Sunday, April 24, 2011

Infertility Awareness Month

April is infertility awareness month so I wanted to blog about it to promote awareness. As many of you probably know, infertility has been a part of my life over the last few years. So, the issue is very personal one.

First of all, Infertility affects more individuals than you think. In the year 2002, 7.3 Million people used infertility treatments to try to have a baby(statistic from the center for disease control). As I went through this process of fertility testing and then fertility treatments to try to get pregnant, I learned that there were many women going throught the same thing and we were all suffering in silence. I met many women through online support groups, but many of them were not telling their families and friends about their struggles. I couldn't imagine going through all of that alone and having to lie to your family and friends. However, I understood it because there is such a stigma attached to infertility.

There are expectations from the world that once you get married, you then start to have babies. I am very familiar with this expectation. My husband, Tim and I married in 2002, but we were not ready to have a family at that point in our lives. We were only 24 years old and just had some many things that we went to accomplish in our careers. Now don't misunderstand me; I do not regret for one second waiting to start a family. I was not ready at 24 emotionally and I know I would not have been able to be a good Mother if I was not ready. Anyways, Tim and I got asked all the time when we were going to have children by family, friends, strangers, the whole world. And I would just tell them that we were not ready yet, maybe when I am about 30. But I finally felt ready emotionally and had accomplished everything I wanted to in my career and also realized that I was never going to have "enough" money to have kids. So, when family and close friends would ask, I was honest and told them that we were working on starting a family. Months and months passed by and I was still not pregnant and more and more of my friends were pregnant and I was getting older. I confided in friends and some family members about our struggles and they encouraged me to go to a fertility doctor. They were all supportive and I could not imagine going through all of the ups and downs of fertility treatments without their support. So, it makes me sad that so many women suffer in silence and don't tell anyone about their struggles.

People should not have to suffer in silence. If you had a disease like diabetes or cancer, you would tell those who you were close to and ask for their support, so why not with infertility. So, I guess what I am saying is that one of your friends or family members may be struggling with this and they do not want to tell you about it because they are scared that these fertility treatments may or may not work. There are no guarantees that you will get your baby. Infertility is an emotional rollercoaster. Majority of the time, doctors have no idea why you and your spouse cannot get pregnant. Most of us fall into the "unexplained infertility" category. The doctors do testing and try to figure out what is wrong, but they are not always able to do so without doing very invasive procedures like surgery.

Tim and I fell into the unexplained category initially because everything appeared to be normal. However, three months into treatments, I had to have surgery because of severe abdominal pain and it was discovered the the cause of our infertility was endometriosis. In understandable english my tubes were blocked with over growth of tissue. It all made sense after the fact. I have had heavy periods and horrible cramps for years and years and it was due to the endometriosis. It was a relief to have a reason why I could not get pregnant. However, at the same time, I felt shame and guilt because my body was the reason that were not getting pregnant. I felt like it was my fault. This is something that many people feel whose body is not working the way that it is supposed to.

And then there is the huge financial burden that infertility treatments put on a couple. Some people's insurance covers infertility, but many of them have a limit to what they will cover. So, if you want to pay for it out of your own pocket, for one treatment of IVF (in vitro fertilization) it is about 15,000 dollars and again there are no guarantees that it is going to work.

Tim and I tried IVF in January of 2011 and everything went perfectly, but I still did not end up pregnant. We were devastated when it did not work because we had gone through a month of shots and doctors appointments. Yes, shots where Tim injected me with hormones everyday and I went to the doctor every two to three days so they could keep a close eye on me. And at the end of the month when it was time to see if it had worked, the pregnancy test was negative. Our fertility benefits are now exhausted and if we do any other treatments in the future, we have to pay out of pocket.

We have taken a break from fertility treatments for now. I have been doing more of a eastern medicinal approach to infertility. What that mean is accupuncture and a healthy lifestyle. It has taken a lot of the pressure off and it is much more natural. I have also given all of my hopes, dreams, and control over my fertility to God. I have faith that he will bring us a baby when the time is right. God has a plan for all of us. It is important when going through infertility to tap into your spirituality because there is so much of it that is out of your control.

So, if you have a friend or family member struggling with infertility, be there for them, support them, listen, and don't judge. And if you are struggling with infertility yourself there is lots of support out there. I am always here to listen. If you want other websites, doctores, information, let me know. I would be happy to help in any way that I can. Thanks for listening and I hope this has brought some awareness to infertility.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Living in the Moment

I have been striving to find balance in my life and heal my emotional self. I have been reading a lot and finding inspiration in quotes. A few quotes that I like and have relevance to my life are:

Slow down and enjoy life. It is all happening perfectly.

