Friday, July 31, 2009

When us kids were little, we used to go to the same forest every year for a huge extended family vacation. I have alot of really fun memories from there, and one of the best is going down to the river after dinner to skip rocks with my uncles (let's be serious- as an 8 year old, I could not skip rocks like my uncle- I just threw them!). Because it took me a while to get the concept that you wanted flat round rocks, I brought my uncle huge heavy unwieldy rocks for him to skip. Ha. He would gently say he "already had a rock" (convenient!), and that I could throw the one I found. So over to the edge I went and heaved with all my might. Kerplunk. The perfect lob and the telltale sound that a huge rock makes as it plunges to the bottom.

Kind of like what my temp did today.

Ha! I honestly don't know how I temped for a year straight. This is killer! 98.16 after being at 98.4ish for the last 4 days. Ugh.

I kind of thought it was coming. I had a mild headache last night but was definitely not bloated anymore. I usually get a worse headache at the end of the 2ww, so I was not counting myself out because of that, but I definitely did not feel like an inflated balloon anymore. This morning I feel pretty much like normal. The funny thing to me is that it feels so wonderful to not be so bloated, that I am loving feeling normal and not really even grieving (yet?) that I think this cycle is on its way out.

My RE only does 3 cycles of clomid before trying something else (e.g., injectibles and/or IUI), and it occurred to me this morning on my walk with Banana that I need to prepare myself for this situation. How do you prepare yourself for something to fail, when you are hoping and praying and begging for it to work perfectly? I think this is going to take alot of contemplation. I thought for sure that I'd be in the 45%-success-rate-after-3-months-of-clomid group. Is third time really a charm?

I'm sure that this will be on my mind alot in the days ahead. I'm not sure if I'll make myself finish what I started, as far as temping this cycle goes, but if it's anything like my charts from last year, I'll get a small increase tomorrow, and then another small decrease, and then another kerplunk on Monday.

I'll try to remember how much fun I used to have seeing things plunge into the depths!!!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

At 10dpo, I'm still making my way through the 2ww without (totally) going bonkers. Do you know how hard it is not to read into symptoms? Oh wait, yes you do. Whew.

I have been having some sensitivity in one of my back teeth that began just in the past couple days. I'll be honest, I don't floss every day (shame on me, I know- please don't yell at me- I know it's important and I promise to be better!), and it kind of felt like I had a popcorn thing stuck or something, so last night I had had enough of this feeling and I went to floss. Oh my heavens. After flossing my entire mouth, I was spitting blood for like 5 times!! (Gross, sorry!) Now, not to worry, this is not normal, and I think I do have good dental hygiene, but I start to get very worried I'm going to have to have major dental surgery or something right when I could be pregnant! What if the xrays harm the potential baby?!

My mouth is still pretty sensitive this morning, and I promise to floss again today (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day...) to see if there is any difference. But of course then this morning I remember that during pregnancy there is increased blood flow and that sometimes people have these kinds of things happen to them early on.... then I go.ogled it and read that due to hormones during pregnancy, even your mouth chemistry is different and reacts to food particles, etc. differently, so there might be more irritation from them to begin with! Oh heavens.

Then I remind myself that clomid can create all same symptoms as pregnancy when there is none, and I should just stop letting myself run away with all this. I still feel really bloated and fairly tired (tiredness normal in 2ww, though). And I my stomach still feels funny sometimes. And (unless I'm making it up) I feel some tightening cramping type things sometimes. Oh if I could only see inside!!

In the interest of showing my very first temp chart since December 2008, here it is. It is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. Wouldn't it be crazy if the first cycle I charted in 8 months was our first successful one?

(PS. Sew, if you are reading, I'm still praying for you!!)

No words

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do not forsake her, O Lord
O, my God, do not be far from her;
Make haste to help her,
O Lord, our Salvation.

Ps. 38:21-22

At least our veggies grow...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We picked our first zucchini yesterday! Yes, I know, we are behind a little bit, but we planted our summer stuff late, and so far, nothing seems to be objecting based on that!! Here's a photo of mid-chop, with a couple basil leaves from my herb plant in the right corner:

Saute with some of our OWN onion (the last one)! The onions didn't do great at all, as far as becoming actual onion size, but we got alot of scallions (onions before the onion part gets big), but the one onion that we left in the ground to see if it'd get the normal white onion size didn't really make it to normal white onion size, and well, we are still working on that patience thing...

Add in some tomatoes (not ours- our tomatoes are still green! ha!), garlic, basil, and warm through- then top with some cheese :)

Pair up with some barbeque chicken! YUM!

I've said it before, but it is so cool to eat veggies we grew ourselves!! Oh yah, and we're getting more flowers on our raspberry bush again- looks like we'll get a second round!

In cycle news, we didn't have a stork show up on our doorstep and give us some notice for the coming of our baby, but I did have a fairly big temp spike yesterday and it looks like it's heading triphasic this morning. Of course that doesn't mean anything, and I am definitely not temping next cycle (if there is one, haha). I did screen a video yesterday at the pregnancy center that shows pictures/video from conception to like 30 weeks of a baby, and it was like the war of the minds wanting to believe that is happening right now versus not wanting to lead myself on.

Only God knows if we're also growing a baby in addition to zucchini's....

Pray Urgently for Stellan

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hope everyone's week has started off well. I have been following MckMama for a while now, and her son Stellan is not not not doing well. Please take a moment to pray for him and their family!!

She is truly an example of glorifying God through pain and tears and not fun things. I don't know what plans God has for Stellan, but I know He is so close to their family right now, amidst this heartache.

State of the Cycle

Sunday, July 26, 2009

At 6pdo today, I remembered, the instant my thermometer beeped, what I have not been missing by not taking my temp these past 7 months. After being 98.31 yesterday, it was 98.14 today... a crushing drop which oblivious naive trying-to-conceive'rs would take and squeal with joy because it's perfect timing for a little implantation dip... and meanwhile I groan and try not to stifle (too much) the little hope that is trying to remind me that I never know, really, but all I can count on after all this time is a secondary estrogen surge. Ugh.

