National Infertility Awareness Week!

Start ASking

Hi beautiful people! I have decided to share my blog with my friends, family, and people I know. For years I have blogged without sharing it with too many people that I knew in real life. This blog started in 2012 as a place I could write about my thoughts and share things I was scared to really say out loud when it came to our struggles with infertility. When I found out we had fertility issues, I didn’t feel like I could talk to a lot of people about it for different reasons. Plus, it’s not exactly easy dinner conversation: “Pass me the bread, oh yeah I’m having trouble having a baby…” What I DID feel like I could do was write about it. So that’s what I did. In blogging I found a really amazing community of people who were in the same shoes. A great deal who had made it to the other side and had given me hope. Some, who to this day, are still struggling to conceive. Ultimately, it ended up being an amazing outlet to share and to listen.

I want to share my blog because when I look back at where we were in 2012 and what we went through to have a family, all I can do is be filled with gratitude and awe at where we are today. And guess what? I take literally ZERO credit for it. It’s all God. Without Him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Yes, we didn’t go through the typical process people go through to have a baby. I’m thankful for how far we have come in the medical world and through science. I’m grateful that God uses doctors, nurses, scientists, and all kinds of awesome people to make things happen. That’s just how good He is. So today what I want to offer others is this:

HOPE.

I share my blog because I believe there is hope for anyone who is dealing with infertility. Anyone who is walking this journey. It can be lonely, murky, unfamiliar, and altogether terrifying. I can tell you this – everything we went through shaped us and molded us in such a unique way. I learned to face fear head on. I learned not to be consumed with anxiety and worry. I learned that I had a choice, I could choose sorrow and depression OR I could choose hope and joy, even when it was seemingly impossible to do so. I thought it would be really cool to share my blog during National Infertility Awareness week.

This week is National Infertility Awareness week.

The definition of infertility is:

 …the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. 

1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility. There is an excellent chance that someone around you is struggling with it or knows someone who is. It’s much more common than people realize.

The theme for National Infertility Awareness Week is #StartAsking. The foundation wants people to #StartAsking:

  • Employers for insurance coverage.
  • Your lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community.
  • Friends and family to support you.
  • The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face.
  • Those who have resolved their infertility to stay involved.
  • OB/GYN or healthcare provider to talk about YOUR reproductive health.
  • For affordable care for treatment of a disease (all taken directly from resolve.org – edited).

I am going to encourage you to #StartPraying in addition to asking. Pray for your friends and family members who are walking through this. Encourage them. Let them know you are there for them. Pray for the wisdom to be there for them in a way that is helpful, encouraging, and uplifting.

And most importantly, hold on to hope.

 

Are we ready to say no more babies? Life’s hard decisions.

It’s been a bit since I’ve last blogged. Life is hectic! My husband started real estate school and so our weeks are just insane. I thought, is there a better way to jump back in then to write about something that’s very near and dear to my heart? Something that has been weighing on me heavily lately:

Are we ready to say no to more babies?

And honestly, there is no clear cut answer here. The answer is – I DON’T KNOW. I really don’t. But I feel like I kind of have to know. I don’t feel like I have unlimited time to make this decision. If you’ve read my story in the About Me section of my blog, then you know that I had a laproscopy a few years ago to remove my endometriosis so that my husband and I could conceive naturally. When the doctor went in he found a very ugly scenario in there and recommended that we jump straight to IVF – and we decided to do that. One thing my doctor was very clear about though, was the fact that I would eventually HAVE to have corrective surgery to deal with my endometriosis. It’s all jacked up in there. A colleague told me a story about a woman who had endometriosis that spread throughout her body and ended up in ICU for ten days fighting for her life. I know that’s not the typical scenario, but I don’t even want to risk is. So that begs the question – what do I do?

After I had the twins, I thought and said – we are done. This is it. I said it with so much finality. Part of me believes what I said. But the other part of me asks, “What if…?” I feel like I am too young to make that kind of permanent decision. In short, if I have the corrective surgery I will most likely be unable to carry a pregnancy ever again. I may even have to have a complete hysterectomy. And the problem is, I just don’t know anymore if that’s something I’m comfortable with. What if I regret it?! Can I be even more honest and speak from my heart?

