Thursday, September 29, 2016

One down, One to go.

It’s been eight long torturing days since our IUI, with still six to go I can’t help but feel completely unsure. Some days I feel like there’s no way I’m not pregnant and others I feel like there’s just no way that I am. We’ve been through two week waits so many times before, but this one’s different. This one has potential, this one was planned perfectly. If this one fails, I don’t know what we can do differently.


I feel like I am going to start my monthly enemy within the week; I have all the classic premenstrual symptoms and I can’t help but feel down. This process feels like it’s put a complete stop to our lives, every dime we have is tied up and every action we consider is paused as we don’t know what to expect next. Am I pregnant? Do we have to do this again in a few weeks? Emotionally, can we handle another month of this? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but with nothing but time on my hands, I just can’t help it.

I know I’m not infertile per say, however, I also know that I have several factors that cause infertility and an increasing risk of more cysts, endometriosis returning and cervical cancer scares which cause me to feel my time is slightly limited. This two week wait can literally drive a person crazy, especially when everything around you feels frozen until you receive an answer. While almost everyone close to us knows what we are going through, I’ve hardly talked about it due to the possible let down we may face next week. As much as this post is seemingly negative, I have done everything to stay positive and hold onto the small amount of hope I have; but the closer we get, the more afraid I become of our future.

Six days, which is 144 hours and 640 long minutes until we can test and get ready for the next step in this journey.

Monday, September 26, 2016

What you can't change; Changes you.


Throughout our journey to start a family, we’ve encountered a number of obstacles to which have severely changed my outlook on life. There are so many things we take for granted every day, whether it’s a job, a spouse, a new home or a baby. I’ve had to learn to stop taking things for granted; even the smallest things are contributes to a happy life and while it may not be exactly what I want when I want it, there’s still a lot of other positive things around us that shouldn’t be taken for granted, We have a beautiful life together.

During this process, I’ve found a lot of compassion for others. I joined a few support groups and have found myself becoming much more outspoken about our journey because of others. I have found this compassion to follow me through-out my everyday life as I am now more aware of everyone around me and I find myself constantly wondering what their journey is. Today, we were at Walmart and a lady in front of us had only $70 or so, she suddenly asked the cashier to stop ringing up her items as she had reached her limit. I so badly wanted to run and pay for the remaining few items for her, I began to utter the words to ask her but froze and let her walk off. I know she had a full cart of food and the cans behind weren’t anything that looked too important but my heart ached for her for the rest of the night.

I have found that life is completely unfair- Not because I don’t have what I personally want, but because there are so SO many people who deserve that one thing to make them complete and some of them never get it. Good things, don’t always happen to good people and that will forever bother me. Regardless of the time that passes, I will always find myself wondering why? Why didn’t I pay the $5 for the lady in front of me today, why didn’t the girls in my group get their positives this month? Why did that mother abuse her children? Why is this life so unfair?

While we’ve been dealing with trying for a family for over a year, every time is different and brings a new round of emotions, hopes, dreams and often, let downs.

This process has open my eyes to a whole new world and while I am still in my two week wait, I know that there’s a number of things I still need to accept and while I cannot change the outcome, the outcome has already changed me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

First IUI



Today was the day of insemination, with little sleep we woke up and prepared ourselves for our first go with IUI. I remember standing in the shower this morning, making deals with God, asking (selfishly I might add) for him to grant me this one wish, this one time. Of course when Nikki woke up, she was on cloud nine to keep me from feeling anxious, she even asked to take a conception day picture… That girl, she’s always doing something to make me smile. When we got to the doctors, we were relieved and calmed by the immediate support and helpful advice the nurses were giving us. As we waited in the room, Nikki couldn’t stop smiling and while I wanted to smile – I was afraid, if I opened my mouth I may just vomit everywhere! So there we sat, quietly waiting.

The doctor finally made his way to our room and with a grin, asked if we were ready and of course, we were beyond ready! The doctor and his assistant did the IUI with even a little humor to lighten the mood, the feeling of the catheter was almost unbearable; I closed my eyes and took a deep breath while I laid there. I tried to imagine the fertilization, continuously praying. It took about an hour, a total of one hour and we were on our way out of the door and on with our day.

