This and THAT

 

Our very own Dr. Marc sent me the original link to this very powerful story.  I cried when I read it.  Then I waited two days, read it again, and cried just a little bit more.  Meet Terry.  She’s strong, insightful, and a fighter.  She blogs over at Terrilox.  This post was originally posted on Terrilox on November 19, 2012 and is reprinted with permission.  Warning:  Tissues required.

At the begin­ning of Novem­ber I signed off of Facebook.

It was my way of retreat­ing from the empty, shal­low, judge­ment spew­ing from my news feed.

I have always been too sen­si­tive, and on Novem­ber 4th I deter­mined I was way too sen­si­tive even for Facebook.

In real­ity, I did actu­ally have a lot of work to do, and after remov­ing Face­book from all of my devices, the Face­book Anx­i­ety went away.  How­ever, two weeks in, I real­ized I needed to con­nect with some­one I was only con­nected to on Face­book, and my Face­book boy­cott ended, with­out nearly as much fan­fare as it had started.

I only talk about Face­book, because in writ­ing this blog about this and THAT — I real­ized my retreat had so lit­tle to do with Face­book and more to do with a retreat into myself and away from the world.

I woke up last Fri­day ambiva­lent about the fact that I had signed up for a yoga retreat. All I could think was, “I am not in the mood for forced inter­ac­tion with strangers, even strangers that do yoga. If we get in a cir­cle and start shar­ing any­thing, I might die. Why did I say yes to shar­ing a room with strangers? How am I going to sur­vive this?”

The ques­tions were swirling.

As I loaded my lug­gage, I flashed back to when I was four and my mother left me at day­care for the first time. I was trau­ma­tized. My mother had dared to send me into a room of strange lit­tle chil­dren. Fri­day morn­ing, as I was hug­ging my hus­band good­bye, I felt like I was head­ing to day­care, only this time I was 43-years old, I was dri­ving and pay­ing for it myself.

It had been eight years since my last yoga retreat. It was an entirely dif­fer­ent per­son ago. Would Terry ver­sion 4.3 be able to han­dle this?

Anx­i­ety Rising.

To act out even fur­ther, I stopped at Taco Bell for a bur­rito and a Dr. Pep­per.  Just the way to kick-off my healthy, heart-opening week­end. Eat­ing crap in an act of com­plete defi­ance.  Terry ver­sion 3.3 would have bought a pack of cig­a­rettes, so I con­sid­ered this progress.

There was no traf­fic. The music blar­ing from the radio was punc­tur­ing my armor.  Coun­try music can do that like no other music can.  I started to relax.  I credit part of this to the Dr. Pep­per, which I have always believed has med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties hid­den in those 23, prob­a­bly com­pletely unnat­ural flavors.

The music played on.  It was as if God was play­ing DJ on The High­way at Sir­ius XM, care­fully build­ing a playlist in an effort to reach my taco-bell-eating-dr-pepper-drinking-why-the-hell-am-i– doing-this-soul.

I’m a tough nut to crack in the God depart­ment. We’ve had a life­long love-hate rela­tion­ship, but some­how I always real­ize if He was not around I would have no one to dis­cuss all of the things no one else in my life wants to lis­ten to — most espe­cially me. I know some peo­ple call God the Uni­verse or even like to think of Him as Her, and I say, what­ever works for you — but for me, there is some­thing com­fort­ing about a grandfatherly-type fel­low with white hair and a long beard, sit­ting on a heav­enly throne.

Depend­ing on the con­ver­sa­tion, I fluc­tu­ate between that and some­one who looks just like George Burns.

My sun­roof was open. Rain or no rain, I always love the sun­roof open when I can see the ocean.  The ocean was now in view.

Kenny Ches­ney was singing El Cer­rito Place — it was blar­ing through the speak­ers.  I found myself singing louder with each verse, as rain poured though the sunroof.

Some­one said they might have seen you, where the ocean meets the land

So I’ve been out here all night lookin’ for your foot­prints in the sand
Did you hear the ocean singing, baby did you sing along
While you danced out in the water, to some ol’ for­got­ten song

Were you even here at all?

I’ve been lookin’ for you, baby. I’ve been lookin’ for you baby. I’ve been lookin’ for you baby all night long … 

Tears were stream­ing down my cheeks by the end of the song. It’s an absolutely beau­ti­ful song, but it was more than that. As the final note of El Cer­rito Place played out, I heard a song inside my own head.

