Tag: TTC
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To All Who Still Wait…

Pregnancy is a state of flux, and understandably so.  So much is changing that sometimes it makes my head spin.  The night-and-day differences in my life now versus my life a year ago are cuh-RAZY.  Sometimes I can barely comprehend it all.

As an infertile, there was this thing pregnant moms did that always annoyed me – more or less from jealousy, I suppose.  You know when a pregnant lady is in mid conversation and then suddenly her face goes blank?  She takes on this inward gaze, and maybe her hand travels to her belly of its own volition.  It’s just a fleeting moment, and then she’s back with you, but it’s there.  You don’t know where she just went, and it hurts when it’s not you and you can’t understand what just happened.

Now I understand.

There’s this movement inside of you that feels like a little fish swimming around (or sometimes, like a nice hard kick to the spleen), and you subconsciously reach out to still this little being, or feel more intensely so as to be more a part of your child’s movements.  You aren’t seeing what’s before you, but what’s within you.  You aren’t looking at the present, but the future, when that child will be in your arms.

It’s one thing I’ve grown to love, and yet another way that life has changed so immensely for me.  I tell you about that so that I can next tell you about this…

I sometimes think about those dark, intense moments of frustration, sadness, disbelief, anger, fear, and grief during the thick of infertility.  During those times, I would think to myself about the future where I had a child of my own in my arms, and I’d wonder if future me would ever look back at those dark moments and remember what it was like.  Those thoughts were what kept me going.  The thought that in the future, I could be happy and complete, and that the past wouldn’t have impacted me the way I worried it might.

In those dark moments when all seemed hopeless, the future – THIS future – was what kept me putting one foot in front of the other for one more day, one more month, one more year.

And so I say to all who still wait – there is hope.

I can’t tell you that your future will definitely see you with a child in your arms, or if it will, how long it might be, or that you won’t struggle and suffer and grieve on your way to that future, but I can tell you that the old cliché is right: it’s always darkest just before dawn.

I used to hate hearing that… It’s almost like your great-grandmother’s version of “everything happens in its own time, honey”.  It was annoying to think about, but from here I can see how true it is.

The problem with the statement is that we have no idea how close to our journey’s dawn we are at any given moment.  In the first couple of years we tried to get pregnant, I thought I was a month away EVERY MONTH.  I figured one month must equal one hour ticking by on my journey’s clock.

I was wrong.

So maybe each hour that ticked by was a year, but I had no way of knowing that back then.  It was dark all those years, and it got darker as time went by.  The problem is that when it’s dark all around you, how can you really tell if it’s “darkest”?

The truth is that you can’t.  You lose sight of lighter days with which to compare your current state.  It’s all objective anyway, right?  The only way to really know if you are currently in your darkest days is to come out the other side, into the light.  Hindsight.  Ugh.

And so I say to all who still wait – the light is out here, and you’ll find your way through the dark.

I just wish I could tell you how long.

And the truth is that I can’t.

But you know what?  Each of our journeys is unique to us.  I needed to wander in the dark for five years.  Maybe you can do with less, and maybe it will be more.  Maybe your journey won’t end with a baby, but a new take on what a complete life can be for you.  Maybe a child will come to you in a way that you never expected, shining a blinding light in your darkness and rocking your entire world to its core.

The awful beauty of it is that it’s not for us to know.  We each have to live it for ourselves.

All I can tell you is to live.  Survive.  Fight, advocate, and strive for better treatment in whatever way works best for you.

Hope, dream, and don’t let go of that lightness inside of you that still believes.  Ever.

None of us can know what is right around the next corner, nor how the next day, month, or year in our journey will play out.  What we must always remember, however, is that we are more than the paths we’ve walked.

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And so I say to all who still wait –

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You are more than your circumstances.

You are defined only by the actions you take.

You are strong enough to not let this turn you hard.

You are capable of doing more and being more.

You dream for a reason – do not ever give up on those dreams.

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You can choose hope or hopelessness,

but you, your dreams, and your future,

are worth so much more than giving up.

You are worth your hope.

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And so I say to all who still wait –

Let your hope shine as a light in the darkness. 

It won’t tell you where you are on the path, but it will allow you to put one foot in front of the other for one more day.

And really, every step forward is one step closer to our dreams.

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And so I say to all who still wait –

Keep moving forward.

Don’t ever stop.

 

hope

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The Five Year Review

Soooo… Here we are.

Five years deep.

Five  l o n g   years of trying, failing, struggling, treading water, and just… waiting.  Waiting for our turn, waiting for our two lines.

Waiting for our family to happen.

Year One was the picture of a happy-go-lucky newlywed with all the time in the world.

Year Two saw me attempting to combine Clomid with crinolines, in a sweaty scene straight out of a TBS sitcom.

Year Three had me unhappily (and soberly) awaiting the results of what would be yet another failed IUI cycle.

Year Four ended full of retrospect, acceptance, wisdom, sadness for what could have been, and an amazing amount of hope that Five would most definitely be THE YEAR.

