Friday, August 31, 2007

My new compassion goggles

I spent some time today walking around a university campus. I was surrounded by young, glowing, fit men and women. I didn't hardly notice the men (to Berilac's relief) but I did notice the women. I look at these young women and I don't see their faces ... all I can see are their fertile ovaries and hearty eggs. I watch a girl jog by and I think, "you don't even know the gift that you've got!!" (and there's so many [most likely unappreciated] gifts that go unnoticed by this demographic! not to mention having good eggs!)

I think back to my days of youth (oh the days!) and I remember how I postponed even the thought of childbearing. How I enjoyed living on my own and being single for 6 years before I got married at age 24. How I enjoyed being married and carefree for almost 5 years before we started this whole TTC journey. I remember being that girl who ran by me today - caring more about my cool workout outfit than my ovaries. (Now I'm lucky if my socks match in the morning, as I try not to allow EVERY minute to be consumed by thoughts of "So God, do you have plans to grow our family?") I think back to all those times I sat in a restaurant, walked through the mall, spent a day at work ... never giving a thought to whether or not today was a fertile day. I remember hearing stories of women who were: pregnant, newly motherhooded, or chasing around a few little tykes at home ... and I would listen to the story or anicdote, make a good-active-listener type of comment and quickly change the subject to something "important".

These days, I realize that I spend a lot of time looking at women strangers at restaurants, on the street, on the bus, wherever ... and as the ages vary, so do my thoughts:

  • Under 30: Man, does she realize the gift she has?
  • 30-something: Does she have children? Is she struggling like me? Is she even aware of the infertility struggle she could have or others do have?
  • Over 40: Does she have children? Did she want to? Was it a struggle for her? Does she have pain around this whole topic that she doesn't share with anyone, a pain she just carries around quietly?
I look at all women now and I wonder ... have they had a loss?

I was sharing this "comparison attitude" I'm having, with a friend of mine recently. We agreed - It's so easy to look at a woman (and in my case a woman who has six children) and think "why can't I be her?" But in reality, who KNOWS what kind of struggles she has? ... What if she doubts herself as a mother? what if she's drowning financially with the "burden" of all these children? What if she feels overwhelmed as a mother and then shames herself for wishing she wasn't tied down with all these kids? ... worse yet, what if she's not in touch AT ALL with any issues/concerns/hurts that she has? What if she just thinks "it's best to not have ANY issues" (and thus pretends that everything is wonderful and thus misses out on the pain AND more importantly the GROWTH that comes with affliction!)

Here is where I would add a scripture reference for not comparing ourselves to others as the Bible talks about, however, I'm not finding it ... (insert your grace here)

When I look at women I see walking around at work, riding the bus, or at the grocery store ... I wonder if they're hurting, like I'm hurting. I've found that I not only look at women through my "fertility goggles" like I've been posting about, but through my pain I've picked up a new set of goggles, "compassion goggles."

... I think God is just starting to work on my heart.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mr. Smarty Pants

Don't you just hate those people who are innately smart (note: I needed to confirm the meaning of the word "innately" before using it ... and in doing so I figured out that I spelled it wrong ... ARGH!)

Well, my husband is one of those people. You know, the kind of person you love to hate. Now, I'm not trying to get a sympathy vote - I know I'm a pretty smart cookie ... but my husband is irritatingly smart. The kind of smart that earned him a free academic ride through college, the kind of smart that didn't need to do much studying to get straight A's through Electrical Engineering school, the kind of smart that uses higher order math in his everyday job, the kind of smart that doesn't ever need to study so much that he looks like this:

that was me five years ago, studying for one of my nerdy tests ... yikes

My hubby has the kind of smarts that allowed him to pass his first two equivalency tests ... he read two text books and passed two equivalency tests as if he had actually taken the courses! Who has that kind of discipline? That kind of attention? That kind of comprehension?
I complain now, because I'm jealous ... but not really. I get to ride this wave of intellect: This man brings home the bacon, this man responsibly manages our finances, this man challenges me, this man encourages me in the decisions I make, and this man counsels me.

So it's time to celebrate the hubby! Good job Berilac you have shown us once again ... you is smart!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I wish we would have started sooner ... but we didn't.

Did I ever tell you that my mother TOLD me she went through menopause at age 36?!

