Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Catching up

Oh my goodness, ladies. I'm sorry it's been so long! It's been a busy summer and I haven't logged on in quite awhile. I do intend to catch up on what you have all been doing but in the meantime here's a little recap of my latest happenings:

  • Our Amtrak vacation was amazing. We got a little stir crazy towards the end of the train trip but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in Glacier National Park and Portland, OR. We did lots of hiking in Glacier and I can officially say that I am in love with the landscape. I'm looking forward to a return visit so we can further explore the park. Portland was a bit more low-key since we spent most of our time there visiting with long-lost friends. Our friends have a lovely nine month old boy who instantly won our affections. I usually avoid spending time with babies because it makes my heart ache but I'm happy that I had the chance to get to know this little guy. Meeting him has further strengthened my resolve to continue our journey towards parenthood. 
  • More time at the lake. We visited my dad at his lake abode and savored one last weekend of summer weather. Fall is now in the air so I'm glad we had the opportunity to splash around in the lake while the temps were still warm.
  • Some sad news - my OBGYN passed away very suddenly. He has been with us on our infertility journey for the past couple years. He administered all of my fertility tests and diagnosed me with endometriosis. He was a very kind-hearted doctor who always made me feel at ease (especially before surgery!). I'm at a loss for how I can ever replace him. In the movie in my mind he was the one who helped us deliver our long-sought-for firstborn. Unfortunately, this fantasy is not to be. 
  • New tactics - I've decided to pursue acupuncture fertility treatments. I was already mulling this over in my head before the shocking news about my doctor. I'm tired of western drugs and their nasty side effects. I'd like to pursue a more natural method for awhile. Perhaps my body will respond better to this, perhaps it won't. I'm willing to spend a few months experimenting. My first appointment is this Saturday and I'm anxiously waiting to get started!
So there you have my news in a nutshell. I'll leave you with some pics of our recent vacation and with a promise to catch up on all your blogs soon!

Our train



Up close and personal with a glacier.









Enjoying the view







Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Busy bee


Busy may as well be my middle name. I’m sorry to have been neglecting all my friends here in bloggie world, but my real life has been holding me hostage. I will probably also be very scarce for the next month since it is chock full of plans. My aunt is visiting us this week and this weekend we are all heading to Chicago for a family reunion. I’m really looking forward to this, aside from one simple fact (and I would love to get everyone’s opinion on this) – the reunion is for my mom’s side of the family but my dad will be bringing his girlfriend to the party. This strikes me as very odd since this woman is obviously not a relation and I feel like her presence is a snub towards my mom. I don’t know, maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but it weirds me out.

After our Chicago excursion we will have less than a week to prepare for our two week vacation extravaganza - J and I are taking the Amtrak out to Oregon to visit some friends. On the way we will make a four day stop at Glacier National Park. We’ve never traveled by Amtrak before but it sounds like an adventuresome way to experience the landscape of the western U.S. I’ve flown out to Oregon twice and each time I felt very wistful as I looked out the window at the vast mountain ranges below. Now we will view them up close and personal, and we won’t be driving so we’ll really be able to savor the view.

Next week is also our seven year wedding anniversary. Hard to believe that that many years have already gone by. We’re obviously not where I thought we would be family-building wise but we’re still in love and our relationship is strong. In that regard I am a very lucky woman. 

So the moral of the story is – I’m sorry that I’ve been, and will continue to be, absent. I am reading your posts when I can but I don’t always have a chance to comment. I miss interacting with you and hope that everyone is doing well!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A shiny distraction

In my last post I mentioned the longing I felt when two adorable children visited my office. It's true, I was smitten and filled with such a wistful sense of hope. Soon after posting to my blog I took a bathroom break where I was promptly met with the onslaught of my period - two days early!

What?! Why, oh why did the universe send such lovely children to visit me, thus inflaming my maternal instincts, only to instantly dash all of my hopes? I was momentarily crushed.

Momentarily, I say, because a shiny new toy was waiting for me at home. That afternoon J had gone to pick up our new car. I was beyond excited to get home and see it. That excitement has carried me through the last few days. Am I sad that I got my period? Of course. But the delicious distraction of driving a brand new car is enough to buoy my spirits. I've been driving the same car since 1999 so owning a 2013 model thoroughly blows my mind. Power windows and locks, a CD player, more cargo room... yes, mind officially blown. (I know, I am easily pleased). 

But the universe wasn't done with me yet. (Apparently it craves my tears and isn't satisfied until I have my monthly infertility meltdown.) Over the weekend a coworker's baby was born. Facebook exploded with pictures and baby talk abounded at the office yesterday. Fine, I could handle it. I had my own four-wheeled bundle of joy to discuss. Today another coworker became a grandfather for the first time, which meant more baby talk ensued. I could feel my happy new-car-plated armor beginning to crack. 

So I took my lunch break and drove the new car around town. Ah, happiness restored.

Our new baby
Rugged-looking road not included. I guess we'll have to find our own. :)






Friday, July 13, 2012

Finn

I was doing really well with this two week wait. I've been so busy lately that I've barely had time to obsess over it. However, after a chance encounter with a cute little curly-headed boy I'm back to obsessing about having one of my own. 


There is a street festival going on outside my office door today. I thought it would be fun to do a little game to get people inside the door to our business. I filled the front window with tons of beach balls and plastered signs asking people to come in and guess how many there are. Just a moment ago a little blond-haired, curly-headed ball of energy came bounding in proclaiming that there are 41 beach balls in the window. He looked to be about five years old but had the confidence of a mature adult. I helped him fill his form out so he could enter the prize drawing and he clearly stated all of the pertinent facts (his name is Finn, such a cute name!). He smelled of sunshine, candy and graham crackers and I just wanted to scoop him up and give him a great big hug. 


Sigh.....


Now, to continue my waiting, which is not so patient anymore. 


* * * * * * * * 


Argh, and now a sweet little girl named Sophia just stopped in. I just may have to leave work early today to save myself from more torture!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Keeping it real

There were two new members at my book club meeting last night. And by new I mean brand spanking new human beings, freshly freed from their mother's wombs. I politely congratulated one of the new moms and for a moment I saw a hint of hesitation on her face before she said thank you. Oh, infertility, why do you have to make normal human interactions so awkward? 