Yesterday was the end of Year Five…

And today?  You’d think today was the first day of Year Six…

…But today is actually the beginning of something completely different.

*****

Some things have changed recently.

Actually, I don’t know if it’s more that things have changed, or that I have, but my direction has clearly been altered of late.

At my most recent acupuncture appointment, I spent some time talking with Dr. McStabby extensively about stress in my life, and the emotional toll infertility can take.

“Infertility causes infertility”, as Dr. Randine Lewis says.  While I agree that infertility has been a major stressor in my life, especially in the past few years, things have improved for me recently in that department.  I’m no longer as stressed as I used to be, and I think acupuncture and TCM has helped greatly.

But… so has time, honestly.  We’ve been at this thing for a long time.  We’re kind of getting used to disappointment after five years, know what I mean?  It’s become so regular that it’s not like it’s a big shock any more.

We’ve been trying to get pregnant for our entire marriage, essentially, and the husband and I have put a lot on hold to pursue this life that we have been so desperate for.  He and I talked recently, and at great length, about where we want to go from here…  We finally had that talk that I’ve been afraid to have for a long time.

He is ready to get back to being a married couple instead of a TTC couple.

*cue deep sigh of relief that he doesn’t straight up want to divorce my crazy ass*

More than that, he says he won’t resent me if we can’t get pregnant, and he won’t resent me if I decide to hardcore pursue Western treatments again (although, I’ll be honest, the odds of that are slim).  Basically, I have the husband’s blessing to move in whatever direction I feel comfortable, even if that is just varying degrees of backing off the whole TTC thing completely.

We may move onto just being a healthy couple who lets whatever happens, happen.  We’ve both accepted that we may be that couple who doesn’t have kids.  Maybe we’ll be the ones who can travel at the drop of a hat, or we’ll adopt (even more) furry creatures, or we’ll be the best gosh-darn aunt and uncle EVER.  Maybe we’ll adopt a child someday, if the situation is right.  Maybe we won’t.

And you know what?  We’re okay with ALL of those situations.  Truly.

At this point, IVF is not in our immediate future.  We just don’ t feel right about some aspects of it at the moment.  Part of the decision is financial, and part is just that I don’t feel like there’s anything physically SO WRONG that we can’t conceive on our own (and neither do any of the SEVEN doctors I’ve seen over the years…).  I just cannot justify forcing my body to do something that it doesn’t seem ready to do.  Maybe that will change someday, and maybe I’ll regret not going all-in while I still have some remnants of youth on my side, but honestly?  It just doesn’t feel right to me today.

It’s a lot to process, I know.

One thing that’s stuck with me though, is a conversation I had with McStabby recently.  He asked me, “Do you feel like you deserve a child?”

I was taken aback a little.  I honestly had to think about it.

He asked because, in his line of work, he sees women who have certain emotional hang-ups that he suspects can prevent them from conceiving, whether it’s a past trauma, a lack of confidence in their marriage/family life/maternal skills, or something else.  Regardless of his motives for asking, it’s a jarring question to be asked, for sure.

After a minute, I came to a conclusion.  Yes.  I do.  I deserve a child. 

Does that feeling mean that I will necessarily have one?  No.  Because life’s not always fair, and sometimes the harder we squeeze a handful of sand, the more of it slips through our grasp.  Just because I believe that I deserve a child, doesn’t mean that I’m going to force my body to submit to my timing.

Soo… I don’t want to just come out and say that we’re taking the “Just stop trying…” non-approach, but in some ways, we kind of… are.

Wait, wait.  Before you freak out and tell me I need to rename my blog, let me ‘splain.

We’re not saying “just stop trying and a BABY will magically happen”.

What we are saying is, “just stop trying so HARD and LIFE will happen… and whatever blessings come along with life, we’ll take those too.  And if a baby happens to be one of those blessings?  Even better.  Icing.  Gravy.  Time for a parade.”

It’s a strange – and strangely freeing – place to be…

For the moment, we’re just kind of bobbing along.  Living life.  Being married people who don’t have to inject themselves with things or ejaculate into cups.

I’m still going to continue acupuncture treatments for now, and I’ll continue taking the herbs even if I stop the actual acu treatments, just for general health and balance; honestly, I like how I feel, even if I don’t like the taste of the herbal “teas”.  Between the husband and I, the door is open for me to go back to the RE if I so choose (I would be interested in seeing if there have been any changes in my blood work in a year’s time), or maybe for a possible medicated cycle one day, but likely nothing more than that.

I’ll also keep working to maintain the healthy habits I’ve gained through TCM, but I will likely stop temping someday soon.

I KNOW.  Don’t freak out, or I might freak out and lose my resolve on that little gigantic decision.

I may never be able to ignore the quality of my cervical mucus, but my body temperature, the chemical content of my urine, and what’s in my underwear will no longer have complete control over my entire life.

So that’s where I am right now…  I know I’ve been quiet here lately, and I wanted to provide a little update and insight into why that has been.

