Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well, I ended up being 15 days late!
But after those fifteen days, I started clomid. It was no walk in the park! My friends, you were not lying when you said it could cause mood swings. I felt like I was on the verge of crying every minute. I was super weepy. And my second side effect was HOT FLASHES! They were so random and so crazy. I would be up teaching a class and all of sudden, start sweating and fanning myself. Wow...I am not sure I am ready for children. All of the trying, all of the waiting, and I am having second thoughts, huge worries! I have heard it say that no one is ever really ready, but I don't feel physically, emotionally, financially ready. I still just trust in a bigger plan.

We don't have Internet set up at our home yet, so it is only occasionally I get to blog. Man, I miss it! Hopefully, a longer update soon!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

11 Days Late and Counting

I was so excited when I spoke to my Ob/Gyn and we spoke about starting Clomid. I was supposed to start around the 1st, but here it is, the 11th, and still no cycle beginning. I have tested over and over, but it just keeps coming out negative! It is super frustrating, but I suppose it is all part of the plan.

Dh and I are moved into out new home and we are so excited. I worry a lot about money but I worry a lot about everything really. Still hoping, still praying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A glimmer of Hope

Just got a call from my doctor. Dh's test results came back good. His swimmers are strong and he has a normal amount of them. However, about 3% of them have an odd shape she said. She said they don't really get too much alarmed until the number is at 4%. So, we talked about options and we are going to do our first round of clomid. She said it increases our percentage of twins from 3% to 15% and I had to say "Yeah!" I have wanted twins my entire life. She said we will try clomid for 3 months and if we still haven't gotten pregnant, we would talk about insemination. This is the first time in a very long time I have felt a glimmer of hope. I am swimming in worry though. We just bought our first home and Matt is out of a job, but I have to trust in a greater, more divine plan. The last few weeks when we have been praying, I thank Heavenly Father for the blessings we have and I say something to the effect that I recognize that through Him, all things are possible. I also know that it is His timing, not mine.

Friends, if you have been on clomid is there anything I should expect out of the ordinary? Any strange side effects? Anything I should be worried about?

September has come and gone

I had a dream several months ago that I would be pregnant in September. I waited in anticipation all month hoping and praying that my dream to finally be a mother would come true. My heart breaks this morning as October peaks its head around September's doorstep. Another month come and gone. There are some nights I don't get off work until 11:00pm, so driving home next to midnight, there are some strange radio shows on. I remember hearing one about a dream analyzer and a woman called in with a dream of being pregnant, but for one reason or another, she absolutely could not, under any circumstance, get pregnant. (I think it was because she wasn't with anyone at the time). The dream analyzer told her pregnancy dreams just meant a new beginning. We had a new beginning this month with the new home, but I hoped deep down in my heart that there would be a baby to put in the room we are "saving" as a nursery.

I am working very hard to stay positive. I am working very hard on keeping my chin up and keeping the faith. There are good days, and there are bad days. At this point, the good still out number the bad.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Strange Purchase

We were driving to the office to close on our first home Thursday and we passed a garage sale. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that they have a brand new crib and gliding rocker for sale. "I wonder how much it is?" So, I send my 18 yr old brother in law down to look at them. "They are pretty much brand new, and the chair is comfortable." I called dh and he said to put them on hold. I paid $125 for a crib and rocker. What was I thinking? I don't have any babies and I am not pregnant, but I guess one can only hope. I just had to have them for some reason...once I saw them, I couldn't stop thinking of them. It can go down in the basement, out of sight, out of mind.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Exactly how long is four years?

Four years: The amount of time we have been trying to add to our family of two. What a tremendous amount of time!

Four years is equal to:

The amount of time it normally takes someone to earn a Bachelor's Degree

Two LDS missions

The amount of time between Olympic games

Amount of time the President of the United States is in office

Once every four years there are 29 days in February instead of only 28

48 months, equal to about 48 times I have had to look my DH in the eye to tell him, "Not this time."

