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Hello, and welcome to Lemonade Tales! Pardon the dust while I get things rolling. I hope you enjoy the stories of inspiration, courage, and grace. I am humbled by each and every person and their personal struggles. This is the …

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I Want to Have a Baby

I waited a long time to say those words.

“I want to have a baby.”

Maybe I waited too long.

Why Now?

My past is filled with love, heartbreak, bad choices, and a slew of decisions that all led me to not even think about having children. That is until I got married last year. I am not a spring chicken. I am almost 38 years old and I am aching for a baby with my new husband. Before him, I never felt like I could think about the baby thing as I never found the right guy. My husband is a kind, warm, generous, and loving man. He is a great father to his seven-year old son, Eliott (from a previous marriage). I love how we are together as a family. I love that little boy more than I ever thought I could love anyone. And that helps me see how having a baby would be icing on the cake for our already happy lives.

Trying

Now that I have figured out that I do want a baby and that it is a good choice for our family, it has gradually consumed my thoughts over the last few months. You see, we have been “trying” to have a baby since almost the day we got married. Trying… yep. Some things I have noticed about trying:

1. Trying can be very fun!

2. Trying makes you experiment in ways you probably wouldn’t unless you were trying.

3. Trying can become very medical. Have sex this day, this way, etc.

Infertility Facts:

I didn’t realize that infertility effected so many people. As much as I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, I am comforted to know that I am not alone. That is really one of the main reasons for sharing my experience here is this post. If it helps one other woman, than that is something good that has come from all of this.

The following was taken from Resolve.org, the website for The National Infertility Association (with a few comments of mine thrown in):

Infertility is a major life crisis for 1 in 8 couples. This is especially true for women over 35 years of age.

There is a noticeable decline in the fertility rate starting at age 35 to a level of about 10% per month. A woman over 35 seeking to get pregnant should consult a fertility specialist after only 6 months of actively attempting to become pregnant. The pregnancy risk for a woman over 35 is higher, as well as evidenced an increase in the miscarriage rate and the incidence of genetic abnormality in pregnancy. At 35, the miscarriage rate is 25% and the risk of Down syndrome becomes about 1/350. It is also the age at which genetic testing in pregnancy is first recommended since the chance of picking up an abnormality is greater than the risk of the procedure used to find it. Scary!

For women and men fighting the disease of infertility, the infertility experience involves many hidden losses for the individuals, their loved ones, and society as a whole, including:

  • Loss of the pregnancy and the birth experience
  • Loss of a genetic legacy and loss of future contributing citizens to the next generation
  • Loss of the parenting experience
  • Loss of a grandparent relationship
  • Low feelings of self-worth
  • Loss of stability in family and personal relationships
  • Loss of work productivity
  • Loss of a sense of spirituality and sense of hope for the future.

Because infertility often involves major personal life issues and decisions, it is often viewed as a private matter and is not ordinarily discussed in public forums. The personal nature of the infertility experience contributes to the failure of the public, politicians, healthcare professionals and the media to recognize infertility as a disease. This causes a lack of sound knowledge and available resources about infertility.

The Hidden Effects of Infertility on Self-Esteem and Relationships
Infertility has a strong impact on self-esteem. Suddenly your life, which may have been well-planned and successful, seems out-of-control. Not only is your physical body not responding as expected, but it feels as if your entire life is on hold.

In addition, I read in my infertility booklet from my doctor that women who experience issues with pregnancy are under similar stress as to those who have cancer. I totally feel like this resonates with me. My life is dependent on my next cycle, my next lab result, or my next doctor’s appointment. And sometimes I feel like I am trapped in a holding pattern without the ability to get excited as I may just as easily be disappointed. I have tried talking to a few people, and some really understand, while others are just not sure how to relate. Let me explain all the things I have done over the last five months.

Tests

Warning: This could be a little graphic and too much information for those that don’t like to talk about the body.

I have experienced a few issues with my cycle and some very heavy bleeding, so I have been getting a ton of tests done to see if things are working properly down there.

1. Pap Smear/Regular healthy check up – All came back fine

2. Blood work for thyroid problems – Came back normal. I have had this done twice.

3. A transvaginal ultrasound where they fill your uterus with a balloon and blow it up so that it stretches to look for fibroids/cysts and abnormalities (It hurt! and I bled and cramped for a week after). All was good except I found out I have a tilted uterus. I had never heard of such a thing, but I guess about 20% of women have it and it’s really not a big deal. So that means we need to use a couple different positions that are better, but that has been a fun process.

4. Endometrial biopsy to make sure I don’t have endometriosis. Thankfully, I don’t have it. Whew.

5. More blood work to test my hormone levels. All are good during the first stage (follicular) of my cycle. I need to have them tested again during ovulation and post ovulation (luteal phase).

6. Tracking my basal temperatures to ensure I have a proper cycle. I do. And then the dance of timing intercourse accordingly. Some say have sex daily, some say every other day, and some even say every three days. Ugh.

7. Using at home ovulation kits. That means peeing in a cup and waiting 4 minutes for a result of yes you have FSH hormones present or nope, still waiting until that magical time to make the baby.