I do have some exciting things on the horizon, including my Resolve Peer Led Infertility Support group venture – which should start meeting this month (!), and being invited to attend Resolve’s Advocacy Day in Washington DC, where I will have the chance to speak with members of the House and Senate on the political issues surrounding infertility treatment and coverage in the US.  The husband and I are also traveling to San Francisco for a wedding in late May, and are looking forward to that little getaway opportunity as well.

All in all, life is not perfect, but it is most definitely still a good life.  I’m appreciative for all I have, including all of YOU, and I’m ready to focus on what I have, instead of beating myself up for what I don’t.

I don’t know exactly what this new outlook will mean for me, my life, and this blog, but I know I will continue to be here, rooting you all on, and hoping and praying for each of you, every day.

I’ll still likely be holding out some far-fetched hope that my own body will miraculously get its shit together, too.  I mean, some things will never, ever, EVER change.  🙂

*****

So that’s it.

Year Six isn’t really a thing.  Like, at all.

This is just March, just a few years into a great marriage, just a drop in the bucket of a great life.

A life I’m going to be actively living again.

…Starting today.

My hope for you is that wherever you are in your journey, whether your life is completely saturated with the details of TTC, or whether you too are at a bit of a crossroads, that you are able to slow down from time to time and appreciate what you do have.

My hope for you is that you live that little life of yours in a way that makes a difference, impacts others, and allows you to look back fondly one day, free of regrets.

My hope for you is that you live.

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Why I’ve Been Quiet…

…And first of all, let me calm those of you who dread blogger pregnancy announcements by saying that NO, I am most definitely NOT PREGNANT. The rest of the story is a little harder to explain, however. I’ll be honest, I’ve felt very strange lately.  I mean, I’m still part of the infertility community, but

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In The Works…

I like ellipses.

They create drama, suspense… sexual tension, perhaps?

Anyway, I didn’t use the ellipsis in the title of this post for any of those reasons.  It was just my natural inclination to taper off a phrase like “in the works…”

I know.  I’m weird.  It’s kind of my thing.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

So, what’s in the works for me, you may be asking?

A few things, actually!

First on my list – community involvement.  I’m working through the details of possibly creating a local infertility support group.  Recently, I’d been thinking that I could really benefit from interacting with people outside of my usual bubble of IRL and online Infertility-Friends, but when I went to look for a local group in this area… Nada.

There are some in other larger cities nearby, but nothing that wouldn’t require at least a half hour plus drive to get there.  Boo.

And so, I started looking into the process of starting my own.  I mean, I know a lot of people here in the Toledo area who are going through infertility treatments, medical testing, and all sorts of other things, and I can’t help but wonder if maybe they wouldn’t benefit from the option of some face-to-face support, too.

I am excited about the prospect, and will definitely update here when/if this thing gets off the ground!

Let’s see… what else?

It’s been nearly three weeks since my last confession blog post… Forgive me!  There really hasn’t been anything major happening in that time, to be honest.  I don’t have much of an excuse for not updating the blog.  It’s been cold and snowy here in Northwest Ohio, and I’ve been hibernating as much as possible.  I’ve also been working a TON, which is a nice change from the slow pace of the office in December.

All of these things have led me to just sort of… chill out.  Which is good; it’s something I’ve been trying to do more of, honestly.  I need to learn to relax, and I’m starting to get the hang of it.  There is still some anxiety in my life, and I’m working through it, but overall, I think I’m starting to manage stress a little better than I have in the past.  Nerves no longer keep me bed- (and bathroom-) ridden, so that’s also a nice change.

(By the way, sometimes for me, chilling out involves reading a good book, which I do often.  Occasionally, it involves binge-watching a TV show.  From beginning to end.  In one week.  I just did that with Breaking Bad, and let me tell you this:  that show is not great for relaxation, in case anyone was wondering if meth production and family/legal drama/chaos would put them in a state of zen.  #TheMoreYouKnow)

Oh!  I’ve had some things change with Dr. McStabby and some new things in store for my TCM and acupuncture treatments, which I’ll update in another post.  I will just say here that I’m happy with the direction things are taking, even if I’m not totally happy with the way my body is responding 100% of the time.  I feel that I’m being heard, and that my concerns are met with interest, and that they are handled quickly and appropriately.  That makes all the difference in the world, and some of my past RE’s could take a page from that book.

Hmm… any other updates I can share?

Well, I’m not pregnant.  That I know of, of course.  Ha.  I’m being very consistent with my herbs, and slightly less consistent with my vitamins and supplements.  I’m trying, but sometimes I forget.

DAMMIT.  Like right now!  Hang on… have to take a few pills.

Seriously.  I need to set a phone alarm or something… Anyway, I’ve been working on being better about that.  There are certain supplements that should be taken certain times in a day, and I try to make sure I’m doing that.  I fail sometimes, and that’s okay.

I’ve managed to gain some weight, which is nice.  Not a whole lot, just a few pounds, but it’s making a difference that I can see and feel.  I know part of that is due to some help on McStabby’s part, but part of it is because I’ve been less strict with my diet in the past two months.