A couple of years ago, my husband dreamed about a little girl. In the dream she spoke some very sweet words to my husband (which I will keep between hubs and I) and somewhere in my heart I wonder if we are suppose to have a little girl at some point. I’m perplexed. Here’s my line of thoughts:

  • Are we suppose get pregnant again? If so, how? “Naturally” or through IVF? And how the heck can I even get pregnant naturally with all of my issues?
  • What if we are supposed to adopt a little girl?
  • What if we are supposed to foster a little girl?
  • What is the timing of all of this supposed to look like? Cause I’m NOT ready for any of this at this exact moment in my life!
  • What if we are supposed to do NOTHING and this really IS it for us?
  • What if I’m making something out of nothing?
  • Do I even want to be pregnant ever again after everything we went through with the boys? My heart says no…

That’s where my heart is. A long list of I don’t knows. Because I don’t. A part of me can’t even imagine being pregnant again. The experience was beautiful and traumatic. The end result is beautiful though. Simply beautiful. But I just don’t know if I could handle all of that again. My husband is supportive either way and his heart is open either way. That’s where we are at.

I feel bad even thinking this at times when I think of all of the people who are still waiting for the one. It feels selfish to ask these questions when I think of friends, both real world and blogger world, who are going through the road of infertility. Nonetheless, these questions float to the surface of my heart. In the end, my life and “my” plans are in God’s hands. I want HIS plans for my life above all.

I will be posting pictures of the boys soon! <3

Yes, I did IVF. No, I’m not ashamed.

unashamed of IVF

As I prepare myself to go back to work, I’m also preparing myself for the questions people will feel more bold to ask me. Questions about if twins run in my family and all of that nonsense. It used to be annoying and I would give people wishy washy answers, only because really it’s NONE of their business (I’m being real – it’s not. period.) However, I decided to use these annoying questions as an opportunity to educate people.

“Do twins run in your family?”

Nope. I went through IVF due to severe endometriosis.

::::Silence as they try to come up with their next question:::

I don’t know. Before I would be ambiguous about it or use one of the “lines” that can be used. “No, but they do now..” or “Actually, we do have twins on…” but now I’m feeling like I just don’t care anymore. Do you want to know? Do you really want to know? Okay, I will tell you. I went through the process of IVF, which resulted in an early miscarriage, then moved forward with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) which resulted in a twin pregnancy. Why? Because I had difficulty getting pregnant on my own due to severe endometriosis. My insides are all kinds of jacked up and when I went to have the surgery to correct it, my doctor told me about how severe it was and how he was unable to do a thing, and advised me to move forward with IVF. So that’s what we did. After much prayerful consideration, talking with my parents, our family, our pastors, and each other..we moved forward with the entire process.

I think people need to be more aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily easy for everyone to get pregnant at the drop of the hat. I was not one of those people who could get pregnant by simply standing next to my husband (lol)…so this is the road we decided to walk down. I also want to open up a dialogue. I mentioned before that when I was going through the entire process, and dealing with my fertility issues I felt really alone. The blog world and all of these forums became a home for me. A place where I could be honest, hold nothing back, and also connect with others who had gone before me or were experiencing the same kind of things. It was a safe place for me. It STILL is. But I want others to know that they are indeed not alone and if they need any support, and if I can offer it, here I am. I want people to know that it doesn’t make you any less of a person, woman, mom, or even a Christian (because as a Christian, I struggled with this – I wondered if I had enough faith or if God was okay with it..I really did.). I want people to know because I experienced a range of all of those emotions. I had so many things running through my head and did not have too many people to share it with. I want to remove the stigma or the shame from it. You may be wondering, why shame? Because I DID feel embarrassed and ashamed that I could not just go about everything the “natural” (oh how I loathe that word at times) way. I had to go a different route. But guess what? I learned that it was simply part of MY process! Just another thing to add to the list of things that shaped me into the person that I am today. It resulted in the most precious boys ever!

So, I have decided to just be honest about my journey. This does NOT mean that I will go into a detailed, play by play, every single time a person asks me about it. But perhaps it will open the door for people out there who are like me, and who simply need to know they are not alone. I will give you an example of how this has worked for me already.

