Welcome to My Story

I hope this can be a place of sharing and healing. I want to share my struggles and surprises on this journey. I want to help you find healing like I did by relying on my faith and pursuing my dream of writing a children's book. Maddy and Scooter: Unlikely Friends is not only my book, but an action response to my grief. I hope you can give birth to your dream!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Well...it's been a year! And what a year it has been!

I know it has been a little over a year since my last post announcing the impending arrival of a long-awaited baby! The journey of pregnancy was a joyous one and concluded in a 40 hour labor with the arrival of our baby girl, Sydney on December 26 at 2:30am! I didn't feel I could post earlier because I wanted to enjoy the pregnancy and not dwell on what could be or might not happen. I honestly didn't truly relax and believe our little one would arrive until about the 6 month when I knew she could probably survive outside the womb even if something crazy happened. Since her birth, I barely have had time to sleep yet alone write and reflect. I am hoping as she begins to sleep a little more (and so do we) that there is more time to get back to writing and definitely reflecting. With all of the struggles and uncertainties about a baby, my body, and all that came with it I still marvel that she is really here. I have been so exhausted for months that it is just starting to set in...I have a daughter!  She is happy, healthy and even trying to crawl.

The journey of infertility at last is complete... or is it? We have already thought about having more kids because we are no spring chickens and adoption has crept up in conversation again. I believe adoption is a calling and I want to be open and actually am open to that, because I believe an adopted child is not born of your womb but of your heart. So we will see what the future holds....will we have an only child or four kids? Who knows?

I do want to emphasize one final time if you are one this journey of infertility don't give up hope! God makes families all different ways and you too will have the family you are meant to have. At night when I am rocking Sydney to sleep I look at her and count my blessings. God has been so good to us and he does answer prayers! Blessing on your journey!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Joy Will Be Complete

It has been almost 9 months since I last posted about taking a break and the anniversary of losing our baby. I have deliberately chosen not to keep posting because I have really not known what to say. I guess I thought one day I would come here to say either we are having a baby or we have decided to not have children and move on. These last few months have continued as such an incredible time of emotional and spiritual growth that I feel grateful for all I have had the opportunity to do.

Only a few people know this story, but I feel it appropriate to share here. When we lost our baby back in 2009, the day after the miscarriage I remember sitting home alone and trying to process all of my feelings. I can still remember where I was sitting in our living room and how I was just searching and trying to feel some sort of hope in this whole situation. My usual go to any other difficult time in life was to reach for the Bible and find scriptures that would comfort me. This day nothing was calling out to me and I as I kept flipping I literally said aloud to God, "Help me out here! I need something comforting!" The next page I opened was in John chapter 16. Now anyone who has had an experience like this can validate it is only by the divine ability of God to open your eyes and show you exactly what he wants to say and what he wants you to hear. That day I received a promise one day my joy would be complete that I knew was meant just for me. 

The scripture reads like this,"Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." -John 16: 20-22

I have had the scripture on a bulletin board in our kitchen for 2 1/2 years. Most days I would wonder if it would ever come true! I even many times doubted it would ever happen for me. Part of my journey these last few months I had even given up this promise and desire to have children. I tried to really surrender this desire to God and asked Him to even take it away. Well as you may know, anytime you turn something back over to God he just keeps on giving and blessing.

On January 1 of 2013 we are due to have our joy completed! God does keep his promises always and Andy and I are excited to announce we are expecting a baby! I am almost 14 weeks and we saw the baby on an ultrasound this week and it was so thrilling. Everything looks good and the baby was very active. At one point it even raised his arm and looked like it waved at us. It was funny. I felt like again God gave us a little nod there that the baby was doing okay and He was in charge as He always has been. That scripture is still in my kitchen, but now an ultrasound photo of our baby is just above it.

Anyone who has followed our story of trial and triumph or if you are reading this blog for the first time, I want to make one thing clear. This has not been an easy journey and there are still many anxious days ahead, but I am confident in one thing. God always keeps his promises and he wants to bless us. He is a caring Father who is ready to help us with anything we are going through. If you surrender your desires and hopes to Him, you will not be disappointed! He is faithful even when we are faithless.  God bless!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Year Anniversary

