Friday, February 10, 2012

the meaning of "Two Hearts and One Dream"....

I've thought about writing this post for months. In fact, this post was my inspiration for creating and naming this blog.  Although it's funny that back in April, I thought that this post would have a better outcome, would have been written much sooner and would have left me with a fulfilled heart rather than one that aches more than it ever has before.

Two Hearts = my heart and Nick's heart.  One Dream = our un-born, not (yet!) conceived baby.

There I said it. We're trying (very hard, with all of our might) to have a baby. I could cry just saying typing that.  It's a tough pill to swallow and our journey has brought upon more emotion than I ever knew existed inside of me (and I'm an emotional person, people!!!). 

Our journey technically began about one year ago when we decided we were "ready" to have a baby.  It's funny how when you finally both feel "ready", what you're "ready" for, isn't "ready" for you.  Every month was spent in anticipation.  Every twinge, flicker of pain and flutter felt inside my tummy had me convinced that  Well, months of BFN's (big fat negatives... I've learned all the lingo from the on-line infertility boards that I've stalked read incessantly) passed as my heart began to ache more and more each month.  I even think that as the months passed, Nick's heart-ache began to catch up with mine.

During these several months that resulted in BFN's, the planner within me rearranged my schedule, cancelled get-togethers with friends and even declined destination wedding invitations (not formally... we ended up going, after yet another dreaded BFN) all because....what if I'm pregnant?!

A week or so before leaving for the aforementioned destination wedding, I decided it was time to "take the bull by its horns" and I made an appointment to meet and talk to my OB about my options.  After meeting with my OB, I was immediately scheduled for an HSG (hysterosalpingogram - a scary test/procedure done at a local hospital downtown where dye is insterted into your fallopian tubes and cervix to determine if there are any blockages) the following Monday (the test is supposed to occur on day 14 of your cycle).  While scared, I was eager to start the process of ruling potential causes for infertility out.  I was brave and truthfully, the procedure wasn't as scary as it sounded.  It lasted only a few minutes and the X-ray tech was able to tell me right away that he didn't see any blockages - he said he would send the images to my OB but not to worry.  So, off we went to celebrate two of our friends unite in marriage while sailing the Caribbean Seas on a cruise...

Sadly, I had learned I was not pregnant (another BFN!) while on the cruise... back to the drawing board!  My OB had since called and confirmed that my HSG was clear and that I do not have any visible blockages.  Next steps: 1). have DH (another infertility board acronym meaning dear husband) "checked" and 2). day 3 blood work for me.  My day 3 blood work came back with fairly normal results, with the exception of a fairly high FSH level (follicle stimulating hormone).  My OB suggested that I go ahead and call a fertility specialist.  In the meantime, we learned that DH's "check" was normal. 

We were anxious, scared, eager, excited and nervous to meet with our fertility specialist (RE as the infertility boards would say: reproductive endocrinologist) for the first time.  I pretty much expected, being the pessimistic Patty that I am, that I was going to be told that there is no hope for us to conceive.  Luckily, my pessimism lost... we left our appointment with a plan and instructions to begin what would be our first cycle of IUI (intrauterine insemination).  Sadly, after 2 weeks of pumping myself full of hormones, having my arm stuck with needles for blood draws and having a couple of ultrasounds, I learned that I had yet again another BFN.  I was devastated.  BUT, I was relieved that I could start right back up with another cycle of IUI.

In the midst of my first IUI cycle, it was determined that I indeed do have high FSH levels.  My levels came in respectively at 18.6 and 17.2.  After long hours into the night of research, e-mails and phone coversations with my doctor, I learned that essentially this means that I may (no one really knows for sure) have either a decreased number of eggs as a whole (did you know that females are all born with a certain number of eggs?  That's it.  You get this many, Sally gets that many, Jane gets this many, etc.) OR, that, of my eggs that are left, the quality of them is not good.  There is no treatment for "curing" your eggs and there is certainly no way of increasing the number of eggs you have left.  I received the hard-hitting news that while I'm a healthy 29 year-old, my high FSH levels are indicative of someone who is in their early 40's (!!!!!!!!!!!!).  Holy cow.  This shook me.  I'm still shaken by this.  My doctor's guess (again, no one really knows for sure) is that I'll go through early menopause.  How can this be?!  I should NOT be thinking about menopause at this age.  And truthfully, I don't believe my doctor meant that early = now (you may recall that I'm just a pessimist).

January, 2012 began with my second round of IUI, which ended with yet again another BFN.  This time I took a home pregnancy test rather than waiting for my doctor to call with the results of my blood work.  I needed to prepare and had to brace myself all the while believing that if I received a "Not Pregnant" (I went all out and bought the digital test - I was not about to decipher whether there were two lines or one line) maybe just maybe the results of my blood work would show something different.  It didn't.... and so our journey continues.

As I prepared (mentally and emotionally) to begin my first (and hopefully last) cycle of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), I was put on birth control (what?!?! If this isn't an oxy-moron, I don't know what is!) to suppress my body.  Not long after starting the pill, I learned that my insurance company denied my request for IVF.  Their standards and protocols had changed since our initial meeting with my doctor and the insurance company now requires 3 failed IUI's prior to moving forward to IVF.  They would not budge, even with my doctor's attempt at pleading and prodding.  After a night of inconsoleable crying (my poor husband), I awoke with a clear(er) mind and am now putting all of my efforts, hopes and prayers into a successful third round of IUI.  My doctor has recommended that rather than taking hormones orally, that I use the same injectibles I would have used as if I were doing IVF this month.  Ironically enough, the rather large (and extremely intimidating) box full of medicine, needles and suppositories (so gross!) arrived at my door the same evening that I learned the discouraging news that I would need to have a third IUI prior to moving forwad to IVF.  Talk about getting kicked even harder in the gut!

And so.... this is where my story (so far) ends.  I'm exhausted.  I'm excited.  I'm scared and worried and even a little bit angry.  I'm trying to be hopeful.  I'm really trying to have faith. To believe in God and to trust that this is all in His hands.  I try to wrap myself in the comfort that these are His plans.  And more than anything I try to remind myself daily to "Be Still and Know that He is God."

I'm glad to have written this post.  Currently my blog is private.  For my eyes only.  I hope to make Two Hearts and One Dream public (or somewhat public) someday.  I hope that my story may be helpful, or at least comforting to someone else someday (although, truly I hope that no one should ever have to go through what I've gone through).  And most of all I hope to never, EVER forget the journey that I've emarked on (certainly not by choice), especially when I'm holding my baby boy or girl in my arms for the first time.  I know that it will happen.  I believe and above all else, I have faith.

xoxo, Aubrey Blair
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