Thursday, May 31, 2012

Learning To Smell The Roses

Sometimes I really just love that Mister of mine. Okay...all the time.

In addition to today's pleasant little surprise, we just got back from one of the most amazing vacations of my life. Completely relaxing and therapeutic. Almost a week back to NYC with friends...and another spent eating my way across New England. Seven states and a whole lot of clam chowdah.

I gained 5 pounds and they were totally worth it.


To be honest, the re-entry has been hard. I absolutely love my job but it was really nice to be able to turn off my blackberry and completely walk away 100%. I haven't been able to do that for years and years.

Unfortunately, I am not able to say the same thing about infertility. I did really good until the last few posts but as much as I promise and try it's just...there.

Which is why I think I scored flowers today.

To stay in my happy vacation mode I've been staying off the computer, not catching up on all the friends/blogs celebrating good fortune or dare to think about the fact that my sweet little sister (7 years my minor) is having her fifth child this weekend. Basically, I'm just trying to figure out in my own way how to ignore the fact that it's cycle day 47 with nothing (and I mean nothing) on the horizon.

I think it's called, "learning to smell the roses".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Decisions - Decisions - Decisions.

Mr. Thompson voted.

This has been the best vacation of our life. Why spoil it?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 24, 2012

You Decide

Let's pretend...

It's Cycle Day 40. Still no sign of AF. You're on a much needed vacation after five flipping' years of infertility. It is the first real vacation you have had since your last failed IVF last July and you are taking it in an effort to relax, reconnect, and find peace with your DINK (double income no kids) status. You feel nauseous, which may or may not mean anything because you always feel this way pre-cycle... but you also felt it when you were pregnant. Then again, it could be the lobster rolls because you have eaten a lot of them in the last week.

Do you...

1. Test and get it over with. After all, a pregnancy test is sure to bring on AF as history has proven time, after time, after time, after time, again. The nausea is just messing with you like it does every month. Damn estrogen surge.

2. Don't worry about it and keep to your promise that you aren't going to think about infertility at all while on this much-needed couples vacation (which you've already broken as evident with this post). Be calm and carry on.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In The Quiet Of Time

As Mr.Thompson and I began our 2 week (much needed) vacation, one of the most beautiful moments was looking out the window of my New York bound flight last Thursday...watching those pre-dawn hours while the other "red-eye" passengers slept.

Silent. Beautiful.

Blackness. Then hints of grey. Dark blue to light blue. Firmament. Little bit of pink. Then orange. Then red.

The colors of a pre-dawn rainbow.

And as I watched from my window in the quiet of time, tears poured down my cheeks.

In gratitude.

I remember a similar flight sixteen years ago, as a 22 year old girl embarking on the unknown. On a wing and a prayer with a giant leap of faith I left the comforts of what I knew, in search of what I didn't - that thing that had been pecking inside of me my whole life on a small dairy-farm in rural Idaho. And when the leaving got too scary and overwhelming, I cried the entire flight to New York. Great gulping sobs. For the friends and family that I left behind. For the relationship that I had walked away from with the only boy I thought I'd ever want. For the crazy dream inside of me that I finally began to doubt.

In the darkness of that plane, as I let all of those feelings out, great sobs resided but silent tears continued as I rested my forehead on the window and closed my eyes. I fell asleep and when I felt a little change on the horizon, I opened my eyes to a similar pre-dawn rainbow. With it, I remember feeling peace. As I looked down on Central Park as the plane prepared for landing, peace turned to hope.

When I walked off the plane, hope turned to love. I was home.

What happened over the next year and a half was life changing. I met my dearest friends. I made exquisite memories. I learned. I grew. I found out who I was. I fell in love over, and over, and over again.

With life.

It shaped who I am today. So with gratitude and a few silent big-girl tears, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty and the memories as I squoze Mr.Thompson's hand so he could wake up and watch the sunrise over New York with me. It's our first trip to NYC together...

And it sure feels good to be home.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Survival 101

Cycle day 26 and still no signs of ovulation.


I guess it's going to be another one of those months.  Between you and me, I think that I'm ready to get off this crazy train!  What is sure to follow is 30-35 days of trying to get my body back on track.


Sensing my frustration this morning, Mr. Thompson challenged me to throw it all to the wind and start preparing for our 2 week NYC/New England trip which starts next week.


