Tuesday, April 29, 2008
So I went out to buy the G.I. Diet book today and upon flipping through its pages in the aisles of my local bookstore I nearly hyperventilated. No eggs? No mayonnaise (my very favorite condiment)? No BUTTER? I had kind of assumed that this diet was like the South Beach Diet, which my entire family went on and collectively lost an entire person. But once I bought the book I realized it is like South Beach, but it is similar to phase one of South Beach. The starve-yourself-and-lose-fifteen-pounds-in-two-weeks-by-eating-nothing-but-fruit-vegetables-and-nuts phase. (And, I should add, I momentarily and mistakenly thought that chicken and turkey breast were off limits. I was like, what kind of psycho diet is this??).
I then made my way to the grocery store armed with my little book. Don't you just love being that person who has her head buried in a diet book while food shopping? I always feel like such a dork (except it's usually a Weight Watchers points calculator I'm discreetly using). So I learned a few things while shopping today: Fruit is expensive. Diet and low-carb foods are expensive. Healthy food in general is expensive. I don't know if it was due to my new medication causing me a constant dull headache or my shock at my new diet, but I walked up and down each aisle in a major daze and before I knew it, I had filled up my cart like it was nobody's business. When it started to get too heavy to push, I knew I was in trouble. So, the total bill came to just under $200, and let me just say I'm usually a $75 kind of girl, at the most.
Here's a picture of all my low glycemic food:
(Doesn't look like $200 does it?!) Some of the food is in the 'moderate' range, but none is considered 'high'. I hope. For example, bananas, pineapple, 70% cacao dark chocolate (you're allowed a couple squares and I will take them up on that offer), low-fat no-sugar-added ice cream, are all 'sometimes' foods. The low-carb pasta, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, whole grain bread and lettuce are all in the low category. I'm still learning about all of this, and I haven't read the book yet, so hopefully it will soon become second nature to me.
One thing is for sure - I would NEVER do this to lose weight. As much as I need and want to lose weight, I'm more of a Weight Watchers person. I like to save up points and have McDonalds or Taco Bell once in a while. But if one thing in the world can get me go on a low carb diet, it is a baby. In fact, I was in the ice cream aisle today looking at a low-fat ice cream I really wanted. I could probably have gotten it, it wouldn't have killed me. But what I should get is a low-fat, no sugar added ice cream (not getting ice cream at all is not an option). So I simply asked myself, "Do you want that ice cream more than a baby?" Ha! That's the easiest question ever! I think I'm going to put a picture of a baby on my refrigerator now that I think about it! As much as a beach-ready body is a motivator, I always cheat, and I always give up. But a baby? I'd eat bugs if it caused me to get pregnant (thank God that's not how it works!). As I said to my mother today, it's really weird to think that I'm going on a diet to try to increase my chances of getting pregnant and losing a ton of weight is just going to be a side effect. How cool is that?
My goal is to lose fifteen pounds by my next appointment. Is that nuts? It's a month and a half away, so I think I can do it. My mom said she usually loses around ten pounds in two weeks on phase one of South Beach, so this would be well within that range (by the way, she also commented that perhaps she and my sisters also have this insulin problem since this is the only type of diet that ever works for them and they, like me, CRAVE carbs). It won't be fun (I am NOT a vegetable and fruit person. Could you tell?) but I'm pretty sure I'll feel better and look better in a short time! I'll keep everyone updated!
Monday, April 28, 2008
He is going to come up with a plan for my treatment. Yay! That's what I wanted to hear! So right now, he thinks I have probably have PCOS, but I kind of got the feeling that he thought that was a good thing. Well, not necessarily good, but good in the sense that it is completely treatable. He also told us that Dr. Hilgers probably knows that I have this. He said there is a lot of evidence I have PCOS, from the fact that I produced too many follicles when I was on Clomid way back, to some ratio involving my LH being off, to the fact that I had bi-lateral endometriomas (I think he said this had to do with PCOS, but I know at least that he said they don't see bi-lateral endometriomas too often), to my testosterone being high. He thinks that we're going to find out that I have an insulin problem and he recommends me going on the G.I. diet right now (anyone have any experience with this?). He also doesn't think I have a thyroid problem, but said to just keep taking the medication for now. He is testing my prolactin to see if that has begun to lower yet, and he could tell from my charts that I'm not ovulating. He said that may be due to my high prolactin, and he definitely wasn't ready to diagnose me with LUFS. He also said I came in at the absolute perfect time - four months after my surgery and at the point where my body is just about healed, and endometriosis free - and I came in on the perfect day, because if I'd come in tomorrow it would have been too late to start the saliva test this cycle (thanks St. Gianna!).
The whole thing was completely uplifting. This doctor just seemed like he is going to tackle this. He said he's going to help me ovulate and I should be able to get pregnant. And he actually made the comment that it's not like I need to start the adoption process or anything (maybe God's way of having me put the paperwork off for a while?). And to top it all off, he prayed with us at the end of the appointment. It was amazing!
The day did take a little turn when, after we finished lunch, we noticed that our car was missing (which, I might add, is a very weird feeling). It had been towed. We had to walk several blocks to pick it up (my famous last words before we left this morning - "I can wear heels because we aren't going to be doing any walking, right?") and found a ticket on it for 50 bucks. Could have been worse (thanks again, St. Gianna!).