All of that being said, I have never been so bloated EVER as I was last night after we went to dinner with some friends that Mr. A works with. I literally felt HUGE when we got home (not to mention slightly huge when trying to pick out a shirt to wear...), and I feel strange overall from time to time, sometimes I get this strange vibration feeling in the uterus area, and my dreams have really been out of control lately, and I still get weird tenderness/pains up top sometimes. Of course all of these things could be thanks to my lovely new friend clomid, .....or a lovely new blessing(s) growing and thriving in a cozy new home.

I'm praying for the latter, of course.

I probably won't test till next Monday at the earliest because, well, I haven't ever gotten a positive the, oh, 3 times in my whole life I have tested, and more generally, I am a testing scaredy cat.

Which brings to mind that that day (8/3), a patient of mine at the pregnancy center is coming back for her 8-9ish week ultrasound. PERFECT. (sigh) This girl was so excited about being pregnant, she had already told all her friends and family that she might be pregnant and everyone in the whole world is stoked for her. As you may imagine, we don't get many clients who are over the moon about an unexpected pregnancy. She is finishing up college, and she just beamed when we were talking about how the baby is developing now (she was only 5-6ish weeks when I saw her). She is a runner, and she identifies mostly with being Christian rather than the solely denomination she was brought up in. While she was talking at one point, I was just looking at her, and thinking, "Wow, it's like I'm seeing a mirror image of me, especially the day I am positive there's a little one inside." I saw so much of me in her, that it gave me an odd sense of a "vision of the future" that really inspired me to look forward with earnest expectation of that day in my life. In alot of ways, her unbridled enthusiasm really encouraged me to keep hoping!

But when I got home and realized that what the day we'll be looking at her wiggly baby on the tv screen might mean to me. Either it'll mean I need to call CVS and request my final refill of clomid, or (please please please please Lord) I can quietly rejoice in communion with her because (God willing) I'll be carrying my own wiggly baby.

(Aside: I volunteer Monday afternoons, and ever since I started volunteering there, CD1 has been on or very close to a Monday. I have an overriding feeling that I am going to find out we're pregnant on a Monday (hopefully but not necessarily 8/3), and I will have to decide whether to announce the news during our group prayer time that day (before the shift), or whether to wait a couple more weeks.)

I have been really proud of myself lately for how much I think I've been able to give (hurl, throw, launch) this struggle to God for Him to turn it around into a blessing in His time, although I'm sure I could still use help in laying down my burdens. And this time is no different. I pray that He has already created a new little happy, healthy soul who'll be along for the ride until April. I pray with expectation, knowing that I'll see His hand in the creation of our children. But above all, I pray for His will for our family to be done. And that I'll have the courage and faith to trust Him with reckless abandon, whatever comes next.

Fun Times All Around

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So yah, I got to meet the misfit yesterday! (Did you love our picture? Hehe!) We had a really nice lunch- it was so nice to talk (you know, actually talk instead of "talk") to someone who is also longing so much for a little one amidst the rest of what life throws her way. I did realize though, that I am pretty lucky in the lack-of-kid-bombardment, though- it sounds like she (and alot of the rest of you) has many family members and friends with lots of small children per set of parents. I think that would make trying for a baby, especially trying for a long time, reeeeally way more difficult. Luckily, I don't have that many friends (ha!- I blame it on my small in-the-middle-of-nowhere town/area), and the friends I do have who have kids are all geographically pretty far away and we don't talk that much, and I am the oldest of my sibs, so none of my younger sibs have surpassed me in that area yet. For now, I will be thankful for this aspect of my trying- I can definitely imagine that being surrounded by eternally fertile people would make the every-day struggle pretty tough.

Today has been a great day, too. I made some knock-out pancakes (choc. chip for Mr. A) for breakfast, and he put in another paver set for a third rain barrel! We are very excited. While he was arranging the pavers, I weeded/thinned out my front flower beds. I am trying to make many mental notes about what perennials I want to move where, come fall time, when it is easier/recommended to transplant things. I am hoping to befriend someone in my neighborhood by then who wouldn't separating out some black eyed susan's for me... and I need to find a gardening guru who can come tell me what on earth is happening to my poppy plants. Remember how beautiful the one bloomed? Well it had been in the full sun, so I decided to move the rest into full sun, and they have really taken off and become enormous, but the blooms look like some weed or something, purpley and feathery! I don't know what is going on! I even asked my expert gardener aunt, and she had no idea. Anyone an experienced poppy-grower?? I'll have to take a picture to show you what I mean.

We are going to hang out at the pool until we walk Banana, and then we have a doggy play date tonight. Ha! We're only practicing for our kids' play dates, of course.

As for my cycle, I go back and forth on how much confidence I have in it (last night I was feeling majorly pumped, this morning not so much), but I'm trying to remain as positive as possible!! It would be such a miracle if God has decided to bless us with a baby/s. But because I try to laugh through all this infertility baggage, I really got a chuckle out of this that I stumbled upon earlier:

Hahaha!! I hope that's not what happened inside me this time! Ha! I love this "style" of ticker (I was so psyched when Sew chose it for her blog!)- I think it is so cool to watch the baby change!! I sure hope and pray I can start shopping for pregnancy tickers next week!

Green Living

Friday, July 24, 2009

I am doing my best to not focus on the I have been thinking of other things I could write about. In the interest of data-keeping, though, FF has moved my O date to 7/20 using temps, which lines up with O on the second peak day from my monitor. So that puts me at 4dpo today, which doesn't help my wanna-be analysis of the sharp pangs I was feeling yesterday evening...or the increased soreness up top that I'm feeling this 2ww..or that I was literally falling asleep mid-sentence last night at only 9pm (literally!! Ask Mr. A!). (Dang clomid/progesterone fake-outs!) But if you calculate my due date based on an O date of 7/20, you get a beautiful, round date of April 12, 2010. My mother in law would love it- she thinks all important things should happen on round number dates! I happen to think that would be a lovely due date, too! Let's pencil it in, shall we? (Cue the laugh line here!)

