Monday, March 30, 2009

Show & Tell - Birthday Cake!

C's birthday was Saturday, and I decided to bake him a cake. If you knew me IRL, you'd be rolling on the floor right now, because me in a kitchen is a recipe for disaster. (Get it? Recipe for disaster?)

A little background: my reputation for stirring up trouble in the kitchen started in the ninth grade. My mom was working late one night, and I "helped" by frying up some bratwurst. I'm still not sure what happened exactly...but somehow dinner caught fire and everyone panicked. My sister grabbed the dogs and hid under the (wooden) piano bench. My dad rushed forward with a large fork, screaming something about saving his dinner. He rescued the bratwurst from the fire (well, what was left of them, at any rate) and then extinguished the blaze. As for me...I'd like to say I ran to get a fire extinguisher, but the truth is that I just stood there looking at the fire, because I thought it was pretty.

Not much has changed since then. However, C takes such good care of me, and I have put him through so much lately with my hormonally-induced craziness, that it seemed really important for him to have a proper birthday cake this year. We follow a very strict diet free of gluten and refined sugar, which added substantially to the challenge, but I was able to pull it off! I made a three-layer gluten-free carrot cake, sweetened with blue agave nectar. And it wasn't even charred!!

(Well, okay - I did burn it a little. But that's what frosting is for, right?) Now head over to Mel's and check out what the rest of the class brought!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Danger, Will Robinson!

Bomb!I thought I would post a picture of myself for all you ICLW-er's, whom I've never met IRL. Yep, that's me to the left...a big bomb with a short fuse.

Have you ever had one of those cycles that just won't end? When AF won't show, but all her friends are partying it up like the guest of honor is right around the corner? My life over the last two weeks reads like a Midol commercial. I wake up in the middle of the night if I roll over on my chest, because it hurts so badly. I am so on edge that I cry one minute, laugh the next, and then become filled with rage. (I've discovered that I have very strong feelings about how toilet paper should be loaded into the dispenser. Poor C has a permanent "deer-caught-in-headlights" look; he looks like he keeps hearing the robot from Lost in Space: "Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Run away from the bomb!")

I'm embarrassed to admit that there is absolutely no possibility that AF is taking a hiatus for a good reason. Here's the thing: we actually took precautions not to get pregnant this month. Funny, right? The girl who can't get pregnant and wants to desperately, taking precautions to prevent pregnancy? Why bother? I am fully aware of exactly how stupid that sounds. Maybe what I should say is, I took precautions against getting my hopes shattered yet again. I just needed a break. And I guess I'm glad I took one...because we all know what I would have thought about AF disappearing otherwise.

So, here's the new roadmap: I have an appointment on Tuesday with the doctor who did my IUI's (not the RE who will do our IVF). I'm going to beg for some provera to put me out of my misery, and I have some questions for her about what else might be wrong. Not to mention why the heck AF is taking a vacation when my weight and diet are healthier than ever...after I talk to her I'm going to schedule a new consult with the RE. And then, I'm going to kick some IVF @$$. That is, if I don't explode first.

(Bomb photo credit: taken by woodsy and downloaded from stock.xchng.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Show & Tell

This is my first ever contribution to Mel's Show & Tell! For the past two years, most of the presents I've gotten from C have had a pampering/spa-like theme. It's really very sweet; I think he does it because actual spa treatments are so expensive, and not a part of our IVF finance plan. Anyway, for my birthday last year he gave me an expandable bath tray, so I can read in the tub without getting my books wet! It is my favorite thing ever. It has a coaster-like area for regular drinking glasses, and a compartment that stemware just slides into, for keeping wine glasses perfectly stable!

Bath Tray
I like to pair it with a nice glass of chianti (which, not coincidentally, is the name of the bathroom wall color) and my favorite bubble bath scent at the moment (black currant vanilla):

Bubble Bath
Everyone needs some pampering sometime, right? Which I am off to do now, so go check out the what the rest of the class brought here!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Usually I just lurk on the IComLeavWe list, but I'm feeling brave today, so here goes... Welcome, ICLW-ers!