Yes we are still taking a break from actively trying to have a baby, but that doesn't mean I don't still think about it from time to time or wonder if we will ever conceive. It has been such a relief these last couple of months to not have the added stress of trying to make this happen. We have been super busy with personal life and career stuff and honestly it has felt so much more peaceful not wondering and waiting and taking pills to see what will happen this month. This weekend gave me a little time for reflection because Saturday was the two year anniversary of when we lost our baby. It is really hard for me to believe two years have gone by and even harder to believe that we have been trying this long. As I reflected I actually was really grateful. As sad as it seems sometimes and I still wonder what life would be like if we had a toddler running around the house right now, I am almost grateful for the miscarriage. In so many ways it has been a blessing. It has definitely been a growing period for me, both emotionally and spiritually. Also, I know the things we are working on now and the lifestyle we are working so hard to achieve would not be happening. The people I have gotten to meet and relationships I have made even these last few months are all results of taking leaps of faith and diving into areas Andy and I thought we would never get to do. All of the travel and time spent pursuing our dreams and desires would not be happening with a toddler in tow. Some people can make it happen but I know us. We would be all consumed with the day to day of a little person in our lives and not have the opportunities we do to really achieve some big life goals. I know it would be a blessing to have a child and some day I still have hope we can experience that, but for now I am enjoying my time with Andy and all of our adventures! Life is a bumpy road, but in the end it is all worth it. So during this difficult time of year I am grateful. Grateful that for a brief time God gave me the gift of a baby that I do believe I will see again one day in heaven and grateful that he dreamed bigger dreams for me than I ever had for myself.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time for a Break

While Summer is winding down and kids are heading back to school, I am ready for my vacation. Not a real vacation to somewhere warm and tropical, although that doesn't sound too bad either, but a vacation from all of the stress of infertility. Well, that is exactly what we are doing. After this week, no more weekly treatments, charting my temperature, testing my ovulation, assigning days of the week for sex, taking a lot of supplements, seeing specialists, getting blood drawn, eating or avoiding certain foods or obsessing in my head about what else I should do! Just making the decision to stop all of this has felt like a relief and a much needed vacation. We have been actively trying for over two years and weren't preventing anything for about three years before that. For now, I give up. I surrender. I had to wrestle with the idea that taking a break wasn't a form of quitting. I felt if we stopped everything and it all came to a halt I was quitting and admitting failure. I am not there yet, but Andy said to me recently he could be truly happy still if we never had kids. That was a big game changer for me. We are so busy and developing two businesses right now that I thought why am I doing all of this? So, I came to the conclusion it was break time. We may at some time in the future go back to trying and step it up by having a procedure or two done, but not now. We will know when the time is right. I hope this can be a true time of rest and fulfillment for us as we are putting our lives on a new course. I am now headed into a season of vacation and it feels great!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What to Say to Your Man About Infertility

It is hard for most men to understand this process and what we go through on a daily basis. Forget infertility... how about PMS, menopause and everything in between? I always say to Andy I just wish you could walk in my shoes for only one day! That is all it would take! He is extremely understanding and supportive as you may know from my other blog posts. I couldn't ask for more from him. Some don't have it so easy. Recently, a man (not my husband) said to me that I just need to focus my mind harder on having a baby. He explained it is all in my mind and the mind controls the body, etc. I just started sobbing. If only he realized how much of my mind does focus on this. In his defense, he was trying to be helpful and perhaps didn't know how much I think about this daily. My mother-n-law, who is very wise, explained it best like this, telling a woman to "just think about it and focus" is like telling a man he can no longer have sex and not to think about it. Just relax and focus and it will happen...but it doesn't. Would that be torture for your man? Welcome to my world. Relax, sure. Focus, okay. Just let go and it will happen...trying. Perhaps use this analogy for your partner to understand a glimpse of what you are experiencing.

Also, here is a good article where Bill Rancic of The Apprentice fame discusses his struggles with infertility that he and his wife Guiliana Rancic from E! News face and how they deal with the issue.

Friday, June 24, 2011

When Do You Try Something Else?

Here is a great article I had to share that I came across on the RESOLVE website...it hit me where I am right now. We are approaching August and that is when my doctor wants to move on and try something else. Medication, IUI, hormones...what to do next? Acupuncture has been great but I seem to be getting worse these last 2 months! I am also on Progesterone if I ovulate after day 14 and it is making me weird...so weird I stopped taking it this month. SHH! Don't tell my doctor! I am very frustrated and super busy with career stuff and honestly wondering about taking a break from it all for awhile. My only issue is I feel like I would be wasting valuable time. What to do? Maybe this article will help you solve that mystery too...enjoy!

Is It Time to Move On?

by Penny Joss Fletcher, M.A., LMFT
Published in the Summer 2011 issue of Resolve for the journey and beyond
Whether you have done three cycles of the same treatment or ten cycles of a variety of treatments, when you are not successful in conceiving and bringing a baby home, you will be asking yourselves what to do next. How are you to know when enough is enough?
First, consider taking a break from treatment if you are feeling extremely overwhelmed. This will give you a chance to recuperate from the daily doctor visits and medication injections. It will also allow you to experience what it feels like to not be on the infertility rollercoaster. You may decide that you do not want to get back on it or you may find yourself enthusiastic to begin the next step.
When you find yourself at a crossroads about what to do next, start by assessing how much the treatment process has affected you up to this point. What’s the status of your resources – finances, time, emotional energy, physical energy, social support?  Are you morally, ethically or religiously comfortable with the next treatment options offered? Maybe you do not really know anymore how you feel and need to check in with a mentor, a trained counselor or a support group member? Be sure to take into consideration the diagnosis and prognosis you have received from your physician. It is not necessary to have tried everything available but to know you have given it your very best effort respecting your physical, emotional and financial resources.

