Tuesday, 16 April 2013

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever..

Two weeks ago, today, you could have told me that I didn't know what it felt like to be on top of the world, 
and I would have told you that you were wrong. 

On Tuesday, April 2nd at 5:30am I turned off my alarm and crawled out of bed, much like I did every other day of the week. I stumbled in to the bathroom and before I knew it, I was staring at a very dark, very positive pregnancy test. I wish I could tell you that I cried, that I jumped up and down, that I screamed - but I didn't.. I took another test, I took pictures of those tests and I just sat there. I sat there after 5 very long, very emotional years of trying to start our family just staring blankly at what sat on the counter before me, holding my breath.. and then I smiled for what seemed like an eternity. My cheeks started to get sore & finally I  remembered to exhale. 

I can't tell you why I tested that morning. I wasn't sick, I wasn't "late" because AF & I hadn't had a get-together in months. My subconscious just knew, I guess. 

I patiently waited for Chris to wake up so I could show him. The second I heard his alarm go off, I barged in to our bedroom, flopped myself down on the bed and shoved my phone in his face to show him the pictures. At first he looked confused, and then he stumbled out of bed to the washroom, returning with a confused look on his face.. after a few moments, he looks at me innocently and asks:

 "those are ovulation tests, right?" 

No, Christopher..

"those are pregnancy tests.."

I waited for his reaction, and while it was but a few seconds, it seemed like forever. I admired the confused look on his face and he blurts out "I wondered why we weren't having sex right now.." and I couldn't help but laugh almost hysterically. 

I called my Doctors' office and was scheduled to see him on Wednesday April 3rd, where he confirmed that I wasn't just seeing things - the tests were positive & we were having a baby! Because of how irregular my cycles were, we had no idea when we would have conceived so I was given a requisition for some bloodwork & a dating ultrasound which was scheduled for April 11th.

The next week was one of the best of my life. I know it was only a week ago, but I remember feeling like I was unstoppable. There wasn't a single co-worker, customer, person or thing that could bring me down.  Every time I looked at Chris I knew, I knew this was it for us - this was our happiness, this is what we've been waiting for. My husband has always been an amazing man - loving, supportive, doting, comforting - but never have I felt so much love, support, comfort and admiration as I have since that day. 

The next couple of days were nerve racking  to say the least, because I noticed some light pink colouring on the toilet paper when I went to the washroom, but I knew that as long as there was no red/new blood - not to panic.

The evening of Monday, April 8th after we finished dinner we sat down with some ice cream and watched TV. Within a half hour of finishing my ice cream I was in excruciating pain, my entire stomach felt as though I was being punched and stabbed simultaneously. A part of me believed it was the ice cream, since I always get sick after eating it (sucker for punishment, I guess!) but another part of me knew that this had to be more than a little lactose intolerance. I called for Chris & we made our way to the hospital.

I won't bore you with the details of the ER room, because there is only so much you can say about spending hours upon hours waiting. 

What I will say is that I was so, so scared for this baby that I already loved so much. For every twinge, every pain that I felt, I wondered if s/he felt it too. 

After 5 hours, we finally saw the Doctor, after a pelvic exam he explained that he found some blood on my cervix & advised that it usually is a sign of miscarriage but we would need an ultrasound to confirm. Miscarriage - though it was not in my control - was not an option. We've waited so long for this, too long, for it to be taken away.

Once the exam was complete we were instructed to "sit tight" until my bloodwork came back, but instead we took a walk to schedule my Ultrasound for the next day. We weren't able to get an appointment until 1pm, which was infuriating to me. It took everything in me to accept the 1pm appointment and walk away. We were discharged at 4am Tuesday morning, went home to get some sleep, anticipating our Ultrasound in just a few short hours.

One week ago, today, you could have told me that I didn't know what it felt like to to have my heart removed from my body by hand and crushed in to a million tiny pieces in front of my own eyes, and I would have told you that you were wrong...

