Saturday, May 31, 2008
Luckily for both him and me, that has changed. We never have those late night infertility depression talks (thanks internet!) and I have to believe that even if we did, they would go very differently. The reason I know this is because I find myself giving others the very advice my husband once gave me. And I believe it! That's what happened tonight. As I was emailing someone I realized that I had, at some point, begun believing what my husband always tried to tell me. Maybe it is self-preservation, maybe I have just been worn down. I tend to believe, though, that this transformation has taken place through prayer. I have cried out to God so often to help me, hoping that help would come down like a lightning bolt and when it didn't, I wondered if he'd heard me at all. It wasn't until long after (we're talking years) that I realized I received the help I was asking for. It took a while, but I have slowly come to accept the answers to some of the very tough questions I use to ask. Like...
Question: Why does God want me to suffer like this?
Old Answer: Who knows! It makes no sense. Everyone else can get pregnant and I can't. Can he not hear me? Does he not love me?
New Answer: He doesn't want me to suffer but he allows it for several reasons, such as a) to purify my soul, b) so I can share in the sufferings of his son, c) because the suffering may only be temporary and I am just being very impatient.
Question: What if the suffering is not temporary and I never have children?
Old Answer: I will live a horrible existence, my life will be wasted and maybe, if I am lucky, I will receive my reward in heaven, whatever that means.
New Answer: If I am to never have children (biologically), then I will join millions of other couples who will also never have biological children. I am not alone and God did not single me out to hurt me. That being said, being childless never has to be the end result because we can always adopt. If, for some reason, God puts it on our hearts to not adopt, then there must be a really good reason for that and that would be something we would decide together and have to be completely okay with.
Question: What if I am never okay with not having biological children and I am miserable for the rest of my life?
Old Answer: I don't know! I guess I will just cry every day and no one will want to be around me, ever. And I will be a horrible adoptive parent because my child will always know that I am depressed and God forbid he or she finds out it's because I couldn't get pregnant.
New Answer: That misery will subside as I draw nearer to God. That might be hard to understand at first, but it will happen. This was a sticking point for me just a couple years ago, as I refused to believe the sting of infertility would ever go away. In fact, I thought it would only increase with time. I have found that while it is still painful, I have come to the realization that misery does not please God and to love him is to want to please him. Plus, if what people say is true, that misery becomes a distant memory when your adopted baby is put in your arms.
I remember one night, my poor husband was trying to read a book with me about suffering. We had ordered it online and our hopes were high that it might offer me some help. We got to a chapter about the need to find something that brings you joy in life (like an activity, such as gardening or playing the piano) and I could go no further. I literally sobbed and sobbed because I could not think of one thing in the world that brought me joy, which just depressed me even more. My husband tried his best to list off some possibilities and I just knocked them all down. And at the time, I was being honest. Nothing brought me joy. I was depressed. But I am so blessed today to be able to look back on that and say I have discovered several things that bring me joy. I truly believe God has answered my prayers and transformed me so that I am able to experience joy in the midst of suffering. That's what it is all about - living with this. It was the theme of all of my tough questions. I was afraid of how much it would hurt to live with this pain and what that meant for my relationship with and image of God. I am not on the other side of this by any means, but I really feel like I have grown so much. With God's help, I have learned that suffering is manageable and things can get better. Believe me, I still hope things get much better for me. The difference is that I now believe they will.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
As for my cycle, it is day nine and I'm still spotting. I go through so many red stickers! PPVI increased my dosage of T3 today, which I'll start in a few days when I get the new pills in the mail. My temp and pulse have been okay lately, so I'm no longer concerned about the side effects. Now let's just hope everything stays okay with the higher dose. My husband is not too happy about this medication, though. It costs money, which is fine, but when you aren't sure the medication is helping it becomes harder to part with the cash. Mainly, I think he is a little suspect of why I am in the study to begin with, since my new doctor said I don't fit the bill at all. I'm going to stay on it for now, but I'm going to ask my new doctor what he thinks at my next appointment. My main concern right now is that I don't feel ANY different. If I had to fill out the symptom check list today, it would be exactly the same as when I filled it out before taking the medication. If anything, I am MORE exhausted than ever before.