Yes, she did.

She told me more than once. Did I believe her? ......... No. Seriously, what person goes through menopause at age 36?

... When she told me she was one of the women that had, I thought she was:

-remembering incorrectly
-trying to get some attention by being a little dramatic
-trying to instigate a heated discussion about women's plausible menopausal ages

Well, I was wrong. She didn't misunderstand ... she was misunderstood.

You would think that I kick myself every day for this, but surprisingly I don't.

Meet my dogs:
Did I tell you that the reason we own these two little "bundles of joy" (sarcasm thickly being lain) is because the hubby and I couldn't agree on the timing of childbearing?

By the time we got married, my six years of part-time college up to that point hadn't been enough to earn a bachelor's degree. So my hubby generously allowed me to quit my job and go back to school full time. In May of 2004 I graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science. I was 3 years married and READY to have chit-lins. Conversely, Hubby thought I was fresh out of college and ready to put my skills to use for a couple of years, cause hey ... he married a spring chicken, I was still young. (I was young; it's my poor little rotting eggs that weren't!)

So because he wasn't agreeing with my perspective on family planning timing - I gave him an ultimatum: "Your choice: Child or Dog?" ... He chose Dog.

I can honestly say that Berilac doesn't hold a grudge against me for not believing my mom (and thus giving us some sort of warning for our current circumstance) and I can honestly say that I'm not bitter with Berilac because he chose dogs over babies (at a time when potetially my eggs were in such better shape!)

Who knows what would have happened if we would have started sooner. But I can't waste my time wondering what could have been. I wish we would have started sooner ... but we didn't.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The not so fragile-x

Praise the Lord, we do not have to worry about the Fragile-X diagnosis. The tests came back today and I am NEGATIVE - I am not a carrier - I dodged that 1 in 15 bullet!! Thank you Lord for your grace ... it is so good to hear good news in all of this (and thank you to Sandybanks for your comment on the last post ... it was so great to hear the good news about the thyroid results ... let's celebrate the good news!)

So thank you Lord for good results!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

IVF Appt #1: So far, so good.

Tuesday we went in for the first appointment (of three) to prep for our first IVF cycle.

The goal of the appointment was to:
1. check for bacteria
2. size up my plumbing (to determine the best tools to pull from the tool chest on go-day)
3. send Berilac and I away to get many MORE blood tests

Well, thank you for your prayers ... our results were: great!, good, and great-so-far ... respectively.

The reason I report a "good" on the sizing up of the plumbing is because they were trying to get their wicked step-sister to squeeze into this little Cinderella's glass slipper. Let's just say they needed to try a couple of different types of instruments before they actually got one to work. I'm purposefully being a little vague here because if any men-folk are reading this, they might blush ... basically they were trying to find the right tube that will deliver our little embryos straight to the source come embryo transfer day. Evidentially, because I've never had a baby there's not much through-put ... if you know what I'm saying. (Yikes, and come the ever hoped for day of labor & delivery they are going to have me push what??? through where???) During this investigation the Doctor did tell me that I have a small uterus. (Let's see ... I'm petite, normal weight, small framed, have you seen my parents? ... is this really news that I have a small uterus? ... Ok, I guess I was freaked out to hear this because a wee uterus doesn't exactly pair well with the high rate of twins that IVF boasts ... one third of successful IVF pregnancies are twins or more!!) [note: please don't read this as I desire to have "twins or more". I understand how serious the risks are with multiples]

The "great-so-far" result in regards to the blood tests was rated as such since we were sent out for MANY tests, and only most of them have come back; albeit those that have come back have shown great results! So since the end of May that makes it Polly: 33, Berilac: 5. Yes, I win. I've taken six times as many fertility tests as he has! But in reality I haven't won at all because all of his tests have come back normal, and mine turn out to provide less-than-adequate results (my struggles in this area are worthy of their own post!)

Ok, so in the midst of all of the blood tests they had me take, they accidentally re-did my TSH and T4 levels ... early (they were supposed to allow one more week for the Thyroid drug to get into my system before re-testing me) but they learned that I'm responding really well to my meds!

