Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ways to Cope

It's unavoidable. Infertility causes plenty of negative feelings, including depression, anxiety, and worthlessness. It's so easy to let yourself get caught up in those feelings, and let yourself spiral down into dark places.

It takes a lot of courage, and a lot of work, but your life doesn't have to be ruled by these emotions. There are many healthy coping techniques to use that will make life better.

Resolve.org posted a list of different techniques to use in their Coping Techniques article, and I heartily second all of them.


"1. Learn about the normal responses to infertility. 
The first step in reducing the stress of infertility is to stop feeling panicky about feeling rotten! Read about the emotional aspects of infertility.

2. Another step in overcoming isolation is to build a bridge back to your family.
All but the least sensitive can be educated about infertility, and can be taught by you how to be helpful and supportive. Ask them to do some reading on infertility. Also, be sure to let them know how you want to be treated.

3. Give yourself permission to cry and be angry.
Don't try to shut off your feelings. If you need to cry about the unfairness of one more pregnancy announcement, go ahead. If you need to pound a pillow or pummel a punching bag, do it. When you try to "snap out of it," you waste all your energy.

4. Give your spouse/partner permission to feel and cope differently than you.
If you're a wife, don't waste energy trying to get your husband to feel as devastated as you do. If you're a husband, don't try to get your wife to be "more like a man," forgetting about infertility except when she's at the doctor's office or in the bedroom.

5. Improve your communication about infertility.
You might try what I call "The Twenty Minute Rule," which forces you to limit the amount of time you talk about infertility in a given evening.

6. Tell your spouse/partner how you want to be helped.
But partners are mere humans, incapable of mind reading. If you need to pass up the family gathering that features five nieces and nephews under two, then say so. If you want to be hugged, or massaged, or left alone for a few minutes, or just listened to without any response, you'll be more likely to get what you want if you ask.

7. Get more information.
One of the worst facets of stress is uncertainty about the future. You can't get a crystal ball, but you can reduce some of your uncertainty by collecting information."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Welcome Record Courier Readers

I hopefully anticipate some new readers referred here by the Record Courier article published on Friday, May 17. And I would like to say welcome, and thank you for stopping by!

I was very honored when Sheila Gardner asked if she could interview us and write about our story. And, after reading it, I feel like she captured a lot of our journey very well! I'd like to thank her for taking the time to write it and help the community understand a lot of what we, and many millions of couples with infertility, experience.

I hope that if you have any questions about infertility, or want to learn more, that my blog can help you find anything you wish to know. In the article, I recommended Resolve.org as a resource. I think I reference or link to their site in every post that I write. Any bit of information you need can be found through them.

One thing I wish the article had covered, and I understand there was a length restriction, so not everything could be covered, were a few basic facts about infertility.

Infertility is defined as "a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple had had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age. If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse."

It's estimated that 7.3 million people in the United States alone suffer from infertility.

That works out to be about 1 in 8 couples.

This disease is very widespread, and affects more people than many realize. And with the tremendous emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial strains, it's a major issue.

For those who think they may be experiencing infertility, please don't hesitate to find help now. My one regret is that I did not seek the help of a specialist as soon as I suspected a problem. I was worried about the cost of treatment, and thought that my family doctor would be able to help me at a more affordable cost. However, I ended up wasting a lot of time and money on things that did not help. A specialist, or Reproductive Endocrinologist, is the best and most highly trained person to help. For those who are local to my hometown, call the Nevada Center for Reproductive Medicine and set up a consultation. Both of their doctors are amazing, and their whole staff are incredible and friendly. They can help! Visit nevadafertility.com to get more information. For more about when to see a specialist, read a recent post, When Should I See a Specialist?

For those who are here to learn and know how to best support their family and friends, please take a look through my posts. If I may, here are a few that may interest you the most:

Join the Movement and Speak Out! My post written for Resolve.org's National Infertility Awareness Week as part of the Blogger's Unite Challenge.

Comfort IN, Dump OUT talks about an article written for the LA Times, which discusses the best ways to help someone going through any sort of trauma.

Infographic, a quick visual representation of some interesting and helpful data.

Thanks again for stopping by! If you have any questions, or wish to contact me, please take advantage of the Q&A tab at the top of the page. I'm truly humbled by friends' and community's interest in infertility, and hope that I am able to help everyone to understand a little bit more.

EDIT: The article was just published online. However, the newspaper requires a subscription fee in order to read it online. If you care to look anyway, it's here: http://www.recordcourier.com/news/6534385-113/allison-infertility-jeppsons-john

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Infographic

I saw this posted on Pinterest today, and thought it summarized a lot of information really well. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

IUI 2 Done, and Interview

As of this afternoon, we have done everything we can for this cycle. We had IUI #2 done with a final sperm count of 25 million (which is great!). We had one follicle mature on the right again, which is good and bad. My RE was a bit concerned that my follicles have been maturing on the right three months in a row. He said that my body may be compensating for a problem that is happening on the left, which is possibly causing the blockage, and that it may also be compromising the right side. He said statistically for me, since we have good sperm count, IUI should work in the first three tries, and that if it doesn't there may be another problem altogether. We're just hoping that it works this time so we don't have to worry about it!

