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An Infertile Journey

Hello again, Rachel here. I am starting this post on August 1st, 2013. As of today, I am in my third round of infertility treatment. I said it! If this ever is published, it means that eventually a round of the treatment worked. This is hard to write, and even harder to go through. I feel so bad for women who go through this for months and years. There are so many good people out there who want children and would provide great homes and loving families. I guess I should start at the beginning. When I was young, I always knew how babies were born because I lived on a farm. I saw calves born a lot and my parents just gradually informed me (and my siblings too I guess) that was how all babies were born. Well after that, I didn't want to have any part of any baby birthing. I was never a little girl that wanted forty babies. I wanted to go to college and work with kids to help repair the damage that drugs and crappy parenting can inflict.
I liked kids, don't get me wrong. I had a nanny job for four summers and I still feel like a second mom to those kids... Even though they are all taller than me and mostly grown up now :) When I was 18 and got out of the youth program at church, I was put into the primary program where I worked with eighteen months-two year olds for five years. During that time, I went to college (Tennessee Technological University), graduated with a degree in Child Development & Family Relations and decided to go on to grad school instead of working with the Department of Children's Services where I did my internship. I moved right over the state line into Georgia, where I went to school at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to get a degree in School Counseling while I worked at a preschool, and then a private preschool called Siskin. There I worked with many children with special needs before going to night classes. Then, in 2010, I moved to Arizona to marry my husband. When I got here, it was like I could relax and not feel like someone needed me every moment of every day. Probably how most mothers feel! It was a relief and I didn't want to change that. I started school again and graduated in 2012 with a Master's in Human Relations. Freedom!
When I began dating my husband, I knew that eventually we'd have children. It was just that the actual thing seemed so far away. Then I was married. Then the questions started, basically before the wedding, "So when are you two going to have kids?". What the heck, why is it okay to ask about my reproduction?! I didn't want to have a baby. I was loving my life being stress-free for a little while. And why was everyone so interested in my baby making?! I was offended and upset whenever anyone asked me about having a baby. Another fun fact, my husband is 10 years older than me, so I felt like our families had raised eyebrows when I kept not having kids. Still, when I hit my two year anniversary, I was not ready to have a baby.
I went into marriage knowing that I'd have children. My mother is one of 10 children, and all of her living siblings have had children. I have millions of first cousins. I grew up with so much family and support around me, and I can't imagine not having that. I feel that I am a smart enough lady and that my husband is a good man. We should have children because we can raise them in a loving home. I felt that it was time for me to stop being selfish. I'd had my two years with my lover boy, and now it was time to take on some responsibility. I stopped taking my migraine medicines. A month after that, I stopped taking my birth control. I simply didn't refill it.
So, as of today, it is a whole year of trying to have a baby and three years of marriage. Another year of people at church, random people at work, and family members asking why I don't have a baby. I just need to tell anyone who is reading this, that unless you are really close, or someone brings up the subject, IT IS RUDE TO ASK. In case you didn't know. I know people who's children have asked me because they have heard their parents ask so many times. It just makes me want to throw a hymn book at your face a little. But that's not lady-like, nor does it go with my southern charm (ha ha). My procreative journey is between myself, my husband, and my Heavenly Father. And now of course, my fertility specialist.
And OH the joys of fertility treatments. After I stopped taking my birth control, I didn't tell my husband. He wanted a kid and I was like, "Oh, this will be great, I can tell him on his birthday!" Joke was on me! I just knew I'd get pregnant soon, all of the women in our families can pretty much just decide that they want to have a baby and then, POW, baby. Well, no birthday surprise for my poor husband. Not a Halloween surprise either. Not a Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's, April Fools Day, or any other surprise. No baby was happening. Actually, no anything was happening with my body. I am 5'7 and I weigh 98 pounds, and though I've been deemed "healthy" by physicals, my reproductive system seems to hate me. That was what my lady doctor told me when I finally went in to see her. Any time I have to see a doctor and take off my pants, I am not pleased. By this time of course, my husband and I had talked about all of this, and he was supportive of me and what I felt like I needed to do. My lady doctor was worried about what was going on with my body and sent me in for an ultrasound. Surprise, I have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I had never even heard of it, and apparently it is usually found in women who are overweight and have diabetes. I do not deal with either of those things, one more way that my body has manifested it's "love" for me! So, I was referred to a specialist. A specialist who's daughter I know-ish and who teaches Sunday school at my church. I know that many people go there to him and are fine (he really is an amazing and very professional doctor). For myself, I was SUPER uncomfortable. No worries though, I trudged on.
This is the point where I feel like this can't be happening to me. I learned all about cycle days and new medicines, and the crazy things that people have thought of to do to other people just so they can have a baby! For starters, I was given Provera to get things going and then on cycle day 3, I was told to take Clomid. This is a common drug and has pretty good results I understand. On day two of the medication, I started feeling so bad that I could hardly stand upright. This was in April. I had to take a few days off work while I layed in bed wishing that I would just die. I was nauseous, and so dizzy that I couldn't walk to the bathroom without getting so motion sick that I would have to vomit. I told Linwood that I loved him and I'm sure that I would have been a good mother, but that if this was how I had to do it, forget about it. I had family coming in and I hoped and prayed that none of the days that I had to go to the office would coincide with a day they would be here.



