Friday, November 01, 2013

bump #58: this path

21 Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left.

-Isaiah 30:21
This life is full of decisions. Easy ones, challenging ones, and the decisions you put off as long as possible. Marrying Andrew was the easiest decision. No brainer. Best decision I ever made. Picking a college major, not so easy, but ultimately inconsequential. Plus, think of how "well rounded" (read indecisive and scholastically shallow) I am for having studied everything from computer programming to flat pattern making. Ironically, I don't know how to operate my mac or change the needle in my sewing machine. Guess I slipped through the cracks in academia land. Deciding to move to Texas was a toughie, but it was a case of God closing doors and opening a window.  A hot, humid window to a perpetual sauna, but you get the idea. Looking back, it was really good for us. It made us stronger. I hope to one day be able to say the same for infertility. Obviously minus the "really good" part and emphasis on the "stronger." Some decisions change the course of your whole life.
Deciding to start a family was an easy decision.
At first.
And then it wasn't.
The last 3 years of not knowing how, or when, or if that "family" will ever happen for us has been the worst. I try to live a life without regrets, without worrying "if only we had done this or that". But I regret a lot of things. I regret silly things like stock piling ovulation predictors and believing as long as I was ovulating each month there wasn't a problem. I regret buying gender neutral baby clothes the day we threw out the birth control. (Although if I'm being honest, shabby chic pink rose onesies are not the definition of gender neutral. I will still make a case for the leopard print, though.) I regret bargaining with God... please tell me I'm not the only one who has done this. God, please, please let us have a baby! If you let me get pregnant I will shout from the rooftops how wonderful and amazing you are. I'll be that obnoxious girl on Facebook that starts all status updates with "Praise the Lord...", "God is so good!" I'll read the Bible everyday, all day, well at least cover to cover in a year. And other much sillier promises that amount to me sounding like a whiney brat. It doesn't work that way, and I regret thinking that I could change God's mind. Obviously this is all part of His plan and I regret not trusting him fully and failing in my faith daily.
I do praise Him though, because His faithfulness is new every morning,
and I surely need it.

This week was rough. The kind of week where you question everything. Is this the right job? Is this the right path?  Are we where we're supposed to be?  Do my shoes match? Seriously questioning everything. And then I opened my Bible, because God didn't get back to me on that whole "if I read my Bible everyday for a year" thing, so I'm still holding out :) and I read that verse in Isaiah.

"Sweet words behind you... this is your path."

And then there was calm. The calm that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Only He can take this mess of a week, this mess of the last few years, and breathe new life into it.

I didn't choose this path. Let's get real, nobody chooses it!  But I do choose to believe that God is at work here, that "He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion."

So I continue on this path.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

bump #57: pms

Today was the day I hit my breaking point. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. It feels like my head exploded. I don't remember how I even got home, but the second I walked through the door I lost it. Sobs and sniffles and incoherent words along the lines of "I haven't eaten all day, and I have to pee so bad, and the parents are all incarcerated."

Let me back up.

Saturday morning I woke up with a UTI. I have only had two bladder infections in my entire life, but by Saturday my kidneys were in so much pain I couldn't stand up and I thought I was going to die. I probably had it all week; as a new teacher I don't have time to do anything, much less go pee when I need to. Thank God my new insurance kicked in last week and I was able to get on antibiotics right away.

The only problem with antibiotics is they make you super nauseous. So I have been uncomfortable and queasy for the past four days. Normally I could handle that, but yesterday PMS showed up like a dark cloud raining down cray cray, emotional what not, and a fog I can't seem to get out of. On top of the "I feel like I'ma barf" meds, everyday life kept escalating, and it's only Tuesday, so you can only imagine how pleasant I am. Usually right before my period comes I am crampy and cranky. No big deal. But once or twice a year my hormones get all out of whack and I turn into a teary eyed, unpredictable mess. This is one of those times.

PMS before infertility was awful, no joke. But PMS after infertility is insane. There is something about knowing, without a doubt, every month, that this is not "the month" that makes it infinitely worse. Everything seems so final and uncontrollable. I'm not a mom and I'll never get to be a mom and everything is awful. Normal teacher Bren doesn't make a big deal about my 5th grade students' parents being years younger than me, but today it was all too much. All I saw was a 25 year old with four kids telling me how to do my job. And all I could do was suck it up, hold it together for the next 7 hours, come home, and cry. In all honesty, that lady young lady girl child is a hot mess with a bad attitude and no social skills, but for a minute I was so jealous of her. She has something I don't. Life is so unfair. More so when you're premenstrual, obviously.

