Category: Present

Pleasantly Distracted

I’ve always thought that being distracted when you’re depressed can only be a temporary hold on your feelings and will ultimately catch up to you in the end. Whether it is or it isn’t, being distracted has helped me cope with anything I was feeling a month ago. Now that the prognosis is not altogether hopeless, I find it much easier to focus on other aspects of my life and leave the worrying for later. I have kept very busy and allow myself little down time to reflect on my own thoughts.

I have engaged in activities I haven’t participated in since high school. Don’t worry about it, it’s nothing illegal, I’ve been in a play at a community theater. I’m sure my friends and family think it to be all I can talk or think about. . . and maybe it is. It has kept me from thinking about the depressing situation I currently find myself in. On top of the medical concerns, the battle with our insurance, and my uncertain future, my husband and I seemed to be trapped in the adolescent state of dependency. Like many other couples of our generation we find ourselves living with my parents and barely scraping by. The economy was in a complete downfall where we moved back from, but we find that it is not much better here.  We are faced with decisions of where to go next, how to go about looking for work, how to support ourselves, and will we have anything left in savings to build from?

So without becoming overwhelmed with problems and obstacles, we dive head-first into commitments and activities that will make us happy. If there isn’t much we can do about our lives as it stands now, the only thing left to do is hang on and ride the wave until it hopefully settles into a calm that we can live with. I should be thanking God that we could not bring a child into the world if we wanted to, because we would have enough trouble keeping ourselves afloat. That’s not to say, of course, that if it just “happened” by some random act of nature, we both wouldn’t do everything we could to make it work.

I will say this: After coming out to our friends and family with this journal and the news of our recent hardships, we have had an amazing flood of support and love that we never expected. It has made me feel extremely relieved to have it all out in the open and to see how people closest to us have made us feel that we are not alone.

Premature Ovarian Failure is. . .

I’m feeling pretty good about yesterdays adventure to the doctor. I’m grateful there is a name to call what I have. I always knew the chances of getting pregnant where lower for me, so this diagnosis doesn’t change that. “So you’re saying there’s a chance!” -Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber.

This is the information sent to me today by my doctor. I’ve taken out the bits and pieces most relevant for those who would like to know EXACTLY what this diagnosis entails:

PREMATURE OVARIAN FAILURE OVERVIEW — Premature ovarian failure (POF) is a condition in which the ovaries stop functioning normally in women who are younger than 40. The condition used to be called “premature menopause,” but that term is misleading, because women with premature ovarian failure do not always stop menstruating, and their ovaries do not always completely shut down [1]. That’s important to keep in mind, because the diagnosis of premature ovarian failure does not always mean that pregnancy is impossible. What’s more, the condition does not imply that a woman is aging prematurely. It simply means that her ovaries are faltering. Another term used for POF is primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). This term is likely to replace the term POF in the near future.

Given these effects, premature ovarian failure makes pregnancy unlikely. Learning of this can be emotionally devastating to some women, especially if they have not had children or want more children. For them, the diagnosis squelches dreams of motherhood. Take time, too, to honor your feelings of grief and loss. Being diagnosed with premature ovarian failure can be a life-changing experience [2]. It is natural to feel down, but be mindful of depression. You may even want to seek out counseling or to participate in a support group for women with premature ovarian failure. If you have a partner, remember that he or she may also be affected by your diagnosis, so it might be useful to find support for the two of you.

PREMATURE OVARIAN FAILURE CAUSES — In the vast majority of cases, healthcare providers do not know why premature ovarian failure occurs. Some cases of the condition can be explained by genetic abnormalities, exposure to toxins, or autoimmune disorders, but most cases are “idiopathic,” meaning they have no known cause [3]. Even so, it’s important for women to be tested for the known causes of premature ovarian failure. Some of the known causes may be associated with other effects on your health or the health of your family members.

Estrogen replacement- Most experts agree, in general, that young women with premature ovarian failure should use hormone therapy at least until they turn 50.

Infertility treatment — As noted above, between 5 and 10 percent of women with POF are able to conceive and give birth normally without any special treatment. Treatment with estrogen, fertility drugs, or other hormones, has not been shown to improve fertility.

* Being diagnosed with premature ovarian failure can be emotionally trying. Women with the disorder may need time to grieve and adjust to the diagnosis, and there are resources that can help them do that.
* Women with premature ovarian failure should consider taking estrogen-progestin therapy at least until age 50 to prevent osteoporosis and possibly cardiovascular disease. Taking these hormones will have the added benefit of reducing menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
* Women interested in becoming pregnant should consult their own healthcare provider about possible therapeutic options. Those who are comfortable with pursuing assisted reproduction may want to consider in vitro fertilization using donor eggs or donor embryos.