Safe.
A few rounds of blood work (which always makes me *almost* pass out due to an accident that I witnessed while in childcare... I don't really know why it makes me sick), and no ovulation, and no pregnancy. I told the doc what the medicine had done, so the next month I took Provera followed by Femara and held my breath... It didn't make me sick! More appointments, more blood work, more counting, and learning that once again I didn't ovulate. Time to move up to the big guns. Injections. The end of June, beginning of July was my next cycle, but we didn't do the injections that time because of my mother being in town, and my traveling to Tennessee. So here I am, on the brink of my fourth round. I know that to some people, this is nothing. But I just got this in the mail today:



Those are syringes. And Bravelle, and hcg. Also a receipt for three hundred and sixty-something dollars. Do you see the little glass vials?! Do you know that there are YouTube videos about how to INJECT yourself? I didn't either until this became my little life. I am struck again by how real this is and I think it sucks. Also, I had to have that junk FedExed because a pharmacy in Phoenix is the only place I could get the right stuff without paying a thousand bucks for it. 
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Today is August 15th and we just got back from learning how to do subcutaneous injections. I made Linwood actually do the injecting even though it made him hate his life. He doesn't like to cause me pain and won't even give me a good firm back rub! I suppose there are worse things :) So now I've had my first Bravelle injections! I had two today, which is actually a double dose. My doctor doesn't mess around, he cuts right to what he thinks will work and I'm glad. I'd love for this to be over with. So, I shall update later, i have to go back on the 19th for an ultrasound to see if there are any little guys ready to be made into a baby..
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August 25th- Okay. So I went and had an ultrasound but the doctor was worried and said that we wouldn't be doing the hCg injection. My right ovary is too polycystic and he didn't want to hyperstimulate. How appalling. So now I don't get the bigger shot (yay?) and he is going to see if I just happen to ovulate with only the Femara and Bravelle this time. It is all a waiting game. He wanted me to purchase an ovulation predictor kit thingy and here I am 50+ bucks later with a broken test reader after like, 4 tests. Awesome! Did I mention that this is really a lot of trouble? Ok, so as it stands now, I will have blood work in two days, then go back for results and consult on September 3rd. This week I found out that like 40 more people I know are pregnant. On the other hand, today was Linwood's birthday and we are moving this weekend. Life is decent.
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September 3rd- Linwood and I went to the doctor today to find out the news. Did I ovulate or not? Well... I did! The Bravelle worked for me and I ovulated! Sweet, right?! Oh gosh, now I'm scared, I may just be fertile...
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On September 6th (Friday) Linwood and I went to Vail to visit his family, and I wanted to see my Grandma Staples in the hospital. I needed to get more Bravelle for my next round of treatments, but just to be sure, before I paid for it, I bought a pack of pregnancy tests. I took one on Saturday morning and it was positive. I really didn't believe it, so I told Linwood I'd take another in the morning, and kinda forgot about it. I didn't realize how sick Grandma was, but my aunt had been there sleeping in a chair since Tuesday. So I was able to spend all day Saturday the 7th with my grandma and grandpa in the hospital in Tucson while my aunt went and showered and slept. At the hospital, Grandma slept when she could but kept having to have lots of medicine for various things. We found a few moments to laugh and she asked me about my husband and told me how much she loved him and how happy she is that we found each other. She asked about my siblings and how they are doing and about my nephew, Austin. She told me she had read the book I was enjoying at that moment. Before I left, the nurses (who were amazing) gave her a dose of her medicine and she kinda fell asleep. Those were the last conversations I had with her. Sunday, after a second positive pregnancy test, when I was getting ready for church, I got a call to rush to the hospital because things had taken a bad turn, and she was dying. My beautiful, spunky grandmother was not going to make it 24 more hours. Haley I got to be there all day with her, and our husbands came and got to spend some special moments there too. I felt so sad for the loss that the world was about to suffer, but at the same time I was so glad that grandma's suffering was about to be over. Bittersweet. I held her had when I had a moment alone with her, and kissed her forehead and told her I loved her. I left a short while later, and she died that night. It's hard to believe that she will never grab me in an enthusiastic hug here on earth again. I will never get to put my baby (I'm definitely pregnant, I've taken four tests) in her loving arms. She adores babies and I bet she is spending time with the two children that she lost right now. Maybe she is even playing with my baby before I get it. I hope so, she will love him/her so much. I didn't get to tell her, she would have been so excited for me and possibly have crocheted something. I always pictured taking a four generation picture with my mother and her grandmother and my daughter. These things don't really matter in the long run though, I know I will see her again. That is all. I am pregnant and my lovely grandmother has died. The reality has not hit me that either of those things are true. I need to call my doctor and let him know whats going on. I shall come back with more news later.
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November 6, 2013
Linwood and I told our families that we are expecting! I wanted to wait till Christmas, but people were starting to question my absence from church and some family was going to come visit. I knew I couldn't hide how sick I've been, so we decided to just go for it. We called them Monday the 4th after a nice ultrasound that showed lots of wiggly energy. That was the first time that Linwood has seen an ultrasound, he kept laughing! Anyway, it was pretty cool. I had gotten to see the 6 week and 9 week ultrasounds too, but now everything is so much bigger and more developed! The next scan will be the anatomy/gender one at 18 weeks, so around December 12th I think. My due date is May 15th, 2014. We will be saving the gender to tell our families on Christmas, just for fun. I loved hearing my siblings and my Granny's (Grissom) response to the news, it was funny and they all seemed to be surprised and very supportive. I've now told a few people about the fertility process, and how we got to this point. It took a year for me, much longer for some, and shorter for others. So that's all the news for now, I thought I would share because I know so many people go through problems with fertility. Maybe one person will find some type of encouragement from my words (even though I sort of had a bad attitude about it all--hormones make you grumpy! :). Anyway, thanks for reading this terribly long post! Here's to hoping for a healthy and full term pregnancy to me and anyone else who wants the same! I'll probably post a couple more pregnancy-related posts as I progress, but I'm definitely not going to be documenting every day or giving you week by week belly shots.
~Rachel

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