Frustrated

So, I haven’t posted about the fertility treatments in a while.  So here’s an update.  Last month, I did the first month of injectable hormones  (Gonal-f).  The plan was to trigger and do IUI, but in an effort to get one more day to allow a borderline sized follicle to grow, I ended up ovulating on my own (I actually got my LH surge just hours before the time I was to trigger).  I went ahead and did the trigger shot anyway, thinking it wouldn’t hurt anything (I may have been wrong to do that, keep reading).  Well, because I surged on my own, that made the timing of the scheduled IUI different (if you trigger, then IUI is 36 hours after the shot….but if you surge on your own, they do it at about 24 hours).  Because of this change in days, we didn’t get to do the IUI as planned (not that we think it necessarily helps in our situation, but it does help my stress levels to know the count and everything got where it should.)  In addition, another change was that I was to give myself a booster shot of HCG mid two-week-wait, thus making my 2 week wait more like 17 days.  At that point, I did a pregnancy test, it was negative, and I stopped my progesterone.  Now, up until now, I have been spotting near the end of my cycle even with the progesterone.  But thanks to the booster shot, I had no spotting at all….not at 12 days post ovulation (like I had been having), and not even at 16 days when I tested (yeah, i tested a day earlier that I was supposed to…sue me, I couldn’t wait).  It took 4 additional days for my period to finally start!  Talk about frustating…..I was really afraid something was wrong (I knew I wasn’t pregnant).

Well, per protocol for gonal-f, I had my cycle day 3 ultrasound on Monday.  Now, the reason they do this is because these meds can causes cysts to form.  And guess what….I have 2 large cysts (one on each side).  So, there is the reason I wasn’t spotting…I had 2 cysts making hormones!  Because of this, I can not have any meds this month.  Because if those cysts have any follicle stimulating hormone receptors left on them, they will grow instead of shrink.  And since the doc can’t tell a shrinking cyst from a growing follicle on ultrasound,  further monitoring this month for IUI or anything else would be pointless and a waste of money.   So, this is considered a “rest” cycle.  We don’t have to prevent…but we will have no assistance….

Needless to say, I was pretty bummed yesterday.  The migraine I had wasn’t helping matters.  I’ll admit, part of me just wants to throw in the towel.  This is way more emotionally hard than I ever imagined. But then the other part of me keeps saying, what if one more time is the time it happens…..what if I stop just one cycle short from a miracle????  Thankfully, my sweet husband listed to my bawling and frustrations and has encouraged me/us to keep going.  That this is just a bump in the road.

OH, and remember that triggershot I took even though I knew I had surged and didn’t think it would hurt….I can’t help but wonder now if that is what caused the cysts (thought in all honesty, I think I have had cysts in the past, but I’ve never had an ultrasound that early in my cycle.) I’m also starting to wonder if there is simply something wrong with my hormones.  The doc made a comment that my uterine lining was still pretty thick, indicating those cysts might still be secreting hormones….but at that scan, my bleeding had pretty much come to an end (my periods are actually pretty short).  I’ve always had a good lining size at my pre-trigger shot scans, but what if that is because it never sheds properly???  So many questions, and of course, I thought of all of these AFTER I had left the doc’s office.

One last note…my gonal-f arrived today…..another $500 worth of meds just sitting in my fridge.  I still have an almost full pen from last month left, and per instructions, it is only good for 28 days once it is used for the first time….so I won’t be able to use that pen next time (that’s nearly $125 worth of meds).  I might ask a pharmacist friend about that though before I throw it away….I HATE wasting money on a med like that.  I found this is a common complaint about gonal-f on the fertility forums…and it is often referred to as “liquid gold.”

 

Ugh, I’m tired, I’m frustrated, and I’m discouraged.  Keep those prayers coming, we could sure use them.

 

PS….do NOT tell me all I need to do is relax (I was relaxed for many years before conceiving and that never did anything….took 7 years of “relaxing” to get our daughter.  Also, yes, we are planning to do foster care in the hopes of adoption, but that is in addtion to wanting to be pregnant again. So, just don’t even suggest it to me…if you are interrested in our adoption plans, please feel free to ask, but don’t suggest it as an alternative to having more bio children….I’m not to that point yet.   And if you think adoptiong is the “easy” “stress-free” option, then I have some people you should talk to who would tell you otherwise!!!!!!

Advertisements

depression after loss

In the wake of the tragic death of Robin Williams, I have decided to post an entry that I’ve been struggling to find the timing and words for.  Though a few of my close friends and loss mammas know about what I’m about to write, to expose myself to others in this way will be very hard.  But I think these words need to be spoken.  I find giving fears a voice makes them hold less power over me.  And, the reason I blog is so that out there somewhere, maybe, just maybe, my words will help someone. If you have any strong beliefs that depression, grief, and suicide are just lack of faith….. I recommend you stop reading here.

