Friday, February 27, 2009

Hoping for a winter wonderland

DH & I are off to high school winter camp for the weekend, and our snow deprived west-coast hearts are really hoping we'll find a winter wonderland out there. We have had a lot of rain lately...and we will be in the mountains...!!

You might be wondering why we'd be going to a high school camp when we're clearly not in high school. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but we're volunteer youth leaders with our church. We each have a small group of kids that we've been meeting with weekly for Bible study, prayer, and fun since the kids were going into 7th grade. They're in 9th grade now, and we hope to stay with our groups until they graduate high school. It's a lot of fun and definitely keeps us busy.

I haven't told my girls about my infertility yet. Honestly, I think I have hesitated because I don't think they would really care or get it. They pester me all the time about when I'm going to have a baby (doesn't really bother me) because they love the idea of holding & babysitting my baby someday soon. But when it comes down to it, they are 14/15 years old and can barely fathom college, let alone being married and having a baby. It's just so far out of their interests of boys, clothes, boys, music, boys, and sports. And if you all think back to when you were that age, you probably remember how difficult it was to think of others in general...it's a very self-focused age. They're getting better, though. :)

BUT, I think I'm going to tell them about it this weekend. Part of our goal in youth ministry is to truly live life with these students...to be there for the long haul as they struggle, celebrate, and learn, and to see us in our lives as we do the same. So even if they change the subject 30 seconds after I tell them, I want them to begin to enter into my infertility a little. To see another person's struggle, grieve with me, pray for me, and see one example of a Christian walking through something difficult. Even if they just get a small glimpse of these things, it will be worth it.

And I will try to be more mature than them and not be hurt if they don't care. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The long version: sickness and faith

During our 2 days in the hospital with my MIL, I honestly didn't think much about my IF at all....I almost forgot we were trying to have a baby (!). But after reflecting on those 2 days, I have learned some lessons that very much relate to my infertility journey. God works in amazing ways. :)

We drove down to be with my IL's late on Sunday night. What we thought had been a virus for 9 days was getting worse, and upon arrival at the hospital they diagnosed her with a UTI "gone really bad" as my MIL put it. I did know enough about infections that although a UTI is relatively common and simple to treat, the bacteria can spread and be quite dangerous. So as we drove down we were nervously quiet. We stayed at the hospital until 1am with her, and then went to their house and got 4 hours of sleep so we could be back at the hospital bright and early.

On Monday they gave her a CT scan to see if the infection had spread. We got the result in the afternoon that the UTI was actually caused by another, more serious problem -- an abscess on her colon. I won't go into the gory details of what that is, but let's just say it was a lot of infection that was "contained," but could easily rupture and cause very serious problems. The surgeon came and spoke with us about the need to clean out the abscess and remove the diseased part of the colon, but that both of those things couldn't be done in the same surgery. There were also some unknowns that he would have to discover and make decisions about during the surgery. MIL was not thrilled at the idea of having 2 surgeries, but felt horrible enough that she was happy to do whatever would make her feel better.

Her surgery was scheduled for 7:30pm on Tuesday, which was almost 36 hours of waiting from the time we knew she needed surgery until it would happen. In a somewhat emergency situation like this where my MIL was feeling so sick, 36 hours was a long time to wait and anticipate what lied ahead.

We started the waiting game on Tuesday praying that she could get called in to surgery earlier. In the early afternoon, MIL started feeling even more intense pain. Her fever was high, and she simply did not look good. She is not one to complain or worry, but she even said she was scared the abscess had ruptured. We had the nurse call the surgeon, who said there was nothing they could do until surgery. I don't know if it was truly dangerous from a medical standpoint, but for that afternoon we really thought she could die. It was a dark place to be. FIL was especially struggling as he watched his wife suffer so much.

In the midst of this, DH announced that he was going to pray for the next 7 hours until her surgery without stopping. MIL and I even tried to dissuade him a little (Can you really pray for that long? Just pray every ten minutes or something). But he began to pray silently, which inspired FIL & I to do the same. I also started reading Psalms aloud. We prayed that her pain would lessen and that she would get called into surgery early. DH said he prayed all sorts of dramatic prayers, even that she would suddenly feel better, get up, and start doing jumping jacks!

And guess what? Her pain did begin to subside and she was called into her surgery 3 hours earlier than scheduled! I almost couldn't believe it (how's that for a faithful prayer...?).