My next appointment is in June, but the doctor said he would call before that with my lab results. All in all, I feel great about my situation. I really do. (I'll need to come back and re-read this post when I'm feeling down). Just to hear someone tell you that this is treatable is such a breathe of fresh air! I know that some women come to the end of their treatment and still aren't able to get pregnant, but I really am starting to feel in my heart that a pregnancy is in my future. If it's not, at least I will know that we did everything we could and that it surely wasn't in God's plan for us (I know that sounds like just a thing you say to sound optimistic, but I am starting to believe it more and more each day). God is really blessing me lately with a sense of peace and I know that is because I am starting to let go. I use to think that was just another one of those things you hear about but think, 'that could never work!' Well, it does.
And I don't think it's a coincidence that this all happened on St. Gianna's feast day!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I also began my new thyroid study medication, since I had to start on day one. It's quite an undertaking, because I have to take it every twelve hours to the minute, and cannot eat for two hours before or one hour after. So I'll take it again at 10:30 tonight, 10:30 tomorrow morning, 10:30 tomorrow night, etc., etc. I was nervous picking a time this morning because I knew it was such a commitment! If I picked 10:30, then that would be the time I'd be locked into for as long as I take it! And that might sound like a safe time, but we eat dinner anywhere between 11:15-midnight (yes, I know that's weird but my husband works nights and I like to wait for him). So I think I'll be okay, since I'll be able to eat at 11:30. But I just know that for six hours a day (before and after my medication) I will be absolutely starving! It's just like on Fridays in Lent when I don't eat between meals, I am hungry ALL DAY!
I really can't wait for Monday. I'm so excited. My appointment is at 1:30 p.m., and then afterwards we're going into D.C. to eat. And it will be St. Gianna's feast day! I have to admit that last summer when I visited her shrine, I had the thought that maybe I'd become pregnant, or find out I was pregnant, on her feast day (and that seemed so far away at the time!). Well, that wasn't to be. But... now I at least have an appointment with a new doctor on that very day. God is good, despite me trying to tell Him my plans. His will be much better.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I feel like these letters were written to me. Since they are so fitting for the cross of infertility, I thought I'd share some passages from the book. Hopefully they will help others as much as they have helped me. I'll start with just one passage in this post. This one really forces me to view the cross differently:
A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self. And when you accept your cross this way, even though it is painful, you will find that you can bear it in peace. But when you receive your cross unwillingly, you will find it to be doubly severe. The resistance within is harder to bear than the cross itself! But if you recognize the hand of God, and make no opposition to His Will, you will have peace in the midst of affliction. Happy indeed are they who can bear their sufferings with this simple peace and perfect submission to the will of God! Nothing so shortens and soothes suffering as this spirit of non-resistance.
But usually we want to drive a bargain with God. We would at least like to suggest some limits so that we can see an end to our sufferings. We don't realize how we are thwarting the purposes of God when we take this attitude. ... Ah! What must be His love for those who, in cheerful and absolute abandonement, give themselves completely to be crucified with Christ!
Wow! How well do I know that resisting the cross only makes the suffering doubly painful! I need to trust that to accept it will only serve to lessen the burden. It just makes so much sense. It's always more difficult when you fight something and if we look at the cross as a gift, well, we shouldn't be fighting it anyways! And I am constantly trying to "drive a bargain with God." Anyone who has read this blog can attest to that. 'God, I will gladly suffer this cross if you can let me know exactly what is going on.. and as long as you assure that I will be pregnant in a couple years.. and if you can take away the pain.. and so on and so on.' Why do I think I know better than God? There's a lot I need to work on.
As for my current cycle, I'm on day 30 and it's my sixth day in a row of spotting. Since I have no idea when my peak day was, I have no idea how many days my luteal phase has been (do you even call it that when you don't ovulate?). I'd really like to know what the spotting is caused by (probably low progesterone) and have it treated. All in due time!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
With that being said, my Creighton educator suggested I call a well-respected pro-life OB/GYN practice a couple hours from where I live. So I did, and got an appointment for Monday. I'm excited at the prospect of hearing what someone else thinks about my situation. When we first started meeting with our Creighton educator I was reinvigorated, just to be doing something proactive. That's how I feel now. We'll see what happens, if we like the doctor, if he has any new insight for me. But at least I have something to look forward to, for the time being.
As for this past cycle, my Creighton teacher isn't quite sure when my peak day occured. She has some guesses, but my chart is really confusing this time around. She also mentioned that the yellow mucus I saw for a few days could possibly be due to something going on with my cervix. And she was also concerned that I've had five days of brown spotting again this cycle.
If the ultrasound series had worked out as planned then I probably wouldn't have ever called this doctors' office today, so perhaps God's plan is already playing out. Hopefully this is where God is leading me, and I hope this action is not one of impatience. I really want to follow the path I am supposed to, and while I need to be patient and surrender to God, I don't think that means I shouldn't make an appointment with a new doctor. Rather, surrendering means I need to work on my acceptance of the cross I've been given, no matter what is currently happening medically in my life.
