Sunday, July 24, 2011

Allergies and the Time Release Cure

Forgive me for not posting much lately.  My allergies have been acting up.

Once upon a time I used to love labor and delivery shows on the TLC.channel...but then our loss happened and I became severely allergic.  Just the thought puts me in postpartum depression.

Now, I've discovered that I'm becoming allergic to most things pregnancy related.  Truthfully, I never thought that I would be one of "those" interfiles and I'm a little miffed that it's happening but...I guess that it's been a painful month so I'm allowed a few allergic reactions.  I've been trying to take care of myself and work through it.  It seems like more and more of my favorite infertility blogs are turning into pregnancy blogs...which is awesome...although, a bit sad for me.  So, I recognize my limits and haven't been blogging as much. 

Before all of this, I think  that I used to be a pretty funny and sharp person.  Witty.  Now...not so much.  Occasionally, I'll have a deep thought though and today this is it:

Sometimes I get frustrated over the injustice of it all.  For example, today as Mr. Thompson was making an adorable little baby laugh in church I couldn't help but think (AGAIN!) that he is such a great father.  When I came home and saw another news story about an abused child dying I wanted to scream out loud at the injustice of it all.

Instead, I had to have a stern conversation with myself (AGAIN!) as a reminder that the Lord is not being unfair in his distribution of children.  They aren't like little gold stars being passed out by a teacher for good behavior.  Neither the presence or absence of children is an outward sign of a couple's worthiness to be parents.  That realization was a breakthrough for me.

Another breakthrough happened yesterday when I saw this on Savor The Moment (thanks Ashley!) :


Consider this...

Perhaps the arrival of children depends more on the timing and circumstance that is best suited for that child's destiny.

Big.  I know.

Think of Elisabeth and Zacharias, the parents of John the Baptist.  They were valiant and good people.  They righteously desired a child but were denied that for a very-very long time.  It had to be frustrating and hard for them, living in a culture that prized fertility, expecting to reap the blessings of a righteous life, and having their faith severely tested as they faced the end of their childbearing years.  I wondered if they questioned their own worthiness.  I wonder if they tried to bury themselves in perfecting and qualifying themselves in hopes that their efforts would finally be fruitful.  I wonder if they felt the scrutiny of others who may have suggested that more faith, more obedience, more something might hold the key to success.

The reality of the situation is that they were appointed to be the parents of John the Baptist, the prophet who would usher in the birth of Jesus Christ.  The timing of John's birth was essential to his mission in life.  He was to come 6 months before Jesus was born, at a time when Elisabeth was very old.  No matter how faithful Elisabeth was, how much desire and faith she had, no matter how much she fasted and prayed and pleaded....this birth could not have been expedited.  The timing had to fulfil a higher plan and purpose.  When the time was right, the miracle finally occurred.

I think about my own life and timing.  What if I had been born at another time, in another place, to another family? What if I had even been born a year (or two) earlier...would I have had the same experiences?  Met the same friends?  Married the same man? 

Probably not. 

Which is why I now take great comfort in the fact that it's a timing thing...not a worthiness thing.

How you like "them apples" for an allergy cure?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ducks Unlimted

Today I thought about joining Ducks Unlimited.

I want to do it in honor of the duck I became friends with this morning.  We met at 5:30am as I was driving down the freeway in pre-rush hour traffic.  Weak sunlight was beginning to light to sky above the mountains during my favorite time of day:  Dawn.  As I was thinking about how beautiful it was....

A big shadow appeared right in front of my car.  I mean right above the windshield of my car.  It was a big honking duck who was flying for all s/he was worth.  Flying low - flying straight down the five lanes of early morning traffic - at dawn - dodging cars - in 80 65 mile per hour traffic (Yah - I admit...I'm one of those drivers...).

Not a good combination.

And as I got into the other lane to pass save the poor bird....I looked over as it was flying parallel with the roof of my car and saw absolute fear in that duck's eyes.  It's eyes were looking back and it's wings were flapping for all that it was worth because it knew that it was dodging bullets from behind.

I think it was thinking "oh crap!"

I was too as I watched in my rear view mirror for as long as I could, praying that those flapping feathers would stay intact.  I found myself urging it along with "Just go higher!  Just go higher! Just go higher!".

I hope that it lived.  But if it didn't and is looking down on me from heaven above...I want this duck to know that I've been thinking about it all day. 

It's been reminding me that when things get a little crazy in the fast lane....maybe I just need to lift myself up a little higher so that I can enjoy the flight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Comedy and Tragedy

Right now, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. 

