Friday, August 31, 2012

Play On

How do you deal with infertility and infant loss?  Here's another one...

Coping Strategy #4 - Play!









Three cheers for a few of my favorite things...Mr. Thompson, our chocolate lab Mia (the real Mia Love) and beach camping!

Viva la vida.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Part Two

Before we get to Part Two of my story (which starts here) we have to interrupt for a quick commercial break about the laws of positive thinking.

Recap: The Law of Positive Thinking is said to be the crux of the Law of Attraction. The Law of Positive Thinking proposes that when you keep your thoughts in a positive direction and maintain a positive attitude, you attract positivity into your environment.

Scientific Evidence: At 1am this morning, while laying in the same exact spot as I was 24-hours prior, I got another message from another old friend which forced me to let out another hoot and holler!

This friend and I went to high school together and reconnected through Viva la Vida as she has had an 11 year journey with infertility. She recently got her BFP (big fat positive) through IVF #2 and I couldn't be more thrilled.

More thrilled after 11 years, I say!

There is something so hopeful and encouraging about these friends making it through to the other side after such a long fight. It gives me GREAT hope and makes me chant Winston Churchill's infamous, "never, never, NEVER give up!" over and over in my head.

So please add Beth to the prayer roll and don't forget The Law of Positive Thinking. Let's keep this positive vibe going. I'm all for positive results because a win for one of us - is a win for all of us! (p.s. I'll now be checking FB at the magic hour of 1am in case you have more great news.)

Now, back to my story...


*************************


...The dark feeling was both literal and figurative.

Literal, in that dusk would soon be approaching and here we were starting up the unknown McKenzie Pass. The "Last Chance Turnout" was now in our rear view mirror and the caution signs which were posted every 10 feet screaming "NARROW ROAD" and a 20 foot vehicle length restriction didn't exactly soothe the feeling that maybe this "shortcut" wasn't such a good idea.

Not to mention that since the main highway turn off, we hadn't passed one other car or person. That's when it hit me that nobody knew where we were and wouldn't have any idea where to look for the bodies.

So I did the responsible thing with one bar of service and quickly called my mom.

"When you know better, you do better" and this was a lesson that I learned the hard way when I was 21. After a long day of life guarding at the community pool, my best friend and I decided to take a joy ride up a different mountain. Near the top, we were going much too fast and when the dirt road took a tight curve... his truck unfortunately did not. We dangled on the cliff of a 200 foot drop and the only thing that stopped that truck from falling, as we very carefully extracted our stupid selves, was the grace of God and a small rock which stopped the wheel on my downward side.

Nobody knew where we were and I had all night to think about that as I hiked through the cold mountains in nothing but my swimming suit and flip flops. After dawn we made it to a ski resort and were able to call for help but the truck unfortunately was no longer on that ledge when help finally arrive.

That was the "come to Jesus" moment of my life...and I wasn't going to make that same mistake twice. So I called my mom.

"Mom, we started up one of dad's shortcuts...It's called McKenzie Pass and I'll call you from the other side. If I don't, that's where you should look." (click) I lost my bar as she started sputtering.

I kept telling my extremely cautious husband to slow down. He told me that if I said it one more time, he was going to make me walk which was about as fast as we were traveling anyway. That would have been a very bad thing because as he informed me... this was, in fact, Sasquatch territory.

Yes, Sasquatch.

Bigfoot could have walked out of that thick forest of trees at any moment and I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised - it was just that silent and eerie. So I took two more Percocet and popped a 800 mil. ibuprofen.

Up went Mojo. Down went the sun.

Finally we reached a sign that said "Summit" which was great news because for me, that translated into a scenic overlook and downward decent. Wrong. As we turned the corner on the "Summit" what laid before us was....

Another planet entirely.

Where there had seconds before been thick, extremely tall trees now there was...lava.

What was supposed to be a scenic overlook of a downward mountainous decent was instead...50 miles of lava to be exact - straight across, for as far as the eye could see.

Apparently, we were in a volcano cauldron. Once the apocalyptic shock wore off, I couldn't get over how extremely cool, unexpected, and oh-so-very beautiful it all was! Breathtaking actually.

 
At the top there was an observatory that had been built out of lava. (Can you imagine the stars at night?!)
 
