Friday, December 19, 2008

Be Nice, Infertile Myrtle! Be Nice!

The crazy, bitter Infertile Myrtle of yesterday has now left the building. Children, it is safe to come out of hiding now...
Like I said, I figured I would be over it soon enough, and I am. And actually I have been taught a lesson. See, after my ranting and raving yesterday, I went to bed. Hubbie had already gone to bed and was completely hogging the covers. (Generally, I'm the one hogging the covers, so I'm not holding this against him)! Being a sometimes-good person and seeing how cute Hubbie looked snoring away all wrapped up in 4-layers of blankets (a 4-layer dip, haha), I decided to make do with this little blanket I affectionately call my woobie. Apparently, some time in the middle of the night however, I found myself freezing cold, didn't feel like a good person anymore, and Hubbie wasn't looking so cute, so I attempted to reach over and steal away some of the covers. Well, as I was trying to steal the covers, somehow I managed to pinch a nerve or something which actually caused me to yelp in pain. Then when I woke up in the morning I discovered that it had gotten worse. Now trying to hold anything heavier than 2 ounces causes this spot just under my right shoulder blade to throb with pain or also doing anything small with my right hand (like brushing my teeth or hair, or even typing) also causes sharp pains in that spot. And I can't run around flapping my arms like a bird. I don't know how I possibly could have caused such damage by just trying to steal a blanket or two, so my conclusion is that this is punishment for the mean things I said yesterday. Lesson learned: Being mean is literally a pain in the neck!
But don't worry about me being in pain, dear readers, as long as I can still reach out and bring handfuls of the yummy treats to my mouth that neighbors and friends have given me so far, I'll be okay!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Moment of Ranting and Insensitivity

**I have edited/deleted much of this post. The bitter feelings that I previously expressed have been gnawing at my conscience. The person who I lashed out at didn't deserve the attack, and I'm sorry for the words I said and hope that I can be a better person from here on out!
I'm realizing that infertility is like a tiger. There are times when I think I've got it tamed and under control, and then there are times when it really shows its teeth and tries to eat me alive. Because a tiger, no matter how tame, is still a tiger after all. Sorry!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bring It On!

I realize that I haven't blogged for awhile. I would like to believe in my fantasy world that there are thousands of disappointed readers out there just waiting for my next blog entry, but in reality I know I'm the one who has really been missing it. =)
Well, life has been interesting. My poor dog, Gimli, is finally on the mends. It has been a month and a half saga for the poor guy-pain, a messy house, running home from work to let him out, multiple times during the night getting up to let him out, loads of laundry, weeks spent at the vet's, worry, and exhaustion. Hubbie and I have been walking around like zombies! And poor Gimli was getting the worst of it. A sad but funny story. A few weeks ago, Hubbie was really struggling with whether or not we had made the right choices in having Gimli get the operation(s). His problem was that we had spent all of this money and put the poor dog through so much and was it for our own selfish purposes or for the dog's best interests? He made a comment that Gimli wasn't the same dog anymore-he just mopes around the house; he's in pain; he's back and forth to the vet; and when was the last time he brought his bear to show us and play with or when was the last time he tried to climb up on our lap? Hubbie then said that maybe we should have just put him down in the first place. Well, during this conversation, Gimli was lying in the hall and heard the whole thing, and I truly believe he understood the whole thing. Hubbie had to go to a meeting, but when he got back a couple hours later, Gimli dashed for his bear and went loping up to Hubbie to show him the bear. Then later that night, at dinner, Gimli jumped up and tried to climb onto Hubbie's lap. It was as if Gimli were trying to say, "Hey! I'm still here! You better not even think of getting rid of me!" Finally, after more vet visits than I like to think about, a visit with a specialist, and more drugs than a pharmacy, Gimli is feeling and looking so much better. He's back to his old, mischievious, loving, in-charge self. And it's wonderful!
Now granted, some people might say, "He's just a dog! Why would you possibly go through so much for just a dog?" In fact, someone did tell me that I should have just put him down. But I just couldn't do it at this point in my life. I'll fully admit that because of my infertility and lack of children of my own, I have showered all of my motherly affections on my dog. However, I think more than that, I just needed to hold onto some kind of hope. I needed something that I was hoping for to just work out for me.
So, the past couple of months have been stressful. With Gimli being sick, and Hubbie had the flu at one point, and he's been stressed with school and work and life...and ever since I had pneumonia, I've never really gotten totally better. After I got over the pneumonia, I had all sorts of stomach problems and found out that the antiobiotics I had taken, caused me to get an intestinal infection. Then I caught a cold. And then I had this hacking cough for awhile. And now I still wake up with a sore throat every morning. What I really think would make me better is a Caribbean cruise, but at this point, I'll take a few days of some good old fashioned rest and relaxation! On top of all of this, my car broke down last week--and not one of those cheap fixer-uppers either. It got to the point where I was just feeling so worn down that I got a little Rambo-ish. I felt like shouting out, "Bring it on!" to life. "I can take whatever you dish out!" At that moment, I could have followed a fire truck driving to my house and discovered my home engulfed in flames and just thought, "Oh, well." But then I got to thinking that my trials really aren't half or even an eighth as bad as some of the trials that others are facing right now--loss of employment, losing one's home in foreclosure, terminal illness, homelessness, death of a loved one--and then I mended my ways, apologized to life, and decided that I was okay with the trials that I have. I remembered that life truly is a gift and that I better start appreciating it. It's so easy to get focused on my own problems and then they look so big and I lose perspective of just how wonderful and blessed my life truly is. Because I really do have it pretty darn good!
However, I do hope that no one in my family minds that they are all get macaroni necklaces or macaroni portraits for Christmas...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

This is our new and improved, million dollar, bionic dog. As you can see from his expression, Gimli does NOT like being a cone head. However, being a 'the-glass-is-half-full' kind of dog, Gimli decided to make lemonade out of life's lemons and put his cone-head to good use...
...raking leaves. The cone ended up being very useful in scooping up the leaves. Unfortunately, Gimli didn't quite understand the idea of making piles of leaves; he's more of a leaf-flinger. But I give him an A for effort and admire his good attitude. If only we could all be as optimistic as my dog!

This last picture is Gimli after a hard day's work. Even the most optimistic dog needs a break every now and then!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

www.2ofus4now.org

I just stumbled across this website: www.2ofus4now.org, and can I say I am just so impressed. I am definitely going to take some time to check all of this out! While looking at some of the links I found this poem that really hit me right at the heart. The author is unknown but whoever it was that wrote this really captured my feelings and really inspired me today. So here's the poem. Go to the website for more great inspiration and thoughts!
Wait
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, 'Child, you must wait'.
'Wait? You say, wait! ' my indignant reply.
'Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, 'You must wait.'
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, 'So, I'm waiting.... for what?'
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And he tenderly said, 'I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want But, you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save.... (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for Thee.'
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, 'WAIT.'

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Dog and My Country (sounds like a good country song...)