After suffering through the day where technology failed me, my laptop died in the middle of a power point presentation, half the class couldn't do basic multiplication, everybody hated everybody, and my recess and lunch break went to dealing with behavior problems (no wonder I come home starving with bladder infections), there was a staff meeting. It wasn't the kind with cookies and warm fuzzies. It was the kind where we review every minute detail about everything pertaining to our audit on Thursday.. Halloween. Yes, the District Superintendent has great timing. I cannot think of a worse day to be observed than Halloween except for maybe the day after Halloween. The hits keep on coming.

In reviewing our school data I learned that our elementary school students have the highest percentage of incarcerated parents (mom, dad, or both) in all of San Diego County. We also have the highest percentage of homeless families. My heart sank. How can I teach these kids about fractions when they're in broken homes at best, assuming they even have a home? Then the principal told us that a kid threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot one of the teachers last week. As if we weren't all on edge already due to current events. He then went on to say that another student in the classroom right next to mine did bring a gun to school today (a pellet gun, whatever that is), and shot several rounds into his backpack during class. He is currently suspended for 5 days with a court date pending. I have no words.

I have to think that some of my current mental breakdown is totally warranted. Basically everything sucks, and it sucks even more because of PMS.
Thursday, October 10, 2013

bump #56: when baby making takes a backseat

 I might as well just out myself as the worst blogger and worst infertile. The last month or so has been devoid of blog posts and entirely consumed with

finally moving into our new apartment (pics here),
We moved in August, but it's just starting to feel like home. Pumpkin spice lattes help a lot.

starting a new job (pics here),
and decorating and redecorating my classroom as well as fulfilling the coursework and staff development requirements of being a first year teacher (14 hour days, y'all)

and helping organize my sister's wedding (pics here).

All fun things, but all super overwhelming. The silver lining of living in this constant state of craziness is that I am getting a lot done and I haven't even thought about having a baby for more than a couple minutes each day because there's simply no time. Not sure if that really counts as a plus, but it sure beats period math.

Of course I still want to be a mommy more than anything in the world, but I'm preparing myself for that to continue to be a very challenging endeavor. The thought that we've been trying to get pregnant for over 3 years knocks the wind out of me. So does the thought of stepping foot in another doctor's office. I did a search for fertility clinics in San Diego the other day and then promptly closed my laptop and walked away without taking another glance. I couldn't do it, it was like PTSD or something. All the icky memories came flooding back at me and all I could do was shut it away, pray for a miracle, and move on. There are no guarantees and I can't handle anymore stress.

I am so grateful to finally have a teaching job and I want to keep it :)  Fertility treatments are like a whole other full time job and ain't nobody got time for that. So, for now (and the next few months), I am going to focus on the good in life, work my bum off, and put all the stress of baby making on hold for a while. It's like I'm trading in Gonal-F for grading papers and Lupron for writing lesson plans. I can't help but think that being surrounded by 10 year old maniac children all day is serving as a fertility deterrent!
Wednesday, August 07, 2013

bump #55: peace

If I could sum up my prayers from the last year in a snappy little sentence it would be this: "Lord, please give us peace about _____________".  {Insert any and all of the following: seeking fertility treatment, forgoing fertility treatment, pursuing adoption, choosing an insurance plan, saving for IVF, remaining childless FOREVER.} Ok, so I know none of these are synonymous with forever, but it all feels so final. Like I make a choice and that's it, I'm stuck.

We've reached a fork in the road and rather than pick a path I just want to turn around.

The truth is, I don't feel at peace about any of those options.
No "right answer" is jumping out at me.

In the past when I've made these sort of huge, important decisions I have always felt at peace about the path God led me to. In this circumstance I find it disheartening to not feel 100% (or even 60%) about any of the potential choices. What to do? What to do? And all of this on the heels of a big move back to San Diego where we need to seek out all new specialists and clinics, and probably re-do all of our previous tests and diagnostics.

The thought of starting all over again is daunting. It weighs heavy on my soul. And so I think of these beautiful words...

"When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul."

Lately it's been all sea billows. And my soul... it ain't so well. It would be more accurate to say that my soul is weary, doubtful, and just over it in regard to fertility. In fact, if I were to write my own lyrics to that classic hymn it would probably go something like this:

"When peace like a river seems so far away,
when sorrows like seagulls poop all over the place.
Whatever the heck is going on, all I know how to say
is this sucks and my soul ain't so well."
One thing I do have peace about is not giving up my teaching career to become a song writer :)
For now, my prayer remains the same with a minor addition: "Lord, please give us peace about __________. And whatever happens, please make it well with our souls. Amen."

Sunday, June 02, 2013

bump #54: quiet

Sorry for the quiet over here. After a couple fun days at the beach (pics) we went to Boston for Andrew's lit conference and ended up touring most of New England (pics). Between all the travelling and everyday stuff we are also getting ready to move back to California at the end of the month. Blogging has temporarily taken a backseat to packing and I'm finding it hard to put a simple string of words together that have any meaning. I suppose that's normal for me, but at least I have an excuse now.

