Middle America

Well, we arrived  in Omaha tonight!  Its been 14 years since I’ve been back here and believe me, I thought if anything we’d be coming back to visit friends or see the College World Series (so did my husband!) but I guess this works too.  We plan to do a little pilgrimage to the town I grew up in too while we’re here, (as well as all the other ones all over the country/world)  so that should be exciting.  I’m really excited to see my old schools and houses!

This will be a little picture post, since the name of the game is fun, so here’s a brief run down of what we’ve been doing.

Saying goodbye to the lab in Texas

Did you really think I was just sitting in the car?  Knitting progress through Texas.

More knitting progress through Arkansas...but took it in front of the wrong state...doh!

We stopped for few nights in Arkansas to see some family and go to Riverfest.  Completed a 5k and attended some concerts.  And saw the Irish dancers!

After our Retro 5k

Irish dancers

As I told my husband, most people put pictures of their babies/kids next to inamate objects on their blogs to show their growth.  Here I am posting pictures of my sock.  Not even my dog, but a sock.  How much more pathetic can I get?  Maybe that will change soon…(wait…was that a glimmer of hope you just witnessed?? All of your pep talks may be paying off!)

And the best medicine to calm some fears, meeting someone wiser and more experienced in this department…I bring you the proof….

wait, who's that in the background?? :)

Finally got to meet this girl and her husband, about a year after the first time I emailed her and said I may be coming to Omaha.  “Mr. Mysterio” as my husband called her at first (did I tell you that?!), turned out to be real and not an axe murder (whew!).  Hit it off right away and am very glad that we had a chance to meet before the surgery to be reminded that I really am a wuss and it will be ok!

Anyway, stay tuned and I’ll try to update how it goes and eventually, if I ever finish that sock!

(Ok, maybe one of those is more exciting than the other….)

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You better believe I’m talking about the sock!!

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Wow, I’m in a weird mood.

Our time to leave the Matrix

As usual, many thoughts  swirling in my head (most of them happy, picture posts about our last few weeks in Mexico) but I wanted to address our next move.  I’m not as comfortable sharing every nitty gritty medical detail on this blog, mostly because I feel that my blog is a bit different in that it isn’t anonymous as many other blogs are.  Also, although I use this as an outlet to write and work through some things, I never intended the sole purpose of this blog to be about our fertility struggles and I would rather people I know find out about them through me.  But, best intentions aside, its what happened and has taken up a large part of my writing.  (Anyone remember when I was supposed to write about homosexual marriage?  Yeah, still working on that one…just don’t hold your breath.) (Hopefully you weren’t.)

After 10 months of SST charting and no pregnancy, I decided to learn Creighton last year before we moved to Mexico.  You know, so I could practice charting while there and get in line with Dr. Hilgers and eventually take advantage of the endocrinology knowledge of the Napro system.  But I wouldn’t really need that because I’d probably get pregnant on our Mexican trip, right?   Not exactly.  Still I sent in my paperwork in September-ish, got a quick, routine response and sat on it.  Because we were probably going to get pregnant while we were in Mexico, right?  Not exactly, I also knew I had no time to pursue anything else while finishing my degree.  At one point I thought we’d go to Omaha in January, but our time in Mexico was too limited and valuable.  So we put the idea off until June.

Well, it will be June in 5 days.  And 13 months of Creighton charting later.

And I see Dr. Hilgers on June 1st.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have anxiety.  Although I know Creighton has done amazing things, I’m afraid of putting my hope in this idea of a ‘cure’ because at the core I want to be OK with this childlessness, if that’s what’s going to happen – as it already seems most probable.  Last year was really rough for me…much harder than this second year, precisely because of the hope factor.  Last year I kept having to convince myself that I have nothing to worry about, to just wait it out.  I think now that I have the proof in my fertility history that getting pregnant won’t be easy for us on our own, I’m used to this monthly rejection.  I haven’t cried (when I’ve gotten my period) in 4 months now.  Granted, I was a little preoccupied, but no tears for 4 months?  That’s unreal.

