Jan 2 – New Year, Same Nightmares

The holidays are a bit stressful for us infertiles. All the pressure about family. The focus on kids. The revolving door of relatives, well meaning but insensitively joking about not waiting too long to have kids. Not wanting to explain over and over that you want a child more than anything but you can’t.

Luckily the holidays were low stress for us. No family came into town. We sent our gifts to family early. We video chatted with our friends in Colorado, as they are the only people in our lives who actually exchanged gifts with us (what I mean is our family takes gifts from us, but doesn’t send anything back). We don’t do gifts for each other. We did Christmas Angels instead. It was just us and the furkids. Playing board games until midnight and relaxing.

New Year’s was much of the same. We stayed home with the dogs. Which turned out to be a good thing since they opened a fireworks tent about a mile away and we could hear people popping off fireworks all night (from like 9 pm) and our rescue furkid was very unhappy about that.

But deep in the back of my mind, despite all the smiles and fun and low stress and low pressure, I am still hurting. I tried to glaze over Christmas Eve, our missed due date, only to cry when packing up the Christmas decorations.

I tried to ignore the hurt when I scroll through my Facebook feed of all my friends and their kids. The baby’s first pictures. The two women who just had babies last year were both in my IVF support group. I am so happy for them, but it hurts so much. It seems like most people I befriend in my group end up with their miracle baby, while we sit and wait.

The more I try to avoid thinking about the pain, the worse my sleep has been getting. I have stress dreams about tornados. Usually I spend all night running from tornados. This weekend I tried to hide in a “safe” place but the tornado “got” me. I woke up immediately as I was being swept into the tornado (yikes). Last night’s dream was one of the worst ever.

In the dream my hubby and I were watching his sister’s baby (full disclosure his sister passed away about 6 years ago so I don’t know why she was in this dream). We were in our master bedroom bottle feeding her (a little girl) with our beagles around us. It seemed very much like when we had foster babies. A little later in the dream, his sister walked up to me took the baby from me and put her in the stroller. She waited at an elevator (no idea why we were now in a building with an elevator). As she is about to get in the elevator she says ‘I shouldn’t be trusted to watch her baby since I had lost my own’ (referring to my miscarriage). In my dream I slink down and cry and say ‘why would you say that?’

Ouch. That one hurts. His sister, when she was alive, was the nicest person I know, so it was extra hurtful to have the nicest person I know say that about me. I know the miscarriage was not my fault, but now I wonder if I am ignoring those feelings. I am a master avoider, according to my therapist. I don’t even notice I am doing that sometimes.

With the pressure of the holidays gone, I hope that my anxiety will die down and I can actually get some sleep. Night after night of nightmares is exhausting and getting old.

I hope your holidays were less stressful than mine and here’s to a better year than the one before! Happy New Year!

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Dec 22 – Surgery Postponed

We were all set to have my hubby do his varicocele surgery. They were also going to take some sperm while they were in there and have us freeze it in a procedure called TESE. That is where they cut a tiny hole in the scrotum and take sperm directly from the testicle with the theory that sperm inside the testicle is “better” than ejaculated ones. It took two weeks of playing phone tag with the scheduler woman, we’ll call Kitty (not her real name).

A few days later she calls my work phone and cell phone and leaves messages saying that they haven’t been able to move my hubby’s surgery to earlier in the day (they had it scheduled for 7:30 at night) and that they were worried we wouldn’t be able to get the surgery done that day. Now this is why I am confused. Why can’t we just do it in the evening and skip the TESE part (since the infertility clinic wouldn’t be open for me to drive the sample over to them to have them put it in their freezer area). Well the assistant they scheduled cancelled and they can’t find a replacement.

I say just cancel the surgery. We will reschedule next year. She calls me 7 times to confirm that it needs to be cancelled because other people want his time slot (huh? I thought they couldn’t do the surgery?!?!?!). Whatever. I just cancel.

We are now going to have to wait until next year. Not only that but my hubby’s insurance changes next year. Instead of covering 80 percent of any procedure it drops down to covering only 50 percent (ouch). Plus the deductible doubles from 3k to 6k (double ouch).

In addition to that, we made the tough decision to close our foster care license. One of the other foster parents in our Facebook support group, who received the last baby we had, sent us some updated pictures of her. They were so great about thanking us for taking care of her until they were able to receive her (they had her brother already). It was so nice of them to share that with us and it made me cry. I wish we had been able to get a baby of our own to adopt. It just didn’t work out that way for us.

