life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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Push Through

My Struggle with Possible Infertility

As I’ve thought about blogging while I’ve been home from work, it has been difficult for me to think about publishing an entry that I can’t put a positive spin on.  I’ve come to realize that I like to present everything to the world outside of me in a pretty little package so people will accept it and like me. I am a people puh-leaser and frightfully insecure at the root of it all.

I have realized that the only way I can authentically blog right now is to write for myself, not for an audience.

A few weeks ago, I went to a new gynecologist who diagnosed me with possible endometriosis and/or PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Neither of these are easy to conclusively diagnose, but my symptoms and medical history pointed to the possibility of both. Since coming off of birth control in April, I got a period at the beginning of May and nothing since. I’ve had daily (though not constant) pelvic pain, discomfort, and nausea that mimics morning sickness for over 3 months.

I’ve been through some pretty painful doctor’s visits and test check-ins where it was strongly suggested that I may be pregnant – and then getting those big fat negatives became a huge letdown.

I’ve never really wanted a period in and of itself, but I found myself jealous of women who have predictable cycles where their periods come every month like clockwork. My body couldn’t do that. Not even after 13 years of “training” on the Pill. I’m back to being 13/14 years old and wondering where my period is for months. But on top of that, now I have intermittent pain, discomfort, and nausea that prevent me from being a normal functioning adult.

Truth be told, the whole situation is making me frustrated and angry. So getting a diagnosis was a relief in the sense that I can name what I’m going through, but it led to even bigger questions and problems because neither one of those conditions has a clear diagnosis or a clear answer. My gynecologist literally told me to either get back on birth control pills or get pregnant. Kind of weird because birth control pills just mask some symptoms (although it positively prevents the growth of endometriosis if that’s what I have) and it will be pretty hard to get pregnant when I’m not ovulating. So I asked her about fertility and she told me not to worry about it because I’m “only 27”. Okay, I get it – logically I have at least 13 years left of “childbearing years” – but what about my life? What if raising children is what I wanted to be doing for the next 13+ years, not waiting to get started?

The day that Dayne and I went to see her, I was VERY resistant to going back on birth control pills because of my last experience with them, so I told her I didn’t want to go back on them and she told me to just monitor my (lack of a) cycle. We also discussed the Progesterone Challenge my previous gynecologist recommended, and she thought I should go through with it (with natural progesterone instead of the synthetic because it carries less risk of side effects) and then continue to do it every 3 months if I don’t get a period in between. That was that.

After we came home, that night was filled with arguing and LOTS of tears. One of the worst nights ever. Dayne called me out on being terrified that I might not be able to have children, and I am. It’s not that we wouldn’t try to adopt, but, from what I understand, that process can be excruciating (and incredibly expensive) and I know I’ll experience some emotional devastation if we’re not able to biologically have our own child(ren). Plus the fact that either route – trying to get pregnant naturally and then adding help, or adopting, could take years upon years. I thought we’d be happily off to starting our family within the next two.

I completed my Progesterone Challenge last week and I got a brief period a couple of days ago. The period was a relief but also a reminder – now we have to make some more difficult decisions based on a couple of inconclusive diagnoses. If I stay off of birth control, every month that I don’t get a period will be filled with anxiety and disappointment, let alone the pain and discomfort that I may inevitably continue to feel. If I go back on it, I will temporarily feel better but know that I am just “going through the motions” and waiting to go forward with another possibly very difficult 6 months (the GYN said I should be off of birth control for at least six months before trying to conceive, and I am currently in my 5th month) before I can truly move forward with what I want to be doing (trying to become a mother). And then there’s the possibility that we may start trying in the near future, and I could go see a reproductive endocrinologist/fertility doctor and feel like I’m moving on with my life.

The funny thing is that once you’re married, you have to make these decisions with somebody else who may disagree with you. I can’t just settle on what I think is best and run with it. We have to emotionally be in the same place to move forward. And that becomes a very difficult thing.


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Weekend Update: First Full Weekend of 2012 Edition

Sometimes I have to blog about things so that I’ll remember them in the future, and this weekend was so chock full of good stuff that a blog entry is definitely in order.

2012 is shaping up to be a fantastic year, mostly because of our commitment to reading through the Bible this year using the Daily Walk Bible. Did I mention that Dayne decided to do it with me? 😀 When I bought my Bible, I ordered two more – one for Dana and one for whoever else decided to do it. None of my girlfriends volunteered, and Dayne asked if I wanted him to join me. It has been one of the better experiences in our marriage so far. We often talk about the things we’re reading – things that stood out to us that are just plain cool, questions that were raised during our readings, and we sometimes process the devotionals/applications together. It’s so nice to have a casual, regular way to talk about God and our individual walks in faith. Not only that, it is just so incredibly refreshing and exciting to be in the Word and growing closer to the heart of God everyday. I’m finding that Genesis, so far, reads like a novel, where I can’t wait to see what happens next to Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham & Sarah, and Isaac & Rebekah. For the first time for me, these stories have fit together like a puzzle where I can see God walking alongside each person and continuously acting in their lives. It reinforces for me the truth that God never changes; He has been the same all along (“…the Father of the heavenly lights… does not change like shifting shadows.” [James 1:17]). He walked so intimately with His people, and it is a challenge for me to accept that He still wants to walk that intimately with us today, that we need to orient ourselves toward Him, “fix our eyes” on Him (2 Cor. 4:18, Heb. 12:2) and try to “keep in step” with Him in obedience (Gal. 5:25).

José, one of Dayne’s friends from work, let us borrow the New Super Mario Bros. for Wii, so Dayne & I have been playing that at random times together. Dayne (or should I say “Mario”) gets upset with me (or should I say “Luigi”) because I lose a lot of lives, but it’s really nice to have a co-op game we can play together (and surely “Luigi” will get better). We played that sporadically throughout the weekend, and it was fun!

