Tag Archives: secondary infertility

Back on the Infertility Train

So I apologize in advance because this was an overdue post in keeping you up-to-date in where we are on our journey (or should I say re-journey, journey Part II, journey to #2, re-mix journey 😂).  Regardless of what we want to call it , I already feel like I’m right back on the infertility train.

To refresh your memory, it took a little over a year of hormone therapy for my husband before we could proceed with TESE and align it with an IVF cycle. After getting pregnant with our son and then his glorious arrival, my husband stopped all medications and I never pressured him to follow-up or continue taking them because let’s face it-this shit sucks. And we were in a happy place with a well-deserved hiatus from needles, shots, bloodwork, doctors appointments, result phone calls, insurance appeals, and so on. Do I regret it-a little bit because now it’s like starting back at square one, but it’s what we ALL needed.

So here we are at square one. Last summer we began discussing when we’d take the big leap to hop back on the bandwagon. My husband casually told me he was going to make an appointment after his birthday. That was last July. His birthday came and went. Then so did mine. Our 8th anniversary passed and so did our son’s second birthday. He didn’t want to discuss it; I never knew the right time to revisit it and randomly I decided to make an appointment for him at the urologist in November to get the ball rolling. Well two cancelled appointments and five months later, he finally went the day after Easter.

I was pleased that rather than prolong the inevitable with analyses and bloodwork, they immediately started him back on his regimine. I figured last time they had to find the formula that worked and this time they knew that from the start so we are ahead of the game, right?!? 😳 Is there even such a thing in Infertility? I guess not because no sooner than the prescription was submitted, I was already running into issues. Three different medications were being prescribed from two different pharmacies. One was at a local pharmacy which I found odd because basically any controlled substance is foreign to them. But I assumed that the PA must’ve prescribed it there for a reason, possibly insurance-related. That was my first mistake-assuming.  Four physical attempts to get it, my husband’s word that he knew how to reconstitute it, the doctor’s confirmation that he could actually do it himself, and countless back and forth between the doctor’s office and the pharmacy later, we finally received the first med, HCG. It’s an 11-day supply mind you.  So last month I had to call to re-fill and pick it up 3 times.  Ya know, since I don’t have anything else to do.  About a week after, the pill, Arimidex, arrived by mail and I figured I’d give the follistim a little more time. I thought I’d demonstrate some patience and faith that it’d actually get here. Again, I realized that it could never actually work that way so I began the dreaded game of being transferred from one “patient advocate” to the next.

It’s being processed ➡️ We don’t have that patient’s name in our system ➡️ You can only get these meds through Freedom Pharmacy according to your insurance ➡️The doctor has resubmitted it to that pharmacy ➡️ Oh sorry ma’am this hasn’t been processsed because we couldn’t get ahold of you. The doctor gave us their # not yours. ➡️You should be all set. ➡️We need a a prior authorization from the doctor. ➡️The doctor faxed the prior authorization. ➡️We haven’t received anything from the doctor according to our notes. ➡️Your husband has to go for bloodwork in order for them to approve this. {👆🏼 Basically insert tears here because all of this time wasted and now the battle of getting him to quest for bloodwork} What the $&@”!? what? Like shouldn’t someone have known this 5 weeks ago when this was prescribed? Oh and ➡️ We need a separate prescription for the needles and syringes…and another co-pay of course 💸💸💸.

So basically more than halfway to our next follow up appointment, hours upon hours of time gone from my life waiting on the other end of a doctor/pharmacy/insurance call and we are still one medication short.  This is what infertility looks like. On top of dealing with all of the other facets of infertility, there’s always this. I was on the verge of losing my shit and breaking down into tears on the phone with the last phone call. So much so that she asked to put me on hold because she felt badly and didn’t know what to say. Patient advocate? Nobody seems to be advocating for the patient or even remotely helping to make any of this process any easier. I said it the first time around and this very early onset has proven once again that it’s like a part-time job calling/dealing/following-up with the pharmacy/insurance/doctors 24/7. On a positive note, my two and a half year old can now spell the first half of our last name from hearing me repeat it so many times.

This ain’t for the weak is right. You have to be so efficient, so on top of your (and everyone else’s) game all the time in order to keep things together, when physically and emotionally you can barely keep the lid on the pot. And that -all in addition to everything else thrown your way-life, pregnancy announcements, the latest fertility diet trends, AF arrivals.

