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

Being A Miracle

For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you know that I made a post a bit ago that alluded to an emotional decision.  This is the blog that is going to explain that decision.

I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mommy.  I remember as a little girl subjecting my dolls to diaper changes and baths and feedings.  I have worked with children in so many different capacities and it has always been the one thing that has made my heart feel full.

Infertility has attempted to take that from me.

It has attempted to take the excitement I would feel when I see a pregnant woman.

It has attempted to take the joy I would feel when I would go to see a friend of mine who had gone into labor or had a baby.

It has attempted to take the giddiness I would feel when thinking about a baby-making opportunity with my husband.

Infertility has attempted to replace those feelings with jealousy, anxiety, feelings of failure, sadness.

And most days, infertility has won those battles.  But infertility won’t win the war.

After 32 long months of prayer, heartaches and long conversations with J,  the fact remains that our calling in life is simple.

To be parents.

If there is one lesson I have learned REPEATEDLY, it is that biology is the VERY LEAST of what makes someone a parent.

After our 3rd failed IUI, as I was messaging J through the sobs and tears, he made a comment that I have never forgotten.  “I know how badly you want this, and I do, too.  But maybe there’s a child out there that needs US more than we need this.

And with that on our hearts, we have decided to stop pursuing the avenue of IVF and go full steam ahead down the path of adoption.

I can’t lie and say that there isn’t a small part of me that feels like I am “letting go” of the dream of seeing our biological child look at me through their daddy’s eyes.  It would have been a welcome miracle to get pregnant, but to have the opportunity to be a miracle to a child that otherwise may not have a chance?  Now THAT’S big!

We have changed our IVF fundraiser to an Adoption fundraiser and will hopefully soon be having a homestudy done in order to move one step closer to building our family!

Miraculously My Own

I have SO many emotions and nerves!  I constantly find myself wondering whether I will actually be a good mom…  But I guess it’s one of those things you can’t really study for.  You just jump in the deep end and learn to swim as you go!

I know that this process can take quite a long time, so J and I would GREATLY appreciate all of the prayer and good thoughts you can send our way!

If you’d like to check out our fundraiser (or donate!) you can find it at www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb

You can also “like” our Facebook page – Munchkin McNabb

Thank you SO much to all of you for your support and love through our journey!!  We are so amazingly grateful!!

Tomorrow Might Be the Best Day EVER

Or, it could be one of the lowest.

For 8 weeks and 2 days I have been silently, anxiously awaiting news of the IVF Grant that we applied for.

piggy bank

Well, I was in contact with someone from the foundation this week and assured that I haven’t missed any previous announcements and that they were making their decision on Tuesday night and would be contacting the selected couples on Friday.

Friday is almost here.

This grant would mean SO many things to us. To even apply was a HUGE step.  Not quite as hard as it was to set up our YouCaring account, but same concept.

It’s not easy to ask for help.  Especially when it comes to something that most people don’t understand.

Things have felt like they are really looking up lately and I am nervously, excitedly, terrifyingly, anxiously, nauseously awaiting our answer.  I’m going to have to work really hard to not check my email every 15 seconds!  But with all the packing we have to do, I should be able to stay pretty busy!

Either way,  I know that we are strong.  We are resourceful.  And we WILL make it!!  I know that whether or not we are able to get pregnant, that we will be parents someday.

But getting this grant would ABSOLUTELY change our lives!

When you say your prayers tonight, would you please pray that first of all, I would sleep tonight!  And also, that we will have peace.  Regardless of the answer, that we will remember that it is all in God’s hands and He knows exactly how our story goes.

But mostly, please pray that tomorrow might be the Best. Day. EVER.

dear God

 

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!!

Resolve To Know More Acronyms!

This generation is ALL about acronyms.  It seems, everywhere you turn someone has abbreviated something.  LOL.  OMG.  BRB.

Well, it’s no different in the TTC/Infertility world!  It’s so easy to get lost in all of them.  So, I’m going to list them all here for you so that next time you’re reading a blog or an article or even talking to someone, you can not only understand what you are reading but maybe even astound someone with your knowledge!  (You’re welcome!)

There is a VERY long list but I am just going to share the most popular.  Here we go!

