Embracing Today.

I was a little down this year on my birthday, for some reason. It seems like the holidays can be so hard…. another year old without Baby Klein. Dave made me feel better by saying that he has noticed a huge change in me this past year. I have become so much stronger. It makes me so happy that it is apparent to him, and other friends have said this as well. Once we decided to move towards the GC route, some of my worries changed into strength. Dave reminded me, that although we don’t know where our journey will end, we do know that we can make it. When this all started, we were terrified, but now we do know we will get there. Of course, I have my days where I’m scared to death that I will never be a mom, but then reality sinks in, and I KNOW we will be parents. One way, or another. We will get there. We are open to so many different avenues, and we will make it.

We have been traveling a ton the past couple of months and doing the things that we wouldn’t be able to do (on a whim) with children. We have been so happy lately, and seeming to really embrace our place in this current life. Even though we so badly want a baby, we LOVE our “right now.”

I have met some women lately (yes, I’m a crazy girl that meets friends online!!!) So many stories out there. So many brave women. It’s just unreal how many couples have to suffer through the heartache of fertility. It helps so much to have these women in my life!

Our current goal and hope is to have a baby sometime in 2017. I still love my blog, and love to share, but Dave and I are asking for privacy on the surrogacy end for now. I don’t want to put more pressure on Amy or us, by sharing each step of the way. There are so many steps to this long process. Just know…. we are moving forward, and we are content with the pace that we are moving forward. We can still use a million prayers, and we appreciate them more than you will ever know. The past few months have brought some amazing pieces to our puzzle, and also some very difficult pieces. We just need to figure out how they all fit together. We would love to have some sense of surprise when we finally do have good news to share. Thank you for respecting this decision 🙂 And, once again, thank you so much for your support!

Love,
Ashley and Dave.

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The Queen of Thin Lining

This post will be super boring for friends and family, so may want to skip this post. I am writing this in hopes to help out my fellow thin lining girls.

I am the opposite of impulsive. I think (way too much) about the decisions I make. And, those who know me best know that decision making is one of my worst skills. It takes me for freaking ever to come to any decision. One of my favorite things to do is to research anything and everything. Before purchasing, I will research the heck of things… hotels, flights, resorts, shoes, sheets, cars, shampoo, etc. The list literally would be miles long if I told you everything I researched. It drives a lot of people crazy, but I just think I’m really smart. HA!

So, it is no wonder that during my years of infertility, I have studied a ton. I hate to have this title, but I would consider myself a “Thin Lining Queen.” UGH. I used to scour the internet for hours upon hours. I would come home from work and try to find ways to cure my thin lining. I swear to you, I have tried everything. While I truly had no success, I thought I would write a blog post about what I have tried, in hopes that maybe it will help you!

I had thin lining while first trying for a baby, but I was also on Clomid, which you know thins your lining. After my miscarriage, I was able to do one IUI on Gonal F 75 iu, and my lining climbed up to 7.7. WOWZA! I can only imagine what it would have grown to, had I gotten the chance to increase my medications. This was the IUI where they decided to take a closer look into my uterus, they found “something” and ended up removing the placenta that had deeply attached to my uterus. Big sigh. After that surgery, I got Asherman’s Syndrome (scar tissue in the uterus.) My days of 7.7 were done.

Over the next year, I tried anything and everything to increase my endometrial lining, with no success.

*******I remember while I was searching, every time I found a blog online, and realized the girl had to pursue surrogacy, I would just want to curl up in a ball. If you are reading this post, and so far away from surrogacy, that is okay. I think you should keep trying. There are many, many, many women that get their lining to increase, and many that get pregnant on thin lining. So, do everything that you can. That is okay. Don’t give up. I will tell you, with complete honesty, that I am very excited that I get a chance to work with a surrogate. It took me years to come to terms with this, but I am here, and I am beyond happy. Don’t let this blog scare you

Here is the list I have compiled of different treatments I attempted for my lining:

CCRM (Colorado for Reproductive Medicine Trials)
Gonal F- (anywhere from 75 iu-450 iu)
Menopur
Estrace (up to 2mg 4 times a day)
Viagra (yep! gross!!!!) 4 times per day
Trental (Pentoxifylline) twice a day
Vivelle Patches, went up to 4 every other day
Del Estrogen- 2 injections weekly
Baby Aspirin (this is a small aspirin) one per day
And, wait for it…. Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy. – This was crazy, and a research trial for CCRM, but it truly worked for some girls that I met. I would lay in the chamber (was nervous as it felt like a coffin, but it seriously wasn’t bad!) for 1.5 hours per day for 11 days. This has helped many athletes recovery from surgeries more quickly and works wonders… just not for me 🙂 Maybe I’m not athletic enough.