I’m no longer restricting any gluten, and I’ve added dairy back in, in a big way.  I would like to eventually get most dairy out of my diet altogether, but for now, the added fat from raw, organic whole milk, cheeses, and yogurt is really good for me.  I switched to Irish butter, organic and grass-fed, a while back, and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m using coconut oil whenever possible as well, so there are plenty of healthy fats being consumed.

As for gluten, while I was avoiding it, I didn’t notice much – if any – changes.  I am clearly not intolerant in any way, and I figure as long as I’m doing my best to pursue organic, non-GMO sources, it’s a good thing for me (and my weight).

I’ve been holding my own with sugar-consumption, too.  I do still have a bit of chocolate here and there, and I put honey in my chai in the morning.  I’ll even have a (organic cane sugar, no-HFCS) orange pop now and then.  It’s not so bad, really.

So, honestly, that’s about it.  I’ll update again soon on the changes I’m making in my TCM treatment, but other than that, I’m just here… maintaining.  I hope you are all doing the same, staying warm if it’s winter where you are (and staying cool if you’re Down Under!), and enjoying life for all the quirks and oddities it throws your way.

Take care, friends.  🙂

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Oh, one last thing:  When I was Googling earlier, I came across this animation completely by mistake, and I found it fascinating.  So here.  Enjoy, and maybe learn something today, especially since this blog post was more word-dump than informational or entertaining.  😉

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Five Whole Years…

Five years ago today,

I took a new name, a new life, and became part of something bigger than myself.

Half a decade of ups and downs,

big changes and small ones,

new homes, new jobs, new facial hair (ha),

and I’m still excited to start every single day with my best friend and co-conspirator.

Dearest husband,

I love you, and cannot wait to see what adventures await us in the next five years.

All my love,

Tracy

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Thirty-Three

Howdy, friends!

I know it’s been quiet around here (all of my recent posts seem to begin with some incarnation of those same words, I knooooow…), but I honestly just don’t have a whole heck of a lot going on right now!

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Since the last time I posted, there’s been a development.

I’ve AGED.

GAH!

Another year older, another year wiser smart-assier, I guess.  The thing about birthdays is that they used to be fun for me, a reason to celebrate.

Recently though, each birthday inches me closer to our wedding anniversary later in the month, which just reminds me that it’s getting closer and closer to that FIVE YEAR mark of trying, and failing, to build a family.

I want to point out that while I am feeling physically great lately, and have so much faith in the TCM treatments I’m receiving, there’s only so much confidence can handle before it starts to falter under the crushing weight of statistics and odds…

I guess I wouldn’t really care about getting older if it were just gray hairs and wrinkles I had to deal with, but each birthday I think about my poor, sad, aging eggs, and I wish on whatever birthday cake, pie, cupcake, or plate of bacon that they can just hang in there for ONE MORE YEAR.

Honestly, I just need them to feel all rejuvenated like they’ve been at the egg spa for the past few months, which is how I justify spending out of pocket for acupuncture treatments and gobs of Chinese herbs…  Those pampered bitches probably feel like some desperate housewives up in here, but it’s time for them to earn their keep!

Anyway, I know that thirty-three is not the end of the reproductive road, and as Doctor McStabby keeps telling me, I have time on my side.  At least part of me believes him, but the other, darker side of my subconscious thinks that I started this journey at age twenty-eight, basically on the later end of the average woman’s reproductive prime.  Now I’ve reached the final stretch…

Thirty-five is the point at which you start dipping your toes into the “advanced maternal age” pool.  If we’re looking at odds here, they get lower and lower with each year that goes by, and the more I age, the less chance I have at a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Sometimes it feels pretty bleak to think about the uphill battle I feel I’m fighting.  Sometimes it all feels like too much, as I see childless friends of ours living their lives to the fullest.  Sometimes that seems like maybe not such a bad life…

And then other times I see my friends who had kids when they planned to, friends whose reproductive capacities haven’t dictated the terms of every month of their life, and those friends are seeing their offspring off to school every day, working on their careers and their social lives, and generally just living a whole, full family life.

This is what I see all around me, and I feel like I’m in such a rut.  The worst part is that I feel like I’ve taken people down with me.  The poor husband, our families, all of our friends.  We’re in that awkward married couple tween phase where we’re not quite newlyweds but we’re not quite parents either.

And we’ve been in that awkward place for almost five years.

That shit gets old real fast, yo.  And not just for us, I’m sure.

Some days I wonder what we would even be talking about if we weren’t on this rabid pursuit of parenthood.  What if we had decided that we didn’t need to have kids?  What would we be doing now?  Traveling?  Climbing corporate ladders?  Spending every last dime on making sure our house is outfitted with the very newest of every Apple product on the market?

Maybe.  Except the Apple part… We’re Droid folks.