Before two weeks ago, the thing  I was most afraid of hearing from Dr. Hilgers is “You will get pregnant soon!” since I would have to go back to actually expecting pregnancy.  The idea of expecting such a miraculous amazing thing to happen to me?  It has become as imaginary to me as the idea of intergalactic travel.  Maybe I’m mildly depressive anyway, or incredibly excitable, but I remember having that hope for pregnancy and when it doesn’t happen each month, its crushing, no matter how you try to protect yourself.

[Although I did have a little hope that this last month before my surgery would be *the month*.  (After all, I just needed to defend and take a relaxing vacation and then I’d get pregnant, right?)  Luckily, when I voiced this hope to my husband he said, I’m sorry honey, but its just not likely.  And he was right. And he always has hope.]

But then about a week or two ago I realized that something worse could happen.  He could find something, like, missing/malformed gonads (sorry, I had to go there) and tell me that I have no chance of pregnancy.  Maybe this idea of ‘hope’ shouldn’t be my greatest fear.  I’d have certainty that no, I can’t have kidsEver.  And man, talk about sucking my breath away.  Am I ready for that?

My husband and I revisited that conversation (it had been a while since we decided to go to Omaha in the first place) and we reaffirmed that yes, we’re ready to leave this place of ‘not knowing’.  And we realize that just because we decide to leave it doesn’t mean we’ll actually find out what’s wrong.  Many couples never have solid answers for why they can’t get pregnant.  I have to be prepared for that as well.  But at least we’ll have taken the next steps to figuring it out.

In the geeky words of my husband, we’re choosing to “leave the infertility Matrix”.

We don’t know what the answers are or what lies out there (or in there, in terms of my insides), we just know that we have to take the red pill and go to Omaha and begin to figure it out, no matter how bad the truth is.

Please pray for us this next week, especially on June 1st.  We have a fun road trip planned with stops to see family, so I’m trying to stay positive, but the reality exists that my dream of a ‘natural conception’ has flown out the window.

And I may need help being a big girl about it.

Take 7 – The Revival!

Haven’t done these in a while but I was feeling inspired so here goes nothing…

I try not to just flat out complain on here, but these are things I will just never understand…

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Why at the baggage claim does everyone huddle up as close as they can to the edge to wait for their bags?  Does no one realize that if everyone just takes two steps backwards we will all be able to see more clearly and not have to push past each other when our bag comes around?  Does huddling close like that actually help anyone or just make it more difficult for everyone?

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I really don’t understand the cars that race right behind the firetrucks.  Everyone’s pulling over to make room for the emergency vehicle because out there somewhere there’s an emergency going on, and then some nerd out there thinks that what he’s doing is equally important and just speeds along behind the firetruck, as if all the cars are pulling to the side for him.  Who is that guy and really, what is he doing that is so important?

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I don’t understand the people who say “Oh, I could never live anywhere else but X” when in reality, they have never lived anywhere else other than place X so it is impossible for them to make such a statement.  Such a statement is just like stating a fact (“I have never lived anywhere else”) and will have no influence on what people actually think of place X, regardless of what effect you’re attempting to have.

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Ok, this isn’t a complaint, but I just wanted to point out that Mexico is where shoes go to die.  My husband and I both had shoes eat it in Mexico and since I’m sure you want to see proof in pictures, here you go:

 I guess that’s a testament to how much walking we did there without a car.  And no, I did not have an accident in the picture above…I actually had just washed dishes and well, didn’t notice the awkwardness of the picture until after the moment had passed.  Whoops.

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I’ll never understand people who try to get a (successful) haircut in a country using a language they don’t speak.  Wait, that one’s me…

Sometime during this past spring, I decided that I needed to cut my own hair, since I didn’t have time to go to the salon and I was feeling broke after buying so many plane flights to see my husband.  Lesson #1:  Don’t cut your own hair unless you’re going for that purposely uneven look.  Lesson #2:  Don’t think that getting your hair cut in another country where you can’t speak to the stylist will actually make said bad haircut any better (No matter what your husband tells you).

So, that picture above was taken right after my mexi haircut.  Its really not that bad, it just didn’t fix the unevenness, because apparently my grunts and finger pointing weren’t able to portray “I royally screwed up this side so you might just want to do something new all together”….imagine that…

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I will never understand people who drop their phones in the toilet.  That would happen to drunk college girls all the time back in the day and I’d hear about it in undergrad and think WOW, what were you doing to drop your phone in the toilet??