Natural Remedies:
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea- Twice Daily, do not drink after ovulation!!!
Pomegranate Juice, 8 oz twice daily
Vitamin B
Vitamin E- up to 1000 iu per day

Acupuncture
Femoral Massage
Fertility Yoga
Keeping feet warm, legs up
Castor Oil Packs on Stomach

The thickest my lining ever got during these treatments was 5.7, and it was usually around 5. During my last IVF cycle, my lining did get to 6.4 during stims, but once we had it monitored after my retrieval it had dropped to 3. The RE was shocked, but it may be something worth looking in to if you, too, are struggling with thin lining. If you have any questions please email me at theborrowedbump@gmail.com

I hope one of these remedies work for you. They have worked for many women. GOOD LUCK to you 🙂 Oh, and here are some pics of my HBO (Hyperbaric Oxygen)

Another September.

It’s crazy to me how fast this year has flown. September marks four year since we have been trying for our baby. I recently found the email that I sent my sister in September of 2012 saying that we were officially ready! Little did my sweet, innocent, unguarded heart, know the pain I would endure and the rollercoaster we would ride. Little did we know.

It honestly amazes me that it’s come to this. Well, maybe amazes isn’t even the right word. “Angers” maybe…or, “Frustrates.” I don’t even know the right word, but I wouldn’t wish this on my enemy. I know infertility is so common, and I wish I could take it away from anyone who is “infertile.” Definitely hate that word)

I try to remind myself daily how blessed we are and that God has to be using us for something. Our story has to mean something other than just plain heartache. I will say, I have changed drastically as a person since September 2012. I have been stripped to the core, punched to the ground and have cried thousands of tears. But, I have also stood up every damn time I was knocked down. Every time. 100%. How is that for a success rate? When I think of my success it feels more like zero, but then I remind myself of how far we have come.

I received a letter (yes, a real live hand written letter!!!) in the mail a few weeks ago. It came from an old neighbor of mine from my childhood. It has to have been 30 years since they lived across the street from us. Here’s the beginning of it.
“Dear Ashley,
I just found and read your amazing blog. Oh my goodness! I cannot believe how many struggles you have been through. But I am so inspired by you!! What a strong, young woman you are, with such deep faith. God is definitely up to something in your life! He knows he can use you for a very important purpose. I share your strong hope, that on this journey, you and Dave will be blessed with a baby.”

The letter went on and on. I could barely get through it and was so choked up. Tears streamed down my face. Someone who has only seen me once in the past 25-30 years took time to think of me, pray for me, and write me a letter. Wow!!! So heartwarming. And the word inspire… That has been my goal. I wanted to inspire someone, anyone. And so many of you, whether you know me personally or emailed me online, have used that same word. Inspire. Do you know the impact it has on someone when you tell them that you are truly inspired from them? I do. My heart could explode. If someone inspires you, you should tell them. Do it. And make their day.

Although most days I wish God had not picked me for this story, I know deep in my heart that he did choose me, and it has to be for some reason. A reason that we don’t understand right now. I wrack my brain on sleepless nights trying to figure out why. He chose me. He knew I could survive. But not without Dave and our amazing, supportive friends and family. It seems like everyone holds us up. This journey has shown me how many people we have that love us and want this for us just as badly. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart. Although my heart is broken, it’s strong and beyond thankful.

