I finally updated my profile on blogger and added some stuff under the interest section. Of course I added infertility to see how many other profiles would come up under that “interest.” It’s no suprise that there were 225 other people that also listed infertility. After all, isn’t the statistic “1 out of 8 women” suffer from infertility? That’s a whole lot of women in the world. So why is it that, despite these statistics, I still feel so alone in this journey?

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Of course I have my dear Hubby. We are both going through this journey together. However, as much as he is always there for me, I know that I’m also the one in this relationship that tends to feel things more deeply. I’m the emotional one. I’m the one who tends to be over-sensitive when it comes to anything having to do with pregnancies and babies and family-oriented things.

The crux of it, I know, is that I don’t let people know exactly how I feel. They may get the gist of how these things affect me; most likely by my non-verbal behavior or the skillful way that I’ve learned to avoid any events that might involve family or kid-related things. However, I’ve never directly told them how I’ve felt.

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Oh, I may have discussed my infertility with others once or twice; once to my sis-in-law while she was pregnant and maybe another time to my mom one occasion when I finally broke down and cried in front of her. But after those situations, it’s almost as if my journey through infertility was just a non-issue in the grand scheme of things that were happening. In fact, the week after I had enough courage to talk to my sister-in-law about how bittersweet the news of her pregnancy was to me, her latest ultrasound and lab tests showed signs of some fetal anomalies. I mean, seriously … where does my issue of infertility rank in the grand scheme of those type of things?

But lately, I’ve been trying to make an effort to let others know how I feel. Call it a cleansing of some sort. This blog is definitely a means to let out my emotions. And since I’ve been doing this, I have started to feel a little better. I’ve realized in this process that I’m a better communicator when writing. And that when placed face to face with someone to describe how I’m feeling, I can’t quite get the correct words out. I can’t even begin to describe how uncomfortable I felt during the times I participated in an infertility support group meeting or just how difficult it was to talk to my sister-in-law during her pregnancy; and even now, after Liam‘s birth. So this blogging thing is a good thing. I only truly hope that this blog reaches those specific people I wish to read it and that it attracts the audience that I hope to capture. I seriously have no idea, as no one ever leaves any comments on my blog. (Not that I’m trying to fish for comments … )

I guess I just don’t know exactly where I am in this “infertility journey.” I know I’m past the medical aspect of it; meaning I’m not going to submit myself to any more medications or procedures any more. I’m pretty sure the whole donor embryo aspect of it or surrogacy is not an option, as Hubby and I just aren’t comfortable with that direction. That leaves adoption or living child-free. And I’m not about ready to accept the notion of child-free living.

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I know adoption is our next step in starting our family. But I’m just not there yet, emotionally (not to mention financially). When I start that next step, I want feel like there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I’m doing the right thing. I don’t want to feel like I’m a failure for not being able to conceive my own child. I want to have a bit of my self-esteem back so I can focus one-hundred percent on the adoption task at hand. And I want to be able to have a positive attitude, and not feel like I’m going to end up being sorely disappointed again. Because, quite frankly, I don’t know how I would be able to pick myself up again if I had to go through another loss.

Getting back to the whole Blogger profile thing … As I was going through quite a handful of blogs of people that are going through or have gone through the infertility journey, I still felt alone. Most of the blogs I pulled up were people currently going through some sort of treatment; whether it was Clomid, IVF, donor embryo or even adoption. And many of them were blogs of those that had “successfully graduated” to proud parenthood. Since I already went through the Clomid and IVF route (once was enough, both financially and emotionally, thank you very much) nor am I a parent of any sort, I feel like I can’t 100% relate to anyone. And I would certainly feel apprehensive about commenting on their blog entries, thinking I wouldn’t be able to add any additional info or support that they don’t already have.

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225 people listed as having some sort of infertility and I still felt alone. How could that be? How can I not find anyone else that felt caught between stages of this infertility journey? Sure, there were a lot of the same emotions of failure and disappointment. But most of those same blogs also expressed hope. Something that I’m obviously sorely lacking right now.

