When one comment ruins a day

As an infertile couple we have had our experiences of people saying the wrong thing even when they think it is right and that it will help us cope. We’ve even tried to bring awareness to what should be said and what shouldn’t through this blog, but my wife and I are realistic in the sense that we can’t control what others say. However, it doesn’t mean the words hurt any less.

For those of you that have read our blog from the beginning you know the journey we have been on and more recently the surgeries that have taken place. For those of you that haven’t and are just tuning in, My beautiful wife at the age of 32 had a hysterectomy and it closed the door to us having a biological child. A hysterectomy is more than just the physical removal of the female reproductive organs. We as men will never understand what it means to our wives even though we try desperately to. This surgery is so much more. It takes an emotional toll on a woman like you wouldn’t believe. My wife has told me a while back that she can’t do the one thing she was put on this earth to do and that’s to carry a baby. Now I don’t buy into that is why women are here but I sympathize with my wife in this feeling knowing what hand she has been dealt what hand we as a couple have been dealt. The surgery is over but the emotional effects still linger and probably to some extent always will. She is only human to think will I ever hear the sweet little voice shout out to me and say “Mommy.” I have watched my wife cry over many situations that people who haven’t walked a mile in our shoes will never understand. Things that before we went through this I would have said oh for the love give me a break you’re reading into everything. The truth is though you don’t ever know what someone else is going through and it’s not fair to expect people to walk on egg shells but I do think people should try to understand your situation and the impact words can have on a couple struggling with this. we have been hurt many a times throughout our marriage and journey to become parents by friends, by family, and by people who we don’t even know and in most cases not at any fault of their own people just are simply unaware. Most recently though a very simple conversation wrecked our day in a big way.

We were in a store where my mom works just browsing some of the vintage items that they have. A gentlemen was talking to my mom and I got the sense that he was a regular customer because it was very clear he knew my family and my nieces and nephew. My mom is a grandmother of three all of which have come from my sister. She is a very proud grandmother and no ne can fault her for that because we hope to experience that someday. The gentleman was just talking to her about his grandchildren and commented on how lucky my mom was to have this new grandbaby. It was a very casual conversation, one that you would never think would have such a profound impact on us. I instantly noticed my wife’s demeanor change. She went from smiling and happy to very stoic and quiet. Now for those of you that know me know that I can read people and their emotions really well in fact its art of my job to do that. So I instantly ask her what’s wrong to which she replies nothing it’s stupid. Now me being me I continue to ask (totally annoying and not my best quality but I’m a fixer and don’t like seeing people I love in pain) She tells me again its stupid but I won’t let up. She finally, holding back tears says I just wonder if your mom will ever get to talk about our child like she does my sisters. Now let me say this wasn’t her being upset with my mom or what the gentlemen sais it was her worrying we will never get the opportunity to provide my parents with another grandchild. It was her fearing we will never be called mommy and daddy. It was her showing raw emotion with everything we have one through. Our overall tone of our day shifted completely. It went from a light airy fun day to being pushed in a hole and trying desperately to pull ourselves out. Even as I write this I fully expect for some people to still not understand the situation or get the impact such a simple conversation had on us as couple but I did it wrecked our day.

I’ll be the first man to admit I am not the perfect husband even though I try so hard to be. When my wife first told me why she was sad I minimized the situation. I told her she was reading into the comment and to not take it so personal. I thought about what I said and realized that’s not what she needed from me as her husband. In fact I didn’t need to say a thing I just needed to be present and let her know I am there for her. All she wanted me to do was to hold her. That’s exactly what I did after we got home and it helped but as I mentioned before I am not the perfect husband but I am man enough to admit that I am a work in progress. There are times when I question if I am enough for my wife and if she deserves better. I have certain tendencies and tones I take and they are not always pleasant but I am working so hard on that because she deserves that. And guys listen very carefully with what I say next. When speaking to your wife or your daughter  or son it’s not always what you say that matters it’s how you say it. For me this is my area I have to work on to be a better husband. My wife and I have been through hell and after this surgery she is still healing emotionally so now more than ever I need to keep my tone in check and be there for her no matter what. This is the overall theme of this post though how words can hurt people even when you don’t intend them to. Everyone has their own shit going on for lack of better words so next time you judge or don’t get why someone is upset take a step back and think about what they could possibly be facing in their life. Know it may not have anything to do with you that they are just going through a hard time. Be there for them and don’t try to solve or fix just be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on because for us that’s all we want from our support system.

