Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas (for the infertile)

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
a sperm sample to spin and clean

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
7 lectures about timing
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
8 reasons for not quitting
7 lectures about timing
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
9 new immune tests
8 reasons for not quitting
7 lectures about timing
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
10 excuses for dreaming
9 new immune tests
8 reasons for not quitting
7 lectures about timing
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
11 mild cramps
10 excuses for dreaming
9 new immune tests
8 reasons for not quitting
7 lectures about timing
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
12 HPTs
11 mild cramps
10 excuses for dreaming
9 new immune tests
8 reasons for not quitting
7 lectures about timing
6 positive stories
5 mood swings
4 new thermometers
3 pink pills
2 post-IUI foot rubs
and a sperm sample that was spun and cleaned

Friday, December 10, 2010

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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What God meant when he gave me infertility

What God meant when he gave me infertility

Couples experiencing infertility often receive well-meaning but extremely insensitive "advice." We can all list the most popular ones: "Just relax and you'll get pregnant," or "Adopt and you'll get pregnant." Of the most painful from those who think they've got the goods on God's plan, "Maybe God never meant for you to have children." The sheer audacity of making a statement like that never fails to amaze me.

"These same people would never walk up to someone seeking treatment for cancer and say, "Maybe God never meant for you to live." However, because I am infertile, I'm supposed to get on with my life. It's hard to understand that people can not see infertility for what it is, a disease for which I have to seek treatment. What if Jonas Salk had said to the parents of polio victims, "Maybe God meant for thousands of our children to be cripples, live in an iron lung or die." What if he'd never tried to find a cure? Who could think for one minute that that was God's plan?

What do I think God meant when he gave me infertility? I think he meant for my husband and me to grow closer, become stronger, love deeper. I think God meant for us to find the fortitude within ourselves to get up every time infertility knocks us down. I think God meant for our medical community to discover medicines, invent medical equipment, create procedures and protocols. I think God meant for us to find a cure for infertility.

No, God never meant for me not to have children. That's not my destiny; that's just a fork in the road I'm on. I've been placed on the road less traveled, and, like it or not, I'm a better person for it. Clearly, God meant for me to develop more compassion, deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this journey to resolution, and I haven't let Him down.

Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God has singled me out for a special treatment. I think God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I've ever known.

While I would never choose infertility, I can not deny that a fertile woman could never know the joy that awaits me. Yes, one way or another, I will have a baby of my own. And the next time someone wants to offer me unsolicited advice I'll say, "Don't tell me what God meant when He handed me infertility. I already

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TTC Survey

1. Name of the future mommy to be?: Brandy

2. Name of the future daddy to be?: Danny

3. How long has the future parents been together?:
we met Jan 27th 2006, married July 13th 2006 (second wedding 12.23.2006)

4. When did you start trying to conceive?: Danny & started TTC in Feb 2006

5. What is the hardest part of T.T.C?:
For me personally its seeing babies nearly daily, seeing all my friends and people my age that already have children that are in school and I feel like I'm just getting started

6. What does the future mommy want to have?: I'd love either... I'd like atleast one of each but, I do love little girls so I hope I have atleast one little girl...

7. What does the future daddy want to have?: He's about the same as me... he'd like atleast one of each

8. Is there a certain month or season you'd like to have the baby in?
At this point... I'm not picky at all - like we would have a choice anyways.

9. What are you looking forward to most when you finally conceive?:
Seeing the ultrasound pictures and than finally maybe it would sink in for me... I don't even think a positive pregnancy test could do it for me

10. What has been the best thing about the T.T.C. process?:
Theres not one thing good about it when you've been trying for 5 years, and you have PCOS and hormones all out of wack and sick all the time from the side effects of the medications and the list goes on and on.

11. Pick out any names yet, for when the big day comes?:
I'm obsessed with baby names and have WAY entirely too many baby name books... I guess you could say I collect them...we've picked out:
Arabella Madeleine & Elias Joseph..those are our 2 favorite picks however we have several other "backups"

12. Any certain reason for choosing those names?: Arabella is means answered prayer... its also the name of a character in the Harry Potter serious (didnt know until I already picked the name)... Arabella Figg was the lady that lived next door to Harry and protected him... she was a Squibb. As for Madeleine... I've always loved the name Madeleine and I think it goes nice with Arabella... as for Elias Joseph... that's a family name....Elias is actually a surname/last name in my family... Elias Joseph will be named after my great-great grandfather...his name was Joseph Alejandro Elias... he would probably have the nickname of Eli and Arabella would probably have the nickname of Ari or Bella.