So as it was explained to me at age 8 (ish): When a Man and Woman love each other very much, they get married. When they decide to have a baby they give each other a special hug. The part I must have missed was the part where the Man and Woman go ask the Woman’s sister or close friend to hand over an egg and we head on down the clinic for some R & R and make a baby together. Well, when that special time comes I guess I’ll be hittin’ up some relatives who are willing to help us make a baby that is half Matt’s and half ? who knows. I think I’ll sleep on it.

Today at 4:00 I have an appointment to visit a fertility clinic that I was referred to by my OBGYN about the test results from the lab. I have been eagerly waiting a month for this day to arrive. Now that it is here, I am more nervous than I think I  have ever been. I have so many questions.

One of my main concerns is that this visit and others like it will not be covered under my insurance due to the title “infertility” in billing. The representative for my Health Insurance company has assured me that as long as they bill it under a different reason, more medical, that it should be covered. When I go to the doctors today I will have to make sure he is clear on my reason for visiting. I want my hormonal imbalance to be treated, not to become fertile. Well now, if the treatment for my hormonal imbalance happens to make me fertile, I certainly won’t complain.

I hope to find out today exactly what my chances are of ever being able to conceive with my condition. Is it even possible? If so, how? What can I do to help the solution? What are my options if I cannot conceive naturally? Can I stand to wait any longer, or is it a NOW OR NEVER kind of situation? If adoption and in vitro or serogacy are my next and only steps to motherhood, who can afford that?  I hope to find the answers to these questions and post later today. Wish me luck.

Yesterday would not be one of those days. I feel as though I’ve been morning a death. I am in morning of the death of the life I always thought I’d have. Okay, maybe not  a complete death, but a terminal illness of the life I always thought I’d have. That seems a bit more accurate at this time until I have more information.

I was doing just fine. I could think about kids without getting nostalgic, or get a Baby Shower invite and not have a panic attack. I was feeling pretty good over the last couple of days. It almost felt as though I were accepting, moving on, getting stronger. And then, it hit me like the giant shark that attacks the swimming naked woman in Jaws.

I was pleasantly and happily checking the latest updates on Facebook. I decided to check out the photos posted by a good friend who I have not seen in many weeks. Now, the stupid part is I had seen these photos the day before and handled it quite well. This day, however was not a good day. They were photos of her pregnant belly at different stages up until the most recent. The first two were uneventful, normal, even completely flat. The last was a definite bump. I cute, round, crescent protruding from her petite little frame. I looked carefully and thought about the tiny life growing inside a person I actually know. A few months ago she wasn’t pregnant, like me, and now she is almost a mother. How easy, how life changing, how new, how must she feel right now? Suddenly,within moments I was hunched over the keyboard looking like a phsyc ward patient. Red, runny nose, puffy eyes, sobbing unabashedly. It felt good but I’m really glad no one else was home. This little ‘episode’ lasted a good 3 hours. Could have been more if I didn’t have appointments to keep and people to see.

Why am I sharing this seemingly humiliating moment of my very private life? Because if anyone knows what I’m going through or have been through this already, you’d know that it does not slowly fade away. It can hit like a ton of bricks and hurt so deep in the core of my being. My husband is so good to put up with me. He is so tender and loving, and knows what to say to make me smile again. I know he’s hurting too, but he can never know exactly how this feels. He’s not a woman and doesn’t know what it’s like to have your body, heart, and mind yearn to do what it was made to do. The best I can describe it for a man would be to say, ” Here is your (substitute for male reproductive organ). Now it is there to give you pleasure and to pleasure your female partner. It will make babies too. It will WANT to do that 24/7. However, I am telling you that you can never have sex again for the rest of your life. You must accept your life completely celibate. Forever. No matter what.” If you’re a man, how does that make you feel?

The funny part is, I wasn’t looking to get pregnant any time soon. I wasn’t really considering it. Now, it seems to be the only thing I can think about and constantly comes up around me. I want to be very clear about this to ANYONE reading this: I do not want to take well deserved joy from anyone who is now, or ever will be, expecting a baby. I am fragile, but I do not want to be shut out of anyone’s life. I am happy to share in your joy with you, and may have to live vicariously through your joy. I just need to grieve in my own time.

So. . . .They’re having a girl. Yay.