And speaking of thankful, we are officially moving forward with our sweet carrier, Amy. We still have mock cycles and legal fun, but we are getting closer. She’s already a rockstar for graciously stepping up to the plate and wanting to join our game. She is a saint. I have had so much fun getting to know her, and we text quite a bit. It’s crazy because all of the fears I first had when considering surrogacy, have seriously faded after knowing her. I used to worry about all the normal worries…. what if she doesn’t treat our baby like I would treat our baby?! But, knowing what I already know, she will. She’s a wonderful mom, and she knows way more than I know about pregnancy. It’s fun because I know the fertility and shots part, and she knows the other half! I think we will make a wonderful team on this journey to Baby Klein! Here is a picture of the four of us! Excited to keep moving forward!

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The Light of our Darkness

I’ve really been struggling with this post. This week has been tough, for the entire world. There is so much sadness out there, everywhere. It’s so far away, yet so close to home. My heart has been hurting for everyone involved in the tragedies of the world. I cannot imagine the feeling of loved ones not even coming home, after a normal day (or supposed to be normal.) My heart breaks a lot this week.

The hurt that is closest to my heart, though, is my father in law, Gary, who has frontal temporal lobe dementia. We have dementia and Alzheimer’s on both sides of our family. It is a terrible disease, and I think most can relate. Gary has been declining so much the past six months or so, and this past weekend it got much worse. We have had him on a waiting list for a memory care unit, but now we are afraid we need to start looking for a unit that will accept more progressed patients. Watching my best friend’s heart break all week, was one of the worst things I have yet to see. I hate seeing Dave hurt. He is honestly THE best son that I know, and his dad’s entire world lights up when Dave walks in the door. Melt my heart! They both have the “Klein Smile” and they shine so bright when they get time together. I am so proud of Dave. He is the best care giver ever, and we are so blessed that Gary only lives a few miles from us. My role is to be the funny one and make Gary laugh. I love this job! Years ago on a vacation together, we became “besties” so that’s my name over there. One of my favorite things is doing a crazy dance move, voices etc, and then watching him belt out in laughter. These are the moments to live for. They really are.

I feel that parents getting older is just the inevitable, but it just sucks!!! We will all experience this, at one point in life. Some, much earlier than others. My mother lost her dad when she was seven, and her mom in her late twenties. It makes me so thankful that we have our parents around, but it is still so hard to go through times like this.

Then, you can hardly turn on the news or radio without crying lately. I just don’t understand what this world is coming to. All of these tragedies are so awful. How can you justify being happy in times like this?

It’s hard when there are so many bad things going on around you to smile about anything. It’s like you are going to feel guilty for smiling or being happy. But, Dave put it perfectly the other night, and I still cry thinking about it, this world is so terrible, but there are so many wonderful people out there as well. As the world is so dark, there are SO many bright hearts out there. We got to meet our very own sweet, sweet angel soul last week. It’s in those times of darkness, those flickers of light take up your entire heart.

It’s unbelievable to me, that somewhere, states away from us, there are two sweet souls wanting to change our entire life, with out even knowing us. It’s hard to accept and even believe, really. People can be so cruel, but then you have THE nicest, best humans out there. And, I can’t think of anything more amazing than bringing life into this world for another couple that can’t. Somewhere in the middle of WI, as our hearts were breaking month after month, there was another heart out there wanting to help someone. Someone who felt so passionate about helping strangers become parents that she brought the idea up to her husband, who naturally, thought she was crazy. She took the first steps and applied to our agency, and then she and her husband went through a 4-5 hour psych evaluation, just like we did in the Spring. And then our agency decided that the four of us would make the perfect match! And, so we met.

This is how I’ve been explaining the whole situation. Okay, so, imagine going on the best blind date of your life. You go and meet up with someone, and fall in love with every single thing about them. The date goes so well, even better than you expected. You can see them being “the one.” No red flags, none. You leave that date on Cloud 9, and you are giddy for days. It’s the ONLY thing you can think about. Your heart is so happy and bursting with so many great emotions. Your mind gets way ahead of the game, and you see the future with them in it. You start believing that there is a reason for your painful past, because it brought you here. And, then, you wake up, and reality sinks in. Your head starts thinking and your mind goes crazy. What if it doesn’t work? What if something goes wrong? What if this is the beginning of another part of life where your heart gets broken? Then life continues to happen around you, and sadness sneaks in. How is it okay to be SO happy when everything else is going wrong, and so many people are hurt? Is it okay to fall in love? So you put this guard up.