Even though it's been quiet on the blog front, I could use a whole lot more quiet in my life right now!

Lucky for me, Summer break starts this week. Sorry to my non-teacher friends, I am of the firm belief that everyone should have Summer's off. If I ever run for president that will be my platformIt will also be the undoing of this Country's economy. Not like we didn't see that coming. Life is quieting down and we have a chance to regroup and collect our thoughts. My thoughts are so scattered right now. If you saw me, I would have a blank stare on my face and sharpie marker all over my hands. Lots of packing going on, remember?

Usually times of quiet frustrate me to no end. I need finality, answers, peace, stability. I feel like God has been really quiet lately. My prayers are there and I know He hears them, but it's quiet. Not to say that He isn't answering the prayers, but His response is to quiet myself down. And here I thought the squeaky wheel gets the grease. So I am learning to welcome the quiet. Trying to embrace His peace that comes from quieting my worried heart. But it's hard for me to find comfort in quiet times, just reprieve. It mostly feels like a "calm before the storm" sort of state. Chaos is looming. Just like these last 6 months that we've taken a break from fertility treatment have been mostly nice (at least I'm nicer without being pumped full of hormones), there is still a long road ahead of us. About 1,500 miles but it works on another level too.

With Maddie's excited yipping and my mom and I singing 80's tunes blasted on my ipod at the top of our lungs, I can guarantee the drive to California will be anything but quiet.

But that kind of noise, I like.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013

bump #53: another mother's day

And now for the obligatory infertile reflection on Mother’s Day…

I’m over it.

To be clear, I’m not over celebrating mothers. They deserve to be celebrated everyday!
What I am over are the constant reminders that I’m not a mother. Still.

But rather than whine about what a travesty that is, and it is, we are going to skip town for a couple days and go to the beach. It would be better if I actually got to spend Mother’s Day with my mom, but South Padre will have to do.

So this Mother’s Day will be spent in the sunshine with my loves {Andrew and Maddie}.
And even if I was a mom, I think that’s exactly how I’d want to spend Mother's Day.
Pics here
On a related note, please check out my friend Erika's post with a letter to new moms. 
(You can vote for her too!)
I love how she puts into words exactly what I'm feeling.
I should probably just link to her blog every time I post and save myself the energy :)
Monday, May 06, 2013

bump #52: i can breathe

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was so nervous about "coming out" as an infertile a couple weeks ago. I kept asking Andrew if it was too uncomfortable a topic to make public, half hoping he would say it was so I could continue to avoid it entirely. Alas, he didn't. We decided it was more important to share our struggle and be honest with our friends and family as well as encourage others who may be facing something similar.

And I am so glad we did!

I feel like I can breathe again.

For the last year during every treatment and stressful cycle I felt like I was holding my breath. Suffocating, really. And that kind of routine is not sustainable. Eventually you pass out or explode.

I exploded... all over this blog and all over Facebook: "We want a baby and we can't have one". And BOOM goes the dynamite.

But instead of being overwhelmed by my sudden {albeit self-imposed} loss of privacy, I was overwhelmed with reassuring and encouraging words from the people who mean the most to me. I thought sharing this burden with y'all 8 more weeks as a Texan, gotta work those "y'all's" in wherever I can :) would knock the wind out of me, but instead you have been a breath of fresh air to my worn down soul.

I never understood the following verse as completely as I do now:

"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2
Thank you for sharing this burden with me because Lord knows I can't handle it on my own!
I hope you know how very, very much I love y'all!

