Friday, November 26, 2010

Can I Handle Anything Else?

...and the answer is..."I don't know."  How's that for being wishy-washy?  My husband thinks I'm tough enough to handle anything, but I know that I just put on a good front.  I am an actress, I can put on a good front.  I've reached a point where I honestly don't know if I can take anything else.  I'm sure that if something else happened, I'd deal with it, but...  The best way I can describe it is to say that with each new challenge, I feel a bit of "me" slipping away, I lose more of my optimism, and I start turning into a "grown-up".  I've always held out on becoming a "grown-up", because my view is that adults who lose their joy in life become "grown-ups".  I'm feeling myself sliding down that slope, and it scares me...a lot.

So what perfect storm of events has led to all of this inner thinking?  I'm glad you asked, because I need to share.  My period started on Monday, which meant that yet again, I've failed to get pregnant.  I was even two days late, and I'd gotten a pregnancy test.  I'm not sure why I spent the money on the test, but I did.  Each month seems to get harder and harder.  Someone once said that infertility is worse than grieving the loss of a loved one, because when someone dies, you have a funeral, you say your goodbyes, and then you move on with life.  Infertility is like that, only you grieve anew each month, and you never get to really say a final goodbye.  Instead, you have that flickering light of Hope each month, only to have it cruelly snuffed out each time that time of the month hits.

What's sad is that I've gotten used to it.  It's been two years of negatives, that's 24 of them, and each one has gotten harder.  It's easy to go into a depression, and if I didn't have a supportive family, my husband, and God, I'd willingly go into that depression and stay there.

So anyway, I had grieved this cycle, and had wrapped up my emotions and my heart so that I could make it through Thanksgiving without just bursting into tears.  Then, while stopping to drop food off at Grandma's house, I got to see my 2-year-old nephew wearing a shirt that said "BIG Brother".  That's right, my sister is expecting again.  Since I was only stopping to drop off the food, I was able to mumble congratulations and then slip off.  I was then able to have time to put on my happy face and re-wrap up my heart.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that I'll have a new niece or nephew to love on, and I'm praying she has an uncomplicated pregnancy.  I just didn't know they'd been trying or that they'd been planning on one yet.  Then there's the whole finding out about her good news right as I'd been coming to terms of my bad news.

My deep-down fear is that my first pregnancy was my last one.  That it was a test and I failed.  That my miscarriage was totally my fault, and because I couldn't carry to term, I'll never get that chance again. 

These are the thoughts that creep out when it's dark outside, when I'm laying down to sleep, sometimes when I see someone's new baby, sometimes when I see a pregnant woman.  I know that many of them are Satan's accusations hurled to make my light flicker, but he's just magnifying what's already in my head and heart;  and on days like yesterday, it's almost too much to resist. 

The cry of my heart is to be a mother...of a living child.  I want to feel a new life growing inside of me, to hold an infant and know he/she's mine, to have the responsibility of training him/her in the ways of faith, to have all of those moments my siblings are having with their kids.

So, can I handle anything else?  I guess I have to be able to handle whatever.  I just want to have too many good things to handle instead of too many bad things.  God will see me through, I just want out of this valley sooner rather than later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful and Hopeful

So...It's been a while since I posted.  I haven't intended to be away this long, but sometimes I just need to step back and not think about my journey for a's hard to explain unless you're also in this moment.  I just needed a break.

Since it's so close to Thanksgiving, I thought I would devote some of this post to what I'm thankful for.  First of all, I'm thankful to be a child of God--that trumps everything.  Second, I'm thankful for an amazing husband who is my soulmate and who is far more than I ever hoped for.  Third, I'm thankful for my family--they're totally awesome and have enriched my life more than I feel I deserve.  Fourth, I'm thankful for my nieces and nephew--they make me light up!