I really, truly want to know. Am I all by myself out here in cyberland? Are my thoughts and rants completely crazy? And while I know that Hubby will always there for me, am I doomed to experience these crazy infertility emotions alone?


The other day at work, I had a pretty intense conversation with a fellow co-worker about loss. It started out with my congratulating her about becoming a new grandmother by way of adoption. The two of us have shared our experiences with infertility in the past; hers as it relates to her son and daughter-in-laws struggles. And mine, well I’ve mentioned it in previous blog entries. So when I found out that she was finally going to be a grandma, I expressed how happy I was for her and her family.

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Of course the next question that inevitably came out was, “Have you guys thought of adoption?” And of course, I gave her the answer that I have given to everyone else that asked that same question. Which is … yes, we have.

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It’s strange. I can remember that the subject of adoption had even come up during my Hubby and my engagement. However, it was more in the context of adding on to an already-existing family that we made all on our own. Adoption would be a way for us to expand our family; to give our son a brother or our daughter a sister. Both of us never grew up with another sibling of the same sex and, therefore, never experienced a brotherhood or a sisterhood bond. Little did we know then that adoption would be our only option to have that large family that we wanted.

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We know that adoption is our only chance of starting that family. We’ve even been to a few adoption agencies to get an idea of what the process for an international adoption would entail. We came out of each of those agencies excited … and completely overwhelmed. There’s just so much involved in an international adoption. There’s the massive amount of paperwork that needs to be completed to exact precision. There’s the stressful home-study that’s required by each agency. And there’s the cost involved in going through each one of these processes. Not to mention the wait and the anxiety of worrying that we might not be chosen by one of the overseas adoption agencies just because the paperwork wasn’t filled out right or that our dossier might not fit the profile of a couple that they would allow to adopt.

Obviously, all the things that are required to go through the adoption process is do-able. Especially if hundreds of couples in a given year adopt internationally. So why aren’t we diving head first into adoption?

Well, first of all there is the financial aspect of it. Although it’s been over three years since our failed IVF attempt, we are still struggling financially to overcome that loss. And, if this gives you any idea … the amount it cost us to go through the IVF cycle is less than half the amount we would have to come up with to adopt internationally.

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And then there’s the emotional aspect of it. I can’t deny this … I’m absolutely terrified of the whole process. And a lot of it has to do with the anger I have over my infertility issues. Too many “why’s.” Why can’t I have the family I that I always wanted? Why can other’s get pregnant so easily? Why is my body failing me? Why do I have to go through an intense home-study to prove that I’m a worthy parent when there are “natural” parents out there that harm their own children? Why? Why? Why?

It all has to do with loss. I feel like I’ve lost a part of me. I feel like I’ve lost the battle on having that “perfect family” that I always dreamed about. And because of that, I’ve lost all sense of pride in feeling like I’m a successful woman. Quite frankly, I’ve lost my self-esteem.

My co-worker made this one comment during that discussion about loss that stuck with me. She said that she once asked a friend of hers who just lost her son in a car accident how she was feeling. Her friend described it as living with a hand after its thumb had been severed off … the hand was still functional, but yet there was this feeling of something missing. Not only was it missing, but trying to pick things up without that opposable thumb now took twice as long and was doubly difficult.

So as that comment sunk in, I related it to my own issues of loss. I’m functioning, that’s for sure. It just takes me twice as long and makes things twice as difficult to get through any major life events. And that includes adoption. It’s definitely something that I’m not “opposed” to doing … in fact, as I mentioned above, I know that adoption is our next step and our only chance to start that “dream family.” But right now, I just need to work through my loss … my inability to have a child of my own … and learn to function without my “opposable thumb.”

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Fear and Loathing in R.O.

My nephew, Liam, is in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit (NICU). He was born prematurely at 31 weeks on May 19th and has been in the NICU since. It was known that Liam would have some congenital anomalies by the time my sister-in-law was at her 18th to 20th week of her pregnancy; they suspected an omphalocele and a cleft lip/palate during an ultrasound. What they didn’t expect was that he would be born so early and that he would still be in the NICU today.