On Saturday, Dayne got up super early to go to our new church’s Men’s Bible Study. They meet at Cracker Barrel so there’s some breakfast incentive. 🙂 I was so proud of him for getting up and going! I thought I would sleep through it (since it’s at 7:30), but I got up when Dayne was getting ready and had some delicious quiet time eating breakfast, reading my Bible, cleaning up around the house, and starting The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. It sounds like Dayne’s gonna keep going on Saturdays, and I think that’s wonderful for both of us.

Saturday was such a gorgeous day, and it was our first completely free day in a while, so we took it upon ourselves to go to the Brandywine Zoo.

At the Zoo.

I had gone to the Brandywine Zoo a few times with my family when I was growing up, and I somehow remember it being a lot bigger??? It is a tiny zoo. But it was fun; they have some weird and random animals! Our favorite was the capybara, since we were discussing on the way to the zoo how much we like prairie dogs, and the capybara looks (and sounds) like a giant guinea pig. I also got some nice photos of Dayne petting the pygmy goats…

The zoo's capybara, before he got upset and squeaked and went inside his house.

Dayne petting the pgymy goats... they were all OVER him!

After the zoo, which was free that day (awesome!), we spontaneously decided to go to ChaddsFord Winery. Dayne has become a wine fan since marrying me, which was exactly what was supposed to happen. 😉 We took a self-guided tour, and instead of doing a tasting on empty stomachs, we picked out a few kinds of wine to take home and try. I’m especially excited about the Spiced Apple Wine, which you can heat on the stove with cinnamon sticks and spices to make hot mulled apple wine. Cozy and yum!

On our way home, we stopped at Arby’s for Jamocha shakes (delicious!). We ended up going out to dinner that night at Chili’s (with a gift card!), which was nice since we haven’t gone out on a dinner date in a while, either.

On Sunday, we got up and went to our church. I am so in love with this church and so thankful that God has so obviously led us there. Connection (small) groups are starting back up for the new year, so we signed up to get more information on a Financial Peace University class and a Marriage study. The young couples’ group is also starting back up this week (!), so we’re going to that tomorrow night and I.cannot.wait.

The sermon series is currently on Ezekiel and being fearless… since fear and anxiety are things I struggle with, I’m thankful to be focusing on them early in the New Year. It’s exciting to feel what God is doing in my heart, see what God is doing with my husband & me, and to also be a part of what God’s doing in our church.

After church, we mustered up our courage to try another meal in the Crockpot (after our first failure which I was too embarrassed and disappointed to write about). I was intrigued by this blog earlier this year, and then I got the author’s actual cookbook for Christmas this year from my brother: MORE Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. We threw in the ingredients for a Ground Beef Layered Casserole and crossed our fingers!

After that, we quickly headed out the door to go over to see the family I used to nanny for. It was wonderful to see them all again! Seriously so much fun. The older girl just turned 4 and it is amazing to watch how fast both of the girls grow up. We had a great time meeting their two new cats, seeing the girls’ gifts from Santa, reading stories, catching up with the parents, and swinging the girls by their ankles (that was more Mr. Dayne, not me). The girls fell in love with Dayne (“Mr. Dayne is so funny”) and I was old news by the end of the afternoon 🙂

Finally, last night Dayne and I ate our casserole and watched a documentary on Netflix. I’m quite happy to start a new week with such a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend behind me!

What are your favorite things to do on free weekends?


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The Coffee Diaries… and The Gym.

While I had The Bug, I wasn’t drinking any coffee. I’m not a huge coffee drinker in the first place – I only have a cup a day – but I am pretty dependent on that first-thing morning cup (as long as it’s not Starbucks Natural Fusions Cinnamon). Fortunately for me, I didn’t notice the withdrawal effects during The Bug because I was too busy throwing up or trying not to throw up. Then by the time The Bug was out of my system, I was officially un-addicted to caffeine!

Proud of my new healthy lifestyle, I decided not to drink coffee anymore, except for VSO’s (Very Special Occasions). Or getting the Keurig off our registry (yes, that was a shameless plug for our Bed Bath & Beyond registry).

*Cue choir of angels*

Well, that resolution lasted about two weeks. If you can even count that. I was lying to myself, telling myself I felt sooooo energetic now that I didn’t have the ups and downs of caffeine with the crash at the end… meanwhile I was falling asleep every time I sat down long enough to blink. I knew something had to be done when I started getting too tired to trust myself driving the girls. So on the *really bad days* (which was everyday), I started having a Diet Coke with lunch. Which really helped! I felt great in the afternoons. But still felt drugged in the mornings. And knew that Diet Coke is probably worse than coffee. Tuesday I stopped lying to myself and stopped for an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts on the way back from the preschool pick-up.

“Getting coffee?” two little voices asked from the backseat. Oh, the shame.

Yesterday I held my ground until after breakfast. Then, when I was alone – like an addict – I poured myself the remainder of what was in the coffeemaker. Then sent Dayne this text: “Coffee diary approx day #14 – drinking coffee by 8:30 am. Rainy day.

Today I finally gave in and had my “normal” morning cup of coffee in front of everyone (okay, so it was in front of the mom I work for and the girls. But I might as well have worn a tee-shirt that said “WEAK”).

 

But I am getting better at something. I went to the gym today for the first time in… ever. I cut the tags off a sports bra I bought at least 2 years ago. I delightfully found a pair of gym shorts that I forgot I even had, but then vaguely remember wearing to a yoga class at some point. My Nalgene bottle finally came down off the shelf. And I met up with the lovely Ashlee and “ran” (do you run on an elliptical?) for two miles/a half hour. Not too bad. Maybe that’s a leaf I can actually turn over!