Results that pointed toward my Hypothyroidism:
TSH: 5.8 (range .34-4.82)
T4: .7 (.6-1.6)

New & improved results:
TSH: 1.9 (range .34-4.82)
T4: 1.2 (.6-1.6)

This is exactly what they want to see happen ... a decrease in TSH and a rise in T4 - so thank you Lord!

Finally, I did want to say, on the note of awaiting blood tests: There is still one test from July 12th that we are waiting to hear back on. It's called Fragile-X and I guess if Premature Ovarian Failure is familial for a women (as it seems to be for me) there is a 1 in 15 chance that the woman (me) is a Fragile X carrier. Being a fragile X carrier could mean an increased chance of having children with mental retardation. Obviously, this would be very difficult to learn about and would definitely require a long meeting with a Geneticist to understand all of the implications. Let's pray that this is not the case for us. Let's claim Philippians 4:6 ... "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." So what should I be anxious about? ... nothing. So I guess, as they say: no news is good news.

Thank you again for your continued prayer and support. We love and cherish all of you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tonight on COPS!

So I guess the Internet has not gotten enough of me. I'm not only featured here on my own blog, but you can find me at the San Francisco County Courthouse website - mobbin' like a perp. These three pictures don't deny my progression through the red light and into the intersection.

I am the white car in this picture that is between the guy who's legally already entered the intersection and the bus that realized he's not going to make it.

Then you get the shot of me mid-intersection praying that we don't get T-Bone'd.
The third shot is my favorite as I look like a full-on celebrity (sunglasses and all!) who's been caught by the Papa Ratzi! Although you can't see me clearly, you can tell from my dumb-blond facial expression ... "who me? I'm innocent. Where's a hansome officer when I need one?" ... I knew I was flash-bulb BUSTED.
The ironic thing is ... you can't see the passenger (she's been blurred out for her personal protection!) but my poor mom is trusting me to take her safely home; she requested that I drive her through the vicious city so she wouldn't have to deal with all of those whacked-out drivers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sorry my posts are so long ...

Ask my poor ear-done-been-talked-off husband ... brevity is not a gift of mine. (Not surprisingly, I'm just jones'ing to type more to explain exactly how brevity is not my gift.) But I will exercise restraint and .. just ... stop .... typing ...

IVF, does that mean: "it's very fast"

So you know how I mentioned that my RE suggested we start IVF within the next few months ... well we are starting the process TOMORROW. Yowzers, talk about going from zero to sixty!

Following our last appt I told my RE that we have numerous questions (12 and counting!!) so I suggested that we have an IVF consultation appt and I mentioned that I was just starting my cycle so perhaps it was a good time to consider making forward steps toward IVF. That Doctor's office whipped me in there so fast, I think I'm going to file a whip lash claim.

So TOMORROW I start my series of appointments.

Tomorrow: Catheter and Culture - they measure my uterus for the embryo transfer portion of the IVF procedure. They also verify that I don't have any uterine infections as that increases the risks of miscarriage.

Saturday, Sept 1: Injections class. Yes, I have to stab myself each day with horrible needles in the butt, thighs, and stomach for many days through out an IVF cycle. Good news is they are subcutaneous, bad news is they are LARGE needles. And to boot - Berilac gets opportunities to stab me too (note to self: be extra nice to Berilac or he will avenge you with big scary needles) ... honestly, I'm wondering if I'll be able to poke myself with a sharp needle - usually I do anything I can to avoid pain.

Friday, Sept 7: IVF consult and signing of the consent forms. This is where our growing list of questions will be answered and where we'll need to identify what we'll have done with any "extra" embryos we might be able to fertilize. (duh? of course - we're ganna put em back in!) (this is also where we have to answer the tough questions - please do pray for us as we walk through this moral minefield)

So for those of you that don't know what IVF is, I'm learning myself (very quickly these days) as to what exactly the process is made up of - so here it is in short:

  1. Prep for 1 cycle: take Birth control pills for 1 month to regulate your cycle
  2. Super ovulate: at the beginning of your IVF cycle they do all sorts of blood work and ultrasounds to monitor your plumbing. They make you give yourself thousands of dollars worth of injected fertility drugs. They monitor you in order to catch you when you're just about ready to ovulate. They require precise timing around you giving yourself a trigger shot that enduces ovulation.
  3. Egg Retrieval: 34 hours after the trigger shot they put you under and do an egg retrieval. They use a needle and collect all of the eggs you've developed during your super ovulation. (I think in a lot of cases they are looking for over 10, but in my case I will most likely have very few)
  4. Fertilization: They take all of your eggs and they put them in a test tube with hubby's sperm. They light some candles, put on romantic music, and step out for at least 10 minutes. Actually, it takes 1 day to learn how many eggs get fertilized.
  5. Cell Division: They support these young embryos in the lab, tracking their growth. 3 days after fertilization they are looking for eggs that have divided properly and have a cell count of 6-8. These are considered Grade A embryos. They watch and grade all embryos. They can opt to wait until 5 days after retrieval and allow the embryos to get to blastocyst stage. The decisions around what to do at the various stages of this process are made by the couple (and the RE when needed). This is where, I'm sure, they'll see that my eggs don't allow for proper development - hence our two previous chromosomally abnormal miscarriages.
  6. Embryo Transfer: On day 3 or 5 the embryos are put into the woman's uterine lining in hopes that implantation/conception occurs.
  7. Pregnancy Test: 14 days after the embryo transfer a pregnancy test is taken to see if the implantation occured or if the woman's body didn't cooperate. If pregnancy comes back as a big-fat-negative, of course it's back to the drawing board. But if things go well, couples move onto the next step.
  8. Making sure it sticks: This is where couples pray that they don't miscarry the baby. Of course it can be a long and stressful wait-and-see process. Most miscarriages occur within the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, but our first one happened at 9 weeks. Really, you're not out of the clear from miscarriage until week 20 and at that point if you lose the baby it's called a stillbirth - I'm not sure this "making sure it sticks" phase gets resolved until you're holding a healthy baby in your arms. And from what I've heard, the worry that consumed you during pregnancy is nothing compared to the concern and protection you have over a precious little one once you realize that they are their own person and you only have God to trust for their future and safety.

So I hope that helps people a bit. If anyone is reading this and they know more than me, please feel free to chime in. As usual, I will provide upates as to how the apppointments go.

If you remember to pray for us, please do. Yesterday we heard ANOTHER frighteningly appropriate message from the pulpit. Our pastor spoke on Esther 8:1-17 the three elements discussed where: Timing, Method, and Outcome. His specific examples were in the area of "finding a home" and "infertility". (HELLO!! Seriously, I think the pastors just ought to call us up and ask us what's going on in our lives in order to develop their weekly sermons ... cause it's a little frightening how well the messages match our life situations!) The scripture doesn't directly speak on these three things, but if you understand the story of Esther basically you can see God's timing, method, and outcome in the context Haman's persecution of the Jews.

  • Timing: God allows a strange 11 month delay on the entire persecution of the Jews.
  • Method: His method was odd in that God was going to allow war and allow the Jews to fight back.
  • Outcome: was strange in that 75,000 people died in the process - and it righted a wrong from earlier in old testament history.

For Berilac and I, as our personal response, we see God putting together pieces of our life's puzzle in his timing, with His method, and blessed by His outcome.

  • Timing: Do I even need to say that our timing to have children would have been when we were pregnant the first time? So, obviously the timing is unknown to us and different than what we would expect.
  • Method: IVF (or assistance in general) is not what we would choose.
  • Outcome: well I guess we'll have to wait and see what outcome God has for us. But the point is is that it's God who is in control of our outcome, He knows better than we do.

So onward we march. Let's see what God has for us in walking through these amazingly quick steps towards IVF.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The birthday weekend ... with a lesson

Happy Birthday Esmerelda!
So, as promised I'm posting about last weekend and my girlfriend's really great 30th birthday celebration. It was a wonderful weekend. My girlfriend, Esmerelda, was so generous - she rented out a really cool house for about 15 of us girls to stay at for the weekend, then on Sunday all of the families came up to celebrate with a BBQ. It was such a relaxing, refreshing weekend.

This is the huge house that Esmerelda rented for all of us. Check out the beautiful interior.

The house has an inground swimming pool, hottub, deck, firepit, and tons of chairs to recline in to enjoy AMAZING views.
But better than the house itself were the girls that came up for the weekend. Esmerelda is a dear friend of mine, but like most friends she has other groups of friends - so I knew about 3 girls really well (Esmerelda, Sandybanks, and Rosie-Posie - seen here in pic above) and the others were acquaintances to me or even ... strangers.

