Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My {in}Fertility Story (part 2)

Thank you so much for the outpouring of kinds words you guys shared with me about my story so far. If you haven't read it yet, check out part 1 of My {in}Fertility Story.

The voice on the other line of the voicemail told me to stop taking all medications, and if I hadn't miscarried within a week, to come in. I felt so lucky that my body basically miscarried on it's own. I can't even imagine having to go in for a procedure to take out the tissue of a non-viable pregnancy. And I pray all the time for those that have had to do that.

After the initial shock and miscarriage, I went back to the doctor to rework a plan. Once again, they were absolutely amazing. I can't even begin to tell you the hundreds of thousands of tears that fell from my eyes in their office, the countless conversations we had while I was only dressed from the waist up, and the amount of times they had to reassure me that one day I would have a baby.

The new plan was the same as the old- keep putting one foot in front of the other. This turned into months of chemicals trying to create what was supposed to be a natural cycle in my body. Time to time I would step back and wonder if by taking all these medications, I was doing something detrimental to my body, but truth be told, I didn't care. Every month was a roller coaster. It would start of with sheer confidence and determination, then unwavering hope with every twinge and ache my body felt, I questioned whether it was a first sign of pregnancy. Then, doubt would set in as we would wait, probably my mind beginning to prepare itself for terrible news. Each month always the same, I would have my phone with me all day on the schedule day to hear back from pregnancy results, and finally the number would flash on the screen- never, not even once in all my months of trying, did I EVER pick up the phone. Looking back, I don't know why that was, I can only speculate that I didn't want them to hear my fallen voice, my devastation, my world caving in. I would listen to the voicemail, and the last stage of the roller coaster would set in- devastation. Pure devastation, I can't even find another word for it. I would try and shrug it off, as if every single thought that went through my brain starting with the sip of water I took to swallow the first clomid pill didn't matter. That every normal daily task I completed didn't go by without thought that I wanted to be pregnant, that every fun event or night out with friends didn't follow with the thought of I'd rather be pregnant or when Adam got a big bonus and we both looked at the big number in our checking account and the first words out my mouth were- "I'd give it all up to be pregnant." There was no shrugging off that terrible news on the voicemail but time after time, I'd try and do it. And then, I'd fill my prescription for clomid again and with it, came my determination and confidence that this would be the month!
Adam & I- trip to Belgium- the first thing we had to do when we got
to the hotel room was HCG injections

Looking back through this blur of medication cycles, one of the biggest events that stands out is when my sister got pregnant. I still remember where I was standing, where Adam was, what my mom said, I still remember it all. And I can still go back to the out of body experience I felt when my mom told me Kara was pregnant. I literally yelped with happiness and joy to just have a baby in the family. And then, the floor crumbled beneath me and I didn't feel joy about her pregnancy again for months- 6 months to be exact. In those 6 months, were some terrible moments like when Kara and my mom heard the heartbeat but couldn't talk about it around me or when I heard Kara was having a boy and I sobbed uncontrollably. That time was filled with jealousy and envy followed by guilt, such terrible guilt, and then sadness over not being able to give my family what my sister was- a baby.

It all seems so silly and pointless now, as Kara and I are so close- our lives intertwined so much that Yardley is so in love with Kara that when she puts her down, she cries with her arms out and Quinn, Kara's son, sometimes calls me Mommy Jackie. When Quinn was born, my heart swelled, I felt so lucky to have him in our family. And I feel eternally blessed to have had Kara go through it first so that she could be there to support me- we were actually birth coaches for each other in the delivery room of our children (except the twins).
Me, Kara, & my mom at Kara's baby shower

With the first little boy who stole my heart, Quinn

That time feels worlds away, but that's not what this story is about. It's about the real torture and pain that infertility can bring and the havoc it can wreak on your life. I always thought of myself as such a happy and positive person and not being able to get pregnant brought me to my knees. It shook the core of me and had me questioning who I was. And the only way I felt to combat that was to desperately try over and over and over again and to cling on to the small sense of control I felt when I took the clomid and followed the fertility doctors instructions.

Until the day it all came crashing down. Months of chemically created hormones had finally caught up to me. I was standing in my moms kitchen with a printed out calendar. It was July and I was trying to figure out and calculate when to take the clomid because of a trip we had coming up and work and rework all the different scenarios that could happen and I just SNAPPED. Full on, screaming and hysterically crying because the small bit of control I would cling to was slowly slipping away. I ran out of my mom's kitchen and drove home. That was it- I told Adam I was done and he didn't question my decision for a moment. He knew it was over- all the pills, doctor appointments, needle shots, calendar calculating and phone calls- all over.

