Thursday, October 27, 2011


Your comments are so totally like virtual hugs. I never imagined I could feel so comforted by words. Thank you.

I am out of town for a work conference. A bit of a big deal. I am on the conference planning committee and the board of directors. Also, some great friends are part of this association and I always have SO much fun and so far it has not disappointed.

I feel lucky to have this escape right now. It's nice to have good friends here, who with the exception of one or two have no idea what is going on with me. So it's fun.

I thought maybe that because I would be so busy and focused on work and fun, I could escape everything else. But babies are still everywhere! Colleagues from across the country are pregnant or just had babies. One colleague spent time yesterday talking about how she is such a planner she planned her children around her phd. Babies babies everywhere!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

a sermon for children

See my previous post if you need to be reminded how much I love Max.

So, the husband is a pastor. And a pretty good one at that. He preaches great sermons, always knows the right things to say, loves people unconditionally, etc. He never lets on if/when his faith is wavering.

I, on the other hand, have always had a bit of a problem with faith. Of course, the issues have intensified with the infertility battle. This Sunday, the message was about prayer. We first watched a short video about the ways God answers prayer. Sometimes he says yes, sometimes it's delayed, sometimes it's denied.

Well, during the children's sermon (which precedes the actual sermon and is a way to dumb it down for the kids before they leave for Children's Church), Max stumbled and didn't say the right think. He used a very specific example to illustrate prayer to the children. He talked about when he was a kid, he prayed for a baby sister. He prayed every day for a baby sister, but he never got one. And now looking back he realizes it's because he wouldn't have been a good big brother and they weren't meant to be that kind of family.

Stab. Me. In. The. Heart.

Now, I know that a rational person doesn't make this connection. But I have infertility brain (I stole this from a new blogger, she writes about it here). For me, everything relates back to our infertility. And to me, when he said that, I heard "God isn't answering our prayer because Hattie won't be a good mother and we aren't meant to be that kind of family." This thing I've thought so many times, Max also thinks. Ouch.

I am not nurturing, in any sense of the word. I'm selfish, sometimes lazy, forgetful, sarcastic, and cynical. Those things do not make a good mother. I have a friend who suffered through infertility about 2 years ago. After trying to conceive for a long time and a few short rounds of test, they found that her husband is sterile. After a few heartbroken months, they turned to adoption and now have an amazing son. Through her adoption journey, the most common comment was "It will happen. She was born to be a mother." or "If anyone deserves to be a mother, it's her." No one has ever or will ever say that about me. So is that why I can't get pregnant?

I immediately started crying in the back pew of our small church. Church has been a real struggle for me for the past 6 months or so. It is so weird to be in a room full of people that love each other, conversations happening all around, hugs flying everywhere, and to feel so alone. So I sat on the back pew, surrounded by people, all alone and crying. I made it about 7 minutes until the next song started and I had to get out. I didn't hear the message. I don't know what else Max said about prayer. But I have been begging God for a long time for a baby, so I guess I have a lot to learn.

Obviously Max knew I left. He knew I was upset. But he doesn't know why. I don't know why I can't talk about this with him. I've always been able to tell him anything. But now, the only place I can say what I want is here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

to the max

I've started drafts of several posts in an effort to get some feelings out in a safe place. In a couple of the posts I may end up saying some less than amazing things about my bff (and husband) Max. I absolutely did not want the first things I said about Max on here to be negative, because he is beyond amazing. So, I thought I would write this first to remind myself why I love him and how lucky I am, and to make sure anyone reading this knows that I love him above all.

First, Max is not his real name (and Hattie isn't mine for that matter). I didn't want to use our real names, but we are so much more than an initial :) so I just picked names. Both of them have some significance that I won't go into.

Max is the best husband any woman (or man :) could ever hope for. He literally makes my life worth living (ready to throw up yet?). We have known each other since the nursery at church and we were best friends long before we dated. We began seriously dating in college, dated for 3 years, got engaged, married a year later, and have had a wonderful 7 year marriage.

