I'm sitting in my brother-in-law's Manhattan apartment right now, unable to leave to do anything because little miss Sophie Belle is with us and barks like crazy when we try to leave. We've actually tried it, listening outside the door, and she barks and scratches at the door to my brother-in-law's bedroom where we left her (she also has a history of scratching paint off doors. Not good). I'm a little bummed, but it's pouring so at least we are staying dry.
That was not the case this morning when we walked Sophie a few blocks to Central Park. It started raining after we left and all three of us were soaked (we also discovered that Sophie likes to stop walking while crossing the street. Ryan had to pick her up as cars were coming, which is always fun). If it were nice out, we'd just spend the day at the park, but not in the rain. We already had to give her a bath today after our first excursion, and we try to avoid baths at all costs!
I'm typing on Ryan's iPhone right now so this will be short, but I just wanted to say that I've been taking prometrium now for three days and I'm not too sure about it. The first night I was awake long enough after taking it (two hours) to feel completely drunk and dizzy. It hit me all of a sudden and I absolutely had to go to bed. Since then, I've taken it right before sleeping and have felt better, but I still feel a little tired and out of it in general. I'm assuming these side effects are normal, since I remember reading that other bloggers have had to take it before bed. I just hope it doesn't get worse because it's pretty annoying. Maybe I can try another form of progesterone next time (as long as I can find something covered by my insurance).
This cycle looks pretty good too, which makes me happy. I had four red stickers, followed by four green stickers, and then six days of white stickers. I most likely ovulated on cycle day 12 and my peak day was 14. Not bad!
We'll head home tonight and if Queen Sophie has her way, we'll be sitting on my brother-in-law's couch til it's time to go. So much we could be doing and we're stuck inside. She's lucky we love her so much!
Monday, November 30, 2009
I'm sitting in my brother-in-law's Manhattan apartment right now, unable to leave to do anything because little miss Sophie Belle is with us and barks like crazy when we try to leave. We've actually tried it, listening outside the door, and she barks and scratches at the door to my brother-in-law's bedroom where we left her (she also has a history of scratching paint off doors. Not good). I'm a little bummed, but it's pouring so at least we are staying dry.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I probably should have posted what I am thankful for, since it would be good practice in looking at the bright side of things, but I was too busy sleeping and eating on Thursday (in that order, since we drove overnight to get to New York) to do much of anything.
What I have been thinking a lot about, though, is surrendering. Ever since receiving my message last week, I have been trying to reflect on what it is that I am still holding back from God.
I don't want to keep anything from Him. I want nothing more than to surrender everything which would not only please God, but perhaps make this suffering a little lighter as well (in the sense that fighting my cross probably makes it heavier).
I thought about how I had definitely surrendered never being pregnant, never having biological children. There are pieces that I might not have fully surrendered, like the guilt over taking away the ability to have biological children from my healthy, normal husband (and while I know it's irrational, I'm still a little hung up on wondering if I'll have any children in Heaven, or if my adopted kids will spend eternity with their birthparents). But, overall, I have given this to God.
I have also surrendered adoption. I sincerely only want the babies that God has intended for us, perhaps almost to a fault. I'm hesitant to take any new steps in adoption for fear that it might not be part of God's plan and I'll somehow get the wrong child. But I have put the process in His hands and I know that He is in charge.
But clearly I am still upset, still heartbroken, so something must be wrong. I am holding something back and it finally occurred to me what it is.
I have refused to surrender the wait.
I have not been okay with how long this is taking and how old I am becoming. I am still hung up on that. I can't count how many times I've told God that I'm okay with not conceiving, I'm okay with Him blessing us with a child through adoption, as long as it happens NOW.
For a while I've prayed every novena asking for God to grow my family, and I always, always, add the word "soon" at the end. And every single time I said it I had a feeling it was wrong. The word stuck out in my mind as not fitting in with the rest. I just knew that what I was saying was not in accord with God.
I know in my head that I need to surrender the wait, but in my heart I can't help but be fearful of the many more years of suffering that could be ahead of me. Each day seems unbearable and to think I have thousands more ahead of me is incomprehensible. If I had my way it'd all end today! I suppose it's only natural to want your heartbreak to subside as soon as possible.
Part of me also can't help but wonder why surrendering biological children isn't enough. That's huge! But God asks more of us. I have to surrender it all.
So what does this mean? I guess I have to get to a place where I can honestly say, "God, I surrender being childless right now. I surrender the wait ahead of me, no matter how long it may be."
I prayed about it a lot at adoration the other day. I told Him how much I wanted to completely surrender and asked Him to help me with it. I thought about the wait, about how I should truly want His will to be done.
And lately at night, as I try to fall asleep, I envision myself in His presence, telling Him I am surrendering it all. I repeat the prayer that the woman gave us in adoration: "Oh my God, I love you. Help me to love you more and more. This I ask through Christ Our Lord. Amen." I interchange 'love' with anything that comes to mind - praise, trust, worship, adore, thank. If I'm in the right mood, I find that I even get excited to think about surrendering completely.
I'm hoping it will be a gradual process - the more I pray about it and learn to want it, the more I will surrender this wait to the Lord. After all, I will be waiting as long as He wants, whether I surrender it or not!
