Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Moving to Arizona & Looking into Adoption

Life update: we’ve moved to Arizona! It’s been exactly one week since we arrived and the only building that I can confidently locate is the library. So here I am. It is 99 degrees outside and I am wearing a sweater, surrounded by books and strangers, and my most prized possession is my library card. Not much has changed.

Jk begins classes for graduate school next week but has already started spending his mornings on campus. He has a job as a research assistant so he gets his own cubicle and a brand new computer to work on. I plan on working just as soon as I can find a job. It is currently my dream to be a stay-at-home mom, but someone told me you need kids for that! We’re working on it. (More on that in a minute.) We are currently living with Jk’s parents, who are so sweet to let us invade their space for a little while. The plan moving forward is threefold: I need a job; we need to figure out our future family situation; and then we can decide on a more permanent living situation.


S…

Deciding Whether or Not to Take the Pregnancy Test

Every month, it is clear that I am not pregnant. The sign comes as expected—on time and no room for interpretation. But every now and then, it is slow to come, throwing a wrench in things. This is when infertility is especially difficult for me… when I need to decide whether or not to take a pregnancy test.

I know that the odds of getting pregnant are extremely low. I also know that it is possible for us to get pregnant. These two polar opposite truths gnaw at me, telling me that there is hope but only the tiniest bit.

In January, I wrote a blog post about the first pregnancy test that I took. After getting a negative result, I made the definitive decision to forget about tests and wait for the obvious sign that will inevitably come. It is logical and effective to just wait it out. Still, every time there’s the possibility of pregnancy, the thought runs through my head, “To test or not to test…”
There have only been two or three times in the last year and a half that I have been expec…

Animals in the Attic

I’m just going to say right now that I think Heavenly Father gets extra creative when writing the screenplay of my life. Things are going along as expected and He’s like, Too normal... That’s when I find wild animals in my house. Cue gongshow.

While Being in Love, Adventure #2

About a month ago, my mom was visiting from out of town. For a few days while she was here, Jk was in Arizona, so it was just mum and me. One night, I came back from work, walked in the door, and was overwhelmed with the amount of noise blaring from every corner of the house. This was in May, before we made the decision to turn our AC on, so all of the windows were open. I could hear dogs barking, music blasting, and lawnmowers mowing. But above all that, I could hear the sound of an animal cooing. My mom was just chilling on the couch, drowning out the noise.

Me: What is that?
Mom: What is what?
Me: That animal sound.
Mom: It’s so loud in here, I didn’t notice.
Me: You didn’t notice?
Mom: I think it’s a bird …

Grandpas Say the Darndest Things

The past few days have been a blur of bittersweet exhaustion and celebration. Last week, my husband’s grandfather passed away at the age of 90. We love Grandpa Westphal and we already miss his charming personality and amazing sense of humor. Every night has been a late night, spent with Jk’s parents and siblings from out-of-town. We’ve spent a lot of time at Grandpa’s house with everyone, looking at old pictures, playing games, and celebrating the life and legacy of a wonderful man.
In my family, I never spent very much time with my father’s parents before they passed away. My mother’s parents are still alive and are some of the sweetest people I’ll ever know, but they live all the way across the country. The past few years knowing Jk, I’ve been blessed to observe the sweet relationship he had with his grandfather. I warmed up to Grandpa Westphal immediately. He was friendly, generous, and welcomed me into the family right away. He was witty and straightforward, always speaking his mi…

In Contempt of Court: While Being in Love

Almost 3 years ago, Jk and I were engaged and planning for a wedding. We were constantly making lists: wedding planning checklists, an engagement registry, a guest list. On one particularly boring list of things-to-do, I wrote at the top something like,“To Do #WhileBeingInLove”. At the time it was a joke, but ultimately that hashtag became the mantra for our marriage. We decided early on that whether life was tedious, ridiculous, or difficult, we would do it all while being in love.