Perhaps it's better to keep my infertile status under wraps so I can avoid other awkward situations. But no, I want to talk about it. I want other people to know how much it pains me and what a struggle it is. I want to educate them so that perhaps they will better know how to deal with the next infertile couple they meet. I want the stigma surrounding infertility to stop and I can't stop it by staying silent. 

So, I'm sorry if I made you feel awkward, new book club mommy, but if I have to live with infertility every day I think you can deal with one awkward social exchange. 


http://www.etsy.com/listing/58324148/i-can-do-hard-things-necklace?ref=sr_gallery_39&ga_search_query=infertility+necklace&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_search_type=all
Source

Monday, July 9, 2012

The end of an era

I just had a very exhausting weekend and I'm struggling to put everything into words. Due to my family's herculean effort my parent's house is now empty. It's very surreal to walk through my childhood home and not see all the familiar furnishings and wall hangings in their proper place. 


I slept very poorly last night since the image of those empty rooms haunted me. I lay awake and tried to sear all the little quirks of the house into my brain - the sound the back door makes as it creaks open, how the front hall closet is very conducive to a good game of hide and seek, the spot at the top of the stairs where I would sit and catch a glimpse of the TV when I was supposed to be in bed, the fireplace made of field rock that my parents collected, the elaborate light switch panels wired by my dad, and how I first told J that I loved him when we were hanging out in my bedroom.


I'm having a hard time letting go, even though I didn't think I would. (Perhaps it's related to the fact that I'm in my two week wait and am thus already overly emotional). I talked to my sister last night and she pinpointed one of the reasons that I'm struggling - my kids will never be familiar with the house. My nieces and nephews have many happy memories of the house but my kids will never get to experience the same. They will never poke through my old ballet costumes, run in the yard that I enjoyed as a child, sit at my mom's kitchen table and decorate Christmas cookies, play hide and seek in the front hall closet or sit on the porch swing. I know they'll have many happy memories of their own but I'm sad that they'll never experience firsthand the tranquility and warmth of my mother's home. It's yet another loss that moves me further from my mom's presence and reminds me of my infertile state.


Speaking of infertility, yesterday my dad beckoned me to his room and thrust an old letter into my hands. It was a letter from a doctor's office informing my mom that she was a perfect candidate for Clomid. My dad seemed so pleased with himself that he had found the magic solution to my infertility. After all, if it worked for my mom it should work for me, right? Wrong. I know Clomid is not my miracle drug because I have been on it numerous times in the past, but his optimism was very touching so I thanked him for the information and tucked the letter away for safe keeping. At least I now have a link to my mom's infertile past.


I must have some of my dad's pat rack tendencies within me because I came home with far too many boxes of keepsakes. I'll have to sift through them again with a clear head to see if I really need all of them. For example, I don't think it's imperative that I save every scrap of my school artwork but I do want to keep my grandmother's china. 


One thing's for certain, after sorting through 40 years worth of clutter I have an insatiable desire to purge my entire house of all unnecessary items. I love my parent's house, I really do, but one of the main reasons that I don't want to buy it is because it's too big. I just spent the last few weeks clearing out 40 years worth of clutter from the home's numerous nooks and crannies and I never want to go through that again. If the space is there I know it will eventually be filled with a plethora of items that J and I don't really need. Our more modest sized house is much more manageable.


One thing I don't mind keeping is all the wonderful memories associated with my parent's house. 

  • Holiday feasts
  • Birthday party sleepovers on the back porch
  • Watching a pair of robins build a nest outside the kitchen window 
  • Learning to ride my bike on the driveway
  • Coming home to delicious-smelling meals 
  • Making snow angels in the backyard
  • Trying out new dance steps in the living room
  • How the lilacs only grew on the very top of the bush because the sun did not hit the entire plant
  • Assisting my mom with holiday decorating
  • The blinking glow of Christmas lights outside my bedroom window
  • Graduation parties, bridal and baby showers (My parents hosted so many parties!)
  • Movie nights with family and friends
  • Watching my nieces and nephews grow in leaps and bounds
  • Assembling my wedding invitations on the dining room table

As I recall all of this I realize how lucky I am to have had such a charmed upbringing and I wait with hopeful anticipation for the day that I can provide the same to my own children. I also am reminded that the house itself did not provide these memories - the people who lived there did. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The lake

I'm very happy today because tomorrow I will be journeying to the place of my heart's content. My dad owns property on a pristine, spring-fed lake just three hours north of my house. This property has been in our family since the late 1800's and I always feel like a part of me has been restored when I am standing on the shores of the lake. I can't wait to take a running jump off the dock into that cool, clear water. The unusually hot weather that we've been having is just further incentive to hop in the water immediately upon arrival - I suppose I'll say a quick hello to my dad before embarking to the dock, but swimming is next on my list of priorities.

It's no secret that the inner workings of my dad's mind are a big mystery to me. For instance, why does he insist on sleeping with the TV on every night? Why is he such a picky eater? (I have never in my life seen him ingest a fruit or green, leafy vegetable). One of his biggest idiosyncrasies is that while he prefers to spend all of his time at his lake home, he never actually enjoys the lake. Oh, I suppose he'll go on the occasional pontoon boat ride but that's usually for the benefit of guests. He doesn't fish, he doesn't swim, he doesn't kayak. I've never come across him just sitting on the dock, savoring the view. He's so incredibly lucky to have such natural beauty just steps from his doorstep but I don't think he pauses to enjoy it. Maybe he does, in his own way, but certainly not in the way that the rest of us do.

J and I were married in a little church near the lake so the morning of our wedding I woke up early to savor a solitary swim, which did wonders to soothe my pre-wedding jitters. It was a very memorable, almost spiritual, experience for me. I also found a good deal of comfort by the lake soon after my mom died. She loved the lake. Swimming, kayaking, fishing, sitting peacefully on the dock - she cherished it all. As I sat there immersed in my grief I felt comforted by the gentle breeze that caressed me, I could almost imagine that the soft touch on my skin was her gentle caress.

At every juncture in my life I have found solace by this lake, which is why my heart always yearns for it. I feel W.B. Yeats said it best in one of my favorite poems:


I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;  
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
      I hear it in the deep heart's core.