Friday, September 11, 2009

A series of unfortunate events

I got a phone call yesterday from my dear sweet husband. It is one that a wife never hopes to receive. I was told through his tears that he lost his job. My heart immediately sank to the floor. I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I am frightened. I am scared. I am worried. I just started reading my scriptures again on a regular basis about two weeks ago and I just got done reading Alma and Amulek and their encounters with Zeezrom. Zeezrom had a fever and wanted to be healed. Alma basically said, "Do you have faith that you will be healed?" Zeezrom answered with the affirmative. Something to the effect that I know through Heavenly Father all things are possible. I have faith that I will be healed.
How grateful I am that I just read that encounter. Through all of this I am extremely angry, but there is a strange peace that I am feeling. That verse keeps coming into my head. I know that through Him, all things are possible. I am not sure what the plan is right now, for this particular timing. We are two weeks away from closing on our home and smack dab in the middle of fertility testing. In my eyes, it really couldn't be at a more inopportune time, but I am trying to trust. I am trying to say, "You are in charge. I understand and believe you have a plan that is bigger than the plan I had for me, for us. I have to believe. I have to have faith!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blood Test #2

My second blood test came back normal. What the heck is normal anyway? I have one more blood test to run and it will be 10 days after I ovulate. That is, assuming I even ovulate. The doctor wants to schedule a hysterossalpingogram (they shoot dye up into my ovaries and uterus to look for blockages) but we are waiting to hear about insurance. I missed the deadline for this month, so it is another month of waiting. I am really okay with that right now because I have so much going on in September. I have more posts brewing in my head, but for now, I feel good.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blood Test #1

Almost two weeks ago I went in for my first of about four blood tests they take during various times in my cycle. The doctor called last week and said she wanted to talk to me. A million and one things went through my mind, but she was calling to tell me my progesterone levels were next to nothing, almost indetectable. So, plan of action: Continue with the tests. My cycle was supposed to start on Thursday, and here it is Sunday and no aunt flo! I am only hoping it happens soon as we are leaving on Friday for Kansas. Please, please come soon! (I don't think I have hoped that many other times in my life.)

As mentioned earlier, we are going to Kansas next weekend for my nephew's blessing. I am so nervous about this. I haven't been able to sit through a blessing for months on end. I cry andBut bawl and end up leaving every single blessing. And let me just tell you this: I don't look pretty crying. :) I am so excited for my sister-in-law and their new little arrival!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Annual

It was the annual "Scoot your butt down here" moment today. I don't really consider this to be the highlight of my year or something I really look forward to. I speak to my massage students about how extremely vulnerable their clients are, completely undressed underneath the sheet, not sure what to expect. I decided today this little appointment left me feel much for vulnerable than a massage! I sat in the room today, scantily clad in a cloak of thin, pink paper, open in the front of course, and a white "cover" of paper on the bottom. I sat for a good 35-40 minutes, naked, left alone with all of the thoughts in the world one might have in an OB/GYN office. With it being so quiet, I could hear the noise of ultrasound machines all around me. For the entire 40 minutes I sat waiting, I heard heartbeats, healthy, heartbeats of little babies growing in tummies. I had to cry. This is a sound I have yet to have the opportunity to hear. With our first baby, we went to hear the heartbeat and there was nothing. With the thought that I wasn't far enough along to hear a heartbeat, I had to wait another two weeks. Two weeks of not knowing what was going on, two weeks of worry. We went back, and there was no heartbeat. I am happy for those women who can hear the heartbeat of their little ones, but it was devastating to me where I am in life.
On another note, we have a plan to begin fertility testing again. The last two times we have begun testing, we have gotten pregnant. I have this strange cycle of things that I just realized today: I lose weight, begin testing, get pregnant, miscarry, and then gain my weight back. I really can't stand this cycle. So I am going to take my life into my hands.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

3 Negatives don't Equal a Positive

The last two times I have started infertility testing, I found out somewhere in the middle of it all that I was pregnant. I made an appointment two months ago for the earliest available annual exam and to talk to my doctor (again) about being very aggressive with testing and treatment. My appointment is this next week, and I have all sorts of emotions. However, something happened a few weeks ago that really added to my anxiety, my hurt, my craziness. I have been pretty regular with my period for years. However, this last month was different. Well the date came and I was armed with all of the arsenal one would need to get through the week. And she didn't come. I thought, I have been under a lot of stress, it is possible that it will just be late. Five days came and went and still, nothing. So, I did what anyone would do and bought a test. Negative. Still, cramping and continuing to be late, nothing. I was 11 days late...3 negative tests.

