The Need for Hope and Believing

This is another one of my posts that is going to be hypocritical based upon what I’ve written in the past. Back in December I wrote a piece on “Hope” and “Not Giving Up”. The argument that I made is that we shouldn’t tell each other to have hope and to never give up because it can set a person up for disappointment because there is no guarantee things will work out.

Fast forward almost three months. The decision to not pursue adoption was made. The idea of moving forward childless/free was explored. Then finally I have begun to think about exploring something I didn’t do two years ago in going back for a second opinion and possible biopsy to see if there is any sperm hidden in my boys. In the middle of all of this I had to stop running and go to Physical Therapy as my calf and Achilles’ tendon didn’t get any better plus my back started acting up again. And I found out the last of my childless college friends wife is pregnant leaving me as the only one in the group not a member of the “Dad Club”.

In that three months despite dealing with all of that my perspective on hope has changed. I’m more hopeful that things will work out in some way. Not being hopeful wasn’t getting me anywhere. It was just leaving me empty. I wasn’t ok and I’m still not ok. But I’m hopeful I will eventually be ok. I’m not sure what that ok will look like but it will be ok. I’m hopeful that ok ends with K & I becoming parents together. What’s helped me and what I need from my support system is that continued encouragement of hope and belief.

I think we all need hope that things will work out. Maybe that hope won’t lead to me becoming a parent. Even if we are down, yes feelings should be recognized and not dismissed. It’s justified to feel down and hopeless when things are not going well. Infertility is not easy to go through. It’s one of the most difficult things a married couple could face besides separation and divorce.

In addition to support and recognition of feelings each of us needs others around us to encourage and support us. We need to have hope for each other to help us believe that we can do this. Everyone needs hope that things will work out. Because if you don’t have hope or believe what exactly do you have?

In the words of Tug McGraw “Ya Gotta Believe!”

Tug McGraw

Knowing when it’s time to reach back out for help

The last two years have been the toughest and strangest of my adult life.  The peaks, valleys, range of emotions and how it’s changed me is not something I ever expected to experience in my life.  One of the important lessons it’s taught me that it’s ok to be vulnerable and ask for help.  Two years ago I recognized that we had been dealt a huge blow and that I couldn’t get through with my piece of our situation on my own.  I recognized I needed therapy to help better understand the situation and work through the feelings I was going through.

Two years later not much has changed in terms of my situation with K and the question of whether or not we’ll attempt to become parents.  However, at some point in the near future we are going to make a transition to something new.  Recognizing how significant that change is going to be and the fallout that will come with it I have decided to go back to therapy.  It has been something I have been debating over for the last two months ever since the decision was made that we would not pursue adoption.

Admitting that I needed to go back to therapy was not an easy decision.  I hate having to ask anyone for help.  The idea that I can do things on my own and accomplish great things are something I take pride in.  Feeling vulnerable and exposed to the point where I have to ask for help makes me feel weak.  It makes me feel that I can’t do things on my own.  I recognize that flaw in myself and it’s something that I have worked on the last two years that it’s ok to ask for help.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength.  I understand that as a person I have limitations and that while I can challenge myself I can’t do it all.  There are certain challenges I will face where I will need to seek the help of others.  That’s ok too as tough as it is to accept.

I’m not going into therapy expecting to find all of the right answers.  I will be looking to therapy to help me work through the upcoming transition whatever that is.  No matter what the transition is to in my life the issues that I have from the fallout with infertility will need to be worked through.  I am confident that no matter what the transition is to that I will be able to figure it out and be ok.  I know that I am ready to move forward into the unknown and take on the challenges that come with it.  I don’t expect it to be an easy transition in my life but I hope that therapy will be that help along the way.

It’s Always Been For You: An Ever Upward Circle Back

gsmwc02:

This book is a must read for everyone in the infertility community. Justine is a special person and an important individual in the infertility community advocating for us all. I highly encourage everyone to stop by her blog and buy her book.