A beautiful sunset mirrored on the surface of my beloved lake

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to distract an infertile (Hint: It involves wedding bells)

This past weekend was incredibly relaxing. We had two friends here for a visit. They recently got engaged and much of our discussion (especially between the females) centered on wedding planning. This was a very happy relief to me - finally, no baby talk! Our guests were incredibly low-key and content to just sit back and relax. We played some card games, drank some beer, sat outside to savor the sunshine, took a stroll around a nearby park and sampled tapas at a new restaurant. I also appreciated their tendency to sleep-in so that J and I had a chance to do the same. We didn't turn the TV on once, which meant that the conversation kept flowing naturally. Not only are they fabulous friends, they just may be the perfect house guests as well!


My little kitty man come home on Thursday and all is well. He's back to his normal self - demanding food a half hour before meal times, perching on the windowsill to keep tabs on the outside world and purring happily whenever he's in close proximity to me. I'm always amazed at the look he gives me when I walk by - it's a mixture of adoration and disdain. Only a cat can project such a conflicted message.


Good friends and cute pets provided a much needed reprieve from infertility depression. A few days ago we stopped to see J's parents at their house. Their living room has a large picture window that provides an excellent view of the neighbor's abode. As we sat and talked the conversation naturally turned to the neighbors since we could see their family just outside the window. This family has lived there about as long as J's parents so J grew up with the neighbor's kids. Of course these kids have grown up and are now producing offspring of their own. My heart ached as I saw this burgeoning family interact with each other. I watched how the grandmother cuddled with her grandkids and how the dads chased their giggling little ones around the yard. I would love for J's family to experience all of this for themselves, instead of just witnessing it through their window. 


But, as I said above, our friends' visit was a welcome distraction from my gloomy thoughts. Now I have visions of wedding festivities in my head. The groom is one of my oldest friends and it was he that introduced me to J. I'm so happy that he has found his person - she's perfectly suited for him and I know they'll have a very happy life together. I suppose whenever I need a break from my infertility obsession I should give the happy couple a call to be reminded that happiness is not dependent on procreation alone. 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Birthday recap, kayaking fun and sick kitty

Hello everyone! Sorry, I didn't mean to go off the bloggie grid for so long but my real life has been keeping me busy. I'm all recovered from my hospital escapade and enjoyed a lovely weekend at home. Saturday was my birthday and we had a few people over to enjoy our newly landscaped fire pit. Later in the evening it started to rain but we were reluctant to go inside. There's a large white pine behind the fire pit so the tree boughs provided some relief from the rain. Eventually we admitted defeat as the drops began to get bigger. Aside from the rain it was a lovely evening with friends and a wonderful way to unwind and regroup.


Here I am enjoying the lake by my dad's house.
The lakes we paddled on Sunday were smaller. 
Sunday we went kayaking with my brother and his family. We explored a small chain of lakes in a nearby town. It was a beautiful, warm day and I thoroughly enjoyed cooling off in the water with my nieces and nephew. My brother and his family are quite outdoorsy - the kids even have their own little kayaks. At one point we came upon two canoes filled with rowdy college boys. They managed to tip one of the canoes and it took them quite awhile to get everything back in order. My ten year old nephew confidently paddled by in his own kayak and the look on the older boys' faces was priceless. A kid was more capable on the water than they were. (Sorry, proud aunt moment...I had to share). 








Today I am a worried cat mom. Last night our little guy started having accidents around the house. We ended up sequestering him in the bathroom for the night so we could get some sleep. We took him to the vet today and they found some really large crystals in his urinary tract. They want to keep him overnight and are hoping to flush the crystals out with lots of fluids. If that doesn't work they will need to surgically remove them. Poor little dude! 


He just turned a year old (we think). My niece found him living in her family's garden last August. J and I happened to stop over for a visit just as they were trying to corral him. I took one look at the scrawny little kitten and fell in love. We took him to the vet to get spruced up and they said the poor thing had probably been living outside on his own for quite some time. He weighed half as much as he should have and bore many scrapes and cuts. Almost a year later he is living the life of a pampered house cat. Not a bad deal for a starving little foundling. 


Anyway, I miss him and hope the vet can patch him up and send him home soon.


Hoping my little buddy can come home soon. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ouch!! (Physically and mentally speaking)

I rode my wave of hope as long as I possibly could but everything came crashing down on me Tuesday morning. I woke up feeling great - spotting was gone, no sign of any cramps. I hopped in the shower to get ready for work and let my mind wander...if I could just make it a couple more days without my period I would try another pregnancy test...maybe I could get that good news just in time for my birthday!

Then the cramps started to hit. I tried to quickly finish up my shower so I could grab my pain killers but the pain suddenly intensified. Soon I was in a ball on the bathroom floor sobbing in pain. I dragged myself to the bed and found my phone so I could text J, who was already at work. I asked to him to come home right away. My pain was so intense that I started freaking out - what if I had an ectopic pregnancy? What if something else was seriously wrong? This kind of pain was not normal. J arrived and I managed to sputter out that I wanted him to take me to the hospital. He helped me get dressed and we were soon on our way.

As we drove my pain began to decrease but I knew I still wanted to be seen by someone. We checked into the ER and I was soon laying on a hospital bed hooked up to an IV. My pain had dissipated but I was still worried. The ER doc ordered a pregnancy test and got me set up for a pelvic exam. It was then that I noticed that I had started to bleed. Great, I thought, they're just going to chalk this up to period cramps and send me on my way. The pregnancy test was, of course, negative. I was devastated and felt like the staff thought I was overreacting. I told the doc that I had endometriosis and he said perhaps the cramps were just a symptom of my endo.


Just?! Why don't I give you a uterus so you can feel a woman's pain, buddy! Your lack of empathy is really starting to get on my nerves. I came here because I was in an excruciating amount of pain and I was scared. You're a doctor - now fix me, damn it!

The doc ordered an ultrasound and J and I waited for what felt like forever to get the results. It turns out I had a ruptured ovarian cyst. The doc gave me some pain meds and sent me on my way. My "official" diagnosis was endometriosis (Well, duh. I already knew I had that, Mr. Idiot Doctor) with an ovarian cyst.

