Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Some Closure

Last night on the eve of our 3rd anniversary, I have found some closure on a subject that has reared its ugly head for a long time now that we've been struggling with infertility.  I am grateful that my husband finally is in a place to openly talk about where we are at in this journey without getting upset, shutting down, or by simply saying he isn't in the mood to talk about it. 

Yesterday I was reviewing our insurance benefits for next year, as it's time to choose our options.  We have insurance through my work, and I work for a major health system in our city.  I happened upon a paragraph which I never noticed before about infertility treatment benefits.  I was told initially that any fertility treatment would be covered up to $2,000 under my insurance.  That doesn't make much of a dent in the overall costs, considering with meds it could be as much as $15,000 just to try one time.  But this paragraph also confirmed what my fertility doc told me last year when we tried medication and an IUI.  My doc said that employees (of the health system, which I am) get a discount.  So this paragraph explained that you would get another $2,000 discount if you do the treatments at their hospital (which I have to because that's the only way the actual insurance benefit will pay for the treatment as well).  So that's a total of $4k. 

I texted my husband and told him this, and he seemed interested.  He said we should discuss.  I was perplexed and surprised.  He said we should give it a shot. 

One thing you should understand is that mentally I've struggled wondering if IVF was the right choice for us, and this stems from mostly the odds stacked against us at the age of almost 42 and 40.  That coupled with the desire to not go back into debt when I spent a majority of my adult life deep in debt and depression made me feel that IVF was not something I was interested in trying. Also I am not interested in going through some of the actual medical and emotional process of IVF, either.  I did not know how my husband felt about it, therefor, I had no firm and solid answer that was a joint decision between us.  He's made fleeting comments about it here and there when I told him what our specialist told us about it, but he never made any great statements about whether he wanted to go that far or not.  So it's always been a question mark.  Until now.

I asked if we could talk about our texts about IVF.  I explained a bit about my understanding of the IVF process and how I've felt about it.  He told me that he has always felt that he wanted it to happen naturally, and it's not even about the financial piece, it's how he feels about bringing a child into this world.  He wants it to be something between us, not us and other people helping us.  He said after the IUI is when he really firmly decided that.  I think that after I explained some of the medical process of IVF, he made up his mind for sure.  So even though yesterday he seemed to be slightly tempted by the financial help, overall he is not interested in it as an option.  He also explained that he is not interested in adoption, so now I know where he stands on these topics, which is really all I wanted.

We talked about how I feel it's probably not going to happen naturally if it hasn't happened by now.  He understood but he still asked me to try until the end of this year and remain positive for him.  I told him I would.  I know he just needs time to let this sink in before he can completely give up, so I get it and I'm happy to comply.  I feel like a weight of uncertainty has been lifted, we have a plan, and I see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm just glad that we are on the same page.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Today...update

So we arrived at my brother-in-law's house and I noticed there were enough cars there that most likely the new parents and baby were there.  Sure enough, they were.  My heart sank.  But I was ok, congratulated them, but luckily since we aren't really close with these people we didn't need to over-do it.  I kept my distance.  I ended up playing a lot with my niece and the puppy.  Everyone sits around in a big circle making small talk, and much of it was about the new baby.  The kids will be kids and don't really interact with each other yet (a 4 year old and 1.5 year old, so there isn't much interactive play yet).  I went off in the play room after a bit and played with the kids/puppy to distract myself. 

I told my husband after we left while were were strolling around Target that I didn't want to be happy for any babies right now and was disappointed when I saw they were there.  He said something like "I understand your reasoning but..." and I didn't really gather the rest of what he said, because he does not think like me at all on this subject, well, actually I don't know how he thinks because he never says anything other than we need to keep trying, that it will happen. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Today

Today may prove to be more challenging than I thought originally.  Today is my nephew's 4th birthday party.  I am totally fine with seeing my niece and nephew.  I am able to put up some sort of shield that protects me from being sad about the fact that I won't have kids of my own and can truly enjoy the time I spend with them.  The thing that could be triggering to me at the party is my sister-in-law's brother and his wife just had a baby like two weeks ago or something and I'm not sure if they will be there or not. 