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Actually, I take back #6.  I totally understand why people now drop their phones in the toilet and its because they put their phones in their pants back pocket!  And I knew this!  Yet I still did this last night – and was sober I might add.  Dah.  Just my luck that in the week that we’re leaving and I’m trying to get a hold of all my friends to say goodbye that I would drown my phone.  Drunk college girls, I’m sorry for laughing at you then.  Who knew that 8 years later I’d be racking my brain trying to remember what it is you did to get it to turn back on…

Alright, a totally frivolous post but between tying up loose ends in Texas, packing out and moving, and an upcoming surgery, I wanted to write something a little light-hearted!  Have a great weekend everyone and please stop by Jen’s for more Quick Takes!

What do you think?

If you saw tea that looked like this in the market, would you expect it to relieve or cause stress?

Just a marketing thought.  Something about all those lightning bolts never put me in the mood…

Knitting gone wrong

Three weeks in Mexico filled with lots of bus travel afforded me a lot of time to knit, so I thought I’d share what I made here.  First, the good.  I decided to try my hand at knitting with cotton yarn and I made this dishcloth for our new home.  I chose this project because it was simple and repetitive and confined to a small space.

Though it turned out surprisingly cute (I like the texture) it didn’t take long at all. And considering I’m going to be scrubbing counters and dirty dishes with it, that’s a good thing.

Next up is where things went a little south.  I bought a book on clearance that had a couple good projects in it, including one on “slippers” which I thought, again, would be nice to wear in our new place that doesn’t have carpet.  Unfortunately, I chose a coral-ish/orange color (because I was trying to go for something fun) and they turned out to look a little more like adult booties.

Adult booties

I actually didn’t notice that I bought two balls from different dye lots until after I was done, so these guys are actually slightly different colors.  But here they are on:

The book had them in brown, but I thought that was too boring.  Maybe I’ll be boring when I make these the next time…

My husband insists I look “fresh” and if fresh means “ridiculous” then he’d be dead on.  He does insist that he wants to wear these though, so maybe I can make myself a better pair :)

Also, these shots were taken “pre-blocking” so maybe that will help a little since the shape was a little off here.  Overall, I’d give these slippers an “eh” and would definitely do them in a darker color in the future.  Guess it was good practice…

On to larger projects next!

What I did this weekend

Was amazing.  Perfect weather, lots of family, and a great reason to celebrate.  And so fun I’m just now recovering! (no, not like that.)

Grad school is officially over.  And I have the pictures to prove it!

My favorite part was how so much of our family came in to help us celebrate.

These years have been hard for us.  Yes, they started out fun (we got married!) and we had a lot of great benefits by going through it together, but these past two years especially have been rough.  Anyone who knows me knows that I was thisclose to just calling it quits and moving off to Mexico last summer.  Sometimes I felt like I was doing a disservice to our marriage by coming back here part time to stick it out.  Not to mention all of the other fertility related pain in our lives and sometimes I think its a miracle that I did finish.  It felt nice to have a reason to celebrate!  Sometimes I really feel like I’ll never have another reason in this world to have a celebration  because there will never be a baby shower or baptism or Christmas at our house.  It was nice to have it affirmed that no, we still matter, even if all the people who came didn’t know all the gory details, at least a few did.

It meant the world to me that we have all these amazing people in our lives that cared to come out, sit through a hot Texas ceremony with us and celebrate with us in this very glamorous city (and believe me, I told them this too and I’m pretty sure its all on video!).

We are enough.  And we have reason to celebrate and things to be happy about.  Good reminders.

Catholics on Motherhood and IVF

I had a post going about Catholic motherhood, but then I saw this opinion piece this morning about how the family who were victims of that horrible mistaken embryo transfer thinks that the Catholic Church should reverse its decision on IVF.  I read that they were Catholic when I heard about the story the first time and my ears went up a little but hey, lots of Catholics don’t follow Church teaching on contraception and the same is with IVF.  Did anyone else see this?

