Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Infertility Awareness Week

Gary found this article today and forwarded it to me. It may answer some of the questions some of you have asked or were too afraid to ask. It is informational in that it does explain what infertility means and how some of the procedures are performed.


April 22-28, 2012 is National Infertility Awareness Week


There are many people suffering silently with infertility. I do not agree with everything this organization supports, but I do value the emphasis they are placing on infertility and trying to raise awareness for an often overlooked part of many peoples' lives.

Monday, April 23, 2012


When we made the decision to adopt, we were at first concerned about the financial strains it would add to our family. When I made the decision to quit teaching last year to pursue our fertility treatments, we knew we were making the right decision. After the treatments failed and I had already cut out my part of the income, I began questioning if we had made the right choice. Then, we started thinking about adoption. Our first worry was that we already had a medical loan to pay off because of the IVF. We had friends who had recently adopted and I began to reach out to them to see what we should do in order to raise the money. I knew there were grants so I began to also look into those. Come to find out that many grants won't even let you apply until you have completed a Home Study or until you are actually placed with a child. Then, other grant applications want to make sure you have already exhausted all of your means of saving money such as asking parents or doinf fundraisers. So, we were back to fundraising.

I guess I shouldn't have doubted things were going to work out at all since we completely feel this choice to adopt was not our own, but a choice God made for us. But, my anxiety started creeping in again. I began to research ways to earn money and also looked to those adoptive parents to see what they had done.

This past weekend, we had our first fundraiser. It was a garage sale where most of the items were donated by friends and neighbors. In my doubt, I had already scoured my own home for everything we didn't need. We ended up borrowing tables from my husband's work in order to place all of the things. We had a total of five tables covered in things and even more on the driveway. We also had furniture that was donated. We didn't sell everything, but we made enough to almost cover our home study and we still have things in our garage to sell. This was further proof to us that this is the way God wants us to go.

To make things even better, after a long day with the sale, we went to eat Chinese. Gary and I don't really take too much stock in fortune cookies, but we did read our fortunes. They both said, "It is a job well done." I was moved to tears knowing what we had done all day. It also reminded me of a sermon from our pastor focused on Nehemiah. Nehemiah was in a foriegn country and he decided to go back to his homeland (Jerusalem) to help them build a wall around the city for protection. The whole time he was building the wall, the enemies kept trying to get him to quit and come down. His reply was that he would not come down until the job was finished. He tarried all night and day until he had finished the job. (Nehemiah 3-4). After the sermon, we were given a sheet of window clings with the main verse from Nehemiah. I put these window clings on my bathroom mirror, my alarm clock, my bedroom mirror and the rear view mirror in my car. Everytime I have a negative thought, I see the verse and remind myself that if we are following God's will, we are doing a good work and we shouldn't give up until the job is done. We can't let the devil bring us down with negativity. We have to keep believing God put us here in this place on our journey only to bring glory to Him and His work.

We now have the Home Study packet to compelte. It is a daunting task. We have to each write a 4-10 page autobiography that has to include specifics about our upbringing and family history and we each have a separate list of 21 questions to answer. In addition to this, we have to gather all kind of documents such as marriage license, birth certificates, etc. We have to take child care classes and CPR. We also have to have background checks and fingerprinting. Most daunting of all is that we paid a huge fee to have all of this paperwork sent to us and now we have to pay for the fingerprinting, the classes, the mail to be sent to us. But, WE CANNOT COME DOWN BECAUSE WE ARE DOING A GOOD WORK.

Thank you to all of you who have stood by us through this time in our life and who have unselfishly given of your resources and your time and most of all your prayers. We are praying that all of the paperwork is handled with care and that it all gets completed in record time and that our waiting child will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our marriage

Gary and I are very blessed to have a strong relationship built on our common faith in God and our open communication as well as our love that grew from a deep friendship. With that being said, that strong bond did shake some when we began to face infertility. Infertility takes a toll on your marriage for sure. You want answers, you don't want to blame each other. No matter how much love you have for each other, though, the devil brings those horrible thoughts to your mind. Thoughts such as, "Would we have been better off had we married other people?" "Have we done something against God that we are being punished for?" "Did we not follow His perfect will for our life by being together?"

Then come the other thoughts about infertility directly. You go to visit after visit to the doctor and both of you take tons of tests. After each test you find youself thinking, "I hope it's not me." You also find yourself thinking,"I hope it's not him." You don't want the problem to be with yourself because you don't want to face the pain that you will possibly never be a mother. That is after all what we are put on earth for, right? You don't want it to be your spouse either because guys are supposed to be tough and supposed to fix things. If he can't fix it, I might lose the husband I married because of his bitterness with the situation.

These are thoughts you never speak out loud unless it is a really tough day and you say things you regret and end up having to apologize to each other and just cry together.

A whole new set of issues arises when the doctors can't find anything wrong at all. Nothing that can be fixed, nothing you can take a magic pill for.

