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 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: .
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:
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, 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!