“De-Da-De-Da-De-Do”

The tears mul­ti­ply and become sobs. My grand­mother was in the car. Per­haps she was only in my mind, but the song and the voice was so dis­tinct it was as if she was there.

I sud­denly remem­bered I was sup­posed to bring some­thing for the altar at the yoga retreat. I had planned to bring some­thing that reminded me of her. I for­got. Or per­haps I just did not want to remember.

I miss her every sin­gle day, often to the point of intense sob­bing, usu­ally in the shower.  No one in my young life was more awe­some to me than my Maw­maw (except pos­si­bly Donny Osmond in third grade), and I always knew she thought I was equally as fan­tas­tic. Every kid should be made to feel that absolutely perfect.

I never real­ized until Maw­maw was phys­i­cally gone how large the hole in my heart had grown in her absence from my life while she was still here on earth. I hope she knows how impor­tant she was to me, with the way it all ended for her, I will never be cer­tain. I know that is part of what makes remem­ber­ing so painful. But on Fri­day, in the car, my spunky Maw­maw was singing her favorite made up song and I silenced the radio long enough to sing along with her. Out loud, with the sun­roof open, as the driz­zle set­tled on my steer­ing wheel.

I arrived at El Cap­i­tan Canyon at exactly 3:00.

After releas­ing so much in the car on the drive up, I was feel­ing slightly more open to the week­end. Actu­ally, I was feel­ing a lot more open, but still scared to death. As long as I did not have to talk about THAT.  Let’s keep THAT in the box.  Locked.

I was sched­uled to share the cabin with Tatyana (some­one I did know) and two women I did not. I was the first one in our cabin and I had two glo­ri­ous hours of alone time, read­ing and tak­ing it all in. I could not have asked for a bet­ter transition.

Our first yoga class was at 5:00. We started with a writ­ing exer­cise. All I could think was,“Thank God we are not shar­ing in a circle.”

I started writ­ing down every­one I was grate­ful for in my life. My hus­band. My par­ents. My in-laws. Ellen. Chaz. Heidi. Selma. Dr. Kalan. Tatyana. Maw­maw. Bob. Memom. GranGran.

The list filled three columns. I had so many peo­ple to be grate­ful for, so why was I still feel­ing so incred­i­bly sorry for myself? I hate weak­ness.  I hate whin­ing. I was feel­ing like a weak-willed whiner.  It’s no way to start a week­end like this.

In my first down dog the tears started to roll. I knew there was no way I was going to get through this week­end with­out fac­ing THAT, but not tonight. Not now.

The tears sub­sided and turned into sweat. I was slightly pissed off at my inabil­ity to fool myself.

The pulse of THAT grew stronger.

After din­ner, Tatyana and I finally met our other cabin mates, Mar­sha and Laura. They were great. Easy. We all sat around the cabin, drink­ing wine and talk­ing. I was able to hold back shar­ing any­thing at first, but Mar­sha and Laura were talk­ing about their children.

Yes, THAT.

Chil­dren.

No, I don’t have any. I can’t have any of my own. My eggs are too old. Iron­i­cally, I’ve never felt phys­i­cally bet­ter or stronger, despite the fact that I drank a Dr. Pep­per this after­noon. This is one rea­son I am quite cer­tain God is a man, a woman never would have made us like this.

My hid­ing ended when some­one asked me directly about THAT.

“Do you have children?”

I spoke softly on the bot­tom bunk bed. I have been try­ing nat­u­rally and via IVF.  No suc­cess. Our next step is donor eggs. I choked up and noth­ing came out. Just tears.

Will they ever stop?

When I talk about THAT, my soul feels as bar­ren as my womb. I feel empty. I feel incom­plete. I feel like a bad wife. A washed up celebrity from the 70’s. A woman who needs to be returned. Expired. My hus­band does not put this on me, I do. I feel uncer­tain of what the hell I am doing here if not to pass a part of myself on. What is the fuck­ing point?  How did this hap­pen? There has never been a prob­lem I could not solve until now.  How did an only child who wanted Eight is Enough (I used to name all eight of them) get to be 43 years old and childless?