Get it? It’s the only way to describe how I feel. I feel SO amazing. The “date” could NOT have gone any better. She and her husband are some of the greatest people we have met. They are people that we would want as friends in our life. She is exactly the type of woman I would trust carrying my child. It’s strange to say that after one “date,” but it’s how I feel. So many previous worries left my mind. The guys chatted tons too, which I loved. I think this is going to be the most incredible, magical, absurd chapter in our life, and the truth is, I cannot wait. I think the four of us will be a team that dominates infertility. I want to scream it on the rooftops… “I AM GOING TO BE A MOM!!!” We are getting that much closer to our sweet ending.

So here is where the whole guard thing comes up. We still have to go through medical and legal, which is a long game as well. This will take many more months, so hang tight. ! I am just praying everything goes smoothly. In the meantime, I am in the middle of IVF #5 (hormone central right here) and the thought of these eggs I’m cooking, may one day be in her as she cooks them into a real life baby, makes me smile, and keeps me going!! She is that piece to our puzzle, that we have been missing for so long. They are both the light to our darkness, our hope to so many of our fears. We are so excited, nervous, thankful, … I would say EVERY emotion possible to start this journey. Beyond thankful for the light in our world. It shines brighter than our pain.

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We’ve Been Matched!

This has been a crazy, exciting week!!! Lots of you have been asking for posts, and I’ve been a little quiet. I didn’t really have much to report, except I was crazy anxious and hoping to be matched soon. The anxiety of who she would be was killing me!!

Well, we have NEWS!!!! We were presented a match on Wednesday. I was driving home from work when I got the call, and I literally squealed out loud when I saw who was calling. It was Mary, our amazing agency friend who has made everything better and easier, saying she had a profile for us. Oh, I have seriously anticipated this day for months. We talked for a little bit, but she wouldn’t give info until Dave was on the phone too. So, I rushed home, and then, you know guys…. I flew in the door, ready to call Mary back. Well, he had to get a pop, run upstairs, etc…. I was like, “COME ON DAVE!!!” It reminded me that when my mom went into labor, my dad had to turn around because he forgot his coffee! Ha. They are twins 🙂

Mary told us all about her before sending us her profile. She lives about 8 hours from us, and you guys, she is ADORABLE!!!! She’s in a great marriage and has wonderful support. She’s a mom of two and works as a dental hygienist part time, and her husband is a network applications engineer. Obviously the fact that she wants to carry a stranger’s baby should tell you enough about what a selfless, amazing person she is. She had really easy, uncomplicated pregnancies and would like to help others to become parents. I cried seeing her pics and reading her application. So far, from what I have read and seen, she is everything I would want in a carrier. She is a healthy, active, small town-family girl! So cute! It was a no brainer to say yes to her profile. Then on Thursday, they sent her our profile. I was so nervous during that 24 hours, not knowing what they would think! I go the call yesterday around 11 that they accepted our file and wanted to work with us!!! Tears of joy!!!

It is so amazing to me that women sign up for this for complete strangers. Can you even imagine? These women are seriously saints. They are willing to truly make LIFE come true. They help people like us become parents!!! We finally have a chance to start a family, all because of one sweet soul. We are so thankful that she has decided to put her heart, body, life out there, and is willing to help us with our #1 dream. Thankful isn’t even enough to describe the way I am feeling. I cannot stop thinking about them. I have the happiest heart right now.

So, now, the fun part- we get to meet!!! We are already getting to meet her next Friday in Madison. We were going to be in Chicago that Thursday, and had planned to fly in and out quick for our Dr. appointment, but we threw out that date of Friday, and it worked for everyone involved. So, we will drive up to Madison for our match meeting Friday. We get to meet her and her husband! It’s like a huge blind date! I am sure all of us will be super nervous and anxious. It’s a huge thing for someone to go out on a limb and offer to carry a baby for someone else. Oh, I just cannot wait. Things are finally moving forward.

