NIAW 2016 – #StartAsking

 

It is National Infertility Awareness Week! What exactly does that mean? It means this week bloggers unite to raise awareness for a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples. This week we get the conversation started and bring awareness to something a lot of people are afraid to talk about. To learn more about this movement, you can visit www.resolve.org .

#StartAsking

Infertility isn’t easy to talk about. I know. I’ve been there. It was so hard for me to open up about our struggle. I felt like I was so alone and nobody would understand, but one day I stepped out of my comfort zone and began sharing our story. The truth is, once I opened up about what I was facing, I received so much support from others within the TTC community, close friends, and some family. I wasn’t alone! I had a wonderful support system during my journey, and I have made it a passion of mine to be a supporter for other women.

What is infertility? According to resolve.org, infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system 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.

What should you ask?

  • I’m a firm believer you should feel comfortable with your doctor. Ask questions. Ask if he/she has much experience dealing with infertility. If not, ask if you can be referred to someone else.
  • Ask. Questions. If you feel like your doctor does not have time to answer all of your questions, it is time to find a new doctor!
  • Ask you spouse / partner how they feel. Communication is so important when you are faced with an infertility journey. It is so easy to get lost in the emotional roller coaster. Make sure you talk about it with your spouse even if you do not feel like talking to anyone else. You are both in this together!
  • Ask friends, family, or church family to pray for you. If you are not comfortable sharing details, that is completely okay! Just simply asking them to pray for you.
  • If you are not personally experiencing an infertility journey, but someone close to you is, please try to educate yourself on what exactly infertility is. You can learn more at http://www.reslove.org or this Infertility Etiquette Fact Sheet.

 

Here is my  post for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014  –  NIAW : Resolve to Know

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Answered Prayer: Kayla

My best friend, Rachel, had told me about Kayla a couple of years ago. It wasn’t until Rachel’s wedding in June of 2014 that I would meet Kayla in person. Obviously a wedding reception wasn’t the best place to talk to Kayla about infertility. On top of that, I was currently 9 weeks pregnant myself. I wasn’t sure how to even approach her. So I prayed. A month later, I received an inbox message on Facebook from Kayla. God had sent me the person He wanted me to inspire, encourage, and pray for. God sent me Kayla. 

 
When Kayla first reached out to me, she congratulated me on my pregnancy with the twins and told me Rachel had shared bits and pieces of my story with her. I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I basically just went with what was in my heart. I told her:
Hang in there. I know it is so tough from time to time, but one day it will all be worth it…if you ever need ANYTHING, I’ve been there and I will gladly listen! “

She then opened up to me about her own two-year journey. She admitted to me that she had struggled with the fact she wasn’t trusting the Lord would give them a child in HIS timing. She told me about how she struggled to stay positive from time to time. She told me how she felt when she saw yet another pregnancy announcement. She wasn’t angry or jealous, but she just wondered if that would ever be her? I remember reading her words with tears in my eyes and thinking, “She sounds just like I did. These are my own words. I remember feeling like this myself!” I saw so much of myself and my own journey in Kayla.

As our relationship grew, she told me how she and her husband were not only praying they would one day BE pregnant, but they were also already praying FOR their child. She was already thanking God for the child He would send them. THAT IS FAITH! In all honesty, sometimes it is hard to stand in such strong faith when you are in the middle of a storm. I know she had her hard days where she just felt so much disappointment. She shared those days with me too, but for the most part Kayla knew she would be a mother… she just wasn’t sure how long she would be waiting.

Kayla shared this journal entry with me from her journey:
“It was at this appointment that our journey really hit home to me. Until this point I had been very strong….of course each time I started [my period] it would hurt but I was anxious to just move on to the next month. Well this appointment was different. We talked about doing the HSG procedure and then two more 100 mg of Clomid. Her next statement made me cry. …’If the HSG is okay and Clomid doesn’t work, we will move on to doing a round of IUI.’ Wow. I never thought my body would not allow me to get pregnant on my own….” 

