My IVF Journey: Blackout

I was in a perpetual hell. Pain. The pain was indescribable. No one knew how bad I was suffering. The excuses.

I made so many excuses for not being present. I became engrossed in work. Always working late or focusing on other things. Hiding the mask of pain for those who knew me best. Those who knew my struggle.

I had other things to focus on. My cousin was dying. He was 9 months older than me. He was my best friend. My life’s purpose became about making sure he was okay.

We talked often. I told him of my fear that I was broken. I told him how I feared that I couldn’t give my husband a baby. That I was scared. That maybe God was punishing me.

He listened. He loved. He encouraged. He never judged.

Even after his radiation treatments or chemo treatments he encouraged me to talk to my husband. To let him know what I was feeling. I couldn’t. I changed the subject.

I made my cousin promise that he wouldn’t leave me. That he wouldn’t die and leave me alone because I had no one. My heart was breaking and I told him that I couldn’t have another organ breaking since my womb was broken. He laughed.

He was tired. He was exhausted. A planned trip to spend some time with him in April was just what I needed. I needed to get home to see my family. To hear the sounds and laughter of those that loved me.

I felt so alone in my house that it was hard to come home. I would smile.  I would make polite conversation. I would go into the room and watch television. I tuned out. I turned my back on my marriage and grew smaller in my shell.

We became roommates.

I told my husband that I needed to go home to Tennessee. I needed to be with my cousin. He thought it would be a good idea. He encouraged me to go. Maybe he was hoping it would help me. A change of scenery. A breath of fresh air in this toxic environment that we were creating.

I went home to spend the weekend with my cousin and his new wife. She seemed nice enough. Surface. I couldn’t see beyond the surface of her personality so I just accepted his choices. He was who I needed to encourage me. He was who I was there to see.

My cousin had baked two pies for me. My favorite custard pie called a chess pie. It was so good. Perfect. Even after his cancer treatments he wanted to do something for me. He told his wife “My cousin is coming. I want to do it for her.” I felt special.

A bond that had formed when I was born this man was the big brother I never had. The father figure. The protector. I ate and slept that weekend. Good conversation, food and family. It was as though my life was reset. I saw value in the things that mattered.

I took my cousin and his wife out to dinner. I bought them groceries. He was on a fixed income. He had to maintain his COBRA payments until Medicare kicked in. She didn’t work. She took care of him. Food stamps helped some. But, she longed for coffee.

Coffee.

That was the least I could do. I called my husband and asked him was it okay that I bought them food. They had little and had given me so much. He encouraged my generosity.

I was at peace.

My cousin decided that he wanted to bake me a couple of pies and a caramel cake to take home. I asked “How am I expected to get this home?” “Ship it.” I laughed.

We shipped 4 desserts back to Maryland packed with ice packs. It was expensive, but I needed it. I needed a piece of family. I needed the love that was in that box. The love that a man who was dying gave me every day.

The next day I headed home. Back to my life. Back to the toxic feeling of failure that was engulfing my spirit. I wasn’t getting better.

I was getting better at hiding my pain.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Great Expectations

It didn’t work. The first attempt at IVF yielded no positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted my baby. I wanted our baby.

Our baby wasn’t growing in my womb. The nurse said “I’m sorry”. I said “Its’ okay.” It wasn’t okay. I should’ve been pregnant. I cried.

I cursed God. I was angry. I was in hell.

Why couldn’t God allow me to get pregnant? Didn’t he know that I wanted a baby? I felt barren and unfit. Unfit to carry a baby.

I withdrew from my marriage. I pushed my feelings inside and threw myself into my work. I needed something to take my mind off not having a baby and I needed to see value in this barren life.

The fertility doctor kept calling to talk to me. I wouldn’t do it. I refused to do it. My husband said “Kee, you need to call the doctor back before he recommends therapy.” Hell, he should have. He did. I was hurting.

After a few weeks of feeling like a failure as a woman because I couldn’t conceive I called the doctor back. He wasn’t available. Oh well. I really didn’t want to talk anyway. He called me right back. He apologized for being in with a patient. He said “I’m sorry.” I shrugged my shoulders and said “I know. It’s part of the process. I knew that there was a probability that it wouldn’t work.” He said, “I think you should do it again. I know that I can get you pregnant.”