Unfortunately, we couldn't stick around from that vantage point to find out, because we had a lot (and I mean, a lot!) of dark miles to get through. This included a terribly windy decent (hence, the 20 foot vehicle restriction as anything longer wouldn't make the hairpin turns).

On a happy note, when we bought Mojo I begged the salesman to take off the roof lights because I don't like them (ugly). Mr. Thompson and the salesman refused on the principle of sacred manhood and the theory that we may need them for "offroading" one day. To which I promptly replied with an eye roll and a sarcastic, "yeah right, like we'll be doing that anytime soon!".

Liar, Liar pants on fire!  I shouldn't have counted Mojo out.

We didn't get to a hotel for another 3 hours but we did get to use the ugly lights.
Moral of the story:

1. When you venture out on your own, always tell someone where you are going. We didn't pass another person on that whole "shortcut". (Sasquatch not included)

2. My dad later clarified that "shortcut" can technically denote mileage as well as length of time. In this case, as with the whole scenic route, it denoted mileage only. Good to know.

3. That unexpected lava field (all 50 miles of it) at dusk was truly one of the most spectacular things I've ever seen. I'm talking Seven Wonders of the World kind of spectacular. It was the highlight of our spontaneous trip and although it made a long journey, even longer....

In the end I was grateful for the narrow, winding path that led to it.

Infertility Coping Strategy #3 - Relax and enjoy the scenic route. There are wonders to behold even in the darkest of places.


- Posted from my iPad

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray! - A Story

Before I start this post, let me say that I received the BEST news late last night. My dear, dear, dear, dear friend who has been struggling with infertility for 14 years just found out that they are expecting next March. 14 years! When I got the 1am message, I started hooting and hollering like you wouldn't believe. I mean it honestly when I say that I couldn't be more thrilled if it was me.

I love this person just that much!

Today, is a very good day because infertility didn't win. A very good day indeed! So please keep my friend in you prayers. (No name needed - just refer to him as my friend and God will know who you are talking about. Trust me!)


****************************


Now for some serious Mojo.

Oh the places we'll go....!

Last week I took my own advice and went on the first real spontaneous road trip in...I have no idea how long.

The most amazing part was that it was all Mr. Thompson's doing - something that honestly surprised me. (Bless his heart - as opposed to me, he is the much more the slow, methodical, cautious, planning type). I was immensely proud of him because the timing of this adventure didn't make one lick of sense, especially considering that I had just had surgery.

To say that I was "jacked up" last Monday is the understatement of the year...


By Tuesday, I was one hot mess. The anesthesia wore off and pain meds weren't cutting it. Blood vessels in my eyes were blown from vomiting so bad and I was in a world of hurt.


By Wednesday, I was wishing that I would have gone with the hook option.


...and that's when I made the flippant comment that it was too bad I wasn't recovering on the beach. Before I knew it, Mr.Thompson had MoJo packed and ready to go. So off we went...

For a 16 hour drive to the Oregon Coast! (Sweet! This "fun without the K" thing is really working.)

We stayed Wednesday night in Idaho at my parents house. We arrived unannounced - something we've never done - and my mom thought we were totally nuts. My dad however, was all about helping us chart our course across the back roads of Oregon.

He recommended the "scenic" route and when we asked him how far it was he replied, "about as far as from here to Salt Lake City". No problem (you can see where I get it). 6 hour drive - I had pain meds to last.

So off we went.

11 hours later, we were still driving. (note to self: when speaking to dad don't ever forget that "as far" denotes milage and not length of time.)

In my dad's defense, it was incredibly beautiful!

As the sun was getting ready to set, we were outside of (the gorgeous) Sisters, Oregon with a huge mountain in front of us and two different route options before us. We could go "around" the mountain or "up" it.

When charting our course, my dad had suggested the "up" option as a "shortcut" so that of course had my adamant vote. Pain meds were wearing thin and that mountainous pass was my ticket to a hotel bed. Mr. Thompson however proceeded with a little more true-to-form caution as his sanity had semi-returned.

I say "semi" because for some unknown - yet totally known - reason, my usually slow-methodical-cautious-planning type husband turned Mojo up the mountain.

About a mile after the turn off, there was a sign for a "last chance turnout" and that's when Mr. Thompson looked at me skeptically and mentioned something about a very dark feeling regarding our "shortcut"...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day of Hope

Sharing my favorite scripture is fitting of today...