Now, the dreadful two week wait begins. In the next two weeks, I am supposed to stay calm, stress free and positive. Of course I will do everything I can to follow these orders, however, I know I will be answering a number of questions that I won’t have the answers too. Do I feel pregnant yet? Do I have symptoms? And so on. I will investigate google for every minor ache and twinge I may feel, I will research statistics over and over and go from being extremely confident to completely insecure. The two week wait is two weeks from hell. October 5th will take what feels like years to get here.

One would imagine two weeks is nothing compared to the months, and even years we’ve already waited- but this time it’s different, this time it’s with the doctors and everyone feels like it’s going to work but the truth is, it’s literally a 20% chance. I know I’m not infertile per say; I have some issues with my ovaries, yes but that doesn’t mean I’m unable to conceive; I’ve just not had any luck in doing so, thus far. Of course I’d like to say I feel pregnant, but how would I know what that even feels like? So, with a heavy mind and a tired heart, I’m ready for day one of fourteen days of hell.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Trigger Shot

Today as we drove to the doctors for my first trigger shot for our first iui, I couldn't help but think about all of the steps we have taken to get to this point.

They say when things are meant to be, they happen without problems. While we have encountered a few minor problems since deciding to try IUI, they have all worked themselves out. So there I was, listening to "landslide" and reflecting. 
I remember the day we decided we wanted a family together, the excitement we had without any idea of the road ahead. We laughed so much that week, we felt so secure in our plans, but sometimes, you have to accept what is rather than what you thought should be. 

I remember sitting and going through profile after profile searching for the right donor. We wanted one that was smart, resembled us both, had positive results for other pregnancies, green or blue eyes, a healthy background, healthy family; the list went on. Some find it difficult to agree upon a donor whereas we were always very much on the same page. We picked our donor and since then, we haven't budged once on our choice. 


I guess today, reflecting on everything we've been through was based on finally being one step closer to the possibility of a family. While the effects of the trigger shot has my hip and head hurting, a knot in my stomach and nerves throughout my body, here's to keeping it calm for another 24 hours for the insemination and then the dreadful two week wait.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What's important


Sometimes, in the midst of our storms we forget those around us. We tend to lash out on the ones we love the most. Starting the process of an IUI or dealing with the possibility of infertility, a million things change from day to day. After the medication, after the sleepless nights and unanswered prayers; we tend to lose hope and sometimes fall short of being the person that we once were. This process can change someone and many times, it does.

While my entire blog has been full of IUI and infertility emotions, there’s a major factor in this process that I don’t feel I’ve given much attention too; my wife. We started this journey together and while my body has been taking the physical toll of the effects, she has emotionally taken her amount of tolls as well. Today, when I saw her eyes focusing on the ultrasound screen, listening and taking in every word and mental note as she could, I found great comfort and security reading her facial expressions; It was at this point I realized, she has been dealing with just as much as I had and I felt completely selfish for not acknowledging it sooner. It gets hard to remember at times, that this process involves more than just myself.

I remember plenty of times we’ve tried to conceive, we watched and monitored ovulation and two week wait symptoms; we stared at pregnancy tests hoping for a second line to appear, we went through this hand in hand, time and time again. There was so much anger, so much hurt, so much disappointment and eventually, too much numbness. That’s why we decided to come to terms with what it was, we decided to take it as it comes and move forward with our lives.

It wasn’t until the doctor’s visit on July 25th where the doctor asked our plans that we even allowed the thoughts to enter our minds again, it was then I decided I wasn’t going to put her through all of the emotions I felt I subjected her too before, I wanted to deal with it the best I could and keep her from any of my destructive emotions. By doing this, I became obsessed with dealing on my own, but somehow, I still found myself winning and venting about the medication, the side effects and the toll I was beginning to feel. I didn’t acknowledge she was going through it too, regardless of what I tried to keep private.

The truth is, I couldn’t do this without her, none of this. I want this to be our family, I want her to feel just as connected to this as I can and by doing so, I must admit my wrong doings and accept that she is also feeling all kinds of ways. So, I suppose I just hope anyone who may be experiencing a situation similar to ours, keep yourself open to your spouse and never think for a moment that they aren’t going through it with you; even when they become silent, even when they don’t talk about it or when they simply brush off the conversation; everyone deals with emotions differently and the truth is, I am blessed to have such an amazing, strong, patient and caring person by my side along this journey.