By 2pm I was in a gown, in Observation, awaiting the results of our UltraSound. The knot that formed in the pit of my stomach was enough to bring me to my knees if I had been standing. If everything was okay, I wouldn't be in a gown, fasting, with an IV "just in case", right? The nurse, Kaylee, was amazing - she assured me that it was standard practice and that they just want to be prepared but that she was hopeful for us. I know it's her job to put my mind at ease by telling me its "standard practice" but I think because she seemed so genuine, so sweet, that I almost believed it. 

It wasn't long after that the Doctor came in with our results. He told us that our little baby was 6 weeks, 5 days old and growing strong. I could see the report, sitting on his lap, where it went on to say a heartbeat of 119BPM was detected. A huge sigh of relief hit me and before I finished my breath he went on to say that the Radiologist "thinks" that the pregnancy - though otherwise viable - will need to be terminated due to it being in my right tube. 

Thinks? Terminated

What just happened?

They called in an OBGYN who reviewed our ultrasound and confirmed that we will need to terminate our pregnancy due to the baby implanting in my right tube. It was likely that my tube would need to be removed after the pregnancy was terminated due to how far along I was. Dr Thorne made it a point to let us know how lucky we were because tubal pregnancies can be fatal to the mother, she was surprised that I made it as far as I did and believes I would have made it farther if it wasn't for the fluke of these pains, which means I could have lost my life. 

I can't really explain what happened at that moment, because I don't quite know. There were tears, so many tears. There was pain, so much pain. Chris went to call his parents to let them know, within the hour my mom & Krista were by my side until I went to the OR. Chris' parents showed up while I was in surgery, and I am so thankful that he was not alone while waiting for me.

Its been a short, painful journey. In one week our entire lives changed for the absolute best & the absolute worst. If it wasn't for our families, for my husband, for my friends - I am not sure where I would go from here. The support & love we have received is unexplainable. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for everyone who has been there for us, who has reached out, who has called, texted, emailed, stopped by, who has sent gifts & offered a shoulder during this time.

I spend a lot of time wondering if it will ever hurt less. It feels like it hurts more today than it did yesterday, but I will remain hopeful that one day I will be able to take the best parts of me and the best parts of my husband and create life between us again. I will know that love, that unconditional, eternal, deep love that I felt for just a short week.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart...

Its been almost a year since my last post & I am sure its because I have a much easier time ignoring my feelings than I do expressing them.

We have since passed the 5 year mark of our TTC journey. Mind you, the first few years were not as involved or planned out as the last few, but it’s still 5 years we’ve spent crossing our fingers that “this will be the cycle!”  and continuously having our hearts ripped out and stomped on.

I haven’t been in a good place recently, mentally or emotionally. I have let our struggles, the emptiness I feel, consume me. My mind is constantly going to a dark place from my past that I hoped to never see again and I’m scared. I am aware of my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my actions, but I am not in complete control of them any more. I lash out at my family, my friends, my co-workers but am quick to recover with a laugh so no one knows of my momentary lapse. I withdraw myself from situations that I would normally run to with open arms – family gatherings, dinners & parties with friends, re-uniting with people I haven’t seen in years with a promise that we’ll “do it ASAP!”. I have lost all motivation to better my health by skipping out on the gym, eating what I want, when I want or not eating at all by convincing myself that “I’ll start again tomorrow”. I don’t sleep because “sleep is for the weak” but really I just can’t stop thinking of all the things I hate about myself long enough to let my mind & body rest.  I am in a constant battle with me that I can not fight my way out of. I haven’t lost that control since struggling with drugs & drinking in my early teens, and I am so afraid that I won’t be able to see my breaking point coming.

I’ve never been more scared of myself than I am right now.

I need to find myself again. I need to find the strong, independent, emotionally-in-control girl that I know I can be, but how? I know that she is still here because I still haven’t given up. I know that one day our dreams of being parents will come true. I know that I will find my motivation, that I will be healthier & stronger, that I will be the best person that I can be because even though it feels like my heart is breaking constantly, I keep dreaming.

