Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Daily Dose

For the last month, I've been thinking a lot about how I plan to live a full, fertile life in 2012, beyond babymaking and betas and FSH levels. I thought it was an original idea....until I Googled it (because I Google everything...) and found that Keiko over at Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed had a similar idea with a slightly more organized approach. Living a Fertile Life, in her mind, was about 12 months and 12 challenges.

I like that.

So in thinking about ways to conceptualize a fertile life, I think I'm going to follow this smart lady's lead, and focus on the following:

- Connection
- Balance
- Nourishment
- Movement
- Exploration
- Gratitude

I’ll take a few months out of the year to really work at each Focus Area. So, here’s how I’ve mapped it out:

February (Connection): Mr. Thompson and I will celebrate five great years of marriage this month...and unfortunately, five hard years of trying to start a family. As so many of you can attest, infertility can take it's toll on a relationship so my goal is to get to know my husband and connect with him in a meaningful way each day...

March (Balance): Meditate and/or practice mindfulness every day. It could be prayer. It could be yoga. It could be 2 minutes of focused breathing. Whatever it is, I’m going to do it each and every day.

April (Movement): Go for a walk every day. Assuming the weather holds up, this should be done outside. Doesn’t have to be in my own neighborhood but by midnight every night, I should have gone for a nice walk. Doesn’t have to be a long one either.

May (Exploration): Live fearlessly and take a risk every single day. I challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone every day. This could be hard because I think that over time I've gained constricting habits...but now is the time to ask, "why not" and go for it. I could talk to people in the grocery line, actually touch something in a public restroom (it's a phobia) and maybe even do what I've always wanted and go skydiving...

June (Nourishment): Drink. More. Water. Period. (at least 8, 8 ounces each day)

July (Connection): Lil' A (step daughter) will spend 4 weeks with us. This is usually a very stressful time because of her mom...but I am going to really pray for forgiveness every day and just. let. it. be.

August (Movement): I'm going to backpack into The Grandaddies (Mr. Thompson's favorite mountains)...without wanting to die. It will take daily training for a while...

September (Nourishment): Eat 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables daily. It’s farmer’s market season, so this is perfect opportunity to try and eat as locally as I can at the same time.

October (Exploration): Cook something-anything each day. Bonus points if it's from 'scratch'.

November (Gratitude): Add at least one thing to my "gratitude wall" every day.

December (Connection): Hand write a letter to a different person daily. It’s pretty simple, and I won’t use holiday cards as a copout to do it either. I’ve got 31 days to tell 31 people how much they mean to me.

It’s ambitious, yes, but when I see it laid out in Focus Areas, a month at a time, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. In fact, I feel really excited seeing this list of what I plan to accomplish for myself.

After all, this is the year of "fertility".

Viva la Vida.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Black Widow

I came close to widowhood tonight. Sadly, I almost lost the love of my life to an untimely and unfortunate death. Seriously. It went down like this:

I'm tired. As in dead-dog tired. Fire calls have been happening almost every night (another apartment last night) and with each notification from my teams on the ground, I have a hard time going back to bed. I'm the kind of girl that when I'm asleep - I'm asleep....and when I'm woken up - I'm awake. Doesn't matter if it has been 10 minutes or 10 hours. So I've had a lot of iPad time between 1:00am and 5:30am lately.

Which is why I came home from work last night and dropped. Literally.

President Obama put me to sleep with his State of The Union address sometime around 8:20. Next thing I knew, I was waking up to Mr. Thompson's snuggles with a mumbled, "what time is it?". I think I whimpered when he replied, "5:55".

No...I'm POSITIVE I whimpered when he replied,"5:55". But with that I carted myself off to the shower.

I stayed under the hot water longer than usual, thanks to the lead in my feet, and was pretty much in slow motion from there. Eventually, I picked up my crackberry to see how much time I had to make up to get out the door on time...

11:55 P.M.

