Reflections (v. 2.0)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last year, I wrote a post reflecting on 2009. So I have been thinking about 2010 and what I'll write about it.

As I look back on it, I think 2010 was mostly not a good year. Meaning, at least 50% of my memories and thoughts about it are negative. Of course there are good things like our marriage and our pups and starting acupuncture and eating organic/natural, but other than that, things were pretty crappy. You can review the list of crap here. And even things like my grossly inconsiderate fertile friends added to the bog.

So, sorry, 2010. When I look back on you, I think of disappointment, failure, sadness, abandonment, and deflated hope.

But unlike my projections about 2010, my projections about 2011 do not contain any rosy cheeked baby next Christmas. I think it is cliche and unrealistic for me to sit here and say "I think we will have a baby next Christmas" because that is what I said last year and obviously it didn't do me any good. Except maybe it makes me face the fact that it will probably never happen for us.

As much as I honestly am not including any baby in my 2011 expectations, I sort of chuckle when I think of it because it is like a big cosmic reverse psychology session that I sit here and think that this year I'm not even going to dream of a child because that is what I did last year and look where it got me.

Luckily, even though I have given up hope that any sort of baby will be born to us this year, I don't picture 2011 to be the same as 2010 in the sadness capacity. Mostly because all of the sadness (my grandfather's death notwithstanding) came from infertility treatments and expectations, and this year we have none. So, without the expectation that something is going to work, you don't have much fall when it doesn't. (Stay tuned for a potential big contradiction to this statement.) In this way, even if we are still childless this time next year, at least we didn't expect anything different.

Maybe this is not a very faithful way to look at things- after all, we aren't supposed to give up hoping. But I also think that if we are to die to ourselves in following Christ, that means to give up our dreams in place of what God might have for us. And with this concept, that does mean giving up hope that your dreams will come true.

I don't really think anything big is going to happen for us in 2011. I think we will continue loving each other and our dogs, paying down our mortgage, reading good books, making wonderful food, and falling asleep at 9:15pm. I think in the eyes of most people, we will be kind of boring. And I think in the eyes of society, we will be less than a family.

But I think 2011 will be a good year. And I'm not trying to be vague just so next year at this time I won't be proven wrong again. I have high hopes for it in every way except for expanding our family.

I have a theme for 2011, but I will wait until 1/1 to announce it. Excuse my french, in advance ;-)

Christmas in Review

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In short, I was pleasantly surprised :)


I cooked a ton of good food, and most importantly my dairy-allergic brother in law didn't get sick once!!!!, everyone stayed over several nights, we had a family Twister tournament (seriously, my mom was beating my brother!!!), we played cards till 1am accompanied by lots of good things to drink, we broke out my Office Clue game, and we had our annual knock down drag out Monopoly shootout. We had family prayer time and enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Eve service together. And everyone loved Banana and Bert.

I think everyone was comfortable and happy here, and that makes us very happy. YAY!!

I did test BFN on Christmas Eve, and maybe it's not a healthy coping mechanism, but I didn't think twice about it (what else did I expect?) and allowed myself to have nary an empty glass for most of the time my family was here. In that same vein, I allowed myself a break from my Infertility Cure ban on coffee and alcohol and chocolate and white flour.... I trusted the validity of that BFN, but it was a little unsettling that I didn't start a new cycle till yesterday. Maybe it was the excitement/good "stress" of having everyone here.

The only major snafoo is that we went about a half hour away from here for dinner on Monday night, and when we returned we found that Bert and Banana had eaten 1 lb of peppermint bark (yes, including milk/dark chocolate), two tins of my mom's cookies, and one of the two gingerbread houses we had decorated. Gulp. Banana had already thrown up twice, but we had to give Bert hydrogen peroxide to make him throw up (on the advice of the emergency vet over the phone). We were pretty freaked out, since chocolate can be deadly to dogs. Banana was still looking awful yesterday morning (she threw up twice more), and her abdomen and chest area were so bloated that they were pretty hard to the touch. You know, like the symptoms for deadly dog bloat. Double gulp. We took her to the vet first thing yesterday morning, and the vet didn't expect dog bloat (the twisting of the stomach kind), but Banana has pretty dehydrated. So the vet kept her at her office yesterday and gave her a shot of antivomit meds and a liter of fluids. Luckily for us, Banana was well enough to come home at 7:30pm last night!!

Except that Banana pulled out the catheter port that the vet had bandaged up in case she needed more fluids this morning. So we look over at one point last night and see that there is blood all over the pillow and blanket she was sitting on. Me and Mr. A had to unbandage her arm and pull out the catheter/needle, and rebandage it. I have never been queasy (and I suspect that maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was bleeding by that point, too- thank you CD1), but I had to go out on the deck for a few minutes. Luckily, the vet said this morning that her arm should heal fine and that she should be back to normal digestive-wise in a few days. Crisis averted!!!

So all in all, it was a great Christmas. I have other reflections on the continued failure to achieve pregnancy, but that will be for another post. Today should be a relaxing day- have to keep an eye on Banana, but I can get some cleaning up done from the blessed din of having 8 adults over for several days!!!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One of my plates of decorated cookies! Busy today but enjoying it!!!
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Coming together

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Well, all our gifts are wrapped (except Bert's and Banana's, what is the point?), all my errands have been run, all I have left to do is bake cinnamon rolls for the neighbors and clean up the house and make up the beds. YAY.

My sister and I talked on Sunday night, and I think she honestly didn't realize how much I was looking forward to Hangoutapalooza 2010. She clearly doesn't read this blog ;-) I still don't think they will stay (her lame excuse is that they "wanted to avoid packing a bag"...well excuse me if the entire rest of your family is staying together 30 minutes away and it is too much of an inconvenience to pack 3 changes of clothes!!!), but my parents are staying less days than we thought they were, so there is actually not that many other dinner opportunities, so I think I will be able to host those and the fun afterwards.

After all, I just bought a case from the winery down the road (4 Traminette's for you, B! Haha). Lord knows I'm not supposed to have that much alcohol!

I had a wonderful acupuncture session today, and my practitioner made all her clients rose quarts bracelets! I feel very at peace right now, and excited about my day of baking and straightening up tomorrow. There is a chance my parents will arrive late tomorrow night, which I think would be cool because the first thing they will see is the blue lights in honor of grandpa...

And speaking of grandpa, please keep grandma in your prayers. She is feeling very depressed and lonely this Christmas. It is easy for me to say "well, he is looking down upon us and smiling", but I know those words might be hollow if it were me who just lost my husband of sixty years.

As for this cycle, I am in denial that I am almost at the of the 2ww. Seriously. It would be so perfect for things to turn out differently, but they never do. I am fully expecting to start on Friday morning and to never have an empty glass the rest of the weekend. I have a hard time thinking that God is going to allow me to experience such a sense of failure when the rest of the church is filled with other people's accomplishments.

Will keep you posted! I've been wanting to take pictures, but we just got a new camera and I haven't plugged it into our computer to get the photos off yet. Hopefully soon!

Why do I even try?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's official. The sister who lives closest to me wants to have more dinners at their townhouse while our family is here (other than, you know, the most important Christmas Day meal!!!), and they don't want to stay here more than Christmas Eve.

Why did I just go buy tons of dairy-free things that BIL can have?
Why did I buy snacks BIL can have for their hospitality basket in the room we have for them?
Why have I been looking forward to late night card games with everyone here and empty bottles of wine?
Why did I think for one second they would put aside this passive-aggressive competitive thing they have with us because we have a single family house and they have a townhouse right now? (I don't know why us having a house makes them so awkward. We are 2 years older. I'm sure in 2 years they will have a house, too.)
Why did I think they would embrace us hosting Christmas, and know that their time will come?

I can't do much. I can't have a baby. I can't pretend like our town has all the cool/hip bars and restaurants that theirs does. I can't regale visitors with hundreds of pictures from all our globe-trotting adventures. I can't pull a bottle of wine from our extensive diversified collection (a case I just bought from the winery doesn't count).

But I can knock hostessing out of the park. I can open our home to 6 family members (with exactly as many beds as needed!) for a long, relaxing holiday celebration. I can make up hospitality baskets for each of our three bedrooms, including snacks and water and glasses, so that our guests will feel at home. I can make you dinners that you will dream about later. I can buy new Christmas sheets just for our guests so that their sleep is restful. I can modify recipes so that people who are allergic to dairy can share in the meal. I can make a fire in our cozy wood stove to set the ambiance for the evening.

But why do I even try, if no one is going to be here?

This is bringing alot of insecurities of mine to the surface, and damned if it has to happen right before Christmas. Hosting Christmas is the only thing I can do. My parents and sisters and brother are the only family we have, and is it so awful to want us all to be under the same roof for a few days? As I told my sister this afternoon, if they decide to move 15 minutes from here in a big house and want to host Christmas in a future year, you better believe I am going to bring my dogs and park my butt at her place for the Christmas holiday, without feeling slighted because no one went to my house, too.