Originally posted on Ever Upward™:

Admit when you are wrong.

Understand the mistake and make it better.

Learn from it.

Circle back.

I was wrong. I tried my best but now realize my misstep and want to make it better. So here I am circling back.

Ever Upward has started to gain some major traction. The universe is churning, my hard persistent work is paying off and I am trusting it all.

Between my HuffPost Parents piece, Acceptance in Infertility, my Twitter becoming more active especially because of my fellow warriors and more and more people reading, loving and talking about the book I am feeling and actually trusting that this bright shining light of ever upward is making change. And, that it will get the attention it deserves so it can grow.

All this churning means more and more conversation, which is the entire point of Ever Upward in many ways. Through…

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How life would be different if not for Infertility

Anytime a life altering event happens it’s natural for us to wonder what would our lives be like without that event. Infertility is no different no matter how our journey ends it changes us forever. Life will never be like it would have been had infertility not entered our life.

Prior to deciding to re-investigate pursuing infertility treatments this past weekend I had done a lot of research on living a childless/free life after infertility. I connected with many great bloggers and people in Twitter land who had lived the experience. One of them was a fairly recent connection who has a blog “No Kidding in NZ“. The woman behind the blog is a great person who has lived life and has helped others along the way. Her blog is a must read for anyone in the infertility community. Her latest blog post “Hersey” discussed appreciating the life we have and the things not having children has brought us.

The post got me thinking about the things I have done and the things in my life with K that infertility and not having children has brought us. The first thing that came to mind was my 2014 weight loss and getting back into running. Though I’m currently sidelined going through physical therapy due to injuries sustained from running, it is something that has brought joy to me.

But if there is one thing that infertility and not having children allowed K and I to do was adopt the joy in our everyday life in the form of our Greyhound Lila. We had started to try to have kids midway through 2011. In the summer of 2012 after a year of trying with no success still unaware there were any issues K & I looked into bringing a dog into our home. Retired racing Greyhounds seemed like a great fit as they are lazy dogs and with K & I working full time and not being home during the day.

On August 12, 2012 a few weeks after submitting an adoption application and being approved, we attended an adoption day. A few days prior I emailed the adoption agency about a dog we saw on the website that K & I liked. We were informed that the dog would not be at the event but there would be other dogs there. We went into it thinking we would just look at dogs that day but not come home with one. We first walked two dogs that were younger that seemed to have a lot of energy. They were cute dogs but didn’t seem like a good fit we figured we would look at one other. The third dog we walked was 5 years old, very pretty but a bit more reserved than the others. I would later learn that in the middle of walking her the dog leaned on K (which sold K). We asked for some background on her and was told that a few weeks prior this dog was adopted by another family but returned because she always looked sad and was always hungry (the latter is true). With hearing that along with the lean K & I were sold that this was the one for us.

Our lives changed for the better that day. The first few months with Lila were rough. She had separation anxiety when we left for work each day and it took a good six months for us to work through that. It took her a full year before she started to open up to us and show us her personality. K & I both had to have extreme patience with Lila. Almost two and a half years later Lila has become a happy part of our everyday lives. She has become a very friendly dog that loves people. My favorite part of each day is when K comes home from work and Lila gets extremely excited wagging her tail and hopping around.

If it had not been for infertility K & I would have had a two year old toddler running around the house. I likely would be 20+lbs heavier never getting back into running. And most importantly Lila would not be a member of our family. I have no idea what Lila’s life would have been like if she would have gone from home to home until someone with enough patience gave her a chance to show the world what a sweet loving dog she is. It makes me sad to think about the life she might have had if not for infertility. At the same time I am grateful for being a part of Lila’s life and that we’ve given her the home she deserves. I’m grateful for the life she’s given us.

I’ve said in previous posts that I would trade anything not involving the health of my family to not ever have dealt with infertility. I would trade all accomplishments and material items in exchange for parenthood. But the thing is Lila is a part of my family that likely wouldn’t have been w/out infertility. I wish she could have been anyway but I doubt she would have been.