Here are a few words that describe Max:
funny, compassionate, handsome, intellectual, giving, empathetic, sympathetic, witty (different than funny), loyal, outgoing, safe, a talker, big picture thinker, life of the party, everyone's best friend, believer, faithful, memorable, dependable, awesome

Sounds pretty good, right? He washes dishes and loads the dishwasher (I unload), packs breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks for me every day, drives me 30 minutes to work some days just because, goes to the grocery and cooks dinner, puts up with my crazy, makes me laugh every day, loves my friends, coworkers and students, gives everything he has to anyone who needs it, puts of with lots of other crazy, prays for others without ceasing, is super good to his family, is a dream uncle to his niece and nephews, and will be an amazing father.

He is the ONLY reason I have survived this infertility journey thus far. (A coworker said thus far the other day. I thought to myself...who says that? So, I've decided to see how many times I can use it. That's 1!)

I love him very much. To the max, if you will.

the medical update

Thanks for all of the comments. I told myself that it would be enough to just get it out, to write it down. But it really does help to know that other people are reading and share in my struggles.

Knowing me, I will probably write more about the emotional side of things here, but I will also try to keep things updated with where we are medically.

So, though all of the testing, we haven't found much wrong with my system. My cycles are extremely regular and my uterus and tubes look good. I have tracked ovulation for 3 cycles now and each time there has been 1 mature follicle in my left ovary. My right ovary is really hard to find (translate - painful) and they think there was one there two this cycle. Honestly, I don't know if that's great or not, but each time the nurse practitioner says it's enough. Two cycles ago, my progesterone was low. So, this cycle I did Letrozole and an hCG shot. My progesterone test was this morning so I should hear from it this afternoon.We are just covering naturally this cycle, so I don't expect anything to happen but I will do an HPT next Monday to check.

Max has had a semen analysis several times and all of his numbers have been low at some point. The main concern has been motility. He has been on a supplement for a few months and will do another analysis this week. We did do a post-coital test at my last ultrasound and it was not good. Basically there were very few sperm and the ones that were there were barely moving.

So, the plan is to do IUI on the next cycle. CD1 should be early next week. I will be out of town for work so this week I need to do some investigation into what will happen if CD4 occurs before I get home. I will do an ultrasound and beta in New Orleans if I have to, but I'm not waiting another month to do this.

So that's the plan - IUI here we come!

Side note - my dad used to work full time selling bull semen to cattle farms for artificial insemination. In my early teens I was horrified when people asked what he did for a living. After a while it became funny to tell people and see their reactions. Who would have thought that one day I would be inseminated? ha!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I've always known I would have children. I'm not the type of person to crave children. Or feel like I'm born to be a mommy. Few people would describe me as nurturing. But yes, I have always wanted children. I've thought about names, saved pictures of nursery decor and thought about what a great father Max will be. After we got married, I was only on birth control for a few months. I didn't want to go back to the doctor and we were grad-school-poor so we just started using the natural way of family planning.

In 2009 or so, we decided it was time to start. I was 28ish and starting to feel the itch. So we reversed our way of thinking the the family planning department. For about 6 months we watched the calendar and "tried". Nothing happened. So, I bit the bullet and went to see an obgyn (for the first time in 5 years :). She asked us to try naturally for 6 more months and think about losing some weight (like I had never thought about it before). We followed orders. At this point, I was a little bummed it hadn't happened yet, getting a little more anxious, but in general, still enjoying the time Max and I had alone and feeling like I was both ready and so not ready to be a mom.

In the fall of '09, we went back to the obgyn, obviously not pregnant, and she began ordering tests. First on the list was a semen analysis for Max. Unfortunately, his numbers weren't great so we knew right away she would be referring us to a fertility specialist. We decided to give it a little more time, keep focusing on some weight loss, and get past the holidays without too much stress. We had our first appt with the fertility docs in January of '10, spent a long time losing 30 lbs and returned in March of 2011.