They go on all these fancy trips and go to all these fancy bars and have all these fancy hobbies, so I feel that we are boring compared to them. It is true that we are total homebodies, but our home is inviting and warm and relaxing. It is true that we don't have much in the way of excitement, unless you count playing ball with our dogs in the yard.

They are going on a 4-month cruise next fall (long story), and they are supposedly going to try to get pregnant during the cruise. I am worried sick that they are going to come home (at Christmas, no less), and have a gabillion pictures and tales to share about their amazing adventures AND be able to announce that they are due in the summer!!!! Seriously, kill me now.

How do we even stack up to them? All I can do is try to host the holidays, but apparently we are not good enough. You know what I think would get everyone to stay? Oh wait, the reason we have enough beds for everyone is because there is no nursery....

$100 bet that on the 26th of Christmas it is just me (crying) and Mr. A sitting down to a dinner that would feed 10 people.

Christmas is Coming...

Friday, December 17, 2010

I am The goose is getting fat.... Haha :) That is an old carol, but a fun one!

I have been so busy the last few days. It is a good busy, but I decided next year that I just want to take the last three weeks of December off of work so I don't have to worry about making up hours I spend doing errands. It would just be easier that way ;-)

I bought most of our food this morning after a nice breakfast with my sister at Whol.e Foods. We bought some of their natural italian sausages, and they smelled SO GOOD. I can't wait to make them!! I do have to get Mr. A to take me to the farm tomorrow (Saturday), because they didn't plow their driveway/road, and I was afraid of getting stuck in the cow field. Not that 4 inches is alot, but it felt slippery. I know, I'm a rookie!!

We are also pretty close to being done with shopping for gifts with family and friends. I have decided this year to make cinnamon rolls for gifts for our neighbors. I'm excited! I hope they like them :) We certainly do!!

I think in some ways all this busy-ness has been a really good diversion from all things 2ww. My mantra this time has been "I am healthy and ready to carry this child." It has actually been pretty calming along with some Qigong breathing techniques my acupuncturist taught me. Who knows if there is a "this child", but I want to have a positive mindset. I feel a sense of peace that I am doing just what I should be by excitedly getting ready to play Christmas hostess. I would love nothing more than to have to refuse our Bailey's coffee on Christmas morning, but I fully expect to be able to drink a batch on my own.

(All of this being said, if we are pregnant this time, the due date would be Sept 2. This baby could be born on August 27- a very special day for me, and also the date of my grandpa's passing. I can't lie and say this isn't in the furthest back point of my mind. Of course I calculate my due date every single month (it's a sickness), but this is different somehow. I don't know. I'm sure a due date of October 2 would be just as lovely.)

The only Christmas card I've received from my college friends is from my superstar fertile friend. (And, it was a normal card with a family 4x6 inside. Love this combination, if you must include a picture.) On the one hand, I assume I'm being excluded and I don't think it's any coincidence that this year 63% of them are either expecting or have babies, and that ever since I told them of our struggle, they've mostly been silent. On the other hand, maybe with kids, it is hard to get the cards out. Ho hum.

Except that I didn't send cards to all of them either. *Gasp!* According to one of my friends, that makes me the one pushing them away. But the way I look at it, this is a two way street. I just told "you" (my supposed friend) that I am having an awful struggle, and you don't do anything. In my book, you are not exactly holding up your end of the deal. So don't cry to me that I'm the one pushing you away and not sending you a Christmas card.


All in all, things have been good lately. It is refreshing to see Bert bounding around in the snow, having peppermint tea after dinner, and loading up the wood stove just before I fall asleep watching the flames through the glass. It is exciting to do things around the house in anticipation of my family coming. It is humbling to think of what we actually celebrate at Christmas. May that be the thing that sticks in our heart this Christmas, no matter how much we feel our life is falling apart. I bet Mary and Joseph felt pretty out of their element and lost when they were trying to comprehend the road before them as parents of God's Son.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I sat down last night and figured out our menu for Christmastime. Of course it is flexible (e.g., if we want to eat out for lunch sometime), but I will have all the ingredients on hand for these things. Here's what we are having next week!

December 23
B-n/a (no one will be here yet)
L-Baked Potato Soup
D-Barbeque Pork Sandwiches w/ Coleslaw
D-Blackberry Cobbler

December 24
B-Biscuits, Sausage Gravy
L-Leftovers, Quesidillas
D-Italian Soup, Rolls
D-Raspberry and/or Apple Crisp

December 25
B-Cinnamon Rolls
L-Ham @ My sister/brother in law's place
D-Pumpkin Pie

December 26
L-Hot Sandwiches
D-Mulligatawny, Rolls
D-Cookies, Ice Cream

December 27
B-Eggs, Potatoes, Toast, Bacon
D-Chili, Corn Bread
D-Pumpkin Creme Pie

December 28
L-Chili Dogs
D-Steak Sandwiches
D-Leftover desserts

December 29
B-Biscuits, Zucchini Bread, Sausage
D-Beef & Barley Soup

To Drink: Sweet Tea, Hot Tea, Coffee, Bailey's Coffee, Manhattan's, Beer
To Snack: Nuts, Dried Fruit, Chips/Salsa, Popcorn, Veggies/Dip

What do you think? :) I am so excited to be making all this food!!! (With the exception of the hot dogs, everything will be homemade, including pie crusts and rolls!!)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seriously, how does a free promotional issue of Parents magazine find its way to MY mailbox? Any inexperienced infertile would take this as a sign (swoon!!!!), but I have been around the block enough to know that this is just a sick joke. Even sicker given that Christmas is next week. Ha!!

What do you think, do I want a subscription?


But maybe since I had so much fun babysitting my dear friend O's baby girl (okay, I think she's three, does that qualify as a baby?), I should sign up for the magazine. Hehe.

In all actuality, me and Mr. A did have a blast babysitting on Saturday night while our friends celebrated their anniversary in the cute little town just west of here. I held our little charge on my lap while we were eating dinner, and thanks to eating with my left hand, I have never dropped so much food on the floor (Bert and Banana were thrilled!). We played toys with her and we read books to her and we got her to bed like old pro's. Now to get us one of them kids!!!

We've been having a pretty good Advent, spiritually-speaking. Although of course every time I hear about the "miracle of Christmas" or "the child we have all been waiting for" or "we are waiting in silence for the joy that is going to change our lives" my first thought is that they are talking about us finding out we are expecting a healthy baby. Haha. What, that isn't what the Bible is talking about? Ha!

But in reality, focusing on giving is helping me get my mind in the Christmas season. God gave us the gift of His Son, and it has really helped me to meditate on that, as well as think of what gifts we we be giving friends and family- it makes me happy to think of how those gifts might make a difference (even it it seems like a small or day-to-day one) in their lives.

As for thinking of myself this Christmas, it is all I can do to prepare myself now to be having CD1 on Christmas Eve. I am not even kidding. If I have to be infertile, I don't know why I need to have the additional agony of being reminded in bright red (get it?) that I AM NOT A MOM on freakin' Christmas Eve. Someone pass me a Manhattan.

But I digress, as this was supposed to be fairly upbeat post! Our tree is up, I am making cookies on Thursday, and most of our gifts have been purchased- now I just need to wrap them all. Did I mention that I made myself a list of things to do each day before my family gets here, and remarkably, I am exactly on track! We'll see how long I can keep it up!


Friday, December 10, 2010

I may see some Christmas spirit peeking into the window.

I had a great acupuncture session yesterday. She said my lower abdomen is warm, which is an improvement in itself because most of the time it is coldish and she uses a burnt herb to add some heat. She did some new points around the bottom of my rib cage, in addition to the normal kidney and liver and spleen ones. I also asked her to do the one on the top of my head which is to lift the spirit. Goodness knows my spirit has been glued to the floor lately.

Since I am not temping or using my monitor, I have no idea when/if I ovulated already- I had some bloating and some crampy feelings on Tuesday night, but that was only CD12, which makes today CD15- and in nonmedicated cycles, I've usually ovulated by now. But who knows. We've actually covered our bases pretty well, without even "knowing" I think. But it is nice to just feel in the moment and go with it, without having that moment forced because you got a peak on your monitor that morning.

Up until yesterday, I was 70% sure this would be kind of a sad Christmas (hostessing issues notwithstanding). Now I am only 20% sure. That is progress, people!!!

I have finally made my list (of things to do each day from now till the 21st! Yes, I am type A), and I am finally looking forward to going out shopping for people. I feel like I have some energy to devote to this season, which is more than I can say for the time up until now.

This season has been pretty dark and lonely and disappointing so far. And what's worse is that I feel that alot of you all are experiencing the same darkness as me. I hope that we have alot of light coming, and that right now is like what they say that it's the darkest right before the sun rises (I think, because the moon has also "set", so there is no light at all?).

Here's the song in my heart today. I still feel unsure, wary, and a little bummed, but I can possibly see a light at the end of this tunnel:

Just us.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Boy this Christmas season is wearing me out. I am totally not in the mood, and although I know I have alot to do before my family arrives, I keep putting things off. I am very excited about my family coming, for the most part.

Except that I am worried that it will be a repeat of Thanksgiving, where everyone scatters soon after the big to-do.

