I'm bored, therefore I am posting despite the fact that I have nothing new to report (what an incentive for you to keep on reading!).
Today is ten days past ovulation, so I need to make it through tomorrow and Monday to get a twelve-day luteal phase. Maybe I could even get to thirteen! I don't have any PMS symptoms as of yet, other than some slight indigestion which sometimes is a sign for me. Oh, and how could I forget about this one - I've been weepy for a couple days now. By weepy I mean that I feel like crying while watching commercials or shows, mainly at things that aren't sad. That's usually a tell-tale sign. I don't actually cry, but I start to tear up. It's got to be hormonal because it definitely doesn't happen the rest of the month.
No leg sensation yet, though, which is my surest sign of impending doom. And my temp was back up this morning to 98.4 (my temp dipped two days ago and then yesterday I got up too early to take it).
I am anxious, though - anxious to find out whether my luteal phase will last as long as it should, anxious that each time I go into the bathroom it will be the time I get the inevitable news, anxious to know whether I'll take it well or not. I hate counting down the days and hoping and praying my body can make it to Tuesday, so I don't take a big step backwards. Then I resent the fact that I'm left just hoping my luteal phase can be a stinking twelve days, rather than hoping I'm pregnant like the rest of the fertile world.
I've also caught myself viewing the world from an it's-not-fair perspective lately. After keeping my level of hope and confidence up pretty high for a couple of weeks, I was looking around at the busy mall yesterday and thinking, "Every single one of these people are here because their moms got pregnant, because their bodies were able to do something extremely basic that mine cannot." It boggles my mind sometimes to think that if all women were made like me, the human race would be extinct. It's not only babies who should remind me of my inability to procreate, but all people! That's just great.
Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not depressed, and I haven't lost hope. I know, that's probably kind of confusing. I just find that these thoughts start to creep in at times. They aren't taking over, though. I'm still basically hopeful.
Thanks so much for praying for my mom, by the way. I knew it was bad last night when she asked me for prayers. She always asks me to pray for people she knows who are sick, but I honestly don't think she's ever asked for prayers for anything for herself. She was in rough shape still this morning, but sounded a lot better this afternoon. But then my sister called me, concerned that she needs to take it a lot easier than she is. She really got me worried that this c-dif.f problem could get really bad, which scared the heck out of me. Apparently, c-di.ff can come back again and again (this is my mom's second bout so far) and sometimes last for years, God forbid. We just want her to relax even after she starts to improve. We want her to take a few days off of work, even if she thinks she is better.
She's a nurse, so she knows how it works, but somehow all that goes out the window when she's the patient.
So we are going to stay vigilant and force her to take time off when she should, or not go somewhere she had planned, or not get all busy due to Christmas preparations. That would be silly. If you get a chance, please pray that she can be free and clear of this horrible thing for good.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I'm bored, therefore I am posting despite the fact that I have nothing new to report (what an incentive for you to keep on reading!).
Friday, November 28, 2008
Just a quick cycle update before I get into my pictures of Thanksgiving...It's cycle day 25 and today is nine days past ovulation. My temp was up nice and high until two days ago it dropped to 97.7. This happened last month as well, dropping at about the same time for one day, then rising again. I'm not exactly sure why, but when I googled it I found stuff that said it can be due to an estrogen surge that doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant (hence, me last month). It probably was back up today, but I got up way too early for it to be accurate.
My bbs have been sore this week, which is good, I guess, since they haven't been for as long as I can remember. The only other thing to report is that on Monday and Tuesday I had a stabbing pain that lasted less than 30 seconds. It happened once each day. The pain was very low, in the middle. I'm not sure what that was, unless it might have been gas related. Everything with me is either related to my cycle or gas. Take your pick.
So I started out Thankgiving morning with some good news - I stepped on the scale to discover I had finally hit the forty pound mark. I knew it wouldn't last long, though, with a big meal just hours away. Speaking of which, my low G.I. Thanksgiving was delicious. Low fat it was not. I used four sticks of butter total in the meal, but the good news is there were a lot of leftovers, so it's not like Ryan and I ate two sticks of butter each. But we probably will over the next three days.
I took this picture to show you that I wasn't kidding about using butter...real butter:
(And, let's be honest - this was only a portion of the butter that went in with the onion and celery for the stuffing!) It's my motto in action: Cheat with fat, not with the "white stuff" (white flour, sugar, etc., etc.). While the author of the low G.I. book encourages the low-fat part of the diet as well, that's not crucial for my hormones. So when I want to cheat, that's how I do it. Plus, I should really be maintaining at this point, anyways.
Here's me putting in the turkey, glad that the worst of it was over. And, no, I was not in a house full of family and friends who took this picture. It was just me and the self-timer on the camera (I know, very dorky). I'm glad no one was around, actually, so they didn't have to hear me wimper in fear as I prepped the bird.
The spread. My sweet potato casserole (with Splenda) is on the left. It overflowed in the oven, as you can see (and, if I do say so myself, it was delicious and should make appearances on more than just holidays! I'll post the recipe in the future). Next, my mashed potatoes made with new potatoes (not necessarily low G.I. because they are mashed, but a better option than regular). Stuffing made with wheat bread is above and next to the potatoes. Above the big stuffing is the broccoli casserole (the topping is made with wheat crackers). And above the turkey is the gravy made with white wheat flour.
Poor Ryan had horrible back pain as we ate, and I'm sure he wasn't letting on to just how bad it really was (the back pain, not the food). We both got full really fast, since our stomachs are not what they used to be!
We had a great night (thanks to pain pills for him), and then today I got up early for some black Friday shopping. Believe it or not, it was my first-ever black Friday experience, at least as far as I can remember. And now I see the attraction - I got some good deals! Although I was seriously loopy by 2 p.m. (and I should also point out I got up at 6:20; I didn't exactly do any "door busting").
Then my in-laws stopped at our house tonight to pick up the dogs. I don't know if I mentioned it on here before, but my sister-in-law just discovered my blog and it has been a huge blessing. She has stepped up her prayers for us and we couldn't appreciate it more. So tonight before she left, she was SO sweet and prayed with me for us to have a baby. Let's hope her increased prayers lately will be what puts us over the top!!
I'm exhausted so I'm going to go rest now, with a new fancy Pott.ery Barn throw I bought today with a gift card I've been hoarding for almost a year. Before I do, though, I'm going to go raid the leftovers. Writing about them got me hungry!
P.S. Could you please say some prayers for my mother? She has c-dif.f (period added by me, not part of the name, in case you're curious), which is a type of superbug (wikipedia describes it as follows: It is a severe infection of the colon, often happening after normal gut flora is eradicated by use of antibiotics). She contracted it while on heavy antibiotics for an absessed tooth. Well, after being sick for a couple weeks earlier this month, she thought it was under control, but she's sick again. Any prayers you could say on her behalf would be much appreciated!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Jeremiah 29:11 asked about the paintings I have around my house, so I decided to post some pictures here. I haven't talked too much about painting on here, probably because I haven't really done it in two years! I am a total temperamental artist and I can go for very long periods of time without doing it. I don't doubt that this current dry spell probably has something to do with infertility, now that I think about it.
So I just went around my house and took these pictures, and I realized that I don't have a lot here. My parents' house probably has the marjority in one spot. I used to have pictures of all that I've sold, but they're all on a computer hard drive in our attic. I guess I should probably get those off of there before they're lost forever!
Here's what I have:
This was our wedding painting, which means that a detail of one of the flowers was on our save-the-date and the invitations, and prints of this painting were given away as favors to all the women.