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It’s Time to be Dealt a Good Hand Now

It’s 4:32 am as I sit alone in my bed and write this. This is my new sleep schedule. Go to bed at whatever time, be it 8 pm or 12 am and wake up somewhere between 3 and 4 am.

I’m a little over one week post-op and to say it’s been hard has been an understatement. I was doing great at the beginning; sitting downstairs with my family; and I even walked to get the mail, which is a huge accomplishment two days post surgery if you have A – been through this or B – seen my driveway.

After about day 4 is when things started to go downhill. I couldn’t do as much and I started to feel like a burden to my husband and my mom. They were doing everything; when you can’t lift more than 5 pounds, it’s excruciating painful because that’s less than my purse. They basically had to help me get dressed, make me food, help me into and out of bed and take care of my babies…my dogs. One who is now going through IVDD treatments because he hurt his spine and I can barely touch him, let alone hold him and it’s killing me inside.

I’m sorry if this is a rant, but I’m sleep deprived and a very independent woman. To not be able to put on my own socks is mortifying, but I know it’s in the best interest of my healing. I am crying a little right now as I write this because it’s so painful…that and coughing / sneezing.

My poor husband has been a rock through all of this and he’s starting to show signs of hairline cracks and I know it’s because of me. That alone is making me feel guilty. Not to mention the fact that now it is permanent: no baby. The uterus, ovary, Fallopian tubes, and cervix made sure of that. I helped it by falling three days ago and took a lovely trip to the ER where nothing was done…literally, not even an IV or any monitor when I got there. You go hospital*. You go.

*Not the same one as the surgery.

The finality of it all is setting in and it’s starting to break me down. I hear stories from women about how sorry they are for me; they had this two, but luckily they had a kid or two before…please, if you read this, comment about being in my situation: I have none. Zip, zero, zilch. No one yet to call me mommy, to draw me a picture or make me something god-awful in art class out of macaroni. My mom still has everything I ever made.

I guess my ex was right: I’m not a good “breeder”, nor will I ever be, but thank goodness I found someone who actually loves me for good times and in bad, sickness and in health. I got lucky that way.

Therapy is helping. Meditation is helping. But is it too much to ask that I be allowed to heal physically and mentally? Because this is harder than I ever imagined. I know my family, friends and colleagues are on my side and I appreciate that so much. But this is a solitary process if you don’t know what it’s like. I got a phone call from my first boyfriend’s mom, a woman I’ve known almost 20 years now, and she thought of me when she won a contest. She emailed my husband after surgery. She is a wonderful woman; compassionate and thoughtful. She made me smile and gave me the courage to keep fighting without being ostentatious. Thank you friend.

I think over the last 4 years I’ve been dealt my fair share of crappy cards. Can I please be dealt a good hand? I’m ready for the next steps…mine and tiny little ones that cause massive amounts of destruction, chaos and cuteness….and for once, ones without four feet.

A Tale of Two Fears…Well Maybe a Few More…

It’s 12:30 AM and I’ve been up for about an hour now, tossing and turning. You see, officially today, since the clock has passed midnight, Steffan and I have our multitude of doctors appointments to figure out 1. my medical conditions as my pain has only gotten worse since an oblation surgery I had in August to which my surgeon has no reasoning for, and 2. our plan with possibly moving forward with the implantation of a gifted embryo if I’m healthy enough to carry it.

Since school started this year, I’ve been dealing with pain every day. I’m doing my best to manage it, but even two “post-op” surgical appointments and a trip to the ER haven’t given me any relief. I’ve stopped eating dinner, because I can’t keep it down, and I got to the point yesterday where I text my husband in the middle of the day (10:30 AM) because I didn’t even go to lunch because I sat down from the pain and couldn’t get up again; I was afraid I was going to have to leave school. At 11, I put my happy face back on for my kids, but inside, I was dying.

Currently I’m sitting in my living room, heating pad on, surrounded by my two “large and in charge” furry protectors…both of whom are sound asleep and snoring. Jerks. The mini-furry protector is sound asleep upstairs…probably asleep on my side of the bed…again, jerk.

