Thursday, October 29, 2009

small freedoms

After the initial disappointment of a forced break this cycle, the week as flown by. It's amazing how much faster the days go by when I'm not counting cycle days or days past ovulation.

I also think I am enjoying the freedoms of a non-treatment cycle:
  • The day of the cyst discovery, I drank a diet coke. And had a piece of chocolate.
  • The day after I found out about the cysts, I enjoyed a nice warm cup of coffee. Two, actually. (Although I did ask my RE on Monday if I should avoid coffee while cycling, and he said one cup a day is ok. I don't even drink that much, so apparently I was depriving myself for no reason).
  • I skipped two prenatal vitamins. It was an accident, but it just dropped of my radar. And, honestly, I am a baby about swallowing pills, so after the fact I did take some delight in not taking them.
I know, I know, I'm such a rebel. :) It is just nice to live life "normally" sometimes.

Another interesting thing is that I am way less stressed about DH and his sp.erm. I think we've done all we can do, and we have seem some improvements to his SA numbers as well as some drops. They are all over the place, so if DH forgets to take his slew of vitamins one night, is it really going to make a difference? I think we both feel a sense of freedom in that. We can't control it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CD 2 update - Boo

Went to the RE this morning on cd 2 for my baseline u/s. He found a cyst on each ovary.


No medications for me this cycle. He said we could do a natural IUI if we want, but my initial thoughts are it wouldn't be worth it. I might have a weak ovulation and then all of my spotting...I think I need to the meds to get and stay pregnant.

What would you do if you were me - sit it out (with timed intercourse) or do a natural IUI?

I haven't gotten a chance to google the cyst issue yet, but I have read about it on a number of blogs. The RE said it's common, and the only "bad" thing is that I can't take medications. He said most go away on their own after a month. Anyone have any experience with this? What if they are still there next month?

Also, I am a little freaked out because I had such a wonky cycle after my last clomid cycle. I was switching RE's at that point, so I never had an ultrasound. But...I had a normal period that shifted to continual spotting. I bled/ spotted for 19 days straight and then got another period. Now, I know I normally spot like crazy, but that was extraordinary even for me! And based on temperatures, I also did not ovulate that cycle. So....maybe I had a cyst or two then too? Am I going to get cysts after every medicated cycle?? Ugh.

I cried more today than I did the day of the BFN. I think the fact that I could turn around and get right back on the horse to keep trying was such an encouragement to me last week. I have always had to wait for one reason or another, but I was excited that I could finally just get going on back to back treatments. Bam, bam, bam, one IUI after another until a BFP, you know?

But, here I sit.

Before I sound full of despair, I have to share with you a sweet moment I had with the Lord this morning that has comforted me so much today. As I drove down, I listened to this sermon on the way to the RE this morning. This is not from my church, but it is a pastor that DH discovered and we really like his sermons. So, DH had listened to this one and told me it was really encouraging to him in light of our infertility. Ironically, one of the two parts is about Hannah, who prays to God after suffering through her barrenness. And as I listened to it this morning, I wept. It touched all the sadness in my soul and pointed me to the God who hears my cries and works in the middle of difficult situations to show his glory. At one point the pastor said something to the effect of, "Are you in a difficult situation? That's God's main platform to work in." I'm not expressing it as well as he did, but feel free to listen to the sermon and be encouraged like I was.

As I drove home after finding out we're sitting out this cycle, I cried again. I prayed and cried and told God all of my desires and Hannah did. I poured out my soul to my loving Father. What a blessing that God had me listen to this sermon on this day, and I am so thankful he hears my prayers!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wow and thank you

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the outpouring of love and support. Having your comments pop up in my email all throughout the day brought some sunshine to an otherwise dark feeling day. Thank you for all of the prayers. I am humbled that there are people out there praying and caring for me whom I have never met. Thank you - I cannot say it enough!

I tested again this morning to confirm the negative result. Today was the day my RE instructed me to do so, and said if it is negative to stop the progesterone and call in when my period arrives. They don't do blood pregnancy tests for IUI's (not sure about IVF). As long as we get the green light, we plan on doing another IUI cycle right away.

I continue to trust in the Lord and wait on him. Hear my cries, Lord!


