2014 – 1, Me – 0

I know I’m not the only one that is glad that 2014 is OVER.  It was a rough year!

The last couple months were especially rough.  Not just because of the holidays.

We hadn’t told anyone, but we had been approached with a private adoption situation and were OVER THE MOON about it!  It seemed that we were FINALLY going to be parents!  We learned early last month that that possibility was gone.  It was very heartbreaking.  You don’t realize how invested your heart becomes so quickly.

I’ve been fighting off depression pretty badly.  Some days, it seems like I’m winning the battle.  Other days, it seems that the light at the end of the tunnel is barely flickering.  My husband has been so patient and loving with me.  I’m not entirely sure how he puts up with me sometimes.  Of course, I put up with him, too so I guess we’re even!  Well, that and he’s working a second job so I think that helps, too!

With J working a second job, I spend quite a bit of time alone.  It’s not always so bad, but I do get pretty lonely.  He’s been saying that I need to find something to do when he’s not here and because a lot of my depression (I think) comes from hating my body so much, I have decided that going to the gym is the perfect answer!  I find a hobby AND I can get in shape while doing it!  Talk about a WIN-WIN!!  (And NO, it’s NOT a New Years resolution!!)

I blame a lot of the extra weight I’m carrying on the fertility meds that I took for our IUI’s, but having a somewhat sedentary job and not doing much physical activity when I’m at home certainly hasn’t helped that!

I’m a little afraid to share with the world that I need to lose weight, but let’s face it, anyone that looks at me knows that’s no secret!  And the reason that I’m telling the world – well, the part of the world that reads this and actually cares – is because part of the battle is admitting weakness.  And the other part is accountability.

I am making a valiant effort to kick 2015’s butt and not the other way around!!

Also, if you follow me on Instagram or we are friends on Facebook, I have been participating in a really neat 60-day challenge that has been designed to let people in on our lives and get to know us better.  Here is the list of pictures that I will be sharing!

hopingtoadopt60days

This is in the hopes that through word-of-mouth we may be able to find the perfect match to help complete our family!  If you’re interested in following, you can “like” our Facebook page “Bringing Home Munchkin McNabb” or follow me on Instagram – @neeners079!!  It’s been a lot of fun so far!

Hope to see you there!

The Priceless Cost

Have you ever thought about the word ‘just’?  I think people use it too flippantly these days.  It’s used as an answer to almost every solution.  Here is a list of my favorite ‘just’ solutions for infertility:

  • ‘Just relax’ (been there)
  • ‘Just let go/don’t stress/don’t think about it’ (done that)
  • ‘Just drink a bottle of wine’ (drank LOTS of that)
  • ‘Just try artificial insemination/IVF’ (yup, done some of that, too)
  • ‘Just adopt’

Here’s my little nugget of wisdom.  Get a pen and a piece of paper and take notes…  Go ahead, I’ll wait.   Ready?

There is no ‘just’ about anything that has to do with any painful situation.

Any situation where a decision needs to be made that could significantly alter the outcome of an original perception requires intense discussion, pondering and most importantly, prayer.

As most of the people in our lives know (and heck, any stranger who will listen), J and I are in the process of adoption.  After our unsuccessful battle with infertility, we did some soul-searching and praying and decided that it wasn’t as important for us to be pregnant as it was for us to be parents.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  In 1976 in Massachusetts, Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed National Adoption Week.  President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation and in 1990, the week was extended to a month due to the excitement and participation by so many people and states.  There’s even one day of the month that is proclaimed as National Adoption Day and many adoptions are finalized all at the same time!  I just think that’s neat!

I have been criticized VERY harshly in the last couple days about the way I see adoption (as an amazing blessing), even to the point where I was told that I don’t deserve to have children and that me not being able to get pregnant must have been God’s way of telling us that we shouldn’t be parents and that there is no way that I could ever love an adopted child unconditionally because we HAVE to adopt and not WANT to adopt due to infertility.

The “conversation” – a term I use VERY loosely as it was more just overly assertive, opinionated people trying to get everyone else to believe exactly the way that they do rather than hear what anyone else has to say – escalated very quickly and left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed, scared, naïve and unprepared, to say the very least.

