Camping at Balsam Lake

In writing as in life there not much worse than an anticlimactic ending. You build up carefully- slowly and surely- to your big plot point and reveal or you give something of a robust speech to rouse the troops and send them rushing into war, zealous for the task ahead.

After my rousing speech last post I was heartened by all your encouraging comments and the more-than-expected me too-s I got to read. Thank you.

That said, I was so hoping to come back with an anticlimactic ending. I was hoping to tell you all that after my hearty "we're going to do this thing!" infertility treatment speech, I was going to come back to tell the troops, somewhat embarrassingly but mostly happily, that there wasn't a war after all.

I was really hoping to arrive home from our Ontario vacation with the news that I was pregnant.

No, though. I'm not. Once again as I now know many of you can relate a seemingly perfect month ended with disappointment. The 21st time for us. No second line on the pregnancy test, no matter how long I stared.

I'm not one of the ones who get that beautiful surprise right before they took the plunge into treatment.

What I do get, however, is another chapter in the story to Burden #2 and so today I do the only thing left: I turn the page.

The first question I have to answer for myself is whether to spend a few months going the natural/holistic/supplementation route to fertility or whether I should jump right into the medicine. Or some combination thereof. If you've walked this road before me I'd love to hear what you did, how you decided, and what the outcome was. You can leave me a comment on this post or on facebook- I know your story will encourage other readers as well. If you're more private about your journey you can also send me a private message on facebook. Thank you!

Although I had hoped to enjoy our week-long camping trip harboring the happy secret of new life inside, I took the words of my readers to heart and I chose to focus on the joy in the journey and did not letting that negative test hang over our vacation.

Camping was awesome.

We beached and we biked; we sat and we swam; we devoured pancakes and s'mores, all to our heart's content.
Arie's skin tans beautifully, but he has two fair skinned parents, so he gets treated like one of us. Sunscreen slather. 

Arie loved all our camping activities and slept great through the night, but the highlight for him was simply being around family. Every morning after his eyes popped open the first question on his lips was, "What's Omi/Grampi/Auntie Jenna doing?"

The answer was always, "They're still sleeping" because none of them had a three year old to wake them up with the birds, but we quickly fixed that.

I believe the exact quote was, "AWAKE Bampi (Grampi)! AWAKE!" 
Around the campsite, John and I enjoyed watching our little man laugh and play with a plethora of family members- uncles and aunts, cousins, grandparents and even great-grandparents. I thought over and over again how marvelous it is to think that eight months ago this little boy was alone in the world and now he can't turn around without bumping into a member of his very own family. The love is endless.

So this isn't entirely related, but in Ontario your boating license title is a "Pleasure Craft Operator."  That's all I have to say about that. 
We ushered Arie into our family camping traditions: biking to the camp store after dinner for a treat and enjoying a big ol' fish fry compliments my grandpa's (and whoever else went fishing) catch of bass and perch.
A Canadian favourite. 

We did a little sight seeing around the campground- mostly watching boat locks and checking out antique shops.
Baby wearing = great for tired tots. 
With my little sister! It was really bright. 
No camping trip in Ontario is complete without at least one meal at a "chip truck." If you've never had poutine before, then you're probably not Canadian. So very delicious.

As the sun set through the Balsam trees each evening, we closed the day around the crackle and glow of a campfire.

I think I may have projected my fears about Arie falling into the fire because he spent the week refering to the fire pit and the grill as "too hot!"s. In the end he escaped the week with only one near-burn and it was from touching a frying pan. So next year I'll be sure to project that fear on all three "too hots" and not just two. ;-)

Injury-free, beautiful, restful, happy camping week it was. I asked Arie how he enjoyed the week yesterday and he exclaimed with a  smile, "More camping!"




  1. Anonymous7/15/2013

    I choose the "medicine" route and got 2 beautiful little twins that are the light of my life, things happened quick, (maybe quicker than the holistic route might take) and I couldn't imagine having to wait anymore days then needed too, to have these blessings. If its a religious thing, (I know some people don't choose the medical route because of that) just think of it as God gave us these wonderful doctors with the knowledge to help us! *also beware that multiples are more common in fertility treatments, so if you 100% don't want more than one. Holistic might be a better option. My vote goes to medicine only because of a good experience. PS. your writing and stories are beautiful I literally wait by my computer for updates of your beautiful family. Keep writing!

  2. We had our son nearly 3 years ago, and have been trying for most of the last year and a half to get pregnant again. Several early miscarriages later, I too am starting treatment this month. Although I have a friend who recently got pregnant after acupuncture and herb/cleanse dieting, I opted for the doctors first. I figure if nothing is wrong medically, I can opt for the holistic approach later. My first set of tests came back okay, but it turns out my husband's morphology and motility numbers are a little lower than what they want, so maybe that's the issue. We still have more testing to do, so we'll have to see. But I, too, was hoping for that bit of luck right before plunging into treatments. Didn't happen, but that's okay. God has a plan for our family, one way or the other. Anyway, I wish you all the blessings around that you see that second line soon! Good luck with your treatments!