Life went on and each month, I could feel myself relax a little bit more. I felt myself really living life again and enjoying it. Here and there, very seldom, did I think about getting pregnant. I would still get a little sad for myself when I would hear about someone getting pregnant but then quickly try and feel happy for them. I want to add a little side note here about Adam. I deliberately didn't add a lot about him to this story because quite frankly, he asked me not to. For Adam, the fertility doctor was a means to an end- not too much emotion about it. But he knew to me, at that time, it was my whole life. He couldn't have been more supportive. He was my buoy in crashing waves and I clung to him so tightly. He knew what to say when to say, when to protect me from certain news, when to let me vent to him, and when to hold me when I cried. I can think of 3 times at my lowest points that I don't know how I would have survived without him. I broke out into sobs and slid down the wall in our hallway as he was watching TV where they announced some celebrity getting pregnant, he came over and sat next to me as I made deep deep sobbing sounds. He held me as I layed on the floor sobbing next to my bed after listening to a voicemail one month that I wasn't pregnant. And he came in, fully clothed, and picked me up as I sat in the shower sobbing thinking about an empty future. He will forever hold all of my heart and is my soul mate and knight in shining armor. I could never love anyone or anything more than I love him and his heart.
My rock!

So, life went on, I never even told my fertility doctors I was done. They knew, it happened all the time. After a certain time, people just give up, whether permanently or for just a time, people just give up on the process.

A year later, I was working as a preschool teacher at a new school. All the parents sent in pictures of their families for the kids in my class for the beginning of the year. When I looked at this one family picture, I couldn't quite figure out how I recognized the mom in the picture. A few days went by and the first day of school came, I was sitting leading Circle Time, when this little girl and her mom walked in and my mouth almost hit the floor- it was one of my fertility doctors and her daughter. I didn't recognize her in the picture because honestly she didn't have her white coat on. I kept it together while reading the kids in my class a story and spoke with her afterwards. We hugged and she asked me how life was, it was just so absolutely crazy to me that her daughter was in my class and after all this time, she was in my life again. As my aunt would say, it was God intervening in my life as a coincidence or a "God-incidence."

Months went by and we finally got around to talking about how I still wasn't pregnant but I wasn't ready to do anything about it. Each time, she would say I'm always here, come on in when you're ready. That January, I finally was ready again, I told Adam and he was ready too. We went in for a consultation and I remember saying something like, just tell me what I need to do to get pregnant. Obviously what we were doing before wasn't working and I wanted to step up my game. Tell me what I need to do and I'll do it. She suggested an IUI or intra- uterine insemination. Sounded good to me, until we got in the car after the appointment and Adam reminded me of a conversation we had wayyy back when that he did not want to be involved in any fertility procedures and an IUI required that.

I think he mentioned it to remind me that this was completely against anything he ever wanted to do, but he couldn't put up much of a fight. He had seen what I had gone through; what we had gone through.

So, I took the clomid and got monitored- same as always. They told me I had 3 eggs and with an IUI the chances of having multiples was increased. We were told our chances of having triplets was 10%, twins was around 30-40% and then there was the greatest chance we would just conceive one baby- if any at all. Adam and I talked it over and we went through with the IUI procedure. In fact, we did a double IUI. The first day didn't hurt at all and the second day hurt like a bitch. My doctor mentioned that when it hurts, it means the window of fertility had closed- so we knew we done it at the right time.

Then the waiting set in and finally 2 weeks had passed. I went in for bloodwork and 2 days later was Easter Sunday, Adam and I were so incredibly anxious. They told us they would call us by noon. At 11:30, I started staring at my phone. Noon came and I was on pins and needles. Adam suggested we go for a walk in the woods behind my parents house to get our minds cleared. We tried talking and holding hands and walking around, but I just kept thinking, "why aren't they calling?" We finally decided to head back and when we got out of the wooded area, I looked at my phone, I had a voicemail.

I put the voicemail on speakerphone and pressed play: "Mrs. DuMouchelle, Congratulations, you're pregnant and you HCG levels are showing great. Continue to take your medication and come in on Tuesday for us to check your bloodwork." It felt like a dream. I was finally exactly where I wanted to be and I was so happy but I still couldn't completely be excited. I had been pregnant before and I wouldn't let my guard down. A week went past and each day brought a teeny tiny bit more hope. That weekend, we went to my parents house. Adam went out for a long run and the rest of us hung out at home. I went to the bathroom real quick before starting a movie. I looked down and my heart skipped a beat- bright, red blood. I immediately yelled and told my mom and sister and they told me to call the fertility doctor. I called her and she told me what I feared she would say. "It doesn't sound good, spotting is okay, but we never want to see bright, red blood."

... to be continued...
Part 1
Part 3


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