Fertility Journey

Should we go… to the Doctor?

I have spoken to a lot of women, and I can vouch for Jake and myself. It was a struggle to make the decision to go to the fertility Doctor the first time. I felt as though I was giving up hope… it was putting an end to the “natural pregnancy” excitement. “Why couldn’t it just happen naturally for us?” “Why is there something WRONG with me, or him?” There was a sincere fear of finding out “who” was the reason for the infertility – and I think those are completely natural thoughts. “It is such a HUGE expense.” – in reality, it may not be.

Jake and I had to work through those thoughts – and it took a while. We made the decision together that even if we found out whose body was not allowing pregnancy, that we would NOT blame each other or ourselves. Trust me, this is hard to follow (especially when blaming yourself) – but it’s so worth it. We knew there were a few options – male factor, female factor, or unexplained. One thing for sure – we were going to get some “answers”.

I am thankful he is an encourager, and loves me through all of the emotions, thoughts, and fear. We needed peace of mind to know what was going on with our bodies.

Pursue your dreams of being parents:

If this is something you are struggling with, I encourage you to pursue answers – regardless of how long that process takes. For some, it may be simple – for others it may be more complex – and for a few it may be “unexplained”.

Steps:

  1. Call your insurance – see what they cover for fertility, how long you need to have been trying to conceive for, and ask if they require a referral (many do). Ours covered all the diagnostic parts of the process, some even cover IVF if you need to go that route in the future.
  2. Set up a time to meet with a local fertility Doctor – do a little research to find the right one for you. We are blessed to have found a truly caring Doctor – who understands our desire to be as natural as possible. Find one that fits your needs/desires.
  3. GO – sometimes this is the hardest step. Just go, don’t let the fears hold you back from pursuing your dreams.
  4. Find some individuals to support you emotionally through this process outside of just your spouse. Having a few core friends/family members to love you, encourage you, and pray for you is so valuable.

Remember, you are not alone.

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Fertility Journey

..and so we wait

Monday, January 25, 2017: 12:58pm

This waiting period is awful. Tomorrow morning could not come soon enough – and then even a few more hours wait until I’ll receive any news. Thankful for the prayers and to those who have reached out to me this past week. There are not enough distractions in the world to keep me distracted long enough from this anticipation. Each and every moment of down time allows my heart to yearn, hopeful to take that time to pray instead of worry.

Jake, you are my rock. Thank you for all that you’ve done, all that you are doing, and all you will do for us and our future family – whatever the Lords leads our family to look like. You WILL be an amazing Daddy some day,

We have hope, and are praying for a miracle.

 

Tuesday, January 26, 2017: 9:33am

Blood was drawn, so now we wait. I should know by aound 2:30pm today.

While I was there I ran in to a dear friend, continuing to pray for you and your sweet miracle! (You know who you are!) 💜 Comforting to know others are going through this with you, even if you’d love for no one else to experience this. You are strong, so excited for you guys and your next step!

Now, off to keep myself occupied!

Tuesday, January 26, 2017: 10:53am

 

Passing time at my favorite coffee shop!

Holding back tears while reading this book. Only through the Coauthor’s Note and Introduction so far… wow!
If he can get through THAT, I can get through THIS!

Your outpouring of love and prayers has been evident today. THANK YOU!

 

Fertility Journey

Merry Christmas

Wishing each of you a VERY Merry Christmas. May you find comfort and joy in the time spent with your family. Cherish every moment together, and hug your little ones a little tighter. Be encouraged by their excitement Christmas morning while waiting to open their presents. Be PRESENT in each moment – capture the love and joy in your memories.

Prayers for our hearts and emotions right now would be a blessing. This will be our last family Christmas (on Shelly’s side) without aneice/nephew – bitter sweet the reminder of my brother and sister-in-law expecting a little one. Joyous for them, but my heart aches deeper – an active reminder of our vacancy. Many have asked how we’re doing with it – and I truly don’t have a way to describe the juxtaposition of joy and saddness.

I pray for each of you who have reached out to me to share your struggle of infertility. I love you, and we WILL get through this. Thankful to lean on others when we need encouragement and to know you’re not in this alone as a couple – but we don’t wish this heartache on anyone. You are in our hearts!

* Photo: Shelly and Santa Jake! He’s a good sport each year at the Chiropractic office I work at – what a joy to see him with each of the children (and adults). *

Fertility Journey

Walmart Run-in!

I don’t think my heart could be any fuller in moments like these:

I made a “Walmart run” today (Wednesday, Dec. 14th, 2016) – I felt the need to go there to buy gifts for my youth girls (Jake and I are youth leaders at Calvary Church). I was planning to go to Target, but I am so glad I was drawn here today.

When I got close to the checkout lines I was on the phone with one of my beautiful cousins (if she wouldn’t have called, I would have already checked out) when along came one of our best friend couples and their five sweet children! I cannot even begin to explain how much this family means to us! They are prayer warriors, encouragers, friends, supporters and genuine listeners. The excitement these children get when they see “Shake & Jelly” is so incredibly good for my soul. Today was a huge blessing to get hugs, hi’s, and kisses! Sweet little Lily reached out for me to hold her. Yup, I was quickly melted in to a puddle – a puddle of joy and love. Asher shared how excited he was to get a balloon pump for Christmas, Noah & Malachi sweetly smiled and chatted, and little Gracee slept in the car seat all snug. My heart grew a million times bigger in that moment.

The children in our lives – through family, friends, and patients – really have no idea how much the hugs, smiles, and excitement with seeing us really help in our healing process through this journey. If only they could truly know how much we love them!