Another co-worker said this week, why not just adopt? I had to explain how expensive it is, the home study process, the law where the mom can change her mind and take back the kiddo, how the costs don’t get reimbursed when that happens, how international adoption is more expensive than it is used to be and all the red tape due to the issues in other countries where babies were stolen and put up for adoption. After all that she said “Oh wow, I thought adoption was free.” I laughed at her. I didn’t mean to. It just came out. Luckily we are friendly so she understood and wasn’t offended. I explained it could be “free” after the tax credit reimburses you if you adopt from foster care but we were wanting a baby and it is very difficult to get a baby without first fostering them (hence the path we took).

I am trying to hold it together but it has been a tough month emotionally. December used to be my favorite. Now with the knowledge that our baby would have been due Christmas Eve, it hurts. My birthday is also this month. I turned 35. I have never been upset or wishing I was younger until this year. Due to my extensive research trying to convince my work to add insurance coverage I know that 35 is the beginning of the end for fertility (according to research – obviously there are plenty of women who have babies into their 40s). If I believe my mother -who is a compulsive liar- she went through menopause at 38-40ish. Which means we are running out of time for me to have a baby.

My hubby’s holiday party was this month too. There were 2 pregnant women and one couple that brought their newborn (even though it is a kid-free party). That was the toughest night. Thank heavens for my hunny. He made me some coke and rum drinks and was my designated driver that night. During the white elephant gift exchange (where people take turns opening gifts and you can “steal” a gift that was opened on your turn – up to 2 steals and then it is safe). I got this beautiful throw blanket. It was soft and fuzzy and a nice grey color. One of the pregnant women “stole” it from me and said it was to keep her and the baby warm. I had a very hard time being nice to her after that.

I am not going to say that 2018 will be a better year. I just don’t believe stuff like that anymore. I can’t. I feel like I have become a very dark person since IVF. Hope is a dirty word. I hate anytime I feel hope because I am always let down by it. Hopefully that is something I can work on in therapy.

I have been going to therapy for a little while now. My therapist is of the cognitive-behavior school of thought. Not my favorite, but she is right about some things. Things I need to hear. I don’t focus enough on myself (I am terrible at self-care). I focus on the negative a lot (who can blame me). We went no contact with several family members this year and it has been difficult to say the least.

I hope you are having a better holiday season than us! Wishing you all the best during this holiday season. May 2018 be a better year for all of us!

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Nov 5 – Nothing Interesting

Another month passing without much change. We won’t do the surgery until the next year and we have decided with my new job that we should not be fostering right now. Especially since I have to travel to the main headquarters next month for a few days.

The holidays are always hard now. I was so excited for Halloween. I organized a department-wide costume contest and potluck at work. I decorated the house. I watched the family friendly Halloween movies (I am a wimp and can’t handle truly scary movies). I organized an awesome costume for work. I was a witch. I custom decorated my hat with glitter tulle, feathers,  and spider ribbon. I bought a spider jeweled pin and a spider necklace. I even had a realistic crow I carried around as my “familiar” all day. I bought candy to put out for the kids. I couldn’t bear to actually hand the candy out.

Then, of course, my period is late. The department near mine did a small trick-or-treating event for young children. I wished I was pregnant, knowing that I was not. I was not. I left work early one day to avoid breaking down at my desk. I even let myself daydream about if I was pregnant when I would be due. Cruelty to myself. Or my ’emotional cutting’ as I like to call it.

I wish so much that we had kids. I missed our foster kiddo from last year, the one we took trunk-or-treating. I missed being part of the holidays the way other people are. It was hard to be on the outskirts of social circles once again. “Bad Moms’ Christmas” is coming out and the ladies I saw the first one with have not even brought it up. Actually the neighbor we used to see all the time hasn’t been over since the last foster kiddo we had almost 4 months ago.

On a different note, I recently started therapy. I don’t know if it will help but I am willing to try. Only had 2 sessions so far. I am hoping to figure out what to do if we end up without children. Also we decided that we are cutting contact with my mom and his mom. We decided we are more important than the societal standards that you must always honor your parents. So I have some things to work through. It has been hard since we cut contact. My mother is telling everyone she is the victim. His mother is saying the same. We are the evil ones. We are the bad people. How could we do this to them? It’s laughable honestly.