I find the best time to blog is while doing laundry. With that statement in mind, you can see how often I do my laundry...judging by the piles of dirty clothes, not often enough, apparently! So, this week has been a whirlwind of adventures.
First, poor little Gimli is still at the vet! In the past two weeks, I've got to bring him home a couple of times but it has been like a scene from some gory horror show. I won't go into too much detail, just imagine blood everywhere. When Gimli has been at home, it has been rough. We won't let him leave his room, which, luckily, we recently switched over from carpet to laminate, because we don't want the rest of the house to look like his room. But Gimli likes to be near us, so when we're in the other rooms, he cries and cries and cries. Thus, I've spent a lot of time propped up against the washer, doing my school work or watching old episodes of my favorite shows on the Internet in Gimli's room. We've also done many loads of laundry cleaning towels and blankets and rotating out Gim's bedding. Also, Gimli has to wear the cone around his head which is the biggest cone they make seeing how his head is on the big side. To make matters worse (and funnier looking), they had to make it bigger by taping another XXX-L cone onto the first cone. My dog is receiving satelite communication from China! When Gimli tries to cuddle with me, I can fit both of my knees inside the cone under his chin and both arms and shoulders in the cone petting his head. I seriously think Gimli could completely scoop me up and go running off with me in tow. So, because of the bleeding thing, we've had to take Gimli back to the vet. Apparently, he has blood clotting issues. They were going to do some super-duper test yesterday to see what the problem might be. I just want my dog back. I'm starting to contemplate a plan to break Gimli out of vet-jail. If you see someone on the news tonight being arrested for attempting to break into a vetrinarian clinic and kidnap a dog, it might be me...By the way, no one has mentioned a bill yet. I'm hoping if I don't bring it up, they won't bring it up. Wishful thinking. Ideal situation-this is all covered under post-operation warranty and we don't need to pay any more. Non-ideal situation-they'll give us the bill and we'll have to pay up before we can get our dog out of hoc, and Hubbie and I will have to sell a kidney...Guess which situation I'm hoping for!
In other news, the plummeting economy has gotten a little too close to home for me. We have some good friends that have just hit really hard times. They are the nicest people. A young couple with two very young children (a 3 year old and a 1 year old). Just trying to raise their family and live their lives in the best possible way. The wife is a stay at home mom, but used to work in special education. The husband just lost his job. He had been thinking about looking for a different job for awhile now. He wasn't getting paid enough to make ends meet. But every time he would start looking, they would give him some promotion or make some promises, so he would stay, thinking things were going to get better. But they didn't. And now he is working in construction, which is bringing in some money at least, but doesn't have any benefits like health care. They're now facing foreclosure of their home and bankruptcy. It is so hard to see such hard times hit such good people. The husband is really struggling emotionally and spiritually because I think husbands tend to hang a lot of their worth on their ability to provide for their family, and he feels like he has failed. The wife is trying to stay positive and be strong for her family. And I'm not sure what we can do to help them. I wish my basement were a little bigger, I would totally bring them in to live with us. Even better, I wish I were a millionaire and could just buy their home for them as a tax write-off and a gift to them until they can get back on their feet again. Now when I hear and see things on the news about our struggling economy, the numbers have names and faces. And I feel broken-hearted and afraid. Are we heading toward another great Depression era? As a nation, how are we going to pull ourselves out of this?
In more political news, we had the great election this week. This presidential election has been really difficult for me. I am a voter--too many people have fought and sacrificed their lives for my right to vote, for me not to vote. And I've done research, so much research. But even as I approached the voting booth, I still wasn't 100% sure who I wanted to vote for. I have always had a clear-cut idea of who to vote for, but not this time. I liked where McCain stood for many of the issues, but I also liked where Obama stood for many of the issues. There were some very important issues, like education, where I didn't like where either of them stood. To be honest, if Biden were running for president, I think I would have voted for him. As vice-president I don't think he's going to have much influence, to be honest. I found McCain to gruff and harsh in some things, not able to see the big picture and not really offering real solutions. I found Obama too silver-tongued in some things, not able to see the big picture and offering some big promises to fix things that I'm not sure he really has a valid plan to back up these promises. In short, I didn't really like either of them. I was tempted to write-in myself or Donald Duck or something! But I did vote, I made a choice.
Here's what I would think the dream candidate would be like:
1. Right at the beginning of his (or her) campaign, he would send each voter a clear cut, no mis-understandings, chart of where he stands on each of the important issues. It would sound something like this: I am against __________________, or I am for ________________, and if he really wasn't sure, he could just say, I'm not really sure until I look into it further.
2. Each candidate and politician for that matter should research the issues more dilligently. If the issue is the war in Iraq and what to do, that person is meeting with millitary leaders, soldiers serving in Iraq, soldiers recently returned home from Iraq, families of soldiers, families who have lost loved ones in the war, protestors against the war, protestors for the war, etc. This isn't a one time visit either. The candidate is researching history-what worked, what didn't work. The candidate is doing all in his power to see every angle of the situation and trying to arrive at the best possible solution. For example, when No Child Left Behind was passed, I'm not sure legislators were doing a lot of talking with teachers, maybe with education lobbyists and union leaders; but why not walk into a school right there in Washington D.C. and talk to the teachers, the administration, the students. I don't think any teacher would have looked at NCLB and the way it is set up, and said, "that's a great idea! It's a totally realistic plan for the classrooms of America!" Before making decisions that affect education, candidates and legislators need to be talking to teacher unions, to teachers themselves, to education professors at universities, to administrators, to parents, to students, to anyone who might be affected by the decisions you are trying to make.
3. I would love an honest politician. If a politician said, "I've got to be honest, our economy is in the crapper, and I'm going to have to raise taxes by X amount. However, I have a laid out plan and can show you exactly where and what your money will go to and how it will help improve things," that candidate would have my vote. I just want to know the truth, and I want to know that the person making decisions that affect my everyday life and the American dream as a whole, is realistic, innovative, and honest.
4. I would love a candidate who could look past party affiliations and just make good decisions. If it's the other party's idea, but it's a good idea, who cares? I just wish politicians could get past the politics of things!!
Anyway, there you have it, my political rant. Don't even get me started on all of the issues arising with Proposition 8. That is a whole other political debate that I'm not ready to step into yet. The last thing I want to say though about all of this is that, whether or not I voted for Obama, he has now been elected by a majority as president, and I will support him as such. Too many people are making silly threats, wanting to move to Canada, etc. So, I'll just end with some good patriotic quotes:

What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. --Adlai Stevenson

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?"--George Bernard Shaw

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.--Jane Addams

Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest," but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.--Sydney J. Harris

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Poor, Little Gimli

I'm just getting back from visiting Gimli. It's like I have a family member in the hospital...visiting hours are from 9:00 to 1:o0...Gimli's doing really well. Yesterday I ended up taking him from the emergency vet to his regular vet. (By the way, yesterday was the most stressful day I've had in a long time-not only was I stressed and worried about my dog, but all this political stuff at school was exploding and there was this mess that I had to try to fix.) They ended up doing the surgery. Poor Gimli got fixed and also now has a new place to pee from. But the vet says that everything went really well and that he should heal up and be just fine. I visited him yesterday, but he was just coming out of surgery and was awake but really dopey. But today when I went to visit him, he was more himself. He jumped up and licked my face, and I got to take him for a walk and everything. He was more his old self again and just looked like he was feeling so much better (granted, if I had gone through what he went through, I'd be out for a month at least). He'll stay at the vet's until Monday, and if all goes well, we can bring him home. I can't wait. This house is so lonely without him. It was so bad that I actually had to cuddle with Hubbie yesterday...=) But I keep looking for Gimli around every corner or listening for the click-clack of his toe nails on the kitchen floor or I think he's lying in the hallway. I miss him! I am so thankful that he is doing better, and that we still have him with us. Now, some people might think, "he's just a dog." He is so much more than a pet, he's my friend and my kiddo, and personally I think he has more personality and more compassion than some people I've encountered in my life!
On a frustrated note-miracles don't come without a price. Hubbie and I almost had a heart attack when we got the vet bill. Now I'm embarrassed to say how much we're paying for Gimli to get better, but suffice it to say, we spent less money to buy my car (granted, it's a used car but still). So here's the problem. With me having pneumonia earlier this month, and Hubbie's had the flu and needed medicines and his school tuition is coming up due, and now with Gimli's doctor bill, we're broke. Really broke. I'm not sure we're going to have the money to do another round of IVF in the next few months. I don't know, we might have to put it off again. We'll have to see, but it's definitely discouraging. I thought I handled the first hitch in the giddyup with great patience and understanding (wouldn't you agree?), but I'm not sure if I can be so patient and understanding over and over again! And there's nothing we could do about being sick. And was it worth it for my dog? Seeing him run around today and then basking in the sun with his head on my lap-yeah, without a doubt. I hate money! Or I hate the lack of money! The next time there's a sign up for which life trial I want next, I'm signing up for being filthy rich. I know it's a very difficult trial to be filthy rich and not become arrogant or discompassionate to those with less wealth, but I'm willing to try the rich thing! Sometimes it's hard for me to understand why there has to be a price on life-my dog's life, my future children's lives. Nothing comes free in this world, does it? Oh well, I make it sound like my life has been so rough. It really hasn't. I've had it good, just needed to vent. However, the first presidential candidate that says he's going to give me a million bucks, I'm voting for him. Hear that Obama? Hear that McCain? If you really want my vote, you know what to do!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holding onto a Doggie Hope