And what if we had managed to have a family right away?  Would we too be shuffling a kindergartener off to soccer and ballet and whatever else it is that the kids practice today?  Would we be potty-training and watching Yo Gabba Gabba and child-proofing our cabinets?  Would we spend that precious after-work time helping with homework and making a family dinner rather than cooking meals for two whilst watching Jeopardy in our sweatpants?

Maybe.  Probably.

But that’s the wicked What If’s leaking in… There’s no sense in going there, as it only leads to heartache and regret, neither of which are conducive to fat, happy, relaxed, and mature (but not too mature) eggs.

I suppose the best I can do is try to be happy with the life we’ve made for ourselves while living day to day on this seemingly never-ending path.

And by day to day, I obviously mean in two week increments.

*****

If you’ve been trying, failing, and living with infertility for some time, what are some of the “infertility milestones” you’ve reached? 

How have you dealt with them?  And have they caused you to reconsider your path?

At what point do you just say “Stop.  This is far enough.  It’s time to go back…”?

I’m not there yet, but I can see it in the distance. 

There’s light at the end of this tunnel, but these days I’m not entirely sure it’s the light of a resolved infertility journey, or the light of accepting a childless life.

Where are you in your journey?

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Acu-Pros vs. Acu-Cons

People often ask me how being treated with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from being treated in an OB or RE’s office… I usually respond by muttering something snarky about the amount of needle pokes, but truthfully, there are a lot of differences!

I’ve been thinking about and adding to this list for a while now, and I hope it helps someone who is just getting started on their infertility journey and is wondering what path to take, or someone who has been on their path for some time now, and feels that they need a change of direction.

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Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  The Good

Little to NO blood work with TCM vs. Lab blood draws 3-5 times per Western cycle

Acu appointments are as relaxing as lying on a warm massage table with soft music playing while taking a little nap vs. Stressful and sometimes humiliating “get in the stirrups for Dr. Dildocam” RE appointments

TCM practitioners practice open, honest communication vs. Doctors and nurses who sometimes hold your lab results hostage until you blow a gasket over the phone

No nasty drug reactions with TCM or acupuncture vs. Western meds that can cause hot flashes, nausea, headaches, and other even nastier side-effects like OHSS

Naturally guide your body to better all-around health vs. Forcing your body into submission with synthetic hormones

Less risk of multiple births vs. Some Western meds and treatments where multiple birth outcomes are commonplace, risking the health of mom and babies

Acu and TCM influence you to clean up your diet vs. Western meds which make you emotional, irrational, and generally like a narcoleptic T-Rex, eating everything terrible in its path.  And then napping.

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Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  The Bad

Acupuncture and TCM are often not covered by insurance policies, forcing out of pocket costs vs. Infertility treatments with an RE, which are sometimes covered up to a certain point

Acu and TCM require patience, and seeing results can take 3 to 6 months with treatment vs. Western meds and in-office monitoring, which offer immediate gratification (and delicious lab results to obsess over!)

Acu appointments may happen as much as once or twice per week for the treatment period vs. RE monitoring which typically lumps the bulk of the appointments into the beginning of the cycle

Acupuncture and herbs can only do so much for someone with a severe case of whatever-is-causing-your-infertility vs. Western medicine’s ability to diagnose and treat – sometimes surgically correct – issues which Eastern medicine just can’t combat effectively

I’m not gonna lie:  herbs taste gross when brewed as a tea, but some come in capsule form vs. Western meds which mostly come in pill form… Or as injections and suppositories, which are also not fun…

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Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  Your Choice

I realize that I threw a lot at you there, but it really comes down to this:

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been around for thousands of years.  They are tried and proven effective for many, many situations and different types of people – especially for fertility.

While TCM can’t be expected to treat everything under the sun, the success rates for fertility, while hard to pinpoint due to erratic research information, are there.  There are no (or very few) side-effects, you’re healthier and less stressed while you’re committed to the program, which helps to enrich your life in general, not just in the baby-makin’ department.

Western medicine is nothing short of a modern miracle with its ability to combine egg and sperm in a petri dish, and create life outside of the womb.  There’s no substitute for what doctors and nurses can do in labs, but Western medicine also isn’t your only option.  Your Ob-Gyn may not know what to do with you beyond a few cycles of Clomid, but that’s no reason not to educate yourself on the choices you have for your body and reproductive future.

If you have Unexplained Infertility, PCOS, or Endometriosis (and other fun diagnoses!) and are tired of feeling hormonal, defeated, and anxious, then Acu and TCM may be worth looking into.

If you’re struggling with a severe diagnosis, a physical abnormality like fibroids or a tubal issue, or are just not capable of giving three to six months to this process, then stick with that RE.

Actually, no.

Stay with your RE, but find out if they will allow you to solicit the help of an experienced and fertility-specializing Acu/TCM practitioner during your Western treatments.

I truly believe that everyone can benefit from at least some aspect of this process, whether it’s the dietary and lifestyle changes, the herbs and supplements, or the acupuncture-induced zen relaxation.

I don’t think I’ve met one person who has seen an Acupuncturist for fertility that has regretted their pursuit of the Eastern path, whether it worked for them directly, indirectly, or perhaps not at all.