Last night DH and I went out to dinner at one of our usual spots that is familiar and cozy. We talked about our infertility a little at the beginning, and DH got really sad. Each cycle I see a little more sadness in him, too. But we moved on and had a really nice night.

In fact, I ended up laughing harder than I have in a long time - it was such a fun blessing! I don't know if it will be as funny written out here (maybe you just had to be there), but it was too funny to not share with you.

Background: I've mentioned before that DH and I are volunteer youth leaders at our church. Our students are turning 16 this school year, and one of my girls and one of his guys each got their driver's license this week. That led to us talking about how many of the kids seem to get cars pretty quickly, while DH and I didn't have our own car until we graduated college. I asked DH if it was a difference in "our generation" or were we just the exceptions?

DH: Most of my friends had cars in high school.

Me: Huh, I guess we were the weird ones then.

DH: No, I wasn't a wei.ner. I had all my friends to drive me around.

Me: Wait, what did you just say?

DH: I said I wasn't a wei.ner. I was cool.

Me, starting to laugh: That's what I thought you said...but I said we were weird, not wei.ners!

DH: Oh, I thought that's what you said.

Me, laughing really hard now: Seriously!? When have I ever used the word wei.ner to describe someone!? And you said it like it was totally normal...!

Thus began my laugh out loud fest in which I laughed so hard I saw people looking over at me from other tables. Fun times!

(Ok, even as I typed that up I started laughing out loud. DH asked me what I was laughing about, and I told him. He said it wasn't that funny! Ha! So sorry if I am the only one so greatly amused by our miscommunication!)

PS- Somebody a few posts back asked why I put periods in the middle of some words (like wei.ner). It just prevents people from finding my blog using that word in a search engine. I usually use it for body parts since, well, there are a lot of gross things and people on the internet. I've seen other people use it for brand names or people's names, too. Hope that helps and sorry I forgot to respond to your comment sooner!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One line

BFN. :(

I woke up at 5:30am and had to pee, so I decided to go for it. There was no way I'd be able to ignore the urge to pee and the possibility of knowing if I were pregnant or not.

Peeing on a stick is such a funny thing. This morning before doing so I would have said I was not pregnant. But as I stood there for those long 3 minutes, all of the hope I had suppressed throughout the cycle resurfaced. A miracle can happen, you know, and maybe this is it, I thought. I prayed while I stood there that God would help me to trust him whatever the outcome. I imagined waking up DH to tell him our wonderful news, driving to the drugstore to get one of those fancy HPTs I never spend the money on, and celebrating together this morning over a multitude of positive pee sticks. All of that in those measly 3 minutes that ended with only one line.

I crawled back in bed and resorted to one of my coping mechanisms - sleep. But it was a restless, unsettled sleep filled with thoughts of strange, negative things. I pressed against DH and he instinctively spooned me, which comforted me without him even knowing.

He woke up an hour later.

"Hey, isn't it time for you to take a pregnancy test," he said.

"I did already," I responded.

"Oh," he said flatly, "It was negative."

Then he wrapped his arms around me tightly.


Thank you all for your amazing support! You all remain so hopeful for me even when I cannot. Thank you. And I'm still expecting to see some positives from those of you wrapping up your cycle as well!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The end is in sight...

Thanks for all your support these last few days! The second week of the two week wait sure is emotional. I went from excited and hopeful one evening to absolutely certain I was not pregnant the next morning. The end of the wait was actually easier once I just started assuming I'm NOT pregnant. Not that I want to be pessimistic, but I couldn't handle the hopefulness mixed with uncertainty. I just figured I would be very pleasantly surprised if I were pregnant, and a little prepared if I weren't.

That said...I honestly don't think I'm pregnant. I don't feel pregnant at all. My bre.asts have completely stopped hurting and I have no symptoms whatsoever.

I'm testing tomorrow morning (13dpo) and will let you know if the test agrees with my assessment of the situation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New strategy

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and randomly felt like my bre.asts were not as sore. I laid awake in bed for awhile sad and on the verge of tears, feeling like I was already "out" for this cycle.

In the morning as I got out of bed, they painfully reminded me that they are still, indeed, nice and tender. Resume blind hopefulness.

