Friday, November 11, 2016

From the other side;


When we embarked on our journey to start a family, I never considered how exactly I’d feel once it finally happened, if it ever did. During the three year process of trying to conceive, there were many hopeful weeks turned into many hopeless months. When we were fortunate enough to find Dr.Cortez and begin the process of fertility treatments and IUI; I found it extremely difficult to believe it was actually happening and could actually be a possibility. The hormones were overwhelming me and I truly felt that there was only so much more I could handle before throwing in the towel. Sometimes, in the mist of my happiness I sit and think about the entire process of becoming pregnant and how much we really have endured along the way. I feel so much for those who aren’t lucky enough to get their positive or for those who are just beginning their journey. It’s such a long, confusing, unfair road but if you’re ever fortunate enough; it’s the most rewarding journey.

Today, was our first appointment with the doctor since we got our positive pregnancy test and bloodwork; We got there a little early, still exhausted from the lack of sleep. As I sat in the waiting room, I recalled the first time we visited that office, I also recalled never truly believing I’d go there like so many other women, pregnant. When the lady finally called my name, we followed her back past the regular doctor rooms to a room I had learned about quickly with the fertility treatments; I was getting an ultrasound! I wanted to jump out of my skin with excitement at the possibility of seeing our little baby’s new home for the next nine months.

The ultrasound showed exactly that; our babies little sac, as healthy as it could be for 5 weeks and 3 days pregnant. The ultrasound was amazing for us both; I looked over as Nikki watched the screen and felt a warmness overwhelm my entire being; we were going to be parents, we had finally made it, we did it together. The ultrasound lady was so sweet and explained every bit of it to us both – the fertility drugs gave me multiple large cysts on my ovary but we were ensured it would not cause harm to the baby. We talked to Dr.Cortez briefly and scheduled an appointment for two weeks, when I’m 8 weeks pregnant to confirm growth and a heartbeat.

We walked out of the big brown double doors to the lobby, holding our babies ultrasound picture closely. I had never felt so proud, so successful, so fulfilled. On the way home, my insurance company called and told me they were dropping my doctor – however, would continue my coverage for 6 weeks post my due date; that was icing on the cake – I thought. As we pulled into our complex, we decided to check the mail as it’s the beginning of the month and bills are being sent. I opened the mail and found a onesie I had ordered several days ago and two refund checks from our insurance company! I felt as the day could literally not get any better!

Not bad for our first doctor’s appointment – I’d do the entire process over and over again if it meant we would end up with this amazing experience and baby on the way. I can’t lie, the nerves from my 8 week ultrasound are more severe than ever, but with a lot of praying and caring for myself – I’m keeping faith. That’s the thing, you have to keep faith – for anyone beginning this journey, there is no reassuring thing I can say, but I can offer advice to keep going, keep trying and keep giving all the faith you have.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The 5th Week


The last week in a half has been one from a dream; I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant! I just can’t seem to say it enough. We have our first appointment Friday – We are beyond excited. While it’s too soon for an ultrasound, we will get our chart established and hopefully have many answers to our many questions.

Becoming pregnant has been one of the best things I’ve ever experienced, there isn’t one mood swing, hot flash or nightly nausea session I would give up. I have dreamed and prayed for this moment for what feels like a lifetime and feel beyond excited and so very terrified all at once. Of course, terrified of miscarrying, terrified of something going wrong but we are staying positive and are surrounded by nothing but support and love, with that we can go nowhere but up.

We went to the baby store the other day and got a pregnancy journal; it’s been so much fun updating it and entering all our information and desires into it. We created registries and have so much planned already, who needs 9 months?

 I will admit, while this process has become a dream come true – it’s one very overwhelming dream. I suppose we forgot how much others would find the desire to be so involved, while I understand their excitement; we are selfishly wanting to hold as much of this process to ourselves because it’s our first positive, our first time, and our first baby. I’m sure this is simply a part of the process and so I am embracing it to the best of my ability.

We have decided on names, colors for both genders, how we want the baby room and what we need to get done prior to July. Nikki has been amazing and she is beyond excited – I hope she continues to feel just as included as possible, it’s difficult in a gay marriage – my family is beyond ecstatic and trying to be involved and it’s so important to me to ensure her and her family feel just as included. We’ve found the adoption process for when baby is born and truly cannot wait to meet baby boy Julian or baby girl Mckenzie.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Patience is a virtue


I started this blog so I could find an escape for my emotions while we dealt with fertility treatments, IUI’s and let downs; Now, I sit with a baby in the making and I feel like our journey is just beginning, why quit now? Over the past three years, I never thought I’d sit here pregnant – I never thought I’d imagine the day my baby calls me mommy. This feeling is amazing! But, just as I felt with the fertility treatment process, I have become a broken record. I want to talk about it all the time, I want to read and learn as much as I can, buy things, rearrange things and feel every symptom possible.

