Friday, May 22, 2015

Appointment Update

So this week has been eventful in the fertility department! 

Starting off last weekend, we learned that the SA and DNA Fragmentation test came back fine--right now we have no reason to believe that there are any male factor issues affecting our fertility. Yay!

Then it was my turn. I was set to get a bunch of bloodwork followed by a saline sonogram to check on my uterus and tubes. 

Getting the bloodwork was a pain in the butt! The first time I tried to go, they wouldn't do the tests for a variety of reasons. The second time went fine other than that it was the longest draw ever. I had been told to fast for 6 hours for one of the tests and was so afraid I would pass out! I didn't, and it got done. All's well that ends well, right? 

Immediately after getting my blood drawn I went to my ultrasound appointment, where Dr A discovered a nice, fat cyst on my left ovary. 

Now, in all the time we've been trying and all the ultrasounds I've had I have never seen a cyst. It's definitely unusual for me. At first he mentioned endometriosis as a possible cause but by the end of the ultrasound he wasn't convinced because everything else looked great. After talking about my last IUI cycle, he believes it to be related to the stimulation. I ovulated from the left my last cycle AND I was given a dose of follistim on top of the clomid (something that didn't occur to me until after I left the office).  

So the plan is to aspirate the cyst next week and do the saline ultrasound at that time. After that we will meet up to decide on a plan. 

So that's the latest! It's so-so news, but I'm glad Ihadn't gotten my hopes up for a quickie IUI this cycle! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Petition

Friends!! There is a petition up at WhiteHouse.gov to make infertility covered under the Affordable Care Act. I'm not a huge fan of everything in the ACA, but THIS is a perfect example of something that needs to be made affordable and accessible. Infertility is NOT elective and it can be a huge financial burden to those suffering from it. Making insurance companies cover infertility like any other disease has the potential to be life changing. Current options for paying for treatment include fundraising, loans, grants and even mortgaging your home. And people do it. But grants are limited, loans are costly and people turn their noses up at fundraising efforts. The options are limited and often, couples find themselves stuck.

You can find the petition here and I'm asking you to share it all over social media. It's shooting for over 89,000 signatures and they're only at about 12,000. Let's get it done!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Journaling Through Infertility {Week Four}


I'm back! It's been a hectic couple of weeks for us and there's been a few emotional days between Mother's Day and the loss anniversary. But things are a little bit more stable now so things are on their way back to normal. 

So...we're on week four of the Journaling Through Infertility


4) If you never had children, how would that make you feel? Why do you think that causes you pain? What is the root feeling behind that pain (feeling "left out", feeling like you aren't complete, losing control, losing your dream, etc.)? 
*deep breath*

This is a hard one. Like a really hard one, because I've been facing some of this recently.

I think that eventually I would be happy and find fulfillment. But it would take time. It would be a really tough journey to get there. But gradually I could let go. I would have to. Right now, I'm not ready for that. The thought of it makes me anxious and desperate. Where does the pain come from? I wrote in my journal the other day that this journey is taking every dream, wish, hope and goal, ripping them out and taking my heart down to its studs. Like a remodeled room. Maybe it has to be that way, but watching everything I wanted slip away hurts. I hope with everything I have that in the end, my dreams and wishes and hopes will come back, better than ever and even more beautiful. But I haven't seen that happen yet and in the meantime...I feel out of control, lost, on the outside of everything. It's the hardest thing I've ever done.

What are you grateful for today?

I am speechless with gratitude at the developments with Chris' job. Everyday he tells me how much he likes it, and everyday we seem to find out another great thing about this amazing company. It all started with a simple, no-frills employment ad that he answered and took a chance on. We had almost given up on it because he hadn't heard back after his interview. I am in awe and so humbled by the way things were orchestrated.

If you're interested in reading the previous posts you can find them below:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fairhaven Health Review + GIVEAWAY

When you are trying to get pregnant, there are a lot of tools and supplements that you can use to boost your chances at conception. Fairhaven Health is a company that offers a variety of those tools and supplies, and they approached me a couple of months ago about trying out some of their products and reviewing them!