I will keep praying about it and continue to place it in God's hands. If the appointment doesn't go well, then I will know it is not part of my path. I am so grateful to God that He is keeping me under His protection and I want nothing more than to follow His holy plan for me.
In other news, definitely no blood draw this month. My Creighton instructor just sent me an email saying that she is calling later this morning, so at least maybe she can give me some insight into what is happening.
And it now appears to be officially too late to have my ultrasound series done. Yesterday I thought I was getting my period so we mapped it out that we'd drive up together next Monday for my baseline. But today was really the cut-off because even if I got my period today, my cycle day 10 would fall only six days before the office is scheduled to close for a week. While that may be enough time, I got the feeling they didn't want to take that risk. It's kind of sad because I started looking forward to driving up with my husband, but I'm not disappointed because only God knows what is best in this situation. It is so complicated and I trust that He has my best interest in mind. Maybe we'll be forced to find a different doctor to do the series and they'll be closer to us. Who knows?!
If anyone has any opinions on the pain I'm having, please let me know!
Monday, April 21, 2008
I became very worried on Sunday because I felt as if I would soon be getting my period and that didn't exactly fit into my timetable. As part of an ultrasound series I would be having done this month, I needed a baseline done on cycle day five. I had hoped this would fall on one of my husband's days off, and it appeared now that it would not. So I had a lot of anxiety over the thought of driving six hours up and six hours home, in one day, all by myself.
So today I decided to call the doctor's office just to touch base with them and let them know I'd be calling to set up an appointment once I started my new cycle. When I called I got a message that said they were on the other line, but it went on to say that the office would be closed May 9 through 13! I immediately flipped out because there's a very good chance at least some of my ultrasounds would need to be done during that time period. I cried, I moped, I asked "why me?" It only reinforced my belief that there is some giant cosmic master plan to make my treatment move at a snail's pace. I told my husband, "You cannot deny that everything that can go wrong, does!" And he could not.
So a little while later I called back and spoke with someone. It turns out they are not only closed in May but then again in mid June when the doctor attends a NaPro conference in Rome, and then again for a couple weeks in July. So it appears that unless I get my period today or tomorrow and then have an ovulatory event before May 9 - or if my cycle days five, ten, 11, 12, 13, 14 and so on happen to fit in perfectly with the days the office is open in the following months - I will not be having an ultrasound series done until August at the earliest (the secretary didn't get as far as August, so the office could be closed then too).
This was very bad news, the kind of news that normally would send me into a deep depression lasting several days. But after getting off the phone, I felt a real peace come over me. I'm okay with this. I trust that God's plan is the right plan for me and that His timetable is the right timetable. I'm not sure why I trust this, but I do. (And I don't take any credit for this, by the way. If I ever feel peace, it is entirely a grace. I did nothing to deserve this other than to pray for it. I didn't read up on how to feel it or make some big concerted effort to will its happening. This was totally God.)
There is a chance it could work out that I will have the series done in the next couple weeks. As I said before, if I get my period before Thursday, I might be able to fit it in (but that is also assuming I have an ovulatory event around day 14, which may happen to a normal person but definitely isn't the way I work). I actually started to think this afternoon that I had so gotten use to the idea of not having it done, that I was starting to hope I don't get my period any time soon (what a quick transformation!).
I also plan on calling PPVI tomorrow and asking if there are any other doctors on the East Coast who can do the series. They told me last summer there weren't, but I didn't press them on it at the time. Maybe if I explain the situation there will be a less-than-perfect-but-still-viable option.
So my post-surgery phase of my treatment is moving slowly. I have kept it, as always, in my prayers and yet it still moves very, very slowly. This can only mean that God intends this pace. So I am thankful for my trust today and I hope I can keep it up. Isn't it sad how, when left to my own devices, I can't trust Him on my own? The only time I feel peace or have trust is when I am given it as a grace. I need to work on doing it on my own as well.
I will continue my novena to St. Gianna tonight. I read somewhere last night that the novena actually began a couple days ago, I guess because they want to end before her feast day. Oh well. My last night will be on her feast day and that will be fine. I'm sure she doesn't mind!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
To Obtain Graces Through Saint Gianna Beretta
God, our Father, You have granted to Your church the gift of Gianna Beretta Molla. In her youth she lovingly sought You and drew other young people to You, involving them, through apostolic witness and Catholic Action, in the care of the sick and aged, to help and comfort them.We thank You for the gift of this young woman, so deeply committed to You. Through her example grant us the grace to consecrate our lives to Your service, for the joy of our brothers and sisters.
Glory be …
Jesus, Redeemer of mankind, You called Saint Gianna to exercise the medical profession as a mission for the comfort of bodies and souls. In her suffering fellow men and in the little ones, deprived of all support, she saw You. We thank You for having revealed Yourself to this servant as “one who serves” and who soothes the sufferings of men. Treasuring her example may we become generous Christians at the service of our brothers and sisters, especially those with whom You deign to share Your Cross.
