To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Saturday, April 30, 2011

11 Hours to IUI

I'm not going to lie...I'm feeling pretty nervous right now  Perhaps, even nervous enough to need to use one of these stylish "royal wedding sick bags":

Okay, obviously I'm joking; but you have to admit, they're pretty clever, aren't they?  Haha!  I love the "throne up" part best!

 In about 11 hours I will be lying on a table having my husband's sperm injected straight into my uterus via a long catheter.  This is not how I thought we'd conceive a child; but if it's the path we must take to get to that goal, then so be it.  I'm not bitter, I'm blessed to live in a day and age where modern medicine can offer such assistance to people like us.  I seriously thank GOD above for this opportunity.

I gave myself my last Bravelle FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) sub-q shot on Thursday.  On Friday, I gave myself the Ovidrel HCG trigger shot (this induces ovulation); and tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. I have to be at my doctor's office with Mr. C's "contribution" in a sterile cup, ready to go.  It all seems so surreal, but I know it will be worth it. 

Sometimes God talks to me.  I know, I know...that statement might make me sound like a crazy lady; but it's true.  And I don't mean that in a metaphorical way either.  I mean, I actually hear a voice - not out loud, but a strong voice in my head that usually gives very clear albeit very succinct instructions about my life.

The first time I heard it was not long after I had been raped in late 2005.  I was completely outside of myself, and nobody knew what was going on with me.  I remember bawling my eyes out and asking God out loud why this had happened to me.  As I went praying through angry tears, I asked "when am I going to be feel normal again?"  As though right in front of me, a clear voice said, "One year.  You must give one year."

It startled me so much that I remember jumping up from the floor where I was sitting and shaking with adrenaline.  It was that clear, that loud, that obvious.

One year later, in October of 2006, my Christian counselor told me at one of my bi-weekly meetings that I had been attending for about a year, that he thought I was doing so well that I didn't need him anymore and that he thought I needed to stand on my own two feet.  Two weeks later, I met my husband, Mr. C at a friend's house - a truly incredible month, one year from when I had heard that promise in my head.

As we struggled to conceive through the years, I had asked God several times "when".  When's it going to be our turn?  One night while particularly upset and crying out to God, I asked the question again.  This time I heard the voice again - "January".  At the time I thought, "You've got to be kidding me?! January's forever a way; I don't want to wait that long!"

But wait I did.  And after we decided to TTC after the adoption from Ethiopia failed, I found myself receiving the first real answer about why it had been such a tough road for us - my diagnosis of PCOS came in January of 2011.  January.

If this IUI takes, our baby will be due in January of 2012.  So, needless to say, I'm feeling nervous.  Is this what God meant?  Or is there more and more and more to travel through?  I'm just trying to stay calm and keep my eyes focused up above.

I want to thank all of you who have reached out with support, good thoughts, and prayers to us during this struggle.  It means SO MUCH to me!  Seriously!  If you have a chance tomorrow, please send up a prayer or good thoughts in our direction - we can certainly make use of them!  THANK YOU in advance!

Fingers and Toes Crossed,

Script Frenzy!

I never got to put up a good post about my Script Frenzy experience; so, I thought I'd do so today, the last official day of the contest.

Script Frenzy is a "contest" in which writers attempt to complete 100 pages (or more) of a film, TV show, graphic novel, play, or comic book (series) script.  The contest starts at midnight on April 1st and continues until midnight of April 30th each year. 

This was my first year participating.  I had previously attempted to "compete" in NaNoWriMo (same concept except it's only for novels and takes place in the month of November) without success.  However, I was determined to make it work this time around.  I had a concept for a graphic novel that I had been fleshing out slowly for the past two years, and I was in love with it.  It's a good thing to be in love with your subject and characters; otherwise, you don't feel obligated to make it/them come to life at all.

I started like everyone else on April 1st, and I was surprised at how difficult that first day was; but it was fruitful too - 5 full pages (you only really needed to finish 3.33 each day to finish on time).  After that, it was smooth sailing.  I was shocked at times to see where the story lead me - and it did lead ME very much of the time! 

My characters took on new lives and spoke to me seemingly out loud in my office.  Plots twisted and turned away from my original plans and into new territory.  It was aggravating and fascinating every day.

On April 21st I typed out the last pages of my story at 107 pages.  It's nowhere near polished, and I have a lot of editing and re-writing to do; but I have to say  it felt pretty triumphant to put "the end" at the bottom of that page.

My goal for a while has been to finish my graphic novel (part one of a trilogy, actually) and then to begin work on my children's book series.  When I have both completed to a point that I would feel comfortable sharing them with others, then I am looking for an agent and "going for it".  I want to see these stories published.  And, if no one will take them after a while (it did take JK Rowling 2 years to get the first Harry Potter book published, after all); then, I will publish them myself.

Script Frenzy is a self-competition.  You're not up against anyone but your own mind.  It was good for me to push through this and realize that I can finish my ideas.  Most importantly, I think I realized that I need to put myself on a schedule.  Sitting down and writing every day, I was able to complete my goals relatively quickly.  I am a fast writer.  The whole process gave me a lot of self-motivation, and that's been the greatest treasure of this whole experience.


Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Photo courtesy of The British Monarchy's Flickr.

It's true.  I didn't go to sleep last night!  I stayed up watching BBC America's coverage of "the royal wedding" of William of Wales to Catherine Middleton.

When I was younger, I had a massive crush on Prince William (what 13-year old girl didn't?).  As the years went on, though, I became much more fascinated with his beautiful, humanitarian mother, Princess Diana.  I loved her; so, when she died when I was a young teenager, I was shocked and saddened.  I remember getting up very early in the morning with my mom to watch her funeral broadcast live on national American television stations.  It was especially heart-breaking to watch her two boys walking behind her funeral carriage and the close-up of the flowers they ordered for her casket with the inscription of "mummy" on them. 

I seriously debated whether I wanted to watch the royal wedding.  Honestly, to me, the most amazing thing these two princes do is care about people.  What a change from past royals who barely seem to comprehend what a normal person's life consists of on a daily basis - let alone the less fortunate.  Harry and William have gone out of their way to carry on their mother's legacy of selfless service to those in need, and for that I greatly respect them.

The hours ticked on this morning, and although I had the DVR recording, I just thought, "Heck, I've already made it this far, I might as well wait and watch the whole event!"  So, I did.  And I'm glad that I stayed awake; because for me there's something magical about knowing that something is happening live right as you're watching it instead of viewing a recording or re-cap of an event.  It makes you feel much more a part of things...of the energy of it all.

All in all, I was struck by just how very normal everything seemed to be, especially when Princes William and Harry arrived.  They seemed cheerful but nervous, and as Mr. C observed later, it was probably the biggest even they've ever been a part of - staggering to consider when you think of their lives in the public eye, but it's probably true.  But then again, what groom isn't nervous standing up there waiting for his bride?