I don’t remember the date. I just remember sitting in my bedroom rocking one of my twins when my phone rang. It was a FaceTime call from Rachel. I remember thinking, “Why on Earth is this girl calling me on FaceTime?! Doesn’t she know I’m a mess?!” When I answered, Rachel said “Kayla has something to tell you.” She turned the phone so I could see Kayla holding a small University of Tennessee onesie. I immediately started crying. Happy tears of course. The child we had hoped, prayed, and believed for was on the way. Kayla was finally pregnant. OUR prayers had been answered. Precious Kayla had remained faithful. She stood in faith that God would answer her prayer.. in His time. And He did.
I am so grateful God placed Kayla in my life. I have learned so much from her. She is such a caring person. She and I have worked together over the last several months to encourage mothers-in-waiting on their own journeys. It is so beautiful to see how God has used such a difficult time in each of our lives so we can shine a light for others.

Hold Please.

Seasons. Phases. Whatever you want to call the ups and downs of raising children (or just life in general), we can all agree things change. It may be sleep patterns, favorite activities, favorite foods, temper tantrums, so on and so forth. It might be changes within your friendships or even your marriage. You get it. We are currently in an interesting season. As a wife and mother, I am in a very challenging season. I’m lonely. 

“When everything seems to be going against you,  remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.  – Henry Ford 


In the last sixteen months, I have learned a few things. One of the most important things I’ve learned is…. I was wrong. In my mind, I envisioned being a stay-at-home mom as lots of fun play dates, trips to the park, meeting friends for lunch, and teaching my kids all of the basics they will need to know to begin preschool. This dream is not completely incorrect, but I would like to address a few of my misconceptions:

Fun Play Dates: I always imagined sitting on the floor, sipping coffee and chatting with fellow mommies about our kiddos as the kids played nicely with some blocks. I assume these would take place if I actually KNEW anyone who (a) is also a stay-at-home mommy or even a part-time working mommy and (b) isn’t afraid of hanging out with a mom of twins. I get it. My kids can be a little overwhelming. Contrary to how it may seem sometimes, I am actually dying to leave my house WITH my kids. We just need somewhere to go!

Trips to the Park: These do take place at least once or twice a week, weather permitting. Most of the time we are alone at the park, so I basically end up chatting with my tiny humans about the trees or grass. Considering we have a spacious yard, a fancy swing set, and all of the balls Ryker could ever dream to play with… We might as well stay home and play! We go to the park so I can run, and the babies can ride in the stroller. It gets us out of the house, so it isn’t a complete bust.

Meeting Friends for Lunch: This goes back to the whole “my kids can be a little overwhelming”. The last time we were invited to lunch, it was with my mom, aunt, and grandmother. It wasn’t awful, but I’m not holding my breath they will invite us to lunch again anytime soon. I have dining out with toddlers down to a science. I am completely ok with going out to eat, its just the other folks who get a little antsy. I also tend to shy away from invitations that do not include my kids. Contrary to what some may believe, my kiddos are actually pretty well behaved in restaurants as long as it is not nap time. Truth be told, if you want to hang out with me, my kids will probably be with me!

Teaching my kids all of the preschool basics: If “don’t hit your sister” or “don’t throw that” are things Ryker will be tested on to get into preschool, I doubt he will be accepted. Truth. I have tried so hard to teach them body parts, introduce them to shapes and colors, and even sharing. Have you ever tried to hold the attention of two toddlers for longer than .25 seconds? I have. I wasn’t successful, but I did try. I’ve resorted to showing them books and hoping they will soak something in between their fights, Ryker’s tantrums, and snacks.  There’s a glimmer of hope in there somewhere.

