Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Feeling Negative

I really, honestly thought this was the cycle. I don't know why, I just had a good feeling about it (although, this definitely isn't the first time I've had a "good feeling" about a negative cycle). I was pretty sure I ovulated on time (my face broke out and my boobs ached...yes, I get really fantastic symptoms), and we had lots of sex. Even twice in one day!!

But my boobs have been sore SINCE ovulation, like early pregnancy sore. I was starving all the time, but after a few bites I was stuffed. And my stomach felt weird. That's not really a symptom, but it felt different, like something was pulling on my belly button from the inside. I realize that's totally meaningless, but I was sure it was so different from normal that it must mean I was pregnant. 

Today I'm spotting. If there's a silver lining to this, it's that my cycle was 29-30 days--getting much more regular. I also can hopefully get into to see my doctor in December and use up the rest of our HSA for this year. I didn't want to schedule an appointment while I was still waiting to find out if I was pregnant. Unlike many infertile women, I don't like to pee test. I used to, but too many negatives have made me sad. I don't know why, but I'd just rather find out by getting my period in the morning than by a test yelling "Not Pregnant" at me. It just seems to hurt less.

Some day soon I should start charting again and using OPKs. I tried for a while, but my temperatures were all over the place--after four months there wasn't even a hint of a pattern. And the OPKs were just waste of money.

My best friend is almost 30 weeks pregnant, and she struggled for a year to conceive too. I was so happy that our pregnancies could overlap at least a little bit. I counted the weeks until I could tell my parents. I don't know why I do that...set myself up to be disappointed. But I do it every month.

Cycle Day 1 will either be today or tomorrow. 

And I'm feeling really good about this cycle.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Waiting Place

The title for this blog has a story of its own. I sort of eluded to it in the blog post about My Story, and it's something I've written about before in many different stages of my life. Remember the Dr. Seuss book Oh, The Places You'll Go!? You know, the one everyone gets as a gift at graduation? Well, I got one from my high school English teacher. She was an amazing mentor and friend to me through high school, and I loved the personalized note she wrote inside the cover. I still display it on a shelf in my house.

One of the sections is called The Waiting Place.

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

I love the whole book, but this section has always spoken to me. Maybe because when I got the book I knew I had to spend two years at community college before I could go the university I really wanted to in order to finish my degree. Maybe because I had already been dating my boyfriend for three years, but I knew I still had four more before we could get married. Maybe because I've always been very, very impatient, and it's incredibly hard for me to just wait.

And for those of us on this infertility journey, they're is a whole freaking ton of waiting. The dreaded two-week wait after ovulation before finding out if you're pregnant. Then finding out you're not pregnant and needing to wait two more weeks for ovulation to try again. Waiting for test results, waiting for the "all clear" from the doctor. Waiting for appointment day to come. And maybe the worst yet: waiting in the waiting room.

I'm kind of an awkward girl, and waiting rooms just seem to bring out the worst in me. Sitting there uncomfortably, surrounded by strangers, trying not to make eye contact, but secretly wondering what they're in for. Maybe that's just me. The sheer number of office waiting rooms I've been in is pretty remarkable...but for many of you, it's been worse. I've read your stories of sitting in the OBGYN office next to pregnant women and women with babies. You've shared your horror stories of waiting in the RE's office, wanting to make conversation with those you know are in the same infertility club with you.

So much of infertility is waiting, it seems. And waiting is probably the worst part. If I could at least be doing something, I would feel better. But I'm stuck in The Waiting Place, waiting for Another Chance and a Better Break.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Story

This is going to be long, so hold on to your hats. Feel free to skim if you do not care--this is more than my infertility story, this is my whole life story.

I began dating Bobby when I was 16 (four days after I turned 16 to be exact). He is a few months younger than me, but a grade behind me in school--so he was a freshman and I was a sophomore in high school. I think the day he asked me out, he knew we would get married one day. He's always had that weird confidence about him. We dated throughout high school, and when I graduated I went to community college in town.

So for one year, he was still in high school and I was in college, but living in the same town. The next year, Bobby joined me at community college. We'd been dating for four years all ready, and starting to get hassled about when we would get married. In fact, at this stage of our life, many of our friends got married--friends who had only been dating a year or two. It was disheartening, knowing that I still wanted to go away to school to finish my degree--and that we were still at least two years away from marriage. It felt like everyone was passing us by, and I was stuck in the waiting room.