This is a print of a painting (notice the reflection throughout - that bright spot in the sky is neither the sun nor a UFO, but actually a light in my kitchen. You can also see me taking the picture if you look closely). The original is hanging in my father's office. And it's actually a painting of the building my father's office is located in (his is the door and windows on the far right side, first floor).
I did this painting really quickly one day to decorate my kitchen.
This painting - of my great-grandmother on her wedding day, I believe - is actually one of my first, from high school. It matches our bedroom now, so up it went (I look at it every day and think about how the proportion is wrong).
I did this painting the night before my wisdom teeth were removed because I was panicking and needed something to concentrate on! I probably should have painted something before my two endometriosis surgeries!
I was looking for something to paint one day, and the famous painting that this is a replica of was actually printed on the wrapping that the canvas came in, so I just copied it. I guess I'm pretty lazy when it comes to ideas!
Speaking of that, I should point out that I can ONLY paint from photographs, or other paintings. It's a curse and a blessing. Everyone tries to convince me I could probably paint out of my head if I tried, but my mind just doesn't work that way. I HAVE to be looking at something. Here's another example of that:
This one is actually a detail of one of my favorite paintings, On The Beach, by Winslow Homer (and it's a little banged up, I just noticed). The original is hanging in an art museum just a few miles from where I grew up (if you click on the link, you can see how the part I used for my painting is actually in the lower left corner of the original).
Well, I guess this has inspired me to get going on painting. Hopefully I'll post some pictures of new paintings in the near future!
Happy Thanksgiving...and photos of my low G.I. meal are also coming soon!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Due to the wonderful schedule of a t.v. news anchor, we're not going anywhere for Thanksgiving. It's not all bad - my husband does get Christmas off (it's always one holiday or the other, and we always pick Christmas) and we'll be visiting my family for five days. But for now, we're at home and it's just the two of us for dinner tomorrow.
Last year we ate Thanksgiving dinner with everyone working at his station that night, but this year he's working a day shift so he doesn't have to eat there. Plus, if we ate at his station, I wouldn't be able to actually eat anything other than dry turkey. So we decided (or I actually insisted) that I make dinner just for us.
So in case you're wondering, no, I will not be going off of my diet tomorrow. I just don't see the need or the value in it. I don't want to negatively affect my hormones after getting them all in line and since I can make everything on the menu low G.I. anyways, I just don't see the point.
I know I am lucky in that it's just the two of us, so there's no one else to complain about my use of Splenda in the sweet potato casserole. So I'm taking advantage of that!
And while I'm keeping the menu G.I.-friendly, I am also going by my motto: cheat with fat not with the bad stuff (i.e. white flour, sugar, corn products, etc.). So my version of "cheating" will be by using lots of real butter in everything! That way, it won't affect my hormones, but will still be really yummy.
Here's my menu, and how I'm altering the recipes:
Stuffing - my favorite! I am using wheat bread, of course, and the "good" eggs (with omega-3). Also, did you know that the Pepperidge Farm bread crumb stuff is actually a mix of white and 100% whole wheat? And that the "white" part of it is actually enriched wheat flour? Enriched wheat isn't ideal, but it's also not "white" and it's a great compromise. I also "splurged" and will be using a loaf of whole grain white bread, which is also not really white and actually enriched wheat flour as well.
Gravy - made with white wheat flour
Mashed potatoes - made with red new potatoes (even though these are allowed on the diet, I haven't had any just because they are pretty high in carbs still, so I'm looking forward to this!)
Sweet potato casserole - made with Splenda brown sugar blend
Broccoli casserole - made with 2% milk Velveeta cheese and much less butter than the orginal recipe calls for. Also, I'll use whole wheat Ritz crackers for the topping.
I'll also make peas, and the turkey, of course! I feel like I'm forgetting something. Hmmm, I think that's it. I don't know if I'll make a dessert yet, which seems kind of sacreligious, doesn't it? I just am not a big splenda-dessert person, so I'd rather go without than make something like that. I might make a low G.I. apple crisp if my husband wants it. I recently found a great no-sugar-added ice cream bar, so I'll be having one of those.
I'm going to take pictures tomorrow, so I'll post them in the coming days. And eventually I'll also post the recipes for all this stuff as well. It's too late for Thanksgiving, but perhaps some of you will be inspired to make some of it for Christmas.
So before when I said it was just the two of us, I wasn't being entirely truthful. We actually have quite a full house. Sophie's cousins are visiting us for Thanksgiving:
Technically, Sam is Sophie's aunt, but you get the picture. Winston's mommy just started reading this blog, so now she'll get to see her little guy on here. And speaking of Winston's mom and since I just came across some old pictures on my phone while uploading the ones of the doggies...
A couple weeks ago I posted about visiting my in-laws in NC. The reason we were going there that particular time was because we were having a "girls' night in" at her home. We spent the night painting a painting (or, rather, three paintings in one) for her bedroom:
I was supposed to be teaching her and my other sister-in-law to paint, but since I'm not a natural teacher (unlike everyone else in both my and Ryan's families), I kind of took over. Although Winston's mom did contribute a lot, including some of the detail on the petals.
I'm usually a nightmare to be around when I'm painting (the words, "we are to never speak of me painting EVER again," have been known to be spoken at times), so I told my sister-in-laws that I'll need to do all my paintings in front of them, apparently, because I did this one in about three hours with no complaints!
Here it is in her room (we took great care to match it to her bedding!):
Doesn't she arrange her bed beautifully? It looks just like a catalog picture or something!
Anyways - back to Thanksgiving - I hope you all have safe travels, great food, fun times with your families, and a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I'm a sewing fool lately. After making an apron on Saturday, I made two pillows yesterday and a little pillow today. I definitely go in spurts, though. I better be in the sewing mood through Christmas since I have big plans to make aprons for several people.
Here are some shots of my latest creation:
Introducing the "Sophie" apron, part of my Fall 2008 Kitchen-wear line.
I picked the fabric to match my kitchen (and yes, that is actually my kitchen/dining room. Our house is pretty small, or, should I say "cozy").
You might not be able to tell, but the red embellishment on the skirt is tiny little red pom poms, and they look like cherries! So cute. I was so excited when I found it the other day. The light blue part on the skirt actually has words on it that says things like "family," "dwell," "peace," "gathering" and things like that. I love all the fabrics. It's just so hard to choose, which is why my style tends to incorporate several fabrics into one design. I absolutely love matching them all up.
So when I first made my mom's apron a couple weeks ago, I bought a pattern. I figured I'm a beginning sewer so I'd need it. I used it to cut out the initial shape, but then that was it. I discovered I hate following patterns (and this particular one wasn't well written. I don't mind my Amy Butler purse pattern because it's more conversational). I'm not surprised, since I paint but can't stand painting classes and have never really taken any. Maybe I have a problem with authority? I'm not sure! All I know is that my mind doesn't really work that way, with patterns and that sort of thing. I like to make it up as I go along. When it came to my apron, I just had an idea in mind and did it. That's why I love sewing - there are no rights or wrongs and you can make things so fast. I woke up this morning, decided I wanted a little pillow, and had it by eleven!
Speaking of the pillows, here's a shot of them:
That's my arm and leg, and Sophie Belle, of course, and the Infant of Prague is making an appearance in the background.
Well, I'm off to watch a movie. And for a quick cycle update - I've had a little bit of mucus today and yesterday (10 cloudy, pasty yesterday and 6 cloudy, pasty today) and also this morning my temp shot up from 98.1 to 98.6. I hope these are all normal things.
Have a great night!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I've spent the last couple days sewing. I think I've been to fabric stores for different odds and ends almost every day this week! It's a weakness.