On the upside, I guess there is the appointment later in the week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I need some advice Please

I have recently come across blogs of more amazing women TTC. It is amazing to me where we all are in our journeys, and I realize, I have only begun. Today, I sat in church and watched two babies being blessed. And I cried. And I cried. And I cried. When I tried to control it, I cried some more. I am more than happy for these lovely families, but my heart aches for my own disappointment.

So I am writing today, reaching out to all of the amazing women who have been, or are going through, this journey, this battle, this struggle of infertility. I am pleading and begging for some help and advice. How do you do it? How are you strong day after day, month after month, year after year? What gets you through? I really hate complaining, but I am scraping the bottom of the barrel. We have this network out there of super amazing, strong, beautiful women and I would love to hear how you do it because my friends, I am not doing it so strongly right now.

I spoke to my friend this morning and told her I felt like I had bi-polar infertility. One moment I am perfectly fine just being the best aunt out there, and the next moment I can't even stand to be around an expectant mother. I need there to be more good days than bad.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I bought a book several months ago because it had a catchy title (and I had some points I needed to use from Deseret Book). It is by Sheri Dew (one of my absolute heroes!!) called "No One Can Take Your Place." I picked it up this afternoon and have not been disappointed. (I don't think it's possible to be disappointed with Sheri Dew!) But I got to chapter 3 entitled, "Are we not all Mothers?" If you know Sheri Dew, she is an older woman who never married or had children, but is still a strong leader and advocate for mothers and women everywhere!) She relays a story of walking through a very tough crowd with her four teenage nieces. She was so worried for them and would do anything to protect them. That is precisely how I feel as an Auntie. I love those little girls with everything I have and would do anything to make them safe, happy, and healthy.

"While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity and to, in effect, limit it to that definition, in the Lords language the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words or titles they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both god the Father and Adam called Eve "the mother of all living" (Moses 4:26)-and they did so before she ever bore a child. "And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many" (Moses 4:26)" Eve was "mother" before she bore children. Are we not then all mothers?

"Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly and definitely that. It is the essence of who we are as women. Motherhood defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits, talents, and tendencies our Father gave us."

"Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with the privilege of the priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave woman and unparalleled role in helping his children keep their second estate."

"Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously." (Elder John A. Widtsoe) I know that I am doing this, in essence, by being the best Auntie I can be, by being the best Sunbeam teacher I can be.

"God bless those mothers who are not yet permitted through no fault of their own to be mothers in very deed, but who are nevertheless mothers at heart" (Elder Melvin J. Ballard)

"The Lord does nothing with a short-range view. Everything He does if for forever."

These words are some of the most touching I have ever had the experience of reading. My heart is full, my mind is busy. I can be better. I know that the Lord has prepared a way for all of us. I know that He doesn't make mistakes. I know that He cries when I cry, He aches when I ache. I am sure He is saying, "Child, be patient. I have a plan for you. Trust me. Exercise faith." I have been so very inconsolable lately with my infertility. I have let myself go physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But tonight, I have a glimmer of hope. I pray that this feeling lasts, I pray that I may understand my divine nature as a "mother" despite the fact that I don't have my own biological child. I held one of my dear, sweet Sunbeams on my lap today and he grabbed my arms and wrapped them so tightly around him. He pulled my face up to his and he whispered in my ear "I love you." My heart melted, my eyes watered. I don't have to be a mother to make a difference. By just being me, I am doing something remarkable. The Atonement is real and for all of us.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


When I was a young girl dreaming about the future, my dreams consisted of a big mansion with acres of yard and gardens, children running everywhere, myself in an apron fixing dinner for my husband who would come home and give me a kiss. It was the perfect "Happy Ever After" for me. Yesterday was my 27th birthday. 27. My life, at this point, it not at all what I had in mind as a 16-year-old girl! I work full time, I don't have a mansion (or even a house at this point), not children running under foot. I do have an apron, but I am not the cook I once dreamed of being!