I have no idea what the future holds as K & I begin to have conversations about re-investigating pursuing infertility treatments. As I said in my previous post I hope it brings closure to our infertility journey one way or another so we can move forward together. Regardless of the end result I’m confident that new doors to new opportunities will open up to our lives. I’m sure they won’t be easy to adjust to but they will be things I’ll be grateful for.

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Am I “Nuts” for Re-Opening Closed Doors?

The last month has been as rough as it’s been in the two plus years we’ve dealt with infertility. The decision that we would not be pursuing adoption started it, followed by anniversary triggers, then some surprise pregnancy announcements followed by a big pregnancy announcement that I had been waiting for.

The big pregnancy announcement was a great friend of mine and his wife. This is a college friend that I’ve known for almost 17 years. A friend who changed my life forever by introducing me to K. A friend who two years ago after I told him of our infertility diagnosis invited K & I to the Bahamas with him and his wife to get away from things. He is a special friend who means the world to me. I couldn’t be more happy for him and his wife who I know will be great parents. But at the same time it’s a reminder of being the one left out. Everyone has moved on with their lives while K & I are living the exact same way. I feel left out and that we no longer have things in common with friends in our lives. It’s sad and frustrating for me going to the deepest darkest pain that infertility has brought me.

The frustration its brought me is that I don’t know what to do next. I’ve tried to move on by trying different things to bring me joy and it has helped but something is missing. A big thing that’s holding me back is the feeling that K & I never tried passing on infertility treatments, third party reproduction and adopting. Also, I don’t feel like we went through this together.

Because the grief and pain that infertility brought me I pushed my wife away as I became so obsessed with finding ways for us to become parents. The feeling that we didn’t go through this together was influence by my impatience and obsession with becoming parents. It’s something I recognize now though I can’t change the past.

What I can do is change the present and future. Yesterday I got thinking about things I’ve written against doing for some time. I’ve written how hope and miracles are all bullshit and that conception isn’t an exact science. I’ve argued that believing in hope doesn’t impact the outcome of ones journey. Well now I get to be a hypocrite and say that I’m going to take a leap of faith and re-open a closed door and explore treating my infertility.

For those of you who don’t know my infertility is a result of non obstructive azoospermia. The non obstructive azoospermia more specifically is a result of a Y Chromosome Microdeletion in the AZFb and AZFc regions. The only known way for a man with Y Chromosome Microdeletions to conceive a child is for a biopsy to be done and an attempt for sperm to be extracted. With the Microdeletions I have there has never been a reported case of sperm being found in a man even through extraction. Two years ago I passed on having a biopsy to be done because of the odds of finding anything, the chance that even if there was anything found I would have passed the condition onto a male child and we still had the door open on third party reproduction. One way or another I felt that we’d become parents someday.

Two years later with the doors closed on non biological parenthood and me not being able to move forward I think it’s time to go back and explore my infertility to gain closure on it. I don’t know what the end result will be. Sure the odds are not in our favor even if they find something who knows what they would be able to find and the condition of it. If we get to that point visiting a geneticist would be part of the process. Then you have to factor in that even if everything is ok there then there is the whole conception part. It’s a billion to one shot. It would take a miracle for it to happen. But if it is going to happen, why not K & I be the ones who it happened to? I’m hopeful that if it is possible it could be us. Not that our situation is the same but there are so many couples that have a small chance of having kids who end up beating the odds. It doesn’t guarantee it will happen for us but it gives me hope that it could.

I would give both of my nuts to either gain closure in whether we become parents and becoming parents. I literally will be sacrificing my nuts to the infertility gods as insane as that sounds. I’m scared shitless of what we will have to go through to do that as I’ve never had a surgery before. The potential outcome is scary as well. Though the pre infertility me that still exists deep down believes that I can do it, K can do it and most importantly we can do it together. Two years ago I don’t think we could have done it together but now I am confident we can do it the right way together.