God, Sanctifying Spirit, who love the Church as Your Bride, You poured into the heart of Saint Gianna a share of Your Love so that she could radiate it in her family, and thus cooperate with You in the wonderful plan of creation, and give life to new children who could know and love You. We thank You for this model wife and, through her encouraging witness, we beg You to grant to our families the serene and Christian presence of mothers committed to transform their homes into cenacles of faith and love, rich with generous activity and sanctifying service.
O God, Creator and lover of mankind, You were close to Saint Gianna when, affected by illness, she was in the painful dilemma of choosing between her own life and the life of the child whom she was carrying in herself, a gift long-awaited. Trusting You alone, and aware of Your Commandment to respect human life, Gianna found the courage to do her duty as a mother and to say “yes” to the new life of her baby, generously sacrificing her own. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and after the example of Gianna, inspire all mothers to welcome with love the sparkle of new life. Grant us the grace we are praying for …………. and the joy to find an inspiration in Saint Gianna who, as a model spouse and mother, after the example of Christ, gave up her life for the life of others.
On another note, how wonderful was the Pope's visit this week?! I am so excited with the positive news coverage it all has received. For the most part, the Church has been portrayed in a positive light and there seems to be immense excitement surrounding Catholicism because of his visit. Watching his Mass today did help to lift my spirits on a day when I was beginning to despair. I was saddened to read, though, that pro-choice politicians did not heed Pope Benedict's own teaching and refrain from receiving the Eucharist at Mass in D.C. I know there is heated debate surrounding this issue, but in my opinion, they are creating public scandal by receiving. (I also was worried when I heard on Fox News that Yankee stadium sold out of hot dogs today! I really hope they were all consumed during that Harry Connick , Jr. concert held before the Mass began, and not within one hour of receiving!) Anways, Pope Benedict looked great, so much younger than his age, and how about that big cheer today during his homily when he mentioned life in the womb! That was my favorite part. I will leave you with this video combining four of my favorite things - the Pope, EWTN, Ave Maria, and... American Idol! It's EWTN's coverage of Kelly Clarkson singing Ave Maria for Pope Benedict. It's really beautiful.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
If you were to ask my husband, a constant goal of mine is to have a good picture of us taken. Of course, he is more than happy with the many photos of us from throughout the nine years we've been together, but I'm never happy with any. Either I hate the way I look, or he has is making a funny face, or I hate the way I look. We've spent many a time setting up the camera, then running to get in place (that's what happens when you live hours from your friends and family - there's no one to actually take a picture), trying to make it look like we just happen to be taking a candid shot. And, big surprise, it never works. So I was determined to come away from this vacation with some good, frameable photos of us, especially since my dad has a new camera and is really into photography. I also hoped for some of me and my sister, but she has a blinking-at-the-flash problem and has forbid me from publically using any of us. So here are some of me and my husband that I find acceptable. I could only take pictures on the last day due to my second-degree burns on my face (which, oddly enough, you can't even see!).
The last one is my little Goddaughter. She had just mastered swimming under water earlier that day.
I actually ruined a bunch of photos because I'm a big dork and decided to use the advice of a DMV worker. When I got a new license a year ago, the woman taking my picture had this elaborate way to get me to pose. She had me stick my neck out, past the point of what I think will look silly, she instructed me, because, trust her, it won't. Well it worked and I did not have a double chin in my license picture. Actually, I like the picture so much that I have yet to get an ID in my new state (that and the fact that I keep saying I'm going to lose weight before I go - those pictures are so permanent!). I think I'm actually breaking the law at this point. Anyway, I decided I needed to stick my neck out in nearly all of my vacation photos and, big surprise, I look like I'm sticking my neck way out (I'm kind of doing it in the middle photo up there). After a while my sister pointed out that I probably shouldn't listen to posing advice of a DMV worker. I guess I should just pay better attention the next time I watch America's Next Top Model.
I also did a little bit of spring blog cleaning and made one of the vacations pics my blog picture, since we were wearing sweaters in the old photo. Lately I have felt rather warm when I looked at the winter one. Now I'll feel cool and breezy. I'll almost hear the waves.
So a little bit of news on the infertility front. I have officially been accepted in the PPVI thyroid malfunction study. I had a letter in the mail when we arrived home today that was basically a long, numbered list of instructions. At the end it gave final instructions to call one of the nurses at PPVI with any questions, otherwise call the Omaha pharmacy where your prescription has been called in and the pharmacist is awaiting your call. I thought for sure the next instruction was that the letter was going to self-destruct. It seems like it's going to be kind of confusing. I've got to take the medication every twelve hours, as close to the minute as possible, either one hour before or two hours after eating, and I have to take my temp and pulse five times a day. Ah! Confusing! I'm not good with keeping track of things. To be honest, I had to make up some of my temperatures and pulses from the first round of testing because I kept forgetting. I know I can't do that now. I guess I can always set an alarm on my cell phone.