The surgery began and we hunkered down in the waiting room preparing ourselves for a long wait. Only an hour later, however, the surgeon came to tell us that the surgery was complete, they were able to do the more minor procedure, and everything went very smoothly. Smiles all around. We saw MIL about a half hour later, and she was smiling and already looking so much better!

As DH and I drove back to our home late that night, we were reflected on the day. We felt like we had witnessed tremendous answers to prayer and learned so much in those intense 48 hours.

We prayed big, bold prayers and God answered yes! We realized that so often we hesitate to pray big things, hiding behind "it might not be God's will." We have seen many people in our church pray desperately for something and not get the answer they were hoping for. But in this situation, we realized our faith is not based on those "yes" answers...but that we exercise greater faith by praying for those powerful things and trust that God CAN do them! We saw him do amazing things this week. Honestly, watching MIL's pain lessen while DH prayed was so powerful...God can do anything.

We also experienced family in an amazing way. I was already very close to my IL's, but after sharing in the suffering and joys of those two days with them, I could feel how much I love them. And DH realized how much he wants to serve and bless his parents...they did that for him for all these years, and now he can return and share those blessings to them as their adult child.

Now, how does any of this relate to IF? It has definitely encouraged and strengthened my prayers for a baby. After 12 months of praying for a pregnancy, my prayers have gotten weak. Not that I don't believe....but it's just hard to keep praying. But this has shown me to persevere and pray expectantly.

In the big picture, I am also amazed at what a joyful, learning, and faith building experience those two days were...even though they were really difficult. At the end of it all we were able to experience all of this with little cost (MIL's surgery went well & she lived), but in the midst of it I think we all had the profound sense that whatever the outcome the work of God in us would have still taken place. And in the midst of IF, I say that it is worth it. God is working. Take heart, friends!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quick update

The surgery went really well!! They were able to do the more minor procedure and my MIL looked SO MUCH better immediately after surgery, believe it or not.

Although it was a very difficult 2 days, M, my IL's, and I really had an amazing experience. I have so many thoughts that I would love to share! However, I am exhausted and don't quite have the energy to write it out right now. All I can say is we had so many people praying (including many of you!) and we saw God's glory in the situation. Thank you, thank you, thank for your prayers! My MIL is so dear to both of us and we are so thankful that God has given her more days with us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Non-IF prayers needed

DH's mom was really sick all last week with what we thought was the flu. However, she was taken to the ER on Sunday night and admitted with a bad infection. Further tests have discovered she has an abscess on her colon that they need to remove, which will either involve: a) one minor surgery today and one major surgery in 6 weeks or b) one major surgery today and another major surgery in 3 months. Obviously we're praying for option A, so if you're a prayer please join us in that. Most importantly, please just pray that the surgery goes smoothly with no complications.

DH and I drove down to the IL's to be with them late Sunday night and are staying through the surgery. We're really glad we're here with them -- we're very close to his parents. This is my first time on a computer so I won't be checking in as much as I usually like....and ICLW has fallen by the way-side. My apologies to all you ICLWers! :)

I hope all of you are well and look forward to catching up on all of your news later this week.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Choosing an RE

This week I did some research on RE's, and it was wonderful to have something proactive to do.

I found that there is only one IF clinic in my area. It is a satellite office for a very large and (based on internet searches) well respected center in a huge city about two hours away from me. Two of the RE's travel to my city 1-2 times a week for appointments with patients, but most ultrasounds, labs, etc. are done by a physician's assistant, nurse, and ultrasound person who permanently staff my local office. For any actual procedures like IUI or IVF we would travel to another office.

I also researched two other clinics in the big city.

We're not even close to doing IVF at this point, and aren't even sure if we would go down that path. As a disclaimer, I do believe that creation begins at conception. In my humble opinion, I think that IVF *can* be done in a way that still upholds the value of the life God created. I think God can direct some couples do do IVF and others to not. I don't know which side of things we will fall on if we end up facing that road. I know we would not want to create more embryos then we would be willing to have as children. I have also looked into egg freezing as an alternative to embryo freezing...all three clinic below have this as an option.

Because I know IVF could possibly be an option for us and it's really the only measure to see how "successful" different clinics are, I have been looking at SART scores. However, I don't know how much weight to put in them.

Also, how much should the published cost of IVF factor into our decision? Do the published costs typically reflect all of the fees (I know they don't include meds and anesthesia)? The clinic I spoke with gave me a breakdown of three fees: the IVF cycle, the hospital, and the lab.

