Monday, July 29, 2013

Where we've Been

If you regularly stop by my happy little blog, you're probably wondering where we've been lately. The lack of activity is primarily due to me studying for a huge test I have to take to finish out my reading specialist license. The Bear and I have also been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster with our steps in trying to have a family. I haven't been ready to say much about it until now. First and foremost I must say if you are not interested in reading about infertility, read something else on this blog. There are plenty of tasty recipes to try as well as numerous menus with grocery lists included for your convenience. Keep reading if you are facing infertility issues or care to know about what's been up in the Nickel household these last two weeks. You may want to grab the tissues. It's been a rough ride.

My husband and I have been seeking out  fertility treatment for the last year or so. We discovered last summer that my left fallopian tube was blocked. This was corrected last fall through a tubal disconnect. I still have my left ovary and still ovulate on that side, it just doesn't have anywhere to go. So, ovulation predictor kits are really not that useful for us as I always test positive for ovulation. The only way to know if I am ovulating on the right side is through an ultrasound. Yup, really fun. Not in the slightest. With those issues at hand, our specialist suggested we try a round of intrauterine insemination, or in short, IUI. This involves a round of fertility enhancing medications, an hCG trigger shot, and insemination of my husband's sperm through a catheter. My sister calls it the "turkey baster method." This was going all fine and well. I was not experiencing any of the side effects that some deal with when taking Letrozole or Ovidrel. It was hard to get into the swing of loading the injection for the Ovidrel, but overall it was not that bad. Things got ugly when I went in for my second ultrasound to see how my body was responding to the medication. Low and behold, my left side (the side with the disconnect) was the side that displayed more indication for ovulation. So, we had to stop. Being, we've already racked up half of the cost with no help from insurance, it was in our best interest to not go through with the final hCG trigger shot or the insemination costs. I feel like we didn't even get to finish the race. Freak out moment number one. I was really counting on this to work. I don't know why, I just had really positive feelings about the process and financially being able to afford it. The nurse practitioner that day suggested possibly looking into an in vitro fertilization (IVF) consultation as that would bypass the tubal issue and they could harvest eggs from either side. This offered some hope, but the Bear has financially been against IVF all along. So, I spent the rest of last Monday in bed crying. I had to let myself grieve. Rarely do I ever do this, but I knew I needed to release a year's worth of disappointment and struggle. My body physically and emotionally hurt.

After recovering a little and talking with the Bear, we decided to call our specialist to see what our next steps need to be. The Bear was coming around on his thoughts about IVF. We talked to another nurse practitioner. She reviewed the information and said she needed to talk with our specialist even further to see if we even qualify for IVF, as my egg reserve hormone is indicating that we don't have a lot of time left. To educate you all on egg reserve, anti mullerian hormone is the primary indicator of egg quality and egg reserve. Normal levels are 1.0 or higher. My level is at a whopping .3. Stinkin' low. Freak out moment number two for Tuesday. We might totally be wasting our money on even trying to pursue having our own children. Not as bad as freak out number one. I was able to make it out of bed and even made it to the gym to sweat things out a little. In anticipation, I waited to hear back on what the doc had to say. We didn't hear anything about the massive lack of communication between the two nurse practitioners and our specialist until Friday afternoon. By this point I was just angry.

Long story short our current plan is....
  1. Another round of IUI- same thing we just went through, but with increased medication levels, financially the cheaper option, but I'm beginning to be more realistic. Trust me, we are positive people! The reality of the situation, however, is that we cannot totally count on this working.
  2. Possibly looking into an IVF consultation knowing that this too might not work, but bypasses some of the technicalities we have against us.
  3. Adoption- not totally against this. Our feelings are starting to change, but we have no idea as to where to start. The adoption sites are very overwhelming and sad.
  4. Accepting the fact that we might not have any kids. This scares the crap out of me. I or the Bear might die alone and be eaten by raccoons or something. That's really scary. 
Is this karma? We had friends who sought out fertility help. I never believed in couples putting themselves through the emotional and financial strain when we were in our 20's. I guess now I know what they went through and reality is biting me in the ass really hard. Yup, karma's a bitch. I'm feeling it. If you are one of my friends that was hurt about my alla natural attitude and lack of empathy, I'm really sorry.  

What to do in the meantime? Well, we are just trying to take care of ourselves and each other. There have been moments I never thought I'd experience such as the Bear crying because he is so incredibly worried about me thinking this is all my fault. I have not been on social media sites much. Facebook anymore just seems to be everyone getting pregnant, having babies, or posting pictures of their kids which hurts too much right now. I'm not being selfish, I'm just dealing with the fact that I may never have that human experience. I've also been leaving the room or changing the channel anytime Will and Kate are on t.v. with reports on the royal baby. Pretty much I hate them right now to be honest. And, quite frankly, I have to be honest about emotions right now. I would be building myself up on a house of cards to say everything is okay. Probably for the first time ever in my life, I am really feeling and dealing with my emotions that normally get shoved to the side. It hurts, bad, but I am still so incredibly grateful for my husband, my family, and friends. I am grateful for my job which is starting to take my mind off things. I am grateful for waking up, getting out of bed, and being able to go to the gym or on a walk. Things will be okay, I know that. I can feel and hear God or the higher power telling me it will be okay. For now though, the Bear and I are learning and experiencing this harsh reality. Are we hopeful? Yes, absolutely yes, but our hope has shifted to a more realistic hope. A hope with more options and decisions we will make together. What I do know is that I love the Bear more than ever right now. That's what is most important.

On a lighter note, the menu for this week is a little crazy. We decided to get out of town over the weekend and did not make it back until later Sunday afternoon. We also have my test this evening, fun social opportunities, and Bear's weekly softball game. Here is what things loosely look like for the week:

Monday 7/29          On your own

Tuesday 7/30          Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Spuds with Broccoli

Wednesday 7/31     Leftovers

Thursday 8/1           Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach and Cheese

Friday 8/2 or           Coconut Curry Pork with Rice and Beans
Saturday 8/3

The grocery list is likely to change a lot this week depending on what's on hand, but I look forward to getting some recipes up and running for you all. I hope you all enjoy your week!

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