This couple got married around the same time as we did, however they are younger than us.  We barely know them, and haven't really had a single dedicated conversation with either one of them.  It's very segregated when we get together with my husband's family and his brother's in-laws.  These gatherings happen more so now because of their kids' birthdays, but occasionally on a holiday, too.  So, this couple had some miscarriages and I completely empathize with them on that level (not that I've miscarried, but I can empathize).  I am truly happy for them.  But I don't necessarily want to see their baby right now.  My husband doesn't think they will even be there because the baby is so new (and might even be a few weeks premature now that I think about it), but I was showering earlier and I thought that if they were there, I would have a hard time.  So I started crying and now I'm in a shitty mood.  As timing would have it, my period started yesterday, so yet again, the cycle rears its ugly head, taunting me. 

I started listening to a podcast done by a couple who struggled with infertility and IVF failed cycles for years.  They are finally giving up their dream to have a child and are figuring out where to go from here.  So it's been great listening to their shows - so much of what they talk about are things that I've blogged about here.  It sucks that I'm where they are at but my husband is not.  However, I must say that in his case actions speak louder than his words.  He tells me he wants to try each month, acts all excited and amped up about it when he tells me to let him know when we should start doing it, but then once it gets here, the action is rather silent and we may do it once or twice and that's it.  This is nothing new, as this is the way it's gone most of this year.  I'm annoyed.  Why do it half-assed and allow me to go through this monthly cycle of disappointment when we know the odds are not in our favor, and they are even less in our favor if we don't even try often enough?  I could have put this shit behind me months ago.  I could have gone back on birth control which I think (and my doctor thinks) may help with some of my back pain (it flares up from the time I ovulate until after my period, which doesn't leave much left of the month to not have increased pain, really).  But, here I sit, holding up my end of our deal to try until the end of the year. 

I didn't even tell him my period came.  If he can't see all of the empty tampon wrappers in the trash then he's oblivious.  I am tired.  Tired in general physically, and tired of writing about this shit. 

Today I was walking my dog through the neighborhood and a woman and her young toddler were outside playing.  Typically I would say hello and then say hello to the kid if they are in the age range where they get excited to say hi to people.  But today I held myself back.  Today I thought fuck it, why be nice.  I wasn't feeling like I wanted to be mean per say, I just didn't want to be my usual child-loving, jovial self.  I said hi to the lady and kept walking.  I just don't know how this party is going to go.  I will say that I'm kind of smitten with my niece.  She is a cutie and I often watch this video I took of her just to cheer myself up.  She always seems to be smiling.  She's very different than my nephew.  He's more subdued and also just more into watching TV and movies when we're there, or of course testing his limits with us. 

This was quite a rambling post.  This week I told my co-worker how I dreamed that I sort of found a baby...long story/dream, trust me, but the gist of it was that I found this baby and knew it was a girl because her ears were pierced.  She was only wearing a diaper.  I was with my brother and his wife and neither of them picked her up and so I said I would take her.  So I picked her up and decided I would raise her as my own.  I know why I dreamed it, especially the part about my bro and his wife.  I wish it were that easy, to just stumble upon a child and raise it.  Sometimes I fantasize that some struggling woman would approach us and ask us to raise her child and we could take the child with no strings attached and raise it as our own.  But, I know that adoption is not really an avenue I want to go down in reality.  It takes money and I think a strength as a couple that I'm not too sure we have within ourselves.  I don't even know my husband's views on adoption because up until now he is only fixated on having our own child.  He doesn't want to hear about other options because he thinks that by talking about that then that means I'm acknowledging we aren't going to have our own kid and that I'm not being optimistic.  Ok, I need to stop rambling before none of this makes any sense!!!

