Infertility · journal entry · motherhood

Purpose

It’s been a harder week than I thought it would be.

I’m doing better on the outside overall; I actually started a “productivity and thankfulness log” so that I can keep accountable to do more than just sit around and watch TV. I write 5 things I’m thankful for and make notes throughout the day of what activities I’m doing. I’ve been reading, playing piano, doing puzzles, reading my Bible, cleaning…so I feel better at the end of the days because I’ve actually done things I enjoy or that I need to.

But I’ve gone back to being sad. My little niece was born on Tuesday; and initially I was okay (while sister-in-law was in labor etc) but after we saw and held her…it just put that ache back inside and I haven’t been able to shake it.

I think I’m just struggling to feel like I have a purpose right now. I’ve reflected on that before; that I believe motherhood is one of the things I’ve been called to do and until I’m able to fulfill that calling things it just seems like something is missing.

And so the days have an emptiness to them. I can do all the ‘wife’ things….I can do all the ‘nurse’ things…but I still have hours of time that I’m stuck just thinking about the ‘mom’ things that I want to be able to do.

Filling the time with hobbies is a distraction but it’s not a cure. It makes me feel productive, but it doesn’t make me feel purposeful.

I know my ultimate purpose is to enjoy (know) and glorify God. So obviously, motherhood or not, I have a purpose. But when I’m still working on getting back to a good place spiritually it’s hard to see how that would fill all the hours of the day. Especially when raising and loving children feels like it could be the best medium for me to do that.

Maybe I’m fooling myself there. Maybe motherhood is so much of an idol after all that this is the last thing that could help me know and glorify God and that’s why it’s being withheld for now. But I want to believe that I would seek to know God more if I had little lives to shape; that I would seek to glorify God in my response to the day to day challenges of motherhood.

 

how to · Infertility · iui · journal entry · Resolution update · trying to conceive

On ‘exciting’

Couple updates before the main content of the post.

  • I gave up on the resolutions. I found I didn’t have the motivation anymore once my cycle started; it was supposed to get me through a cycle and it did, and I’m not sure I want to continue it for now. It definitely helped get some better patterns in place though and I have been reminded of the variety of activities I can use to fill time when I am so inclined.
  • Took my last dose of Clomid today. No significant unpleasant side effects thus far; though I guess it maybe hasn’t started working yet. Had hot flashes one night; and the last 2-3 days I’ve been abnormally tired.

I noticed something at the start of this cycle that irked me. I shared with several people that we were beginning a medicated/timed IUI cycle (as my period had arrived)…and two of the responses (from someone who is currently pregnant and someone who had no trouble conceiving at all) were essentially, “Yay, that’s so exciting!!” 

No, it’s really not. It’s not exciting to be disappointed again, it’s not exciting to have to pursue assistance with getting pregnant. It’s not exciting to anticipate going on hormone meds with potentially nasty side effects; to anticipate having to go be inseminated at the doctor’s office just to increase our chances (not even a guarantee!) of conception.

I wanted to respond with, “oh yeah, it’s the best; isn’t it a bummer that you haven’t had the opportunity to do it too?” 

See, getting pregnant is exciting. Hearing the heartbeat is exciting. Getting to start decorating the nursery is exciting. Having a baby is exciting. Starting an IUI cycle? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m so grateful that we have the resources to pursue this option right now. I’m hopeful that it’s just this little boost we need to finally make a baby.  But I’m also sad that we have to, and very afraid that the disappointment if it doesn’t work will be worse than all the ones before it.

As an aside; my mom and my sister responded much better to the initial news. My mom’s text was, “I’m sorry, that’s not what we were hoping for….are you feeling peaceful about this next step?” My sister echoed the apology, asked how I was holding up, and then when I shared the above ‘exciting!’ responses, she says, “yeah, careless choice of words; it’s emotional, heavy, and little (big) glimmer of hope to you.” 

I guess what I (re) learned here is that it is so important not to assume you know what others are feeling. Just ask them. Don’t project your emotions onto a situation; and realize that by doing this you risk simplifying a complicated emotional reaction. And this doesn’t just apply to infertility; though it’s my journey right now so I’m rather focused on that aspect.

 

Infertility · iui · journal entry · trying to conceive

It’s not a competition..

but I’m sorry…it kind of is. At least in the sense of being able to sympathize.

For the purpose of this post:

  • Sympathize: feel sorry for someone because you understand that person’s problems. Requires you to have experienced the same thing.
  • Empathize: choosing to feel the same things the other person is feeling. Does not require you to have experienced what they have.