My. Husband. Was. A. Dead. Man. (and his giggles from the bedroom where almost the last sounds he uttered.)

Obviously, Mr. Thompson learned nothing from the story about the time my brother woke me up "late" one winter "morning" and left me sitting at the bus stop at 8:30...


I think I had a black eye the next day but it was worth it. I had to run down a long lane in the dark to get to the bus stop. (The darkness was common - the running was not.)

So as I sit here at 1:00am playing on my iPad...I keep reaching over to kick him when he snores...plotting ways to take back my valentines and get even.

According to Hemmingway, "all is fair in love and war"!

(p.s. Before you feel too bad you should know that we play a lot of practical jokes in our family, 96% of which are initiated by me. However, I can tell I'm going to have to get creative with the next one...)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Musings

If you watched The.Bachelor tonight then you know why I moved to Utah with the intention of only staying one ski season in 2004...and why I am still here almost eight years later.

Yah, you heard me right. I watched The.Bachelor last night. A shameful confession.

But as I was "vegging out" in front of mindlessTV, at least I was reminded of the beauty in my own backyard (they filmed this episode here as a destination spot). And that Crater the Bachelor repelled into with one of his (12) lucky lady friends...I've been swimming there with Mr. Thompson a few times (via the door) and have even made-out (like teenagers) in its dark depths. Take that Bachelor. You didn't invent that kind of romance.


Speaking of Park City, Mr. Thompson grew up there. His parents moved from Texas when he was young and only intended on staying a year...but then the kids got to ski as part of their school curriculum.

They stayed too.


You should know, I was in the bathroom this morning and I heard muffled giggles from the bedroom. Giggles, I say. I came out and the man said, "Do you think that I don't know what you're doing in there each morning?". Which means that I've been busted with my ovulation predictor kit and daily pee sticks.

Oh yeah, and when I stumbled through my explanation of "just trying to get my cycle back on track"...he laughed even harder.

Nothing gets by this guy. Especially Even when I want it to.

(Except the Clo.mid I may or may not have taken this get my cycle back on track of course...)


This is my first time doing ICLW. I've read some amazing blogs in the last three days and am in total awe of this community. You ladies inspire me and I wish that I had half of your strength.

Matter of fact, I'd settle for 1/4.


Okay 1/16.


But as a teenager, I did jump off the roof of our two-story house onto the trampoline below...and that counts for something, right?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dribbling Backward and Forward

21 days into it and I almost broke my new years resolution. You know, the one that was going to keep me living fertile instead of infertile. Especially for my wonderful peeps who are coming through IVF.

I say "coming through" and not "going through" because instead of waving at your back as you go through your journey, I'm standing somewhere along the path in front of you waving you on. You are coming...not going...and many of you are at multiple stages.

Some are waiting for meds (put your seat belt on!)... some are having your men shoot you intramuscularly in the butt twice a day (I hurt for you with every post!)... some of you go in for retrieval over the weekend (fingers crossed!)... some are in holding with the 2 week wait (hold on!)... and some of you are even coming out the other side with a bambino in your belly but more than a few pregnancy fears and worries.

I get it. All of it. and I love you all for what you are coming through. Or not coming through. It's tough stuff and makes me look at the childless couples that I've seen my whole life through a completely different lens.

I almost broke my resolution because in thinking and reading about everyone, it took me back to last January. I got curious about where I was at this time last year, in what was then my last IVF round (it still is but I reserve the right to change my mind). For a second I almost broke and went back to an infertile attitude instead of fertile living.

And then I read what I wrote on January 21, 2011...

Basketball Diaries was a great post (if I do say so myself) and it took me back to the days when I lived and breathed basketball... when basketball didn't necessarily live and breath me. (Simply put, I sucked in a major way!) But I had heart and my coach's lesson on Positive Mental Attitude remains one of my life's most powerful lessons.