But as I remove myself from the “support group” – HA – that I got the criticism from, I realize that my opinion is just that.  MINE.

Every parent is frightened before they have their first child.  Ever parent wonders if they’ve screwed up monumentally along the way.  But every parent loves their child in an unconditional way that can’t be judged, deemed unworthy, viewed incorrectly or questioned by anyone else.

I say again:  Biology is the LEAST of what makes someone a parent!

I am beyond excited to meet the child that we will give a forever home to and love with every single nook and cranny of our hearts.  My heart pines and my arms ache for our child to come home.

To be woken repeatedly through the night to take care of someone who needs me.  To hear the pitter-patter of little feet.  To see daddy holding on to the bicycle seat while running alongside.  To wipe away tears after a broken heart.  To celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day from the inside.

And to the parents who love their child enough to make the painful, selfless decision to entrust them to us to love them enough for all of us, my heart will be eternally grateful.

We all have learning to do, growth to be made, challenges to be met, disappointments to face, joy to share…  And in this month of awareness, I know that I am learning and growing.  I’m facing challenges and disappointment.  But the joy that I will be able to share will be so worth it.

Home Study:  $1,500
Background Checks:  $250
Legal Fees:  Cost undetermined
Having a child to call our own:  Priceless

Doing What We Say

I KNOW!  It’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted a blog!  I hope you all don’t hate me!!

There has been SO much going on!  I can’t share it all just yet, but it’s REALLY exciting!

(**Disclaimer**  I know every time an infertile uses the words “It’s REALLY exciting” people’s minds wander, so let me put that question to rest now – I’m NOT pregnant!)

Fair Warning:  This blog might make you uncomfortable, and that’s kinda the point.  It might seem like a total rant, and that’s okay.  My goal is to challenge you – to make you think twice or even three times before making some decisions or statements.

I’ve said it before – this journey is hard!

It’s difficult to try SO hard for something, to want something SO badly, to pray for something SO fervently, to fight for something SO passionately …  and not get it.

And when you find a way that you MIGHT get the chance to realize that dream but have no way of affording it,  it’s even harder to swallow our pride and ask for help.

I’ve had people be so much more incredibly supportive than I ever could have imagined.

I’ve also had people tell me that if I can’t afford to do IVF or adoption, I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that because I can’t get pregnant, it’s God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that asking others for money to be a parent is a selfish thing to do and if I’m selfish maybe I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

 If it’s in an email or a message, I simply ignore it.  If it’s said to my face, I simply smile and nod.  (I may or may not say something equally inappropriate sometimes just to embarrass people and make them realize they are out of line making certain statements.)

I know I’ve shared a friend’s blog before that was SO important to me.  She talked about how doing something – even something small – can go such a long way.

We have people telling us all the time how much they support us.  And how they pray for us.  And how they hope we raise a lot of money.  We appreciate it ALL!

There are people who will pray with me in person and there are those that share our story or YouCaring link every single time I post it.  And that’s amazing!!

But I often wonder…  When people say they pray for us, do they pray for us by name?  Do they say they’re going to pray and then forget?  ( I’m guilty of that and even wrote about how I get caught in the “I’ll pray for you” web here )

Almost every day,  I see some of the same people – friends and family – who tell us they support us sharing link after link of crowdfunding accounts for people they may or may not know.  But I’ve yet to see our link shared.

I’m not saying that our story matters more.  Or that anybody else’s story matters less.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to receive the help that they’ve asked for!

I don’t mind that these people share those links one bit!  In fact, on most of them, I think it’s a great way to raise awareness, and I pray that they receive their miracle – whatever it may be!

What I DO mind is feeling that our story just isn’t important enough to share.  Or that declarations of support are simply lip service or “saying the right thing”.

Listen – I’m NOT saying that we expect you to donate a million dollars, a hundred dollars or even ten dollars, we understand that times are tough.  I’m NOT saying that we expect every person to drop everything to pray with us right that second.  I’m NOT saying that we expect people to go out of their way or over the top to show their support.

What I AM saying is,

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

If you tell someone you support them,  show it.  Send a card.  Offer to help where it’s needed.  Take them out for coffee.  Let them cry without offering advice.  Share a link.  Like their post.  Participate in their trials & joy!

