Thursday, April 16, 2015

Have you ever hurt so badly that you feel like you are walking around with “broken” written on your forehead? That not matter how hard you try to cover up your pain with a new hair style, make-up or cute clothes, everyone still notices. You get that look, more than once a day; from strangers who see the pain oozing out of whatever you’ve used to cover “it” up? I have felt this way lately, although it’s a rare day anymore that I have the energy to “cover it up.”

We met with our doctor on Tuesday for our “What’s next meeting”. Dr. F explained to us, again, that what went wrong during our first round of IVF was that my eggs compromised our embryos. Over a decade of endometriosis has taken a much larger toll on my body than any of us had realized. To go from 14 embryos to 2, in a matter of hours, is uncommon and disappointing, even to the lab. We used our meeting to ask as many questions as we could about what our future options are. There were a handful of times during the meeting I choked back tears as I tried to ask questions that I’d never thought I’d have to ask. I did NOT want to cry in that meeting and it took everything in me not to.

The plus side, we do have options, very, very expensive options. The one option we do NOT have is to try IVF again right away. 1. We have no embryos saved up, and 2. If not treated, my disease will again just kill off our embryos. One of the options we do have is to treat my endometriosis. I have been through this process twice before in my life, to decrease some of my heavy bleeding and pain. The treatment is taking monthly injections called Depot Lupron which should kill of the endometriosis (temporarlitly-endometriosis will always come back). I’ve done this exact treatment before and was still unable to get pregnant. I also have lasting side effects from these treatments including early osteoporosis and an increased heart rate. My doctor seems to think a low dose of this treatment, for 3 months could do the trick (and wouldn't cause any addition side effects). HOWEVER, there is just a 50% success rate in that my eggs would be made viable again.

Our second option is to use an egg donor. This would mean Lucas and I go through a catalog and pick someone, with similar characteristics as myself, to be our donor. We would still use Lucas’ sperm to create our embryos. This would replace my eggs with non-diseased eggs and increase our likelihood of pregnancy significantly. The down side-it’s no longer my genetics involved.

Either option using IVF would cost over $13,000 (egg donation more). It would take us time to be able to save up that money to do either procedure again. Ambree could still be our carrier but want to work on her own family, so if we can’t raise the money in time, we’ll be out of options for IVF.

Confused yet!?! We have been too. We have some major decisions to consider at this point. If we were ever able to come up with the money, we would have one shot to make it work. There is this lingering, nagging feeling that I want my eggs to be the ones to use, but a 50% chance of them being viable is not ideal. Using an egg donor would increase our chances drastically of our embryos surviving, but the eggs won’t be mine.

We will do everything we can to make the best decision for us at this point, nothing is off the table. Adoption is an option, but we’ve felt VERY strongly that we should try the IVF route first.

Money. I hate thinking money is making me depressed, for any reason, but it is. It’s a lot of money we have to come up with and it’s hard not to feel hopeless and lost. We have looked into many loan options in the past and for one reasons or another don't qualify. We are seeking out options for grants right now, but it's time consuming and exhaustive--we're still working on them.

As for myself, I am trying to get re-focused on my life before IVF took it over, school, teaching, full-filling commitments, improving my marriage…all important things to me. Our baby will always be on my mind though. Trying to function daily has felt much like dealing with grief, losing our two embryos, realizing I may never be able to create a baby, the heartache of our first cycle ending far earlier than we had hoped, the financial strains…the grief is real and crippling at times.

I’m exhausted. I feel utterly broken. I feel like giving up from time to time. I feel like I’m going to cry, or rip someone’s head off ever 20 second. I want to pause life and take a break. I feel absolutely tattered. I can’t pretend today that I’m okay, or that I feel hopeful, I simply don’t feel it. I feel weak, tired and broken beyond repair. Much like this rose above, I feel severed and small. Thank you again for your love and support through this all.


P.S. Sorry this post didn’t end on an optimistic note today, it just wasn’t in me this time.

Say something.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I sobbed at this part of the movie...because I could relate.
Image for the movie Up-Couple coping with infertility.

As I sat on the bus on my way to work today, my 32nd birthday, this song came on on my iPod..

Say something, I'm giving up on you
I'll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere I would've followed you
Say something, I'm giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble & fall
I'm still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I'm giving up on you
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you
Anywhere I would've followed you
Say something, I'm giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You're the one that I love
And I'm saying goodbye

Say something, I'm giving up on you
And I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you
And anywhere I would've followed you (Ooh-oh)
Say something, I'm giving up on you

It was a dark, cloudy, rainy morning today as I looked out the bus window and sobbed as I listened to these lyrics. It’s not a great feeling when you “finally break” and it’s on public transportation, it’s not ideal, nor is preferable, but it was my time to FINALLY feel something and I took it in.
Yep, I was the crazy woman on the bus SOBBING and I’m okay with it.

