Sunday, October 31, 2010

Baby Shower Shopping

One of my very good college friends is going to have a baby next year, and she is having her baby shower next week.  I can't attend, so today after church I decided to shop for her gift, which I plan to mail to her.  Apparently, Bed, Bath and Beyond now has a new baby section, so I decided to go check it out.

For those of you who've been reading, you will know that I have been hanging in there this entire month, feeling pretty matter-of-fact with our current situation.  Which is why I was surprised how emotional I felt in the store, walking amongst the baby things.  I felt like I was on the verge of tears the entire time, and my insides were an achy mush.  I kept praying that I wouldn't run into anyone I knew, or else I was sure that I would burst into tears right there between the potty training seats and the Mustela diaper cream.

Last year at this time, I would have just glided through the expedition, with a smug sense that my turn would be coming soon.  (The plan was to start trying at the beginning of 2010.)  I've said it once, and I'll say it again -- what a difference a year makes.  Now, I wonder when my turn will be.  Will it be next year, two years, three years, five years, ten years?  I don't know.  The uncertainty is unnerving.

I made it out of the store alive, but allowed myself a few tears on the way home in the car.  I guess it doesn't help that my period is on its way, either today or tomorrow.  I don't want to dwell on the negativity and the fear too much, or else it will consume me.  I am trusting in God's plan for my life, whatever it will be, and trusting that his plan is better than whatever plans I may have for myself.

On a positive note, my husband is coming home tomorrow after a two week business trip.  I've missed him so much, and can't wait to see him.  As hard as this journey has been so far, I can't imagine doing it alone and without him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Two days ago, the paperwork arrived from the fertility clinic. I'd be told ahead of time by the receptionist that she would email me some paperwork for me to fill out before our appointment.  I said, no sweat.

Little did I know I had 30+ pages to read and respond to.  Wow, this is no joking around!  Though I have to admit that my inner schoolgirl came out as I dutifully filled out each question, checked off each Yes/No box.  It felt good to be doing something rather than waiting for something, which has felt like my life this past year.

I will also admit that part of me is hoping that I won't actually have to go to my appointment.  That maybe this time it worked.  I'm sure there are a lot of women out there who feel this way.  But maybe I'll be the one.  You know?  I've been reading up on the battery of tests that await me, and I'm not looking forward to it.  It's all fun and games until someone's shooting dye up your tubes.

Nearing the middle of my tww.  There is still some hope, I suppose, but I don't feel anything.  For those ladies out there who have been pregnant before...are you supposed to feel anything during the tww?  I never have, but it's because I've never been pregnant.  Don't know if I should hold out hope at this point, or give up and have a glass of wine.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Not Me, It's You

Today, I made an appointment with our local fertility clinic to go in for a consultation.  We want to get tested, and see if there could be larger issues at play.  It's a good first step -- a little bit scary, a little bit of a relief.  I feel like I have been transporting this worry and anxiety on my back for the past six months, and finally I can sort of hand it to someone else for a while, namely the experts.  It was something my husband and I have been talking about doing when he returned from his business trip.  Our appointment is set for November 10.

As I mentioned before, I've been doing alright this month.  I'm currently in my tww window, which has traditionally been very tough for me.  It usually consists of me rollercoastering between thinking I'm pregnant and being convinced that we'd failed again.  Not fun times, I tell you.

But I'll tell you something, and hopefully you won't think worse of me, but part of the reason I've been able to cope this month is the feeling that maybe our issues don't have to do with me, as I'd originally been fearing.  Maybe they have to do with my husband!  I don't know why it hadn't really occurred to me before, but he was the one that was born premature and very ill as a result.  He's mostly overcome these issues, but it would make sense that his fertility may have been affected as a result.

I know it's terrible, but knowing that it may not be my fault has been comforting.  Then again, this hunch is totally unfounded.  It could be totally my fault.  Even if this makes me a horrible person, it's what I need to hang on to my sanity.  And at this point, I'll take what I can get.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When the Hubby is Away

...I become a workaholic so that I can distract myself from thinking about babies.

I have been keeping myself busy since the hubby went away yesterday. Today I ovulated, and I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that this is probably another month that will go by without a baby.  Surprisingly, I'm holding up pretty well...neither too foolishly hopeful that maybe this will be the month, nor too down in the dumps that we're probably not pregnant.  It's a good thing.  I feel like I might be getting back to the way I used to be -- before babies absolutely consumed my thoughts and desires.

Maybe this conception thing will just take a while, and I should settle in for the ride.  Maybe we don't have any problems, per se.  Maybe our time will come later than some others.