Maybe there’s someone in your list of friends that is suffering with something silently, and seeing you share something that lets them know they’re not alone is just what they need.

When you tell someone you’re going to pray for them, say a little prayer silently in that moment.

It’s a hard thing to do, I know.  But it only takes doing something 28 times before it becomes a habit!  And having the opportunity to bless 28 people?  Wow.

If I made you uncomfortable, good.  If I made you think, good.  If I made you say to yourself ” I will say a prayer for someone right then when I tell them I will”, good!

I’m not just preaching here, I am working every day at doing what I say!

Will you practice doing what we say?!

 

Big Announcement!!

SORRY!  It’s not what you thought!!!  (Although I wish it were!!!!)

There are SO many things going on in our lives right now.

Good things!  Potentially GREAT things!!

  • J and I are just waiting for the sellers to pick a firm close date.  We’ve already given our notice to our apartment complex.
  • We should be hearing ANY day now about the determination of the IVF grant.
  • AND we are up to $2,000 in our IVF fundraiser!  Almost enough for one round of medications.
  • I have finished writing a letter to my employer asking them to consider adding infertility coverage as a benefit to our health insurance plans (fingers crossed!!!).
  • To support a statement in that letter, I had to search Google for an article and when I typed ‘infertility 3rd most serious’ into the search engine, MY BLOG was the 4th top result on Google’s main home page!!!!  (I totally shouldn’t be geeking out about it – but I COMPLETELY am!!!)
  • During National Infertility Awareness Week, I was approached by a national fertility organization and asked to blog for them!!

Yup.  You read that right!  My little ol’ piddly blog somehow captured the attention of Attain Fertility and I was asked to blog for them!

happy emoticon

It is not a paid writing gig, but the exposure will be AMAZING!!  The blogs I write will be published on the Attain Fertility website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages.  Their Facebook page alone has over 30,000 fans!!

Plus, I will be able to more effectively promote awareness for this disease that NEEDS more attention!!!

So, I’m excited for all the things that are coming…  but I’m exhausted just thinking about it!!!!  What an adventure!!

If you’d like to keep up with the blogs I write on that website, you can always ‘Like’ our Munchkin McNabb page on Facebook for a really easy way to follow!

I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you that have read my blogs and are following me!  The support that I get from all of you is simply amazing.

I hope that you will stay tuned for my ramblings blogs on Attain’s website!!

Watch What You Say!!

Ok.  So if there’s one thing I’ve learned while dealing with infertility, it’s that people are ignorant.

For the MOSTpart, there are good intentions behind the comments and advice.

HOWEVER, every once in a while I run across people who are not only ignorant, but rude, heartless and simply don’t think.

On Facebook, I follow a few pages that are dedicated to Infertility and Pregnancy Loss.  While I’m pretty vocal about my journey to my friends and family, sometimes it’s nice to have a private place that I can just vent and rage with absolutely ZERO judgment.  I try so hard to steer clear of the drama that can be created and only say something when I can educate and enlighten people who make stupid, judgmental comments.  I don’t like to feed into the stereotype that infertile women are bitter and selfish by wanting something they can’t have rather than appreciating what they do, but this person ABSOLUTELY tipped the scales….

facebook pic

 

I could NOT bite my tongue.  In this world, we need more women that are willing to build each other up instead of tearing them down and making them feel bad for something that they have NO control over…  Luckily, I am a part of another group that rallied to my side when I informed them of the comments that were being made.  I almost felt bad for the woman – for a minute.  I appreciated the fact that she apologized, and she seemed to learn her lesson about needing to choose her words – and the place she chooses to express them – more carefully next time.  If you want to read the whole exchange, you can do so here.

I’m so grateful for the friends that I have made on this journey.  A lot of them feel more like sisters than friends and I will love them forever.  I hate that we are all dealing with the same things, but love the relationships that are built instantly.

Can You Just Imagine That?

