Side Effects

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Yesterday, seems to be all a fog to me.  The day started off pretty much as any other day would.  However, at about 10 am I was visited by a massive Clomid headache.  This is one of the many side effects of this medication that I am on. Unfortunately, I have experienced this dreaded headache every month I have been on Clomid. When it sets in, it does so like a really bad storm.  I’ve experienced some pretty bad headaches in my day due to all of the issues I have with my back and neck but honestly, these Clomid headaches take the cake.

When the headache set in, I was already at the library with E and we were just starting Lap-sit story hour.  I could have picked up and left BUT we’ve been so cooped up in the house with sickness these past couple of weeks I couldn’t deprive her of her story time where she can dance, sing, do finger plays, watch a puppet show, read stories and play and learn with her library friends.

So, the good mom that I am sat in that room and let my daughter enjoy her time at Lap-Sit.  Little did she know that Mama was not enjoying herself so much and I felt like I was in a tiny room filled with way too many adults and toddlers with a noise level that was out of this world horrible for me at the time.  By the time story hour was over, I felt like I was squinting as the lights were too bright and I felt sick to my stomach.

I got E’s coat on and we left.  However, it was an incredibly bright and sunny winter day outside and the brightness was not compatible with the headache I was combating.  Once I got into our car, I called my husband to let him know of my circumstances and that I was afraid to drive the 15 minutes home because I couldn’t keep my eyes open and the pounding in my head was excruciating and making me sick.  I ended up sitting in the parking for about 10 minutes, letting my eyes adjust and then I decided I felt up to driving.  Most importantly I was safe to drive my daughter.

It was getting close to lunch, and I knew I was not up for making a lunch mess at home, so I took E for a mini lunch date.  While eating we had a nice little chat and like always E asks about her Daddy and what he was eating for lunch.  It was E’s idea to take a snap chat and send it to Daddy to check in.

You can see in the picture above, that E was just having a grand old time on our lunch date and as much as mommy tried to enjoy it my headache was getting the best of me.  You can see how heavy my eyes look in the picture too-yikes!  We ate our lunch and went home and thankfully E was fine with the low-key afternoon we had.

She was very concerned, however, about Mommy.  She got out her doctor kit and looked me over and said I was “healfy” and said to “just put a band-aid on your owie head”.  She filled my day with hugs, kisses, and snuggles.  I absolutely hate that this takes away time from my daughter, but fortunately E is such a good girl and content doing just about anything!

Unfortunately, over the counter pain medication does nothing to ward off these types of headaches for me.  I am just crossing my fingers I am not struck by another one today as I need to accomplish a lot on my to-do list, including grocery shopping (yuck!) since productivity was lost yesterday.  …and of course, I want to make up our day to E and include some fun and learning this afternoon since we did none of that yesterday!

Besides headaches, other symptoms I tend to experience while on Clomid are:  night sweats, blurred vision, sore breasts, weight gain (which you probably would not notice, but it’s enough for me to notice) and emotional, irritable and I tend to have mood swings.  None of these symptoms are fun, but then I remind myself of the bigger picture and it puts things into perspective as to why I am putting myself through all of this. Most importantly, please remember I feel like I am out of control when it comes to my emotions, irritability and mood swings.  If I say or do something to offend you during this time I am sorry and under normal circumstances would not act in such a way, but these drugs are totally messing with my hormones!  Here are some posters that sum it up perfectly and hopefully can make you laugh a bit too to lighten this mood:

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…and we keep on, keeping on!

Mrs. Potato Head

I just had to share this picture of my daughter from last night.  I was mid workout when Mrs. Potato Head came in and made me giggle so hard I almost peed my pants. She’s such a goof ball and I am glad that she is my goof ball! Between her silly personality and her now being in the “why” stage and asking me a million and ten questions (Mama, why are you bending like that?  Mama why are you running and not really moving? Mama why do you have water on your face?  Mama why are you exercising?) it was just too much (the good kind of too much)!