One of my sisters lives a half hour east of us. Because our house is bigger (4bd) than their townhouse (2bd), I expected everyone (including them) to come here, get settled into their rooms, and we could stay up every night till midnight drinking egg nog and talking and playing cards.

It doesn't look like that will happen.

Some other members of my family are worried that she will feel less important because no one is staying with them, so they are considering staying with them at least some of the nights they are "here". Well great, I will go to all the effort of "hosting" Christmas and people won't even be here.

I am so excited (in theory) to decorate all their rooms, put out baskets of snacks and water, and really make them comfortable. It would be great if no one had to worry about driving here or there when it is dark and super cold.

In order to include a trip to their house, I've asked if they want to have the Christmas day meal at their place. They have said that will be good! Here is what I'm picturing, after we are done eating Christmas day dinner:

Family: "Okay, well, we are going to hang out here for the next few days."
Us: "Well, alright, we'll just drive home in our lonely car to our empty house that is supposed to be full of family and laughter this Christmas."

Why can't everyone just let us host Christmas this year, and we will all go to their house whatever year they get a bigger one?!

Maybe I am being selfish, but I just can't bear the thought of another disjointed, unfamily holiday. The thought of everyone leaving makes me really sad. Maybe I am being unreasonable or maybe I have my expectations set too high- maybe at some point I will want everyone to go away!

Maybe if we had kids, everyone would want to stay here the whole time. But it's just us.

ETA: My sweet sister called and listened to me cry about this and then reassured me that we will have so much family time, I will begin to go crazy ;-) I will be okay. I can get in the Christmas spirit. I can do this.

Also ETA: It's not that I don't like going to my other sister's place. Their townhouse is very homey and comfortable!! And I am sure our Christmas day dinner there will be awesome!! I am just scared we will all be separated all the time. Am I crazy for wanting tons of time with family? Haha.

He knows

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ladies, Mr. A has finally felt it.

Yesterday, I got a text from the wife of one of Mr. A's friends. We don't hang out with them often because our lifestyles are pretty different. Here is what I've written about them before:

It's interesting how hubby's deal with infertility, especially failures of significant cycles. A guy we know here (late 50ish) and his wife (late 30ish) are also going through treatments. They, fairly regularly, smoke cigarettes and something-different-than-cigarettes-if-you-get-my-drift, polish off bottles of wine per person, make enough j.ello sh.ots to satisfy an entire fra.t house, drink enough at home to cause passing out on their front porch, and drink enough at a bar to cause a yelling match in the parking lot followed by a poor decision to drive home. All while romantically professing that it is their deepest desire to have a child together. You know, just the people whose first IUI (fairly recently) will be wildly successful. They are having a party coming up, the day after they find out if their IUI worked. We have gone to their parties before (and have chosen coke instead of ya.ger, of course). I told Mr. A that I don't mind going, but he said without equivocation that he doesn't want to go because it will be right after they find out and he doesn't want to be there either outcome. Struck me as a demonstration of how guarded he actually is when it comes to others trying, especially others who have no apparent regard for trying to be as healthy as possible through all of this.

So anyway, the wife says she wants to have us over for dinner. I mentioned this to Mr. A when he called on his way home from work. He goes, "well, um, well, maybe I should tell you when I get home."

Oh. My. Godsh.

They are due in April.

Mr. A found out about a month ago when my college friends were trying to kill me, and he thought (pretty wisely so) that I couldn't handle this on top of that. He knew I would be really upset. And he was right. I cried some loud, sad tears before he arrived home last night. I felt very clearly that God hates me.

But for the first time (that I know about), he is hurt and angry, too. He said "I can be happy for anyone else, even your (w)itchy friends. But the only thing I feel when I look at him is anger. They are the most undeservingest people, and yet they can go have a baby."

Sigh. Mr. A is normally not a person who gets angry, so for him to feel this way, I know he is hurting big time.

It's not that I want my husband to feel the same anguish that I do almost every time I field a pregnancy announcement, but I think he finally understands how it is so much easier said than done to "just be happy for them" when you feel, for a variety of reasons, that there is no reason why they should have been able to make a baby- or at least your prayers should have been answered first.

We talked about this crappy situation the entire walk with the dogs. And while we were making dinner. And while we were eating dinner. It was so nice to have a conversation about how much this hurts. I told him that "there must be some amazing stuff coming down the pipe for us after this", except, in the heat of the moment, I didn't say "stuff", if you get what I mean.

I also decided that if we want to buy any sort of thing (as long as we can afford it), my reason is going to be that "obviously we aren't going to have to pay for college". Ha!

We will be okay. We talked about lofty goals of setting up a college scholarship fund for a high schooler in our area, or maybe getting on the board at the food bank or something. We have to figure out how our lives are going to mean something, when everyone else but us are being validated by having kids.

But hell if we are going to their house for dinner. Neither of us can handle that. Unfortunately for them, our weekends are filled up with appointments that aren't scheduled yet ;-)

Too bad

Monday, December 06, 2010

My friend, my beautiful infertile-friendly friend, finally revealed that she is a mere mortal after all, not some angel sent with special background on how to deal with me.

She emailed me yesterday to see how I was doing. Which was awesome in the first place. But after I responded that it has been a pretty tough season so far, and that I am numb to all the excitement that everyone else is feeling, and how Christmas with adults is so anticlimatic, and how it's the worst time to be on the outside looking in, she writes:

"I know what you really want is a baby (and we do pray for that), but what I really want is for you to find happiness and fulfillment with your life, however that works out."



That is all fine and good, objectively, because don't we all want happiness and fulfillment in our lives?

But come on, this kind of sentiment coming from an effortlessly fertile person is like a knife to my heart. Why don't I just drive down to the housing projects in my nice car with my clean clothes and my full stomach on my lunch break from my great job and tell the first person I see that, I'm really sorry you don't have a job or a safe home or food for dinner, but I hope that you're happy and fulfilled anyway, no matter if you have to live in awful conditions the rest of your life.

Am I being dramatic?

I agree with her, I really want to live a fulfilled, happy life. And wouldn't it be great if tomorrow I could wake up and give two shakes of a rats tail about filling any of our bedrooms with children. But I seriously doubt that will happen, tomorrow, or any day. Wouldn't it be great if I could just decide, hey, I am going to pick {whatever} amazing goal that will change the world and go after it with as much zeal as I have. But everything I think of now seems like a failing substitute for what is in my heart.

And, sort of on the flip side, I wish I was better about carrying this damn dang cross of mine. I wish that I could carry it with a smile on my face and say, hey look at me, I have this awful life struggle, but I am totally happy and fulfilled and I am 100% sure that God will take this cross off my broken back some day!!

But let's face it, I am not 100% sure. Because He does call some people to be childless, and even if I can somehow fake being happy and fulfilled and pretend that my (for example) new philanthropy at the animal shelter is just as rewarding as raising babies, this cross will always hurt in some way. I am sure of it.

I have given her the link to this blog, but I don't think she reads it. I write this post with utter honesty, and I hope she will understand that if she comes here. She has been one of the TWO of my friends who has been genuinely supportive of us, and I know no one's perfect, so I am attempting to give her a pass this time. It's too bad, though, because now I sort of feel like she thinks I should just shut up already about it.

And at the end of the day, I am staunchly maintaining that Christmas is the worst time to be on the outside looking in.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sun is up! It snowed last night, too!
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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Well, Mr. A thought the covers looked weird, so I folded them so they are only on the top... I will post a daytime photo tomorrow!

Hopefully it looks okay with the shelves showing! There was something that bugged me about the covers too, so this way is good with me!
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first stab

Finally got some decorations out. We can't have our real tree in our room because the stove will dry it out too much, so the real one will be in the front room and I got a little fake one for this room.

What do you think? I am worried the snowflake bookcase covers (tablecloths) make it look too busy, but my sister said she didn't think so
... do you like the stockings I got Bert and banana on the right?

I also ordered some gifts this morning! Free shipping!!!
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Friday, December 03, 2010

My sister told me last night that she is pretty much done with her Christmas shopping. What?! I know, she's not the only one, and maybe the rest of you are done, too. But I haven't even started.

I seem to have this attitude that there is no urgency in shopping- it is only December 3 after all- but then I look at the calendar and realize there are really only three weekends till Christmas! Luckily, since I work from home, my schedule during the week is flexible, so I can go then. But unluckily, the next two week are busy at work!

At some point, I'm going to have to get a list together and go face the consumerism.

It is kind of uncharacteristic for me to not be totally gung ho about shopping. I did buy some new outside lights yesterday, so that is a start I think, but I am still not in the "Christmas" spirit.

Or maybe I am, in a spiritual sense. Advent is a time of quiet waiting. Waiting for an event that will change your life. Waiting for an event that is so awesome and amazing and joyful. Mary & Joseph did not roll into Bethlehem blaring celebratory music with a donkey full of perfectly wrapped gifts. They silently snuck in to a town that had no idea what it was in for that night.

That is how I feel. I feel quiet.