8. Even my husband had to provide a “sample” and he is quite proud of his results. So all is good there.

I still need further hormone testing and I will have the HSG test this month, which is an ultrasound and dye they inject into your fallopian tubes to make sure they are open. Also a bit painful from what I hear.

Just this week, after 10 months (and because I’m over 35) of trying, they have referred us to the fertility clinic on post in March.

Reading, Reading & More Reading

Access to information has been great on the Internet. I have read vast articles about the menstruation cycle, natural fertility options, and the actual pregnancy process. I have subscribed to blogs and joined online forums. Sometimes I think there is too much information and I can get overwhelmed pretty easy.

In the process, I have learned so much about my body. We are only taught the tip of the iceberg in 7th grade health class. A woman’s body is a very amazing thing and what has to happen physically between a man and a woman to get pregnant is beyond amazing. For all those things to line up and get pregnant is truly a miracle. One of the best books I have read is: Taking Charge of your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement by Toni Weschler, MPH. I have read this book cover to cover and I have gone back and referenced it more times than I can count. If you are trying to get pregnant, I couldn’t recommend it more. I bought a used copy that was in excellent condition on Amazon for $3.99 including shipping.

Emotions

During this process there has been a lot of ups and downs. At first, it is no big deal as you are just having fun trying. But after a few months of no pregnancy and several early pregnancy test disappointments it starts to stack up. After the continued testing and everything coming back good, the wonder of why haven’t we gotten pregnant yet is getting stronger. The realization that we may have been pregnant three or so times and lost the baby very early is crushing. The latest is only last Friday. The emotions are high as I am sure my hormones are, too.

I have so many questions running through my mind:

1. Did I wait too long? After all, 38 is fast approaching and my body is feeling its age. I have lost a lot of eggs and they are aging too. Darn old eggs.

2. Is there something wrong with me? I have thought all sorts of really negative thoughts here. From do I have cancer to am I premenopausal and the list goes on. But the continued healthy test results are helping to keep these thoughts at bay.

3. I am a woman. This is what I as built to do, so why can’t I do it? I have even questioned my femininity. Seriously crazy thoughts.

4. Why are there babies and pregnant women everywhere I go? I am super sensitive to kids and babies right now – they seem to be everywhere. And on military bases I think the preggo genes are extra high. Something is definitely in the water. Too bad we live off post.

5. Does God not want me to have a baby? Maybe he knows something we don’t. I have faith that everything happens for a reason and I am trying to figure out the lessons he is trying to teach. Patience is not one of my virtues, so that may be part of it. I have been so blessed this last year, I actually feel a bit greedy asking for this, too.

6. How long will we try until we think about different options? We could start the adoption process now…

7. How much fertility treatment do we want? I know I don’t want to be a science experiment.

8. What if my husband gets deployed and we lose a year of options? Some of his trainings have conflicted with my ovulation cycle, which doesn’t help either.

9. We are married  – shouldn’t we start a family? Starting a family is a natural progression for a couple. It seems so natural to want that.

10. People keep asking us about having babies, “Ahhh so when are guys going to have a baby?” I am not even sure how to answer these questions any more.

Many of these are normal questions and thoughts. Most, I can logically come to terms with, but some linger and even gnaw at me. My husband is very reassuring, but I don’t think he will ever really understand how this feels. In many ways every month feels like a failure. And for folks who know me, failure is not an option. But I can’t control this process. Nature has to do its part, too.

If you have a friend or family member going through this, here is a link to help with what to say and do to support her. Please don’t tell her to relax. I think I might hit the next person that says that. 😉

Infertility options

Now, we wait for a group class to go over all the fertility options available to us and then set up an appointment with the doctor to begin treatment. We are still about two months away from seeing the doctor, so we have a couple more cycles to try on our own before we go there. A couple more cycles of tracking my temperature and tracking our sex habits. A couple more cycles of possible disappointment. Or a couple more cycles to get pregnant and then start freaking out about miscarriages, chromosome defects, and the like. Because I am older the risks are higher. And that makes the worry more. I know worrying doesn’t solve anything, but I care very deeply about this and thus I begin to worry. Such a crazy cycle.

I am not even sure how much of a scientific experiment I want to be. I don’t think that pumping myself full of hormones can be a good thing. I try to eat organic and clean options so putting chemicals in my body seems counterintuitive. The idea of having invasive procedures and being cut open is not appealing because there are no guarantees no matter what we try. When we first started this process we said that we were going to have faith in God’s plan, but be proactive in the process. When is enough? And at what age do we think is too old to have kids? Do we want to be in our 60s and have a kid in high school? These are all decisions we have to look at once we have the information. We are still a bit away from having to make them for now.

Helping others

This baby making process is a lot to take in. I may go crazy through this process, but I know I am not alone. I have not opened up about this to anyone until this past week. It is very private the whole baby making thing. What is amazing is I have found I am not alone. Many of my friends have had fertility issues, miscarriages, and a couple have had babies die. And they all lived to tell about it. All have beautiful healthy children now.

Not feeling alone has helped me get through the darkest moments. And I hope by sharing my story it will help others. I also hope that my story ends well. Making a baby is such a special miracle and I wish those tiny miracles to all those that want them!

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