Gary and I found ourself distancing from each other. I cried - a lot. He had moments where he wouldn't talk about our issues and was distant from me. We went through these stages at different times. He would read his Bible and pray every morning while sitting on the floor in what would eventually be our nursury. He pleaded with me to read my Bible and trust God. That was the only way we would get through this. I was angry at God- how could I talk to Him? He was in charge. He could FIX this situation anytime He was ready. The problem was that I wasn't ready for Him to fix anything. Then, when I refused to trust God, Gary began to go down too. We quit going to church because it was too painful. I cried uncontrollably during every service because I knew God was calling out to me to come back to Him and trust Him and I wasn't ready. I didn't want people to see me in a vulnerable state. Gary didn't want to go to church because he felt he was trusting God and God wasn't doing anything. He prayed and read his Bible every morning after all. We also NEVER went to church on Mother's Day. That was the most difficult day of the entire year. Having to stay seated when other mother's stood for recognition.

Then came the fertility treatments. In the beginning, you want to do anything to get pregnant. The hormones made me CRAZY and Gary and I were always arguing. Any little thing would set me off and he didn't know how to handle my mood swings. But, after a failed treatment, we would discuss it and keep going. It got to the point where I wasn't willing to keep going. I was so emotionally and physically drained and I was getting depressed. But, becasue I wanted to please Gary and he wanted to keep going - I kept going. For the sake of our future family, of course I'll keep going if you want to. But, finally Gary saw what was happening to me. He agreed to stop treatments as well. This was our turning point.

We came together for healing and to get back to where our marriage began. We had broken down over the years and everything and every single decision had been based on whether or not we would get pregnant. We were way too focused on growing our family instead of being focused on each other. That is when we finally came to the realization that even if we never had children, we had each other. That was already the best thing God had done in our lives- we loved each other so much and weren't willing to lose that.

Some of the things that helped us through this journey included friends, God and songs. God brought to me the story of Hannah from the Bible who waited and waited on God. She came to God and cried out loudly in her pain to God because she yearned for a child so much. God heard her cry and her pain and gave her a son. Songs such as "Hold my Heart" by Tenth Avenue North and "What Faith Can Do" by Kutless became our theme songs. It seemed that everytime I turned on the radio those songs were there to remind me that God was in control.

We have since become more focused on listening to God's calling in our lives. Our marriage is stronger than ever and our happiness is returning. I now feel I can move forward and not make every decision based on the "IFS" in our life. It is a freeing feeling to just let go of the control and let God handle EVERYTHING". We can't wait to see where He leads.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stigmas attached to adoption..

I didn't realize beginning the journey to adoption could and would be just as difficult as our journey through infertility. I have begun to realize that there are many stigmas attached to adoption as well.

DISCLAIMER: Once again, I want to say that if you are our friend and have said these things, we are fine. People say what they can to help others in certain situations. 

1. Overseas adoption is wonderful because you are rescuing those children from a horrible situation-
Yes, many orphans overseas are facing a lot more physically and emotionally than most children. But, the caretakers in those orphanages are doing the best with what they have. I have heard parents of orphans from overseas really bash the country from where their children came.  That was very difficult for Gary and I to hear - especially when the children were from China. I am not knocking overseas adoption. Gary and I really wanted to adopt from China, but that wasn't what God wanted for us. I believe certain people are given the privilege and heart to adopt from other countries. God has placed that love and desire in their hearts. But, please remember that adopting from a foreign country is also something you do in love for the country and people as a whole. 

2. You should adopt overseas because adopting domestically will only give you a child from a teenage mother who was on drugs-
Yes, adopting domestically can be a challenge. But, most teenage mothers never really have to worry about raising their children. Many (not all) have a support system within their family that allows them to keep the baby and they don't need to worry about putting their children up for adoption. Many of the women who are now adopting out their babies are doing so to provide the children with a better home. They are older mothers and they have tried their best to provide for their children and because of situations beyond their control, they have to make a very difficult decision. 

3. Since you couldn't have children naturally, you will accept the first child that is available because you will do anything for a baby of your own-
Adoption is not something to go into so lightly. No, we are not going to have a baby that looks just like us, but we can try to have a baby that fits into our family better. This is not just for our sake so people will never ask questions, but it is for the child's sake as well. We will raise our child with the knowledge that they are adopted. We want them to know how special they are and how God chose them for us specifically. We want them to know that their mother loved them and gave them to us as the best gift we could have ever received.

With this being said, we do not care about the stares we may have from others if our children do not look like us. Gary is Chinese, I am Caucasian/Italian. We are already stared at because we are a mixed couple. It doesn't help that I am only 5'0" and he is 6'3" (yes, I know, he is full blooded Chinese even at this height : ). But, we do want our children to have a happy life. We could adopt a child of any race (and we still may), but our world is not a pretty place. There is bullying, there is still racism. We want our children to face as little of this as possible where we can help it. God will choose our child for us. We have chosen to adopt a child who is Caucasian or Caucasian/Asian. We know even with this limited choice, God is a miracle worker. You may still say, "That isn't right! You should be open to any race."