I am also thankful for getting to hold a baby at church last night.  You might not think it's much, but his mom handed him to me.  That doesn't just happen to me.  Since I had a miscarriage 19 months ago, I've not really held one.  For the first few months, it hurt to much to hold one, and then as time wore on, it felt like no one really trusted me around infants.  So,  I've just not really touched them.  I love children dearly, but since I'm not a member of the "mommy club" it seems that most of them don't think I'm capable of being able to hold one.  This mom at church probably has no idea what she did to my self-confidence, but it was nice to hold one again.

Under my hopeful paragraph, I'm hopeful that I'll be a mom someday.  We spent the last weekend with my nephew, and watching my husband interact with him just about tore my heart out.  Most people don't see that side of my husband, but I know he'll make an excellent dad, and I really want him to be a daddy.  I had to step out of the room for a bit, because I was so teary--in a good way, but teary.  I have to put my hope in the Lord, and my trust.  That's the hard part, the trusting, because it means that I take my burden out of my hands and put it in God's hands.  He is infinitely more capable of taking care of things than I am, but I always seem to think I can do things better.  I guess part of it is that I think He's so busy helping out people with real problems, and I don't want to bother Him with my "petty" problems.  I know it's wrong thinking, and I'm working on it. 

I'm still a work in progress, which brings me to my last thankful item.  Thank goodness I'm not a completed work.  That won't occur until heaven, but until then, I need to keep growing in faith and working on becoming the woman He wants me to be.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Today has been a good day...strike that, a great day.  It is the day that the Lord has made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Fall has come in all it's glory, and the crispness in the air means hot chocolate and cider (Yippee for liquid chocolate--God invents some goooood stuff!).  I got to see new pictures of my new niece--she lives too far away to just visit, but I'll see her at Christmas, and my mind has wandered to questions that people have asked me recently, so I'll lay out my opinions on the subjects of adoption and IVF.

First of all, we are still trying to go the "home-ade" route on children.  It's cheaper right now.  I've recently had MANY people tell me that they think I'd make a great mom, and that since we're struggling to conceive, that perhaps we should go the adoption route.  I would LOVE to be a mom through adoption, but it's not as easy as everyone thinks it is.  First of all, as with anything in this world, adoption costs $$$. Lots of $$$.  More money than I'm making this year, just to start the process.  I think some people think you can just walk into an orphanage and just say, "I'd like this one, only as a girl, and in a smaller size.  Oh, and can I have it gift-wrapped?"  URRGGHH.   Most people mean well, but not having ever experienced it, they honestly don't understand all the "stuff" that goes into it.  I don't even know everything, because I know that we're not even close to qualifying as adoptive parents.  We live in an 850 sq. ft house, which is much smaller than I'd like, but it's PAID FOR, and in this economy, that trumps just about anything.  That's not enough room to even qualify for being foster parents.  Also, while we are financially able to make it right now, we don't have any extra, adoption $$$. 

We've talked about adoption, and both of us are for it if we can't be parents any other way.  But it's going to take time. We've decided that when I can get a full-time job again, we'll put some money in to our regular savings account and then start up another adoption savings account.  By putting away some each month, we'll be able to afford to adopt in about 5 years.  That is, unless we're already parents, or unless we have a major calamity, or unless the Lord comes again, or..........  It's hard to plan that far into the future when we're not guaranteed tomorrow.

But for right now, I'm still getting to know how my body reacts to this medication I'm on, and am still arguing with my body about how, while I like unpredictable things from time to time, my cycle is not supposed to be like that.  It's supposed to be...boring.  Boring is good.  I would like to have the most boring cycle in the world.  In fact, if it would be boring for six months in a row, and work like it's supposed to, I'll let it have a month off to be crazy unpredictable.  Maybe I should draw up a contract for that...

Have a great, God-filled day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

What's In The Water?

Soooooo............................I usually try to stay upbeat and not get discouraged about this journey I'm on, but this is getting ridiculous.

Let me start over.  I do not, in any way, shape, or form, wish infertility or miscarriage on anyone.  I really don't want any of you to know the agony it brings, or how you watch your cycle like a hawk, take temperatures, get your hopes up, and then every month cry when you get your period.  I only stay down for about a day and a half, and then I put on my big girl panties and start over.  However, since my miscarriage, it has been 18 months of that and it's getting old. 