13. Do you know what T.T.C. stands for?: ummm lordy I'd hope so! LOL - lets give it a try.. Trying to Conceive maybe? LOL

14. What things do you do to check for when your fertile?:
Temperature, charting, and a bunch of gross TMI girly stuff

15. Do you use Ovulation Tests?: Sometimes…but because of my PCOS they can give false negatives and false positives…

16. What does the future daddy do to help you with T.T.C. process? He's helped alot and does whatever is asked of him

17. How long do you plan on continuing the T.T.C process?: I don't know that we would ever fully give up. I'm "planning" on giving up when I'm 35 but, we will have to wait and see. And weather we adopt or not we were planning on continuing to TTC.

18. Will you consider In-Vitro or any other type of Infertility medicine?:
I've already used metformin & clomid as well as a ton of herbals... If I had the money I would maybe give IUI or IVF a shot however, I think I'd rather save myself the heartache and just go for adoption.

19. Have you had your pre-conceiveing physical?: uhh yeah we're way past that

20.How many children would you like to have?: I'd be thrilled with 1 if we can ever get to that point but I wouldnt mind many ever God blesses us with.

21.Have you started buying some baby stuff? Yes, I do have some baby clothes but only special things... like alot of boy baseball stuff... and I also have some plus size maternity clothes that are extremely hard to find so I snatched them up!... most of the items I've bought used at garage sales/thrift stores or have been given to me.

22.Any books that you've read that have been helpful?: I've read sooo many books about infertility, PCOS, herbs, adoption etc. too many to list.

23.Is your family and friends supportive of deciding to T.T.C? Most of them do and some think we're crazy... but, its not for them to decide. Some of them have had the nerve to say that we have nothing to offer a baby. Yet again - not for them to decide. Since when did I ask for anybody's opinion anyways? And for that matter - did they ask for someones opinion when they decided to have children? Yeah - I didn't think so.

24. Have you made any BIG changes in your life to help you conceive? I've tried to mostly in my diet, making my marriage stronger and ready for a baby, we bought a house with a perfect room for a nursery.

25.Have you abstained from alcohol and drugs?: This question cracks me up! "Yep, I laid down the crack pipe so I could have a baby" LOL

26.So if you unfortunately do not conceive, then what?: We'll adopt... end of story. I've wanted to adopt long before I knew I would have problems conceiving. Its not an after thought or a second choice for us its just another choice.

27.How much longer do you plan on T.T.C.?: Ummm as said previously probably until I'm 35

28.Are you healthy enough to be pregnant?: I'm trying

29.Do you really think your ready to be a parent?: Is anyone really ready? No, but I do think I'm as ready as I'm gonna get atleast emotionally.

30.Any advice for other woman out there T.T.C.?: Just keep on keepin' on and don't be ashamed... you are not alone.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Wait Poem

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Infertility a disability?

Thoughts please...

Recently there was a discussion regarding Infertility Treatments and if they should or should not be covered by insurance companies.... and while we're on that subject since its possible that we could be moving towards a united healthcare system...

There have been many people say that Insurance companies/Govt united healthcare should not have to pay for Infertility Treatments because having a child is not a given right. And that they shouldn't have to pay for someone elses problems.

However, in my opinion... if its someones right to NOT have a child ( birth control, abstinence, abortion) than why shouldn't it be another persons right TO have a child? (Given that the person wanting to have a child is a capable adult that would be a good parent).
And for that matter... if insurance companies are paying for birth control and if the united healthcare system has the possibility of paying for abortions... than how is it fair to those that suffer with Infertility to not cover their infertility treatments.

Now, I'm definately not talking about these crazies out there like Nadiya Suleman who was not infertile and just wanted to have a litter of babies... I'm talking about true infertile couples who have done all they can do on their own to conceive with no successes and who have one or more years of trying under their belt.