March 2011 was a big month. See, I was born on my mother's 30th birthday. She calls me the gift that keeps on taking. It's one of my favorite parts of my world. I love sharing this day with her. I love that she is exactly 30 years older than me. 30 has always felt like the prefect age to have a baby. So, since I was in high school, I have been determined to have a baby girl on my 30th birthday. Sometime in the summer of 2010, it became a reality that it would not be happening. I turned 30 in March. And the rational part of me knows/knew that that was a ridiculous thought. That it was never probable. That even if I had no problems getting pregnant, it would be near impossible to plan a baby on my birthday. But this is the day that my struggle with infertility became real. Looking back, I know that March began my slide into the depths. It began my sadness, my withdrawal, and all of the other emotions that caught a ride. This was no longer something we had to go through for a time before we got pregnant. It was my life. It began consuming my every thought, every relationship, every part of my being. And it hasn't let go.

between the paper sheets

I've known for a while that I need to talk about my journey. I've tried to talk to the husband, I'll be calling him Max. But he has his own issues and he's not talking either. I've tried to talk to my mom, but she wants so badly for me to be ok that she can't just listen. And my friends fall into two categories: those that have kids, and those that don't and aren't thinking about it. Both groups are difficult to talk to. They either talk nonstop about their kids and know of nothing other than that bubble, or they don't understand the all-consuming desire. I've thought about seeing a counselor. But I can't find an infertility counselor in my area and I can't bring myself to do anything but call about pricing for anyone else.

So, I'm turning to this. Maybe someone will read it. Maybe not. Maybe it will help. Maybe not.

Anytime I open a new account (email, social media, blog, etc.), the biggest struggle is the name. It's so much pressure! I want it to reflect me, but do I even know who that is anymore? It should be funny, but not too cheesy. It should be easy to remember. Simple. So in this endeavor, I started brainstorming things that stand out in my memory over the last 2 years of this journey. The paper sheet is one of the first things that came to mind.

I have always been a bit of an ob-gyn-aphob (not sure how to explain that phonetically, but let's just say I've been a bit scared). In fact, I went to the "woman doctor" 3 months before I got married to get a prescription for birth control and did not go back until I began to suspect I would be having trouble getting pregnant, approximately 5 years later. I know, I know. I got plenty of lectures then and I don't need another. Besides, I've now been in the stirrups more than enough times to make up for it.

The paper sheet symbolizes a lot for me. For one, it's never big enough to cover what I want it to cover. And I know what people say about modesty. When you have a kid it's gone. And that may or may not be true for me eventually, but it's not yet. I still pull and tug and cover up as much as possible. I still almost break my neck trying to get situated and covered up on the table before that door opens. I still tear up and concentrate on breathing when the stranger in the room gets all up in my lady business. So it may barely serve its fig leaf purpose, but it doesn't cover my emotions. It will not stop my tears or wrap me in its arms. It is not a comfort. The paper sheet fails me.

The paper sheet is also an image that stays in my mind after I leave the office. First it's a symbol of hope. Clean and sharply folded waiting for me on the table. Full of hope. It's only a paper sheet, but we are about to become a team. Working towards a goal. And then a short time later, it's wadded on the table or stuffed in the garbage. An ugly reminder that I will probably see it again. That yet again, the bodies of Hattie and Max will not do what they are supposed to do and I will return to the room and see the sharply folded paper sheet again.

And finally, the paper sheets serve as book ends or time stamps in this process. The beginning of a cycle (I need a thesaurus; I'm beginning to hate that word) or maybe the middle where I may have a little follie waiting for fireworks. And surprisingly for me, as much as I hate paper sheet times, it's the time between the paper sheets that I'm most struggling with. Those times are lonely, dark and moody. They're emotional and emotionless. They are angry and hopeful, strengthening and heart breaking.

I wish this process of procreation could be about the time between the 600 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. About love, intimacy and trust. But alas, for some mysterious reason, this journey is about the paper sheets. About science, calendars and money.

Maybe one day it will be about love again. Love for Max and for our squishy new addition. Only time will tell.