I will leave you with a prayer that, lately, I have been praying every night. It's actually a good gauge of how much I am holding back. When I am having trouble surrendering, it feels like salt being poured in a wound to say parts of it. And when I am wholeheartedly trying to surrender, it sounds quite beautiful. I hope it helps some of you as much as it has helped me:
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
For I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
-Blessed Brother Charles of Jesus
Charles de Foucauld
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We finally got the results of the semen analysis this morning (after I did a little investigating and discovered the lab had the wrong fax number for my doctor's office. Fax number errors are the leading cause of late test results, I swear!). Ryan is fine. More than fine, actually. The results show he is above normal in all categories. What an overachiever!
I was in adoration when I finally got the call with the results and with two minutes left to go in our hour, I got up and took it out in the hall. I'm glad I did, because is was my doctor. Actually, it wasn't my current doctor, it was Dr. B. He gave me the results and then was kind enough to answer my questions about last month's post coital exam, despite the fact that he didn't have my file in front of him.
I asked him if we needed to further investigate things on my end, like whether I have hostile mucus, and he said he didn't think so. He basically said that post-coitals can be unreliable and that like Dr. C said, one or two living sperm is a positive result. He also said that the test really needs to be done within an hour of the act, and in our case one of the times it was the next morning and the other time it was at least four hours later. He said having one or two living sperm under those circumstances is probably fine.
I also asked him about Clomid and whether that could have made my mucus temporarily hostile, and he said it wouldn't have killed the sperm. He also had a good point - there may be problems with Clomid, but we can't deny the fact that it is the leading fertility drug.
So I guess I'll bring up the hostile mucus thing with Dr. S in January, and try not to worry about it until then.
I'm also trying not to worry about this cycle. I had another negative OPK today, yet my temperature did rise this morning. And, so far, I haven't had any mucus. What does this mean?
Here are more details: Today is cycle day 14. I had negative OPK's on cycle days 12, 13, and 14. I had pain (on both sides of lower abdomen, lasted an hour) on cycle day 12.
I'm guessing that if I had taken one on cycle day 11 it would have been positive. That would have indicated that I would be ovulating in 24-36 hours, which would mean I ovulated on cd 12 (which would match up with the pain) or 13. Then my temp rose on cd 14, after ovulation. That's how it should work, right? I guess I'll never know for sure, since I didn't start taking the OPK's early enough.
Under this scenario, would the OPK be negative on cd 12, potentially the day of ovulation? Or should it still detect an LH surge?
Thanks for humoring me with this. It's not that I'm obsessed with it by any means, I just want to know if I appear to be ovulating.
As I mentioned, I was in adoration this morning and I have another post coming today about that. Don't worry, no more miracles. Well, other than the Real Presence always being a miracle! I'm really trying to work on surrendering and I think I might have realized what I am still holding back. I'll post more later.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Just when I thought it might be a slightly normal cycle, now I am starting to wonder.
I shouldn't get ahead of myself before I see how it plays out, but I could've sworn I ovulated yesterday (pretty bad pain for about half an hour radiating throughout my lower abdomen, along with 10KL throughout the day), but my ovulation predictor pee-stick was negative both yesterday and today.
If I'm going to include all non-Creighton forms of charting then I should also point my temperature is still low.
The last unmedicated cycle I had, which was over the summer, looked more normal than my medicated ones, and this cycle was shaping up the same way. I even had four dry day with four green stickers which is very unusual for me. I usually go straight from red stickers to white.
Okay, I can admit I might be overreacting - I just looked at my chart and today is only cycle day 13. I guess I had gotten used to the idea that I was getting the trigger shot (possibly late according to my doctor) on cycle day 13 the past couple cycles. How quickly I forget, though - just a few short months ago cycle day 18 was the norm for my peak day.
So hopefully I'll have a positive OPK tomorrow and ovulate around cycle day 14 or 15. That would be pretty good.
But what about the bad pain yesterday? Is that normal if you are not ovulating at that very moment? I just worry that the timing is off and this might be further evidence of that.
I'm also waiting on pins and needles to hear what Ryan's SA results are. They were supposed to be in yesterday and weren't. I'm going to ask for a plan of action in either case - if they're normal, then I want to be tested (since my mucus appeared to kill the sperm last month), and if they're low, then obviously we need to look into that further or put him on something.
I'll update this post with any results I (hopefully) get today.
No matter what happens, I can honestly say that I am okay with whatever way God decides to grow our family. I really am. I might post about the minutia of my cycle, but honestly it's just a distraction from the adoption wait. And yet the adoption stuff started out as a distraction from trying to conceive. They are now equal in my mind (and, right now at least, equally allusive) and for that I am truly thankful.
Update: So no SA results yet, but my doctor's office did call to say they are going to call in a prescription for Prometrium (this is because the Endometrin wasn't covered by my insurance last cycle). But here's my question: there is usually a two day difference between when I get a positive OPK and when I chart my peak day according to Creighton (based on mucus). So which day should I base my peak day on for starting the progesterone? I'm supposed to start it on peak +2. The nurse told me to go by the positive OPK since, in my case, it comes first. Any thoughts?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I loved all of your comments on my last post. Thank you! And it's clear that I was supposed to deliver that message to all of you. I didn't give the title of the post a lot of thought at the time, but now, looking back, it couldn't be more true - it really is our message. I'm just so glad many of you felt a connection to it.