J dropped me off at home before he headed back to work. We had wasted almost a complete day in the ER and I knew he had to check on things at his office. I threw myself on the couch and sobbed - the really gut-wrenching, heartbreaking kind of sob fest that leaves you feeling cleansed yet exhausted when you're done. I was so upset that I had let myself think I was actually pregnant and I was so humiliated by the lack of compassion that every staff member at the ER had shown me.

I called my real doctor's office to fill them in on what had happened. Thankfully the hospital had already emailed them my ultrasound pics. The nurse was very sympathetic and said that ruptured cysts can really hurt. Finally, someone realized how much pain I had been in! She had my doctor look over the ultrasound and reported that he had found nothing out of the ordinary - other than that cyst, of course. Supposedly the cyst will resolve itself and I can go back to baby making next month.

So, now that I've wasted so much hope and optimism on one cycle I have to start storing up a new batch for my next. It's going to take me a few days to gather the strength to create this new batch, but I know it will come. It always does.

In the meantime, thank you so much for all your kind words. This online support group is definitely one of the bright spots of my infertile existence. I truly appreciate each and every one of you!




Monday, June 11, 2012

Lucky in love, unlucky in fertility

Flo is a fickle bitch. I started spotting last night and woke up to NOTHING this morning! I've been spotting on and off throughout the day today. What the?! Flo, if you're really coming I demand that you show your face NOW! If you don't, I think I may go mad.

Let me just reiterate how much I love J. Yesterday I told him that my second pregnancy test was negative. We then both simultaneously grabbed our respective tablets and started furiously searching the internet for any explanations. It was a really nice feeling to know that I had a partner in googling crime. Up until then I thought that I was the only psycho in the house who frantically took to the internet whenever infertility disaster arose. Later that night when I told him that I had started spotting his response was, "Yeah, I read that it can happen." Awww, my J was reading up on early pregnancy symptoms. What a guy!

But by then my mind had already decided that all hope was lost and J's only option was to hold me while I sobbed. Not only is he an excellent internet junkie, he also gives wonderful hugs. So, even though I do not feel lucky in the fertility realm I realize that I am very lucky in other aspects of my life.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

To hope or not to hope?

Things that have made me hopeful over the course of the last few days:

  • When cleaning through boxes at my parent's house my sister found my baptismal gown. It's still in beautiful condition and could be used again.
  • My youngest niece informed me that she hopes I have a kid soon because she's tired of being the youngest. 
  • My two oldest nieces sorted through my mom's jewelry. They gave me a little box with items that they thought my potential future daughter would enjoy. (I love my nieces and nephews so much. Their thoughtfulness always amazes me). 
  • My sister found this ugly little knickknack of a pregnant woman that she said was given to my mom as a gift when she was pregnant with me. (It's currently sitting next to the borrowed fertility statue on my nightstand. One can never have too many fertility charms.)
  • Last but not least.... my period is five days late.

What has brought me back to my senses:

  • I had another negative pregnancy test today. 

What still gives me hope:

  • My obsessive Google search yielded promising results - some women don't receive a positive reading until a week or two after their missed period. Dare I continue to hope? 

UPDATE:

Spotting has begun...damn it all to hell...hope is for people more lucky than I. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Allow me to step on my soap box

I'm not usually a political person, but I am a history buff so I think I would be remiss if I did not mention the historic election that occurred yesterday in my state. Those familiar with U.S. politics will be able to deduce what state I am referring to. To make a long story short, our recently elected governor has pushed policies that are very controversial and have created much political division in the state. Huge protests erupted across the state - there was even a lengthy occupation of the state capitol building. Eventually the opposing party collected enough signatures to force a recall election of the governor, something that has never before occurred in our state.

This political hubbub has made even the least politically-minded person become energized and passionate about the future of the state. This is the positive aspect of the whole mess. Yesterday's election had a very high voter turnout. The air itself felt electrified as people took time from their busy days to stand in lengthy lines at the polls. And then, depending upon how you look at it, hopes were dashed or spirits were buoyed as the results came in.

It gives me the warm fuzzies to know that so many people are involved in the political process, but I am disgusted by the polarizing effect this has had on my state. Whatever happened to political compromise and common decency? Heated arguments occur not only in the lawmakers chambers, but within homes across the state as well. Hurtful language has been used by conservatives and liberals alike. When did it become okay to lambaste someone for their beliefs? I'm frustrated that our elected officials cannot find a way to work together and that common citizens have resorted to vitriol in the face of opposing views.

What worries me the most is that this hatred has, and will continue to seep beyond the borders of my state. The upcoming presidential election will be a mighty battle with hurtful accusations thrown each way. I suppose I just don't have the stomach for politics. I should probably move to a deserted island. Anyone care to join me?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Better luck next time

I did it... I peed on a stick this morning. Aunt Flo is due today or tomorrow and I just couldn't wait. I'd rather steel myself before her arrival than be ambushed. 


So, I peed on a stick and it was.... negative. 


Might as well hurry up and get here, Flo...let's get this over with. The only bright side is that I can now drink whatever I want on my birthday. It's a hollow prize however, since I'd much rather celebrate by thinking about a little life growing in my belly. 


Okay, so my 20's wasn't my fertile decade. Maybe I'll have better luck in my 30's. If that's the case I can't wait to bid adieu to my 20's. Just a few more days and I can leave this wretched decade of my life behind. 


Sure there were good moments, but the really momentous happy moments were relegated to my early 20's - college, wedding, new house, new puppy. Then I hit 25 and things drastically changed - my mom's death, infertility. I never expected my life to be perfect but I never knew I would bear such heavy grief before I hit 30. I know there are millions of people much worse off than me and I am truly thankful for the comfortable life that I live, but I can't help wondering why I can't just be granted one simple wish... why are so many babies born to those who don't even want them when I have the ability to provide a healthy, loving home for a child? 


It's maddening! As is awaiting my impending guest. C'mon, Flo. I'm armed and ready, bring it!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday musings

The world has stopped spinning. My vertigo slowly tapered off into nothingness. I'm pretty much feeling back to normal. My symptoms were thankfully very slight over the weekend. We went to visit my sister so we could see my niece's dance recital. The auditorium had very steep tiered seating and later in the day we visited the top of a scenic bluff. Both experiences would have been almost impossible a few days ago when my dizziness was at it's worst. 


