My Whole Being is Tired From Grief.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  I can’t say that ours was merry and bright BUT we tried making the best of it and I tried being as jolly as I could for E’s sake. It’s not her fault we can’t get pregnant and it’s certainly not fair to her to be glum and take away from these special moments as a family.

I think I did a good job of covering my sadness over the holidays because E was a down right happy girl and we did everything we possibly could to make it special for her and celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  I always thought it was the best thing to be a kid on Christmas until I had my own child and realize that having your own child on Christmas is even better!  Nothing compares to seeing your child’s eyes sparkle and light up at the Christmas Eve worship service, or when they eat more cookies for dinner then actual dinner and when they see that Santa came.  The innocence of it all is just priceless.  I guess that’s why as an adult you want to believe it too– that there could be magic that happens to you over the holidays.  Hope can be so bittersweet though.  Month after month for the last 12 months its been very bittersweet-in my case.

We were grasping at straws and hoping and praying for our Christmas miracle, however, as you can about guess that didn’t happen.  Instead, I was graced with AF.  How cruel it was to have to deal with AF over the holidays.  Ugh.  As if the holidays were not hard enough on me, I most certainly did not need that slap in the face reminder too.  Sometimes I just want to have a pity party for myself and wonder if we’ll ever catch a break in this?  Is there going to be a happy ending to our story? Will we ever get the chance to try IVF?  I really just can’t fathom this nightmare we are living and the daily heartache any longer.  My heart is broken and it just feels like it’s sinking deeper wit each passign day.  Will I ever feel normal again?

Here I sit, and it’s December 29th, 2015…I made it past the holidays, just barely, but now I face the harsh reality that our TTC journey is over for 2015 (there’s always something).  We went another full calendar year without conceiving. Something that should just be an easy thing to do, just isn’t coming so easily for us.  It’s definitely a hard pill to swallow.  I want to believe with all my might that 2016 will be different, it just has to be right? Then a little voice in my head just laughs at me and says, “Really Nichole, what will be any different then last year?” A huge part of me needs to start accepting what is.  I need to accept that this is part of my story whether I planned for it, or not. I need to keep in mind, that it may not end the way we hope or go how we planned.  Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on-it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

I must admit, 2015 has been a battle of ups and downs, unfortunately mostly downs-and many days full of grief. Some days I have handled more gracefully then some and those other days I felt on the verge of a mental breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, we have so many countless blessings in our lives but SI truly consumed more of my life then I like to admit this year.  I just can’t imagine doing this and feeling this way again for another 365 days.  I feel like I used up all my strength with this in 2015 and I really need more positive support and energy before I trudge forth in 2016.  However, I am going to be courageous on my own two feet and keep putting one foot in front of the other whether i think i can, or not and take one day at a time with this.  This isn’t something that will just go away.  This isn’t something that I can just erase from my heart. The desire to have another child and give E a sibling will always be there.  I am going to try my darnedest to continue on putting up a good fight.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy path to be on.  I am not the same person I was at the beginning of 2015 as I am coming out of 2015.  I wish my 2016 self luck because I know the days ahead are going to be just as hard, possibly harder. All I can do is continue on with my bittersweet hope that’s in my heart.

 

 

Left Out

I haven’t mentioned E in a while and wanted to talk about this new phase she has been going through.  I must say all was going well with her bedtime routine for a long time until BAM all is not going well with her bedtime routine.  I just don’t understand what changed or when it exactly  happened either.  It’s amazing how long some phases can last and how short others can last. It’s really hard knowing what to do to make it better too when you don’t know what is setting E off and it’s just plain frustrating that she isn’t sleeping because then we are not getting quality sleep either.  What parent doesn’t love when their child has a good sleeping routine and pattern down?   I’m hoping this new phase of hers is on the latter end of the stick and is short lived.  We’ve already been pushing a month of this behavior and I really don’t know what to do about it.

So, here’s the scoop.  E has been on a mommy kick lately whereas before she was on a complete Daddy kick.  This is sweet, but it’s also very exhausting on me.  She’s been very hurtful with her words, mostly at bedtime when Daddy tries to intervene and help.  Her favorite phrases as of late towards her Daddy are:  “I like Mommy better they you” “Just go away Daddy, I want Mommy” “I don’t like you anymore” “you’re a (insert any word our 3 year old comes up with at that particular moment face” and here comes the one I dislike the most “I hate you Daddy”.  Seriously, she’s truly breaking our hearts.  We try to explain how sometimes words can hurt peoples feelings and how we hope she would make better choices with what she says.  We always tell her that we love her even if she is saying these things to us but that usually results in her saying “but I don’t love you”.

