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? 


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,