They stuck a balloon up my hoo-ha

No, seriously.

I had the HSG done yesterday. For those of you who have not experienced this procedure, this is how it works. Basically, it’s an x-ray with contrast. They inject the dye into your uterus via your vagina and take x-rays at intervals in order to see how the dye disburses and make sure there are no blockages.

Knowing how the procedure works and having the procedure done are two completely different things.

There were some things that were obvious; getting undressed from the waist down for example. They (kindly) gave me 2 hospital gowns so I could put them on so they overlapped, and took Rob and I to a big procedure room with an x-ray machine. Thankfully, they were able to schedule me with a female radiologist because even the idea of having a male perform the procedure started to trigger panic attacks. Unfortunately, the radiologist had given birth prematurely and they were trying to get the baby to go home that day, so she wasn’t available. The hospital ended up getting a female doctor who normally performs mammograms to perform the HSG, so it all worked out. The nurse and doctor explained the procedure while they prepped, and since I had read up about how an HSG works there weren’t a lot of surprises, but there definitely were a few.

Surprise #1- The Speculum

I have had pelvic exams, so I am no stranger to a speculum, but I have NEVER had one cranked so wide. Do you remember the first time you used a tampon? How it felt like you were trying to shove a cucumber up your nose, but much further south? Yeah, same basic idea. It was like being saddle sore but oh so much worse. I’ve heard of the pear of anguish before but I totally never got it until yesterday. That would be some effective torture.

Surprise #2- Iodine

It makes sense if you think about it, but I had never thought about it so it came as a complete shock to me when the tech told me they would have to sterilize me–to use her words–inside and out. She took what looked like one of those foam paintbrushes you get at craft stores and dipped it in an iodine solution–fairly common for sterilization. She then proceeded to scrub me down. Inside and out. Such. A weird. Feeling. Have you ever had a throat culture done to see if you have strep? Yup, felt just like that. So. Weird.

Surprise #3- The Balloon

In order to get the catheter to stay in the uterus while they inject the dye, they inflate a tiny little balloon to essentially fill the uterus and hold the catheter in place. So while you have your girlie parts on the spreader, you also have a balloon inflating inside your girlie parts. Think menstrual cramps squared.

Surprise #4- Oh the pain!

Everything I read and everyone I talked to said that the procedure would hurt, but I so underestimated it. It was really similar to the cramps and pain when we were losing Jamie, which, of course, was not something I wanted to ever feel again. I had to keep reminding myself that this was just a test and we were not losing another baby.

Surprise #5- Leaking

I saw them prepare the dye, but for some reason it did not sink in that the dye would have to come out some how. As soon as I stood up after the test I felt it start to run down my leg. Again, not a fun feeling. A week before we lost Jamie I had that happen with blood and it is a very frightening sensation. I think that was the hardest part for me. I had to force myself to look down to see that it wasn’t blood running down my leg, but it was still a very traumatizing to feel that again.

Overall, the test went really well. I didn’t have a panic attack (yay) and even though Rob had to sit in the corner during the actual test he was at least in the room which a big comfort. Preliminary readings suggest that my anatomy is normal, but we will find out for sure Friday at my girlie doctor appointment to monitor follicle growth. The nurse mentioned (and I had read) that many couples who haven’t been able to conceive get pregnant soon after having an HSG done. Apparently forcing the dye through the area helps open the pathways, thereby making it easier for the sperm to reach the egg. If this procedure does end up being responsible for us conceiving then it will have totally been worth the pain. And even if we don’t get pregnant right away, this is at least the first step in the right direction.