A little bit about me: I'm just your average, disillusioned PCOS-er (PCOS = Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) who has been trying to get knocked up for the last three years. (Unsuccessfully, I might add.) We've done way more clomid cycles than we should have, threw in a couple IUI's just for the heck of it, and now we're getting all our ducks in a row so we can start IVF. My husband (we'll call him C) really is Prince Charming in most ways, but has been in complete denial when it comes to our inability to conceive. For example, this sweet little exchange happened at the ultrasound for our second IUI:

Doctor (walking out the door): Well, we've got some great-looking follicles! (laughingly) We did discuss the possibility of multiples, right?

C (looking at me with wide eyes): Multiples? I thought that only happened with fertility drugs!

Me (half-dressed, with my legs still up in the air, wildly grasping around for something to throw at him): What do you think the clomid is, frigging candy?

Good times. I'll blame it on the clomood; I'm not usually violent. C says that I used to be somewhat cheerful, even. Lately, I've just been pensive - so if you've never been here before and you're tempted to do some back reading, may I offer you some cheese to go with the whine?

Friday, March 20, 2009

About the Cow...

Change is good, so they say. I don't really know who "they" are, but I find that "they" are usually wrong. Change, to me, always means an end of something, and I mourn for what is lost more often than I celebrate what is gained. (Thank you, infertility. I wasn't always this pessimistic, I promise!)

But in this case, I've decided that "they" may be on the right track, and some change could possibly...maybe...slightly be good. I refer, of course, to my new blog layout - specifically, the picture of the cow on the beach. When I decided to personalize the layout a little more, I spent a long time searching for the perfect picture. I wanted something with depth and meaning - like the sun peeking through stormy clouds, depicting the re-emergence of hope after a time of darkness. Instead, I found the cow. On a beach.

My interest was piqued immediately. WHY is the cow on the beach? Does the cow not know that beaches usually have sand, rather than a plentiful supply of soft, yummy grass? WHAT is the COW doing on the BEACH?!

And then it struck me...I am the cow. In a world where herds are meant to meander through sprawling valleys of grass and greenery, I tread on empty, soulless sand - sand that is hard in some places, hurting my feet, and all too soft in others, giving me no solid place to stand. It's infertility, in a nutshell.

The other thing I notice when I look at this picture is that the cow is isolated from the rest of the herd. They are dimly visible through the mist, but barely. It reminds me that I am not the only cow on the beach. And on that note, I'm thankful for all the brave bloggers who have shared their infertility journeys with me and so many others. I may never meet them in real life (and more often than not, I may only lurk in blog-land), but they remain a steadfast source of comfort and hope. (Well, look at that! The imagery is hopeful, after all...)

P.S. I'm not finished tweaking the layout yet, so if you land here and see random bits of code everywhere, you'll know that change is only occasionally a good thing.

P.P.S. I want it noted that I made it through this entire post without resorting to punny cow jokes. I am udderly proud of myself...I could have milked it, but I didn't. I think it shows that I am moo-ving forward in the personal growth department.

Photo credit: "Misty Moo" photograph taken by Matthew Bowden and downloaded from stock.xchng.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Any kids yet?

Once again, when faced with stupid questions from well-meaning people (which doesn't change the fact that they are stupid questions), I have found myself stuttering out pithy platitudes in the name of social acceptability. It seems that the fifty-plus people who have recently rediscovered my existence through the wonder of Facebook all took the same social networking class (Conversation 101: How to Ask Rude and Offensive Questions). I have been bombarded with:

"Any kids yet?"
"Hey! You've been married twice as long as we have. We have two kids, how many do you have?"
"Why don't you have any pictures of your kids posted?"
and the list goes on...

I usually do my best just to survive these conversations, but from now on I'm going to start answering in a way that makes the asker really uncomfortable. Maybe then they'll think twice before saying stupid things in the first place. (And yes, I know the questions are meant in a kind way. But my hurting heart doesn't see too far past the words themselves!!)