All I can say is, God love my husband. While I was at school yesterday, about to fall down, he was feverishly doing research on the specialist I am to see tomorrow, the possibilities of my disease and what it may actually be instead. For years, I’ve been treated for endometriosis, a disease that typically affects the ovaries, causes pain and often infertility…all things I’ve gone through since before college (call my mom, she can tell you). I’ve had surgery for this three times since college and yet, no relief. I go through stages where I’m ready to just throw in the towel and give up. After my first surgery (right after college), I was engaged to a very different man, who told me “I just wasn’t a good breeder”. Needless to say that didn’t work out. And thank God, otherwise I would have never met the man who continuously fights for me day in and day out. Steffan is the one who has done the research on not endometriosis, but something called adenomyosis. It’s similar to endo, but much more difficult to find unless you are specialized in looking for it; it isn’t even listed on Women’sHealth.gov — go figure. But don’t worry, anorexia and acne are…because that’s what we suffer from. Right ladies? He looked at the symptoms and he looked at me and the two matched more fittingly.

I guess what I’m trying to say in my tired, yet insomniatic state, is that I’m so happy to have someone in my corner who will fight for me when I’m afraid and ready to give up. It’s hard to fight when your tired and in pain. It’s also hard to fight when everyone you’ve asked for help, can’t give you any answers. On one hand, I’m hoping tomorrow I get an answer because then I’ll finally be able to get the right treatment. On the other hand, I’m scared I’ll be let down again by yet another doctor who still doesn’t know what’s wrong or where this pain is coming from. I know they call it “practicing” medicine, but could I stop being the pin cushion for a little while? It’s sucks when you can’t sneeze, cough, twist, or do other daily activities, like, I don’t know, teach your students, without wanting to double over in pain. I’m 32 and I just want to be healthy.

And to put this blog to bed…hopefully metaphorically and literally, there’s the embryo in the mix. That appointment is tomorrow too, as if one doctor a day isn’t enough…the what if game is spinning through my head at a whirlwind pace. What if he says I can’t carry because of these conditions? What if I’ve missed my window to carry a child? I go back and forth with these questions; tell myself I’m okay if that’s the case, then fall apart because I can’t do what comes so easily to others.

Forgive me if this is a sappy post. I’m really nervous. We have to be in Annapolis in seven hours and I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep a wink tonight. Guess it’s Netflix for me tonight…and time to turn the heating pad up to full blast. G’night y’all. Wish us luck.

~Trenae

 

When God Closes a Door…

It’s been a little while since our last post…probably because the shock of some news that came to us around the middle of September.

Where to begin? College might be a good place to start. Brief, yet important. I went to college at a small university and have kept in touch with very few people from those days. Skip to this month and my husband and I get a Facebook email from an old college acquaintance and his wife that just about knocked the wind out of both of us (in a good way).

You see, on a Monday, I had a second post-surgical  appointment with my GYN about the pain I am still feeling over a month later. She barely touched the area where she operated; she basically looked at my belly button, the area of my main incision, and said she had no clear-cut reasons why “I’m still feeling this way” and said, “If only we could get you pregnant, a lot of this would go away.” She sent my husband away and told me to use a heating pad and OTC pain meds like Advil. I walked out of the office with Steffan in a state of shock and in tears. My bulldog of a husband does not take kindly when his wife is in tears and since he already works in the medical field he marched back in and said he wanted to talk with the doctor again, because he was confused about how she was getting our copay and insurance pay when she spent less than five minutes with us, didn’t touch me, and changed the plan from a CT scan, meds and a trip to a specialist to a heating pad and Advil…needless to say, by our second time out of the office, the original plan was in place albeit I was still so frustrated I told my husband I just about done. I couldn’t take much more.

On Tuesday morning I woke up to the email of all emails from “the angels” . In it, the wife told the story of how they had been through similar situations to ours, and how they have been reading our blog and basically re-living their own roller coaster ride through our stories. At the end of her story, she told us that after their own long journey, they came away with two children of their own who have made their lives full of joy and happiness as a family. To end the email, she and her husband informed us that after their rounds of IVF, they have one frozen embryo left. One. And after an honest, heartfelt conversation between them as husband and wife, and reading this blog, they have offered donate their last embryo to us.

Needless to say, until now, Steffan and I have been left utterly speechless. What a generous gift. What a generous couple. When we asked ‘why’, they simply said, they are better parents because of their deep desire for children, just like ours, and they wanted to pay it forward to us because they have been so blessed.