Speaking of being tired, I am still waiting for my low g.i. diet to improve my energy level. Does anyone know how long this takes? I'm kind of wondering if perhaps my blood sugar is now too low, but I don't understand enough about it to even begin to figure that out. All I know is that my energy level ranges from exhaustion to feeling like I've been hit by a bus. I use to think that was because I wasn't getting any exercise, but now we take a vigorous walk every day (I know that's not exactly two hours at the gym, but it's a huge improvement for me and I can already tell that it's helping my weight loss).
Well, I'm off now to make a delicious low g.i. dinner!
Anyway, so this little scrap of paper fell out of it a few days ago and when I picked it up I realized it contained a passage that I had written down months ago. I remember that I thought the passage would help me during hard times, but it turns out I completely forgot about it. So, it would make a much better story if I had found it during one of my days of mild depression late last week, but I did not. I was already feeling better when I saw it, but I figured there is probably someone out there who could benefit from it right now, so here it is:
There are days when the burdens we carry
chafe our shoulders and wear us down,
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies grey and threatening,
when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely,
and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
turn our eyes to where the heavens are full of promise!
We could all use our paths flooded with a little light, couldn't we?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
So back to the beach. We've never lived so close to the ocean before, so we are determined to take advantage of it. And we thought it would help to lift both of our spirits (my husband is sad he can't go on his annual nascar trip next weekend). We had a great time... except when I got a call from my doctor's office telling me they needed to reschedule my appointment for a week later. Ahhhh! Anyone who has read my recent posts knows I am counting down the days to this appointment. I got really upset at first, but now I'm resigned to it. What else can I do?
So the highlight of the day: I'm laying on the beach and all of a sudden my husband yelled my name. I looked up, knowing from the tone of this voice that he saw someone we knew. I was thinking, 'Oh great, it's probably one of his co-workers and I have no make-up on.' But guess who he recognized that was walking right by us? Ell.iot Yam.in! For those who are not American Idol fans, he was on the show the season before last. Here he is as I stalked him walking down the beach with my cell phone camera (he's on the right):
Just in case any of you are serious fans of his and happen to know that he was somewhere else today (and, honestly, that would just be plain weird, no offense).. I am not 100% sure it was him, but I am 99.999% sure. I didn't go up to him because a) I didn't want to annoy him and b) I had no make-up on. I know, I'm sure he wouldn't have noticed or cared. I just have a complex.
Since I'm showing pictures... Today I actually wore something I sewed. That's right - I made a skirt! For someone who has never sewn their whole life, it's pretty cool to wear something you made in public! So I had my husband take a picture of me:
Not bad, right? It looks like I could have bought it, if I say so myself (although if you inspected it inside-out, you'd probably figure out that it was made by a beginner). And the Amy Butler fabric I used to make it was on sale, so that was a bonus. And I didn't use a pattern. I basically just modeled it after two skirts I have. Cheap and designed to my liking. You can't beat it! Oh, if I had kids, I would totally sew their clothes! But since I do not, my dog is next in line. Just wait for those pictures...
Okay, one more picture. This is a little tote bag I made for my goddaughter. I also didn't use a pattern for this, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be:
So that's it for today. I know, it was riveting. Oh, one more thing - I officially posted my infertility history on the right side. I really like when I see that on other blogs because it's just easy to reference, whether you're new to the blog or you forgot what their story is. Writing it was like a little trip down memory lane. It really served as a reminder of how much we've been though these last three (almost four) years, mainly because it's so long. But it also reminded me that I've never had any real chance at conceiving.. at least not yet. So it's not like it just hasn't happened all these years. We actually haven't even begun having a chance. But we will soon!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
So let's hope I can sustain this improved attitude. If it's due to hormones, then that should be easy because they should be shifting around very soon. And this month should be a good one.. I've got my doctor's appointment and hormone series test results, and then there's my sister-in-laws wedding and a visit to my parents' house. Hopefully there will be more weight loss too. But I am not going to dwell on that! I promise. Or at least I'll try not to...
Interestingly enough, I'm really not upset that I'm not pregnant this month. Perhaps that is because there has never been any chance I would be. Well, not since the first few months after my honeymoon way back in 2004 (there still was no chance then, but at least I didn't know it yet). So I'm not upset about that. I'm more upset in general. I just don't know if I'm crazy for not giving up yet. I'm trying to remember what my new doctor told me, that he thinks it's possible to get me ovulating and then pregnant. I'm trying to hold on to that, but it's tough.