The next year, I transferred schools to get my BA in English Writing. The university was about an hour away from my home town. I loved the school, loved the program, and was so blessed to be able to go. But I definitely missed Bobby, who was finishing up school still at the community college. On New Year's Eve 2009, Bobby proposed. I was a senior in college, with one semester left before graduation. We'd been dating six years.

Bobby was done with college and working full time. I was so excited to marry the man of my dreams and my high school sweetheart. We were finally moving out of the waiting room and starting our life. Our wedding was planned for August 2010--so we had an eight and half month engagement. However, I was still in school for a little over five of those months, so I really planned the wedding in about three months. I also was looking for a job.

When I moved back in with my parents after graduating in May, I job searched hard core for about three months. Once it hit July, I cut back, figuring most employers wouldn't be thrilled that I would want a full week off for a honeymoon a month after starting work. I focused on wedding planning (okay, and watching a ton of HGTV--let's be real).

We got married on August 14, and it was perfect. We were FINALLY married! It only took us six and half years to get there. I then moved into Bobby's apartment--a tiny, basement apartment. It was all one room--so our bed was in the corner of our living room, which was also the dining room/kitchen--talk about open concept! Our "kitchen" was a small hotel-sized kitchen. The stove and fridge across from each other, with a sink, two cupboards, and a three-square piece of counter top. We had nowhere to store food, so we set up a floor-to-ceiling bookcase next to the fridge and stuck our food on there.

Bobby was working for a huge insurance company in town, in the mail room. It had excellent benefits and hours, but the pay was not great (something like $9.15 an hour) and I was still unemployed. I started applying for jobs like crazy. Thankfully, neither of us had any student loans, but we had a car payment, cell phones, and rent. The reason we survived that first year, was that our apartment was only $500/month--utilities (including our own washer/dryer), internet, satellite TV all included. The price definitely made up for the lack of cupboards  and counters.

Unfortunately, I was unemployed until December. We had to start dipping into the few thousand dollars savings I had brought into the marriage (my parents graciously paid for my college). We panicked constantly about getting pregnant. We were friends with the two couples that had lived in our apartment previously--both had to move out when they found out they were expecting. We were nervous there was something in the water! I was on birth control, plus we used condoms with spermicide, and I would pee and shower IMMEDIATELY after sex (I have no idea if this does anything. Someone told me once that if you pee after sex, the acid in the urine kills the sperm...I'm dumb and science is NOT my thing). Our apartment had zero room for a baby and we were spending more money than we were making just to feed ourselves--this was NOT the time for me to get pregnant. Of course, knowing what I do now, I could have saved myself some stress.

In December, I took a temp job reporting for a newspaper, and in March 2011 I finally landed my current career. With two incomes, we felt rich! But we still lived like we were broke. We saved like maniacs, didn't spend much, and our apartment was still extremely cheap. We could breathe again.

After our one year in anniversary in August 2011, we started talking about starting a family. We had both gotten raises at work (Bobby even moved up in the company). Bobby was not ready. He wanted to be married at least two years before I went off birth control. We were enjoying our lives together and not ready to give up our freedom. In September, I started coaching volleyball at my old high school. It was awesome--the girls were fantastic, and we won our state championship that year! Sports have always been incredibly important to me, and I was excited to get back into coaching. Bobby was then asked to coach basketball that winter, and he loved it too. We realized we wouldn't have been able to be as involved with these kids if we had children of our own. Most of friends were getting pregnant and having kids, but we just weren't ready to give up sleeping in, going to midnight movies, taking spontaneous trips, and being irresponsible sometimes. But at times, I felt like I was stuck in the waiting room again.

That winter, I started bugging Bobby about wanting to get out of the apartment. It was cozy and pretty easy to keep clean, but we also had zero windows, no control of the thermostat, and one tiny closet under the stairs to put both our clothes (and I mean tiny. It was basically Harry Potter's bedroom). Plus, we had free satellite TV and I watched a ton of HGTV. I wanted to House Hunt.

We started looking at houses online, and got pre-approved for a loan in January 2012. We looked at houses the first of February and on February 15, we signed all our paperwork and were home owners! It was a crazy time of negotiating and signing our lives away to the bank, but we loved our new little home so much.

