Anatomy of Hope

>> Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am not sure what to say or exactly how I feel, but for some reason I just felt like writing it down could help me put it all together. 

 Our appointment with the new urologist is Friday. All week I have felt overcome with emotions. I am hopeful that this new doctor will provide answers and that he will somehow give us a chance at conceiving without IUI or IVF. Then I back up and remind myself that there are rarely easy fixes when it comes to prostate health and I should not get to excited, only to be let down again. I hate how this journey of infertility makes me so guarded when it comes to being hopeful. 

Last week I checked out a book on tape "The Anatomy of Hope; how people prevail in the face of illness". It is written by an oncologist/hematologist and it gives anecdotal accounts of patients who are fighting cancer either with or without hope of recovery/remission. It also gives great insight into Dr. Groopman's strategies for instilling hope in his patients, since he has found hope is crucial for success. 
I love it so far. 
I have been listening in the car during the day and I find myself sitting outside of my appointments for 5 or 10 minutes, trying to get to a stopping point. I love it for the insights it provides me when dealing with my terminally ill patients and I love it for how it relates to our ongoing attempts to prevail through infertility. Today, I stopped with a quote about hope that struck me in my core...

"Hope can arrive only when you can recognize that there are real options and you have genuine choices. Hope can flourish only when you believe that what you do can make a difference. That your actions can bring about a future, different from the present. To have hope then, is to acquire a belief in your ability to have some control over your circumstances. You are no longer entirely at the mercy of forces outside yourself."

I feel taken aback again, just my writing down those words. I constantly feel lost and overwhelmed by those forces outside of myself. I lose hope because I feel like nothing we do has made a difference. Not our attempts to eat healthier, forgo adult beverages, or stay out of hot tubs. Even our scheduling of love making, my hours of research, or the multiple probes and prods that we pay to receive. Nothing I do feels like it will bring about a different future...until now. 

I hesitantly admit that I am hopeful that this step, this venture to find a specialist 3 hours away, could maybe, possibly, hopefully, result in a future different from the present. 

If I am truly honest I want it to result in a baby. 

But as this week drags on, I am realizing that maybe God's plan will not be for this urologist to find a magical way for Kev to get me pregnant. Maybe it will just be the first step of me taking control of our future. The beginning of me realizing that we have genuine choices...choices about what doctor we see, choices about how we more forward from here, just genuine choices. Maybe I can let my guard down and let hope in, not because my hope may not be shaken with every bit of disappointing news we hear, because it will; but maybe I can let hope in so that it will slowly start to grow, as we slowly start to take control of our circumstances. Maybe my hope will shift from strictly having hope that we will have our own child... into hope that the choices we make will lead us to a life with children that complete us. 

Not sure how this will all work out, but if nothing else I am praying that I can let my guard down a little and find a way to let hope flourish.



Letting the Cat Out...

>> Monday, July 18, 2011

So this weekend started out harder than I expected. We attended my parent's church fish fry which is an annual event filled with many people who have know me "since I was 'this' tall". Although this is usually a fun time to run into people we haven't seen in ages, this year it just felt hard. My sister's each brought their daughters, both almost 2 years old and born 3 weeks apart. The girls danced and entertained the crowds and I played with them the way I do every time I get the chance!

~As a side note, I must add that being around these girls has never been that hard for me. I always think that although they may not be my children, they are children that I will know and love for their entire lives. I guess I just have always been able to separate my feelings and value the relationship I have with these kids. I have never wanted my bitterness about my infertility to affect our relationship, because long after infertility I will love and support these children. 

Anyway, I enjoyed playing with the girls but as you can expect the hurtful part of the night came from those who don't mean to be hurtful. First, my second grade teacher walked up and asked if one of the two girls were mine? I laughed and explained our relationship and she moved on. It wasn't pleasant to have to be reminded that we do not have children, however the sting was small.

Then came a bigger blow. I overhear my father talking to a older lady about all of his grandchildren. She asked about the girls and then asked about "my children"? He replied that we had no children yet and the polite woman replied "well she isn't even thirty yet, so she has plenty of time". My father then laughed "I don't care how old she is, they have been married for almost 6 years and we are ready for another grandchild!"

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Just plain hurtful. As if I would not be perfectly happy to give him a grandchild. Like I wouldn't love to have our first child before I turn thirty. But it just hasn't been in God's plans yet. It hasn't been the way our family is supposed to grow....or at least that's what I reassure myself.