Looking forward to next year, we plan to pay off our debts and save up for our last IVF round. We will have the hubby do the surgery next year and see if it helps at all. I am going to try to get in better shape. Which I am currently failing miserably at LOL. I put on 10 pounds this month! Sort of the opposite way I was wanting to go. /sigh.

I hope you had a Happy Halloween and have a great Thanksgiving!22792380_10214352648039321_3604155877681742849_o

 

Sept 20 – Life Changes

o-RAINBOW-facebookIt’s been a while since I’ve written, waiting on our upcoming urologist appointment, but big changes have been happening. I recently was finally offered the position I applied for at my company this week. I start next month! They didn’t offer me what I wanted money-wise, but the future potential is greater than staying in my current position. I wanted a change. I didn’t want to be stuck. My goal was to get out of the current position within 3 years. Goal met!

In my new role, the hours will be longer and I will be required to travel twice a year. In light of this, I think we may not be able to foster anymore. Daycares by us are only open until 6pm. If I work until 6, that presents a problem. Travelling would leave my hubby alone to take care of the dogs and a baby. He is perfectly capable of doing that, but I don’t want to put him in that situation.

In addition I decided I have had enough of my mother and mother-in-law. We are no longer speaking with both. That’s right, both! I couldn’t take one more day of multiple texts from my mother complaining that she was “dying” when I spoke with her doctor the previous week and confirmed she was fine (the paperwork was on file for me to get her medical information – since I was executor to her will). This is the last time I am going to emotionally support her through another crisis that doesn’t exist. I am done!

I have been doing research on her mental illness and I am quite certain she is a narcissist. She is using medical illnesses as a way to manipulate and control all of us. My brother (yes the one who I haven’t spoken to in 2 years) cut my mom out earlier this year. She used to complain to me that he was a “cold fish” cutting his mother out like that. I used to try not to laugh because I was just waiting until my other brother was old enough that he didn’t need my monetary support anymore. He is now 16 and working. He can do what I did and pay for his own stuff. It’s not great but I have decided I am done taking care of my mother’s children.

Next week is our urology appointment and I am anxiously awaiting the results. I saw a onesie in Target this week that had a rainbow on it and said “oh hello there rainbow.” I bought it. I kind of took it as a sign from the universe that maybe, just maybe, we will get a rainbow baby at some point (a baby that comes after miscarrying a baby). Maybe I am just being optimistic. But I am in a great “getting-rid-of-junk-in-my-life” place. After cutting my toxic mom out, I am feeling better. Not perfect, guilt is a little in there, but I am free to do whatever I want without her voice in my head.

I’ll let you all know how the results pan out! Wish us luck!

 

August 2 – Halfway through Tests

153741144While trying to figure out our next steps we are doing some urological tests for my hubby. So far we did one where they will be checking his dna fragmentation in his semen. That one was an easy one for him. But it was not so much fun for me. The non-glamorous side of infertility. My hunny, um did his deed, into a cup. Then he went to work. I had to wait for an hour for it to liquefy. Then I had to use a dropper to distribute it between two vials. Then I had to wait for the dry ice shipment. I put everything in the dry ice shipper and then had to return ASAP to a FedEx that accepts hazardous matters. Closest one was twenty minutes away at the airport.

Next test put my hubby in a not so great mood. It was a ultrasound of his testicles. That was uncomfortable and they only had a female on staff. He was in a pretty crabby mood the rest of the day. I tried to gently remind him of all the stuff I had gone through, but I think it was more of a pride thing than actual discomfort.

We still have to go to our RE to do the regular semen analysis. Then the blood work. We are about a month and a half from our follow up appointment with the urologist. I really don’t know what to expect. I guess I was hoping for some magic bullet or miracle fix. Anything to avoid more IVF.

If the result is bad news, such as the fragmentation is high and not good, we might just switch over to embryo adoption. Our clinic does an in house program that is anonymous for it, which is ideal.

As far as fostering our bed is still on hold since I have not yet heard back on the new job I applies for. Two and a half months after applying, two interviews in, and they tell me interviewing stalled and it is just starting back up. UGH!

 

July 20th – Vivid Dream

Before bed I wanted to be what I call an emotional cutter and pee on a stick. For some reason I was really hopeful we were pregnant. We did it during the right time. My hubby has been choking down those vitamins I was making him take. We were on vacation during ovulation. I don’t know why, but I was dumbly optimistic. I thought the test was a dud, it took so long for the test line to show up. It was negative.