We again say that it really is up to God. We have a desire to adopt a child of Asian decent specifically just as another couple may have the desire to specifically adopt from China, South America, Haiti. People with those choices are usually applauded for their desire to give to an orphan who is in dire need of support. We say we are no different in our desire to adopt a child with Asian decent domestically.

We have always had the desire to adopt a child who we will raise with the heritage from their Asian father (Gary). Gary was born and raised in Hong Kong until he was 17. He is the only one of his family here in America. His family does not speak English. It would be very wrong of us to not raise our children to understand the culture of their father and grandparents. They will need to be able to communicate with their extended family and understand and be proud of where they came from. His mother has already given a great sacrifice to me. Her son who she supported in his marriage to me knowing that it would mean not seeing him very often and not being able to share in our lives on a daily basis.

We will also raise our children with the knowledge of Christ and His plan for their lives which we feel is even more important than them learning Chinese and learning how to use chopsticks.

With all of this being said, there is a negative stigma attached directly to adoption in the Asian world. From even ancient times, having a child to carry on the family name was a must - a boy was even better. Until today, adoption in the Chinese culture is not something that is talked about or even accepted. This has caused a new stress on Gary and I as we enter into this journey into adoption. We want this child to be loved as our own- which will be easy for us to do. But, we also want our extended family to love this child as their own.

No matter where you decide to adopt- overseas or America- know that it is a decision you need to make between you and God foremost and you and your spouse secondly. God will put the desire in your heart for a child and will lead you in this path. Don't worry what people may say about your decisions. 

4. Adoption domestically is cheap and is paid for by the state- 
No! Adoption is not cheap. No matter what money we have saved, it is no where near enough. Many couples looking to adoption have already used their savings to pay for extensive fertility treatments and many never feel they can adopt because of the cost. Gary and I were worried about this as well. We never wanted to ask anyone for money. We also didn't want people to judge us and say things like, "Gary has a great job, they live in a nice house, Anna doesn't work as a teacher anymore so they must have a lot of money (I do work as a nanny however and make whatever money I can to help us). We want people to know we are not asking for money at all. If God leads you to help us, He will lead you. If not, we mainly need prayer. We are going to fundraise and do what we can to save the needed money. There are some great places where we can fundraise and help others at the same time. We have done our research.  Before our adoption is finalized, we will have spent over $20,000 for legal fees, travel fees, adoption agency fees. This is a high price to pay, but we are willing to do what it takes because God has never taken the desire from us to be parents. 

Stigmas attached to infertility..

Infertility is a growing problem within our country and others around the world. Many times, there are any true reasons doctors can find as to why a couple can't get pregnant. One reason could be women are waiting until older to begin a family (that wasn't our case although we are now older and haven't had children). Another reason could be our environment- steroids in our food, pesticides, pollution. Another reason could be stress with many more women in the workforce just to make ends meet.

DISCLAIMER: If you are our friend and you have said any of the following, we are fine with it. Everyone tries to help in their own way when someone they know if facing infertility. We understand your motives : )

Things people told us to help us face this journey:

1. Maybe you are too stressed - just calm down and it will happen. 
This was the hardest thing to hear for us. How could we be any less stressed during this time in our life? We wanted children more than anything. No, stress is a factor, but God is the main factor. He has the plan laid out and He will make it happen in His time.

2. You don't need fertility treatments- just wait on God. 
We wanted to believe this and quit, but we also felt God put the doctors there with the knowledge for a reason. Why shouldn't we at least try?

3. Take a trip and relax-
We did this. We went to Hong Kong, China, and Jamaica. We were super relaxed and our mind was not on getting pregnant. We had a lot of fun, but we didn't come home pregnant.

4. Start filling out adoption papers and you will get pregnant-
Of course, this is the latest we have heard. Do we still have hope that one day we will be natural parents? Of course, but if that doesn't happen we have to accept it. We know God has our child already chosen for us and if we never get pregnant naturally, we have to accept God knows best. He can see our future and how wonderful it is going to be. We have very limited vision and can't imagine what He has in store yet for us.

5. It is not a disorder or a medical condition- 
Actually, Gary and I have had to pay for everything. Insurance companies and the medical community do not view infertility as a disease or even a disorder. Wanting to have children is a privilege and if a couple wants it bad enough, they will have to pay for it. I pray that this changes for people who cannot have children. It is expensive and adds stress to an already very stressful situation.

Stigmas attached to infertility:
1. There is something wrong with you- 
People who had never had any difficulty getting pregnant asked us some very personal questions. Is it you or is it Gary? Have you had his sperm checked? Maybe you are allergic to his sperm. Have you had this test run? Did you ask your doctor about this drug? We had done all of this and still we had no answers.

2. You don't know anything about children because you don't have any-
If was difficult being a teacher for me. Parents want the best for their children and they want someone who knows about children. I did have a degree in education and I had been teaching for a long time, but there was still a part of people that wanted to know why I didn't have children of my own. I did have parents who had been through fertility treatments who were extremely supportive of me - don't get me wrong. Most people didn't ever say a thing, but it was something I often put on myself and was nervous about.

