Perspective

Per-spec-tive
Noun
1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

It is incredible how as humans, we have such ability to change our perspectives based on experiences.
I find it so interesting when you actually look at the definitions of perspective, you find at first a description which does not seem to fit with emoting. Two dimensional surfaces,  drawn in a way to so you can see them differently. How mechanical…but isn’t that really all the second definition is too? Our attitudes are so two dimensional, until we add our experiences and emotions giving them a three dimensional meaning.
Have I lost you?
Where are you getting with this Sarah?

My perspective has once again shifted. Having blurred my outlook, and lived in my own grief for a little while, I have had new experiences to shift my attitude, and give me a new perspective.

I find myself so INSPIRED.
I am LUCKY. I have been surrounded in a tribe of STRONG WOMEN. In my saddest, most selfish moments I have never been far from someone who is ready to pick me up, ask how I am feeling, share their story, allow me to open my mind and heart to the world and let beautiful things in again.

In so many ways my infertility has blessed me. I have become rooted in deep friendships and bonds which I doubt I would have found without a little struggle….

You see, we are all a little bit broken. Thats what makes this life journey so beautiful. That is what BONDS us. Our ability to change our PERSPECTIVES and see; the world is beautiful. The brokenness allows for such beautiful GROWTH, LOVE, SUPPORT, PERSEVERANCE. 

People die, hearts get broken, trust gets destroyed, dreams get shattered.
But isn’t this why we DREAM? Isn’t this why we HOPE? So we can take one step further away from the things that slay us, and into the light and beauty of this world.

I have a little saying that I now  find myself uttering  as my mantra. When I want to complain about how tired or broken I am, how my legs can’t run a step further, my heart can’t break again, how I want to GIVE UP; I find myself saying :

Everything worth having is HARD. The best things require HARD WORK. PUSH HARDER.

As we head in to Infertility Awareness Week in Canada, I just want you to know. You are not aloneWE (that 1 in 6 couples…and every single person who didn’t get married and have 2.3 children by 34 like society told them to) are not alone.

Dream. Hope. Want. Work for…. because even if you get a little broken along the way…
There is so much beauty in the broken, and WE have your back.

The One That Almost Went Unpublished

Change is hard. Grief is unpredictable.

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Last month we moved into a new house. We left behind our first home, the place we started our fertility journey, and the place we ended it in so many senses.

I discovered in the moving process how bad I am at change. I also discovered that little apartment  which I had so many fond memories in, I also held so closely tied to our fertility journey.
I had no idea really STARTING OVER would be so hard.
We didn’t tell very many people, but immediately before we moved, we did some fertility re-testing to find our tests were much worse than previous. This was the end game. The final determinant. While we had already proclaimed we were done with fertility treatments, this was the nail in the coffin. It is over.

I pushed thoughts of fertility out to get the move done. I was perhaps the most stressed I have ever felt in my life. I blamed it on the move of course.
Now things have calmed. The boxes are unpacked, we are settled in.

Here I find myself in this house. Lots of space, perfect for a FAMILY.
There is a children’s bike left behind in the backyard from the previous tenants.
For the most part, I am me. Hopeful, excited, happy….but then these moments that I never saw coming come. My soul breaks open and the pain feels so sharp it is as though someone is squeezing my heart.

In those moments, I become that person I hate, that I won’t allow myself to be. The bitter one. The one who avoids pregnant friends. The one who allows strangers “You’ve been married for 5 years? No kids? What are you waiting for?!” questions to penetrate and hurt them. The one who sometimes has to fake a smile when people talk about their families. The one who cries in her husbands chest because she can’t shake that pain as quickly as she scheduled. The one who wants to go kick that damn bike and tell it to stop reminding her of what she doesn’t have.

It feels so selfish and overwhelming.

But then I pick myself back up…and trudge upward, searching for peace.

So friends, please excuse me while I am selfish for a while. Be soft for me when my heart is hard.

We will have a beautiful life, with or without children…
We will have a beautiful life, with or without children…
We will have a beautiful life, with to without children…

Today I am choosing joy, but pardon me if tomorrow I can’t.

Choosing Joy

It has been a week of emotional up’s and down’s, but I am happy to say I am finding peace.

