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:

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! =)