Like I said, Friday I go in for an ultrasound and we will see if we have the proper number of eggs growing. If you are reading this, Rob and I would greatly appreciate prayers. If you have gone through this before, I’d love to hear from you! Please comment 🙂

 

 

Push

I feel like if I rub at it,

Scrub at it

Make it bleed

This poison will come out of me

If I can feel the pain,

The hurt,

The rage,

The fear

I can choose when to cry my tears

 

This wound inside of me, this thing that won’t let me breathe

I want to pull it from my brain,

Rip it up like a child’s note and

Shove those words back down his throat

That wasn’t love you showed me

That was Pain

And Hurt

And just plain Wrong

And that’s not what made me strong

My strength is Me

My Choice

My Voice in this, to keep my head above the sand

 

But I don’t know which way is up, it’s like I’m fighting

Searching

In a cloud of dust for

Hope and

Light I still can’t find

Just pull it from my mind. Lock it up and throw the key

So it can’t keep its hold on me

But every box I put it in just makes the problem grow

Til it crashes down on me again

And I Push

And I Fight

Someday I will win this fight

 

TTC

I’ve decided to keep a record of our TTC journey. Upcoming events will be italicized and I will add notes as we get results.

  • Feb 2010- started birth control (pills)
  • March/April 2010- switched to the NuvaRing because the pill was making me go a little crazy
  • Feb/March 2011- went to OBGYN because I thought I might be pregnant. I wasn’t.
  • May 2011- went off NuvaRing, decided to start trying to conceive
  • Feb 2012- talked to girlie dr about getting help with conception. She started me on Progesterone to regulate my period
  • Feb to May 2012- took Progesterone days 16-25 of cycle. The first few times I took it my period started around day 20. I essentially had a period every 2-3 weeks.
  • May 2012- pushed back my Progesterone so that I wouldn’t be on my period during Emily’s wedding in which I was a bridesmaid
  • June 1, 2012- positive pregnancy test
  • June 25, 2012- started bleeding. Rob took me to the OBGYN. My dr was out of town so I was seen by Dr. M. The baby was okay, they thought part of the placenta had been caught outside the womb. They said it was fairly common but I should be on partial bedrest for at least 2 weeks
  • July 3&4, 2012- Bleeding and pain started in the evening. Called dr and was told it was likely a miscarriage. Went to ER with Robby. Tests, ultrasound, etc. Told at around 4am that the baby was smaller than they would have liked and there was no heartbeat. We could go home and let things pass naturally with painkillers, or get a D&C.
  • July 4, 2012- had D&C
  • July 9, 2012- follow up with OBGYN
  • August to December- TTC
  • December 2012- officially switched to Dr. M and had a consultation for TTC
  • December 2012 to April 2013- charted BBT, continued Progesterone and in the beginning had a period every 2-3 weeks
  • April 2013- TTC consultation with Dr M. Decided we would start treatment/testing if no baby by July
  • April to July 2013- continued Progesterone and BBT charting
  • July 2, 2013- TTC consultation with Dr M, diagnosed with PCOS, given schedule of tests
  • July 24, 2013- Blood work Part I (fasting)
  • July 26 to 30, 2013- 100mg of Clomid a day
  • July 31, 2013- Blood work Part II
  • August 2, 2013- Ultrasound to monitor follicle growth
  • August 12, 2013- Blood work Part III
  • TBD- HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to look at anatomy

It’s not fair

We were supposed to be first.

I f—ing hate that Beth and Anthony are pregnant now. I am so mad and jealous that I could cry. Why do they get to have their baby and we don’t? They haven’t even been married a year and already they get their baby. I hate that we have been trying and trying for 2 freaking years and they just get to pop out a baby. And the fact that they are part of the 3 families that I grew up with makes it that much worse. Now they’re all going to be obsessed with “the first grandchild in our group”. Jamie was the first grandchild. I’m sitting here making appointments to try and maybe, possibly, conceive a child, and they just casually announce it on Facebook?! Do they not realize that doing that would rip into my heart? It physically hurts, and I am so angry I could scream. I don’t want them to lose their baby, I don’t want anyone to lose their baby. But it should be OUR TURN!!!!!

I hate this. I hate that I hate them for having a baby, but I do. And she’s my best friend’s sister. I hate them.