While my mind changes every.single.day as to if I want to try IVF or head straight to adoption…I have a lot of time, so I am trying to not let it stress me out.

I think it may seem like I am stuffing down my feelings in an attempt to not really deal with my emotions. That is far from reality. I am very in touch with my emotions, but I am trying to let joy be the prevailing emotion. So do I break down crying at the topic of infertility mid-run on a windy, terrifying bridge…yep? Do I let it take my whole run? Nope. I laugh about the ridiculousness of where I chose to break down, I express why I am sad…and I carry on.

Many people have asked, how are you? My most hated question. I don’t really know how I am. One minute I am sad, one minute I am happy, one minute I am planning my adoptive family. Haha. A short, “I’m Fine.” seems to be the answer lately. I am happy to talk about everything we are going through….but sometimes, at the end of a long HAPPY day, I don’t want to let sad emotions seep in. I want to choose JOY instead of sadness. I AM choosing joy…so if I don’t express my sad feelings to you, I am not trying to hide anything…I am moving on and picking happiness.

..Because? We will have a beautiful life with or without children.

So what are some things I am doing to help me CHOOSE JOY?

  1. Planning. I am a planner. If you ask my husband he will tell you what a bond me and my schedule book have. HAHA!! I am allowing myself to plan for an immediate (2-5 year) future without children. We are planning a trip, and making goals…and I love it.
  2. Eating healthy. I got a little off track in all the infertility treatments, so getting back to eating whole foods, and storing up on nutrients is helping me feel my best.
  3. Exercise. It is amazing how cathartic running is. In many ways I can run away from everything….zone out…dig deep. In many other ways, running helps me to delve deep into myself and my soul and feel my feelings in a healthy way, and then push deep to let them go.
  4. Keeping busy. I find joy in a full schedule. I love being able to look at a week and know exactly what I need to do.
  5. Loving fully. I am trying to not let infertility to cause me to be hardened. I am trying to express my love to my husband and friends without holding back…because that is who I am, and I refuse to let infertility change that. 😉
  6. Simple Pleasures. I am forcing myself to take every day breath by breath. Smell the latte. Experience the flavours. Feel the wind on my face on the patio I am sipping the coffee. I am trying got be present, and ever amazed by the wonderful world we live in.
  7. Budgeting. Getting serious about our budget is helping me see that IVF/Adoption/Home ownership, etc. are not impossible and ARE in our future. It is also much less stressful to have a plan.
  8. Letting myself fall apart. In letting myself take 5 minutes in the moments I am sad to just feel bad for myself….I am able to deal with those emotions, and then consciously choose to move on. I am not dwelling in sadness, but I am acknowledging when it comes, and giving it a time limit.
  9. Giving to others. It is amazing how much joy can be found in helping and supporting others. I don’t mean financially. I mean really listening, caring, lending that helping hand when needed. I am trying to make this more of a part of my daily life.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy, but JOYFUL journey.
***If you find yourself free please join us to raise money for our refugee family. Beer night details if you follow this think…. https://www.facebook.com/events/799490583492942/***

The Big Bad I.V.F.

Today we received the news we have been dreading for 3 years and two months; we can not achieve pregnancy and our only choice to proceed to IVF or adoption.

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I won’t lie and say we aren’t devastated… but I refuse to wallow in self-pity today. We will pick ourselves up, we will carry on, we will recalculate our dream of a family and what that means to us.

Our plan as of now is to begin saving the 12-20 thousand dollars we will need for IVF- and when the time comes we will then decide if IVF indeed is where be believe our money is best fit for starting our family. We are also planning to take an epic one-month-away adventure some time in the spring to cleanse ourselves of this grief. After our appointment, we went to the batting cages and hit out our anger, IT FELT GOOD. We spent the day together, as we always do, and focused on supporting one another.

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Instead of wallowing in grief and sadness…I want to talk about how infertility has blessed us. YES, blessed. I believe that you are given a choice about everything in life-maybe you can’t control outcomes, but you control the way you handle it. You control the way you treat others, and you control the way you share your story to affect other people’s stories….