On Thursday night we met up with our best friends from NY who were also on vacation in the same location. I was updating my friend, the wife, on my infertility situation, and she thinks she might have the same thyroid problem. For anyone who doesn't know, it's called Wil.son's Synd.rome, and is basically a hypothyroid condition that is unable to be detected by blood work. Dr. Hilgers thinks this condition exists, and may have something to do with infertility I suppose, but it is controversial. For instance, the Am.erican Thyr.oid Asso.ciation (or something like that) has taken the official stance that it isn't a condition. The great part is that its symptoms are basically anything and everything I complain about healthwise in my life - infertility, fatigue, lack of concentration, anxiety, depression, even clumsiness (I trip a lot) and much more. It'd be great if I could fix everything (but what, really, are the odds of that?). I'm kind of nervous about the treatment, though, because there are all these warnings about heart problems and to contact PPVI if you feel a rapid pulse. Well, I often have a rapid pulse (and isn't a slow pulse a symptom of hypothyroidism?) so I'm worried my pulse will get out of control. I guess if that were to happen, they'll end the treatment.
I'm also awaiting a call from my Creighton educator about my crazy cycle (it's not over yet - I think I'm on day 23). As I posted in my last post, I'm not sure when my peak day was, but there may be a chance it was less than seven days ago, which would mean I could still get a blood draw. We'll see. Either way, I had no clear peak day this month and so my cycles continue to be drastically different from month to month. I'll update when I hear something more - hopefully good news!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
So I don't remember if I posted about it or not, but I had too much mucus last cycle. As with every cycle so far since my surgery, SOMETHING had to happen to prevent me from getting a peak +7 blood draw, and last cycle it was too much mucus. So much so that PPVI instructed me to meet with my Creighton educator and learn how to chart with yellow stamps. So I spoke with my educator, who taught me all about distinguishing peak mucus from just extra non-peak mucus. I was ready. She was confident too. I was SO determined to learn it that I thought there was absolutely no possible way on earth that I wasn't going to get my blood drawn this cycle. NO WAY. Under what circumstances would I not be able to determine my peak day? I was getting my blood drawn one way or another. Of that I was certain.
I laugh at my confidence now. How humorous it is that I actually thought I would be able to get a simple blood draw. It turned out that I went from having too much mucus last cycle to having barely any this cycle. I had a few mucus days early on, and then a couple here and there for the next week or so (I'll post my current chart at the end of this post for anyone who cares). So the other day I decided to look back over my chart (thinking that it seemed like something wasn't right) and low and behold, my last peak-type mucus day (according to my new instructions - if I used what I was doing before, I had a peak day two days ago) was way past seven days ago. So no blood draw this month.
(Just to explain this a little - My educator taught me to define my peak day based on how my mucus has changed from day to day [for example if I charted 10KL x2 on day 12 and then 10C x1 on day 13, technically both would normally receive white stamps. But under my new instructions, the second one would receive a yellow stamp because it isn't as fertile as the first day]. One thing I'm not sure about, though, if those instructions are still to be followed if there isn't a lot of mucus, like with this cycle. I certainly don't have excess mucus right now. So there's still a glimmer of hope I could get a blood draw. I'm going to call my instructor tomorrow, but I won't hold my breath.) (On a side note, my mucus has been pale yellow a couple times in the last few days. Does anyone know what that means? I do have a deep cough right now, with yellow mucus in my lungs. Would that affect my cervical mucus?)
So I can't get a simple blood draw. I have no idea what my progesterone level is. That is a basic thing that all women going through infertility know. So basic and yet I am so far from knowing what mine is.
Not to mention that I am not ovulating. I am a 31 year old woman who just wants to be a mother and I am not ovulating. I don't know if I ever have, or ever will.
I try to remind myself that there must be a reason why God doesn't want me to have my blood drawn right now. I just have to trust that this is all moving in slow motion for a reason. I need to stop wishing my treatment was moving along like other people's. It isn't helpful to compare myself to anyone, whether it's to mothers, pregnant women, or women with infertility who are getting treatment at a quicker pace.
As for our vacation, it's been nice, except for the fact that I severly burned my face. Like second degree burns. I look like a freak. Like however bad you're picturing it right now, it's WAY worse. It's peeling and cracking and scabbed and oh ya, it's basically just one side of my face. And it's painful. I need to go slather up with lotion now.
1: 3/27 – H
2: 3/28 – H
3: 3/29 – H
4: 3/30 – H
5: 3/31 – L 0AD
6: 4/1 – B AD
7: 4/2 – B AD
8: 4/3 – B AD
9: 4/4 – 0 AD
10: 4/5 – 10C x2
11: 4/6 – 10 KL x1
12: 4/7 – 0 AD
13: 4/8 – 10 CL x1
14: 4/9 – 10 C x1
15: 4/10 – 0 AD
16: 4/11 – 0 AD
17: 4/12 – 10 CK x1
18: 4/13 – 0 AD
19: 4/14 – 10 CY x1 *
20: 4/15 – 8 CY x1 *
21: 4/16 – 10 CY x1 *
* I wasn't sure how to chart this yet, so I know this probably isn't how it should appear. I'm going to ask my Creighton educator tomorrow.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Last night was a big night for me because I have, unofficially, finished my documentary. Just a little background - more than two years ago I became an adorer at a perpetual adoration chapel. It was in the midst of a crisis of faith that I was experiencing, and I credit adoration with helping me out of that. Almost two years ago now, I began to ask God before the Blessed Sacrament what He wanted of me, if not to be a mother right away. I immediately began to feel a very specific call - to produce a documentary. This wasn't out of the realm of possibility; I have a journalism degree, worked as a reporter for years, and have always wanted to make documentaries. But because of my background, I knew exactly how expensive of an undertaking it would be. I shrugged this notion off for several months but kept asking God, "No, really.. what else do you want of me, other than that?" I think my initial hesitation was also due to the fact that I feared it wasn't really God speaking to me, and that it was my own brain suggesting that I make a movie. I had always wondered what it would be like if God "gave you a message," so to speak. Would you hear His voice? This was more of a strong feeling, that never went away, no matter how hard I resisted. Soon, I'd be in adoration and I'd close my eyes, only to see entire scenes of the documentary play in my mind. They'd come fast, too. By this time I realized I had all this material, so why not make it? I should also mention that during this time I got a strong feeling the documentary was to be about perpetual adoration. At one point I even tried to pray that I could do a movie on the pro-life community instead. But the message was clear - my first movie was to be about perpetual adoration.