I'm getting older.  I'm just 32, but you would think I was 82.  I've had people tell me that I "needed to get hopping on starting that family, because, you know, you're not getting any younger."  I had someone tell me that I was too old to think about having a family.  Then there are all of the "you just need to lose weight people".  I feel bad enough about not being "woman enough" to have children.  I really don't need others pointing this out.  My favorite thing right now is how well-meaning friends have said, "So and so has been married for 12 years, and she was never able to have children.  They settled for being childless and now she's 5 months pregnant."  I'm glad so-and-so is finally getting her dreams fulfilled, but that's not my situation.  Those things only serve to remind me of how "not" that woman I am.

I'm usually not this bummed out about things, but it's been one of those weeks.  I think what is making it hit harder is the fact that while at Target the other day, I counted 25 pregnant women going in and out  before I got out of the car.  I was slightly worried that I wouldn't be admitted because it was "pregnant day" and I wasn't.  I also am the only woman on my mom's side of the family who isn't a mom.  It stinks.  A lot.  I apparently have not been drinking the same water as everyone else.

So how am I going to change this?  Well, to change my attitude, I'm holding on to the promises God has given us.  To change my outlook, I'm trying to find ways to lighten others burdens.  To change my condition, I'm taking my medications, charting my cycles, and keeping track of everything.  Since my insurance won't cover anything infertility related, we can't be more proactive with medical remedies--yet.  In February, if I'm still waiting to be a mom, we'll move up to the next level of help.  In the midst of all of this, I am still trusting God, even though it's really hard sometimes.  Things will look up soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Circle of Influence

Bittersweet.  That's the best way to describe today.  I spent the day preparing to say a final good-bye to a friend who I KNOW I'LL SEE AGAIN, but whose absence is felt keenly by many in our community.

I lost a friend on Sunday. Not lost as in "she took a left in Wal-Mart when I took a right and I spent 40 minutes trying to find her.", but lost as in she is no longer living here on this earth.  As I went to her visitation last night and then her funeral today, I thought of how many lives she had touched in her 43 years here on earth.  I imagine she would have been amazed at the difference she made. 

As I sat there today, my mind wandered to what kind of life I've been living.  I know that I have touched many lives, but I often wonder if my touch has been that of Christ.  I found myself thinking, "Do the people I know and love know that I love Christ?  Have I been the arms of Christ when comforting people?  Have I let His light shine in my life when things have been at their worst?"
It stung my heart to know that, no, I haven't always done those things.  I've let bitterness start to set into my life, and have even told God that I wasn't going to talk to Him until He started making my life better.  (Yeah, that one worked real well)  I get discouraged when others get rewarded for sin and I get knocked down. I rage against the unfairness in this world where some women kill their children while others like me do all the right stuff and never get to hold our own child.  I cry when good people have bad things happen to them.  I think that God certainly has more patience than I do, because if I was in charge, I would have ended things long ago and started over.

And after I cry, and cry, and cry some more, I get up, take hold of the Hand of the One who never let go, and start my journey again.  He knows my pain, He sees my tears, He understands my frustrations, my anger, my desolation, and my despair--because He has felt all of those things Himself.  He knows what it's like to lose a child--and my pain pales in comparison.  My unborn child is in His arms, and I remind Him every night to hug her and kiss her and tell her that her mommy loves her with all her heart.  I know He does, because every night when I go to bed, He hugs me, and kisses me, and surrounds me with His love.

This was a bittersweet day...but I know my friend is with Jesus, and I know that He is with me until I go to Him.  I need to live my life in such a way that when others meet me, they meet Jesus.  How do I influence those in my circle?  How do I show them my friend, my Savior, my Lord?

This unexpected journey takes paths I never imagined.  God only lets me see the ground beneath my feet, never the view well in front of me, so that I learn to trust in Him, and Him alone.  I am on this earth a short while; I need to make my time count, and if I am not to be a mother, then I need to be a friend, a confidant, and a mentor to everyone I see so that Christ is glorified through my life.  I want to live with no regrets--I want Him to be proud of me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Don't You Just Lose Weight?