Speaking of that message, I'm still remembering things that the woman told us that Jesus wanted us to know, and when I do, I add them to the original post.
I still have a lot to say about what happened and my reflections on it all, but, for today, I am instead focusing on something a little lighter - Baby Ethan pictures! Now that I'm officially over the flu I finally got to meet him on Friday night when his mommy, GIMH, brought him to visit us. I fell in love with him immediately! What a cutie! I even got to do a little photo shoot with him which was just so much fun!
I hope little Ethan brightened your Sunday. We couldn't stop laughing at that last one!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
It shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you that I've been pretty down lately. It's been a difficult few weeks for me, let alone a difficult year. I really think this has been the roughest year of my life to date, and the same goes for Ryan.
Just the other day, my husband, who was once the most optimistic person I'd ever met, told me he now expects bad things to happen. That's sad. I mean, that's how I've felt for years, but I don't want to see someone join the despair club. And he has. He's sad. A shell of his former hopeful self.
As for me, I've had a lot of shocking things come out of my mouth lately. My attitude had changed. I've said for years now that I'm exhausted by infertility, but only recently had the fatigue became truly apparent. I had crossed a line. I was too tired to try anymore. Too tired to pray, to beg God for the millionth time to grow my family.
And, after a couple weeks of not praying, I realized the guilt was gone. I didn't feel a twinge of regret when I passed my prayer room. The hour of three o'clock came and went without me offering any prayers for the souls in Purgatory and I didn't feel bad. A daily Rosary was no longer even on my radar.
When I realized I didn't feel a pull towards prayer anymore, I knew something was changing. It was as if the ropes were breaking and apathy was setting in. And I didn't care.
I was convinced of something - that God didn't love me. Not one tiny bit. Yes, He may love all of you, but not me. That was clear. I had, just like with everything else in my life, been passed over.
Let's see, what else did I say? I believe I actually said that God was crapping on me. That He had abandoned me. That it felt like He was beating me to a pulp. I even said that perhaps the fact that I come from a good family with loving parents made it difficult for me to relate to God, a parental figure who seeks to hurt you. I said I had lost the will to live a normal life, and beyond waking and sleeping each day, I was giving up on everything else.
I also swore (something I don't ever do) with reckless abandon and it felt good.
Obviously, I was hurting. I had clung to God for so many years and felt as if it was getting me nowhere. I resented the stories others told about surrendering and finding peace. I had turned all of this over to God a year ago and since that time wanted nothing other than for His will to be done. Still, I struggled with heartbreak on a daily basis. It was becoming difficult to function.
So, the other night, I told Ryan that my faith was slipping away. He knew it. He could see it happening and said it was his worst nightmare coming true. That would mean the end for me. My faith was all I had.
I woke the next morning for our weekly hour of adoration and started to get ready but felt as if I couldn't even muster up the energy to brush my hair. I had nothing in me. I sat on the couch, half-ready, and announced I wouldn't be going. But, surprisingly, for the first time in weeks I actually felt bad about it. I felt the urge to get ready and go, despite the fact that I didn't want to and physically didn't think I had the energy.
I went. The whole ride there I complained. God didn't love me. Not one tiny bit. He had abandoned me; I was convinced of it. I believed in Him still, and I even loved Him, but I resented Him. My new image of Him, which I believed was a result of my personal experience these last five years, was not what Christianity portrays. As usual, I had been left out of all of that.
We arrived at the chapel and Ryan went in ahead of me. After a few minutes, I walked in, knelt, said the fastest prayer ever with no feeling and then sat in a seat up front. Ryan was directly to my right, on the other side of the chapel. There were no chairs between us, just one seat on the left and one on the right with space in between in front of the Eucharist.
I sat and pouted. I stared at the clock. Time was moving so slowly. I thought about my life, my mind wandered, but I didn't pray.
About thirty-five minutes into our hour, an older woman came in and knelt in the back. I glanced at her quickly and saw long, black, braided hair. She made no sound and I had all but forgotten about her when, about five minutes later, she walked into the space between us and quietly asked, in an Indian accent, if we minded if she knelt there. No, I replied. She then said she could see Jesus in the Eucharist. "He's there," she whispered, pointing.
I felt a sense of excitement and watched her intently. I've been going to adoration for years now and had never been in the room with someone who claimed they could see Jesus. I had heard all about it, that's for sure. When I made my documentary, Watch With Me, about Eucharist Adoration, I heard many stories of this. I was always jealous of those who saw Him, and wanted so badly to experience it myself.
It wasn't long before I felt jealous of this woman. Sure, God. Not only do you not offer any comfort to me, but you're going to make me watch as someone else gets to experience you firsthand?
I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. I watched as she leaned to one side, almost as if she were going to topple over. I inched forward in my seat, trying to see her eyes and whether they were open. When I wasn't watching her, I was staring at the Eucharist, trying with all my might to see Jesus' face, or whatever it was that she was seeing.