The support from friends and family has been unreal! Our sweet neighbors/friends gave us this cute May Day treat after we told them about our decision to pursue surrogacy. When I got home work yesterday, I whipped out the tiny bottle of champagne and told Dave, “let’s go celebrate!!!” So, we went to dinner and talked in excitement about the next steps. And, finally slept so hard last night!

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The past month just seemed to drag. I just felt like we were in a stand still, and nothing was moving forward. Here we are… July… and it’s going to be a huge month! Thursday, first appointment at FCI in Chicago, Friday match meeting, and Sunday I start my meds for this upcoming IVF cycle.

I’ve been excited about writing this post for a long time. It’s finally here, and I cannot stop smiling! Dave and I are over the moon happy. Please keep us, and our sweet potential surrogate and her family in your thoughts and prayers this upcoming week.

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Can’t Buy Me Baby Love.

Yesterday I had a pity party for one. The stress of last week was just too much. We had family in town, which was awesome, but the fertility side was a little brutal. I felt like we were pushed all over the place, filling out about a 100 pages of paperwork, planning out July for our next IVF and feeling like we were, once again, controlled by this process. I finally lost it yesterday, and spent most of the day crying and feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes, if I actually stop and think too much about our situation, I will cry. I think we all need those days. I am and always have been, a very positive person (thanks to my mama!!) Although our trials have seemed so big, I feel like I’m at a pretty good place mentally and emotionally right now, but geez, yesterday was brutal. No matter who you are, you are allowed to have those days. As long as you can get back up and appreciate what you have.

I had posted the following blog about a year and a half ago, on a fertility site I belong to. Last week, someone found this journal, and reached out to me, saying it’s exactly how she feels. Re-reading this reminded me of how far I/we have come. It hasn’t always been easy and it’s not easy today, either. But we are still moving forward, and that is what matters. If you had told me the day I wrote this journal, where I would be today, I probably would have just shriveled up and died. I am happy that I have taken it one day at a time, and somedays are so much easier than others. This gives you a glimpse of some of my hardest and most bitter days…..

“Can’t Buy Me Baby Love.

Whoever said money cant buy happiness, has clearly never done fertility. That’s what this crazy world has taught me. It’s like I am caught in this never ending game, and I just cannot win. Every single ounce of me is stretched so thin. Every piece of me has been fighting for too long. Life did teach me, that the harder you try, the more successful you can be. Wrong. Wrong again. I have never in my life tried so hard for something. Never. You would think my body and mind would get the drill and understand the game. But it doesn’t. Every single month, that unbearable stab of pain sneaks right into my bones again. It overtakes the whole me. The happy me disappears, and in comes this painful pit. That strong reminder that I cannot succeed. I’ve failed again. I’m a failure as a woman. And, I’m failing at the one thing I have wanted my whole life.

Even as a child, my life was babies. I loved my babies. I would rock them, feed them, dress them and love them. I was so happy as a little mommy. Looking back, perhaps that was the only time I’d get a chance to feel as if I were a mommy. That love was so strong, and I just couldn’t wait to grow up, and have a real baby of my own someday. That’s what a woman does. She becomes a mother. She gets to see her heart walking outside of her body, and love like never before. That’s why us women are here, right? That’s what I thought for 34 years.

The guilt that comes with this process is almost unbearable. How can I be so sad? Why am I so selfish? Why cant I be happy with my life? I hate the guilt. It makes me feel so selfish. I should appreciate what God has given me, but I want more. I want more so badly. Every inch of me wants more. I want to love so much it hurts. I want to see my heart outside my body. I want to make a difference in someone’s life, and be their everything. I want to give life. Is that too much to ask? I never thought it would be, but I’m finding it just may be.

Spring is here. Another season here, and another winter has gone. A time to start fresh. I used to believe that Spring would bring new life and happiness. I stopped believing that after being let down too many seasons. Tick. Tock. Will my season ever come?