Tim

When I started college I didn’t really have any friends, but during my sophomore year I made two of the best friends I have ever had: Tim and Tory. Tory was a fellow biology student and we actually met on the first day our freshman year and slowly got closer until by our sophomore year we were best friends. Tim was a professor who taught some of our biology courses. My freshman year I was really intimidated by him. He seemed to hate the students and I couldn’t figure out why he taught if that was the case. Sophomore year he was the professor of a Mammalian Ecology course that Tory and I decided to take together. After a few weeks in class the three of us became really good friends.

Over the next few years we spent tons of time together. We went to lunch, watched movies, had inside jokes, and even helped him rewire his barn. I could talk to him about things I didn’t understand, namely why people act the way they do, and he was never condescending when he explained what I asked about. When I finally sought counseling for my abuse he was one of the few people I actually opened up to. I had told Tory and decided to tell Tim as well, and I remember being so nervous that he would judge me for what had happened. I told him that I wanted to go out to lunch with him and that I had something important to tell him. He met Tory and I in the Science Center and he could tell that this was something serious. He looked at Tory and said “wow, that big?”. As we walked to the restaurant I told him what had happened and what was going on, including that I had been diagnosed with PTSD. He only interrupted to say “This happened when you were seven and you’re just now talking about it? No wonder you have PTSD!” We had lunch and that was it. We were still friends.

The day we got back from spring break in 2009 he gestured to me and Tory to come into the hall to talk to him. It turned out he had been offered a job at St. Paul University as the Biology Chair, including tons of perks and he was going to take it. He and his wife Ruth were going to be moving that summer, and he wanted to let us know first. Of course we were disappointed, but we understood. He was still going to teach the summer field study that Tory and I were both registered for, but that was going to be his last Wittenberg course.

That July, Tory and I headed to Wisconsin to start our field study, and I was so nervous. We met Tim and Ruth in Wisconsin, along with the other students in the course. We did a week of camping and studying before we headed to Minnesota for the main part of the course: canoeing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. We got to the canoe outfitters and practiced canoeing, and while we were on the lake I had a panic attack. I made it back to shore and went back to our cabin and got my anxiety medicine. I tried to hide what had happened but ended up telling the girls and Ruth in my cabin what had happened. That night we all went out to a nice dinner and as we were getting ready to leave Tim had me stay behind. He asked me what had happened and if I thought it was likely to happen again when we were in BWCA. I don’t remember most of the conversation but I managed to convince him (and myself) that I would be fine. I regret that so much.

We got up the next morning and headed out, and for the most part I was fine. I sucked at canoeing, but I was okay. When we started looking for somewhere to make camp was when things started to get bad. By the time we found a place, I was holding back tears. As we got out of the canoe Tim saw my face and we wordlessly communicated that I would go off into the woods and he would come find me later. I went off until I couldn’t hear anyone and then I started to cry. A while later Ruth came over and I explained why I was having problems. Later Tim came over and we talked. We decided that I needed to leave the trip, and he asked if I needed to go right then or if I could last one night. I told him that leaving the next morning was fine. When I managed to calm down we went back to the campsite and I could tell that the other students were wondering what was happening. I helped with dinner and once everyone had food Tim looked at me and I nodded; he could tell them what was going on. The students were so supportive and Tim picked a group to canoe back to the outpost in order to get me out. There was no cell reception so there was no way to contact the outpost to communicate that we needed picked up. We put 4 of us in a 3 person canoe and made the journey back to the launch point. When we got back, Tim found a family camping and the dad took him in his truck to drive around until they found cell service. The other 2 students and I waited on the beach for him to come back. He finally came back and told us that the outpost was sending someone to get me and that they would wait with me until the car got there so they could trade out their 3 person canoe for a 2 person one. Tim wrote a note to someone at the outpost explaining what was going on and that I needed to be sent home as soon as possible. I hugged the other students goodbye and told Tim I was sorry. He hugged me and I left. I got home by bus the next day and didn’t see Tim for weeks. Tim, Tory, Courtney and I met for lunch before I left for Duke and I told Tim that the BWCA trip had triggered my PTSD. He asked if I was okay now and we had lunch, during which I invited him to my wedding to Robby.