For days we were stunned. We didn’t know what to say, even to each other. Steff and I had resigned ourselves to the adoption path and we were okay with that, but the timing of the doctor’s appointment and their email seemed all too coincidental. My husband and I aren’t the most actively religious people, but there was just something too undeniable there to ignore.

We talked on on the phone with our generous couple and we explained our medical situation in detail, including our excitement and nerves. They were given until just about the end of October to make a decision about what to do with their embryo; they could pay for another year of storage, donate it to a couple or science, or “trash” it. They chose to donate it to us. This option wasn’t even on my radar, nor my husbands, but how do you ignore such a thing. In my mind, all I could think was: there’s only one embryo (maybe it’s meant for us)…they do kind of resemble us…and we would finally have the family we’ve been yearning for since the week after we got married.

Of course, for every positive, there is an area of hesitation. Would I even be able to carry this beautiful gift? What happens if I lost it? How would we feel psychologically? Would they feel like they wasted this gift on us if I miscarried? Is my job too stressful for me to go through this?

I remember bringing some of these things up to them on the phone and C said, “Trenae, this is our gift to you. If you lose the baby, you tried…we tried. We’re giving this to you. We are better for having kids and we feel you and Steffan would feel just as blessed. Whatever the outcome, we want you to have this opportunity.

We had only just removed ourselves from this fertility roller coaster about a year or so ago because of the uncertainty and ups and downs with every visit. It was like having your stomach in your throat one minute and then in your butt the next! Now we’re getting our next tickets and getting back in line.

At this point, we’re moving forward. We have an appointment with our fertility specialists next week to see if this is a viable option. I mean, we literally have one shot. Is it time? Are we ready to be Mommy and Daddy? I guess we’ll see…because remember, when God closes a door, sometimes He opens a window.

~Trenae

 

We are Getting Twins??

I have always been a very intuitive person. Almost like it’s a sixth sense. When I was younger I would have dreams and see things and a lot of times they would happen. I know I know I sound crazy but you can ask my wife about just how many times it has happened.

For as long as I can remember I have had a reoccurring dream that I would someday be a father of twins. Strange I know most people hear about women dreaming about their wedding day or the day of the proposal but never a man dreaming of being a dad. Especially not dreaming about twins as young as sophomore year in college. When Trenae and I met the dreams occurred a lot more frequently. I knew for sure it was my intuition acting up again telling me that someday we will have twins. I always told her about this and what they looked like. A boy and a girl; The boy had my skin color and his mothers eyes and took the trait of both of us with dark chestnut brown hair. The girl ringlet curls with the same dark chestnut brown hair and piercing green eyes that looked so much like mine. Most people don’t dream in color but for some reason I always have. I always remember what my dreams are about and how vivid the colors are. This dream always made my heart warm because it told me there was still hope that we would have our family some day.

It wasn’t until we started going through all the fertility stuff that it dawned on me just how likely this “dream” may become a reality. One that scared me but excited me at the same time. Before we found out IVF wasn’t in the cards for us Trenae and I talked about how many embryos we would implant if given the opportunity. We both agreed two was a good number because it increased our likelihood of one of them taking and also gave us a 50/50 chance at twins. I could picture how ours lives would end up with these two precious little gifts. They would both play soccer before they ever truly understood what they were doing. Running around the field looking like a herd of cows chasing after the ball while I chased after them telling them where to go and Trenae cheered them on from the side lines. I saw them learning how to swim before they could walk, you know the good old fashion way that I learned; throwing them in while you wait to catch them. I had our whole lives planned out and it seemed so close I could almost touch it until my fingers graze the dream and it disappears into the sky. Once we found out IVF wasn’t going to happen for us the dreams slowly stopped happening. They faded until I didn’t have dreams about kids at all anymore for a couple of months.