Have you ever had the experience where you're just walking through life, minding your own business, and then suddenly you run into Death and you're looking at him, face to face? And somehow, in some way, you narrowly get around him, holding your breath, praying that he will let you pass without harm. And you make it; you're able to continue on life's journey, but you're changed in the process. Suddenly those small moments that you hardly noticed become so important. You realize how much you've taken for granted in your life. And you come to realize that every day, every minute we balance on a steep mountainside of it-could-always-get-worse or it-could-always-get-better, and you see how unsure your footing really is.
I don't even know how to begin tonight or what to entitle this entry. A completely average day went completely downhill at around 5:00 p.m. I went to work as usual, same old, same old. I came home around 5 to pick up my dog and go get Hubbie from the airport. It's Gimli's favorite ride-going to get dad from the airport. Well, when I went to let him out of his room (yes, my dog has his own room), his door was already wide open and he was nowhere to be found. I looked in my bedroom, found some doggie throw up but no dog. I called for him, no response. We have a baby gate up at the top of the staircase to keep Gimli out of the basement unsupervised, and it was still closed. I decided to check the basement just in case and just as I was about to the bottom of the stairs, here comes Gimli. I was so relieved to find him, but he was not looking good. I took him outside to use the bathroom and he was shaking as he walked. His eyes were so droopy and he just looked so miserable. When I had to help my 120 lb. dog into my car, I knew something was really wrong. And then he started breathing really shallow, like he was in pain. I didn't know what to do. I was supposed to pick up my husband at the airport in 10 minutes, and with the current traffic, it would take me 25 minutes. Gimli needed to get to a vet...I almost didn't go get my husband, but decided to go get him and then the two of us took Gimli to the vet. After some X-rays, we discovered that our dog had stones in his bladder so bad that everything was plugged up and his bladder was the size of a kickball and the vet couldn't get a catheter in to drain the bladder.
A few hours later, we were saying good-bye to our dog, leaving him with the vet, not knowing if we would get to see him again. The options were an extensive surgery if his bloodwork was good, or, if the tests showed that his kidneys had shut down, we would have to put him down. And he was looking at me with his big, brown eyes that seemed to plead to me, "please, make this stop hurting. Make it go away." He was doped up but still in so much pain. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do to walk out of that room and leave him there, knowing how much he was suffering and not knowing if I would ever get to cuddle with him again.
Then we had to just wait for the doctor to call and let us know the diagnosis. That's when the pleading really began. Please, God, I have tried to face all of my obstacles as You would have me do. Please, please don't take my dog. This whole experience has been so much harder than the failed IVF cycles and the whole infertility thing because I realize that on those bad days, when I've gotten that call to let me know it didn't work, I've always had my husband and my dear, sweet dog to get me through it. And I started thinking of all those times that Gimli has curled up on the love sac with me and licked my tears away or just stayed close to me to make sure that I'm okay. And I couldn't imagine my house empty and Gimli-less. He's my little guy, my kid-so much more than just my dog. It might sound corny, but Hubbie and I are always saying things like how Gimli takes after Hubbie with his big head and stubbornness and how he takes after me in his clutziness. And my husband always says, "He's my buddy, but he loves my wife." My mom calls him her grand-dog and shows pictures to all she meets, just like a grandma should. And I got to feeling like after everything we've gone through and are going through, I just don't know if I could take losing Gimli. I know that I would make it through somehow, but I just love him so much. And I know that it's inevitable to lose a pet, or a loved one for that matter, but not now, not so unexpectedly, not Gimli.
So we waited and we prayed and we waited and we prayed. Finally, we broke down and called the vet. Good news-his bloodwork looked good, so they would be able to do the surgery. A little while later, the vet called to report that after they had sedated Gimli, they were finally able to get a catheter in. The vet said that they're going to keep flushing fluid through him to blast out the stones and hopefully he won't need the surgery. So things are looking good at the moment. We'll see how things look in the morning-whether we'll need to do the surgery or not but for the moment we've brushed by Death, casually brushing elbows, and now life is changed. I will try to never take the good things in life-like a doggie who loves me no matter what and is always happy to see me when I come home-for granted again. And one thing is for certain, the rule of no dogs on the bed may just become obsolete. Thank you, God, for hearing my prayers. Please get me through this and please just keep listening and letting me know that you're there...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Infertility Nightmares...

So yesterday was a good day. I did some blogging, cleaned my house a little (here and there when I wasn't on the computer), went out with my family to celebrate my little bro's birthday, ate some delicious Italian food, and ended the evening cuddling with my hubbie watching a movie (granted it was a total guy-show, but I enjoyed the cuddling nonetheless). All was well. Then I went to sleep and the dreaming began. At first it was this wonderful dream. I was in the hospital, having just had a baby. And she was beautiful with tiny wrinkled fingers and toes and lots of dark hair on her head. There were various happy scenes...my hubbie and I trying to decide on just the right name, family and friends coming to visit and see the new addition to our family, holding her..and then suddenly the dream turns into this nightmare. I begin to walk into my hospital room and overhear my husband talking to someone and saying that he's not sure how much longer he can afford to keep me at the hospital. So I walk into the room and tell him that the baby and I are fine and that we can go home at any time. It turns out that he was talking to my doctor, and they both give me this strange look. Then the doctor turns to me and tells me that I don't have a baby, that I never had a baby. And they show me my baby but it's just a doll. And I'm so confused because it was a baby, it couldn't have been a doll. And I'm told that I've had a nervous break down or something. Anyway, the dream went on from there but suffice it to say, I woke up in a serious funk. Since when do my dreams have so many twists and sub-plots? Sheesh! It has seriously taken me all day to shake off my silly dream. I guess there's just no rest for the infertile weary! I'm hoping that it was just from eating such a heavy meal too close to bedtime and not foreshadowing from my mind that I'm about to lose it! Maybe I can turn the idea into a movie and make some money off of it at least... =)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My School Report on Infertility

I'm just enjoying a long weekend break from school...a four-day weekend. Yay! Finally some time to blog! =)
Well, first I wanted to share some things from blog land. I'm always out lurking and reading other's blogs. Finding strength, empathy, and that feeling of you're-not-alone-in-all-of-this in the words of others.
If you haven't been there yet I would strongly recommend checking out:
http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/ .
Melissa is the wonder woman of that blog and really does some amazing things, including an extensive blog roll with hundreds of blogs addressing all of the issues surrounding infertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, etc. Her personality shines through and, though I haven't really met her or communicated with her, I feel like she truly cares. She talks sometimes about the land of If (the land of Infertility), and I really like the idea of looking at it as a foreign land. It definitely comes with its own culture, language, etc.
Through this amazingly organized and very informative blog I found this blog:
http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/rough-patch/
The woman describes so eloquently how even the most simple things, the most treasured traditions, can turn to sorrowful reflections. She describes going with her husband to a local pumpkin patch. Here are some of her words but I would really encourage you to go check out her blog (she describes things so masterfully):

We walked through the patch, watching children play and giggle and babies with new legs romp through the field. We watched dads lift their kids up and into wheelbarrows for rides. We watched moms take pictures of their gorgeous families. We watched and we wondered. Would that ever be us?

At times like this, it’s really hard to imagine that we will ever have a child. One moment I think, of course we will, some day. It could be a year or more, and that thought is really hard. But then I realize it could be longer. It could be never. There is no guarantee we will ever get “picked.” We might not. We could end up like one of those bruised or mis-shapen pumpkins that no one chooses, the ones that get plowed under at the end of the season. There is just no way to know.

...

I think I longed for all of our children in that moment — the son who was taken from us, the children we will never have, and also that mythical child who may one day find his/her way to us through adoption. Each one of those aches its own unique pull.

As I walked back through that patch, I realized that something I normally enjoy had been tainted by our sorrow, swallowed by the gaping hole in our lives. Looking at all those happy families, all I could think was that should be us, too. Why isn’t that us? Will that ever be us? That may never be us. It was all just too much.