Physically I'm feeling much better, but psychologically I'm on pins and needles. Will Aunt Flo come barging back into my life this week or will I be granted my birthday wish? I'm getting impatient and having a hard time concentrating on anything else. I wish I could share this burden with my husband but he seems pretty oblivious about it. He'll find me staring off into space and ask what's wrong. Um, hello... do I even have to answer that inane question? 

Don't get me wrong - he's been very supportive throughout this journey, but somehow he manages to live life without obsessing about it. I wish I could but it's not in my nature. It's something that is out of my control so I feel helpless, and thus I strive to find ways to fix it. He seems content to let fate decide. He says he knows that someday, somehow we will be parents. The passing years don't seem to faze him. They do faze me - I don't want to be 65 when my kids are graduating! I want to be young enough to have the energy to enjoy my kids and grandkids. 

Speaking of him, perhaps it's time to give him a name in my bloggy world. Then I won't have to keep writing "my husband" every time I mention him. It sounds too formal for a man who is anything but. 


Henceforth, he shall be referred to as J. 


There are many emotional differences between myself & J, but somehow we even each other out. I obsess, he calms me down. I cry, he gives me a hug and cracks a joke to bring back my smile. I'm so thankful to have someone who can soothe me at my darkest moments, and I hope he thinks I do the same for him. 


Thanks for reading. J won't understand my womanly obsession, but I know you ladies you will. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Birthday wish

Dear God / Universe / Entity in charge of fertility,


In sixteen days I will turn 30. The only thing I really want for this momentous birthday is a baby. Obviously I will not be giving birth within the next couple weeks, but I would be equally happy with a pregnancy. Aunt Flo is due next week but I'd rather take an extended break from her visits. Could you please give her the message for me? I would really appreciate it.


Your humble servant,


Ann

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dizzy spells

Hello everyone! I thoroughly enjoyed my recent three day weekend and am just now getting back on track with the online world. We did a lot of yard work (Good-bye weeds, hello new perennials!) and spent some time with my hubby's family over the holiday weekend. I did also get active - we went for a three hour walk on Saturday on some nearby trails. I loved being able to spend so much time outside for three straight days. It was a glorious treat for this office job gal.


Towards the end of the weekend I started feeling really dizzy and lightheaded. Monday morning the hubby and I did some weeding in our flower beds and I started to feel really ill. Every time I stood up or bent over I felt like I was going to pass out. The feeling gradually dissipated as the day went on and by the afternoon I was out in the yard digging holes for our new flowers. Yesterday morning the dizziness returned. It took me forever to get ready for work because I kept having to take a break to sit down. Unfortunately, the feeling stuck with me all day yesterday and is still with me now. I've also had some nausea, which I think is totally understandable considering that my center of gravity is all out of whack.


So, the infertile part of me is getting excited. Nausea? dizziness? Well, that must be an early pregnancy sign, right?!


However, the logical part of me thinks that I'm having a bout of vertigo. A couple of years ago we vacationed in Hawaii. After the return flight home I started to feel very strange - dizzy and lightheaded for no apparent reason. I went to the doctor and she said I had a slight case of vertigo. The long plane ride had most likely wrecked havoc upon my inner ear, making me feel slightly off-kilter. She said the feeling should subside after a week or two and it did. I've experienced this a couple times since - after more plane travel and after I had a nasty head cold. My theory is that this new bout has been brought on by seasonal allergies.


I'm not really keen on going to the doctor just yet because most likely they will tell me that my symptoms will gradually go away on their own and I will leave feeling like I just wasted my time. So for now I'm going to monitor it and perhaps go in if I don't feel better by next week.


Do I want this to be an early pregnancy sign? You bet I do! However, it would have to be a super-duper early sign since I just ovulated last week. I'm trying not to read too much into this but that's pretty much impossible for an infertile woman going through her two week wait. In the immortal words of Frank Costanza - "Serenity now!!!"


Friday, May 25, 2012

Motivation needed!

Exercise - something I should do more of, but something I rarely feel the inclination to do. Up until my mid 20's I was blessed with a superb metabolism. My natural body build is tall and slim and I've managed to maintain this physique with little effort. In high school and college I ate horribly. I was a busy student so I ate all the convenience foods I could get my hands on, plus a healthy dose of sugar to satiate my sweet tooth. I don't even want to think about how much soda I consumed in my youth. My parents had a special refrigerator set aside for soda and beer, so there was always a large stock of orange soda ready for my consumption. Nowadays I rarely feel the need to drink soda. I may splurge every once in awhile (there's something about eating a bowl of popcorn that just begs for a companionable soda), but I mostly drink water now. I'm kind of a water fiend. I'm constantly walking back and forth from my desk to the water cooler. 

But anyway, back to the topic at hand... exercise and my utter lack of motivation. I have little to no athletic skill so sports have always been a mystery to me. I don't want to think about following a ball around a field or a tennis court, I just want to be active. I do enjoy swimming, walking, hiking and biking (I loathe running), but I can never seem to create and stick to an exercise schedule. I'm not a morning person, I work all day, and my evenings are either dedicated to whatever community theater show I'm in, family engagements or a plethora of household chores. So, what do you busy ladies do to stay on track? I could really use some pointers - and maybe a good kick in the butt. 

I'm really starting to feel like a sloth and I know my metabolism is starting to slow down. I've stopped weighing myself because the number just keeps going up (and my clothes keep getting tighter). For awhile my excuse was that I would be pregnant soon so what was the point of getting into shape first? I've got to stop living my life that way because who knows if I'll ever be pregnant. A fantasy is not a good excuse to let my body go. I don't need to be super buff but I'd like to at least be able to bike a few miles without getting winded, and perhaps see my waist line decrease (the muffin top look is really not doing it for me). 


Okay, here goes. This is me officially kicking myself to get moving! 





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Baking making the natural way

I feel like I have nothing to write about these days. The emotional upheaval of early May is complete and my life has, for the most part, returned to a calm state. However, I am frustrated by a couple things. Mostly, by my seemingly obstinate ovaries. I don't chart my cycles by temp - mostly because I lack the discipline to stick a thermometer in my mouth at the exact same time every day. I've never been one to follow such rigid schedules so my doctor suggested that I use ovulation predictor tests (OPT's) instead. Thus, midway through my cycle I begin the pee stick extravaganza. I'm currently on day 21 of my cycle and have yet to see a positive OPT. The test line looked darker today - much darker than it had the previous days - so perhaps my ovaries are doing something.  