  3. In regards to my infertility situation, it was sort of a no brainer for us as it was our only option. We knew we would have to do IVF to conceive, as we found out after going through our OB who referred us to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Several tests later we were told we had a 1-3% chance of conceiving naturally. We honestly had NO idea our issues were that bad. Here I am, a very healthy 25 year old newlywed at the time, finding out my husband is infertile and finding out I had a luteal defect, causing the doctors in the beginning to think I had diminished ovarian reserve. My OB at one point gave me the possible egg donor talk, but luckily our RE found out over a nine month span through diagnostic blood tests & one cycle of IVF that it was just a defect I had. If I could give you my best advice, it would be to seek out answers through doctors and also pray for strength/direction. I honestly was so determined to find out answers and knew that I would regret putting it off if I didn't. Thankfully in my situation, the longer I would have waited the worse our situation would have been. I'm very grateful that as bad as the news hurt, we received answers to lead us into the right direction.

    My husband and I have went through two rounds of IVF-ICSI this year- one in March, one in June. Both were successful, but our first cycle we knew the pregnancy would not be viable and we miscarried around 6 1/2 weeks. This cycle, things are looking good so far and we have our first ultrasound on Friday. I know God wouldn't lead me down this path for no good reason, and I have faith in His timing. I knew with every shot I was doing, every ultrasound, every procedure, we were one step closer to having our child- whether that was biological or adoptive. It didn't matter to us either way, but we knew we had to try. There were times I wanted to give up, thinking it was "too hard" (which, giving yourself three shots a day and going into a surgical procedure not knowing if it would work is pure hell) or what if it would "just lead us to more heartbreak?". I'm so proud of where I've come. I know this road isn't easy, especially when everyone everywhere falls pregnant by doing absolutely nothing by having sex, never having to experience the embarrassment of doctors appointments and blood work indicating something in your body is wrong.

    I will say, I know some have struggles regarding IVF in a religious perspective. Thinking that is it like playing God, which I have been told directly to my face before. It was hurtful. And I will just say this. Someone can't tell me that God had nothing to do with my body responding to the meds. In fact, there were days where they weren't sure if I would produce eggs, and then of course, getting those eggs at retrieval and the big 'what if' if they were fertilize, and then if they would make it to transfer. And then of course, which one (or ones) would implant. Although there is a little scientific help, I believe God's will is being done. Last cycle all our remaining embryos died the day after we did our transfer, and miraculously one (or two) implanted. If that isn't an act of God, I don't know what is. The cycle before that, we had one embryo make it to cryopreservation. Again, another indicator that God can work miracles, even with us infertile gals.

    I have everything on my blog, and you can email me at anytime if you would like someone to talk to.

    God Bless! (And sorry for the novel)



    1. Anonymous7/16/2013


      My prayers are with you for a great ultrasound and your take home baby this time around. Fingers crossed for a healthy and low-stress pregnancy.

  4. Jill, I dishing out some unsolicited side-advice : )
    Regardless of which avenue you choose to pursue, holistic or medical, I encourage you to get a full medical work-up anyways. The holistic route may very well work, and you don't want to find out that there was a reason your body was having trouble becoming/holding a pregnancy after you already have a bun in the oven.
    I'm living a very scary pregnancy, so I just couldn't keep my mouth shut. We tried for quite awhile to become pregnant. For personal reasons we had 0 interest in pursuing fertility treatments. Since we weren't moving forward with medical intervention the doctors didn't feel it was necessary to give me the full work-up with lab tests, ultrasounds, the works. Well, we *magically* became pregnant out of the blue, and found on the first ultrasound that I had been living with a soccerball sized tumor that was adhered to my uterus and bladder. I underwent a very scary surgery in my 4th month of pregnancy to remove it. I'm SURE you aren't dealing with anything as wild as this....but there could be something small, you never know, and if so you will be so thankful to deal with it before there is a baby involved.

  5. I know each month it feels silly to get excited, but we cannot help ourselves huh? The only thing I will say is the thinking "you are definitely pregnant this time" only intensifies during treatment. The hormones can induce many symptoms similar to pregnancy and that drove this wanna-be mama insane. "My boobs are big and sore"- does not equal preggos in this stituation. :) Just a little FYI.
    I stopped short of IVF but if you decide to travel road I hope you have the courage to keep blogging about it. I am loving following your blog and God has been using it as a huge source of encouragment in my life right now. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerablitiy.


