Saturday, April 16, 2011

the price of a family

Chris and I have been married for 7 + years and about a year into our marriage we started planning for children. It is funny how things work out. People ask a lot of questions especially in the church probably because family is so important but really is that any one's business? We have always been really open to talk about "things" but have not really shared a lot of this on the blog. I look back and realize that I am not remembering a lot of the details or even major events.

So now as I sit here 4 years into our work with the fertility clinic, recovering from a related surgery; I thought I might try to recall some of what we have gone through. I do so not for others to feel sorry for us, we all have things we silently struggle with and at this point we laugh about most of what we have gone through. But one of the things I have learned from our small branch is the more we are willing to share with each other, the more we can bare one another's burdens as we have promised our Heavenly Father at baptism. I struggle to accept help but recognize that I have gained great friends as they have served and loved me/us through the years.

I can also see how much we have enjoyed over the years without children. Trips, time to learn about each other and years of struggle that will forever bind us together in a way that nothing else could. I am grateful. When we moved to Rochester for school almost 6 years ago we were reading every possible book we could on fertility; checking temperatures every day and keeping long journals of our every move. We planned, worried, prayed, fasted, even started working the temple in the hopes that by spending time there each week our desires might be granted. Again we gained so much more from our weekly service there. And we realize now that is not how things work.

We heard of a great fertility clinic right around the corner from our apartment and made a slow attempt to move forward with something I think neither of us wanted to face. If we did not acknowledge it, we hoped it might just happen and we would not know otherwise. After running some fun tests like an iodine test under an X-ray machine to clean out the fallopian tubes, blood work, examines and sonograms to check the ovaries and eggs. We found out right away that, not to place the blame; that well both of us were to blame. I have a syndrome and well Chris overall did not have healthy numbers. Chris was scheduled for surgery, really not fun and I will leave out those details. And that next summer we started our first suggested treatment. A Clomid pill with blood work, sonograms and our first IUI. I did not react well with this hormone pill which gave me to this day horrible hot flashes that kept me up at night. Chris used to touch by back sometimes and say wow you feel like you are warm. And I felt like I was melting from the inside. We can joke about it now but at the time it was just not fun! This went on for about 7 months.

Interestingly enough most couples only have a 25% chance of conceiving and our team gave us a 5% chance. Wow! With each month and each try we would get our hopes up and we'd begin to dream about names, nurseries and I'd occasionally come home with a baby item or two. I think looking back this was the hardest part. The ups and downs. It still is. It was so hard each month and each treatment when the doctors and nurses had such high hopes especially when everything looked good. Then devastating when it did not.

The next treatment, after a switch in medical insurance which took months to get in order, since everything costs thousands of dollars. Was what they call super ovulation. It is exactly that, they try and get your body to produce as many eggs as possible. So that meant shots every night, bloodwork every other day and a sonogram to watch those eggs get bigger; so more shots then watch them get smaller; so a smaller dose and it was a balancing act at least for me. This went on for 6 weeks each cycle and we have done 6 of them. It was a struggle to balance work, appointments, YW and all the medicines. At one point we were doing an intermuscular shot that was a really thick oily material that was drawn out with one huge needle and given to me by another because it was thick and then had to be rubbed in because it would solidify. I would get bruises and still some times feel the lumps from the shots. A little ironic that i made Chris give me these shots since he is afraid of needles. But he did really well.

Again I am leaving out Chris' part in all of this but he got to go to the lab and turn in his sample. And each time we would laugh because Chris did not have to even be there for me to get pregnant and many times the IUI would take place with a female nurse and female doctor.

When baby K came that made things a little more complicated. The technicians that know us by name now would give baby K a sticker each time because we would go together 3, 4 or even 5 days out of the week. One nurse commented to me once that I was started over again really quickly (because baby K was little) I told her not so nicely that it was none of her business but the baby was not mine. Ah! People do not think some times.

I think we are finding a good balance now in making decisions for how to move forward and realizing that the Lord has a plan for our family. We realize that "our" children just might not come to us through us, just as baby K has found his way here. Plus our babies could never be as cute as he is. We still have a long road ahead and who knows where that will take us but we are hopeful and so are the doctors. We trust in the Lord and we are loving life right now.

We have one more treatment before IVF and that might take some time before we can decide to take that step or even be able to afford that step. Who knows! I keep telling Chris that it might end up with a reality show called Lisa & Chris + 9!!


Yvette said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story Lisa. I know the Lord has great things in store for you and Chris. A very good friend of mine is going through some of the same things you have gone through, and I struggle to know the best way to give my love and support. Any advice is welcome! Hugs and kisses to you.

Jodie said...

I adore you. You are amazing and strong and beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your story. Reminds me of ours, in many ways. We love you!

melissa said...

I would totally watch that show! :) You are brave to share. I love you guys and think of you guys often. I'm glad you know that the Lord has a plan for your family - I believe He does and will bless you immensely for your endurance and faith through such difficult struggles. Hang in there!! xoxo

Amy Bartlett said...

Ah Lis! It is great to read about your story. I feel badly that I have not been there for you more. Like so many uncomfortable things in our family I haven't known what to say and so I have not said much. But I am grateful for your attitude and example. I know you will be amazing parents to whichever children enter your lives and I love you all!

Ericka and Wes said...

I keep meaning to call you so we can catch up, I am glad to read some updates and too know the Lord is always on our side and prepares the way for us. You really are amazing and a great example. Love ya and hope we can find a time to get together. Love the Easter outfit! Hes so cute!