There were also people who did say things to us when we offered advice on child rearing. You just wait until you have kids of your own- you will find out. Or- you don't have kids so you really can't give any advice. These were very hurtful because Gary and I were raised in strict homes where discipline was key. We felt we were just giving advice based on what our parents had done with us. I was also a teacher - I spent more time with the kids than their parents did. I felt I knew a thing or two about it.

I am sure there were more things said that bothered us, but I wanted to try to keep this shorter (I tend to be a little wordy).

I do want to take this time to say a special thank you to two of the most wonderful girls God has put into my life. It was very difficult to continue to be friends with them after they got pregnant with their first child and then their second when we still hadn't been able to, but they have been there every step of the way. I went through stages where I didn't want to be their friend. Why had God blessed them and not us? Why couldn't we have kids together so we could raise them as best friends? But, being around these two friends and seeing their children grow has been a blessing. We love those kids more than anything and they return the love. We would be less blessed without them in our life. Holly even called me at home to tell me her news before she told everyone at work. Even though I cried and it hurt, she protected my feelings. For that, I am grateful. Regan did the same and really helped me through this journey. It is very difficult to have people be pregnant and share their symptoms and joy with you when you can't get pregnant. But, it is something you have to go through. You have to let them share in their joy. They shouldn't feel that they should have to walk on eggshells around you just because you don't have children.

Health or an addiction with food?

I always considered myself a healthy person. Of course, I grew up in the South and I know there is an unhealthy stigma attached to that. Growing up, I did eat my share of fried catfish and cornbread as well as sweet tea which was a staple in my home. But, my mom did cook- we didn't have the weekly run to McDonald. Going out to eat was a privilege. Eating what mom put on the table was a must. Sodas and snacks were also an extra treat.

When I was in high school (I think it was then), my dad had some test results come back that pointed to the fact that he needed to change his diet. I think this is when I really started thinking about health and wanting to be healthy for my own future. My mom began to grill and steam everything we ate. Yes, we still had sweet tea and we still ate things we shouldn't have, but we were on our way.

College began for me and I ate my share of pizza- the staple college food. But, I didn't gain the freshman 30 because I walked everywhere. Both of my majors - design and elementary ed- had the buildings located the farthest from my dorm. My dorm room was on the third floor- no elevator- and laundry was out back in another building. I also began to exercise and do aerobics with my room mate and another close friend who was in training for her career in criminal justice. She really pushed me sometimes, but it felt great to work out and exercise.

When Gary and I met and were married, I began another journey into fitness- martial arts. He had been in martial arts in college and I wanted to do it too. I felt empowered - the class I took Gary down was an event to remember. We did this for a while at our local YMCA. One summer (teacher's have time off, but husbands don't) I was bored. I decided to meet the goal at the Y of making it to a certain number of classes so I could win a T-Shirt. I did aerobics, Pilates, Yoga, etc. and I met my goal.

Moving to Georgia brought another form of fitness. I was amazed when we first moved here at how many people were outside exercising- cycling, tennis, swimming, etc. At first, I thought this area was just more healthy until I realized how much cooler it was outside than in Mississippi. In MS, exercising outside in the summer is asking for a heat stroke!!

I loved this new concept. I also enjoyed shopping for groceries. There were so many more healthy options in grocery stores and at restaurants. We didn't have to eat at McDonald's or fast food places if we wanted to eat out.

Gary and I both got into tennis and working out with a trainer. We both began to drop the pounds. That wasn't enough though considering I still was diagnosed with PCOS. This began another journey with my addiction with food. I went to a nutritionist and she gave me certain foods to eat. I shopped and filled my pantry. Eventually, I got to the point I was so bored with food and had no appetite. I began to analyze everything I put in my mouth to the extreme. I never really drank soda, but I loved my coffee. It drove Gary crazy- WHAT? WE CAN'T EAT WHITE RICE ANYMORE? ARE YOU CRAZY? We switched to brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread. Everything was whole grain and sugar free. I even went to the extreme of cutting out butter, salt, salad dressing, etc. Our meals were blah and boring and I began to lose any appetite I had left. Oh and to make matters worse - no caffeine during fertility procedures. What!! I get up at 5:30 and deal with children all day. How will I manage??? I began to obsess over my food intake. I was also very ANGRY. Why when I was "healthy" did I have insulin issues? I was doing everything I could. I made it a point to beat this and get off the meds permanently. I wasn't going to have a dependency on medication the rest of my life. What did my doctor know anyway - she was overweight too. Alas, I did get off of the meds. I was healthy once I began to eat again normally (still following the nutritionist's rules). After I detoxed my body of the sugar and bad stuff I was eating all my life, I actually began to feel better. Getting off of coffee was hard, but I did it and I am on decaf to this day.

I know this was a little wordy, but I want people to see that to be healthy should not be an obsession. Do your h/w. You can eat healthy and eat food that tastes great. I had to learn that a little ice cream here and there was okay. I didn't need to punish myself. I felt very angry throughout this time period. I felt I was being punished. After all, people who were very unhealthy were still getting pregnant weren't they???