Fingers crossed that the newborn is not there today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Disclosure

I felt the urge today to send my brother an email and tell him what we've been going through with our infertility and our efforts to have a child.  It's not something we've talked about, and I usually see him in group situations so it's not really something that we talk about openly.  I told him that we've gone through a lot during these past three years to have a child, including the interventions we've tried.  I told him that that's probably why I bought the car even though I didn't need it.  See, I saw them a few weekends ago and showed them my new car when we were all over my parents' for a cook out.  I felt they were judging me (more-so my SIL), mainly because they always have kept their cars forever and ever, and also because my SIL is kind of judgmental in general, I can just tell when she's being judgmental even though she doesn't really say it overtly.

Anyway, it felt good to tell my brother what was going on because my SIL has kept their TTC journey very private and I don't want to talk about it around her because she thinks it all should be kept private.  She once said it's only for her and her doctor to know.  So I knew from then on that I would not bring up that topic with her.  My brother and I have never discussed kids, wanting kids, etc.  I knew that they weren't making a huge effort to TTC, that was one thing my SIL shared with me before she made it clear that she would rather not talk about it.  I felt it was important for him to know what has been going on with my husband and I.  I have always felt close with my brother and even though we don't hang out that much anymore, he is still a good friend.  I know that we have drifted apart due to where we both live now, and also they are mostly still into activities revolving around alcohol and we really aren't into those types of things that much.  We don't just go out to bars anymore and spend the evenings there, or go to wine or beer festivals.  Somehow they have been "blessed" with not having hangovers for the most part.  Besides, they have a childless couple who they spend most of their time with who live closer to them.

My brother was supportive in his response and told me he didn't know I wanted kids that badly.  He said he was sorry but that I can still live a great life and that he looks at our aunt and uncle who are child-free and they have a great life.  He also (jokingly) pointed out that we will save lots of money.  I appreciated his response and maybe now he will just have better insight into what's going on with me.  I told him that I'm hoping we can all go to New Orleans/Louisiana next year like I had suggested for this year (before I realized we were paying for a new roof and siding this year and could not afford a great trip like that, too).   Hopefully that trip will happen and I can finally show them where I used to live for 4.5 years of my life.

Friday, September 8, 2017

TTC no more...almost.

From time to time I torment myself by visiting the old forum I used to frequent back when I started realizing that TTC was not coming so easy for me at my age.  I enjoyed sharing with the women on there, enjoyed learning a lot about TTC in general, but at the same time, it also started to reinforce the insane parts of TTC.

I think I partly go back there to see if anyone has become pregnant.  I actually cross my fingers that no one is, and I know that sounds so terrible.  My heart sinks if I do see that someone got pregnant, but at the same time I am starting to get used to being childless.

I also noticed as of late that the more I go back there, the more I relate less and less to them.  They rattle off about all of the supplements they take, all of the testing they've done, and many of them progress to IVF and talk about weird acronyms and medicines and such.  I realize that I do not want to take part in that anymore.  I used to be slightly jealous of the IVF people.  I now know that I do not regret not trying IVF.  I've come to some sort of peace about it all.  I read these women's extensive stories of effort and they are so brave and strong for trying, I just know that I do not want that.  I'm tired.

My husband asked me two nights ago if my period started.  It was crazy because he doesn't know my cycle at all and it was in those pre-period stages where you think when you're TTC that maybe it's just spotting and that the full period won't come.  But I didn't even think that this time.  I told him my period was starting.  I was not sad about it.  Yes, we did try this cycle, so you would think I might have my hopes up, but as I know I've said before, the hope is gone.  It is clearly gone.  I was kind of hoping that after this cycle of trying that my husband might just give up.  When I said my period was starting he just said, "oh".