Since we owned a home now and had been married one and half years, we revisited the baby discussion. I was 24 years old and feeling the baby itch really bad. But Bobby still wasn't there yet. Which was okay, I wanted to wait until he would be excited with me. We decided that on our second anniversary in August, I would stop taking birth control.

Well, my prescription ended in April, and I didn't want to go back to the doctor to get it renewed if we were just going off it in a few months, so Bobby agreed (reluctantly) to just use condoms for a few months. In August 2012, after our second wedding anniversary, we ditched the condoms. It was also the first time I got my period since stopping birth control in May. Until this point, I had always assumed I would stop birth control and immediately get pregnant. Isn't that how it worked for everyone else? Believe me, I spent many months consulting Dr. Google about how soon my period would return once going off birth after being on it for eight years. Dr. Google was not comforting. Many women returned to natural cycles immediately, even getting pregnant the first month. Other women took over a year to return to their normal cycles. OVER A YEAR! While being period-free for a year sounded nice, I also was really starting to want a baby--and I didn't want to wait a whole year to even start ovulating again!

For the next year, my periods were irregular. My cycles would range from 30 days to 45 to 80. It was frustrating, but I didn't know what to do. I didn't get a period from November 2012 until March 2013. During that time, I tried teas, massage, acupuncture, anything I could to get it started. Nothing worked. I even saw my regular doctor in November, but she said they "didn't really do fertility consulting" until we'd been trying for a year. I wasn't super concerned that I wasn't pregnant yet, but I was concerned that my period was whacked out. I knew I couldn't get pregnant if I couldn't ovulate, but no one seemed willing to help, and I really had no one to talk to. Many of my friends were on their second kid at the time, and once again, I was stuck in the waiting room.

Flash forward to now (thank goodness, right? sick of this book yet?). It's November 2013, and we've been trying to conceive for a year (I realize that's like an infant in infertility years, I'm sorry). My periods are sort of starting to return to normal (although my last cycle was 40 days, after a perfect 30 for two cycles in a row). And of course, every minute my period is late, I hope beyond all hope that I'm pregnant. It never works out.

I'm 25 years old, about to turn 26 in February. My husband is totally on board with wanting a baby, but we're both really scared to say out loud how much we want one. It's like admitting that we really, really want a baby is admitting that we're sucking at getting pregnant. That may seems weird to many of you, but it's how I've always been. I never want to admit to wanting something outloud to others--then they'll know how much I'm failing at it.

Infertility is embarrassing to me. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it is. That's why I'm writing here anonymously instead of on my own blog. When people ask (which they do ALL THE FREAKING TIME) why we don't have kids, we say we're just enjoying our lives right now, with all the freedom, sleep, and no responsibility.

I haven't started any sort of fertility treatments yet (so maybe I don't belong in your community, but I hope you'll welcome me anyway!), I'm still holding on to getting pregnant on our own. I know I need to visit my doctor soon to see if there's anything wrong with me, but I've been putting it off. I guess I'm scared to find out if I have PCOS, endometriosis, or the dreaded "unexplained fertility."

My goodness, did anyone read this whole thing? I'm winded just from typing everything. This is our story.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Here it Goes

I've been blogging since I was in high school. I love blogs--the journal, the simplicity, and most importantly the community. So while I've run many blogs over the last 10 years, I'm starting this one new. Why? A few reasons:1. My husband and I are struggling to get pregnant (more on that story to come).
2. I'm a writer--it's my full-time job, it was my major in college, and it's my hobby. I write as a way to process and a way to vent. It's natural to me.
3. I want to start a blog where I can do those things mentioned above. So far, I have been silent on this infertility struggle, and I need a place to talk about it.
4. Thus the new blog (these numbers no longer make sense--but I'm going with it!). I currently write on my own, personal blog, but I haven't shared a single thought about infertility over there. And I don't really want to start now. That blog is read by my family and friends--all of whom are unaware of my struggles. And for the moment, I want to keep it that way.

I've been reading infertility blogs for a few months now. And as much as I really, really wish I wasn't part of this community, in the same way, I want to be. I've watched you link with each other and become friends. I've watched you bare your soul, share your struggles, and receive support. All the while, I've been hiding behind my computer, wishing I could get some of that support.

So here it goes. Please support me in this journey. I've probably been creepily stalking your blog already. I know your story, your husband, your dogs. I hope you can get to know mine as well (not dog. I don't have a dog).