So about a year and a half ago, in August of 2006, I tried to call God's bluff. I prayed that if He truly wanted me to make this movie, then He needed to provide me with the money. And I'd need a lot of it. I thought, that will put an end to this! Well, a couple days later I was telling my mom about the idea. She just listened, I probably didn't sound too serious about it, and that was that. But a couple days later I got a call from her, telling me that she mentioned my idea to my father and that he was willing to front me several thousand dollars to purchase equipment (I did not ask them for it whatsoever, so the offer came as a shock). I'd have to pay him back though, so my prayers changed to asking God for a way to pay back my father. Well, a couple days later I got a call from my old boss asking me to do some freelance reporting for his station. It worked out perfectly, so that I ended up paying every penny that came in from that part-time job to my father each month. A couple months went by and my husband and I were in the process of purchasing the equipment - camera, microphone, lights, apple computer, and professional editing software. As with shopping for anything, your initial estimates always end up being low. Suddenly we needed two thousand dollars more. So I prayed. Within a few weeks I received in the mail a check for two thousand dollars. It came from a woman who knew of my plan who wanted to help. I've never received money like that before, other than when my grandfather died, and coming from someone I didn't even know, that just blew me away.
There are countless other examples of these answered prayers, including that time we prayed for the financial means to travel to the Vatican to shoot video and the very next day received an offer for a free trip to, where else, Italy (I'm not even kidding). Or that time when we started praying for music that we desperately needed. There was no way we could afford to pay for the rights to music, so we'd need to get permission some way, some how. Low and behold, we wound up getting permission to use awesome music from a Catholic singer/songwriter who lived a block away from us where we use to live. He's won all kinds of awards and his songs are far and away more professional than I could have ever dreamed for (I'd link to his site, but I don't want anyone to know about this blog!). Anway, this movie couldn't have happened without music. See, God answers our prayers in ways that are even better than we could have ever hoped for! (Just a little reminder for those of us with infertility!)
So we purchased the equipment and got going. The process was sped up last summer when we found out we were moving. My husband and I shot nearly everything before we left, with the exception of an interview we shot when we went back up to visit at Christmas. Since moving, I started the editing process and after several months (and many weeks spent not working on it at all), I finally finished last night. There's still some tweaking I need to do, and I will probably be working on it for another month or so.
So what's it about? Well, it's about a perpetual adoration chapel in the city where we used to live. It tells the stories of a few of the more than 300 adorers who keep watch around the clock. Despite the fact that it is in a poor neighborhood and in a diocese that is continuously closing churches, this chapel draws adorers from around the area. They come for one hour or more each week to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In this busy world, it is truly amazing to think that someone has been with our Lord in this chapel every single hour of every single day for (in this chapel's case) sixteen years. That is dedication, and quite an undertaking. As one adorer put it, what must those who aren't Catholic think? People coming all hours of the night - young, old, business people, you name it. Perhaps it makes some think that maybe, just maybe, something is truly there.
My goal in telling this story is to get the word out about adoration not only to those who aren't Catholic, but to Catholics as well. It's sad how many Catholics don't even know what the Real Presence is. If I can play some tiny part in educating some of them, then that's all I hope for.
Everyone's next question is always, "what do you plan to do with it?" Well, I'm not sure. I continue to pray that God will show me why He called me to make it (I still feel funny saying that. Trust me, I'm still not completely comfortable with the idea that God personally called me to do something. It's kind of like I don't think I'm good enough. But I have to remember that we are all called to do different things, we just don't always listen to Him. He just happened to hit me over the head with this). My highest goal, if it is God's will, is to have it aired on EWTN. I know they air independent projects at times, and I know they love the Blessed Sacrament, so perhaps they'll give my documentary a shot. Plus, they have a lot of time to fill, so why not?! I at least hope that I can get it into parish libraries as a teaching tool. We also plan on setting up a website for it, so perhaps we will distribute it that way as well.
