Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I always wanted braces...

I was one of the lucky few...I never needed braces. Probably a good thing too since I have a strong dislike of anything resembling a dentist chair. But in some strange twisted way, I sometimes envied my friends who had them. They got to get out of school to get their braces tightened or adjusted, they got cool color-coordinated rubber bands, and often times it was a discussion at the lunch table over what foods they missed eating or couldn't have. I found myself on the outside of many conversations...

And here I am again. Having that same twisted feeling. (Please tread lightly on the following statements, knowing that I am using this blog as my form of venting and healing.) Mook and I had a funny feeling from the time we started the investigation into what might be causing a delay in our journey to parenthood-that something was wrong with me. I have a history of painful and irregular periods, so it was the only rational explanation. As we soon found out, it was just the opposite. I have been given a "clean bill of health-all organs operating correctly." Mook had to hear the crushing news that it was male factor that we are dealing with. It made us both sad, angry, hurt-but at the same time, we had an answer; something to work with and it was time to move forward.

So here comes the part where the twisted feelings come in. Why isn't it me? I was prepared to have to deal with medications, ultrasounds, the poking and prodding- the whole sha-bang. Having to watch Mook shoulder the blame and guilt has been so heart-breaking. We have come a long way since the initial news, and have been one of the lucky couples who are growing stronger through this.

But here is my burden- and I am letting it go as of this post. I was feeling "left-out" since many of the blogs I have found in this IF circle are you ladies dealing with the harsh reality that your body is not "normal" (I hesitate to even use normal, since none of us in this circle know what normal is anymore...but hopefully you know what I mean.) It's the braces club all over again...but that is something I have to let go of, and realize we are ALL in this together. All of you have been so wonderful and supportive and a WEALTH of knowledge as Mook and I began on this journey-and I am so beyond thankful for that. So I ask that you forgive my silly-middle-school-girl feelings!

Whew, I feel better! And I don't mean to exclude those girls who are going through this journey dealing with MF. Tara, your blog has been such a comfort for me, and I am so sorry for the sadness you have already felt--but you are in my thoughts daily! As are the rest of you...

As far as our journey update: we met with our new RE last week. Great appointment--just really felt at home in his office. It's a small staff and they are close to our house, which is a plus! They are still building up a part of their office, so the actual retrieval and transfer part of IVF is done about 60 miles from us. So as you may have guessed from that statement, we are moving forward with doing our first IVF w/ I.CSI at the beginning of July. Wow. It's amazing to just type that...we had a long talk after our appointment last week--Mook was having some heavy feelings--the demon of guilt crept back in, but we were able to work through that! We have some time on our hands to work through the emotions, questions and fears that accompany this upcoming journey. We have to prepare financially and emotionally-both equally challenging! But that's why we are lucky to have this blog community--and some of my fellow cycle sista.s are joining me on the I.VF train in the next few months (Mands and Baby Blues) and many are already on the train...so make some room for us!So I'll still be around until then...just living life beyond IF. Isn't that what we all hope to do?

So to close, I'd like to open up a chance to participate in The Braces Bunch. I love snail mail--nothing is quite as exciting as opening the mail box and having some snail-mail love. I know many of us wish to have anonymity regarding our blogs, but if you would like to participate here is what I am thinking:

1. E-mail me @: reprojeans@gmail.com if you would like to participate. You don't have to include a last name, just simply:

City, State Zip

2. Please indicate if you don't mind your address being shared with others who are participating. This list will be send out in a email for all participants to send some snail mail!

3. This does not have to be fancy snail mail. I love post cards-easy to find, cheap, and postage is cheap too! (even for our international bloggers!) And I promise I am a GOOD person=) No spam, chain letters or junk will be sent!

4. Even if just one person responds, this will be a great pick-me up as many of us are in the waiting game to start a treatment, the dreaded 2ww, or just simply to make someones day.

AND Many thanks to Serenity for organizing a get-together of the bloggers who can meet-up! This an additional way to feel connected if we aren't able to financially afford the trip (or even if we can go!)

My heart goes out to anyone who have loved ones/friends at Virginia Te.ch. I grew up only 45 minutes from Black.sburg and had many friends attend the school-and have been to the campus many times. It's so difficult to comprehend tragedy like this...I do hope it helps bring people closer together.