I sighed. I couldn’t go through this again. My hair was falling out from the drugs. The bruising on my body. The emotional hell of not hearing that I’m pregnant. I wasn’t ready to be disappointed anymore. I needed to breathe.

“Maybe” I replied.

We hung up. I told my husband what he said. He didn’t respond. I asked him what he thought about it. He said “I think you should do it again. He said that he can get us pregnant.” I walked away.

Silence.

Silence loomed in our house because I felt alone. My body had betrayed me and my husband believed that somehow it was us getting pregnant. It wasn’t. It was me. It was me going through the blood draws, egg retrievals, shots and pills. You can’t understand my pain.

My pain was enveloping me like a thick smoke. I was suffocating. Suffocating in my marriage and in my desire to give him something that I couldn’t give. My womb was broken. I was broken. I was cracking the hell up.

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Fertility Window

We were hurting. I was hurting and probably caused a lot of the pain. I didn’t want to discuss the failure of our first IVF attempt. I was embarrassed. Something must have been wrong on my end. Why couldn’t the eggs latch onto my uterine lining?

I felt alone and frustrated. Feelings of inadequacy constantly flooded my mind. I threw myself into work. I was travelling a lot. Meetings. It was good. The anniversary dinner was a starting point towards talking and acting like a couple. But, a couple of days later I was given the news that no woman in her prime wants to hear. Especially at the age of 32.

I was having my annual check-up and my ob/gyn wanted me to get up and have a talk. She explained that my fertility window was limiting. I had to make a choice if I wanted to have children. My fibroids had returned and I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would to have children. I thought I had more time than 5 months since my first failed attempt at IVF. I told her that we had tried IVF and that it had failed. She asked where did we go for treatment. I told her. She said she knew the practice.

“Who is your doctor?” she asked. “Dr. S” I replied. “I know him” she said. “He’s a great doctor. What did he say?” she inquired. “He told me to try it again. He said that he knows he can get me pregnant” I sighed. I didn’t want to be having this conversation again. Not with someone else. It didn’t work. I get it. I wasn’t meant to have children.

I had begun to accept that fact. “Well, if he said he can do it then he can do it. You should try it again” she said. Just like that. Final. I listened and stuttered “We’re in a bad place. We’ve been married 5 years and I don’t know if we’ll make it.” She listened. “Okay, just know that you can’t wait forever.” I shook my head in understanding and got dressed.

I had never felt so alone.

I headed to the car. On the drive home I kept replaying her conversation in my mind. I never wanted children so why the hell was this stressing me out? Was it our marriage holding on by a thread or was it the fact that at that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a mother?

That was it.

I wanted to be a mother. If not with my husband, then someone else. I wanted a baby. I was going to have a baby. I wasn’t going to stay in this perpetual middle zone relationship wondering if he or I should pull the plug on it. Someone needed to make a decision and it needed to happen now. Definitely before my fertility window closed. No more excuses. It was time to woman up!

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My IVF Journey: Them Damn Drugs

Ordering my drugs was a breeze. I just had to order them directly through the pharmacy and I couldn’t use the one downstairs in the lobby of the fertility doctor’s office. The co-pays were relatively affordable, considering the costs of everything I needed. I wasn’t complaining.

The meds arrived to my house via UPS and I unpacked and put them in the refrigerator. Drugs for our fertility treatments were placed next to my collared greens. It was laughable. But, there was a giddiness and easiness that had emerged between us. We were rediscovering each other. Finding the joy in each other again.

It was weird and different. We were different. I think the desire to procreate (even though it wasn’t naturally conceived) put us at ease. We were one unit coming together to create life. I was finishing up the birth control pills and had to start the Lupron. We added the FSH injection as well and then began the back and forth trips to get the blood work.

The nurse had given a tip to put an ice cube on the area to numb it before the injection. She said it helps with the multiple needle sticks. We tried it. I didn’t feel the pain of the needle as much as I felt my belly turning blue and purple from the cold.

I had multiple trips to the lab and daily calls with the nurse to make sure things were progressing. We were a wreck. After each blood draw we waited patiently to see if our numbers were climbing until we were finally given an egg retrieval day. It became real. The bruising on my belly from the numbness of the ice and the multiple injections was worth it. A couple of days before the retrieval, I had received 3 shots that day.  But, it didn’t matter. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fewer injections. I was finally going to get my eggs retrieved.