I know these are fairly simple revelations, but to me, I'm making huge strides by being ok with these statements.

Not to say that I'm not preparing myself for the worst.  Tonight I went to the library and picked up some infertility titles:

Has anyone read any of these books?  Any thoughts on any of these?  I have been devouring books on this subject ever since it became a potential issue.  No one in my real life talks openly about infertility, so to have these books to read have been invaluable to me, emotionally.  I feel like I am able to forge a true connection with someone out there who has experienced some of the same emotions I've been experiencing the past six months -- the panic, the disbelief, the despair, the grief.

Overall, I am thankful for this more positive outlook these past couple of weeks.  I am learning to lean on God's grace, and am thankful for His provision in my life.  I'm going to sign off this post with one of my all-time favorite verses.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Coming Full Circle

Not much to report.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm pretty sure that this month's try will be a wild shot in the dark.  And since there's no expectation, at least there won't be any crushing disappointment when I get my period in a couple of weeks.

Last year, my husband and I were at a wedding with very good friends of ours.  This was middle of November 2009.  We were talking about babies, and I said that by next year at this time, I hoped I would be either pregnant or have had a baby.  (This was when we were planning to start trying at the beginning of 2010.)  And throughout this year, as we've been trying and watching each month go by, that evening in November is what I keep thinking of.

I laugh at myself back then.  Because at that time, when I said I wanted to be pregnant by the following year, I'd thought that it would be a simple task.  There wasn't even the possibility that I wouldn't be pregnant.  Oh, what a difference a year makes.

This year has brought me to my knees in front of God.  It's forced me to see that all good things are truly a gift that only He can give.  It's humbled me in ways that I hadn't imagined possible last year.  I'm not sure what God's plan is in all of this, but I have to trust that He has one, and that this is exactly where we need to be right now.

My husband leaves for a business trip tomorrow for two weeks.  While he's away, we've decided that I will make an appointment for us at the local fertility clinic when he gets back.  We want to undergo some preliminary testing (sperm analysis, blood work, etc.) to make sure there is nothing glaringly wrong with either one of us

I know some people may think we're getting ahead of ourselves, but my husband was born premature and suffered a lot of medical issues because of it.  He overcame many of those issues early on in life (thank goodness), but I'm worried that perhaps his fertility was affected in some way.  If so, we'd rather know now rather than later.

If you get a chance, please say a prayer for us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We're Up To Bat Again

This is my week.  The week of the big O.

My cycles have slowly started getting longer and longer the longer I've been off birth control.  Whereas I was first ovulating on Day 15 or 16, now I'm ovulating around Day 20 or 22.  It's been a bummer adding a week to my cycle.  When you're TTC, that can feel like ages.

So this is the week when I'm supposed to be getting it on.  The only problem is that I may not ovulate until beginning of next week.  The reason that that's a problem is that on Sunday my husband is leaving on a business trip, one that cannot be avoided unfortunately.  We'll try, but we're not stressing it too much.  What am I going to do if the timing's not right?  I said to him that it feels like we're trying to throw a three pointer from half court.  We're just operating on foolish hope this month.

Maybe it's our circumstances this month, but the longer we've been trying, the more blase I get about our "try" week.  When we first started out, we were doing it every day around the time of ovulation.  That went on a few months until we realized we couldn't keep up that kind of pace.  Last month it was every other day which was a much better pace.

Regardless of whether it was every day or every other day, I'd been absolutely convinced that we had to do it on the day of ovulation in order to conceive.  And not just the day of ovulation, but the morning of, so that I was sure the sperm would be in place and ready when that magic egg rolled down the chute.

Now, I'm just realizing if that's how people are supposed to get pregnant, then I'll never get pregnant.  I'll never be able to orchestra my timing that perfectly.  And if we have to be that precise, then there are probably larger issues at play, ones that are beyond my control and probably belong in the hands of a specialist.  So at this point, I am just hoping that nature will take its course.

Part of the reason I'm so blase is that it doesn't matter either way whether I try or don't try.  When I try (all of the charting and calculated sex and calendar watching), nothing happens.  Which leads me to think that all of the planning and worrying don't seem to help anything along.  So why waste the energy?

Am I losing hope or letting go into God's hands?  Maybe a little of both.  I am just getting so tired of the heartache and the frustration and the worry when I get my period every month.  It's been such an emotional rollercoaster these past six months.  I want to let it go and give it to the Lord.  I can't do this on my own.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Life Re-Imagined

A couple nights ago, I pulled out God's Design for Women by Sharon James, a book that I'd read five years ago, when I'd been engaged.  One of the last chapters, "The Ministry of Comfort," which deals with women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, rape, abortion, etc., was one that I probably glossed over at the time.  Didn't think it applied, or would apply.  Not that I am technically deemed infertile (yet), but a couple of nights ago, I read that chapter a lot more closely and it really hit home.