I won't write a review...I wouldn't even know where to begin; but I thought that William looked quite dashing in his regalia from the Irish guard; and Kate's gown was surprisingly modern and lovely (made by the house of the late, GREAT Alexander MacQueen - I always loved his daring and sumptuous designs).  So, well done, royal family - we Americans love peeping in on your more fabulous days!  And CONGRATULATIONS to Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge; may you enjoy a long and happy life together!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

First IUI Scheduled!

I don't have a ton of time, but I wanted to update here really quickly.

Today is CD15, and I had (another) f/s this morning at 10 a.m. (my third one this cycle, you usually only have one per cycle, typically).  We'd been praying that I would have some good follies since I'd been stimming for 11 days straight; and they had gone back and forth with none taking the lead, unfortunately. 

The ultrasound this morning showed two good follies - one on my right at size 21 and one on my left ovary at around 15 (this is a miracle since my left NEVER produces follies - EVER). 

So, the plan is that I will stim one more night with Bravelle injects to see if we can get the sized-15 follicle to grow a wee bit more (needs to be closer to 18 to ovulate) before we trigger.  Tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. I'll use the Ovidrel trigger to force ovulation; then, bright and early on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. we will have our IUI.

We're excited and nervous all at the same time.  I have a really good feeling about this IUI, but I know that it's no guarantee of success.  Still, it ups the chances a bit; and I'm happy for anything that puts a little more weight in our corner!

Well, that's about it.  I hope you're having a lovely day wherever you are in the world - the sun is actually shining here today (for a nice change)!  I'm going to try to go out and enjoy a bit of it this afternoon!

Fingers Crossed,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week (April 24th-30th, 2011) is National Infertility Awareness Week; and honestly, I've slightly been putting off this post, just a bit...mostly because I don't even know where to begin.  I never, ever thought that I'd be dealing with infertility.  Ugh, I've really come to hate that word. IN-FERTILE.  Such an ugly label.

It's not that I didn't realize that TTC could take time or effort; I just didn't realize that it would take us years of heartache and struggle.  But here we are, 2 years later...still "fighting the good fight".

The National Infertility Awareness Week website is asking bloggers to write this week about common myths about IF and how they have affected our lives.  This is what I mean by "I don't know where to begin" many myths have been shoved in my face and Mr. C's face and perpetuated by people who honestly have NO clue and have NO right even speaking on the subject.

It's hard to pick just one myth; so, I've chosen to post some of the "busted myths" from RESOLVE'S NIAW website.  You can read them all here.

Myth: If you just relax, you will get pregnant. Busted!:  If only it were that easy! The fact is, the vast majority of individuals who have infertility have a medical reason, not a stress-related one. Upwards of 90% of all infertility cases are caused by physical problems.  In the female partner, the major causes of infertility are absent or irregular ovulation, blocked fallopian tubes, abnormalities in the uterus, and endometriosis (a chronic painful condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus migrates into the pelvis and attaches to the reproductive organs).  The male partner can have issues with sperm production which can lead to too few sperm, sperm which can’t swim correctly, and abnormally shaped sperm.
 More Myths – Busted!
Where the stress/infertility connection may come in tends to be after one has been trying for a while, and the stress of not conceiving easily may then contribute to the problem. But there has never been a study which shows that simply relaxing increases pregnancy rates. Research does show that infertility patients who learn and practice a wide variety of stress reduction techniques can have higher pregnancy rates than patients who don’t learn those techniques.

Myth:  Something you did caused your infertility (you are too fit, too fat, ate the wrong food, had a STD…).
Busted!:  There are few lifestyle factors which permanently impact fertility. Smoking can be one of them, but many people have stopped smoking and been able to conceive within months. Obesity, and being underweight, are both associated with an increased risk of infertility, but losing or gaining weight can relatively quickly bring you back to the fertile zone. Eating unhealthy food can put you at risk for diseases such as heart disease and cancer, but switching to a more healthful diet- focusing on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products are associated not only with a lower risk of disease but may increase one’s chance of ovulating normally. Once again, if you know that you want to have children, it is indeed a good idea to look at your health habits and if you have any which might hamper fertility, such as smoking, excess alcohol intake, being over or underweight, extremely vigorous exercise habits, or a big caffeine habit, adapting healthier habits can decrease your risk of experiencing infertility.

Myth: If you can’t get pregnant, you can “just adopt.”  It’s easy, quick, and inexpensive. 
Busted!:  Adoption is not always easy, quick or inexpensive.  Adoptive parents must complete a home study which includes home visits, interviews and extensive background checks which are required by both the state and their adoption agency.  There is also no crystal ball in adoption that can predict the amount of time the process will take.  The matching process can be lengthy, and the entire process can take up to two years.  It is important for adoptive parents to remember, however, that their profile will be selected by the birth mother that is meant to work with them.  It is also important for adoptive parents to remember that adoption should not be viewed as something they can “just” do if they can not get pregnant.  Adoption is not a substitution when pregnancy is not achievable; it is another way to build a family.  

Myth:  As soon as you adopt, you’ll get pregnant.
Busted!: This is a myth!  Adoption does not guarantee or ensure pregnancy, and it should not be used as a means to try and get pregnant.  Pregnancy is a biological process, and a couple can not determine if and when they will become pregnant.

MYTH:  You will have multiple babies (high order multiples).Busted!: It is true that fertility treatment increases the risk of having a multiple pregnancy. However, most twins result from spontaneous conceptions -- couples who conceive on their own!  Triplets or more are a different story; approximately 15% of triplet and 7% of quadruplet pregnancies were conceived spontaneously.
The increased risk of a multiple pregnancy during fertility treatment is a result of the medication used to cause or boost ovulation.  Approximately 5-8% of pregnancies conceived with the use of clomiphene citrate, an oral fertility drug, are twins.  Triplets or greater occur very infrequently.  Use of gonadotropins, which are injectable fertility drugs, result in twins about 15% of the time and more than twins in about 3% of cycles. 
The risk of multiple pregnancies is also increased with IVF.  Younger women are more likely to have twins than those who are somewhat older.  For example, in this country approximately one third of women under the age of 35 undergoing IVF will have twins, where as less than 10% of women over 42 will have twins. The risk of triplets is low in all age groups because most women under 35 will have only one or two embryos transferred.
Though fertility treatment generally increases the risk of a multiple pregnancy, the majority of individuals and couples will have a single baby!

MYTH:  People think IVF always works.  Everyone who uses it is successful and has a baby.
Busted!: Though we would like for all individuals and couples trying to get pregnant to be successful, unfortunately, there is no fertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), that always works for everyone.  The likelihood of success in an IVF cycle is impacted by a number of factors, the most important being the age of the female partner.  Information collected from almost all of the IVF programs in the country found that women under 35 had a 41% chance of having a baby from a single IVF cycle.  The chance of success drops to 32% in women between the ages of 35 to 37, and 22% in women between the ages of 38 to 40.  That number is even lower in women over 40 years of age.  Success rates also vary with the number of embryos transferred; the likelihood of pregnancy increases with when more embryos are replaced, but so does the risk of a multiple pregnancy.  The chance to have a baby from IVF increases when more than a single cycle is done.  Though not everyone who undergoes IVF treatment will have success, the majority will!

