Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where do I begin?

June 1, 2008. I reflect back on my life prior to this date quite a bit; we were adventurous, innocent, happy and naive to how cruel life can be. My grandparents came to visit. I was about to start a new job at Peninsula as a Case Manager. Collin's job was going well. We were out of the cabin and living in a nice apartment. Life was good.
I became quite sick...so sick I landed in the ER at Parkwest and was admitted to the hospital for four days with a diagnosis of an Ileus (aka bowel obstruction). Amongst the round of tests in the hospital, I underwent an abdominal CT and an ultrasound. Turns out I also had a dermoid cyst on my left ovary. We felt resilient. We thought this was a problem we could tackle. Surgery did not seem like a big deal...
We were introduced to Dr Doody, a Reproductive Endocrinologist, who was to perform the surgery to remove the cyst. At the post surgery appointment, we found out I had Endometriosis and a septate uterus. We walked away from the appointment armed with knowledge and hope.
I had surgery to remove tissue from the Endometriosis and remove the septate. At the post op appointment, we were informed I had Stage III Endometriosis (out of IV). Dr Doody asked us what our thoughts on having children were...we laughed. Kids?! We were not ready for kids...were we? I was 25 and Collin was 28. We were too young! We just started living life...we had too many vacations to take and fun to have before we were ready to have a family. We walked away thinking the MD was a bit zealous.

*2009* Holidays came and went, we went to 3 friend's weddings, traveled to Mexico and rolled into 2009 with a refreshing outlook on our lives. We were ready to jump head first into starting a family. We'd always talked about having kids "someday." This was our "someday." We were ready! We were excited. We discussed so many "what if's", names, and eagerly anticipated where our lives were taking us.
We started out taking Clomid and ovulation predictor tests; once I got a positive on the test we were going to go to Dr Doody for an IUI (intra uterine insemination...yup the turkey baster route). Seemed easy enough. One month passed. Never a positive ovulation test. Increased dose of Clomid for the second month. Never a positive ovulation test. Month 3 a higher dose of Clomid. I woke up one day dizzy and with blurred vision. I was stumbling and running into things like a drank 5 brandy old fashions. Turns out Clomid can cause permanent vision damage. That was the end of Clomid.
Spring turned into summer. Through this all, I was juggling school, clinicals and work. Summer was a short semester so it meant school and clinicals 5 days a week plus work to top it off. I was on so many different drugs during this time...if I put down every detail of every test and every drug I was on you'd probably want to check me into rehab. I began to lose myself. The drugs made me feel insane. I was moody, tired, angry, and damn difficult to be around at times. We decided it was time to take a break from our "someday."
Fall entered the picture along with injections. After 13 shots administered by my patient, loving husband over 15 days and 5 ultrasounds (the throw your feet in the stirrups, internal ultrasound type) we went in for our first IUI. 2 weeks later, I WAS PREGNANT!! We were elated! Sure we had been through a lot, but it was worth it! Our "someday" had arrived!!
I did blood work every other day to check my progesterone level. We had an ultrasound. We saw our baby's heart beat. We walked out of the office with our heads in the clouds.
You can only imagine how many times I had been to Dr Doody's office. Every nurse, manager, NP and assistant knew me and Collin by name. I was tired of going to the office. Our last appointment with Dr Doody came, an ultrasound at week 8. I was then going to see a regular OBGYN. FINALLY! No more Doody! Well, it turns out I had miscarried. I have never felt so awful in my entire life... It was a very dark place for Collin and I. We had worked so hard for this and it was taken away in an instant.
We got through our loss together. He was strong when I was not. He held me when I couldn't move. He was my shoulder to cry on. He was the only person who understood what we had gone through to get here. We decided to take time off from the grueling work of our "someday" again. We were battered, weak, exhausted and losing hope. I was graduating in the spring. Collin was busy with work. We decided to concentrate on "us" for a while.

*2010* Spring came again. I graduated, got the two jobs I wanted and we treated ourselves to a trip to Negril, Jamaica. We came back refreshed, invigorated and renewed with energy and hope. We started injections in June; my loving husband gave me 17 shots over 15 days and I had another 5 ultrasounds. We had our second IUI an waited the unbearably long 2 week wait. I knew it wasn't our "someday" before the pregnancy test had to tell me with it's one pathetic line. It was unsuccessful...
We regained the strength and patience required to undergo another round of injections in November. After 9 shots and 2 ultrasounds this cycle got cancelled. I had too many egg follicles and at the risk of becoming the next Kate Plus Eight, we had to abruptly stop.

*2011* Eager to start again, we did the holiday trip to Midwest and came back to work on our "someday" yet again. Collin shot me up with 9 shots in the hip and I had 3 ultrasounds before we were ready for another IUI. We waited the 2 weeks again, fully anticipating two lines on the pregnancy test. They never came. Another failed cycle. We were surprised, bitter and confused.
After meeting with Dr Doody to discuss our options, it was recommended we move on to IVF. It was not a surprise, this wasn't working. We were tired of the injections, tired of the endless appointments, tired of the hope, the pain, the waiting. We got information for 2 IVF clinics, one in Chattanooga and one in Nashville.
So here we are today, prepping for our first cycle of IVF. We've been to hell and back. We've experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We've done it all. We've made it through and we're still smiling. We're still hopeful; hope is the only thing you you have sometimes when everything else fails. We're still standing side by side and hand in hand. I have an incredible husband who has been my everything when I could be nothing. I cannot express how much I love this man and how thankful I am for him. He is the love of my life. He keeps me going when I am tired of fighting. He makes me smile when I want to cry. When we started on this long journey we had no idea it would bring us to this. We had no idea it would be this difficult, this time consuming, this emotional or this expensive. Here we are, ready to take on whatever life has to bring us. We're braving it together. I know I can do anything and go through anything with Collin by my side.
As hard as this has been to write (rustling up all these memories brought on a few tears), please don't feel sorry for us. We are happy and have an endless list of blessings. We're just asking for your thoughts, prayers and support as we venture on this new journey. We have no idea if we'll ever get our "someday." We have no idea what life has in store for us, but we need and want you all to be a part of our lives always.


ljelstad said...

You and Collin are an AMAZING couple! Thank you for letting me follow your journey, I will be hoping and praying for success, afterall.. I don't think more pets is a good alternative ;)

tigger9216 said...

Wishing you both the best of luck in this adventure. As someone who has been through a similar, but not as daunting, route, I can sympathize and empathize with all you have endured. You will have a happy ending to your story. Maybe not the one you are hoping for or what you plan, but it will be happy! I can't wait to see the next post!

Ann Greenslade & Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Greenslade and Family said...

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Lots of prayers and well-wishes sent to you from Adel, IA in the hopes that your someday is right around the corner. Best wishes and best of health for you, Collin, and anyone else who is lucky enough to join your family

stick said...

Amber and Collin you are both caring and loving people. This is a great way to let us travel along with you on this journey. My thoughts and prayers are always with both of you. Take care :)