I even prayed that Christ would deliver a message to me through this woman, as silly as it sounded to me at the time. I pictured it happening, her turning to me, telling me something Jesus wanted me to know. For a second the thought thrilled me, but I pushed it out of my mind.
Then, after a few minutes, it happened. She turned to me, asked if I could see Him, to which I replied no. She motioned to me, telling me to come and kneel next to her and then turned to Ryan and said the same thing to him. We did.
She said Jesus wanted her to give a message to us: That He loves us and has not abandoned us.
I was in shock.
What followed over the next ten to fifteen minutes was amazing. I wish I could remember it verbatim, but I cannot. We both wrote down as much as we could remember when we got home, and I will try to convey as much as possible here:
*She told us to pray "Oh my God, I love you. Help me to love you more and more. I ask this in Christ’s name, Amen." She said to pray it over and over in front of the Eucharist.
*She said while she was praying, Jesus asked her to give a message to us.
*She talked mostly about surrendering. When I told her I felt as if I had, and still did not have peace, she said I must be holding something back from Him.
*She told me that Jesus loves me and wants me to know He loves me. She said His love for me is the size of an ocean, even though one drop would be enough to fulfill me. She said "He is smiling when I tell you He loves you."
*She also talked a lot about finding peace, love and happiness. She said if we surrender, then all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place.
*She told us to make a good confession.
*She said Jesus looked to her like the Divine Mercy image. He was as beautiful as His rays of light. He was smiling.
*She said she usually she sees Christ followed by the Communion of Saints, but this time it was just Him. She said this was because He wanted us to know how much He loves us.
*He also appeared at one point as a beating heart, which she said was to show how much he loves Ryan and me.
*She would tell us when the image changed, and at one point she said, "Look - he is appearing as a young man now!"
*She went through the Our Father line by line, stressing certain parts of the prayer, especially the part about forgiveness.
*I told her that I couldn't have children. She then talked about adoption and how Jesus says all the children in the world are there for us to help.
*She said Jesus wants us to be happy with all that He has given us. Don't focus on what He hasn't.
*She told Ryan, “Jesus is reaching out to me because He knows you need him.”
She was such a calming presence, I could have stayed there all day. At the end of our hour, an older couple entered the chapel, and the woman whispered to us that she could no longer talk out loud and said we could just pray the prayer she had been praying. She did whisper a few things to us after that, but after about five minutes, we both thanked her and left.
I had been crying the entire time, but I was unsure of what Ryan's reaction would be, since I couldn't really tell while it was all happening. As soon as we got to the car, he said it was one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to him. I couldn't agree more.
We never did see His face in the Eucharist, no matter how hard we tried, and that's okay. That's why He brought someone there who could.
We don't know who this woman was. We've never seen her before. We don't think she was an angel or anything like that. She was just a real person, wearing a Purdue sweatshirt.
She also wasn't psychic and the message, while clearly intended for us, wasn't always interpreted perfectly (at the beginning Ryan mentioned to her that we were having problems, and she took that to mean marital and spoke for a minute or so about not getting divorced. But I do believe that perhaps Jesus did intent to remind us about the importance of our marriage in the midst of all of this). We tend to believe that she is a faithful woman who perhaps God called to that chapel on that morning to deliver a message to us, two people who desperately needed to hear it.
The woman didn't say that God told her we'd be parents soon. His message focused on something much more important - how much He loves us. I believe God knew that I had hit rock bottom - despite the fact that I have told him that many times before - and that, this time, I was in serious trouble. And he threw me a life line.
I am blown away. I am still in shock and so, so grateful for this experience. And I am humbled. I said some extremely regrettable things, and even spoke terribly of God just minutes before He decided to make Himself known to me in a real way. He is forgiving before we even ask for it.
I am embarrassed that I doubted Him so seriously, but it's a learning process. I am not Mother Theresa. She could go for decades with her faith life as dry as a desert, but I couldn't last a couple months. He knew that.
There is so much for Ryan and me to reflect on. Right now, though, I have to remember the simplicity of Christ's message for us - that He loves us more than we can imagine. He has not abandoned us and never will. That is His message for us all.
Oh my God, I love you. Help me to love you more and more. This I ask in Christ's name, Amen.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
So I'm feeling a little better, physically and mentally. I still have a bad cough and it's still keeping me up at night, but the fever is gone, which is wonderful. What a relief. Now I just need to get my voice back, although it's a lot better than it was.
And mentally speaking, I'm feeling a little better as well. I'm still pretty sad, but at least I am not terribly angry and distraught. I felt the dark cloud lift, for the most part, when I started a new cycle on Thursday. I usually have a hard time the last couple days of a cycle, but this time the dark period was definitely extended. I wonder if something is up with my hormones.
I'm also wondering about something else strange that has been happening in recent months. Since July, I have been having extremely light periods. It's been lasting only two days (in which I chart, at the most, M), with maybe two days of VL or spotting tacked on at the end. That's very weird for me.
I've googled it and found some sites that say it doesn't mean anything, while others say it could be poor lining, meaning poor estrogen, or even your thyroid. I never thought to ask my doctor about it until now.
