Monday, August 24, 2015

Infertility: Seeking Answers

During my D and C and laparoscopy the doctor discovered some mild endometriosis and adhesions.  She took care of the issues she found and I was sent home to recover. She also noted that my left fallopian tube appears to be blocked. At my six week follow up she suggested I get another opinion (this would be our 3rd) from another doctor out of Allentown.  We were on the fence about paying for another visit (if not covered by insurance we would have to pay $675), after all, we had two opinions already.  I'm happy to say that we did take her advice and visit the doctor she recommended.  

Doctor R has been running tests and working hard to gather all possible information before giving us a diagnosis/probability.  We stand by our initial initial thoughts of not going as far as IVF.  Since visiting our newest doctor he has diagnosed PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome).  He has prescribed Metformin for the PCOS, birth control, as well as other medications to help with the endometriosis.  Once I take the medications for 6 weeks he wants to re-check my fallopian tube.   

About a week ago I woke up at 3 AM with terrible pain in my lower abdomen.  I tried convincing myself I could get comfortable and return to sleep, but I couldn't even hardly move.  Poor Kevin was woken up to rush me to the ER where they determined a cyst had most likely ruptured.  However, I still had another remaining. 

Yesterday was our follow-up with Doctor R about the cyst.  He feels that I probably have endometriosis in my right ovary. The medicine he had previously prescribed should give a better indication after all of the re-tests have been performed.  

Doctor R had also sent Kevin to be re-checked for the male factor infertility.  While we knew there were issues we were unaware of several that he uncovered.  Kevin has an infection which can be transmitted to me causing miscarriage, pre-term labor, brain and spine defects.  We will be on antibiotics simultaneously and then he will be re-checked.  It was also found that his body is producing sperm anti-bodies.  Basically, all forces are against us.

Doctor R has been waiting to gather ALL information, and wait for all medications to take hold before making any recommendations of future treatment options.  He did mention during yesterday's visit that he doesn't feel we are candidates for IUI any longer given all factors.  

While yesterday's visit was highly informative there was little information that was truly "shocking". We knew about my issues (mainly) and we knew about the male factor problems.  Despite what I already knew I have found the last 24 hours extremely difficult.  I always have ups and downs and I will use my support system to help me through.  

I cannot express enough how vital it is to have a strong support system while enduring this struggle.  My husband lets me vent and eventually brings me back to reality (i.e. I can't stay mad at friends who are pregnant).  I have several girlfriends who let me call, text, meet for coffee and just listen.  They offer support whenever they are able and they don't tell me to "relax".  While things are difficult to understand and comprehend I am grateful daily for their support.


This blog exists as a way to let some of my emotions surface, as well as possibly help those in a similar  struggle. I am always open to questions/comments.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

One Year Later

It has already been a year since we had three rounds of IUI (January, February, March 2014).  2014 was a difficult year and I had been greatly looking forward to 2015 as a fresh start.  Turns out 2015 has other plans.

I haven't been feeling well for about six months but January was an especially hard month.  The doctor finally listened to my complaints and decided to run some tests.  Before even seeing my test results she had decided a D & C was necessary. During the D&C she will take a biopsy in order to verify that there aren't any cancerous cells present. After reviewing my ultrasound she said "your ultrasound isn't great, but the main issue is the cyst on your ovary."  I have a 4.5 cm (1.77 inch) cyst on my right side which should be accounting for majority of my symptoms.  She will perform another ultrasound in 2 months to monitor the cyst.  If the cyst isn't gone in two months then she will do a laparoscopy at the time of the D & C.

We celebrated my great aunt's 90th birthday on Saturday.  My cousin brought her 6 month old grandson.  I have always been the one first in line to hold and play with any baby.  Saturday was no exception, but I know that my personality has changed.  While looking at those adorably chubby cheeks I began to wonder how someone so small can bring me such joy and such pain at the same time.  Of course my lifelong love of children also sparked another (new) round of "when will you have children?!" and "here hold the baby, maybe it will rub off on you".

I know that when people speak they aren't meaning to tear into my heart but regardless of their intentions it is exactly what they do.  For awhile I would smile and brush off the answer.  Lately I just quickly answer "We can't." which typically stops the conversation fast.  The look on people's faces is a mix of many emotions (shock, sadness, confusion). I know my answer can come off as abrupt, harsh or even mildly rude but truth be told my heart can't handle the questions and this is my way of self preservation.

I'm sure in my lifetime I have asked inappropriate questions but I do know that this experience has taught me to ask less and be more sensitive to what others are going through.  Stop asking strangers, family, friends, church members, etc.  their plans for family making.  Majority of our family and/or church doesn't know our struggle, and they don't need to.  Just remember-think before you ask; your innocent question might cause someone a sleepless night.