I want to stop. I want to give up. I cannot play this game any longer. I don’t want another shot in my stomach or my ass. Talk about humiliating. I could scream if my husband has to pinch my stomach one more time, just to shoot me full of crazy hormones. I don’t want to have one more ultrasound where they tell me that once again my body has failed me, with no emotion. It’s so easy for them to just tell me the bad news. “Better luck next month, hon.” At what point do you stop believing in next month? How many damn months can I be the passenger on this train that keeps derailing? I feel like I’m in the midst of some cruel joke. Am I trying too hard for something I will never have? Should I give up? I cant. I just cant. Giving up would mean that I have accepted this shitty hand of cards. I wont. And, that is why I will keep trying. I want to rock my own baby to sleep at night. I want to be called mommy. I’d pay anything for my baby love. Is that too much to ask?”

My season has yet to come, but I still believe we are on the right path and our season WILL come, in time. FullSizeRender-2

Hope.

So far I have gotten awesome feedback from my blog! I have/had two main goals for this blog. First, I wanted a way to keep our friends and family informed of each step of the process. We have an army of support, so it seems easiest to keep it all on one forum. So many friends say they want to ask updates, but they’re afraid they could catch me on a bad day etc. So sweet.

My second reason was to spread word on surrogacy and infertility. I told Dave, if I could help just one person through this, I would smile. And, smile, I did! I have had several messages from other women in the same boat as I am. It has been so fun meeting others who know exactly how I feel. I have learned from them so much. On one hand, it makes me so sad that others can related, because I know that void in their hearts, but it is nice to know that we have each other. There is absolutely no way I would make it through this craziness without others who understand.

One of the biggest questions I have gotten is, “How did you ever accept this? How did you come to terms with using a surrogate?” The real honest truth is that, I haven’t 100% accepted the fact that I won’t ever carry a baby. That is a LOT to accept. I feel like it has been a grieving process through the years. I have taken more negative pregnancy tests than I would like to admit. And, every friggin time it kills me to see just ONE line. I stare so intently at those tests, and so many times, I swear I can see a line, and then back to reality. haha. Negative. It still hurts each time I get them. But the getting up has become easier. I guess, it shows that I have a little tiny ounce of hope in my heart. And, I like that. Because hope is really the best thing to keep anyone going.

Almost a year ago, after our first round of IVF, we started to learn that my uterine lining was never going to heal. It would never thicken. No matter what drugs they did. I mean, my gosh, I laid in a dang hyperbaric oxygen chamber for 11 straight days, thinking it would be our miracle ‘drug.’ That was so hurtful seeing that things were not improving. I cried and cried and cried. In the midst of a major freakout moment, a good friend of mine was honest with me. He helped me to see that I had become obsessed with ‘being pregnant’ and that I had forgotten my main goal, and that was to become a mom! How true! I let that soak in for a few months. I literally had every “due date” in America. Oh, this month it’s going to be positive because it’s my father in law’s birthday, Jen’s birthday, Christmas Day, Thursday etc.I couldn’t ever plan anything too far out, because, “I’ll probably be pregnant then.” I believed in superstitions, saw a psychic and held on to anything I could. I was trying to find my hope in all the wrong ways. In the midst of my obsession, I had taken my eye off the prize…. being a MOM! He reminded me that it really didn’t matter how I got there, but that if I wanted to get there badly enough, I could. There are options and mine became surrogacy and adoption. Either way would make me a mom.

Sometimes the brutal truth is what we need. I started to manage my fear by reminding myself that I would be a mom… NO matter which cards I was dealt. The healthy hope came back, and looking back, I can see the shift in my attitude on this. Am I still scared? Absofreakinglutely!!!! Is this the way I wanted my story to go? NO!!! But, I want to be a mom. I want to fill this quiet (haha yes, impossible to have quiet with Dave around, but you know what I mean) house with so much craziness and love. So, my choices were to step up to a brand new game or stay in the game that I continually was losing. From there, I threw myself into countless hours of research and a new obsession of surrogacy. It’s filled my heart with so many emotions, and it amazes me that there are women out there that are willing to give this to a stranger. This is one of the most beautiful things I could ever imagine, and I’m lucky to have this choice.

And so “hope” became my word. My everything to live by. It’s true that the only thing stronger than fear is hope, and we can choose either one. We can choose to sulk in our sorrows, cry over today, and fear tomorrow. Or, we can choose to trust in God, and hope for better days ahead. He does know what he is doing. I choose hope. And, I hope you do. too.