Ether 12:6. And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.










Thank you to Carly Marie at www.carleymarieprojectheal.com for reminding us all to keep hope in our hearts. After all, miracles happen.

(...and here is your sneak peak into how I'm currently taking my own coping advice....)



Cheers on this special day and always.

oxox

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taking the "K" out of funK.

A few months ago Mr. Thompson asked for a re-do on our DINK "Year of Fun". I readily agreed as I thought about the last year. We proclaimed it to be the "Year of Fun" last July after failed IVF #3 but to be honest, what proceeded has felt more like funK than fun.

But times are a' changin in the Thompson household...

We want our mojo back.

In an effort to reclaim it, we recently negotiated like a game of bad checkers. He gave up Direct.TV (as in, cancelled)...while I agreed to a post-work wardrobe change (as in, the burning of my beloved "mu-mus"). I promised to never run him over again on my skis, so long as he doesn't yell at me when I'm tired on the last five miles of a hike. Back and forth we went, in an all-out effort to restore some important things that we've lost over the last four years or so.

Our hobbies. Our adventure. Our lifestyle. Our youth.

Our fun.

A few years ago we would hike up mountains in the summer and would ski down them in the winter. We traveled - a lot. Europe, Hawaii, Seattle to St. Louis, Canada to Mexico. On weeknights we would come home and pack up the bikes and a picnic basket. Weekends were spent somewhere, doing something - winter, spring, summer and fall. A tent was preferred so long as there was bear spray and fishing poles.

It's why we both moved to Utah and never left. (yes, the skiing is just that good!)

It's how we met, got married...

And fell in love.

Which is why we want it back. No more couch potato, melancholy, sedation. I think it started when I got pregnant because...well... I was on high risk bed-rest but now that I look back on it, I guess that I just never really got back up. Not really. Which is sad because life is just too good to put on a mu-mu and close your eyes on it.

As the first order of business in reclaiming our lost mojo, Mr. Thompson and I agreed that we had to make a vehicle change. The 4-Runner was sadly sold last year so we decided that we needed to start looking for a replacement. "Start looking" meant 3 minutes at the Nissan dealership. And like that (finger snap) we are back into the game.
















Not to mention that the dog is happy to have a ride again. We'll call it "Mojo" and oh the places we will go...

Infertility Coping Strategy #2 - have FUN (not funK)!

Cheers.




- Posted using BlogPress from
my iPhone

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

The last post was my all-time favorite.  Not because of what I wrote (because I actually whipped it up without a lot of thought), but because of how you responded.

Best.  Comments.  Ever.

I've gone back and read them all at least 10 times each and every time I do, I feel a sense of peace and comfort knowing that there are others who understand.

Strangers, yet friends, who know what I know and even what I don't.  How grateful I am to realize that I'm not alone on this journey.  I'm not the first person to walk the path of infant loss, infertility, altered dreams and hopes not yet realized... nor am I the last.

I go back to the Welcome To Holland anaolgy because although this isn't where I thought I would be ten years ago (I thought I bought a ticket to Italy...) I am learning to appreciate this place in my life.

The journey is teaching me that.  So thank you for taking this walk with me...

Ereka's comment asked an important question about coping strategies, one that I have also wondered about (and even Googled) a gazillion times.  So I'll turn it over to the team of experts (yeah, that's you) for more excellent feedback.

I'll kick it off with one coping strategy that I am in the middle of learning.  It was something I said in my last post:  Mourn it.  Cry over it.  Feel it. (Infertility Coping Strategy #1)

Sometimes I don't think that we give ourselves permission to really recognize that it's a big deal. We 
don't validate our feelings - whatever those feelings may be.  Face it - a fertility problem may, in fact,
 be one of the most difficult challenges you or I will ever face. That's a true statement whether we have other children, a happy marriage, a plethora of blessings...or not.   Acknowledging that is key to any coping strategy.  It's normal to feel a monumental sense of loss, to feel stressed, sad, and 
disappointed...and you know what??... IT'S  OKAY that we feel that way!

So don't feel bad...for feeling bad.

In real life I'm a closet mourner and the Queen of Guilt and Shame (For heaven's sake, that's why I 
started an anonymous blog!).  I have to get over that because it's just not healthy.  We (meaning, I) 
have to quit secretly walking around in real life with a hidden scarlet letter "I" stamped across our (my) chest.  

