Monthly Archives: July 2012

Today I’m (Maybe) Not Superwoman

Wow, what a week.  I’d say it goes down in my personal history as one of the worst.  It turns out last week after it rained and poured, it poured a little more.  After the not-pregnant followed by ruining the computer incident, our Monday appointment was a downer followed by a few scary/worrisome days and a second huge chunk of money for another unrelated emergency expense.  Whew.

We had the saline ultrasound on Monday, one of the few diagnostic procedures we hadn’t yet done.  And by we, I mean me but my awesome husband of course was there along for the ride.  One of the doctors commented a while back how she loves that he is almost always there with me.  I am so thankful for him and for his job that allows for this flexibility.  I simply can’t imagine doing many of these things without him.  Besides being uncomfortable, it is a whole heck of a lot of information to take in and decisions often have to be made on the spot.

So with this special ultrasound, what they do is fill your uterus with saline to get a better view of it.  The doctor didn’t see anything too remarkable, but after reviewing those results and our treatment response to date, he said it’s time to get more aggressive.  That is, either laparascopic surgery or IVF.  Holy I wasn’t ready for that.

We walked away — and zipped back to work — shocked and numb about this.  We’ve had conversations at our kitchen table about it since and it all feels entirely theoretical and detached, as if we’re talking about someone else.  Seriously, are we already there?  I’m convinced I really just can’t compute that right now, much less begin to make some decision about it.  We’ll be consulting with a few other docs in the next week and my hope is that those appointments will begin to help it sink in.  It’s such a crazy thing that our minds do, keeping us and our emotions somehow detached from something we know intellectually.  I wonder if I — my feelings, my spirit — will ever truly catch up to what we’ve been doing the past year.  Once we have a baby in our arms?

I noticed something really odd at the ultrasound.  I’ll spare you the details, but let me just say it was painful and the doc had to give it several tries.  So I’m lying there, fighting my tears, deep breathing (cf. dissociation with HSG), talking to God, biting my lip, soon enough hiding those tears — pushing through.  And I realized that this is what I do.  I act strong and push through.  I try to do everything, take on the pain, push it aside when I have to go back to work, take on responsibility, keep truckin’ and do life “as normal.”  Another form of dissociation I suppose.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to do something different.  The nurse took notice of my fight and the doctor said, “You have to tell me how you’re doing, my dear!”  Right.  Acknowledge it, say something.  It’s normal, I’m not a weenie.  It’s okay.

Just that morning I had begun to seriously consider scaling back with work as I’m feeling so overwhelmed, something I feel a strong internal pushback about.  (Note that: internal.  Not from anyone else.)  It feels to me like not pushing through, like giving into weakness, like taking the easy way out, like letting other people down.  But I’m beginning to think that that’s crap.

Maybe I’m not a weenie, maybe this is a lot to handle, and maybe it would be okay to not give everything my all right now.  That is nearly impossible for me even to write.  So I guess I really am just beginning.

I’m pretty attached to my superwoman cape.

Today It Rained and I Poured

And by today, I mean last Wednesday.  I hear you can take liberties such as these as a blogger, but I think I have a pretty good excuse.  Last Wednesday night a couple hours after finding out we again were not pregnant, I was being a dutiful conception-attempter taking my vitamins and somehow — I have no clue how — some water sneaked out of my glass onto my laptop.  Do you like the passive, it just happened to me language choice there?  It really did!  I wasn’t even doing anything stupid!  A frustrating and super long day at work and hour at the Genius Bar later, I knew that split-second mishap caused $700 damage to my computer.  And so, alas, I’m quite behind with my posts.

But yes, when it rains it pours.  And by pours I don’t just mean water on my laptop, I mean I cry big-time.  I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing my feelings so I was able to get through Thursday, but by the time Friday came around & I had my appointment with the RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist), I had my first breakdown at the Fertility Center.  I’m actually proud of myself that I lasted this long (minus the HSG when I made myself dissociate so as to not pass out when they had to start over because of my retrograde uterus!).  My doctor and the nurse were so sweet to me.  It really is amazing how far some good bedside manner will carry a patient.  Woot woot for Jennifer and Kelley.  They told me they’d thought my previous appointment with them would be the last time they’d see me and I could tell they both were really disappointed themselves that we (all) weren’t pregnant.  So sweet.  And in the back of my mind I’m thinking I hope they don’t blame themselves for it not working yet or if it never does.