But that did not stop us from having a wonderful weekend. One of the highlights of the weekend for me was when we were seated for a fancy sit-down dinner on Saturday night and we went around the table sharing how we met Esmerelda and what we love and appreciate most about her. It was a touching time with lots of tears and lots of laughter. Recently Esmerelda's husband left her. Because of this tragedy we all drew so much closer to her ... it really made me recognize how important good girlfriend relationships are for married women. One striking statement that Esmerelda made was that weeks before her husband left her, when her marriage was crumbling, she could count on one hand the number of good girlfriends that she had supporting her in her life ... yet there we were a little over a year later and there were at least 15 women sitting there recounting stories of how much Esmerelda has meant to them in their lives and how much their relationships with her have grown since her husband left. It was a time to celebrate and give thanks to God for getting her through this horrible season of her life - we all so look forward to the amazing things God has for her in her life in the future!

For me, the weekend was life giving. I was able to spend time catching up with a good girlfriend of mine, Sandybanks. I was able to share my struggles and recieve her love and support. I enjoyed our conversations, we bounced on a trampoline, we floated in the pool, we enjoyed massages ... it was renewing. I felt again like I was apart of life and not just a spectator. For months now this infertility affliction has made me feel like I'm just waiting ... just waiting for something to happen. I have been less involved in conversations and less involved in the activities of life. Well this past weekend I wasn't. So thank you Sandybanks.

Ironic how during my weekend I not only learned but also experienced how important good girlfriend relationships are. Talk about a great weekend.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Can we add more craziness, please?

So obviously Berilac and I have been dealing with a lot lately (on the fertility front) but what about the other areas of our lives?

Let me just lay out some of what's coming at us in the near future:
Today: Berilac has two equivalency tests - Stats and Economics (he's trying to test out of as many classes as he can to help shorted his MBA program from 3 years to 2 years ... he can attempt to test out of 7 classes - and of course he will do whatever is needed to save time and money!)
For the next 4 weeks: Many more fertility tests to take, many more school tests for Berilac to study for, a lot of hunting needed to find a place to live.
Sept 7th: a second round of equivalency tests for Berilac to take.
Sept 8th: 5 night cruise to Mexico followed by a long weekend in Sandy Eggo. (we return Sept 16th)
Sept 15th: We're officially kicked out of our home. But don't worry, we'll be in Southern California soaking up sun ... oh how I hope we can move BEFORE our vacation!
Sept 17th: Berilac starts school.
Sept 25th: a third set of equivalency tests for Berilac to take - this man is crazy!

Now, how are we going to move prior to our vacation when the hubby has major tests he needs to study for? He needs the entire Labor Day weekend to study - I'd like to move that weekend! Since we don't have a place yet, I guess it's a moot point.

On July 15th our landlords told us that since we wouldn't renew our lease (for one year @ $2,650/mo) that they were going to be asking us to leave on 9/15/07. Well guess what? it's 8/17/07 and we have no home to go to! I mentioned in a previous post that we were hours away from following through on a couple of offers on two homes that we had made. Well, now we are looking in the rental market again. I'm just so concerned to make that big of a financial commitment right now, the decision to buy something worth 3/4 of a million dollars. So we are looking for a rental ANYWHERE on the Peninsula. We are looking for something that has 2+ bedrooms, takes dogs, has a yard of some sort, and has a washer/dryer or a hookup. Oh and did I mention it needs to be less than $2,250/mo ... perferably less than $2,000 a month! Our current rent of $2,650 is the equivalency of paying a mortgage on a $500k home, but there's not too many of those laying around the Bay Area (though Berilac is STILL looking and hasn't given up yet!)

So we are 29 days away from the eviction date and we are homeless. DH is going to be CONSUMED with studying. I'm going to be CONSUMED with fertility tests. Somehow we're supposed to enjoy a vacation during all of this. And it sounds like we won't be able to move out by the 15th and we'll be coming home from Mexico to some angry landlords! (and yes, that ought to bode well with our NEXT set of landlords!)

When it rains, it pours.

Anybody know how much professional movers cost?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The results are in, and the winner is ...