A good friend asked me the other day how I keep it together and handle it all so well...and I had to confess that I don't.  At.  All.  In fact, y'all can attest that I fail quite miserably on a regular basis. What I'm doing here is just trying to survive.

I know a little bit about survival.  Did you know that I almost drowned on my wedding day?  True story.  I did. Scared the crap out of Mr. Thompson too. The morning of our wedding day which should have been filled with sunshine, butterflies and rainbows was instead spent with me blowing off beach warning flags and dangerous riptide signs (come to find out - on the same Hawaiian beach that Soul Surfer girl got her arm bit off by the shark).  Scary.

There I went, wading out into the ocean with total and complete disregard as evident in my laughter and over confidence. There Mr. Thompson was, playing it safe from the shore as he hollered and frantically waved for me to come back. (If that doesn't define our marriage - then I don't know what does!) Anyway, I'll never forget that feeling of the sand being suddenly swept out from under my feet and realizing that I was really far from shore. Drowning in dangerous waves that would not stop crashing down on my head long enough for me to catch a breath.

Sometimes I feel like that with infertility. 

When I was young my dad always taught me to dive under the waves when I was at the beach. But these "waves" are too unpredictable and seem to keep crashing down on me just as I've come up for air.  I don't know how I survive it except to follow that same voice that kept racing through my brain as I almost drowned in Hawaii.  "Get below the wave and JUST KEEP SWIMMING!"

We have two choices with infertility:  When those waves keep beating us down we can give up and drown...or get below it (where the water is deeper but the current isn't so strong) so we save a little more energy to get us through.

It defies logic to dive down and through instead of up and out...but that's the trick to survival when you're in really deep.

Get below the wave and just keep swimming!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do Better. Be Better.

Where do I begin.

I have a lot rolling around this noggin' of mine and I feel like I should say a little bit of it here.  Only because it serves as a great reminder for us all.

To do better. To be better.

Let me preface it by telling you about the greatest compliment that has ever been paid to me.  It came from a close friend that I met in New York (Inner) City as we worked alongside each other in some of the toughest areas of Brooklyn and Queens.  This friend paid me the compliment as we were helping a woman with through a horrible time of her life.  Her name was Doralice and she was dying of AIDS.  She was in the final stages of a truly horrific disease which had robbed her of so much, including a marriage (cheating husband gave it to her) and the health of her sweet little 4 year old boy who was also diagnosed  HIV positive (she unknowingly contracted the disease before he was born).  It was tough stuff with a person who touched my heart.  After a particularly hard day of helping Doralice's 80 pound body heave over the toilet, my friend/companion Noelle turned to me on our way home and told me that I had a gift for truly loving people.

Nicest thing ever said to me.  Hands down.

Don't get me wrong.  I say this with a lot of humility because I know that I don't have very many talents or gifts...but this compliment over 14 years ago from a dear and trusted friend, stuck with me.  It's something that I've always cherished and tried to be worthy of - sometimes succeeding but most often failing in my imperfection. But it sparked something inside that I want to live up to. 

Fast forward.

This weekend I took a spontaneous road trip with my brother and sister-in-law to New Mexico so I could cross it off of my bucket list (goal is to tour all 50 states).  It was a whirlwind of a drive to see my niece and after leaving Las Cruces at 5am on Sunday...we pulled into my driveway a little before 6pm on Sunday night. (Yes - the 15.5 hour drive only took 12.  Don't judge).

After waving my brother off, I stood there in the driveway kissing on Mr. Thompson's face because I don't like to be away from him for even 4 days.  While we were standing there talking all sucky face - we heard a gunshot.  Things were calm in my neighborhood.  No yelling.  No screaming.  No squealing tires.  No drama.  Just a light whoosh of one gunshot.  Mr. Thompson and I played it off as no big deal (his exact words were "someone probably shot into the air to get the dogs to stop barking").  No big deal so we proceeded to talk and get our own dog ready for her walk.  After so many hours in a car, I was ready for a walk. 

We have a route for our dog walk and we follow it most evenings.  We go in the same direction.  We pass people.  We wave.  We try to control our dog from peeing on any one's lawn.  Sunday night was no exception as we started out on our loop.

But we didn't get very far before we heard sirens on the main road.  There is a bunch of construction going on  outside of our neighborhood and it sounded like a lot of sirens stopped on the busy corner so I told Mr. Thompson we should break the norm and go the other direction to see what happened.  We turned around and went in the opposite direction. 