As we have re-boarded the train I feel so grateful that there are so many others aboard with us. The head nods, comments, other raw stories about what this experience entails are validating and somehow knowing you’re far from alone in this makes it a little easier. So far, I’ve laughed, gotten angry, and even shed a tear that it has to be this difficult, but I know firsthand how worth it the final destination is.

 

The Day We Put the Crib Away

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//disclaimer: don’t worry, I never put him in there with the bumpers//

By now you’re familiar with the crazy deadlines and plans that are unavoidable in my head and in being open about this I’ve come to learn I’m not alone.  So it should come as no surprise that getting rid of Mikie’s betrothed “wuby” and saying goodbye to the “cribby” was imminent. Awhile back I had decided that we would do this simultaneously. Call me insane. Maybe ruthless. Or possibly guilty of lazy parenting. Hear me out before you decide. My rationale was both of our sleep was going to be effected so why deal with that on two separate occasions. Call it what you may, but it seemed logical to me. I spent weeks upon weeks prepping him for the departure from his pacifier and when the time finally came it really was heart wrenching to see him take a little suckle of the three remaining”wubys”before parting with them. He changed into his new PJ’s, became acclimated with his big boy boat bed and even gave it a few test runs while our immediate families were over. When it came to finally going to sleep for the night, he didn’t make any mention of the wuby.  It turned out  it was transitioning out of the crib that was a lot harder than anticipated…for us both.

We reminded him of the new Paw Patrol toy he got for going in his big boy bed, gave gave some extra minutes for playing with some toys now relocated in his room, and a few reassuring hugs, but the tears continued to be shed for his “cribby”. It wasn’t until I went into a long rambling to explain how he was still sleeping on the same mattress as his crib that he could be consoled. I explained what the crib meant to us before he was born, when he was just born, as he grew and now outgrew it. As he became reassured that he was still safe, he drifted off to sleep all while my head became flooded with what it meant that today was the day we put the crib away. The tears poured uncontrollably from my eyes, in a way I’ve never experienced since becoming a mom.

Before the crib, I thought of the countless nights spent sobbing silently at the edge of the bed while still dreaming of what that room would look like as a nursery. I had picked out the crib during one of the many sessions I spent scouring nursery designs and envisioned how it would be the focal point of the room.  Picking out the crib and its adornments somehow kept me hopeful that someday it’d come into fruition.

When we eventually got pregnant, the crib was the first real purchase we made for baby. It was so symbolic that this was actually happening for us-that it was actually our time. It was the first piece set up in the nursery and Mike used to read to my belly as we rocked and stared at the wrought iron frame. There was something so pure, something so relieving about seeing a crib finally in there.

After coming home with our son, the crib became even more meaningful. We had our first scare, the initial night we put him in there to sleep.  Once we were all ready for him to permanently sleep in there, we began our nightly rituals.  Frequently, when he was sound asleep, we’d tip-toe back in there to hold him in our arms in complete adoration.  He resembled an angel as he slept so peacefully, coolie up, each night.

He grew and grew and grew until he would try and lift one leg over the side and we knew the end of the crib was soon.  Eventually, as he became a toddler, it became filled with blankets and snuggly stuffed animals rather than that bare space when he was just an infant.  It became his place, a safe-space to cool-down, unwind, and regroup from time to time.  I’d open the door to give him one last peak before bed and seeing him in there would remind me of my abundant blessings.  I would think back to those days when I longed to see a sleeping baby in there and how those dreams I had so long ago, had come true.

Yet, as I laid there that night beside him it wasn’t just the memories that had me overcome with emotions.  It was also what putting the crib away meant.  In the same way I hadn’t prepped Mikie for the transition, I hadn’t prepared myself.  I wasn’t sure if disassembling and storing the crib that day was an “I’ll see you again soon” or “goodbye forever”.  I’d imagine for any parent this is a hard nut to swallow, but it can be even more upsetting when it’s not your call to make.  Would we ever again be setting that crib up to welcome another baby into our home and hearts?    Would I ever again be holding onto the crib bars, swaying  while carrying a new child in my womb?  Would I ever again spend sleepless nights consoling an infant, gently rubbing his or her back as I hummed a familiar tune?  Would we ever have the chance to pick up a baby from that crib again in the middle of the night just because we craved his or her touch?