We arrived at our appointment time where I was instructed to change. I was told that I would be put in a twilight sleep during the procedure. My husband was led away to do his business so that they could fertilize his sperm with my eggs. I would be alone.

I woke up feeling hazy in recovery and my husband was right there. We smiled. The doctor came in to tell us that they had recovered 7 eggs and would start the monitoring process for transfer. I was discharged and told to take it easy. I still had to continue the injections, but it felt easier. It was like I knew that we would have a baby so I could bear the unpleasantness of the situation.

I laid in bed the rest of the day praying that one of those eggs would give us a baby. Just one. I wasn’t picky. The next day we received a call from the center stating that of the 7, 5 were viable and they were monitoring to see which would be ready for a transfer. They said that it may be a day 3 transfer.

The days passed slowly as we were told that of the 5 viable eggs only 2 were able to be transferred and we were doing a day 3. The transfer occurred and there was nothing left to do but wait. We had to wait. Eleven days after the transfer to see if we were pregnant.

They advised us to not use home pregnancy tests but to wait. We went about our lives having a wonderful Valentine’s Day just waiting. Love was in the air and we were both optimistic that we would be getting the great news that we were having a baby.

– To Be Continued –

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

The Truth

We had been married for over four years. It was time. I had pushed off having children for years. I enjoyed it being us, but the silence was deafening. The desire to have a baby was like an echo in our otherwise peaceful home. He wanted children. I didn’t know if I was ready. I still had a lot of unreserved issues about being a mom, so it was becoming a problem for us. But, there was no time like the present.

December 2006

We sat there in the doctor’s office.  “Well, we’ve ran the tests and it looks like there is some blockage in your tubes and male fertility problems” he said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “It means that you’ll have difficulty conceiving” I sighed. My husband asked “Does this mean that we can’t have children on our own? “No, I will never say that. Couples conceive each day to the astonishment to the medical community. It just means that it will be difficult to conceive.”

I sighed. “What are our options?” He said “I would recommend IVF with ICSI.” I replied “I’ve been doing research and why not IUI” I asked. “Your blocked fallopian tube makes it more difficult” he responded. I was sitting there stunned. Not sure what to think or believe. My husband grabbed my hand.

The doctor said “I know that I’ve given you a lot of information to process, but if you want to move forward I would like to set up the group counseling sessions about the process. You’ll work with a nurse who will outline and handle everything.” We smiled. Got up slowly and were handed off to the nurse.

She smiled. Beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. In an instant I felt jealous. I bet she doesn’t have fertility problems. I bet she has a beautiful baby with the bluest eyes and blonde hair at home. It was painful. She could sense my anxiety and led us through to a conference room and explained the next couple of months to us. I was trying to listen and absorb what was being told to me.

Beyond the counseling sessions, we had to do our testing. Complete work ups. Do we want genetic testing? Does it matter? Personal choice. But, shouldn’t we be happy if we just get pregnant? Questions among questions floated through my mind. I looked over at my husband. He shook his head. He was listening intently. I looked back at the paper.

I needed to get on birth control. I had just had my period a week ago so nothing could happen for another month. I need to order my medications. They were specialty drugs and they had a specialty pharmacy in the building. We took all the paperwork and left. It was overwhelming.

We stopped by the pharmacy and dropped off the prescriptions. They were starting a Lupron protocol. We went to the car. We sat there. “It’s a lot” I said. “Yeah” he said. “Are we ready?” I asked. “Yes, we’ve talked about this” he replied. He’s right. I was being a chicken shit.

I hated needles. The fear of the needles was paralyzing me. That along with all the other scientific stuff we needed to go through. But, the smallest thought that we could have a baby next Christmas gave me pause. I smiled.

We headed home. Our lives were about to change.

-To Be Continued-

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Black Girl Broken

Unexplained infertility

That was the diagnosis

No medical reason

Why this black girl couldn’t conceive

I’m broken

I cried out “My God why have you forsaken me?”

 

“Options” was what the doctor said

“You have options”

In a cloudy haze I listened as this man

Began to explain my uterus

My womb

The core of my existence that was supposed to bring forth life

He was telling me how it worked?

How could he know?

 

How could he know what I was feeling?

Could he see through my soul and know that

I was burning and screaming

In pain

I was broken

My uterus was the soul of who I am

It was broken

No medical reason

No real diagnosis

Unexplained infertility

Black girl broken