Speaking of that, I am really looking forward to my appointment with Dr. S next year. It's kind of funny to think that the light at the end of the tunnel for me right now is another doctor's appointment. I never would've guessed that starting over with a new doctor would be more hopeful than adoption! Oh well, we never quite know what God has in store for us. At least I have something to look forward to.
I'm also looking forward to learning more about my potentially hostile mucus this cycle, or at least being able to rule that out. Ryan's SA is tomorrow morning. Anyone know how long it usually takes to get those results? If it's normal, I guess we'll begin looking into my end of it, although I really have no idea what we'll do. My doctor seems to think there are tests (antibody tests, she might have said) that we can do. I would love to be able to do them all as soon as possible. I hope we can get the ball rolling on those as soon as Ryan's SA results come back.
Well I'm off to the store - my first trip outside the house in a week! How exciting!
Friday, November 13, 2009
So I talked with my case worker today, actually hopeful that things were picking up (of course, not that it would mean that we'd get a baby any time soon, but at this point I'm just hoping and praying that the couples ahead of us on the list start getting matched). She did not have good news for me. What else is new?
They're not working with any new birthmothers and things are still slow. The good news is they just started doing some PR (really? just started?) but according to my case worker, it will take about six months to see the effects of it. Wonderful. In six months a pregnant woman might see an ad and might call our agency and pick one of the six couples waiting in front of us. That means it will only be about three years before we get a baby.
I also asked about foster-to-adopt and, well, it doesn't really exist. The infant list we are waiting on is the same as foster-to-adopt. In the rare case that there would be such a baby, someone on our list would get picked for it. But that doesn't usually happen.
I even asked about fostering older children (over seven) and was told the wait would probably be just as long as we're already experiencing due to bureaucracy. And the eight-week long class we'd have to take, which doesn't start until January, is on week nights, which Ryan couldn't do.
And no one I've talked to about this, including our case worker, thinks we should seriously consider adopting a teenager.
I even called an adoption attorney today and learned that for more than $300, plus an hourly rate for anything after that, she can set us up with adoption situations around the country, except she said it could take a while if funds were an issue. Awesome. If we could afford an expensive agency, we'd just go straight to them, not pay an attorney hundreds of dollars to call them for us.
This sucks. I am defeated. I am praying for a job. For money to fall out of the sky. For a baby to fall out of the sky. I have been praying for so long for all of this I am starting to think that prayers for me are just wasted time. It is crazy the number of people who pray for us, on a daily basis, and still nothing. Our life just gets harder and harder. All these poor people are wasting their precious time in prayer for us.
God's will is clearly for us to struggle right now, on many, many levels. He is not being subtle, that's for sure. So I guess that is the answer to all those prayers. This is exactly where He wants us and I have to accept it.
I would have loved to discuss this with my priest today in my first spiritual direction appointment (or at least my appointment where he could decide what he wanted to do with me), but I had to cancel due to being sick. I've been waiting three weeks for the appointment and now I'll have to wait another three to see him. And I really needed the meeting today after the week I've had.
If anyone is still reading this you must be so tired of this by now. I apologize. I know this is all probably getting very, very old. I couldn't agree more.
I just need a life line. I really, really, really need some good news right now.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
It's my fourth day of the flu and cycle day one. I went to the doctor this morning and tested positive for influenza type A. Probably swine flu, according to the doctor. Thankfully, they don't think I have pneumonia.
This has been a terrible week. I'm just glad my fever seems to have broken and the power is back on (we've had a lot of rain). My misery would have reached a new level today if I had to sit alone in the darkness and cold.
I talked to Dr. L today on the phone since the flu is keeping me from coming in on cycle day one. She suggested taking this cycle off. Whatever. I agreed to it mainly because I have no fight left in me. What does it really matter anyway?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I'm posting quickly while I am able to sit at the computer. My fever rose to 103.2 today and I was feeling pretty horrible. I just was able to shower so that really helped to lower it into a normal range and I'm feeling a lot better. I'm still really sick and I'm just hoping it doesn't get worse. I really don't want to have to go to the doctor tomorrow because I know there's really nothing they can do.
My doctor's office called with my peak +9 results today. Progesterone was 18.8 and estradiol was 340. That means both rose from peak +7, when progesterone was 14.6 and estradiol was 265. I'm starting to wonder if maybe it wasn't peak +7 and 9 after all. Maybe peak +9 was really peak +7 or 8. Or, here's a question - is the fact that progesterone peaks on peak +7 true for everyone or is it just a general guide?
My doctor tells me to consider my peak day as the day I get the trigger shot, despite the fact that I have increasingly good mucus for a day or two after. I know that's not how Creighton does it (and she is a NaPro doc), but when the ultrasound shows evidence that ovulation has already occurred and you get a trigger shot one day, why would ovulation happen the next day?
I know that, according to Creighton, you can ovulate a couple days before or after your peak day. But consider that on cycle day 13, the day I got the trigger shot, my mucus was already considered hostile! My doctor told me that it was probably good quality on cycle day 12.