So I think I'll cry.

I received a  surprise check in the mail today for $230.50 from our reproductive clinic.  A refund for our "overpayment".

Overpayment?  Holy crap that's like "salt in the wound".  You have no idea how much of an "overpayment" we've made the last 4 1/2 years on unsuccessful infertility treatments (or maybe you do....).

Which is why $230.50 makes me want to weep.

Then again, maybe I should laugh.  Great gales of laughter over the fact that once upon a time we didn't want to adopt because it "cost too much".  Nothing like a little infertility treatment to make a $28,000 adoption feel like pocket change.

On the bright side, I think that I finally found a use for that stupid tattoo that I got in college.  At the time, the comedy and tragedy masks looked like a good option (which I still blame my room mates for.  "We" should have had better judgment on something so permanent and picked something a little less 1995...)

Then again, if "we" (meaning YOU Brek!) would have selected the second option (an unknown Chinese symbol which also tragically looked 1995 cool at the time)...I wouldn't have been able to finish that stupid decision off today with a penned in "laugh now, cry later".

Foreshadowing?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Call Bull....

There is a game that I love to play.  It is called "Cheat" in Britain and "Bullshit" in the USA.  You all know how it goes...

Any player who suspects that the card(s) discarded by a player do not match the rank called can challenge the play by calling "Bullshit!". If they are wrong then they have to pick up the entire discarded pile and if they are right then the liar has to pick it up.

I love this game for two reasons:  #1 - Lying/cheating is acceptable if you can get away with it.  #2 - It's really fun to scream "Bullshit".

Which is exactly what I'm doing here as I watch TV.   I'm playing the game with Entertainment.Tonight and I'm winning.  They are talking about the "Royal Visit" and the "Royal Baby Watch".  The pressure is on now that the wedding is over and they are on high alert watching for the bump..  Pleeeeeasssse.  So what does ET do?  Like every "factual" news story they find a trusted source.

Enter OB/GYN.

And this is what the "reputable" doctor said (I had to rewind it four times to be sure I was really hearing her right!).  She said, "If a woman is healthy, and she's eating well... not stressing too much...it's a clear shot for her to be able to conceive. The perfect solution for her to be able to conceive is to be resting and enjoying her husband."

"Bullshit".  I call "Bullshit!"

...and with that I'm going to go eat another salad, take a longer nap, and show more teeth as I smile at my husband....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fertile In Our Faith

I had an interesting conversation today.  It was from someone who made all the correct assumptions as to why I don't have children.  Although I do not know her very well... she asked me about the unique challenge of infertility in such a family-focused culture and how all of it has affected my life. 

In trying to explain it, I used a religious comparison from a book that I recently picked up in my doctor's office (they have a plethora of waiting room material from different religious viewpoints, psychological perspectives, etc.).  I knew it was in terms she could understand so the conversation when a little like this...

Imagine being a young Primary-age boy.  Throughout your Primary years you are taught that when you are twelve years old, you will receive the priesthood.  You will be ordained a deacon.  You will pass the sacrament.  You will continue to grow in the priesthood, holding various offices, serving a mission, attending the temple, and blessing your family with the priesthood throughout your life.  It is a man's calling.  You are taught to prepare for this special ordination. 

Imagine being that same boy, turning twelve, and being told that you will not receive the priesthood.  Despite being completely worthy, you are being denied this opportunity for an unknown reason.  You will not be ordained a deacon.  You may not pass the sacrament.  You will not serve a mission.  You will not advance throughout the priesthood as you expected.  The reason is unknown.  Everyone insists that you are worth but you must be patient.

Imagine going to church every Sunday and watching the deacons pass the sacrament.  Imagine watching young men being ordained in various offices.  Image watching confirmations, baby blessings, and other priesthood ordinances being performed.  Imagine hearing the joyful news of mission calls being extended to other men.  Imagine hearing lessons every Sunday about honoring and magnifying the priesthood in your calling and in leading and blessing your family.  Imagine hearing how important it is for all men to hold the priesthood as a special calling from Heavenly Father.

Would you feel left out?  Would you question your worthiness, even though assurances were made that you were worthy?  Would you wonder about your purpose in life?  Would you have sufficient faith to endure this puzzling and frustrating circumstance? 