But anyway, back to my non-2ww topic of the day, we have been thrilled with the "green living" changes we've made to our lives/household lately. It is really amazing that more people don't do them! Here is what we've done:
  • Put up a clothesline: This has been so deep-down satisfying, I can't even explain it. I mean, the sun and wind dry your clothes for you...FOR FREE! It is so cool to hang up all the clothes and go back 2 hours later and have them all smelling so utterly clean and fresh. We haven't had any crispy-towel issues like some people get when line-drying...I suspect it is the fabric softener I use (more on that later). I can almost get 2 full loads on the line (we actually have three parallel ones), but for that I have to overlap ends of things and pin them with one clothespin and so they don't dry quite as well. So on Saturday's, I just wash the colors, then I wash Mr. A's work clothes (which I always hung dried anyway on hangers), and then I put in the white load. By the time the white load is done, the colors are dry! It is SO COOL. (Towels and sheets get done during the week.)
  • Planted a veggie garden and some fruit bushes: It has been so cool to watch real veggies grow from mere seeds. Some of the seeds are so small, I had a hard time believing it was true when they blossomed into actual things! I have only bought 2 bags of frozen veggies since May- we have been eating only fresh veggies ever since! Our favorites have been lettuce, green beans, peas, and carrots. (We were not impressed with the onions.) We planted the summer "crops" a little late, but we have 2 good lookin' zucchini's growing with more on the way, and we are about to have 800 tomatoes. Ha! Our corn is also doing well, and we are hoping for at least one cantelope and watermelon! Our raspberry bush gave us about 4 raspberries per day for about a week, but it looks like that is all we'll get this first season. We aren't sure if the blackberry bush will yield anything till next year. We are already planning on at least doubling the garden plot for next year.
  • Use vinegar for fabric softener: Yep! I have been doing this for several months now to save a little money. After all, you can get like a 2-gallon jug of white vinegar for at least half the price of one of the little softener bottles! I fill up the softener cup in the washer half way with vinegar and then fill the rest with water. The clothes absolutely do not smell like vinegar- just fresh! (I didn't believe it till I tried it, either.) And, this is something line-dryers recommend to help combat crunchy towels. Apparently, what makes the towels crunchy is the buildup of detergent/softener on the fibers that doesn't get rinsed during the rinse cycle, and the vinegar works to clean the residue away.
  • Create a compost pile: This has been a major plus when taken in conjunction with our veggie garden, but it would also be great for flower bed gardening, too. We put all veggie scraps, along with eggshells and coffee grounds into the pile, and Mr. A turns it every so often. It has cut down on trash (less trips to the dump!), and it has been great to throw onto the garden when it has all decomposed. We also put grass clippings and newspaper in from time to time.
  • Recycle: Our county doesn't recycle plastic yet (major bummer), but we recycle newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, tin, and glass. They have the recycling station located at the dump, so Mr. A just takes it all in one trip! I hope they start recycling plastic soon!
  • Thermostat setting: We have kept the thermostat at 76-77F this summer, which is a huge change and sacrifice for Mr. A who hates hates hates to be hot. We have turned off the a/c and opened the windows at night to cool the house down as much as possible, so it usually doesn't turn on until mid-morning or early afternoon. Also, if we're having a cool day, I'll keep it off the whole day and open all the windows. We just looked at our electric bill for July, and we used 1000 KWH less than last July!!! Wow!
  • Rain barrels: We just got 2 rain barrels to catch the water from our roof gutters, and they work great!!! Mr. A made a perfect arrangement of pavers for them to sit on so they're level, and we installed both of them in one afternoon. They are each 55-gallons, and we are now interested in getting a third!! We got them last Saturday, and they are both already full from only Monday afternoon rain and 1 short but heavy rainstorm yesterday. I had no idea how much water our roof collected!! We have been using the water from the barrels to water the garden and keep the pool filled. Free water!! (We got the barrels for a discounted price of $65 each from a local grass-roots company which is at least $35 cheaper than I have ever seen them in normal catalogs/stores.) I am going to move some taller perennials around in the fall to sort of screen the more visible rain barrel.
  • Driving the more efficient car: Mr. A has been driving my car or his motorcycle instead of his truck to work, and it has definitely saved on gas consumption. Sure, my car is not as manly as a truck, but I try to assure him that he is already manly enough to make up for driving a sedan to work. Ha!
Things I'd like to try:
  • Using one dishtowel per day for disposable paper-towel purposes (e.g., wiping off counters) and instead of using a sponge/scrubby to wash dishes
  • Using cloth napkins for everyday meals instead of paper ones
  • Using more natural-based cleaners

Anyone have any suggestions for "green" things they do in their house? I'd love to hear!

Adoption Encouragement

Thursday, July 23, 2009

While we are not pursuing adoption right now, I wanted to post this because I know that some readers are, and I thought it was a beautiful testimony to the adoption process!! I found it on this blog that I had bookmarked back in January when we were considering adoption.

Different Trips to the Same Place

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You’ve heard it’s a wonderful place. You’ve read many guidebooks and feel certain you’re ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you; you’ll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait-and wait- and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, “Relax. You’ll get on a flight soon.” Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, “It’s not fair”.

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, “I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat.”

“By Boat!” you say, “Going by boat will take a very long time and costs a great deal of money. I really had my heart set on going by plane.” So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It is a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite that you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many wonderful friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than by air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, “Oh be glad you didn’t fly. My flight was horrible, traveling by sea is so easy.”

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you get there, but in the place itself.

-Author Unknown

Blanking Out

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I have been boring lately! I am either 3dpo (by temps) or 2dpo (by monitor). I haven't taken my temps since January, so I'm not used to going by what they say anymore, but my friend K has been charting hers, and I promised way back in the winter that I'd try so we can compare charts. Finally I have lived up to my word!!!