First of all, the company itself. I have had nothing but good experiences in dealing with them and I like the fact that they are a small business! They also offer some nice shipping options: free standard shipping on all orders, with an upgrade to free priority shipping when you spend $80 or more.

Now for the fun part: the products!

FertileCM. This is a product that is supposed to help your body's production of cervical mucus (CM), which is a big part of conception because fertile CM is necessary for sperm to make it up through the cervix to the egg. The supplement is taken three times a day and is safe to take all through the cycle. It contains vitamin C, probiotics and other nutrients needed for healthy CM.
I'm on my last bottle of FertileCM, so I'm hoping to see a big difference, since it can take a few cycles for your body to respond. The thing to remember is that everyone is different, so the supplement is still one that I would encourage you to try!

FertileAid for Men. This is a multivitamin with extras to support sperm health. It contains things like maca, ginseng, and CoQ10. It is taken three times a day with a meal, which is actually pretty important. Chris was forgetting to take it at lunch so one morning he tried two with his light breakfast and felt nauseated afterwards, so make sure it is either a bigger meal or keep them split up. I would definitely recommend it because it is a way to get him to take the extras without adding extra pills or potions. Keeping it simple for the guys is always a win!

FertileBalance. This is a progesterone cream that I wanted to try for some gentle progesterone support in the second half of my cycles during our break from treatment. I simply apply approximately 1/4 teaspoon before bed every night after ovulation is confirmed. SUPER easy and I do feel a difference using it! Obviously, I do recommend it!

OPKs & HPTs. The OPKs and HPTs are a lot like Wondfo tests, which is my go-to brand. I didn't have any problems with evap lines or any other funkiness, and what's really nice is that they are really inexpensive. That's key for POAS addict like me!

Fairhaven Health has a LOT of other options for your TTC adventures as well, and they are a great company--I encourage you to check them out!

A review would not be a review without a GIVEAWAY!

  • I have one bottle each.of FertileCM and FertileAid for Men for one lucky winner! Use the form below to enter by 11:59pm Central Time on Sunday, May 17th. I'll announce the winner on Monday!
  • And I also have a coupon code good for 10% off purchases of supplements and OPKs/HPTs: enter GirlRyanne at checkout through May 31st.
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fertility Update

The last few months have been pretty quiet on the TTC front. It's been a hard wait because I am the type who wants to fix things, and we just have not had the means to do any fixing. But it appears that the wait is nearing an end!

Tomorrow, Chris is having a DNA Fragmentation test done. This article at The Bump is a good explanation, but the short version is that this test is more extensive than a standard SA and looks at the percentage of damaged sperm.

Next week, after AF shows, I'll be getting day 3 blood work followed by a saline ultrasound to check out my uterus and tubes. At that point we will hopefully have enough information to move forward.

I would LOVE to do an IUI in June. Not sure if that will happen or not, but I'd like to try. This not trying thing has gotten really old.

Of course, there's always a chance that I will end up with a BFP in a few days and we won't need to do all this testing. Getting a sticky BFP before all this testing would be outstanding! I don't know what kind of chance we have of that, but there is always hope!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Would You Do A Fundraiser For IVF?

Sweet Surprise for Newborn Photographer Who Couldn't Get Pregnant. Did anybody else see this article on Yahoo?

I did, and it's a pretty typical infertility story: she has PCOS, a few rounds of IUI were unsuccessful and to pay for IVF, they did a fundraiser. According to the article, a family member came up with the concept for the fundraiser and it was promoted on social media and the couple's blog, and $14,000 was raised to help cover costs. Their IVF cycle was successful and they are expecting triplets! 

It's a sweet, encouraging story that obviously hits close to home. It made me happy! But then...the comments. Oh, the comments. 

I don't know why they were surprised since they did fertility treatments. 

If you can't afford IVF maybe you shouldn't have kids.

Why didn't you just adopt?

If you couldn't afford IVF how are you going to afford triplets?