Myth: A higher-power is telling you that you should not be a parent.
Busted!: Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system.  It does not discriminate and affects all races, religions, men and women equally and people all over the world.  Whether or not you resolve your infertility journey by choosing to become a parent is a function of your determination and not a higher-power.
Parenthood is attainable, if that is truly your goal.  You may or may not be fortunate enough to have a biological connection to your child, but if you want the experience of being a parent, you can achieve that dream.
People who choose to be childfree after infertility have examined the avenues to parenthood, considered the advantages and disadvantages, and decided that being a family of two is also a blessing.

That last one has been the most hurtful to me and Mr. C.  We trust God implicitly to guide us through this horrible journey of IF toward success.  We don't want to hear how you think that God is telling us that it's not meant to be.  We're trusting him for the EXACT OPPOSITE.

I hope that more and more people will begin sharing their IF and TTC stories with friends, family, and other communities.  IF affects thousands and thousands of couples (one in eight is the number thrown out often, but who really knows since 61% of all infertiles don't tell anyone that they're going through IF).  Nobody wants to talk about it.  I think this causes a massive amount of shame and loneliness for those who are struggling.  Oh, if only they knew just how many others out there - across the street, in their church, in their workplace - were going through EXACTLY what they were!

I don't share my story on here because I enjoy being vulnerable or because I like the sound of my own "proverbial" voice.  I tell my story; so that maybe, just maybe all of this pain and suffering and struggling to conceive will have a purpose - to help others who are struggling just like me, to reassure them that they are not alone.

I sincerely pray that time will heal all wounds and that everyone grappling with IF will have their prayers answered and the desires of their hearts met.

I'm sending you love, love, LOVE,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Many of you probably know from my past postings that Mr. C and I have tried to adopt a couple of times.  The first time was really just an idea...we found out a little girl had been abandoned (seemingly) by her teenaged mother, we hadn't been able to conceive in the 14 months we had been trying; so, maybe God was leading us to this little girl?  But, the mother returned soon after we heard the little girl's story; and the courts allowed her to resume custody of her daughter.

Next, I was diagnosed with a fast-growing pre-cancer of the cervix.  Again, we thought "maybe God's trying to tell us something".  So, we moved on to international adoption through Ethiopia.  We signed on with an agency, started paying bills, and got TONS of paperwork done before our agency started acting a little "funny"...turns out they got in trouble for child trafficking - no bueno.  At the time, we were running out of ways to keep up with the bills the adoption was incurring; so, we decided with very heavy hearts to leave the adoption behind and TTC once more (which is where we are now).

Although we left the Ethiopian adoption behind, we never left the children or people behind - they are forever in our hearts.  We were especially drawn to those children in Southern Africa who are battling HIV and AIDS daily and watching their families die around them from the disease.  When we were in the process of adopting, we were strongly considering an HIV+ child; I know we could have done it, and I hope one day we'll get to follow through with an opportunity in that arena.

In the meantime, I feel that I need to spread the truth about pediatric HIV/AIDS and how preventable it all is.  There is NO reason for new infections to be happening in the world today.  Elizabeth Glaser was infected with AIDS when she had a blood transfusion in the 1980's.  She unknowingly infected her daughter and son through breast milk and in-utero, respectively.  Her story about her fight to save her children's lives is amazing and heart-breaking all at the same time.

Please, take a moment to watch this short video about Elizabeth's heroic battle to end pediatric HIV/AIDS in America and across the globe; then spread the word - spread truth.

The Time to Eliminate Pediatric AIDS is Now from EGPAF on Vimeo.

Be well.  Be love.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Follicles

Step right up, folks and see a medical marvel...right here in my ovaries to be exact!  It's the "incredible shrinking follicles"!


This is, indeed a kind of "medical marvel"; but certainly not the kind that I was wanting to be a part of or hear about today of all days. 

Friday was follicle study (f/s) #1.  I'd been on Bravelle injects since Sunday, and I was feeling good.  Really good, actually.  No bad side effects, and I'd felt plenty of stimming in my ovaries.  I just had a "good feeling" about this.  And the f/s did show some pretty good news - a lining at 8 and three follies measuring at 14, 11, and 10 (they need to be at least 16-24 to trigger ovulation).  So, not quite there; but pretty darn close.  Mr. C and I were excited!  Things were looking good.

Dr. S said to go ahead and keep stimming with the Bravelle injects until today (Monday) when I would go in for another f/s and get ready to trigger.  However, that was not to be the case for us.

When doing a f/s, the ultrasound tech (ours is named Dave, and we love him!) will show you on a monitor your endometrial lining and both ovaries as well as any follicles that are growing within them.  It looks something like this:

Photo from Prasad's Infertility.  This is NOT a pic of my f/s, just an example.
All those dark"balls" within the blue circle (aka: ovary)?  Yeah, those are follicles - each one could potentially hold an egg that could be fertilized and become a baby - our baby.

Dave began the ultrasound and told me my lining was "fabulous" - 10.5.  Such a nice change from the mere 6.5 when I was on Clomid.  I was riding high; this was looking great!  Until I heard Dave whisper an "oh no!"  I asked him what's wrong, and he said that my biggest follie had actually SHRUNK. 

Ummm, come again?

That's right, folks; it shrunk!  Our beautiful, sized-14 follie was now a mere 13.9; nowhere near close enough to trigger ovulation!  ARGH!  I was in shock to say the least.  I thought it would be at 16 or 18 by now; but no, once again, my body has betrayed me.

He said that the follie on my left ovary was up to 11.5 (still piddly), and that the other follie on my right side was now up to 13.5, nipping at it's "big brother's" heels.  Still, none of them were large enough for triggering; and Mr. C and I were flabbergasted.

Dr. S came in with that look on his face like he already knew I would be disappointed; which I was/am.  But, he said it's always better to be able to keep stimming than have to cancel a cycle due to too many follies becoming mature.  Two girls this morning had had their cycles cancelled because of this - 9 and 8 mature follicles, respectively.  HOLY COW!

I don't know which would be worse - not stimming enough follies, or knowing that you had enough good ones ready, but there were too many to risk them all getting fertilized and implanting (after all, who honestly wants a litter of babies?!). 

(Oh, and Dr. S also said he has no idea why follicles sometimes shrink, just that they do from time to time.  He said that one theory is that when stimming more than one follie, perhaps the body starts giving more nutrients to the one egg over the other; therefore, the bigger egg to begin with suffers a bit while the other egg starts to grow stronger.  Ugh, stupid body!)