  • I know the depth of my God’s love. This has been a huge comfort to me. He is teaching me so many things through this process about my own spirituality and faith.
  • I am 100% with the perfect, most wonderful man for me. My husband has been the biggest source of love and support I could ever have imagined. Through this process, we have been forced to delve deep into growing our relationship- the statistics are real- infertile couples are THREE TIMES more likely to divorce. We refuse to become a statistic and will make every effort to keep our marriage #1 in all of this.
  • I am not alone. Ever. 1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility in Canada; 1 in 4 worldwide. The amount of people in my life who have secretly struggled, and shared their journey’s with me is astounding. Their willingness to share their most intimate emotions, heartbreaks and triumphs has been so inspiring. I have had ZERO bad feedback sharing our journey. Only an outpouring of love and support.
  • We have enough. We may not have every thing we want, but we have food, we have shelter, and we have secure jobs in which can afford us the opportunity to one day try IVF.
  • I am enough. I have learned, and am still learning… I AM ENOUGH. As I am, who I am, where I am, how I am. I AM enough. A life long journey that has peaked in this struggle.

So where do we go from here? We carry on. We find new goals, we persevere. We blast FIGHT SONG and sign LOUD in the car…because we have SO much to live for.

“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

Excuse me as I spend the night with my favourite man, my favourite wine, a bubble bath, and my favourite TV series. Thank you for all of your love, support, and kind words. I am overwhelmed by the love you have all shared.

***On a side note: I am a part of a group of people in Saskatoon making an effort to help a family of 5 come to Canada fleeing violence and poverty. If you feel so inclined, please check out our fundraising page. Any support you can give is very much appreciated.****

IUI #2: Nothing Ever Goes As Planned

Warning: This post has raw emotion, details of menstrual cycles, and a lot of TMI. Click ‘x’ if you don’t want to read all about it.

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Round 2 of IUI has been hard. Very very hard.
I went on the oral letrozole days 3-7(no symptoms), then on day 9 an ultrasound which showed my follicles weren’t ready yet (but where the same size as last month when the fill-on doc did IUI. GR). Back on day 13 for another ultrasound which showed my endometrium was 8mm (ready) and I had a follicle that was 13mm and another that was 17mm. I was scheduled to do my HCG injection on day 14 (which a wonderful coworker did for me at work) and then IUI the morning of day 16. I was feeling pretty optimistic heading into our cycle.

Because I spotted almost every day the last cycle, my doctor decided to put me on progesterone. Cue kerfuffle. The progesterone has traditionally been suspended in peanut oil. I have an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. Essentially the pharmacy told me the original suppository which I was supposed to take (180$ every 3 weeks) would not work for this reason. When I talked to the clinic, they offered me another option, which had wheat (won’t do for me since we don’t know if my gluten issues are celiac or not, and if they are celiac it could cause a miscarriage)…and a final option which contained none of my allergens but cost 400$ every two weeks. If I achieved pregnancy that would equal TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS for the first ten weeks of pregnancy. AHH!! ON TOP of the already aprox. 500-600$ IUI with meds will cost (for one cycle).
NOT money I had planned on spending.

Finally, after fretting for a bit of time, the nurses consulted my doctor who was certain the formula of the original suppositories had been changed. After many phone calls back and forth it was decided that I could try the suppositories (in soya and sunflower oil) with an epipen near by…. despite the med-phamlet stating peanut-allergy as a contraindication.

We went in on day 16 for IUI. My husband gave his sample, we had a coffee at our favourite coffee shop [my favourite part-an hour to be together, talk, dream] and then we returned for the IUI. The procedure was done, but there was a lot of difficulty. My cervix seems to cause a lot of problems lately. The nurse said my cervix was retroverted and also very vascular, making it very hard to insert the catheter. She said I could expect a lot of cramping and bleeding after the procedure. During the procedure there was cramping, but nothing compared to IUI #1. The nurse was so sweet and patient with my crazy, nervous self. We chatted about how there should be an infertility walk in Saskatoon to raise awareness. How so many people come to this clinic and few people share their struggle.
FERTILITY

