When I checked in with you guys earlier this month, we were still digesting the fact that our 3rd IUI attempt didn’t work. To be honest, I think we were both frustrated, a little defeated, and definitely ready to have some sort of plan of action going forward. Up until this point each month when we got the negative results call from the nurse, we didn’t know what our next step was going to be until she told us in that moment.
A few times when she called the steps she told us we were taking next didn’t match up with the steps the doctor had told us we’d be taking next. I don’t know if our nurse has way too many patients to handle (I’m guessing that is the case) or what, but it was incredibly frustrating to feel so invested in this process and to feel like our doctor and nurse weren’t on the same page as us (or each other).
In our mind, we want to do something that works (obviously)… something that helps us get to the family we’ve been dreaming of. We were tired of feeling like we were throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping it would stick!!! This is way too emotionally draining and time consuming to just go about this process willy nilly to see if maybe something will work. And after talking to lots of ladies in my Kick-Ass Ladies fertility support group on Facebook (yes, that is what I named it, because… duh!) – I realized we needed to talk to our doctor and we needed to have a plan. I was going crazy without a plan. I found out that most people in our shoes had been told what the plan was when they first started treatments. They were going to try a certain number of IUI’s and if they didn’t work – they’d move on to IVF. We had never been told such a plan by our doctor. And at first it was okay, because I was certain try one, or two, or three would work!
But after this latest failed attempt, when the nurse said, “The doctor said we’ll try the same thing again next month… so give us a call when you start your cycle and we’ll start again with baseline testing,” I wanted to scream! (Instead I said, “okay” and got off the phone as fast as possible, obviously… knowing full well I wouldn’t be calling at the start of my next cycle until we ironed some things out.) Why on earth would we try the EXACT SAME THING that we just did that didn’t work for us?!
After talking through everything with James we decided two things:
1. We were going to seriously research adoption. We looked into it in the past and had an agency in mind, but hadn’t taken the time to go to a meeting or seriously research our options. We have always been more than okay with the idea of adoption. Anyone who follows the blog or knows me in real life knows we are surrounded by it in my immediate family and extended family. Our beautiful niece and nephews (who we are obsessed with) are adopted. I have cousins who are adopted. James has a cousin who is adopted. I have another cousin who recently adopted a baby girl. This is not something crazy or new in my family. It is understood, accepted, and embraced. What a beautiful thing. How blessed are we to have such a wonderful, supporting, and open minded family? So. Blessed. (The main reason we hadn’t looked into this in the past was because we wanted to at least give the fertility stuff a shot (haha, no pun intended)… and also because we definitely didn’t have the money for adoption. Now we feel like we’re at a place where it would be HARD, but we could make it work and pull the money together somehow.) So we knew we wanted to look more seriously into this option for us.
2. We were going to schedule a meeting with our fertility doctor and get on the same page. No more blindly moving forward. I wanted to tell him about what we do for a living and explain why it is imperative we try something that he actually thinks will work, and not just continue IUI’s mindlessly, since we can’t do them year-round. We only have so many months each year when our schedules aren’t insane when I can go to appointment after appointment. And after waiting year after year – hoping each year would be the one when we would start our family – we are done with “seeing how it goes.” We wanted to take steps forward. We wanted to feel seen. We wanted to feel understood. And we wanted a plan of action.
And so we did both of those things.
Last Saturday James and I attended an informational meeting for the Sayers Center for African American Adoption through The Cradle, a local adoption agency that I have heard wonderful things about from both a family that adopted from there, and a past bride of mine who used to work as a birthmother counselor there.
The meeting was held in an auditorium at a local public library, and based on the fact that this was an “auditorium” I thought it would be packed to the brim with African American and interracial couples hoping to adopt. I walked into the room (James had run to the bathroom) and there sat two other African American couples, and one woman who was to lead the meeting, chatting casually. They welcomed me to the room, looking slightly confused about my presence, given I wasn’t African American and I was alone. I’m not going to lie, I was tempted to say, “Hi! My black husband had to run to the bathroom! He’ll be joining us shortly!” haha. (i.e. I swear I belong here! ;))
But I digress. Honestly, I was kind of shocked upon walking in, because I thought there would be so many more people there! We sat through over two hours of information, holding each other’s hands tight. We heard stories from others who had adopted through this program, asked questions about the process, and listened to the other attendees’ questions. I told myself I’d keep it together but I failed big time at that! Ha! I definitely cried. A. LOT.
I cried when one of the attendees talked about how she had lost 23 babies and didn’t know if she could handle anymore disappointments in any process, including adoption.