But we are hosting my family for Christmas, and Lord knows I want our home to look like a Crate & Barrel catalog. I want there to always be an open wine bottle and Bailey's coffee in the crockpot. I want there to be good food and family games until 1am. I want this to be the merriest, funnest, happiest Christmas we've ever had together. I feel like everything will have to be perfect and entertaining to make up for the fact that there won't be any kids' faces to watch as we read the story of Christmas or open gifts we've selected for each other.

But of course no one has the money to buy the whole fancy Christmas catalog things (or maybe some do, but I'm not sure it is worth it). I'm sure I can make things look very festive with some help from Target.

And I'm sure once I get my head in the game, as they say, I will be just as giddy as they next person in line at BB&B. I do love wrapping things for people, imagining them as they open the package!

But for now I feel behind everyone else this Christmas season. What else is new, with all the ways I've felt behind this year. At some point maybe I'll catch up with the rest of society!

Ironic, on so many levels

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I ordered two books recently- The Fertility Diet and The Infertility Cure.

They came yesterday, and I set them in my chair to read after dinner.

After working for several minutes, I noticed Bert was noticeably quiet. Turns out, he was EATING The Fertility Diet!! Haaaaa!!!

Of course, I didn't think it was funny at the time.

I think it is hilariously ironic now. A dog, EATING a book about a diet? The fact that I even got a book about diets? The idea that any specific combination of food will magically land a baby in my belly?

And, if the cosmos is at all involved, I feel a sort of relief that Bert chose to eat the Fertility Diet one and not the Infertility Cure (chinese medicine concepts), because if I am honest, I believe that chinese medicine practices will go way further in getting us on the right track (physically) to having a healthy child.

After a cursory review of both, it seems that The Fertility Diet is in contrast to the Infertility Cure, at least in that the former encourages at least one serving of full fat dairy per day, while for most chinese medicine diagnoses, dairy is discouraged.

I did, however, read most of the Infertility Cure last night, and I am very on board. I am taking it with me to acupuncture this afternoon, because I want my practitioner to look at some of the points they recommend and to ask her some other questions. She is good, but I don't really think she has alot (if any) other experience with infertility, and the book is actually pretty specific about acupuncture/pressure points!!

The author of the book says that she has close to a 75% success rate. SEVENTY FIVE?!?!?!? She gives success stories at the end of every chapter, and almost everyone she writes about conceives within 4 months. It's hard not to conclude that it will happen to me like that. But I will just keep trying to get ourselves as healthy as possible, and maybe a baby will want to snuggle in to our cozy place soon.

Let's raise our glasses of wheatgrass goop, and have a toast to all the crap we put ourselves through for the chance at motherhood...

There, I did it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I finally went back to the dentist.

I went *cough* three years ago (do you think my teeth are moldy and falling out after telling you that?) to this dentist near our previous house. Her office was state of the art, zen, and she was very talkative. I didn't think she was so bad (I think I needed one small filling), but she told Mr. A he needed like 3 fillings and a root canal/crown... and he to this day calls her the "butcher" and maintains that she was just filling-happy.

Then mix in three years of trying to have a baby, and being what appears to be unnecessarily worried that the two seconds it takes them to xray your mouth will harm "the baby" that "could" be in my womb, and Mr. A who has taken up the opinion that all dentists are evil, and you have the two of us who haven't been back.

But we decided enough was enough. (And it just so happens that I was on CD5, so no worrying about the baby!) I got a recommendation from my friend here, and we went yesterday afternoon. Our new dentist is super old and probably won't be practicing after another several years, but he is very personable, very reasonable, and very gentle! YAY. Mr. A has two cavities, but I don't have any! DOUBLE YAY.

The receptionist was also very nice and asked if we had kids. When I responded no, but that we were praying for one, she said "Well, kids will come soon enough." Really? Soon enough, you say?

Grown Up Celebrating

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I have been reflecting on our Thanksgiving with Mr. A's family.

Our families are pretty different, and the older I get, I realize that even more.

My family has two spiritual parents, three girls, and a boy.

His family has no spiritual leaders (his dad never went to church, and his mom took the kids, but never displayed any devotion/involvement herself; side note is that his dad recently told me that he regrets not being an example of spirituality for his sons), and three boys.

My family does family celebrations (e.g. Thanksgiving, Christmas) in a big, organized, scheduled and Christian way.

His family does family celebrations in a casual, laid back, whatever-happens-happens way.

When Mr. A and I first met, it was refreshing to spend holidays (I use this term only to describe the months of November and December. I would never refer to Christmas itself as the "holiday".) with his family because it was so much more casual than with my family. With my family, you better count on spending several hours at a time on one evening all standing around my mom at the piano singing verses of The Little Drummer Boy. For a 22-year old, who is used to living by herself in peace and quiet, that was a little too much.

I thought it was great how his family was all together, but you could still sneak off for a quiet nap or reading time in one of their recliners and no one was begging you to go sit by the tree all together.

But now, years later, times with his family have grown a bit too casual for me. I want the excitement and priority of family time and togetherness.

Case in point, Thanksgiving with them was good but missing something. I called his mom the Friday prior to ask about the menu and what I could bring and she told me, well, I haven't really thought about it yet!

"Say what!!!," I thought, "Thanksgiving is next week and you HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT IT?!"

Meanwhile, I had been excitedly hoping for at least two weeks to bring the pies and the natural turkey and looking forward to spending some time with Mr. A's brothers.

Turns out that one of his brothers left just hours after we had eaten Thanksgiving dinner (lunch), and the other brother left Friday morning, and there just wasn't that feeling that everyone was so happy to be all together. It was like any Sunday dinner.

That was a bummer to me. Clearly the boys take their cues from the parents, and I just don't think they set forth that they were wanting us all to make it a priority to spend some quality time together this Thanksgiving.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to blame infertility for this one. I don't doubt for one second that if we were expecting or (heaven forbid) already had a baby that it would have been so exciting and so important for everyone to spend time together. We all would have been dreaming of when we could get together again, instead of knowing that we really don't meet up that often. We would have been passing the baby around or voting for name choices. I can just imagine.

Instead, I was having water instead of wine (of course I could have had a bottle to myself, I found out the day after when I started my period), and we were helping his parents put up closet doors instead of sitting around with everyone laughing and having a good time. Not that we don't like to help his parents, but it was just kind of a mundane chore for the day after Thanksgiving.

My family is coming to our house for Christmas this year, and the celebrating will be very different. It will be reverent, and merry, and bright, and LOUD, and filled with lots of cherished people and good things to eat, excitedly planned and prepared. I can't even imagine how much more merry and bright it would be if we were parents, because it is already to the max of family togetherness and cheesiness.

I hope if (when) we are parents, we will be able to strike a good balance of the laid-back and the type-A family celebrations. It would be nice for there to be an emphasis and priority on time spent together, without making you feel like you can't go to the bathroom in peace.

So unfortunately, this season has gotten off to kind of a ho-hum start for me. I did order our Christmas cards yesterday, though, so that is a start. And I'm thinking of getting some blue lights to put up outside this year. My grandfather always put up blue lights at Christmas, and I think it would be a fitting tribute to him, as it's our first Christmas without him.

What are you doing to get in the Christmas mood? Are you having difficulty or is your house already the scene of Christmas perfection?

happy cd1

Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh wait, i mean thanksgiving!

Story of my life: you will get your period during every major holiday.

We have had a good but mildly frustrating time with mr.a's family. Their house is not dogproof, and bert & banana are getting into everything. His parents say not to worry about what the dogs are doing, but then they get all flustered if bert smells the nutbowl on the coffee table and leaves a nose mark on the glass.

Mr.a's brothers both left this morning, and i think we might leave this afternoon. We all miss home!!

But my turkey and pies were DELICIOUS!
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Good morning

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I met up with my friend for coffee this morning, before we each were picking up our turkeys at the mennonite farm. Mine is TWENTY SEVEN pounds. Holy leftovers!!!

It was really nice to just sit and talk with her. Her younger two children were at preschool, and her older three were at home working on homework (they homeschool). So it was just the two of us, and we talked about all kinds of things. I finally feel like I have made a friend here who I can talk about anything with!

Including if I know when I'm ovulating.

And when I said, yah, I can mostly tell based on my body's signals, she told me that she's not sure if she is ovulating or not.


You guessed it! They are trying for #6!

And, while you may think I would have spit out my coffee chai tea latte and walked home, I am remarkably peaceful about them trying, knowing that they will probably have success before we do. Maybe it's because I know that they totally consider all their kids to be precious gifts on-loan from God. That makes a huge difference to me with how I can relate to you as a mom. If you are the type to parade "your" kids around just because you can, I would not be so excited and supportive if you were trying for #6.

She is 9 years older than me, but thanks to this crazy train, I know alot about (in)fertility, and I think it was nice for her to talk to someone who knows something about it. I even gave her such meaningless advice such as pumpkin is good for implantation!! HA!! Haven't we all tried that??