Ok, here's a breakdown:

Clinic 1:
  • Distance: 10 minutes away/ 1-2 hours away for procedures
  • SART score: pregnancies: 54%, live births: 47%
  • IVF Cost: $10,500 (includes all three fees)
  • 2 recommendations
Clinic 2:
  • Distance: 1.5 hours away
  • SART score: pregnancies: 36%, live births 31%
  • IVF Cost:$6,900 (not sure if it includes all three fees, but the website makes it sound like it includes the everything but the normal things)
  • 2 recommendations
Clinic 3:
  • Distance: 2 hours
  • SART score: pregnancies: 66%, live births 60%
  • IVF Cost: $7,000 (not sure if it includes all 3 fees -- website says it does not include anesthesia/operating room fees, and the OR part sounds like one of the fees included in clinic #1's cost)
  • Haven't heard of anyone using this clinic
I don't want to choose clinic #1 just because it's local, but the flip side is that life would be so much easier without have to spend a ton of time driving through congested freeways. But -- it's more expensive, and while the SART scores seem strong they are not as high as clinic #3.

Since we're not at the IVF stage yet (and maybe never will be), I am wondering if we should just stay local for the testing and early stages of treatment that lie ahead. Then we could reanalyze the situation if we got to IVF? Although DH and I like the idea of sticking with a doctor who has worked with us throughout treatments.

My head is spinning, I don't know!! Any input or suggestions you have would be very much appreciated! Are there other factors I should also consider? How did you choose your RE?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Welcome ICWLers!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

My husband had a varicocele repair surgery 5 weeks ago, and I am *attempting* to wait patiently for his post surgery SA. It takes about 3 months for sperm to regenerate, so we're aiming for sometime in May to see if the surgery helped his severely low sperm motility. His recovery has gone well and DH is particularly optimistic that the surgery will be a success. :)

I too appear to have some IF issues myself, although those are less diagnosed and defined. I have major luteal phase spotting (typically about 10 days of my 14 day LP), and last month had a 7dpo progesterone test that came back at 8.3. This cycle -- for the first time ever -- I had bright red spotting/ light bleeding from cd 10-12. Before ovulation. I have no idea.

Anyway, we're in the processing of selecting an RE and making a consultation appointment. Thus far my DH has been treated by a urologist (a young, female one I might add!), and I have seen my ob/gyn's nurse practitioner who has not proven to be very helpful. We're excited to start seeing an RE and get going here!

Happy ICLW!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Relief

Today I have experienced much relief, both emotionally and physically. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that the spotting stopped today. :)

Seriously, the dysfunctional bleeding was such a slap in the face. I didn't even like going to the bathroom and having to see it. So this morning when I went to the bathroom and had normal CM.... *sigh* It felt like a burden had lifted.

And then lo and behold, what did I find this afternoon? EWCM! I don't know how my body manages to go from one extreme to the other in 24 hours, but it did.

To top off the day, I got a second line on my OPK! My first ever second line on anything!! That was fun to see. We'll BD, but despite all the perks of the day I can't imagine a pregnancy occurring in this body of mine this cycle. Not to mention DH's sperm are still regenerating. But you never know, right?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weepy

Well, the "spotting" has continued, and it has really set me off emotionally. Thank you for all of your comments. Reading them made me extra weepy in a good way -- the way of feeling supported and understood. Like how I cry when DH gives me a sympathetic hug.

And to answer a couple questions, I have had some testing done on me: thyroid & prolactin blood tests, a va.ginal ultrasound, and a 7dpo progesterone test. The only one that came back abnormal was my progesterone, which was 8.3. My doctor prescribed progesterone suppositories last month that I have yet to try. But it doesn't seem like those would help spotting before ovulation, anyway.

Today was one of those days that I couldn't get infertility out of my mind and the tears were always lurking. But the silver lining to my spotting sadness is that I'm now researching RE's like many of you suggested. Apparently it often takes awhile to get an appointment and do the initial testing, so maybe by the time we have DH's post surgery SA we could be ready to go.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I hate my body

Ho-hum. Cycle day 10. Nothing exciting should be happening. I should be gearing up for ovulation, experiencing some EWCM, BDing...

*TMI warning*

So this afternoon I felt like I had EWCM. I had to go to the bathroom anyway, so I went to go, check it out, and use an OPK since I'm trying those out this month. Sit down, and what do I see? EWCM? No.