I'll post a picture of my newest apron - which I made for myself - soon. I now have created two different designs and since they're originals, I've even named them! My style is called "Sophie," after my dog because it is fun and cute just like her, and the one I made for my mom I named "Maggie" because it is a little more mature, but still feminine - like her cockapoo, Maggie, who is definitely more refined than my crazy dog.
I also made two pillow cases for throw pillows for my couch.
Oh, and yesterday I did a little work towards the big home study home visit! I actually organized our linen closet. Some parts of my house seem like no self-respecting woman could possibly live in my home, and this closet was one of them. So now it's all better and will hopefully stay that way until the meeting. I also cleaned the kitchen, which of course will get dirty twenty times over before then, but I'm promising to keep up with it now (something I don't usually do, despite what it may seem like in pictures!).
It's also four days past ovulation, cycle day twenty, and things are looking good. My temp is still up and my bbs are actually a little tiny bit sore, something I haven't felt in months (I think this is good, right?).
I'm also in the middle of a novena to the Infant of Prague. I decided in September, when I got my statue, to say novenas once a month for nine months. Each time I start it, I google "Infant of Prague Novena" and just choose a new one. This month, the one I chose (without really reading it ahead of time) is perfect! And coming off of this post earlier in the week, I really feel like I was meant to find it!
First of all, I love how novenas are full of confidence in God. They all seem to just overflow with faith and downright confidence that our request will be granted. It's not in a prideful way, or as if we are telling God what to do, but in an excited, childlike way, like, of course our Lord will do this! He is God!
The one I'm saying now literally says "I feel confident that my prayer will be granted." It also contains two really great lines from Scripture: "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened," and "All that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you."
Just reading these words of confidence each night reinforces my new positive attitude. It reminds me that it's okay to come to the Lord and ask him for something, and believe he will grant it!
I've really been doing pretty well with faith lately. Since deciding to believe that God would answer my prayer for a pregnancy, I really have believed it. I know some weeks are better than others - and ovulation/beginning of the two-week-wait is probably the easiest time of the cycle for me - but I really think my peaceful feeling is due to God's grace and I'm so thankful he put this new outlook on my heart.
For those of us struggling with infertility, confidence doesn't exactly come easy. I don't know about you, but I was afraid to take the leap of faith to believe it can happen for me. I worry that if I believe, then the fall will be harder. Or, we have conditioned ourselves to think we somehow don't deserve to believe, like it is too innocent and silly and we've been around the block, so to speak, and know much better!
And when it comes to our particular struggle, it's pretty hard to believe our prayer will be granted this month when it hasn't been thirty, forty or fifty times before. We already know from personal experience that God doesn't always answer our prayers, which makes it all the more difficult to believe those lines from Scripture.
Of course we are all good at asking God for a pregnancy, in spite of all these reasons to not believe. I know I ask for it several times a day, for myself and for all of you. So why bother asking if we don't believe he might give it to us? I think if we are asking him for it, then deep down we do believe he can give it to us. Now we just need to take the leap to admit that to ourselves, and risk getting hurt. He won't let us get hurt, though; not if we place our trust in him.
I'll leave you with the novena I've been talking about. If you do not yet have confidence, maybe ask Jesus to have some for you. I'm sure he already does!
INFANT OF PRAGUE NOVENA PRAYER
O Jesus, Who has said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened," through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.
(Make your request)
O Jesus, Who has said, "All that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you," through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask your Father in your name that my prayer will be granted.
(Make your request)
O Jesus, Who has said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass away," through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.
(Make your request)
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Divine Infant Jesus, I know You love me and would never leave me. I thank You for Your close Presence in my life.
Miraculous Infant, I believe in Your promise of peace, blessings, and freedom from want. I place every need and care in Your hands.
Lord Jesus, may I always trust in Your generous mercy and love. I want to honor and praise You, now and forever. Amen.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I just wanted to share with you a song I love, that makes me tear up. It's really beautiful, and although it's not intended to, it can totally relate to infertility (I know, shocking that something reminded me of infertility).
Specifically, the line "you make all things new" really speaks to me about God's healing power. Those of us struggling with this all want to be made new right now - whether that means our bodies, our hearts, or our whole lives. This song reminds me that we will be made new - our lives will change and the suffering will be replaced with joy. That's what God does, and what he wants to do for us.
Here's the passage from Revelations:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away." The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” He said to me, "They are accomplished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
God will always be with us. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. He makes all things new.
Well my temp was up this morning! Believe me when I say I don't obsess over temping, but when things do what they're supposed to, it makes my day.
That means my peak day was day 16. Other good news - seven days of mucus this time, rather than the twelve I had last month, which was a bit excessive.
So now I'm once again in the two-week wait. I was going to list a bunch of hopes for my cycle (lasts 14 days, no spotting, high temp) but I'm not going to (well, technically, I just did). I'm leaving it in God's hands. He knows I want a pregnancy at some point, and I trust that everything is now working towards that. I'm not going to stress over the small things along the way. Or at least try not to.
Monday was our second home study meeting. It went well. We were asked tons of questions about each of our families, our relationships with them, our childhood, how we were disciplined, what makes us happy, sad, how we dealt with a death of someone close to us, etc., etc.
We turned in most of our paperwork. Still left to do - the birthmother letter, a description of our daily/weekly schedules, three pictures of us, some DMV form we haven't done yet, and our physicals. Mine isn't until Dec. 29, so that kind of slows things down. And Ryan hasn't even scheduled his yet (speaking of which, if you are reading this, please call!).
Our next and final meeting is Dec. 8, and this one is at our home. The cleaning is weighing on me like a ton of bricks.
I also just wanted to say something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I recently have heard from a lot of you who are dealing with very abnormal cycles. Many of you only have a few cycles a year, bleed for months at a time, or just the opposite. I worry that when you read my blog, about my so-called problems, things that seem silly in comparison (like mucus only once a day, my temp not rising right away, or a 12-day luteal phase) it may make you feel bad. I truly hope this is not the case, and I am going to do my best in the future to be more sensitive.
And let's also remember that you could easily get pregnant before me! We all know that there is no rhyme or reason to any of this, other than that God is in charge.
So anyways, I just want you to know that I'll keep praying for all of you every day. I hope that you all find a diagnosis, a treatment plan and, most importantly, health!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I just wanted to write a quick cycle update before I make dinner. And, just to show you how wacky our life is, it's 10:54 p.m. and I'm about to make pancakes! They're low G.I. and oh so good. Maybe I'll add a picture later because they're pretty too!
It's cycle day 17. So far I've had seven days of mucus and today has been a dry day. If I peaked yesterday like it appears, then this is a big improvement over my pretty extended mucus pattern last month (11 days). And before the last seven days of mucus, I had five days of my period, followed by four dry days (which was HUGE, since I always went straight into mucus after my period. I'm not sure if that is bad or means something, but it's not exactly something you see on "normal" charts!).
This might all sound great, except for one thing - my temp hasn't spiked yet. In past cycles...okay, nevermind. I started that sentence, then opened up my chart and temp charts to match them up and prove my theory that my temp rises the morning after my last peak day, but apparently that's not the case. It seems that despite thinking in the back of my mind that this is the way it works with me, it actually hasn't lately, or at least there isn't any evidence to prove it.