This summer has been absolutely wonderful and totally wild for us. Never before have we had so many adventures and faced so many unknowns. Since easing off social media, I haven’t had the opportunity to share some of those experiences that have made me so grateful for that mantra we began years ago. I thought it would be fun to gather our stories together and feature them as a series of blog posts. Consider this the first in a list of Crazy Summer Things That Have Happened to Us (While Being in Love).

Sto…

Straying Away from Social Media

I was in an elevator, riding up two floors to get to my dentist’s office. Also in the elevator, stood a mother holding her young daughter, surrounded by 3 kids. One of the little girls looked up at me and said, “Hi!” Immediately her little sister (being held by their mother) lit up and said, “Hi!” The big mushy heart inside me melted all over the place and I was reminded, I want!

Dealing with infertility is this really strange balancing act of wanting to be surrounded by children and pregnant women; and at the same time, not wanting to be reminded of a hole in my life. I think that kids are hilarious and babies are perfect and I love being around them. Pregnant women are interesting and their bodies are miraculous and I am fascinated every time I see them. But to be honest, I feel kind of traumatized when I consider the fact that I might never experience pregnancy. My now 26-year-old body could go an entire lifetime and never make a baby—that’s crazy. And depressing.

I used to look…

Infertility from My Husband's Point of View

Let me start by stating this fact: I have zero skill when it comes to expressing my feelings. I write about technical things (and trust me, I get real passionate about them), but I feel like a dummy when I try to demonstrate my emotions with words. Bear with me as I try.
With that disclaimer, let’s get started.
I grew up the youngest in a family of four. If you ask my siblings or my parents, I was spoiled. I don’t deny it. My life was… cushy. And I think that’s what gave me this impression that my family’s life would be similar. Please note here that I’m not attempting to throw a self-induced pity party or encourage harsh judgement. I’m trying to be open.

As recently as two years ago I imagined our future family as large. I imagined that we would have lots of kids, a full house, and lots of food. I had never even considered the possibility of infertility. I don’t think I even knew that infertility existed*. I assumed that when we made the decision to have children, we could have chil…

Another Rejection in Infertility

Man alive, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. In March, we were given hope that our insurance company might change their minds and give us the opportunity to do IVF. Since then, everyone’s been asking for an update and we’ve been like, Join the club!
During the surprise call from our fertility doctor, we were given some instructions for how we could move forward while we waited to hear back. First, Jk would need to do another sperm test to prove that the first one wasn’t a spoof. He would then need to meet with a urologist, or male fertility doctor, to analyze the results. Our fertility doctor and the urologist would work together to appeal the rejection from our insurance company.

So over the weeks, we spent way too much time in doctor’s offices. I met with a female reproductive doctor for an exam to be sure that if we got approved, my body would be good to go. That visit led to more blood tests (always), but eventually I got the thumbs up.

Jk went alone to a few more tests and then…

What I Think You Should Know About Infertility

This week is National Infertility Awareness week, so naturally I wanted to bring some awareness to what Jk and I have been going through. When I get an idea for writing, it lingers in the back of my mind. Festering and combining itself into words, concepts, and strings of thoughts until finally it is ready to come out. These thoughts happened to form at 3:30 in the morning while I was sound asleep. Like an alarm they rang and demanded my attention until I put aside sleep and typed them into the notepad of my phone. As a side note–why are phone lights so blazingly bright in the dark? Huge apologies to my husband.

I don’t claim to be an expert. All I know is what I’ve experienced, what has been shared with me, and what I’ve read online (always a solid argument). Here are some questions I’ve been asked about infertility and what I think you should know:

Who is affected by infertility?
According to what I've read, one in 8 couples experience infertility. Since coming out of the infert…