Blood.

BLOOD!!! I wanted to scream!

Who spots BEFORE ovulation??

And it wasn't just a slight spot on the toilet paper. There was a dark stain on my underwear soaking through to my jeans. When I had my last doctor appointment, I was describing my "irregular bleeding" to the NP.

She bristled, "Are you soaking through more than one tampon a day?"

"No," I answered.

"Then that's not bleeding. That's spotting." I felt defensive.

This spotting, bleeding, whatever....is not normal!! Even if I weren't TTC it would freak me out and be a source of annoyance. BUT I AM TRYING TO HAVE A BABY! What the heck!

I came out of the bathroom and told DH I hated my body.

No, not is the sense of I don't like how I look. In the infertility sense. Do you ever just find yourself HATING that your body cannot cooperate and do what it's supposed to?? I'm so frustrated right now I'm crying. Maybe I have endo or something. I don't want anything else wrong with us. :(

Oh, and the OPK was negative. I usually ovulate cycle day 12 or 13. I haven't had and EWCM yet, only blood. So who knows when I'll ovulate.

I'm starting to research RE's. DH agrees that we should have an appointment lined up soon after we get his post-surgery SA results.

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!

We've never been huge Valentine's Day people. We've rarely exchanged gifts, and if we did they were small (I think DH got me flowers once). In fact, we can't even remember what we did for any Valentine's Day except for our very first one together.

But this year...this year was different. :) Valentine's fell on a Saturday, and since early January we've been planning and looking forward to a special day together.

As we were waking up in the morning M handed me a card. As I was reading the sweet note he wrote inside I started to cry a little. One thing in the note was how proud he was of me as we face infertility -- how could you not cry reading that? And I looked over at M to tell him how much I loved him, to thank him.... but he had fallen back asleep. :)

For our first activity , we went to one of our favorite breakfast spots in town. They have the BEST pancakes we've ever had. And lots of coffee.

Next, we went for a walk at a park that overlooks the beach. We love this stretch of beach. I forgot to bring my camera out of the car, so here's a quick shot as we were driving away.



In the afternoon we went to Borders together and read. While M read some rather educational material, I read something a little lighter. I'm not too far into the book, but the writing is beautiful:


We went home and began making our gourmet Indian dinner. We had fun planning and then preparing this meal. Chicken Tikka Masala, Baingan Bharta, Vegetable Biryani rice, and naan bread (from Trader Joe's). (A simple review if you ever make these: don't use as much salt as called for. The baingain bharta was not my favorite, but I would definitely make the chicken and rice dishes again!)



After dinner we watched Hancock and ate our special dessert. We had picked up this heart shaped tart from a local restaurant in town that always has yummy desserts:


I hope you had a nice day, even if it was intentionally not Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A new look...??

Today I spent way too much time trying to change the look of this blog. I decided I wanted to have a nice, simple look that I could just leave for a long time...it takes me way too long to change. My problem is that I have an *idea* of what it should look like in my mind, but then I can't get it to look like that at all. This happens to me in art/ craft projects too. **sigh**

So I'm leaving it extra plain right now, and I'm sure in a day or two I'll feel more like working on this again. I'm just too frustrated right now. And I'll get back to regular posting :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Determining ovulation

In my twelfth month of trying to conceive, I am using OPK's for the very first time. That seems so strange to me!

As a loyal follower of Taking Charge of your Fertility, I didn't think it they were necessary. She discusses OPK's but gives off the impression that they are unreliable compared to CM in predicting ovulation and charting BBT to determine the exact day of ovulation. And I have typically had a very predictable pre-ovulation CM pattern with a clear temp shift...so why add more expense and stress to this baby making process?

However, when I was discussing my progesterone test results with a nurse at my doctor's office, she clearly didn't trust my temperature and CM charting. She said they typically expect their patients to use OPK's to determine ovulation for 7dpo testing. Ok...

And then there's Chreighton, which I've only heard about through other ladies' blogs. Creighton seems to be all about CM to determine ovulation from what I can tell... (is that right, Find Joy in Every Journey?).

My impressions of these ovulation detecting systems:
TCOYF = CM & BBT
My doctor/ western medicine = OPK's
Creighton = CM

I find it fascinating that there are so many theories about determining that elusive ovulation! Which method or combo have you found the most accurate for your body?