Last cycle I didn't take my temp on the morning in question, but it rose the next day. Two cycles ago I didn't take it on my peak day, but the next morning it was a rise compared to two days before (what's with me not taking my temp on the most important days?). And three cycles ago it rose on the day after my peak day, but at that point my mucus had been pretty poor (albeit technically "peak") quality for like three days. And four cycles ago it rose two days after my first peak (which also coincided with my second peak...ya, this one isn't looking good), then went back down for a day only to rise again on the day of my third peak. I guess I was still healing at that time!
I'm sure that is way more information that you wanted or needed. I guess my point is that I don't know if this is good or bad that my temp hasn't spiked yet, but at least I can't compare it to past cycles. I am still normalizing (let's see if I can use that word at least once in every post) and this cycle may still be a cycle where things are working themselves out. And actually, didn't I just say that I wasn't going to pick apart my cycles, especially not mid-way through them?
I feel really good about this cycle. I feel really good about my body healing, and I know God is at work.
Now I just need a good temp tomorrow morning! Just kidding. But I will probably need to re-read my post from yesterday if it doesn't rise. I'll make sure I do that.
Update - Okay, not much of an update, but I just wanted to add a picture of my beautiful blueberry walnut pancake:
I cropped it because it was half-eaten by the time I remembered to take it, and something seemed gross about posting a picture of my half-eaten food!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
I came across this verse while in adoration last night. It struck a cord with me, because, in the past, I have not truly believed I will receive what I ask for. If I had to assign a percentage to the amount of belief I have that God will answer my prayer for a pregnancy, it's probably about 10 percent. That's bad.
As I read this last night, it suddenly all made perfect sense (as things often do in front of the Blessed Sacrament, not surprisingly). I need to live this. I need to have complete faith. Not just complete faith that God hears me. Not just complete faith that God has my best interest in mind. Not just complete faith that I'll be happy one day, and that we'll have children one way or another.
I need to have complete faith in all of those things, but also that I will be pregnant.
I know. You are probably thinking, but many faithful Christians pray for this and never get their pregnancy. I know. Boy, do I know. All I can say is that I just feel called to believe it right now. I feel called into belief, and I feel like I am not supposed to worry about my prayer not being answered.
I am all about rationality. I call myself a realist (Ryan calls me a pessimist). I know there are statistics, I know there are childless couples, and I know most of them are good people. So why do I think my prayer will be answered? Because God tells us to believe.
Here it is again in Matthew:
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22)
Both Gospel writers felt this statement made by Jesus was important enough to include in their passages about the withered fig tree. I don't think it was an accident.
So how do we combine this blind faith with the notion of seeking God's will? And how do we manage this blind faith during our monthly ups and downs? It is asking us to put ourselves out there, to expose ourselves to what we see as potential heartbreak and that might sound pretty uncomfortable, scary and even impossible at first. I know I might seem like I am over-simplifying things here, but my answer to those worries is that we just can't worry! God is asking this of me and my husband right now and it must be for a reason.
All I know is that it may not make a lot of sense, but it felt right when I reflected on it at adoration. I know it is what I am supposed to do. This doesn't mean I won't still be sad, angry, impatient, etc., etc. It just means that through it all, I will do my best to believe that he will answer my prayers, just as he has promised.
On our drive home from adoration, I mentioned this to Ryan. Not surprisingly, he was completely on board. During our weekly holy hour, he has been reading Raymond Arroyo's book about Mother Angelica, who was no stranger to steadfast faith. In fact, that's one of the central themes of the book - Mother's unwavering faith that her prayers would be answered. What an amazing witness she is, and I don't think it's a coincidence that this is what Ryan has been reading. God has been preparing his heart too.
So what's the practical application? Well, I'm going to just try to remember it at all times. When my mind starts to wander into thoughts of doubt, I will gently guide it back on track. When I feel sad, I will remember that while the waiting can be painful at times, God will answer my prayers. Re-training my brain will be a lot of work at first, but I am confident that, eventually, it will become second nature.
With that all being said, I'd like to let you know that I WILL be pregnant one day.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A new study links assisted reproductive technology (like IVF) to an increase in birth defects.
I know many of us have been hearing about this for a while, but it's good to see a study has been done and that it's finally getting out there in the national media (although the segment I watched on Fox News was pretty biased. The only person interviewed was an IVF doctor who completely downplayed the findings, which isn't surprising since ART is her bread and butter. What about "fair and balanced," Fox?)
I'm saddened that any babies are born with problems that may cause them to suffer. Let's pray for them, for their parents, and that those who are considering ART may be aware of the risks.
And thanks, Lifehopes, for letting me know it was coming on!!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I know, nice title. In case you couldn't guess, it's kind of a hodge podge today, so here goes...
I've been working on an apron for a while now. Actually, I've been walking by the fabric that I had laid out on our guest bed for nearly a month, deciding which combination to use. I'm not exactly a good decision maker. Making the apron was actually the easy part and I'm happy with the result:
I sort of modeled it after one I saw at Anthropologie, my favorite store I can't shop at. I wish it was mine, but it's actually going in a box and being shipped to NY for my mother tomorrow. It's for her birthday, for which I am now only two months and one week over due.
Oh, and there's our black kitty, Jasper, on the table in the picture. She's also rubbing her head on my face and walking across my hands as I type this, so she must know I'm talking about her.
So I've been feeling pretty well lately, and it must be hormone related because I never feel well for no good reason. Is that even possible? I'll take it though. I'm on cycle day 13, and today is my fourth day of mucus. So far, so good.
When I say I've been feeling good, I mean emotionally. Physically, I've been having pain on both sides, where I imagine my ovaries to be. Not bad, but it's there. Ovulation should be coming soon, so I'm hoping that's what it's all about.
Lately I've been spending some time helping my sister look for bridesmaids dresses, online for now since she lives in CA (oh, and did I mention they've moved the wedding up to this July?). In my searching, I came across this (WAIT! Before clicking on the link, you need these instructions: scroll all the way down, look at the middle row and count seven up from the bottom. You can also click on the picture to make it larger).
Yes, that is yours truly and my beautiful wedding party (well, mostly-beautiful wedding party...just kidding). I forgot that I sent it in, and didn't think it'd be up there four years later! Anyways, I got a kick out of finding it.
So do any of you have little-known-but-awesome bridesmaids dress designers you want to share with me? Something off the beaten path, not found in every single bridal shop? Not that our dresses can't be your average type, but those I don't need your help with.
Now for the cool offer...
I've mentioned St. Gianna on here before, and if you've ever checked out Shannon's blog then I'm sure you've heard of her as well. If you live anywhere near the shrine in Warminster, PA, and have ever thought about visiting, I highly recommend it. It's a small shrine, but so very powerful, and they have relics of hers - pairs of gloves that she wore. You can hold the gloves and even touch them to your stomach (or, should I say, in the vicinity of your womb, but you know what I mean).
If you'd like to read more about her life and her path to sainthood, click here (and once there, check out the sub-menu on the left. There's a ton of information there).
Even though St. Gianna isn't officially considered a patron saint of infertility, I feel like infertile women are drawn to her and have kind of taken her on as their own. And while St. Gianna didn't experience infertility in the way that I do, she did miscarry twice. She's also a great pro-life saint, since she made the extremely difficult choice of losing her own life in order to save the life of the child in her womb. Is there a better example of laying down your life for another?
And if you can't make it to the shrine, Angela, who is on the shrine committee and is a sweetheart, has offered to send blessed prayer cards and medals - that been have touched St. Gianna's relic gloves - to anyone who would like them. If you're interested, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isn't that so nice of her? Thanks, Angela!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Can I just say that lately I've been SO grateful for the friends I've made through this blog? It's just been so apparent that I'm receiving so many blessings from all of you! From sharing information to sharing hope to sharing our struggles. I don't mean to sound corny (too late) but I don't know what I'd do without you!
