Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Silent Struggle

My infertility has been kept a secret from all but my closest friends and family, this seems to be a common thread with most other infertiles.  Why do we keep it a secret?  I’m not even sure I can answer this for myself but I’ve been trying really hard lately.  I’ve realized that the reasons change with time but beneath the rest lays the heart of the problem: vulnerability.

Surrounding the root of the secrecy is a thick skin.  A gradually expanding defense you develop after months of failed baby making, a protection that eventually leads to isolation.  At first you tell a friend you’re trying as a fun shared secret, there’s a sly smile on your face.  After a few months you start to notice that person looking at you funny and you know they’re wondering where your baby bump is.  You start to worry about what you’ll tell them if they ask, dreading the inevitable day they finally do.  You don’t know what the problem is but can’t help but feel like a failure, and now this person knows that you failed…  It’s one thing to fall on your face but to do so in public is so much worse.  So then the secrecy begins.

As the secrecy creeps in the fear sinks roots and begins to grow.  Subconsciously you start forming thoughts that start with if we get pregnant, instead of when we get pregnant.  The fear and tears are bottled up, balancing on a narrow precipice just waiting for that gust of wind to tip them.  When the receptionist at the OB/GYN office asks the reason for your appointment, you break down, because speaking your fears aloud somehow makes them real.  Silence is the preferred option, the retreat into isolation begins.

You thank God daily for the internet; you spend hours researching crazy things like ideal basal body temperatures and how long a sperm can live.  You’ve memorized every early pregnancy sign and hold out secret hopes that the heart burn last night was caused by pregnancy hormones.  You search endlessly for a magic fertility pill/book/diet that will make all the hurt go away and give you a baby before anyone else notices that you failed.  You do all of this alone.

The people who do know start to offer suggestions, they mean well and you take it well.  At first, but at some point you stop smiling and nodding when you hear the same suggestions over and over.  You want to yell when they sweetly suggest it will happen in God’s time.  Does the God they know think the 16 year old on TV deserves a baby more than you do?  Does he think that the crack addict down the street would be a better mother?  You fluctuate between an angry cynical version of your former self and a hysterical weepy one.  But to the world you just look blank; you slip away slowly and silently and most never notice that you’re no longer the person they once knew.

Your marriage is at a critical fork in the road, either they’re the rock you completely rely on, or a crack forms in your foundation and grows with time.  Then you start in on the vitamins and fertility drugs, you feel like something between an 80 year old and a drug addict.  The hormones rage and then suddenly you’re not just depressed you, you’re demonic you!   Somehow the raging hormones are controlled by the secrecy too, you reserve all that crazy for the one that you’re either standing on or driving away.  At some point you reach a breaking point and hopefully someone is there to catch you. 

As you hide in your silence you start to notice that you’re not the only one out there, there is an internet full of other secret infertiles like you.  They have your story, they understand you, and suddenly you’re not so alone.  The community of infertiles helps become part of the rock you balance on and maybe even starts to repair some of that crack that has formed between you and your closest friends/family. 

I realized after writing this that I wrote it in a hypothetical tense and never used the words me or I.  So I guess hiding my vulnerability continues.  The thing that struck me the most in all of this was identifying how important the community of infertiles online has been to my sanity.  I wonder what the implications of our silence are in real life?   Are there lonely, depressed women out there who need to hear they’re not alone?  Could we make all the difference in someone’s life by just being open about what we’re going through?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An eventful Christmas!

Christmas day was a little more exciting than normal this year…Short version, DH choked out a pit-bull to save Trapper and got bit in the process!

I’ll start out by introducing Trapper and Panda, our fur babies, refer to the post Furbabies for pictures.  Trapper is about 70 lbs, sweet as pie, prefers watching TV while lying on his back with us over playing with his toys.  He can be dominant at times but mostly is just a little dopey and docile.  Panda is about 60 lbs and a huge wimp, when we take him to the dog park he hides behind us until Trapper has tested out the other dog to see if it’s nice.  If it were up to Panda the world would be filled with Chihuahuas for him to play with, they’re his favorite (because they're the only breed hes not scared of).

A friend of ours is deployed and his family left for Christmas so we offered to baby sit their dog for a few days, he’s always been sweet so we figured he’d fit in just fine at our house.  Magnu is an 85 pound pit-bull with a head the size of a VW bug.   (I would like to make a disclaimer now that I have nothing against pits, I’ve met many I love and Magnu is on that list.)