I was having lunch with my in-laws yesterday at Whol.e Foods, and my mother in law was being super attentive to this mom and toddler who were struggling to get set up to eat at the bar. I couldn't help but slant the situation to mean that she is becoming preoccupied with young children and getting somewhat impatient with the lack of young children at our house, therefore needing to outlet her energies on a random mom and her wiggly offspring. Of course that is my own left-behind opinion of the events, and it could be that she would have helped a group of young professionals in the same way. After all, she is a generally helpful person. Yes....

Not to mention Mr. A's cousin (his mom's sister's son) who we are not especially close to is getting married in October (news to us- we haven't talked to him in years- she wasn't even sure we'd be invited) (except I did receive a bridal shower invitation that I assumed was for the fiance but I hadn't even heard her name), and I noted that we hadn't talked about going. After all, a little notice/communication of the wedding would be nice, no? Mr. A's mom gave me the stereotypical-with-eyebrows-raised "Well it would be nice if you could go." Yes yes, I'm sure it would be. Hey, maybe I can blame our absence on being 14 weeks pregnant....

And speaking of that, Mr. A has another cousin and that guy's wife who struggled with getting pregnant for a year or so. But before they had troubles, the wife had no qualms about asking any person (despite their circumstances) why they weren't trying to have a baby. Their other cousin/wife who could not have biological children? No problem. After that cousin/wife had a failed Russian adoption? What's the difference? Us after we'd only been married 3 months? Obviously fine! Then they had trouble themselves and wouldn't you know that they are one of the "stories" you hear about how they were 2 weeks away from adopting a baby and then they found out they were pregnant. Great. Just who I want to see if we are not expecting our own bundle.


It would be awesome if this cycle works! I do have a good feeling about it, but we all know how that goes!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

I just realized after flipping over my calendar to look at August that I have my regular annual GYN appt on August 13. What are the chances I'll be 5 weeks pregnant then? I got a peak reading on my monitor yesterday- looks like I'll be in the 2ww of my second clomid cycle momentarily! Oh, the dream...

It's worth it

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sew is becoming quite the celebrity on my blog. I promise that she isn't more important than any other reader- God's just using her for my inspiration lately!

Her last post was so humble and beautiful and provided much brain feed for me during my evening walk with Banana yesterday.

I was thinking about how, no matter what anyone says, I think that for me personally, if we'd conceived right away, I would not have fully understood what a cherished blessing a child is. Sure, I probably would have known superficially, but the depth of my comprehension would have been pretty shallow. I would only have had a stunted impression of the preciousness of life, through no fault of my own, I guess, and I don't think that I would know so deeply that life (yours, mine, anyone's) is a gift which is not guaranteed past this moment or promised for any amount of time. I'm pretty sure I would have thought "Oh, this is wonderful! How great it is that God would give us a child." And then I would have proceeded to think "I guess since we had no trouble this time, we'll be able to space our kids just like we want!" Thus completely missing the boat that we did not conceive easily because of anything we did, but that it was simply God's time to expand our family.

Of course, nothing of the sort happened, and I have spent the last 2 years praying my heart out for us to conceive our first little one(s). Through all the heartache, I have given up the notion that creating life is up to just us, and that we really need to rely on God for His providence here. It has been a grueling time, and it has been filled with many tears and many why's and many hopes-gone-down-the-drain-only-to-reappear-next-cycle. The struggles of trying for a child for so long have been massive and heavy, and there have been days when I want to give up. There have been days when I think it's never going to happen and why am I wasting all this time and money and emotional energy and missing out on my 2nd cup of coffee (haha).

But I don't give up, because we already know our first baby/ies (We would be totally psyched about twins from clomid, by the way!) are worth all of this suffering. That is how much we already love them. Even before they are here, we are saying, we will go through this dark, desert, isolated time just for you. It doesn't matter about us anymore. We will endure hardship and pain in the hopes and confidence that they joy you bring to us will be greater than sum of all the negatives. I am so glad and grateful for this glimpse of how "worth it" children are, even before we ourselves get to experience the elation of learning our little one(s) is on the way.

This morning in church, I was struck by a similar line of thought. God says to me, you are worth the suffering of my Son to me. You are so worth it. Jesus endured pain and darkness and disappointment and tears just for you. Even before God knew if/that I would serve Him on this Earth (I realize God knew all of this all the time, but for purposes of analogy, bear with me!), Jesus said "I am going to take the road that is not easy and filled with setbacks, but whose end is all glory to God, just so that A will be reunited with God in Heaven, because I trust that the joy and testimony that A brings to me will be far greater than my earthly suffering." (Again, I'm in no way saying that anything I do during my life can even begin to come close to comparing to the Ultimate Sacrifice of our Savior, but you get the point, right?)

That is kind of neat, huh.

It's these times that I really am thankful for this time before children and the growth of faith/spirituality that have taken place. I can almost guarantee that I would never have morphed into the person I am today without this cross to bear. Of course I'm praying that our cross will be lifted soon, but until then, I do my best to carry it and all that comes with it (the stares, the jokes, the awkwardness) because I have a deep belief in the joy that it will ultimately come because of it!

4th Anniversary!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's a little hard to top the great celebration of yesterday, but I thought I'd say a few words about what Mr. A and I are celebrating today!

The past 4 years have been amazing- years I couldn't have imagined in all that I ever imagined about being married. Especially lately, we have been having the time of our lives!! And even though we've had a couple struggles and times that are not amazing in the happy sense, they are amazing in the sense that, by the grace of God, they have only brought us more together and challenged us to be more united.

I don't think I would do well battling infertility without Mr. A. I can definitely see how it rocks marriages to their core, and that is why I'm feeling so blessed today that I can travel this bumpy journey with someone like him who will do anything to cushion our ride. He is going to be a great dad, and it brings tears to my eyes to imagine the day he holds his new little baby for the first time. There are many traits that I hope our kids learn from him: loyalty, drive, creativity, and intelligence, just to name a few!