One thing is for sure, the Church re-explaining its stance on ART was definitely not a personal attack on this specific family – as the author states there have been Church documents explaining the theology behind this for quite a while now.  There was probably just general confusion after this widely publicized story, and rightly so.  I feel similar frustration when people tell me “Oh, so and so did IVF and they’re Catholic.”  ::sigh::  There is a lot of general confusion on this teaching and clarification is obviously necessary.

Also, the document referred to (Dignitas Personae) points to the improper generation of a human being, not the human being itself.  I know I’m going to upset people here, since couples who do IVF have been suffering and would love more than anything to have a child of their own genetics – and I have personally felt that same suffering, but this is akin to saying that rape denies the resulting child the proper perfect generation.  That statement says nothing of the dignity of the resulting person.  As Christians we don’t believe that the ends justify the means.  Means are equally important.

Biological motherhood is a beautiful and glorious thing, but it is not the end all be all and point of our existence.  Despite any insensitivity we sub/infertile women feel in the pew on Sunday, if the Catholic Church believed and taught that, then any and all treatments would be licit.  But it doesn’t.  There is something beyond motherhood and our own desires that matters and that is God’s creation, the sanctity of life.

This is the ultimate proof that Catholics are not about filling the pews but about something bigger.  Principles, true theology beyond our own desires.  This is why we should be weary of churches that promote motherhood at the cost of the sanctity of life and the unborn, without concern for how it happens.

Anyway, did you see this article?   What did you think?

I am intrigued that  a couple who believes in life at conception would be OK with freezing their babies.  I wonder if they would think differently if another couple had mistakenly received their frozen embryo and aborted, as they would have had every right to do?  God bless them for their generosity, but their personal experience clearly points to a flawed system that no amount of rules and precautions can protect against.

Surviving and Thriving on Mother’s Day

A year ago was the first Mother’s Day I had that I was aware of what I wasn’t.  I remember thinking that I would probably cry when they had all the mother’s stand up for recognition at the end of mass.  I did cry, but I cried throughout the rest of the mass too for other reasons.  Earlier that morning, shortly after midnight, we got the word that my grandma passed away.  Tears ran down my cheeks as I was acutely aware of who we were missing in our lives and more importantly, how my mom was feeling on that being her first mother’s day without her mother, let alone the terrible irony she’d live with during subsequent Mother’s Days.  My thoughts weren’t consumed with myself and while it was at the cost of grief for our family, I took that as a small blessing to remember – Mother’s Day is not a narcissistic day to celebrate ourselves (that would be your birthday!), but a day about celebrating our mothers and all that they sacrificed to give us life.

I think that’s where women everywhere could do a better job at making it less about ourselves and more about celebrating our mothers.  Because whether or not each person is ever a mother themselves doesn’t change the fact that every person ever born has, or had at one time, a mother.  And while sometimes I get the suspicion that on Mother’s Day moms just sit around and give each other high-fives and talk about how awesome they are and how they’re in the ‘cool club’, we would always do well to honor that woman who gave us life regardless of whoever we are.  I’m not sure if I’m being too idealistic, but it seems that if we all just celebrated the woman who sacrificed enough to give us life, rather than focus on ourselves and how many kids we have, how great of a mother we are, or how we’re suffering at the absence of that coveted title without children of our own, then maybe we’ll be able to take it a little less personally and not only survive but thrive on Mother’s Day.

Everyday I’m aware of the absence in my life and a day dedicated to my mom doesn’t really make me feel it any more or less than I already do.  But I could do with a little less Facebook status updates and memes about your children.  But then again, me and my Facebook beefs go way back.  Just as no one likes a Debbie Downer, no one likes a gloater either.  Just my melodramatic, sub-fertile, but only slightly bitter thoughts.

What we have in common with Batman

Leave it to my husband to look at the positive.

After recently talking about our increasing humility (although I guess not now that I’ve talked about it with the outside world – oh this humility thing is so hard!) we happened to be in  hotel here in Mexico flipping through the channels before bed.  Batman Begins was on, one of my husband favorite movies and superheroes.  A brief background, this movie was one of our first dates and I’m surprised he talked to me again after I fell asleep during it.  He’s long claimed that Batman is the most believable superhero, since he really doesn’t have any super powers, he just overcomes sad life circumstances that might cripple a weaker being (his words).