It's a valid question.  I've asked it myself.  I have changed my diet, try to eat healthier, and while I'm moving more, I know I can exercise more.  While excess weight can keep you from conceiving, it's not the root of my problems with infertility.

For starters, I was able to get pregnant while at this weight.  I lost my baby at 10 weeks after going into shock.  I just haven't been able to get pregnant again, which lead to months of questions, searching, and finally a diagnosis of PCOS.

PCOS is an endocrinological problem.  Basically, when you have it, your hormone levels are screwed up, which can lead to diabetes, ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, you name it.  In my case, I have probably had this since puberty, as I have never had "normal" cycles.  It's not unheard of for me to go 5-8 weeks between periods.  I just thought I was weird.  I also have excess hair in unladylike places--my husband and I both shave every morning, and if I let it go, my beard would be better than his.  The reason?  My body produces excess testosterone--which leads to wonky cycles, excess hair, extreme moodiness, and what else? Oh yeah, infertility.  I'm on some medication to help change that, and my body is responding, but it's been another six months and still, no "good" news.  I've lost some weight, gained it back, and am trying to lose it again.  The weight isn't holding me back, it's the rest of it.

Would I love to be a size 12?  Well, yeah.  But I'd rather be happy than be worried that I might gain an ounce and not fit into my clothes.  Can I lose weight?  It's hard to with my body working against it.  I'm not stressing about the weight, but it does bother me when random people will tell me "to just lose weight and you'll get pregnant like that".  Well, no I won't, not without my medication, because my body doesn't ovulate regularly.  That comment, along with the "if you'd lose 70-100 pounds you'd be beautiful", can turn my good day into a gloomy one.  Do you think I chose to be the size I am?  I eat less food than many of the people I know, but I still gain weight--and while I'm trying to lose, I'm doing good to lose 1 pound in 1 month.  It's some, but no one ever notices, and I get discouraged.  I know God loves me, and so does my husband, but it's hard to feel beautiful when you're surrounded by the message that the only way you can be beautiful is to be skinny, and that if you really want children, you'll get skinny first...I know that losing weight will make me healthier, but can't anyone be happy with who I am and then be thrilled when I make small changes?

A Place To Begin

Every story has a beginning, so I thought I would start with mine.  I am writing this blog as an outlet for the struggle I'm going through in the hopes that I can help others and help keep my sanity.

In order to understand my story, you need to know me--as much as I can share online, anyway.  Some of you know me personally, but most of you won't.  I'm five foot tall, and I know that I'm overweight.  (I'll get to that later).  I am married to the love of my life, who happens to be six foot five.  (Yes, we look like Mutt and Jeff!)  My husband is living proof that God has a sense of humor--who else would send me a soulmate that tall?  I'm generally a happy person, and most of the time I can fall asleep counting my blessings.  I'm a Christian and serve as a pianist/organist of my church, and love working with children.  I've been a teacher for the past nine years, and due to the economy, am now working as a para-professional (teacher's aide) in middle school math.

I am also struggling with one more thing:  infertility.  It seems to always be there in the background, always the elephant in the room.  I even know what's causing my infertility and we're trying to reverse it, but as with most things, it's a process.  It's a journey I didn't expect to be on, and one I'm wading through, trying to find the good in, even though there are days when it's killing me inside.

I know this is long, but I tend to be wordy--you'll live!  My infertility is caused by a condition called PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.  It means that my hormones are wacky, my cycles are irregular, I'm overweight and can't lose it easily, and in general, that my body doesn't work predictably like it should.

I'm taking medicine to help control all of this, and it's working, for the most part, but this waiting is sometimes more than I can take.  What hurts the most is that I have so few people to talk to--outside of family--and I need to vent from time to time.  So...voila', I created this blog.  I'll post about my thoughts, my worries and concerns, my joys, and my prayers.  I don't mind it if you comment, but please keep it positive--I really dislike people who say mean things.