I hate these times when everything bad in your life rushes to the forefront and invades your every thought. I can handle bad things when I have something positive going on in my life, but when everything looks dismal, I crumble. That is what is happening now. I feel sick, incredibly achy, tired, I am not losing weight despite a strict diet, I have no purpose in life, no apparent future, and I have no kids at age 31 and may never have any. Those are the thoughts playing on repeat in my brain.
I know I shouldn't feel sorry for myself, and I know this is the devil at work. I just fight it off so much that sometimes I get tired and give in. And to be honest, it's not like I've cried about it or anything, so that's an improvement over my former life. I use to cry constantly. I said a Rosary this morning to ward off the bad attitude, but then I just beat myself up because I don't know all the mysteries by heart at the moment. Maybe I'll study them today.
I really believe this sadness is due to hormones. I know God is with me and is helping me carry the cross. I know this would be much worse without him. I just need some extra help today, God. Something to brighten my mood. And I need patience, because we will know so much more at my next doctor's appointment, which is now just about three weeks away. In the meantime, I need to stay positive and not let this get the best of me. It could be much worse. There is hope, even if I can't see it right now.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Yesterday I was having another gloomy day. I wasn't in a deep despair by any means, just a little down, bored, tired, etc. (and it had nothing to do with the impending new cycle beginning, honestly.. other than the fact that it was probably caused by hormones related to that), so I took my second walk of the day and prayed. Well I know I shouldn't be surprised, but God answered my prayers and by the end of the walk I was out of the funk and felt like a weight had been lifted. It constantly amazes me how that happens.
Still no weight loss this morning, but when does the bloating go away, anyways? When your new cycle starts? After your period? I know I shouldn't be obsessing about weight loss. That's not why I'm on this diet.
So I will collect my last saliva sample today and overnight it tomorrow. The test alone costs like $163 plus the shipping. That's a lot! Well, I guess it's not a lot when compared to the costs of procedures that insurance pays and I think I can submit it to insurance after the fact. But it's a lot when I'm trying to make forty bucks stretch til Tuesday. We've been blessed to not have any credit card debt, but this will probably be one of those times where we break out the card. (Sidenote - our lack of credit card debt, which was scarily high just a year ago, is a testament to the power of prayer. I'm serious. Try it, because amazing things can happen.)
Well gotta go, it's time now for Sophie's favorite time of the day - our walk. Actually, I think it's tied with sleeping for her. She really loves sleeping.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Okay, so AI is out of the way and Fox's very best reality talent competition can now begin - So You Think You Can Dance! That's right. I love it. If you've never watched, give it a try. You won't be disappointed. Unless you hate dancing.
Back to infertility now.. I came across a great blog tonight that maybe you all already know about, but it's new to me. It's called The Apostolate of Hannah's Tears. It's a Catholic infertility/adoption blog and offers links to several great resources. One part I found especially interesting was a list of patron saints of childless couples. Since I happen to get a lot of visitors who find my site after googling "patron saint of infertility," I thought I'd post the list: St. Anne Line, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Colette, St. Gummarus, St. Henry II, St. Julian the Hospitaller, St. Agnes of Rome, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Nicolas of Myra, and Sts. Perpetua and Felicity.
And now I just realized that when people land on my site in the future via a "patron saint of infertility" search, they'll forever be forced to first read my American Idol review, wondering what this blog has to do with infertility. Well, if you made it this far, just consider it an extra treat.
This cycle is definitely drawing to a close. All the signs are there - I had some very light spotting last night and today, I was very irritable yesterday for no apparent reason, and then there's that little bloating problem.
I am currently on cycle day 26 and only twelve days past my "ovulatory event." If I do start a new cycle today or tomorrow, does that mean I may have a luteal phase defect? Since I started charting almost two years ago, I haven't had a luteal phase more than 13 days (well, the first one I ever charted was 15, but I don't count that because I had no idea what I was doing), and it's only been 13 days once. Since my surgery in January, my luteal phases have been three days, eight days, nine days, and nine days (although, taking all that into consideration, this month's twelve days is an improvement!). From what I've read, this can be fixed by correcting hormone levels. Does anyone have any experience with that?