2WW/TWW                              Two Week Wait

AF                                               Aunt Flow/Menstrual Cycle/Period

AH                                             Assisted Hatching

AI                                              Artificial/Assisted Insemination

ART                                          Assisted Reproductive Technology

BBT                                           Basal Body Temperature

BC                                             Birth Control Pills

BD                                             Baby Dance (sex)

Beta                                          HCG Pregnancy Test

BFN                                          Big Fat Negative

CD                                            Cycle Day

CM                                           Cervical Mucus

D&C                                        Dilation & Curettage

D&E                                        Dilation & Evacuation

DE                                           Donor Eggs

DH/DW                                 Dear Husband/Dear Wife

DOR                                        Diminished Ovarian Reserve

DPO                                        Days Post-Ovulation

DPR                                        Days Post-Retrieval

DPT                                        Days Post-Transfer

DP3DT                                   Days Post 3-Day Transfer

DP5DT                                   Days Post 5-Day Transfer

Dx                                           Diagnosis

ENDO                                    Endometriosis

ER                                          Egg Retrieval

ET                                           Egg Transfer

Frostie                                   Frozen Embryo

FSH                                       Follicle Stimulating Hormone

GD                                         Gestational Diabetes

hCG/HCG                            Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

HPT                                      Home Pregnancy Test

HSC                                      Hysteroscopy

HSG                                     Hysterosalpingogram

ICSI                                      Intra-cytoplamic Sperm Injection

IF                                          Infertility

IM                                        Intramuscular injections

IUI                                       Intra-Uterine Insemination

IVF/ET                               In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer

IVF                                      In Vitro Fertilization

LH                                       Luteinizing Hormone

LMP                                    Last Menstrual Period (start date)

LP                                       Luteal-Phase

MC                                      Miscarriage

MFI                                    Male Factor Infertility

O/OV                                 Ovulation

OB/GYN                            Obstetrician/Gynecologist

OHSS                                 Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

OPK                                    Ovulation Predictor Kit

PCO                                     Polycystic Ovaries

PCOD/PCOS                     Polycystic Ovarian Disease/Syndrome

PG                                       Pregnant

POAS                                  Pee On A Stick

RE                                       Reproductive Endocrinologist

RI                                       Reproductive Immunologist

RPL                                    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

SA                                      Semen Analysis

TTC                                    Trying To Conceive

US                                      Ultrasound

SHEW!  That’s a mouthful, huh?!  If you’re interested in a full list,  you can check out RESOLVE.org’s “Infertility Acronyms” article:

http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/Managing-Infertility-Stress/infertility-acronyms.html

If you’d like to donate to our IVF fund, please visit: www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb

Resolve to Know More…

This week, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I will be blogging about the facts of the disease of infertility.  That’s right, disease.  In fact, an article I read recently stated that it’s the 3rd most serious health condition after heart disease and cancer.  Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age.

We are 1 in 8.

We are 1 in 8.

 

According to RESOLVE,  infertility is a disease of the reproductive system.  Infertility is often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age.  If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.  One-third (30%) of infertility can be attributed to male factors, and about one-third (30%) can be attributed to female factors.  In about 20% of cases infertility is unexplained, and the remaining 10% of infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners.

My husband and I are in that small 10%.

There are many different risk factors that can contribute to infertility.

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Tubal Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • DES Exposure
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

I struggle with PCOS and him with MFI (male factor infertility).  We’ve been trying to get pregnant since we got married in November of 2011.  We had a miscarriage in August of 2012 and in March of 2013 my OB prescribed Clomid, which hyperstimulated my ovaries (OHSS).  I ended up needing emergency surgery to drain the cysts that had grown.  In June, July and August of 2013 we went through medicated IUI cycles (one pretty heavily medicated), which were all unsuccessful. We are currently saving money for IVF through an online fundraiser – www.youcaring.com/munchkin-mcnabb – which our RE feels is likely the only way we will get pregnant.

There are often no signs or symptoms that will indicate a problem with fertility.  But getting to know your body and understanding patterns it’s set will make that process easier.  If you feel there is a problem, seek help right away.

This week I’ll discuss family building options and the emotions that come with this journey!  I am so grateful for the awareness that is being raised and the opportunity that I have to take part in it!!

2014-niaw-image

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101  (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)

Aside

Infertility and Marriage

**Before I really dig in to what this is going to be about, let me tell you a little bit about what we’ve been doing the last couple weeks!  At least one entire week was occupied by filling out an IVF Grant Application.  Yup.  I found a foundation that we not only met ALL of the criteria for, but are actually considered ‘priority’!  There are so many awesome programs out there that have processes set up to help couples overcome the financial burden of IVF and I think it is simply AMAZING.