But I had some pretty big realizations yesterday. I had to work 14 hours on my special day, which wasn't really a big deal for me. (My DH wasn't too excited about it). I LOVE my job as a teacher! It seems kinda selfish, but it is so rewarding when the light bulbs go off for my students and they get a concept they have been struggling with. My students were so incredibly sweet! They bought me socks (I have a sock fetish!!), pizza, chocolate, cake. I got cards signed by them all. They hugged me and complimented me and were just amazing! I am such a proud teacher!! I realized that I don't have to be a mom to make a difference. Everyday I am at work, I am influencing lives for good. It is so rewarding!!

Today, my heart is full of happiness, which it hasn't felt in a very long time. I am a teacher and and educator and I help people change their lives. I am an Aunt and my nieces adore me, which is more than I could ever ask for. I am a wife who is loved by a worthy, handsome man. I am a daughter who is doing everything I can to make my parents proud. I am a sister who tries her hardest to be a good example to her younger brother. I am a daughter-in-law who loves their son and does everything possible to take care of him. I am a grand-daughter who loves unconditionally and will do everything possible to make life easier for my grandparents. I am a sister-in-law with laughs and a listening ear to share. I am a friend to many who may not have anywhere else to turn at times. These are some of my proudest titles.

I don't have the title just yet of mother, and for today at least, that is okay. I realize it is a day by day type of thing. Tomorrow, I may be scraping the bottom of the barrel for some kind of happiness, but for today, for this hour, in the very moment, it is enough. It is exactly enough. So, being 27 with no little children wondering around wasn't in my plans. Being 27 living with my in-laws waiting for our home wasn't in my plans. But I have to have faith that someone has bigger plans for me. My plans are constantly changing and growing, and so am I.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Where Can I Turn for Peace?

I find myself saying strange, silly things all the time to people around me. Things like, "Well, I am just going to be the best Aunt in the entire world for my nieces and nephews." or "Hubby and I have decided to take advantage of the time with just the two of us and travel and just do all sorts of things, just the two of us." I came to a realization yesterday that I say these things to try and dull the pain of those around me. Friends, family...they don't really know what to say. I can't say as if I blame them! Being the caretaker I am, I try to make sure everyone around me, at all times, is comfortable and happy. Will I ever put myself first?

On another note, the baby shower for my dear sweet sister-in-law was yesterday. My other sis-in-law and I were in charge. Everyone commented on how amazing it was and what great fun they had. I love to throw a party, but this was the most difficult one for me thus far. I look at her expanding belly, the stroller, the outfits and wish that all of that was me. But the thing that made me cry the hardest was to see her sweet husband put his hand on her belly and smile. I lost it. I want that for my husband. We are both the oldest children in the family, and we think by that means, we should be first. But I guess it doesn't work out that way all of the time. Needless to say, I have done more crying the past two days than I have in a long time. My eyes are swollen, my heart is aching....

I try to be positive, but it just isn't easy. I try to have faith, but I am left doubting so much. One of my favorite hymns is "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" I sing it in my head constantly:

Where can I turn for peace?Where is my solace,
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows, where when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.

He answers privately, reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, love without end.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Baby Shower

I have avoided baby showers like the plague. It is extremely difficult to celebrate for someone when your heart aches so much! When my sister-in-law announced she was pregnant, I thought my heart had literally fell out of my body. I am the happiest, proudest auntie in the entire world!! I love my little nieces (and soon to be nephew) more than life itself! I wouldn't change them for all of the money in the world! But it was a difficult announcement. We were supposed to be next! The next emotional part came when I found out they were having a boy! I thought "That is my boy! That was supposed to be me!" When it came time for the baby shower, everyone was very reserved about asking me to do anything. Everyone was worried about my feelings. I finally just said, "I'm doing the shower!"

I have bought and sent out invitations, bought a ton of stuff, made two diaper cakes, planned games, food, etc. and now the shower is this Sunday. I am such a control freak. At the time, it sounded like a good idea. As the shower sneaks up closer and closer I have a lot of anxiety. I love my sister-in-law deeply so I am hoping and praying it goes off without a hitch for her, and I am able to keep my composure for the shower!