I know that no matter how long someone tried, anything longer than immediately getting pregnant can feel like ages. I don’t want to invalidate anyone’s journey…I’m not living in their story (see previous post) and I don’t know how hard even just those few or several or eight months were for them.

But for heaven’s sake; if you are talking to someone that you know has struggled to conceive longer than you have/did, acting like you know exactly how they feel because “we tried ____” is just infuriating.

My sister-in-law likes to over-dramatize their struggle to conceive. She also has a tendency to make it longer than it was; technically they started trying February of last year (it takes time to regulate after a miscarriage) and they conceived in late July/early August. By my count, 7-8 months. She talks about how they tried for 9 months and that it was ‘the worst’ and thereby implies that therefore she understands exactly how we feel. I want to say, “No, you don’t.  We’re going on 15-16 months, and looking at pursuing IUI if this cycle isn’t successful. That is not the same as 8 months.” And granted, the fact that she’s pregnant right now doesn’t help the situation, but the attitude is getting under my skin.

It’s one thing to empathize. To say, “Wow, that must be so hard; I know what I felt trying for ____ months and I can only imagine that those feelings are so much greater when you’ve been trying longer; would you want to tell me more about what it’s been like for you.” It’s quite another to attempt to ‘sympathize’ and to equalize your journey (that has ended) with the ongoing and longer journey of someone else.

They are not the same. 

I don’t pretend to know how it feels to try for longer than I already have. I don’t pretend to know how it feels to experience failed IUI treatments, to go through IVF, to miscarry again and again, to be told that there is nothing more that can be done. I can take my current experience and try to understand some degree of that pain, but I wouldn’t ever attempt to equalize my infertility struggle with someone who has gone through some or all of those things.

Maybe in a year I’ll be closer to sympathizing with some of the above. Hopefully not. But if not, I will make every effort to support those walking longer, harder journeys by simply allowing them to hurt and share their stories without attempting to make our journeys the same.

 

 

appointed time · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

On bitterness

I found something out this week that made me feel very bitter. I had to have a long talk with God about it to even start to come to a place where I can be at peace with the situation. In the event that this blog somehow does not remain anonymous I cannot share any more than that. I wish I could, but what I found out is not my story to tell. I’ll touch on that again at the end of the post.

I went through the list of things I know to be true; then proceeded to have it out with God for the ‘unfairness’ of it all (which turned into a general meltdown about being so worn out from this journey of infertility and just crying out that frustration and pain). Then I cycled back to the initial truths and let them ruminate a little, and this is what it boils down to.

1) Blessings from God are not dependent on our behavior. Thank goodness for that; if it was, none of us would have anything good. We’re all pretty broken and rotten…my very bitterness and negativity already merit some degree of punishment. We may not understand why God chooses to give blessings to certain people who have done ______, and we may not understand why God doesn’t give us certain blessings when we have done ______, but at the end of the day; any blessing we are given is God showing his grace to us.

And I of all people should know that to be true. I was ashamed to realize that if it came down to not deserving something because of a previous action or decision…I should not be married right now. I rushed into my first marriage, disregarded my parent’s wisdom, and ended up getting divorced. Yet I got a second chance, I was given so much grace…and have been blissfully married for 17 months to a man who is everything I could have ever imagined. But some people, especially those who may still be waiting on their first love, may look at my story and think, “seriously? She gets that? Look what she did!”

2) I am only living in my story. I don’t get to know all the details of everyone else’s. I kept thinking of something Aslan says to Shasta in the Chronicles of Narnia…in fact, it’s so succinct and appropriate that I probably won’t even say much else. Shasta wants to know why Aslan wounded Aravis earlier in the story, this is the response. I imagine he says this very gently and kindly, but also in a no-nonsense, firm tone.

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

And honestly, we won’t even get to know all of our story until it’s done. How silly am I to think that I would ever be given the inside scoop on someone else’s. I can’t know what’s going on inside their heads or hearts; and I am not privy to what God is choosing to work on in their lives. If I truly believe that his timing is perfect, that doesn’t just apply to my story.

So I’m trying to let the bitterness go. I’m trying to rest in how God showered blessings on me when I didn’t deserve them, and letting him gently but firmly remind me that he doesn’t tell me any story but mine.

how to · Infertility · journal entry · sermon takeaways

When your post has a mind of its own…

I don’t know if this counts as my ‘creative’ activity of the day since I’m just planning to vent a little bit…but I’m technically writing so I’ll probably count it.

I’m actually in pretty good spirits today. The sermon this morning was very encouraging and challenging; especially the bit about “rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” More on that another day perhaps…

Or not. Suddenly I don’t think I should use today’s post to vent. I can save that for another time.