 

I have mentioned before that I went crazy in my grief in the months after losing Ellie.  Truth is, that is only the tip of the iceberg.  What most people outside of my loss groups don’t know is that I suffered from major depression….both from grief and postpartum.  At the time, I didn’t really mention to anyone the crazy thoughts in my head….how everytime I looked at my hands, all I could see was blood (as if I had cut my wrists), or that everytime I drove, I could envision my car wrapped around every lightpost (I physically fought the urge to drive into every light post I saw).  It got to the point where I would pray every night that I just wouldn’t wake up.  At one point, I had even decided on a plan…..and I was going to take the pets with me, so they wouldn’t be a burden to my husband.

I didn’t talk much about all these thoughts at the time for 2 reasons.  One, I had the false impression that people who threaten to take their lives are just looking for attention and don’t really plan to do it. I have since had several discussions about this with my husband, and he has assured me, that if I had told him, he in no way would have thought I was just looking for attention.  He wishes I had let him in on how crazy I was feeling so he could have helped me more.  Second, I didn’t want to take medications because, I, one, didn’t really think they would help (after all, I thought the only thing that would make me feel better would be to have my daughter back, and meds were not going to give her back to me), and two, I desperately wanted to try for another baby, and didn’t want to be on medicaitons that would harm a growing baby.  Truth is, I valued the health of a child not yet conceived more than my own life.

I’ve often heard people say that suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.  But I can tell you, when you are facing down the barrel of it, it does not feel that way.  I felt like such a burden to my family…..and my heart hurt so bad, I just wanted the hurting to stop….I wanted to stop being a crazy burden.

So, what stopped me?  That’s the question I get asked when I tell my story.  And the truth is, Ellie stopped me.  Since I believe in heaven, I know I will see her again.  And I couldn’t find an answer to the question she would ask….”why are you here so early, mamma?”  And I couldn’t fathom making my own mother go through what I had just been through…burying a child.  So, one day at a time, I kept going.  I kept giving myself excuses of why today wasn’t a good day to end it.  And one day at a time, I slowly came out of the fog.  And though I didn’t know it, my husband was somewhat aware of how deep I was going, and he kept an extra eye on me….he stayed with me, even though I put him through hell (I did my best to push him away).

Why, am I sharing all of this.  Because, I have seen many mammas face the same thoughts.  I have see some mammas placed on so many medications, they can barely think, let alone work through feelings, and I have seen some (like me), refuse all meds/treatment, when they need it the most.  We don’t like to talk about the thoughts that scare us…we don’t want to look crazy.  After all, we are told we “need to hold it together,” and we “need to be strong”  Truth is, it’s very very hard to be strong when your world is crashing down and your hormones are going crazy for a baby that isn’t there.  And we are ashamed….ashamed that we are “that one,” ashamed to be the one they whisper about, “did you hear?”  So we carry the burden, often silently, with our fake smiles and our, “I’m ok” as we slowly die inside.  And I’m here to say, you don’t have to go through it alone.  It’s ok to be broken, and it’s ok to be crazy.  What isn’t ok, is not seeking help…not talking about it…not finding a way to stay safe…even if staying safe means you need professional help.

One of the funniest men that ever lived and brought so much joy to others, left this world yesterday by his own hand because he could not find the joy in himself that others found.  “The ones who bring us the most laughter, often have the most misery inside.”

If you are dealing with depression or have had thoughts of taking your life to escape the pain, I encourage you to reach out for help.  At my friend Heidi from Stillbirthday said so beautiflly yesterday on facebook, “It doesn’t take being on the ledge of siucide to merit actually calling out for real help.  If you are even nearing that ledge, reach out now.  It is not overreacting.  It is rediscoering hope.  And we all need hope.  You are not alone.”

US National Suicide Hotline:  800.273.TALK, First Candle: 800.221.7437  (more resources can be found at http://www.stillbirthday.com/hotlines-books-more/

Music Mondays—a new series

Going to try my hand at doing a weekly series called “music Mondays”. If FB does “throwback Thursdays,” then I think I can do a music theme (we shall see…as evidenced by how late I got out Ellie’s birthday post, we shall just see how this goes, lol)

Today, I want to discuss the song, “Broken Hallelujahs” by The Afters. Everytime I hear this song my heart soars…because I’m so very thankful for a God who accepts my own broken hallelujahs. Here’s a link to the song and the lyrics.  Broken Hallelujah

“Broken Hallelujah”

I can barely stand right now.
Everything is crashing down,
And I wonder where You are.

I try to find the words to pray.
I don’t always know what to say,
But You’re the one that can hear my heart.