I also think that if there is the chance of these infertility treatments being covered that there most definately should be a protocol followed... just like the protocols that are in place that (most) Doctors follow... such as... (in this order)
* Trying for 1 year unaided
* Trying with Clomid or other fertility pills for x amount of cycles
* Trying with Clomid or other fertility pills yet upping the dosage
* Trying with Clomid or other fertility pills + injected trigger shots for x amount of cycles
* Trying with IUI (with and without fertility meds)
* Trying with IVF which includes hormone treatments, trigger shots and the whole shabang

Disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."

Well than... shouldn't infertility than be classified as a disability because it is infact a physical AND mental impairment that most definately limits a HUGE life activity... is it not?
If so than shouldn't insurance companies/united healthcare pay?

And while we're on this subject...
lets take a sharp left turn and talk about Adoption laws...
Shouldn't the govt be stepping it up and making it a little less difficult (especially financially) to adopt children within the US? Now I'm by no means saying that they should make it easier for the wanna be "Parent" with a history of sex crimes under their belt to be able to adopt a child... but, theres gotta be a better way than how its working currently.

Please give me your thoughts :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Infertility Poem

I want to be a mom. But I can't. Instead, I'm a mom wannabe. I want to procreate. I want to conceive a child naturally with my husband, in the privacy of our home, in the spirit of love and passion, in the way God intended. But I can't.

Instead, a Doctor, a laboratory and a test tube will try to assist God with our conception. I want to discover that my period is several days late. I want to buy a pregnancy test and pee on a stick. I want to see the + sign. I want to cry tears of joy for the news we'd discover. But I can't.

Instead, I cry tears of pain at random, for no reason and with no warning. I want to experience morning sickness. I want my hormones to go haywire. I want the 'pregnant glow.' I want to have my husband talk to my belly. But I can't.

Instead, I try not to look pregnant. I don't buy clearance clothes for next year, "just in case." I try to keep my emotions from going haywire. I dream that my husband talks to my belly. I want to take prenatal vitamins. I want to eat for two. I want to schedule my first doctor's visit. I want to sit in the waiting room with other pregnant women and know that I am one of them. But I can't.

Instead, I wonder if those pregnant women ever had problems conceiving. I think how cute they look as they waddle with their big bellies. I smile at babies that are not mine. I ache from loving someone I've never met. I want to hear the Doctor say, "You're pregnant. Your progress is right on schedule." But I can't.

Instead, I hear: "I am sorry," "Let's try one more cycle," "Technology is really improving." I want to surprise my parents with a new grandchild. I want to tell my family and friends our good news. I want my life to change overnight. I want to read What to Expect When You're Expecting. But I can't.

Instead, I have no news to tell. I realize my life hasn't changed in years. I read When Empty Arms Leave a Heavy Burden. I want to monitor the progress. I want to see the ultrasounds. I want to hear the heartbeat. I want to watch our baby grow. I want to feel the kicks. But I can't.

Instead, I take the injections. I give blood. I watch my eggs grow and pray they fertilize. My embryos are transferred, while my husband watches our conception from across the room. I wait. I pray. I wait for the one phone call that can make our life better. Or worse. I want to decorate the nursery. I want to childproof our home. I want to shop for adorable, soft, tiny outfits. I want to shop at Gymboree. I want to save money for the baby's future. But I can't.

Instead, I imagine a crib in the empty room down the hall. I avoid the baby stores in the mall. We spend our money on Doctor appointments, tests and high tech procedures. We spend our money on a dream. We are left with an empty bank account. We are left with empty arms. I want to share the experience with my pregnant friends. I want to compare symptoms. I want to be the guest of honor at a baby shower. But I can't.

Instead, I watch my friends get pregnant quickly. I watch their bellies grow, attend their showers, see their pictures and try to be a good friend. I watch their lives change and our friendships change in front of my eyes. I want my belly to drop. I want my water to break. I want contractions. I want an epidural. I want my husband by my side and my family in the waiting room. I want the pushing. I want the pain. I want to hear the cry. But I can't.

Instead, I feel a different pain. I hear my own cry. Yes, I even hear the cry of my husband, which hurts more than I had ever imagined. I want to hold our baby in my arms, with tears of joy streaming down our faces. I want to experience the miracle of birth, thinking, "We did it", but knowing that God did it. But I can't.