After being on Lupron for six months my doctor suggested that we try naturally for a couple cycles. I have to admit that I've enjoyed this nice little reprieve from being medicated, but I'm also anxious to see some results. Let's get this show on the road! This lady wants to get knocked up, pronto!


My cycles tend to be long so I'm not too worried (yet) about my late ovulation. However, if nothing happens this cycle you better believe that I'll be on the phone to my doctor's office right way. Maybe it's time to be reunited with my old friend, Clomid. Or perhaps it's time to move on to greener (a.k.a. more expensive) pastures. 


But for now we're doing this au naturale. Hopefully our little bedroom guests will give us the mojo we need to complete the deal. I'm looking for a miracle any way I can get it. 
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Freedom!

I'm amazed at how free I feel now that May 10th and Mother's Day have passed. Gone are the sad reminders of my motherless, childless state. The usual infertile anxiety remains but I can deal with that. I'm very practiced at the monthly rollercoaster of TTC. I just can't tolerate the gooeyness surrounding Mother's Day. 

Below is a picture of me frolicking on the Oregon coast in my younger days. It was shortly after my wedding and I had gone to visit a friend. I was so carefree and blissfully unaware of the trials I would soon face. I know I can't go back to being that girl, but a part of her will always remain in my heart. This August I will return to Oregon to visit my friend. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I had a reason for another celebratory dance on the beach?




Monday, May 14, 2012

The annual hibernation of the Infertile Ann

The Infertile Ann is a rare breed that resides in a suburban area of the Midwest. Her habitat is a three bedroom, ranch-style home situated on a half acre lot. She keeps the interior of her home semi-clean and orderly and occasionally attempts to tame the weeds that tenaciously invade her flower beds. Her diet consists mainly of grains, chicken, beef, vegetables, berries, yogurt and chocolate. She does not like hunting and gathering and usually sends her mate to the grocery store to buy sustenance for their household. Her mating habits include obsessively charting her cycle, scheduling intercourse with her mate on her most fertile days and spending the remaining days of her cycle googling perceived early pregnancy symptoms. She has never once reached her goal of pregnancy but she still labors on with a silly sense of hope.


She ventures out of the house every weekday to spend about eight hours staring at a computer screen at her office job. This job provides monetary support for herself and her mate, which they usually spend on cell phone bills, restaurant dinners and clothing. Her activities outside of the office include hiking, singing, watching movies, reading books and volunteering for various community organizations. The infertile Ann is a contradictory animal - she enjoys socializing with other animals but she also craves moments of solitude within her home habitat (affectionately referred to as her cave).


She frequently opts to hibernate in her cave on the second weekend of May, when the majority of her species celebrates the state of motherhood. The Infertile Ann will sleep long hours, stay in her pajamas for a majority of the day and spend sporadic moments crying about her inability to breed offspring and the absence of a mother in her life. She will avoid all forms of social media and TV commercials in an effort to decrease her exposure to the motherhood celebration. She will venture out to buy a card for her mate's mother but will stubbornly refuse to read anything but the humorous cards. The Infertile Ann abhors sappy messages relating to the joys of having and being a mother. 


Once the dreaded second weekend of May is done the Infertile Ann will rise with her alarm, perform her usual grooming techniques and emerge from her cave. She will tentatively begin to search social media outlets in an effort to reconnect with those she has ignored for the past week. Her mood may gradually improve now that the persistent reminders of the motherhood celebration are gone. In fact, she will feel like a huge weight has been lifted from her shoulders now that her species is done focusing on motherhood... and she will thankfully stop wasting so many beautiful days inside her cave. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekend fever!

My snuggle buddy
My recent posts have been so gloomy, I think it's time to lighten the mood. Firstly, I am thankful that it's Friday! I'm looking forward to sleeping in and savoring a nice cup of tea tomorrow morning. I could have slept much longer this morning but my pesky alarm kept going off, reminding me that I had one more work day to get through before my two days of freedom. We slept with the window open last night and it got quite chilly, which means we were all comfortable under the coziness of our down comforter. Our dog usually sleeps on top of the covers but she snuggled up right next to me last night. I love snuggling with her, it's like having a little heating pad next to me all night.

Lovelies from my husband
Yesterday my wonderful husband sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my office. I was so touched by his gesture because he's usually quite forgetful when it comes to important dates. It means a lot to me that he remembered what yesterday meant to me. What a sweetheart, I think I'll keep him!


I really don't have any big plans this weekend and I am completely satisfied with that. I hope to visit a greenhouse to buy some flowers (I like to plant something in my mom's memory around Mother's Day), get caught up on laundry and housework, take advantage of my gigantic rhubarb plant and bake a pie, watch more Mad Men, and get some packing done at my dad's house. I suppose we'll also plan something to do with my mother-in-law on Mother's Day. I know that I'll feel a bit sad on that day but I also want to spend time celebrating the lovely woman who brought my husband into the world. 


I'm sending virtual hugs to you all as you get through the weekend. I wish you strength and hope no matter what you're battling with right now, whether it be Mother's Day or some other hurdle. And for those of you infertiles who have reached the realm of motherhood - I wish you the very best day! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I loved her

Today is a sad day for me - it's been four years since my mom graced this earth. Hard to believe that it's been that long already. I still have moments where I almost pick up the phone to call her. I wonder if those moments will ever go away. 