It’s these kind of moments that I cherish and want to freeze in time. These kinds of moments make the sadness in my days just a little big brighter, and make that weight just a little bit lighter because I know how fortunate I am.  I am just so incredibly thankful for my ray of sunshine.  I love her over the moon and back and then back again.  However, it also reminds me why we are in this journey now and why we keep going, even though it’s been struggle after struggle, heart break after heart break.  It’s moments like this with E that will make it all worth it in the end.  I just have to keep the faith and keep believing our miracle baby #2 will come. Some days just deem harder then others.  If it doesn’t happen, there is one thing that will always be: we have the cutest, smartest, silliest,  most beautiful little girl in the whole world.  There are days I snuggle with her longer, hug her tighter, kiss her multiple times, and tell her “I love you” a million times a day and hopefully one day she will know and understand how much she truly means to me & how much I love her!  She’s my something good in my everyday!Featured image

Follow-Up

I just wanted to do a follow up from Thursday’s post. I heard back from my Nurse later on Friday morning about my next treatment plan plan of attack & wanted to update like I said I would. First of all, I really dislike that they use the words “treatment plans”.  I would really prefer they just say “plan of attack” as thus far they haven’t really treated anything.  To me, it’s just misleading.

Secondly, I apologize if I seem a bit snappy, overly sensitive, an emotional basket case, not completely present and simply just no fun to be around.  This time around has really taken it’s toll on me, and I’m having a much harder time dealing with things.  I’m going to be honest and say that I am in quite a funk and have been slow to snap out of it.  I feel depressed, mopey, unmotivated, sad, frustrated, wanting to be alone, and just off.  I have been strong for so long and carrying this heavy weight on my shoulders it is just really all so very overwhelming.  Most of the time I try very hard to have the very best attitude about our circumstances; however, sometimes I just need a good cry & some time to acknowledge my feelings-not all days are going to be bright and cheery.  I’m just exhausted, tired, and not feeling like myself.

Now, to follow up with what the Nurse told me was their next plan of attack: Originally, they said we could do 3 medicated cycles with 3 back to back IUI’s (if you remember we ended up having 3 medicated cycles and only 2 IUI’s) and then we were to take a month break to give my body time to cleanse before going back on more medication.  Well, Dr. P thought it would be just fine to press forward and she didn’t feel I needed to take a break unless we wanted to.  As much as a “break” would be nice from all of this, I know that it wouldn’t be much of a break as I would just feel it would be a month wasted, and this is all I would be thinking about anyways. Time is extremely precious and just keeps on ticking and I want to use it wisely.  So, the Nurse said we could press on by doing 1-2 more IUI’s back to back with 2 more medicated cycles with Clomid.  We also have the choice to try the HCG shot this time around.  If those happen to fail, then the next step would be for me to have the HSG test and then move on to seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

I really didn’t understand why they said HSG test last.  I think this is completely backwards.  She said we could do that test first but she said that it is extremely expensive (but what isn’t expensive in the infertility world?).   Our insurance will not cover that test, and it’s about $2500-3000 out of pocket. She said the main reason they tell patients to wait until last to do that is because of the expense of it.  She tried to reassure me that the Doctor does things in this order for a reason, but it is up to us if we wanted to do that test first, or not.  I would like to do it first, but like the Nurse said, it’s so expensive!  It’s just so sad to me that money is the reason that a lot of society dealing with infertility is the reason why they can’t have a family or expand the family they already have.

After talking about this with my husband, we decided that since we’ve never done the HCG shot before with clomid and IUI we would like to exhaust that option before moving on to the HSG test.  So, we are thinking we will do 1 more IUI and not do the #2 until I have had the HSG test done.  I don’t know how confident I feel in this decision, only because I know if the HSG test were cheaper I would be doing that first in a heartbeat.  It’s just so hard not knowing what to do.

