Monday, February 28, 2011

On bathrooms and letting go

When we moved into our house almost 3 years ago, we spent a lot of time painting the interior. We started with the most public rooms first before even moving in - the living and dining rooms - as well as our bedroom because it is small and would have a lot of furniture. Over the next six months, we painted the guest bedroom, guest bathroom, kitchen, and entry/ hallway.

About a year after moving in - which was also about a year after we started trying to conceive - we painted what we called the "extra room," but was really the nursery. The nursery that we very much wanted it to be. I painted it with hope that I would soon be filling it with a crib and colorful decor, and chose a mocha color that looked non-nursery enough to paint before I was pregnant, but could be a nice backdrop for a well decorated nursery. We now call it the "brown room," although it is still the nursery in my heart.

Out of all of these rooms, the only one we left unpainted - and was rather ugly - was our tiny master bathroom. At first it was simply because we were too tired of painting and home projects to start, and we were the only ones who ever saw it anyway. As time passed we also realized just how small, old, and unpleasant our master bath is, and started dreaming of a full-fledged bathroom remodel. Simultaneously, we also began fertility treatments. I had been saving money ever since we had begun trying to conceive out of fear that it would come to this - every work bonus, gift, or tax refund that came our way was now in a nice little account I called "our baby bucks fund."

Fertility treatments began, and we spent the first large chunk out of our baby bucks account. We had saved enough for two fresh IVFs, and expected a little more money to come in the next six months to do a third. So as I spent the money on the first IVF, I secretly hoped that we would get pregnant from our first IVF....and then be able to use the extra money in the baby bucks account to do a modest bathroom remodel.

Five ART cycles later, the baby bucks account is as empty as my womb. I am so, so thankful we had that money to even try - I know many couples do not - and that we are very fortunate to have been able to afford infertility treatments. I do not regret spending that money because we had to try, although I also cringe when I do think about having nothing to show for it.

Two weeks ago I entered our master bathroom and began to scrub and clean. And as I did so, I realized all over again how much I don't even like the space, and had the fleeting dream of a remodel again. But just like a baby is not in our near future, neither is a bathroom remodel. Isn't it strange how many things I can link to our infertility? As I scrubbed, this bathroom symbolized our barren bank account, which is intricately tied into my empty womb. And I hated the bathroom.

President's Day arrived and brought with it a three day weekend, and DH and I tackled our bathroom. We could not pay for a full remodel, but we could afford a can of paint. We could not tile a shower, but I could get a pretty shower curtain to cover up the avocado green shower surround. And so, 3 days and $300 later, we finished our bathroom face lift.



It's hard to photograph the tiny room, but I think you can tell it is a much cleaner and happier feeling room now. :) It is a light, light olive green, although it looks almost white in the picture. We're really happy with it and it was a fun project to do together.

I feel like I am in the process (a very long and difficult process) of letting go of my dreams of pregnancy and normalcy in how we build our family. I think by finally doing something with the bathroom, I moved a tiny step forward. Things might not work out exactly as I had dreamed, but our bathroom is still pretty nice. We have much to be thankful for.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red faced

My husband often goes for a jog on his lunch break. We are fortunate in that we live very close to his work (2.2 miles, to be exact), so he will go home, grab a quick bite to eat, go for a twenty minute run, take a shower, and get back to work within an hour or so. He says he loves getting his exercising in during the day, and that he feels rejuvenated all afternoon.

The other night, DH was telling me about his jog at lunch, and that the only downside to all of this is that his face turns tomato red after running...and stays that way for longer than you would expect. He said when he returned to the office, he ran into his boss in the hallway who stopped and did a double take when he saw DH's red face. He asked if DH was feeling all right, to which DH explained that he had just gone for a run.

DH and I laughed at this little story, and I told him I know exactly what he means. I always hated junior high PE for many reasons, but one of which was the fact that I got the bright-red-what-the-heck-happened-to-you-face that lasted throughout the whole period or two after PE. Other kids would get cute flushed cheeks, but I certainly did not look cute after PE. I still get this when I exercise, but 1. I have not exercised much since starting IF treatments (yes, I know that is a long time ago...) and 2. I exercise in the privacy of my own home when I do. But anyway....let's not talk about my current exercising habits, or lack thereof, please.

As we swapped our red-faced stories, I thought, "Our kids don't stand a chance - they are going to have the same red-face curse too. There's no way around it with both of us having this trait!" As soon I had the thought it almost pushed forth to be spoken, but I stopped it. I did not say this thought. Because the thought does not feel true anymore - our kids very well may not be biologically related to us, and therefore are very likely to not get the freakishly red faced look after exercising.

This is not the first time I have had to push thoughts like that away. Nor am I particularly sad about this specific trait. But, if you start actually paying attention to how many times you think or say things like, "Our children will have this" or "He has her eyes" or "Where did that trait come from?!" about your own kids, future kids, and others' is A LOT. And I know you have probably not stopped to count, but as somebody who is currently blocking these types of thoughts from being verbalized about my own future children (and even other people's children because it hurts), I am shocked by how much this is ingrained in us to do. I do it all.the.time. And so do you, I bet.

But most people don't really notice, because it's just so normal. And I'm sad that I have to notice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I shared last week how broken yet encouraged I felt at church, and I wanted to explain a little more. I have also shared before how church is often a very emotional place, and not just because of the millions of babies and young families around. It is a place where week by week I refocus myself on the center and purpose of my life - Jesus. Doing that is always like drinking a long, deep gulp of perfect, thirst satisfying water, but at the same time realizing just how thirsty I am. And I am always so thirsty.