I haven't even been doing this a year yet (despite the fact that this is starting to sound like my one-year anniversary post or something) but it seems like it's been forever. That's in a good way, of course, but it's probably also due to the fact that time seems to move at a snail's pace when you're trying to make a baby. Right?
I don't know if she wants me to say this, but I am...I just wanted to especially thank Becky who is the sweetest thing on earth. She actually sent me something to thank me for introducing her to the G.I. Diet. How incredibly sweet is that? It makes me want to be more thoughtful to others myself! So even though no thanks was required, Becky's gratitude made my day yesterday. Now I just hope this diet helps us both wind up pregnant!
I am just so certain today that God is definitely blessing us, just perhaps not in the single-minded way we are hoping. It's very easy to have blinders on and not see the small - or sometimes even big - blessings he is sending our way. I hope and pray I can start to recognize those things more.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Well, I'm back for a second time today. See, what is happening lately is that my laptop is on the fritz and so I am forced to blog from our apple desktop in our office. The problem is that the desk chair is awesome. We bought it so I could comfortably edit my movie, and now I comfortably check blogs, email and facebook for hours. It's just too nice to get up. So, I am back with another post.
I need to get something out of the way first. Remember this? Well, I have officially decided not to chart it. Yes. That may surprise you, but I feel good about it. Why? Well, first off, it was a miniscule amount. It was hardly a light tan discoloration. Second, it was combined with 6PC (pastey, cloudy) non-fertile mucus. I'm not sure why I am using that to support my argument, but I am! Third, it was a one-time occurrence. The rest of the day was completely dry and free of any color.
Perhaps it should be charted, but for my sanity, it will not be. What can one little green sticker hurt? My doctor doesn't pour over my chart anyway. He considers it, but he won't even be looking at it for several months. Probably five to eight (the countdown is on).
So, that being said...I am on cycle day nine. I charted five red stickers, and now four green stickers in a row. As I said, on Monday morning (infamous Monday morning), I saw 6PC; on Tuesday I charted 2AD, and tonight I will chart 6PC x__ (at least if nothing changes between now and then).
This is great news, even if Monday morning is taken into consideration. It hopefully will mean that my mucus won't last for as many days as it did last month. I cannot tell you the last time I had four dry days between my period and my mucus. I usually go right from red to white stickers, so this is definitely a change. Something's going on, that's for sure!
I can tell that I'll probably see some fertile mucus tomorrow, day 10, and if it lasts for six to eight days, that would be great. I've been "ovulating" (I don't think I will be able to write that without quotation marks until after I have conceived) around days 17 and 18 (with a few exceptions) for a little while now, so that will probably happen again this cycle. (Not to create more problems, but is that less than ideal? How close to the "textbook" day 14 ovulation should we realistically be, or is that a myth?)
Now for the ring story. First, you should quickly go back here and read numbers 8 and 9.
Okay. So due to my weight loss, my engagement and wedding ring were too big. I hardly wore them at home and would put them on just when going out. I was always afraid they'd fly off or fall down a drain. So, I decided to have them resized and we took them to a jewelry store on Tuesday where my sister-in-law used to work, since we were visiting my in-laws. One of the employees took them from me and brought them to another room to give to the jeweler. A few minutes later, the jeweler came out, looking concerned.
It turns out my "platinum" wedding band is actually white gold. That would be fine, of course, if we had asked for white gold and paid for white gold, but we didn't.
So on top of the band being white gold, he also told me the little diamonds (not sure what it's called, but it basically looks like this) on both rings are very poor quality and were not set correctly (this is obvious if you look closely...it looks like whoever made it was working on their first ring EVER), and that is causing them to chip away at each other, which could result in them falling out (it actually happened once shortly after we were married). I should have made a fuss years ago, before the jeweler went to jail and everything, but that's not how I am. I've never been good at speaking up.
So this jeweler was really nice and was really worried I'd be very upset, but I assured him I wasn't. I actually felt relieved. I had always suspected it was white gold, since it was turning a different color from my engagement ring. And then there's that little part about the jeweler we bought it from going to prison. Nothing really shocks you after that happens.
I was relieved, but the more I thought about it I started wanting new rings. I felt like my rings were a constant reminder that we were taken for a ride, and that I'd hate knowing how poorly made the are. We decided we'd start saving up, and I'd get an affordable, simple, diamond-free band and engagement ring setting (purposefully in white gold this time) by our next anniversary. After all, my diamond (which was my grandmother's) is the important part anyway.
Then we picked up my rings that evening and they looked great. All clean and polished, and fitting my finger. I decided no one has any idea that they're poorly made except for us (and all of you now!) and who cares anyway? Of all the problems I have in my life, worrying about my rings shouldn't be one of them. And of all the things we need to save up for, new replacement bands should not be on the list.
And no matter how crappy they may look to a knowledgeable jeweler, they are still worth a lot of money. How crappy would that be of me to just toss them aside? Millions of people in the world don't even have enough food to eat, yet my diamond wedding band isn't good enough for me? It just doesn't seem right.
It also helped that they told me how big my diamond is (we never knew, since it was a family heirloom) and let's just say it's a pretty good size. That helped to take some of the sting away!
I just wanted to share one more quick story with you, for what it's worth.
I was having an incredibly hard time opening a 2-liter of soda tonight. It had already been open, but Ryan must have really put the top back on tight. I tried like twenty times to get it off, my hand was getting red and I'm sure it was close to bleeding (yes, I really wanted that coke zero). I was getting frustrated, to say the least.
I knew I needed to stop, step back, and pray. So I did. I prayed, I asked God to help me open the soda, and I had faith that he would. OF COURSE, I got it on the very next try.
Before you tell yourself I had just loosened it the previous twenty tries, I do not believe that was the case. I cannot describe to you how tight it was on there. Crazy tight. And even if I had loosened it on that last try before praying, that would have made for one HUGE coincidence, and after all, there are no coincidences with God!
So a few things that could be learned from this experience: 1) we can try all we want on our own, but until turn it over to God, nothing will budge; 2) have faith when you ask God for help, because everything is possible through him (even twisting off impossibly tight caps); and, 3) remind your husband that you aren't as strong as him, and you may need to open the soda when he's not home.
Anyways, just wanted to share that with you. Not sure if that was God himself teaching me a little mini-lesson, but I'd like to think so.
Updated - So Jeremiah 29:11 suggested a photo of my rings, so here it is:
What a look she's giving me! And she likes dressing up, it's the posing for pictures she's not crazy about. A friend of ours found this at Target after Halloween for $ .99 and got it for her. Now that's a sale!
It's been a very long day!
We just got home from Baltimore, where I did an interview this morning to promote my documentary, Watch With Me. It was very exciting!
I found out last week that a Catholic television network, CatholicTV, has decided to air my movie early next year (yay!). As part of the promotion for that, they wanted to interview me about the movie for an interview-style show they do.
Since CatholicTV staff were in Baltimore to cover the USCCB annual fall meeting this week, they asked if I could make it up there to do an interview in a make-shift studio they erected in a hotel suite at the Marriot Waterfront Hotel, where the bishops' meeting was being held. So that's where we were this morning.
It was neat to be right where all the bishops were meeting, although they were behind closed doors while we were there.
The room where I did the interview was set up like a temporary studio, and they had tons of drinks and food, even cigars (which, of course, Ryan took for use at a later date)!
Here I am getting miked up for the interview:
The interview lasted between five and seven minutes. They'll edit it before it airs.