We picked him up Christmas Eve morning and had a few minor tussles (always between Trapper and Magnu) over dominance but nothing major.  Then the whole family showed up for dinner and they really went at it, Trapper was bleeding from his paw so we put Magnu away until everyone left. 

Christmas morning and day went fine until Magnu saw Panda chewing a bone and went after him to get it.  I’ve never heard anything make the noise little Panda did, he screamed bloody murder!  So Trapper ran in to save him and Magnu bit his ear and locked his jaw… then Trapper started making that noise. 

When we realized he wasn’t letting go DH jumped on Magnus back and choked him out, he literally passed out, which made him release his jaw.  I had never really cared that DH did Brazilian ju-jitsu and was built like a tank before then, now I’m a pretty happy camper since Trapper still has an ear.  It took a little bit for DH to sink the choke hold and during that time Trapper accidentally bit him while trying to get loose.  So DH got a minor puncture wound on his arm. 

Luckily DH was up on his tetanus shot and his step dad is a doctor so he looked at it and gave us some antibiotics just incase.  Needless to say it was a rough night.  I hope next Christmas is more of a silent night, holy night kind of thing!

Monday, December 27, 2010


I have always been a very up front person (some may say blunt) but I like to think that I do it with tact, and in confronting problems head on I am able to solve them quicker and with less drama.  Anyway, I haven’t been myself lately with my sister, I haven’t been honest. 

The plan was always for us to get pregnant together, raise our kids together, etc.  DH and I were able to start trying about 8 months before they did but never ended up with a BFP.  They ended up with a BFP the first month trying.  They were in the honeymooner stage we all were when we started trying, thinking about baby names and wondering if you should buy a stick to pee on…  So she called me to ask what kind of POAS she should buy, because to her I was the expert, I’d peed on too many to count by that point.   The insensitive things just continued from there, the empathetic reminders that I “just needed to relax”, the constant chatter about pregnancy stuff, the complaints about any and every pregnancy symptom, etc.  The one I hated most was the pregnancy announcements, she felt the impulse to tell me anytime her coworker’s cousin’s friend got pregnant and then say “isn’t that great?”  So back to the point, instead of replying “no, that is not great, I don’t give a shit if someone I’ve never met or will ever meet has the reproductive system of a rabbit,” I would nod and give a fake smile and say “cool”, with no enthusiasm.  I assumed that that response was passive aggressive enough to get my point across without being mean and even though I was jealous I really didn’t want to bring her down in any way during her pregnancy. 

I continued not confronting these issues and let my resentment grow over the last year.  Her baby is now 2 months old, and perfect, I love him with my whole heart but I couldn’t seem to get past how hurt I was by the things she had said to me through her whole pregnancy.  I was feeling really low about the holidays last week and I realized that a big part of why I was so down was loosing the relationship that she and I had once had, and the best way to fix it was to go back to the way it had always been and confront it head on.

She was always the pleaser with everyone else but with me she is blunt, I am her one outlet to really saying how she feels.  When I confronted her and told her that she’d been really hurting my feelings over the last year she was blind sided, “why I hadn’t said anything, why I had redefined the clear cut friendship we’d always had?”   I had to apologize because in my opinion if you’re never told that you’re doing something that makes someone unhappy how are you supposed to know?  Granted, she could have been more sensitive but in her defense infertiles are almost impossible to talk to.  I had to tell her the truth, there really isn’t a right thing to say to an infertile, you don’t understand what they’re going through, you can’t try and fix it, you just have to listen.

Anyway, going through all of this infertility business has made me realize some things. 
1.  I refuse to complain about anything when I’m pregnant, if I’m so morning sick I spend the whole day with my head in the toilet I will be happy (you all may need to remind me of this some day.) 
2.  I will appreciate every gurgle, every poopy diaper and every tear because they will all be miracles I’ve prayed for.
3.  A sister is a very important thing, no one sees the real you like she does. 
4.  If God only blesses us with one biological miracle, we’ll adopt at least one more because siblings are a very important part of life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fur Babies

I may not have a human baby (or even one cooking) but I have 2 other babies, fur babies.  Panda Bear and Trapper are our little monsters.  I don't know what I did before I had dogs, they are so comforting when you're sad and I've been sad a lot lately...

Anyway, back to the pups, they are about a year and a half old and are half golden retriever, half standard poodle.  They act like big labs that don't shed and want nothing more in the world but to be petted.