Because you may be confused about some of the terms above I will explain what they are here:

HCG Shot information can be found at the following link:

http://www.newkidscenter.com/HCG-Trigger-Shot.html

HSG Test information can be found at the following link:

http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/hysterosalpingogram-21590

Reproductive Endocrinologist information can be found at the following link:

http://www.rmact.com/about/our-fertility-doctors-ct-ny/what-is-a-reproductive-endocrinologist

Please continue praying for us.  Your thoughts, prayers and support are appreciated more then you will ever know.  This has been very hard on us.

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This Pain.

Secondary Infertility.  Real disease.  Real struggle.  Real heartache.  Real grief.  

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My TWW is officially over and it has not ended in a desirable fashion.  All tests since 11 days post IUI have been negative and with no warning, my period is here just like that.  It’s over.  I feel so many emotions yet I feel numb.  Then reality sets in and I am pain-stricken with grief.  An unfathomable heartache sets.  How is one to deal with so much reoccurring sadness month after month after month?  My struggle is real and I know I am not alone, yet I feel so alone.  This pain.  This pain is just all too much sometimes and so hard to explain to those who just don’t get what I am going through. The longing to have another child, to give my little girl a brother or sister, and see my husband with a 2nd child is so strong.  I feel the void everyday of what could be, but what isn’t.  My husband is pained too and I know extremely disappointed, although he stays pretty quiet about the subject except when I ask him questions or make comments myself about our situation.  I can’t bear the look on his face when it gets to this point when all I have to give him is disappointing news.

I just don’t get it. Our 2nd IUI & 3rd Medicated cycle has failed. I had really high hopes this month, but a part of me knew those hopes were too good to be true.  If medical intervention hasn’t worked thus far, what will?  Why is this happening to us?  Why does something that is supposed to be so easy, so hard for us? How can we afford to press on medically even if we wanted to?  Where do we go from here, what next? There are so many questions that I mull around in my head.  They cause me a great deal of stress and tears.  I honestly just don’t know how much more I can take.  We’ve been through so much emotionally these past 18 months and myself physically I just feel broken.  If one thing is for sure, I am really seeing how strong I really am.  It takes a great deal of strength to go through what my husband and I are going through, and continue to press on mentally, physically and emotionally.  It’s hard, and it’s so complex.  It’s not easy and it’s not simple. There are no concrete answers and no one to tell us what we should do.

So what is next?  I called the fertility clinic this morning and I spoke with the nurse, and told her what was going on. She has to speak with my doctor as to what comes next…so, now I wait for a phone call.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.  That’s all we ever do.  I’ll keep my blog updated as I find out more.  Prayers for patience in the waiting and strength to overcome another month of grief and bravery to press on are very much appreciated at this time for my husband and I.

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TWW…My Worst Enemy.

I hate the two week wait or as many infertility goers call it the dreaded TWW or 2WW.  This time frame is literally my worst enemy.  It’s the time in the month where my anxiety rolls to a new peak and probably off the charts, I have hope every time, but don’t want to get my hopes too high,  my mind plays terrible tricks on me, and every single bodily symptoms reminds me that, that could possibly be a pregnancy symptom.  The TWW is typically the time frame past ovulation and/or between an ended cycle of treatment (like having an IUI) and when you can take a pregnancy test.  It honestly feels like an eternity.

Can you believe I’ve been going through this vicious cycle now for 18 months?  I surely can’t.  It’s been a trip, and not a good one–the worst roller-coaster ride I have ever been on.  I don’t want to sound like a negative Nelly, but I am really starting to wonder if baby #2 is ever going to happen for us.  I am trying so hard to keep my faith and stay positive but I am human and I am struggling.  It’s really hard when things don’t go as planned but as one of my favorite quotes says, “It’s the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee.”-Author Unknown