Here I am with the wonderful people we met from CatholicTV:
I'm not sure when the interview will air, but probably in December or January, and the actual movie will air in January or February. I'm sure I'll post the dates when I get them. (And in case you wondered, CatholicTV is based out of the Boston area and airs on cable throughout New England, as well as some other cities, such as Detroit. It's on Verizon Fios on demand in certain areas, and it's available on satellite on Sky Angel IPTV anywhere in the country. Programming is also available online, and on iTunes.)
So that was exciting! It was a whirlwind, though, because Ryan had to be back for work by 2:30 this afternoon, so we were back in the car by 11:30 and heading home. We did make a couple detours, though. The first was to drive by Charm City Cakes:
I know, we're dorks. We don't even LOVE that show, we just like it okay. We also like to make fun of the fact that nothing is ever going on. Ryan joked that there will be a whole episode from today about Geoff making a Rosary cake for the bishops' meeting, as they all notice a tan Camry driving back and forth outside.
Then, we went to one of my favorite places:
Wegmans!! I'd never been to this one before (near D.C.) and it was awesome! I know most of you don't even know what it is, but suffice it to say that's it's the best grocery store on the planet. We went to get lunch because they have an amazing cafe part as well. They're based in upstate New York, and this is the southern-most one there is. I dream of living near one someday so it can be the grocery store I shop at, which hasn't happened in about ten years. So at least if I can't get pregnant, maybe the grocery store dream will work out for me!
So that's my big news! We feel very blessed that it is being picked up by this Catholic station and we hope it can inspire those who watch it to spend time in adoration. This experience has reminded me that while some prayers are taking longer to be answered, we are given blessings in other ways.
I still have a cycle update to give you (I know, you are waiting with bated breath!!) and a story about being ripped off. Let's just say it involves my wedding ring. Oooh, the suspense! I might post later, but for now I'm heading off to take a nap. I'm working on five hours sleep and six hours in the car today!
Monday, November 10, 2008
When I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom, I saw some very, very light discoloration. Light brown.
I almost died. I seriously felt dizzy. How can this be happening, I thought. I reduce all my desires to merely hoping for an improved cycle, for a lack of spotting - forget getting pregnant - and in the midst of it, I see this?
I even contemplated doing this (see paragraph 6), conveniently forgetting I ever saw it.
Maybe that's why I'm posting now, so that I am held accountable. After all, there's no use hiding what may be a symptom of something that still needs to be treated. And even though I'm inclined to curse God right now, perhaps he is doing me a favor in the long run.
I just spoke too soon. I shouldn't have been all happy that day six got a green sticker. I should know by now to wait until the end, to wait several months even, before deciding if something is good or bad. Maybe I shouldn't ever do that. Maybe I should just live my life, chart my chart, and go to my doctor appointments. Stop obsessing, stop interpreting, stop diagnosing.
We'll see if that happens.
P.S. Sophie peed all over the bed last night. I had just washed all the sheets, the blanket, everything, and she decided to christen it at about 1 a.m. (we go to bed late). But not just in a little spot of urine kind of way. No, it was everywhere. I still have absolutely no idea how she managed to create the mess that she did. It looked like a murder scene, only with urine. There were pee foot prints, splash marks on the comforter and the floor, it even got on the folder I keep my Creighton charts in. I'm sure if I had tried I could have done a splatter analysis like on CSI.
I just wanted to share that with you all for some reason.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Not much new going on here, other than I'm on day six of my cycle and after five days of my period, today is a dry day. No spotting! I just looked back through my charts (it's like a trip down bad-memory lane) and it's only the second time in two years that I had no spotting on day six (the only other time was the first cycle after my laparatomy and it was completely screwy, so it doesn't count!).
I'm really so thankful for this. This cycle is already better than the last, which was better than the one before that. My body is still getting on track and I haven't even reached my optimum fertility yet. Yes, my last cycle - my first cycle of "trying" - failed, but maybe it was a bit premature to even count it. I am getting healthier every day, and our bodies really do need time. My doctor always reminds me of how slow things really do work. Some women get pregnant right after starting a medication or having a surgery, but when we do not, that doesn't mean it's never going to happen. Our bodies need time to heal, hormones need time to regulate, and it doesn't happen overnight.
My sister got engaged Friday night and we're so excited for her! I can't help but think, though, will I be pregnant by her wedding? Will I have a baby then (they might wait til 2010)? Or will that time come and go, with me still childless? How many times have I thought way into the future and said 'of course I'll have a baby by then!' But the years go by (rather quickly, I might add) and nothing changes.
I'm not trying to sound down about this, I'm just observing how many times I have thought I'd just die if I wasn't pregnant by such and such a time... and yet, I am still alive. Imaginary deadlines have come and gone, events that seemed way out there in the future are now years behind us, and still no baby, yet I'm okay. So, that being said, I will be okay if I don't have a baby by my sister's wedding. I'm sure I'll still have my moments, but hopefully I'll have learned a little more about navigating life as an infertile woman by then.
God willing, we will have a baby through adoption by her wedding in 2010, and, if she gets married this summer instead, we may even have adopted by that time as well. As up in the air as adoption is, I'd bet on that over getting pregnant naturally any day. Odds are definitely in favor of adoption, but longshots come in once in a while, and when they do, they're always exciting!
Okay, enough gambling references.
We've got a lot of traveling ahead of us in the next few days. We're heading to my in-laws tomorrow through Tuesday, then on Wednesday we're making a quick trip to Baltimore. And in a week from now, I could be ovulating! It's amazing how fast the first two weeks fly by. It's the second two weeks that seem to take two months.
Oh, and one more thing on the diet front - I discovered basmati rice this weekend. What took me so long? The G.I. Diet book says it's allowed, but for some reason I always just made regular brown rice. Well, basmati is awesome. Do yourself a favor and try it. And one more thing - Friendly's has a really good no-sugar added vanilla ice cream (at the restaurant.. the store-brand may as well, I just don't know). I actually got a sundae the other day with no-sugar-added vanilla and peanut butter sauce (my very favorite!). It turns out the peanut butter sauce isn't high in carbs or sugar (just fat) and is a great once-in-a-while treat (and perfect for when you've been sick and your mom is worried you're not eating enough. Being told I need to eat more is not something I'm used to). I was in heaven!
Friday, November 7, 2008
My peak +7 progesterone level was perfect! I called my doctor's office today, and they called me back this evening with the result.
I'm not even going to wonder whether I should have gotten it tested later in my cycle as well, or if the +7 can be fine yet there still be a problem, or what the level was (I didn't think to ask). I'm going to trust my doctor that he knows what he is doing (he's really an amazing doctor, so I have no trouble trusting him) and I'm going to be super excited that it was perfect!
Finally, one of our fellow infertility bloggers is pregnant!! It's about time we had some good news! Go over and congratulate her if you haven't already (I pretty much was stalking her blog and I think I read it the moment she clicked "publish"). And, of course, let's all keep her and her baby in our prayers.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I've been a little bit down the past twelve hours or so. Not really bad, just feeling a little bit sorry for myself. So I am posting photographs of my charts so you can all tell me how great my recent cycle looks and cheer me up. Just kidding...be honest.
Here's my most recent chart:
Obviously, my last cycle is the fourth one. Other than possibly a few too many mucus days (white stickers) it looks pretty good. Now compare it to previous cycles (you can click on it to make it bigger and easier to read). Even the cycle right before it was a lot worse, and the first one on this chart was pretty weird. My doctor thought these were still good, though, and a clear indication that my hormones were correcting themselves and getting on the right track.