We both would love the love of a child of our own, but for now – we’ll take glimpses of love from other little ones.

This journey is difficult, but God has placed very dear friends in our lives – and we are thankful!

* I attached a photo of one of my favorite ornaments. This was before the two little girls came along! *

Fertility Journey

Fertility Appointment – 12.8.16

We had our appointment with the Fertility Doctor today. Many of you reached out to us through texts and calls – we felt the love!

(Long post, I apologize in advance.)

Jake took a half-day from teaching today, and was able to be home by 11:40am – so we took advantage of the time together and went to my favorite restaurant for lunch – DJ’s A Taste of the 50’s! (They have Gluten Free buns!!!!)

We are very thankful for Dr. Sobel – thankful for his detailed explanations, genuine care, great bed-side manors, and making us feel comfortable (… and answering all of our questions – a few times if needed). He also understands that we want to stay as natural through this process as possible.

SUPPLEMENTS: I took all the supplements in to let him see everything I am currently on. He was pleased with Dr. Sheehan‘s recommendations, and was proud of me for seeking a natural way of health with Nutrition and Chiropractic (thanks Dr. Tai Scelfo!).

We had about a 30-minute consultation with him – updating current information and recapping past tests/findings. The last time we were in their office was February of 2014 – close to 3 years ago. Since it has been so long, he is wanted to run a few more tests again:
– Bloodwork/urine sample for both of us. Jake will be able to do his at any time, while I have to wait until a certain point in my next cycle (too far in to this one). Specifically checking the level of my eggs (Ovarian Reserve), the quality of my eggs, Thyroid levels, as well as my Vitamin D levels.
– Jake will be having another semen analysis, just to be sure everything is functioning correctly.
– HSG again (yippeee!) between days 5-12 of my next cycle. This is a much easier process then the last time (extremely painful for me), and will be able to be done in their office rather than having to go all the way to Paoli, PA. This procedure is done to confirm whether the Fallopian Tubes are unblocked or blocked.
– Shelly will also have a Saline Sonogram done. This procedure is to check the uterine walls.
– He will be trying me on a less invasive drug (I did not previously do well on Chlomid). Our plan is to not take this for any longer than absolutely needed. They do need to use this for the testing portion within my next cycle in combination with ultrasounds.

We have chosen not to have any genetic testing done on either of us. Something neither of us feels is necessary, and does not effect whether or not we conceive.

What was done today: ULTRASOUND
– I previously had a slightly heart-shaped uterus, which could cause a miscarriage if we ever conceived. He removed the septum that causes this a few years back during a Hysteroscopy done in Paoli. Dr. Sobel said it looked great today! PRAISE!
– 7 Follicles (“egg banks”) on left ovary and 7 on right ovary.
– Different cyst than the last ultrasound he did a few years back, which is a good sign. It means the other one went away, and this one does appear to be a Ovulatory Cyst – you need these to conceive!
– Overall, he was pleased with the ultrasound.

* * * * * *

Some of you have asked about costs:
– Most of what was mentioned above will be covered by insurance after our deductible is met – because this is all diagnostic. PRAISE!
– After the diagnostic tests there will be other expenses. This is why we are looking in to applying for those grants to help us along the way. Our DREAM is to give back to these organizations in the future to help others.
– If we have to do another round of that medication and ultrasounds it will be: $1000 for each round.
– IUI: $380 each time.
– IVF (In-Vitro): Did not get exact numbers at this point, praying we do not need to seek this route. (Especially with all the drugs involved.)

*He did mention that the fact that we have not conceived over a 5-year period it may be that IVF is in the future for us, but he is hopeful we will not need it. However, prepare ourselves emotionally for that.

Thankful for some clarity of what to do next.

Continuing my regular care with Chiropractic & Nutrition. We are still hoping to add Acupuncture (high success rates with infertility) to our wellness plan soon!

Fertility Journey

“No Struggle, No Strength”

The struggle has been REAL and apparent in our lives these past years. Some days I wonder how we’ll get through another hour, day, week, month, year of this. It is so taxing on your mind, body, and heart (on my mind constantly). Thankful the Lord is holding us up through all of this because I don’t know how anyone could get through this without Him. I am often reminded of the “Footprints In The Sand” poem, and am blessed and comforted in knowing He’s got us – through each and every step.

Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year for Jake and myself, but at the same time one of our favorites. I want to buy gifts for a sweet little one, snuggle up on a cold day, pick a tree and drink hot cocoa to make memories, tell the story of Jesus, hear the excited footsteps Christmas morning, take family photos, and so much more. I cannot even begin to truly explain my heart’s desires. At the same time, we love Christmas together – Enjoying time snuggling up and watching movies together while sipping on tea/coffee… Sledding when it snows enough & making snowmen… and for those moments I choose to be THANKFUL.

To Jake, thank you! My heart is comforted by you with the hugs, laughter, snuggles, back massages (constantly!), cleaning & making meals when I’m not ‘feeling well’ emotionally, doing the laundry, working full-time… and while doing all of the above you’re still building our business. THANK YOU for loving me, supporting me, and caring for me. I love you so much.

To our Family, thank you! We are blessed with a family that loves us and supports us! We value time spent playing games together – helps get our minds off of the struggles.

To our Friends, THANK YOU! You have no ‘requirements’ to love us and support us, but you do! There are a few of you who check in with me on a regular basis… you don’t judge us for our hurt/pain, and love us through all of it! You are very near and dear to our hearts (as well as your sweet little families)!