And lastly (for today anyway) I was reading this article about infertility recently, The psychological component of infertility by Patricia Mahlstedt, and found some things that were very interesting. Mahlstedt wrote about the different feelings and thoughts that people face with infertility-depression, loss, stress, anger, and guilt. What stood out to me is this:
"Who can mourn the loss of someone who has never been born or possibly conceived? The fact that there is nothing tangible to represent the loss actually intensifies the pain and makes the loss more difficult to understand."
Mahlstedt also writes that infertile couples have difficulty thoroughly and properly grieving because "they cannot really grieve the loss of parenthood, because they are still hoping it will happen; maybe next month they will achieve a pregnancy...Grieving during the infertility process is like the process of grieving over the death of a soldier who is missing in action as opposed to grieving over one who was killed. In both processes, there is nothing definite, and hoping enables peope to avoid the pain."
Sorry if this post is sounding like a school report today. I've just been finding a lot of interesting stuff on infertility and want to keep it handy for myself and for anyone who might be reading and could use the info. I feel like Mahlstedt put into words what I've felt before. I still have all of the pictures of the embryos that didn't stick, and how do you describe to someone the pain and mourning that takes place over 5-celled embryos or 3-celled embryos? Or the mourning and sorrow that comes from something that you can't see? I liked the comparison of grieving over a soldier who is considered dead because he is missing in action. It's like grief and hope are at a constant battle. There have been times when I've just wished I could have a flat out answer-No, you will never get pregnant or yes, it will happen someday. If it's no-I grieve, I cry, I move on. If it's yes-I keep trying no matter the time and no matter the obstacles. Sometimes the uncertainty is the hardest part. I have a hard time with maybe!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Plans change...

Plans change and that's okay. I officially called the doctor's office and canceled my IVF. I would have started shots yesterday if I had been doing IVF this month and, to be honest, having pneumonia really takes a lot out of a person. It's been two weeks now since I got sick, and I'm still not 100% recovered. I'm mostly better (I've gone back to work and everything) but I still get tired easily and still have this cough going on. IVF just wasn't in the cards right now. I thought I would be more upset by this postponement but I actually feel good about things. It just wasn't the right time. Plus, this month has been really stressful on Hubbie, and I think he's kind of relieved too that we're not doing IVF. We'll maybe look at doing IVF Dec/Jan. This will give me some time to try (try being a key word) to get in better shape.
On a humorous/ironic note, two weeks ago when I was so sick with pneumonia, guess what life brings me? My first day of no 103 fever, my first day of actually getting up and moving around a little, my first day of solid food (and more than two bites at that), my first day of actually feeling like I might live and along comes the CRAMPS! And I'm thinking to myself, "No, it couldn't be...no, not that..." And I'm remembering how I read in this book about fertility and the female reproductive system that when someone is really sick or has had a really stressful month, that their body will many times skip their period that month. And I'm thinking that if I'm indeed starting my period, it's 2 weeks early. It couldn't possibly be my period...But, alas, it was. And my body didn't hold back-it was my menstrual cycle in all of its glory! In my mind, I picture my ovaries having a conversation that goes something like this:
Leftie: It appears all systems are going down.
Rightie: Respiratory?
Leftie: Not at full capacity. There appears to be a hacking cough and wheezing.
Rightie: Digestive?
Leftie: Down. We're looking at possible dehydration and malnutrition.
Rightie: Circulatory?
Leftie: Not working so well.
Rightie: So you're telling me that the body is sick and the other systems are not performing up to capacity? Those pansies...
Leftie: Correct.
Rightie: Well, we're going to show her that WE are not slackers. We're not going to let something like pneumonia takes us down. I want all systems go!
Leftie: Cramps? Bloating?
Rightie: I want it all! This will be our masterpiece, our finest performance.
Leftie: Aren't we a little early?
Rightie: Who cares about the date! The important thing is that we show her that we are capable of running a menstrual cycle NO MATTER WHAT! Now, move it! Move it! Move it!

By the way, I have a series of ovarian comic strips that I'll have to post someday. I picture my ovaries as very much alive and very much individual from the rest of my body!
Perhaps, at this point, you're wondering if maybe I have some mental issues...mostly just an over-active imagination!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Hitch in the Giddy up

I'm currently writing with a fever and hacking cough, so warning this blog may be contagious! Well, a hitch in the giddy up has arisen. Last Saturday I started to get really sick. It started out as extreme fatigue and a raspy cough. By Sunday, I made hubbie take me to an after-hours medical place. I had a fever of 103, couldn't keep liquids in me, was hacking up a storm, and was overall very miserable. That ended up being quite the traumatic experience. They wanted to put me on an IV to get me re-hydrated but after 3 different tries by 3 different people, including the doctor, which also included a lot of painful digging with a needle, they decided my veins were too dehydrated to find. I just wanted my fertility clinic nurses. They know my veins like no other! And they wouldn't have kept digging if they didn't get it in right in the first place. So they made me drink a glass of nasty water, gave me two shots in the bum (which I thought I could handle having done weeks of progesterone shots in the past), but the one antiobiotic shot stung like the Dickens and continued to hurt for a day. The doctor thought maybe I have strep/pneumonia and gave me an antibiotic (liquid because I can't swallow silly pills).

The next day I went to another doctor because I was still feeling awful and my cough was the worst problem and the other doctor hadn't really done anything for the cough. Well, this doctor had me do a breathing treatment and said that she thought I now have asthma. She did give me a wonderful cough syrup with codeine in it that makes me dream these crazy dreams though. And a couple of inhalers.
So, now I'm still not sure what I really have, but I have enough drugs to stock a pharmacy for a third world country. And I'm still miserably sick. This is my longest sitting up doing something in three days, and I think I'll go lie down as soon as I'm done. Anyway, so all of this kind of puts a hitch in my giddy up. I'm going to call the doctor's office today and postpone my round of IVF. I would do my last day of antibiotics the day before I begin doing shots for IVF otherwise. And I have this one traumatic thing for the body per month. I really want to be completely healthy when I begin IVF and this month just isn't looking good. Oh well, I was kind of dragging my feet anyway. Maybe this is just God's way of saying that it still isn't the right time yet. But maybe next time He could just send a postcard??

Friday, September 26, 2008

Infertility is...

This is something that I found and thought it fit. I don't know who wrote it but can definitely relate to a lot of the things she wrote!
Infertility is...
  • Buying and reading books on baby care, and hiding them when company comes.
  • Wanting like crazy to "just look" in the baby section of the department store, but feeling so out of place.
  • Snapping at friends who ask innocent questions and not meaning to. I wish I could explain but...
  • Making love and suddenly realizing that the two of you will never make a baby this way and crying.
  • Seeing the cutest maternity top in the store window, but having no reason to buy it.
  • Trying to rejoice with your friends on her first (or third) pregnancy.
  • Being enemies with your own body.
  • Doctors-hating them, worshiping them.
  • Wondering if you will ever receive a Mother's Day card.
  • Picking a name for your baby, only to grow tired of it.
  • Always going to other people's houses for dinner because they would have to get a babysitter otherwise and it is so much convenient this way.
  • Falling apart. Getting hysterical. Am I losing my insanity?
  • Knowing (better than most) how conception happens, yet having to put up with stupid advice and crude jokes.
  • Redefining 'woman'-(yes, I am still one)!
  • Feeling empty and sad most of the time.
  • Sharing experiences with other infertile couples and finding comfort in that.
  • Wondering where God is.
  • Having an extra bedroom for guests and wishing it was a nursery.
  • Being afraid to take aspirin or do sit-ups.
  • Needing to grieve, but not really knowing how.
  • And then finally...
  • Coming to terms with your own infertility. Acceptance. Peace.
  • Feeling like a whole person again.
  • Not thinking about your infertility first thing in the morning.
  • Actually finding joy mixed in with the pain of Christmas-What a miracle.
  • Discovering life can be happy and satisfying without children or discovering that adoption is a positive way of enlarging your family.
I find that I am actually thankful for my own infertility. It has been a hard experience, but as I have struggled, I have grown. I have learned more about my Heavenly Father, and about being His child than I could have otherwise.
Like I said, I'm not sure who wrote this, but I can relate in so many ways. And I hope I'm on the way to coming to terms with infertility. And finding peace. Though, I have to admit, I'm not there yet!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Random Thoughts

