for Babies last time I posted. Started by Melissa and Todd Trader of Naperville, this event raises money for couples who are struggling financially to pay for IVF. They have a daunting story of infertility. The couple married in 2000 and struggled to get pregnant. Their daughter Jordan was conceived after several attempts with IVF. Todd and Melissa spent close to $150,000 in out-of-pocket expenses to achieve their dream of having a child. Their son Breckin was conceived a few years later with out the help of IVF. (There is always hope!)

They understand the struggle. Both in the golf industry, Melissa and Todd decided to host a golf event (enter Birdies for Babies) to raise money for couples, much like themselves, who have tried unsuccessfully to start a family. Each year, the Trader’s review grant essays from couples who wish to start a family but need financial help. If selected, the couple has the opportunity to receive up to $20,000 to pay for IVF. What I like about the process is that Melissa and Todd ask that the chosen couple become involved in planning the event. Couples can help get sponsors, donations, raffle prizes, and secure participation. The joint effort brings everyone together for a common cause.

I first ran across Birdies for Babies early this year. I was interested in applying but hesitated because Eric and I had not yet done our first IUI. I felt there might be other couples who had tried much harder than us and they deserved the chance.

I let the application deadline come and go but I kept abreast of what Birdies for Babies was doing. Interested in volunteering for the 2012 event, I reached out to Todd. Much to my delight he e-mailed back and said he’d be glad to have extra help. I won’t be able to participate in the committee meetings but I will help the day of the event. I can also promote the cause prior to the event through my blog, Facebook and other avenues. Mom is also on board to help at the event. She has been quietly rooting for Eric and I to get pregnant and I’m glad she’ll be doing this with me!

Last  year’s recipients have twins on the way! Katie and Patrick Davis are expecting the birth of their girls any time now. I hope to meet them at the outing on September 29th. Katie’s blog Our IVF Journey (http://katieandpatsivfjourney.blogspot.com/) is thrilling to read because it gives the rest of us hope. Take a look if you get a chance.

To learn more about Birdies for Babies visit their Facebook page – http://tinyurl.com/cfry4bo. Come out and join us or send in a donation if you can afford to help. Every little bit counts!

Making Decisions About Infertility

It has been a busy weekend! First, a couple of housekeeping updates.

1. My cycle day is 3 – just started on Monday. Felt a bit of nausea on Sunday morning after breakfast and I rushed upstairs to take a pregnancy test. What a waste of perfectly good test. 😦 A total bummer but not unexpected. I am trying to be the person that just “doesn’t think about it,” but it’s really hard to do that.

2. On Tuesday I had a consultation with Dr. Horowitz; a fertility specialist with Shers Institute of Reproductive Medicine. His office is in Peoria which is why we did this over the phone. More on this later.

3. I did some grocery shopping on Saturday and spent around $200. I basically let the cupboards go bare so I could stock them back up with healthier foods. Not that we are unhealthy eaters (aside from the occasional dinner out and the few and far between McDonald’s run.) I trashed the white flour, sugar and boxes of panko bread crumbs that I know I’ll never use. I tried pawning an unopened box of Bisquick onto a family member but they had none of it.

4. My dog Louie has been sick the last two days. At first I thought he had too much action over the weekend. Our six-year-old nephew, Zack slept over and you can imagine how crazy that got. At least as crazy as it can get for people who don’t actually have children. Whoohoo! Anyway, I took Louie to the vet this morning for a once over and learned he has a small viral infection which probably caused the shits and vomit that ended up on my bedroom floor. $142 later I have an antibiotic and a small bag of “low residue” dog food to give Louie until I get the thumbs up to resume his regiment. Poor little guy is pooped! (Pardon the pun.)

And now for the information gleaned from yesterday’s consultation. . .

Pregnancy is a complicated thing. Sure, you have the folks who merely bump into each other in passing who become pregnant. Those people are not normal. Not normal! From what I’ve been told, a healthy woman in her 20’s only has a 20% chance each month of conceiving naturally. The rate drops dramatically as we age. At 37 I have a 2% chance each month. (Insert a generous amount of swear words here.)

Before our experience with the IUI procedures I really didn’t know a whole lot about the complexities of getting pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy.  Man meets woman, sperm meets egg, whola! Yea. Not so much.

Dr. Horowitz from Peoria told me that I basically have four options.

1. Do Nothing and keep hoping we get pregnant – Been there, done that. It hasn’t worked.

2. Clomid – We’ve also tried this several times. Again, hasn’t worked.

3. Gonadotropins with timed intercourse – these magical little injections rev up the right hormones to produce a generous amount of mature eggs in the hopes we can get pregnant.

4. IVF

Having these conversations is really difficult because of the costs involved. If the medications and procedures were more modestly priced I can say we would go full steam ahead. Instead, we’re looking at $2,500 to $3,000 for a timed cycle with “stronger” meds and at least $11,000 if we did IVF. Keep in mind, the $11,000 does not include medications or anesthesia, etc. It’s a small fortune that we don’t have lying around.

Over the last few days Eric and I have talked about trying the Gonadotropin cycle with timed intercourse. Gonadotropins are protein hormones that play a critical role in reproduction. Wikipedia describes Menotropins as “consisting of gonadotropins that are extracted from the urine of postmenopausal women,[1] usually luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).[2][3]

I am not quite clear on the difference between Gonadotropins and Clomid but I think Clomid is more limited in that it is a medication that specifically blocks estrogen in order to stimulate the ovaries to produce mature follicles. Menotropins on the other hand, affect the production of luteinizing hormones, follicle stimulating hormones and human chorionic gonadotropin (or hCG). hCG is extremely important in supporting the temporary structure that produces progesterone – a hormone required during pregnancy which lines the uterus and prepares it for the length of the pregnancy.

The terminology and how everything works is enough to make my head spin! The further we delve into this experience the more amazed I am at how everything works. But the question still comes down to cost. Do we throw $2,500 at the problem and hope that it works or do we go right for the IVF and hope that it works? Either way it’s a crap shoot.

In a previous post I had talked about a new technique called Micro or Mini IVF. I thought that we might be a candidate but it turns out that I am too old. Yikes! Basically it’s the same as traditional IVF but without the strong medications. This is used in cases where a woman has the potential to be overstimulated. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome can cause a lot of problems including the production of too many follicles. If you want to know more about OHSS you can read it here. Considering that I produced 6 mature follicles on Clomid and hCG alone there is a risk for me in taking stronger meds.

I feel like I am jumping on the roller coaster again with all of this new information. I don’t want to give up hope of having a baby but sometimes it hurts to hope so much. It takes a lot of energy. I know other people are in a similar boat and I don’t mean to complain. It’s just how I’m feeling at the moment.

In the next post I’ll be talking about a local event called Birdies For Babies that was founded by a couple who had trouble conceiving several years ago. This golf outing event now raises up to $20,000 for a chosen couple to use towards IVF costs. It’s a very cool thing! I’ve signed up to volunteer in whatever way I can. I think it will be neat to see all of the families that have been helped by this event. Stay tuned!