Monday, April 22, 2013

bump #51: Infertility Awareness Week

Not sure what they mean by "Join the movement"
as this is not a club you really want to be a member of :)
"Unexplained Infertility"
After years spent trying to have a baby, this is our diagnosis.
Such an empty explanation.
Such an empty feeling in my stomach.
This week is Infertility Awareness Week... I feel like I'm aware of it every week, but it's nice to have it acknowledged and addressed because it is typically a hush hush topic.
I've kept it a hush hush topic.
Mostly because it's uncomfortable to talk about and, for us, for now, it's still unresolved.
But lately I've felt the Holy Spirit pulling at my heart strings to share this.  I didn't really want to. I mean, I only like to talk about things that are happy and fun {infertility is neither}. But today I'm coming from a place of honesty and I now realize how silly it is to simultaneously want people to know a bit about our struggle with infertility, but be too much of a scaredy cat to share it's impact in my life. I don't want to talk about how weak I am, how afraid I am that I'll never have children. It's embarrassing and something I keep private. But in sharing our struggles, there is humility. And I think I'm finally at that place. For the record, it's not an easy place to be. Even writing this now is painful because it makes it more real. But I suppose it's time to get real.
For the past three years, Andrew and I have tried and tried and tried to have a baby. {Recap here} They say you are categorized as "infertile" after 12 months or 1 year of unsuccessful baby making attempts. So does that make us triple infertile? Oy!
The reason I'm sharing this now {besides it being the designated week} is because I know we're not alone in this struggle and I want to encourage others who are facing a similar plight. I also want to thank all of you who (whether you knew about this or not) have been so kind and supportive. We are so, so grateful for our amazing family and friends who have surrounded us with encouragement, love, and prayers as we have travelled this very bumpy road of infertility {hence the name of the blog}.
I hope and pray that infertility is not something you ever have to experience. This has doubtlessly been the most difficult season in our lives.
There is not one single good thing I can say about infertility.
But there are many good things I can say about my God who is bringing us through this trial.  We stumble over the bumps and our hearts ache, but His promises hold true.
He loves us.
He will never leave us.
He will be glorified, even in this circumstance.
So this week, no matter what you're struggling with or what your circumstances are, listen to His heart for you...
He loves you.
He will never leave you.
He will be glorified, even in this.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

bump #50: guest post from husband

Brensbabybump has been my little outlet for our infertility woes of the last year or so. It's a safe place for me to vent about our struggle to conceive and, usually, try to find some humor in the suckiness. But lately I've been having a tough time getting my thoughts together. This has been a strange season, can I get an amen? And while it's always easy for me to post silly outfit pictures and other meaningless babble on my other blog, I've been neglecting this little space. So I thought for this momentous (?) 50th bump post, I would have my husband, Andrew who does write for a living after all, write about his perspective on our bump-less state.

*He's getting his doctorate in literature so if you see any grammatical errors on his part he owes me $5!

According to several medical professionals, I shouldn’t be here right now.  When I was born, I was breach with my head up near my mom’s rib cage.  If I hadn’t have been a C-section, I probably wouldn’t have made it.  Shortly after I was a born, a doctor told my mom that I had some sort of weird newborn disease and that I probably wouldn’t live very long (thankfully, he was wrong).  Fast forward four years and one sister later, and yet another doctor tells my mom after an exam that she has a septuated uterus and if she had gone to him before she had kids that he would have told her that having a baby would have been impossible for her.

Needless to say, I am acutely and personally aware that getting pregnant, let alone delivering a healthy baby, is a miracle.  I realize that calling birth a miracle is a cliché of epic proportions, one that can be easily dispelled by looking at the rapidly rising world population or watching a birthing video (which I’ve managed to avoid thus far, unless you count that one scene in Knocked Up *shudder*).  However, as a would-be father, I sometimes find that this tired cliché can be an unexpected source of strength.  Why do I think this?  Because I am proof positive that miracles can and do happen.

Brenda and I have been trying to get pregnant since just after we moved to Texas, and I’ll admit that when we first started, I wasn’t totally convinced we were ready.  Focusing on the three years of PhD classes, exams, and school-induced poverty, I could not help but think that we were rushing into something and that we’d always have more time to worry about kids later.  A very big part of me wishes I could go back in time and smack my three-years-ago self in his comically over-sized head.  I had no idea that nearly three years and several thousand dollars later we would still be childless with no inkling of what is actually wrong with us.  I thought time was an endless resource for us; turns out, it was (and still is) our enemy.

In spite of the uncertainty of our infertility journey and the instability of our lives in general as I finish my PhD and wonder if I will in fact have a job waiting when I graduate, I am absolutely, 100% convinced that Brenda and I will be parents, some way or another.  Why?  Because ever since I was a little kid, I’ve known that I want to be a father.   Even when I’ve wondered if the timing is right for us, I’ve never doubted that I want to have kids.  I know Brenda has said similar things on this blog before, but I don’t believe that God puts desires like these into our hearts just to disappoint us like Lucy with the football in “Peanuts.”  God gave us the desire to be parents because we will be parents.  The waiting may be the proverbial hardest part (now I’ve just Tom Petty’d myself), but one thing I’ve tried to remember throughout our wait is that God has not forgotten us and that his capacity for miracles has not been exhausted.  I am able to write this post because of a series of pretty huge miracles.  I know that however we are able to start our family it will be because of God’s miraculous love for us.  It may be hard to trust in that promise sometimes, but God’s faithfulness is not limited by our lack of it.  Thank God for that!
Monday, April 01, 2013

bump #49: perspective

It's April and it is going to be a very exciting month because so many of my friends are welcoming brand new babies into the world in the next couple weeks. It makes me super happy because I know exactly how longed for, prayed over, and loved these little ones are.

They are proof that God still works miracles and I've needed that reminder lately.