The truth is, we are just in this season where I’m plain lonely. Period. I crave adult conversation almost as much as I crave chocolate. Any type of social interaction is amazing. I’ve considered trying to join a Mommy Play Date Group, but the closest one I’ve found is 45 minutes away. If I reach that level of desperation, I’ll probably load up the kids and crash that one. We do have frequent play dates with a friend of mine and her precious little daughter. I literally count down the minutes between their visits! In the meantime, I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping eventually the twins and I will be able to crawl out of our cave and make friends. Until then, I’ll continue telling them everything I wish I could tell an adult as we build towers with blocks or blow bubbles in the yard. I know one day I’ll no longer crave being around other Mommies. I know one day I’ll wish I could have the twins at home with me so we could play, giggle, blow bubbles, and share snacks. I’m trying to soak it all in so please do not take this a desperate cry or a complaint. I’m just being real.

I’m sure family will read this and immediately offer to “keep the babies” so I can go do something or go somewhere. I want to make it extra crystal clear that’s not what I’m needing. Where would I go anyway?! To the grocery store? Eh. We have that under control. No thanks. I’m needing friends, play dates, someone to talk to, somewhere to go with my kids so we can be around other human beings. I need to see with my own two eyes that I am not the only mom who struggles. I need social interaction just as much as the twins do.

In a few short weeks, Big Brother Gavin will be out of school. I have high hopes once school is out and the weather is nicer, we will have more opportunities to get out in the world and explore. Where do Mommies go? What fun places and things are out there for a mom and two 16 month olds?  Share your secrets!

Dead Plants

“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal.”  – Philippians 3:13-14

Each spring, I drag my husband to the lawn and garden area of our local home improvement store. Each year I promise I’ll “do better this time” taking care of my flowers. I tell Trey I will water them daily, prune them, and even rotate them on the porch for optimal sunlight. For some reason this usually convinces him to let me buy flowers one more time. After a few months, my plants usually die. Even the ones that are supposed to bloom year after year. Dead.  I realize I’ve neglected them and try to revive them by watering them…. even though I know all hope is lost. They’re already gone.

Don’t Look Back. 

I have to stop pouring energy into the past. It is no secret I lost a few friends during my infertility battle. I was crazy. I allowed my situation to completely consume me. I neglected relationships. I pushed friends and family members away. I made a lot of mistakes. I’ve replayed conversations in my mind over and over and often wondered what things would look like today if I had handled some situations differently.

Shortly before my 30th birthday last year, I made a vow to myself to try and repair the damage. In my mind, I thought this was the only way I could fully move forward and finally get past the guilt. I had to make things right. I wasn’t looking for forgiveness at all. I just wanted to reach out and admit I knew I did a lot of things wrong. It was not my place to try to justify the things I said, did, or didn’t do. I had obviously hurt several people in my life – friends and family- and I just needed to let them know I realized what I had done was hurtful to them.

The past is in the past. I cannot change what happened two or three years ago. The past is dead plants. I can pour energy into it all I want, but it won’t change anything. It. Is. Dead. I neglected relationships and now they are gone. All I can do from this point forward is focus on what is ahead and hope for the best.

 

 

Goodbye Is Never Easy

Goodbye

 

Yesterday I said goodbye to someone so special to our family.

Last week we closed a chapter in our lives. I slammed the door shut on twenty years of heavy, irregular, painful periods. I no longer have uterine lining. Obviously pregnancy is not something I can easily achieve after  my uterine lining has been “boiled”. If by some miracle I did end up pregnant, it wouldn’t be pretty. The risk of miscarriage and other problems are greatly increased after an endometrial ablation. With that being said, we made the decision to clamp my tubes. I also had quite a bit of endometriosis removed from around my colon — cause uterine lining obviously doesn’t belong there, right? It doesn’t. My body can’t quite figure that out though.  Last but definitely not least, my doctor found a nasty, thick cyst on my right ovary. Those good ole ovaries and their silly ways of misbehaving get me every time.

The recovery was everything but enjoyable.