The day we put the crib away was not just closing a chapter in Mikie’s life. It may also have been closing the door for good to ever having those experiences again.  Like my innocent two-year old, the impact of what putting the crib away meant was unforeseen.  However his resiliency has left me in awe.   Never knowing if you’ll have this time again, makes you cherish every precious moment as they come, and might possibly be why I am laying down in his big boy bed every night to put him to sleep 😉.

 

Unblocked

I’ve admittently had writer’s block recently. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog; it is just that I’m not quite sure what you need to hear. Being “out of the game” so to speak makes it a little more challenging to journal. So I reached out and am so appreciative of the response I’ve gotten. I even started to draft on a few of the topics suggested to me, but then it happened…I was unblocked.

Let me start off by saying, for those of you already blessed, two is magic. At least for us, it has been. Since he’s turned two, Mikie has slown down a bit. Everything I used to cram into two hours of nap time I can sometimes tackle while he’s “reading” or playing independently in his toy room. Two also means there’s a lot more activities we can participate in on weekends. Discover the Dinosaurs came to the Convention Center in Hartford, CT last weekend and just happened to be the best experience yet. There was so much for him to do and explore and he was old (tall) enough to enjoy all there was to offer.

I couldn’t have been more impressed with the event…or more unblocked. I was surrounded by pregnant people. Literally every female there was pregnant in some capacity, new little bump to full-fledged this baby might fall out if I have to run after my kid in that Dino-jumpy. No matter where I turned there was another pregnant mom. So much so, that my pregnant sister-in-law who went with us turned to me and said “Literally everyone here is pregnant.”

Literally everyone except me. It’s not that I’m even completely at that point of bump envy. I swear, I’d be the first to admit if I was. I am currently awaiting the arrival of my niece and nephew just months apart and know that will be the “fix” I need. Yet, that’s all I needed to spiral back into the midst of infertility. Just being surrounded by pregnant ladies was enough to make my head start spinning. My mind started racing and analyzing…her first looks so much younger than Mikie…oh my God she’s on her third in the same time I’ve had one…should I already be pregnant?…have I let too much time gone by? The plan in my head started to get the best of me. Where I thought I’d be and where I am are different. And I am wholeheartedly okay with that until I’m physically reminded. Moments like that can bring me back to infertility in an instant. So much of infertility is letting the plan in our head affect our present. For minutes, I let that happen.

Then, I had to reel it back in. Infertility has robbed me of so much. I wasn’t about to let it rob me of living in the moment and enjoying this experience through my son’s eyes. I had to consciously take in what was around me and react differently. Don’t get me wrong-it took looking for other parents of only children and seeing expectant moms of 4+ year olds to remind me it’s all going to work out. But I was able to do it. I was able to rid myself of the anxiety that surrounded me and enjoy the day with my miracle child.

In that moment, I was reminded why infertility never escapes us even when we’ve overcome it. I recognized why secondary infertility must come with so many layers and how sometimes the plan in our head is our own worst enemy. I also realized how strong I am and how far I’ve come. Granted I have my son, but a year ago I started feeling the angst of infertility. My brain started trying to dictate to my life once again, to no avail. This might sound crazy, but instead of going church week after week (or most weeks-church going with a two-year old aint easy) and praying for another miracle baby, I started to dialogue with God differently. Rather than ask for another child, I started to ask that my heart be full with the one I’ve been blessed with. It is not that there aren’t daily reminders of this; it’s moreso that my heart had been unsettled. I’d say that at least the last 8 months or so I have felt that fulfillment-that my heart is at peace . While I would love nothing more than to grow our family, I am grateful for our son and so excited for the anticipated gift of our niece and nephew-which will be the closest thing to me having a newborn if I never get to experience it firsthand again. I’d be lying to you, or more importantly myself, if I said I didn’t still drift into nursery design and christening planning daydreaming. Something in my inner-core tells me it will happen again for us. I am faithful and am positive. Yet, just like last Sunday at the Dinosaur Experience there are times when I am tested. There are times when I feel weak and vulnerable and let infertility get the best of me.