That is kind of what if feels like, when as a young woman, you prepare for the eventual calling of motherhood.  You played with dolls as a little girl.  You also played "House" forcing all your little friends to be your "kids" (mainly so you could boss them around).  As a teenager and young adult you were taught well to guard the process of procreation.  Marriage eventually came, and then, despite your worthiness to receive this calling, motherhood was deferred for some unknown reason. 

You attend church every Sunday and watch new mothers, old mothers, and mothers-to-be.  You witness the blessing of new babies.  You attend lessons every week that celebrate motherhood and teach women how to magnify their motherhood to bless their children, which is complimentary to the man's role.  But for an unknown reason, this opportunity will not be available to you.  You must wait upon the Lord, and this waiting requires faith and hope in the eventual  realization of the Lord's plan for you.

And this is the unique challenge of infertility.  It is one that requires you to be very fertile in your faith - whatever that faith may be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Releasing A Hug

A while ago I got some great advice from a friend while I was going through the grieving process.  It wasn't an intentional conversation, it was actually a very simple statement that was made in passing, but the result had a profound impact on what I was going through at the time.  She said that when a child comes up to hug you, you should never be the first one to release that hug.  She said that I should hold on until the child lets go first.

I've been thinking a lot about this during the last week as I've held on to a lot of hugs from my nieces and nephews.  Nothing feels better.  I've also been thinking a lot about it as I've been pondering the situations of two very special friends.  One recently received the exciting news that she is pregnant after years of struggling through infertility.  We started our latest IVF process together in January and have been able to relate to each other throughout the whole experience.  My other special friend  is someone that I've known and loved for a long time.  She got married last year, was able to conceive naturally but is experiencing serious medical challenges in utero with her little girl.  Both, have natural fears of the of the unknowns which lay ahead of them.

I am confident that their outcomes will be 100% different from mine...but  it's caused me to reflect on how sometimes - tragically - the joys of successful conception is shattered by the devastation of pregnancy and infant loss.  My own experience has been a 39 month journey in learning to release a hug.   For these friends, I want them to hold on to their hugs with all the hope and faith that they can muster for a long-long-long time.  To fear is natural, especially when you have suffered disappointments and bad news. When you've suffered loss, or been afraid to hope, or received very scary prognosis you wonder if it is foolish to hold up hope until the inevitable, devastating end.  But it is not foolishness.  It is a mother's love.

Waiting to release the hug can also mean avoiding being consumed by fear of failure during a pregnancy.  Worries are normal for a mother who wants to protect her growing baby.  But one way of holding that hug is living in the moment and savoring each day as much as possible.  I spent so many weeks in desperate worry that I might miscarry, and as a result I unfortunately never fully enjoyed those 24 weeks of pregnancy like I could have.  It was as though I denied myself the opportunity to hug my child while I could in an attempt to shield myself from pain.  But when the loss shattered my dreams of impending parenthood, none of that earlier worry had protected me from the pain.  Instead, I had a deep regret that I had missed opportunities for joyful memories of being pregnant before the end came.  Later, as I've talked with anxious mothers-to-be, my advice has always been to be prayerful and hopeful and to savor each precious moment as it comes.  Let normal concerns be used in a positive way to ensure proper care and precautions.  But avoid anticipating loss and creating premature suffering  through excessive worry.  I love my friends because they are doing exactly that.  Like them, we should always hold that hope and that hug for as long as possible. 

Never be the first one to let go.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Undaunted

When Mr. Thompson and I take a summer vacation we usually do something adventurous and big.  However, a few weeks ago I surprised him when I said that I was going to my parents house in Idaho to enjoy a quiet week of rest and relaxation...and a little soul searching. 

He came with me for the holiday weekend as my dad turned 70 on the 4th of July...and then left me here after we blew up the birthday cake.

He would probably shake his head in disgust if he knew that I have been wearing the same sweatpants and T-shirt for the last four days as I lay in the hammock reading an 800 page book.

But if you want to know the truth, it's the most relaxing vacation I've taken in a long-long time. 

And that book?  What a book!  Not my normal type as it's a historical novel about the miracle of the Hole-In-The Rock pioneers who settled the Four Corners area (point where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico meet).  I saw the book when we went to Moab and scouted the area a few months ago (breathtaking Southern Utah - think Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park...and Tom Cruise hanging from a cliff in Mission Impossible II.  That's Moab!)



I dismissed the book at the time because I have little (if no) interest in pioneer stories.  I don't care how Tom Cruise got on that cliff 125 years later...just that he got there!  I don't know about you, but I am very aware of the fact that my butt would have stayed in New York City in the mid-1800s instead of walking across the country for gold or land.  But I picked up the book this week because... well... it sounded like a good idea. 