It is some kind of paradox that I can still be sad about infertility and not having a baby of my own, but at the same time, also be truly, whole-heartedly happy for my friends. Though I'm admittedly way happier for the ones who overcame infertility to get here than for the ones who "weren't trying and just got a surprise". But I'm happy for them all :) 

I think I'm almost to that place of acceptance, you know in the Kubler-Ross mumbo jumbo model. That is the technical term for it, no? Not that I don't fluctuate daily between denial, bargaining and what not!
But at this point it's easier to take a step back and let go of the sadness so I can share in others' joy.

Somehow my perspective changed.
Changed from "Why isn't it ever me?"
to "Your will be done."
It's been a gradual change, and really more of a struggle. I still can't understand why we have such great obstacles in our lives, but I'm learning to lean into Christ when it all gets to be too much.
His will, not mine.
I always dreaded April when it comes to infertility because April means the year is one third over. That means no baby this {calendar} year. For me it means I will definitely be in my 30's when we finally have a family. That used to really upset me. And 30 isn't even old, but in the world of baby-making it's when your biological clock kicks into overtime.
When I was young and stupid I thought I would be done having babies by the time I was 30.
Now I would be elated and consider myself beyond blessed to even have a baby at all,
yet alone in my 30's.
There's that change in perspective again.
In summation:
April is now a happy month.
30 is the new 10.
If it is God's will for me to have a baby it will happen.
Maybe it will even be one of those "surprise" ones. Here's hoping! 
Just as long as I don't set any new records in the oldest lady to have a baby category
I think I'll be alright.

 Disgusting or Determined?
Funny how your perspective changes.  But I'm still going with disgusting on this one.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

bump #48: A day in the life

A while back I did "a day in the life" post here. Today I am taking that same theme but from a little different perspective:

Let me preface this by saying that we are currently (for 2013) taking a break from "hardcore" fertility treatment. Read: no more blood work, ultrasounds, x-rays, surgery, inseminations, or doctor's appointments. So what I am including here is more of a lax approach to daily life as someone struggling with infertility or "infertility lite" if you will.

Let's look at this hour by hour, because it turns out that's about how often I think about it.

6am: alarm goes off. Grab thermometer. Take basal body temperature whilst remaining perfectly still so as not to sway it by even a fraction of a degree. Dot BBT chart and rub the sleep out of my eyes in attempt to make sense of it. Proceed with morning routine... sleep in until 6:30, if that really counts as sleeping in. It doesn't by the way.

7am: Take femmenessence vitamin to restore hormone imbalances. Depending on what cycle day it is either stick an estrogen patch under my belly button, or apply progesterone cream to assist with potential implantation in the luteal phase, or drink Chinese herbs (Zao Jiao Ci) dissolved in hot water to help bring on ovulation, or take a big fat naproxen to alleviate menstrual cramps. I don't know if any of that really amounts to much, but it feels good to know that I'm at least trying something. Oh and I always remember to eat a couple pretzels so I have something in my belly to absorb the vitamins. Nothing like feeling nauseous all morning with "phantom morning sickness" brought on by vitamin overload. I'm not a breakfast person, but I make up for it with second dinner :)

If I'm feeling particularly hopeful I might take a prenatal vitamin. {I haven't taken one in 4 months.} Remember, I'm working on choosing joy. Hope fell another rung on the ladder.

Somewhere in that hour I make a coffee, but I hesitate to drink it because I know caffeine is a big no-no in baby making efforts. But I ultimately decide to drown it in creamer and figure that cancels out the caffeine content. It's like the rule that calories don't count if you eat an even amount. Hey, that rhymes so it must be true! Turns out I lack proper reasoning skills. But my Coconut Cream heaven in a cup is approximately 264 calories, (even) so it isn't even worth mentioning.

8am: Drive to work. I find my little 10 minute commute to be the optimal time for prayer. I pray for my friends and my family, that they'll be safe and happy, healthy, seeking God's will. And then it ultimately turns to me and my barrenness. Oh barren brennie! I can only imagine that's what God refers to me as lately. It's Barren Bren again. (Almost sounds like Michael Finnigan. He had whiskers on his chinnigan. At least I don't have electrolocized that problem.) Moving on... I pray that God will prepare us for parenthood. Or not. My prayer life is admittedly apathetic right now. I always thank Him for my husband, my family, and my dog of course! But the thanks end there.

Confession: A typical day in the life of this infertile is not characterized by thankfulness. I contemplate doing Ann Voskamp's 1,000 gifts journal to focus on all the good things God's doing. But I hit every red light (literally and figuratively- on my way to work and on this bumpy road) and make a pouty face instead.

9am: Take attendance {I substitute teach 6th graders} and make a mental note to remove a couple names from my running list of baby name options. There's always a few stinker students that I associate with certain names.