I had a great chat last night with an old friend. She is raising to small children on her own so spending some quality time with her meant something special for the both of us. Her oldest is 3 and youngest is 6 months so she has her hands full and did express to me the treasure of adult conversation in her life. I really love to be around young children because I always go home with a feeling of “well I’ve had MY fill of kids to last me a while!” Not to say that they were naughty or that I didn’t enjoy myself at all, please don’t misunderstand, but that I am glad to enjoy their company for a short while and then go home to a peaceful house with no responsibilities.

To continue on the subject of yesterday’s post, I decided to confide in her the recent developments in my childless life. She was very understanding as I explained the possibilities and options that my husband and I now faced. She sent me an email that I just had to share. This is what good friends are for:

I will leave you with this to keep in mind. Mull it over…

Top 10 Reasons my uterus is ideal for housing babies:

10. I already have all the clothing varying in degrees of fatness

9. I already have stretch marks so f*$@ it…lets go!

8. I have THE coolest OB/GYN

7. Been there done that…

6. Twice…

5. I am apparently fertile-mertyl

4. 2 happy children must mean warm comfy womb

3. It would be nice to be knocked up for a good purpose

2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being pregnant…great parking

1. It would be so much fun to say “Im having my friends baby…no, his wife is totally cool with it.”

Keeping quiet? Let it out?

Everyone handles baby news differently.

I have a close friend who does not hesitate to rush out and tell every soul (be it plant, animal, or person) when she is pregnant. I have had to share in her heartbreak twice as she has had to re-inform them all of her miscarriages. At first I wondered why on earth anyone would put themselves through that, but it occurs to me that she is they type of person who needs the support of the people around her when times are good or bad. I admire her ability to allow people into her very deepest, personal triumphs and sorrows. I am happy to report that she is now pregnant again, waited until she was 13 weeks to tell us, and is doing just fine.

Of course, there are those who are very secretive and private. Another couple I know did not share the news of their expecting bundle of joy until they were well enough out of the first trimester. They are choosing not to tell anyone the name they have picked for their baby girl who is due in June. I commend them for this as I tend to be a very private person myself. Some reasons for this might be to spare themselves the ridicule or opinions of other people’s towards the name. As they should! It is no one’s business but theirs, and if they like the name, that should be all that matters.

In any case, the sharing of baby news is not just any declaration, and should be handled with care. How then, in the case of NOT having a baby should one choose to tell friends and family? I am certainly not choosing to not have a baby, and it is worth noting that we are not sure whether or not it is impossible for me to conceive in the future. However, I am faced with the dilemma at my age and marital status that people will be asking or commenting on the subject. “When are you two going to start a family?” or “Well, whenever you two decide to join the club. . . ”  and so on. It hits me close to a sensitive spot in my ‘feel bads’.

On the one hand, I want everyone to know what’s going on so that they are more sensitive or understanding. On the other hand, I don’t even know how serious my condition is or if it can be helped easily. So is it really something I should just be blabbing it all over town? Or should I keep my mouth shut until I have more information?

I certainly don’t want everyone’s lives or conversations to revolve around my situation. Their good fortune has as much right to be celebrated as my triumph will be when and if it happens to me. So for now, I have this blog and it will be my saving grace.

My kids

Yesterday was an unusually warm day for mid-March. I took the kindergarteners outside for a break. It is a shame that our days are usually so rushed and busy that we don’t get time to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company for 15 minutes. I took so much pleasure in running around with them, chasing them, sliding down slides, and climbing on the rock wall. They gave me strange looks at first, but it made them laugh to see me playing like a kid. They are my kids.

Several years ago I started working for a company and met Amanda, my supervisor, who was 8 mos pregnant at the time. She relayed to me how many months it took her and her husband to conceive and how the pressure and disappointment was taking a toll on her. She hated to go to church because seeing all the young families and their new babies made her heart ache too much. I have often heard other women tell of the moment when “baby fever” hits them like a ton of bricks and they can think of nothing else.  It was actually frightening to think of it, and I vowed it would never happen to me. (Yeah, like being ‘twitterpated’ never happened to Bambi).

I have always consistently kept in the back of my mind the possibility that I may never have children of my own. I have always been careful in talking to people to say, “If I ever have children” rather than, “When I have children.” I do this as a protection for myself against failure and disappointment. I don’t want to put my husband through the pain and stress that some marriages go through as a result of infertility.  My husband and I would dream of a life without responsibility or dependency, a dual income family with the freedom to spend their lives traveling, saving money, and never know what it’s like to struggle financially or have to ‘find a babysitter’ so we can go out.

Still, I could not help but hurt inside this morning when I was driving to work and saw a school bus stopped to pick up a group of waiting children. I thought of how I would miss out on taking my child by the hand on their first day of Kindergarten and kissing them goodbye.