One of the ways I cope with my new found reality of infertility is talking to people about it. For some reason this is therapeutic for me to tell my story. It gives me a sense of support that sometimes I feel I do not have. Being that I work in doctors offices on a regular basis the ones that I am close with will ask me the question; “When are you having kids?” I chose to open up to some of them and tell our “situation” and almost always they are very supportive and some ask lots of questions. The questions don’t bother me so much as when I hear well you’re just overthinking it or guess it’s not meant to be. This rarely happens though. One particular time I opened up to one of my favorite Nurse practitioners at lunch. She asked me how married life was treating me and if we had found a new house yet to which I replied married life is amazing and yes we have found one they accepted our offer. She already knew the reason we were buying a larger home, and not just because we would need the space if we welcomed a little one or two into our lives. She knew that we were buying a new house because once we started the home study process we would be stuck in our house that we had already outgrown. We would lose all the blood, sweat, tears, and not to mention money that we had invested for nothing. She then asked me about where we are in the adoption process and told me that she’s always keeping her ears open if she comes across someone in a situation where they are looking to put their child up for a adoption. I thanked her for always checking on me and didn’t think anything else of it.

Weeks later this same Nurse Practitioner says to me I need to talk to you. She said it in such a manner that I thought something had happened to a patient on the medication I sell or I offended her in some way. She pulled me into the lunch room and said I have something to tell you… I have a patient that is pregnant with twins. My first thought was well that’s great for her why are you telling me this. Until I remember our previous conversation just weeks before. She says The young girl has already said she cant take care of the two little girls when she has them. I am trying to hold it together at this point and not get my hopes up. She then asks me if we have moved into the new house yet and I told her it doesn’t happen for a couple more weeks. I tell her how perfect it would be for the stars to align like this and how we have a room already designated for a future nursery and there’s a beautiful playhouse in the backyard. She then asks me what I have been waiting to hear for a long time, “would you be willing to adopt them?” Without a doubt I said yes but I would need to check with my wife first. Keep in mind this is already an extremely stressful time. We are buying a new house (of which the process was made extremely difficult by the sellers), selling our current home and settling all within hours of one another. I knew bringing the girls into the picture would create more stress but it was a good stress. The kind of stress we had yearned for, for quite some time. I run home and tell Trenae the news and of course she is on board. I tell her not to get her hopes up even though both of ours were at this point. We finally felt like everything was coming together. She secretly was pinning things on pinterestg for the nursery we would be creating as soon as we moved in. I was thinking about names for our little girls. We were both so touched that this nurse practitioner thought of us to be their parents.

The weeks up to settlement on our new house flew by but not without a lot of bumps in the road. When buying a house you always expect something to pop up because that’s just how it goes, but we couldn’t have planned or prepared ourselves for the bump we were about to experience. I go into the office where the nurse practitioner works and she pulls me aside again. I am thinking I’m getting an update on the twins, and I was just the not one I wanted. She tells me I have some news, “the girl has decided to give the twins to her cousin. I tried to talk her out of it as the cousin already has nine children and she’s pregnant with the tenth. she’s unemployed and she can’t even take care of herself, but the girl wanted to keep the twins in the family. I am so sorry Steffan.”

I walked away trying to hold it together. I knew there was a chance of this but I truly thought this was going to be it for us. It was finally going to work out. We were two days away from settlement and this was the good news that we had waited for. Again I was wrong. I remember feeling complete sadness and dread to make the phone call and tell my wife. I knew she had been so excited about having two little girls. She was devastated, we both were. It all happened so quickly. I was hoping I would wake up from this nightmare but I didn’t. The twins were gone, our dream was gone. We were now an infertile couple living in a house with empty rooms and a playhouse with no one to play in it……

Steffan

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Reveal

The story is the same for most people: meet, fall in love, get married, and have a baby. Steffan and I did the first three without batting an eye lash. It was like something out of a fairy tale. We met walking our dogs, we were married exactly two years and two days from our first date. Our three dogs were in the wedding as our flower girl and ring bearers (his, her, theirs). It was almost too perfect for us to believe.

Then came to honeymoon. It was picture perfect. We lounged in the Dominican sun in June where we ate, swam and had the time of our lives.

When we got home, reality set it. Our first fertility appointment was four days after we landed back in the states…talk about taking the bull by the horns. My husband has always claimed a sense of intuition about people, life situations, locations, you name it. He had a gut feeling we needed to start our process right away and I’m glad we did. If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know a natural pregnancy or birth is not in the cards for us, and both of us carry a little bit of weight in that “problem”.

We’re at that stage in our lives where all of our friends and family are getting married and/or having babies.  We weren’t ready for everyone to know…we gave that tongue-and-cheek answer to the question, “When are you going to have a child?” with, “Oh you know…whenever it’s meant to be, it’ll happen…” and hope the conversation would just fade away.