However, as obvious as it is, this little lesson reminded me that symptoms cannot tell me if I am pregnant. Nor can the lack of symptoms tell me I am not. I can't stress about everything my body is or is not doing.

Of course, I still had sad, stressful, and hopeful moments today that relate to this pending pregnancy test thing. But I am trying to pray when anxious thoughts fill my mind.

And I am going to wait until Thursday to test, if my period has not arrived by then. I will be 13 days past ovulation and will be able to feel fairly certain the test will be accurate. If it is negative, I will only have one day to wait to confirm those results and then stop the progesterone.

I am praying for the rest of you in this craziness that is the two week wait! Hang in there!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two week wait crazies

Nine days past ovulation tonight, and I have to confess I'm now going crazy in the two week wait symptom over analyzing department. Ugh.

Honestly, it is partly because my "symptoms" feel different. My brea.sts are always sore around 10 dpo....but this cycle it started at 7 dpo. However, I started taking progesterone at 1dpo (last cycle I didn't start until 7dpo). So there is a logical explanation, but still....

And then today I have felt like I have an icky stomach off and on. I wouldn't call it nausea, just stomach discomfort. But maybe the logical explanation is that we were out of town and I ate a bunch of junk...?

Or maybe because I want to have symptoms so badly, I psychologically make myself have them.

I told DH that I didn't know if it would be better to just start testing or hold out until Friday. He said, "Just test tonight" (9dpo). He's no help. I think I need to wait, but I don't know if I'll be able to wait all the way until Friday. We'll see.

Tonight at church I just kept praying and telling God that I trust him whatever the outcome of this week's test is.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halfway there

Today is 7 days post ovulation, so I am half way done with my two week wait! The first 7 days have been completely uneventful. No spotting at all...I like that kind of uneventful!

However, I do have a list for you that I have compiled in this past week.

Top 5 Ways to 'Pretend' You Are Pregnant During Your Two Week Wait:

1. Get up really early and have house guests for a week, so that some days you are completely exhausted.
2. Eat chili one night, and get heartburn later that evening.
3. Get gas the next day from said chili.
4. Drink a cup of tea right before bed so you have to get up to pee during the night.
5. Do all of the above before 7 dpo so that there is no way it can be "true" pregnancy symptoms. Repeat as necessary.

Have a great weekend, and feel free to use my little list if you need some extra hope in your two week wait!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When pregnancy announcements don't hurt....

Remember my friend Grace? A friend who I found out last spring has been struggling with infertility for 3 years? Who, the last time I had spoken with her, was on her sixth medicated cycle and wasn't sure if they were going to pursue more treatments?

She's pregnant.

I rejoiced at the news! Pregnancy announcements from infertiles are much, much easier for me. Any pregnancy announcement is a joy and miracle, but many from seemingly fertile people can ofteb hurt my heart. But this one....was sweet. And happy. And special.

I actually had not had a very significant conversation with her in awhile. Plus, I kept getting the feeling that she didn't really want to talk about infertility. Subconsciously this was a little sad for me - my one in real life infertile friend, and we weren't even talking about it!

But now it all makes sense....she didn't want to talk about it because she was pregnant but not ready to share the news. She told me at 12 weeks (which was last week), and since then we have exchanged a few emails and had lunch together today. Understandably, she has struggled with a lot of fear in her first trimester. But praise God her baby is growing healthy at this point!

And it truly is a miracle. It was her seventh (and last) medicated cycle before they took a break and potentially ended their fertility treatments.

It's beautiful to see how God's plan in her life has unfolded. I am thankful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What a week!

Wow! This week six - count 'em SIX - bloggers that I follow posted their amazing and wonderful BFP news. Congratulations to Barren and Believing, Finding Joy in Every Journey, Life Happens When You're Making Other Plans, Loveliest Days, The Non-Housewife Wife, and Wanting, Waiting, Praying for a Miracle! (and....sorry if I missed any...there were almost too many to keep track of)

And then, my prayer partner on a message board I am a part of got a positive pregnancy test on IUI #2 with a post-wash count of 6 million (sound familiar?!). I was blown away!

With each announcement, each pee stick picture, and each amazing description of how they discovered the happy news I truly had tears of joy. So many of these ladies I have walked with for almost and praise the Lord!