I have dealt with depression so much of my life. I have been on and off medications, in and out of the hospital. I am working hard at regulating things chemically in my body. I just hurt so much of the time. I want so deeply for a family. I feel so stagnant, so stuck, so lost, so hurt! I want to feel the hope that so many of my TTC friends feel. (I know they work hard for that peace!) This has kinda been a complaining, whining post, but once in awhile, I think we all need that...just a moment to bear our souls. And now, I can try to move on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I bet you Wish You never Asked!

It seems as if everything on my blog is so serious, so I thought I would include a little something more light-hearted. One thing I have found to be quite hilarious is the question from people, "So, when are you going to have kids?" I always think, If you only knew! But after trying for a year, I decided to make up some fun answers to give them. If you are going to ask a question that is none of your business, I am going to give a smart alack answer! So below are some things I tell people when they ask:

*My boy is stubborn just like his dad...he will come when he is good and ready.

*I don't know, but we are sure having a good time trying!

*Maybe I'm not praying hard enough. Will you add me to your list?

And my personal favorite:
*I keep washing our underwear together. I just don't understand why it isn't working. Do you have any ideas?

Hope this brings a smile to your faces! Love ya lots

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Learning to Walk Again

I was over a week late and took so many pregnancy tests. Wouldn't ya know it that the day I leave for my brother's wedding is the day Aunt Flo decides to so kindly show her face? But it was wonderful none the less!(the wedding that is)

I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 14 years ago. Then, I felt as if I understood everything. The Gospel seemed so simple to my 13 year old mind. As I have gotten older, I have made things harder in my head for myself concerning the Gospel. As my infertility journey continues, I have found myself turning my back on my Heavenly Father, the one person who has never turned His back on me! I have been angry with Him, I have said things to Him that I wouldn't say to even just acquaintances. I am at a cross-roads in my life where I feel I need to make a very important decision: I can turn my back forever and choose to live in this pit of despair, or I can choose to run back to Him with open arms. Although the decision seems obvious, I have done a lot of contemplating on it. I chose the has not been easy to come back and say, "I'm sorry. Please, forgive me!"

I am only on the beginning of so many journeys in my life: this journey of finding my way back to Heavenly Father, finding/buying a home, infertility. I thought at this point in my life that I should have it all figured out. I have faith, even if it is very small right now, that I am on my way to where I need to be, that I am doing what I need to be doing. Every night, I get a text from my "brothers" reminding me to pray, and then I get a scripture reading assignment. Although this has only been going on 3 days, it has given me a shred of hope that Heavenly Father will hear my pleas, my cries of repentance, and open His arms to me to come back into the fold. The funny thing is, as I work harder on coming back to Him, I feel more trials being stacked upon me, some of these trials are just heart-wrenching and I ache horribly, but I cannot give up now. I made a promise and I will keep it. I am leaning heavily on some people to carry me, and I try to take baby steps, but I look forward to the day I can run with my head up, where nothing will stop me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Newest Spring Fashion

It seems I can't even run to the grocery store without seeing several dozen women (I am NOT exaggerating on this number either!!) sporting the newest spring look. I have to admit, it looks fantastic and I only wish I could sport the same thing. It is the baby bump. It is so adorable! They waddle and I see them holding their low backs and struggling to figure out gravity with the new found life growing out in front of them. I am so thrilled for them and the excitement that lies in wait! But, I always get so jealous! I find myself sometimes getting bitter and angry and I usually just turn away. Does it ever get easier? Do I ever stop being jealous of what I can't have? How do I become "okay" with who I am...and who I am not?

PS...if you are reading this and expecting, please know that I love you dearly and I am excited for you! I have about 8 friends/family expecting in the next 4 months I am tickled for all of you!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Buy-In

There is a multi-billion dollar industry out there that nearly every woman buys into at one point or another in her life. Some women are thrilled and excited about this buy-in while others are left devastated, hurt and broken because of this one little product. Some buy it discreetly, buying other unnecessary items to hide this particular one. Others have their friends purchase it so as not to be embarrassed, or they are just scared whatever the outcome will be. I'm not sure there are many men who go out searching for this product. I can see them standing in front of the many different choices, realizing what a daunting task lies in front of them.