The scene that was on was the one where Katie Holmes’ character is mocking Bruce Wayne, the playboy, because “he doesn’t understand what its like to have a job and responsibilities, all he does is party and live a carefree life.”  (It was in Spanish, so at least that’s what I think she said.)

I was sitting there knitting and missed the whole conversation (did I mention my  Spanish progress was sacrificed for my dissertation?) but my husband leans over there and says,

Look honey, we’re like superheroes!

Huh?  Where is this coming from and what is he talking about…

Batman”s misunderstood too.  People think that he doesn’t suffer any and just parties and here he is saving the world from evil and no one even knows.  And he can’t tell them about his secret identity!  Just like us, we look normal but no one even knows that we’re helping to save the world with our suffering.  We’re like superheroes.

(I’m serious, this conversation really happened. I was in shock with surprise and told him later that I couldn’t not put this on the blog.)

Just in case I ever doubted that we’re not in this together and that we both aren’t suffering.

He’s the positive one with it all in perspective.  To him, we’re superheroes.  And I guess we do have the potential to make this something bigger than just ourselves, as long as we keep that perspective on the greater goal of bringing glory to God.

We just need some capes, a mask, and a cool name.  Any suggestions?

The Humility of Sub-fertility

One of the joyous, less talked about perks of finally graduating grad school as a married female is that people now feel free to comment on our family planning which, according to the majority of people apparently, should commence promptly upon graduation.  Now.  And they mention it to us, freely.  In fact, I went to another fellow married female’s defense and I kid you not, less than 10 minutes after declaring the defense successful and congratulating the newest Dr., the chair of our department said they should really start having kids because “being a young parent is fun” and “by the time I graduated we had 3 kids!” (never-mind the fact that his wife was at home raising them while he was in school). I got roped into the comments as well as he knew I was graduating and I just found myself smiling and nodding along because really, what do you say in that situation?

If that had been our plan, I’d probably find those comments entertaining at best or mildly annoying at worst, as the girl who our chair was talking to did as she told me later.  As we’ve actually been trying to expand our family for quite some time now and I agree with (most) everything the man was saying (Don’t let your life be solely determined by your career!  Kids are more fun when you’re young and energetic! Amen, amen!  I’m down with that!), then why the heck did they make me so upset?  Was it the assumption of fertility that had me bugged?  The idea that you can just turn it on and off and if you’re not having kids it must follow that you don’t want them?

A few conversations over a few weeks later and these comments kept coming up.  I realize now in a different sense what I realized a few weeks ago, that eventually I will graduate and I will have to face all this again (done and doing) but also that now everyone else is starting to ask questions.  Great, not a big deal, I’m trying to brace myself.  I’m getting better at talking about it with people who really care to ask.  The comments that bug me are the ones by more acquaintances than friends that assume I don’t want kids yet, that I’m a baby-hating, career driven female who is taking my fertility for granted or that I’m not ready for the responsibility of children.

These comments make my heart just ache.  They have no clue what ground they’re treading on. 

But there is no responding in those situations.

There is only humility. 

There is only taking it on the chin and smiling and nodding.  It does not matter what I have to say anyways, really.  The moment is fleeting and all that is hurt is my pride. 

And that’s embarrassing to admit.

I admit I haven’t read too much of the lives of the saints but I’m trying to learn more about their lives because I’ve realized that something I’ve always taken for granted as a rule of thumb is that you have to speak up for yourself.  I don’t know where I learned this, but I never wanted to be someone who complains and then does nothing about the situation. So if you don’t accept complaining and not doing anything, that means that only thing left to do would be to speak up for yourself and explain the situation, at least from another perspective, right?  Wrong.  Perhaps it was having a husband and/or in-laws that made me realize that disagreeing while saying nothing in any direction is a perfectly (and frequent) acceptable option as well.  Sometimes, saying exactly what you’re thinking and feeling just makes everything so much messier. 

Especially when your pride is the only thing hurt.

Why is it that while humility is such an easy, cleaner answer, its so much harder to do?

Jesus teaches us and the saints live by example as well the virtue of humility. Sub-fertility and infertility just provide ample opportunities to power it home.