I ordered a book a few weeks ago that finally arrived the other day and I’ve basically just been inhaling it; it’s got short chapters so it’s hard to not just go on to the next and the next even though I should probably let each one ruminate for a while. The downside of being a fast reader *shrug*.
Anyway, the book is “Empty Womb, Aching Heart,” and it has stories and reflections from multiple women (or couples) who have struggled with infertility. Once I finish my first read I’ll probably go back and take each chapter a bit slower and write down the takeaway/lesson/attitude adjustment technique in each one…future blog post, perhaps?
One of the chapters especially jumped out to me yesterday. The writer was reflecting on how hard it is to be childless in a church community that is centered around the “family,” family ministry/resources/events were all geared towards the typical parents/children structure.
She went on to share that she taught a Sunday school lesson on the 6th day of creation; and the children drew pictures of animals and then Adam and Eve on a large piece of butcher paper. She told them that this was the point at which God said it was “very good,” and then rested. One of the little girls pointed out that there weren’t any children in the drawing.
“No children, not yet…and still God called it very good. Not….’good-but-it-would-be-better-if…’ After he made man and woman, he proclaimed his work finished. It was complete. They were complete.”
She comes to realize that a family is not formed once children arrive. The family of two is just as valuable, just as complete.
And she closes the chapter with her new response to those prying “when are you going to start a family” questions. Her answer is essentially this:
“We already have. We’re just waiting to see if God chooses to add to it or not.” (my edit)
-quotes and paraphrases taken from Empty Womb, Aching Heart (chapter 10); book compiled by Marlo Schalesky
Aunt Flo arrived today in all her unwelcome glory. I knew she was coming between the negative test at 12 dpo and a temp drop when I woke up. So I spent the morning between my hospice visits fighting back tears of disappointment and frustration and anger and longing and aching.
Then, somehow, it abated. Just like every cycle, hope begins to rebirth. I allow the grief to do it’s thing, then in his grace God reminds me that he is still faithful. I couldn’t even explain what did it this time. I didn’t even recognize it when it happened. Just, suddenly, I wasn’t overwhelmed by sadness.
I’ve (almost) decided that this upcoming cycle…our last one before we pursue assisted reproductive methods (IUI)…should be one without the pressure of tracking. I was initially so desperate to catch our fertile window, so hung up on knowing when I ovulated to know when I could test. I didn’t do well before with not tracking. But I think I can do it one more time. I think, for the health of my marriage and my own spiritual growth I need to let it all go and just be. We will do life, be intimate, enjoy each other…and if I haven’t started my period by February 1st, I’ll take a test. If I have, then we’ll proceed with IUI. Simple.
And to keep myself distracted, to productively fill the time, and to recognize what it can look like to enjoy my life in this child-free time…here are my “resolves” for the next 7 weeks. This blog space will be my accountability. I’ll try to check in at least once a week with updates on how well I’m doing. The list is long but some of the things could take as little as 5 minutes so it’s not really all that much. I’m even going to put the list on my refrigerator.
- read my Bible: every day
- read at least a chapter from a book: every day. (maybe I’ll resume my ‘alphabetical by author progression through my book collection. I’m somewhere in the D’s)
- yoga or walk: at least every other day
- something creative (drawing or other art, coloring, photography, scrapbooking, writing): every day
- play the piano: at least every other day
- clean something: every day. (will probably make a schedule for this)
- intentional date night or memory-making activity with husband: at least once a week
- do a jigsaw puzzle: at least once a week
- list 5 things I’m thankful for: every day
Here’s to making this cycle the best one yet.
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.
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.