Can I join the BFP bandwagon? :)


Mixed with those tears of joy, I do have to confess my own tears of longing. Hopeful longing, as my blogging friend A put it so well today. I think that streak of hopefulness led me to walk through Gymboree this afternoon.... *sigh.* But that just made the longing outweigh the hopefulness.

Lord, hear my prayers! Thank you that you give your children good things when they ask. I wait expectantly for your plan to unfold in my life.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mellow weekend

After all the early mornings, driving, and busyness of a week full of appointments at the RE, we have had a perfectly restful weekend at home. It's amazing how utterly exhausted I was after all of the madness!

I baked some delicious pumpkin muffins, slept in, read, drank tea, went out for {decaf} coffee with DH and talked for a long time, slept in, went to church, made a nice dinner, rented a movie, and slept in. Did I mention we enjoyed sleeping? :)

The beginning of the two week wait is deceptively easy.

I hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Part 2: We made it!

Whew, the second IUI is done and I feel so relieved that we made it. Now I can sit back, relax, and wait those looong two weeks. :)

DH's counts were abut the same today. Count was a little lower and motility a little higher, so it averaged out to 5.75 million post wash at 56% motility (versus 5.5 million at 53% motility yesterday). Good news for us - there was a chance they could have dropped significantly since there was only 24 hours of abstinence.

I meant to say this yesterday, but we are rejoicing in the improvement of DH's pre-wash motility! Pre-surgery (a year ago now!) his motility tested at 3% and 5%, 4 months post-surgery at 10%, and 6 months post surgery was at 15%. And at the IUI's, it was at 23% and 38% -- the highest we have ever seen! To go from 3% to around 25% is quite an improvement in our minds, and is good news.

The "bad" news was the significant drop in count, which led our post-wash numbers to be lower than expected. DH's count usually tested around 70mil, but like all of these numbers has fluctuated some. So to drop to only 12 mil was quite a decrease....and I can't help but wonder about the fever? Or should we allow more days of abstinence? A weird fluke and SA's are just completely unpredictable?

There seem to be so many unknowns in the world of MFI. We are thankful for the good news we received, my body's response to the meds, and are hoping and praying for a positive test next week! And if not, we will try again with a new batch of sperm that could be significantly different from this one. We are hopeful either way!


Pre-wash SA:
Count: 10 mil/ mL (I think)
Volume: 3 mL
Motility: 38%
Total motile: 11.4 million

Post-wash SA:
Count: 5.75 mil
Motility: 56%

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Part 1: Success

So you know how yesterday I said I would be happy if DH had at least 2 million sperm post-wash? As I went to bed last night I realized that was quite low, and that I was setting that parameter to protect myself so that I would not be disappointed at today's IUI. I actually thought 2 million post-wash was unlikely and we would have much better than that, since DH's counts have always been good and his total motile number have been decent.

Today's post-wash IUI numbers were 5.5 million with 53% motility, grade 2-3 progression. And although it is above the 2 million cut off I set, that was much lower than I was expecting. Statistically, the odds are certainly not in our favor with numbers like that.

BUT, I did not feel anxious or scared. Praise God for the grace he has shown me in helping me to trust him! And as we heard those numbers, I knew that God is in control of every detail, including post-wash sperm counts. And we have been blessed with a cycle has gone so well thus far - who am I to complain? This is a far greater chance than we have ever had any other cycle, so I am rejoicing in the fact that we get to do these IUI's!

And our RE was so reassuring! He said he believes we will get pregnant and that IUI is a good route for us at this point, but that it may take a few tries. He said he has seen dozens of IUI successes with numbers like ours, and the lowest sperm count he ever had a positive on was 700,000. So we are trusting him and remaining hopeful.

After the IUI was complete, the RE left the room to let me lay on the table a few minutes and then get dressed. As I laid there, I stretched out my hand to hold DH's in mine. I asked him to pray, and as he did tears streaked down my face. Happy, relieved, and hopeful tears mixed with all of the pain and waiting of these past 18 months. Good tears that felt like part of the prayer.