So, here I am AGAIN, stimming for three more days with Bravelle injects.  *le sigh*  I thought I was doing okay until we got out to the car, then I lost it.  I didn't stop crying the whole 45-minute car ride home.  I just felt defeated.

After the cry and getting some errands done and getting my blood sugar back up to normal with lunch, I felt a little better.  At least we can keep this cycle going.  At least we have a bit of hope to hold on to.

This cycle has been the most expensive yet.  Inject meds are expensive, and all the extra monitoring adds up too.  If we get pregnant this cycle, it will have taken us easily close to $1,500 to accomplish our goal; and that's not adding in all of the failed cycles we've been through thus far.  It's staggering, and if it doesn't work soon, we'll have to take a break to regroup financially.  It's heart and bank-breaking business this infertility. 

All I can do now is just pray, pray, PRAY that God makes this next round of stimming work!  I feel desperate, and I hate feeling like that.

After lunch, Mr. C and I drove around Branson taking pictures of all the flooding - it's terrible and incredible all at once - a perfect match to my situation today.

I know there is a plan behind everything we go through, but that doesn't mean that I don't wish I knew what it was every once in a while.  I'm feeling much stronger right now than I did this morning, though - back on track, back to hope.


Happy Easter!

I know this is a day late, but our Internet has been out for a few days; so, this is the first chance I've had to write something.  But I wanted to express my gratitude to Jesus Christ and God the father for all of the wonderful, amazing, perfect, loving gifts they've given me - the best being eternal life through Christ Jesus.  No matter what I'm struggling through in this life, I know that all will be washed away in the next one; and that wouldn't be possible without his sacrifice and miraculous resurrection and ascension!

Here are some quotes about Easter that I particularly enjoy:

"No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like the scene on Calvary. Nowhere does the soul find such consolation as on that very spot where misery reigned, where woe triumphed, where agony reached its climax." [C. H. Spurgeon]

"...death was not Jesus' penalty; it was His destiny. It was not His lot in life; it was His mission. It was not His unavoidable fate; it was His purpose statement for coming to earth that first Christmas: 'Born to die.'" [Bill Crowder, The Path of His Passion]

“The highest act of love is the giving of the best gift, and, if necessary, at the greatest cost, to the least deserving. That’s what God did. At the loss of His Son’s life to the totally undeserving, God gave the best gift – the display of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.”  [John Piper]

"Remember, the Savior offered His forgiveness to others before they wanted it...The Redeemer's first word from the cross is a prayer not for those who are lovable, but for those who are thoroughly detestable." [Andrew W. Blackwood, Jr. - Comments on Jesus statement "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."]

"In the bonds of Death He lay Who for our offence was slain; But the Lord is risen to-day, Christ hath brought us life again, Wherefore let us all rejoice, Singing loud, with cheerful voice, Hallelujah!" [Martin Luther]

"Christ the Lord is risen to-day," Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply." [Charles Wesley]

"Men point to the sad incidents of human life on earth, and they ask “Where is the love of God?” God points to that Cross as the unreserved manifestation of love so inconceivably infinite as to answer every challenge and silence all doubt for ever. And that Cross is not merely the public proof of what God has accomplished; it is the earnest of all that He has promised." [Sir Robert Anderson]

"The biggest fact about Joseph's tomb was that it wasn't a tomb at all - it was a room for a transient. Jesus just stopped there...on His way back to glory." [Herbert Booth Smith]

Aren't those good?!  Well, I'm my second follicle study.  If all looks good today, we'll be triggering and doing and IUI by Wednesday (I believe).  I'm believing for an Easter(ish) miracle here! :)  God bless!

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" [Jesus Christ - John 11:25, 26]


Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day, Good Friday, and Endometrial Lining

What an exciting, crazy day!  First off, it's Earth Day!  Mr. C and I had plans to plant a bunch of trees in the yard to celebrate, but our day kind of took it's own direction.  So, we'll have a late Earth Day honoring sometime soon. :-)
Next, it's Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus Christ's sacrifice of death with the promise of resurrection soon to follow:

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said (in a loud voice), “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. -John 19:28-30

I love that Jesus knew that he had fulfilled every promise, every prophecy, and how he has the strength to shout triumphantly that "it is finished"!  It is indeed.  And it is because of this that I do not have to live a life of sickness or pain or unhappiness.  God is so good, and I am forever grateful.

Lastly, I had my f/s (follicle study) this morning with Dr. S.  The good news is that my lining is already 8!  AWESOME!  I have three follies that are looking to be right on target (two on the right at 14 and 12, and one on the left at 11).  So, I'm going to continue stimming with Bravelle until Sunday night; then, Monday morning I'll go in for another f/s to see where things stand.

If the follies look good and my lining's still good or better; we will officially be doing our first IUI either Wednesday or Thursday!  AHHH!!!  I'm excited and a little nervous; but I've got a really good feeling about this!

The nicest thing about today was that Dr. S's office was officially out of Bravelle (which I needed by 4 p.m. for my inject) due to bad weather delaying the Fed-Ex plane this morning in Springfield.  So, Dr. S went to Fed-Ex (his wife and sister both just so happen to work there) himself and intercepted the box and met Mr. C and I downtown to give us the meds.  Not only that, but when he discovered he had forgotten one of the ampules, he took us up to his loft apartment to get it and showed us around.  How nice is that?!  How many doctors would go that out of their way for their patients and actually invite them into their homes?!  We really lucked out; he's such a nice person!

I've heard it said before, but it's so true that when you're dealing with IF there's really three people in the relationship trying to make the baby - the husband, the wife, and the IF doctor.  That's why it's so important to find someone you trust and just plain like as a person; trust me, you're going to be around them A LOT!  So, find someone with a good sense of humor and good bed-side manner, someone with lots of experience, and someone whom you wouldn't mind having a regular old conversation with on any given day.  Dr. S has certainly lived up to our expectations and then some!  I'm just so grateful that God sent us his way.

Well, that's all the news I have for today.  What are your plans for Easter?  We are going to brave the crowds and attend our church, James River Assembly.  We really love it there!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, whatever your plans may be.

Joy, Peace, Love,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

10 Popular Sayings that Hurt People with Infertility

Words That Hurt People with Infertility - Infographic

I know I've posted about this before, but it's worth saying again and again if it helps people to become more sensitive to the subject of IF. This is from Fertility Nation. 

I have personally heard 8 of these 10 comments said to me directly.  My girls on Soul Cysters have started a list of snappy come-backs for some of the hurtful and ignorant things people say to those of us dealing with IF.  One of my faves is: "If infertility could be solved by prayer alone, nuns would be trouble."  Of course, I think prayer does help immensely; but I'm really tired of people insinuating that perhaps this was God's will that we struggle or not be parents at all.  I'm so over that BS, so that little quote was quite funny to me!