Well, I'll have answers soon enough. I have two more vials to fill with spit, today and hopefully two days from now. I'm not sure what I do if I start my period, so I might have to call the doctor's office. Then I overnight all my vials to the company that runs the tests, and wait patiently for my appointment, which is exactly 27 days from now. Ahhh! Almost a month!
At least I can look forward to losing more weight once the bloating goes away. Hopefully I'll make up at least a few pounds. Dieting is no fun when you're not losing any weight!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Yesterday was a great day, though. It was my husband's day off, so we took a very long walk on this little island in Richmond called Belle Isle. It was the first time we went there and it was really great, and Sophie LOVED it! It's right in the city, but there's wildlife, swimming, rock climbing, and tons of trails. We walked for two straight hours and it seemed like hardly any time at all. I brought my camera, so here are some of the highlights:
Here is me carrying Sophie. See, the bridge to the island is a suspension bridge and something about it scared her (and scared me for her). She was refusing to walk and I was trying to pull her. From past experience, I know that when I pull her, we run the risk of her sliding out of her collar. Well, I don't know if you can see it in this picture, but there was just enough room below the bottom railing for a little Sophie to fall through. So... I picked her up and carried her until...
...my husband thought that was silly and took over.
Here's a view of the city (way in the distance) from Belle Isle.
I wasn't quick enough with the camera, but this is Sophie trying to chase a frog. It was kind of pathetic, though, because we had to practically put her nose right up to the frog for her to even realize it was there.
Here she is exploring. She's not one for water, so there's not really a risk of her jumping in.
Here's how we spent most of our afternoon - walking. Sophie LOVES walks, so it's safe to say it was one of the best days of her little doggie life.
We're about to leave for another walk right now, as a matter of fact, except for one small problem. Sophie is still sleeping. In fact, until a minute ago, she was lying in our bed.
I hope my mood gets better. Perhaps this is hormones? It is cycle day 25, so maybe, just maybe, I ovulated this cycle and now I'm having hormone shifts I don't normally experience. Who knows. But at least it's optimistic that I'm taking my bad mood as a possible good sign, right?!
By the way, I just charted my BBT's for this cycle so far, and I know I'm not a BBT expert and I also know that PPVI doesn't even advocate the use of temps, but I think mine might show that I may not have ovulated. There was a slight spike on the morning after my last peak day (day 14), but other than that, this isn't how any of those sample charts look at all! Isn't it supposed to be all low, then spike, then all consistently high? Mine just looks like a bumpy diagonal line. Okay, I just found a way to save it as a picture so here it is:
Okay, I am not worried about this and I don't want to overanalyze it, but I'm bored and curious. So, that being said, anyone know what this may mean?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
So today the diet was kind of getting to me. It wasn't because of the food (okay, I was tempted by some restaurant commercials on t.v. tonight. These little mini-hamburgers from Chili's just looked so good! And I'm a sucker for mini-hamburgers!). I think my diet rut is a result of grocery money running a tad bit low this week and me not being able to buy all the wonderful fruits and vegetables I need in order to do this right. I also think I'm getting crabby about not being able to eat for three hours each night, because of my thyroid medication. Part of this diet is that I'm supposed to eat snacks throughout the day, so not being able to eat for a while makes it tough. And if you tell me I can't eat, it's all I'll think about.
Oh - I've also been exercising lately! Well, exercising to me means walking. But I am definitely doing something right because I am SORE! (or, then again, maybe I'm doing something wrong.)
Well I have to go now and make dinner. Chicken tenders (no, not those kind of chicken tenders, which I LOVE.. ooh, I wish I could eat fried chicken tenders right now!), with squash, zucchini, mushrooms and onions. I also found some fresh bread that is whole grain and has no fat, so I'm looking forward to that.
Alright, sorry for the boring post, but it's just a reflection of my bored mood tonight!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Did I mention I'm doing a saliva test? I spit into a vial every two or three days. The other day I had to do it at my in-laws on the way home from Olive Garden, as I drove my in-laws' car. That's not easy, or classy. I am SO excited to get the results when this cycle is over, and I'm pretty sure it tests all your important hormones and how they fluctuate throughout your cycle. I'll find out the results at my doctor's appointment in June.
Another interesting development - I've been looking into baby names. Why, you ask? I'm not sure. I just have felt like it. I think it's all part of my new and improved attitude. I haven't thought about names in years. It was too hard to think about it. But now, it doesn't bother me. As I told my husband, one way or another we're having kids, so why not talk about names? Plus, I decided I need to choose a saint's name for a baby and then if I don't already have a devotion to him or her, I can start one. The interesting part, though, is that none of this causes me depression or anxiety. I'm not left feeling sorry for myself or worried it will never happen. Weird, huh?