Instead, I hold my husband in my arms with tears of sorrow streaming down our faces and wonder what God's plan is for us and why we have to go through this. I want to pray that one extra special blessing be added to my life. And I do. I pray my 1000th unanswered prayer to God and hope that this time He answers. I pray for the miracle of life that only God can give. I pray that someday soon, He will give it to us. I want to be a mom. --- But I can't.

Instead, I am right where God wants me to be: thankful for our blessings, searching out His will, basking in His grace, trusting in His perfect plan, praying for a change in status from a mom wannabe . . . to the mom I want to be...

(written by~Alison Kathleen Whitney)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Metformin Manifesto

The Metformin Manifesto

This was originally posted from my friend Kendra on

The Metformin Manifesto

1. Metformin is not an easy drug to get used to.

There is no two ways about it, Metformin is not the easiest drug in the world to adapt your body to. According to the manufacturer, here are the most common side effects of Metformin, which are more pronounced when you first start taking it.

• nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea at
the start of therapy;
• abdominal bloating or increased gas production; or
• decreased appetite or changes in taste (metallic taste in
your mouth).

Also: Metformin does not usually cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Nevertheless, hypoglycemia may occur in the treatment of diabetes, as a result of skipped meals, excessive exercise, or alcohol consumption. Know the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, which include hunger, headache, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, a fast heartbeat, sweating, tremor, and nausea. Carry a non-dietetic candy or glucose tablets to treat episodes of low blood sugar.

There are a number of other side effects people are attributing to Metformin that I cannot find mentioned in statistical study literature about the drug, even in the literature that is supposed to report all the side effects people experience, not just the most common ones. When in doubt, ask your physician, but not everything you will experience while you're on Metformin is attributable to Metformin.

2. Not altering your diet and exercise routine can make Metformin even harder to adapt to.

From the manufacturer's drug information:
Always remember that Glucophage is an aid to, not a substitute for, good diet and exercise. Failure to follow a sound diet and exercise plan can lead to serious complications such as dangerously high or low blood sugar levels.

Especially if you are already insulin resistant, not altering your diet once you are on Metformin can not only make you sick, it can also counteract the Metformin's ability to normalize your insulin levels. Over time, I have seen people have the most amount of success if they reduce the number of carbs and sugary foods they eat. That does not necessarily mean low-carb or an Atkins diet. But if your diet right now consists of cereal for breakfast, a white-bread sandwich and potato chips for lunch, popcorn for a snack and pasta for dinner, you will probably experience a greater degree of discomfort and distress on Metformin. Learning how to integrate healthy protein into your diet, combine protein with carbs, and find appropriate substitutes for white carbs in your diet can go a long way to helping you adjust to the medication.

I really can't say enough about exercise as a way of helping control your insulin. Several studies have found that people who adapted an appropriate diet and exercise routine had a better chance of preventing diabetes even if they didn't take Metformin. Exercise is proven to lower insulin levels for a period of time after your workout is over, and there's a lot regular exercise can do for your mood and stress level, as well as your insulin levels.

3. If you are having a hard time on Metformin, it will probably not last forever. But you may need to experiment with how you take your Metformin so that you find something that works for you.

People tend to have the most problems on Metformin in the first two to three months of therapy. As your body adjusts, you will feel better. That does not mean that you will not occasionally still have days where you feel sick if you eat the wrong thing or just have a bad day. Experiencing some amount of discomfort is not out of the ordinary. In this way, the side effects from Metformin are no different than the other discomforts we all have to bear in this life. If the Metformin helps you get pregnant, there will be a whole other set of discomforts and inconveniences you will have to bear, but those will seem pretty insignificant in comparison to what you're getting in return. I looked at the side effects I had to put up with from Metformin the same way I would look at my pregnancy nausea - it's something I have to tough it through to get to my goal. Bear in mind that if you are taking 1500mg, the minimum therapeutic dose for PCOS, you are actually taking MORE Metformin than the standard therapeutic dose diabetics are advised to take, which is 1000mg. So your side effects may be more intense than those of people you know who are taking it purely for diabetes treatment.