Tomorrow is my f/s, and I'm pretty excited to see how the follies and my lining are doing!  It will only be CD9; so, I'm not expecting anything truly amazing; but I'm hoping we'll figure out what's going on and get the game plan ready for the following week.  If all looks good (good # of mature follies and thick lining), we're definitely doing IUI this cycle.  I'm scared of the cost, but know it's worth it.  So many girls on Soul Cysters have gotten their BFP's on inject/IUI cycles; it's exciting!

On a side-note, I finished my graphic novel script!  Hooray!  I've been in a little contest run by Script Frenzy where you try to write a script for a movie, TV show(s), play, graphic novel, or comic book series that is at least 100 pages long in the month of April (so, 30 days, 3.33 pages a day and your goal is met).  I'm 9 days early, and it feels great!  I've had a fabulous time writing this script; and it really gave me the confidence to know that I can succeed at writing in this genre/medium.  I'm actually really looking forward to starting over again and editing the whole lot!

That's all the news for's wet and rainy here, and I just want to snuggle up and watch a movie right about now (I'm thinking Hellboy). 

Off I go...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Versatile Blogger!

Many thanks to M at Sprout for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  That definitely made me smile today!

These are the rules:
1. Winners grab the image above and put it in your blog.
2.Link back to the person who gave you it.
3.Tell 10 things about yourself
4.Award 15 recently discovered bloggers.
5.Contact the bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have won.

So, here's 10 totally interesting and wonderfully amazing things about myself (haha, can you sense the sarcasm here? ;):

1. By the age of 19, I had performed in over 30 regional and international musical groups, plays, and musicals.

2. I took a year off between high school and college to be a reporter for a local newspaper.

3. I double-majored in English and audio-visual production with a minor in theater at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

4. I grew up on an organic farm in the small town of Fairfield, Iowa (where the Maharishi and Beatles used to roam from time to time).

5. My husband and I fully intended on adopting first, then trying for bio kids later (or maybe never).  But, after our adoption paths failed, we decided to give TTC a chance again, even though I had been d/x with PCOS.

6. I love tattoos and tattoo art.  I have 6 tattoos of my own.

7. I am writing a graphic novel and children's book series.  They are ideas I've had since I was in college, but never followed through on.  I'm pretty excited about the future possibilities of these two ventures; I'm having a blast writing them anyway!

8. Mr. C and I have an adorable furbaby, a wheaten Scottie dog named Eagan - he's furry and loveable and snuggly and we love him!

9. My mom, sisters, and I are Irish dual citizens.

10. I will turn the big 3-0 exactly 27 days from today - yikes!

My Nominees (in no particular order):

1. Jamie's Baby Story
2. My Fascinating Life
3. Our Journey of Love
4. Snarky Librarian
5. Gleaming Gloat
6. A Family Without Borders
7. It's a Cyster Thing
8. Miracle Mommy
9. Right Aligned Mind
10. Seriously?
11. The M & E Story
12. Up on the Watershed
13. Will You Knock Me Up Tonight?
14. Life's a Beach
15. Life with the MonSter

Again, I want to thank M for nominating me!  It's hard to imagine anyone enjoying reading my blog some days when it just feels so dark and raw; but I appreciate her kind words so much!  I hope you all enjoy checking out my nominees as well.  I think they're all pretty fabulous myself! ;-)

Have a lovely day,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Excited About Injectables!

I know, I know.  How can someone be excited about giving themselves shots in the gut?  Well, trust me, they can be!  I AM!

Today is CD4, and I got to go in at 8 a.m. (on a Sunday, how awesome!) to meet with Dr. S.  He was so good to fit us in, because if he hadn't, we wouldn't have been able to see him at all this week.  God really worked it out for us, because I had some very specific concerns that I wanted to share with him.  (Oh, and everyone got "Hoppy Easter" bags of cookies today...yeah, I guess it seems like I'm sucking up; but I'm really just grateful!)

In short, everything worked out exactly as I had hoped - whew!  Dr. S agreed that Clomid was drying me up and wrecking my lining; so, I will stim with full Bravelle injects from CD's 4-8 (5 shots, total).  I've used Bravelle every past cycle to help "beef up" the follies that the crappy Clomid left behind; and each time it's worked like a charm.  So, I'm super hopeful this cycle that I'll have good follies to trigger and a good lining (my lining this morning was 4.32 - not a bad starting point considering the thickest it's gotten the past two cycles is 6.5!).

All of the items required to do the daily Bravelle shots seriously made me feel like a druggy heading out of that office - ha!  I took a pic with everything lined up:

My awesome, Bravelle inject hobby kit - ha!

We also talked to Dr. S about doing IUI.  He said it's totally up to us, and that we don't have to decide until we actually do the trigger.  So, Mr. C and I talked it over and decided that if all looks good at my f/s (follicle study) on Friday (as in, good lining and good follies); then we will definitely do an IUI this cycle!  I'm so excited!  Something about this cycle just feels "right".

Well, I never thought in a million years I'd be excited about having to inject myself in the stomach; but here I am...and I AM excited!

I just can't hide it,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Montessori Toys and Tools

If you've read some of my past posts, you know that I'm really interested in the Montessori method of teaching children.  I'm also equally intrigued with Ms. Montessori's ideas on play, toys, and the way to lay out a child's room to best benefit his/her growing mind.

Recently, I found a really cool site called The Montessori Outlet.  I haven't even had a chance to fully peruse the site yet, but it seems to have TONS of cool toys and tools that could work in a classroom setting as well as a child's space in the home.

Mr. C and I have contemplated creating a Montessori-style bedroom for our little one(s); and while some of the ideas are not for us (the mattress on the floor for a bed kind of freaks me out, not gonna lie!), I agree with many of the ideas and concepts.

One of my favorite things about Montessori nurseries and bedrooms is the emphasis on making the child accountable and independent.  Hooks, shelves, and bins are placed at child-friendly heights to encourage children to get things for themselves and also to put them back when they're done - no excuses.

I also like that most (if not all) of the items are natural and non-fussy.  The concept behind this kind of play and learning seems to focus on simpler, basic forms that lead to a base understanding of the world that can be applied to more complex tasks later on.  I like this.  I also like that each child's individual learning process and skill sets are cherished and uplifted and then applied to the tasks and subjects that are not as easy.  I sure wish my teachers would have used this process when teaching me math!

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you some of the cool stuff I found on the aforementioned site!

Welcome cubbies  like this one would be really cool to hang coats and store messier toys.

I flat-out guarantee you that I would have LOVED this dress-up unit when I was a kid!  My sisters and I played dress-up nearly every day; no wonder I was drawn to performing! :-)

This mini art island with easel trays is so cool!  I think it's so important to encourage children to love art and to create it; it can be incredibly therapeutic too!

This classic learning toy is a must-have!  A great way to teach colors, grouping, and dexterity in wee ones!