9am - 12pm: Teaching... an excellent distraction. Until one of the students inevitably asks how old I am. I guess they see how short I am and associate my lack of height as being younger, but then they see the bags under my eyes and aren't sure what to think. I usually just say their question is kind of rude and they come back with a guess of 24. Lucky for them 24 was a good year and I'd be happy to stay that age, but I let out a little "cough-twenty-ahem-nine" because honesty is the best policy. Or whatever. I'd be happy if the conversation stopped there, but alas they press on with "How many kids do you have?" "None."  ::Shocked:: They respond with "My big sister is 22 and she already has 3 kids." I come back with "Well isn't that special" in my best Dana Carvey Church Lady voice, of course. My sarcasm goes right over their heads and I console myself by thinking that their sister is going to be a grandma in her 30's. Ha! Joke's on her.

12pm: Lunch. Oops, in all my back-and-forth about the coffee conundrum this morning I forgot to pack a lunch. Drive 4 blocks to McDonald's and consider getting a salad. Order a spicy chicken sandwich and an ice cream cone instead. Whatever. I'm a grown up with no kids to set a healthy example for, so I should at least be able to eat whatever I want, right? At least I didn't get the fries I wanted. Next time.

1-4pm: Teach 3 more classes. Same old. I wonder if wearing a t-shirt that says in bold letters "I'm 29 and childless" would make the day flow more smoothly. Probably not. Plus, it would clash with my outfit adding insult to injury. At some point I pull out my planner. Yes, that same one I bought last year during my epic Valium-hangover sponsored shopping trip to Target after my HSG x-rays. I do some "period math" but gone are the days when I would anticipate this being the month I get a positive pregnancy test, count forward 12 weeks and come up with a cutesy, creative way to announce it. Nope. Period math is now just a way for me to determine when I might be ovulating and to add another month to the still not pregnant list {30}.

4pm: Catch up on blogs and Facebook. 5 more people are expecting. One is pregnant with her 6th. Wow.

All of a sudden I'm queasy.
Infertility ruins everything.

Check my email and RSVP "No" to another evite for a child's birthday party. I of course thank them for the invitation because that's very nice, really it is. But spending all day Saturday at a children's museum with no children of our own mostly feels wrong. At best we look like babysitters and at worst we're just creepy.

5pm: Take Maddie for a walk and pass by 3 families with strollers and kids learning to ride their bikes with training wheels.
Look away.
Look at Andrew.
See the same sad look in his eyes.

6pm: Eat dinner. Hang out with hubby and discuss plans for our next vacation (Boston in May). Talk about the concert we went to last night and how funny the keyboard player's hair was. When Andrew's hair is long it resembles an afro too. I envision what our little boy would look like with a chia pet head of hair and think about maybe adopting. Joking.

7-9pm: Shop online (Amazon, Sephora, Ikea), research places for us to live in San Diego. Go back and forth on renting an apartment or a house because we have been living in a big house in San Antonio which is fun, but it feels so empty being just the two of us. Maddie loves having her own room and all, but it's a little frivolous don't you think? It would be different if I knew we would be expanding our family, but with so many unknowns we might as well live in a teeny place and start saving for our adventures at the next fertility center.

Eat second dinner, of course I didn't forget about that! Take more vitamins. If nothing else they make my pee fluorescent which is mildly entertaining.

9pm: Think about putting on some pretty pajamas and seducing husband. Remember I'm not ovulating for 6 more days and I gotta conserve my energy, so I opt for sweat pants, Dancing with the Stars, and a bowl of popcorn instead. #wifefail. I do share my popcorn at least. Oh, I still have that 3 hour Bachelor finale to plow through. DWTS will have to wait.

Currently: writing this admittedly lame blog post, but at it's core infertility is admittedly lame as well.  On the bright side, it's helping me fall asleep.
Saturday, March 02, 2013

bump #47: choosing joy

This verse is written on the chalkboard on my wall, in my agenda in my purse, on my calendar on my fridge, and imprinted on my heart.
I see it everywhere, but it's not sinking in.

I originally titled this bump "finding joy" like it is something lost you have to seek out.
But I know joy is not something you find like keys in a couch cushion or a penny on the ground,
joy is a choice.
Life is made up of a gazillion choices and you ultimately decide how you want to be and who you want to be. We are not destined to be Debbie Downers.

This season has been a tough one. I know you can relate. Beyond infertility, as all-encompassing it's toxicity is, everyday life is ridden with challenges of its own. Everyone is weighed down with burdens. The thing is, I have let those burdens rob me of the joy that the Lord has given all of us.

Instead of choosing joy, I have chosen pain, anger, sadness, and more anti-joyful things.