These are the never-ending ques­tions run­ning through my mind.

This is why God and I have a love hate relationship.

Sleep was wel­come. Any­thing to escape all of THAT.

We woke up at 7:00am on Sat­ur­day for break­fast. Yoga was from 9:30–11:30. I hit the mat again. Feel­ing stronger. No tears. As long as I did not have to look any­one in the eye and speak, I could get through it.

When class ended, we were get­ting ready to head to lunch and some­one asks if we can intro­duce our­selves. I think to myself, “Please, God, no. Just let me eat lunch. Let me wal­low in my own crap. No sharing.”

God is George Burns.  He is laugh­ing. I am sit­ting in a cir­cle. Petrified.

As the cir­cle opens up I hear very lit­tle, except every time some­one men­tions THAT. Chil­dren. The word is mock­ing me. When it’s my turn, I intro­duce myself. I talk about where I take yoga. I say it’s been a really hor­ri­ble year, I am try­ing to be grate­ful and I start to cry. I pass the Kleenex box. I could get noth­ing else out.

I could feel it stuck between my shoul­der blades, right behind my heart.  Burning.

My heart. My bro­ken heart.

Tatyana hugs me and whis­pers, “You will be a Mom. I know it.” In that moment, I am grateful.

After lunch all I could do was sleep until it was time for breath work at 3:30. Breath work. Am I breath­ing? I keep ask­ing myself.

Before we start the breath work there is more shar­ing. At this point, I am just going with the flow. A sweet young woman named Hay­ley comes and sits on my mat. With­out real­iz­ing it, I am shar­ing again. It turns out her step-mother had infer­til­ity issues in her early 40’s — but she ended up get­ting all the way to 50 with­out a child. She had recently started a foun­da­tion to help women in this sit­u­a­tion to adopt older children.

My eyes glaze over when I hear this. Will I be one of those women? I want to ask about the foun­da­tion, but I can’t. I am not there yet. I am not ready to give up, despite the hope­less­ness I feel inside.

I retreat unable to accept the pos­si­bil­ity that I will not carry a child. I am pro­cess­ing the idea of donor eggs right now, but when I hear about this foun­da­tion, I think — what if I am child­less at 50?

I lie down and start breathing.

In-in-out.

In-in-out.

This goes on for a long time. I am dizzy. I am cry­ing. The pain behind my heart is burn­ing. I have to stop and lift my neck, try­ing to release it.

The instruc­tor asks us to think about our own per­sonal sym­bol. Mine was a Tiger. Maw­maw always called me Tige, short for Tigeroo.

Today I was not think­ing of Terry the tiger cub, but Terry the Mama Tiger.

As the breath is puls­ing through my body, warm­ing my hands, my toes, and yes, even my heart … For the first time since this jour­ney began, the THAT starts to scatter.

I was not child­less.  I was not barren.

These few moments of allow­ing myself to open to the pos­si­bil­ity starts to fill the hole in my heart.

I kept flash­ing back to this video I saw on YouTube of a real Mama Tiger tak­ing care of baby piglets as fiercely as if they were her own. If a Mama Tiger can take care of an entirely dif­fer­ent species as if they were hers then I can fully open my heart to donor eggs.

Not as a last resort, not as the end of the line, not as the result of a fail­ure — but as a gift from God via a self­less young woman.  A mitzvah.

Breathe deeply.

After breath work we had Yin Yoga with Ellen. Ellen was the rea­son I was on this retreat at all, really.  End­ing the day with her class was good for me.  I felt open, vul­ner­a­ble and safe.

The burn­ing behind my heart was dis­si­pat­ing.  Was I finally let­ting go?

Some­times peo­ple come into your life at just the right moment.  Iron­i­cally, she came into my life because of Chaz.  I love how the world works some­times.  As crap­tas­tic as 2012 had been, I can’t imag­ine it had I not had Ellen guid­ing me through it on the mat.

The evening ended with a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner in the rain.  I was so incred­i­bly grate­ful for the rain.  I felt cleansed.  Scrubbed clean, ready to fin­ish the year unafraid to talk about THAT.

Sun­day morn­ing was the final yoga class of the week­end.  I held noth­ing back.  I was just so incred­i­bly grate­ful.  It was a great feel­ing to have four days before Thanksgiving.

