Monday, March 25, 2013

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint!

From where I'm standing, Lord, It's so hard for me to see
Where this is going and where You're leading me
I wish I knew how, all my fears and all my questions
Are going to play out, in a world I can't control

June to November 2012

Those six months we were on clomid were each challenging in their own way. You've seen the story of our first round, the next five were less eventful. I only ovulated three times out of the six (that count is including the first round when I was over stimulated). So, in actuality we only had two shots at conceiving out of the six. There were many times in there where we thought we were pregnant, but those symptoms were mostly due to the progesterone supplements I took on the months that I did ovulate. By now you know how sensitive I am to side effects from medication, those supplements are no different. The "tell-tell" signs of pregnancy are mimicked by my body on said hormones... nausea, vomiting, bloating, breast tenderness, extreme fatigue ... etc. etc...
Because of the bad reaction I had to the first low dose we took, our doctor was hesitant to increase the dosage even after I had months of anovulation. Even now it seems like those days just dragged... time stands still when you really want things to happen. Every month was the same, the side effects never got better (minus the bout of OHSS I had the first time). I became accustomed to them... so accustomed that I forgot what "normal" felt like. My days were filled by managing symptoms, charting the optimum time for us to try to conceive and putting every twinge I felt under the microscope to see if it could possibly indicate something more than what it was.
There were countless moments of discouragement and disappointment. Those moments were often magnified by the announcements of others which seemed to inevitably fall on the days I would have a negative test or got the blood results of failed ovulation. Some people call this Murphy's Law of Infertility. I like that... I like anything that gives me the ability to laugh through our struggle. I saw babies being born... I did ultrasounds for my best friend to tell her that her son was developing perfectly to put her worried mind at ease. I watched her belly grow just as I had watched my sister in law's grow. I am proud to say that she has a perfect son, and I love him dearly.
There were countless moments of tears, either through emotional outbreaks from the medicine or the disappoint of yet another failed cycle. But there were also moments of comfort and joy... after joining an online support group I found out I was not alone in my feelings and that makes all the difference. I watched my perfect nephew go through many  milestones (often wondering how my child would look if they were side by side through these milestones). Those six months were a roller coaster really. There was one time I thought I might have OHSS again, but it was a false alarm... just "normal" pains, as if any pain should be labeled as normal... my doctor never once discouraged me from calling and being checked out just to make sure there wasn't anything wrong again. I was grateful for that.
On the sixth round my doctor finally made the command decision to increase my dosage, I was apprehensive but anxious to keep things moving forward. It was November 2012. I ovulated that cycle, but still did not get pregnant. We got our negative pregnancy test on Thanksgiving day. It seemed no matter how hard we tried, it just wasn't happening for us. It was a hard day for me to be thankful... but we put on a happy face and made it through the day... after shedding a few tears alone in the bathroom before the festivities.
After my last round of clomid, I had a follow up appointment with my doctor before we could move on. She walked in and said "How are you doing?" and before I even had a chance to answer she went on to say "Let me guess, frustrated?!" Talk about hitting the nail on the head. We talked more about me that visit than anything else. That is the joy of having a doctor that talks to you like a friend, you can open up to them... you aren't afraid to tell them how you are really feeling. She offered to put me on antidepressants if I wanted them, but encouraged me to try other routes first. She then ordered more tests on me before we could move on with further treatment options.
On that visit she encouraged me to start doing yoga on a daily basis. (We also discussed acupuncture but the cost of the visits ultimately discouraged me from doing so.) I did some research (because, that's what I do...) and ordered a yoga DVD from Amazon. I encourage anyone who is interested to check it out. It is called Restoring Fertility: Yoga for Optimal Fertility. The developer has an entire website devoted to helping increase fertility... The neat thing about this workout, is that it has a different exercise for every phase of your cycle... If anything doing these exercises has helped with my anxiety level... well that and spending a lot of time in prayer, and in research. Oh, me and my researching... I find myself comforted when I can understand exactly what is going on (or not going on that SHOULD be) in my body. The exercise even helped with the muscle aches and headaches I continued to experience...
It was during this six month period that I realized this process, for us at least, was going to take some time. We were running a marathon... a marathon that we had not trained for. Anyone can muscle through a 5K without training... but a marathon?! No way. Every month was a struggle to keep going. But this was the path we were being led down... I had faith in my doctor and faith in myself that we were doing the right thing. I had more and more faith in our marriage... the harder our struggle got, the more we learned to cling to one another instead of pushing away. On this same note... little by little I was learning to lean more on God. Piece by piece I was handing him parts of my struggle to help me carry... it wouldn't be long before I gave him all of it, but that is a story for another day.
We still haven't reached the finish line... but we keep on truckin' down this rocky road. At least we are on this road together. "Together" makes all the difference.
From where You're standing Lord, You see a grand design
That you imagined, when You breathed me into life
And all the chaos comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece of Your picture perfect plan
One day I'll stand before You and look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view and see how all the pieces fit.
Song: Already There by Casting Crowns


  1. Steph, I am so glad I rejoined facebook and found your blog. You are such an encouragement, and I am amazed at your ability to put into words what so many women on the infertility journey are feeling. I struggle with how to explain how I'm feeling about everything, and reading your blog entries is like reading (some) of my own thoughts about the journey. And, I agree with you, it IS pretty great having such a great OBGYN who treats you like a friend, instead of just another patient. I love Dr. W!

  2. Thank you so much Jess! I miss you on Facebook!