Laying on the floor in the middle of the basketball court... in silence... with my eyes shut... imagining myself making free throws... never made me the Harlem Globetrotter I intended to be. However, it did make me a better basketball player.

Taking that lesson last year and laying in the middle of bed each night... in silence... with my eyes shut... thinking about the other side of IVF... never got me pregnant. However, it did make me a stronger individual and a better human being.

As I live fertile and dribble this ball backward and forward through five years (next month) of infertility, I still believe in that positive mental attitude concept. What the mind believes is real - becomes real. There is positivity even when you don't see it in a test strip... and with each opportunity comes the surety that we are all still destined for a different kind of greatness.

The fertile kind. Because that's how we want to live.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eyes Wide Open

It's 2:00am and I'm wide awake dealing with another apartment fire. Why-oh-why do they always happen in the middle of the night when it is snowing? (and why not blog while I'm in-holding and awaiting information from the scene?!)

If I was smart, I'd go put some makeup on because I have a feeling that I'll be opening up a shelter for disaster clients and quite possibly finishing my night on a cot.

I dealt with the same thing last night yesterday morning. Which makes two seperate apartment fires in two days...on the only two days nights that we've had snow this year.

I predict that I'm going to look haggard for Day 2 of my FEMA conference. Apartment fires by night- FEMA conference by day... Just another day in the life of your local emergency management.

I love my job. (Seriously)

Now blow out your candles people!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Am Brave - Hear Me Roar

Last night Mr. Thompson told me that I was taking my creative craze too far.  The headboard was a flop and my brownies were even worse.  Just ask Mr. Thompson who was the poor unfortunate soul to discover my mistake of adding 3 cups of cocoa...instead of 3 tablespoons.

Yeah, it was ugly.

I’ll chalk it up to making my husband sick (again) and giving my mom a fit of the culinary giggles (again).  Perhaps I better stick to what I know best which involves a board room instead of a kitchen.  (But my computer cords sure look great - thank you Pinterest!)

Before I throw in the towel completely, I have one more project inside of me.  I’m going to make myself a big Pinterest-looking sign that says, "I Am Brave".  Because I am.  Here's the proof...

Every morning on my train ride to work I stare out the window and get a little teary eyed as I pass the hospital.  Like clockwork, the train stops in front of the Woman and Newborn Center and I just sit and stare at the front doors which always makes me a little sad.  I remember vividly what it felt like to be wheeled out those doors with empty arms. 

I also remember the day that I tried to be brave by returning to pick up Colton's hand and foot molds. I received a message from the Bereavement Counselor saying that they were ready, and thinking that I was too…I went back.  On my own. 

First, I sat in the parking lot psyching myself up.  When I thought I had enough courage, I bravely walked back through those front doors thinking I wouldn't have to go further than the registration desk.  When I found out I was wrong and had to continue on to Labor and Delivery... I gave myself a quick mental pep talk, squared my shoulders back and forged on.  I told myself I was going to be fine...and I was...until I made it to the nurse's station.  And then I wasn't fine. I was weak.

I timidly stated my purpose and then lost it in a very big way. With sobs.  And snot.  And an escort to a private room (from very compassionate nursing staff). It was sad little day in my life and I swore I would never go back. Ever. 

When I finally made it home Mr. Thompson took one look at me and asked what happened.  It was only weeks after losing Colton and he was more than a little upset that I decided to brave that on my own.  He firmly told me that I should never do that again without him.

And I haven't. 

Until last week. 

Because guess what?  The mammogram office is through those same front doors.  But I didn’t cry.  I put my big girl panties on and dealt with my demon.

Proving, once and for all...I Am Brave. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Craft Craze

Saturday, I amazed even myself and got my craft on. Now you should know....I come from a family where the females are "crafty little critters". Me? Not so much. I don't cook. I don't sew. I don't craft.

Until now.

I blame Pinterest.