I had my one week post op appointment yesterday. I asked Trey to go with me. I chose to take Ryker and Averlee with us too. I knew deep down this would be an emotional appointment for me. When my doctor came in, it was business as usual. I showed him my incisions. He went over what took place during my surgery. He gave me the run down of what I can expect over the next week or so as far as bleeding. Then there was the silence I had been dreading. I took a deep breath and said, “So I guess this is it? I am not having any more babies. You got me through a miscarriage, infertility, a twin pregnancy, a c-section, postpartum depression, and two surgeries. I guess this is the end of our road together, right?” The tears filled my eyes as he thanked me for the millionth time for trusting him to take care of me. He thanked ME when really all I wanted to do was thank him.

I can still remember the day I sat in his office for the very first time. I was nervous. I was scared. I had a miscarriage not long before and just didn’t know what to do. He took the time to run blood tests on me. He gave me a pep talk about how wonderful of a mother I was already. He cared. He genuinely cared.

We parted ways for a few years after that due to me being stupid and wanting a doctor closer to home. He stayed in the back of my mind though as I continued to have problems with my cycles. Three years ago I went back to him though. I remember Trey and I sitting in his office together. I was crying so hard. I told him, “My last two doctors told me I can’t have anymore children. I don’t understand! I just want your opinion. I need answers as to WHY?!” He looked me straight in the eyes, patted my back, and told me he couldn’t tell me if I would or wouldn’t have anymore children because that decision wasn’t up to him. He wasn’t God. He said he could try everything in his power to help me get pregnant though. He cared. After two doctors basically brushed us under the rug and treated us like we were just an extra zero on their next paycheck, this doctor took the time to actually show compassion and care. He listened to my concerns and took the time to help us.

After each failed cycle, he would give me another pep talk. There were a few times when I wanted to quit. I told him I wanted to quit. He wouldn’t let me though. He knew deep down that wasn’t what I wanted. He believed in me and he knew I that was what I needed. I just needed a doctor to believe in me and he wasn’t about to let me give up without a fight!

When he reached the end of his rope with me, he referred me to NFC because he KNEW they would help me. He knew they would take care of me just as he did. He trusted them. I trusted him and knew if this was what he felt our next move needed to be… I needed to do it. He took the time to call and check on me even while I was a patient at NFC.

In June of 2014, Trey and I sat in his office again. He came in the room and gave me the biggest hug and congratulated both of us on our twin pregnancy. Throughout our pregnancy, my doctor always listened to my concerns. He talked me through every appointment. He made sure to explain everything so I could easily understand it. He made sure I got through all of the questions on my list, even if I had a LONG list that appointment. Each time we had a scare, he was always cautious. He did not hesitate to admit me to the hospital at 30 weeks when I was threatening pre-term labor.

On December 3, 2014 he delivered my precious Ryker and Averlee at 34 weeks. I was terrified to be delivering that early, but I trusted Dr. W. I knew he was taking care of me and he would do everything in his power to bring our miracles into the world safely. We had been through too much together up to that point. He knew I needed him to be honest with me, so he made sure he talked me through everything.

Yesterday I said Goodbye to the one doctor who wouldn’t let me give up. He believed in me from the very beginning. He cared about me. He was attentive, compassionate, and understanding. He was exactly everything I needed after being so broken by other doctors. If more doctors were like him, I honestly believe the world would be a better place.

My pregnancy days are over. There are other women who need his time. There are other women who NEED him as their doctor so maybe they won’t give up. I am forever grateful for everything he and his staff did for us during our journey through infertility, a twin pregnancy, and all of my postpartum complications. Every time I look at Ryker and Averlee, I thank God for leading me down the path He did so I could have Dr. Williams in my life right when I needed him. I’m so grateful I had a doctor I could love and trust who loved me and my family in return. That is something I will never forget.

Thank you Murfreesboro Medical Clinic. Thank you, Brooke. Thank you, Dr. Williams. I love you.