Mr. A is the leader of our family, and he is someone whom I'd follow to the ends of the earth. As much as he is the leader, we are a knock-out team. I can only think of one thing that we've toiled over as a team that hasn't been a resounding complete success (anyone want to guess? haha). I cherish the fact that we are so good together, and I pray we will be a strong foundation for our family.

Today we pray in thanksgiving for God's blessing and grace over our marriage, and I pray that we'll continue to walk together, come what may. I pray that we'll be an example of Christian marriage to all we meet and especially to our family and especially especially to our kids. I pray that we'll always make each other laugh, especially when laughs aren't readily available. Overall, I just pray that we'll always consider how lucky we are to have each other and each new day to live to our fullest.

We are hoping and praying today that we'll welcome our first baby in this year of our marriage- please Lord grant us this desire of our hearts!

First Award

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eileen ("We got hitched. We bought the 4 bedroom house. Now what???") was so thoughtful as to nominate me for the Honest Scrap award recently! I have only been reading her blog for several weeks, but her title especially rings true with me, because it's what Mr. A and I did, too! As so many of us mention on a frequent basis, it is so comforting that none of us are alone in our struggles!

Here are the Honest Scrap stipulations:
1. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find interesting and engaging
2. Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog and leave a comment informing them that they have won the "Honest Scrap Award"
3. List at least 10 honest things about yourself

Here are my 10 honest things:
  1. I love broccoli, and Mr. A hates it. One time when he was away on a business trip, I had huge bowls of steamed broccoli for lunch and dinner!
  2. I would rather eat Sou.r Kids than any sort of chocolate or sweet thing any day.
  3. Somedays I still have trouble believing that we're having this much trouble conceiving. I mean, really, it happens so easily for so many other people...
  4. I love Christian music.
  5. I'm three years older than Mr. A.
  6. I use my breadmaker almost every day. We don't buy sandwich bread at the store anymore, and I also make our bagels, our dinner rolls, our pizza crusts, and our cinnamon rolls for weekend breakfasts with it!
  7. Between 2002 and 2007, I ran 2 full marathons, 2 half-marathons, 3 10-mile races, 1 8K race, and 1 5K race. I think that chapter of running is now closed, but maybe it will get resurrected when I'm in my 50s!
  8. I work from home and consider it to be a huge blessing.
  9. I recently started volunteering as a peer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center, and although it has been one of the hardest things I've ever done, it has also been one of the most "worth it" things I've ever done. The other peer counselors are such inspiring women of God, and being able to minister and show Christ's unconditional love to the women who come in has been very powerful.
  10. I could watch Foo.d Network all day long and never change the channel! (I don't, because I would never get any work done, but when I'm emptying the dishwasher or mopping the floors or getting dinner started, you can bet it's on for entertainment!)
And for 10 blogs I nominate:
  1. Being Infertile - misfit (aka "the littlest angel"...TBD) writes about infertility with an clear intensity that is so true but often far from what sometimes silly and not-as-impressive words and thought patterns that I come up with.
  2. Making Me Mom - Hillary is (I think) a hope junkie like me, and I love reading another blog with so much hope!
  3. Day by Day - Becky has struggled with a miscarriage and a subsequent failed IVF, and yet she remains moving forward with her faith leading the way when it seems like all else is gone. I love her post on Sarah's Laughter!
  4. Grace in my Heart - GIMH is a calm and peaceful place for me to go :) She and her husband experienced a heart-wrenching unsuccessful adoption last year and are walking this journey with faith in God's plan for their family through adoption again!!
  5. The Non-Housewife Wife - I love the Wife's posts because they are so objective and matter of fact, but they still convey what we've all thought before. Plus I love hearing about her dogs!
  6. Praying for Hope - I am always encouraged by the honesty of her posts and her comments that she leaves on my blog!
  7. Hoping in Houston - Hope just got her first BFP after second round of clomid! Hmm, why does this inspire me so much? Haha!
  8. Stacey's Thoughts on Infertility - All of Stacey's posts are incredibly thoughtful and sensitive, and I'm uplifted by her spirit, and I feel called to lift her up when she is feeling low.
  9. Sew Infertile - On the cusp of 17dpo and beta bloodwork due TODAY, I am prayin my heart out for her!! I love her writing and how blatantly and bluntly and comically she deals with being childless. Maybe she's not childless any more! *UPDATE* SHE IS PREGNANT!!
  10. I Married Barney, Now What? - I'm a relatively new reader of Betty's, but I have really enjoyed her positive-minded posts!
I read many other blogs that are all so inspiring, so maybe I'll get another award sometime where I can highlight the rest of you wonderful girls!!

Review: Clomid#2

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just to provide some data for me to look back on later (while I pat my growing baby belly- HA!), last night I took my last clomid pill for round 2.

I felt a little off (tired/headachey/sort of hot) last night, and I feel another headachey afternoon coming on again today. I don't mind the headaches- I am thankful because it seems like I'm not getting the more awful emotional side effects. And I get hormone-related headaches (not bad or anything) during my cycle, so I'm not surprised that it's one of the side effects I'm experiencing.

I was thinking today as I was mowing our backyard that if we become pregnant this cycle, we will be able to hang out with our little teeny baby at the pool next summer. What a different "at the pool" afternoon that will be, and what a huge prayer it is that that'll come to pass.

God be our light as we trust the outcome of this second clomid cycle to you!

I'm not alone

Monday, July 13, 2009

So my friend K (who started clomid last cycle, too) texted me today with the news that it's CD1 for her. Ughhh. I guess, in the interest of selfishness, this is as good of an outcome that there can be- she is still one person who is not pregnant and not leaving me behind- but in the interest of solidarity in our struggle, I am so heartbroken for her (and me). I mean that with all my being. We are still thankful because we both experienced our first medicated cycles pretty much the same time (I'm about a week ahead of her), and it was heavenly to be able to compare side effects and crazy IF thought patterns. Now we move on to clomid cycle #2- what will God do with this one?!