Anyway, I am using OPK's this cycle per my doctor's recommendation and to confirm that I have been getting it "right" all these other months (although, I don't think I can be that far "off" since I have such short cycles...). I want to get my progesterone re-tested this cycle, so I will use my regular charting methods plus OPK's to make sure I get the test on that 7dpo mark.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How we face our infertility

A few posts back, I described a conversation with a somewhat distant friend who has struggled with IF for years. She has processed, faced, and coped with her infertility in seemingly different ways than I have. Hers appears to be a more quiet, intimate struggle that has not been shared with many outside of her immediate family. She has also chosen to not do any infertility treatments outside of corrective surgeries.

In a comment to that post, Betty pointed out that she has learned that "each journey is different." How true! Through blogging and being part of the ALI community, we are meeting each other at different points in our journey. Some of us are further along the path, others are veering in different directions, but we are all stopping to certain rest stops together, to share, vent, hope, and seek and give support. So although our journeys are each unique, they don't appear as different to me as my IRL friend's did.

I am thankful to have each of you to walk with on this journey and that common bond we share. And I have learned through my friend that there are other infertiles out there that we share a bond with, as well, who might be more difficult to find. It is interesting to think that there might be many more infertiles around us than we think, and to wonder how many we will come across in unexpected places and ways.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No internet access all day!

Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but I did not have internet access all day long!!! It was so hard to see my work computer sitting right in front of me and not be able to check email. Of course, some days I'm out and about, not around a computer, etc. But on those days I'm probably busy with other fun things and don't miss it as much.

The main thing is email, which I leave open all day because I love seeing a new message (which includes any comments I receive on this blog). I don't typically check any blogs from work, but on my lunch break I sometimes go onto thenest.com. There's an awesome board there called "Trouble Trying to Conceive."

Anyway, what are your internet habits? Do you check email and/ or blogs throughout the day? Are you as addicted as I am?

Whew, I'm glad to be back online. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

We're going to be ok

Continuing on the "I'm feeling good lately" streak, DH and I had a really wonderful conversation the other night.

I was processing my conversation with my IRL IF friend (described in my last post), and what I have been learning through infertility so far. He really encouraged me by saying that he is proud of me -- proud of this blog, proud of how I am trusting God, and proud of how I am "taking charge" of our fertility (yes, that was DH still teasing me about the book that has lived on my nightstand for the last year-and-a-half). Those were sweet words to hear from him!

I told him that I have felt God reassuring me this past week. We both acknowledged out loud to each other that it will be really hard if his post-surgery SA comes back negative. Really hard. But with tears in my eyes and DH's hand in mine, I told him I know God is working even if that is the case. It would be hard but we will continue trusting God, and we will be ok. I know we'll be ok.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Encouraged

I have been feeling very encouraged this past week, and this weekend's women's retreat added to that encouragement. I have heard of this IF journey referred to as a roller coaster, and I feel like I'm currently coasting relatively comfortably. I thought I should acknowledge that, since it is much easier and more common for me to write about the drops and lows!

I did end up having a wonderful talk with my friend who has been struggling with infertility. I found out they have been trying for SIX YEARS! Yes, six! My heart broke for her to hear that. Amazingly, her DH also had a varicocele and their main issue is male factor. Her husband had the same surgery mine did but it did not help. Sadness! She is excited about their potential adoption, but that sounds like it has been a whole new waiting game. They have been waiting for their adopted baby for 10 months -- I pray they get matched soon!

One interesting part of my conversation with her was the realization that, in a way, I "knew" more about infertility than she did. If we were applying for some kind of infertility "job," I felt like she had more experience and I had more education. It reminded me how different people are and we each deal with struggles in our life differently. She is not a researcher (she said so), hasn't read a ton of articles, doesn't read infertility blogs...so she has some gaps in her infertility knowledge. Perhaps she did not need that, but part of me felt bad for her...she even said at one point in the conversation that she still wonders if they could have or should have done more infertility treatments. It made me wonder if she has been wading through a sea of unfamiliarity and uncertainty that made an already difficult experience even more difficult. But I don't know, maybe her husband is the researcher?

I also got an impression that she and her husband have been very alone in this struggle. I can't quite describe why, but during the conversation I had the sense that she was processing some of the pain of IF with me...someone who can relate...and that that is something she hasn't had much of. She mentioned a friend who lives far away that has also dealt with infertility that she spoke with, but even that sounded minimal. Her piece of advice to me: Be open about your infertility. Seek support. She said it wasn't until later in their journey that they opened up about it more, and she wonders how many times they missed opportunities for support.