The good news is that rather than having a cleft palate, he only has a cleft lip which will be corrected once he is medically stable. He also had a surgical repair of the omphalocele within five days of his birth.

The bad news is that after 2 and a half months, Liam is still having difficulty breathing on his own. They have tried to wean him off the ventilator at different times, but ultimately he has had to go back on. They just recently did some testing (bronchoscope and esophagram) which has come back inconclusive and they are currently trying to keep him off the vent as I type. The entire family has got Liam in our prayers and we pray that Liam, the little fighter that he is, stays strong.

I can’t deny that I have very mixed feelings about Liam. Not about who he is, because I do love him with all my heart and soul. Nor about his condition, which I know is very hard both physically and emotionally for all involved.

No, my mixed feelings have to do with my struggle with infertility. Because it has been over 10 years since my husband and I have been trying to start our own family, my sister-in-law’s pregnancy and Liam’s subsequent birth has brought out what I think is the worse in me.

His birth was such a contrast to his older brother, Tyler’s birth. Tyler is now 11 years old and when he was just an infant, I was just beginning my role as a new wife. Children were always on our mind, and we knew that we wanted to start our family within a year of our wedding. So I have such fond memories of Tyler as an infant, spending as much time as I could with him.

And now with Liam, it’s much more difficult to spend the same amount of time with him that I did with his brother. First of all, he is still in the NICU which makes holding and playing with him very difficulty. And second, emotionally it’s just very hard for me to connect with him or with his parents for that matter.

You would think that me being a registered nurse, I should have the capacity to take care of both Liam and his parents’ needs as well as help them navigate through such a difficult time despite my own personal struggles. And I can tell you honestly; I have always tried to put my feelings and struggles behind those that I felt needed it more than I did. Except now, I’m in desperate need of some of that compassion that I feel I have given to others for myself.

Before receiving the news of my sister-in-law’s pregnancy, I thought I had dealt rather decently with my infertility. Sure, it still stung a bit when I received word of other friends and extended family members who were pregnant, but overall I was pretty happy for them. Upon hearing this news, however, I was absolutely devastated. Here I spent the past ten years trying to get pregnant and have endured disappointment after disappointment and my sister-in-law, who just recently remarried 5 months prior to the big announcement, is pregnant with her second child.

I can’t say that jealousy had absolutely nothing to do with my major meltdown after hearing of the news, but it certainly wasn’t the primary reason for it. The word “failure” comes to mind, along with the words “inadequate” and “unworthy.” Those are the words that I thought of when I thought about myself. And they still do ring true even now two and a half months after Liam’s birth.

I have honestly wanted to spend more time with Liam and “bond” with him the way I did with his brother, to be there for him when he needs the most strength. But something just keeps me from making that next step. It’s my innate fear that I’m going to release some of this anger over my own issues onto this child … or that my stinky attitude is just going to cause more harm than good to his parents and any other family members. And quite honestly, I don’t think I have enough strength right now to put one foot in front of the other and be strong for myself, let alone for anyone else.

How bad of an Aunt am I that I feel these things about a child; a helpless baby? How horrible am I that I can’t set aside my own struggles to help out another family member in need? How undeserving am I to be a parent if I feel these things for someone else’s child?

Logically, I know I have a right to feel the things I do. I’ve learned that I haven’t dealt fully with my failed IVF attempt and that I obviously have very low self-esteem issues. What I don’t know now is how to snap out of this… to gather that strength that I’m sorely missing and make that first step towards healing myself.

To see pictures of Liam and family, click on the album below:


Ya Ya Sisterhood

Last week, I had the opportunity to go up to northern lower Michigan (oxymoron, I know … but Michigander’s would understand) to spend time with a few co-worker’s at one of their weekend houses. Her place is situated just west of Grayling right on the Manistee River. This is the third year in a row that I’ve went and it’s always such a wonderful time.

Despite the fact that I work with these people day in and day out and that I do feel pretty close to them , every year I find myself initially hesitant to go. Part of it is because I’m extremely close with my husband and, although he understands the need for “girly time,” I hate to be doing fun things without him. The other part is that sometimes I think that I’m not as in touch with my “female ya-ya sisterhood” side as most women are.