I’m 32 today, a seemingly irrelevant, unsubstantial birthday, but to me a photo montage of everything I hoped I’d be by 32 buzzed through my head, in music video splendor. I have to say, that I’m not ashamed of who I am at 32, I’ve been through a lot, gained a lot (not just lbs.), changed a lot, loved a lot, improved a lot, and grown a lot. I’ve had to go through a lot but I’m glad I have become I’m better for it.

Of course, the image of being a mom made its way into my life montage. I thought I’d be a mom by now, I really did. I imagined I’d be taking my kids to baseball or dance practices, (embarrassing them because we have to take the bus to get there), helping them with their homework, picking out their outfits, teaching them important things about morals and cupcakes…the important things. There’s no secret that THIS (video in my mind) was how I imagined life to be at 32.

I know my self-worth is not linked to being a mother. I know that I have had great success in my life, despite having children. I know that I will be okay, even happy, if I cannot have children. I know that I have accomplished a lot and that shouldn’t be diminished because I’m not a mom. I know this, and I know I’m okay, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

I think of my friends who, for one reason or another, can’t have kids, or have not had the opportunity to have kids. I’ve seen these women deal with the heartache of not facing motherhood in this life. I’ve seen these strong, confident, independent, successful woman struggle with not being able to be moms, and I always thought to myself, “How do they do it? How do they move on when they want something so badly, but they can’t have it?”

After I cried through the song a few times, and let the tears fall freely I was coming up to my destination. I knew it was time to wipe the tears, hold my head up and walk into my work where I needed to pull it together for my students. My students trust me to teach them really important things, they rely on me to give them important tools for success in life and they need me.

I realized today that it’s okay to feel the pain and heartache. It’s okay to let ourselves fall apart because life isn’t quite the way we imagined it to be. It’s okay to want to give up from time to time.  BUT…we have a journey we are on and we MUST, oh we MUST eventually pick ourselves up and face a world for which we have a purpose to be in. It’s okay to stop, take it in, understanding why we are hurting and face the reality of our situation. Its okay to say, “God, where are you? Why aren’t you helping me? Why can’t I have what I want so very much? Please, SAY SOMETHING!”

“And I will stumble & fall
I'm still learning to love
Just starting to crawl
Say something I’m giving up on you.”

Once you’ve asked your questions, don’t forget who you are.
I am NOT a non-mother. I am NOT broken. I am NOT a failure. I am NOT along. I am NOT at the end of my story yet.
I am 32. I’m a teacher. I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I’m a good friend. I’m the best damn aunt ever. I’m a student. I’m an advocate. I’m a leader. I’m slightly broken. And I’m okay.


Listen to:

Think i have heard members say something very similar
Perhaps strenght doesn't reside in having never been broken...but in the courage required to grow strong in the broken places.

Trauma: A Negative Pregnancy Test

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Our Dream Board

 These last couple of days have caused me to look back on my life and the times I’ve experienced trauma. Psychological trauma is defined as “a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time.” I have faced trauma in my life on a few occasions. I have had to understand death from an early age, and many, many times since. I found out at 12 years of age that I was “infertile.”  I lost my dad (to cancer), my first marriage, my brother (to prison), and my "second dad" (to suicide)…in the course of 6 months. I shortly after found my incredible husband only to have him deploy to Iraq just months later-and return a different person because of PTSD. Trauma has impacted my life on more than one occasion. I know the feeling, I know the pain, and I sincerely know the sensation of the “unpleasant experience”.

Just two weeks ago we walked into a doctor’s office to be told that of our 14 embryo, we had two that survived. We transferred those two, weak, tired, falling-apart embryo just 12 days ago. Thursday (April 2, 2015), Lucas and I woke up early as we waited for the phone call that could change our lives, it was BETA day, the day we found out the results of our pregnancy test. We paced, tried watching Netflix, and called the doctor’s office several times… I couldn’t take it anymore so we went over to my sister’s house to wait for the call there. We played with her kids, ate breakfast and tried doing anything we could to keep our minds occupied. Lucas finally decided to call the doctor around 11:00 a.m., this time he got through to our IVF coordinator T. This poor lady has the best/hardest job in the world giving patients the answer to the most important pregnancy test of their lives.

Lucas had us all on speaker phone when T told us that our pregnancy test came back negative.

I collapsed on my sister’s stairs in the most intense heartache; I felt like I was dying. Lucas finished the conversation and I heard T say, “From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry.” I believe her, and her words have stuck with me, even in my darkest moments.

The moment we learned we had nothing left, no embryo, no growing baby, no more money…our world stopped spinning. Anyone who has faced a trauma knows that it is that moment you feel the most helpless, lifeless, excruciating pain you’ll ever feel. You forget how to breathe, it suddenly feels as though your heart forgot how to beat, you suddenly feel empty and hopeless, and standing up seems impossible. It feels as though you forgot how to put one foot in front of the other, how to come up with words, how to exist…it’s oh so surreal and so painful.