I went to my school on Tuesday to meet with my substitute, observe a class, and get some paperwork. While I was in the classroom, a colleague who I had not seen in over TWO years (because she got pregnant and took two years off) came into the classroom and was welcoming me back. We were chit chatting and she asked me flat out about our process (I don’t rememeber the exact wording). Normally this would have ticked me off, because in reality like I mentioned it’s not anyone’s business..but I decided to just come out with it – “Actually, my husband and I had to go through the IVF process because I have severe endometriosis and….” and I proceeded to tell her a little bit of our story. Her response? “Wow! I had to go through that too! Because of my age they had to implant 3, and at one point it was twins but we lost one and….” and she proceeded to share with me a bit about her journey and guess what? I had NOOOOO idea she went through any of it! But guess what? There is someone right around the corner of me that went through a very similar road! She is a couple of rooms away! I’m not sure if I would have known that, had I not been willing to just be up front about it…and we were able to connect, share, and so forth. It was cool.

This is not for everyone. I know some people may disagree with my methods. But this is something that I feel pretty comfortable with. I also respect EVERYONE’S process. For some people IVF, frozen embryo transfers, and the like are not something they feel is the road they want to take or feel CALLED to take. Everyone’s road is different. I respect you!

Can I also address the cultural stigma associated with IVF? I’m Hispanic, Puerto Rican to be exact. My husband was born in PR, his mother, all of our family is Puerto Rican, our church is bilingual (99% Hispanic, from various countries) and producing children is something that is a given. Infertility is not talked about and when people find out you went through that, they are very surprised. I cannot speak for the entire culture, this is just MY experience so please don’t be offended! This also gives me an opportunity to let people know about infertility, IVF, and all of that jazz. I see it as an opportunity. I always said that I wanted to use what we’ve gone through for some kind of greater good. If I can let people know they’re not alone, educate people, and also just share about our process…then I am happy with that. I find it to be extremely liberating and freeing. And I love me some freedom!

Yes, I went through the IVF process. No, I’m not ashamed of it.

First U/S at five weeks after a scare!

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What do you notice about the picture? There are TWO little beans just hanging out!

Sunday night we had a scare, I started spotting briefly (maybe like three times) and of course, I completely freaked out..had hubby take me to the ER…and then hung out there for two hours around people with the flu and decided to get the heck out of there, get home, and see the RE ASAP. Thankfully they saw us right away and I was SO terrified as we were waiting for the u/s. I was trying to be hopeful but I was definitely having  a battle of the mind (that’s going to be the topic of my next post, btw) and the worst kept coming to my mind. However, when they did the u/s they saw that we had two little beanie babies hanging out there and measuring right where they should be. YAY! That was good news! According  to the doctors, tomorrow I will be officially six weeks. I won’t have another ultrasound until next Friday where we will actually hear the heartbeats. I think I will take another deep breath when I can see some heartbeats happening! But everyday is a victory and I have to rejoice over it! I haven’t had any spotting since.

My symptons have included:

– Increased hunger, tiredness (sometimes it hits me so suddenly and I feel like I can’t even walk! Twinges in my abdomen and leg cramps) and so far that’s it!

I’m not going to lie. I know absolutely nothing about any of this. Google is my best friend along with thebump.com. I try not to get too crazy with it though because then I start to freak myself out and get paranoid. Please let the following eight months fly by!

Also, my husband and I decided to tell our best friends next Friday after our ultrasound where we can hear the heartbeats! I wanted to wait until the first trimester is completely over but since they are getting married and we (bridesmaids) will be purchasing our dresses in early February, I will need to let her know. Plus, she’s my best friend and I’m absolutely dying to tell her!

I have blood work on Saturday. Continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

Keep the good news coming!

So my nurse texted me and told me that my beta is at 1618! That would be my third beta. She said that I will possibly have an ultrasound after I hit 2000 which at this rate I should be at that by Saturday, which is when I have my next beta. This is the furthest we’ve gotten on our Infertility journey so to say that I am excited does not capture how I feel adequately! We have a long road ahead but I’m so grateful for the good news we have received thus far. Lord please let it keep coming!

On top of that, a random teacher at my job told me she had a dream I was pregnant. I do not work anywhere near this particular teacher and she has no idea on our struggles. It made me happy to hear that!

 

Beta # 2 – It’s OFFICIAL. I AM PREGNANT!