We’ve waited for what feels like a life time for our dreams to come true, today they feel very much as if they are doing just that; coming true. I am four weeks pregnant with great beta and progesterone levels and Nikki interviewed for an internship that will land her a great job come March when she graduates; I could not be more proud of her, she has worked so hard for her future career to take care of us, she was so nervous and did so great! I firmly believe I married the one person who was made for me.

Blogging has become a great way to talk about built up emotions; good or bad – Looking back on previous posts, I read as our life slowly began changing and I hope to do that again in our future as I lay our baby down for a nap on a difficult day, to remind myself how hard we worked to get to that difficult day, because every second is well worth it!

The first trimester is the hardest – while everyone I’ve talked too has told us not to post or say anything until we are through the first 12 weeks; I literally could not contain myself. Without wanting to jinx it; I feel in my heart that everything will be ok. We have names picked out, nursery themes for both genders and find ourselves window shopping every opportunity we get. Life couldn’t get better than this..

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Let it be




With our bank account and credit cards maxed out, we slowly began losing hope. For the past three years; we've endured a great deal of let downs. Over the past three months, we attempted to regain our faith and attempt our first try with IUI. Each month that slowly passed, I found myself quickly loosing hope again. I became numb to the treatment process and it quickly overtook our lives.

On Monday October 17th we drove once again to Twin Lakes Medical Center. As we underwent another ultrasound, another trigger shot and were sent home with another month ahead of wonder, hope and possible let down. This was the month we decided to "Let it be" - we would not symptom check, we would not overthink it and there was no googling allowed. When we returned to the doctors office on Tuesday October 18th and underwent our second IUI, I was overwhelmed with positivity. I told Nikki it would be our month. I said it, and instantly regretted it as I didn't want to get our hopes up yet, once again. But, there we were driving home with our hopes secretly high and our faith slowly fading.

On Friday October 28th (10dpo) while working I began feeling funny; my stomach was hurting and I had the strangest rounds of cramps but quickly they went away. When Saturday (11dpo) came around, I began feeling the cramps a little more - followed by slight nausea; of course I debunked my new feelings as my period being due soon and tried to block them out. I did not symptom spot at all - we did not think about it, talk about it or suggest the possibility of it. Sunday morning (12dpo) we woke up for work; I took my daily medication that typically gives me quite a bit of energy, however, within two hours I was ready for bed! I refused to test, I refused to link it to the possibility that just maybe this IUI worked.

It was around 8:30am on Halloween morning; (13dpo) I heard my phone vibrating from a toll-free caller so loudly that it woke me up. I walked to it, ignored the call and decided to pee. When I got in the bathroom, without even thinking - I grabbed the clear blue digital pregnancy test and p

eed on it. I put it on the counter as I began to repeat "It will say not pregnant, don't let it ruin your day" I closed my eyes and continued to repeat it followed with "its going to be ok, you can just go back to sleep. Put it in the trash and try again" And then it happened, the test was completed and I wiped my eyes because what I saw seemed impossible. "PREGNANT" .... just like that, pregnant.

I quickly stood up and walked into our bedroom where Nikki laid asleep without any knowledge of the pure joy I just experienced. "Nikki"... "Nikki"... I repeated two or three times before she opened her eyes to see the pregnancy test I was holding.. she looked at it once or twice and then looked at me with a smile across her face she held me closely. It was too unbelievable! We sent an email to the doctor and requested an appointment for bloodwork. Around 2pm we got to the clinic for bloodwork, followed with lunch at Olive Garden and then made a decision to tell my mom. - Was that a good decision? Probably not, her excitement quickly reminded me how much it would hurt if the result came back negative.

I had a little spotting Halloween night, I was overly upset that I had done this to myself again! The spotting became dark and faint, and then gone completely. There were so many emotions, we decided to test again - another positive, and anoth

er. All we could do was wait - Tuesday morning, (14dpo) the doctors office called with life changing news. Your hcg levels are at 80, You're pregnant! From this point we will schedule you another bloodwork appointment to make sure your hcg levels are raising at the pace they should be. On Thursday, I will return to have my bloodwork taken and await the hopeful good news come Friday morning.

I never, in my wildest dreams thought I would see a positive pregnancy test - I never thought I would finally have the day to tell my wife that we did it - that I did it. This week has been overwhelming with joy.. not to mention - Nikki has an interview for a company that will surely begin her career as she finishes her bachelors degree. I never believed her when she told me to keep my patience, I refused to believe her when she said things would happen but we were doing it the right way so it was going to take time. Nikki kept faith and her faith kept us moving forward. Today, I can happily say she was right - 100 % right.