But- lesson from all of this-- Eating healthy did not need to be something I was doing just to get pregnant. It wasn't a given anyway. I needed to get healthy for my future. No dieting - just a lifestyle change. I am still eating healthy and now I am trying to eat more organically and clean. We have a garden out back and we are making a lot of better choices as to what we allow in our bodies. It didn't help us get pregnant, but we are on our road to better health so we will possibly live longer and have the energy to get more out of life.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My journey into health

When we moved to our new home, I decided I needed to get healthy. I mean, was I really doing enough to ensure I could get pregnant? I knew I had trouble with my dizzy spells before and the stress. I needed to do something more to help myself. I mean, Wasn't I in control of everything? Wasn't it up to me to make sure our family grew?

I decided to meet with a trainer in my neighborhood. I went to her saying I wanted to drop my weight in order to get pregnant. Granted, I have never been really overweight. I am only 5 ft tall and I was at my largest at this time pushing a size 9 in my jeans. I had never been that size before in my life and I attributed it to stress of trying to get pregnant. So, I decided to change things.

This turned out to be a great decision. My trainer became my counselor and my friend. She had trouble conceiving also and was a real rock for me. She helped me get healthy as well as helped me deal with things I was feeling. The weight dropped and I felt better than I had in my entire life. I thought, wow, now I will get pregnant.

We went to a fertility specialist and she gave me some tests. One was a glucose test. She diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and told me I needed to be on medication. I decided to take the medicine since I would do anything to get pregnant. (This was after taking Clomid for several rounds).  I began to take the medicine and began to experience all of the horrible side effects. I had already lost the weight, I had already changed my eating habits so I felt I was healthy. I began to battle with my mind and body. I was sick all of the time no matter what I ate. I began to go through a stage of anger. Why was it that I was eating healthy, exercising and doing my best to be thin and healthy when there were people all around me getting pregnant who weren't? There were people who were drinking and smoking getting pregnant, there were overweight people getting pregnant, there were teenagers getting pregnant. Why wasn't it ME? I could be a better parent than them, right? After all, my baby would be healthy. My baby would be born into a family with a dad and mom who loved them more than anything. We both had five college degrees between the two of us. Weren't we going to be perfect parents? I was so angry during this stage. I began to research PCOS and discovered all of the symptoms- being overweight was one of them. I began to disagree with the doctor's diagnosis. I fought it since it seemed to me to be the one diagnosis that the doctor fell back on because they couldn't find a real reason why we weren't getting pregnant. It was also harder to believe when I discovered that most of the women I knew were also on Metformin for PCOS. All of us with different symptoms.

I decided to get off of the medicine and go to a different doctor. I wanted again to control my own situation. My new doctor said PCOS didn't have any bearing on my ability to get pregnant any more than being thin did. Also, being on the medication was not going to have a bearing on the results. I liked this doctor. He said what I wanted to hear and he was willing to move forward with a real plan. We were going to do IUI and we were going to get pregnant. We went through IUI two times with all of the results being "normal", but we were not able to get pregnant. Our doctor suggested we do IVF. We were ready to stop spending money on things that weren't working. We decided to move forward. We took out a medical loan- enough to buy a new car. Still, the money was something we would pay off because we were going to get pregnant this time for sure. I took the medication and hormones and shots they gave me. I went through all of the side effects. I went to the doctor every day for two weeks for drawing blood and the ultrasounds to look at my developing eggs. Everything went well according to the doctor. I felt horrible, but it was all worth it. We were going to be parents. After two weeks, I began spotting and I knew before the blood test that we weren't successful once again. I couldn't stop crying. I cried all day. I didn't know what God was doing. Why when I had followed His path was He doing this to us? I had done everything He wanted me to do hadn't I? I had done everything except give Him control of the situation. We were still doing it on our own. We decided enough was enough and that we were going to stop the fertility treatments all together. I again went back to my journey into health. I was still angry at not getting pregnant. But, I didn't want to be overweight. I mean if I couldn't get pregnant, I might as well look as good as I could. We then began to consider adoption as a way to extend our family.

The beginning of the end

When Gary and I met, we were in college. I began university with the full intentions of becoming an interior designer. God had other plans. He called me to go on a mission trip to California one summer. I went thinking how inadequate I was to teach children's camps all summer. What did I know about kids?? Well, God worked in my life that summer and I ended up coming back after the summer to change my major to Elementary Education. This was such a difficult decision for me. I cried a lot, talked to my dad for guidance, spent time in prayer, but in the end I knew I was supposed to do it. I even had a hard time with my academic counselor who told me I was one of the most dedicated students and she didn't think I should leave design. But, I knew God had some reason for leading me in a different direction. The next year, I discovered what that was --- Gary!!! I would never have met him had I not followed God's plan for my life.

I still had the desire to be a designer, but I settled into education as my career and when Gary and I married, it was my life.

We were so happy as a married couple, but we knew that staying in Mississippi probably wouldn't help us to extend our family. We moved to Georgia, away from friends and family, but we knew it would be for the best.