As I experience my thirst, it opens the wound a little. I see my neediness, my brokenness. And that was part of the sermon on Sunday. Jesus says in Luke 4:20-30 that many have heard and will hear the good news, yet they will not believe. Our pastor emphasized that we need to know our brokenness and need for God so that we will turn to him. He (through other scripture) said that it is often easier for the "poor" to believe, because they have nothing and know they need God. And it is easier for the "rich" to believe, because they have everything yet know they are not satisfied, but the "middle class" can deceive themselves - the "I will be satisfied when..."

He quoted a story from Charles Spurgeon (I am paraphrasing greatly here - forgive me): A successful judge attended his church. One day he came up to take communion, and a criminal he had convicted and sent to prison for some time was taking communion next to him. Later, Spurgeon talked to the judge and said, "What a great act of God's grace today that you and the former criminal took communion side be side." The judge replied, "Yes, but I not referring to God's grace towards the criminal, but for myself. It is a miracle that God brought him to salvation, but it is a greater miracle that the Lord did so for me. I grew up in the church and could have just thought I was "ok" without ever really knowing the grace of God - yet the Lord revealed it to me. That was the miracle I saw today as I took communion alongside the other man."

And as I listened I was struck by just how "middle class" I am, and not just in the money sense. But I had a fairly stable and loving home life growing up, no major life traumas, and I, too, could have just tried to be "ok" if it were not for God's grace saving me from my middle-class-ness.

As I rejoiced that God saved me, I also rejoiced that God continues to draw me to himself. I was truly thankful for my infertility as I sat there - thankful that God has used it to keep me broken and not grow numb or forgetful to his great love and grace. I always want to be broken before God so that I can depend on him. I hope it will not always hurt so much, but in that moment I welcomed any pain so long as I do not stray from the love of God.

And I thanked God for my infertility, and worshiped him. In my heart of hearts I do not think I had been able to do that before.

Thank you, Lord.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The blues

You know how sometimes you get the "Sunday Blues" because the weekend is ending and you have to go back to work the next day?

And you know how those Sunday blues are multiplied when you are coming home from vacation? The "Post-vacation Blues"?

Yes, the post-vacation blues mixed with the renewed reminder of my barren womb and the reality of our confused position hit me like a ton of bricks when we returned home on Saturday night. We were tired, cranky, and making the two-hour drive home from the airport, and I started quietly crying. I am scared of these next few months ahead, and I wished I could just go back to Washington DC and live in vacation mode for an indefinite amount of time.

The next morning we went to church, which was filled with more quiet crying. The Lord encouraged me there, and I look forward to sharing that with you a future post. But in the midst of that I felt raw and oh so broken. So, so broken. But I also can testify that we serve a loving God who meets us deeply in our brokenness.

Today is Valentine's Day. For the last couple of year's the day fell on a weekend, and DH & I spent the day together as an all-day date. However, since we just returned from vacation, we have work today, and our youth group Bible studies tonight, we're not really doing anything nor was I expecting anything.

But when I got in the car to drive to work this morning, this was sitting on my seat:

DH surprised me with a really sweet card. And, yes, I cried some happy tears.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

{waving hello}

Hello from Washington, DC! I know it makes no difference to you out in the Internet world where I post from, but it feels pretty different to me. :) we have been here since late Saturday night and are having an amazing time.

I love history. I love gaining a new appreciation for our government and country's history. I love planning out the next day with DH. I love not thinking about infertility. I love the full days traipsing around the city. I love bundling up in my winter wardrobe (although it has been REALLY cold, and there have been moments I did not love the winter weather...). I'm so thankful we are able to take this trip.

Hope you are all well - miss you!

Me, desperately learning how to stay warm on our walk home from the metro tonight. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Home from surgery

I am very thankful to report that everything went smoothly today, and I am home resting now with some delicious soup warming my belly and candles burning on the coffee table next to me.

I am also very thankful to report that my RE removed a 1 cm fibroid from my uterus. With all of my uncertainty about whether or not to even do the surgery, I confess it was a huge relief to know that something was actually done. I dreaded to wake up to hear that he looked around but the fibroid was so small...or not placed in such a way that it was protruding into the uterine cavity...or whatever it would be that resulted in him looking around in there but not doing anything. Yes, peace of mind would have been nice, but I am very thankful to get that fibroid out. I think it was significantly bigger than he thought it was via ultrasound/ saline ultrasound prior to the surgery.

When I saw my RE on Friday, I had mentioned that my last fibroid removal surgery was a "piece of cake," and he reminded me that although this is a simple surgery, all surgeries are different. And this one certainly was. I remember very few discomforts with the last - I simply remember sleeping, sleeping, and more sleeping and then waking up feeling like I had just had the best nap ever. Almost no pain (I think I said I was a 2 on the pain scale), very minimal bleeding, and overall I felt great within a few hours of waking up.

This time, not so much. All of the discomforts were mild - very mild - but I guess I was just surprised to have any after my experience with the last surgery. I woke up faster, but I felt less rested and more cranky. I felt some cramping (perhaps a 4 on the pain scale), and requested some pain meds. My throat was really sore from the intubation tube (and still is), I was shaky and cold feeling, and I kept wanting to go back to sleep but couldn't really. Then I was transferred to post-op where DH met me. I was coming to more and more, but it felt like it took longer to not feel so out of it. My bleeding has been heavier, too, although I'm certainly not bleeding through pads.

However, I have to reiterate that I am doing just fine, and feeling better each hour that passes. I know all of these discomforts are incredibly mild, and am thankful this was a minor surgery! So thankful for safety and wellness today, and thankful the fibroid was removed.

All in all, I would say the surgery was a success. Thanks for your prayers and support!