Now look at my chart from the first part of this year:
All these cycles are post surgery, and the first three are before I started seeing my new doctor. Here's where it gets interesting (really? you're wondering). I started my diet at the beginning of the fourth cycle - and there is a CLEAR difference starting with that one, right? And I started the metformin during the last cycle on this chart. So the positive changes stared happening with diet alone! (Although I love you too, metformin, and if I get pregnant soon I will name my first-born after you.*)
So if any of you have any insight, I'd love to hear it. I just hope I am not reading too much into my lack of spotting this cycle and what seems, to me at least, to appear "normal."
Last night when I was starting to get down, I tried to imagine what my doctor would say if I showed him my recent cycle right now. If I asked him, hesitantly, "do you think that looks good?" I KNOW he would say "Are you kidding? Of course! That looks awesome!" (He gets really pumped up by things like this). So that helped to get rid of my doubt (weird, I know, but whatever works).
I should hear about my progesterone test from last week any day now, so I will update if I find out today. Oh, and Sophie is getting groomed right now, so I will post a picture of her being all bootiful later as well.
*Please don't hold me to this. I didn't exactly run it by the mister.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I'm really thankful for how peaceful I feel today. It's been such a physically and emotionally draining week that it's hard to believe it's only Wednesday.
At the start of the week, my husband and I knew we had three things that would take place in the coming days that would either bring very good or bad news. One involved my cycle, one involved the election, and one involved my husband's career. We discussed the likelihood of any of the three going in our favor and we excitedly discussed the possibilities, but knew in the end that the odds were none would. I knew it'd be a tough week. Add to that my stomach issues, and I was looking ahead to the weekend.
Well, we're officially oh-for-three (the career one wasn't bad, it just wasn't great). Despite that, though, I really feel God's presence today.
Last night, right after the election was called, it was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I don't know why, or if it was just a coincidence (my advil was setting in and relieving a bad headache around that same time, so I'm guessing it was that), but I've felt better ever since. My stomach is even better today.
I'm so thankful for this, because I thought I'd feel worse in the aftermath of an Obama win, but I think you quickly realize life goes on. I'm still here, I'm still breathing, the world did not end.
It actually got me thinking (and here is where I compare yet another random thing to infertility) - is this how it would feel to find out beyond a shadow of a doubt I'd never conceive? Would this horrible news I've spent four years dreading actually leave me feeling a bit relieved? Would I realize I'm still alive, I'm still breathing, the world did not end?
I'm not sure, but I've heard others describe something like that. We'd move on. We'd adopt, hopefully many children. No worries about whether I'd get pregnant during the adoption process. No worries about whether adoption was right for us.
Don't get me wrong, I am happy where God has me. I'm thrilled! I am thankful that there is hope - a great deal of hope, in fact. But the fear of that dreaded news is still out there or, worse yet, that a formal announcement will never come and the years will just tick by until I reach menopause and realize our hope has ended.
I believe that God doesn't want us to fear this or anything (be not afraid!) and so perhaps the seed has been planted for me to work through this anxiety. The stress over not knowing often permeates my life and drives me nuts at times. If I can be confident that I'll be okay if that news were to come, then I think I'll feel better in the here and now as well. If I know I will live, and possibly even have a sense of peace, then I can hopefully have peace with it now.
It's something to work on, at least.
So for now I'll get my new cycle "reward" of chicken tenders, I'll enjoy my husband's next two days off, and we'll look ahead to this next cycle - our only second cycle of even having a chance. And I'll try not to worry about bad news that my come in the future, because I know I'll live even if it does occur. And to think this entire thought process began due to Obama's win. See, some good has already come out of the bad!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Yes, it's officially cycle day one. It happened this morning just as we were leaving to go vote (an omen, perhaps?). Sorry I didn't post until now, but (and I'm sure you can relate to this) at first I was secretly holding out hope that it was just some sort of early pregnancy spotting (and here I thought I was incapable of hope!).
I'm honestly doing okay. I already had my break-down on Sunday, so that's out of my system.
I should have known it was coming yesterday when I started tearing up at commercials; that's always a sure sign (seriously, though, have you seen the new promos on TLC for John & Kate Plus 8, Little People Big World and 17 Kids & Counting? Who could blame me?)
I'm still sick, though, with my stomach still making very loud noises and doing all sorts of weird stuff. It's like there's an alien in there at times! I'm also having cramps. It's not bad enough to do anything about it, but it's constantly there. I'm just not sure what's going on. And eating just seems to make it worse, although I do have hunger once in a while.
Of course, I looked up my symptoms and diagnosed myself with all sorts of horrible ailments. Then I called and told my mother what I had, and she talked me down. She still thinks it was the stomach bug (which it definitely was) followed by pms and hormone changes, mixed in with some of the stomach issues still lingering.
Like I've been saying the past few days, I am truly happy that my cycle is so improved. For this I am so grateful, and there's every reason to believe it will only get better.
So, for my own sake, I just wanted to make a quick list of things I'm thankful for, all of which I need to focus on more:
My cycle is so much better than it was just a few months ago and it keeps getting better each month
I had only one day of spotting this cycle (on day seven, tail-end brown bleeding) and NONE at the end
My luteal phase was 12 days, up from eleven the past three cycles
My diet is still going strong. I've lost 37.2 pounds, and I'm now fitting into sizes 2 and 4. And to think just last spring I was wearing 12 and 14's! I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging about this, it's just that at a time when it seems like everything is going wrong in my life, I need to remind myself how thankful to God I should be for this. It's easy to take my new size for granted, and it's easy to get annoyed with my diet. But, in the end, this is an enormous blessing that was only accomplished by the grace of God and it's something I should thank him for each and every day
I have a wonderful, supportive husband who loves me and wants nothing more than to take care of me
We have begun the adoption process and while there are still times where I am unsure about this step, we are leaving it in God's hands and I am confident he will not lead us astray
So there. Not bad, right? Tomorrow I'm going to post a picture of my chart, so all of you can tell me how great it looks. Just kidding, but I will gladly welcome your opinion!
Oh, and because I can't not comment on this sad, sad election, I will just say that I have no idea how I will live in a country run by this socialist, pro-choice man. But I will live. We all will. Just like we've all learned with infertility, bad things often happen despite good efforts and lots of prayer. We can question why God would allow things like this to occur, but it won't do us any good. Once again, it's all about trust and patience. Trust that God is still in control and that he has our best interest in mind. Patience that this too shall pass (even if that means four to eight years from now. Let's just concentrate on four) and the patience to wait for the day when Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
The reality is we live in a morally bankrupt society that has been long infiltrated by the culture of death. There is still good out there, and it is up to us to hold our ground and not give in to what is undeniably a powerful and evil force at work. We need to pray for those who have been taken in by this, who support the killing of innocent babies, and who are so intimidated by the Church that they seek to destroy it. Remember, they are God's children too, and their souls are also at stake.
Okay, that's enough for now on this. I need to go back to my comfortable state of denial. I just also think it's fitting that I have the extra bonus of forever remembering this horrible day as also being a cycle day one. Not my favorite Tuesday ever.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Well not much has changed. I'm very close to making it through the twelfth day past ovulation, and barring any complete surprises, I will. Still no spotting, still no traditional symptoms that the cycle is ending, still feeling odd.
My current status is that I've had a slight headache all day, as well as slight nausea and indigestion. Also, my abdomen is sore, as if I've been doing sit-ups. Not that I want to think about this, but it's kind of how I felt the day before I got the stomach bug. I'm really hoping I'm not getting that again.