Okay, my thoughts are kind of all over the place today, so I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense! First off, the Today show did a special segment on infertility that I thought was pretty interesting. You can find it at Rethinking Infertility if you want to check it out. It really made me realize how vast and varied infertility really is. Every story is different and yet the heart of matter is always the same. Some of the things that stood out to me: In one of the video segments a woman said that if you want to be a parent it will happen someway, somehow. I firmly believe that. I have to believe that! It's going to happen one way or another. Not having a family is not an option! Whether it's this next round of IVF or adoption...it's going to happen for us.
Another woman talked about going through IVF and when she found out that she had finally succeeded she had two emotions, the first was pure joy and the next was sadness for all of the women who were getting that call right then that it didn't work out and she said, "it's an emotional rollercoaster." It's so true! I've found myself so attached to this network of women dealing with infertility and I want so much for each of them to realize their dreams of having a baby. Infertility is truly an emotional rollercoaster, one where you're not sure whether they've laid the tracks out before you or if you're going to plummet to the ground.
And just a touch of irony--one of the commercials on during the segments (I watched them on the web) was for Always maxipads. Their new slogan is "Every period a happy one, Always." Not the best advertisement to have during an infertility fest...just thought it was funny.
Next random thought. My faculty at school is going through the annual guess-who's-pregnant fest. It doesn't help that our vp and another teacher are both pregnant and due tomorrow. They both have the same due date, how crazy is that? And by the way, I'm not bitter toward either of them...one of the pregos is one of my best friends, and I'm completely happy for her. And why is that my hand is always just drawn to touch that bulging belly of hers? It's just so beautiful. I guess I just get a little down when all the talk is pregnancy talk and there's big guess-when-the-baby will come and name-the-baby posters hanging in the faculty lounge and there just doesn't seem to be anywhere to take a break from it all. You know the feeling where it seems like everywhere you look there are pregnant women or women with newborns. Well, to make matters worse, now there are all of these rumors flying around of who's pregnant now or who's going to be pregnant soon. Part of me doesn't want to be a part of the rumors because it's like salt in an open wound but then part of me would be offended if I wasn't part of the rumors, like I'm not good enough to be pregnant?!
And yesterday I had the stomach flu or food poisoning or something that made me completely miserable. I was exhausted, nauseated, couldn't keep anything in me, and felt just plain sick. I managed to drag myself through the school day and then just went home and slept and cried and slept. Then today I had two people ask me if I was sick yesterday because I was maybe pregnant. Nope, it was just meaningless sick, no good cause, just bad food probably. When will the day come when I can stop announcing my non-pregnancy? When can I be sick for a good reason? Some day...and believe me I'm not so naiive that I think that someday I will glory in the morning sickness and other woes of pregnancy. No, I probably won't wake up every morning puking and grinning from ear to ear about it. I'm sure I'll complain. But at least I'll always know that it's at least puking with a purpose. And I'll have a good excuse for being sick (a much better excuse than a sausage/pepperoni pizza). Is that so much to ask?
Anyway, sorry for being so random today. I realize I've probably been a trite negative too. I'll try to be more cheery next time! I just needed a little venting. I feel better already! And lest I forget, here's what I'm thankful for today: the technology that makes it possible for people who once thought it impossible to have children to finally have those children. Thank you technology!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Evidence that God lives and that He loves us

Picture from:
http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/04/its-beautiful-day-in-neighborhood.html


A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer desig
nedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?

-- Walt Whitman (Be not Afraid by Greg Olsen)

This blog has been in my head for a couple of weeks now, so I guess I better just get it written. A family that lives a couple of neighborhoods away from me, a family that I have never met, just lost their son in Iraq. I have driven by their house everyday on my work never knowing anything about the people inside. I didn't know that their son was a soldier fighting in Iraq until he was gone. The thing that really stopped me and got me thinking is this-the day after the family received the news, the neighbors, in tribute to the family and the fallen soldier, put up American flags in every yard and placed 21 flags like a 21 gun salute in the family's yard. Now when you drive down this street with the rows of flags, it is like a hall of honor for this man and his family. It touched my heart and continues to touch me as I drive past it each day. And it's got me to thinking about things. This family has probably said countless prayers for his safety while away and for the safe return of their son. And yet he's gone. What does that say about prayer? Does that mean that God didn't hear their prayers? Or does that mean that God doesn't love them?
I see that row of flags and that yard with 21 flags and I know the answers to those questions. I know that God exists. I've mentioned before how the very beauty of the world around us testifies that God exists. But does He truly love us and care about what is going on in our lives? Yes! God loves us and is aware of each of us. He loves us and wants us to be happy. But life in it's very nature has its bumps and heart aches. God never promised that we wouldn't have trials. He did however promise to never leave us alone to face those trials. When I think of those neighbors, those guardian angels, putting up those flags and taking dinners over and helping that suffering family in any way that they can, I know that God loves that family and is sending his love through those neighbors. He hasn't left them alone to bear their burdens.



And then I think of how many times God has shown his love to me. I can't even think of a number for the times I've prayed and pleaded and begged to have a baby. And there have been times when I've wondered if there really is a God listening to me. But I know that He has been there and that He has heard my pleadings. I don't have a baby yet but I can see so many times when God has answered my prayers by sending me strength and love through others. I have an amazing husband who stands beside me through thick and thin and bears me up during those hard times. I call him my husband with the soggy shoulder because I'm always crying on him! And after my 2nd failed round of IVF, when I was feeling down and alone, I got this idea to start a blog and while I was starting my blog I got this idea to search to see if there are other blogs about infertility. And I found out that there are all of these wonderful women out there going through similar things as me. And then by chance I found this fertility forum where I found even more women that I could relate with, and I found the strength and love and compassion and empathy that I needed to get through a 3rd round. And when that failed, it wasn't so bad because I realized that God had set me up with a really good safety net.
And then I realized that there have been friends that I haven't had contact with in quite awhile who have popped back into my life recently to cheer my heart.
And lately it seems like every church lesson has been directed toward me, giving me the spiritual strength to keep going on.
Or the just-right songs comes on the radio. Or a poem or quote comes to mind that reminds me that I'm loved. Or a stray thought comes out of nowhere to make me smile or give me strength. Or someone says something in passing that just hits home.
And there have been those moments when I am completely encircled by God's love. In those still, quiet moments when I feel His indesribable love completely fill me from head to toe. And it's like His arms are around me and He's saying, "It's alright, kiddo, I've got you. You're going to be okay, better than okay! Things will work out, don't worry. I love you and don't you forget it!"
So whether, it's the guardian angels that God sends our way or the quiet moments of peace, I know that God lives and most importantly, that He loves each of us! (Heavenly Hands by Greg Olsen)

April Fool's Day in October

The past couple of days have been kind of hard. My body decided to play a little trick on me, and I realized that I don't have to wait until April 1st-I can be a fool any time during the year! I'm starting a new round of IVF in October and as part of that cycle, I need to start taking birth control at the beginning of this month's cycle. So I was ready for my period. No big deal. A means to an end. Then I was late. I usually have long cycles, between 33-35 days but not more than 35 days. There was a time when I didn't have cycles at all and had to take medicine just to have my period, but that was a couple of years ago. So day 35 came and went. Day 36. Day 37. I didn't even have any pre-cycle cramps like I usually do. No signs that anything was coming. So I'm at the store and I walk by the pregnancy tests, and I think, "well, I need to know either way." Even though I've really been trying to avoid pregnancy tests because I already know that those little pee sticks with the single pink line can be very heart-breaking. But I need to know, right? If I'm pregnant, great! Then I won't have to go through another round of IVF, and I'll be pregnant with a BABY! If I'm not pregnant, then I'll know that I need to be on the look-out for my cycle to begin or maybe talk to the doctor about what I need to do to jump-start my cycle. "It's fine either way," I told myself. So I took the test and 3 minutes later the single pink line was staring back at me. Negative. And after all I've told myself, after thinking I'm so strong, after thinking that I've moved beyond all this and that I'm in a place where infertility can't hurt me anymore...a single pink line and I'm back to square one and heartbroken. I crumbled. And I realized that just because I ignored all those secret desires that maybe I would miraculously get pregnant and that I wouldn't have to go through IVF again and that I would finally have some surety in this infertility game-even though I ignored these feelings, they were still there. And even though I know that I am capable of doing another round of IVF, there's always the hope that I won't have to. And I think this next round of IVF really scares more than any of the others because it is possibly my last try with IVF. Before I could tell myself, "well, I have 3 more rounds, 2 more rounds, 1 more round..."
So, yesterday I woke up with those wondefully-awful, endometriotic cramps (one of those curses of endometriosis is that you get to have especially painful and awful periods), but worse of all, with heart cramps. You know, that heart ache that comes with being unable to realize your dreams of having a baby, that comes with each period. Out of everything, I think that heart cramps are worse than anything else because you can't take anything for it and the heating pad doesn't help! Luckily (though my hubbie won't describe it like that), my hubbie was really sick yesterday which gave me the excuse to take the day off and gave me the distraction of taking care of him. Poor Gimli had to take care of two sickly, heavily-medicated parents; too bad he can't cook! But otherwise, he kept a good eye on us.
And here's what I'm grateful for...not going to work yesterday made me realize how grateful I am to be a teacher and how grateful I am for the students that I have. I actually really missed those dear 8th graders. I know I'm in the right place because I love being there. When I'm not there, I actually feel like I'm missing out on things! (It's good that I've put this into writing, because who knows if I'll still be able to say it in June!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day One of trying to Simplify...