The man in the can



After five incredibly annoying days on Clomid, I finished it last night! I started this week with very little thoughts about what would come, as a matter of fact; I've focused on everything and anything I could in order to ensure I didn't obsess over the Clomid, the side effects or the results. Unfortunately, there was one day that I just couldn't deal and found myself crying for hours. Sometimes, I don't know whether the Clomid makes me emotional or if the process makes me emotional, either way; it sucks. I am thankful for the understanding of my wife who has stuck by my side through and through, the hugs when she didn't know what to do and the ability to see a brighter side when I just couldn't.  

Last night, we went to bed with knots in our stomachs, as we didn't know what today would bring. My ultrasound was at 8am and her doctors at 2pm, both extremely important appointments we desperately prayed for them to turn out in our favor. When we got to my appointment, I couldn't help but to be hesitant as I didn't know what to expect after falling short last month. Luckily, we got into the exam room quickly to find several matured follicles; whereas I only had one the previous month. Of course; there I was wondering the possibility of it being our month. After the exam we went into another room and waited for the doctor.  We rambled a bit of nonsense, minutes felt like hours, and while it was only 20 minutes or so; we very impatiently waited.

The doctor finally came in, with my results in his hand we watched his every gesture. He asked how our day was and explained the results. He then said, “Let’s do your trigger shot tomorrow, and the insemination on Wednesday.” followed with "It's time to order the man in the can", we still laugh at that remark as it was just the amount of humor we needed. While we had such a strong feeling that everything was ready to go; when it was confirmed by the doctor I can’t explain the amount of joy that ran through us. Of course, our day wasn’t over yet and while we were extremely happy with our first appointment, the nerves of the second appointment were unreal. 
When two o’clock came, we sat in a small room awaiting the doctor. Eventually, she came in and began the appointment. She touched Nikki’s lumps and said while she doesn’t believe its cancer; she’s going to need a mammogram to be safe. So, while we are close to being out of the woods, there’s still lots of prayers being said to continue our journey through these obstacles.

While the entire journey has been a series of ups and downs, today felt like one of the highest days we’ve had. We went to lunch and as we sat there we began ranting about life and what we wanted to happen, how we wanted it to happen and then it caught up to us; there we were – wishing, hoping, making plans, creating images of what could be without what was. That was the worst part about the letdown; having an image of what was supposed to be and accepting what was. As we finished our lunch, I felt aggravated with myself; why was I doing this to myself again? Getting my hopes up, thinking about this and wondering about that, of course, Nikki noticed right away and while we went into the store for a friends birthday gift, she nonchalantly walked to a baby item and pointed it out, without making plans, without setting expectations. She knew I wanted to have all of these hopes and wanted to do nothing but talk about the possibilities, that’s why I love her, that’s why we work; she knows just the right thing to do in order to comfort my emotions even when I don’t know how.

So, while today was a great day for the books, it’s not the end yet. A disappointment could very much be in our future, or, a baby.




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Let the rollercoaster begin..


Tonight I begin my first dosage of Clomid for this month. The doctor has upped my milligrams to 100mg in hope of better follicles compared to last month. I don't know how confident I feel as today I have had an extremely overwhelming, rough day. As I wrote in my first post, IUI and fertility treatment is very expensive and Florida does not see infertility as a medical emergency – therefore, my insurance I pay for monthly will not cover any part of the treatment, including ultrasounds ( even though if it was for any other reason; it’d be covered). Anyways, while I know and have come to terms with this, today my insurance decided not to cover my regular monthly scripts and has added another bill to a pile of bills that’s very quickly adding up.

Of course we have set aside a good amount of money, well, enough to do IUI three times total. Every month we do an ultrasound without the IUI, we are spending anywhere from 330-450 dollars on medication and injections. Well, when this happened today I began feeling overwhelmed and just sad. It’s hard to live in a body that simply won’t work. I know many people may say, well you’re gay.. so what’d you expect? But the truth is, we’ve tried natural ways with donors, we’ve ordered fresh and frozen semen and we simply have never had success. The doctor believes my endometriosis, ovarian cysts and tumor very well could indicate fertility issues and blockage issues, however, my D&C should have cleared this up ( from my ultrasound last month, my ovary looks good) so here I am, ranting on about financial and re justifying every single thing we have done in order to start our family.

I joined a support group about a month ago on Facebook, I have to say these ladies are the strongest ladies I’ve ever encountered. I read several stories about what they are going through and I sit amazed by the strength they all have. I always talked to anyone who would listen until eventually I felt like a broken record, people can hear me, but they just can’t understand what its really like. These ladies are there for one another in ways they could never realize and I pray every day for them to start their families and find peace for the ones they lost. In a world full of so much hate, so much negativity I can’t help but think about these ladies, sharing their stories and literally helping other people in the group just deal. If someone is reading this, I highly recommend finding a support group. Maybe you don’t like to talk about it and that’s ok, you may find a post useful and that can make a difference all on its own.