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Is there anything that any of you might add to these lists?

What has been your experience with Acu/TCM vs. Western medicine?

Who has a success story – with either treatment option – or both! – that they can share to encourage others?

Who wants me to stop asking questions and just end this post already?  😀

***

…Fine.  You win.

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

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The Unrelenting Optimist

If there’s one thing infertility has taken from me, it’s been my optimism from time to time.

Sometimes it’s been gone longer than others…

I try to keep a positive attitude, even when things are darkest, but it’s just not always possible.  There are times that I succumb to the darkness, and let myself think about all the terrifying what-ifs.

What if I’ve gone through all of this only to be unsuccessful in the end?

What if I’ve wasted five whole years on a process that will never work?

What if I’ve wasted time, money, and resources pursuing something that will never yield the results I want?

What if I’ve put relationships to the test unnecessarily?

What if I never get pregnant?

What if I never have a child?

What if this has all been for naught?

I used to be the ultimate optimist.  Sure, I was realistic about my expectations, but I could find the bright side of any situation.

There have been days in the past few years where I’ve struggled with that.

There have been days where I haven’t even had the energy or will to struggle.  There have been plenty of times where I’ve just allowed myself to wallow in self-pity and pessimism.

Those days, though I know I needed to experience them, are behind me.

I have my optimism back.

The sun is shining for me again, even when it’s a cold, rainy October day.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but at some point in the past few months, I’ve found that hopeful spirit once again.  I can smile and the gesture reaches my eyes.  I believe the positive platitudes that come out of my mouth.  I can encourage others and truly mean what I say about having a sense of hopefulness for the future.

Maybe my internal optimist was never gone… Maybe she just took a backseat for a while.  I can’t blame her; I spent a lot of time beating her down when life wasn’t going my way.  Perhaps she just left me to my own devices while she gathered her strength.

Whatever the case may be, I feel like I’m finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel.  Closed doors lead to open windows again.  Things are looking up!

For the first time in a long time, I’ve started allowing myself to consider other, happier what-ifs…

What if this treatment path is the one thing that works for me?

What if my last period was my last period?

What if I’m pregnant by Christmas?

What if I get to share the big news with my family over the holidays?

What if I have a baby by this time next year?

What if I get to attend my own baby shower instead of everyone else’s for a change?

What if I get to mother a child of my own?

What if I actually get to realize my dreams?

I have no way of knowing what the future of my life – or even this cycle – holds for me, but for the first time in months, years, I’m okay with that.

I don’t need to know what’s coming, because I know that no matter what it is, I can handle it.

More than that, though…

I can live through it.

I can learn from it.

I can grieve the past and enjoy the present.

I can have hope in the future.

I can take the bad with the good, and know without doubt that my positivity and my good humor will never abandon me.

I am the unrelenting optimist, and I’ve got my sunny disposition back.

Finally.  🙂

 

Status

This and That.

Hi folks.

I don’t really have anything groundbreaking to say, or any amazing news to share, but I wanted to at least reach out and let you all know that I’m still here.

Life is good.  I’m spending my weekends farmers’ marketing and cooking yummy foods, and I spent all day yesterday in a 24-hour cheat cycle that included all sorts of sweets and fried foods, and watching a tv show that’s been off the air for ten years and only produced one season.  I love it.  And I’m going to probably cry when it’s over, because I will know that it’s never coming back.

I am obviously a glutton for punishment.

So I have that going for me.

Aside from that, the husband is changing shifts this week, so there will be a whole new level of getting-used-to going on in our house for the next couple of weeks.  He works in the auto industry, and his shift rotates a few times per year.  Prior to this week, he was working a combination of day and night shifts, and working Friday morning through Monday night.

Once the switch takes effect, he will be working Tuesday night through Friday night; it will be nice to have him home Saturday and Sunday, even if he does need to sleep half of Saturday…

The worst part of this particular schedule change, however, is that he will be gone for work when I get home at 5:30pm each day, and won’t be home again until probably 6am or so the next morning while I’m getting ready to leave for work.  This effectively means that four days a week, I won’t see the husband for more than an hour in the early morning while he’s dragging himself in the door, and I’m rushing myself out.

This makes the timing of certain *ahem* intimate activities a little difficult.

It’s not the first time he’s worked this shift, though, so we’ll manage.  Mornings during ovulation might just get a little… interesting.

If ya know what I mean.

And I’m bettin’ ya do.

Hmm… What else is new, you ask?

Not much, to be honest.  I’m just living the dream over here, taking my vitamins and herbs at the required times and in the proper amounts, trying to maintain control over my diet in the face of the new Chick-Fil-A that’s opening up a block from my office, and generally just attempting to stay as relaxed as possible.

There are a few things I’ve been mulling over in my head when I think about how I can remove certain stressors.  I’m not sure what will come of these thoughts, but I know I have some stress triggers, and I know I’ve strayed from some things that I feel might help me cope better.