Such is the story of a home pregnancy test. I fell slave to one of these again this week. I'm not sure why I torture myself so, but I was feeling all of the symptoms. No, I wasn't late, but I was nauseous, I almost threw up when I walked into the classroom because of all the smells my nose caught wind of, and I just overall didn't feel well. I thought, okay...I'm going to run to the store on lunch and test in the bathroom. I did. I drove as quickly as I could, ran inside (bought a salad so it wasn't the only thing in my hand when I checked out) and went back to the school. I hid inside my "favorite stall" and peed on the stick. I pretty much knew the results before I took the test, but a small, mustard size seed of hope was in the very back of my heart. I couldn't help but think of all the students who had been in the same situation I was in this bathroom, waiting for results, waiting to see how their lives would be changed. Alas, one line. Not pregnant. I didn't really feel anything, but almost immediately, I physically felt better.

It is such a strange thing. One little stick, a small amount of urine one a stick, can change your life forever. I don't really feel changed. I have been through the disappointment many, many times before. But I guess I just continue to wait. I am getting better at gaining some hope. My husband continues to pray and hold me and let me know that there is a grander plan, one that I cannot even fathom right now. The package had two in it, so if you need one, you can call me! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Purple Bellybuttons

Have you ever seen the movie "Monster-in-law?" There are moments in the movie where the characters have thoughts of what they would really like to do in the situation and then those actions are acted out in their head. And then it flashes to what the characters actually do in the situation. They would never dream of acting out what really happens in their minds, but what it really depicts is we all have things that go on inside of our heads that we can't act upon simply because it isn't appropriate in society. I had such a moment this week...

Since my little student told me she was going to get an abortion, I have been dreading February 20th. I knew it was the day, but did everything I could to get it out of my mind. Monday night, she approached me and said this exact phrase, "Well, I took care of my little problem but now my belly button is purple. Do you know why?" You took care of your problem?? So, this is what I imagined doing in my head...I could see myself ripping her hair out, screaming into her face about my issues and hitting her endlessly. I am NOT a violent person, so this inside my head scared me a bit. It took every once of my energy at that moment in time to stand there and not run for the sanctuary of one of my fellow teachers. But instead of acting out my thoughts, I just stood there, looked at her belly button and told her I had NO clue as to why it would happen.

I am a bodyworker and a teacher and with those two titles come certain obligations such as professionalism, compassion, love for everyone. I am going to have to really work on loving this student for who she is and not her actions. I know she made the decision that was right for her in the moment, but it doesn't make it any easier!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Infertility Etiquette

This is one of the best articles I have ever read. When people find out I am infertile, a sudden blank stare comes across their face. Immediately, they say, "I have a friend and they tried this..." or "Oh, I understand." Sometimes, all I want is a hug. Sometimes what you don't say is just as important as what you do say. So, although this is extremely lengthy, I thought it important to post, not necessarily for my sake, but for those of you with other friends/family who may be dealing with infertility. I have such amazing friends whom I love dearly! Thank you for loving me for who I am!

Infertility Etiquette
By Vita Alligood

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. Most infertility treatments involve using hormones, which alter the user's moods. (That statement is like calling a lion a cat-my husband would tell you that the side effect is insanity!) The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money. Infertility treatments are expensive, and most insurance companies do not cover the costs. So, in addition to the pain of not conceiving a baby each month, the couple pays out anywhere from $300 to five figures, depending upon the treatment used.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

They will eventually conceive a baby.
They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.
Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don't Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"

There are many reasons why a couple would choose not to pursue this option. Here are a few of them.
IVF is Expensive with Low Odds

One cycle of IVF is very expensive. With all of the hype in the news, many people assume that IVF is a sure thing when, in fact, the odds of success for each cycle are low. Most couples cannot afford to try for one month, much less for multiple times. Considering that it also costs a significant amount of money to adopt a baby, many couples opt for the "sure thing" rather then risking their money on much lower odds.

