Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Big Barnes Door - Peter's Thoughts

Hey folks.  Last time I wrote a post in Jill and I's blog (mostly Jill's) was in 2011 about the Jeep that I had recently bought.  That Jeep has come and gone, but Jill and I are both still here so life is pretty good.

Its been a while since the last post Jill made regarding our struggle with infertility and a lot has happened since then.

Life is funny.  Sometimes it's funny like an old episode of I Love Lucy and other times it's funny in a more ironic sense.

We have had a little of both in the last four months.

Shortly after Jill wrote the last blog post we had the shock of a lifetime.  After years of trying and sitting in limbo, in between fertility specialists, and just waiting to get back to New York to start a new round of whatever it takes, Jill broke the news that she was pregnant.  She had about 10 pregnancy tests to prove it!

Wow!  That was quite the shock!

We were surprised, happy, scared, excited, and a million other feelings that I am sure there are words for but I am OK with those.  Jill set up the appointments with some wonderful doctors in the Quad Cities and after the first visit we got a confirmation that yup, HCG was there, the pregnancy hormone.  We scheduled follow up visits and each time we went in we saw the HCG levels increase, a good sign.  Eventually Jill was far enough along that we could do an ultrasound.  The first ultrasound we could see normal development, but found out that we were not as far along as we thought, so all we could see was the development sack.  We scheduled another ultrasound a week later and we saw that there was growth in the sack, but still too early to see anything else.  Again, we scheduled another ultrasound in another week.  The next ultrasound came along and we got news that there was still growth, but not as much as was expected, but still within the "normal range".  Well that is OK we guessed, normal is normal so lets be positive.  Again, another ultrasound in another week.  That week wasn't a good week.

This last ultrasound we found out that the growth was outside the normal range, that there was no fetus.  No baby.

That was a shock and I honestly didn't know how to react or think about it.  I knew I needed to be there for Jill so I played the part, tried to be upbeat and positive, strong in the face of personal and shared tragedy.  I kept that up for about 45 minutes.

This hurt and still does.  Not in a way that makes me unable to move forward, but in a way that when I think back now I hurt for the loss of what we could have had.  The pivotal change of growing our family was starting to form in my mind and then that door closed all of a sudden.

Life is funny.  We shared our challenge, got a surprise soon after, but then had that fall through.  But, life is also good.

Life is good because of the support we have received individually and together.  From one another and from many people reading this.

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I have faith that life will work out just the way it should.  Children have already been a part of our lives thanks to our friends and siblings who continue to share those special moments that they have with their kids.  I love to see them grow up and developing (and expressing!) their personalities.  I do wish that Jill and I could be closer to everyone though, but that would be hard since we have friends and family that are each coast and every where in between!

When life has been hard, Jill has been there to help me back up and I have been there to help Jill back up.  And sometimes when we have both been down, parents, siblings, friends, and many others have been there to help.  Thank you all.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

When Are You Gonna Have a Baby?

I remember one Sunday I was sitting in the back of a room at church.  Peter and I had just moved to New York and we didn't know many people yet.  A woman I recognized sat next to me.  I had seen her a few times in church meetings weeks prior and she was very friendly so I had no problem with her sitting and chatting.  She asked me your typical questions when you are the new person in church.  

"Where are you from?"
"What does your husband do?"
"Are you working?"
"How long have you been in the ward?"
"How long have you been married?"

I told her Peter and I will have been married for six years come July.

Then she got really quiet.

It was kind of an awkward silence.  Not just because she was looking at me for a while (or what felt like a while.  It was probably only about 5 seconds), but because I knew what she was going to say next.

"Usually about now I ask about kids..."

I just smiled and simply said, "No kids.  But we're working on it."

I know Peter and I have been married a while and the only living thing that has come from our married life so far is an old fat dog we bought at a shelter.  And I know a lot of people wonder and assume why we don't have any children yet.  I don't blame you.  I admit I wonder the same thing about other couples sometimes.  And I'm not offended at the woman in church for asking.  I'm use to the question so it doesn't bother me.  The truth is Peter and I would love to have children.  We have been wanting and praying for them for about 3 years now.  It just hasn't happened.

When Peter and I moved to Iowa in 2015, we felt like that was the time to actively try to have children. We were ready and excited to finally grow our family.  Eight months passed and nothing happened. So I went to my gynecologist.  We did an ultrasound and I was officially diagnosed with PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  I wasn't surprised when my doctor told me that.  I knew from a previous exam with a different doctor that I had cysts in my ovaries so I figured that was something I probably had.  I didn't want to let that stop us.  Millions of women are diagnosed with this every year and babies still come so I thought that's just what would happen.  He prescribed me with Clomid and off we were.  