I’m a big Rocky fan obviously being Italian and short thinking that I’m more capable than others believe. I feel like this is going to be like Rocky III where Rocky gets knocked out by Clubber Lang and has to reinvent himself as a fighter drops weight becoming quicker, stronger and more mentally tough. He takes a chance and even though he’s afraid he goes for it not knowing what will happen but comes out on top in the end. I am scared of infertility it has knocked me out but I am going to get back up and take it on one last time.

This isn’t going to be easy. This will be very hard and likely will be all for not. I’m going to be positive and hopeful that regardless of the outcome everything will be ok in the end for us as a couple. Does that make me nuts? Maybe, but but this Italian Stallion would rather be nuts and know rather than always wonder what might have been if we took a chance.

P.S. I welcome all types of comments including ones that bring humor to this situation. I’m always up for a good laugh and have learned that humor is a great way to get through tough times in life. :-)

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The Power of Privilege and Making a Difference in the Infertility Community

There have been so many things on my mind with regards to infertility lately with all that’s happening within the community.  There’s been conflict and divide among those who have gone on to have children and those who are still in the trenches or have moved on from trying to conceive a child.  So many times messages get lost and people are misunderstood.  They use the wrong words and even though the intention is good the message comes out all wrong.  Personally I’ve done a lot of reflecting and tried to think of ways to connect to everyone.  It has been tough for me doing that with the internal struggle that I’ve been working through which unfortunately got more difficult last night but I will save that for another piece that I am going to wait to post.

One concept that has been brought up by those like myself who have either moved on from trying to have kids and those in the trenches is that those who have gone onto have children are privileged.  The feeling is that they are lucky and have something that others lack.  Before going further, lets examine the meaning of the word privilege:

1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most
2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities
I used these two definitions because I think they highlight two different ways those who are privileged can use their privilege.  One way is a person can use their privilege to do something good to help others.  The second way is a person can live with their privilege and not look back as to what it was like when they didn’t have that privilege.
In the infertility community that idea also applies.  There are those who are privileged who go onto have children who stick around in the community to help others work through infertility.  Then there are those who don’t ever wish to go back to that deep dark place.  I don’t fault these people for not wanting to go back to that deep dark place.  They aren’t bad people and it has nothing to do with them not caring for others.  But those who are privileged who use their privilege to help others like my friend Jay and I woman named Cristy I recently connected with through Jay.
These people who use their privilege to help others are truly special people in the infertility community.  They could have easily walked away after they got their happy ending but instead of stuck around to make a difference in others lives.  In Jay’s case she not only has dedicated part of her life outside of work to helping others but has also dedicated her career to doing so.  They are the type of people that people like myself and others who are either still in the trenches or have moved on from trying to have kids need to work with.  They have the power just as we do to close that divide between us.  There will be times when they may not get us but we need to recognize that they will always try.
At the same time, I don’t think people who have similar situations as I do should look down upon or attack those who have privilege who walk away from the infertility community.  We should respect their decisions and wish them well.  It takes a special strong person to stick around this rough place and that isn’t a knock on those who don’t.

(Never Say) Never Give Up

gsmwc02:

A great post on something that needs to change in the infertility community if we’re ever going to become a more supportive inclusive community.

Originally posted on Fox In the Hen House:

Never give up.

This is a phrase commonly used when a person is struggling in life or fighting an illness.

Once again, this is a post that came about because of a specific event but is actually a recurring theme in the infertility world. So while the specific event led to me actually writing this post, this post is not solely about that event or an attack on that person who most recently said that phrase. There’s been enough fighting on Twitter about this already I don’t care to encourage more of it. Which is why I thought perhaps more than 140 characters were warranted on the topic. Also, please note that this post has been sitting in drafts for MONTHS. I was only reminded that it was still sitting there because of a recent post on the very same topic.

Never give up.

If you have not attained…

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