Not us.

Boo!! Hiss!!

Ok, so we got the second set of data points that helps to guage the time left on my biological clock. And as you can probably guess from my ever-so-cute introduction on this post, the results weren't stellar.

We had two tests done:

  1. Repeat FSH level
  2. Antral Follicle Count
The repeat FSH turned out better than last month - hooray! At a "reassuring" level of 9.7!! Under 8 is ideal, but under 10 is nothing to be disappointed about. At least it's better than last months 11.7 - yowza!

Celebration, cheers, excitement, etc, etc...

Then we learned that the more accurate predictor of biological time left for a woman is found via an exam called an Antral Follicle Count (AFC). There is an interesting news clip about it if you're curious. Mind you, this video is a wee bit bias in that the story is written from the viewpoint of a fertility center who is trying to get you to use their IVF technology so that they can get your money ... but still, it gives all you non-infertiles the gist of the test.

The data on the web that answers the question "what do the follicle count results mean?" are below and they are a bit skewed towards a woman's responsiveness to IVF, so it doesn't tell you exactly how much longer a woman has, instead it gives you a range of the potential outcomes so you can see my data in context.

A follicle count of ...
Less than 4: Extremely low count, very poor or no response to IVF.
4 to 7: Low count, concern about poor response to IVF.
8 to 10: Somewhat reduced count, higher than average rate of IVF cycle cancellation.
11 to 14: Normal (but intermediate) count, IVF responsiveness is sometimes low but usually good.
15 to 26: Normal (good) count, should have excellent response to IVF.
Over 26: High count, watch out for overstimulation complications in IVF.

... anyone just skimming this post in hopes that I'll FINALLY reveal our results?! (You're killin' me smalls!)

Ok, so I got a count of 8. The good news is, 8 is not in the low count categories, but it's seriously flirting with the low count. Our RE is recommending that we not wait more than 3 months to get aggressive.

Wow. Even though I saw the writing on the wall last month ... I'm really bummed with these results and a bit in shock and denial ... People, I'm "thirty, flirty, and thriving" not "thirty, ready to have kids, and fresh outta eggs!"

The hubby and I backed out of buying a house last night because of this news. We made two offers, they both got countered with the sellers asking us to close sooner (no issues with our low bids) and we have opted to not follow through on the counter offers and we'll continue to rent. Better to have cash money in the bank than bet on equity that might not be available to us in these crucial reproductive couple of years - and ... no better investment of your money than a child - don't you agree?

Honestly, these test results are a little more hard to swallow than last month. Getting confirmation is rough. It's making me really think what if we can't have children?

I'm having a hard time with my faith right now. If you think of me in the near term, please do pray for me. I want to trust God. I want to believe that He has a plan for me - plans for a hope and a future.

Monday, August 13, 2007

FSH Round Two

So first let me start by saying I had an amazing weekend celebrating a dear friend of mine's thirtieth birthday ... but as I am waiting for pics to circulate, I will wait to blog about the weekend.

It's been about a month since my last FSH test (the one where they learned that my body is starting to show signs of early menopause) and since you can test this once a month, we are getting near our next test date. As a matter of fact - the test is tomorrow morning! Unlike other tests that I've faced in life, there is no studying for this one. I've got no control over the outcome: I can't cram, I can't cheat, I can't suck-in, nor can I stand on my tiptoes to affect the outcome. I must simply show up and get stuck with a needle. (given that I've been stuck with needles 59 times in the past 6 months you'd think I'd have tracks by now, but no ... the forearms are still looking fresh and pasty white).

After my blood draw, they are going to count the number of follicles that I have. (this has got to sound strange!) They can count these follicles (by doing an AFC) and the result correlates to the chance of success with medical reproductive treatment, as well it'll provide (or hopefully it won't provide) supporting information for early menopause.

Of course I'll post the results when I get them. Until then, here's to low FSH and high AFC!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Welcome Lisa!!

I just wanted to point out that I have a new friend in the blogsphere - Lisa in Maine!! AKA: "Ruby Sackville-Baggins" ... Lisa, I am so excited you have joined the ranks and I am SO glad to be able to have access to your life 24 hours a day! Everyone, please notice that I have added her link to my "Blogs I keep up with" list so ... check her (and the Maine lobsters) out!!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

TTC - is it an obsession?