I thought for sure the Clomid would work.  I would take some pills a few days out of the month, they would take my blood, and I would visit the doctor and he would tell me if I needed a higher dosage or not for the next month (I can say that, while I still hate needles more than almost anything, I no longer fight with the nurse or tear up when a needle comes close to my arm.  Any of those close to me know that itself is quite an accomplishment!).  I took Clomid for a few months and, lots of blood tests, an HSG test (so uncomfortable!) and testing Peter, the doctor thought it would be a good time to start IUI- Intrauterine Insemination.  Unfortunately, the doctor recommended the IUI right when we got the news that we were moving to New York.  We were excited about the move but my heart broke a little.  Why now?  We were just getting started!  I almost cried when I told the doctor we probably couldn't do the IUI now.  He looked disappointed as well.  However, I sucked it up, wiped my tears, and focused on our move.  Wallowing in self pity wasn't going to give us a baby.  

We got to New York and I immediately looked up fertility specialists close to us.  I found one an hour away from us in Buffalo that specialized in PCOS.  I made an appointment and was ready to get started again.  Then we found out we were moving back to Iowa.

You have got to be kidding me!

My heart broke a little again as I cancelled my appointment and packed up again to move back.  I was excited to visit friends and be in a familiar town again, and I was hopeful.  Maybe we were meant to have an Iowa baby!  Unfortunately, my doctor isn't available until March and by the time I see him again, we'll only have about two months left before we head back to New York.  So I don't think it's going to happen here.

Infertility is hard.  That is the truth.  I always wonder what life would be like with a baby.  We would've had a two year old by now if things went how they were suppose to.  Babies haven't come to us and probably won't come for a little while longer, and that's a hard pill to swallow sometimes.  I would be lying if I said that it doesn't hurt sometimes.  I would be lying if I said that I don't feel a slight sting when I get on Facebook and see yet some other couple is expecting.  I would be lying if I said there haven't been days where I weep in the shower and nights where I wait for Peter to fall asleep so he doesn't hear my silent sobs.  I want to be a mom and I want Peter to be a dad.  I want to be pregnant, no matter how uncomfortable and unattractive it is.  

But above all that, I don't want people to feel sorry for us.

  We love our friends and families and are so grateful for their love and support and we appreciate them being sensitive about our situation.  But I want to make something very clear.  Yes, there have been sad moments in this process like I have mentioned, but we don't dwell on them too much.  We know that, no matter how, we will be parents. And even though it's been three years, we're still in the early stages of this process so we're still hopeful.   

When I felt that pregnancy was going to be harder for us, I told Peter that I don't want to be that person that make siblings and friends uncomfortable when they call to announce their expecting.    Pregnancy is a very exciting time in a couple's life and it is not my right as a sister, a friend, and a woman to take that excitement away from someone.  Peter and I get so excited when we find out we're having another niece or nephew.  We love all of them so much.  And we get so excited for our close friends when they announce that they are expecting. We love all their children too.

Despite this trial, I am a blessed woman.  I have a husband that loves me so much, that he works long hours so I can live a comfortable life.  People don't understand sometimes that the husband has to deal with the emotional and physical pain that comes with infertility just as much as the wife.  He's going through this too, and yet, he always makes sure I get a hug when I need it. If worse comes to worse and we never bring a child into our home, as long as Peter is there, I'll be okay.  
I have a stubborn, but adorable dog that shows his excitement by wagging his whole body when I walk through the door after work.  
We have parents and siblings that have given their love and support no matter what.  They don't know how much that means to us.  
I have my mom that answers the phone to listen to me cry through my feelings sometimes.  She knows exactly what I'm going through and even though I'm 27, I still feel such comfort when I hear Mom's voice saying, "It'll all work out."
We have friends that are great at just being there.  Sometimes you just need someone to come to your place, sit next you (or text.  We have friends all over the country.), and let you know they're there for you.  Our friends are pros at that.

I hope you all know that, though we've hit a few 'bumps' (get the pun there?), we're going to be okay.  We are happy and we love our life.

And for those reading this that are struggling with infertility, I don't know your situation so I don't know if I can tell you it's going to happen.  But my wish for you is that you don't give up.  Do everything you possibly can to be parents, whether it's through fertility treatments or adoption.  If there is anything I learned from this experience, it's that you're a lot stronger than you think you are, and that Heavenly Father doesn't make mistakes.  You were given this trial for a reason.  He knows you're hurting, but He believes in you.  He loves you.  And you'll come through this stronger, wiser, and better.

Chocolate helps too.