In the end it’s about finding the balance. There are times when I’m blocked because I am so busy enjoying the infertility baby I’ve been given. Then there are moments, in which, I am reminded all too well that we are one in eight and I’m suddenly unblocked.

Why a Support Group is For You!

If you’re just tuning in, this whole baby blog of mine originated because my main purpose is to get a local support group up and running in Connecticut. No matter where I go, there are flyers for every type of support //addiction, grief, breastfeeding, divorce, raising multiples//. Yet, not even in my OB office or RE clinic, have I ever seen a flyer offering infertility support. Why is that?

The answer is two-fold. First, it’s because there’s shame, embarrassment, possibly religious reasons, but essentially an abounding stigma regarding infertility. Second but why? Why when 1-in-8 couples are struggling does this need to continue to exist? Why are we any less in need of support? Is infertility not a grief or loss? Is it not quantified as a disease?

I often struggled with this myself because I’d say “it could always be worse.” But could it? For me, becoming a mom was my notion of a fulfilled life for as long as I could remember. So while it’s a different battle than something like cancer or death, living a childless life, for me, felt like worst case scenario. There’s still an undeniable pain, a grieving process that comes with infertility, like any diagnosis. I think the more we accept and acknowledge that, the more open we’ll become to receiving support.

Here are 🔟 reasons why a support group is for you:

1️⃣. You can share as little or as much as you’d like.

This is your group, your support system. You can choose to open up as little or as much as you’d like about your infertility. You choose your level of comfort, no questions asked.  And it doesn’t matter where in your journey you are because we can all relate.

2️⃣. Nobody knows what your experiencing other than someone who has or is going through it themselves.

There’s something about infertility that binds us as women. Not even our spouses can fully grasp the daily inner dialogue we struggle with. It’s consuming and exhausting. Hearing that someone else is experiencing the same emotions and anxieties as we are is so validating. A support group would offer you this opportunity.

3️⃣. Your hope can be restored by the success stories of others.

I love to preface our story by saying we had a 0% chance of having a baby without interventions. It makes the girl on the other end think 💭”Hmmm. If they were able to have a baby, so could we.” Success stories are what kept my faith alive that it’d be our turn sometime. I’d google every possible combination ‘success with MFI’ ‘BFP after TESE’ ‘IVF with ICSI success rate” I’d go on an on. I want to be that success story for YOU!

4️⃣. The answers will be there for you.

You won’t have to use Google or an online group of women in the UK as your answer guide. You’ll have a table full of women with a) either the same questions or b) an answer to your question.

Did you do gonal or follistim? Do I have to change the gage on this needle? Where did you do your injections? Did you do them yourself? How many follicles did you get? What were your side effects?

Imagine the satisfaction of being able to ask all and get an answer, without having to wait for a typed reply.

5️⃣. Consider it a ‘girl’s night’ & ‘me-time’
all-in-one.

We all agree we need at least monthly ‘girl’s nights’ and ‘me-time’, right? What a better excuse than attending an infertility support group. It’s a win-win in my opinion.

6️⃣. It’s completely confidential.

One of the common excuses I hear is we are keeping this private. You can do this while still participating in a support group.

There’s no exchange of emails, phone numbers, even real names if you don’t want there to be. Your attendance and what you share is completely confidential. I promise I won’t set up a banner saying “Resevered for the Infertile Girls”. This makes me think, we probably could’ve had our own table in high school. #allgirlhighschoolproblems #yourtableislife #wheremySHAgirlsat

7️⃣. The best advertisement is word-of-mouth.

I know my RE is saying ‘amen’ 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 to this. Seriously, though, this is one of, if not the most, important choices in your life. What better way to decide on a fertility clinic, urologist, oR OBGYN than to hear first-hand experiences? Maybe you already have an RE but are not sure if it’s the best fit. Connecticut is small and there’s just a handful of fertility clinic options. Someone’s personal referral might just be the ticket to your destiny.

8️⃣. It takes a village.

Build up your village by increasing your circle. There’s such a sense of relief in knowing there are many there for you when you fall. Use them.

9️⃣. Be part of the movement to spread infertility awareness.

If it’s right for you, we could use our support group to increase awareness and advocate for better infertility insurance statewide. We could become the voice of infertility in CT and a small part of the bigger mission of RESOLVE, our national infertility awareness organization.

🔟.  You could make a difference in someone else’s life.