Facebook feeds would make me want to cry some days. All I saw were babies. Pregnancy announcements that went all the way from cake with pink or blue inside to “reveals” that were more elaborate than my proposal. Newborn photo shoots that were adorable but also made me ache with a sense of loss. On a rare occasion it filled me with a sense of such debilitating sadness that I would just cry on Steffan’s chest until he was covered with tears and sometimes snot. I couldn’t breathe enough to tell him even why I was sad. He would just come home from work and BOOM, blindsided by a hysterical wife! (Welcome home, honey!) Being the ever-so-supportive man that he is, he always talked me off my ledge and we got through it those small trials together; whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?

Then there are the actual phone calls we would get from friends or family. Let me just preface this with a disclaimer: a phone call about being pregnant to a couple who cannot get pregnant can be WILDLY uncomfortable if you aren’t careful. I’ll give you an example. We got a text from our friends saying they had some news they wanted to share with us; already we were suspicious…we kind of had an idea, that text was the equivalent of the “We need to talk” text between a couple. They called us on speaker and actually asked if we were sitting down. We were. From our friend, E, we heard, “We wanted to tell you something important, but we really aren’t sure how to tell you.” From our friend, R, we heard, “We love you and we want you to be happy for us, but we understand if this is difficult to hear.” At that point, Steffan jumped in and said, “You’re pregnant!” They both responded yes, but said, “There’s more…” and a sonogram picture comes through on text message…we see two fetuses. TWINS! Oh my goodness, we about lost it, we were so excited for them, I think we were all crying. They said they were nervous to tell us because they didn’t know how we would react. To anyone who reads this, I will say this: be honest, but be thoughtful. Any infertile couple  (well, most — I won’t generalize too much), wants desperately to be happy for you, but it’s hard. You can do something we can’t. You can experience something we can’t. Especially you women. So if the least you can do is be gentle when you tell us, you will have no idea how much pain you will save us in the long run, because when it comes down to it, for a moment in time, you hold our happiness for the day, week, possibly even month in your hand. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to this couple for how they handled telling us. We will be forever grateful, because you acknowledged our situation delicately and we could not have been more happy for you.

Steffan and I have also ended up on the other side of the phone, one that doesn’t end with joy but with sadness, and not by the person’s choice. She was just so excited that she couldn’t help but blurt out about her pregnancy, “We’re pregnant and we weren’t even trying!” We were in the car and I started to silently sob. No harm was intended by this slip; it was just pure excitement and joy; why wouldn’t it be? She was pregnant and wanted to share the good news, but I think she forgot who she was talking to, a couple who doesn’t have it easy and no matter how much trying we do, and will never have the same result she does. And we’re reminded of this fact every month with a “gift” of disappointment.  It took a while to recover from that call.

One of the hardest things are actual baby showers. Knowing that checking the mail and getting an invitation any day brings about a sense  of anxiety. In the past three years, I have only been able to go to one and it is honestly because I can’t sit there without feeling the tears well up in my eyes. A pregnant woman has a glow about her; that is something I will never experience. The one I went to was for a dear friend of my husband and if I’m being candid I cried the entire way home and spent the rest of the day in bed.

I write this post, not as a “woe me” or feel bad for me post. It’s meant to help people understand the reality of so many people in this situation. If we don’t seem happy for you, or we can’t make it to your shower, it’s not that we don’t care or are being selfish and childish. It’s simply our way of protecting ourselves and our emotional states. We still love you, we still want to see you, your child and your family happy, healthy and thriving! We’re just grieving some things we will never have in a traditional sense. It doesn’t negate the fact that we’re excited for you, it’s just difficult to show it.

~Trenae

Lab Rat

It’s a Tuesday night and I’ve had a long day teaching. I’ve taken the next day off to travel for some fertility testing. I have to take a heavy-duty antibiotic to ward off any infection (basically a seven-day Z-pack all at once). Seeing as how I am the world’s worst patient, I politely ignore the package directions that say “TAKE WITH FOOD.” I do not. I spend the next better part of  two hours trying not to vomit back up this pill, because I know if I don’t keep it down, I can’t go through with tomorrow. I use all of my will power, crackers, a very stern lecture from my husband and I do it…cut to next day.

Hi there, I’m nurse Jackie. “Here, pee in this cup.”