Along with the name calling and hurtful words, her tantrums, stubbornness, and defiance are at full force at bedtime.  Seriously it’s like Angel by day, Monster by night!  Last night, her Daddy would so much as look at her and it would set her off screaming and crying and spouting off.  When she’s in these modes there is no reasoning with her.

To top it off, the last couple of nights the only way any of us were going to get any sleep is if E slept in our bed (and even then the sleep wasn’t good with 3 people in a Queen size bed + a cat).  We co-slept for a long time when E was an infant and even on occasion we’ve snuggled together in the same bed on the weekends or special occasions, so I’m not opposed to it, but during the week it’s typically off limits and especially is not encouraged when it seems to be becoming a habit.  We encourage her to sleep in her big girl bed now that she’s older-it’s truly just best for everyone.

So, last night came along and E was doing what she’s done just about every evening for the last month.  All seems to be well until 8:30 pm hits and our cute little Monster comes out of her Angel persona!  Her Clinging to Mama and name calling towards Daddy started.  The tantrums started.  She didn’t want to brush her teeth or read her bedtime stories.  She even wanted me to sit with her while she was going potty and hold her hand.  However, this mama was in no mood for monster games and she wasn’t going potty (it kind of becomes a game).  So, I got up and left and told her I would come back in the bathroom when she was finished.  She started crying and was reaching for me and got so upset she fell off the toilet.  Of course, that set her off even more and a whole new can of worms was open (she did not get hurt thankfully in the process).

Needless to say, I just sat and hugged E and when she finally calmed down I said, “Can you tell Mama why you don’t want to sleep in your own bed anymore like a BIG girl?”  She said to me, “Mama, I just feel so left out sleeping in my bed.”  I then said, “Oh sweetie, why do you feel left out?”  E said, “Because you and Daddy sleep together and I have to sleep by myself.”  It breaks my heart at 3 my daughter is feeling the affects of being “left out” and can use this term in a sentence correctly.  It also breaks my heart that she feels that it’s her Daddy and I that are the ones leaving her out.  I tried to explain to her that Mommy’s and Daddy’s typically sleep together in the same bed and typically kids have to sleep in their own bed.  Then here is where the heartbreak really came.  E said that she was only 1 kid and there were no other kids here to sleep with her.

You guys…I’m literally dying here.  Of course everything leads up to this heartbreak.  What do you say to a child who so quite obviously wants a sibling and we just are unable to make that happen for her?  I am heart broken.

Now, I’m not saying that her behavior has been strictly because of this, but maybe it’s a small part of it.  It just amazing me what you can learn and how you can handle situations differently when you truly take the time to talk to someone-even just a small child.

So, what did I do?  I made E climb into her bed (not ours) and I climbed into bed with her for most of the night and we snuggled to our hearts content.  I certainly don’t like being alone and I can imagine a 3 year old doesn’t either.  We are parents.  We are not perfect, but we learn from being parents everyday and most of all we are taught so much about life and love from our little E.  Besides, one day she will be a teenager and probably want nothing to do with me.  I’m going to enjoy phase while it lasts.  My Angel by day Monster by night is my favorite little person.  I will keep her forever-the good and the bad.  My love for her is unconditional.

On a side note:  I wish she understood that making babies is hard when she’s in bed with us;)  Oh the difficulty-but I wouldn’t change this time with her for the world.

 

Insurance Coverage

No part of our infertility treatments have been or will be covered under our insurance and this has included medication expenses.  All expenses are completely out of pocket for us.  This can make decisions hard in regards to what to do next because if you don’t have the money to continue on with procedures, you just don’t have the money and can not continue to move forward unless you borrow. We’ve been at a standstill in this journey now since March for this very reason.  This was after our last IUI failed and we had completely drained our savings in the process.  We were told our next step was IVF w/ICSI with only a 10% chance of conceiving on our own.

However, the cost of the IVF procedure was due the same day of service which would require my husband and I to borrow money and to pay off what we borrowed with interest over the next 5 or so years.  This is a hard pill to swallow, especially when we were faced to already have to take out a line of credit just to make ends meat for the rest of the year.  It is completely heart breaking knowing the chance to expand our family is sitting right in front of us, but because insurance doesn’t help cover this illness and true medical problem we are unable to continue on at this point.