First, today I'm feeling especially thankful for a beautiful, crisp autumn day. I think autumn is one of my favorite seasons. It's not too hot, not too cold...it's just right, baby bear!
Well, go figure, the first day of my official mission to simplify, and everything seems to go berserk on me! This major reading assessment that is done on computers at school decides to be difficult, the computers decide to be difficult, the students decide to be difficult, my desk was completely buried 20 minutes into the start of the day...and suddenly there were all of these meetings that I needed to attend at the same time. Maybe this was life's way of encouraging me to accomplish my goals-like the first-time skydiver standing at the open airplane hatch, trying to find the courage to jump as she looks down at the little ants that are buildings and homes and wonders what on earth she was thinking when she decided to give this a try and then the person behind her gives a little nudge to help her on her way. Well, life gave me a big old shove today and as I'm flailing towards reality I just hope I remembered my parachute (knowing me, I was probably in a hurry and distracted even in my own metaphor) and after that all I can do is hope that I don't end up splattering in the end... ;)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Need to Simplify

I've decided that I'll start every new entry with something for which I'm grateful. So, here's today's: A big thank you to the friend who sent me a letter this week. I am so grateful for such good, loving people in my life-I couldn't get through my trials without such good friends. I hope she won't mind but I just wanted to share a couple parts from her letter because her words really touched my heart. First, a little background...the other night we got together with some old friends who happen to all have beautiful children-friends from back in our single days (days that my husband would probably call glorious and wonderful--but not as glorious and wonderful as married life, right?!). We were sitting around talking about blogging and I was asked what the name of my blog is. Infertile Myrtle...can we say that makes for an awkward party topic? So here's what my friend said in her letter:
"I realized that I clammed up around you a little yesterday, because I didn't want to say anything dumb. I have decided that a good friend talks and shares and that I should trust myself more and recognize that I probably (hopefully) won't fall off the deep end and start giving unsolicited advice or making dumb comments."
Thank you, friend! And I hope that I can do the same for you! And then the next part really made me smile. To me, it was the just right kind of comment:
"After IVF do you spend a couple of days taking it easy? Because if you do-or if you ever just need a pamper day, I am totally willing to help out. J [her adorable 5/6 month old baby] is great company-I was thinking he might even help little growing eggs grow by smiling and cooing at you. And I have learned how to make some pretty yummy freezer meals that I am totally willing to bring over and heat up at your house while you are being smiled and cooed at."
I am so grateful for friends who are willing to be there for me like that. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just the offer means so much to me! Thanks for not treating me like I have the plague and for letting me hold your cute little J at the party the other night. It was just what I needed!
Anyway, on to my topic for tonight. I've been thinking that I really need to simplify my life. With working full time, numerous church obligations including being a cub scout den mom once a week, trying to get my home clean and in order, my husband working full time and going to school full time, and all of those other little life things that seem to pile up, I've decided that I need to simplify things as much as I can before I begin my next round of IVF. I need to relax so that I can get all uptight about IVF in a month...just kidding. No, I've decided to talk to my bishop (my church leader) about maybe not doing scouts anymore. And I'm really trying at school not to have my finger in every pie...last year I was in charge of the school book club, the literary magazine, the school newspaper, the debate team, the mock trial team, and was helping with technology and assemblies. I'm trying to let go of some of these projects, though it's hard. I love being involved in as much as I can, but my husband pointed out the other day that I'm starting to act like I'm being pulled a little thin. I'll let him be mostly right just this once! =) Even though the same could be said for him sometimes... =)
So, I guess I need to decide which things are most important to me and prioritize my time. The problem is that I've always been this way. What's the saying? Running around like a chicken with its head cut off...that pretty much characterizes me. So here's some quotes to start me off on my new mission to simplify my life:

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed - it is a process of elimination.
Elbert Hubbard

Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify.
Henry Thoreau

Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.
Katherine F. Gerould

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
Lin Yutang
My house doesn't need to be perfectly clean...just do a little every day to keep it manageable. I don't need to make every teaching moment into a huge production. I'm not perfect and no one expects me to be. RELAX! RELAX! RELAX!
(By the way, I found myself cringing as I wrote some of those things. I'm not sure I'm a believer just yet!)
Wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions or things that have worked for you, I'm always up for advice! =)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Things I'm grateful for...

They say when you're feeling down to look at the good things in life and think about what you're grateful for. So, here it goes (these are in no particular order, by the way).
1. My amazing, patient, loving, handsome, strong, smart, and just 100% perfect for me husband. He is opposite to me in so many ways but fills in my gaps and I fill in his. He is my shoulder to lean on, to cry on. He loves me despite of me!
2. My supportive, loving family, both my family and my in-laws-I'm doubly blessed! I don't know how my parents put up with me for so long and my brother and sister are my best friends in life. My mother-in-law and I are so alike it's scary and I get along with all of my in-laws so well. It's so nice when walking on life's scary high wires to know that I have the support net of my family to catch me if I fall.
3. My extended family-I was fortunate to grow up with strong relationships to my extended family. I grew up with both sets of my grandparents in the same town as me and spent so much time with them. And even though all of my grandparents have passed away just in the past few years, I still feel their influence in my life every day. I even was fortunate to know two great-grandmas. And I have so many wonderful aunts, uncles, and cousins. Family gives me so much strength!
4. My bubby...Gimli. He's my 120 lb., hairy baby and he always loves me no matter what. He licks my tears away when I cry and cuddles up to me when I'm sad. He makes me laugh and let's me be his doggy mommy.By the way, in this picture of Gimli, he was kind of ticked at me because I kept putting leaves on his head. I'm always taking pictures of him, he should just get used to it! =)
5. My religion and faith. I don't know where I would be without my faith in a loving Heavenly Father and if I didn't know of the things that Jesus Christ has done for me. My world would definitely be dark without knowing who I am, why I'm here, and what happens in the next life.
6. This beautiful world. I love nature and so many times the beauty of the world around me has comforted me, amazed me, and reminded me that there is a Higher Power that has control of everything. The soothing shush of the ocean, the swaying of the trees in the breeze, a golden sunset, the strong, solitary peace of the desert, the protection of the Rocky mountains, the bright pink and blue wake-me-up sunrises, an intricate, blossoming flower, a doe pausing from her evening meal to stare at me for a moment...every day and everywhere I go there is something to amaze me and overwhelm me with feelings of gratitude for this beautiful world.
7. For the amazing creatures of this world. I'm a total animal lover. Now I'll admit I'm not a fan of every creature (i.e. snakes and mice) but that doesn't mean I don't admire them. I used to rodeo and my best friend for almost twenty years was my horse, Banner. I am so grateful to have known such a noble and great spirit. I still can't sing the Star Spangled Banner without crying because that was her song. And if I could I think I would take in every stray animal I come across. Every animal is a wonder!
8. For this wonderful country I live in and the freedoms I enjoy. I am truly privileged and blessed to be an American. We have our faults and we make mistakes, but we're trying to get it right. My dad fought in the Vietnam War and always taught me to respect my country and those who fight to defend it. I am so grateful for those who sacrifice and fight to defend my freedom--to the soldiers and their families. God Bless the United States!
9. For the other countries and cultures of the world. I am amazed by the diversity and wonderfulness of the world. I lived in Italy for awhile and Italy holds a special place in my heart. I loved the people, the culture, and the beauty of Italy. My family is also Spanish and I love the culture that I was raised in. My grandma's tortillas and tamales, how I was my grandparent's 'hita', and the spiciness of that culture. I love learning about new cultures too. There is just so much to learn from and love about the different cultures of the world. Watching the Olympics this past week has been fun, seeing all the different athletes of the world coming together. It's been really cool.
10. For my good friends. How many times has a friend called and said they were just thinking of me and thought they should call? My friends keep me smiling and laughing and enjoying life. And those really good friends who even when you don't see each other for a long time, the minute you get together again, it's like you were never apart. My friends are so good to me! I'm always trying to be a better friend and be at least half as good as my friends are to me. In my neighborhood, at work, and all over the place I have such wonderful friends.
11. And my web friends. This is a new group of friends for me and I'm so thankful for them. Even though I haven't met any of these people, from reading their blogs or talking in forums, I feel like I'm hanging out with long time friends. For example, 'Your Average Infertility Blog' just announced that she's pregnant, and I felt so excited for her. Her blog has taken me on a journey with her, and it just feels so good to see her journey finally going in the right direction. I don't even know what she looks like, but share a web kinship with her nonetheless. =) And I'm so grateful to know that I'm not alone and that there are so many outstanding and strong women that I can relate to and turn to in hard times.