First is church.  I grew up in the church, and grew away from it as an adult.  Partially because logistically I was far away from where I felt comfortable, and partially because I didn’t have much in the way of in-house support (read: the husband doesn’t want to/often can’t attend services on Sundays).  So these days, I’m not a parishioner, but I’m still a believer.  I have my own spirituality, but sometimes I feel like that’s not enough.  It might be time to start seriously making an effort to get back into the fold… Even if it’s just me.

Next on the list is money.  Money stresses everyone out, but I had some major issues with identity theft years ago, and that junk still pops up to haunt me today.  I’ve been working to resolve as much as possible, but it just takes so much time, and of course that time is almost always required to be during business hours.  When I work.  So, boo.  I think it might be time to crank up the professional help on this bad boy, and get this monkey off my back once and for all.

Another thing my life lacks is time spent in nature.  Maybe I just need to go to a park once in a while, but I just don’t know this area well enough.  Since moving in with the husband, what… seven years ago?  Jeez!  Anyway, since then, I’ve lived in the city or suburbs.  Even now, our house is right smack in the middle of the city, in a nice little subdivision.  We have a yard with a garden, lots of squirrels and birds, but it’s not exactly nature.

I grew up in the woods.  No, seriously.  WOODS.  It was amazing.  I was a weird kid with giant glasses and terminal skinny awkwardness (thank goodness I grew out of ONE of those things…), and I was always building forts and bringing home little forest critters, much to the dismay of my parents I’m sure.  I used to know the woods back home like the back of my hand.  I knew where every mossy rock was, and where wild asparagus grew.  I could climb the creepy overgrown apple trees, and pick my way through the wild raspberry bushes to find my own snacks.  I lived for the time of year when the walnuts fell, both because I loved helping to collect them for grandma’s root cellar, and because I loved the tangy, spicy scent of the green skin that surrounds the nutshell.

I miss nature.  I miss following deer paths and sitting in the sun so quietly that a fox wanders by.  I need to get back to that, somehow.  Maybe nature IS my church.  Maybe I can heal myself in more ways than I know just by getting back to my roots.

Ha, roots… see what I did there?  Nature jokes.  😉

This all leads me back to another thought I’ve had lately.

Therapy.

Do I need therapy?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

I don’t often feel like I do, but maybe it would help me cope better with stress.  I’ve never felt particularly manic or crazed when I’m stressed, and I never feel like it’s something I can’t handle, but then again… maybe I need help.  I am learning that I internalize my stress, which is why I get sick every time I am in a particularly stressful situation.  Like my wedding day… sick all day.  Lovely time, that.

Maybe therapy would help me have a better understanding of what I can do to deal with my stress rather than pushing it down so that it infects my whole system.

Maybe.  We’ll see.

So that’s where I’m at.  Still here, still plodding on with my non-treatment “treatment” of acupuncture and herbs, and still trying to figure out who I am and what I’m doing with my life.

It’s not a terrible place to be, but I certainly hope to find my way out of this maze one day…

 

I hope you all have a fantastic week, and may the coming days bring you some beautiful fall weather!

And cheesecake.  I hope you all also getchasum cheesecake.

Mmmm.

 

 

 

Status

One Healthy Month

Sunday, September 29th, 2013.  CD30, 11DPO.

 

Hello, my friends.  🙂

I know it’s been quiet here, and I do feel a little badly about that.

I mean, it’s not like I think there’s anyone out there in Reader-land going “Oh sweet tap-dancin’ Jesus, what’s going on with Tracy??  I haven’t heard any TMI from her in AGES!  I hope everything’s okay!”

Well, in case there really is anyone thinking that, I’m here to reassure you, my one worrisome reader, that yes.  All is well here.

I also feel a little bad for the off-the-radar-ness of late, because I know that sometimes when mouthy infertility bloggers get quiet, it’s because they are harboring a fertile little secret.

Well, I’m also here to reassure you all that NO, I am not harboring any kind of alien creature in the depths of my pelvis.

As a matter of fact, I’m expecting good ol’ Aunt Flo to show up any day now.  There is one hundred and eleventy-nine percent chance that I am not pregnant, so please don’t be suspicious of my lack of communication…

However, let it never be said that I fail to update my loyal readership, and in that spirit, please enjoy the following review of the past month of acupuncture, TCM, and diet and lifestyle changes made per The Infertility Cure:

1.  I feel… better.  My digestion seems to be improved, and I attribute that to eliminating certain things like dairy, gluten, and sugar.  I’m also less bloated, less fatigued, and I wake up feeling more rested.

2.  I’m allowing myself to cheat.  As a rule, I don’t eat the above mentioned items, but I do allow myself to have a little of each thing now and then.  I’ve also taken to having the occasional glass of wine or hard cider (gluten-free, of course!) once in a while.  Nothing extreme, but a little chocolate after dinner won’t ruin all the progress I’ve made so far.