Over the next year we got to see Tim a few times, and he said he was planning to come to the wedding but there was a legal issue that he had to deal with at Witt and he wasn’t sure if it would conflict with the wedding. He did say he already got us a wedding present. He didn’t make it to the wedding. He did get to see Tory graduate the day before, but he missed my wedding. That hurt so much. I don’t think I’ve seen him since then. When Tory moved to WA for a program she and her family stopped by and got to visit Tim and Ruth. Tim still had his old cell number so we texted a few times, but we pretty much lost contact in 2010.

I can’t believe it’s been three years. I’ve sent him messages via Facebook and his old cell number several times but have never heard back from him. When we announced our pregnancy last summer he liked a post that Tory wrote on my wall but never actually wrote to me.

It hurts so much. I feel like I lost one of my best friends and I don’t know why. When Tory and I were helping him wire his barn he looked at us and said “I could have had daughters”. He was one of the first people I opened up to, and for a while it seemed like he accepted me. I thought he did. But now I don’t know. Did I ruin our friendship by saying I could go to BWCA and then not being able to finish? Did he think I had changed too much? Did he only like the mirrored version of myself and when I revealed the real me did he change his mind about being my friend? Every message I send him (i’ve sent him 3 in the last 2 years) I feel like I”m desperately trying to understand what happened. I just want to know. I haven’t talked about it before because I didn’t want to admit that it bothered me as much as it does, but it is starting to eat at me. I feel like I took a risk, revealed the real me, and one of my best friends decided he didn’t want to know the real me. I feel so rejected.

Today I sent him a message that said this

Hey Tim, I’ve written you a couple of FB messages over the years and haven’t heard from you. I know you aren’t on FB often, but I was hoping to at least hear from you to say you got the message. If for some reason you don’t want to get back to me, can you just let me know so I quit bothering you? Sorry if this is totally out of left field.

I hope I hear back. I just need closure. It will hurt if he does say he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore, but I need to know. I just need to know.

Hillbilly Vegas

So we were eating breakfast at the hotel today and by brother-in-law was talking about his impression of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and he said, “It’s basically hillbilly Vegas”.

IT TOTALLY IS!

Drinking: Vegas- lots, mostly martinis, etc

Hillbilly Vegas- lots, mostly wine and moonshine

Food

Vegas- famous for giant buffets

Hillbilly Vegas- should be famous for giant portions

Entertainment

Vegas- scantily clad women dancing, magic shows, other miscellaneous special entertainment   Hillbilly Vegas- men and women dressed as cowboys dancing, magic shows, other miscellaneous entertainment

What to do

Vegas- gambling and arcades

Hillbilly Vegas- go-carts, putt-putt, and arcades

I just thought that was one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard and it was too good not to share.

love from, Hillbilly Vegas

PS-  I was driving back to the hotel tonight and I kept wanting to drift around curves and just floor the gas. I have determined that while driving go-carts is freaking awesome, it is not good for me (but oh so fun!)

Sutthern Uhhiyuh

So the hubby and I are in Pigeon Forge for vacation (yay), and if you’ve ever been to Tennessee then you know that they have a very distinctive twang. The thing is, I’ve noticed that I’m starting to slip into my old twang.

What’s funny is that I forgot that I used to have a twang.

When I first started college and people would ask me where I was from my answer was always the same “Southern Ohio”. Except I pronounced it sutthern uhhiyuh”. Then people would ask about the twang. I ended up modifying my introductory statement to “Southern Ohio, where we pronounce ‘oil’ as “ohl'”.  Over time I taught myself to lose–and apparently forget–my twang. But now, here in Tennessee where we are surrounded by people who have a more exaggerated version of my old twang, I have found myself fighting to keep from slipping back into it.

