Ok. Where is that stinkin’ bird?
Just a heads up, this has been a ROUGH week. If you came to my page expecting rainbows, sunshine, and happiness today… please come back another time. Today is not the day. I’m upset, CRUSHED, hurt, discouraged, anything BUT pregnant. I have chosen to change the name of my blog and make it public in hopes I can help someone else. I have read SO many infertility blogs in the last month. My heart feels it is time I share my story and not sugar coat it. This journey is filled with tears, joys, and heartbreak. I have cried with strangers in the last month as they have so bravely shared their struggles, heartbreaks, and joys. I want to share our journey. I want to help some lonely woman out there who feels like our journey mirrors her journey. I want people to read our journey and better understand how their words, actions, and prayers impact couples who are on a fertility-challenged journey.
In the past, I have felt as if I needed to be careful how I shared our journey because I knew I would be vulnerable to criticism. I felt like someone may read my words and think, “Gee. That Kari is so ungrateful for the other blessings in her life.” I am in fact NOT ungrateful though. The past 14 months I have prayed harder, loved stronger, and smiled bigger. I’m aware I have so many blessings and positive things in my life. For that I am grateful. That being said, I also long to raise a child with my husband. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please don’t make me feel like I’m an awful person for wanting to do so.
I was so full of hope as this week began. I tried so hard not to let myself get my hopes up too high though. TCB (my hubby) and I had discussed when I should take the home pregnancy test. Since our IUI (intrauterine insemination) was just over a week prior, we knew it was only a matter of days before we knew if it had failed or if we would be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). Just like the previous 13 months, I had labeled each day on my calendar with the number corresponding to the day of my cycle. On Tuesday morning I was at day 24 of my cycle. I was experiencing quite a bit of lower back pain when I woke up, but I dismissed it. I thought I had probably slept wrong. I continued getting ready for work. I noticed some spotting when I went to the bathroom. My heart immediately broke. Does this mean the IUI failed? Is this implantation bleeding? No. It is too late for implantation bleeding. As the day progressed, my back pain got worse. On my lunch break I climbed in the back of my SUV and tried to take a nap. I could not get comfortable and the pain was getting worse. I just laid there and prayed the longest prayer I’ve ever prayed. I asked God to take away the pain. I prayed He would give me peace and strength go face the next couple of days as I waited for my period and prepared for whatever the next step was. I thanked Him for loving me….and so on. When I returned to work, it was hard for me to sit still in my chair. The pain was becoming unbearable. I just wanted to lay in the floor in the fetal position and cry. I called my doctor’s office and spoke with the nurse. She offered to get me in that day and asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test yet. I told her I had not. I told her I would take a test the next morning. I decided I would take the test the next morning and call her if the pain was worse. She advised me to go to the ER if the pain got worse before the morning. After pushing through the pain for a few more hours, I began to get light-headed and nauseous. Something was wrong. I was scared. My first thought was an ectopic pregnancy. My second thought was my ovarian cysts were back. I called my husband to tell him something was wrong. He left work to come get me and take me to the ER.
When my husband picked me up, I thought we were going to Murfreesboro where my doctor was; however, he said he would take me to the local ER. I had a bad feeling about going to the local ER, but at that point I was in enough pain to not even care. I knew something was wrong and I was terrified. I just wanted someone to “fix” it. The next 2 hours were a nightmare. I explained to the triage nurse that my husband and I had done an IUI in Murfreesboro 11 days prior. I told him about the fertility drugs I had taken this round. He then walked us down the hall to the restroom. I had to pee in a cup so they could test me for kidney stones, an UTI, and pregnancy. I’ve done this song and dance enough to know that mid-day urine on day 11 after an IUI would not detect pregnancy. I knew I was not in the right place. After laying in a hospital bed curled up in a ball for almost an hour, a doctor finally came in the room and my fight began. The doctor asked me what I had done to my back. He asked a series of questions about if I had lifted anything heavy, etc. I responded with, “It is internal. I don’t believe I have done anything to my back muscles.” He then said, “Well you aren’t pregnant. Your urine was clear for kidney stones and a UTI. If you are bleeding a little, you are probably going to start your period soon.” Those words stung. “You are not pregnant.” I’ve been told, “the pregnancy test was negative” before, but never has someone so insensitively told me, “you are not pregnant”. I told him, “You don’t know that! It is too soon for a positive urine test! You don’t know if I am going to start my period!” He told me he couldn’t do an x-ray since we weren’t sure if I was pregnant or not. He couldn’t do an ultrasound because “it wouldn’t show anything”. He couldn’t give me pain meds because it would be bad for the baby if I was pregnant. So what DID he do? He advised me to be on bedrest the remainder of the week and follow up with my doctor. I felt like I had argued enough with him. Clearly he was like other local doctors who are insensitive and unsympathetic to the fertility-challenged. He probably didn’t even know what an IUI was. I was done with him. I was done with that hospital. I was done with the doctors in that town. Done. Done. Done. My crushed heart and awful back pain left the hospital that night.
I slept awful that night. I woke up early the next morning so I could take my 10 year old to school. When I returned home, I counted down the minutes until Dr. W’s office in Murfreesboro opened so I could fill the nurse and Dr. W in on the hell I had experienced the night before. Shortly after leaving a message with the receptionist, the nurse called me back. I explained to her what the ER doctor had said to me. I told her they didn’t even do an ultrasound! She scheduled an ultrasound for me and a followup with the nurse practitioner immediately. She said, “I’m so sorry you had to go through that. We will get you in here and get you taken care of.”