  1. Just so you don't feel quite as "left out". I also don't have braces on... both symbolically and literally (lol). I know, my blog is called rotten eggs.... but we always knew there was at least some MF, and over the last few months it appears my eggs probably aren't as rotten as we initially thought... it appears the majority of our problem is dh. Now, i don't address this on my blog as i have friends and family who read me, and dh is very sensitive about it. It just seems it would be easier if it was just my problem... easier both for him and for me.

    Ah, this was long and meandering... just wanted you to know... i get it!

  2. Hi, We are dealing with only MF too. I'm curious about one thing, why are you going with IVF? I've only started reading your blog, so I'm sorry if I missed why in a post. We only have MF and we are going (have gone) with "simple" IUI. I got pregnant (and then lost the baby at 10 weeks) with IUI rather than IVF. Is there an adavantage to IVF v. IUI that I am missing?

  3. My hubby has MF too and a genetic disorder. No diagnosis on my end. Thanks for your supportive comments on my blog. I will be checking back!

  4. Annie, to answer your question--we are dealing with very low numbers on all counts--we were told we could continue trying with IUI, but our chances are only 7% per cycle, with a closer 62% chance with IVF since I am healthy. We decided with the $ we will have to pay out of pocket for either decision (with one failed IUI) that we want to press forward with better chances. Hope that helps explain our decision...

  5. I know where you're coming from in terms of feeling left out. Things seem to be fine on my side too (despite the fact that we initially thought the problem was that my body just wasn't bouncing back after birth control.)

    I feel extra left out because now I don't even get to join the IVF/ICSI train, but I'm trying to get over it. I'm glad you are too. Support from the blog community is fantastic, and it doesn't require that we are all having identical experiences.

  6. Aw, don't feel left out, at the end of the day, we're all battling to be parents, whatever the reasons are that we're struggling, our end goal is the same. Hugs to you RJ. x

  7. Bumble said it so well, we're all struggling to be parents. One of the things that amazes me from reading blogs is that everyone's story is so different, but we're pursuing the same goal. Sometimes I feel "why me" when I think of my own challenges, but then I realize that everyone has their own unique issues to deal with.

    I think MF is harder in some ways because treatment still tends to fall on the woman (leads to more guilt), an men can see it as an attack on their studliness. I remember reading a sociology book which talked about how difficult it was for men to share their IF problems, compared with women. Aunt Sassy's remarks seem to support this.

  8. Just want to wish you the best of luck in the upcoming IVF cycle. As for feeling left out, know that even though the journeys are different, the pain is the same!
    Hugs and take care

  9. It always feels so good when someone tells me that my blog has helped them. It makes me feel like at least some good has come of this horrible situation. I get a feeling of not being so alone... So thank you.

    I wish that Mook and Steve could get together. Steve went through some really tough times in the beginning. Those same demons of guilt. But he seems to have overcome that somehow. At least I think he has... Men are funny creatures.

    And I fully understand your feelings of being "left out". I really, really do. I never quite was able to put my finger on it and explain those feelings but you hit the nail on the head. I often feel like so many things that are discussed in the blog community just don't apply to me because my situation is different. And I feel like I can't contribute like everyone else can. I want to contribute.

    Male factor doesn't seem to be talked about as much in our blog community. I know it's less common than Female factor but I also think that it's because of what Aunt Sassy said - a lot of men don't want it talked about.

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  11. Welcome to the IVF train....I am so sorry you have to join...but glad you have the support of other bloggers. We have some male factor, but coupled with my issues it is more extreme....I hope one cycle is it for you.

  12. Hey you, just wanted to pop in and say hi, glad that you have set a date for your IVF, if this cycle is a bust for us then i'll be joining you on that train. Glad you feeling better, it's hard when the problem is with one of you, the thing is to try and face it together...the problem is both of yours, if affects both of you so try and think of it that way :) Hope these next months fly by for you!!

  13. We have MF and I so know what you mean. All the pain of IF, all the pain of the one you love dealing with guilt and suffering, but then I feel like an ass commenting on blogs or talking about 'our' IF (I don't always out my DH).