Earlier this week one of my co-workers who has infertility and recurrent miscarriages had her 6 week ultrasound because she had gotten pregnant off her latest IUI. I am so happy for her but she is so nervous (rightfully so, I would be a wreck with 5 miscarriages under my belt). Since I am the only person other than her hubby to know what is going on she talks to me about it a lot. Which is an honor, but also really tough on me.

Anywho, so last night I had a really vivid dream. I dreamed I peed on a stick and it did have two lines. I was so excited. I told my hubby that I just knew the vitamins would work. I started getting ready for work and I texted my co-worker who is pregnant about our positive test (because I should be able to share it with someone after all). Shortly after the alarm started to go off. I got up to pee on the other stick (again dumbly optimistic). And then I wiped, sorry I know TMI, and my period had started. A bit early considering this year’s track record. It was just deflating since I was still coming off my vivid dream’s high of seeing pink lines.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a great mood kind of day. Then I get a call from a local number I don’t know. They leave a voicemail. It is from the social worker (the lawyer assistant) from our first foster kid trying to schedule a meeting to see them before court! I called back and I was probably more annoyed than I meant to be. I explained that the kid hadn’t been with us in almost a year and she was pretty quick to hang up.

This frustrated me greatly. This is the kid’s lawyer. They are supposed to know what is going on with them! And they don’t even know that they are not with me anymore!

Yesterday someone decided to tag me in a video on Facebook. More unsolicited advice. It was a video about infertile people who couldn’t have kids even with treatment who were on the waiting list to adopt. They got a call about a kiddo with down syndrome. The people didn’t think they wanted to do it, blah blah. Then they felt they should, and did. Then they adopted two more. It is a nice heartwarming video BUT I feel like the intention of tagging me in it was to say you should do this. It is basically saying you should adopt. Not only that, but you should adopt kid’s with downs. I am not saying either way whether I want to or not. That’s not the point. The point is they are telling us how to treat our disease. Not every solution works for every family. It is so rude to suggest how to grow one’s family. That is SUCH a personal decision. Drives me nuts.

ok, rant over! I just wish sometimes people would mind their own business. I know that opening up and sharing our story to help others who suffer in silence opens us up to unsolicited advice and opinions, but I wish it didn’t.

July 4th- Independence Day

It’s Independence Day here in America. A day for families to get together and celebrate the freedom of our country. Families. There is that word again. If you are infertile you can’t escape it. It follows you everywhere, like a dark cloud.

My brother in law is visiting this week and asked us if we had a foster kid. We haven’t gone back on the list since our last little left us due to my interviewing for a new position at work. I didn’t want to try and find a last minute sitter. I informed him we didn’t.

I wish our families weren’t so messed up. A week of struggling with my mother’s hypochondriac-ness again. She texted/called me 15 times in 4 hours, while I was AT WORK. She claimed to have liver failure. Then my father had a health scare this week (prostate cancer biopsy) to which my mother misinterpreted the results and started telling everyone my dad has cancer. I had to spend days talking to everyone in the family to clarify that was not the case.

My mother-in-law hasn’t spoken to us since telling us we were mean and scary people right before mother’s day. But she felt the need to suddenly take herself off the family cell phone plan and then proceed to apologize and say she wanted to mend the broken bond.

One reason I keep my phone on silent overnight is because my little sister used to drunk call me on her college campus and then hang up on me and I couldn’t get ahold of her for a few days after. She was texting me at 4 in the morning last night because she couldn’t get ahold of my mother. What am I going to do from across the country?!

Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason we don’t have kids. The crazy can only be shielded so much from a kid. But I know this is not our fault. I laid in the nursery watching the ceiling fan go round and round. I couldn’t help but wonder, should I sell all the baby stuff and clean out the room? Do we continue to foster if I don’t get this new position at work?

I knew I was slightly depressed, but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me. This week we have had one or two activities planned each day and I am so exhausted. I have been sleeping 9-10 hours and sometimes taking a couple hour nap. Clearly I am not used to being up and about. Playing video games is almost a perfect cover for depression. I don’t have to think about anything and I don’t have to move.

I started getting back to the gym this week to try and combat my mood. Eating healthier hasn’t really been happening. Seems I can’t get the energy to manage both food and activity. Hopefully someday I will break out of this funk permanently.

I am not looking forward to go out and watch fireworks tonight. Surrounded by families. All happy. Little kids running around with sparklers. Parents chasing them as the kids squeal little happy giggles. Can I just go back to bed?