After moving to Georgia, we really began to focus on trying to get pregnant. I came off of birth control and we thought we were moving forward in life. We both ended up with good jobs and we started thinking about buying a home to settle into. Of course, the home we bought was a four bedroom home (to fill with children) and the neighborhood was family friendly with a ton of amenities. Most of the families on our street had children and were still growing their families. We felt we would fit right in. Little did we know that it would take this long and we still wouldn't have children. (Married 2005, Move to Georgia in 2006, home bought in 2007, still not pregnant in 2012).

We went through a stage (at least I did) where I started thinking I didn't like my life the way it was. If we weren't going to have children, why did we need a big house and why did I need to keep teaching? I began to have visions of grandeur in my head of becoming a designer who had silk drapes and beautiful furniture and who got to dress stylishly and meet with clients all day. I wouldn't need to worry about anything- I could just throw myself into my work. People wouldn't wonder why I didn't have children because I was going to be successful. I even began to think we needed to "divorce" all of our friends and get some friends who didn't have kids. We could hang out with them freely and not have to worry about discussing why we didn't have children.

After a lot of discussion with Gary, I decided to go back to school to pursue design. I took classes at night, on Saturdays and online. I was very busy and I thought only about school. I stayed up late on the weekends and did homework and I even took a class that was all day Saturday. I put all of my effort into my designs and my job and thought about nothing else. Gary was a champ during this time because he saw how "happy" I was getting back into my art. But, I was pretty distant during this time and he did a lot on his own.

I graduated with all A's!!! I was so happy and proud of myself for this accomplishment. I was successful at something. I was so focused that several of my professors asked to use my work as examples for future classes. I began to think about not teaching and starting to work as a designer seriously. But, the idea that I was not pregnant and had no children came creeping back into my mind after I had a break for once. I didn't have school to focus on anymore. I thought I could just move forward, but the idea that I had been unsuccessful at getting pregnant brought me down. I had no self esteem. My work from school didn't give me that and I didn't feel I could go on interviews and meet with clients because I was somehow broken. I did start painting again and began to sell my paintings, but I did not pursue a job in design. At this time, the economy was also against me. We decided I should keep teaching to pay off some debt - one of which was my design degree.

People around me began to see a change in me, especially Gary. He couldn't wait until I could quit teaching so he could have me back. He saw how stressed I was and how truly unhappy I had become. I knew I had somehow lost myself in all of this. I used to be an empathetic person who saw beauty in others. I had become a stressed out and very angry person. I needed to find myself again.

Stress or a real problem??

The thought that I might have trouble getting pregnant was always in the back of my mind. After all, my mom had trouble getting pregnant with me and it took her four years. After that, she was able to have my sister and brother with no trouble. But, her doctor had diagnosed her with endometriosis and none of my doctors had ever found symptoms of that in me. So, part of me felt confident that I wouldn't have problems at all. I dreamed of a little black eyed baby with dark, straight hair who looked like the best of Gary and I. We were so ready to have children. After all, Gary and I are the first born of both of our families and we would be the first to bring grandchildren into the family. There wasn't too much pressure from our families, but we both knew having grandchildren would bring joy to our parents.

My feelings that something may be wrong began when I started having a lot of anxiety and dizzy spells. I had never fainted, but I knew something might be wrong. To this day, I really don't know what it might have been. After dinner at a friend's house one night, I went shopping with my friend while Gary stayed and hung out with her husband. I had eaten a regular meal, but when we got to the store and were walking around, I got so dizzy I couldn't stand up and I fell on the floor. That was the scariest time of my life. People kept asking if I had eaten and if I was diabetic. I said I wasn't diabetic and I had eaten plenty. After this spell, I went to the doctor and had some blood work done. The doctor could not find out why I was dizzy and having dizzy spells. I figured it was stress and went on with my life. I kept having dizzy spells though even when I was at work. It really frightened me the first time I had to pull over on the side of the road while driving home one day from work.

I began to realize how much stress I really was under with trying to get pregnant and working full time. Don't get me wrong- I feel I was a teacher for ten years for a reason. I taught in lower income schools in Mississippi for 5 years which were some of the most challenging years of my life, but I know I made a difference in those kids. I then taught in Georgia for 5 years in a completely different setting and socioeconomic class and those years were also challenging and rewarding for different reasons. I met so many people working that made my life more full and I still feel very blessed to have met these people - many are still in my life as very close friends. But, as rewarding as teaching was for me, it took a toll on me. I left work each day realizing that my shoulders and jaw had been tight all day and I realized that I could finally breath when I left work. I was so busy and had so much to deal with at work that I couldn't focus on my personal life and what was happening with our infertility. It is very difficult to spend your life with children all day and putting so much effort into their life when you don't have any children of your own. It came to the point that Gary and I decided that I had to stop working and focus on our family. We had already gone through several treatments at that point, but nothing too invasive.

1. Clomid - this drove me crazy, I felt like my skin was crawling, had hot flashes and nearly bit Gary's head off all of the time no matter what he did
2. HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to make sure my fallopian tubes were open and functioning

I began to wonder what NORMAL meant. If all of my tests were "normal" and my fallopian tubes were open and normal, why couldn't we get pregnant? Did we need to go forward? If so, what would we go forward to?