That's the only logical explanation to my front door. (Not to mention the cords behind my desk which are now organized with bread ties.)

Stay tuned because I may need an intervention.

Today's agenda involves a fabric headboard for my master bedroom. This could get interesting. Either I'm nesting...or Pinterest has finally given me a mental illness.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Love Is

... A 5:30am trip to the grocery store to find "something to stop the knife from ripping through my body".

He returned with Midol, Advil, Sprite, tampons (in every size), chocolate...and a romance novel.

Gotta love a man for covering his bases.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dinner Menu - More Pancakes

Yesterday, I think I dodged a bullet.

A very serious bullet.

Which started last week when I got a call from the hospital asking me to come back in for more diagnostic testing on my (first) mammogram.  They found some lumps.  Not exactly words you want to hear over the phone...

Especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  A time of year when the cancer community puts out a lot of information, including the research which links estro.gen and pro.gesterone to increased cancer risk. 

Ummm....newsflash!....I've been put on a lot of pro.gesterone in the last five year.  Stupid infertility.

So back I went.  To "The Breast Center".  Where they flattened, squished, poked and prodded my left girl into every which position and direction.  It wasn't fun.

Matter of fact, it hurt.

A lot.

But in the end the radiologist and doctor told me that they thought the lump was going to be a benign cyst.  A little more testing to be conclusive... but for today, I'm going to go with that and thank my lucky stars.

Isn't it funny how your life can change in a flash?  It's a good reminder to always viva la vida and never take anything for granted.

...and to serve your family pancakes for dinner at least once before you're 40!  Don't wait to get a mammogram.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Living Fertile

I've been thinking about this entry for a while. It came with the shocking realization that I have 600 posts on Viva la Vida. Wow! Never, in a million years, did I think I would have that much to say.

Especially since this blog started with the naïve idea that it would be written in my own quiet and personal place in the universe. In 2008, I had a lot that needed to be said, yet I had no idea how to say it. Almost four years later, I still can't verbalized my feelings about that experience without tears. So in my sadness and grief, I decided to write it all down.

For me. By me.

It was the natural thing to do since I've kept a journal from the age of eight. But I was emotionally tired and the idea of holding a pen to paper was too much on some days. So I curled up in bed with my laptop and the idea that I could hit 'print' at the end of the year for a nicely formatted journal to go on my bookshelf.

Things changed around the time that I read a humbling journal account in one of my grandmother's family history books. Reading that account of loss and heartbreak from a brave ancestor, almost 100 years prior to my own experience, gave me a tremendous amount of strength and fortitude. I knew that if my Great-Great Aunt Rhetty could make it through what she went through with infant loss, then so could I.

I also learned the power of sharing a story.

In 100 years from now, I hope that my words will be coherent enough to help another girl, who may wear the face of infant loss and infertility, get through her own darkest days. And so on this, my 600th post since the creation of Viva la Vida this is what I want that girl to remember...

Brighter days are ahead. More full. More fertile.

Let me explain that as a Farmer's daughter. As much as I claim New York City, my best life lessons come from hard working parents and a rural Idaho farm. Like the fact that my dad can take an ugly, dry, barren piece of land and with a lot of hard work and effort... he will always turn it into something truly rich and magnificent.

You'd think it would be all about the plants, but for my's all about the dirt. The dirt determines the plant, which is why he takes such great care in where he plants each type of seed. He spends a lot of time and energy digging, cultivating and preparing the ground for what it will one day become. It's that whole "buy a $10 tree and dig a $50 hole" concept. If for some reason his crops are floundering, he always goes back to inspect the dirt and starts there. If corn stalks are not producing ears of corn, I've never seen him once blame the seed. If the ground is good, something will grow.

Where am I going with this?

In the four years of Viva la Vida, y'all know that I have sometimes floundered. Many times in fact. But this is what I need to remember....