So let me summarize:
*Sperm was dead in the mucus on day 13 and 14, doctor thinks we missed my peak
*Due to process of elimination, doctor thinks day 12 was possibly when I had the best quality mucus (since it killed the sperm on day 13 and 14. Of course, I may just have hostile mucus all the time). I didn't come in for an ultrasound until day 13, though, so we'll never know
*An ultrasound on day 13 showed tons of fluid, which my doctor said was evidence of ovulation; right ovary wasn't located
*Had trigger shot on day 13
*Charted last day of peak-type mucus on day 14 (and it was the best quality all cycle - 10KL - despite the fact that under a microscope it appeared poor quality)
*Progesterone was kind of low (for me) seven days after I got the shot; progesterone and estradiol both rose between peak +7 and 9
Is it just me, or is none of that adding up?
Oh, and I had a single drop of bright red blood on peak +11. Last month I had the same single drop on peak +13 and started my period two days later. If that pattern holds true, I should start a new cycle tomorrow. Could that be evidence of something? I just don't understand how it could just be regular spotting. It's not brown and it happens one time, two days before my period.
I just want to get to the bottom of what is out of sync here, because clearly something is. Or am I just over-analyzing?
Thanks for humoring me by reading this. I'm sure I'm the only one mildly interested in all these details!
Alright, I need to go lay down! My advil is going to wear off in a little bit so I'll probably be on the couch shivering soon. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I'm sick today, most likely with the flu, and cycle day one is probably going to be tomorrow, so that makes for a dangerous combination. Add that to my nearly two-week-long depression and you've got a recipe for disaster.
I realized this today and decided not to let myself spontaneously combust. I would try to turn to God and attempt to see the usefulness in all of this. So I'm trying to sort everything out and see what I can learn.
First of all, I never thought I'd be faced with the problems I am faced with right now, but I guess no one really expects it. I am so tired of crying out to God and it has been growing increasingly difficult to hope in Him. I believe with all my heart that He can rescue any of us, but in recent months I have been starting to wonder if He can even hear me.
This says it all:
Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck. I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold. I have gone down to the watery depths; the flood overwhelms me. I am weary with crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes have failed, looking for my God. - Psalm 69, 1-4
Each month just gets harder than the last (with the exception of my unbearably difficult August) and I keep learning that it can always get worse. Just when I thought infertility was as bad as it could get, additional stress comes along and absolutely topples me over. If only infertility were all I had to worry about.
Sorry for the vagueness. What my problems are isn't the point. What I'm learning from them is. And right now I'm trying very hard to learn something from them, to give some value to this struggle.
I guess I've learned that as hard as it seems, there is always a way out. And I'm not talking about somehow getting rid of my problems (I've sure learned that you can't expect that to happen), but rather a way to handle them and live with them. I'm not saying I've gotten there just yet, but it just occurred to me today that I can take a deep breath, take a step back, pray, and try to find a rational way to work through everything. It might not be fun, it might not be comfortable, but I don't always have to be crying and pulling my hair out.
And it can always be worse. Instead of spending all my time wishing I had what others have, I should spend a little more time thinking about those who would love to have my life. There are always those far worse off than I.
And I can't forget about being made low. As hard as the process is while you're going through it, I know it's necessary. And maybe it hurts this much because I had a lot of pride. I could tell myself that the pain and heartbreak I feel is good because it's the prideful parts of me being destroyed.
Ultimately I am weak, and would give just about anything to have it easier right now. But, barring a miracle, nothing is going to change. I have to deal with the problems at hand and ask for God's continued guidance.
I have done terribly lately. I have given into despair and hopelessness and I'm likely to do it again tomorrow. Hopefully God will have mercy on me.
Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever. - Psalm 73, 26
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I really need to thank all of you for your extremely kind comments and emails you've sent me recently. They really do lift my spirits.
I'm still pretty depressed, which is interesting because I'm in the luteal phase of my cycle and you'd think progesterone would be helping my mood. But, then again, I got my peak +7 results on Thursday and I'm not surprised the progesterone wasn't making me happy - it was only 14.6. Estradiol, meanwhile, was 265, much lower than last cycle.
I scheduled the semen analysis with a local lab for Tuesday, but it looks like we're going to have to postpone it since Ryan has the swine flu. He's been pretty sick since Friday, and yesterday he got the high fever (which lead us to make the diagnosis). I'm probably next, although I'm feeling fine so far (hopefully I didn't just jinx it!).
Today is peak +11, so I'll get my last blood draw tomorrow since today's Sunday. I really didn't feel any differently on Clomid this cycle, except I had some weird, yet only slight, sensations in my legs. I always have very slight leg pain (if you can even call it that) before I get my period, but this time it was throughout the cycle and felt a little different.
But other than that, no hot flashes, no mood swings (other than normal). Although, maybe my recent depression is due to it. I hadn't thought of that.
The only other different symptom I've had this cycle is yellow mucus the last five days or so (which was peak + 6-10, so far). I read in the PPVI handbook that it could mean I have an infection. Does anyone know if this is always the case? I'm thinking of asking for an antibiotic when (and if) I go to see Dr. L on cycle day one. Maybe that would also help with my mucus quality next time.
I say "if" I see Dr. L because I'm not sure what to do. I did want to utilize the cycles immediately following surgery in case my fertility was somehow restored, but when does it become evident that it wasn't? Three cycles? Four?