    Annie: As I understand it, IUI works for good sperm counts and good morphology. And by good I mean too crappy for sex but too good for IVF.

    IVF works for people like me, who are contending with very low counts of quality sperm. We did IVF with ICSI and AH. We would have had a very, very low chance of pregnancy with IUI.

    We could have tried to get the sperm count up but my age was a factor. I preferred to do IVF immed.

  14. since we were "unexplained" for so long, i was dying to just have SOME kind of diagnosis. i envied everyone who at least knew something they could fix. but like bumble said, we're really all in the same club. good luck with IVF. given the male factor issue, your odds with ICSI should be great!

  15. We have both factors, PCOS and poor morphology. And when I found out, I felt slapped in the face twice. With a double whammy, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I had my hopes up for IUI although I knew the success rate was low. My heart just can't handle BFNs after BFNs and so I'm looking forward to IVF, which would give us a better chance. Although I am still terrified, I just keep on moving forward. I just have to do what I have to do, to get to my goal.

  16. I had braces, and I HATED them. All I wanted was beautiful straight teeth! Anyhoo, welcome aboard the IVF Express! The more the merrier (not really) but at least we can support each other.
    I am very interested in your Snail Mail idea. I have already sent Baby Blues a book which is doing it's rounds, and it was so exciting to hear that she had got it! I'm in!

  17. I had a feeling for quite some time that I was "broken" so it came as quite a shock to Daniel and I when we found out that, yes, I was but that he wasn't 100% either. It's tough to deal with...like you, I would have been glad to take all of the blame because I hated him to feel inadequate. It took me awhile to even post it on my blog. He wouldn't say much about it but I knew it hurt him to know. All I can say is thank God for ICSI! Looking back, I now see that ICSI was our only chance and it has given SO many couples the chance to conceive when they thought they never would be able to. I think you guys are making the right choice and I am so excited to see what the summer has in store for you!

  18. I was told, by those in the know, that infertility in the modern world is shared almost 50/50 between female and male factors?

    In fact the rise in MF infertility is on the increase but nobody seems to know why and what makes it just as bad is the fact that, as you probably know, there is not much that can be done to improve MF because no concreate in depth research has been done.

    And as for feeling out of it, that's a big shame, but why should you, as many have said here, its a problem, no matter whos and the end goal remains the same. I certainly have felt no prejudice from my blog friends who suffer female infertility, and I should hope not too!

    And could you explain to me in more detail the Braces bunch concept, I'm not sure I understood very well (probably just me being a little thick today!). Via email if you please; artblog06@yahoo.fr :).

    X Artblog

  19. Wow. Great post. I feel the same way that you do. Aside from never having braces and kind of envying them, we were also pretty much exclusively MF (I did take Clomid, but that was mainly for reinforcement.) I've danced around the issue on my blog, but never came right out and addressed the guilt (around this particular issue). I feel doubly guilty now that I'm actually pregnant, and not through IVF, but our 4th IUI. Sometimes I feel that others with more challenging diagnoses will feel hurt by my presence in the IF blogosphere, but instead, I've found a lot of support.

    Another difficulty is that now that I'm preg, I want for people in my real life to know how hard it was for us to get here, but I don't want to tell about my husband's diagnosis without his permission. I guess I can be vague... they'll just assume it was me.

    Thanks for this post. Looks like it brought out a lot of us in the same club.

  20. I love this post. You know, RESOLVE calls IF a condition of the couple rather than a condition of the person because it takes two people (or at least the gametes from two people) to make a baby. Therefore, it doesn't really matter while person holds the problem or if both hold the problem because all of us are part of an infertile coupledom.

    Here is your blush wine. You get it on the house in celebration of your plan and your upcoming IVF cycle. Sending so much good luck your way for that :-)

  21. JJ,

    I think that we, as women, can shoulder repoductive problem issues better than men. So many times when we were first trying to ttc, some ignorant friends would say, to my husband...do you need me to show you how it's done...that might have killed him if we had MF.

    Anyway, I think that IVF/ICSI is the best course of treatment for you and I am not a betting girl, but if I was, I would bet that you are pg on your first cycle. Your issue is getting the swimmer to the egg. Get rid of that barrier and you are set.