The last time K and I were talking, we were going over our pact to give the non-pregnant one of us some space if (when) one of us gets pregnant before the other. (Of course, I am praying that God will pull some serious strings of His and allow us to share the miracle at the same time!) She was saying how for her, it's easier when someone who struggled to get there finally gets the baby test, and I guess to some extent I'd agree with that, but I think deep down, all pregnancy announcements are the same for me. It is selfish for me to think, I'm pretty sure, but I am having a hard time helping it. It is so joyful for those of us who've tried for eons to finally get a BFP, and I am so thankful that God has lifted another of us out of the pit of despair, but the sting for me is just the same. I'll be praying my heart out for Sew tonight that her bloodtest tomorrow will reveal a new soul, but if so, I'll miss her hilariously honest and open posts about her struggle with being infertile and barren. In the same way, I was praying for K that she might have conceived on her first round of clomid, but at the very same time a tiny voice deep down was trembling and saying, but then what about you, A? You will be that much more alone on this road...

I love how those of us struggling rally around anyone at the end of the 2ww and hope that this one will "end" differently than all the others, and I don't think anyone (myself included) is insincere about our support of everyone else. I truly do hope that more people have their infertility crosses lifted away by our awesome God. I truly do want God to use others' baby blessings to encourage me in my journey. And I don't think I'm alone in these sentiments. I love when God creates new life in someone who has been longing for it for what seems like forever.

But after all the uplifting and rejoicing and praising and thanking for the baby blessings of others, I retreat to my rocking chair with my Bible and hang my weary heart on my most beloved Psalms...18, 34, 37-38, 69, and 88.... Am I alone?

ETA: I really don't mean that I'm not excited for people when they get their elusive positive test!!! I am so excited for them, but for now, it still stings a little in any circumstance...

Sign of the Times

Sunday, July 12, 2009

You know you are struggling with infertility when you call your little sister on the phone to see if she wants to come over and swim this afternoon and she tells you she is probably going to pass on the invitation because she doesn't feel good and has a headache.... and after only that tiny bit of information, you start freaking out that she is pregnant! Ha!

Shopping Surprises

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I went to the card store to find a little gem for Mr. A for our anniversary on Thursday.

I was surprised at how many beautiful, thoughtful cards mention "our family" - but now that I think of it, it is hypothetically not surprising...

I was mostly surprised that, though I champion the idea that we are indeed a family of two, I didn't feel it was quite appropriate to buy one of the "our family" cards.

I felt somehow that it only serve as an awkward reminder that, while we consider ourselves a family, most of society looks for the kids when "our family" is mentioned. I was a little bummed because some of the family cards were the best written otherwise- not too much verbage, but just enough- and yes, the technically apply, i.e. "you have made our home is such a wonderful place for our family to come to relax after our day's chaos", but on our anniversary, I want my card and sentiments to focus on US NOW and not even remotely point out what we are missing. (We are not missing anything according to God's timeline of course- we feel that we're right where He wants us!)

I think I will write in some of the lines from the "our family" cards when I sign the one I got. I ended up choosing a funny (but very sweet) one- guys don't read mushy cards anyway, do they?

Reflections on Mom

Friday, July 10, 2009

My mom, that is. Still waiting to hear when I'm joining the exclusive club!

Anyone who knows me (and my mom) knows that we haven't always been close. We had alot of rough, angry times. To be truthful, even now, sometimes I don't feel close to her. But by the grace of God, I've felt much closer to her in the last year than ever before. She is still not perfect, but neither am I, and varying unperfectness might as well not be compared when it comes to how God views sins. All have fallen short, remember?

My mom is the oldest of 6 kids. She has always been very close to her parents, even when she was younger, as her siblings recount. So close to them that her allegiance to them is kind of unnatural for a 50-something woman, and it affects (most often negatively) her relationships with her nuclear family. She still seeks her parents' approval (literally) of every aspect of her life, from marriage to raising kids (yes, we're all 20+ years of age!) to financial decisions to vacation schedules. I believe in my heart she is terrified of letting them down. While it is noble to want to please those you love, the magnitude of how this affects her life affects with great consequence the lives of her husband and her kids.

No one knows why she is like this- none of her siblings act with the same mentality- they have all had no problems transitioning to their own adult lives where they do not need to ask their dad whether they should move some money from their savings account to their mutual fund. (I am not kidding!) To be honest, I think it's a little sad that she feels so bound by their influence that she can't be free to do what she might want deep down. For example, one year on the family camping trip, Aunt B (married to my mom's brother) announced to my mom that she was going to take a hike that afternoon by herself to have some quiet time. Mom responded with "Wow, you are so lucky. I don't think my mom would want me hiking alone." Isn't that crazy? You are 50-something, mom! You don't have to ask permission anymore!!!

Can you see how this would affect her nuclear family life? My dad is not the head of the household- her dad is. Talk about how a lack of respect for your husband can affect your marriage. She was always very strict with us, even as we have all moved into adulthood. I agree that kids need alot of structure, but her need to direct our lives as adults does not sit well with us. But in all my reflection on the matter, I've come to the conclusion that she needs to control us even now because she doesn't want us to do anything that would reflect badly to her parents about her job of mothering. She needs to control my dad because she doesn't want him to make a mistake and cause her parents to think she chose badly for a mate. Does that make sense?

Of course, this hurts my dad (and us "kids") alot, to see her lack of respect for him (and us, as adults), because us kids think he is an awesome father and husband. This is where alot of the pain and resentment I sometimes feel for my mom comes from. I can't understand how she can't see what a great husband she has.