I drive home full of grat­i­tude.  I was glad I dropped myself off at that day­care full of strangers.  I was ready to see my hus­band, feel­ing much lighter than when I left on Friday.

My sun­roof was open while blar­ing The High­way.  I am singing Kid Rock, Tim McGraw, Sug­ar­land, Kenny Ches­ney, George Strait and so many more at the top of my lungs for 115 miles. This is some­thing I can only do alone in the car, my hus­band would rather poke out his own eyes than lis­ten to Kenny Ches­ney or Sug­ar­land. I would rather poke out my own eyes than lis­ten to sports on the radio. We gen­er­ally com­pro­mise on a good mix of 70s and 80s with some Sina­tra and Willie thrown in for good mea­sure. It works for us.

In that moment I was grate­ful to have my own time, with my own music.

Through­out the week­end, Chaz had asked us to take a video diary of our expe­ri­ence.  I tried, but it was too scary.

So I write.

A lit­tle of this, a lot of THAT.

As I was dri­ving away from El Cap­i­tan Canyon, I looked to my left and there was Hay­ley.  Our eyes met and she made a curve over her own belly to sym­bol­ize preg­nancy and mouthed, “good luck.”

I was really grate­ful and for the first time in a long time, I felt open to any and all possibilities.

The Mama Tiger was ready to receive her cubs, how­ever George Burns wants to man­i­fest them.

 

As I Wait

Today on Share Your Story, Whitney, shares her long journey toward pregnancy.  Whitney is no stranger to the waiting game, and knows a thing or two about saving up to make your family dreams come true.  What strikes me most about Whitney is that, despite the long and exhausting struggle, she manages to find the positive and remain grateful for what is good in her life.  Very inspiring, indeed.  You can catch Whitney over at There She Goes

It is November 6, 2012 and the world is waiting to find out who the next President of the United States is, I on the other hand am waiting to see if my period shows up. This is the life of any woman, who wants a child, and this has been my life for the last 3 years; this is my story.

 

I always knew that I wanted children. I could never explain it, I did not come from a big family, in fact I was an only child, but I always babysat and was a nanny in college, and I remember feeling so happy people would tell me what I wonderful mother I would make someday.

 

I never thought that at 21 I would meet the love of my life and then be married by 22. At 23, I held a positive pregnancy test in my hand and felt true joy, only to watch it slip away days later. At first we were optimistic, I remember my husband telling me that he had a feeling that “you will be really good at getting pregnant”, but as months went by we started to realize that this might be a little harder then we thought.

 

Months turned into a year, and I tried to be patient. We moved to Orange County my husband threw himself into law school and I graduated college, still no baby.

 

The tests were done and advice was given, “just give it more time,” “try to relax”, “go on a trip” not to mention all of the other weird advice “keep a pillow under your hips,” “keep your legs up for 20 minutes” …like anyone can do that? Clomid was given and taken, two years and still no baby.

 

When people talk about the cost of infertility they often don’t think about young students who are working as hard as they can to pay the rent and saving their pennies so they can do one round of IUI. And putting it off month after month, watching couples around you have their first and then second child.

 

And now we are waiting. After two doctors, two semen analyses, one HSG, and a million ultrasounds all we know is this:  We are young and healthy and there seems to be no reason why we cannot conceive a child. The only diagnosis that we have been given is that I might have a slight resistance to insulin, and a very mild form of PCOS, but I have no typical symptoms.

 

Full of excitement we counted out every dollar and paid for the one round of IUI. Clomid 100mg twice a day. Ultrasounds stated that I responded very well, took the HCG trigger and released three eggs. IUI went perfectly and now we wait.

 

During this whole process I have tried to be optimistic, and not angry. But there were times when it seemed like the whole world was pregnant and I wasn’t. When family members who didn’t know about our struggle would complain about their pregnancy, and how they didn’t really want children anyway.

 

I know that one day my husband and I will hold our child in our arms, I know that child will be worth every negative pregnancy test that I have taken, it will be worth all of the ovulation kits I bought, and all of the crazy drugs we have been on. That child will be the answer to all of our prayers and hopes and dreams.