I haven't eaten much today, other than we went out for lunch because I was craving a hamburger. It's not something I usually get on my diet, but I think I've been low on protein since being sick, so I think I needed it. So I got it on wheat bread and ate half. That's it for the day. I think I'll have an egg later when Ryan gets home, since I have to eat something in order to take my second dose of met and prolactin.
On the bright side of things, if day one comes tomorrow, this cycle will have been a good one. Only one day of tail-end brown bleeding (usually I have three) and so far, no spotting here at the end (I typically have at least one day of it, often two to three, and one time I even had five).
I have to admit, though, that I do feel weird. If tomorrow is day one, I'll probably wonder why I felt so odd during this luteal phase. My mother suggested perhaps it is because my hormones are still changing, due to me healing. Perhaps. And maybe I have just had a couple viruses this past week and it had nothing at all to do with hormones. If that's the case, what kind of sickly person am I? Two completely separate viruses, when I'm taking vitamins and eating healthy? I guess it's possible.
Once this cycle is over, I'm going to post a picture of my chart. Last night I was looking through past cycles in order to count my past luteal phases. Well, when I got as far back as April, I got choked up. My cycles used to be really messed up. Here I naively thought I could count my luteal phase lengths, yet how quickly I forgot that before the diet my cycles didn't have a luteal phase to speak of. They were bad. All over the place. All different color stickers everywhere. It just made me realize how incredibly blessed I am to have somewhat normal cycles now and how truly far I have come.
Now I just need cycle day one to hold off one more day so it doesn't come on election day. That might be too much to handle, especially if things don't go well politically!
I'm feeling a little better. Thank you all so much for your prayers yesterday. I think it really made a big difference.
While my mood was improving, though, I was starting to feel sick once again. Last night I came down with some pretty bad lower gastro-intestinal upset. It came on all of a sudden and felt as if water was gushing through my body, and sounded like it too! Luckily it didn't end up lasting very long at all, and while I felt nauseous, I didn't throw up. It was bad enough, though, that I called and woke my mother up at midnight (am I really 31-years old? In my defense, my husband was at work and it was really bad!).
The weird thing is I've hardly been eating since I was sick last week. I ate only soup for like four days, and since that's been gone I've really only been eating english muffins. They're all that's tasted good to me. So yesterday I'd eaten an english muffin and a few wheat crackers with some low-fat dip I made my husband around one p.m., and then nothing else but a little bit of no-sugar-added light ice cream at nine. The sick feeling started a couple hours later, around eleven. Perhaps I'm suddenly lactose intolerant? I've never had that problem before.
The good news is I have made it to twelve days past ovulation. So if the cycle ends today, I'm in the clear for my "regular" length (my past three luteal phases have been eleven days). I just didn't want it to be shorter. I'm not spotting yet, so perhaps it could even hold off until tomorrow. And my temp is still up - it was 98.6 this morning (although as I've posted before, my temp usually doesn't drop until the day after I get my period).
I kind of feel like it's coming, based on the sensation in my legs I always get, which I had yesterday. That's the only sign so far, though. I also think I'm going to take it easy with food again today. Last night wasn't fun and I don't feel entirely out of the woods just yet.
By the way, check this out and consider taking part, even if you prefer praying from home. I think it's a great idea!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I'm not doing good today. Tonight or tomorrow will be day one of a new cycle, it just depends if my body wants to be kind enough to let my luteal phase go eleven days or not. Today is eleven days past ovulation, so hopefully it can hold off til the morning. I'm also hoping I don't see any spotting today, so at least ONE thing can go right in my life. How utterly pathetic that not SPOTTING is my equivalent to winning the lottery.
As you can probably tell, I'm upset. I just feel completely trapped by my life. I don't want to be this person - an infertile, childless, 31-nearly-32-year old who has been trying for four-plus years. But that's where I find myself.
Normally, I try to make the best of it. I block out certain comments, ignore things on t.v., become successfully numb to the image of happy mothers with their little kids who I see every...where...I...go. But, as you all know, some days you lose your ability to "handle" it all.
But the joke is on me, because there's nothing I can do about it. There's no option other than to live with it and keep going, no matter how much it feels like you can't breathe. And that's why I feel completely trapped.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
So my temp is back up. I took it when I briefly woke up a little earlier than normal and it was 98.1 (I think). I fell back asleep and took it at my normal time and it was 98.4. So take your pick.
I did have one symptom that the cycle is ending, though. I had bad indigestion last night. Usually, I get a little bit of it (not exactly heartburn, but like bubbles in my esophagus, if that makes any sense), in the couple days before. This could be related to the fact that I was sick this week; my mom thinks my whole digestive tract is getting back on track, and that's what is causing the discomfort (I had some pain, too, on the left side. I thought at first it was an ovary, but she tended to think it was my intestines over there).
We'll soon find out! Tomorrow is eleven days past ovulation. I'm hoping it holds off, since I'd like to have a little longer luteal phase, although I'm not sure if it matters. It will just sound more textbook to have a 12-14 day phase.
I'm also hoping for less spotting this time around. It's all about the small things!
This cycle has taught me some stuff about hope. See, I put myself out there this cycle having some hope (albeit, a tiny bit) and God blesses me with some understanding. Isn't he great? I think I'll write in depth about it another time, but what it all comes down to is I think I am supposed to hope in him. Not for a pregnancy, or for less spotting, or for a family, or for a life like everyone else has. That is just asking him for things. He knows what is best for me, and so why waste so much time hoping for things that may not be in his plan for us? If we spend time hoping in him, though, we're not wasting any time at all.
I'm not saying we are wrong to hope for these things in life - it is okay to ask God for things, especially good things, with his holy will in mind at all times (although we should balance it out with adoration and thanksgiving, something I don't always do). I'm just saying it's obvious that this struggle with hope is something we all fight at times and I've been trying to figure out why.
All I know is I try to listen to the voice in my head that pops up randomly, and says the same thing for months at a time (maybe this is cause for concern?? Don't tell my adoption social worker!!). For months, I heard it say "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want." This would happen all the time, just pop right in there amongst all my thoughts. So I started thinking about it, and I realized that was the Lord's answer for me to all my prayers; he wanted me to believe it. I mean, if I believed that wholeheartedly, I wouldn't be depressed over my infertility! He would be enough; that would be the answer! I know that's a very tall order, since we are humans and live in this fallen world (although I'm sure many a saint has accomplished it), but we can at least try.
And so lately, what has been popping in there is the thought that I am supposed to hope in him, rather than for all of these things I want (or maybe in addition to them, I'm not sure). Having hope in him is all throughout the Bible, and whenever I look up verses that have to do with hope, that's what they say.
I just googled it now, and guess what popped up first, which I obviously had forgotten all about? "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD" (Psalm 31:25). That's the inspiration for my blog name, a verse that has given me great comfort, and that was probably God telling me a year ago to have hope in him! (You mean that verse doesn't say "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope for a pregnancy"??). But had I ever thought about it that way before? No.
So what does hoping in him even mean? I don't know for sure. Hope in eternity? Hope that he will deliver on his promises? Hope that he will be here for me? Hope that he will bless me? Hope that he will allow me to be pregnant? I'm going to have to pray about it more, but I tend to think it's more simple than I even want to make it. Hope in him. Turn my heart towards him and hope in him.
Right now my level of hope is low in general, so I could give hoping in God a try, whatever that means. I do know that I believe we are put on this earth to grow in love for him, to serve him, and to eventually be in eternity with him. If that is my goal, then I should be focusing more on him and less on my wants and desires. He is enough. It's plain and simple and he is asking us to believe it (how sad that I struggle with such a simple request by him). I may not be able to live like that just yet, but at least I know it's true.