Tomorrow I meet with a Psychologist, hoping to find myself again. Words can not describe how nervous, scared, anxious & excited I am. I cross my fingers and hope to hell that she can help me

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Let the rain come down and wash away my tears..

What does it feel like to give up? Some times I think that I've given up on this journey of trying to have a baby. I know myself better than to think I could just give up on something that is so important to not only myself, my husband & my family, but other times I wonder if life would be so much easier if I did.

How do you know when you're ready to give up? I can't remember the last time I went a day, or an hour, without being reminded of the hole in my heart that seems to keep getting bigger as our time as a child-less couple passes.

I am surrounded with so many people that offer me so much love & support, who encourage me day after day to keep strong, reminding me that it will happen when it is meant to happen. People who don't have any experience with infertility, and conception, always ask "Why isn't that enough?" Why can't I just accept it, and go about my day - my life - and let things happen how they are meant to happen? 

Good question.

Do you know what it is like to not be in control of your own body? To not know what is happening, when its happening, why its happening? Better yet - why is it NOT happening? Do you know what it feels like to want something so. damn. bad. and to live every single day knowing that you may never, ever, ever get it? 

Infertility isn't a blessing - I'm not "thankful" that I don't have to deal with morning sickness, I'm not "glad" that I don't have children to pick up after, I'm not "lucky" because we can take trips when we want to.. I'm heart broken that I may never have the opportunity to be someone's hero, or to be loved unconditionally like a child can love their mother. 

I know I haven't given up on our journey because I still fight through every single waking moment of my life knowing that one day it will all be worth it. I still look at my husband and smile at the thought of us creating a life together that will be a little bit of everything I love about him. I still use "when" instead of "if", I still cry when another cycle begins and I still have a little bit of hope for every late day

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ten fingers, ten toes...

My oldest niece, Sheena, who is just 15 years young gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl this morning at 3:35, weighing in at 6lbs 14ounces. Last night I drove 2 hours to the hospital when my sister told me she had been admitted & was in labor. I was nervous, I was scared, I was anxious, I was happy, I was sad but most of all, I was proud.

After 30 long hours of pain that couldn't be comforted, after only 10 minutes of giving it all she had, after an hour of clean up, and after 9 months of the most emotional roller coaster we have ever rode on together, I can honestly say, I have never seen anything more beautiful.

I don't just mean that Olivia is beautiful, but to see this little girl that came in to my life over a decade ago - this little girl that consumed so much of my life over so many years, this little girl that danced & sang without a care in the world - holding on to something so tiny, so precious, that she created. That, that was beautiful.

The list of things our family has been through over the years is inexplicable. We've shared so many memories, some good, some not so good, some amazing & some that we can't help but want to forget. This one? this is my new favorite memory. It wasn't always my favorite though. the rush of emotions flowing through me when I found out just 8 months ago that my baby girl, 1/4 of my entire universe, was expecting can not be put in to words. I can tell you that I was mad, I was hurt, I was disappointed - but that doesn't explain it. It was hard, it was harder than anything I have ever had to go through. I fought with myself, with my emotions and my heart, with my mind & my soul and I kept fighting. Why? Because that's what I do.

Until I held that tiny baby in my arms, just a few minutes after she was born, I didn't know how I would feel about welcoming her into our family. I was afraid that I could not overcome the feelings I felt at the beginning. I was worried that my relationship with Sheena, and my sister, would never be the same - but not because of the situation - because of my own struggles with infertility.

I couldn't have been more wrong to feel this way.

I have never felt so much love from my family, so much support & comfort as I did today. My own struggles have made me a stronger person, a better person. Even though I didn't carry these girls around for 9 months, even though I didn't give birth to them myself I know that I helped shape them into the most amazing little women. I know that I don't need to be a biological parent to feel the unconditional love that a parent feels, because I feel it every time I look at them. No one will convince me otherwise.