Just for my record-keeping - and any other MFI ladies out there who may find this helpful - I want to record DH's actual numbers:

Count: 12 mil/ mL
Motility: 23%
Progression: 1-2
Volume: 3 mL
Total-motile: 8.28

Count: 5.5 mil
Motility: 53%
Progression: 2-3

We get to do another IUI tomorrow. I have read that some studies do not show a much greater chance of success with more than one IUI per cycle, but I'm glad we are doing a second one. In my mind, we might get to double the amount of sperm we have in there to fertilize an egg or two!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I triggered!

Today I found myself locked in the single-user bathroom at work, reconstituting a vial of HCG. Just before I stabbed my stomach with the needle, somebody jiggled the door knob as they tried to enter the restroom to use it in a more conventional way. "I'll be just a minute!" I called, and then stabbed myself with an ease and efficiency that amazed me. This was my third injection, and they really are pretty simple.

Thank you all for sharing your own shot stories, tips, and encouragements as I mastered this new skill!

I'm triggered and set to go! This morning my two lovely follicles that the RE thinks will ovulate were at 19mm and 18mm. I had two more under 16mm that he said wouldn't make it, which is a good thing in this case. My lining was at 9 and triple striped. Can you tell I'm excited?!

Now, the final element that is unknown will be DH's SA tomorrow. I am slightly nervous for 3 reasons: 1. DH's SA's have never been great, especially the motility. 2. DH had a fever back in June, so if it does negatively effect his sperm this is the window of time in which that would happen. 3. I thought our IUI would end up being later in the day on Thursday, so we had s.ex last night. Now that only leaves a 34 hour gap between ej.aculates.

BUT, while I do have these thoughts in the back of my mind, I can honestly say I am not worried. I am trusting God, and I think as long as we have more than 2 million post wash sperm I will be thrilled with this cycle. And if we have less than that, I will still seek to be content and trust the Lord, although I may cry a little. :)

IUI, here we come!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So many things to be thankful for today!
  • For the first time, I entered an RE's office with peace and calm. So many people are praying for me, and I feel like God is truly helping me to trust him and take each day of this cycle without fear!
  • For the first time, I left an RE's office excited and hopeful. With the old RE I left feeling anxious and stressed. What a great contrast.
  • I am not going to ovulate as crazy-early as I did on my previous clomid cycle (and in general). Nobody has told me that my early ovulation is a problem, but it makes me feel better that it won't be happening on cycle day 10.
  • I have multiple follicles! Last clomid cycle I only heard about one huge one. Granted, that RE didn't really communicate with me, so there may have been more smaller ones that he didn't mention. But this cycle I have 3 follicles in range to potentially ovulate in a few days, and one more trailing behind. The RE only wants me to ovulate 2 (which sounds very reasonable to me), so I'm probably going to trigger tomorrow. BUT the exciting thing is that I had a good response to a low dose of meds!! Yeah!
The plan is that I'm coasting tonight (no meds) so that I don't mature too many of those follicles. Tomorrow morning I go in for one more follicle check, and I will probably trigger later in the day. Then, we're set for back to back IUI's on Thursday and Friday! Wheeeee!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

First shot complete!

Yesterday was the big day: injection #1 of Menopur! Leading up to the injection I was more nervous about mixing the liquid with the powder and setting up the needle correctly than actually doing the injection. DH & I watched a youtube video demonstrating the injection twice, and read through the instructions sheet and did everything step by step. It's funny how things can look relatively simple, but when I'm new to something random doubts and questions come up. Is that a bubble in the liquid? Did I get the right amount? Is the powder dissolved all the way?

But we made it. The syringe was loaded up with the medication, and we were ready to go. DH asked me if I was nervous to inject myself and I said, "Not really. I don't mind needles and this is really little." But even as I said the words I knew my apprehension was growing. I think I didn't really know what to expect - the feel of the needle going through the layers of skin, how much it would burn, how long it would last. So I immediately added, "Actually, I'm getting freaked out. You want to do it?"

DH excitedly agreed. After seeing the video he thought it would actually be really easy, and a unique experience to say the least. So he aimed at my belly, pinched my skin, and told me he would count to 3 and insert the needle. However, as he said it I knew he was trying to trick me and would insert the needle before he got to 3, so just as he went for it I started giggling. My abdomen bounced as I giggled with the needle in there!