Well Beta # 2 came back at a 546!! That’s pretty amazing! I called my nurse and when I called she said, “Hold on let me check my computer….” and when she came back she said, “Damn girl, you’re at a 546!” In my opinion, that is an amazing second beta! Could it be, that 2013 is going to bring us a baby that we have longed for? This is the FURTHERST my husband and I have gotten in this whole process. I am ELATED!! We are going in for another beta on Wednesday. I feel like I can finally start to feel some true excitement and I feel like it’s finally happening for us! Finally!! I have something to celebrate in this new year! Of course…now I want to see the ultrasound so it can feel more official. Nonetheless, thank you Lord!

Beta # 1…feeling hope again!

Beta number one was 126 and my progesterone was over 50 which they said was a good thing! I wish I could say I felt out of the water but the truth is that because I experienced a c/p the first time around, I really want to see beta # 2 and beta # 3 as well so that I can make sure that these numbers are doubling! Some good signs this time around: no spotting. Though spotting is completely normal, I did spot during my first IVF and it ended up being a chemical pregnancy and it made me freak out the whole time because I kept feeling like I was getting my period!! This time around, I have not spotted even once. I KNOW spotting is normal, but I would prefer not to spot and I’m happy that his time around that I am not. My cramps have also subdued as well. Now I just feel a lot of exhaustion and tiredness. I really need to work on staying more hydrated as well.
We really don’t want to tell anyone until we are done with the first trimester. That sounds like a long time but after the first trimester the risk of miscarriage drops to like 1% from what I heard. I’m nervous about other aspects of all this as well, especially telling people. Not everyone will understand why we did it or the timing of why we did it…but there is a reason. In the middle of this entire process, my husband and I wanted to completely quit. It was tiring, exhausting emotionally and physically. There’s truly nothing “fun” or exciting about this process in my opinion. So we actually scheduled an appointment with our RE to tell him just that – pull the plug, this whole thing sucks, we want out. And when we got to the appointment, that’s exactly what we told him. He basically told us the timing was NOW. We had to go for it in this moment because of factors including my health, my eventual surgeries, and because our insurance was still covering it, etc. He went on and on and on. By the end of it, we agreed to continue. This is not Natalie and Jose timing. We really believe this is God’s timing. We don’t understand why now in this specific moment, but we are going for it. It’s not going to be easy.

 

 

4dpt..feeling some cramping going on!

Today is the 4th day post transfer! I’ve been feeling crampy for a couple of days. From what I read, that’s perfectly normal. Still, I wish I didn’t feel any cramps at all! The past four days have actually flown by and I know that before I know it, next Friday will be here. Christmas break is going to go by so fast..I just know it! Either way, I’m super psyched for the break. My students flooded me with tons of gifts, especially chocolate. I’ll be staying away from the chocolate for now though because of the caffeine that’s in it…but it was still such a sweet sentiment! My 7th graders really know me.

I’ve been definitely staying in a much more positive place thought wise lately. Trying not to obsess over this and trying to think that the cramps I’m feeling are implantation cramps and that everything truly is going to work out for us this time around. I’ve been debating whether or not I should POAS on the day of our beta just so that I have a heads up. Still not sure though. My husband and I always said we wouldn’t but under these circumstances we are considering it.

I have been keeping extremely busy with Christmas shopping and just with life as we know it! Normally our lives are pretty hectic as it is so in a way it’s good because it keeps my mind occupied. This is what my schedule looked like this week:

Monday: Christmas party for my Bible Institute. Then we are on Christmas break for two weeks!

Tuesday: FET!! A day of complete rest!

Wednesday: Bible Study! Our church is in DE so it’s 45 minutes to get here and 45 minutes to get back. Basically it takes up our whole night but it’s well worth it.

Thursday: Wasn’t feeling well so after my job I came home, slept, and did lots of grading!

Friday: Work, Christmas Pollyanna party with my girls from work after work, and then off to church in DE to prepare for our Christmas program this Sunday!

Today: Got up at 7 am to take my hubby to work (we are having car issues and getting his car fixed Wednesday after Christmas, for now we are sharing one car!). After I took the hubster I went to get an oil change, went to the mall, went to Target, went back to hubster’s job to drop off some keys, went to Wal-Mart, ate some delicious Spanish food, came home..straightened my hair, and now I’m relaxing! Nonetheless, the busy-ness in my opinion is a good thing! It helps me to keep my mind off all of the waiting. Of course I bought my husband MORE Christmas gifts. Anytime I leave the house, I’m buying him gifts. He’s going to kill me when he seems how much I got him this year.I just can’t help it! He’s been my hero through this whole thing. He’s been positive, giving me the shots (as painful as they are) and has been my rock throughout this entire thing so I absolutely cannot help spoiling him this Christmas!