Research and Soul Searching

Some couples are not going to be on the same page at the same time. Communicating about your needs, opinions and emotions must stay active. If you believe your feelings are not being heard, or you can not understand your partner’s feelings, seek help from a mental health professional who specializes in reproductive medicine.
Who is responsible for saying that treatment should stop? Is it the physician or the patient? The bottom line is that the patient is the one who has to take on the ultimate responsibility. No physician can give guaranteed results – positive or negative. What you should be able to receive from your physician (and/or a second opinion) is what all of your options are and an assessment of your chance for success.  Many physicians say that after doing a treatment 2-3 times without conceiving, it is time to move on to something new.
Sometimes people continue medical treatment to avoid the grief and loss of not reaching their goal of conceiving a child. Avoiding painful feelings will not make them disappear. Experiencing the sadness and starting the grieving process individually or together as a couple can be an integral part of the decision-making process about what to do next.
Some questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether you might be ready to stop treatment are:
  • Is it difficult to be hopeful as you start a new cycle?
  • Are you feeling resentful that you’ve put so much of your life on hold in order to pursue parenthood? 
  • Has your relationship lost its passion and joy? 
  • Is the idea of being a parent more important to you than being pregnant?
Many people going through infertility treatment could answer “yes” to many of these questions every now and then, but if you find yourself answering “yes” most of the time, then it may be time to reset your family-building goals.
Do research on all of your options – third party reproduction, adoption, childfree living. Talk to people who have taken those routes to find out if you can picture yourself in their shoes. Being open to all possibilities does not mean you have to accept all possibilities. It just means you consider them so that you can make a thoughtful and informed decision that fits your life.
Nothing and no one can guarantee that you will not have regrets because every decision we make leaves the decision not followed open for regret. The goal for this moment is to anticipate, as best you can, what your regrets might be when you look back on today’s choices. Fifteen years from now you might say, “I wish we had done one more IVF.” Or “I wish we had tried donor eggs.” Or “I wish we had adopted.” But you might also say, “I wish we could have had children, but we tried our best.” We learn to live with our choices and build a life beyond them.
Knowing whether to stop infertility treatment is a major decision that cannot be made in an instant. When you take into consideration all of the recommended steps discussed here, you will come to the decision that is right for you.
Penny Joss Fletcher, M.A., is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Tustin, California, specializing in infertility and adoption issues. She has been a volunteer and support group leader for RESOLVE Orange County for over 15 years and is also an active member of ASRM’s Mental Health Professional Group. She can be reached at (714) 730-7996 or through her website at www.infertility2adoption.com.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Acupuncture for Fertility

I have not posted in awhile because I have been super busy! We just got back last week from New York City for vacation and to promote my Children's book. I love, love, loved New York City and my acupuncturist told me there is something to that New York tap water and baby making!
So we will see...

Speaking of acupuncture, this is what I want to focus on for my blog today. I have been undergoing fertility acupuncture for almost 5 months now at a wonderful place in San Diego called, Galena Acu Spa. My acupuncturist, Jeneanne Paden, is wonderful and the clinic has two locations in La Jolla as well as a great success rate for pregnancy.

I was recommended to use acupuncture as a more alternative treatment for fertility as well as it helps to relax the body and mind.  I am someone that hates needles and still cringe and feel light-headed when I go for blood work, especially with all of the testing for fertility purposes lately. I say all this to explain I am not a fan of being poked and prodded, but I LOVE acupuncture! I would have never thought I would actually look forward to the sessions and do not want to miss a single one. For me I go every week and I can't wait to get in there and fully relax. It is like a massage but you relax even deeper. The spa I go to is set up in such a way it is like going to a retreat and not a clinical medical facility. The room is dimly lit with a warm massage table and you lay listening to soft music while the needles are not even noticed, yet they send me into such a deep wave of relaxation my body turns to jello. After about 45 minutes of this the acupuncturist comes in takes out all of the needles, gives me a 15 minute head, neck and then foot massage. If this is fertility treatments then sign me up!
I almost feel guilty that I get to go and be so pampered every week, but I keep reminding my husband it is all for the sake of having a baby! I don't have the space to include it here but there is a growing significant amount of research showing that acupuncture for and in conjunction with other fertility treatments is becoming very reliable. It is not what I always envisioned of the ancient Chinese practice, it is better! It has helped me in so many ways and even gotten me off my thyroid medicine and I sleep so much harder and more restful. If it is something you are considering I say try it!

Here is a link if you want to check out where I go...