Impatiently waiting,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

An Infertile Woman's Thoughts on Pregnant Women

The longer you have traveled the road of infertility the more likely you are to notice every little 'baby' thing which typically leads to over-analyzing..well...just about everything.

It seems that everyone I know (a slight exaggeration) just had a baby or is pregnant.  The last time I counted I could easily name 10 people without trying.  This mass number of pregnant couples surrounding me everywhere has sparked a question.  Do they fully appreciate the miracle they have been given?

Some might scoff at my question and reply "Of course they do!"...but do they really?  Do any of us REALLY understand all we have been given without having seen the other side?  To help put this in perspective here are a few others:

~Do we remember to be grateful every time we sit down to dinner?  There are starving people all over the world while we eat and snack whenever we see fit.
~Do we remember to be grateful for the clothes we wear to keep us warm during winter months?  There are homeless right now who would be thrilled with a fraction of what we have.
~Do the world famous artists and composers fully understand their gift?  Sure, they know they have what others don't, but can they understand the person who has practiced for days, weeks, years and still not able to achieve what they can in a shorter time with less effort?

Even IF we remember to be grateful each and everyday for the blessings bestowed upon us I can't help but think that we still don't hold the same gratitude as someone who has gone without.  Few people have truly gone from 'rags to riches' and those who have would be the exception.

To be clear, there is no doubt in my mind that these pregnant couples are happy, feeling blessed and in awe of what they have created. However, as I sit across the church or restaurant from them I find myself completely overwhelmed with emotions and at times I feel I might be more in awe and amazement at their ability than they are.

This question of course will never truly be answered.   If we were to poll all the pregnant couples their answers would reflect that they are, in fact, grateful, happy, amazed.  But deep down, infertile couples are feeling more, even if we aren't the ones experiencing pregnancy.

Of course, all of this is merely my opinion.  My brain runs rampant for hours on end with pointless questions and scenarios, none of which hold definitive answers.  May we be ever mindful of the blessings that we have received that we may focus less on the desires of our heart.  God has plans, big and small, for all of us.

As always, your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Post Adoption Meeting

It has been awhile since I posted any updates.

Kevin was working night shift so my best friend attended an adoption meeting with me a little while back.  We had decided that it was best to gather all possible information and make a decision whether to go forward with treatments to work towards adoption.

We were already leaning toward moving forward with adoption, so my expectation was to attend the meeting and return home ready to fill out forms and start the process.  Instead I returned to the car with more questions than answers and a feeling of uncertainty.  Adoption holds a very special place in my heart.  Had it not been for my parents who knows where my nieces may have ended up.  I am very aware of how many children are currently in the government systems and need loving parents.  The meeting just didn't sit well. 

In the days since then not much has changed.  When I relayed the information to Kevin he had the same response as I did.  I held onto the application packet (for those of you unaware that is roughly 28+ pages of forms, just to start) for a few weeks before throwing it away. 

For now we are focusing on adjusting to the reality that nothing is in our control.  There are days where I am truly fine with all that has been presented to us, and other days where I don't want to leave my bed.  I struggle with my roller coaster of emotions.  Apparently I didn't drink enough of our high school water since everyone I graduated with is now popping out babies 2 and 3.  I struggle frequently with jealousy, resentment...happiness for them.  How can my heart be SO happy and SO angry at the same time?!?

Conclusion:  Life is hard.  Marriage is hard.  I pray that we continue to seek His will and understand His plan for us.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Understanding the Odds-Second Opinion Appointment

Things have been a little crazy in the Goss house.  We had our appointment with another doctor (Dr. G.) for a second opinion right after finding out that my mom has been diagnosed with B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  She has already begun her chemo treatments which is making it harder for her to keep up with some of the day to day tasks leaving us to try and help fill in the blanks. 

Our second opinion appointment went well.  I really liked the office-I was taken back immediately and it was so quiet!  My other doctor's office (Dr. B.) is always loud and bustling.  It was very refreshing to visit an office without 18 pregnant women in the waiting room with another 20 babies and/or toddlers running around.  (Yes, you are sensing some of my bitterness which isn't a proud moment.  However, sitting your infertility patients to wait for their appointment for 2 hours next to babies and pregnant women is a cruel form of punishment.)

Dr. G. was very straight forward. Basically we have three options:

1.) Continue with clomid and IUI-success rate of 8%-cost $500 including medication
2.) Begin injectable hormones with IUI-success rate of 15%-cost $1,500 plus medication around $1,000
3.) Begin IVF-success rate of 45%-cost $9,000-$11,000 plus $2-3,000 in medications

On our own we only have a 1-2% chance of getting pregnant...