    I would advise to begin thinking now about how many embies you want to transfer. RE will give recommendation based on age, but it is ultimately your call. Transfer more than one, be ready to be pg with more than one...that kind of thing. You know what I mean.

    And it was Jan Brady. She had the crazy braces I wanted.

  22. I think on some level we all feel a little left out--I know I do because everything SEEMS fine with us. We don't appear to have any problems (except that whole "we can't get pregnant" thing...)

    I'm glad your appt went well and you've got the date for IVF! And, the the snail mail idea is great (I love mail, too)...although, I'd be afraid because I can be really bad about actually mailing things. Thank god for online bill pay! :-)

  23. Your situation sounds similar just in the opposite direction as mine. We always knew that we had male factor and were surprised with female factor.

    I agree with Bumble, we are all headed in the same direction, some of us just take different paths.

    Hang in there

  24. RYN: thanks....

  25. That did answer my question. Our male factor is that my husband is sterile so have to use donor sperm; the donor sperm is, of course, tested to make sure the motility and morphology are good, so we just inject me and go.

  26. You know it is crazy. When we first started all of this we so thought that it was my husband. He was so sad and sorry thinking that it was him. After all the testing it ended up me. He was so relieved. I was so burdened.

    Braces suck but being part of a club so helps. HUGS~!

  27. Isn't odd to want to have something wrong?! I'm so pleased to hear it isn't just me then!
    My doctor (NHS, in the UK, very slow health care with no flexibility) tells us there is nothing wrong with either of us. Funny that 'cause we can't seem to get pregnant. I wish we had an inkling of the cause, I really do.
    My GP does however recognise that there is a big problem and refered us privately to a clinic who now suggest IVF. I hear you about the finance too. The NHS is not free, we pay hundreds of pounds a month national insurance and yet have no control over our treatment. Sorry, I'm kicking off a bit......just makes me mad.
    Right back on track........I'm sorry you're facing all these problems and I hope your journey on the IVF train will not be long one. It's not a journey any of us want to take but if it gets us to our destination then the ticket will be worth it.

  28. well, your mook sounds like a great guy. and your supporting him the way you are is the best medicine.
    when DH was diagnosed with a super low sperm count i think he took it really well. he was so ready to try all the options and procedures.

    ivf is a huge step! but an exciting one - i really hope it works for you!

  29. Not a lot of these blogs have men commenting, so perhaps my point of view will be a little different.

    I totally get what you're saying, but as the one who is likely responsible for my family's infertility, I can say that every night, when I'm applying ice packs to my testicles for an hour to increase my sperm count, I don't want to be touched or talked to because I DO feel like I'm going through it alone.

    Even though my wife and I are always in this together, I'm the one with issues, and I'm the one with freezing balls.

    So don't feel left out - once you're pregnant the tides will turn!

  30. I would have done anything NOT to have worn braces. I had to have them not once but TWICE (ages 13-17) and (41-42) to correct a bad crossbite. At 43 now and braces free again, I'm just outside the treatment window and trying to make sense of what comes next. Feeling kind of out there alone myself these days...just me and my retainer.

  31. I read this at the time, but I don't seem to have commented to say what a great idea it is. I can't keep up with snail mail, so I never joined it as a regular thing, but the couple of times I did get things in the post from my fellow bloggers for one reason or another were really special.


  32. My next door neighbor and I used to straighten out paper clips to use as "braces."

    Thanks for writing this. I know part of the reason we haven't gone for testing yet is because we are afraid to find out which of us has the problem.

  33. Great Post.....

    I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

    Thanks for sharing....

  34. hello the braces are pretty painfull so i dislike them to much pain .

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  36. What a great post! I know I am hear almost 4 years after you wrote it, but it still rings true today. I have always seen other Bloggers with the "Braces Bunch" logo on their sidebar and even though I have been blogging for almost 4 years now, never knew what that meant until today. I feel so enlightened! Anyway, thank you for sharing back then and I am glad that I finally got to read it now!

    P.S. I came across this post via one of the Limereck Chick entries on Lori's blog! :)


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