Part of me wants to fight it because I feel embarrassed. In college I always felt embarrassed by my twang. I think I was worried about being viewed as ‘uneducated’ because of my accent. Honestly, I think a big part of that was that I was very insecure about myself. I was telling Robby about how I’ve been fighting against the twang, and I realized he didn’t even know that I used to have a little bit of an accent (oops).

The other part of me doesn’t think that slipping back into my twang for a week is that big of a deal. I’m sure that the twang will fade again once we get home, and it will be easier to just accept that I may slip into it and not really worry about it. It would bother me if Jeff or Wally or someone teased me about the twang, but I can just explain how I trained it out of myself but I slip into it every once in a while. I remember in college my friends could tell when I was getting tired because I slipped into the twang.

It’s funny to think about how I changed how I spoke simply because I was so insecure. Now I’m much more secure. I won’t say that I am super self-confident or anything like that, but I think I’m okay with letting go of some of my old insecurities. Huh, it’s funny to realize that I’ve grown.

The anniversary I wish I didn’t have

Last Thursday was the one year anniversary of losing our baby Jamie. Needless to say, it was a very emotional and trying day. Part of me didn’t even want to acknowledge the day because I was worried that if I let myself remember the pain then it would consume me. Last year after losing Jamie I lost several weeks. I have vague memories but the first thing I truly remember was August 4th, one month after losing Jamie. I was scared that would happen again. It was the most difficult time of my life and I did not want to repeat it. At Robby’s urging I did allow myself to break down a little. Robby held me while I cried, and I wrote a poem which I would like to share with you today

7/4/13

If you look at me and see that I’m overweight, do you judge me?

If you ask me what I do and I say I don’t work do you look down on me?

If I brush my hair out of my eyes and you see my tattoo do you label me?

I can see it in your eyes when you’ve found my category. When you’ve decided who I am.

Do you know the weight,

the stigma,

the shame I feel?

Because you don’t really see me

 

You don’t see that the weight is from overeating as a child, trying to protect myself.

Trying to turn into someone no one would want

Someone no one would molest again

 

You don’t hear that I cannot work because of the PTSD, all you hear is that I don’t work.

That I don’t ‘earn my way’

You don’t hear that I wish I could work,

wish I could control it,

wish I could ‘get over it’

But I can’t.

 

You don’t know that my tattoo is the heartbeat of the baby I never got to hold.

You don’t know that when you ask me if I have kids my heart breaks a little more.

 

You don’t see me

hear me

know me.

Please don’t judge me.

 

I am so much more

One Brave Thing

A few weeks ago my church started a group call God In Real Life (GIRL) time and I attended their launch event. At the end of the get together the associate pastor Bonita gave us this challenge: to do one brave thing.

I had been wanting to talk to my friend Melissa for a while about the things that were going on in my life, but I always chickened out. When Bonita gave us that challenge I couldn’t help but feel like now was the time, especially given that Melissa and I had a lunch date set for later that week.

So I did.

I told her about how hard it has been since losing Jamie, and how now we are facing fertility tests and treatments. How I can’t work due to my PTSD being so severe, and I even told her that my PTSD is from being abused as a kid. I was so nervous.

But she just sat there and listened. She let me say everything I needed to say and when I was done she gave me a hug and told me she would be praying for me. I left the lunch feeling like I had wrestled a grizzly and won, and in a way I did. I have been wrestling the monster that is silence for years, and very rarely have I had a victory. While I felt drained and raw, I also felt more relieved and elated than I could have thought. It was as though with each word I spoke, with each secret I revealed, some of the weight started to lift.

On Sunday the women who attended the first GIRL time event were asked–if they were willing–to write down their one brave thing and e-mail it to Bonita. This is what I wrote:

My brave thing starts with a dream: to publish a book. And to claim that dream means eventually revealing all of me to anyone who cares to read it, and that absolutely terrifies me. So I’m starting here.