Imaginary Conversation with Stupid Person on Facebook

Stupid Person: "Any kids yet?"
Me: "No, we're saving up to buy one though."
Stupid Person: "I totally understand - it's so expensive!!"
Me: "Tell me about it! So how did you finance your baby? Did you take out a loan to cover it?"
Stupid Person: "LOL. I wish I had."
Me: "Can you believe that some people actually go out and get pregnant, just like that? They have no clue what it's like for people like us. All the painful and humiliating procedures, the stress over money. And then the stupid and insensitive things they say...well, you know what I mean. So how many IUI's did you do before you got pregnant? Or did you do IVF?"
****long pause****
Stupid Person: "I'm confused. What's IUI? Is that like DUI? We did have a lot to drink that night, if you catch my drift!! I still can't believe our little "accident" is almost one. Did you see the pics I put up?"
Me: "Oh, I'm sorry. You said you understood how expensive it is to buy a baby, so I thought you meant it. We're saving up to pay for our next fertility treatment."
Stupid Person: "You know, if you're having trouble getting pregnant, you should just relax. I know this person who tried to have a baby for eight years, and then she went on a cruise, and came back pregnant."
Me: "Really? Do you think going on a cruise would make my ovaries work? Because my doctor says the only option we have left is IVF. Maybe she doesn't know about cruises!"
****long pause while Stupid Person removes me from her friend list****

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Illusion of Control

It's amazing how completely my perspective can change in such a short span of time. Even a few days ago, I was wallowing in self pity, railing against the injustice of being denied something so basic as the "right" to have a baby. Today, though, is radically different. I am determined that I am going to live each moment to the fullest, with or without a baby in my arms.

I think the difference is that I've made the decision to move forward with IVF. I'm committed, and I have a road mapped out in front of me. I've regained a sense of control - an illusion, I understand, but like a compass in a blinding snowstorm it pulls me forward with certain assurance. No more fighting to remain upright while being buffeted by 100-mile-an-hour winds; I am moving forward. And this comforts me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Outstretched Hands

I heard "Outstretched Hands" by Starfield on Pandora a few months ago, and it's become one of my favorite songs. I'm in a strange, contemplative-yet-optimistic mood today, and the lyrics keep nudging their way to the front of my thoughts:

Could I talk to You?
Are You listening?
Would You let me ask the questions
That burn inside of me?
I am reaching out
I am holding on
Feel like one of Your affections
But not quite like I belong
Like I belong

I am numb today
Everything's a blur
I've seen too much to deny
Too little to be sure
Like a prodigal
Like a distant son
I can see You from a distance
But I'm too ashamed to come

Will You see me through this valley?
Will You hold my outstretched hands?
As the world caves in around me
Will You help me understand?
Help me understand, help me understand

I am scared to fall
Scared to carry on
Am I losing to the cynic
After running for so long?
There's a child in me
Lost in mystery
But it's buried underneath the earth
Longing to be free

This song speaks to me on many levels. I've felt so lost inside my own despair over the past few months; it's hard for me to see my infertility struggles as a valley instead of the whole road. I was someone else before this, and I want desperately to reconnect with the girl I used to be! Don't get me wrong, there are some parts of the "old me" that needed to be ripped away, and it took a storm of this size to do it. But I miss being happy...hopeful...inspired. Instead, now I feel like I have lost to the cynic.

And I can so relate to the picture of someone standing alone in a desolate valley, reaching to heaven with all of her might, desperate for God to grab hold. Sometimes when I worship alone I stretch my hands toward the sky until I feel like my arms are going to come out of my shoulders (in a pose that somehow I can never recreate during a yoga workout...). Desperate for God to reach down and touch me, heal me, reassure me.

I wonder what I'll say someday about this time in my life. I want so badly to come out of the valley holding my baby high, and proclaiming the goodness of God. It occurs to me this morning though that maybe my testimony will be simply that God held my hand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Facebook Fiasco

No posts for months on end, then two in one day - what can I say, I'm committed to extremes. After months of email invitations, I finally caved and joined Facebook. And learned within five minutes that two friends are pregnant. HATING the fertiles, right now.

Blogging? What's That?

Helloooooooooo world! I'm back. I'm not sure where I've been - somewhere I definitely don't want to go again - but I think I'm on the road to recovery. It's been a rough couple of months! I put the brakes on our first IVF cycle and took some time to work on learning to breathe. It sounds like something that should be natural and normal, but for me, breathing is hard work. Breathing in the sense of being in tune with the Creator, and enjoying each moment for what it is, I mean; not oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange! (Although I could probably use some help in that department, too...I'm probably the person that aerobics instructors are talking to, when they say "Don't forget to breathe!")

I guess I can understand what the psalmist meant by "miry clay" now...I feel like I've been trapped in an emotional ditch for months. But today, I am setting my sights on higher things. And blogging.