Not 50 feet later a firetruck pulled into onto our little road with lights flashing.  As they passed - I waved and hoped that nobody was parked on the street because we had a problem with that and a few years ago when an ambulance couldn't get through our narrow streets (they call our little neighborhood "high density housing" meaning a lot of houses on little land).  I work with firemen every day - I worry about things like that.

No sooner had I turned from the truck, when four police cars come wheeling around the corner.  They skidded to a halt beside us,  jump out of their cars with weapons drawn and yell at us to get into our house.

Then it dawned on me - a gunshot.  One gunshot.  Only one.  Not two meaning murder/suicide.  Just one.  I felt sick and got to my house quickly.  But I didn't go inside because they took off around the corner yelling about two different house numbers (both of which were wrong) and my friend's husband come out of their house wondering what was going on.  So I quickly called my friend, to get her husband back inside.  They were in the closer "pod" (think cluster homes) to what was going on.

What was going on was another neighbor (who had been reportedly been drinking) got into a verbal fight with his wife and as she was leaving in her car, he shot into the air after her.  She called police. Police responded and with that my neighbor unfortunately, stated that he was going to kill them and himself and then locked himself into his house.  Police evacuated the closest cluster homes and put everyone else within a two block radius on lockdown in their basements. They closed streets and SWAT moved in. 

More specifically, a lot of SWAT moved an area in front of my house.  So I stayed outside watching and worrying about it all.  I work with law enforcement every day - I fret.  I fret so much that I gave them my house floor plan because my nieghbor's house was originally reported as the same model to my own.

For 10 hours it went on and on...and while it went on and on, I worried.  I fret.  I prayed.  I that he would put the gun down.   I prayed that he would stop drinking.  I prayed that he would pick up the phone and answer the negotiator or respond to the ever insistent police bull horn.  And when I heard the police say that he was "former" military (which is why the neighborhood was on delta-force type lock down because of the kind of weapons and training he may have had) heart dropped and I doubled and then redoubled my efforts even more.

And all the while I didn't know who I was praying for. 

Turns out it was a different house than they originally said.  After a 10 hours (two of which were without contact in the early morning hours) SWAT sent the robot into the home and the robot found his body with a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Turns out it was a neighbor who waves back when I walk my dog.  The one with the American flag who is nice-looking, clean cut and wears Army fatigues on his way home from work (no "former" about it).  Beyond an occasional wave and a glimpse once or twice on the back row at church - I don't know this man. 

Which is perhaps the saddest part.  Turns out, he came home from a deployment to Iraq last December.  Another deployment.  Which was honorable and I didn't know it.  Turns out, he goes to my church.  Which is good and I didn't know it.  Turns out, like many of my neighbors...I didn't even know his name until yesterday.

Which just makes me really really sad.  Sad for his parents.  Sad for his siblings.  Sad for his wife.  Sad for his daughter.  Sad for his comrades.  Sad for him.  Sad.

I guess it goes back to that love thing...

So what's my point with all this you ask?  In addition to firemen and policemen, I get to work with servicemen. Professionally, I have the privilege of managing our Services to the Armed Forces and beyond managing general day-to-day casework, I spend time briefing at Yellow Ribbon Reintegration and family events.  I talk to service members and their families about deployment and reintegration issues.  Mental health and emergency communication stuff.  Two weeks ago I was at Camp W, where he was stationed and will be buried, doing our briefing for 450 soldiers and their familes.  Some are preparing for deployment in June - some just came back.  I spoke to briefed them right after someone did a long briefing on suicide.

I understand that nobody saw this coming.  And as a sister to a Marine - I get that.  Which is why I pray for our troops every night.  Maybe it was service member stuff - maybe it wasn't.  Maybe it was marriage stuff - maybe it wasn't.  Maybe it was drinking stuff - maybe it wasn't.  Maybe it was coping stuff - maybe it wasn't.  I can't nor won't judge any of it - he was a good man.

But what I do know is that regardless of the reasons about why people get into trouble (and there are a lot of people who are in trouble) - we need to take better care of each other. We need to take better care of the brave men and women who sacrifice so much for our country.  We need to know our neighbors names.  We need to do more than glimpse at the back row of church.

I feel shame over that.

So if this experience has taught me anything it is to do better. To be better.  To take better care of the people in the communities around me. My neighborhood.  My church.  My work.

To live up to the compliment that my dear friend once gave me and really love.