Even though I don’t know what your plan is,
I know You’re making beauty from these ashes.

I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

You know the things that have brought me here.
You know the story of every tear.
‘Cause You’ve been here from the very start.

Even though I don’t know what your plan is,
I know You’re making beauty from these ashes.

I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.

Here’s my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

When all is taken away, don’t let my heart be changed.
Let me always sing Hallelujah
When I feel afraid, don’t let my hope be erased
Let me always sing Hallelujah.
Let me always sing Hallelujah.

I will always sing
I will always sing
Here’s my broken hallelujah.

Yes, there are days when it is still hard to breath. I remember those last few days in the hospital, praying to God to not let my heart become hardened and bitter should I lose Ellie. Though, admittedly, it did a little….I still struggle with envy when I see a pregnancy announcement. But I’m healing…slowly. Becoming something new…something beautiful from ashes, and I raise these empty arms and can finally form the words, “hallelujah.”

Happy Birthday Ellie!

This post is 2 weeks late…but I’m praying my baby girl has some grace on her mamma for that. It’s been a busy 2 weeks.

First off, my period decided to start on her birthday, so that made a hard day even harder. Then last Monday, we met with our RE. This month is a rest cycle before we start the hormone shots (which, I spent 3 days talking to pharmacies trying to get the cost lowered. Even with our insurance and a discount from the pharmacy, we are looking at $500/month in med costs….which is nearly half of what one pharmacy wanted to charge us!) During last week, while dealing with pharmacies, I spent the week with my parents and step-sister’s family at a cabin on Salt Fork Lake. Did a lot of fishing…and a lot of talking to my family. I’ve never been more grateful to have a family who doesn’t tell me to “get over it”. Ellie, Micah, and my work with the loss community was often a topic of discussion…and it did my heart so much good.

Now, birthday stuff. Since I wasn’t feeling good thanks to my period, we just opted to release balloons at my parent’s house after dinner. I also put together all 4 memory boxes I plan to donate (still have to do that…I haven’t been on a maternity floor since giving birth to Ellie…so I think I’m procrastinating a bit…again, I hope my baby girl gives me grace in this matter.).

I also spoke some with my inlaws in Oregon. My mother in low sent me pictures of the beautiful flowers that are growing on her porch in memory of her grandkids. Have I mentioned how blessed I am to have such a loving family? And my sister-in-law sent me 2 beautiful hand-made pictures for both my kids…and Owl for Ellie and a monkey for Micah.

All in all, Ellie’s 2nd birthday was much gentler than her first. Miss her more every day, but I know every day is one day closer to holding her again.

 

IMG_1571

Balloons to Ellie and Micah

IMG_1558

Memory boxes (one of 4)

IMG_6644

Ellie’s spot made beautiful by both sets of grandparents

Peace

Given the time of year it is, I would never have imagined writing that word for a blog post title.  June is hard, it’s Ellie’s birth month…and I have struggled with what to write for several weeks now.  I still plan on doing the long version of her story, I just haven’t quite gotten in the mental place to be able to write it out (it is emotionally exhausting to revisit all the details…but, I feel it is important, so it is coming).  But today, let me talk to you about peace.

Wow, that word alone brings with it soo many feelings.  2 years ago, I thought the feeling was no longer in my grasp, instead, replaced by longing and hopelessness.  Admittedly, I don’t feel it all the time, but it is there…always sitting in the background…waiting.  Maybe it comes when I hear a song on the radio…maybe it comes as I speak with a fellow loss parent…maybe it comes when I least expect it.  I’m actually in awe, for this time last year, I was still so very lost.  Ellie’s 1st birthday was fast approaching, my rainbow Micah was gone, and we were still dealing with the aftermath of a molar diagnosis.  Peace was not an emotion I felt (except for on the actual day of her birthday).  Yet, something inside me is changing.  I wouldn’t call it necessarily “acceptance” of my grief….those “stages of grief” are really a misunderstanding…they aren’t stages…at any one time, I can feel all of them at the same time.  But I feel purpose.  I have a purpose for still being on this earth without my kids.  My doula training is coming up, my work with Sufficient Grace is drawing closer, and God is showing me that my speaking out about my grief and my children are touching the lives of others.

Am I still stressed….yep… Am I still scared that the fertility treatments won’t work….yep (2nd round of IUI is on Saturday, fyi, so prayers please).  Am I still sad…every day….tears still fall.  But under it, there is a current of peace…that God is leading me in a direction I never dreamed of.  My friend Kelly randomly told me the other day at a loss meeting that I seemed to be oozing peace, which meant the world to me.  Because, even though I have felt it in the past couple of months, I was unsure of whether it was showing.  I often worry that people will think I’m “stuck” in grief.  I don’t feel stuck, but nevertheless, I do tend to FB post and blog alot about my children and loss.  Having one person notice a change…notice I seem to be finding a direction….that meant the world to me.  Especially given the time of year it is…the hardest month of the year for me.