Why is it that insurance companies are starting to cover gender reassignment surgeries, weight loss surgery, birth control pills, & viagra (to name a few) but not infertility?  In my opinion, everyone’s struggle is important and the struggle is very real- so why doesn’t society treat it as so?  The stress of this, and the general stress of infertility is just all too much to bear sometimes.  Stress alone can cause multitudes of health issues alone to arise in people and should not continue to be ignored.  Having infertility covered by insurance would truly change my husbands and my life and would truly help us to move forward in this journey and I know I am not alone in feeling like this.

No one expects to receive the diagnosis of infertility and when it happens you are completely in a state of shock.  Something that should happen so easily and naturally to others and is not happening in that same manner for you is full of gut wrenching pain.  Unfortunately, I am among the 7 million Americans who have received this diagnosis and although some states do mandate coverage, WI does not.  It’s truly unfortunate for my husband and I and makes an already difficult circumstance even more difficult.  No one should have to carry this burden, let alone the weight of not knowing how to pay for it.  I want to expand my family.  I want to give my only child a sibling-for me, it will always be complex with a web of false hope, heartache, stress, disappointment and a lack of support.

I have already started to advocate for all states to have mandated coverage for infertility and I am ready to do what I can to advocate more.  I am a firm believer that we can win this fight and our voices will be heard sometime in the near future.  Even if infertility has never touched your life, you never know if and when someone close to you now or in the future will go through this very thing or you may be going through infertility yourself and wondering what you can do to help.  Please make your voices be heard and help advocate for insurance coverage for infertility.  We are our own best advocate!

Visit http://www.resolve.org for more information:

What You Can Do

More and more women and men in their most active and productive years are being afflicted by the physical and emotional hardships of a treatable disease that continues to be inappropriately viewed as “elective.”  If you are infertile and your employer does not currently provide infertility treatment coverage, make a formal request for them to do so.  Get the support of others covered by the plan who are experiencing similar infertility problems.  RESOLVE encourages you to become your own best advocate for expanded health benefits.  The evidence justifying the cost-benefit of such coverage is considerable.

-information via resolve.org

Spreading Awareness…

 

I recently read that SI accounts for 6 out of every 10 infertility cases in the US.  As I read this stat to my husband last night we were both taken aback by it.  Unfortunately, if it’s one thing we have found out in our struggle with SI it is how common it truly is.  Yet, with it happening so frequently to couples it always amazes me how clueless that the general population is to SI.  There are many who don’t even know it exists  until it happens to them.  Sadly, I have to admit, my husband and I were clueless to this term when we began our journey in trying to get pregnant. I didn’t know SI was a thing.  I was one of the ignorant and probably unknowingly hurt others because I was clueless to it.

However, now that we have been dealing with SI for some time now I am very compassionate about the topic and have also become very sensitive to it.  Although, no one will every know 100% what we are going through especially if SI has never touched their lives, I’m making it my mission to spread awareness about SI and share our story.  I want to share SI information not only to people who are going through it themselves, but also to the people that are ignorant to it and/or know someone going through it and are looking at how to support them.

It’s my hope that one day more awareness is brought to the table about SI. My bigger hope is that one day we will see a change in healthcare in regards to infertility, a change in general mental and emotional support for couples going through SI, and also a change in insurance coverage for infertility expenses including medication and procedures.  It’s amazing how little insurance helps out a couple dealing with SI.  The stress of SI is in and of itself enough, the burden of finances make decisions and “treatment” ten times harder.

One great supporter of SI is http://www.resolve.org/.

“RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, established in 1974, is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders.”

I encourage you to check out Resolve’s website.  Resolve highly encourages individuals dealing with SI help not only to spread awareness about infertility but also encourages the general public to spread awareness as well.  They give ideas on how you can help too. If you are looking to support a great cause this holiday season please consider supporting Resolve.  SI is one of those causes that gets swept under the rug for sure and it’s my hope that this changes, and soon.

Another simple way to spread awareness about SI is to use social media. Facebook is a great place to begin.  It is my challenge to you, to post something in regards to SI (or infertility in general) in your status this week.  You could say something as simple as:  I know someone or I am someone who is 6 out of 10 infertility cases in the US #SecondaryInfertility or you could share your own experience with infertility even if you only know someone going  through it or you are going through it yourself.  You could also spread awareness by using your Pinterest account by creating a board about infertility and pinning things that have to do with it.  Another way to spread awareness is to follow my blog and share my posts with others.  However you choose to help spread awareness is your choice and I highly encourage you to do so.  Every little bit helps bring awareness to the table.  You and I are our own advocates in this.  Thank you in advance for those of you who choose not to ignore this, but to help the cause and spread awareness.  Your support means the world to me not only in my own struggle, but the struggle of everyone else whose life this is affecting.