I have found comfort in my sweet friends who know of my struggle, how have encouraged me and make me find the humor in infertility. I have found comfort in the stories from the old testament of Rachael, Sarah and Rebekkah. I have tried to smile and nod when people tell me “just relax and it will happen.” I have tried my best to be supportive when friends and family have babies even though it hurts a little. Sometimes I get so angry I want to break something, then I remember “Thine adversity shall be but a small moment. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”

I have come to accept that things do not happen on my timing but on the Lords. I don’t know how long the road to our child will be. But I do know that the Lord has plans for me and my family. I know that one day hopefully soon I will look into the eyes of my child.

But until that day I will try my best to be content with the blessings that I have already been given. A husband who loves me, who is kind and supportive, a safe home, a job, food to eat, rockin abs, a sweet puppy who I suspect might be better then some children. And the assurance that good things come to those who wait and that I have so much more than I could ever have imagined. These are the things that I suspect we all think about as we wait…

Thanks, Whitney.  Every story told helps another someone along the way…

Facing the Loss

 

“I believe that my life’s gonna see, the love I give, return to me.”

-John Mayer

 

My wounds have healed as much as they ever will.  More often than not, I feel like I’ve finally reached some version of acceptance.

 

There will never be any making sense of it, and phrases like “all things happen for a reason” still drive me nearly insane, but I’m full of gratitude for what I have, and a little less consumed with what I could have had.

 

I’m putting one foot in front of the other and finding my way.  I’m in repair…

 

A very dear friend of mine is a big believer in karma.  It’s kind of her thing.  She finds karma in every little thing along the way.  I envy her that.  I would love to have that safety net to carry me through the ups and downs. It would be nice to be certain that everything will proceed as it should.

 

I’m not so sure about that, but I am sure about helping others.  I am certain that being there for others is exactly what I am meant to do…

 

But as much as I enjoy making the connections and helping in some small way, I wish that I could do more.  I wish that I could take the pain for all of you.  I wish that I could speed up the process and make the finish line a little bit closer.

 

Most of all, I wish I could make the losses stop.  While every little piece of infertility is devastating and all consuming, my heart breaks for each one of you when you write with news of a miscarriage.  I know that pain.  I know that heartache.  I know that tunnel of grief.  And all I really want to do…is make it better for you.

 

There is no easy button when it comes to grieving a loss.  There is emotion.  There is devastation.  There is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, finally, acceptance.  But there is no easy button to get you from here to there.

 

There is only time.

 

Give it time:  You have to allow yourself time to grieve.  This loss is no different than any other.  It doesn’t matter that you never held that baby in your arms.  You nourished him, spoke to him, bonded with him, and loved him.  A loss is a loss.  So go ahead and feel angry, sad, overwhelmed, and misunderstood.  Take your time; there is no race to the finish.

 

Be selfish:  Sometimes you just need to hide out and read.  Or take long walks and enjoy a mug of tea upon your return.  Isolating during those first few weeks is not actually a bad thing.  Hearing and reading stories about others reopens the wound repeatedly.  Or worse, hearing insensitive words from someone who doesn’t understand can really leave you feeling lost and broken.  Do what feels right to you.  Put your needs first as you try to find a way to heal.

 

Ask for help:  While some of you are working on a first baby, others have a little one running around.  Either way, help is essential.  With the pregnancy hormones dropping at an alarming rate, your body is likely left in a state of physical and emotional upheaval.  This is no time to be wandering the grocery store alone, foraging for food.  Lean on family, close friends, and your spouse.  Know when to ask for a little help along the way.

 

Accept the help that is given:  Yes, you need some time alone.  No, you are not ready for social engagements.  But that lasagna that your best friend really wants to drop off?  Might be just what the doctor ordered.  People feel helpless when someone they know and love has suffered such a loss, so they do what feels right.  Accept it.  Let them feed you and check in on you once in a while.  Even when you need some time to just be, it’s nice to know that someone else is thinking of you.

 

Pen a letter:  Many women find that writing a letter to the unborn child helps them release some of the difficult emotions that refuse to budge.  Share your dreams, your hopes, and your feelings now that all of that has changed.  Let it out.

 

Release a lantern:  Sometimes symbolism serves a purpose.  Many people experience a feeling of closure after releasing a lantern in memory of the baby.  Wait until you feel ready.  Only you will truly know when the time is right to finally say goodbye, but a lantern release can really soothe your soul.