“Peace that surpasses all understanding”….I think I finally understand that verse.

I went to the zoo

5 words….but you might not have any idea what those words mean….I went to the zoo.  Fun, you say…and yes it was.  But for a second, place yourself in my, sometimes, uncomfortable shoes.  Think deeply for just a minute about what I just said.  I love the zoo; I always imagined taking my children there and showing them my favorite animals (big cats) and learning theirs.  After you lose a child, you tend to avoid anywhere that you might see families or children.  Even a simply store run can leave you in tears.  I see babies and pregnant women EVERYWHERE.  But I voluntarily went to a place that I knew would be filled with children’s laughter and family smiles.  And you know what?  I was ok.  Yes, the 1st two families I saw made me a bit teary-eyed…one was with tiny baby…no more than a few months old….the other, the mother was at least into her 3rd trimester and one of those gorgeous pregnant women who is all baby bump.  But I took a deep breath, and I was ok.  It was helpful to have my friend and her daughter with me.  And more than being ok…I actually enjoyed myself.  I look forward to going back in a few weeks when the new area opens.

I went to the zoo, and I had a good time….my angels are so proud of their mamma.

Image

Me with my friend’s daughter watching the manatees

Mother’s Day, remeberance and reflexion

Let’s admit it, Mother’s Day is a hard day for a lot of people.  Whether your mom has passed away, or you have buried a child you desperately wish to hear say “I love you mom,” or you are infertile and Mother’s Day is a vivid reminder of the thing you want so much feeling so far out of grasp…..it can be a hard day.

 

For me, it is the start of the flashbacks.  You see, Mother’s Day two years ago, I was still blissfully pregnant with Eliana.  I was 16 weeks pregnant and finally starting to relax and believe I might actually get a baby in October.  The spotting had seemed to stop over the previous few weeks and Ellie’s heartbeat sounded so strong on my home doppler.  I remember standing with all the other moms when the pastor asked us to, hand on my still-flat belly, and being so very grateful.

After church, we went to my mom’s for lunch.  It was nice.  But then, we got home, my world came to a stop.  I was bleeding again….an not just the brown or pink spotting I had had when my progesterone was low at the beginning of the pregnancy….but bright red.  My husband handed me my own Mother’s Day gift as we headed out the door to the ER.

And our ER experience was even more troubling…..since we went to the ER closest to our home and not the one at which my OB practices, the ER doc was less than kind.  Statements like, “it’s not my baby, I’m not touching it” should never come out of a doctor’s mouth while glaring at the, very scared, first-time parents……let alone on Mother’s Day.  All he ended up doing was have the nurse find heart times (which, since I had a Doppler at home, I knew was fine….I even had the help the ER nurse find it, since I knew where Ellie liked to hide)….then I was sent home with instructions to call my OB in the morning (who sent me to a different hospital for an emergency ultrasound…..go figure).

 

So, yeah….Mother’s Day is hard in the house….from the day just hurting because my two children are not here with me, to the frustrations of continued unsuccessful fertility treatments (had my first IUI yesterday), to the mild PTSD from the events of 2 years ago…..congratulate me for just getting out of be this morning (which is more than I did last year).

But this year, I trying to embrace the memories, because, whether my children walk this earth or not, I am forever their mother.  (you will see more posts of my last weeks with Eliana coming….I think it is important to share how much my time with my little girl means to me, and to share her short, but amazing, story).

It wasn’t until I became a bereaved mother, that I found out the story behind the creation of Mother’s Day.  It was created by Anna Jarvis, an unmarried, childless woman, seeking to honor her own mother.  Her mother had passed away a few years before.  Anna had watched how her mother carried on after burying 7 of her 11 children, most, if not all, lost in early childhood.  So, a childless woman (who very well might not have been unmarried and childless of her own wishing), created a day to honor a mother who had passed away…who had spent her whole life missing the children she had lost, while raising and loving the ones who were here.  Puts kinda a whole new night on Mother’s Day doesn’t it.  So, if you are missing your mom today….this day is for you.  If you are missing children in heaven….this day is for you.  And if you are loving the children still on earth with you….this day is for you.  You can even go as far to say, that if you don’t have children, but long to have them, then this day was created by a woman just like you…and this day is for you.

May all the mothers of this world have a peaceful day.  Whether you carry your children in your hearts or in your arms, remind yourself that today is your day, and you are indeed a beautiful mother.

 

IMG_1434My first Mother’s Day gift