I don't really plan to initiate anything from now on.  I am ready to move on now more than ever.  I've already dreamed up some design ideas for each of the empty rooms in my house that I've held off decorating because I thought they would become a baby's bedroom and a playroom.  I don't have the money to furnish either room at this point (other than the random stuff we have in there now), but I'd like to at least decide on more of a "purpose" for those rooms.  One of them (playroom) is part office, but now that I don't work from home, I could downplay the office part and maybe put the computer in the (baby) bedroom and then over time make the "playroom" into a second sitting room.  I will no longer refer to them as the baby bedroom or the playroom (I only referred to them that way in my mind, anyway) - we call the playroom the "back room" and the baby bedroom the "spare room".

After our TTC year is officially up, it will be the dead of winter, and I think it will be fun to decorate those rooms.  It will give me something to look forward to in the winter.

We are babysitting the niece and nephew tomorrow so that will be fun.  I'm sure seeing them will probably make my husband want to TTC again this month.  Ugh.

Friday, September 1, 2017

My Very Modest Claim to Fame

Yesterday I attended a prayer service event to recognize all of those who lost their lives to drug overdoses and in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day.  This was a work "duty" (yeah, with lots of religion, ugh) for a steering committee I'm on for a local recovery organization.  I hate the religious aspect of it, but I appreciate the meaning behind it.  Our mayor spoke, and I swear that he was staring at me while talking, so much so that I had to sort of nod my head when he was saying things because I didn't want to appear like some sort of lifeless person.  I was only about 20 feet away from him.  Anyway, the news stations were there.  So I got home and watched the news and there I was in the crowd.  My parents watched the news but didn't specifically see me, which was understandable because it was for only about 3 seconds that I was on.  Anyway, that is my first claim to fame as of late.

In doing my family history, I unexpectedly found connections here in the city I live in, even though it was family on my father's side, who I thought was mainly from Ohio and Indiana.  But of course, back then, everyone started off living in states like Pennsylvania before heading further west.  So I found out that the little town (borough) I drive past every day to get to work was named after one of my direct ancestors, as well as a neighborhood within that town.  My ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War at Valley Forge, and then moved to this area of Pennsylvania and purchased a grist mill.  He had two wives, and my 4th great-grandmother was his first child and daughter, being from the first wife.  He had many children, too.  His one son was married to (and then divorced from) a very outspoken female for that time.  She was a teacher, business owner, prominent feminist, publisher of the Pittsburgh Saturday Visiter (an anti-slavery newspaper), and an organizer of the Underground Railroad.  In 1850, she made history as the first woman in the Senate press gallery.  If you search for the famous in-law female you will find plenty of info about her.  I searched for the family name (which is the name of my ancestor) in newspapers.com, and there were plenty of articles of her's that were published all over the country back then, as well as many articles about her throughout the years.  She also had an autobiographical book called Half A Century.

Here is an excerpt from a chapter in her book where she talks about meeting her husband (and it definitely went downhill from there):






Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Infertility: A Poem Both Humorous and Sad

When?

When your sex life is a joke
When you've gone completely broke

When you cry at the drop of a hat
When you smother your dog and cat

When your cervical mucous dictates your day
When you wish there was an easier way

When your two week wait turns into three years
When your sleepless nights are filled with tears

When the hormones make you blue
When your loved ones have no clue

When you put your plans on hold
When you think you're just too old

When your dreams all turn to shit
When you think "this month is it!"

When your period starts
When everything falls apart

When is enough enough?


___________________________________________________________
Just to note, I can say that I am still sad, but I feel like I'm starting to come out on the other side of things, on the other side of loss and grief.  I think the meds might be helping, too, but I feel sort of a resolution to it all.  This is all while still going through the motions of TTC with my husband.  We're currently in the midst of trying for this month, and honestly it's not fun.  It's not fun because I have no hope and I know he does.  I know his is dwindling, but he has way more hope than I do, so it kind of kills it for me when we're "trying".  I just know when we are trying, we're not in the same place emotionally, so I feel less connected.