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I grew up as the only daughter in my family; the youngest of two with my brother being a couple years older than me. It was overall a sheltered environment; having been a first-generation Filipino-American and having gone through 12 years of Catholic school. Based on that bit of history, I feel many times that I grew up in two different worlds. There was the world of school; where most of my friends were caucasian and maybe never encountered another person of a different culture before. For example, I can recall being called “My Little Shogun” by one of my friend’s parents, as that Made-For-TV movie was quite popular when I was in grade school. How wrong is that? First of all, wrong ethnicity. Second of all, Shogun is typically reserved for a male military rank in the Japanese army. And being only 9 of 10 years of age at that time, how does one respond to that?

The other world was the Filipino Family and Friends world. These are the other Filipino kids that I’d hang out with whenever Filipino social events would be thrust upon us. They were probably the only other people that could relate to how it was like being the only “Asian” in our class, but none of them went to the same school as I did. Therefore, how could we fully support each other in social awkwardness if we didn’t even run in the same social circles outside of these Filipino events?

Having lived in the two separate worlds has made it difficult to get close to someone … anyone. I think maybe that’s the reason that I feel very guarded when meeting people for the first time. Heck, it’s probably the reason I don’t feel comfortable telling people my deepest darkest fears. It would’ve been nice though, to have that type of person growing up. To experience what it would be like to be really close to another female person. To experience some sort of sisterhood.

I’d say the closest I ever felt to feeling that sisterhood was growing up with my three female cousins (all sisters) in London, Ontario. There are many summers and holiday breaks that I can recall staying at each other’s houses for weeks at a time. During those times we would do just about everything together. But the older I got, the more difficult it was to maintain such a closeness. Life and distance just got in the way. We just couldn’t spend as much time together as we used to, especially once we graduated from high school. Now the only time we tend to talk to one another is at big family events like weddings. But whenever I see the three of them together, I can’t help but feel just a tad jealous that, despite their ages and the distance between them all, they still manage to remain close. They still manage to have that bond of sisterhood.

So it’s that lack of “sisterhood experience” that initally made me hesitant to head up north with my female co-workers. Would I be socially awkward in situations? Would I commit a social faux pas? Would I snore too loudly or make other embarrassing sounds of bodily function? And because I’ve been emotionally bursting at the seams for the past few years, would one conversation about how infertility has affected my life throw me into embarrassing sobs?

Well, it turns out I did turn into a blubbering idiot that weekend. And even though I was initially embarrassed by my uncontrollable sobs or my rants and raves about work issues, I eventually felt more and more relaxed around them. I think there will always be a part of me that feels that I missed out on the female-bonding experience, especially while growing up. However, making that trip “up north” and talking to these girls has made me feel more aware that I do have them opportunity to experience sisterhood … I just got to take that leap.

To see more photos of the weekend, click below:

Girl’s Weekend

Roller Coaster

It’s hard to describe this type of roller coaster ride that I felt like I’ve been on the past ten years. I spend most of my time trying to forget that I’m on it, hoping that if I do actually forget, then the tracks of the roller coaster will eventually bring me to the top of a hill and just stay at a plateau for a while. (Perhaps maybe then I’d be able to get off this ride.) But it seems like every time I hit a peak, I end up free-falling back down at an uncontrollable speed.

And after what seems like a million of free-fall moments, I’ve learned that the best defense against feeling like shit was to pretend that I was okay. (That’s the reason behind me trying to forget that I’m on this stupid roller coaster to begin with.)

I’ve also learned recently that I need to break myself of that habit of ignoring what I’m feeling and learn to acknowledge these emotions in order to get over them and move on. The task of breaking that habit is proving to be more difficult than I thought.

As for how I feel now … almost three weeks after the initial disappointment? I’m still sad but I’m no longer free-falling. I’m at a plateau. But that plateau is more towards the bottom of the hill instead of the top. I’m hoping with more effort on my part, that I’ll start feeling that roller coaster start pulling me back up again.