I Can't Put My Life on Hold for Infertility

This morning I realized that I’ve been silent on the blog for almost a month. Since the unexpected call from our fertility doctor, we’ve taken just as many steps forward as we have back. Mostly we’ve been in limbo (and it’s hard to send a postcard from limbo). We’re not sure yet what’s next—everything could change or it could all stay the same. The great paradox of infertility is that you can always expect uncertainty. The challenge comes in stepping away and finding other things to occupy your mind. 
In January, after long months of waiting to reach the year mark of infertility, I decided that I needed to get involved with activities that didn’t include worrying. In fact, I wanted to fill my schedule with all things stress-free! Fun, relaxing, life-enriching activities. Anxiety was inevitable; grief was unavoidable. I knew that I needed to counter-balance darkness with light. And so came Yoga, Pilates, and the temple. 
As a university employee, I took advantage of free tuition and e…

A Surprise Call from the Fertility Doctor

Most days, I do okay. But some days I'm just over this infertility thing. For a few months now, we have shared our ups and downs and it wasn’t until recently that I ran out of words. Two weeks ago, we received a phone call and then a letter confirming that our insurance provider would not pay for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I took the news, swallowed it, and let it break my heart. I get that we were put on this earth to grow and all, but lately my prayers have been a little like: Thanks but no thanks, Heavenly Father. I think I’m good on the growing thing.

Today He responded, Nope, and sent another bump in the road.

I was sitting at work when my cell phone started vibrating and my caller ID read, Reproductive Care Center. It’s been a few weeks since we talked with our fertility clinic; I just assumed that because our plan fell through, there was nothing else to follow-up on. Curious, I answered the phone and expected to hear the voice of a nurse or receptionist. Instead, I sp…

Feeling Awkward About Infertility

Recently I was asked the question, "How can infertility feel embarrassing?" Surprisingly, I didn’t know how to answer; I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just a few months ago that I was keeping such a significant part of my life secret. Like many couples suffering with infertility, I thought that my husband and I would keep it to ourselves until we had “success” with pregnancy. But now, after being so open about our infertility journey, I'm thinking more about that question. How can infertility feel embarrassing, awkward, or totally taboo? Here’s what I came up with.

One: This doesn’t feel like my story. I remember the first conversation Jk and I ever had about children. It was summer, bright and hot outside; we sat on the street underneath a shady tree while we sipped slurpees. We were dating and I was hungry to know every detail about his beautiful soul. We curiously asked each other questions for hours, back and forth. Hesitant and wide-eyed, Jk asked me how many…

In Vitro Fertilization and Insurance

About a week ago, I messaged an infertility blogger and asked for her thoughts on IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). Jk and I had just gotten back from our doctor’s appointment where our doctor suggested that we try IVF before our move to Arizona in 6 months. I fell hard and fast for the idea of being pregnant by June. But even after hearing an overview of how the process would go, I had a lot of questions. I turned to the author of one of the very first infertility blogs that I followed.

I expressed my reservations about IVF as well as my confidence in our insurance provider. My exact words to her were, “We have [this insurance], which is supposedly the best insurance provider for infertility treatments. Not too worried about the cost.” As it turns out, she had experience using the same insurance provider and had some great insight to give.
I learned that she was denied IVF coverage because she and her husband hadn’t been trying to get pregnant for a certain amount of time. Immediately, …

Getting an Answer!

For 400+ days, my husband and I had no idea why we couldn’t get pregnant. This week, we got our answer!

We were scheduled for an appointment with the fertility doctor in the late afternoon on Monday. All throughout the morning, my chest was filled with excitement and anticipation. This was the appointment when we would hear the results from our tests and we would make a plan for how to move forward! In my mind, I ran through every possible outcome—a problem with me; with Jk; with both of us; with neither. More than anything, I just wanted clear answers!
The weather and roads were really bad that day, so our doctor was running a little late with his appointments. Jk and I sat in the waiting room for nearly 30 minutes, going half crazy. Finally, we were taken back to speak with the doctor. I tried to gauge what kind of news he had for us, but his handshake wasn’t giving anything away.  Finally (FINALLY!), we received our test results... It turns out that I’m a Fertile Myrtle! All this …

How to Talk About Infertility

A few months ago, I was interacting with a mother and her little girl. I made a comment about how I adore children and the mom asked me, “If you love kids so much, why don’t you have any?” I could not have been more surprised. Dumbfounded, I thought, Wait a minute! Someone can just ask you that? I panicked and didn’t know what to say. I wanted to give an appropriate response but I honestly couldn’t answer why I didn’t have any kids. My husband and I weren't using birth control, we were making an effort, and we wanted to get pregnant–it just wasn’t happening.