We’re going through Romans in church; and we finally reached Romans 12. That’s been a journey in itself; and we’ve been in Romans 12:9-16 for several weeks now. Today was focused on verses 14-16.

Paul calls us here to humility…humility being a state in which we consider others above ourselves. If we are considering others above ourselves, the natural result is that we sympathize with others. We take our eyes off our own situations and fully enter into the joys and the sorrows of others.

Rejoice with those who rejoice: as an early church father pointed out, perhaps Paul put this one first because it is actually harder than it sounds. Especially for a girl on a journey of infertility. I don’t want to rejoice with yet another acquaintance or friend or family member who is pregnant. But if I’m thinking of others above myself, then their joy should be mine as well.

Mourn with those who mourn: easier to understand. Not always easy to do; especially for the fixers who don’t know what to say or do to ease pain. But as I’ve already learned and experienced, in times of grief it is almost always more effective to just sit with, cry with, be with. Pastor read a reflection from someone who’d experienced loss, and the takeaway was the realization that people who come bearing platitudes and messages of hope and redemption are often the ones that we wish would leave. It’s the ones who “sit quietly, listen carefully, and pray simply” that bring the most peace and comfort.

And interestingly enough, that last bit leads into what I initially wanted to write about. I’ll close with this as a reflection instead of creating an unnecessarily long tirade. Perhaps the ‘sit quietly, listen carefully, and pray simply” is why I’m feeling so tired of all the people who want to tell me about every so-and-so they know who “tried for _____ and then got pregnant”, and especially when that includes a “maybe you should try ______.” I’m not in a place right now to hear that. It doesn’t help. I just want the people I share this struggle with to show up, listen to me vent, and then pray simply with me for patience in God’s timing (and for his timing to be soon!).

Infertility · iui · journal entry · trying to conceive

3 months

Pregnancy test at the fertility clinic today was negative. I was so hopeful, and once again bitterly disappointed. I know I’m not out til AF shows…and as someone on one of my apps pointed out, my temps indicate I may have ovulated even later than I thought which means I could only be 6 dpo instead of 12. Guess we’ll see.

Regardless, I came home tearful. Husband actually came home encouraged; I should have been too but I got distracted by the one negative (that wasn’t even what we went for!). The doctor went over all our results, and as we originally thought…there’s nothing glaringly wrong. She wasn’t concerned by my high AMH (as I have very few other indicators that PCOS is a likely diagnosis), and while she wasn’t thrilled by all of husband’s numbers, she didn’t indicate that anything needed to be done about them (yet).

She outlined the plan for starting a timed/medicated IUI cycle…which we can do as early as my first period that starts in the new year. Due to my current cycle status, if AF shows in a day or two they can’t start with the upcoming cycle as that would put the actual IUI procedure right around Christmas.

I’m still a bit hopeful that this cycle was it…also hopeful that in light of all the good numbers and having had the HSG in November that maybe the next cycle will be successful…but if not, I guess we move forward with some assistance. And since IUI boosts our chances quite a bit…husband is feeling sure that we’ll be pregnant within 3 months.

So he let me have my meltdown tonight, and then essentially promised that if we aren’t pregnant within 3 months (after a round of IUI if necessary), we’ll go away for a weekend and have a meltdown together.

Oddly enough, that helped me feel a little better. For my own sanity, it’s not that long to be ‘strong’ if we get a couple more negatives. And it makes me feel less alone to know that he’s seeing a point in time at which he might also be broken by this for his own sake and not just mine. Not that I want him to be broken by this…but there’s a strange comfort and strength in being broken together.

 

appointed time · baby dancing · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

Mid-cycle woes and post-Thanksgiving musings

I don’t have anything profound to share. I’m just sitting here mid-cycle again….and trying fairly unsuccessfully to not obsess over every unclear OPK and erratic temperature reading and lack of fertility signs…

I had two days of positive OPKs immediately following my HSG, which was earlier than I’d ever seen but we got busy. Then I had two days of negatives, what looked like a temp shift (!!!)….and then two more days of positive OPKs. For the past seven days the OPKs have been negative, but a lot of them are borderline. The LH has not dropped off like I imagine it would if ovulation had happened.