Happiness is now here.

These two have similiar messages. To live in the moment. To stop searching for or chasing happiness.

In our western society, we often feel rushed and are looking to the next thing (the weekend, the next big event) that we struggle to enjoy the moment that we are in. I have struggled with this my entire life. I was not even aware of it for many years, but I am aware now and I am trying to stay present and be in the moment.

Another reason why people struggle to be in the moment is that the are stuck in the past. They struggle with events that occured in their childhood. They want to change the past and become stuck there.

In our materalized society, we are often searching for happiness in external sources. We might think that the new house, car, wedding, baby, etc. will bring us happiness. However, material things (houses, cars, phones) only bring us joy for a short while. Then the feeling of joy is gone and we are looking for the next big thing. Happiness can only be found inside of you. Sometimes we think that we will be happy once we find the perfect guy and get married or once we have a baby, but this is simply not true. Other people cannot be your source of happiness. The phrase from Jerry McGuire "You Complete Me" is not to be taken literally. You must know who you are and be a whole complete happy person before you share your life with someone else.

Well, you probably think that I am preaching here, but this has been my experience over the last thirty three years. You may have had a very different experience and it is my blog, so I will say what I want.

I am trying to live in the moment as much as I possibly can and not worry about all the things that I have to do later on or all the things that I did not complete earlier in the day. I recommend that you try it. It is something that you have to practice and remind yourself of, but it is worth it to have those precious moments with your loved ones.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do you have any regrets?

What is a regret? According to - a regret is to feel sorrow or remorse for an act (verb) or a sense of loss, disappointment, or dissatisfaction(noun).

I was watching Dr. Phil today and he had guests on the show who felt intense regret. As I watched the show, I thought, Do I have any regrets? And I can honestly say the answer is no. Well, now you are probably thinking she is lying or delusional. Everyone has things that they have done that they feel remorse for. Everyone has experienced loss and disappointment. Well, yes I have felt those things in the past. In fact, In my early 20's I felt intense regret over lots of things. I wished that I could go back and change many things in my past and felt anger and sadness over those things. But in time I learned that no matter how much I wanted to change the past, I could not. I learned that holding onto the anger and sadness was not helping anyone including myself. I realized that those experiences taught me lessons. I realized that those experiences allowed me to have people in my life that I love. I would not change that for anything. And if I hadn't made those mistakes or felt those disappointments, I would not be the same person that I am today. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, but I am so glad I did. I would not change one thing in my life. I continue to struggle with things, but the struggle is teaching me so much and making me a better person. This is all any of us can ask for.

There is a quote that I heard on the Oprah Show years ago that says it all. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past can be any different and moving on with your life.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is Here

I love spring!!! It is definitely my favorite season of the year. It is a time of renewal. The birds begin chirping and making nests in my gazebo. They do this every year. Simba likes to go outside all the time to play, run, jump, walk, get muddy, and visit his friends in the neighborhood. And by visit I mean bark at them through the fence or lick, sniff, and kiss them when there is no fence separating the two of them. I also love that all the flowers that start to come up and the grass turns green and the trees start to bloom. It is wonderful.

I also love spring because my birthday is two days after spring begins. This means that I get to see lots of my friends and family that I love. And usually Tim will take me shopping to the outlet mall where I can get new clothes for spring/summer and new shoes. I also just love to be outside in warmth and sunshine.

Another reason why I love spring is our anniversary is in the spring. We got married on May 18, 2002. This year will be our 9th anniversary. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of the best days of my life. I married my best friend and every year our relationship just keeps getting better. We have often gone on vacation in May to celebrate our anniversary to places like Hawaii, California, Aruba, and several others. I love Hawaii. It holds a piece of my heart and soul. It always feels like home to me and I love visiting there.

Spring is also a time for renewal. And it is a time for me to evaluate my life and change anything that I don't like. This spring is bringing lots of changes for me. I am going to be starting my own practice which I am really excited about. I will be able to focus on helping people to move forward and make changes in their lives. I am so excited about this. It is something that I have wanted to do since I was in undergraduate school at Lake Forest College and it is finally going to be a reality.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of flowers and trips to Hawaii and Simba.