I've also been thinking about possibly doing a couple unmedicated cycles before seeing Dr. Steg.man in late January. I guess I could medicate this cycle and then go unmedicated in December.
I also really can't wait to meet with my priest this Friday. I need to ask him some serious questions about faith. I mean, after struggling this long, I've gone through all the stages and have had more than enough time to learn to give it over to God completely. While I refused to do that the first few years, I realized about a year ago that it was necessary and my heart changed. But, at least for me, it didn't lessen the pain one tiny bit and I know that giving it over to God doesn't mean you will hurt any less. I am still tormented day and night and, if anything, it has been more painful after the five year mark.
What I need to ask the priest is whether it is wrong, or weak, for me to ask that my suffering be lessened a little bit (and not by getting a baby, but by taking away the desire). I struggle with this. Although, in my weakness this weekend, I didn't struggle all that much. I gave in and prayed and prayed that if God desired for me to be childless, that He would take away my desire to be a mother. I even begged for it during the Consecration.
I only want His will to be done but I also really, really, hope it's His will to take this desire away from me. I just can't imagine spending the rest of my life in this despair. And as long as I feel like my vocation is to be a mother, my heart will break every waking moment.
I know this is probably the weak way out. I know God wants us to carry our crosses, and while He may not want us to suffer, He wants us to suffer well with what we've been given.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Just plugging along today, trying to keep my head above water. I'm back in that mode where I feel terribly guilty for not putting into practice all that I intended to, like clinging to God when I feel alone and isolated. I just am having a tough time with doing that, which is to be expected I suppose. It's not like I even really know what it means to cling to God. Do you just tell yourself that's what you're going to do? Do you imagine doing it? I am way too literal a person for some things, I think.
I'm thinking about starting to pray more seriously that God will take away my desire to be a mother. Then I wonder if that's the easy way out. Perhaps He prefers for us to keep the desire in order to suffer more.
So my birthday is getting close (well, a little less than two months away, which is too close for comfort) and I am having anxiety over it. I know some of you are older than me, and I don't mean to offend you by saying this. I just never imagined my life at 33 to be what it is. It blows my mind when I think about it.
I know that's silly. I should be thankful to God that I made it to this age.
This has been a tough week, for non-infertility reasons. But whenever there is an added stress in my life, it makes dealing with my main issue all the more difficult. But hopefully it will get a little easier next week. Just need to get through until then.
In an effort to eliminate some unnecessary stress today, I decided to stop worrying about finding a lab in Richmond for the semen analysis and just do it. So I found one, I think, and left a message for my doctor to send an order there. Looks like I won't be able to get in until at least next week though. And they say our insurance will cover it but I'm scared to death to get a bill in the mail for it after the fact. I'm praying that doesn't happen.
Part of me hates going through the motions of fertility stuff, but the other part of me looks at it as something to at least momentarily get my mind off of adoption, like a hobby. Unfortunately, it's not really working.
And it doesn't help when your hobby causes stress of its own. Not being able to afford the endometrin this cycle really upset me in a "it's just not fair" sorta way. I'm finding that when money keeps us from doing something (medication, adoption), it really eats away at me. That can't be spiritually healthy. I need to accept that we just don't have it, therefore there are things that will allude us.
I know God is watching how I deal with all of this and I feel like I am failing miserably. I just think when you tell yourself for so many years that God has a plan for you, it starts to sound old. But I have to remember that it's not. It's still true. And right now that plan is for me to wait and suffer. There must be a reason.
Update: Congratulations to GIMH on her great news today!!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I can't read adoption blogs.
I think I entered a new chapter of this struggle recently and didn't even realize it. I am an infertile adopter. I am unable, at least for the foreseeable future, to have children through adoption.
And let's keep in mind that infertility and adoption are two totally unrelated things. It's easy to lump them together and figure of course both should be difficult, isn't everything difficult? No, it isn't. Not being able to get pregnant has nothing to do with your ability or inability to adopt. So, I am infertile, not productive, unfruitful, on both completely separate counts.
Which brings me to why I can no longer read adoption blogs. I can't handle it, for the same reason I can't handle blogs about pregnancy. They're too much. They shed a glaring spotlight on my own heartache and cause me to burst into tears.
I'm happy for those people, I truly am, but, separately, the reminder of what I long for rips my heart in two. I prefer to live in a slightly comatose state where the thoughts are always there but somehow just below the surface.
I really have to learn to deal with this in case our time never comes, which is entirely possible. And unless something drastically changes, that is where we are headed. I need to be grateful that others have been blessed before I. And I am getting there, surprisingly. I just can't contain the tears.
And I know I said I wasn't going to complain, but I don't think I am doing that here. I am just sharing my emotions so I don't lose my mind. And that will be the last disclaimer about that, I promise.
Wow, when you are trying not to complain on your blog there really isn't much to write about!
I realized recently that a lot of what I write is intended, subconsciously perhaps, to attract sympathy. I complain in order to get your feedback, your condolences, to make myself feel better. But I don't think that's what I'm supposed to be doing.