This particular passage really popped out for me, and I couldn't help getting teary-eyed:

The Bible is brutally honest that life in the here and now will not always be happy, and that the effects of sin are terrible and far-reaching.  It does not offer health and wealth and family success as our rights: rather it depicts the whole of creation as groaning.  God's people must expect suffering, our bodies grow frail, loved ones are unexpectedly snatched by death.  It is clear that the purpose of our lives is not to be healthy, prosperous, to have a nice family or do well at work.  The purpose of life is to know God.  When we know God, we have abundant life and real joy.  Throughout church history, and today, many Christians have testified through the most intense suffering and pain that God has been with them and for them in it all.  That kind of Christianity is powerful.  It speaks with a clearer voice than all the fine words of those who know little of pain.

I know that God doesn't promise me biological children, but it's hard to wrap my head around this when all of my life it'd felt like a given.  If I was going to suffer anything, it wouldn't be this.  It might be terminal illness, job loss, death of my spouse, lifelong acne, severed friendships.  I don't know...anything but (possible) infertility.  This concept has forced me to re-imagine my life, which has been absolutely earth-shattering for me.

In my angriest scenarios, I think of us without children, living in a beautiful, well-kept small home.  Luxury cars in the driveway (definitely a two-seater sports car because we wouldn't need the back seats).  Vacations to exotic locations that do not rotate around the school calendar.  Designer clothes.  Of course, this makes the big assumption that we will be making good money since we won't have kids.  Not something God has guaranteed either, but this is my fantasy, go with it.  This is when I'm angriest at God, and want to throw it back in His face.

When I'm at my most humble, it is a life with adopted children because maybe we've tried fertility treatments and they didn't work.  Maybe we decided to not do IVF because of the moral implications (my jury is still out on this one).  Instead, we have adopted one or two children and they are our family.  And we love them intensely the way we would if they were our own biological children.  We would have to deal with other issues -- how would we feel around others who were able to biologically conceive, or what if one day our child wanted to find his biological parents.  But overall, it would be a great opportunity to give someone a loving home and raise him to know the Lord.  That is my best worst case scenario, if you know what I mean.

In the end, whatever way our lives fall, and if children fit into that picture, and whether those children are biologically ours or not, I don't want to spend my life angry with God.  I want to be joyful.  And part of that, in a practical sense, is being able to visualize a life that is different from what I'd originally imagined...and being ok with it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's Kick It Off

I thought I'd start a blog to chronicle my journey of trying to conceive.  My husband and I have been married five years in September.  I'm 30 and he's 29, and at the end of 2009, we decided to pull the goalie and start our family.

I should preface this whole story with the fact that I thought we would have absolutely no problem conceiving.  I had even bragged to my roommates in college (with no prior experience that would dictate either way) that I was sure I was a fertile turtle.  I guess I was basing this off of the fact that my mom had absolutely no problem getting pregnant with both my brother and me.  I figured why would I have any problems.  Plus, they teach you in school that if you so much as pull your pants down within a 5 mile radius of a boy, you were exposing yourself to the risk of pregnancy.  How hard could it be, right?

As I'd mentioned, my story starts at the end of 2009.  I stopped taking birth control pills in December.  By doctor's orders, I waited about 3 months before we actively started trying, so that my hormone levels could regulate themselves.  The first month we tried, I bled midway through my cycle.  In hindsight, I'm thinking that this was probably a month that I didn't ovulate.  A weird glitch seeing as my cycles were quite regular the two months before. A bit discouraging seeing as we'd waited 3 months to really get the party started.  Nevermind, I thought to myself, there's next month, and next month I'll definitely get pregnant!

I've thought the same thing every month up until now...about 6 six months later.  Still no baby.

I've tried charting and checking my cervical mucus.  I haven't tried OPKs yet, as those seem like a waste of money if I can chart and check my mucus.  It seems like I am ovulating, based on the spike in temperature that I get every month, but my cycles do tend to be long...averaging about 33 to 36 days.

I have to admit there are times when we've grossly miscalculated my date of ovulation.  But there are times when we've been pretty right on.  I am hoping that there is nothing wrong with us.  It would make this journey so much easier to know either way, though I think a doctor would scoff at us if we tried to get checked out right now.

I am hoping that we will one day create and get to bring home a little miracle, but in the meantime I am waiting and learning what it means to be patient.