Anyhow, this “no” was definitely the hardest to date and blame is a big theme here the last few days.  I’m really fighting the urge to blame myself for not being pregnant yet.  It’s so hard because there is a very real element of doing what you need to do — going to appointments, taking medication, home or doctor-facilitated “intercourse” at just the right time, and my all-time favorite, not stressing!  Don’t stress!  Okay!?  Don’t do it!  Be calm!!  I of course stress about not stressing.  May I now direct your attention to a much-beloved fertility internet artifact: “I Tried It: A Helpful At-a-Glance Guide to My Infertility.”  This is so great.  I checked 56.  No joke.

But really I am finding myself wondering if I should change my diet yet again (I’ve read two books on the subject already), start acupuncture, cut back on my work hours, make myself do yoga, etcetera etcetera.  What is the balance between obsessing and taking wise steps and being passive?  And how does God’s sovereignty come into play here?  Does He need me to spend extra time and money on acupuncture?  I kind of don’t think so.

These are really tricky questions and I don’t pretend to have any answers.  Of course I blame myself for the stinking 1/8th ounce of water on my computer, but really, am I honestly not going to drink water the several hours of the day I’m near my computer?  There comes a point with all of these things when we just need to be realistic with ourselves and not expect perfection.  Grace.  Breathing it in.  It’s not all on my shoulders.  It’s not all in my hands.  Usually that frustrates me to no end, but when I think about it from this angle — that it actually means that He is over all of these details and not me — that is an enormous comfort.  So for tonight I’m just letting myself be sad and trying to take all of this in.  And maybe asking my husband to tell me it’s not all my fault.

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Today I Fessed Up About Infertility

Today I fessed up to my dad that we’re struggling with infertility.  I still haven’t quite made sense of the feelings around this or even why, to begin with, it felt so important to keep it to myself.  We’ve told several friends of varying closeness but for some reason it has felt more private with family.  Maybe in part because for a long time I’d hoped we’d have some big special, shocking moment when we could say we were pregnant and, honestly, when you’re (in)fertile that possibility begins to slip out of your hands.  There’s also the bit of not wanting the added pressure and, of course, not wanting to feel weak or like a failure.  Hmm, I think that may be it.  It’s been coming at me from all sides lately that I really like to think that and appear like I have it all together.  Think these things just might be related?

My dad’s response was sweet.  It also was not at all what I expected.  I told him in this choppy monologue with awkward silences where I kept expecting him to interject at least with an “awww” and where I began to wonder if we’d had an untimely dropped call.  Or an “untimely dropped call” along the lines of a fake crackle through the phone indicating I’d just shared way too much.  But once I spit it all out and gave him a second to catch up with me, he said, “Well I am so excited to hear this.  Not that you’re having trouble, sweety, but I’m so happy to hear you’re trying.”  In my quivery voice I gave him an “awww” back (it was all I could get out).  I could just hear it in his voice that he would love to know this set of grandchildren.  He told me he’s already started his 50 states quarter collection for my kids (awww again), that he wants twin girls to which I confessed I’ve been fearing triplets lately, and that he’d love to see little me’s running around.  The quiver became tears, but of course I didn’t show it to my dad, who I for some reason still want to think I’m not weak.

Sometimes the “It will happen for you!” response drives me nuts or at the very least causes me to want to explain that there’s a 2% chance we’ll become spontaneously pregnant any given month and still only 10% with medication and IUI (and IUI only works for 30% of couples.  boo.).  But this time, I could just hear his desire for me — and for himself — in his voice.  And honestly, it comforted me.  It felt like my dad actually knew more than me and knew this to be true.  I made sure to let him know it had been 21 months and not to get his hopes up, but then I also just let myself rest, even if just for a moment, in the possibility that his assuredness about this could be right.

It felt kind of good to let my weakness show (pssst, excuse me m’am!  Your weakness is showing!).  I’m reminded right now of 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul is writing about the Lord saying to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  My goodness.  That is such a big deal.  I feel so desperate right now and so drained and have so very little to give or to live off of, those are such sweet words to hear.  He is what is keeping me going.  He is what makes me enough.  I guess it’s not me feeling competent in my work or being on time or having an empty inbox.  I really stink at all of those things, so this is a lot to be given.  And He seems to even be saying here that it actually is best when I’m weak.  I’m definitely aware of him having a ton of space to take up in my life because I’m not so much in the way, and that really is a good thing.  It would be so great if His power could be displayed right now.  It doesn’t all make sense to me, this sovereign God yet allowing suffering thing, but for now I’ll also rest in this promise to me and not having it all figured out.

A good word today from two dads.

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Today I’m Having Auditory Fertility Hallucinations

Today I’m having AFHs, Auditory Fertility Hallucinations.