You get the idea. There were an unbelievable number of negative comments and it made me angry. The words "begging" and "panhandling" were used.  How dare they? Have any of them actually sat in a doctor's office and learned that spending thousands of dollars on treatment was the only option? Have any of them "just adopted"? Have any of them gone through numerous failed treatments in the hope of having just one baby, only to be thrilled to learn about their multiples? For the most part, I doubt it. There were a few, though, who commented that had done IVF claimed that they would never dream of asking people to pay for that.

Here's the thing. Needing IVF is not a choice. It's not something that most couples jump to without first exhausting their other options--and likely their bank accounts! It's not a dream for anyone. It's painful. it's risky. And for some, it is their last hope. In our world, IVF is "elective" and infertility is not considered a disease or malfunction of the body (in most cases). At something like $20,000 an attempt, it isn't uncommon for couples to make one round of IVF their last ditch effort. There are options--sperm donation, egg donation, embryo adoption, surrogacy. But each comes with cost and sacrifice. Adoption is not a calling for everyone, and nor should it ever be a consolation prize. But even if you do feel called to adopt, it isn't easy. So the question becomes...which is right for you and where do you spend your money? It sounds crass, but it's the cold truth of infertility--that your ability to pay often determines whether or not you will be a parent.

So. Should you fundraise for fertility treatments--or even adoption? Would you?

And how about this? If not, what would you fundraise for?

There is a guy in our community. A partier, who got drunk (and possibly high) and crashed a motorcycle. In an instantly a hashtag, Facebook page and three fundraisers were being promoted and hundreds of messages of support poured in. For a guy who did that to himself. Who chose to endanger himself and others and suffered the consequences. Why is that okay, and asking for help paying for IVF isn't? We fundraise for, say, cancer all the time. My infertility is no more a choice than cancer is. Granted, infertility isn't likely to kill me--but it is still a burden that I didn't choose. A burden that affects my life in countless ways.

I don't know if I would fundraise if it came down to it. But I understand why people do, and my mama bear comes out when haters attack my tribe.

So. What do you think? 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mother's Day | 2015

This week's Journaling Through Fertility post has been pushed back to next week. The topic itself is tough, and this is a hard week coming off a loss anniversary and leading up to Mother's Day weekend. So I'll be back with that next week! 

To my sisters. My tribe. The infertility warriors and the miscarriage survivors. The ones in the trenches alongside me.

I see you grieving that negative HPT and remembering the day your baby died. I see you juggling appointments and shaking your head at the latest RE bill. I see you waiting, and waiting, while the world seems to pass you by.

Why don't we talk about Mother's Day?What a loaded day, am I right? Don't get me wrong--I love and appreciate our mothers. But the day--and the lead-up to it--is salt in a raw, open wound. The commercials and the newspaper ads, the everything ads. Everyone is celebrating but you. And the pregnancy announcements? Those are the worst. I mean, it's so perfect that it's downright painful...because you maybe dreamed about announcing today too.

I see you. I feel your pain, because I have it too. I ache for the babies I lost and for the pregnancy I wish I were experiencing. I feel out of place at the family gatherings--even if no one makes a big deal out of it. I feel like I should be able to celebrate, but I can't.

I am so sorry that you are hurting this week. And I know that no amount of encouragement will make that hurt go away. But what we have to hang on to is that this day too will pass. I can't promise that it will ever be pain free. But I can tell you that you will make it. Surround yourself with love and support, cry when needed, keep things simple. Do not neglect your heart by ignoring the pain. But do open your heart to whatever joy you can find and hang on to it with all your might. It isn't fail-proof. Your day might be terrible from start to finish, and that's okay because at the end of it all, you did what you could.

I hope and pray for peaceful hearts and minds for all of us, and that each of us will soon finally see the end of this road--whether it means making a child-free life your choice and embracing it, building your family through adoption or finally getting pregnant.

Much love to all of you this week and always.

Ryanne




Friday, May 1, 2015

RESOLVE | Advocacy Day

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is a nationwide network dedicated to promoting reproductive health and raising awareness about infertility. They are also working to make testing and treatments more accessible by lobbying for mandated insurance coverage. RESOLVE is a great resource for finding support groups, financial assistance/grants and doctors in your area.