 

Take care of you:  Eat well.  Sleep.  Get some light exercise.  Nourish your soul.  In times of great stress, we tend to eat poorly and rely on maladaptive coping strategies to pull us through the worst of it.  Coping with miscarriage is complicated by the hormones and changes that your body endured.  You have to take care of you.

 

Some people want to get right back into baby-making mode following a loss.  Others take the slow lane.  You have to listen to your heart, and to your body.  Allow yourself the freedom to do what comes naturally to you.

 

And don’t forget to hold onto hope.  Because hope is a very powerful thing.

 

 

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Infertility and the Military

Today a very brave pregnancy hopeful steps forward to share her story.  Racheal is married to the love of her life, who also happens to be a member of the military.  While some doctors have been helpful along the way, Racheal has learned the hard way that the military and infertility are a very difficult combination.  I had a chance to ask Racheal a few questions about her experience, and I am grateful for her honesty and willingness to open up.    

 

How long have you been married?

We’ve been married for 5 years.

 

How long has your spouse been a member of the military?

He enlisted into the Army 2004.  We got married in 2007, after a very short-lived “relationship”. He came home from his first deployment and we became friends. Then he came home a couple of months later to attend his second AIT in VA. We started talking then and just a few months later we were married and moved to Fort Drum NY.

 

How long have you been trying to get pregnant?

I have to be honest here; I was on birth control (the patch) when I was dating my first boyfriend when I was 17. I was allergic to it so stopped taking it when he moved away. We carried on a long distance relationship off and on for two years. I then was in another 2 year relationship which we never used birth control and after 6 months no condoms. I never got pregnant with either one and never really thought about it either.

 

I tried the pill when I started dating my husband, as I was in a new relationship and didn’t know where it was going for sure…and it made me violently ill. So we abstained until we were engaged. On the first day of marriage we officially started trying for a baby. We both agreed that we were ready, but unfortunately we have been through two, one-year  deployments, and numerous months of training. It can get a little difficult!

 

When did you first realize that you might need infertility testing?

We started using OPK’s a couple of months into our marriage but weren’t really concerned. Then the first deployment happened right on our 1st anniversary…once he came home we started trying again. That spring I knew something was wrong so I decided to make an appointment to discuss things. I kind of always knew deep down there had to be an issue but I ignored it. Due to rape when I was 18 I contracted HPV and other things that, some were curable. But unfortunately HPV was not, and I was told there could be an issue conceiving someday.

 

What was the response of your doctor when you mentioned your concerns about infertility?

He was VERY concerned! He wrote my referral to the fertility specialist that day!

 

Were you referred to a specialist?

Yes the first and second time. No the third time (see below).

 

Did you ask to see a specialist? If so, what was the response?

My referral was put into the system and it took 14 days to be approved. But here is the juicy part of the story, Chris deployed again during the fertility process in October 2010. He arrived back stateside October of 2011 and I asked for a new referral as I had issues with the previous FS and he was no longer allowed to accept my insurance. I got my referral right away and scheduled my appointment for March of 2012. In Jan 2012 we found out we had orders to PCS to Fort Irwin CA and had to report here on March 9th. Unfortunately that meant I would have to cancel my appointment with the FS as we would be in transit, and I wanted to give up my spot for someone who would actually be able to use it.

 

Once we arrived in Fort Irwin I asked again for a referral, and that’s where the issues started. I was sent to the OBGYN, as that is who has to write my referral here…and was given a horrific doctor. He was very rude to me and gave me excuses every month as to why he wouldn’t refer me to a fertility specialist. He went as far as telling me that I probably won’t ever get pregnant and that I was not going to be a success rate. He insulted my weight and talked to me like I was stupid.

 

Do you think/know your experience is similar to that of other military spouses?

In some aspects yes, I’ve had wives come to me since I was on Ricki Lake and they have shared their stories from all over the world. Most of them do suffer from PCOS though which I know for sure I do not have. Some have had no issues with referrals and others have been treated like garbage. All of us share the same pain though, we all want that miracle to hold in our arms and love unconditionally. I have friends who have suffered from all different sorts of infertility issues, I’m just still waiting to find someone who is suffering from unexplained infertility…or at least seeking out an explanation for my issues so I can finally feel like I at least fit into a category.

 

Is infertility talked about openly among your friends?