The rest of the night was low-key and calm. Actually, the whole weekend was. We both finished the books we had been reading, we went to the pool, and we  played cards at my sister's house. It was a calm was to unwind after many busy weeks of travel and planning for the future.

Then Sunday afternoon, we talked thru the events of Friday night. I acknowledged that I continue to open myself up to hurtful statements by not telling those around me about our struggles ie. maybe if my father knew about our infertility he would be a little more sensitive. We also talked about how Kev's parents are trying to get us to commit to a family vacation in February. We agreed that with Kev applying for new jobs, this is not the time to plan a vacation, however we also discussed how we don't feel comfortable planning a vacation when we have no idea what plans will come out of our MD appointment at the end of the month. Lastly, we talked about how all of these things point us in the direction of needing to tell our families at least the basics of our struggle with infertility. It would hopefully protect me from some of these hurtful comments and it would help Kev's parents understand where our priorities are. It also honestly just feels like the right time.

I think part of why I have never told them is because I justified that I would tell them when we were actually doing something about it. So many doctors had just said "keep trying" and the ones who hadn't were suggesting pretty significant steps ie. IVF with ICIS. I always said that before we moved forward with assisted reproduction that we would tell our families, however it seemed silly to tell them that we couldn't get prego but we weren't doing anything about it but eating healthier and having sex. Well, Kev and I agreed yesterday that even though we don't know what direction we'll go after our appointment with the new urologist, we both realize that this appt with be a turning point of some kind. Either the new MD will find something to treat and hopefully improve my hubby's health or the MD will offer no solutions, in which case we are headed back to the RE to make plans re: trying IUI vs. IVF. No matter what happens, I finally feel like we are moving forward in the process instead of just trudging along from one 2ww to the next.

So, we made plans to tell each set of parents sometime in the next few weeks. Either before or after the urology appointment depending on timing and availability. We plan to tell them as a couple, just for the sake of support. I also plan to tell both of my sisters. I will tell them separately because the dynamics of our relationships are very different plus their histories re: fertility bring different things to the table. I look forward to my sisters knowing even though I know these will be emotionally draining conversations. It just feels like the right time and I think I finally feel ready.

I'll catch up more once we finally let the cat out of the bag, until then say a prayer that people react well to our news! 




>> Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's been months since I have written and I hardly know what to say. I just haven't been feeling it. Also, I have a bad habit of hating obligations and sometimes blogging feelings like an obligation. I am not sure who I feel obligated to (especially since I have never told anyone about our blog) but it feels like a "have to" not a "want to".

Anyway, things are the same. We have taken wonderful vacations over the past few months but they are plagued by the fact that Kevan is not happy in his job and we feel guilty taking vacations when money isn't overflowing from our accounts. Still, we have enjoyed the time together and made good efforts to focus on our family...that family being he and I.

Tonight we went to the infertility support group again and it was once again a good place to speak our minds. It evoked new conversations once we got home and it helped us to feel like others were in the same boat. I know that this is a helpful place for us to go together. We are also starting to feel more connected to our peers in the group which is nice. After group I was talking to people who discussed "tweeting" as a good avenue for support. They explained that they "follows" other infertile peeps and it is a great place to express immediate frustrations and gain immediate support. Example being...

Infertile peer's tweet : "new parents enjoying their brand new baby a little too much at the coffee shop today, gonna be a tough day"

response from random follower: "girl, don't you worry, you'll get your baby!"

This exchange makes me want to start a twitter account, separate from my regular twitter, just for infertility. It would be a good place for support and it surely won't feel like an obligation is it's only 140 characters!

Finally, I must add that we have made new plans re: our infertility. I have been reading a lot and found a great book titled "The Male Biological Clock". While reading a chapter I saw signs and symptoms that match what Kevan has been experiencing (in addition to s/s of probable prostatitis and a varicocele) . They are not exact, but close, and they fall under the category of "blocked ejaculatory duct". Although I do not pretend that with one book I can diagnosis my spouse, however it did help me find renewed hope and motivation. So, I have been continuing to do more research which has led me to a MD in Knoxville who is recommended by many urology websites as a great MD for dealing with male factor infertility. My biggest hope and prayer is that he will be a doctor who is interested in treating the problem, not just a doctor who wants to help us have children. So, we have an appointment at the end of the month and maybe after this specialist I will at least feel like our concerns have been heard and addressed.

Till then, maybe look for me on twitter....@emptytummy



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A glimpse into my journey to grow my faith and my family. Each day I am trying to trust in God's plan for my life, while I struggle with my own desires for my career, my marriage, and my hope for a family.

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