She kept warning that option 2 with the injectable hormones is risky.  It isn't monitored as closely and therefore twins occur 25% of the time and triplets 1%.  She also said this method can cause a fluid build up which lands you in the hospital. 

We personally ruled out IVF a long time ago-it just isn't for us.  The way she was describing option 2 it was something that both of us said we wanted to avoid.  So we are left with trying two more clomid & IUI cycles or moving on to adoption.  Currently we are taking a break from everything.  They always say that stress is such a big factor in infertility and right now I am under a huge amount of stress.  Our plans are to keep discussing our options and if we choose two more IUI to complete them by the end of the year.  Our three attempts per lifetime of IUI that were covered by insurance have already been used but some of the ultrasounds should be covered and since we already met our deductible I would like to have all procedures by the end of the year.

I am so emotionally torn.  Currently I am leaning more toward moving on with adoption.  I realize that IUI is simple in comparison to IVF and other options, however, it is still stressful.  Long before we were trying to conceive I would say that I thought adoption might be the right choice for us.  I can't understand bringing a baby into the world when there are other ones without homes.  I think God knew all along what was best, and was preparing me for what was to come. 

Your continued thoughts and prayers are always appreciated.  I would love to hear from you.  Remember:  You are not alone.  There is NO shame in your story.  And sometimes, just letting it out makes you feel so much better.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Third Time..Not a Charm

makes me cry evrytime ... but it is such a huge part of our journey & has only made us stronger!! i love you babies!!
Last week Thursday came and proved that our third round of IUI was unsuccessful.  I've spoken with my doctor who recommended a specialist who, of course, doesn't have an opening until June 4th.  In reality it is a little more than a month away and I should be happy...but I'm ready for the roller coaster to end.
I can't even begin to describe the emotional waves that roll through me.  I feel terrible for Kevin having to deal with my forms of crazy.  Sometimes I feel like I am making progress toward the acceptance that this could be our future.   A future without children of our own, without in-laws and grandchildren and the list keeps going.  I see the big family Christmas dinner dwindle in my mind.  Instead I focus on how to turn this into God's glory and accept what he has planned. 
Sometimes I can really focus on God has other plans for us.  Plans that could include foster children or adoption ...or to something that we haven't even thought of.  I truly believe that God cares for us and has a plan but there are moments where I really struggle.  How can my sister, a drug addict, who isn't trying, smokes, drinks and barely eats get pregnant?  Don't let my honest questions sway you.  Those two girls are my life and I wouldn't trade them for anything!  But you've all know the teenage girl who got pregnant after only one time and the woman who forgot her birth control and - BAM!  No such luck here folks.
While I may not always have my crazy under control at home I typically feel like I can hide it pretty well while I'm out.  A few weekends ago we went to a local antique store that we frequently visit.  They know us there and we hadn't seen the owner's daughter in a while (she is usually around helping).  I walked through the door greeted by excited voices telling me to "Come see!" that she in fact hadn't simply gained a lot of weight over the winter-she was pregnant.  She is a beautiful person inside and out and yet I struggled every minute of that conversation.  The soon to be mother and grandmother gushed about this and that while I had to constantly remind myself to smile.  Usually when this type of thing happens I feel longing for what they have- and as wrong as it may be- I covet it.  But this time I felt bitter.  Longing took the back seat and bitterness was front and center.  When we got in the car and I was explaining it to Kev he began his lecture on how you "simply can't be like that".  I know that, trust me, I do.  But a glimpse into my heart was ugly and I've been striving lately to right it.
Part of going to another doctor was picking up a copy of my file to send to the new doctor.  My doctor is in the process of changes offices so their fax machine isn't set up.  I had to pick up my files and fax them myself.  While I had been complaining about yet another errand to run it did give my the opportunity to view all the doctor's notes.  Kev's results are in there as well.  When the doctors had explained Kev's condition to us they were vague.  I thought it made sense and that I had a grasp, but after reviewing the file (I googled what some numbers should be) I found that I really hadn't understood.  The numbers are listed as "severely compromised" even for IVF.  That was quite an eye opener. 
I remind myself each day that this life is temporary and God has me here for a reason.  My suffering can bring him glory and that should be my goal.  I am reminded to count the blessing he has given me and not take them for granted.
Working on my bitter heart,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Distressed Finish Using Vaseline

After reading several methods for painting with a distressed finish I decided to try a few pieces using the Vaseline technique.  Here is how I painted my pieces.

1.) Paint your base color.  Let dry.
2.) Lightly put vaseline where you want the paint to be distressed.
3.) Paint your top color-painting right over the vaseline areas.  Let dry completely.
4.) Lightly sand the areas where the vaseline is.

Here is what my finished products looked like...