I went to that appointment alone. My husband had some stuff going on at work and I didn’t want him to miss anymore this week because of me. I went to the radiology department first. The radiologist was so bubbly and kind as she escorted me to the room where she would do my ultrasound. She asked a few questions about why I was in, asked me to empty my bladder, and undress from the waist down. I told her I had some issues with cysts in the past few months and Dr. W was probably trying to rule out that as the source of my pain. AS SOON AS she placed the transvaginal ultrasound wand thingie (for lack of a better description) inside me, her mood changed. She was no longer bubbly. She pushed and poked around for a few minutes, then said, “I’m going to show you your ovaries.” She moved the wand around to the left side. She showed me a large black blob on the screen as she clicked and typed away. She then pushed the wand to my right side. My heart sunk. She said, “This is your right ovary.” The screen showed 2 black blobs. I responded with, “Wow. My left one is a lot bigger.” My heart was breaking. I knew she couldn’t tell me anything else. I just laid there on the table as she did her job. I had tears running down my face. My cysts were back. I just knew it. She finished the ultrasound. I got off of the table, dressed, dried my tears, and headed upstairs to OB to see the nurse practitioner for my results.
The wait in the waiting room was the longest 30 minutes of my life. The room was filled with women with pregnant bellies. I sat in the furthest corner away from everyone as I gathered my thoughts. I had spent the past month praying for our IUI and for God to give us a healthy child. It had never even thought to pray for my cysts to not come back. As I was beating myself up over not praying for the right things, a young girl approached the front desk. I tried not to listen to her conversation; however, she caught my attention when she said she was having some cramping. She told one of the receptionists that she had been taking birth control, but stopped and “boom” got pregnant. Hello knife in my heart. I lost it. I cried so hard I could barely catch my breath. I went into the restroom, gathered myself, and dried my tears. It was time to get over it. I hadn’t seen the NP yet. I didn’t know if I would get good or bad news. I needed to stop beating myself up over it.
My name was finally called, and I was escorted to a room to wait for the NP. When she entered the room, I knew she did not have good news to share with me. She said, “You are in a lot of pain, aren’t you? You have a pretty large cyst on your left ovary.” She said I have a 5.5cm cyst on my left ovary and 2 smaller 2.5 and 2.3cm cysts on my right ovary. No wonder my belly looked like I was 3 months pregnant with twins. No wonder I was in such awful pain. She also informed me that I have a uterine fibroid. It is small, so they aren’t too concerned with it. She ordered we repeat the ultrasound in 4 weeks and put all fertility treatment on hold. . . again. My heart was shattered. Not only had we spent over $1k on an IUI that failed, now I have these huge cysts on my ovaries. The NP advised me that the size of my left cyst could cause my ovary to twist, which would cause me severe, excruciating pain and I would need to get to the ER very quickly. Great. She walked me to check out so I could schedule my followup and sent me on to the lab so they could do a blood pregnancy test. Up to that point, I had only taken Tylenol because I didn’t want to harm our baby if it was trying to find a cozy spot in my womb. If the pregnancy test was negative, I could actually take pain meds that would give me some relief.
I threw a fit in the parking lot that day. Up to that point, I had never been upset with God or asked, “Why are you doing this to me??” That day I did. I cried. I screamed. I hit my steering wheel. I begged God to just take away my desire to have a child because I was done. The physical and emotional pain were just too much. My heart was in pieces. I was upset. I was angry. I was disappointed. I felt like I was being punished. I dried my tears, asked God to forgive me for being so selfish, and started my car.
Where do we go from here? Well if you are reading this, I ask you to please remember us on November 25th as we return to the doctor for my follow up. If my cysts are not gone, I will face surgery. If they are gone, we will be back on track to Nashville Fertility in the spring.
Never in a million years would I have imagined we would have to fight SO hard to bring a child into this world. Never. We are blessed to have a doctor who had to fight equally as hard to bring his own children into this world though. He and his staff are so careful with their words. On Friday, Dr. W. called to check on me. He told me not to give up because he isn’t giving up on me. He reassured me that Nashville Fertility would take great care of me. He told me if my cysts are not gone at the end of the month, he will remove them and NOT take my ovaries. That was a concern of mine since the cysts were so large this time. He said he would also check my blocked tube and see if there is anything he can do to “clean that up”. Can you say answered prayers? God is good. Even in this dark, miserable time, God is still showing me that it isn’t time to pursue another path yet. God has placed Dr. W in our lives to give us the pep talks I need when I feel like I’ve hit the wall and can’t push forward anymore.
If you are reading this and you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your journey to bring a child into this world, please find comfort in knowing you are not alone. Please don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t allowed to own your feelings. If you feel like crying, cry. If you want to scream, please do so. Scream a little extra for me while you are at it. Don’t ever let someone’s “my neighbor’s cousin’s wife” story get you discouraged. Every journey is different. Everyone handles grieving differently. Yes. I said grieving. Every month you probably grieve over the child that you had prayed would be in your womb that month, but instead you are greeted by Aunt Flo. It is ok. Just don’t allow it to consume you. Keep pushing forward. You are not broken. Keep going.
Until next time… I will be praying for this blog to reach the hearts it needs to reach. Yes. You. I pray this blog touches your heart and gives YOU hope on your darkest, loneliest days. We are all in this together. You are NOT ever alone.