However, if you're having problems, experiment with how you're taking it. Some things I have seen people try that have worked:
• Taking it with milk. "Milk" and "dairy products" are not the same - taking it with yogurt may cause you problems, it seems to with a lot of people
• Taking it after meals (people have greater success if they take it after lower-carb meals, but salad usually does not combine well with Met.)
• Taking it in between meals, if taking it after meals doesn't work
• Drinking more water
* Taking it right before bed
• Experimenting with giving up certain foods, even if they are your favorite foods. Some people find that they need to cut out foods that don't even seem like they should cause problems, like salad. It might be helpful to keep a diary of what you're eating and what your gut does that day, so you can pinpoint what the problem may be.
• Switching to Metformin XR, which has fewer side effects for many people (some doctors don't think it's as effective as regular Metformin though)

4. In my experience, Metformin usually works only as well as the effort you put into it.

I did not get pregnant on Metformin until I took the dose that offered me the most therapeutic benefits in a consistent way over a period of several weeks. When I would take it inconsistently (at different times of day), skip doses, take different doses on different days, and generally not be disciplined about how I took it, it did not have that therapeutic of an effect for me. Most of the people I know from boards and IRL who have gotten pregnant on Metformin did so when they were regimented about their therapy. If you take the Metformin haphazardly, you may not experience the same good results you would get if you took it more consistently.

5. Metformin is, currently, the best and most thoroughly researched treatment for PCOS.

Metformin is far from perfect. The side effects are not pleasant. However, right now there's no other treatment for PCOS that has been proven to be as effective. Metformin has three big advantages:
• It's been researched in hundreds of controlled studies that demonstrate its effectiveness.
• It's been safely used in Europe for over 40 years, even though it's only been approved for use in the United States for about 10 years or so.
• It's a Class B drug, meaning it is not known to cause any birth defects and is generally regarded as safe for pregnancy by many doctors.

The two new Metformin substitutes, Actos and Avandia, do show promise as PCOS treatments. However, their long-term safety and safety in pregnancy has not been established, and it's also not been determined that they are as effective as treating PCOS as Metformin is. My opinion is that those studies are coming, but until then many doctors are going to be reluctant to prescribe Actos and Avandia for PCOS treatment.

If you have a great deal of difficulty on Metformin, and can't seem to get adjusted to it no matter how long you're on it or how you take it, you may need to talk to your doctor about other options. However, and this is just my opinion, not taking anything to treat your PCOS shouldn't be one of those options. PCOS increases risks for a lot of very unpleasant health conditions, including:

• Development of full-blown Type II diabetes (somewhere around 70 percent of people will develop Type II diabetes within 10 years of their PCOS diagnosis). Long-term Type II diabetics are at risk for a number of health complications, including diabetic neuropathy, limb amputation, blindness and other bad things if their diabetes is poorly controlled.
• Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
• Continuing reproductive complications aside from infertility, including increased risks of cancer of the uterus, breast and ovaries. Continued cycle irregularity can increase your risk of needing a hysterectomy to control abnormal tissue growth inside the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia).

If you become pregnant and are not on Metformin, and do not continue to take Metformin for at least several weeks after pregnancy is confirmed, the statistics regarding pregnancy success are not encouraging:
• A couple of different studies have found that in PCOSers not medicated with Metformin, the miscarriage rate ranged from 45-60 percent.
• PCOSers with uncontrolled hyperinsulinemia have about a 60-80 percent chance of developing gestational diabetes when they do become pregnant.
• If you are a PCOSer with high LH (lutenizing hormone), you should be aware that LH is embryotoxic and can kill a dividing fertilized egg. Your LH is not supposed to be high in the luteal phase of your cycle, and the two conditions - pregnancy and elevated LH levels - are more or less incompatible, as was proved in a Japanese study several years ago.
• High insulin levels during pregnancy have been linked not only to pregnancy loss, but also to an increased risk of birth defects.

Metformin therapy has a lot of benefits, as you can see. It is not a perfect therapy, but it is the best one we have right now. I can assure you that once you become pregnant, the discomforts you had to cope with on Metformin will seem very insignificant.

I hope this information helps. Good luck to everyone!