Sometimes when I think about what my wife and I are going through, I find myself racing with so many questions and much hate for my own body. I look in the mirror some nights and wonder why my body won’t work the way it’s supposed too. My childhood entailed some things that I wonder had they not happened, would I be broken? It’s a fight I fight inside daily, this is my first time typing it. If I fought a little harder, would my body work a little better? I was ten, so was I developed enough to have encountered damage from it? Is it hereditary? Is it because I’m gay? …. All of these questions when said out loud sound silly, they sound like someone should tell me “just relax” (never tell me to just relax! I try to relax, it doesn’t work =P). The truth is, I don’t know why this is happening to us, I don’t know why I haven’t gotten pregnant yet and I don’t know if I ever will.. but this is the month I am praying to try at least once with IUI…

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Just Relax!



So far, I’m enjoying this blog. I was cautious at first as I didn’t know how I would feel putting my … our story out for the world to read, but it seems that many won’t read it and to the ones who do, I hope it helps you with your journey, or if you know us, I hope it allows you to truly understand how much everyone around us has made our lives so much better and in so many ways, tolerable. I also hope for anyone who reads this, to always know it is based merely off daily emotions and situations we encounter, how they make us feel and how we get through them. Being married is hard enough, being married untraditionally and dealing with infertility can throw just about anyone for a loop. So, here goes my second post; “Oh relax!” is what I’ll call it, the two words nobody with infertility issues wants to hear..

When we began our journey, we expected a lot of back lash. Two females getting married is one thing, two females attempting to have a family is completely untraditional and by many, frowned upon. We are both very blessed to be surrounded by so much support by our families, friends and even doctors. The acceptance we’ve encountered has made this journey just a little easier on us.
It's the people who surround us that make this world just a little brighter

While the entire world around us has been supportive, there are still things that are said that are meant for support but they truly do not help. I don’t mean to turn this into an ungrateful blog, however, for anyone dealing with infertility or going through the IUI process, hearing “just relax” or “it’ll happen when it is supposed to” or “I have a good feeling you will get pregnant’ really only puts more pressure on us. I’ve gone back and forth so many times with trying to relax more, trying to stay positive, trying to be happy but at the end of the day, I’m not. I’m not happy because I feel broken, I feel like my body is doing things I cannot control and that’s something impossible to accept. At the end of the day, at the end of the month, at the beginning of every period, there are no amount of good feelings, relaxing, positive thoughts or words of wisdom that can take away the pain of another failed attempt for a family.
While this is our second month and first attempt (doctor willing) it is also our second month of my body preparing its-self, my hormones being put out of whack and hoping my body reacts to them the way I need it too. I feel selfish for feeling sorrowful, I have such an opinion on our journey, I feel sad most days but feel like I need to hide it because truly, people hear my words, my wife stands next to me and deals with me daily, but nobody could ever possibly feel how my body feels, nobody can feel the disappointment I have in myself, the brokenness I feel daily and the desire to provide a safe home for us to start a family in my body. Every time we cannot try to conceive, every time we get a negative test, every time we deal with the side effects, we lose. We haven’t ever lost a baby (thank God!), but every month we lose.

There’s truly no words that can help someone dealing with infertility, there’s really no way to explain the way hormone medication and trigger shots effect a person and that can sometimes make you lose all hope and feel completely broken and alone. Sometimes accepting the possibility you may never have your own child, you may never see that positive pregnancy test or get the chance to see the excitement on your families face when you tell them they’re going to be grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or great-grandparents can take a toll on a person. Sometimes, it’s best to accept the possibility of it never happening and accepting that is sometimes harder than anything else!




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 anyways. 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 made my head spin and nothing was going to stop me from falling completely and utterly in love.


I’d be lying if I said she was my first, of course I’d dated and even lived with people in the past, Hell.. I even tried the normal life and dated and slept with men, but the connection was seriously lacking and I couldn’t force myself into that normal life that I knew would be easier, instead I did a quick U-turn and went right back to what made me most comfortable, and from that day on it was her.

I won’t sit here and tell you it was a fairytale, it was the furthest thing from a fairytale, 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!