  • Fertility Friend put in an ovulation date based on the first OPKs on CD11/12 and initial temp shift…but then with the additional positives and a subsequent temp drop…it took it away. It has yet to identify a clear temp shift or possible ovulation date since.
  • Glow is sticking to an ovulation date consistent with the second set of OPKs; and that’s the one I think is most accurate given that I had watery mucus those days, an acne breakout, and one of those days after we BD’d the semen didn’t leak out so my cervix must have been open (no, I don’t believe I had an orgasm).
  • AVA is saying I ovulated on Sunday, though I have found her to be pretty wrong sometimes, and given that she will proclaim that I have entered my fertile window before even analyzing my data from the night before…I take her with a grain of salt (Yes, I have personified my fertility monitor). Also I have had no clear fertility indicators since last week. But none of my parameters are doing what they should if I did ovulate last week…they aren’t even doing what they should if I ovulated on Sunday.

I was planning to wait to test until my birthday (December 8th) assuming AF hadn’t shown by then….and given the first couple possible ovulation dates, I’d be 18-22 dpo. If I was pregnant, there’s no way a test wouldn’t pick it up. However, if I ovulated Sunday, I’ll be 13 dpo…so higher chances of a false negative. And if I haven’t even ovulated…well…my birthday won’t even be at point where I could legitimately test anyway. So that’s a bummer.

We have a follow-up appointment with the fertility clinic December 13th. I’m still hopeful we don’t have to use it. But if my extra-irregular data this month does indeed indicate that I may not be ovulating after all and AF arrives in early December…we just went back to square one and I lost one of my three ‘extra fertile’ months following the HSG.

So here I sit. At least the uncertainty about whether I’ve even entered my TWW or not is keeping me from symptom spotting. Small blessings I guess. I’m still hoping for a really great birthday present and trying not to stress about it…but it gets harder every month. People who haven’t dealt with this don’t seem to understand that simply saying “just don’t track or think about it” is not as easy or relaxing as it sounds. Nothing about this is relaxing, nothing about this is easy.

At least I wasn’t on my period over the weekend when my sister and brother-in-law had their gender reveal party. It’s a little easier to deal with the pregnancy and baby related things when I’m at a point in my cycle where I’m still hopeful I have a chance to join those ranks.

And as a random aside…I got to watch my husband interact with our four month old niece over the weekend as well, and he is so sweet and good with her. I just want to give him babies and make him a dad already.

 

baby dancing · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive

Selfish intimacy

Potential TMI/sensitive content to follow.

I like sex. I didn’t realize how much I liked it until this marriage. I always felt that something was wrong with the infrequency of intimacy in my first marriage (as in, months in between was normal), but I assumed that was just because I knew theoretically that a healthy sex life was important to a healthy marriage. With my husband now, who actually has a normal male sex drive…I have discovered that I also have a high sex drive and I just really, really like having sex. And I think we are pretty good at it. We have fun, and we are definitely not afraid to try different things. No more needs to be said there.

But not only is sex fun and satisfying…it is one of the primary ways that we connect with each other. So we are very regular, regardless of where I’m at in my cycle. If we go too many days, we both feel the disconnect.

However, during what I assume is my fertile window (which is hard to pinpoint due to my lack of fertility indicators…making it longer in perception than it actually is), the only reason I am interested in sex is to make a baby. The only reason I try to get him aroused or put on lingerie is because ‘ovulation could be just around the corner.’ It is no longer about the intimacy, about serving my husband, about enjoying him and this aspect of our relationship.

  • The nights we have sex I’m thinking; “could this be it?” and “thank goodness we hit another night in the window” and already calculating due dates and odds of success.
  • The nights we don’t have sex I’m thinking, “if I don’t get a positive this month, is it because we missed tonight?” and “how can I get him to be interested in having sex without telling him why I want it?”

I struggle with wanting to tell him that I’m possibly fertile so that he prioritizes intimacy even more than he normally would…and not wanting to tell him because I want him to be able to enjoy the intimacy without feeling the pressure to finish (and because I’m not supposed to be tracking as much as I am….)

So there it is. When I am mid cycle, I’m an extremely selfish (and dishonest) wife. Sex becomes about making a baby, not about expressing love to my husband or seeking to be intimate with him for the sake of our marriage.

I don’t know what to do with that. I mean, I know I need to ask God for forgiveness and I probably should also be honest with my husband (and ask his forgiveness). But I don’t know how to adjust my attitude so that this doesn’t keep happening…other than going back to not tracking at all but that has brought it’s own set of problems.

 

 

 

appointed time · Infertility · journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

If the answer is no…

hrajkvnl;areuijgvnzdk;hunnvaiodfhsiknd

Head to keyboard.