I could post pictures all day of cool Montessori finds, but honestly I've got a headache right now and just don't feel like it. :-(  I am curious to know, though, if you're thinking of incorporating Montessori style or methods into your child's bedroom or life?  Like I said, we probably won't conform to every, little detail or ideal; but we will likely try to abide by some of it.

Off to down some Tylenol,

God IS Listening!

Just a cool little story I wanted to share with you all today:

I got a phone call from Dr. S's nurse early this morning setting up our baseline u/s for Monday morning; but also saying that Dr. S wouldn't be able to see us since he would be out of the office that morning.  :-(  Bummer!  I went ahead and made the appointment; because Monday will be CD5, and I don't want to start stimming any later than that.  Still, I was super disappointed about it all.  I was really feeling hopeful about this cycle, and now we weren't even going to be able to talk to our real doctor!

As soon as I got off the phone, I felt really stressed.  I felt out of sorts; I felt anxious.  I knew I needed to release this stress - my body is going through enough each cycle, I don't need more junk on top of all of the pills and shots and blood draws!

So, I started to pray.  I prayed for a good 15-20 minutes straight just asking God to put a spark in Dr. S's mind about me, and that he'd pass some really good info onto the NP we'd be meeting instead of him on Monday.  I asked for peace and wisdom and knowledge for everyone involved.

About 5 minutes after I stopped praying, my phone rang again.  I saw that it was Dr. S's office again and thought, "Now this is weird...I just got off the phone with them.  What do they want now?"

It was J, Dr. S's nurse.  She said that Dr. S had just scheduled an insemination for Sunday morning and wanted to know if we'd rather come in then so we could actually talk to Dr. S himself and get on meds sooner.


I was sooooooo excited!  In a matter of minutes, God had answered my prayers to a much greater extent than I had even asked of him!  Wow!  I know it's just a little, every-day kind of miracle; but I was pretty impressed.  What an amazing and loving daddy-God I have!  This just proved to me today that he IS listening to my prayers, even the seemingly small and insignificant ones, and looking out for my best interest and hopes and desires.

I am just feeling so grateful right now!  AND, since our appointment is at 8 a.m. on Sunday, we'll still get to go to church at 10:45!  Woo hoo!  Amazing, amazing stuff! 

I hope you are feeling as loved as I am today,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cycle Day 1 or Square One (Again)

I'm drinking one of these right now:

Shock Top Belgian White.
Because, yes, that's right...I'm not pregnant.  Our 3rd medicated cycle has officially "failed" - AF showed up today in full-force.  She's been kind, though...I was shaky and twitchy again yesterday as she prepared to show up (I had to spend most of the day lying down in bed to fight the severe dizzy spells and non-stop muscle twitches); but when she came today I felt fine - no real pains or cramps or anything.  I am grateful.

Everyone's been asking me what our plan will be for this pivotal next cycle.  Honestly, I'm not entirely for sure; because I haven't had my baseline u/s (ultrasound) yet (that should be on Monday morning) to make sure I have no leftover cysts and to talk over the new "game plan" with Dr. S.

At the beginning of last cycle, Dr. S told Mr. C and I that if we weren't pg by this cycle that we were moving on from Clomid (which dried up my CM and trashed my endo lining) to something else that caused less Estrogen interference.  I'm assuming I'll move on to Femara.  Many women who had issues with Clomid respond quite well to Femara; so, I'm excited about that.  I'm also assuming that since we used the Bravelle sub-Q shots last cycle, we'll use them again this cycle to beef up a few follies.  Then, I'm sure we'll trigger again with Ovidrel (it seems to be working pretty well for me); although, he might choose to put me on Novarel or Pregnyl instead, I have no clue. 

We've also decided we're ready for IUI.  We're sick of waiting for this dream to become a reality, and we want to do anything and everything we can (within reason) to make it happen NOW.  So, when we meet with Dr. S on Monday, we're going to ask about jumping from TI (timed intercourse) to IUI.  We have no MF (male-factor) infertility issues, but we've found some good research that supports that even without MF IF, IUI can significantly increase your chances of conceiving.

Honestly, I'm feeling pretty good today; no tears today - seriously.  My band The Beautifully Broken is going to start performing again this summer after a two year hiatus due to my youngest sister and band-mate's health issues (to read more about this click here ) - something I've looked forward to for a loooong while - I live for the stage!  We're also gearing up to write our next album; a dream we've wanted to see through since we finished our first album back in 2009.  I've also fully committed to two writing projects on my own - one is a graphic novel series in the sci-fi/fantasy/action genre(s) and the other is a children's novel series that follows the adventures of some really amazing kids.  I have things to keep me busy, and thank GOD; because if not, I think I'd lose my mind.  For real.

Still, I continue to be plagued by my fears about IF; but I'm trying to be stronger than any fears and struggles.  All I can do is lean on God and Mr. C.  There is a plan, I just know it.  I can feel it in my bones.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I am beginning to feel its warmth.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Construction Plate and Utensil Set

I'm always putting the "cart before the horse" when it comes to baby and kids things.  Heck, I had a nursery built into our new house and painted it a fun yellow (for either gender), filled it with kids "stuff" (books, toys, shelves, etc.), and I do believe I have at least three boxes of diapers sitting lonely and sad in the nursery closet.  Yeah, I'm one of those women.  I don't know, maybe buying baby things gives me hope that one day I will, indeed, have the reason behind needing all of those items.  Or maybe I'm just a glutton for emotional punishment.

Anyway, I am always looking for cute and interesting new baby items.  It doesn't matter if it's clothes, furniture, toys, or what have you - I've got my eyes open and I'm on the prowl!

Today, Mr. C found the most ADORABLE plate set I've seen in a while, all centered around construction equipment.  SO CUTE!  I just had to share this with you all!

Isn't this construction plate and utensil set (sold separately) from Neato Shop so well...NEAT?!  I think so!  What boy (or rough and tumble little girl) wouldn't clear their plate when it's as cool as this?!

Cheers to Constructive Eating!

JG Thirlwell and Steroid Maximus!

Many of you know that I'm a musician, but I'm also a HUGE fan of music in general.  Music of all kinds too - I'm not one to shun a specific genre or style just because it's not how I personally write or perform.  In fact, some of my favorites are the things I would never be able to come up with on my own or with my sisters (band-mates).

The Venture Brothers is one of my all-time fave late-night animated shows; and the opening theme music has definitely caught my ears as well.  It's fabulous, big-band-esque, brassy, brazen orchestral goodness.  The kind of music you don't hear being made anymore.  It's brilliant.

Recently, Mr. C found an amazing video of the Venture Brothers theme music writer, JG Thirlwell, conducting his incredible orchestra side-project Steroid Maximus in a medley of all things Venture.  It's amazing and so fun!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Nerds Unite!

Steroid Maximus_Venture Bros Medley from JG Thirlwell on Vimeo.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"What He Can Expect When She's NOT Expecting"

What He Can Expect When She's Not Expecting: How to Support Your Wife, Save Your Marriage, and Conquer Infertility!