I’ve been thinking over the last week ” I REALLY need to blog again! It’s been SOOOOOOO long!!” and then I looked when I logged in and really, it’s only been 2 weeks.  That is a long time, but it seriously felt like YEARS!  It’s been an action-packed 14 days!  Birthdays, bad weather, broken teeth (not mine, hubby’s), dr’s visits, diet changes (I FINALLY went completely gluten-free, even of cross-contamination, and I feel great!), heated arguments, counseling sessions…….  SERIOUSLY action-packed.

exhausted woman

Part of the reason it’s felt like it’s lasted so long is because, of the last 14 days, I’ve bled 11 of them.  Yup.  You read that correctly.  Bled.  11 DAYS.  (That may be more than some of you want to know, but TOUGH!)  I’ve gotten to know how my body works pretty well.  I’ve got an app that helps track everything for me, but I’ve gotten so in tune that I can just about narrow it down to a couple hour window of when my period is going to start.  And then I bleed for 3 days and it’s on to waiting for ovulation.  Well, little did I know that not starting when I’d expected to was merely the beginning of the abnormalities for this cycle.

First couple days it was just real light.  Then the third was, let’s say, medium.  I remember thinking “Huh.  This is an easy one.  Lucky me.”  And it kinda stopped for a couple of days…  And then, it was full force.  **Information to follow is not for the queasy**  For 2 days, I passed clumps that were kind of scary.  After already experiencing a miscarriage, my first thought was “here we go again.”  I called my OB’s office and they said that it sounded like an early miscarriage and that I needed to take a home pregnancy test and come in for blood work.

negative test

You’d think I’d get used to the stark-white window glaring back at me.  Not so much.  Not matter how many times I look at that little window, all I see is Mother Nature flipping me the bird.  Just once, I wanna be able to flip it back at her!  My OB’s office called the next day to see how I was doing and when I told them that I’d failed the test again but was still bleeding, they said that I needed to come in for an ultrasound and to see the Dr.  So, I prepared my heart the best I could and went in.

Let me just say – I always HATE going to the OB’s office.  All these oh-so-cute pregnant women around with that glow reminding me that I’m so very NOT pregnant.  Ugh.  But this time, I got the immense pleasure of witnessing this woman in the waiting room – who I was about 1.5 seconds away from putting in her place when they called my name – that was sitting next to her doting husband and rolling her eyes while he talked about little things.  After checking his phone, he told her that he needed to go on a work trip at a certain time, but that they should plan a ‘new family’ vacation/celebration around it.  She then proceeded to tell him how inconSINderate he was to even THINK about going because it was going to force her to go back to work sooner than she wanted to and what a HUGE favor she was doing by carrying his child and how miserable she was.  And then, she went on to tell him that he needed to go get her some wet paper towels so that she could clean her hands before she ate her snack, “but don’t touch any part of the part I will touch because I made you cut all those onions and I do NOT want that smell on my hands,.”  **hair flip**  Honestly 1.5 seconds away from putting Bitchy Barbie in her place when they called my name.  My best friend and I joked in text message that she would have been REALLY sorry to miss it because the woman probably would have gotten REALLY ghetto and I would have had to politely make her look stupid!.

This could just as easily read "Infertile Post"!

This could just as easily read “Infertile Post”!

ANYWAY!  An early miscarriage couldn’t be confirmed, but she said my ultrasound looked GREAT.  With the exception of some leftover blood, my lining was the thinnest they’d seen it and I have a follicle developing in my left ovary.  I asked if there was a test they could do to find out if my body will even ACCEPT a pregnancy and she said that there is a clotting disorder that they can test for.  It’s normally something they do after a woman has 2-3 miscarriages – but due to my age, family history, a previous miscarriage, four failed medicated cycles & treatments and the fact that we’d been trying for 28 months, she could go ahead and order it.  According to her, it’s a very hefty amount of blood and there is QUITE the price tag on it, so she suggested getting the codes from the lab to check with insurance and make sure it would be covered.  She wasn’t kidding!!!  Over $3,200 before insurance!  I called my insurance company and thankfully it’s covered – well, most of it.

Speaking of insurance companies…  Can I just say I am NOT happy with mine right now?  In researching my new policy, I have learned some discouraging, unfair and downright DISGUSTING facts!!!  In exploring the “benefits” I found that they will cover contraceptive supplies and service, voluntary sterilization, elective surgical, non-surgical or drug induced pregnancy termination, health services and associated expenses for elective abortion and fetal reduction surgery.  But for infertility,  NOT A DANG PENNY!!!  Family destroying, covered.  Family building, not so much.  I understand that Lowe’s thinks that they are saving money by doing this, but in the long run, it’s costing them MORE.  According to an article on resolve.org “recent studies indicate that including comprehensive infertility coverage may actually reduce costs and improve outcomes.”  It makes so much sense!!