IVF is Physically Taxing

Undergoing IVF treatments is very rigorous. The woman must inject shots into her thigh daily to cause her ovaries to superovulate. The drugs used are very taxing on the woman, and they can cause her to be become extremely emotional.

IVF Raises Ethical Issues

Ironically, couples who undergo IVF to become parents may have to selectively abort one or more fetuses if multiple eggs are fertilized. Many couples cannot bring themselves to abort a baby when they have worked so hard to become parents. If the couple chooses not to selectively abort, they run the risk of multiple births.

Don't Offer Unsolicited Opinions If They Are Trying IVF

On the flip side of the coin, don't offer unsolicited advice to your friends who do choose to try IVF. For many couples, IVF is the only way they will ever give birth to a baby. This is a huge decision for them to make, for all of the reasons I outlined above.

If the couple has resolved any ethical issues, don't muddy the waters. IVF is a gray area in many ethical circles, and many of our moral leaders don't yet know how to answer the ethical questions that have arisen from this new technology. If the couple has resolved these issues already, you only make it harder by raising the ethical questions again. Respect their decision, and offer your support. If you can't offer your support due to ethical differences of opinion, then say nothing.

A couple who chooses the IVF route has a hard, expensive road ahead, and they need your support more than ever. The hormones are no cakewalk, and the financial cost is enormous. Your friend would not be going this route if there were an easier way, and the fact that she is willing to endure so much is further proof of how much she truly wants to parent a child. The hormones will make her more emotional, so offer her your support and keep your questions to yourself.

Don't Play Doctor

Once your infertile friends are under a doctor's care, the doctor will run them through numerous tests to determine why they aren't able to conceive. There a numerous reasons that a couple may not be able to conceive. Here are a few of them:

Blocked fallopian tubes
Low hormone levels
Low "normal form" sperm count
Low progesterone level
Low sperm count
Low sperm motility
Thin uterine walls
Infertility is a complicated problem to diagnose, and reading an article or book on infertility will not make you an "expert" on the subject. Let your friends work with their doctor to diagnose and treat the problem. Your friends probably already know more about the causes and solutions of infertility than you will ever know.

You may feel like you are being helpful by reading up on infertility, and there is nothing wrong with learning more about the subject. The problem comes when you try to "play doctor" with your friends. They already have a doctor with years of experience in diagnosing and treating the problem. They need to work with and trust their doctor to treat the problem. You only complicate the issue when you throw out other ideas that you have read about. The doctor knows more about the causes and solutions; let your friends work with their doctor to solve the problem.

Don't Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother's Day

With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Treadmill of infertility

In college I remember going down to the little gym in my apartment complex and trying to run on the treadmill. I just never got the hang of it. I would stumble and fall all over. It was more work to try and stay on the darn machine than anything!

First, I had to figure out the mechanics of it all. Which buttons do what, where to put the emergency stop button, where to put my hands to get the best reading on heart-rate, and how to balance my body on the rotating belt while trying to burn calories. And so it is on my infertility journey. I am trying to figure out the mechanics of it all, where to put myself in the society of my church community, balancing myself on a tightrope of being so excited for everyone yet aching for my own lack. I am running, running, and going nowhere. I am being lapped by those who are on their own journey and going so many places, seeing so many beautiful things. And here I am, running fast, yet going no where fast. Sure, there are spectacular things on this journey too, but I guess I would rather be enjoying a different set of scenery.

It took me years to figure out how to successfully run on a treadmill. The important thing is I never gave up. I have watched others run so successfully, but I have never given up. I can run on a treadmill. I guess the important thing is that I am still running.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ethical Dilemma

I have been working with the same company (Utah College of Massage Therapy Family of Schools) for five years in July. I really love my job tremendously! I enjoy everyone I work with and it is so much like a family. I love being challenged and I love sharing my passion of massage with everyone that enrolls into the program. However, in my nearly five years of teaching, have my morals and ethics been challenged than they were Tuesday night. About two weeks ago, one of my little students told me she was pretty sure she was pregnant, but had a doctor's appointment later in the week to confirm. She was completely devastated because the pregnancy could possibly be the result of an affair she had with her boyfriend, so she wasn't sure who it belonged to. I asked her what she thought her options were. The only thing she could speak was abortion. My toes curled inside my shoes and I know my eyebrows went straight up to my forehead. I calmly told her that there were plenty of more options. I mentioned the thousands of women out there who would love to have a baby, but can't have one (I wanted to say, and one is sitting RIGHT across from you!!) There are programs that will pay for you to live and not work if only you would give up your baby a chance to live with a loving family and give it up for adoption. Our conversation turned back to her heartache of maybe losing her boyfriend over her affair. The unborn baby was never mentioned again.