While we are in the danger of first trimester miscarriage, we boasted to our family and friends! We are enjoying every second of our first real - confirmed pregnancy.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Silent Struggle



When I decided to start a blog, I was nervous. I didn’t want to hurt feelings or make people around me uncomfortable; but the truth is, every person is entitled to their journey and how they go about dealing with it. I have found blogging to be an extreme release of emotions when I have become such a broken record in reality. It’s difficult for people to empathize with things they’ve never experienced – Blogging has opened a door to thousands if not millions of people who have experienced infertility or fertility treatments and can relate to the emotions I find myself overwhelmed with.

Even though my wife stands by my side throughout every treatment– it’s lonely. Facing the possibility of never having your own child can make you feel, almost betrayed; betrayed by my own body. The lonely aspect falls hard when you begin to shut out people around you, such as family and friends. I found today was the first day in almost a month that I talked to my family; I found myself avoiding any phone calls or cutting conversations short to avoid the questions I didn’t want to answer – the process I didn’t want to explain, the “advice” that would only frustrate me.

The worst part is worrying, I worry constantly – Have I stressed too much? Should I have not taken my ADHD medicine today? Did I lift too much? Worrying has become an everyday process; especially when things seem completely hopeless. Worrying comes in many shapes and colors; I worry about our finances and the holidays to come – I worry that my hormonal side effects will push myself or my wife past the breaking point.

Regardless of the attempts or amount of debt you may accumulate; there is no guarentee. Going through every month with hopes high and being let down creates a great deal of sadness.

The entire process is invasive – while I appreciate the professionalism of my doctor’s office; it doesn’t make it any easier to lay with multiple people staring at my vagina for either ultrasounds or inseminations. I wouldn’t say it’s painful – but having catheter through my cervix is something that requires a mental calmness and with all the hormones, stress and anxiety – it becomes difficult after a while.
As the days go by, I can’t help but wonder if I will ever become pregnant; if this process will be worth it in the end.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How our Journey began.




I always knew the road I was taking would be a little more difficult than it could have been. I remember the day I met her, I most certainly wasn’t sure it would work out but I knew I had to give it a try. I remember sitting there, contemplating in my mind what exactly it was I wanted and it wasn’t until she looked at me and said “ I’m not looking to get into a relationship to date, I’m done dating, I want forever.” It was those words that caused me to fall completely and utterly in love.

I’d be lying if I said she was my first, of course I tried to be "normal", but the connection was lacking and I couldn’t force myself into that normal life that I knew would be easier, instead I've stayed with what made me most comfortable, and from that day on it was her.

I won’t sit here and tell you it was a fairy tale, it was the furthest thing from a fairy tale, it was complete hell in the beginning, neither of us knew what we wanted and neither of us knew if it would work, but we fought through every obstacle and eventually, on Christmas eve of 2013, she asked me to marry her.

Oh how the obstacles continued; I had our entire wedding planned in just three short months, it was beautiful and full of so much love, surrounded by both of our families and friends. We felt on-top of the world that day, even though Florida hadn’t acknowledged female weddings yet, we walked down the aisle and promised ourselves to one another, we danced and sang the night away, the most memorable night of our lives.

That night was only 2.5 years ago, 2.5 years of complete obstacles, might I note, obstacles I wouldn’t rather face with anyone but her. One year after we married, it became legal, we rushed to the courthouse and signed the papers to officially become wife and wife, all while we struggled utterly and completely to start the next step of our lives together, a family.

Donor after donor, friend after friend, ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, surgeries and prayers. Fighting and crying, laughing and hoping, our life seemed to stand still as we tried time and time again, finding anyway, researching every way to do at home insemination. Every donor we used eventually moved on, no longer being able to help us. Every day we needed it done, there was an obstacle. One may say that the signs are obvious, a family isn’t for us or it isn’t our time. Maybe that’s what it looks like from an outsiders view but let me just explain the passion in my heart to carry a child, the absolute urge to conceive and start a family. Of course, being straight would have made this much cheaper, much easier, or would it have?

After several months of disappointment, we decided to put family planning to the side and focus on the here and now. We finally began to accept it may never happen.