Well, I'm going to end my list there for now. There are so many other things that I'm grateful for but time is up. It's almost dinnertime and I'm still in my pajamas. Make that #12 of things I'm grateful for: lazy days and pajamas! I'll add to my list next time!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eliminating the 'why'

My husband and I were having one of our many conversations about infertility the other day. It's kind of nice because it used to be a topic full of tension for us but I really feel that we've grown closer through everything and can really talk about things now. Anyway, we got to talking about eliminating the 'why'. There's always a lot of 'why' in infertility: why can't I get pregnant? Why can that 14 year old girl get pregnant and I can't? Why is what I want most so out of reach? And what it really comes down to-Why me? Sometimes I fall into the 'why me' trap so easily and then it's hard to not feel depressed and gloomy. And the 'why' thing is really hard to understand. I don't know why bad things happen to good people or why bad people sometimes get good things. I don't know why infertility is part of my trial package in life. I don't know why two irresponsible teenagers in the back of a car can do what highly-trained, experienced doctors can't do for me. But as Hubbie and I were talking, we came to the conclusion it's not our task in life to know the 'why'. God knows the 'why' and knows what's best for us. It's our job to do what is right and just have faith that if we continue to try to be the people that God wants us to be, things will work out for our good. So I'm going to try to eliminate that nasty 'why' and just focus on the 'what does God want me to do with my life' and see where it takes me!
And a sidenote on crying: I've decided that crying is like epilepsy. I knew this lady who was epileptic and she explained to me one day that, for the most part, she knew what triggered her seizures and could generally feel when one was coming on. But at other times, a seizure would just come out of the blue, sometimes creating very embarrassing situations for her. So this came to my mind the other day as I was sitting in a public setting bawling my eyes out. I generally know what can trigger crying for me...thinking about loved ones that I've lost, thinking about how hard it would be to lose the loved ones that I've got right now, babies, talking about babies, thinking about babies. But then again, sometimes I can be really strong. The other day we went swimming with a group of friends and their kids and my husband and I became the designated 'fun' people. We were constantly going around the lazy river and the whirlpool with kids clinging to our necks and arms. And then I got to swim and play with my friend's one-year-old baby who is absolutely adorable. She was so cute--she kept splashing the water with her hands and then scrunching up her face when the water would hit her. She couldn't figure out the connection. You would think something like that would make me cry, but I loved it too much to cry. Anyway, sometimes I know I'm in a situation where I'm about to start crying and can gracefully pull myself together or get out there before I lose it. Other times the tears just come and there's nothing I can do about it. Ask my husband about my sitting in the middle of the grocery store on a patio chair for sale and crying for who-knows-what reason...how embarrassing.
Another experience that I just had a couple of days ago. I was talking with some friends from the neighborhood and one point I said something about babies and one of the women said, "Are you trying to tell us something?" I still never know what to say so I just said, "No, I wish!" The woman kind of knows about my situation, but not too much-just the basic they've-been-married-for-a-few-years-and-yet-have-no-children fact. Anyway, she suddenly turned bright red and said, "I am so sorry! It took me six years to have my first baby and I always vowed that I would never be one of those people who ask things like that!" She was so embarrassed. I brushed it off and then we got to talking about other foot-in-the-mouth experiences. I wasn't offended and what I really want to tell her but didn't was that she gave me hope that someday maybe I will be in her category-she has three wonderful children, the youngest is in high school. And I would rather get comments like that then be treated like have a plague. I would hate it if people were constantly saying behind my back, "oh, don't mention babies or anything like that around her...she's infertile." I don't want people walking on egg shells around me. Granted there are comments that drive me crazy (see my post on what no to say to someone dealing with infertility) but I guess as long as people are making these comments, there's still hope, right?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Faith in the Storm

Good thing for church. To be honest, I wasn't really feeling like going to church today. I've come to the realization that I am the only one in the age group from 18 to 100 who doesn't have any children at my church, and I wasn't feeling up to facing all of those beautiful mothers. Granted, everyone is super nice. It's just hard sometimes feeling like an outsider and not really having anything you can do about it. Anyway, I finally convinced myself to get over myself and go to church, and I'm glad that I did. This one guy talked a little bit about faith and he gave the example of when Jesus and his disciples were on a ship and there was this big storm. And during this huge storm Jesus slept and the worse the storm became and the more Jesus slept, the more worried and fearful his disciples became. Finally, as the ship was covered with the waves and the disciples thought for sure the ship was going to sink, they woke up Jesus. Then Jesus stood up and calmed the sea and the winds. And he said to his disciples, "Why are ye fearful? O ye of little faith?" (Matthew 8: 26). This hit home for me, and then to make sure I got it (God knows that I'm a slow learner) we talked about faith in Sunday School too. The teacher was talking about how faith isn't blind, and I got to thinking about how faith is seeing things with our hearts and spirits and that having faith in God doesn't mean that we'll never fall, it just means that God will always be there to give us the strength to get back up again. And I got to thinking how faith really is a good cure for the infertility blues. I was starting to panic and let those fears of never having a family and fears that everything I've been doing is for nothing and fears that God had maybe forgotten me...all those fears that creep into my heart sometimes. So today I said to myself, "Why are ye fearful? O ye of little faith!" Just because I'm in a stormy part of my life, doesn't mean that Jesus Christ isn't aware of me and the He can't help me. He won't let me sink! And I know that I've got to have strong faith because that is the only thing that conquers fear. I have faith that God loves me and hasn't forgotten me and that one day some how I will have a baby. It's like a garden, I can sit back and let the weeds of fear and despair grow or I can work to plant my faith and watch it blossom over time. But it definitely takes a lot of work!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Adoption Fiasco

Well, I was sitting in church the other day and this other woman was talking about how she had taken in foster baby that they wanted to adopt. Unfortunately, three days after they got the baby, the court decided that the baby should be returned to her biological mother. The woman was expressing her emotions on how hard it was to deal with such a blow and it got me to thinking about my own adoption fiasco and I realized that I hadn't written about that. In April, during a dinner with my family, my mom casually threw out the question, "so do you want a baby?" Duh! She already knew the answer. It turned out that my aunt, who works with teen mothers, had a 15 year old girl who wanted to put her baby up for adoption and was interested in doing a private adoption. Hubbie and I kind of shrugged it off but both of us started thinking about it a lot. After a weekend of thinking about it, both of us agreed that we felt strongly that we needed to look into this. My husband used to be very anti-adoption. He had this idea that the only babies put up for adoption were crack-babies. So it was a huge step for him to go in this direction. We spoke with my aunt who agreed to be our third party in communicating with the mother and we contacted an attorney. I was surprised how easy it is to do a basic private adoption--a case worker needed to do a home study, the attorney would take care of all of the paperwork, and we needed to have the baby in our home for 6 months before we could legally adopt. So we began to get all of our ducks in a row. We were told the baby was 3 months old, absolutely beautiful, good natured and loving, half spanish/portuguese, healthy, and well-taken care of. I asked a lot of questions because, as a teacher, I've seen the affects of bad beginnings on my 8th graders. I had a student who had a lot of issues as a 14 year old because he wasn't held as a baby or another student who has major anger issues because of how he was treated until he was adopted as a one year old. The mother was 14 years old when she got pregnant and had her baby and had just turned 15 years old. She had originally wanted to get an abortion but being Catholic, her mother made her carry the baby. She had then wanted to give the baby up immediately but her friends convinced her that it would be fun to raise a baby. So she tried for 3 months but realized that she was just too young to be a mother. She was being raised by a single mother and her family was on welfare. So she turned to my aunt for help. Dad was older and wanted nothing to do with the baby and had been deported to Portugal.
Things were looking good and running very smoothly at first. We were setting up a time to come down and meet the baby and preparing our home to possibly have a baby in it in the next two weeks. I got the paperwork to get time off from work and everything was ready. Then everything fell apart. My aunt called the girl's home to set up a time for us to meet the baby and the girl's mom answered, let's call her Grandma Meanie. Well, it turned out that the grandma didn't know anything about the adoption. She knew that her daughter wanted to put the baby up for adoption but didn't know that she had done anything about it. Grandma was furious and went ballistic on my aunt. She declared that the baby wasn't up for adoption and never would be. The worst part was that it wasn't because she was so attached to the baby. She told my aunt that "she wasn't letting her daughter off that easy and that she needed to learn her lesson." I flipped out when I heard that. She wanted to use this baby to teach her daughter a lesson? I didn't know what to do. I wanted to contact a social worker, get a team of lawyers...something. Meanwhile, the girl was asking my aunt if it was true that if she left her baby at a hospital or church, that they would take care of him. Finally, I decided to write a letter to the grandmother apologizing for going over her head, telling her about myself and my husband, and asking her to reconsider. But before I could deliver the letter, the grandmother had a huge blow out fight with her daughter, and the girl and baby moved out and moved in with her grandparents in Durango, Colorado. And just like that, they were gone and I had no way to contact the girl. I hope and pray that this poor girl and her baby are okay. Even though I never met them, they are deep in my heart. The hardest thing was that originally we were told that the baby's name was Gage but later found out that that was his middle name and that his first name was Wyatt which was what Hubbie and I have always planned on naming our first born son. I saw it as a sign that this was meant to be. There seemed to be so many signs that this was meant to be but...dead end. I had a hard time dealing with it at first, it was like a failed round of IVF. I wondered if God really saw me as such a terrible candidate for motherhood, that he had to block every route. But I healed eventually. I know that I'll make a wonderful mother someday and I know that God loves me and has a plan for me...it's just all about timing. And it was a good learning experience. I at least know more about adoption and my husband has opened the door to that possibility in his mind, and I hope that that young mother and her baby are in a better environment because of all of this.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Official Bad News