It struck me yet again at what a wonderful thing we have here in the infertility blogsphere. I know I have said before how thankful I am for each of you and your support, but after talking to this friend I was amazed by it. She has had to go it somewhat alone for the past 6 years, and I have you. Not only have I gained support, but I have gained knowledge about the medical side of infertility. THANK YOU!

Through this blog, I feel like I have had the opportunity to process the sadness and pain that comes with infertility as I go along, and I feel like I am in a healthier place because of it. I am more empowered to be my own advocate in my treatment. I am not wading through this dark pit as scared, confused, and alone as one could easily be. What a BLESSING!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Women's retreat

Well, ladies, I'm off to a women's retreat with my church this afternoon. It's only a one-night away event, which seems like the perfect getaway. Enough time to "retreat" and enjoy the company, but I still get a Saturday night with M and a sleep in my own bed. :)

I'm excited to go this weekend because I love socializing. I can't decide if I'm an introvert or an extrovert, but when I make statements like that I think I must be the latter. Could I be both? Anyway, I anticipate many great conversations.

One interesting element will be the IF topic. It's bound to come up, and I'm looking forward to talking about it in a way. Also, I have a friend who used to go to our church but moved away a few years ago. She emailed this week to say she is coming to town this week and going to our retreat. Why do I bring her up? She and her husband have battled IF and are now on the waiting list for adoption.

I am REALLY hoping I get to have a good talk with her. Part of me is excited to talk to someone who truly gets it, although I am a little nervous that I will be unable to be as excited about her potential adoption as I want to be. From this side of infertility, adoption feels like a strangely related topic (hey, it's another way to get a baby!) but also disconnected from my infertility struggle. I'm not there (yet) and I don't want to be there.

I'll let you know how it goes when I get back!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thoughts on suffering

We are part of a small group through our church and meet weekly to hang out, do a Bible study, and pray. We LOVE our small group -- there are 12 people ranging in age from mid-20's to mid-40's and there are many different stages of life represented. We have been with this group for about two years and receive so much support and joy through it.

Anyway, I've been feeling fairly emotional these last few days. I'm sure the fast approaching AF is the main culprit, but her friend IF is always hovering nearby waiting to pounce. Early on at small group we were just socializing, and two women next to me brought up another young couple at our church.

"Did you hear their good news?" one said in a voice that conveys it all.

"Oh yes," the other responded with big smiles.

I sat silently nearby, glad that I was not part of that brief conversation. I felt that tightness in my chest that accompanied all (3) of the pregnancy announcements I have heard about since we started TTC. I wished they were having their joyful conversation about me and my DH...

We began our Bible study, and discussed suffering. Strangely, it felt really painfully nice to talk about, kind of like listening to a sad song when you're blue. A key verse of the passage:

"'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:3

As the conversation swirled around me and people shared their own experiences with suffering, I was moved to feel deep, deep empathy for those I know who have suffered. So much suffering does not have an explanation here on earth: our dear friends who lost their teenage son to suicide 3 years ago, a woman in our church who lost her 34-year-old husband to cancer and is raising her young daughter alone...my heart was breaking for them last night. Yet, somehow, I was also moved to see that God is at work, and to truly believe that Christ is worth these sufferings on earth.

One other example of suffering came to mind last night. I read this aloud during our prayer time together, and my voice trembled with the beautiful and painful truth I saw in these words:

About King David losing his son:
"On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold, while the child was yet alive we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him that the child is dead? He may do himself some harm. But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead...then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped." 2 Samuel 12:18-20a

Afterwards I laid in bed reflecting on these passages and how this ties in to my own struggle with infertility. Tears of joy and sadness silently streamed down my face for a long time. Joy because even as I hurt right now and I know deeper pain could lay ahead, I still believe in God's work and I still worship him! And sadness, of course, over my infertility...Jesus wept when his friend died, David was in anguish as his son was dying, Joseph wept loudly over his the betrayal of his brothers...even as they walked faithfully trusting God, they still felt the pain. Somehow, the glory, worship, and pain seem intricately woven together.

And, I realize, my words cannot convey it all.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More wedding fun

My friend's wedding in April is one of the things I'm looking forward to in the next 3 months. I love weddings: the joy, the love, the beautiful bride, the vows, the flowers, the food...I could go on. I really wasn't the kind of girl who had her wedding all planned out since the age of 5, but weddings mesh with the spiritual/romantic/decorator parts of me. I loved planning my own wedding and DH and I look back so fondly on it. I think I love weddings even more now since my own marriage because I think I grasp how sacred and beautiful those vows truly are.