I thought I'd list some of the things that I really loved about her:
  • Her laugh was kind of ridiculous. When she really got going you could hear her from a mile away.
  • She cried at everything... except my wedding. She surprised my husband and I at our wedding with a video collage of childhood pictures. She said she got all her crying out of the way while she worked on the collage so she wouldn't have to shed any tears on our happy wedding day.
  • She had a very active imagination. She made up silly stories for my siblings and I when we were young involving elaborate characters and adventures.
  • She loved to scrapbook (and I don't). She surprised my husband and I on our one year wedding anniversary with a scrapbook of our wedding day. I love this book - it's full of her personal touches (pictures she took, insights she had, funny stories). This would be the first thing I would grab if our house ever started on fire. 
  • She always sang to herself as she putzed around the house.
  • Her dog voice - She pretended to speak for the dog and used a special voice whenever the dog wanted to "say" something.
  • Her filing system - I recently discovered that she had a file of information for each of her children and grandchildren. She kept old artwork, piano recital programs, newspaper clippings... the usual mom keepsakes. I was really touched when I noticed that she printed and filed every email that I wrote to her during my semester abroad in Ireland. I have long since deleted all that correspondence but she recognized that it was an important moment in my life and I should have a copy of it. What an awesome gift!
  • She had a mischievous and goofy sense of humor. As a child I thought she was hilarious... as a teenager I thought she was embarrassing (stupid teen angst!) 
  • Her relationship with Santa's elves - she loved Christmas and spent the whole year looking for stocking stuffers for all us (including my siblings and I, our spouses, grandkids and family pets). There were so many stockings to fill that she made a deal with Santa's elves - they could come collect the stockings a week early to give Santa time to fill them. She started this tradition when I was a child in order to give herself more time on Christmas Eve. I thought it was so magical when the stockings suddenly disappeared... it definitely intensified my excitement for Christmas morning. 
  • She was an amazing grandma. Not only did she spoil the kids with gifts, she also showered them with attention. I've seen a lot of grandparents try to win their grandkids affection with gifts - she earned the love of my nieces and nephews by being a huge part of their lives. 
  • She wasn't afraid to try anything new. As a middle-aged woman she decided to start taking piano and harp lessons, because it was something she had always wanted to do. She also loved trying new foods... I don't think I ever saw her turn anything down. She and my dad traveled quite a bit and she loved talking about the foods they encountered. 
  • The long talks we had. We would sit and talk forever about anything and everything. I think it drove my dad crazy because he wanted to be "in" on whatever we were talking about (because he's a nosy kind of guy) but whenever he stuck his nose in the room we would say we were talking about "girl stuff" and he would hightail it out of there. Heaven forbid he overhear something about my period or see us crying about something emotional! 
  • Her big bear hugs. She would totally envelope you and you could feel all her love pouring into you.
  • She was a nurturer and she loved to help things grow - this pertained to both children and plants. When she wasn't busy mothering us she loved to unwind in the garden.
I could probably go on and on. She was the kindest woman I have ever known and I'm so proud to say that I am her daughter. Today is difficult as I think about how suddenly she was taken from us. I wasn't ready to see her go! Both of my grandmas lived well into their 90's so I guess I always assumed that my mom would live a long life. 

Shortly after her death I tried to console myself with a bit of retail therapy. I went to her favorite store and purchased a wall hanging that contained a quote by Abraham Lincoln - "It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." So true - my mom didn't live an overly long life but she certainly packed a lot of life into her years. 


A precious gift - her scrapbook of my wedding


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So glad that I live in 2012

I've recently started watching the AMC series, Mad Men. Thanks to our lovely Netflix account I've been able to start from the beginning and slowly move my way through each season. (I just finished season two last night). Watching the characters go about their lives in 1960's America has made me feel very grateful for how much our society has evolved since then. I know there's still room for improvement but watching these emotionally repressed characters deal (or rather not deal) with heavy life issues really showcases how more open-minded we are in 2012.


One of the characters (picture-perfect housewife Betty) struggles to deal with her mother's death and her husband's infidelities. He flat out tells her that he doesn't want to hear about her grief over her mother. She is expected to provide a stress free home for him to unwind in at the end of the day (after he's done drinking at the office and fooling around with random ladies). Wow, poor Betty! In contrast, my husband has seen me display numerous emotional melt-downs and has always been there to listen and offer emotional support. We work together to keep our home (semi) clean and he never comes home smelling like liquor and perfume.

Another character (newlywed Trudy) struggles with infertility. She faces pressure from her parents to provide a grandchild and pressure from her husband to "stop worrying so much." She also is expected to provide her husband with a perfect home...and a perfect marriage. He doesn't want to hear about how much their infertility pains her, he expects her to keep "her issues" to herself. He does agree to see a doctor and openly gloats when his sperm analysis comes back normal (insensitive jerk!). Trudy gets excited about the possibility of adopting but he puts his foot down that he will not raise a stranger's baby (mega jerk!). Again, I am floored by the contrast to my own husband, who has been incredibly supportive throughout our whole ordeal.


My mom once told me that it was unusual that she and my dad didn't have children right away. They were married in 1965 and didn't become parents until 1968. She said at that time most people had children immediately after getting married, but she and my dad chose not to. She never really expounded upon that fact and I was fairly young when she mentioned this to me so I never delved any deeper. I really wish I had.


I've mentioned to my dad that I'm having trouble conceiving and he said my mom did as well. According to him she had PCOS and she "popped some pills" and a few months later a set of twins came along. I've mentioned this to my doctor and they have ruled out PCOS in my case, but I find it very interesting that my mom and I shared this infertility experience. I know that she had no trouble conceiving her next child (my brother was a bit of a surprise) and thereafter she went on the pill. I was mistakenly conceived many years later...I'm living proof that antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of the pill. :)


I wish my dad knew more details, but he's from a generation that didn't concern themselves much with "women's issues." Once again, I am so thankful for my husband, who actually knows what's going on with me. I also wish my mom and I had had a chance to compare notes. It must have been so difficult to deal with infertility in the 1960's. Judging by Trudy's fictitious experience and my mom's reluctance to talk openly about her real life experience, infertility support has really come a long way. I know it's still a very private issue for most couples and still carries some stigma, but it seems that there are more avenues for support nowadays. Books, blogs, support groups - we're so lucky to have access to these. I'm sure infertile women of past generations would have greatly benefited from contact with each other. I relish the opportunities that I have to communicate with my infertile friends (both online and in person). I honestly don't know how I would cope if I didn't have an outlet for my frustrations. 


I'm so thankful that I don't have to suffer in silence! 