Do I obsess, you ask? Of course! Who wouldn't?? Honestly, wouldn't you?

Let me start by saying that this blog (I think?) is read by many online friends (mostly women who are trying to start/grow families) and by many IRL (in real life) friends ... clearly, I am one of those people who is very open about what is going on in my life. (Know that most infertility type of blogs are shared among the infertile community, not usually shared with friends and family - kind of a sad reflection of our society if you think about it, huh?)

So why am I creating this post? Well, because I get this feeling. I get the feeling that some of my IRL friends may think that I obsess over TTC (trying to conceive). I can't really confirm that as no body has come right out and said it, but ... I have a hunch. (I'm guessing this is one reason why most infertile website's are not shared with RL friends, but kept private for only the infertile community to obsess together on).

So here I am dealing with one of the biggest struggles of my life - will I ever have children? I'm not saying this is the biggest struggle faced by man but for me, it's:
  • my biggest struggle
  • on my heart, daily
  • what God is using in my life to get my attention
So, since I'm struggling with it, and I'm struggling with it daily ... should I just pretend that it doesn't consume a large part of my mind share? I would say that "I wish I could be that healthy, holy person that doesn't get consumed with the struggles of life" but guess what? I'm glad I'm not! I'm human and God has made me weak and tender ... and He's using my fragile heart to speak to me and to love on others - so I'm excited I get to experience God working through me.

The way I see it:
  • God is in control (Psalm 32:8)
  • His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9)
  • The one thing I know is that He has gifted me with being able to go through difficult stuff and to learn from it, and to pass along the compassion and love that I receive to others who face similar struggles. (2 Cor 1:3-5)

Not being able to get pregnant and/or having miscarriages ... these topics are taboo in today's society!! WHY?? When was the last time (ok, besides when you ran into me) did you have a conversation about these topics at a dinner party? It just doesn't happen. And sadly, often these conversations don't happen in families or within close friendships. (Unless of course, you know me and I force you to talk about it ;-)

So here's the deal: I (like SO MANY women you probably know who are quietly suffering!) am struggling with infertility and it just is a daily "obsession" but I am willing to share my grief, my struggles, my frustration, my confusion with my friends and more importantly with those that are dealing with similar problems - in hopes that we can love on each other and support each other ... in the hopes that the Lord will pour His love out of me and into many hurting women.

So I can't pretend like it's not a daily issue (thus it's an obsession) and ... so what if it is? Is that surprising? It really is a pretty big deal. If you find that you have issue with how much this is apart of my life, please give me some grace. In the months to come, if your patience wears thin with me ... know that my heart is broken in the loss of our two babies, my hopes and dreams are teetering on a very thin tight rope, I cannot escape reminders of what I so badly desire - but just can't seem to be blessed with, and societally ... I'm supposed to be a good 50's housewife who just takes the pain and smiles.

In all this ... I actually think I'm preachin' to the choir. As I feel like my IRL friends have been more than supportive (except that I have/had a feeling like they think I'm crazy/obsessive ... really what's new?) and if it's just my supportive friends and fellow infertiles reading this - then yes, I am preaching to the choir.

Lastly, and a little bit off topic, I want to add that my heart breaks for women who are struggling, quietly with this battle. Especially those that use a blog to share information with other infertiles, thinking/knowing that they can't share this struggle with RL family and friends - so they remain completely anonymous. Shame on us as a community. Wouldn't it be great if their friends and family were good listeners? supportive? concerned? (not always telling them that if they "were just less stressed about it, they'd get pregnant" ... let me tell you, I don't think that less stress will lower my TSH, my FSH, nor will it change my genetic mutation of MTHFR ... but go ahead and keep telling women who don't know why they can't get pregnant that it's essentially their fault - that really helps them!! [I hope you can detect the sarcasm, cause I'm layin' it on pretty thick])

Whew, ok, my rant is over. Now go hug your friends who are struggling with infertility! And talk about their issues with them, perhaps the release will allow them to not have to struggle with their internal thoughts and emotions that rarely get expressed (hence causing obsession) ... wow that was deep, I should be a shrink or something!

Seriously, I mean it, stop spending time at the computer on such a wonderful day and enjoy RL!