I have been going through a wide array of emotions these last few days, some come and go, some linger, and some come in hard-crashing waves. At some point, you have to figure out how to climb out of your safe zone (my bed), walk out into the world, and face a planet that has already moved forward without you. The heartache is crippling at times, you find it hard to hold your head up. I have been walking around for days with bags under my eyes, acne all over my face, tear-stained cheeks, no sign of make-up or hair-doing attempts…the few visible signs of my utter heartache.

There have been moments I’ve confessed to the Lord that I would do ANYTHING for Him to take away my heartache just long enough for me to function. I have pleaded for some kind of understanding as to why!?! I have longed to feel some kind of peace, and in some moments I have, in others I have crumbled to my knees and succumbed to pure sorrow.

Since our transfer day, I have had the picture of our two little embryos hanging on my “dream board” above my desk. I didn’t take them down when we got the news, but I did cover them with a sweet yellow sunshine a friend of mine sent me. Last night, Lucas and I had a conversation that went something like this…
Lucas: So Dej, what did you do with the picture of our embryos?
Me: They’re still there I just covered them with the sunshine picture.
Lucas: Oh, well I don’t like it that you covered them up. Can you hang them up so we can see them again?
Me: Sure, it was just too painful for me to stare at them. Why do you want to see them?
Lucas: Well they make me happy, they are ours! I love them and I want to see them.

This conversation touched my heart deeply. I also love our little embryos but felt sort of strange loving something that never made it past the stage of being an embryo. Lucas reminded me that they were ours, they were our two lone survivors, they hung on long enough so we could see them, and grow to love them, and get a picture of them, and most importantly, they were a combination of the two of us. This is one of the many reasons I love my husband, he isn’t afraid to feel whatever he feels, he isn’t ashamed of who he is or what he loves, he’s a beacon of hope for me when I can’t find it myself.

We lost our little embryos, they were the only two to survive. We have no more stored up for us to use at another day. We have exhausted all of our personal financial resources. My eggs are contaminated and therefor may never be viable or able to sustain an embryo. We have no second chance (this round) to try again. There have been many times these last few days our options for parenthood have seemed bleak and unattainable. I have read comments like “everything happens for a reason,” and “it’s just not the right time…” and honestly, I’ve wanted to punch these people in the face, HARD. I’ve screamed and yelled and told the world, myself and my body…how much I hate them and how they have failed me. I have had moments of rage and frustration that are hard to explain.

Many have asked, “What’s next?” and truthfully, we don’t know. I told Lucas before we found out the results of our pregnancy test that I’m not sure I could do this again emotionally, mentally or physically…I’m exhausted.


I’ve realized, from the moment we got our negative pregnancy test that I am not done. I cannot give up on being a mom. I cannot stop going after something I want THIS much. I cannot walk away empty handed. I also cannot let bitterness and anger take over me. I cannot let my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ slip through my fingertips because I truly don’t understand his plan right now. I cannot stop believing that my day will come. I cannot walk away and pretend that other great accomplishments in my life are equal to my desire to be a mom. I cannot pretend that I get the plan for me, but I also cannot forget that there is one. I cannot quit. I cannot let this be how our story ends.

Of all the array of emotions I’ve felt this week, I have come to an over-whelming conclusion.

We are loved. Oh. My. Goodness…are we loved. I’ve received hundreds of messages, texts, letters, phone calls, emails, gifts, flowers…the list goes on. I’ve had so many kind messages that I have not been able to reply to them all, but I hope you will know, they’ve saved my life this week.

In my darkest moments I tend to shut down and shut out the world, it’s been hard for me to do this. My phone tells me I have a new message every other minute, my inbox is full, I have no more storage on my phone, Facebook tells me I’ve seen more hits than ever before…you’re love, kindness and support has been a tool that God has used to get to my broken-down heart. You have saved me.

Trauma happens in each of our lives, it strikes us like a heavy axe and yet we must find a way to recover. I pray for those of you dealing with trauma, and myself, that we can find hope in our hopelessness, faith when we have zero of it to build on, love for ourselves when we feel weak and broken and joy in the littlest of things. I hope we can notice the love others have for us, when we have none for ourselves. I hope that we can find something to sustain us, when we feel we are done and that we can find some kind of calm in the waves when we’re drowning and feel like we cannot swim anymore.

I don’t know what’s next, it’s something I’m not very patient with. I don’t have a plan—but I know the Lord does. I don’t know what the next steps of our journey will be but I want you to know there will be more to this journey, and I hope you’ll continue on it with us.


P.S. I hope you will take the next step with us and join our group on Facebook: An Army of Hope. Here you will be taken along with us through whatever steps are next, will get information on how you can help, and you will be able to continue to help us find solace in our trials.