You could be ‘that’ person for someone just by showing up.  Enough said.

So where my CT girls at & who is with me for a first official support group meeting in March?!

The Inevitable Question

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A big pet peeve of mine is as soon as you hit some major milestone in your life, people are always rushing on to the next. Take getting engaged for example. As soon as he puts a ring on it, you no sooner can buy a bride magazine before someone asks, “Have you set a date?” Then, you get married, and before you’ve even had the chance to change your last name on all of your documents (what a PIA that is), people are already starting in, “Are you trying?…maybe a honeymoon baby?!” Like pump the brakes and let me enjoy being married for a hot minute. One upside of infertility is that after so many years of marriage without a baby, people tend to stop asking. Then, if you’re lucky enough to have a baby, you no sooner get home from the hospital to hear, “When’s the next one coming? Ready for another?” I mean, can my stitches heal before you ask this? I haven’t even been cleared for action down there yet.

While more often than not they’re really well meaning questions, I find them utterly annoying. I think it’s in part what’s wrong with society today. I mean we can’t even celebrate one holiday without the next occasion’s motif lining store aisles. It’s always such a rush to get to the next big thing that sometimes the opportunity to savor and relish in the delight of one momentous occasion can be lost. I love that I had a long engagement to enjoy being engaged and was married for a few years before trying-to-conceive. Of course, six years of marriage before a baby wasn’t ideal, but I know that many first year marriages wouldn’t be able to survive the wrath of infertility. I’ve really been able to enjoy each stage to its fullest and feel like each chapter was complete before the next. I know that’s not in the cards for everyone nor what many people would prefer, but for me I like spacing between these joyous life events.

This holds true for adding to our tribe. There’s nothing more I want to do than to have another child to raise and love with my husband; to give Mikie a sibling so that he could share the same bond we do with our brothers and sisters. But if I could plan 😁🙊 I’d love to have them spaced about three years apart. Truth be told, I want to feel like I’m starting over. I know that sounds crazy to some, and there are definitely pros and cons to having kids back-to-back or years apart. For us, spacing just seems right. Unfortunately given our infertility issues, this means that we’d have to start really getting the ball rolling by the fall if we intend on doing a round of IVF in a year or so. And that effing terrifies me.

It’s not the doctors appointments, insurance dilemmas, and loading my body with hormones that’s scary. It’s the fact that I thought if there was a next time of trying to get pregnant, it’d be different. I always say the pressures off next time around. We already have our baby, which is such an abundant blessing, that regardless of the outcome at least we have him. And it’s not that that isn’t true. It is and I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m not complete. I’ve always read articles from moms that tell you, you just know when you’re done and it’s your last baby. I’m not there yet and if I had to guess, I probably won’t be there even if I am lucky enough to have another (Please don’t tell my husband 🤐, but I think 3 is our magic number). That probably sounds so selfish and ungrateful of me, especially since it’s truly a miracle that we even have one to call our own. But if a fertile couple wanted more kids, we wouldn’t think less of them, right? We might say they’re very blessed already, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve more if their hearts so desire.

So this must be what secondary infertility feels like. The great divide between feeling appreciative for the child(s) you do have and yearning to hold another. It’s like a tug of war of the heart. And while it’s easy to say at least, all you want to say is at last.

I have to admit, I never really got it before. I was that infertile girl who thought at least you have one healthy child.  I can’t even have that. And even after getting pregnant and having my son, I still felt that way to some extent. It isn’t until now, when I’m faced with the possibility of not getting pregnant again, that it’s starting to hit me.

I wasn’t intending on writing this post so soon, but lately it seems to keep hitting me.  Since our baby is upwards of a year and a half, I can only anticipate to hear more of the inevitable question-one that I try to consciously avoid asking others, especially those I suspect might be having difficulty trying to conceive.  At this point, I want people to ask.  I really do.  It’s just now I think I’m rewording my response:

“Yes, we’re beyond fortunate to have him, but we’d love to have another if we could.  No, I don’t know it’s going to be any easier and the pressure isn’t off the next time.”

M O R A L of the S T O R Y: infertility never ends.  Not even after you’re lucky enough to overcome it.   When you want a child to rock, nurture, teach, snuggle so badly, the heartache never fades, no matter if it’s your first, second, or third time around.