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!!

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

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

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!

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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!!

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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…

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A Little Background & My Not-So-Scarlett Letter

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted babies.  Not *a* baby… BABIES.  As a little girl, being the oldest child, I was a leader.  I’m sure my siblings would tell you I was bossy, but what do they know?  They were younger than me!  Even as a teenager, my friends and I would talk about the babies we would have someday…  I just never imagined that those babies would stay in my dreams and never fill my arms.

My husband and I were married on November 4th, 2011 in Southern California.  After growing up living there for 28 years, it seemed only right and my soon-to-be hubby was very agreeable!  The weather in Kentucky is undependable at any time of year, let alone late Fall, early Winter…  PLUS, it NEVER rains in Southern California!!

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I guess Mother Nature just never got that memo!! (Photo Taken the morning of the wedding by the nerve-wracked Bride!!)

It was a simple, backyard wedding.  It was in the backyard of the house I spent most of my years as a child, so that was nice!  Family was there from Kentucky & California, as well as friends from both places!!  After that, we headed off to Atlantis where we had an AMAZING time!!!!!!  In December, we had a gorgeous reception where more family was able to make it!

After we got home, we settled into our new life.  It was beautiful, but in no way perfect!  Everyone that is, or ever has been, married knows that marriage has it’s ups and downs!  They didn’t put the words “For Better or Worse, For Richer or Poorer, In Sickness and in Health” in there for no reason!  We just never actually think that it’s going to be worse, or we’re going to be poorer… and we CERTAINLY always expect health!  In January 2012, yes only 2 short months after we’d gotten hitched, my mother got very sick and was hospitalized. Over the next couple months, there were whirlwind, emotional trips to California. Seeing my mom on life support is not something fun to witness.  She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and had some very aggressive treatment for just about the rest of the year.  She fought bravely and thankfully, she was declared in remission on Christmas Eve (what a priceless gift, huh?!).  She’s also just very recently received another clean bill of health via a clear PET Scan!  Amidst other challenges my hubby and I were facing, which I’ll detail in a minute, my Mother-In-Law was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January of 2013. She is quite the fighter… chemo made her VERY, VERY ill and she had to discontinue that course of treatment, but the radiation seems to be picking right up where it left off and not making her NEARLY as sick!  THANK GOD!

I had been diagnosed with Arthritis quite a few years before all this, and before getting married, in speaking with my rheumatologist and telling him that we were going to start trying to get pregnant – which wasn’t recommended with the meds I was on – he told me that any pregnancy I had would be considered “high risk” and referred me to an OB-GYN that specialized in those kind of pregnancies.  In April of 2012, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome).  I was put on some medication for it and by August, we were pregnant!

I used to think that women that said they “knew” they were pregnant right away were trying to sell something that I just did NOT buy.  I was wrong.  I knew almost right away.  Same as I did on the day that we lost it.  It’s amazing to me how women’s bodies just… know.  I told my husband in a phone conversation that I was miscarrying, the pain I was having was excrutiating and so terribly unlike anything I’d felt before from a period.  He consoled me and told me I wasn’t, I was just having a rough period because the medicine finally working.  The “special” OB-GYN told me the same thing.  I wanted to scream “LISTEN TO ME!!! I’M NOT ASKING YOU WHAT’S HAPPENING, I’M TELLING YOU!!!!”  He told me to “give it a few more days and if you’re still bleeding, call us back.”  Quack.  Few days later, I was still bleeding.  So, I made the dreaded phone call and they had me come in right away for an ultrasound.  I walked in and gave the obligatory specimen and then was led to the room where they have a jumbo sized HD TV mounted on the wall that shows the deepest, darkest regions of a woman’s insides.  As I waited on the table – feet in stirrups, waiting to be shown what I already knew – the Ultrasound Tech comes in waving a little white test (which I wouldn’t have been waving) and says “Congratulations!!  You’re Pregnant!!  Let’s see what we’ve got going on in there!” Dumbfounded look from me, didn’t you read the chart as to why I’m HERE??  As the ultrasound progressed, her face dropped and dropped and she said “I think I need to go get the dr. Go ahead and get dressed.”  YA THINK?  Worst part?  My Dr didn’t even come in!  He sent his PA!  **insert mad face here**  She used all the right clinical terms – “spontaneous abortion” – that make a woman feel like it’s all her fault, and I left as an absolute mess.

Anyway, that was a rough situation.  But I’ll tell you, after 1 year of trying and seeing “that word” at the bottom of the papers – “INFERTILE” – everything changed in an instant.  I felt like I’d been branded with a Scarlett Letter.  The pain was deeper.  The ache was stronger.  The desire intensified.  It’s funny how the moment you think you can’t have something anymore, the more you want it, isn’t it?