So how do I cope with the TWW?  Let me tell you, this is not an easy question to answer and I have yet to master coping during the TWW.  There are days where I feel like I am simply not coping at all as my anxiety, fear, over analyzing and hope get the best of me.  I break down and want to take a pregnancy test but then I don’t want to see the dreaded negative on the home pregnancy test (HPT) and deal with the emotions that come with it.  I avoid it then, and try to press on with my day.  I recently have taken up a new hobby and have been teaching myself to crotchet.  I find this to be very relaxing and keeps me busy and my mind goes to a quiet place while I am doing it.  This is one way I am coping.  I decided to start this blog and it has been very therapeutic for me to get my feelings, thoughts, opinions, and story out there.  This is another way I am coping.  I exercise while listening to my favorite music.  This tends to be a huge stress reliever for me and I always feel better after sweating it out and getting my heartbeat up and listening to music that speaks to my soul.  Something else I do to cope.  I spend quality time with my beautiful daughter.  She never fails to put a smile on my face and puts me in a good mood.  She is a reminder to me that God does work miracles and there is hope.  I spend time with family, friends and neighbors.  I bake or cook.  I clean-oh, boy do I clean during the TWW!  Now, these are just a few of the things I do, but like any day there are triggers for me that set me in a funk and this topic weighs heavily on my heart and mind.  Sometimes no matter what I do to try to distract myself, thoughts of babies creep in and take over.  I think it’s just something that is unavoidable when my heart wants something so badly.  I think of it 24/7 and I dream of it too.  I am slowly learning, however, to find a healthy balance between the obsessive thoughts I have and all the things I do to cope.  I find that it’s OK to think about having a baby or wanting a baby or even think about all I am going through, but you still have to find positive things to keep you going.  So, like any hardship…someway, somehow I just keep on keeping on. Easy or hard, this is my life and I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I can’t give up completely as I have so much to be thankful for, namely my amazing husband and wonderful daughter.  They need me!  This surely is also testing my strength and I am learning I am one strong cookie!  I am able to deal with a lot and mostly in a positive and healthy way, but again, I am human and have my moments.  The fact that I have made it this far, and slightly optimistic is something I can be proud of as it hasn’t been a cake walk.

I wanted to provide also a few good articles about the TWW.  Feel free to click the links below and learn more about coping with or trying to survive the dreaded TWW.  Remember, you may feel alone–but  you are not.  There are so many other women and couples going through this very thing.  There are many support groups that are helpful too.

http://www.parenting.com/fertility/infertility/how-to-survive-dreaded-two-week-wait-pregnancy-test

http://www.shadygrovefertility.com/newsletter/getting-through-two-week-wait

http://www.iaac.ca/en/610-471-a-thimble-of-hope-surviving-the-dreaded-two-week-wait-by-judith-daniluk-ph-d-and-emily-koert-m-a-summer-2011

http://infertility.about.com/od/copingwithinfertility/a/two_week_wait.htm

http://www.theinfertilityvoice.com/2013/05/tips-for-surviving-the-two-week-wait/

I am praying for a speedy TWW, peace of mind and continued strength for myself and all of you going through your TWW.  Hang in there!  It’s not easy by any means!

My Priority: Now, Always & Forever

As I was trying to get some house hold chores done yesterday: laundry, dinner prep, picking up to name a few I had a little lady come up behind me and say, “Mama, will you cuddle with me?”  Now, I could have easily said to her, “Sorry, Mama has a lot to get done so I can’t cuddle with you right now.” Instead, however, I knew what was most important in that moment.  My daughter.  Although, I was feeling behind in my chores already, I gladly took her hand and we walked into the living room.  We proceeded to sit on the couch together and snuggle under a warm blanket.  First we read a few books.  Actually we read 6 books and then we picked out a movie to watch together on Netflix.  We decided on watching a classic, Charlotte’s Web. E has never been told the story of Charlotte’s Web & I had never seen the Nickelodeon movie version of it. It was a hit and E & I had great dialogue throughout the entire movie, shared laughter, and a few tears (more so coming from my end). Snuggles with her are by far the best and something I cherish.  They do not happen as much as they used to and I know they will continue to get less and less frequent as the years go by.   By the time I got back to my chores, it was about 4 PM and I was left with little motivation to do anything but finish making our dinner. Oh well!  However, I had no regrets with how I chose to spend my time, as the time I shared with my daughter was precious and created a memory.  I want my daughter to feel and know she always comes first.  She is the most important and will always take priority over anything.