“Okay, I’m going to put this transvaginal probe into you now to see how many eggs you have.”

“I’m now going to put this camera in you so I can see if you have any fibroids, polyps or endometrial cancer.”

HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF JESUS! WHAT IS JACKIE AND THE REST OF THE TEAM DOING DOWN THERE? We just met for goodness sake and you haven’t even bought me a drink yet!?!?! And I’m sorry, did the word ‘cancer’ come up? I’m already freaking out; I already have endometriosis, and now I have to play this fun waiting game for the “C” word. Lord help me…now I’m wishing I didn’t keep that stupid pill down…

There’s another nurse in the room, her name escapes me, because let’s face it, my mind was somewhere else at the moment, and she’s telling me I’m doing great. I don’t know how, I was just lying there trying not to cry or pee on Nurse Jackie and the doctor. They count my follicles and I had 17 — a good number. I’ll go with 17; “We can work with that they said.” I’m looking at the screen next to me and it looked like something out of a Magic Eye book, but cool, 17 is my new lucky number.

My poor husband’s hand is blue because I’m squeezing it so hard, and then in about 10 minutes, Jackie and team, in their cute little pink scrubs, say to us, “Okay all done, see that wasn’t so bad.” Uh…yes it was. I feel violated. Oh and now I’m being told through the haze of pain that I need to go downstairs in the hospital where all of our fertility endeavors take place to give blood. Okay, I’m fine with this. Blood doesn’t bother me, I’m a teacher, I have seen my fair share of nose bleeds, cuts, scrapes, you name it…my husband on the other hand is, shall we say a sympathetic vomiter…even though I don’t vomit.

We take the elevator down stairs because I am not walking…not after Nurse Jackie…and I hand the phlebotomist my lab slip. I’m thinking one to two vials, no biggie. Oh how silly of me, today these people wanted ALL OF ME! They took about 11 vials of blood. That even made me woozy; Steffan was about to fall down and he was standing 20 feet away from any needle in sight…turd.

We had one more stop…back upstairs to meet with the financial planner for the hospital. She walked us through packets of papers and payment plans. She said everything looked good. I am a state employee and have great benefits! I heard from her, “Let’s just get you pregnant!” Granted, the cost was still high and not free like other couples, but it was doable. We left feeling pretty good (mentally, I did not feel good physically).

At this point, our journey is done for the day and Steffan helps me out to the car, because let’s face it, I’m not getting there on my own.

Our car rides home from the hospital are never short ones; typically an hour and a half. We always have time for pause and reflection. The happiness I felt earlier in the day started to fade as I replayed the phone call from my one doctor in my head, that Steffan had zero sperm and I thought how are we going to do this? We’re going to need a miracle, and after so many needles, trips to the hospital, two oblation surgeries, and a plethora of other poking and prodding, it’s still not looking good in my mind.

Steffan and  I were quiet for a lot of that ride home. I don’t know if we were just exhausted from all of the procedures and running from appointment to appointment, or the thought that we might actually be able to have our own child made us tired. Until now, that possibility had been completely wiped off of the table. When we did talk, it was to make sure the other one was alright.

While we played the waiting game, it stated to consume us. We were constantly online reading about our condition. We were constantly talking about it to each other, but not really to anyone else. It was too private still and too embarrassing. We began isolating ourselves and that was a bad sign. We had no idea what to talk about unless it was this: baby, baby, baby. What else could we do? Should we get second opinions (mind you, the first ones weren’t fully in yet), should we try Eastern medicine, the list goes on and on. If we weren’t talking about it, we weren’t talking. Finally, the one bit of research we did do that actually helped was the 20 minute rule. It was hard at first, but with the help of some counseling, we forced ourselves to only talk about: infertility, babies, adoption, etc. for 20 minutes a day and then be done. It was a part of our lives, but it would not consume our lives. Once we did that, it seemed like a tiny weight was lifted and that for a moment we could breathe.

After about two weeks of waiting we got a call from our doctor that said I had viable eggs; but they weren’t sure of the quality…something they wouldn’t know until they did the extraction. At this point, my happiness began to return! All we had to do was get one…one little dude from Steffan and IVF was in our future.

Our next step was all about him and it wasn’t going to be an easy one. Surgery was in his future and that’s one thing he does not do well with.

~Trenae