I checked in with her Tuesday night to she if she had results. She said indeed, she was pregnant. I explained that policy stated she had to lie on her left side until she delivered her baby. (it best supports blood flow to the fetus). She told me she thought it was stupid for her to do this because she already had the abortion scheduled later this month. You would have thought someone had shot me in the head. I wanted to wring her neck, and kick her very hard in the shins, but I knew I had to keep my cool. So, after questioning me about policy, and whining as students do sometimes, she laid on her left side and complained about it the entire time!

I went to a fellow instructor and just cried. And when I was done crying, I locked myself in a room, sat in a corner, and ate chocolate for awhile to try and dull the pain. Now the real trial begins: loving her despite her decision. And Christ loved the sinners, but not the sin. This could be the biggest ethical and moral dilemma I have had to face yet.

Monday, February 2, 2009


36. 36 cycles. (Give or take the few cycles I was actually pregnant and then miscarried). 36 times I have had to look at Matt and say, "Not this month." 36 cycles I have suffered in in physical pain, but more than that, emotional turmoil. 36 times I have thought, "Not again." February marks three years I have been off of birth control. I never would have started if I had thought for one second I couldn't concieve!

I have promised myself that through this journey, I would learn something. I have promised myself that I would come out a stronger woman with something to offer those around me. I don't feel like I can do that yet. I am doubting so many things about myself and the beliefs I have had practically my entire life. I feel as if I have fallen into a pit and I'm not entirely sure how to claw my way out. I want to scream for help, for someone to pull me up, but when I open my mouth, no sound exits. Even blogging about it makes me wonder the judgement people will pass. But that is a chance I have to take to release some pent up feelings.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Announcement

I should have known from the moment I walked in the door that something was different about her. From the minute I met her, she always wore very stylish clothes, and when I saw her, she was wearing a black shirt, A-line with a tie in the back. I thought, "Man, that shirt makes her look pregnant." From that moment, I just prayed I was wrong. Oh please, let me be wrong. This isn't the proper order of things. It is my turn. It has to be my turn.

We got all lined up for pictures. It was a cold day so all 14 of us were crammed into the grand entryway. I was on the floor and my cute husband was on a chair behind me. She kept saying, "I want one normal picture. Just one normal picture first." I didn't think anything of it. We are a large family with a large sense of humor, so her saying she wanted a normal picture didn't phase me at all. All lined up, looking our best, the timer set, she ran back from behind the camera to take her spot in the back. And then the announcement shouted from her husband, "Amber is pregnant!!!!" My heart sank. My fears were confirmed. They had been married two years, us four. Everyone knew we had been trying, trying, miscarrying. Why this way? I stuck through it...well, some of it. I said my congratulations. I took a few more pictures, and then tears began to well in my eyes. Of course, I am so happy for them. I am the proudest aunt you will ever meet, and I am excited to add more to that, but I just wasn't ready, I wasn't prepared for the heartache it would cause.

I wanted to run outside, but with 13 people blocking the doorway, there was no way I could get out safely. So I went to the back of the house and just stood there crying, sobbing uncontrollably. I know it wasn't long before my mother-in-law came in and just hugged me. She always has the sweetest words that seem to soothe the suffering heart, and this time was no different. But I could not get myself under control. I wanted to scream. Of course, I'm happy, but it wasn't supposed to be like this!

I never really calmed down. I can fake it really well, even now. I'm infertile. I can't give my husband the one thing he wants more than oxygen, more than anything else. And so I put on my happy face, I don't let anyone around me see the pain inside. I have worked my entire life stuffing away my true emotions, and this time is no different.