I am proud to know that a small part of me will help Sheena (& Will) raise Olivia to be the most beautiful human being that she could possibly be. I can't wait to see what the future brings for our family, for my family.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

What it means to me..

I refuse to believe that I will be facing infertility forever. Right now? Right now we're just taking as many steps as we can for me to conceive as naturally as possible. Yeah, yeah that's it...

What does (temporary) infertility mean to you? Because to me, it means avoiding all possible lapses of sanity when Aunt Flo stops by for another un-welcomed visit, suitcase in hand, bringing all those distant cousins of hers that no one likes - Cramps, Headache & Hormonal Bitch - they make for one awkward dinner conversation. It means unintentional teeth grinding for every pregnancy announcement I see/hear. It means maintaining my relationship with my friends & co-workers who conceive effortlessly while consoling my husband, whose heart breaks equally with every stop at the store for tampons & Pringles. 

For me, infertility is: the answers never being what you want them to be. Never being satisfied with the next step. Constantly having to withdraw myself from situations where I may be asked "so, when are ya'll planning on having kids?" so as to not spontaneously melt into a pile of hot mess. Refraining from throat-punching the people who feel it completely necessary to tell me that my life is so wonderful because "you don't have kids to worry about". 

For me, infertility is a constant struggle to make it through the day without lashing out, or breaking down. 

I'm not a religious person. I have my own beliefs & my own opinion on how the world came to be what it is today. However - throughout this journey, this struggle, this heartbreak - I can't help but remember something my Nanny (RiP <3) used to quote every morning when she woke up..

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Whether there is a God or not, whether there is a higher power or there isn't - I need someone to grant me the aforementioned serenity, courage & wisdom. I cross my fingers while I wish upon every star, every candle I blow out, every 11:11 that passes, every wishbone I encounter to be blessed with the opportunity to be a mother. I want to attach someone to the other end of the string that is already wrapped around my husbands pinky finger, waiting to be tugged on. I want to be proud, and to love like I have never loved before. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

You never know how strong you are...

Until being strong is the only choice you have...

     I met Chris, my husband,  in early 2006. We started dating November 2007 & were engaged by July 2008. Early in our relationship we knew what we wanted in life, from ourselves & from eachother.. He was going to school to become a computer technician, I was spending my days caring for my 4 nieces - who are the absolute center of my world. We dreamed of a sorta-big house, with a huge kitchen, a good piece of land, maybe a pool. He wanted an office with 10 computers & I wanted hardwood floors with modern decor. We wanted minimal debt, money in the bank, but most of all we wanted babies. 

     Before we got together my cycles were always very irregular. My irregularity started shortly after a miscarriage I suffered when I was 17 years old. I shrugged it off and it wasn't until two years of trying had passed that I started to wonder if we would ever get pregnant. We decided to give it a little more time after we married in January 2010, but still - nothing happened.

     By April 2010 I had my first appointment with Dr Wallace, OB/GYN. We went over my history, my miscarriage, my cycles, my family history, my physical & mental health. He reviewed the bloodwork I was sent for & noticed my blood sugar was a bit higher than normal and suggested that I was pre-diabetic. Dr Wallace stated that before we could go any further, I needed to lose weight which in turn should help us conceive. To aide, I was precribed Metformin which I started right away.

Side note: Metformin is used to reduce the amount of glucose made by the liver which makes it easier for glucose to enter tissue.. Metformin has been found to be especially useful in delaying problems associated with diabetes for overweight people with diabetes, it helps lower blood sugar & control insulin production. Having high blood sugar, even if the levels are only slightly elevated makes it harder for women to produce & release an egg, not to mention it reduces blood flow to the right places (aka uterus) so if fertilization does occur, implantation may not be successful, if it is, the risk of miscarriage is rather high.

     This appointment was a real eye opener for me. 