It takes almost no effort to harbor resentment and be impatient. It takes a lot of effort to look beyond the hurt and reclaim the joy.

I want to be joyful, really I do. But sometimes it's easier to be numb, to not feel. My logic is that if you don't allow yourself to feel the joy, you don't have to suffer through the pain. As if there is some middle road of indifference.

But joy is not a pendulum. It is a constant.
We can experience joy even in the midst of our pain.
I am still learning what that looks like.

I am praying that God will meet you right where you are and provide for your every need as He fills your heart with joy.

And now for some smiles...

An amazon review I read for "fertili-tea"
which I did not end up buying, though it sounds pretty effective :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

bump #46: the more things change

I was thinking about this time last year when we reluctantly made an appointment with a fertility specialist. Remembering how hopeful we were that finally all our struggles to conceive would be over. {Dear year-ago-self, you're a little too optimistic. Dial it down a notch.}

I remember telling the doctor that we would be moving back to California in a year and a half and how he smiled and said, "hopefully with your baby."  {Dear year-ago-doctor, You are so wrong.}

Funny {sad, punch in the stomach, awful} how comforting that statement was then and how much it stings to think of it now.

A whole year has gone by and nothing has changed.


Except maybe one thing... I don't ever want to go to a fertility specialist again :)

No. Certainly something has to have changed.

I am a lot more open to IVF. I was never against it, just never considered it before this year.

Ditto adoption.

I pray more. And I thought I prayed a lot before, but some days I feel like every breath is a prayer.

I'm in the classroom everyday and find myself really valuing each student, every life, a lot more. Even the stinkers! I think about how much someone had to go through to bring them into the world.

I treasure the time I get to spend with my husband, just the two of us. We just got back from spending the weekend in New Orleans and had so much fun. It is so important to make time for fun!

I still struggle with hope. Some days it's easy not completely impossible to be hopeful, to believe that something good is going to come out of all this waiting and hurting. Most days it takes a lot of effort. I suppose that's part of the human experience, but it is not my favorite part.

I was reading through Romans and, as always when reading scripture, was convicted by these words:

"Hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently." Romans 8:24-25

Patient and confident are not two words I would use to describe myself. They are in fact the complete opposite of my core character. Drats! That's something that needs to change... I'll work on it.

I am learning that this life is made up of more than a few fertile days each month. It's important not to waste all the other days.  I don't want to look back on this time in my life {whether I ever have children or not} and think of it as a waste. Everyday is a gift... but some days are white elephant gifts. I'm learning to deal.

I still feel like I am so far behind. Like all my friends already have so many little ones and I'm just stuck here. {Don't feel too bad for me, at least I have a cute little doggy!}

I saw this the other day and couldn't help but laugh
 because it could have just as easily looked like this:
The more things change, the more they stay the same...
This life has been full of crazy changes, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He still has a plan. It appears to be a little different than mine.
I need to get on board.
Thursday, January 31, 2013

bump #45: 30 before 30 the infertility edition

I devised a list of thirty things I hope to accomplish by my 30th birthday here. Most of the items on that list are silly, fun things that won't really be that hard to complete. Which got me thinking: What are some of the more difficult things I am facing this last year of my twenties?

No brainer: infertility.
Also moving across the country, but I am choosing to see that as an extended vacation which makes it much less stressful.

I came up with the following list of 30 things I hope to do by the time I am 30 regarding infertility.

#1 : Get pregnant. This will appear on the list A LOT because it is of utmost importance.

#2 : Use up my ovulation predictors and then never buy another one again. Ever. Which is such a shame because if there was an Olympic sport for peeing on sticks I would win it hands down.

#3 : Unsubscribe from all of the spam parenting emails bombarding my inbox with taglines like "Your baby is 21 months old" Yes, if I got pregnant a few years ago when we started trying that might be true. I do not need monthly reminders of the child I am not raising.

#4 : Block (not unfriend, I'm not that mean!) the repeat offenders on facebook who insist on posting thrice daily photos of their littles with the caption "53 and 1/2 days old!" ... "53 and 3/4 days old!" Gag me with a spoon. And yes, your baby is adorable. But come on, really?!

#5 : Stop reading infertility books. At this point I've read enough to last me a lifetime. I should probably write one and title it "Surviving Infertility One Shopping Mall At a Time" {substitute shopping mall with chocolate bar, bubble bath, or tropical vacation.}

#6 : No more attending baby showers or children's birthday parties. I've exhausted all the fake smiles I can muster at these events. That sounds bitter and snotty {and it is} but it's just too hard right now.

#7 : Get pregnant. Let's not forget the main goal!

#8 : Pray more.

#9 : Whine less about my bump-less state... obviously this list excluded :)

#10 : Take vitamins because I don't always make healthy food choices (popcorn, pizza, and ice cream are my main food groups.) Maybe I'd eat better if, I dunno, I was with child!