3.  I’m getting my life back.  I really do feel like even though I’ve undertaken some somewhat strict dietary and lifestyle changes, these adjustments are becoming part of my life, and not ruling it.  I’m no longer limited by having to work around appointments for blood work or ultrasounds constantly, and I actually enjoy my weekly acupuncture treatments.  I am able to see friends, and the husband and I can go out and do things when we want to, without having to plan around medications or appointments.

4.  I’m less obsessive.  This one I feel is the most remarkable difference, and one that can’t be contributed to anything but some sort of emotional shift within myself.  I did slip a bit and have been recording my temps again, rather than just letting Dr. McStabby have control over those, but I think I needed the buffer month to get used to the idea of letting it go.  I still write the temps down to bring to him, so it’s really hard for me not to notice a shift after having done this for so long.  I don’t spend all day submitting queries to Dr. Google, and I feel like I have more faith in the process than I ever have before.

More importantly, I have more faith in my body than ever before.  I feel like the changes that I’m making, and the good fuel I’m putting in every day, are really going to make a difference in the output I experience.  I’m already seeing those differences in my digestion and my energy levels, and I think it’s only a matter of time before other systems start to fall in line.  The hormonal system is the one that’s been impacted the most by years of general neglect and abuse, and so it only reasons that it will take the longest to come around.  I know it will, though.

5.  I’m focusing outward for a change.  For the past five years, I’ve been so focused on every little twinge or poke inside of myself, that it became consistently  harder to really have room for anything going on around me that didn’t have directly to do with my reproductive system.  That’s a fail as a wife, a kid, a friend, and as a person.  There’s so much going on in the world today that I can be a part of, and instead I’ve chosen to just focus on my empty uterus for so long.  I want to change that, and I’m trying to make a concerted effort every day.

One thing I’m doing is working with my amazing friend who had an idea to donate to RESOLVE.  You can read my previous post for details, but the gist of it is that if you buy some pretty goodies, all proceeds will be donated to supporting women with infertility.  That’s a direct impact.  I’m part of it, and you can be too.  Simple as that.

I’m also trying to be more involved with the people in my life.  It can be hard not to take things personally sometimes, and depending on your situation, you may feel a sense of personal betrayal when someone else, just living their life, does something you can’t do.

My coworker got a promotion, and I didn’t; dubya-tee-eff, mate?  Why not me??  My friend is pregnant – again – and I can’t even have ONE baby!  I feel so left out!!  My whole Facebook page is covered with pictures of my friends’ 5k races, and I’m told not to do too much because it’s not healthy for me to lose weight!  Why can’t I do what normal people my age are doing??

That kind of attitude has been getting me exactly nowhere but miserable for years.

No more.  I’m done.

Life is short, and if you have good people in it, then you’re one of the lucky ones.  Remember that they are in your life by choice, too.

Didn’t get a promotion?  Oh well.  Did you really want that particular job anyway?  Maybe there’s something else you’d rather be doing… maybe you should pitch your ideas to someone who can help you make a big difference, rather than take a tiny stair-step to middle management hell… Maybe something better is in store, and maybe you can make a difference for all of your coworkers by stepping up and saying something.

Not pregnant – again?  Boo-frickety-hoo.  It’s not like this is your first infertile rodeo, sister.  Get back up on that horse like you’ve done month after month for years.  And in the meantime, maybe that friend with two kids really needs some support, but is afraid to ask for it – especially from you.  You make that mommy a casserole, put on your big girl panties, and go hold that baby while she takes her first shower in a week.  You can cry when you get home, but it’s better to have been a friend have something to feel good about, than to have stayed at home and wallowed in your self-pity.  Plus, you now have leftover casserole.  WIN.

Can’t run a 5k?  Dude, really?  Are you sad about this?  Who likes to get sweaty?  Plus there’s the risk of thigh-friction-burn… Ew.  Instead, volunteer to pass out water to the runners, and after the race, you can take your runner-friends to get cheesecake.  You can always do some low-impact yoga when you get home, and how you’ve not only donated your time, been able to hang with friends while doing it, AND had cheesecake, but you can feel good about yourself, too.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve come to this insane epiphany that life isn’t revolving around ME, oddly enough.  Nor my uterus.  Weird, right?

I’m doing more, giving more, and getting more than ever, just by moving my focus outward.  I highly suggest giving it a try.  🙂

So anyway, that’s me.  It’s been quiet here, but only because I’ve been keeping busy with things that maybe have less to do with my reproductive system, and to be honest, it’s felt good.

Whenever Auntie shows up, that will conclude the first full cycle of TCM I’ve had so far, and to be honest, I feel better in so many ways.  I feel good about my life, and about those in it – you included – and while life may take me away from blogging from time to time, it’s really a healthy step for me.

Despite my occasional absence here, I do still read, listen, and observe.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers, and though I’m trying to keep my own fertility-challenged-ness off my radar, your struggles are always on my mind and in my heart.

Thank you all for stopping by, checking in, and thinking of me, too!

I shall love you all forever and always, and if the zombie apocalypse truly does occur, you can all come hide in my basement for at least the first week.  When the canned goods run out, though, all bets are off.  🙂

Have a fantastic week, my friends!

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