It really didn't hurt much. I think the actual feeling of needle through flesh disturbed DH, and when he pulled the needle out I did bleed a little. Poor guy felt so bad then, like he hurt me or something! I don't think he enjoyed the experience as much as he thought he would.

Tonight, I think I'll be ready to do it myself. With DH's moral support, of course. :)

Tomorrow, I'm off to a monitoring appointment with the RE! If this cycle is anything like my last medicated cycle, I could be about ready to trigger!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Protecting the 'family jewels'

Yesterday morning DH went to play soccer with a group of guys. He set off just before 9am, and when he hadn't returned home by noon I started to wonder if they were playing the longest game of soccer known to man.

About a half hour later, DH called me.

Me: Hi, how was soccer?

DH: I got injured.

----> My first thought: Crap, I hope it wasn't his tes.ticles. (I have a one track mind these days.)

Me: Oh, no! What happened? Are you ok?

DH: Yeah, I'm fine. Another guy and I ran into each other and his head busted my cheek open. There was a guy playing with us who was a doctor who thought I might need stitches, but I'm just leaving the urgent care and they said I only needed steri strips.

----> Whew, the goods are safe. And, of course, DH is ok and it doesn't sound serious. Relief.

Me: Glad you're ok! Are you on your way home?

DH: Yeah, I'll see you in a few minutes.


Today, DH was trying to think of something fun to do with his youth group guys tomorrow night. He ended up calling one of the parents and asking if the group could use their house to have pizza and hang out. I overheard the conversation, and could tell the mom offered for them to use something at their house that DH was excited about. He kept thanking her and told her that would be a lot of fun for everyone.

Me, upon hang up: What did she say you guys could do?

DH: She offered for us to use her hot tub! That will be a great night, all the guys hanging out together in the hot tub.

----> Red alert! Red alert! DH cannot use a hot tub under any circumstances. And he knows this.

Me: Um, you're not going to use the hot tub, right?

DH, after being quiet for a moment: No. But then what am I going to do, sit in a chair next to them while they're all in there? Maybe we just shouldn't do it all.

Me: Or you can sit on the ledge and hang your feet in?

DH: Well, I guess 8 guys probably won't fit at one time anyway. I'll just act like I'm letting them all have a turn.

-- --> Whew, problem averted. But then I started to wonder if DH would actually be able to ward off the temptation and not enter the warm goodness of the hot tub. Before our TTC days he always loved hot tubs so....what if he gives into the temptation??

Me: I'm sorry you can't go in, love. It sucks and hopefully in a few months I'll be pregnant and you can go in all the hot tubs you want to. But, please, DO NOT go in tomorrow. We'll probably have our IUI this week, and if you damage your sperm it effects us for 3 months!

DH made eye contact with me, and I could tell we were on the same page. He said ok, and I think he will do just fine tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

In an instant

If I was sick, I would be praying to get better. And, in most instances, I would see signs of improvement. Fever begins to dissipate, appetite gradually returns, and some energy is restored. A brief, two day illness with a gradual and welcome return to health.

In a way, I am "sick" with infertility. It is a medical condition, and it makes me feel under the weather in many senses of the word. But this sickness lasts much longer than your average virus, to the point where my identity has begun to wrap around the word. My day to day life, thoughts, emotions, and decisions are all enmeshed with my infertility.

I think of myself as infertile. I am infertile. I am not just a person suffering with infertility, but it is a part of who I am. And as I have read so often before on other infertility blogs, I will always hold this in my heart - even if I am blessed with a pregnancy.

I am feeling so much hope and joy as this cycle begins, and am praying for a miracle. I have imagined what it would be like to see that elusive second line, and have allowed myself brief moments of enjoying those joyful, imagined feelings. But what about the moments after that initial moment? When you're suddenly not infertile in the original sense of the word?

Today I suddenly realized just how strange this all is. That, really, in just an instant, one can go from infertile to pregnant. One day you're expecting the arrival of your period, and the next you get a positive home pregnancy test. There is no transition, no warning. Month after month I hope and pray, and for the vast majority of those months the results are negative. But I am not looking for a 'majority win' here -- only ONE positive out of however many negatives counts.

It's mind boggling, really. And beautiful. And oh-so-hopeful.