I’m hoping that our ultimate gift will be a BFP on the 28th! The verse of today was:

Jeremiah 29:11-12 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

I believe it! Hope! Hope, hope, hope, hope!

Everything is looking “great!” FET here we come :)

Well today I went in for my appointment in preparation for my upcoming FET transfer scheduled for December 17th. So far I am taking 10CC of Lupron every morning along with Estrace two and a half times a day. Today when I went in the RE told me that everything was looking “great” and I am exactly where I need to be. After school, they called me and told me to up my dosage to Estrace three and a half times daily until my next appointment which is next Wednesday.

I’m actually starting to feel some excitement about the whole thing again. My husband and I have a really good feeling about this. With this whole infertility process, when something doesn’t work out you feel absolutely crushed, broken, and devastated. Hence, how I felt when IVF # 1 was a fail. We were pregnant but it resulted in a chemical pregnancy. The positive is that at least I know that I CAN get pregnant. But, it didn’t work out and we had to move forward with prepping for a FET. First of all, I am really grateful that we even have embryos that we can use for this. From what I have been reading and researching, there are many people who do not even get any “frosties.”

I just want to be as positive as possible and believe that this is going to be it for us. When I am negative, it does no good to me or to my husband..so I really want to continue to maintain a positive outlook. From the meds or I don’t know what, I have not been able to eat like I normally would. I’ll eat something but it won’t last in my stomach very long. I think that that also had to do with the fact that my bowels have been affected because of the endo. Sometimes I can eat something and be fine, other times, not so much. It’s manageable though.

Anyway, that’s the current update. Praying and believing for some awesomeness this December.

When this is all over, I’m “coming out!”

Of the infertility closet that is. I really can’t wait for all of this to be over so that I can share our struggles, heartache, and ultimately our hopeful triumph with others. I often feel so alone in this struggle with infertility because I feel like I have no one to talk to or relate to face to face. On the internet through boards and through the blogosphere I have definitely found comfort in knowing that without a doubt, I’m not alone in my struggles. However, I can’t help but wish that I had someone I could go out with for coffee and just share with.

In my opinion, infertility is a very hush hush thing. In other words, infertility is not a dinner conversation or something that people are usually open with. For example, “Hey can you pass me the mashed potatoes..oh yeah by the way, I’ve been dealing with infertility for about two years now!” I feel like it can often be a very taboo subject, yet there are so many people that go through it! One in eight couples struggle with infertility. Yet, I feel like I am in No Man’s Land over here..solo, alone..while everyone around me is getting pregnant. When we finally have our story of success, I would love to come out with our struggle with infertility and try to be a beacon of hope and encouragement for those that are going through it. I know that I receive so much of my comfort and strength in reading the stories of women who have gone before me and have eventually experienced childbirth. I know so many people who would be completely shocked that we are dealing with this. I think that one day I would like to come out with our struggles and give a testimony of how God brought us through. One day.

I ordered a book called “Hannah’s hope. Here is a picture of what it looks like:

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It’s a book about infertility, miscarriage, and adoption loss. I was searching through Amazon for books dealing with this subject matter, specifically Christian books dealing with this subject, and came across this. It received excellent reviews and I ordered it used for less than $1. I just started reading it today and got through the introduction and the author’s story. So far I’ve learned that Jennifer tried actively conceiving with her husband for ten years..they experienced multiple miscarriages, multiple failed adoption attempts, went through many medical procedures (including procedures to deal with endometriosis..which I have) but ultimately had a boy and a girl (Joshua and Ruth). It has definitely captured my attention so far. Though I have just started the book, if you are dealing with any of these issues..I would recommend looking into this book. Seems like it’s going to be a really good read.

On a side note, the rest of my medications finally came in. Meds for the frozen embryo transfer. Looking forward to that day but wanting everything to go smoothly at the same time. Mostly, I really want my frosties to thaw out perfectly. Happy Thursday everyone! Be blessed.