She and her husband lost a baby at 10weeks in February (I had no idea), and ever since then they have been trying to no avail. She just started temping and is just getting the hang of it again. She thought she was pregnant last month, but after several negative tests, she got her period days later. I told her that I knew the disappointment of that, and that anyone who wants to be pregnant and isn't feels the same hurt.

What she said next is the reason why I think she is going to become a dear friend.

She said "I could never compare my disappointment to yours, because I have my other children around me to support me when I'm disappointed."

I mean, I felt so much compassion and sensitivity when she said that. And despite her saying that, I still maintain what I say- the hurt is all the same.

Of course we discussed the obligatory wouldn't-it-be-great-if-God-allowed-us-to-be-pregnant-at-the-same-time, and you know what, a miracle of that type would be welcomed with open arms. I'm not expecting it, but that is the point of a miracle, isn't it?

I told her that one time when I arrived at church early, I found myself in prayer and overwhelmed by the notion that I will be standing in that church carrying our child one day. I sure hope and pray that day is soon. I told her that I'm worried that feeling was fake, but she said it sounds like the devil trying to cause me to doubt what she thinks was genuine encouragement from the Spirit.

Join me in praying for my dear friend, for her baby in heaven, and that we might both be blessed soon.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Attending church continues to be a labor of love for me. Sometimes I leave feeling uplifted, but more often than not, I leave feeling lonely.

I know that my experience at church should be focused on God- the whole reason we go- but it is easy to get sidetracked when some perfect family out of the pages of sits right in front of you and their baby is the cutest thing you ever saw. I try to concentrate on hearing what God would have me hear, instead of wishing I was the one taking my toddler out to go to the bathroom.

But it's tough. On normal Sunday's.

And then there are extraordinary Sunday's like yesterday when I left in such a disappointed fog that I couldn't even believe it.

Some background, there is this family at church with whom I'm acquainted through a mutual friend (who also has 5 kids), and they have 5 kids. I know that one of them- their young son- is quite a handful.

So the father of those kids gets up at the end of the service and asking the men of the congregation to commit to being men of prayer and opportunities for them to live out being prayerful men. He says "In prayer, I discovered that I was meant to be a married man, and now I've been blessed with 5 kids. Well, 4 kids and one cross- my three year old."


I could barely believe my ears. I could not believe that this man, in front of all of us, called his PRECIOUS CHILD a cross!!! Just because he is less perfectly-behaved than their other kids!! I was so sad. Sad for the son, sad for the father, and sad for me.

I'd like to see him take on my cross for a while. See how it would feel to sit in church- which is already nearly unbearable in the presence of all the other fruitful families- and have someone make a joke about how their fiesty three year old is a cross. See how it would feel to pray for a baby for THREE YEARS with not so much as the slightest nod from heaven. See how it would feel to feel like an unaccepted member of society because you have no children.

I know those of us who struggle with infertility are acutely aware of this cross of ours. And I know (imagine) that if you have 4 perfect children and then you have a son who gets into alot of mischief, it might seem like a cross. But let's be clear. It is his behavior that is the cross, perhaps. Not the boy himself. To call him a cross, especially in public, especially in CHURCH, is degrading and irrerevant and ungrateful, in my humble infertile opinion.

I emailed my friend of my incredible hurt, and she has responded with the utmost compassion and gentleness. And as all of us do, we learn to bounce back from these heart wrenching situations.

Maybe church won't be such a hard place to go, someday.

Antagonistic Mail

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I think my insurance company hates me.

It never fails. At least three time in the last year and always when I'm in the 2ww, they send me this mailer.

On the front is this woman, with a hint of wonder in her eyes, clearly pondering something. It says beneath her face "Are you ready for a New Adventure?"

Cue the eye roll.

Then you open it and it says "Motherhood is one of life's greatest accomplishments...." and although there are tons of other words on the page, I am obviously unable to read any further!!!

They have this healthy pregnancy program, and if you are thinking of having a baby, you should call now and they will send you this packet of stuff which is clearly applicable to the rest of the general population who can have babies at their earliest whim!!!


Can't they review the tons of claims that have been filed in the last 2 years and logically conclude that I do not need this kind of material!?!?!?!?

Resolution and FOOD!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Only six comments yesterday?!?! Do you guys think I am a terrible person?

I think it's time for a resolution of all this friend drama. My dear friend H (one of this group that I will be keeping in touch with!) said it best yesterday in an email: "Friendship doesn't need to be this much work and this much drama."

I do have a peace about it. Actually, it feels like I have been freed of the worry about my place in their eyes. Ever since they have been having kids and I have been trying to fit in, it has been a source of strife for me to figure out how I could still fit in. Now I don't have to worry about that.

I was actually surprised at my counselor's take on this whole situation: that there must be something special about our friendships to have lasted this long. I'm not saying that there wasn't something special, I'm just not sure it still exists among all of us (certain people it definitely still is there). My counselor's comments were just different than I expected because, in my eyes, counselors are there to help you with your person, not to have you figure out how you can still belong among others. It's like me trying to jam myself into jeans I wore in high school and doing that for years, until I finally accept that my high school jeans just don't fit anymore because I've grown up since then. I feel like my counselor was saying "But you loved those jeans, didn't you? Maybe you could still try to jam yourself into them", instead of acknowledging that maybe that was not the best thing for me to do right now.

I am disappointed about how they've treated me, but I can't change what has happened. I was honest with them about our struggle and how I'd still like to be included in their lives. It has been very hurtful, and I don't know if they will ever make a noticeable effort to include me again. (If they do appear to want to include me back into their clique, I suppose that I would not be opposed, but my trust in them has been badly broken, so it will take alot of time to rebuild that.) But I do have a peace about deciding/accepting that they can go their own way, and I'm not going to fret if that way doesn't include me. The disappointing part is that I know that people with kids can be awesome friends and wonderful supports. My friends here and here and here and here are shining examples that you don't have to become elitist when you have kids and testament to the fact that I don't live my life running to the hills when a friend of mine has a baby. I just long to be included even though I don't have one yet. And when I don't quite know how to convince myself that I matter as much as they do, I need some patience and understanding.

But seriously. Enough of the drama. Onto some food!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I am making my list of things to get at the store for the PIES!!! (And some more pads for when I start my period the day after, but I digress...)

Here is one of my favorites, my mom's recipe for Pumpkin Pie!

1 unbaked crust (1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup shortening (or more as needed), 5ish Tb cold water)
1 can of pumpkin puree or 3-4 cups of mashed cooked pumpkin
2 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

(Preheat oven to 400F)

For crust: Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Add water and knead until a dough ball forms. Roll out the dough so that it fits your pie plate.

For filling: Dump all the ingredients into your mixer and give it a whirl until it is all blended/homogeneous. Pour into the pie crust.

Bake the pie at 400F for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 350F and bake for 45 minutes or until the filling is set.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

I think I have made a decision.

I think I have decided to just let the friendship(s) go. There are a couple of girls that I will keep in touch with individually, but in a nutshell, I think whatever fallout from my confrontation email would be even more painful for me than being silent. I am so hurt already that I don't think I can handle any more from this group.

Because let's face it, she is going to say that she thought it would hurt me, and I'm going to have to go into the whole "but I asked to be included", and then chances are that I will still be excluded because, as Al said in the comments yesterday, fertile people seem to assume that they know how to treat us better than we do.

I am afraid of coming across like I am pushing people away. But Mr. A noted that since they are not emailing me anyway, it's not like I wouldn't be responding to them. Of course if they do email me, I will respond as though nothing is amiss, so as not to be offstandish. But clearly they feel like there is a difference between them and me, and even though I tried to emphasize that I want to be included despite my circumstances, they have decided for themselves that there is information that I do not need to know. I cannot control whether or not they include me.

I wonder how they would feel if they knew that I went to therapy because of them?

Mr. A has always felt unwelcomed and demeaned by (many of) this particular set of friends, and he says that he is not surprised that I am feeling this from them now. It makes me sad that this has happened. I don't really have that many other friends, so I think one of the reasons I'm tempted to hang on despite how they treat me is that at least then I can count them among my friends.

But friends are people who support and love you. They will be with you through thick and thin. I do not feel love or support from several of them, and so maybe they are not the friends I thought they were. I always try to put myself in their shoes, and I think I would have tried to be as sensitive and inclusive and comforting as possible to me, if I had received the emails that I've sent. Clearly it's not impossible- one other of them did everything perfectly when she found out she was expecting #2. So obviously, if one of them could act compassionately, my expectations of them are not out of line, right?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I have a separate "mom friend" folder that all their emails are filtered to automatically, and we'll see if any messages pop up. I'm not holding my breath. Obviously I have no idea what it's like.

Can't Decide

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I can't decide if I whether to email my "friend", as my counselor suggested.

On the one hand, it would feel good to let her know that her veiled attempt at not telling me has been dashed. It would probably be good for me to force myself to write "but I'm happy for you". And inherently, it would be good for me to practice what I say, that I really do want to be included in what's going on.

On the other hand, she might become defensive (especially with all the pregnancy hormones that clearly I have no idea about) and start ranting to me that she was just trying to protect me, even after I asked to be included. Also it's not like the two of us were the closest of us 8 college buddies, so I'm not sure that forcing the issue is worth it. And there is a good chance that I will still be excluded.