Gary and I really began considering me staying home to focus on our family, but we really needed to save some money first so it was one more year of teaching at least. I was unhappy about this, but I wanted to pay off some debt first.

East Meet West

After all the craziness we gone thru in early part of  2011 - We were done. The Dr. cannot find anything wrong with us and our life do not seem to be going anywhere. My parents have always suggested acupuncture, we really don't have much to lose at that time. So we decided to give it a try, we were able to find a great acupuncturist  in town. We went to see her and she was really optimistic about our problem and believe she can help us. We went to see her weekly and took different types of herbal medicine along with the treatment. We begin to feeling better, we start to have more energy everyday. We know Chinese medicine take time, that's one thing is different than western medicine. Three months gone by, even the Dr. has problem understand why we could not get pregnant. She keep saying it should have worked by now... really. That's not really comforting for you to doubt the treatment. It is easy for you to say it is not working. I am the one who is paying for it. Only thing that for certain is we both feel great. We have not felt like that in a long time, may be our body did get better without us knowing it. Maybe we should give infertility treatment one more try with our body feeling better!!!

At the same time, I was lucky enough to land a new job in town. It was closer to home and I was able to spend more time with Anna. The best part is the new insurance covered part of the infertility treatment. Maybe that's our sign that we should give it a try again. Therefore, we decided to go see a different Dr. Surely we can't go back to the same Dr. that told me "I don't know!" Once again, the new Dr. was optimistic. She looks at our previous records, and instantly points out a few things she would have done differently. She also point out since Anna have PCOS, the whole treatment should have been done differently. Finally, someone told us something is wrong. Anyway, she believe that we should try IUI again since the insurance is covering it. She also wanted Anna start taking Metformin and Letrozole for the treatment. What really worries me is the side effect attached to Letrozole. This is a medicine designed for breast cancer patients and the reason to use that drug is one of  the side effect is to help infertility treatment. Again, even with the risk, we keep telling ourself it will be worth it in the end.

The only difference about this time is that both of our body feel great and some of the test number proving it as well. As you can guess, it didn't work. After all the pain we went thru in 2011. We were numb about it. We were sad but it is not an uncharted feeling for us. It can't be anything worse than how we feel several months back... :(

That was March 2012 when we fail the last IUI. I cannot have us go thru the same feeling over and over again. Like it or not, a wall will build up within you that try to block you from all feeling. It is a self defense mechanism inside you. It also create distance between us. Talk about the stress on the marriage and financially, I am glad we did have a great foundation for our marriage. It is selfish of me to have us keep going. Did part of me want us to keep going thru treatments? Sure! There is always hope that one of those treatments will work. But at what cost? All the side effect listed in each one of the drugs are not makeup from nothing. Should I want to chance that? NO. Even Anna's body is taking toll from all the treatment. Easy for me to say to keep going, I don't have to go thru all the things physically like she does. At the end, we have each other. I cannot even imagine the idea of losing her because I am being selfish.

I am a Christian. My faith allowed me to go thru all this difficulties in 2011. Did I question the big man upstairs? Yes! I did it all the time. As the scripture said: "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Maybe my faith is smaller than a mustard seed. It is not a easy task to follow Christ daily when you gone thru what we had the last year. I know many of you out there have a much harder situation then we do. I am not discounting the fact that we are blessed in many ways, I have a wonderful/ beautiful wife to go home to everyday. We have a roof over our head, a great job and three meals a day without problem. I never say I was perfect. It is just a natural progression in life want to move forward in life.

One thing for certain, we both love children and we both know we will become parents one day. God is faithful. He will not place a desire in your heart without He fulfill his promise. At this point, it seem the only way for us to grow our family is thru adoption. It is my desire that I will have a heart big enough to love other children like my own. A newborn is the greatest blessing one can give another person. We look forward to share this Journey with each one of you.

Our God is awesome. You will never know what He has in store for our life, but we are looking forward to it.      

In the Beginning...

All stories have to start some where. As you can read from About us, we meet in school and fall in love about a year later. As a guy, all you can think of is to do your best and try to take care of her as you promise her dad, when you ask him for permission to marry his daughter. I did just that, I worked my tail off and try to give her the best life I can possibly provide her. We traveled to many different places in the few years we are together: Hong Kong, Canada, China, Jamaica and different states within the US. We are truly bless. As time goes on, it is only natural for us want to expand our family. Little did we know there would be a hurdle that have in store for us...

At the first several years, we did not think about it too much. With the 5% odd, we are thinking it will be better luck next time. As months passed by, we start to think what happen? Is there something wrong with us? People around us are getting pregnant left and right. It was not an easy task to help Anna thru all the "Great News". We did manage, and better luck next time...right?