Infertility will not define me. I am not a barren field. I just need to refocus on cultivating my dirt and then take notice of what is blooming all around me. Because things are growing! I have a wonderful marriage that is only getting better with time. With very little effort, I've been blessed with a great new position in a job that I love (pretty humbling in today's economy). I have health, happiness and financial stability. Most importantly, there are a lot of people around me to love and be loved by.

Here's to the next 600 posts being focused on living a more fertile life!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bad Moon Rising

One of the greatest pieces of comedy (click to view) played out in the Thompson Household last night...

Mr. Thompson should have realized that in his desire to get a "quick fix" for my womanly problems, he turned a bad situation worse by suggesting that a simple pill will help the emotions proceeding my "lady days" (aka:PMS).

I mean really, what woman wouldn't have started screaming after stepping in dog pooh?!

He's lucky I didn't tear his head off when I came inside the house only to be offered Midol. We laughed about it later but it was certainly an Everybody Loves Raymond "Bad Moon Rising" few minutes.

Speaking of which, has anyone ever looked up the side effects of progesterone? Oh my. That list is long. Who would have thought "anger" could be a serious drug side-effect (at the top of the list). So if I have this right....a woman who has to take progesterone to induce a cycle is angry from the medication leading up to her "lady days"... and then really angry once the "lady days" finally arrives?!

Works for me! Next time I get mad, I'll just say it's the medicine talking...

Get out of Jail, pass Go and collect $200!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Decision 2012

Did you see something missing from my New Years resolution (singular)? Yeah, for the first time in five years, "make a baby" didn't make the list. Very purposefully.

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about that. Maybe a little lost? Okay, yeah...a little lost.

But I'm sticking to my guns and trying to remain strong. At this point, there are no immediate plans for more IVF. Or anything else for that matter. Nada. Nunco. Zilch. Just Mr. Thompson and me. So happy. In love. (yeah, I just threw up in my mouth too).

Frankly, I'd be satisfied if AF would just show up. It's been 65 days since my last cycle and progesterone hasn't even kicked it in. How ironic that I've spent so many years wishing AF away month after month... and now I just want "her" to show up. On schedule (or at least close to it).

Maybe Mr. Thompson can make it happen. His New Year's resolution is to take better care of me and so far he's gotten me on the treadmill every morning at 5:15am.

The man's a magician.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Day

"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it."
- Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Just like the movie, I've always loved this quote for its optimism in the face of imperfection. It is something that I always think about this time of year as I ring in a new year and begin anew.

Fresh. Without mistakes.

For that reason New Years is my favorite personal holiday.  Other holidays throughout the year are for and about others - honoring others, celebrating with others and serving others.  Somewhere along the way, January 1st became a quiet time with myself - for myself.  That sounds incredibly selfish as I write it but I'm not going to apologize for that.  It is a time that I very purposefully pause and reconnect with my spirit, as I turn and look ahead instead of at what is behind.

It's a tradition of sorts.  Friends and family members look forward to football games, good food and hanging out with each other.  Not me.  I got that out of my system over the days and weeks before.

Usually one to wake up early, New Years Day is one of the few times that I sleep in and begin the day at a leisurely pace. I'm a morning person and 364 days a year I have a hard time staying in bed...with the exception of New Years Day.  It is a day that I indulge in relaxation and reconnection (and I don't mean that in a mindless way).  I get comfortable (usually in pajamas), put on some nice relaxing music (sticking to my cardinal rule against TV), light candles and break out my old-fashioned paper journals.    

I don't make lists.  I make serious goals.

This year I'm keeping it simple. As Mr. Thompson and I cuddled for the better part of the afternoon, I let him set the agenda for 2012.  With a kiss to my forehead he whispered, "this year I want to take better care of each other."

And there you have it folks.  My only New Years resolution for 2012:

To take better care of my husband.

...with the knowledge that tomorrow is always fresh, without mistakes in it.  Optimism in the face of imperfection.

Happy New Year.