I'm so glad that I did!

Blazing the trails of my life is nothing compared to what it took to blaze through that unforgiving wilderness, blasting through 2000 foot sandstone cliffs with covered wagons.  Four days in a hammock with an 800 page book has taught me that I still have a lot to learn about faith and hardship.

It has also reminded me what it means to be undaunted - to be "unwilling to abandon one's purpose or effort; to be undiminished in courage or valor."

Although my personal story is very different (and much easier!) than what the Hole-In-The-Rock pioneers endured - I want the moral to be the same.

I want to be undaunted.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chapter 5: Five Years Later, Still Moving The Line

For me, it's always been about taking it one step at a time.  Lately however, I find that it is harder and harder to get my feet moving.  I don't know what's wrong with me - it's like my feet are now made from lead.  I saw another friend's pregnancy announcement on Monday and while I am over the moon with support and happiness because nobody deserves it more (this is what I've been hoping and praying for her!)...there was a part of me that shed a few additional tears because it reminded me that I'm broken.

When we realized that starting a family wasn't going to be as easy as we thought, I was sure that a couple of months on Clo.mid would do the trick. I come from a big huge family so infertility wasn't even on my radar.  At that time I heard about someone who had gone through infertility treatment for three years, and I drew a line--I thought if that happened to me I would die! Well, here I am after five years and I'm still alive.

In the beginning...after almost a year of trying, we got pregnant with Colton by surprise (the doctor said it wasn't possible).  When problems started occurring, I thought that surely I wouldn't be asked to suffer through a miscarriage after everything else. The line had to move.

A devastating second trimester loss came and  and I realized that sometimes we are only shown our path one step at a time.  Through my grief I couldn't see what was in front of me, but I focused on my faith and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

When we decided to continue our quest for a famiy, the Clo.mid wasn't working so my doctor suggested diagnostic testing, including laparoscopy. I freaked. I had to gain composure before going in for my first sonogram, let alone face the prospect of surgery! But I did it, and it was okay. I moved the line.

After all that and no results, my doctor said I needed to go to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), and I freaked again! I didn't want to start all over again with someone new. But it was the right thing to do. I moved the line again.

When my RE suggested IUI, I tried to take it like a champ. Injectible drugs and unknown procedures.It was either that or give up - so I moved the line again.  Six times as a matter of fact.

When we switched to a new RE we did more tests. Many of them for the second time and the line got moved.  Again.

When the RE said - IVF is our best bet, I was really scared but I tried to put on a brave face.  All that expense and trauma! But it was supposedly our only choice if we wanted to keep moving ahead. So I moved the line again.

I thought, 'Surely I won't have to go through this more than once - it's such a sacrifice!' In the waiting room I overheard someone talking about a friend who did five IVF's's before having a child. I thought, 'No way - if it doesn't work for me on the first try, I'll DIE!'. But it didn't, and I didn't. I moved the line. Again. And again. And again.  Three (very expensive) times to be exact.

When hyper stimulation put our final IVF transfer on hold and I had to wait five months to do a FET cycle, I looked back and thought, 'Boy, if I knew at the beginning where we'd end up, I probably would have opted out.' I talked to a friend who was facing her first IVF and saw that she was where I was many lines ago. I realized how far I'd come.

So where am I at now?  I'm feeling really tired of walking.  Unsure of the next step and more than a little defeated by the journey.  I know that I'll bounce back because I always do... but it doesn't diminish how I feel today.  Sad.

Despite that I want you all to know one very important thing:  my biggest hope and prayer that your own journey will have a minimum of steps.


Sabbatical

Forgive me.  I wish that I had something snappy to say - but I don't.

Which is exactly why I haven't been reading or posting much of anything lately.  I think that I'm in a blogging funk right now.  Matter of fact...

I'm just in a big funk. Period.

Friday was supposed to be the ultrasound for the postive that didn't come...so what did I do?  I licked my wounds and ran home.  To the place where my mom makes me soothing chicken noodle soup and my dad gives me enough projects to keep my mind occupied on something beyond infertility.

I've also been hanging out with 18 (out of 25) of my nieces and nephews which is always an adventure.  As always, they remind me how to make lemonade out of lemons.

We've been sleeping on the trampoline since last Friday, have enjoyed nightly movies "in the park" and have developed an obsession for ghost stories and all things scary. 

They think of it as fun.  I just think of it as much needed therapy.

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