I still can't understand how she thinks this will work logistically. Because as of now, she is going to have to exclude me on every further update for the rest of ever, because for all she knows, I don't know she is pregnant, or that in 9 months she will have a baby. Can you imagine that? She emails everyone (including me) in May or June or whatever that her baby is here with a "PS. Sorry I didn't tell you I was pregnant, A." Ha! I almost want her to keep excluding me, just so I have more ammo when I unleash all of what I know. Oh wait, that is the ugly infertility speaking.

And what the blazes are my other friends thinking? Only one told me when I asked, and no one else has contacted me. Are they feeling sorry for me? Are they encouraging her to tell me like I asked?? Are they too busy changing diapers that they could care less?

I really don't appreciate being put in this position.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If you go to see a counselor (who is maybe 60ish and definitely not pregnant, haha) about dealing with infertility, she might ask you if you've tried natural progesterone cream.


She honestly did say that, and I had to shake my head and appear very honestly interested in her advice.

All in all, my session was generally good, but nothing earth shattering as I hoped it would be. Don't counselors have the "how to" manual on living well with infertility? What, one doesn't exist? Is it because "living well" stands obnoxiously in stark contrast to "infertility"?

We talked about how I feel abandoned by my friends, especially since I'd felt so close to them in school. We talked about how sometimes it feels like I'm not good enough for God to give me a baby, even though I know that isn't true. We talked about how my childhood was, and the fact that I've never felt inferior until my friends started being wildly prolific while in the meantime the only thing I can make is an apple crisp. We talked about how Mr. A is great.

She told me that I should not feel bad that I feel sad about being childless. She told me I should any time I feel attacked by infertility, I should take a moment and meditate, picturing myself in a warm safe place where I feel beautiful and happy (Labor and Delivery suite? Oh wait, ....) She told me I should email my friend who left me out of her pregnancy announcement and tell her that I was very hurt she hasn't told me, but that I am very happy for her.

I have never been to a counselor before, so I think I expected too much. I expected me to say "I feel left behind" or "I feel inadequate" or "I feel less worthy than people with kids" and she would give me things I could do or think to (I guess) fill my thoughts and life with other things so I wouldn't have the space or time to consider our three empty bedrooms. (She did give me a couple concrete suggestions, but I think I had the bar too high.) Or maybe that isn't the point of counseling, to fill your life with good things so you don't have time to deal with the bad things. Maybe the point is really to just talk about the bad things enough so that you become so comfortable with them that they're not so bad anymore.

Hey, maybe I just gave myself a breakthrough.

I should write myself a check for $120.

I made an appointment for next week, but I am not sure I will keep it. This is more expensive than acupuncture, and I'm not sure I will perceive it as helping as much. On the other hand, I am feeling really great right now, so maybe it helped more subconsciously than I'm aware of.

The one thing that she did say that perked up my ears is when she was reviewing all of the blessings I recounted for her. She said "you have a husband who loves you, two great dogs who depend on you...." I never thought of my dogs depending on me, even though I guess they do. I know people who humanize their dogs can be a little wacky, but if I remind myself that they depend on me, maybe that will help me feel a little less useless, in the realm of not "mothering" anyone/thing.

Long story short, I think every infertile should try counseling once. It would be amazing if you could find someone with infertility experience, but even if yours hasn't struggled with it, you still might be able to come away from the session with a couple foods for thought. I'm glad I went today :)

T-minus 3 hours

My appointment is at 1:45pm. Today is cold and rainy and gray. Hopefully the session will not be the same!!

From the material they sent with my forms, it seems like even if I were to call to try to get authorization, they may not approve because it's not for a medical diagnosis, e.g. bipolar, depression. I mean, of course infertility sucks the life out of you and then stomps on your soul, but it's not like I am thinking about jumping off a bridge (no joking about that intended).

And I think calling and putting it out there that I was thinking of going, and then being denied, and having the request STILL be in my file would be one of my least desired outcomes. So I will gladly self-pay to see what it will all be about. I think the sessions are an hour long, and it is kind of funny when I think of all the infertility crap I could unload on this poor girl. I could probably talk the whole hour without her getting a word in edgewise! We'll see how it goes.

She better not be pregnant. ;-)


Monday, November 15, 2010

I decided to take it daily- from what I can tell, royal jelly has good effects on all hormones, so conceivably (get it?) that would include progesterone, which is important in the 2ww! I also read that it has anti-inflammatory properties which is also good in the 2ww. Here's hoping for the best!

The kind I got is royal jelly in honey with bee pollen. It tastes like kind of bitter or more condensed honey. According the package, you're not supposed to put it in hot water (degrades it somehow), so I just take a teaspoon hunk (on a plastic spoon, also supposedly very important to keep it from degrading) and keep it on my tongue and wash it down with juice. Then I add my wheatgrass powder to my juice and swig that down, too.

The things we do for baby.

I have taken three days of the royal jelly so far, and to be honest, I do notice that I wake more easily in the morning, i.e. I don't feel like it will take a front loader to get me out of bed! I think that is a good improvement!

We feel really good about how we have changed most all of our food to organic and natural. We are bringing our fresh farm-raised turkey (non hormone/antibiotic/GMO-feed) to Mr. A's parents' for Thanksgiving, but what about all the other food? They are definitely not buying organic. I guess I will just try to eat in amazing moderation. Something about the way they cook (more oil/fat maybe? or maybe it's because we are used to less processed food?) makes Mr. A and I have indigestion anyway, so less of the food will probably be easier on my stomach! Am I a food snob? ;-)

And I decided to give the counseling a whirl- tomorrow afternoon. But we're going to do self-pay. The place actually sent me a pamphlet with the registration materials on how if you involve insurance with counseling, they can raise your rates in the future and legally have access to all your records. No thanks! Plus, I would hate to alert the insurance and feel like the session was a complete bust, never wanting to do it again, but now it's on my health record. So we'll see how it goes. Hoping it will be helpful, but skeptical at this point.

(Toast and) Royal Jelly

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hahaha ;-) Not the recipe you were expecting, eh?

I ordered a container of royal jelly because I have read that it is another superfood that can help egg quality. I don't know if that is really our problem, but it can't hurt, right?

I *think* I ovulated yesterday. I don't really know because I am pretending not to worry not worrying about being super obsessed with trying.

So this royal jelly is supposed to regulate/enhance all hormones, but I also just read that it may have some estrogenic activity. (Although, I did always have lowish estrogen levels, so maybe a kick in the estrogen pants would be good for me!) If I just ovulated, should it not be taken in the 2ww? But if it supposedly takes 3 months to really affect egg quality, shouldn't it be taken every day for those 3 months? I am finding conflicting advice on Dr. Google!!

Here are some things I've found that are making me wonder if I should wait until I start again to begin, but then again, if it's going to enhance the progesterone, I'd like to take it now! It seems like many people take it every day....

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4

Has it come to this?

Friday, November 12, 2010

(I interrupt Food on Friday with more about the pregnancy (un)announcement. Check for a recipe this weekend!)

Mr. A and I had a pretty "lively" discussion last night given the most recent pregnancy "un"-announcement- "un" because she still hasn't told me. Here are some highlights:

Mr. A is focused on very good things we do have instead of the huge thing that we don't have. He cannot for the life of him understand what it means when I say that I'm happy for {whoever} that they're pregnant, but I'm sad for me. Why do I have to be sad for me, he wonders? We have a nice home, good savings, stable jobs, two great dogs, etc etc etc. I am very thankful for those things and for his constant reminder to put those things ahead of what we might not have.

He says he's going to make a recording for me to play that says "It is going to be alright. We can be happy anyways without kids." because he's tired of saying it over and over with apparent lack of results in my response.

He has been convincing himself for the last couple of years that it probably isn't going to happen (even though he also says that if it's going to happen, it will happen whenever it's supposed to) and he is to the point where he has accepted that and is ready to move on. I am definitely not there yet, but how many more years can I torture myself with the idea that it's possible?? I have started to curtail myself from saying things like "when we will wait for the bus with our kid..." or "what if our kid gets into trouble at school...." or "that's the baby's room..." because I feel like I'm just teasing myself with those kinds of thoughts now.

I have not finished grieving the idea of our biological child, so I don't feel ready to move to adoption. Mr. A thinks that the whole adoption process is plunking down a suitcase of $100's, and saying "call us when you get a baby". I have tried to tell him about all the work and emotional exploration involved and that it isn't an easy road either, and I am not ready to move to adoption until he is fully on board with all that we'll have to go through if we choose adoption. Not to mention, our families are not exactly open to adoption right now, either...

I feel in my heart that I should just keep in touch with my (college) friends who (are) have been supportive, but I don't want to be accused of pushing people away who haven't been (one of them has already pretty much admonished me for this), even though I feel like they don't want to include me in their lives anymore. It makes me so sad that I used to totally belong with them and now I don't.