In case you are unaware of this malady, let me explain.  AFHs are a symptom frequently present in emotionally drained women trying to conceive, wherein she leaves Target and, whilst listening to music on her way back to work, she believes songs to be about fertility which others do not perceive as such.  I was listening to Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy” (what a classic) and suddenly realized they’re talking about the deep dark secrets and embarrassment people hold about fertility-related procedures!  How have I never noticed this before?

Take a listen yourself, and please please also enjoy the hair and wardrobe brilliance.

Hey girl, move a little closer!  Too shy shy, hush hush IUI.  This song clearly is about a girl who becomes nervous upon entering the IUI room, undressing from the waist down, draping the sheet and awaiting the arrival of the medical entourage.  She suddenly realizes just how awkward it all is and attempts to distract herself by watching the screen saver pictures change and rereading the “Call, Don’t Fall” sign.  Kajagoogoo, thank you for bringing attention to these sensitive issues!  You were so ahead of your time!  (And this is me not commenting on the “move a little closer” (to the edge of the table) line.)

While we’re at it, can we take a moment to talk about Target?  Why the maternity-section-to-your-left, baby-section-to-your-right gauntlet one must endure to reach the shoes?  Don’t you know, dear Target, that infertile women overshop for cheap shoes to numb their no baby registry pain?  We’re an important demographic too!  And then there is the inundation of cute pregnant women ever-y-where.  I just want to buy my avocados in peace, without constant reminders of what I don’t have.  I’m beginning to understand that this store (not to mention the farmer’s market and Whole Foods) is a universal trigger source for the infertile woman, which makes me feel less crazy.

Additionally, I was so comforted yesterday to learn that there is an explanation to all the pregnant bellies there!  I started following this wonderful blog just yesterday, called Hapa Hopes and loved her take on Target — Does Target Have a Birthing Center?  I should have guessed it myself.  Interestingly, this brilliant woman’s theory was proven at my trip today!  

Aha!  Gotcha Target!  So much more to say on the topic, i.e. I could do about three “Today I Cried at Target” posts, but that will be all for now.  My apologies to the three cars who I angered slowing down to take these poor-quality photos out my car window this morning.

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Today I’m Finally Starting this Blog

Hello curious readers who have stumbled upon this blog,

Today I’m finally starting this blog.  It is something I have done in my mind several times over the past year but now seems like the time to actually get it going.  I’ve always used writing as an outlet so it only makes sense to do so on our journey of (in)fertility.  Somehow calling it straight-up infertility seems a little grave and pessimistic and, although I suppose that’s what it is, I still semi-refuse to call it that.

This struggle to admit to being infertile is reflected in the name of this blog: Today I Bought Waterproof Mascara.  That day actually was several months ago in January and it seemed like a defining day for me, finally admitting we were having real difficulty conceiving and that I was, in fact, crying every Sunday in church.  (I feel bad for our worship team having to sing back at my ugly cry face each week!)

But it is so hard, isn’t it?  To acknowledge the reality that we’re not really in control of something?  That the way we’d always assumed things would go is now out of reach?  For me this realization has come and still comes in waves, but that January day was 14 months after we’d starting trying to conceive and the second cycle on fertility medication.  Nothing like taking meds days three through seven to make you realize there’s a problem.

Each post in this blog will begin with the “Today I…” stem, sharing the real-life, ugly, quirky, and even amusing experiences of infertility.  My hope with the blog is that it will not only be an outlet for me, but also that others dealing with infertility may feel less alone in their journeying.  I also hope that friends and family of people with infertility might use it as a resource to better understand this road on which their loved ones find themselves.  Believe me, we hardly understand it ourselves and we know you’re trying your best to be loving toward us in our messiness.

So, today I begin blogging.  It’s been easy to avoid so far, as it seems so common to take a while to get pregnant, to have to take medication, and I have to admit that I thought that would be our easy solution.  But now with eight months on meds and two IUIs under our belts, I’m emerging in yet another form from denial land.  We’re not able to make a baby on our own.  We need a doctor (and a resident and a lab tech team and a nurse and a PA) to have his/their hand/s in the process.  It’s a harrowing thought but one to reflect upon, to take in, to laugh at, to fight with, and, ultimately, to integrate into our story and hopefully to glorify the Lord (somehow).

Enjoy reading and please leave any comments, your own experiences, questions for infertile people, or otherwise uber-helpful content.  I don’t know about you, but traversing through life, I’m thankful for waterproof mascara and for the acceptance that comes with it.

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