One of my fabulous "cysters" from Soul Cysters posted this link to an early morning radio show's interview with movie and book writer Marc Sedaka (yep, son of musician Neil Sedaka!) about his book called What He Can Expect When She's Not Expecting: How to Support Your Wife, Save Your Marriage, and Conquer Infertility!.

The female radio host had struggled with IF, culminating in the IVF resulting in her son, Finn.  The male radio host had also struggled to conceive with his wife, but in his case it was male-factor (MF IF).  So, both understood what Marc had chronicled in his book concerning the years he and his wife spent TTC (trying to conceive).

I feel that Mr. C has been so supportive and kind and caring through this whole process, and I'm grateful for that.  Sedaka gave evidence from an IF doctor he wrote the book with that many men are in denial about any issues of IF - one man even going so far as to impregnate another woman (not his wife) to prove that it was not "his fault" they couldn't get pregnant.  Oh, thank you GOD that I'm not married to a man like that!

I do think, though, that Mr. C is much like Sedaka himself and the female radio host's husband are described: a fixer.  I think most men feel that way about issues in life.  They want to get to the root of the issue, fix the problem, and get on with life.  While most women merely need to grieve and cry and scream and feel sad and upset...regardless of what the "next step" is.

I'm thinking of buying Sedaka's book; not to give to Mr. C, but to read myself perhaps.  Mostly, because I especially like how Sedaka talks about "conquering IF".  I agree with his assertion that IF will be eventually conquered if the will of the couple is strong enough - either through meds, surgery, IVF, surrogate, donors, or adoption - in one way or another, if a couple wishes hard enough to be parents, they will be.

On a side-note, Mr. C and I are officially waiting for next cycle.  We're pretty sure that if I did O (ovulate) this cycle, it was not as good as it could have been.  My 7DPO progesterone levels were only 11.5.  This was particularly upsetting considering that this cycle we triggered two follicles.  We were so hoping for them both to work out - twins.  It doesn't look like that's going to be the case.

So, we are now at a crossroads.  Never in my life did I think I'd be seriously considering IVF, yet here I am.  We will be moving on to injects (subcutaneously injected {into the stomach} IF medicines) this cycle instead of Clomid in any way, shape, or form; which seems to have ruined my endometrial lining and dried up my CM (cervical mucus - what sperm swim through to get through the vagina, cervix, and eventually to the egg).

Sometimes I just feel so helpless.  Today's one of those days.  Mr. C and I talked last night about our confusion.  We've had the opportunity to adopt three times.  Each time the adoption has fallen through for one reason or another.  Yet, as we approach two years of TTC, it doesn't seem as though a bio child is "meant to be" either.  We are so confused.  We are so heartbroken.  We pray to God daily to lead the way, make our path known.

I do feel very strongly that God protected us in our adoptions from financial ruin and more emotional pain.  So, all I can do is believe that God is protecting us in our TTC journey as well.  In the meantime, all I can do is try to keep myself busy and move on with life, trusting that God is always looking out for us, preparing our path, and always with our ultimate destiny in mind - wishing to give us the desires of our hearts.

In the meantime, I'm comforted by the stories of people like Marc Sedaka and his wife's - who, by the way, now have twin daughters and a son.  :-)  Hope hope HOPE!

Fingers Crossed,

Friday, April 8, 2011

"It's Not Fair!"

We've all heard some little kid screaming his through clenched teeth and a salty, tear-stained face at some point or another...whether at a grocery store when his mother puts the box of Cocoa Puffs back on the shelf or at Target when her dad shakes his head "no" to the latest (and greatest) Disney princess doll.  Even if they're being loud and obnoxious in their cries for "justice" (surely they deserve that new Wii game, right?!) we let it slide.  After all, they're just kids.

But what happens when the one screaming defiantly is an adult?  Not just any adult either, but a mature, fully self-aware, creative, intelligent, qualified woman.  Maybe it's you...or even me.  And what we're screaming about isn't the desire for a new toy or video game, but something with much more weight and life-altering ability - a baby.  (8 DPO today, and I'm definitely screaming out to God that if it "didn't work this time, it sure isn't fair!" Ha!)

Many, many times during this struggle with IF, I've found myself crying to my husband, my God, or just myself that this whole situation is simply "not fair".  Why is it that so many other couples seem to have it so easy?  Why are teenagers who can't even finish their homework on time becoming mothers left and right?  Why are drug addicts and felons and abusers and (fill-in-the-blank-horrible-person/people) allowed to become mothers while I (a fairly decent person, if I do say so myself!) am here struggling to conceive?  And perhaps the most damaging and hurtful of all: why doesn't God step in and make things right for me? Why isn't he answering my prayers?  Doesn't he love me?  Why, if he's such a loving, caring, daddy-God doesn't he let me be a mommy?

That last one makes me shudder to my core.  It's so hard to be a Christian in this modern age anyway, let alone to be struggling with some terrible issue.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying IF is even the worst thing to be dealing with here...there are any number of horrible situations and diseases which could be so much worse, trust me, I understand that.  I've often wondered, "Why did my mom get cancer?  Why does my youngest sister have epilepsy?  Why did my sister have to have a lumpectomy when she was only 25?  Why did my dad nearly die when I was only 9 years old?"  It's all SO.  VERY.  UNFAIR.  But, even through all of this, I feel that I have always known in my heart that God was by my side, our sides, making clear our path, anointing us with knowledge and wisdom, and creating a possibility for wholeness and complete health and stability.

Still, with all I've been through, I find myself wondering, nearly weekly, if God is still real and alive in my life - in my situations.  Has he forgotten me?  Are my hurts and desires so petty that he doesn't think twice about them?  It's so easy to let those negative thoughts rush in and make me miserable, and they often do.  I'm not proud of this; I wish I were a stronger person most days...

But there are brilliant, shining, powerful days where I feel intensely linked to my creator; and I feel so light and free in those moments - ah, I wish they could last forever!  On those days, I have so much hope - not just about TTC; but about life in general and my place in the world and the destiny for my life.  But, I have to admit that even on those lovely, LOVELY days, when I ask myself the question that nags most, I still have no answer that satisfies:

"Why isn't life fair?"

We've all heard someone crassly and carelessly respond with something along the lines of, "Well, get over it!  Cuz life ain't fair, honey!"  But why?  Why isn't life fair?  Especially when looked at in a Christian perspective where we believe that our almighty and loving God is the "good daddy" and "blessed counselor", shouldn't he, of all beings, be fair?

Why are some people's prayers answered while others go seemingly unnoticed?  Why does the shameless party girl and total drunk change her life around and still remained somehow beloved when she accidentally gets "knocked up" by a one-night stand; while the virtuous, God-fearing, weekly church-goer remains barren?  Why did my mom's cancer get miraculously and completely healed while several of the wonderful friends she made at the Cancer Treatment Center of America died each week she came back for treatments?  And, to me the most difficult to comprehend, why is one man's prayers answered, while his neighbor's go devastatingly by the wayside when they are seemingly exactly the same and both have a close relationship with God?