My brave thing was to show part of the real me to my friends Melissa. And I don’t mean ‘me without make’ or anything like that, I mean why I’m me. I onloy ever show the real me to a few people, everyone else gets a reflection: the me that says “I’m fine” when my heart is breaking. The me who when asked about herself gives the highly edited version so she doesn’t actually reveal anything.

And what kills me is that I want people to see the real me. I’m oproud of who I am. I’m proud of how I’ve handled the trials in my life, how going through them has turned me into who I am today. By telling my story, by revealing the real me I hope to help someone going through trials of their own. But I’m afraid to reveal the real me because I feel too exposed. Too vulnerable. For years God has been telling me not to hide who I am and what I’ve been through, but to share it and (hopefully) let my story change someone’s life.

So tonight I’m doing my second brave thing: telling this to all of you. And I pray that these brave things will lead to–someday–helping someone else to be brave.

Bonita wrote back to me on Tuesday, the morning of the event and asked if I would be willing to share my One Brave Thing story that night at GIRL time and I said yes. I did ask her to print me out a copy of my story (our printer is broken) because I do not do well in front of groups and I would do best to read it straight from the page. What I didn’t tell her was that by having the piece of paper in my hands I would be much less likely to chicken out and make up a different story when I stood up to speak. I knew I could still back out, but I was doing everything I could think of to make myself feel as comfortable as possible so that I wouldn’t.

The GIRL Time meeting wasn’t until 630pm so I had pretty much all day to think about what I was getting myself into. And every time I started to get nervous I just kept reminding myself that even though I was scared, it was also the right thing. It was the God-prompted thing. So even though I knew I didn’t possess the strength to do it on my own, I wasn’t doing it on my own. I had God.

I got to the church early and saw that we weren’t meeting in the classroom like we had at the previous GIRL Time, but where in the worship hall, and that made my anxiety jump through the roof. I really do not like public speaking. I knew I was gearing myself up to freak out, so I just kept myself as busy as I could. I helped set out the food and carry coolers. I talked with a friend who was there. I did anything I could think of to keep from getting too scared.

The meeting finally started and I sat at a table with a few women from choir, the pastor’s wife, a friend from Bible Study, and one woman I had seen before but didn’t really know. To be honest I don’t remember much of the first half of the gathering. I know I ate and that we sang a few songs. I also made plenty of jokes to try and calm myself down and–to be honest–not let everyone see that I was terrified. A few times I almost started crying.

I was the 2nd of three women to share my story, and I only made it about two sentences before I started to cry. There were several times when I actually had to stop reading because I was crying too hard to speak. About halfway through my story one of the women at my table, Marilyn, came and wrapped her arms around me from behind and whispered in my ear “You can do this”.

My voice cracked and tears ran down my face, but I finished reading.

I felt this overwhelming sense of anticipation. I was waiting for the judgement, the scorn, the superiority I was expecting and yet praying I wouldn’t receive. Instead, I was applauded and several women came and hugged me, a few of whom I didn’t even know. After I sat down Bonita took the mic and said “My favorite part of that was the sentence  ‘The me who when asked about herself gives the highly edited version so she doesn’t actually reveal anything.’ Can I get an Amen? I think we have all done that”

we have all done that

In those five words I felt not only the validation that it was okay to feel what I feel, but I also felt a sense of community. I wasn’t alone. I may edit my life story in different ways than other women, but I’m not alone.

On my “Why I Write” page I talk about how silence is a secret burden. Silence makes us feel completely alone. Some how we convince ourselves that what we have to say, what we feel, isn’t important. That it doesn’t deserve to be voiced. That we don’t deserve to be heard. By sharing my One Brave Thing story I took a risk and revealed part of me. I put myself out there in order to try and prove to myself that I do deserve to be heard.

So this is my third brave thing: starting this blog. This is my way of moving forward. Of proving to myself that trusting God and being brave was the right thing. And I still pray that someday these brave things will help someone else feel brave.

Now I am one step closer.