But, after being so upset for so long at how she offensively she treats us sometimes, I decided sometime last year to ask God to help me forgive her. Gulp. This is not a one-time forgiveness situation where it never happens again. This is an every-day slap-in-the-face forgiveness situation. You know, the one that God extends to me when I mess up every day. The one that calls to us from the Lord's Prayer "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". Gulp. This was not going to be easy.

Luckily, God is bigger than all of this, and it is with His grace that I've found even the tiniest bit of grace to meet my mom where she is and not continually accost her for her faults. Yes, to me it is easy to see what a great husband she has. But then I think of God's perspective on me... to Him, it is easy to see how my impatience or judgmental behavior is not doing anyone any good and how much better it would be if I were not so ancy or critical.

It is with God's grace that I've been able to push aside the cobwebs and constraints and see that (I think) my mom really wants what other moms have (a better relationship with her husband and grown children), but she doesn't really know how to get there after a tumultuous past.. and when we all think she might finally be shaking her parents' hold, something snaps and she goes sprinting back to their feet. One time several years ago during a fight, she exclaimed "Well, maybe I'm not perfect, but please put on my headstone "She tried to be a good mom"!!!. I think she has started trying to have a better relationship with us, but others in my family are so hurt and broken by her behavior that it colors their response to her attempt at a different behavoir. (Not judging them- it is always my first reaction, too.) But, I can honestly say that most of the time (thanks to God working hard on my heart), I can usually carry on a fairly pleasant conversation with her despite what I see as her pitfalls. It has been tough for me somedays, and sometimes I feel like a hypocrite for talking to her and then hearing from my dad how she has been acting, but I'd like to think that the spirit of forgiveness is working in some small way to soften her heart.

I think the other thing that's helped us start to repair our relationship is our trying to conceive, if that doesn't blow your mind. I was terrified to tell her of our problems, but when I finally did, she responded in an amazing way. She never had to deal with infertility herself, but when she told me this, I knew she understood: "Whenever my other coworkers talk about their grandchildren, I just go back to my office, because I don't have anything to contribute."

Oh, my tears for her! I was so incredibly heartbroken for her.

She recently gave me a beautiful Bible cover, and it is perfect. I told her I'd pray for her every time I opened it (daily), and I mean that. I pray that she'll receive peace about the adult she has become. I pray she'll receive grace to help heal her marriage. I pray she'll receive comfort at the job she has done helping to raise 4 Christian kids. I pray she'll receive forgiveness from those she has hurt. I pray she'll receive courage to be an example of a devoted Christian wife and mother. I pray that she will receive humility in the face of pride. I pray that she'll receive joy when God blesses her with grandchildren.

It's been a long time coming. I'm not perfect, so there are days when I'm so frustrated with her that it is hard to forgive. But I pray that the forgiving days outnumber the enemy's hand, and that God's grace will continue to heal my mom and our relationship. But I am so thankful that the Lord brought this about now, before our kids are born. I used to dread bringing our kids into a resentful mother-grandmother relationship, but I don't anymore. She's not perfect either, so there will probably be occasions when I disagree so vehemently with what she does that I'll want to run exactly the other way, but it brings tears (of joy) to my eyes to think of her being able to join in the discussion with the other grandmothers at her office someday.

Invisible God?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

As we embark on cl.omid cycle #2, I decided to put down my fiction reading and pick up one of my all-time favorite spiritual inspiration books Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey. If you haven't ever read it and you're feeling like God is a little out of touch right now, I highly recommend it. It provided me with great comfort during a past tough time, and I pray it will provide me with a ttc-related comfort this time around.

As I've written before, I have a hard time hearing God. Most of the time, I feel like it's a one-sided conversation, but I do try to be as conversational as possible, because my image of God is definitely a compassionate father figure who mostly just wants to hang out with his little girl. I also enjoy trying to just be still in His presence, without talking. I have heard that it's during these times when you're not babbling on with prayer that He can get a word in edgewise. As much as I want His edgewise words, I never trust what I "get" during these silent times. I will be sitting there, picturing myself as a sponge, ready to soak up whatever He has for me. It is a constant battle, but I do my best to clear my mind completely of thoughts. But then, a thought rambles in- oh, you know, something about positive pregnancy tests and a baby- and I think any other person would say, Oh, that is totally God speaking to me! But of course, here I am, and I know I have "heard" that before, and it has never been true. Who put that thought in my head? I promise I wasn't trying to put words in God's mouth! Some would say the Holy Spirit, but I can't believe He would cry wolf about this kind of thing (or at all, I guess).

But then I think, maybe it is really a problem if I never believe what I "hear" during the silent times with God.

These things are why I'm so much looking forward to re-reading this book. Here are two excerpts that struck me last night as I begun.

(The first one is an excerpt of a open letter Yancey wrote to God during a retreat he took.)
"Funny, I find it easier to believe in the impossible- to believe in the parting of the Red Sea, to believe in Easter- than to believe in what should seem more possible: the slow, steady dawning of Your life in people like me... Help me to believe in the possible, God."

(This one is in a chapter that talks about approaching God. Even though He wants us to run to Him with all things, sometimes finding Him and His peace take some diligence and patience on our part.)
"If you find God with great ease, suggested Thomas Merton, perhaps it is not God that you have found."

I pray that we will all continue seeking HIM, even when we feel like He's invisible. He never takes His eyes off of us, even when our eyes fail us!

Yard updates

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

We have really been enjoying our yard more this summer. I think it comes from having the garden and going out every day to check on the progress! That is why we jumped at the idea of the clothesline- more time to be outside! I am doing a load of sheets right now- they'll be hanging up soon!!

Here is our garden. Row on the left (top to bottom): Roma tomato, tiny beefsteak tomato, 2 green peppers, 2 watermelons, hot pepper; Middle row: Corn, tiny beefsteak tomato, huge roma tomato, cantelopes; Right row: Corn, green bean, the last onion (we're trying to see if it will get as big as a store's not looking good!), zucchini, hot pepper

And here are our carrots!!!! And our first 4 green beans on the side!!! I figured out that you can supposedly use the carrot greens as parsley when making stock, so I chopped a bunch of it up and froze it for making chicken and/or beef stock for winter soups!!