                                                                                                                                                  


Two months ago, July 20th around 6am I woke and got ready for my surgery. The doctor found endometriosis and insisted I have a D&C laparoscopy. The surgery went well and I was able to keep my ovary completely (unlike my previous surgery where a cyst completely took my right ovary). The doctor removed more cysts and a tumor, as well as the endometriosis. We went into the office one week after, sitting on the bed the doctor dropped news I guess I wasn’t thinking about.  To be honest, I had come to the terms with the fact I may not carry a child, maybe it wasn’t for me and I was giving into the thought I chose this road and this is what it was going to be. Doctor looked at me and said, “what are your plans for family planning?”  My wife and I were previously arguing in the car before the appointment, we were stressed and overwhelmed. I had surgery, her mom found cancel spots on her skin and we were running very thin on hope and faith. But something happened in that office… Something I still can’t quite explain.  When the doctor asked me about our plans for a family, I instantly looked to her and  tried to read any kind of facial expression I possibly could, of course the doctor said our time was limited, but to head home and talk it over.

I remember the ride home like it was yesterday, I felt so many nerves in my stomach I remember trying to breathe slowly in order not to get sick all over our new car. Nikki looked at me and said, “Babe, we will figure it out, I want a family and you will resent me for not trying, we have to at least try.” Oh those words I could never forget. The sudden feeling of hope, even from a distance I could feel again. But how were we going to afford this, extremely expensive procedure? If we could afford to use the doctors for IUI we would have done it the other several times we tried, our insurance doesn’t cover it and let’s just say I need to declare bankruptcy and hers is barely established. So there we were, the opportunity right in front of us, facing another obstacle.

We went on for a few days, wondering how we were going to do this, pricing the sperm, pricing the doctors, pricing the shipping.. 9 thousand dollars was the minimum of what we needed, and we had only fifteen hundred saved. Where in the world would we get 8thousand dollars? Thank God for angels. My grandparents, who suffered from infertility (adopted my mom when she was 5) were the only people I felt comfortable asking after being told no by a few others. It was a long shot, but I typed up an e-mail and sent it to the man in my life, my papa. He responded within a day or two, asking for Nikki and I to drop by their home, so we did. We did it, fully prepared with paperwork, budgets, donor photos, prices and any other information we thought they may want, need or be interested in. It wasn’t a long visit, hell, it was one of the shortest visits I had with them. They told me to meet them at the bank in the days to follow and so we did, 8 thousand dollars later, we ordered the sperm and made the appointment.

There we were, a beautiful donor’s sperm stored away just waiting on the doctor’s word to be shipped, and we awaited my monthly visitor and began taking the fertility medication prescribed by the doctor. Of course, the obstacles continued.  While the Clomid was easy to come by, it was absolutely terrible to handle. My hormones were all over the place, up, down, happy, sad, angry and sick as can be. The Pregnyl shot was the obstacle. Oh the joy of having no insurance covered for infertility.. 3thousand dollars was too much, I felt like we had reached a dead end. Thankfully, we found an alternative which was only 140 max. But finding it was the hard part. The medication wasn’t ready, it never showed after being ordered to the pharmacy. Damnit! We went into the doctors for the ultrasound to see if it could still be our month for IUI, but with my follicles being minimum – the doctor felt best we wait.

                                                                                                                                                  

Was this an obstacle? I don’t think so, not this time.  While we are on a time crunch and the doctor wanted to wait one month and UP my fertility drugs, I felt relieved. I knew the medicine wasn’t ready and to be honest I don’t know I was ready either. OF course, I want my baby, our family, but the truth is, I felt overwhelmed by the possibility of another let down, I felt sadden that nothing seemed to be falling within the right time frame and while I was sad, we walked out of the doctor’s office that day smiling, relieved and ready for another month of waiting and praying.
I’m not going to say it was easy, that I haven’t thought about it daily, but the truth is – I found the medication and while my fertility medication is being upped to 100mg, I feel this month could be our first time for IUI, our first time for the doctor’s work to be applied and for a real chance of hope. They say just relax, it’ll happen; but will it? Will it happen if I just relax? Will it happen if I stress? Will it happen if we laugh about it, pray about it, cry about it, fight about it or ignore the subject.. does it really matter? Is God watching us, waiting for us to act in a certain manner in order for this amazing gift to be given to us? Would it happen had we done something different in our lives? Not lied, not cheated on a test, been 100% faithful to God?
This morning my monthly friend joined us, the doctor insists I start my Clomid on Wednesday and an ultrasound the following Monday. Our savings is just enough to try two-three times. So, one out of three – I do hope the ultrasound shows my body working in the right direction as every ultrasound takes $330 out of our chances for a third try.
So, instead of keeping my every emotion inside and hoping for the best, I decided to join a few support groups and create a blog, maybe it won’t bring us a family any sooner, but maybe it will help others suffering or going through similar situations. Maybe it won’t, but I’ll give it a try!

31 Days