One more thing. We were outside an abortion clinic for a little bit this morning, shooting video for a promotion for our pro-life group's upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign. I'd never been there on a Saturday morning, one of their "busiest" times, so I'd never seen girls go in and out. The few times I've had the guts to go, I made sure I went in the evenings, when there was less of a chance there would be clients or staff around. Anyways, a couple cars pulled in and out today. We were just there to do the promo, so we weren't in a position to talk to the people, but it was the first time I saw anyone who was there, possibly, to have an abortion. To think that they are blessed enough to be fertile and that they have a chance to welcome into their lives what would be an enormous blessing if they just gave it a chance (despite the fact that they and society consider it a "punishment"), is just too much. I almost can't let myself think of the connections between abortion and infertility, or it might be too difficult to be involved in pro-life activities. And that's not an option, because there are too many babies who need saving. God, bless these women as they are faced with what they call a problem, and I call a dream. May they make the right choice, and may you comfort all those who realize too late that they have not.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
1. Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog because I wanted to post on someone else's blog and I needed a google account, or whatever it is, to do so. I know that doesn't mean you have to start a blog, but I figured that was the little push I needed.
2. How did you come up with your blog name?
I knew I wanted my blog to be Catholic-focused, and religious in nature, so I grabbed the Bible for inspiration. I opened it up, blindly, and pointed and when I opened my eyes I was pointing to the verse "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord" in Psalms. I'm kidding! I actually think I looked up "hope" in the back of the Bible and turned to all the references until I found one I liked. This was perfect because it didn't describe my attitude at the time, but it was something I knew I needed to remember. I figured if I had to look at it each day, it might begin to sink in. And, I'm happy to report, it has!
3. Do your friends and family know about your blog and what do they think?
My husband knows about it and he thinks it has been my saving grace because my attitude has improved remarkably since it began. I didn't let him read it at first, and although he knew about it and could have found it, he refrained (or so he says!). Eventually, I gave him permission and he now reads it on a regular basis.
I also have one friend who knows about it, and she found it by accident (although we know there are no coincidences with God). We actually had just met when she found it, and had I not posted my picture the day before, she wouldn't have had any idea that it was me. As for everyone else in my life, none of them know. I'm super open about my infertility, but for some reason it makes me uncomfortable to think they could read about my mucus. It's an issue I will need to confront in the coming days, though, because if someone I know googles the name of my documentary, this blog comes up as a result. In fact, that could have already happened. I'm thinking of just going public and not worrying about it. I think I would be relieved! Maybe my writing will change a little bit because I'll be thinking in the back of my mind that so-and-so might be reading it, but I think that's a worthwhile trade-off for being able to come clean. Then again, do I want everyone in my life to know when I have a bad day? Ahh! It's tough. My goal is to help others like me, and I just have a feeling I may be able to do that on a grander scale if my blog isn't a secret.
4. How do you write posts?
It's a stream-of-consciousness thing. I just open the "new post" window and write. (I know, that is probably evident).
5. Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?
I'm not sure what a troll is, but if I assume it is someone who leaves nasty comments, then no, thankfully, I have not.
6. Do you check your stats or care how many people read your blog? If so, how do you increase traffic?
Because the whole blogging world was so new to me, it took me a couple months before I realized there was such a thing as stat.counter or site.meter. I do check my stats now and while I may let out a little 'woo-hoo!' when it sets a new personal record for visits in a day, I definitely don't try to increase my traffic. To be honest, I'm not even sure how I would accomplish that (and to think I've worked in marketing).
So that's it. I know, riveting! I will now tag This Cross I Embrace, jellybelly, lifehopes, and ttcdepression (just so I can try to get her to post twice in one week!).