Like it's a shameful secret or something.

I have a dear friend that has been going through some stuff.  She too, unexpectedly landed in Holland when she thought she was going to the exotic Costa Rica.  Big disappointment with an altered plan. 
She recently announced on her blog that she had to ask for professional help and is getting treatment 
for depression.  When I read this my first thought was that she was so incredibly brave...and then realized that she is not only brave, but REAL!  

Another friend got up in church and acknowledged publicly that their twins were a product if IVF.  
At first I was taken aback because it came so quick and naturally but then I wanted to stand up and applaud when people looked shocked.  She openly discussed the pain of infertility and I was touched as one of the silent sufferers.

Kudos to both of them for being authentic.  For mourning, crying, and feeling...with honesty, grace and without an ounce shame.  By example they have inspired me to live my truth because only then 
can we move on towards healing from the things that hurt us all.

That's essentially all I've got - how about you?    

What are your coping strategies for infertility and/or general disappointment?

(p.s. trashy romance novels and lots of chocolate help too.  Just sayin')

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Embrace

As I woke up this morning, I looked over at a sleeping Mr. Thompson and remembered yet again, how extremely lucky I am.



A few seconds later a wave of sadness tried to creep in as I thought about our family of two. As I tried to fight it off, I said a little prayer that I could eventually find the strength to stop fighting this path in my life.

If only I could embrace it.

Embrace that we might never have children.

Embrace what that would mean. Mourn it. Cry over it. Feel it. And then be done.

Because even a family of two is beautiful when I think about it. And although I have so much peace and happiness with this man that I so dearly love...

Something big still feels like it is missing.




Monday, August 6, 2012

Bump and Grind

See this nasty bump on my wrist?


It's not supposed to be there. In one week a very nice surgeon is going to knock me out and fix it, thus winning me eight days off of work.

Who would have thought that a little bump like this would hurt so &!@$ bad?!

But it does and if you look close enough, you can see my artery trying to go down the center of it. Seems the bump and the artery aren't getting along too well.

Not to mention that they are both at war with the nerves.

Which, if you ask Mr. Thompson, is making me very irritable. I, on the other hand (no pun intended) believe something else entirely. I believe that people are just being stupid and I haven't been eating enough chocolate to deal with them.

Matter of fact, I haven't been eating any chocolate.

But I've been drinking a lot of H2O though, which is good....right?! I am down two pounds since last week's first weigh-in which means....

...only 23 more to go by the lucky October 23rd! (my birthday)




p.s. Check out how I'm tracking it:





- Posted from my iPad

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Oh Yes...Yes, He Did

I've been in a sort of blogging funk lately, in case you haven't noticed.

I think it's been this way for the last year after so many whirlwind years of infertility, infant loss, and the constant barrage of treatment.

When I was getting my daily dose of Kleenex, shots, pills, and bills...blogging was easy and I had a lot to say.

Recently, not so much. Now I just feel...

Boring.

Old.

Tired.

That is of course, until something (or somebody) gives me some new material.

Mr. Thompson obliged this evening so you have him to thank for this post.

(or maybe not.)

Now, before I get any further, let me add a little caveat to my story. At my bridal shower when all of the ladies where sharing the age-old tradition of marriage advice, there were two things that I actually remembered and have faithfully followed through the years:

1. Keep a pretty little dish of breath mints on your nightstand...you never know when you'll need them. (Grandma)

2. When you are really mad at your husband, write all of your feelings out to him in a letter... then quickly burn it. (Oldest sister)

So tonight I am writing him a letter. But before I actually burn it...

I may just hit publish.

You see, for the first time in our marriage... his mouth and his mind betrayed him and he said the words that every man in an infertile relationship dreads letting slip.

Oh yes, yes he did.

You know the words that I'm talking about.

The words that a man should NEVER say to a childless woman.

Never. Ever.

Even when they turn into Ray Barron and let their minds stop working. (over 11 year old softball, I might add)

"...it is because you are barren and don't have children of your own, right?"

(cue screeching break sounds)

The man must pay. Dearly. And trust me, in true Debra fashion he will.

Oh yes, yes he will...

and for added measure, I may just remove the breath mints.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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