Anyway, along with the wedding I am also looking forward to hosting Carrie's bridal shower! Here is an example of the invite I just ordered from a seller on etsy.com from seller westwillow. (warning: She does have quite a few baby announcement examples on her site)


She creates a digital image of the invitation and sends it to you so you can print it yourself. I found this to be a really affordable option!!

I'm sure I'll be posting more about the shower and wedding...and other non-TTC related things in the next few months while our TTC efforts are on hold. :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

A small MFI vent

Yesterday I got an email from a college friend/ former roommate letting me know she was thinking about me. She had heard from a mutual friend that we were experiencing infertility and said that although she is not TTC yet, she was diagnosed with PCOS in college and already has a lot of fears about TTC. I was really touched by her email, thoughts, and prayers.

In her email she shared a lot of her story and asked some questions about mine. Now, here's the deal. DH and I have decided that we are relatively open about our infertility in a general way. If people ask, it comes up, or we just feel like telling someone we have given each other permission to talk about it. However, DH doesn't want everyone knowing about his sperm. It's embarrassing to him that it's MFI. Really, compared with many MFI men I have read about I still think he is fairly open (a handful of friends do know), but understandably there is this stigma out there that emasculates men if their guys "can't do the job."

This email exchange with my friend brought my frustrations about this to the surface. I felt like I had to be so vague...which makes me feel like what could be an encouraging, helpful email ended up just skimming the surface.

The funny thing is I am not upset with DH about this. Overall I think he truly is handling the MF diagnosis very well and is not letting himself feel less of a man. I just hate our culture's attitude towards MFI that makes him feel embarrassed. Apparently, there's a book out there for men who's wives are expecting that explains pregnancy entitled, My Boys Can Swim!. I think that title says a lot. So...what about the guys who can't say that? (However, if I ever get pg maybe I should give the book to my DH as a big joke! lol Plus, it really is a much catchier title than something like You're Going to Be a Dad)

I think I just want to defend my DH to the world. He is very manly -- how dare you, fertile America, imply that he's not! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's not a race, Hillary

We had a friend of mine over for dinner last week, and it was so wonderful to see her since she lives a few hours away now. This friend, Natalie, got married last September and it was fun to hear about her newlywed life.

I'm sure you can see where this is going. :)

No, she is not pregnant. But, I know from a conversation just before her wedding that they want to wait a year before TTC. And suddenly a year doesn't seem so far away (it's 8 months away at this point).

Natalie was one of my bridesmaids. Another one my bridesmaids, Carrie, is getting married in April. Of course this makes me wonder...when will she start TTC? How much time do I have left before I start getting passed by these friends of mine?? Friends who I do NOT wish infertility upon but I am also fearful of them leaving me behind.

I am in a fortunate position because I don't have many friends who I feel like are "getting pregnant all around me." I have a number of friends with babies and small children, but they all have been married longer and/or are older than me. Somehow in my mind, this exempts them from my IF fears. One of these people is my best friend, Jennifer, who already had her two daughters before we even started TTC. This doesn't bother me.

I have to remind myself that this is not a race. As difficult as it might be to have Natalie or Carrie get pregnant, I have to trust that God has a perfect (but perhaps not easy) plan for each of our lives. I want to celebrate the life he creates, even if it is not in my womb!

And this also causes me to think about my fourth bridesmaid, Allison. She is not married nor does she have a boyfriend. Here I am scared of other friends getting pregnant...and she has had to watch all of us get married when I know she longs for that herself. And without a spouse, she can't have children either. That's a lot of life dreams and potential fears still on hold for her.

I may have said this before, but infertility has made me so thankful for DH. I am so blessed that I am married (to a wonderful man), and that I have the possibility of getting pregnant. I have my best friend and companion to navigate life with. I know we really shouldn't compare sufferings, but I do think the single life would be more difficult for me.

Anyway, it is not a race. But here's to hoping I don't need to write another blog post in a few months about how difficult it was for my infertile self to hear the news of a friend's pregnancy. Maybe I'll be pregnant by then?!?

And for Anita: Here's a picture of the bridesmaid gown I'll be wearing in April. It will be fun to dress up and be part of my friend's wedding! :)