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
First off, this cycle is oddly mimicking a "normal" cycle. It's cycle day 19 today and other than the fact that I went straight from red stickers to white stickers (due to a couple days of spotting), I had seven days of mucus (days eight through 14), then three dry days. On the first dry day my morning temp spiked (I don't normally use temps, but I'm required to keep track of them for my thyroid medication). It's been elevated ever since. Yesterday I had yellow mucus one time (which I had a couple times last cycle during the luteal phase. Anyone know what that may mean?) and so far none today. So for the first time in a long time, I may actually get to use a green sticker today! (I'm keeping my fingers crossed)
I have to assume that if my cycle is beginning to do the things that a healthy person's cycle should do, then I might be getting healthier. Makes sense, right? I know my prolactin is normal (which, I realized today, makes me so darn blessed. A lot of people don't respond to medication and some even have to have surgery on a tumor in their pituitary) and I know I am eating right, although I'm not sure if it is too early on in the diet for it to have a positive effect on my hormones.
Secondly, and speaking of the diet, I have lost eight pounds! Granted, my scale was kind of broken when I started. But I weighed myself on my in-laws scale yesterday and my mother-in-law says her scale is exactly right. She says she weighs the same on it as she does on her doctor's scale. If we are to assume her doctor's scale is 100% right and my doctor's scale was 100% right, then that also confirms that I have lost eight pounds. I'm going with it. And it also means my goal of losing fifteen pounds by June 17 is looking like a real possibility.
I will reiterate that I love this diet. We love the food we eat, I don't crave any foods (other than fruit sometimes), and I don't lament over all the fried food I can't have. It's like my taste buds have changed. And fitting in smaller sized clothes goes a long way towards keeping you on track, that's for sure. It's like I can't get dressed for the day without trying on all my "skinny" jeans/capris/skirts just for a quick check at my progress and today I noticed my shirts are even getting looser on me.
Thirdly, my attitude continues to remain positive. I constantly marvel at God's goodness, because it's like I'm not use to this new me. I can play with babies, hear about pregnancies, see children at Mass, and experience Mother's Day without a twinge of jealousy and it surprises me each and every time! The other day someone said something to me that you shouldn't say to an infertile woman (imagine whatever comment you'd like). The old me would have been hurt and the words would have cut me like a knife. The old me would have been sent into a depression lasting at least a few days. But the new me didn't care. I realized at that moment that I no longer can expect everyone around me to be constantly thinking of my feelings. That would be considerate on their part, but to expect it would be egotistical on mine. They're not in my world and I can't assume my feelings are always on the top of their mind. They aren't required to put every comment through the filter of infertility. Plus, I'm glad they aren't in my world and I sure as heck don't want them to know what this can feel like. I wouldn't want anyone to. I'd rather they live a carefree life without having to think about themselves or others being childless. To drag others into my world would be selfish. So the comment didn't hurt me because the person had no intention of hurting me. It's my decision whether or not to be hurt by something, and I don't want to choose that ever again. It's just such a 180 from where I was. And for that I thank God.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Here is the brand new trailer for the documentary I've been working on with my husband about Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.
(Note: If you have found this blog through searching the internet for this movie, please know that this is not the film's website. It is actually a personal blog about infertility, and while it is open to public viewing, it is probably very boring to someone not currently experiencing infertility [and, if you know me personally, use your judgment in reading this blog any further!]. What you really want to check out is the film's website by clicking here.)
Friday, May 9, 2008
By the way, have you smelled them before? (I know, I know, not everyone swore off fruit for the last decade). They are intoxicating. I just stand in the produce department with the little plastic cartons to my nose. I can eat a carton a day, easily. I wonder if that is bad. Oh well, it's better than a carton of ice cream.
The diet is going well. We've had several new items for dinner that we would have liked even before the diet, like chicken cordon bleu, fajitas, cheese steak roll-ups, all with approved low-glycemic and low-fat ingredients of course (I've gotten creative). We've also had filet mignon (because it is allowed on this diet, and you better believe I'll be making it once a week..I need something to look forward to), pasta primavera, turkey chili, and much more. Turkey sandwiches, omega-3 eggs and eggbeaters, fruit, salad, high-fiber whole wheat toast, almonds and low-fat no-sugar-added ice cream, among other things, serve as breakfast, lunch and snacks (I do use a little regular butter on my toast which my mom assured me is not going to hurt me and if my mom says it, it must be true). My husband also eats low-fat cottage cheese and all-bran cereal, but I can't stomach either. Did I mention he's doing the diet with me? He weighed himself today and lost three pounds. Yay! I haven't officially weighed myself yet (I thought our scale was broken until he pointed out today that you can manually turn the little arrow back to zero) but my clothes are a little looser.