Well, we did the blood work on Saturday and it's official that I'm not pregnant. Now comes the 'what went wrong and where do we go from here' appointment with Dr. B and another round of IVF looms in the future. Oh well, what can you do? I'm actually in Montana with my husband right now on a little vacation of sorts and that definitely helps--a little get-away from it all. This morning as I was watching CMT in the hotel room Martina McBride's music video for Anyway came on. It really hit home so I thought I would put the lyrics here.
Anyway
Martina McBride/Brad Warren/Brett Warren (BMI)
You can spend your whole life buildin'
Somethin' from nothin'
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway
(Chorus)
God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
When I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anywayI do it anyway

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart

For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away

Love 'em anyway
(Repeat Chorus)
You can pour your soul out singin'
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah sing it anyway
I sing
I dream
I love anyway.
So even though I know it's hard to keep trying to have a baby, I'm going to do it anyway! Maybe Martina Mcbride should add a verse to her song about infertility...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bad News! =(

Well, I did a pregnancy test today and it came out negative. I'll do the blood work on Saturday but, I'm pretty sure it didn't take. I've been getting cramps all week and have just felt like it didn't work. It's just not my time yet. Though I wonder when it will be my time? I'm not giving up or anything, it's just really hard initially when you get the bad news. The idea of facing another round of IVF is hard, but I'll do it. I'll probably do the other round in October, give my body and heart a chance to recuperate. I was talking to my husband about this yesterday, that I didn't think I was pregnant and about my fears that this might all be a dead end. What if I don't get pregnant after four rounds of IVF? He said that we've been following our hearts on what we should do and that he would rather follow his heart and do what he believes to be right and reach a dead end than to take the other road and always wonder. I totally agree with him (but that doesn't make the road any easier)! What can I do but keep trying though? What is that saying-the best things in life don't come easy...hopefully there's some really cool things in store for me in the future!
My cousin and his wife have been trying to have a baby and just announced last night that they're pregnant. You know the mixed emotions--happy for them but frustrated and jealous that it's not you. But like I told my husband, she's not build tough enough for the infertility battle. I'm tough enough. I'm tough enough. I'm tough enough...
Anyway, I think I'll go curl up with my dog now and have a good cry (he's a good cuddler and he licks my tears away =)! Life is hard but it's all worth it in the end. I've got to just keep repeating this stuff to myself!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Heroic Three


The Heroic Three!
Good luck little guys!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

About my husband...

My hubbie had to go out of town yesterday and will get back Friday, so I'm just sitting here missing him. He actually travels quite a bit during certain times of the year for his job, so I'm pretty used to it. Though I think the progesterone shots or just the whole IVF thing makes me really clingy. Yeah, I'm the woman holding onto the guy's leg, sobbing hysterically at the airport. Just kidding but that's how I feel sometimes! Anyway, I just have to say what an amazing guy my husband really is. I'll admit when we first started trying to have a baby, he wasn't really into it. Yes, he liked the "trying" but wasn't really ready to be a dad. I think he was scared out of his mind! He wanted to be more financially prepared, get the house in better order, etc. I kept telling him that you are never fully prepared for a baby, no matter how much you do. In all honesty, it was hard at first because we weren't on the same level as far as wanting to conceive. There were times when we both said really hurtful things and when we fought (usually it was when the temps were just right and I had to convince myself and my husband that we should just 'sleep' on things even though we didn't even feel like being in the same room!) I knew that Hubbie started wanting a baby as much as I did when he would be watching other men with their children, and I would see that mushy look in his eyes like what I get when I see mothers with their babies. And I think it was after our first round of IVF that he really admitted that he wanted a baby too, not just for my happiness. When we got the news that it didn't work, he was so strong and held onto me. Once he knew that I was going to be okay, he broke down and admitted that he really wants us to start a family and that he wants to be a father.
Hubbie has always been my strength. There have been times when I know I haven't been a picnic to live with and of course, we've had our fights, but I think this whole trial has brought us closer together as a couple (hey, we've had five years together just him and me). Probably the hardest thing for Hubbie is that he likes to fix things but can't do anything in this situation. It drives him crazy not being able to 'lift my hood', tighten some things, and get me running smoothly. He always concerned about my health and welfare. The thing he always says is that he just wants me to be okay, everything else is optional. He has just been so supportive, always there to lift me up. He's this big, tough-looking, redneck guy but he is just so tender with me. He's overly protective so it has been hard for him to see me in pain. And I like that he doesn't blame me for all of this infertility stuff. I kick myself a lot and put myself down because of my malfunctioning body, but Hubbie always says, "It's not anyone's fault, it's life."
He is always optimistic and grateful too. And quite the comedian. He calls the ultrasound wand a light saber and at the first ultrasound appointment he came to with me, he accompanied the ultrasound with appropriate Star Wars sound effects. He also likes to do a type of sports commentary during ultrasounds. The other day he had the doctor laughing but I chewed him out that he can only make the doctor laugh when he (hubbie) has the light saber up his wa-hoo! =) Hubbie jokes now that he knows as much about female anatomy as a gynecologist and when I suggested he change occupations, he said he didn't want to turn a fun hobby into a job. He's such a goof!
But, overall, neither of us are perfect and we have our good times and our bad times, but I wouldn't want to be doing this with anyone but Hubbie, I can't imagine doing this with anyone but him! He is definitely my everything!
And I've also been thinking how hard all of this is on him. I don't think women going through infertility realize how hard it is for the man. Like my husband, many men don't voice what they're feeling and just internalize everything. My husband is usually so concerned with being strong and being there for me, that he doesn't ever get the opportunity to grieve or let it all out. I've seen Hubbie break down once, but it was only after he knew for sure that I was okay. I realized that he was just as broken hearted but so busy trying to heal my heart, he didn't have time to deal with his. After my 2nd failed IVF, the day we had the it-didn't-work-so-now-what doctor appointment, Hubbie was really on one. He was grouchy and picking fights about all of these little things, and I was feeling so frustrated with him. I couldn't figure out what his problem was. My sister suggested that maybe he was struggling with dealing with the failed IVF. I remember thinking, "what does she know? He's my husband...I would know if that were the issue...He's just being jerk!" But then after the appointment, Hubbie apologized for being grouchy and said, "I guess I'm just having a hard time dealing with all of this. It was hard going back to the doctor knowing that it didn't work. I didn't realize it would get to me like this." I'm trying to be more aware now and to be there for him too. We can hold each other up through tough times!