#11 : Increment healthier food choices (fruit, veggies)

#12 : Do things you can't do if you are pregnant like drink a bottle glass of wine (whine less-wine more!), sit in a jacuzzi for an hour, and sleep in as late as I want.

#13 : Schedule an appointment with an acupuncturist. I've heard good things about this.

#14 : Talk openly about our struggle to conceive. I hate that infertility is a taboo subject, but at the same time, I don't always want to talk about it. I have to find a balance somewhere in between.

#15 : Do something fun (go to the movies, get a manicure, grab a fro-yo, wander the mall) on the dreaded first day of my period each month as a little distraction.

#16 : Get pregnant.

#17 : Research San Diego fertility specialists.

#18 : Start saving for IVF because that is what they'll recommend we do next.

#19 : Trust God's timing more.

#20 : Don't blame "God's timing" for ruining my life.

#21 : Stop basing my happiness on having a baby. We will have a baby someday. It just might be way, way in the future. Meanwhile, I need to focus on fulfilling God's purpose for my life right now.

#22 : Hug my puppy everyday because she is a constant source of comfort and joy.

#23 : Buy stock in the company that makes clomid. Seriously, those guys must make a killing!

#24 :  Get pregnant.

#25 : Try not to cringe when I'm out shopping and I see a girl five years younger than me with 3 kids in a cart and an 8 month pregnant belly. Oh and also she probably weighs less than me, third trimester and all. Ugh.

#26 : Thank God everyday for my husband who puts up with my insanity on a daily hourly basis and still loves me very much... I think :)

#27 : Get a back massage. All that stress can't be good for me. Oh also a foot massage sounds good.

#28 : Establish a better sleep schedule. Says the girl writing a lame blog post in the middle of the night on a school night.

#29 : 2 words - Ice Cream. Lots of it. No remorse!

#30 : Get pregnant. Just because it is on this list 5 times does not mean that I want to get pregnant 5 times this year. It means I want to get super pregnant once.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

bump #44: glimmers of hope

I was cleaning out my car this afternoon and found these...

I'm going to risk y'all thinking I'm a crazy person and tell you why I had these binkies in the first place. Two months ago when we were in the middle of our third iui, I found a pacifier on the ground in the parking lot right next to my car. I stepped around it and sat down in the driver seat but before I closed my door I had a thought. My first thought was "eww gross" because those things are full of germs. But then I thought, "hmm. finding a binky seems like a sweet little reminder that perhaps a baby is near and maybe this will finally be our month." You know, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (except really a filthy chew toy for an infant). So I picked it up {with a tissue} and kept it.

And then a few days later Andrew found a pacifier on the ground right in front of our mail box. Random, right?!  So we started this little collection thinking how crazy it was that we kept finding binkies everywhere we went. Like some sort of strange scavenger hunt.

We were super hopeful that those binkies signified some good news. But a few days later we learned that our 3rd iui failed. And those "good luck" binkies were nothing of the sort. They were just plain, old, yucky binks neglected and forgotten. In fact, I forgot all about them until today. And for the record, I finally threw them away. But at the time they offered some small glimmer of hope. Which makes me think how silly some of the things I place my hope in are.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."  Psalm 43:5
Wednesday, January 09, 2013

bump #43: what if

Usually I try to ignore the what if questions, to bury them deep, deep down. But today I want to know...

There are a few obvious answers... we would have babies, more money in our bank account, and a blissful unawareness of just how much it hurts to want something so bad that you can't have. Golly gee that sounds nice.
But in this new year even if it marks our 3rd year of trying to no avail, I want to look at this struggle differently. I want to see it how God sees it, as a growing experience that will ultimately bring us closer to Him.
So I ask the all too familiar question again, what if we never struggled with infertility?

Would our faith be as strong? 
Would we understand what it means to fully trust God the way that we have had to?

There is something incredibly humbling about leaning into God when this life gets to be too much. It is times like these when He is all we can rely on. I wish it was more of a natural reaction for me to trust Him.  Baby steps... oh the irony!

Would I have ever come to know and love, commiserate and celebrate with my fellow bump-seeking blogger buddies?  You, my sweet little handful of readers, always there to build me up when I'm falling down, have become some of my dearest friends. I cannot express in words how much God has used you in this crippling season of my life. Thank you so much for walking this path alongside me.

I am turning 29 tomorrow and am not exactly where I thought I would be. Pretty sure I say that every birthday :) But I know God has a plan and this struggle is somehow part of His larger plan for our lives. So even though it feels like I'm getting old and falling apart, I know God sees this life differently and I want to see it His way.

"So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever."
2 Corinthians 4:16 {message}