Thursday we have an appointment with a urologist. I have been forcing the hubs to take a ridiculous number of pills to see if it improves his count. At this point I am willing to do anything that doesn’t cost 15 thousand dollars. I am hoping against hope that there is something we can do.

Have a safe holiday everyone!

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June 13 – Topsy Turvy World

Last week we went from having a bundle of joy to losing hope on affording IVF. We had applied for a grant and we got the rejection email on Thursday.

Right now I am an emotional mess. Fostering has it ups and downs. Every time a placement leaves, it hurts my heart. Especially when they imply you might be able to keep one. It is hard when you lose hope of ever having a child.

We can’t afford adoption. Fostering breaks my heart. IVF is just so expensive. What if we don’t end up with kids? Do I need to start grieving the fact that we may end up childless?

I have been trying everything. So many different different avenues. I have tried to get coverage at work (4 times in 2 years). We have tried fostering with hopes of adopting and never even got close to having a kid long enough to even really having that a possibility. The cheapest place we found for adoption was sixteen thousand and they went under! We have done 2 IVF rounds with a miscarriage. Tried to win a grant for another try at IVF. When does the heart ache stop? When will we actually get our turn?

Sorry for the really depressing post, I am just really struggling this week. I’ve been exhausted, sleep- deprived and just going through a lot. Hoping you are doing better than me.

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June 5 – Things Change Just That Fast

Yesterday I posted about our new little one, and today I received a call that the kiddo is being moved to be with a sibling. That is great that they will be together. But my heart breaks a little every time one leaves. I knew in this situation it would happen. I tried not to bond, which is hard. Not bonding makes those crying screaming fits at 3am harder to bear. When you are bonded with the kiddo, those moments feel so small compared to the love you have in your heart. When you are trying not to bond they become the annoying things you have to put up with until someone else decides to take them.

I still cried. Just another day in the fostering world.

June 4th – New Placement

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Well I think I jinxed myself LOL. I told my boss we were back on the list Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, and my week long staycation, and I jokingly said “watch we will get a placement Friday and it will change all my vacation plans.” That is exactly what happened. Not that I had anything special planned: gym, video games, painting my nails, going to see Wonder Woman. Nothing fancy. Well Friday morning we got a call for the kiddo we have now.

So my week has been spent changing diapers, midnight feedings and endless meetings. One of the things they never tell you about fostering is how many fucking pointless meetings you have, every single month. The first two weeks are the worst. You get seen by your licensing worker, pediatrician, the behavioral health people initial meeting and then the referral to actual behavioral health people, the kid’s lawyer, and then visits if the parents have rights. That is a lot of meetings when you are still trying to get into the swing of the new kiddo and their routine, personality and such.

Our kiddo was not named by the parent before being taken into custody so we had a unique situation with us. The case manager told us we could pick something out to call the kiddo instead of what the state puts on the paperwork, which is “baby girl” or “baby boy” when they don’t have a name. Saddest thing ever. I went through the baby name book, picked out about 20 names I liked and then ran them past my hubby when he got home from work. We landed on one and are using it now. We haven’t been able to name a kiddo before so that was new.

We are still adjusting to having a baby again. Since I was on vacation last week I did all the overnight stuff too. Hubbs helped out on the weekend so I could finally get more than 3 hours in a row.

Our licensing worker (the person we work with through our agency) brought some people with them for our meeting this week, and it was uncomfortable having three people asking me questions. One of them was of course, pregnant. Now it is strange, I can be standing there with a baby in my arms and still feel the dread of having to talk with a pregnant woman. She stood there asking questions, rubbing her belly and I just wanted to slink away. Fostering is hard because people don’t view us as “real parents.”

I had read another blog article that described it perfectly. We are completely unseen by other parents. People even ignore me when I give advice on their Facebook posts. It makes us feel even more isolated. We are struggling through parenting issues, foster care related issues and suffering from infertility, all while being shunned by other parents. Trying to figure out whether a newborn is suffering from withdrawal symptoms or regular baby issues. My hubby said that we might even have it harder than most parents (not including those poor souls with colicky babies) and yet completely ignored.

Anyway, enough with that. This week was also the week of our 16 year anniversary. I can’t believe we have been married that long! Doesn’t feel like it. We managed to get our neighbor to babysit so we could go out for a couple of hours just the two of us. That was nice.

Tomorrow is back to reality. Sleep deprivation and working. Going to be loads of fun! Still waiting to hear back from HR, the possible new job, and the grant application for IVF. Have a great week!