Oh, and I'm very creative. I will write an entire post complaining about how bad I have it, how many years we've been trying, how God hasn't blessed me, and then wrap it up at the end with some words about what I've learned from it. But I'm catching on to myself!
I've been trying to be conscious of it for a while now, but I did have to erase a post today. I was struggling this morning, and my hour at adoration was anything but fruitful. I am just really dealing with a great deal of sadness over our inability to adopt and I found myself writing about how bad I have it.
I'm not saying that I should never talk about my negative thoughts, but I do think I need to stop myself from droning on about it just for the sake of complaining. It's like when I'm sad I have this desire to just put it out there as if to say "Look at me! I have it THIS bad! If I'm going to suffer, I at least want to get credit for it!"
That's my pride, and I think God revealed that to me so I can fix it.
I have a lot of blessings in my life. I am going to focus on them today and less on the gray cloud that the devil wants me to believe is over my head. Guess what, Satan? There is a VERY good reason why God hasn't given us babies yet and while I may not know what it is, I choose to trust in Him!
Monday, November 2, 2009
One of the biggest struggles of infertility, at least for me, is that I feel so left out of the rest of the fertile world. I can't speak their mommy language, laugh at their parenting jokes, sympathize with their pregnancy complaints, or pretty much go anywhere without seeing families that remind me of my lack of one.
I have resented this for the past five years. I've wanted so badly to be part of it, to blend in. To do what the rest of the billions of people on earth do that comes so naturally, even sometimes too naturally, for 99.9% of humans throughout history.
But something occurred to me recently, which explains why God would allow me to be separate from the rest of the world: He doesn't want us to be part of this world.
I have been made so low the past five years and only now am I realizing that this is exactly where God wants me. That probably sounds terrible to a non-believer, but when you know that low is good, that the meek shall inherit the earth, that the mourners will be comforted, then it occurs to you that what feels bad to us is actually a blessing.
It's not like I suddenly completely understand this concept, but I just know it in my heart to be true. And I understand why God would not want us to be of this world. There is so much temptation, and not just temptation to do obviously bad things, but temptation to just be lukewarm. Honestly, if I got pregnant right after my wedding and had two kids by now, I'm not sure I'd have the faith I have today. I'd like to think I would have undergone the same conversion that I did a few weeks after returning from our honeymoon, but what if I'd already gotten a positive pregnancy test by then? I would have been on my way to complete normalcy, to happiness, to possible complacentness.
That's not to say, of course, that all fertile women are complacent in their faith; obviously that isn't the case. But I might have been.
I can't even describe what infertility has done to me. I keep typing and then erasing sentences. But most of you know. You just feel completely barren, literally and figuratively. Everything is stripped from you, peeled back, and exposed. You feel alone, isolated, cast out. Even though we are blessed to live in a society where we are not literally outcasts for our inability to bear children, you feel a connection to those women who were. Our husbands may still love us and our fertile friends still include us, but sometimes we feel so unlike everyone else that we might as well be thrown out of the village.
And that brings me back to my point - that that's not such a bad thing. As odd as it may sound, lately I've been trying to force myself to find a kind of contentment when I feel alone. That same feeling used to give me anxiety that my life was a disaster and I was losing control, but now I try to remain calm and think about it as a good thing. I did that in Mass this morning when I was feeling sad, and thought about how feeling alone allows me to be alone with God. There is nothing to get in the way of that connection when we feel isolated, and maybe that's what He has wanted all along. Does that make sense?
Although I'm still working out the kinks - I had to remind myself this morning that it doesn't mean I get to sulk, as I found myself doing. The fact that I might feel sad and alone has to be hidden and to the world I must still exhibit joy. This is not to say I'm doing this just yet, I just know I should.
I know it really is the opposite of what we've been taught our whole lives - that having self-esteem, being accepted, receiving accolades are all to be desired. It's kind of like I've had to turn everything I knew upside down. I should want to be last, to be forgotten, to be left out. Even to type that seems odd, but it's true.
What infertility has allowed me to do is to set my sights on God alone. And I'm telling you right now I wouldn't have done that if not for everything being stripped from me. I know myself, and if I were a mother of two right now I'd be either so blessed or so busy that I'm sure I wouldn't have stopped everything and wondered how I could learn to die to self. It probably wouldn't have been on my radar.
If this was some spiritual exercise I was doing for myself, in the middle of being a mom, there is no way that I would have allowed myself to sink to the depths that I have; I am not that strong and willing. I would have begged for a life preserver years ago, dusted myself off and maybe even thought that I had learned something, not knowing how much further I was capable of falling. I am suffering this way because I have no choice in the matter.
Infertility has forced this lesson upon me. And God's doing the heavy lifting for me - He has taken away all that would have gotten in my way and allowed me the opportunity to learn from suffering. It really is a blessing when you think about.
We'll see how this goes. While on one hand I feel like it's a new tactic I'm trying out, on the other hand I don't think I have a choice. When we feel beaten down we can do one of two things - moan and wail and pray (or, as is often the case with me, scream) that God takes it away, or we can embrace it and, in turn, hope that it's a little lighter to bear. I've tried the first way for the past five years, so I'm willing to give the other way a shot. I'll let you know how it goes.