Very soon I will post a trailer on this blog. I just have to finish putting it together. And I'll post the link when I set up the new website as well. Sorry if this story was long and boring, but it is all that I'm thinking about lately! And I didn't even write about how amazing I have felt lately while I've been finishing it! Speaking of resisting God's will, I definitely resisted Him in the past few months when it came to finishing the movie. But as soon as I sat down to do it, the rest of my life immediately fell into place. I was less depressed about infertility and much more hopeful. Not to mention that the editing process was one of the easiest things I've ever done in my life! Thanks be to God! As I write this I realize that if anything, God is probably hoping that I use this experience as assurance that He will protect me when it comes to infertility. I didn't trust Him initially with the movie idea but once I did, everything fell into place. So I will trust Him. I usually have good and bad days when it comes to this, but I feel like now I'm entering a phase in which my good days will outnumber the bad. And that's all I can ask for.
Monday, April 7, 2008
On another topic, I watched the best episode of Cold Case last night. It actually made me realize something important (I know this might sound pathetic, but I'm serious, and I'll take some insight wherever I can get it). It was about a guy who kidnapped and kept women in little dungeon-like rooms in basements, and the reason he does it is because basically he gets a sick enjoyment out of seeing the women give up hope. As he put it, once they lose hope, "death is just a formality". It turned out (sorry to ruin it for you) that one of the women was still alive because she refused to give up hope, despite being stuck in one room with no light and no apparent chance at being rescued. She hung on, humming the tune of church bells she could hear, and convinced herself there was something to live for. So hope saved her.
So I know this is just a t.v. show, but sometimes it takes things like this to make me realize things I should already know - that I need to have hope, even when it seems like I am stuck in a dungeon with no light. Because if I lose hope, I will die. I may not actually die, but what is the difference if I walk around like there's no reason to live? I need to have hope. God wants me to have hope. And I need to hope not necessarily for a pregnancy, but that I will have joy.
God is working in my life and I need to show Him that I am faithful, patient, and with Him always, not just in good times. He wants the best for me and all I should want is to make Him happy. Lately I want to be pregnant more than I want to please God, and that's not right.
The devil wants those of us suffering with infertility to lose hope. He is trying so hard for us to give up on our God and desperately wants us to think God gave up on us. But He hasn't! He has been with us all along and always will be. There will be tough days and suffering is painful, but the Lord is still with us through it all.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Okay, sorry to rant. Speaking of the media, I heard on the Discovery channel today a wonderful little stat that just brightened my morning - the fact that 250,000 babies are born each day. A quarter of a million! In one day! Hearing that stat really made me realize how absolutely commonplace pregnancy is, and how that is what our bodies are supposed to do. I know this is all very obvious, but when you are unable to give birth to one of the 91,250,000 babies born each year, hearing how many other people are able to isn't exactly fun. I mean, millions upon millions of women are trying their darndest to not get pregnant right now!
Here's an example of how bad it has gotten for me.. It's one thing to see babies everywhere to remind you of your infertility, but has anyone ever looked at a crowd of adults and thought, 'every one of these people were born to a fertile woman'? That's right - I even see adults as a reminder of my infertility. Heck, I am a reminder of my infertility in that my mother was fertile. That's bad. Actually, it's not like I am in a bad place right now. I'm not. These are just some of the thoughts that swirl around in my head on a good day.
As for how my chart is doing, I'm on day 11 and I had three days of spotting following my period. That was a bit excessive, even for me. I had some mucus yesterday. And I just finished my first month of parlodel, which I'm taking for my high prolactin. I'm still taking it, it's just significant because I heard it might take a couple months to start working. Not much else new.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Rules of the meme:
1. Post these rules of the game first.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names. Then the tagger goes to the blogs of those who have been tagged & leaves a comment letting new players know they’ve been tagged. The tagger asks them to find the meme and instructions back at his/her blog.
What I was doing 10 years ago: I have no idea! Okay, let's see. Ten years ago I was a junior at Syracuse University and I was studying abroad in London. And right about now I was probably either spending spring break in Italy with my five roommates, or had just returned to London from that trip and my sister was visiting me.
Five things on my To Do List today:
1. Meet with an adoption agency
2. Get my hair cut
3. Work on my documentary
4. Mail stuff to PPVI that is long overdue
5. Make dinner
Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. I would donate tons of money to PPVI so they could conduct research wherever there's a need (like maybe to find a cure for lutenized unruptured follicle syndrome!)
2. Donate money to pro-life causes and our church
3. Give money to my parents so my dad can retire and move them wherever we are
4. Build my dream house and design everything in it
5. Start a big production company with lots of employees (not just me with no money) to make documentaries that promote the Church and life issues
Three of my bad habits:
2. being a pessimist
3. spending too much time online
Five places I have lived:
1. Richmond, VA
2. Fort Plain, NY
3. New Hartford, NY
5. Albany, NY
Five jobs I’ve had:
1. t.v. news anchor and reporter
2. host of a real estate t.v. show
3. hostess at Ruby Tuesday's
4. marketing associate for a Catholic retreat center
5. intern at Late Show with David Letterman
Five people I want to know more about: And Not By Sight, TTC Depression, Shannon and... Okay, I barely know five bloggers (especially ones who haven't recently been tagged themselves), so I'll leave it at that!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Look, I've got two daughters -- 9 years old and 6 years old. I'm going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.
See for yourself:
This makes me so made that I can't even begin to comment on the obsurdity of it, other than to say how dare he call a baby, a blessing that is tragically unattainable to so many women, a punishment.