Actually not really, not until I was on television. The ones that are really close to me know about my struggles but most of them can’t relate. Usually it’s something I talk about and they just respond with the usual, “That sucks, I’m sorry, and I hope they figure something out for you.” Now my friends ask me more in depth questions, which I’m very happy about because now I don’t have to bottle up my feelings, hide from my friends, or ignore phone calls when I’m having a bad day. I’ve also seen a huge change in my friends on Facebook who have gotten pregnant. I expressed how upsetting it was to find out on Facebook and how depressing too because I’m jealous whenever I see it in the first place, but I also have the anxiety of, “You could have WARNED ME!” Now they will call me and tell me first to soften the blow so I don’t throw myself into a depression. I absolutely love my friends! My best friend is actually pregnant right now and I was the first person she called. She calls me at least 3 times a week to check on me and when she does I immediately ask how the baby is doing. She is very understanding about me being jealous of her but at the same time I’m very happy for her.

 

Does your insurance cover any of the cost of testing/treatment?

Yes they do cover the office visits (thus far) but treatments are completely out of pocket. From my understanding as far as Clomid and Metformin…stuff like that it’s covered by the insurance, but if it comes down to injections it is not covered. When he deployed the first time and we were going to do IUI through the first FS my injections were quoted to me at $1,500 a month for a minimum of 3 months, completely out of pocket. That was almost his whole paycheck at the time.

 

How does your spouse feel about the way you are being treated by military doctors?

He’s very upset too, but he’s quiet about it. He was not a fan of my last fertility specialist because of how he treated me and put me off 3 months to do my HSG/Surgery and then waited until two days before deployment to actually do it. So we didn’t have a chance! He has been really irritated with this doctor that I just finished with because of how he talked to me and treated me to. He has not met the new OB who I am now seeing but he’s very happy that this doctor seems VERY concerned about me. He’s not only concerned about my infertility but also my other health issues. (Heart and back)

 

How has infertility affected your marriage?

At first it wasn’t that big of a deal. But as the appointments have gone by and the ones he’s actually been able to go to…it’s changed. He’s a trooper through all of the mood swings, depression, and anxiety.  He’s a great husband. That doesn’t change the fact that I see the expression of disappointment and sadness and it makes me feel worse. I’ve been so depressed that I thought about leaving him so that he can be with someone who could give him children. I just can’t imagine my life without him though…childless or not.

 

How about your friendships?

This is a tough one…I’ve lost some friends due to infertility. Some have not been able to handle the depression and mood swings. Some have found my desire to be a mother too intense, others have just plain not understood and rubbed their pregnancy in my face. But the ones that I still have by my side have been so amazing!!!! I already told you about Sydney (my bestie who is pregnant) she lives in PA so I don’t get to see her until probably April. I have another best friend here with me, Chaning, who at first was overwhelmed by this all but she has done exactly what a best friend should do. She demanded that she gets to take care of me after surgery so that my husband didn’t have to use his leave days to do it. I know he should be the one taking care of me but those leave days are precious and I would rather us get to use them together doing something fun…like IVF if needed!!!! Not to mention it’s going to occur right at block leave and my husband is needed for duty.

 

What do you want others to know about infertility?

I want them to know they are not alone. Someone else out there is also suffering through the same thing. I don’t want them to give up either. I know it’s cliché but there IS hope and us ladies need to stick together. Even when we hit the point of our deepest depression there is someone out there who can pull you out of it and hold your hand. I also want to educate those that don’t suffer from infertility. I want them to know how difficult and delicate of a subject it is for those of use who are infertile. I want them to think before they speak to their friend and give advice. It’s not as simple as “relaxing”, “throwing your legs over your head”, “get drunk and just do it”, “that artificial insemination”, etc. I want them to be educated on the actual process, costs, heartbreak, and hope! I want them to realize it’s not a simple as they think it is, and when they have a friend who’s going through it…they need to know how important it is to just be there for them and to be compassionate. Also maybe see what they could do to help, become active! There is a bill that is trying to be passed for help with things like IVF…do your research and write your congressman. Possibly consider becoming a surrogate or a donor. Anything you could possibly do to build the future, as you never know if you or your child is next. And most importantly help EDUCATE!

 

In one word, infertility is…heartbreaking.

 

Thank you, Racheal…I know that your story will help many others.