I did a dumb thing today. I took a pregnancy test. It’s still technically early (though now I’m questioning if I even ovulated when I thought)…so it’s not necessarily accurate, but I’m only a few days away from my expected period and I used a super sensitive test. I had convinced myself that it was going to be positive (though this was mixed with an equally strong rational awareness that it most likely wouldn’t be).

It was negative.

This happens every time. I tell myself I’m going to wait to test because I can’t stand the disappointment of another negative…and I also tell myself not to symptom spot because it just makes the disappointment greater the more convinced I am that it’s real. Yet every cycle I get to the last few days and I find more and more “pregnancy” symptoms and I manage to talk myself into testing early because it “should show up by now….” And then I have another day of being miserable in addition to the day AF actually shows up because I see that negative and know that my rational side was right all along.

So after church I had another meltdown. Today my husband just let me cry. He let me be angry and sad and frustrated; and told me not to feel guilty for feeling the negative emotions. I had a good cry. Think I may have another later…tears are welling up as I write all this.

I’m honestly struggling with the place I’m in right now.

  • This isn’t fair
  • Why can’t we have a miracle?
  • Is this because I disrespected my parents, rushed into my first marriage, and then got divorced? 
  • Did God give me this ache for motherhood only to dangle it just out of reach while everyone else gets it?
  • Even if I do conceive again, what if it’s not successful either? I can’t cope with another miscarriage.
  • I’m tired of hoping and being disappointed; and tired of this consuming my every thought. 
  • It is only going to get harder to watch my sister and sister-in-law go through their pregnancies with every month that we still aren’t pregnant. I’m not selfless enough to put my hurt aside, and I’m not strong enough to not let it hurt that they have this and I don’t.

For a long time I’ve been able to say that “oh, well, it must just not be the right time,” and for the most part I’ve been okay with that in hindsight. I’ve seen ways in which it wasn’t the right time before and I’m (mostly) grateful for the things that wouldn’t have happened if we had gotten pregnant or already had a baby.

I believe fully that God can bless us with a baby at any time. Nothing we do or don’t will make that happen when it’s not supposed to. I don’t like waiting. But the longer this goes on, the more that deeper fear kicks in. What if the answer is no? What if this is simply not going to happen for us?

I am not okay with that. I don’t know how to be okay with it. And I don’t even think I want to try.

I’m not proud of what that says about the strength of my faith. I also imagine it’s that right there that is part of the reason we are walking through this…to stretch me and teach me to accept an answer that may not fit with my plan.

—————–

Note; I’m going to feel really silly about this post if I end up with a positive pregnancy test in a few days (or weeks if I ovulated later than I thought). 

 

journal entry · trying to conceive · ttc

On hope

Hope while TTC is a rather strange thing.

The thing I hear consistently from others who have tried for a long time is “as soon as you give up hope, that’s when it will happen.” I guess in a way that makes sense, because the point at which you give up trying and tracking can be the point at which your body is finally able to do its thing naturally.

But I don’t believe in giving up hope. There’s always hope; God is always able. This journey, this struggle…isn’t too big for God to handle. Giving up hope isn’t something that Christians are supposed to do.

So I don’t lose hope overall. Despite my deeper fears that this isn’t going to happen, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still hope it will.

Yet within each cycle I struggle to maintain the right amount of hope. When AF arrives I’m sad, angry, frustrated, etc; and those fears that it’s never going to happen set in…then that passes with the period and I get hopeful again; I mean, without hope, there’d be no motivation to try. Each new cycle is a new chance, right? Then my body does weird things and I have a hard time determining when (or if) I even ovulated…which leads me to be less hopeful that this will be the month (since if I didn’t ovulate at all there’s no chance, and if I ovulated at a different time than I thought we may have missed our shot by not having sex when I was *actually* fertile). Then that passes and I think; “Well, this is all in God’s hands anyway so if it’s meant to be this month it’ll happen.”

So my “two week wait” turns into a juggling act of wanting to believe that “this could be it, it has to be…just wait a couple weeks and you’ll get that positive” and knowing that the more hopeful I get, the more disappointed I’ll be when the test is negative and AF shows.

The hope comes from my belief that this is in God’s hands…and this is what keeps me sane during the wait but it also sets me up for more sadness. The hopelessness comes from my lack of clear indicators that I even ovulated (and the numbers stacking up against me…months trying, age, etc)…and this makes me depressed during the wait…and ultimately doesn’t make me any less sad when it turns out to be true.

So perhaps that’s the answer right there. Keep hoping. I can’t see what’s happening inside of me. I can’t control what’s happening inside of me. But I believe in a God that is able. So when it’s time, it will happen.

I just need to add in trust and contentment to the mix to make the disappointments less acute.