In 2010, we decided that we needed help, it is not working on our own. At first, we have to go thru all the testing, it was not fun but we both knew it will be worth it in the end. Test after test, they all come back normal. (That was the only good news!!!) Dr. suggest we should start with IUI, which is the cheapest and the simplest procedure for people having problem with fertility. With our data, he don't have reason to believe it won't work. Two round of IUI later, we both heart broken and feel hopeless.  At the point, Dr. think we should take a more aggressive approach -- IVF. At the same time, I started to think Anna's school have something to do with it. She had been a teacher for 10 years. The stress from school is not helping and even with our income cut in half I think it is necessary for her to stop teaching. She knew people who got pregnant after they quit teaching within the year. Many couples also have great successful stories from IVF. If we decide to spend that much money on the treatment, I want to have the highest chance for it to work. So, we set the target day for August, and decided this is her last year of teaching.

As August rolls around, emotion are high. With everything are normal on both of us, surely this will work. There are many shots and pills she have to take to just have to get her body ready for the procedure. To me, it wasn't easy that I have to give her the shot every night. It is not so much to poke her with a needle that bothers me, it is the pain and suffer that she is going thru that really bothers me. As always, I keep telling her and myself that the outcome will well be worth it. The egg retrieval surgery went smoothly. They got 13 eggs. Not as much as the Dr wanted, but she did say it is good enough. Then it come the first part of the waiting game. After the embryos are created, we have to wait for 5 days for it to grow. On the day of implantation, we only have 2 embryo available. Really?? 2 out of 13? That's only about 15%, once again, the Dr. said don't worry because one of the embryo is A+ rating. It is almost a guarantee that it will work. If you open a book on embryo ours will be it. We were excited. Finally, something is going our way. They even strongly suggested against to place two embryo instead of one since the first one is A+ rating. So we decided to just one. As soon as they place the embryo, they told Anna: Congratulations, you are now two weeks pregnant!!! You have no idea how happy I was, after all the years of trying. That's one of the sentences you want to hear the most. Now come the second part of the waiting game, two weeks to ensure the body is taking in the embryo. Nightly shot is required to ensure there is enough hormones for the embryo since her body does not know she is pregnant.

Two weeks gone by like a year. I took care of her every step of the way as she is pregnant. I can't not help myself but looking forward to the coming nine months.. decorate the baby room...etc. You know. All the things you want to do as a first time parents. I can remember that day she goes for her two week check up like it was yesterday. I was out to lunch with a group of guys. I ensure Anna don't have to worry about it too much, A+ embryo and we did the shot the same time every night. It can only be good news. Nothing to worry. Dr. will just give us a yes and we will move forward in our life. I was nervous but hopeful. My phone ring as I just placed my order for lunch. As soon as I answered the phone, all I can hear on the other side is crying. My heart sank. Anna don't have to tell me anything and I can already guess what happen. I don't think there is a word in the English dictionary can describe how I feel at that moment.  The worst part is that I don't know what to say to make her feel better. Heck! I don't even have word to me feel better much less try to help her. I just wanted to go home to be with her. But I rode with someone else to lunch. I have to stay regardless. It was a steak lunch. I am sure it tasted great, but I can't really taste anything after the news I got. I got home as soon as I can. For the next several weeks. Our life was dark. We lost hope, the only thing that keep us going is each other. We went back to the Dr. to get some idea as of what happen since we did have a A+ embryo. He told us: "I don't know! ". Really? After 15K and all the emotion up and down. All you can tell us is "You don't know!" Whatever, in the grand scheme of things. I guess it really don't matter what you said. I was done with western medicine at that point. I am ready to turn back to my root -- eastern medicine.

What am I doing?

This Journey is about us, the both of us... It is only fair that I also share how I feel thru out this whole Journey. Anna will be the main one to share all the steps here and there, I will just share my point of view.  If you are looking for right grammer or all the sentences sound right. You can forget it. I am just typing how I feel, I am not submitting this as a paper for grade... Here we go!!!

As a male, you are always taught to be tough, be independent and how to be successful, to be a great husband or father. But never once have anyone teach you what to do if something like this happen. So many people take getting your wife pregnant for granted. Is it really that easy, from a number point of view? You only have 5% chance each month. The number have always been stack against you. For those of us that can't make it. We asked: Is it my fault or is it hers? Does it make me less of a man if I cannot get her pregnant? NO! NO AND NO! I struggle with this idea time and time again. I don't believe the ability to get your wife pregnant has anything to do with how great of a man you are. I know many guys that get women pregnant are complete jerk and are much less of a "man" in my 2 cents. A man is not defined by something that you cannot control. Especially when the doctor told you there are nothing wrong with you and they have no idea why you can't get pregnant.  I read it all and We tried many of the methods. If they worked, I won't be typing this today. When I said we gone thru many methods and idea. We tried it all. IUI, IVF, Vitamin, even acupuncture. Nothing worked. We truly been around the block. It wasn't easy for me to come to the idea of adoption. I will try and post some of our treatment summary and how I come to the adoption decision in the upcoming posts. Stay Tune...

As you can see, English is not my strong suit. I am from Hong Kong and I came to US of A 14 years ago. I hope you can understand what I am typing. In all the research thru this journey, I have yet found any post about infertility from a male point of view. I know there are many couple going thru the same things as we are. I hope this can help you a little as you reading it!