On May 14th, Advocacy Day, members of the infertility community and RESOLVE will be in Washington DC talking to our legislators about several important issues:
  • Co-Sponsor the Women Veterans and Other Health Services Act of 2015, S 469. This will help provide more infertility treatments for Veterans. Currently, treatment coverage is very limited.
  • Co-Sponsor the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2015, S 950. While, the tax credit already exists, it is not very accessible for low-moderate income families. 
  • Reintroduce The Family Act. This would provide a tax credit for out of pocket infertility expenses. 
So where do you come in? RESOLVE is asking for letters from members of the infertility community (and their supporters) to give to members of Congress on Advocacy Day. It is very easy to do if you want to be involved!
Thank you guys in advance for participating! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Two Years Ago and Yesterday


Have you heard this song by Eden's Edge? It's called Painted Shut Heart, but most people look for it as Feels So Real (which makes sense if you ask me).

The first lines of the song go like this:
It was two years ago and it was yesterday. Might not make sense but that's just the way it feels to me.

Two years ago today I lost my first baby. In many ways, I look at that and think "no way has it been that long". In other ways, it feels like it's been forever. 

What really gets me is the fact that I would have a two year old at Christmas. I look at my niece and realize that my little one would be looking up to her, following in her footsteps. If I had my way they would be the best of friends. But for some reason, it wasn't meant to be. 

Happy second birthday heavenside, little one. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Journaling Through Infertility {Week Three}






It's week three! If you're just starting the series, you can find the original post with the questions I'm working through at Natural Fertility & Wellness.
3. Going back to your relationship with your husband...what are your ideas about family? How are your ideas and desires the same? How are they different?...
 Chris and I come from very different backgrounds! He's the oldest of two, where I'm the oldest of seven! (I'll clear this up now--same parents, no multiples and we aren't Catholic!) I was homeschooled, he went to public school. His mom worked, mine stayed home. Both my parents are religious, his mom is and his dad isn't. So you might think we would find ourselves on the opposite ends of the spectrum on a lot of things. Surprisingly, that isn't the case! Our ideas early on in our relationship were pretty similar, and over the years they've evolved. Differences? Once upon a time, I wanted three kids and he wanted two. I've since changed my tune, for a variety of reasons--not the least of which is the fact that we are apparently fertility challenged and treatment is expensive! There are a lot of things that we talked about casually back before we realized that the trying to get pregnant part of having a baby was going to take years. So I know without a doubt that there are bugs to work out. On the big stuff though, we're on the same page!
3. ...What causes you the most frustration in your relationship right now? How has infertility changed the way you communicate?
At this moment, stress is a big deal. In the last few months we've ended up with a lot more of it than we've had in a really long time--Chris' career change/business venture, the miscarriage in October, and the failed IUI in January to name a few. We have been doing a really bad job of not taking out our stress on each other and that has caused a lot of really stupid fights. We're hoping that we're about at the end of this tunnel though, because Chris should be starting a new job in about a week! With both of us back to work, things should get better pretty quickly financially, which will alleviate probably 50% of our stress!

Infertility affects everything about everything. When we first got married we had a period of stress similar to this because Chris' job went from being really stable to being totally unpredictable and he was our primary breadwinner! That was hard back then, but it was nothing compared to what we've been dealing with recently. We own a house now, and there's the teeny problem of infertility. Needing tests and treatments but having to put them completely on hold was so hard, especially for me! Has it changed us otherwise? I would say that it has changed me way more than it has Chris. For me, infertility is always there, in some way, in almost every conversation. I think that once we have the ability to get back to testing and treatment it might be better.
Bonus...How have you experienced rejection in your life?
I majored in musical theater and did some shows with a local community theater as well. Rejection is par for the course in that world, although I never did very well with it. Rejection by boys happened too. Do I regret those? Not one bit!

Happy Journaling!

Journaling Through Infertility {Week One}
Journaling Through Infertility {Week Two}