It's a beautiful day here- hopefully my first shot at hanging laundry (as an adult- I helped my mom many times when I was small!) will be a successful one!

Thanks, but CD1 today...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Just wanted to say thanks for the encouraging comments on my last post- alas, there is no baby. I am pretty sure today is CD1 because I woke up to red.

Yesterday morning I woke up to nothing, so I took the test. Of course it said "not pregnant", and I didn't even flinch. I honestly wasn't even phased because that is what the tests (even though I've only taken a few) always say. If I consider things deep down, I don't think I even expected it to be positive (infertility just kills the high expectations, doesn't it?). Maybe I am getting the box of tests pre-programmed to say "not pregnant" there another aisle for the ones that turn "pregnant"? Of course I hope and pray and want and beg for it to be positive, but the norm is negative, and that is what I'm used to and expecting it to be. Like I was mentioning in the last post, I cannot even fathom what I will do when (if) I get a positive test one day, because I have no idea what comes after that! I only know what comes after a negative test!

It is hard for me to put a label on what I'm feeling. I was going to say that I don't feel hopeless. I think that is pretty much true. I am on medicine that has been helping women with alot more problems than me have babies since the 70s, and I have alot of hope that God will use it in the next couple of months to bless us with our first baby. But that doesn't preclude the feelings of sadness, left-behind-ness, and disappointment, to name a few.

I thought I'd be more upset after a failed medicated cycle. But I think I am so used to this outcome, it doesn't phase me as much anymore. Sure, there is part of my spirit that is crushed, but the rest of my spirit has been over-conditioned to pick up the slack that it wastes no time in overcompensating for the loss we experience. Instead of dwelling over another month without success, yesterday evening we poured our energy into pouring concrete around the posts for a clothesline in the backyard! Instead of ooh'ing and aah'ing about which stroller we want, we exclaimed with joy that our watermelon plant has two blooms, and our roma tomatoes are thriving...and the corn is getting big!!! Instead of lamenting that we won't be due in March, I am secretly happy because I like April better. (No offense to March birthdays!!) Ha!!

Maybe cl.omid#2 will be the golden ticket for us. I know it accumulates in your system, so maybe that will help, too. I also hear that the side effects can be way worse, so God be with me!

Anyone up for another cup of coffee? I might drink coffee all day because I can!!!

Hangin' in There

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hello, 12dpo here. I think maybe we did it this time, but what else is new? ;-) No, really! I thought I didn't have a test upstairs, so I would have an excuse when I chickened out about testing tomorrow, but I just checked, and I actually have a digital one, so now I have no excuse. Wait, maybe since digital's sometimes aren't as sensitive, I can wait a few more days...

As much as I've been feeling a few different things now and then, I remind myself that cl.omid itself can cause some of these things, so it doesn't mean anything until I see if I start or not. Of course I am hoping and praying that it's because of baby, but only God knows at this point! It's not like I've felt anything drastic, but a couple times especially in the last couple days, I have caught myself wondering.

Mr. A and I were talking this morning, and we can't imagine how knowing that we're pregnant will affect our daily life. I already have a lunch scheduled with my neighbor on Wednesday- if we're pregnant, it will be me, her, and my baby. When we go to church next weekend, we will be a family of three. (Of course making a huge assumption that there is a baby anyway- maybe we already are a family of three and we don't know it!) I think it will be an incredible time, but we know that even in the very first week of our little one's life, he will be affecting us in a huge way!

Praying that God's will be done and that we'll have the grace to carry on with trust in Him in any case. I am thankful for the road He has led us on- how we found out about my low progesterone and how he has shaped our faith through this ordeal- because as we believe, God's power is made perfect in weakness!!! (2 Cor 12:9)

One Glass of Wine?!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

So there is a winery about 5 minutes from my house that we recently discovered, and I've been telling my sister who lives close that she should come over and we could go do a tasting. Well today she is off (and I took a long lunch break), and we went over to check it out.

We had a really nice tasting, and decided to each get a glass of our favorite selection and sit on the patio overlooking the vineyard and mountains. It was heavenly! You might think I had had enough of my sisters from our RV trip a couple weeks ago, but we are super close. Our other sister even called while we were sitting there!! I sure pray that our children are so close-knit!

Anyway, as I'm ordering my glass of vidal blanc, I'm thinking to myself "Um, hello, you are 9dpo. Should you really be having this glass of wine?!" But then I counter myself with "I think I read somewhere that at this point the hypothetical baby isn't even getting any of your blood, so I think you're okay to have this glass of wine." So my latter self wins, and soon my sister and I are kicked back at an adorable table for two with awesome scenery in front of us.

I really hope I didn't mess things up.

Because that would really stink. I mean, we can't sit alone in a padded room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every 2ww, right?

An hour and a half or so later (we really took our time!), I am sitting there thinking, "Wow, this one glass of wine was a doozy!" I don't think vidal blanc has any crazy-intense alcohol content, but it definitely went to my head a little more than normal! Not that I was falling down the stairs or anything, or even remotely goofy, but usually I don't feel like I did until after 2 glasses or so!

So this made me itching to google the topic, and I found (as if google is all scientific/legitimate studies) that progesterone supposedly decreases the body's capability to process alcohol! This is the craziest thing to me- I honestly am beginning to suspect that I never produced enough progesterone, because I have never noticed such a difference in wine effects!! Not that I am a wine drukard, but I enjoy a glass every couple of weeks or so!

I pray that the baby/s will forgive me, and I promise not to have any more wine until Monday, when I am praying I don't start another cycle...

Silver Refinery

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

For those of us feeling the heat of the fire lately, this was sent to me in an email recently, and I thought it was a beautiful reflection-

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

(since I copied it from an email, the formatting is all messed up! yuck!)