Monday, September 27, 2010

Acceptance

This weekend we went to dinner at our friends' house. We hadn't spent much time with them in awhile, mostly due to the very different stages of life that generally make us operate on different time schedules and within different social circles. Since we have begun trying to conceive, their toddler has turned 4 1/2, they had a second child, and a third one is on the way. DH & I were impressed with their happy and bright children, and while they certainly did not make parenting look easy - we commented to each other later that the father has looked rather ragged and run-down since child #1 was born - being in their home made our longing more concrete. Their home life seemed tiring but joyful, active but rich, and difficult but worthwhile.

After the kids went to bed, we spent a long time discussing things relating to children. Their kids lover literature, and we talked about books they have read to them, books we all remember from our own childhood, and what makes a good story. Honestly, I think one of the things I look forward to most is reading to my children someday.

As we sat in their living room littered with toys, I longed but I did not experience jealousy or pain. The emotions of an infertile are unpredictable, and I am often surprised by the things that I feel ok about - or don't.

I had the most obvious thought: I will never be this family. We will never have the 3-4 children in the way we expected, and we won't have them 2.5 years apart. We will never decide how we want our family to look. And I realized that I am ok with this. I think I have accepted that infertility is a permanent part of our lives now. So much of the pain and suffering to date has been the loss of "the dream" and the loss of my ability to plan and "control" my life (as much as any person really can do), but I feel like I am at a place of acceptance in regards to this. Of course, this place of peace can come and go, and I know circumstances could easily make it crash down around me. But I am thankful God has brought me here, and I feel like I have "made it" to a certain place in this journey. As weird as it sounds I am content here. I don't want to stay here forever, but being here - where God wants me to be - is finally alright.

I have not, however, accepted the loss of a biological child yet, and I feel like that is the crux of my current pain. Thankfully, I mostly feel this pain after failed cycles, so my day-to-day life is generally happy and optimistic. But when it is there - wow, that pain is deep. But if God has brought me to the current state of peace, I am thankfully reminded that he will lead, guide, and provide peace if biological children are not part of his plan for us.

God may still have a biological child in store for us. We might adopt. We might have twins. We might adopt a sibling set. In the end, the family God gives us could look almost identical on the outside to the one I dreamed of, or it could look entirely different. I can't wait to see it and am praying it begins to become reality sooner than later.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy fall!

Perhaps because I live in Southern C.alifornia and we don't have "real" seasons, I compensate by loving them. I like to try and cook seasonally, decorate my house a little, and save certain favorite flavors for the coordinating season. And of all the seasons, fall is my favorite - I love the coziness, the smells, the tastes, the colors, the foods, and the fact that it also means Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching.

Today was my day off from work, so in between chores I have done some fall celebrating. :)


First, I bought a pumpkin spice latte...
Via Starbucks

Then, I put out some of my fall decorations...

Via Pottery Barn (I don't have the straw or acorns, but I did fill a vase with leaves and a candle...)

I made some pumpkin bread....

via Simply Recipes

And I am making one of our favorite butternut squash recipes for dinner...

Via myrecipes.com/ Cooking Light

I am so thankful God gives us season to mark passages of time, and for the small joys and traditions within them! It really makes me happy, and there is something so nostalgic and sweet about fall in particular that brings so many memories to mind. I am thankful and blessed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thankful for the delay

Now that we are doing our IVF cycle a month later than expected, I am actually really thankful for the delay. One reason is that it will give more time for the vitamins DH is taking to hopefully be effective, since a September IVF cycle was cutting it close to the 72 day guideline for new sp.erm production.

The main reason, however, is the timing of a potential due date. I have learned during our trying to conceive journey that, as an infertile, I simply cannot plan my life around any hoped for due dates. I wouldn't postpone a cycle simply to have a different due date (unless there was a serious conflict) because there are so many unknowns that plans just have to be thrown out the window.

If miraculously positive, a September IVF would have given me a late June due date....but late June is when we always go to summer camp with our church's youth group. DH and I have gone for 5 years now, and June 2011 will be the last time we would go since our students will be entering their senior year of high school. I very much want to be there with them, but my reasoning circled back to the "no planning around due dates" rule outlined above, and I decided we should still move forward and simply trust God with the timing if he did bless us with a pregnancy.

But now we are anticipating an October IVF...and IF it's positive and IF it's a singleton...we would have a late July 2011 due date. I know I probably wouldn't be able to go away to camp for the whole week, but I could at least drive out there for a day to see my sweet girls at their last summer camp. These are a lot of if-statements, I know, so only God knows how anything would actually happen. And part of me feels silly for even mapping this out. But I want to be hopeful, and amazingly, thankfully, I am still hopeful.

Friday, September 17, 2010

And the wait continues

I went to the RE today and had some blood work done. The nurse said my "estrogen is rising" and my progesterone is low, so they think I will ovulate in a week or so, and should then get my period in about 3 weeks. I'm not really sure how they know it is rising since it's just one measure - what if it is still dropping after my frozen cycle? But I'm guessing it fell within a range of "preparing to ovulate," and my RE did say late ovulation can be a side effect of all the drugs.