Here is me and DH with the pups when we very first picked them out (4 weeks old)
Panda Bear and Trapper at 4 weeks old

This is little Panda (around 8 weeks)
Baby Panda Bear (8 weeks old)

This is little Trapper (around 8 weeks)
Baby Trapper (8 Weeks Old)

This is both when they were around 6 months
Panda and Trapper at 6 months

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Sad Post

I pre-apologize for being a Debbie Downer but I've lost some of that positive thinking I was talking about last post...

AF showed on Saturday with no warning. This is the first month (in a year and 8 months TTC) that AF has come with out at least two days of spotting first. I feel like I should be happy about this but instead I feel blind sided, I always had that little warning and a few days to expect it to show while still holding out hope.  The rational part of me knows this is a good thing since the doctor was worried I had a luteal phase defect that caused the spotting, so most likely the clomid was successful in fixing my LP defect.

I also cried when she showed for the first time in about 6 months. I used to cry every month but at some point I just stopped, maybe I got used to it I'm not really sure, but Saturday I had a good long cry! Poor DH, he hates to see me cry and I was totally inconsolable. Oh well, I guess we all need a good cry fest every now and then.

Now on to the really sad part... DH leaves for Afghanistan on January 25th. Hes only gone for 3 or 4 months but that sounds like forever when its your husband and hes going to war. I also hate the idea of waiting another 4 months to try but I don't want this month to be about TTC, I want it to be about spending every minute I can with my hubby.

OK, I have some things to look forward to. 
1. A two day week at work 
2. Christmas with friends and family (including DH who will be home unlike a lot of our fellow military families)
3. 1 more month to tell DH how much I love him every day

Friday, December 17, 2010


Or at least that's what I told DH this morning when he asked what the stick said...  I used to think that POAS would just tell you pregnant or not pregnant (and some digital brands do), but then I started hanging out with other addicts and the fun really started! 

I used to just see no line, call it a negative, now I squint and I run around the house looking for different lighting, I tear the plastic part of the test apart to I can better see the important inside parts, I take pictures and I post them on the Internet hoping one of my POAS addict friends will photoshop a magic line into it... all of this before I'll call it either way.  DH thinks I'm nuts, I probably am, but I believe in the power of positive thinking!  So I'll continue to believe every BFN is inconclusive until I lose that positive thinking and then I guess its all down hill from there...

So today's pee stick (as seen below, before I disected it): census says BFN, bummer.  I'm still holding out for that extra pink line tomorrow though so wish me luck!


Thursday, December 16, 2010


For those of you who don't speak in all acronyms like we infertiles do, POAS means pee on a stick (home pregnancy test or ovulation predictor kit).  Most of us infertiles are addicted to POAS, even though we are used to getting negatives we keep holding on to the hope for a positive.  DH and I have been TTC (trying to conceive) for a little over a year and a half and in that time I've probably spent hundreds of dollars to POAS and never even saw a smidgen of a line until last month.  But even that turned out to be a cruel trick played by a box of blue dye tests, lesson learned, no blue dye tests EVER AGAIN! 

I'm torn about POAS because I would rather have AF (aunt Flo) show up than get a negative, but if I am pregnant I want to know as soon as is humanly possible.... so this leaves me at a cross roads which always ends with me POAS. 

This month DH and I went on vacation so we decided to relax on the whole TTC thing.  I didn't temp or even use OPKs, so a I have no idea when I Oed.  This is my second month taking clomid (cycle days 3-7) and last month I Oed on CD16 so even though with out clomid I normally O sooner I decided to use that as the day I Oed this month.  Based on that I will be 10 days past O tomorrow morning which is the earliest I'll let myself POAS.  I'm secretly hoping that I'm really 14 DPO and it will be a blazingly beautiful BFP (big fat positive, or for me: big f-ing positive, or negative because either one is a big deal). 

Anyway, there are thoughts on POAS. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Roller Coaster

I feel like I'm on a roller coaster of emotions.  I'll be happy and then the next minute I'm bawling.  I think the biggest problem is just that I feel unnecessary, to my baby that doesn't need me because there is no baby, to my mom who doesn't need me to give her a grand baby because my sister just had one.  I also feel really alone because I don't know any other infertiles in real life, thank God for my online buddys over at, they're my saving grace when things get really bad.

