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.