I still place most, if not all, of the blame of infertility on myself. Maybe it was the training 3+ years ago for the 2 marathons, 3 half marathons, and other distance races that messed up my hormone levels. Maybe it was my unworthy behavior in college or my wavering confidence that God really is going to give us a family. I worry that I miss too many Sunday's at church. At the same time, I know in my head that if God gave out babies on the merit system, drug addicts wouldn't have 7 kids each. But also at the same time, I have to hope that God is pleased with how I try to live my life, and what about all that rewarding the faithful stuff in the Bible??

Especially after that letter about the mama-jama fertility drugs, we are not feeling like we have the emotional energy for another run through the ART gauntlet, much less that it would be a good use/safe risk of our finances. So that leaves us with doing nothing acupuncture. And wheatgrass. Still gulping the wheatgrass.

So anyway, long story short, maybe I should call the christian counseling place here for an appointment. I think Mr. A is growing weary of being the only sounding board, especially because even though he says {mostly} the right things, I don't think he sees enough of a change in me to be confident that he's making a difference (although of course he is). Because I think I'm to the point where I am just about to my limit of dealing with this crap, and it might be helpful to get some guidance on how to go from here.

I know a few of you have gone to at least a few sessions, and I'd love to hear your feedback on your session (did it help?), and suggestions about how to prepare myself for this huge admittance that I might not be dealing with this struggle as well as I think I am.

But really, I think I do a pretty good job of dealing with IF day to day, any other day except pregnancy (un)announcement days. Is that so unforgiveable?

PS. I have to get a preapproval from the mental health section of my insurance!! Is this going to be a huge red flag on my record if I do this?! Maybe I can just talk to my pastor...

Edited to Add: Mr. A is super ultimate amazingly supportive. He totally knows my longing for a baby, and when he says things like, "but look at what we have been blessed with", he does not mean to diminish my (or his) longing for a child. It's just his way of dealing with it- focus on the good not the bad. I think it is an excellent way to approach the things we feel we are missing in our lives, but I have not found it as "easy" as it appears to have been for him to really focus on those things, and not just "say" that.

We are both very honest with each other about everything, including our mutual lack of peace with adoption right now, and we respect each other's positions and reasons. And we did attend an info session in early 2008 that left us both very disappointed (I know every agency is different).

I just hope I didn't paint a picture like he just sits on the couch and says "get over it" when I am struggling with an (un)announcement. He is amazing, and I am so thankful for how he has led our family of 2 in the last 3 years of this struggle. I hope God will allow me the chance to make him a dad- he will be a great one!

CONTINUED insult to injury

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yesterday I randomly checked (not something I do daily) one of my college friend's (Friend #5) blogs, and of course, she posted a positive pregnancy test recently! AND I also just found out yesterday from Friend #7 that Friend #5 told EVERYONE ELSE EXCEPT ME three weeks ago about her pregnancy! I cried BUCKETS yesterday afternoon. Buckets and buckets and buckets. I specifically sent out an email weeks ago to everyone telling them that I wanted to be included, even on stuff about kids!! I am so hurt I can't even put it into words. Let's review, out of us eight college friends, or maybe I should say "friends" (with the exception of #2 and #7, who have been very supportive):

Friend #1: Husband, one son, baby on the way (effortless kid count: 2)
Friend #2: Husband, one daughter, baby on the way (effortless kid count: 4)
Friend #3: Husband, one daughter, one son (effortless kid count: 6)
Friend #4: Husband, one daughter (effortless kid count: 7)
Friend #5: Husband, Apparently now expecting! (effortless kid count: 8)
Friend #6: Husband, not trying at all
Friend #7: Soon to be engaged

ME: Husband, two dogs, buckets of tears, empty arms, lonely house, boring Christmas card, three echo'ing bedrooms, unfulfilled life, lack of anything in common anymore

God, why don't You just beat me in the head with a 2x4! I think it would hurt less!!

Insult to Injury

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We are thoroughly enjoying our break from modern medicine. But the other day when I got a letter from my insurance company about my past prescriptions, I was sick to my stomach.

Essentially, starting in January, all fertility meds will require prior approval "for females under 50". (Should I just wait until I am 50 to try IVF again? Hahaha) Even clomid and progesterone! But the list includes all the big guns, too, like follistim, ganirelix, PIO, novarel, etc. AND, supposedly approval will be given unless the drugs are taken in conjunction with ART. Okay, who is going to be taking ganirelix in a normal cycle?!

I always considered myself very lucky to have had these meds covered for relative pennies compared to what they cost, so I probably have nothing to complain about, but I just think it is awful of the insurance companies. You (insurance) don't even pretend to cover IVF or IUI, and now you can't even throw us a bone and cover the meds?!?! Is this what happens when the government runs healthcare- every living thing has coverage, but that's because the poor helpless infertility patients are getting even more of the short end of the stick than ever?!?! Way to go, keep on covering people with 8 kids and no job, but make sure you give a big "screw you" to people who work 3 jobs to try to finance a shot at having ONE child.

I feel very thankful that we had coverage when we did, and that we went through all of the medical interventions when we did. I feel validated that what we are doing now (au naturale) is what we're supposed to be doing, given this change of situation. But it is totally kicking infertility patients while they are down. We are not even considering any other meds for the forseeable future, but this hurts almost as much as if we were in the thick of things. Don't infertile people have enough heartache?!

Food on Friday

Friday, November 05, 2010

Today's recipe is one I made two nights ago, so that Mr. A would have some resemblance of breakfast food to eat this weekend while I'm visiting my sister!!! I also made him 2 pizzas last night... that should hopefully hold him till.. tomorrow? Haha!

But about today's recipe (Apple Muffins), it is also adapted from the cookbook I mentioned last week! I told you, I love this cookbook! You should buy it :)

Here are the ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
A tad less than 1 1/2 cups vegetable/canola oil
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut
3-4 cups diced apples

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the oil and sugar, and add the eggs one at a time. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients, and add this mixture (a little at a time) to the sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and coconut, followed finally by the apples. Grease 24 muffin cups, and bake about 20-25 minutes. (I only have 1 muffin pan, so I baked 12 and then put them on the cooling rack and then baked the other 12.)

This recipe is one of my new favorites, and it's very easy and pretty fast except for dicing the apples. But I had picked a crazy amount at the orchard this year, so I have quart bags of sliced apples in my freezer that I can just thaw and chop quickly. It's my first year doing this, and I'm really looking forward to being able to make apple things in the thick of winter!

Kid Chaos

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I went over to my friend's house for lunch yesterday. She has 5 kids, ages ranging from I'd say 2ish to maybe 12ish.

Her house is so different than ours. It is a historic place in walking distance of the quaint downtown, and while its rooms are on the small side, there is alot of space. There are random shoes in the front hall, the dining room table is askew, a coat rack with 15 coats on it, a space for homeschooling, and kitchen counters covered with breakfast dishes, bread dough bowls, tea pots, and milk glasses. I have never seen such a full dishwasher as the one her daughter was unloading, there were story books open on the floor and couch blankets thrown here and there, and it was never quiet. She is so lucky.

There are so many contrasts to our house. Ours is a modern-built traditional house in a neighborhood next to a cow pasture. Our shoes are all in a basket by the door. Our kitchen and dining room tables are square to the wall and the tablecloths are the same. Unless I am cooking right this very second, there are no dirty dishes on the counter, and everything is put away in the cabinet. I load our dishwasher in the most type-A fashion you could ever imagine (trust me, it is quite the source of teasing!), and I never overfill it. I fold all the blankets in the morning, and make sure to take care of any clutter. And here, it is very, very quiet alot of times (except when the UPS guy drives by and the dogs go nuts).

As I spent time with her, I couldn't help but think of the differences between her house and mine. Would it bother me to have so much chaos of kids after living with peace for so long? How would I handle 3 different kids asking if they can have another sandwich after I just told them to sit and wait for a minute and then 25 seconds later they ask again?

It might be very different- messier, louder, and less type-A- than our current household, but at least I will be a mom.

Losing a Parent

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

As you know, my grandfather passed away at the end of August. My mom has what some would say (for a 50-something year old woman) is an unhealthy connection/devotion/obsession with pleasing her parents. As in, if my parents had a financial decision to make, my mom valued her dad's input more than my dad's. To me, that is a huge disrespect of my dad as the leader of our family, but...that is how my mom has been ever since she left her childhood home, and my dad is too much of a pacifist to force the issue.

Also, for the last 30 years, my mom (our family) has lived hundreds of miles away from her parents, which was/is a constant source of resentment in her life, that she can't see her parents every day, etc. (Also, to me, unhealthy, but that is beside the point.) We visited for holidays and they visited us, too, but it was never enough. When my grandpa got sick, she felt overwhelmingly guilty that she couldn't be there 24 hours a day to take care of him. She felt like she was letting them down by not being there to help her parents out. God, in His immense mercy, allowed her to be at my grandpa's side when he passed away.

Fast forward to earlier this week, which was my grandpa's birthday. She was full of tears, and she told me that she felt bad that she had missed so many of his birthdays. She told me that her aunt had told her that grandpa had said the saddest day of his life was when my mom left town after getting married. (Side note: Who tells their niece something like that!!!)