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E you are my priority:  Now, Always & Forever.  I love you to the moon and back.  Thank you for asking me to cuddle with you yesterday.  We had the best time together!  It warmed my heart.  I feel like you teach me so much about life and what my true priorities are.  I am thankful you are apart of my life and I am blessed I can call you my daughter and you can call me Mama. And what an honor it is to be your Mama!  I wouldn’t trade it for anything. XOXO.

While In Limbo

Secondary Infertility is not for the weak.  Ironically though, there are many times during this journey when I feel weak.  For instance, there are times where this really tests me and I begin to feel like I am going to break in two.  There are days where I just don’t have the courage or stamina to be strong anymore and I feel like I am going to collapse under the pressure and stress of it all.  I become weak when I start to feel physically sick over my given circumstances and I just don’t feel I have the strength to go on. The worse battle of weakness in my opinion, is my mind.  My mind can play awful tricks on me and I begin to just have a whirlwind of thoughts and then of course emotions. Then there are the worldly views of our situation that tend to cause much weakness.  Currently, I feel like we are in the state of limbo.

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Dictionary.com defines limbo (lim-boh) as

noun, plural limbos.

1.

(often initial capital letter) Roman Catholic Theology. a region on theborder of hell or heaven, serving as the abode after death ofunbaptized infants (limbo of infants) and of the righteous who diedbefore the coming of Christ (limbo of the fathers or limbo of thepatriarchs)

2.

a place or state of oblivion to which persons or things are regarded asbeing relegated when cast aside, forgotten, past, or out of date:

My youthful hopes are in the limbo of lost dreams.

3.

an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.

4.

a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.
I, on the other hand describe limbo as the place of uncertainty.  I am in limbo because we are in waiting once again and are uncertain of the outcome no matter how much we wait and no matter how much we go through.  We are actually doing some waiting within waiting.  Basically, my menstrual cycle has ended and we are now in the stage of taking at home opk’s.  We are just waiting for that positive opk (if it comes) and then if it does come, we will be able to press on and do our 2nd IUI. Waiting within waiting is the worst kind of limbo.  It makes me anxious, fearful, and frustrated.   I also feel in real limbo this time around because it will be our last medicated cycle and if it doesn’t work we will need to review our treatment plan and decide what to do next.  Decisions in regards to your future are hard.
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In the midst of my waiting, I am doing a lot of soul searching.  I am talking to God and I am trying to have faith that it will all work out how He sees fit.  There is comfort in knowing that His divine plan for me is what it is intended to be for me and my family.  In His perfect timing what will be, will be.  My weakness can be overcome because He helps strengthen me time and time again. He always loves me regardless and He is always there for me.  For that, I am thankful.  Without my faith in this journey, I would have never made it this far.  My favorite Disney movie of all time is Cinderella.  The message this movie sends is this:
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…and I firmly believe our dreams will come true and that just because it isn’t happening right now doesn’t mean it can and will never happen.  As much as it stinks, we are just in limbo right now.  I am slowly starting to realize that it is ok to be weak.  It is ok to not have it all together at all times.  It is ok to cry.  It is ok to get angry.  It is ok to be mad.  It is ok to be frustrated.  However, it is never ok to keep it all inside.  I am slowly starting to learn to lean on my support system and give it to God and try and make the best of each day I am blessed with.  I certainly, am learning about my own strength and all that I have overcome so far.
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Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Isaiah 40:31   but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/20-encouraging-bible-scriptures-on-waiting/#ixzz3QaizDIzj