  6. Your trip looks AMAZING!! What fun!
    We got the full medical work up done, then went the natural route. It didn't work for us, which totally bums us out because we REALLY believe in it. I think the honestly have the issue that natural people say is the toughest to help (low morphology).
    All that to say, we went back to a DIFFERENT RE about a year after bringing home our son through adoption and he has found hormonal issues with my husband that we're working on. Don't know what the future holds though! The important thing... find a practitioner (medical and/or natural) who you trust and go from there. Why not try both? :-)

  7. Anonymous7/16/2013


    We tried for 18 months with no luck "naturally" (charting/temps/and OPKs) and then went for pre-lim workups with my OB. That was mistake #1.

    We just started meeting with a great RE in Grand Rapids, and we now have a plan and HOPE for a pregnancy. Just have to get through a few more preliminary tests with him, and his goal is to have us cycling by late August/Early September.

    My view on the holistic approach- if you know you have underlying medical issues, no amount of teas/acupuncture/meditation is going to change that fact. If they were proven medicine, all of the RE's would be using them! You wouldn't tell a diabetic to just have a cup of tea and go relax to solve their insulin imbalance. Dealing with a medical infertility cause is no different my friend.

    You know there is a great community of women who are struggling to conceive or going through infertility treatments, and you know where to find them.

    1. Anonymous7/16/2013

      HI Jill ~ I went the holistic route when trying to get pregnant with our 2nd child. We had our 1st child when I was 37 years old after having a miscarriage the year prior. I was close to 40 years old when we were trying for #2 and by that time my cycles were becoming erratic and I found I wasn't ovulating every month.

      I started out with 3 months on Clomid (from my OB/GYN) and did not get pregnant. I was referred to an infertility acupuncturist by a co-worker and within 4 months of starting treatments I was pregnant. I saw the acupuncturist regularly throughout my 1st trimester and had a healthy baby boy when I was 40 years old.

      I truly feel if had I not gone the route of holistic meds I probably wouldn't have my now 4 year old son!

      Good luck to you and please keep writing!

  8. weeklyplanner7/18/2013

    After a twin miscarriage, followed shortly by another miscarriage, I knew I had to seek medical advice. I needed surgery and my RE also found that I had a blood clotting issue that makes it difficult for a pregnancy to develop. I am now in the middle of my first IVF cycle with blood thinners sitting in a box in my dining room...ready to be used (hopefully)!
    I strongly believe in a combination of medical and holistic treatments. I've been working with an infertility acupuncturist who feels the same way. Also, my RE recommends acupuncture during certain parts of an IVF cycle (studies show it helps). It's nice to work with two knowledgeable professionals who respect each other's specialty. I've found with the holistic things, it helps to follow the advice 80% of the time. After all, it's 100 degrees where I live right now and he told me to avoid cold drinks and cold foods! I find acupuncture relaxing and my quiet time to clear my head. It has greatly reduced my anxiety. I also noticed physical changes in my body. However, if I was forced to chose between the two, I'd choose my RE and medical sciences. Perhaps you can explore both avenues and find the path that is right for you?
    On a lighter note, I LOVE your bathing suit pictured above! Your camping trip looks like it was a wonderful time. I hope you continue to share your life with us readers. Your writing is beautiful...just like your family!

  9. Anonymous7/19/2013

    My husband and I tried for 2.5 years before we contacted our OB for testing. As others stated, it is important to have testing to know what issues there are and how best to approach them. We found an RE that focused on the whole body and not just medicine. We knew from the moment we met him that he would work with us at our pace and help us as individuals and not treat is like a science experiment.

    It took nine months, a surgery for endometriosis, three different medications, and one early loss, but we are now just a week away from meeting our twins. My doctor talked me through my concerns of never bearing a child, taught me how to find inner peace and calm, and performed acupuncture throughout many of my cycles as well as after conceiving. He knew me better than I knew myself and knew when I needed to come in to talk to him, for another round of accupuncture, or when my husband and I just needed a weekend getaway.

    I would advise you to go whichever route your heart leads you and you shouldn't be afraid to step back and take a break. Treatments are really hard and I know my husband and I can make it through anything now that we made it through such a dark time in our lives.

    I wish you luck on this journey. Your blog gave me hope while we were researching adoption prior to conceiving and we still plan to adopt in the coming years.

  10. Anonymous7/23/2013


    I've never posted a comment before, so first I need to say how much I love your blog! I felt called to respond to your post about whether to pursue holistic vs medical. My husband and I tried to get pregnant for 4 years. We tried both routes, individually and simultaneously. In March, I was sitting in church, just before the 4 year mark of us trying and I can't really explain it, but I honestly felt cured! It was like a quick wash over me and I know if it hadn't happened while I was in church, I wouldn't have noticed it during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I continued seeing my acupuncturist (she specializes in infertility) 2 months after that day in church I got my very first positive pregnancy test! I am now 13 weeks pregnant. After 2 failed IVF cycles, I would definitely opt for a more holistic approach.

    With that said, I would encourage you to get a medical work up to help you make a decision that is best for you and your family. If there is a diagnosis, it could help your doctor/acupuncturist know how to best treat you! I wish you all the best and will pray for God to cover you with His peace as you make a decision!


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