So I made another bag. This one is for my mom for Mother's Day (again, I hope she doesn't secretly read this blog). I am not 100% happy with it because the fabric store I went to didn't sell cotton canvas, which is supposed to be sewn inside to make the bag a little more durable. Instead, I used fusible fleece (I think that's what it's called) and it turned out okay, but a little too stiff. I also made handkerchiefs for my mom and two sisters' dogs out of the fabric scraps but for some reason didn't take any pictures of them and they are now safely on their way to New York and California. They are reversible and oh so cute.
This bag only cost me $16 and three hours of my time. Not bad, considering usually I'd spend much more on a gift.
I am procrastinating working on my documentary. I played around with it a little yesterday and was very uninspired, yet whenever I really get into it I end up being so happy and glad I did it and the hours literally fly by (yes, literally, not just figuratively). So why do I avoid something that I know will make my joyful? I secretly want to deprive myself of happiness, I guess. Anyway, I'm almost done with the trailer I've been putting together and will hopefully post it on here soon. My husband is also working on a website so when that's up and running I'll post a link for that as well. Okay, now off to work...
Wait.. one more quick update. I had to call in my temperatures and pulses to PPVI today for the thyroid study I'm in. The thing is, they say to call them if your pulse is over 90, which mine often is. I've never called because they never seem to think my quick pulse is a big deal, so I just wait until I'm scheduled to call. But now, my pulse has reached between 110 and 120 on several occasions. That can't be good! So now I'm waiting for the nurse to call me back with my next instructions. I'm really curious to see if they'll reduce the dose.
Okay, now off to work...
Thursday, May 8, 2008
I have no idea if I will ovulate so soon (and by 'so soon' I don't mean cycle day 12, but rather before any new medication is introduced in the months ahead), but anything is possible with God!
Speaking of that, I came across a Scripture passage that use to trouble me. Because I was not in a good place, I saw it is a quick fix, and when that did not work, I grew angry with God. Here it is:
"Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:23-24)
I believe my faith has evolved due to infertility (it should be constantly evolving) and I look at this passage very differently now. First of all, it use to excite me as an opportunity for.. what, I'm not sure. Maybe voodoo? Some magical fix? I always thought something like, 'Yes! This is where it gets fun. This is what I've been wading through all that boring Scripture for! The heck with all those life lessons and stuff about loving and trusting God. I want that thing I've been asking you for.. now!' Then it angered me because well, we all know mountains have never been thrown into the sea (not counting earthquakes, I guess). And I did have doubt in my heart and I definitely did not fully believe that what I asked for would come to pass. I was testing God on this whole answered prayer thing. I wanted it now and grew very impatient, even angry, with him when it didn't happen immediately.
Years later I realized, though, that having faith means believing it will come to pass even when God doesn't allow you to be pregnant that very month, and holding on to that belief. It's about changing your heart to truly trust him and love him. It's not a quick-fix, but, it may be. It all depends on his time. That passage doesn't talk about how quickly the mountain will be moved.
This is a touchy subject, because I know that for some, pregnancy will never be in their future. And that isn't a testament to how good they are at praying, or how faithful they are. But I believe those women, if they truly trust in the Lord, would say years later that God has taken care of them and he may even have revealed to them why biological children weren't part of their plan. For now, I am choosing to follow this passage, and will continue to ask, believing that I have received it.
While I'm at it, there's another Scripture that has been popping into my head a lot lately - Psalm 23.
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
I spent every day for three-and-a-half years lamenting over what I was lacking. My life revolved around the lack of something. Every breath I took was without something I wanted. Let me just say, that type of thinking is draining. Only recently has my life inverted; it's no longer about what I'm lacking, but about what I have. In the past few weeks, I have been constantly reminded that I want for nothing, because "the Lord is my shepherd." Yes, children are blessings, but the lack of those blessings is not despair because the Lord is with us(thank God!). If we turn everything over to him, he will fill the empty hole in our heart.
This transformation wasn't easy. I rejected the thought at first, then gradually came to know it was true but continued to fight it because it was too uncomfortable ('He can't possibly be enough!'). Then I realized how ungrateful I must seem. Without even trying to remember that short passage, I started to realize it was popping into my head at random times. It was as if God was asking me, "am I enough?" How could I say no?