I went to a family Christmas get together last night and spent the whole ride home crying, then another 30 minutes crying on DH's shoulder.  I've always wanted to live near my family but after last night I find myself considering moving to another state.  Sometimes the people who know that you're infertile are the ones that hurt you the most because if a clueless person says something hurtful you can brush it off as ignorance, but it your own family says something it makes you feel like they just don't care.  Sorry for the vent but I needed to get that out. 

I guess I should be happy because the witch hasn't shown yet, not even spotting, so maybe I still have time to get the worlds best Christmas present.  I'm planning to test on Friday, which is probably 10 DPO, but I refuse to buy anymore tests until AF is late.  I have three left, 2 First Response and a digital.  I figure one for Friday, Sunday and Monday.  I've seen an awful trend lately, as soon as I buy more HPTs I start spotting so I'm going to hold out this month.

Monday, December 13, 2010

So the crazy diet works...

So I guess I should start this with an explanation of said crazy diet.  I've been on the endo diet for about 3 months, the basic rules are remove things from your diet that cause inflammation and your pain from endo will subside.  There is a great book on this for anyone who is interested called "Endometriosis: A key to healing through nutrition" by Dian Mills.  What she says you should do (I've slightly changed to fit my life better) is No dairy, no gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol, only organic meats, and preferably organic vegis.  I realized this would be REALLY hard to stick to so I decided to go to a naturopath first and see if I had any allergies/intolerances.  I got blood drawn and started the diet the same day, I felt like a million bucks with in 4 days!  Then about 3 weeks later I got my test results back and found out that I'm severely allergic to dairy and mildly allergic to gluten.

The jury is still out if it is coincidence that what I should not be eating is clearly called out in the endo diet, but as a general rule I would say that this is worth a try for anyone with endo.  I stayed on the diet religiously for 3 months and felt amazing!  It wasn't hard to keep with because I felt so good.  I still drink some caffeine and alcohol but was very strict about gluten and dairy. 

Me and DH went on vacation last week and eating this way is very difficult while eating out so I decided to take a vacation from being gluten free.... bad idea.  I was still strict about dairy but I ate every piece of gluten filled goodness I could find!  I had french toast and sandwiches, churros and burritos, etc.  I feel awful.  For the first time in 3 months I have the same pain as before, a strange numbing sensation that goes down my legs (the naturopath thinks this is caused by nerves/blood supply being cut off due to inflammation in my pelvic cavity.) 

This was a very interesting science project for me.  Since my allergy test results came back so strongly for dairy and only mild for gluten I attributed most of my pain reduction to avoiding dairy.  I'm going to have to re-think that...

I guess I'm a blogger now!

I've been contemplating starting this blog for a while now so I finally pulled the trigger...  I like the idea of having a place to write my thoughts where people have a choice to read them or not.  I've tried many times in my life to keep a journal but I find that either I keep it for a while and forget about it or I'm worried that someone else will read it so I throw it away!  I'm looking forward to writing things down that I know other people might read, and thus maybe I'll keep them long enough to finally look back at them one day.

Here is a quick background of me, Lindsey.  I'm an endometriosis sufferer / infertile living in Alaska, hence the title: Adventures of Endo in the Arctic.  I was diagnosed with endometriosis at 14 by my family OBGYN who is still my doc and wonderfully supportive.  At 14 I went on birth control pills to control the pain and attempt to keep the endo at bay and it worked for 10 years.  All was perfect, I met my fabulous husband in 2005 and we were married in 2007.  We had some great adventures but both wanted children so we decided to start trying in April of 2009.  It was fun at first, we layed in bed and laughed and giggled about potential baby names (I think my favorite is still Wolverine Cyclops The Hulk Hunter.)   But then time went by and there was never a second line on any of those sticks... 

So then we were infertile.  Well I was, the dear husband, we'll call him DH, took a lot longer to convince there was a problem.  I had laproscopic surgery to remove some of the scar tissue that the endo had caused, while they were in there they blew dye through my tubes and said everything looked bad but they were able to fix it all, the prognosis was good!  So off we went to continue our journey to make a baby, but there still weren't any second lines on all those sticks I peed on...

So here we are now.  One more trip to the doc to blow more dye through the tubes, a crazy anti-inflammatory diet and now taking Clomid (more all of this later there are so many funny stories to tell).  I hope at some point this blog will help more infertiles out there feel less alone like so many blogs that I've read have made me feel.  So welcome to my personal thoughts and reflections on life!