(Thanks to A Thorn in the Pew, where I first saw this story)
I don't know. I also know not everyone is called to adopt, and if I think I'll have hang-ups about it, then maybe I'm not a good candidate. Not to mention that if I am asking God to place this on my heart if it is His will, there's a chance that it's not His will. I'm waiting for a sign from Him and when one hasn't come I keep thinking I just missed it, but there is a chance He is trying to tell me not to do it right now.
I've been trying to read adoption blogs lately and I thought they would really help get me use to the idea, but they've actually done the opposite. I read them and I am so happy for the couples, but then it just makes me start thinking about all of my issues with it. Let me just say that what I'm about to say is not meant to offend anyone considering adoption, in the process of adoption, who has adopted, or is adopted. I just have some hang-ups that are my problems, and I want to voice them in order to show myself how crazy they are. So here are my worries: I am afraid that if I adopt I'll feel like a phony. I think I would still be so wrapped up in dealing with infertility that I would feel less-than. I would feel like I didn't deserve this child because I didn't carry it for nine months like "real" mothers. I would feel like I couldn't take credit for the child, or take pride in the child if he/she did something good or cute, because it isn't really mine. I'm afraid that the baby wouldn't have any kind of love or connection to me because I didn't carry it. I'm afraid I wouldn't feel like I was getting that true experience of being a mother, because I would have just gotten a call a few weeks before the baby's birth. I couldn't possibly have all those intuitions a new mother has, because I am just an infertile girl who happens to have gotten someone else's baby. I also have this vision that I would feel like people weren't really happy for me, that deep down they'd feel sorry for me. Aw, they had to adopt. How sad. That's crazy, I know!
But... at the same time, I have no qualms about raising an adopted child once they are no longer a baby. At that point I believe the child would be a product of our parenting, that we could take pride in him/her, that I would be confident that he/she loved me because I would be all he/she knew, and that I would be a 'real' parent at that point (which I would have earned through sleepless nights and all that). I also, though, have worries about how an older child would handle being adopted once they truly understand what it is. And the idea of them looking for their birth parents would scare the heck out of me. I know these feelings are due to my insecurities.
Does any of this make sense? I'm not sure it does. I just wanted to get it all out because usually my fears and worries don't seem as big once I write/type them out. And again, I don't think these things are facts, they are just my worries I need to sort through. They are just more examples of how infertility has messed with my mind. Plus, no one close to me is adopted or has adopted, so I've never been close to it before.
The reason I'm thinking about all of this today in particular is that we have our adoption meeting tomorrow with one of the agencies we are considering. This is the agency that a friend of mine is using and highly recommends. This has also been on my mind today because I got an email response from Catholic Charities. As I posted about the other day, they had emailed in February saying that because we are open to adopting an African-American or bi-racial baby, that we can start the homestudy process now (normally it's a year-and-a-half or more wait). We had missed the email, only to find it over the weekend. Well, they responded that it's not too late and we can set up a meeting to start the process. So we are dangerously close to starting the process with one of these two agencies.. and I'm not even sure we're supposed to!
Ugh!!!! I just don't know if I've adequately dealt with all of this infertility stuff yet. But, then again, will I ever fully deal with it? If I wait for that day, we might be childless forever. And no matter what, we know we want a big family. I'm 31, after all. It's not like I'm 25. But then is the fact that I'm 31 a reason to jump into adoption? Is just wanting a child reason enough? If I knew today that I would never have a biological child would I start the adoption process? The answer to that is yes. Absolutely.
This situation is in serious need of more prayer.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
So I realized that, for the most part, infertility just doesn't make sense and to try to understand it would be futile. Way too many good, God-fearing couples can't have kids and there's just no way to make sense of it, so why try?
I'm actually feeling pretty good lately. Not because I'm starting a new cycle and we can begin trying again in a week or so. That doesn't really affect my moods. I personally feel my mood is affected by hormones, otherwise there's no explanation of why sometimes I'm up and sometimes I'm down. So I'm up right now, not necessarily hopeful, just in a good mood. Maybe it's because we're going on vacation in a week and a half. That could be it.
As I mentioned yesterday, I started working on my documentary again and I think that is also helping my mood. Every time I've prayed lately and asked God what I can do to serve Him, all I keep coming back to is the documentary. It's like God is telling me "I already told you what you can do, and you're not doing it!" I just need to finish it. That's what He called me to do and I need to carry out His wishes. So hopefully now that I've started working on it again my prayer life will improve and I won't constantly feel guilty. I also know I have to finish it because I got a lot of money from people for it, so there's absolutely no way I won't complete it. It's just been a writer's block sort of thing. I get that with painting a lot. I'll go for a year without painting anything. My inspiration runs very hot and cold.
Today was a pet day. Our cat Carmie has a cold and had to go to the vet. Poor thing. And Sophie got groomed and looks beautiful, or 'bootiful' as my family would say. Here's my baby with her new haircut and her new pretty girl (I should explain that my family calls dog bandanas "pretty girls" as in "My, that's a beautiful new pretty girl you're wearing!" I know, we're weird.)
Sorry this was such a hodge-podge post!