Does God have favorites?  How can that be?  And if not, then why does he answer this prayer but not that one?  Why doe he heal this body but not the next one?  The questions go on and on...

I had found many verses in the Bible that assure that even the God-loving person can be persecuted or troubled immensely, but that God is good to heal and fix and make right always.  Like Psalm 34:19 which says, "The good man does not escape all troubles - he has them too.  But the Lord helps him in each and every one."  Or I Peter 2:20, "Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong; but if you do right and suffer for it, and are patient beneath the blows, God is well pleased."  Matthew 19:29 promises, "And anyone who gives up his home, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property to follow me shall receive a hundred times as much in return, and shall have eternal life."  And who can forget the Beatitudes, which, in verses 5 and 10 of the 5th chapter of the gospel of St. Matthew say, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" and "Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

It all sounds great, right?  But then why do some good people still not get their prayers answered?  In the specific case I'm speaking of, why do we still suffer and battle with IF?  Why will some of us never realize our dreams of becoming mothers biologically?

I wish I had an answer.  If you have a suggestion, please let me know.  But I have not found one yet.

I was talking to Mr. C yesterday about this very subject and whether or not I should write about it, considering that I don't really have any brilliant statement to make...just more questions.  And he said to take myself out of our situation, truly try to be an omniscient, third-party looking down - how would I answer it then?  I couldn't answer right away, but later that night I said this:

That maybe we must struggle with IF, because we are strong people and God knows we can take it.  Not only that, he knows we're sensitive and will take it all to heart.  He knows that we'll take our experiences of pain and heart-ache but also strength and resilience out into the world afterwards (and even during!) and make a difference - helping others who have hurt like us.  Maybe we must struggle, because when we look at someone flooded with tears and busting with hurt from a wound so deep in their soul and say, "I understand."  We will really mean it, unlike so many others out there.  Maybe we endure; so that when we finally do hold our babies in our arms we will know, more than most mothers, just how miraculous the event truly is and how incredibly tight we should hold on to the new being we helped to create.  Maybe we'll cherish them all the more.  Maybe...maybe...maybe....

I don't know what the final answer is.  I'm not an all-knowing genius or ultra-spiritualist who has some amazing, psychic connection straight to the mind of God (sure wish I did! :-).  But I do know (as I've said in blogs before) that God IS NOT punishing me.  He cannot give what he doesn't have, and God doesn't "have" infertility.  It's not in his repertoire.  It's not in his mind, body, soul, spirit.  He design for mankind was utopia (read: the Garden of Eden before the fall); I'm pretty sure that did NOT mean PCOS for Eve and MF (male factor) infertility for Adam!  No.  It was perfection, and perfect reproduction with someone we love is part of that.

It also dawned on me just now that all this talk of being "fair" is sort of ridiculous when looked at from the viewpoint of what Christ did for us on the cross.  I mean, was it "fair" that Jesus (perfect in every way and completely blameless to all sins) died on a cross for our grievances?  Was it fair that he was beaten mercilessly and left to die shamefully when all he ever did was heal and love and teach?  No, but he suffered through it anyway.  He knew the plan; the ultimate destiny.  Oh, how I wish I could see the ultimate destiny for this journey; but then, what would be the point of the journey, right?  I know, I know!

While I don't have the end-all, be-all answer, I'm going to stick behind a couple promises (again from the Bible) that have helped me feel much better.  I've shared them before, but I think they merit sharing again:

"You shall serve the Lord your God only; then I will bless you with food and with water, and I will take away sickness from among you.  There will be no miscarriages nor barrenness throughout your land, and you will live out the full quota of the days of your life." -Exodus 23:25-26

"Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2

"Delight yourself in the ways of the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

I hope if you're struggling with IF out there, that you can find the strength and peace with God's compassion and mercy to push ahead and keep up the good fight!  I have seen miracles in my life and the life of my family members, and while the circumstances that got us there might not have seemed "fair", the fact that he brought us out to the other side of wholeness, healing, peace, financial security, love, understanding, worthiness, etc. wasn't particularly fair either...but it was a WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL gift that I will be forever grateful for...just like when we get our BFP one day! :-)

La-la-LOVE to you,

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I know this blog is supposed to be about adoption, infertility, and my journey to mommyhood; but every once and a while I have to share something brilliant or beautiful that I found out in the world.

This commercial for the Docomo Touch Wood cell phone is simply brilliant.  I HAD to share it with all of you!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Beauty and Love to You,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deck Garden - Take One!

These are my hands after a couple washings!  I had to scrub them really well to get all the dirt off, but it didn't matter...I love the feeling of dirt on my hands. :-)

Two nights ago around dusk, I decided that I must immediately go get supplies to begin planting our "deck garden".  Mr. C was kind enough to oblige; so, we headed to Home Depot to pick out plants.  Between HD and Wal-Mart, we left with the following plants:

1. tomato = 4

2. jalapeno = 4

3. yellow bell pepper = 1

4. buttercrunch bibb lettuce = 3

5. herbs (sweet mint, oregano, parsley, chives, and cilantro) = 1 a piece

6. flowers (ranunculus x 2, purple butterfly flower x 1, purple petunia x 2, orange marigold x 1, yellow marigold x 1, and fuschia petunia x 2)

We also bought three deck hang/supports for three flower boxes and several, brightly colored flower pots in yellow and turquoise (the colors we'd like to eventually have as accents in our deck furniture, if we ever buy any! :).

I was really pleased to find that WM carried very reasonably priced organic potting soil.  So, we bought a bunch of that up (Who wants to eat veggies and fruit that wasn't grown in organic soil?!  Not I!).  As soon as we got home, I started planting like crazy.  It took me back to the days when I was a kid growing up on the farm in Iowa.  My mother was a super-woman and always put in a massive (I mean MASSIVE!!!) garden that we lived on (she canned everything) all year round!  So also makes my little deck garden look a bit sad in comparison, but you've got to start somewhere and work with what you've got, right?!

Some of the plants may need to be transplanted into larger pots later on, but I think they'll do fine for the time being.  Here are some pictures of the results:

Several of the veggies lined up looking so pretty in their bright pots!

The ranunculus before planting - aren't they gorgeous?!

Veggies lined up with the herbs on the end.

The fuschia petunias and orange marigolds.

Rather blurry photo (sorry!) of the purple petunias and yellow marigolds.

The ranunculus and the purple butterfly flowers - these are my faves!
How about you?  Are you/will you be planting a deck garden (or real garden) this spring/summer?  If so, what do you intend to plant?  Are you only doing flowers, or will you do "food" plants as well?  I hope the weather remains nice from here on out; so, these little plants will grow, grow, grow! :-)

Cheers to flowers, plants, and dirt under our fingernails!