Monday, May 7, 2012

Letting it all out

My emotions have been all over the spectrum lately.
  • Happiness - Spring is in the air! 
  • Sadness - May 10th will be the 4th anniversary of my mom's death.
  • Hope (my sometimes friend, sometimes nemesis) - Maybe, just maybe, this cycle will work and I'll be pregnant by Mother's Day.
  • Despair - Damn! My period has come and all hope is dashed.
  • Frustration - My dad is being very unhelpful about the house cleaning project. He seems to think that his kids will take care of everything for him and he shouldn't have to lift a finger to clean out the house HE owns. 
  • Gratitude - For my amazing husband who has listened to all my rantings, hugged me as I cried and helped me find the energy to begin packing up my family's past. 
Towards the end of the workday on Friday afternoon all my emotions bubbled over. To my horror, I was unable to hold my tears back. I did my best to hold myself together enough to rush out of the office to my car so I could unleash the total meltdown in private. My husband had people at our house so I drove to my parent's empty house, sat in the back yard (because I didn't have the house key on me) and sobbed uncontrollably. I felt like a total wreck. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I stop dwelling on my problems and concentrate on the good things in my life instead? 

But you know what? It felt really damn good to acknowledge that there are things wrong in my life and it's okay for me to divulge in a little self pity. I've been so caught up in keeping myself distracted from my problems that I've actually been doing myself a disservice. Brushing my feelings under the carpet has only harmed my emotional state. That's why everything bubbled over on Friday - my emotions were tired of taking a backseat to my busy life. They wanted recognition too! 

So, now I vow to put myself first, especially as I get through the next week. I will not feel bad for giving myself the time I need to process the pain I feel as I continue to struggle with my infertility, my strained relationship with my dad and my grief over losing my mom. I hereby declare this Ann Week! Happy or sad, I will wear my emotions on my sleeve and stop hiding them from the world. 



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hello Mr. Heating Pad

Well, I was right. My period decided to grace me with its presence today. I know I said in my last post that I wasn't feeling very optimistic about this cycle but I have to admit there was a part of me that was hopeful. It was there in the back of my mind and kept inching it's way forward. 


As luck would have it, I have a fairly busy afternoon and evening lined up. I really hope the Tylenol I took will kick in so these pesky cramps will subside. Right now I am sitting at my desk at work dreaming of my heating pad and the comfy chair in my living room (known to us as "the napping chair" because I tend to take lots of accidental naps while lounging there). I hope I will have a little chance to unwind there between work and my evening obligations. Even just fifteen minutes with that cozy heating pad would suffice. 


Sigh, I guess I should get my head out of the clouds and continue on with my day. I'm also planning a nice sob fest when I finally have a moment to myself. That hopeful part of me is feeling really crappy right now and I want to award her a moment to grieve the loss of another month without a pregnancy. I think she would also like some chocolate...and some wine...and definitely some time with Mr. Heating Pad.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I hate May

I hate May. There's too many sad memories in May. May is the last time I saw my mom alive (I can't remember if I hugged her good-bye or not and I hate that I can't remember). May is when she was snatched from my life. May is when we planned her funeral. May is when I saw her laid out in a casket (I really hate this memory). May is when I cried more tears than I ever thought humanly possible.


May also holds Mother's Day in the U.S. What a loathsome holiday. People should appreciate their moms every day, not just on a commercialized holiday (Hindsight is 20/20 - I really wish I had followed this creed when my mom was still alive). Mother's Day is a horrible slap in the face for a motherless daughter and for an infertile... it's a double whammy for my poor soul. It's a constant reminder of all I have lost and all I have yet to achieve. 


This May I have decided to stay away from Facebook, TV commercials and the greeting card aisle until Mother's Day has passed. Sure, I'll still be exposed to other reminders and advertisements (They're so persistent that it's hard to miss them), but I can at least try to limit the amount that I see. I do not need to let myself get sucked in the abyss.


Easier said than done. May will still be hard, but I'll get through it one way or another. It doesn't help that I'm also nearing the end of my cycle. I'm anticipating another BFN before next week hits - I'm anticipating it because hoping for a positive is too scary. I can't let myself hope too much, not this month when my spirits will already be dangerously low. (Sorry ladies, I probably won't be much of an optimist for the next couple weeks.)


Hurry up, May. Let's get this over with!

Thank you!


I received a pleasant little surprise yesterday - this lovely award. I still consider myself new to the blogging world so I am very honored to receive this award from Elizabeth at Bébé Suisse. Elizabeth is a talented writer and I always enjoy reading her insights on dealing with life after a miscarriage, infertility and living an expat life in Switzerland. Some of her posts are so haunting and lovely that I find myself crying along with her, however she still retains a sense of humor in her other posts that I totally dig. Plus, I really enjoy living vicariously through her Swiss adventures.


So, Elizabeth, thank you so much for honoring me with this award. I'm so glad that you find something meaningful in my little ramblings. Thank you also to my other readers and commentators. I love how much support I've found through my blog and reading your blogs. It's an amazing community we have here!


Here are the steps to follow after receiving this award:
  • Share who gave it to you with a link back to their blog. (See above)
  • Write down seven random facts about yourself.
  • Give this award to fifteen other bloggers.
  • Let them know they've won.
  • Pop the award on your blog.


Okay, here goes.... 7 random facts about me: 

  1. I prefer tea over coffee.
  2. I am not a morning person or a night owl. I need a lot of sleep to feel like a normal human being. 
  3. Braveheart used to be my favorite movie until Mel Gibson turned into such a prick. Wait, who am I kidding? I still love the movie, but I now think Mel Gibson is a prick. 
  4. For Halloween my husband and I dressed up as Han Solo and Princess Leia. He was Leia and I was Han.
  5. My family is obsessed with dachshunds and every summer we have a wiener dog race with the family dogs. 
  6. I'm a fairly reserved person but I love to perform. My outlets include community theater and singing with various local choirs. 
  7. I hate shopping malls. Too crowded, too many stores - it's sensory overload for me. I'd rather make a quick stop at a small, locally-owned store and call it a day.
Next up... Giving this award to 15 other bloggers. Well, like I said above, I still consider myself new to blogging so I'm still building my reading list. Here are a few that I enjoy. I noticed that some of my other favorites have already received this award. Bravo! I am surrounded in this virtual world by so many talented and supportive ladies. I love it!


Now I'm off to work on the next two steps. I hope you ladies are all having a fabulous day!