Hubby found a website that listed all of the programs that offer assistance.  There were quite a few, but the one that we applied to is called the Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation.  The deadline for applications was today (3/18/2014) and once they start reviewing them, it will be 6-8 weeks before we know anything.  The grant amounts vary and they will give partial or full grants.  They give the funds directly to the clinic and when they disclose the amount that the recipient has been granted, they also tell what those funds can be used for – monitoring, lab work, medications, procedures, etc.  We got ours sent off and now, we wait!!  We are still doing our online fundraiser – among other little ways – to earn money because IF we are selected, there will still be portions of it that we will be responsible for.  So if you happen to think about it, send a little prayer!!!**

Joyce Meyer

The last few months have been … challenging.  There are so many things that infertility brings.  This silent, secret journey can absolutely tear your life apart.  Body, emotions, mental health, friendships.  And marriage.

When you’re not quite paying attention, it can creep into just about every nook and cranny of your life.  A commercial on TV for diapers.  A movie about a guy who doesn’t even know how many kids he has because he gave a “donation”.  YET ANOTHER pregnancy announcement on Facebook (Nope.  No bitterness from me!).  A brand new baby crying in church.  Timing intimacy so that it coincides perfectly with the “fertile window”.

There’s the heartache.  The stress.  The disappointment.  The embarrassment.  Miscarriage, bad test results, failed treatments, unspoken blame.  It’s this weighted load that you don’t even realize you’re carrying.

difficult roads

We all sang it as kids.  “J & D sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!  First comes LOVE!  Then comes MARRIAGE!”  But then comes the part that NONE of us were expecting – NO BABY CARRIAGE!!  Not only does no one prepare you for THIS, but they trick you into believing that having a baby is what MAKES a marriage real.  As if two people can’t love each other enough to have a real marriage unless they create another person.

In our early 20’s we’re asked with a playful poke “Sooo, when are you getting married?!”  And then, as soon as the vows are said it’s “Sooo, when are you having babies?”  I wish that someone would have set me aside and said – “Listen, not all women that try to get pregnant get pregnant right away.  Many women have issues for many years and some will spend thousands of dollars, shed millions of tears, endure repeated heartbreak and sadly never actually get pregnant.”

I totally get that people want to be as positive as possible, but it would have been nice to not be blindsided by all the emotions.  No matter how well I think I’ve compartmentalized everything or am dealing with it “in my own way”, there’s still someone who thinks that I’m obsessed or hyper focused or whatever other word that has a negative connotation can be used to describe a woman who has a strong passion to be a mom.

Men and women deal with this journey SO differently.  Especially men that are as laid back and innately positively optimistic as my husband.  He’s just so go-with-the-flow-everything-will-work-out-fine that sometimes it just makes me want to SCREAM!!  And even have on occasion.  (Hey, I never claimed to be perfect.)  It’s not that I want him to cry with me every single time I’m upset.  Or to tinge green when he sees a pregnant couple walking hand-in-hand.  But maybe a tear here or there wouldn’t hurt so much.

strong marriage

We got to the point where we were arguing over such little things.  Little things became big things, and before we knew it we’d gone a couple of days without talking.  By the time we got over it, we couldn’t even remember why we’d been fighting to begin with.  Yet, we always seemed to come back to one thing.  And we couldn’t quite figure out how to fix it.  I’d mentioned counseling in the past and gotten a quick and heated “NO”.  I used to be SO against it, but I knew that we needed SOMETHING to help us.  So – I took a deep breath and scheduled an appointment with a counselor that specialized in infertility.

At first, getting J to agree to go was pretty much like pulling teeth.  We got in probably our worst fight to date just a couple of days before we were scheduled to go in.  We slept in separate bedrooms and in the few failed attempts we made to resolve it ourselves, he told me he was absolutely, positively, definitely NOT coming.  I kept trying to explain why I felt like we needed it and how going to counseling didn’t mean that we were broken or crazy, but rather that we refused to become any more of a statistic than we already were.  There may have even been an ultimatum thrown in there.  (Desperate times call for desperate measures, people.)

I went to the appointment expecting to be there alone.  Butterflies in my stomach (all the way up to my throat) and scared to death.  Thankfully, he showed up but when we walked in, we couldn’t even look at each other.  After an hour of talking, it felt like we walked out two completely different people.

Hearing the things I’d said and felt in someone else’s voice not only helped J, but helped me also.  Now he knew I wasn’t crazy for feeling that way, but more importantly, **I** also knew that I wasn’t so crazy for feeling that way.  Or at least only marginally crazy!

I didn’t marry my husband for what he could give me.  My husband didn’t marry me for what I could give him.  And he loves me in spite of what I can’t.

broken vessel