If you can't tell, their family has alot of guilt issues.

SO, I have just been trying to rack my brain as to how to help her with this. Can I even help? I assure her that grandpa would not want her to be sad that she missed his birthdays or worried that she let him down by doing so. But it doesn't seem to help. She said "well, you might feel the same way someday."

I love my dad aLOT. I think we have a great relationship, "even though" I also live hundreds of miles from him. We talk about every other day on the phone, and I feel no guilt for not having been with him on his birthday a month ago. Should I?!

This has been on my mind alot lately, but I can't think of anything I can do that I haven't already tried. Her dad is with Jesus, and she is still worried about pleasing him and doing what she is supposed to so he will approve and being afraid she did not do enough when he was here!!! Any suggestions??

Very Pleased

Monday, November 01, 2010

At CD3, the cramps and discomfort I've had this time around have been honestly minimal. Like I have barely felt like I am even having my period! I am very pleased with this, and I think it is a huge encouragement that doing acupuncture/healthy eating is going to allow my body to go leaps and bounds towards pregnancy.

I have never read The Infertility Cure- what do you think of that book, those of you who've read it?

It's based on Chinese Medicine, and although I'm not sure I'm up for a very regimented diet, I'm intrigued as to the other dietary/lifestyle changes that it might recommend.

If you can believe it, today at the pregnancy center, I had a couple where the girl wanted the test to be -, and the guy wanted it to be +. It was -, and let me just tell you it is really weird to sit across from someone two weeks in a row who is so disappointed at the - result and feel like you're looking in a mirror. My heart went out to the poor husband, and I know that Mr. A had felt the same way so many times. It was just another opportunity to share my/our story, though (abbreviated version of course- they don't have all day! ha!), and to share my belief that God will bring something good out of this disappointment!!!

Other than the slight hysteria (Mr. A would not agree it was slight) I experienced upon seeing a 4x4 pulling a hayride of 25 kids under 7 through our neighborhood last night, I am very pleased with how things are going today. It's about time I felt like something is right!!

Bright and Early

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I woke up this morning to a new cycle, without any cramps, bright, and early. I was expecting to start this weekend, but I was surprised in that I have been having some pre-AF cramps in previous cycles, and I had no such discomfort when I woke up. I'm hoping that acupuncture and some healthier eating has helped encourage healthier bloodflow, which from my understanding, reduces cramps because cramps can be a sign of blood flow interruption...and the cramps come from your body trying really hard to get things flowing again.

And, while I am enjoying my heating pad right now, the cramps that have developed are very very mild, and if it wasn't that Mr. A made an amazingly cozy fire this morning in our wood stove and that we are (all four of us) taking a family mid-morning nap in front of the stove (well I am not sleeping, but this is relaxing for me!), I would be out doing errands instead of kicking back in the recliner. Mornings like this are too good to pass up.

Like I told my acupuncturist yesterday before an AMAZING session, I am really looking forward to embracing the chinese medicine approach to getting my body in good shape (but I am equally scared to leave modern medicine behind). She taught me some Qigong moves to strengthen my kidney energy, and I am looking forward to practicing them. From my pulses, my kidney energy is low, and in chinese medicine, that is the energy that governs reproductive systems. Need to get that in good working order!!! Here are some things I am doing to help the energy:

-Practicing my bear Qigong moves, with the focused purpose of increasing my kidney strength and energy
-Eating more beans, especially kidney-shaped ones, and nuts, such as walnuts
-Continuing to drink room temperature/warm water
-Upping my wheatgrass drink to twice a day- wheatgrass enhances the blood
-Adding some seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia) as snacks
-Remaining committed to a low-level of sugar in my diet, and continue eating organic meats/veggies/grains
-Going to bed by 10:15, so that I can get good, restful sleep (I have to set my phone alarm for this one- we often fall asleep in the family room with the TV on, but this does not lend itself to restful sleep, as your mind/body is not fully at rest when the TV is flashing and making noise, etc.)
-Applying vetiver oil to a cotton ball for imparting a grouding scent to areas I spend alot of time in
-Increasing the time I spend in reflection/prayer, to try to make my day as peaceful as possible

I hope these things will make a positive difference!!

Food on Friday

Friday, October 29, 2010

Is everyone waiting with baited breath for today's recipe? I thought so!!! Haha ;-)

I have three or four favorite cookbooks. Today's recipe is adapted from one of them: The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking. You MUST buy this cookbook!!! I am a southern girl, so that is what drew me to it initially, but even if you are a yankee or from anywhere else, you will grow to love these simple but so satisfying recipes :)

Ever heard of Chicken and Dumplings???

You can do this! I promise it isn't too hard. Promise!! Plus your house will smell amazingly cozy :)

Here are the ingredients:
1 whole chicken
2 quarts + 1/4 cup of water
2-3 Tbs cornstarch + water for dissolving
2 tsp salt
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
2 tsp black pepper

SEE, you probably have most or all of these ingredients already in your house!

In a big stockpot, dump the 2 quarts of water and dunk the chicken (I also added a carrot, a celery, and a whole garlic clove for broth flavor). On medium high heat, cook until done, about 1 hour (if you use a bigger chicken- 6+ lbs, you might need to cook it a little longer, but a 3-4 lb one will be done in an hour). Remove the chicken (and vegetables if you added them) from the pot, reserving the chicken broth. Go take your dog(s) for a walk while the chicken cools. When you get back, remove the skin, and get the meat off the bones (this will not take as long as you think, because the meat will be so tender, but it will probably take you about 15 minutes). Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, and put as much chicken back into the broth as you like (I made a 7ish lb chicken for this, and I probably got 7 or 8 cups of chicken off the thing... so I put 2-3 cups back into the broth and was still able to freeze 5 cups!). It is totally up to you how chickened your broth is!!

Over medium heat, bring the chicken broth back to a slow boil/simmer. In a little bowl, dissolve/wisk the cornstarch + water and dump it into the broth to make it more gravy-ish. (If you don't like gravy-ish, then you can skip this step!)

To make the dumplings, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the shortening in with a fork or pastry blender. Add the 1/4 cup of water to the mixture and mix with your hands to form a dough. You can either do drop dumplings (just pinched off dough), or you can roll the dough out (my favorite), and use a knife or ravioli cutter to cut little dumpling squares. YUM.

Drop the dumplings into the slow-boiling chicken broth, gently stirring. Add the pepper. (In the interest of full disclosure, the actual recipe calls for adding a stick of melted butter at this point, too (misfit, I know you'll like that part!), but I don't use the butter.)

Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for as long as it takes the dumplings to cook- about 15 minutes or so.

Eat up! You have to let me know if you try this!!

The Family (Infertility) Circus

Thursday, October 28, 2010

{Thank you for all your support yesterday- it is so amazing/comforting to read the comments as you girls post them. Thank you so much!}

I'm not sure if you read the funnies this past Sunday, but Family Circus had a three-part comic titled "It's Apparent You're a Parent". Of course the three little pictures were totally cheesy depictions of idyllic parent/family life.

Of course it made steam come out my ears. Ha!

So I decided I'm going to do a top-10 list of my own that is called "It's Apparent You're NOT a Parent", Halloween edition:

10. No one in your house is "excited" about Halloween- you participate only because you hope that someday neighbors will give your kids free candy. You'd rather turn off all the lights and hide in the bathroom and eat the whole bag of milky way's.
9. It is more fun to roast/eat the pumpkin seeds than to draw the carving design.
8. The costumes you consider buying (before your hubby vetoes the idea) have 4 leg holes and a tail hole.
7. You could care less if the 31st is on a Sunday, or if it is raining or snowing or -20F or 80F.
6. The only thing you do to get ready for trick or treating is dump the candy into a big bowl.
5. To decorate with scary things, you set out pregnancy tests and thermometers and ovulation monitors instead of witches and spiders and zombies.
4. You go by yourself to buy a pumpkin on a random Thursday afternoon.
3. You spend Halloween in your foyer, just the two of you and your dogs (who go crazy every time the doorbell rings), and seeing everyone else's perfect, happy families and kids come and go from your front door
2. You don't email pictures of your dressed-up kids to your entire address book the next day.
1. You have to switch off candy-duty with your husband, not so you can take your kids around to the neighbors, but so you can go change your pad- your period will be here, of course.

I want to hear your suggestions!!!

Same. AGAIN.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I wonder if Mr. A lays in bed pretending to sleep, but hearing me take the unopened box of tests into the bathroom, turn on the fan to try to mask the upcoming noise (really, who needs the fan first thing in the morning?!), rip open the insanely-loud cellophane packaging, unwrap a test, go to the bathroom, and flush.

I wonder if he thinks, hey, maybe today will be the morning she will come running out of the bathroom and wake me up to tell me that it's positive!

I wonder if he is as disappointed when I don't. (I know he is.)

I wonder if he thinks about it the whole walk with the dogs, like I do.

I wonder if he realizes that the rain this morning is taking the place of my tears. I just can't cry anymore.