In reviewing all of this, I decided that I’m not going to be silent about this.  I did something I HATE and posted a fairly cryptic request for prayer on Facebook and without going into great details,  I will say – I am going to challenge my employer and the insurance company regarding our coverage.  I know it’s big, and maybe nothing will come of it, but I feel so strongly about this and think that the reason that so many employers are afraid to cover anything infertility related is because they don’t actually understand what it actually means!!  If nothing actually changes, I’m right back in the sucky place we started.  But if my standing and shouting as loud and as long as I possibly can actually DOES change something…  Can you just imagine that?

inspire

Random Facts

Have you seen it?  The new trending post on Facebook?  Basically, it’s the “random facts” –  except it’s completely about pregnancy.  I don’t begrudge  women being pregnant.  Well, maybe a little.  Ok, a lot.  Those posts kinda feel like a big fat squeeze of lemon into a gaping, oozing wound.  Yeah.  Ouch.  Most days I do really good.  But some days, the bitterness consumes me.  I can fight and fight that little green monster but there are days that I’m exhausted just from smiling!

smiling

This past week, I finally saw an endocrinologist.  I’ve been suspicious of some issues for quite a while, but I guess I’ve been partly afraid to actually address them.  Mainly because, if they come back positive, it is going to mean a RADICAL change in lifestyle for me.  The Dr that I saw said that he was “AMAZED at the array of autoimmune diseases” in my family.  We REALLY are a smorgasbord of them, I’d not really thought of it before!  One of the autoimmune diseases that seems to run rampant in my family is Celiac.  Tonight, I found and read through a list of 300 symptoms that absolutely SHOCKED ME!!  I literally caught myself gasping a few times!!  Anxiety, asthma, chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, heartburn, irritability, sperm abnormalities, miscarriage, infertility.  Seriously mind-boggling stuff!!  I’m incredibly anxious for the results to come back.  But regardless, there are going to be some major changes to meals in the McNabb household!!

no_junk_food-211x300

ANYWAY!  I decided – since so many people are sharing their random facts about their being pregnant, that I would share some random facts about my NOT being pregnant!  The decision that I made to share what we are going through was not an easy one.  I had MANY, MANY nights of sleeplessness before I actually made the decision to just put it all out there.  I still have sleepless nights, but mostly just because of hormones now!!  Sharing isn’t for everyone.  This journey is still very private and even embarrassing and this is just a glimpse into some of the emotions and struggles that we deal with every single day.  I had to make sure that my husband was okay with my sharing as much as I have also, because he is RIGHT NEXT to me through this whole thing.  I haven’t forgotten for one single second that this affects him just as much as me!

So, I am giving myself the number 5!  Ladies on this journey, PLEASE, put your random facts in the comments!!  I LOVE learning about people!

  1. My “aunt” first came to town when I was 10 years old!  And she was BRUTAL when she did!  I even remember one doctor telling me that I “may have trouble” getting pregnant when I was older.  BOY, was he right!!
  2. Our infertility issues were originally thought to be contributed to my PCOS, but have more recently been termed “unexplained” by my RE.
  3. It drives me absolutely INSANE when women complain about being pregnant!!  I wish I could make them see what a GIFT it is!!  I wouldn’t complain to someone with no legs about how I hate standing up for long periods of time!
  4. We have had one miscarriage and three failed IUI attempts.
  5. I hate it when people tell me to ‘just’ relax or that we can ‘just’ adopt.  There is no ‘just’ doing anything.  Relaxing will not make more eggs grow inside of me.  Adopting will not cure my infertility, just a symptom of it.  Everything that is done on this journey is calculated and pondered and prayed about for a long time.  So when/if we get to the point of adopting, we won’t be “just” doing anything.

I realize that I probably make a LOT of people uncomfortable with how open I am about the journey that we are on – but I don’t share for “them”.  I share for me…

silent