How do you casually share the struggles of your fragile heart with an acquaintance? I didn’t want to make the situation awkward, and yet, it was an awkward question! In the end, I blurted out something about waiting for the “right timing”.

For nearly a year, I only talked about infertility with my husband and my best friend. On several occasions, I was asked by acquaintances and coworkers when Jk and I would start a family. Wi…

Fertility Testing, Valium, and the Worst Pain Ever

Jk and I had our first day of fertility testing last Monday, the day before Valentine’s Day (how romantic, I know). We were both scheduled for exams and decided to do them separately to save time. Jk was taken down the hall while I was given a pelvic ultrasound with our doctor and nurse. I’ll spare you the details of the exam, but I do want to say that the staff made me feel very comfortable. During the procedure, I was able to see a monitor showing exactly what the doctor was seeing. I couldn’t make out what was what, so I spent a lot of the time focusing on taking deep breaths and staring at a half burned-out light on the ceiling. The exam took less than 10 minutes and the doctor mentioned that his initial impression was that everything was functioning properly. The possibility of endometriosis couldn’t be entirely ruled out, but he didn’t see any signs of it at first glance! This was presented as good news, to which I was equally surprised and relieved.
After my ultrasound, I wen…

Infertility Amongst Pregnancy Announcements

We had a number of significant things happen this week. First and foremost, my super smart husband was admitted into the MS Computer Engineering program at ASU for Fall 2017! Arizona State University in Tempe has been his first choice for a while now and I knew that he would get in! He is a hard worker and I am proud of him! There is still so much that we have to plan, but we are really excited. It looks like we will be moving to Arizona around August!
In other news, I’ve lost count of the number of Valentine’s Day baby announcements and I feel an obligation to disclose that we are NOT pregnant. It is this social media surge that has inspired me to write about my experience with infertility amongst pregnancy announcements. I hope that by sharing my feelings candidly and honestly, my thoughts won’t be offensive.

I woke up on Tuesday morning and as per my usual bad habit, I looked at Facebook. I’d been so distracted with fertility tests that I barely had time to think about the holida…

Coming out of the Infertility Closet

You might not know it from my recent blog posts, but I have a natural tendency to keep personal things private. For example, when I quit my job last summer, I asked my husband not to tell anyone until I found a new job and was ready to share. I expect to go through things alone and tell the story afterwards. Jk, on the other hand, is an open book. He’ll talk to anyone about anything and leave nothing to the imagination. It’s very natural for him to be genuine and open with people.
When I first talked to Jk about sharing our infertility journey through a blog, he was so supportive of the idea. In fact, every time I went back and forth about the idea, Jk was there to encourage me to write. He told me, “We are meant to be a community and you help others as they help you.” When I finally published my first post, I was surprised to find that Jk shared it on his social media page. He came home from class and told me that he had even talked to his friends about what we were going through. It…

The Follow-Up Fertility Appointment

Thursday afternoon, we had our first real meeting with a fertility doctor. Technically, it was our “second consultation,” but this time it felt like an actual appointment (see The One with the Fertility Doctor). The morning passed by slowly as I unsuccessfully tried to distract myself at work (just ask my Snapchat friends). Finally, my cute husband surprised me and showed up earlier than expected. I think we were both antsy with anticipation!
As we drove across town to the clinic, Jk turned up the radio so that we could dance like dummies and release some nervous energy. We rolled the windows down and enjoyed the hint-of-spring weather. I could not have asked for a more perfect day. Despite shivering with anxiety, I felt so good. All of the encouragement and prayers from friends and family filled me up.

I am relieved to report that the appointment was everything we could have hoped for! Right away, we met with our new doctor, who was personable and sympathetic. He was a somewhat-youn…