After the procedure I laid on my back for aprox. 15-20 minutes, fighting to stay awake- I had just worked a night shift. Then my doctor came in. She is so reassuring. I really appreciate her calm demeanour and taking the time to answer every single one of my MILLION questions and concerns. We talked about the suppositories and she further confirmed that I should try them with an epipen near by, but if I wanted to change prescriptions she would be happy to do that for me also.  She was certain the formula hadn’t actually contained peanuts since 2011 and we must have received an outdated pamphlet. We talked about the sperm sample quality…
Motility 24% after wash-after wash motility needs to be 50% to achieve pregnancy typically.
Counts 54 million= very good
Morphology= very good

We were explained that we would obviously still try with this round of IUI, but that it was unlikely to work due to the low sperm motility (the swimmers won’t be able to swim to meet the egg). I also was suggested to rest in bed all day to give the sperm the best chance possible, and also to reduce the amount of cramping and bleeding from a slightly complicated procedure.  This was very unexpected-I thought I would be able to go to work like normal again. Turns out, I needed the day emotionally anyways. I can’t help but feel like an ass for calling in the day of…when I am not sick…but I guess that is also part of the unexpected infertility process. The nurse was optimistic to say: “You only need one”…but it was pretty clear it was likely to be a bad outcome this cycle. We discussed G seeing the fertility urologist this month, and the four of us discussing “the next step”….. the dreaded, invasive, expensive (10 thousand dollars) IVF.
G was obviously upset leaving the clinic. I was too, but I was trying to hold it together.
As we drove home in silence, the tears started to flow. We came home….I got into bed…and more tears came. I have tried to be so strong…stay optimistic. My heart is just broken.
IVF is not in our budget right now, and to be honest, I don’t know how I feel about months of shots and more meds. I am already an emotional disaster on the simple 4 meds I am currently on. I am devastated. I am heart-broken. I am angry. It is not fair…. but none of those feelings are productive. None of those feelings will help me move on.

So now we wait. We wait, not-so-optimistically for the two week wait. Our hearts are broken, but we can’t be sad forever. I had my hour to cry, for self pity…. It is time to pick up the pieces and rebuild a new plan.

We will have a beautiful life, with or without children. We will have a beautiful life…. we will have a beautiful life……

Thank you for all of your love and support, we are so incredibly honoured to have so many wonderful loving people in our lives.

Hope & Infertility

My Marathon has come and gone. I have a beautiful medal hanging in my kitchen…a perfect 42.2km technical shirt hanging in my closet.

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I have conquered one of my biggest life goals. Now… I have to put all of my energy in to a different but important one.

For those of you who aren’t aware. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for nearly 3 years.

For three years I have debating sharing this with the world. While I have been very open with people I know on a day-to-day basis…opening myself up to criticism on the internet is a whole other ball game. Most people know the vague details of our struggle, few know the minute ones. I truly believe that couples shame and fear shouldn’t have to be hidden. I believe that community is so important in this journey…and for this reason, I will share as much as my heart can bare as we start the next leg of the journey.

Next month we will be starting to undergo a series of costly fertility treatments. While we have had some minor ones already-this is the “real stuff”. Within the next 1 month to 1 year, we will know if it is possible for us to conceive a child.

Over the last three years I have found a lot of ways to not get attached to the idea of a biological child. I resigned myself to adoption (which is definitely something I would like to partake in one day, but I would also love to experience pregnancy once if I am blessed with that experience), I told myself I didn’t really want children, I convinced myself I would be a terrible mother, I told myself children would interfere with my life goals…anything to avoid the pain that is infertility.

I thought I was okay with the life we have. I was okay with life without a biological child. I was very excited for the future…and where that may lead us with a possible adoption story. Then we met the fertility specialist. My whole plan going to the appointment was to confirm what I already knew in my head: I am a barren desert..and no forms of life will grow here. When I was given my “statistical odds” of becoming pregnant naturally vs. IUI vs. IVF….I was weary and hesitant. Then, something in the last week since my appointment has changed. I can’t stop researching fertility treatment statistics, reading success stories, etc.

Hope. Something I haven’t had in a very long time has resurfaced…..and it is utterly terrifying. For the first time in a long time, I think if the words “You can not conceive naturally” are thrown at me again…I might just fall apart. I feel so fragile…..anticipating the worst, and hoping for a miracle….

So now we wait, and hope. Within the next month our first treatment will start and we will start the waiting game to discover if we will become parents….

We are young, we are hopeful. Fingers crossed, Prayers sent. xo