     The summer of 2010 my dad was hospitalized & had his left leg amputated. He suffered from diabetes. The circulation in his feet & legs was so poor that he developed an infection and the only option was to amputate. I remember sitting at home one night after work, getting the phone call that my dad had been transferred to Kingston General Hospital from Brockville & he was not coherent enough to give consent for the surgery. I was his emergency contact & next of kin, so it was up to me. The doctor informed me that there was more of a chance he wouldn`t make it through surgery than there was that he would. His body was shutting down, his organs were failing - he was in rough shape, all because of his diabetes. 

     My dad made it through surgery and had to be put on ventilators & feeding tubes. He was unconscious for a few days. Once he woke & was taken off the ventilators, he was delusional. He knew who I was, who Chris was, but he would talk to people that weren`t there, he would think hes smoking, try to get out of bed. It was a rough few months as his body slowly shut down, organ by organ. In October 2010 he had passed away. By that time I had lost 55lbs since our wedding day - 35 of that was throughout the 3 months my father was hospitalized. 

     To my dismay, my cycles never regulated even with the weightloss as expected. I went back to Dr Wallace in November & was promptly prescribed Provera to induce a cycle with Clomid to aid ovulation for two cycles. I started Provera right away. I took 20mg per day for 10 days.. without fail my cycle started 2 days after my last dose. I was instructed to take 2x 50mg of Clomid from days 2-6 of my cycle, so I did just that. The Clomid was a rollercoaster of emotions. I was sad, happy, angry, frustrated, tired, wired - it sucked. I had sore boobs, cramps, back pain, nausea - you name it, I had it. I used OPKs & ended up ovulating Day 18 of that cycle and day 22 of the 2nd. Unfortunately for us, neither cycle was successful.

Side note: For those of you who aren`t familiar with Provera (also known as prometrium) it is a progesterone supplement derrived from soybeans. The week before a cycle is started, our progesterone levels are supposed to increase which in turn trains the rest of the hormones to behave accordingly resulting in a successful shedding of the uterine linig & a visit from Great Aunt Flo. Clomid is clomiphene citrate & it is used to stimulate the two hormones required to stimulate ovaries & release an egg. 

     I went back to Dr Wallace who regretably informed me there was nothing else he could do. He referred me to Dr Paul Claman of the Ottawa Fertility Clinic. My heart sank. I`m 24! I shouldn`t be visiting a fertility specialist. I should be pregnant, or raising a baby, not facing infertility. That night I went for a run, I ran and ran and ran. I ran as fast, as hard, as far as I possibly could until I couldn`t run anymore. I sat in a park, in the middle of the field, and I cried. I cried until I made myself sick. 


And then I remembered...

     I met with Dr Claman just this past September. I had a full physical, a pap smear, Chris went for a sperm analysis, I got bloodwork and we talked. We talked about my history, my miscarriage, my cycles, my family history, my physical & mental health. We talked about my weight loss, my dads death, my moms history with early menopause. We talked about our options. Dr Claman requested that I lose atleast 80lbs before we proceed with further treatment.
     I stepped off the scale. And I cried, I cried until I couldn`t cry anymore. I cried until I was sick. I was frustrated, I was fed up. Most of all, I was scared. What if losing even more weight doesn`t help? What if suddenly I am facing early menopause like my mom did? I'll be 25 in just under a year - what if by the time I lose the 80lbs required & I haven't gotten pregnant on my own, what if its too late?

     Dr Claman explained that there is nothing to support that my weight is the reason we are not getting pregnant. He stated - as if I hadn't already done the research myself - that Fat cells produce estrogen. Overweight -> fat cells ->  too much estrogen = your body reacting poorly, almost as if it is on birth control. To ease my worry he agreed to send me for all tests necessary to determine where we are at and what the next step would be. I had viles upon viles of blood drawn, I was poked & prodded, I was back and forth. I had all the ultrasounds & scans you could think of. Everything came back just fine. My blood sugar was normal, so no more metformin. Not even close to diabetic. No cysts. No blockages. No abnormalities.

Unexplained infertility? Dang.

     So, here I am. On a journey to lose the last 80lbs in hopes it will help me to gain a life of fulfillment as the mother I long to be.