I also think the second Scripture passage ties into the first because perhaps in order to truly ask for something and have faith it will be answered, you first have to not want it, or at least not want it more than God. I wanted a pregnancy more than I thought I needed God. Why would he give me something that I wanted more than him? I have everything I could ever need in him (even if I still don't remember that all the time. I am only human, after all). Only after I realized that could I even begin to ask for something else.
I am just so thankful that God took pity on me. He may have had to bang me over the head to realize this, but it's better late than never.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Anyways, here's my purse:
Well, it's not my purse.. I made it for my sister. Her birthday was Monday. I hope she likes it (and I hope she doesn't know about this blog!). I went pretty colorful with it, but the outside is pretty tame, especially if you remove the bow.
Here's the inside (it's reversible):
Now I have to make one for myself, and my other sister and it might make a good mother's day gift... I have a feeling I'm going to be making more of these.
Monday, May 5, 2008
So needless to say, the call made me very happy. I have so much hope and I am still feeling so peaceful (thank God!). I know things can change and hormones can fluctuate, but it's been two weeks now since I've felt better and that's roughly half a cycle. So I'm hoping this new found peace and ability to trust has more to do with God and less to do with hormones. I've never felt this good this long, and I believe it's because I wholeheartedly gave it over to him. I should have done this sooner!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
The chapel contains an actual confessional used by Padre Pio in San Giovanni. Visitors write intentions on pieces of paper, attach them to rosaries, and then hang the rosaries on the fence that surrounds the confessional. We, of course, left rosaries with our intentions. There's also a relic behind glass in the confessional - one of the brown gloves worn by Padre Pio.
We then made our way to St. Gianna's shrine, which is over an hour from Padre Pio's. Last summer when I visited her shrine, I met a woman who had also experienced infertility and who now is a shrine volunteer and board member. After praying to St. Gianna and venerating her gloves, she conceived and now has two children. I emailed her the other day to see if we could visit the shrine when it is usually closed. She was so kind to agree to meet us there. So on that day, we ended up being forty minutes late and we felt terrible. But when we got there, she didn't seem to mind at all! She was just so sweet. We had a wonderful experience at the shrine, and despite that fact that it is so small and unassuming, it is pretty powerful. We were able to hold onto a pair of St. Gianna's black leather gloves and pray with them. We might have felt a little silly at first, but we even held them to our stomachs when we prayed (my friend is also dealing with infertility). I know she heard us.
The volunteer told us that the shrine actually has three pairs of St. Gianna's gloves and there's a retired married couple who travels around the country, visiting parishes with the gloves and giving presentations on St. Gianna.
Here's a picture of the shrine. It's a simple statue in the back of a parish church. The case that contains her gloves is right in front of her feet:
So it was a great trip and I'm so glad we went. And, I'm happy to report, the peaceful feeling that started a couple weeks ago has not lessened, and for that I am very grateful. I just really trust God right now and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
In other news, it is day six of my diet. I know this diet is supposed to make you feel better and more energetic, but I'm not there yet. Right now I'm still feeling lightheaded and tired. The problem is I'm not sure which symptoms are due to the diet and which are due to the T3 I'm taking. I think one of my problems is that I'm not eating enough. You're supposed to eat three meals and three snacks a day, and I maybe eat two meals and one snack, if that. I'm hungry all the time, but I have such a hard time finding things I like that sometimes I just don't eat. Not to mention that for six hours a day, I can't eat (two hours before and one hour after my medication, twice a day). One thing is for sure, though - I am not complaining about any of this because it is all potentially helping me inch closer to a pregnancy. And, as we all know, I will do anything that it takes (well, anything that the Church has deemed licit, of course!). And I am starting to feel a tiny bit thinner. Yay!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
My diet is going very well (day three! woo hoo!). I'm super motivated and am still on that new diet high. So far I haven't wanted anything I can't have. I've actually enjoyed eating fruit and was even craving some last night! I made low-carb pasta with chicken and lots of vegetables for dinner yesterday and I have all our meals mapped out through next week. I've also been thoroughly satisfied by my no-sugar-added ice cream.
PPVI increased my dose of T3 yesterday. So far I've had an annoying headache every day and my stomach has been upset, but I don't think a stomach ache is on the list of possible side effects. I've also felt just kind of out of it since I started taking it. Maybe it's in my head.
I will pray for all of you at the shrines!