I cried when the woman leading the meeting said that couples must first mourn the loss of their biological child they envisioned before they can move forward in this process.
I cried when a woman shared her story of adopting her son and said he was the light of her life, and realizes now this was how her life was supposed to be. That he was meant for her.
It was an emotional day and also incredibly enlightening and heartwarming. James and I left there hand in hand, nodding our heads. Yes, this was definitely the place for us. If and when we get to this point… this is where we will go. I felt so incredibly hopeful and more at peace with this process than I have in a while.
Fast forward a few days to Tuesday, when we had a meeting with our fertility doctor. My stomach was in knots. I had written all these notes with all these questions…
“What do these numbers mean? Why does one nurse tell us one number, and one nurse tells us another number?”
“Why did you send us to a specialist? What did we learn from him, if anything?”
“Why do we keep trying IUI’s? How many more will we do? What are the odds they will actually work?”
I walked into my doctor’s office (James once again had run to the bathroom… apparently this is a reoccurring theme, haha), and the doctor got right to the point. He said, “So, I’ve reviewed your charts and I know we said we were going to move forward with another IUI, but given the information we have, I just don’t think an IUI is going to do it. I think the next step is to move on to IVF.”
Here I thought I’d have to ramble all these questions and tell him we only wanted to try one more IUI, tops, before moving on to other options… and he took the words right from me before I could even speak. James came into the room and the doctor repeated what he told me. I looked towards James and we smiled and nodded at each other. Agreeing that this was what we wanted.
It’s funny… because when we first started this process I told James there was no way I was doing IVF. I always said if it got to that point, we would move on to adoption and say forget it. Then I heard so many stories from other couples in our same situation who IUI’s had not worked for (they’re tried anywhere from 3 to 7 or more… I cannot imagine!), and they moved onto IVF and it worked on the first or second try. The more I talked to these people, the more hope I had for our story.
So after this last IUI attempt didn’t work (and quite honestly I was feeling like it might not work going into it, which is awful to say)… I was ready to move on. I wanted to try something that would give us better odds. The doctor said with IVF we have over a 50% chance of it working. I know that seems crazy because it’s not that great of odds, but it was way better than the odds we had for an IUI working. And so… we are going to be doing our first round of IVF this April. There is lots of prep involved, so we need one month to prepare my body for the crazy process, and because the months when we do the egg retrieval and transfer I need to make sure we are here and available for lots of appointments. Thankfully this April and May we don’t have as many weddings each month as normal, nor do we have any travel planned (flights anyway), so we are hopeful for this spring!
We plan to enjoy ourselves over the holidays and be oh so grateful for all the blessings in our lives. Health. Happiness. Each other. Chloe. Our families and friends. All of it. We are so very blessed, and while this struggle is not easy, we know we are strong and we are even stronger together – so we know we can handle this. In January, February and March we will be hitting the road a lot! We are celebrating the end of our 2014 wedding season (which wraps on NYE) by heading to Puerto Rico & Vieques in January for some true R&R!! A REAL vacation!! In February we are heading to San Francisco to shoot one of our amazing 2015 couples’ engagement sessions, and tacking on a few extra days to do some site seeing!! And in March we kick off our 2015 wedding season in Baltimore!! So we definitely plan to live it up this winter, and are ready to move forward with our new plan of attack in the spring.
When things start back up I’ll definitely share how things are going, as IVF is a way more intensive process, including lots more shots, medication, and appointments. (You all may get annoyed with hearing from me about this by then!) And we will see how it goes. If this next step doesn’t go the way we planned, we are hopeful knowing that we will start the registration process with The Cradle at that point, and move forward with building our family in any way it takes.
Again, we thank you all one million times over for your support and love throughout this process. We are so thankful for the amazing people in our lives: For dear friends who cry with me, and know that sometimes the best thing to say is just, “This really sucks. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” For my sister, who is helping me navigate the waters of adoption and always there to talk to me whenever I need her. For my mom, who is always always praying for us, and there to talk with me whenever I need her. For all of you – for your emails, your text messages, your comments, and your stories of hope. For the clients who continue to book us, and the opportunities we have been given this year that have allowed us the chance to even entertain any of this. We are so grateful. SO. GRATEFUL.
And with that – I send you all our love and blessings for a happy and healthy 2015. (I’m afraid to say it… but maybe, just maybe, this will be our year.) In the meantime, we will continue to love on our favorite kiddos with all our hearts! Cannot wait to see them over Christmas! xoxo