I'm a little disappointed that the next cycle is so delayed, but overall relieved to simply know what's going on in my body and not continually anticipating the next cycle. Hopefully I can just sit back and enjoy the next 3 weeks. :)

****

Oh, the irony. At the RE's office this morning I saw a little baby bump on one of the nurse's assistants/ phlebotomists. She is actually one of my favorite people there, and I always hope she is the one who does my blood draw. I didn't congratulate her today - she's at that size that it's 100% obvious to me that she is pregnant, but doesn't feel obvious enough to say anything, you know? I just had to chuckle to myself that it must be incredibly awkward to work at an infertility clinic as a very young and pregnant woman. I put myself in her shoes, and I don't think I would want to be in that position! Not that you can do anything about it if it's your job, but awkward seems like the most applicable word for her next few months at work...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still waiting

I haven't posted because everyday I think, "Tomorrow will be the day - cycle day one!" And then I imagine writing my IVF cycle #4 kick off post to announce it to you all....

The only problem is, I'm still waiting for my period. I spotted very lightly for a couple days over a week ago (and by lightly, I mean very lightly and almost non-existent - zero chance it was my period), and then nothing. Today is cycle day 35, and this is my longest (non-medicated) cycle EVER. Prior to this month, I think my longest cycle was 28 days!

At what point do you think I should call the RE? I guess I either didn't ovulate, or I ovulated really late. I'm in no particular rush to get the next cycle underway, it is just strange that I have been expecting it for about 10 days now but I have no hints that my period is even approaching.

And before you get your hopes up, I have been testing every couple days just to, you know, make sure....and have been rewarded with very clear and certain BFNs.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey body

In the earlier TTC days, I knew my body like the back of my hand. I hardly needed to temp or use OPK's to know when I was ovulating (although I still did faithfully, to ensure we were timing it right), I knew when the spotting would start, and I knew when my period would come.

However, since starting IF treatments my body has changed, and I have lost touch with it. Thanks to constant RE appointments as well as drugs telling my body what to do, I haven't monitored anything for a long time. On the non-treatment months, my body is usually spotting nearly everyday in what feels like wild complaint to what I am doing with it. However, I certainly don't feel guilty for giving it drugs, since my body has done it's fair share of spotting to spite me anyway (we have a bit of a love-hate relationship, I guess).

This month my body loved me - or, at least, the residual estrogen from the FET. Virtually NO spotting (only a little around cycle day 10), and even now I only have the faintest spotting to warn me that my period is approaching.

Instead of a super short spotting filled cycle, I am on cycle day 29!! This is quite a long cycle for me, and that combined with the lack of spotting made me start to wonder if I should take an HPT. Not that I really got my hopes up, but still....maybe?!

BFN.

I think the plain and simple truth is that I just don't know how to read my body anymore, and it seems to do something different every non-medicated cycle. Thanks for an enjoyable cycle, body, but let's get this show on the road!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I love weddings

We just got back from a beautiful and happy wedding, and DH & I have sadly realized this may be the last wedding we attend for a little while. We can't think of any friends who are engaged or soon-to-be engaged....which is strange after the countless weddings we have been to in the last eight years or so!

General wedding favorites:
*Watching the groom as he sees the bride for the first time
*Holding DH's hand during the ceremony and reflecting on our own vows
*The joy radiating from the couple
*The bride's dress!
*Catching up with other friends
*Yummy food & cake

How about you? Do you have other wedding favorites?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Processing

Finding out that my brother is expecting has not been as difficult as I expected, but it has been the kind of news that is constantly pulsing through my mind. Most often it's the same pieces of information and the same emotions whirling around over and over again, but occasionally there will be a new thought to add to the mix. I have told any friend I have seen in the last two days - it is one of the first thing that bursts out of my mouth, almost like I can't contain it.

My brother himself called me a few hours after my mom told me the news - I acted surprised when he told me. I was actually quite touched that he called, since we have never really had a "close" relationship, but my family and I have been working on it. Also, I had the realization that I have been so very blessed with my family: I have my younger brother with whom I am much closer, a loving relationship with my parents, four grandparents who loved on me like no other (three have passed away), and an aunt and an uncle with no children of their own....I have had many close family relationships. This realization came in contrast to the fact that my older brother has not really had this, and, to some extent, we are some of the only family he has. I became thankful that when he had happy news, he called our dad to tell him - and even called me!

And how could I not feel happiness for him in light of his own happiness? I could tell even through the phone that his cheeks were probably sore from smiling so much, and he probably wished he could shout, "I'm going to be a dad!" from the rooftops. As difficult as the situation is, I have decided to hope and pray for the best for him and his new family. Perhaps this will be a positive turning point in his life.

The final gut punch, however, is that he told my dad they have already picked out names. Out of the millions of names out there, can you believe they picked the same girl's name that we have? Claire (or Clara, my dad couldn't remember). I know it's not the most unusual name, but still?!? In my effort to fight the temptation to feel bitter, however, I have decided to pray that they have a boy! Ha.

I am praying for God to give me strength, peace, and grace to extend love to my brother (and his baby!) without holding anything back.