Also, last week, John and I were interviewed by a reporter with the local newspaper about our journey for a story that will be published either tomorrow or Friday. I am very nervous about it! I felt like the interview went well, but after I kept thinking to myself, "I can't believe I said that!" and "I wish I had clarified/explained that more." The reporter was very kind, so I think she'll write a good article. I'm just very anxious to read it! I hope to see some good feedback and support from the community. 

After it's published I will put a link to it on here so you can read it. I don't know if I will be able to sleep tonight!


Me and Ann

I am a big fan of the show Parks and Recreation. Currently, one of the characters, Ann Perkins, is trying to have a baby. Since she is a single woman, she was beginning ART treatment, which I could partially relate to. It's been interesting to see how they portray a woman who is TTC, especially in the non-traditional way.

Last week's episode started with Andy finding a positive pregnancy test. He then went around to all of the women in the show to figure out which one it is. When he approached Ann, her reaction was just absolutely perfect! I asked my friend to turn it into a clip for me so I could put it on here for you to see.

video

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Another New Experience

The other day I had the experience of giving an injection to myself. It was quite odd. I don't think I have ever purposefully inflicted pain on myself before.

I was running late to work that morning, so I had to just grab all of my materials (including my sharps container), and go. When I got to my classroom, I sat down and had to remember how to mix it all and prepare the injection. The instant it was all ready, the bell rang and students started coming in! I was so embarrassed. But, it had to be done, so I turned my back to them, and started to put the needle in.

It was odd how I hesitated. I thought, "This is a tiny needle. It's not going to hurt at all." But the second it pricked my skin, I had an involuntary reaction and pulled it away. So I went in for a second try, and bared my teeth, and sunk it all the way in. And holy cow, the serum burned! I probably did it too slowly, but I finally got it done and I'm not sure anyone even saw. At least, no one asked about it or my sharps container. I guess it's not that abnormal to see someone give themselves shots in the stomach. Many people have to do insulin shots all the time.

That was my first time ever giving a shot to anyone. And, I'm proud to say that it didn't hurt afterward, and there is no bruising. All of the shots that the nurses did at my RE's office the last few months left a bruise, and a couple hurt for a while after. One of them that was in the stomach was even bruised for a week! I guess I did something right. I hope this is the first and last time I have to give myself a shot!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just Adopting

One thing I hear from people pretty often is, "Have you started to think about adoption?" and "Why don't you just adopt?" And while it is an option to consider when trying to build a family, it's not as simple as "just adopting."

The first step in the process of adopting is making sure you're ready for it. I was told a story once that really opened my eyes to this step in the process. A woman and her husband were at their initial interview with their case worker to open their case and start the process. And the first thing that the case worked asked was, "Have you finished mourning your infertility and your chance of having a biological child?"

That question is the first thing you have to answer, and one of the most important. For most people, we are not ready for adoption until we can truthfully answer "yes" to that question. Adoption should not be thought of as a last resort or a final ditch effort to have a family. If you think about it in that way, you are not ready for adoption. It should be a decision you come to because you are ready and wanting to raise a child, even if they are not biologically yours. Resolve has a lot of material about this issue, and on the subject of the emotional aspects of adoption, they said, " The turning  point for many couples is when they realize that they would rather be parents than be pregnant. Often, around this same time, is when the idea of adoption begins to no longer seem like the next step in a series of failures, but rather the first step in an exciting journey that will end in success. When you can embrace it in those terms is when you are emotionally ready to begin."

On Resolve's Facebook page, they asked the question, "What are some of the things you shouldn't say to someone who is having trouble conceiving?" And while there were many good answers, there were a lot about adoption. One member said, "Although we did eventually adopt, there is no 'just' about it. The adoption ride is not for everyone and is every bit as emotional, difficult, nerve-wracking, and expensive as our battle with infertility. And adoption is not a cure for infertility. Having a child in your home is a wonderful blessing but the pain of infertility is not erased by adoption. You must deal with the trauma of infertility before adopting and you must know what while you will be overjoyed, your infertility will still be a part of you." I feel like her word summed up everything perfectly. It is not a cure for infertility. Parents who adopt don't feel like their infertility magically vanishes. It's still a part of who they are.

Once someone is ready, the process isn't as easy as "just adopting." The first, and one of the biggest hurdles, are finances. Private adoption can cost up to $40,000 or more, which is the cost of two or three IVF cycles (Resolve.org, "When Should You Consider Adoption?"). There are cheaper options, but they come with a higher risk of not getting the child, like fostering to adopt, and my Church's adoption service, which usually has a waiting list of about 5 years. Many people don't know how difficult, expensive, and long it takes to adopt a child.

It is not easy to decide on adoption. And it's not easy to adopt. It's a decision that many couples struggle with, and some never decide to adopt. For me, we are not ready. At all. We have not yet given up hope of having our biological child, and will fight for that for a long time to come. And, we may never decide to adopt. Many couples decide to live child-free, and can still feel fulfilled and at peace with their lives.