This blog is small glimpses into my heart and soul - attempts to be transparent with friends, and sometimes, to myself. This is my safe place, where I can come and be purely Ness.

Family: If you found your way here, please do me a favor and don't poke through my closets, ok?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Not So Much of an Answer Answer

Results time. All the testing done, from the 17 vials of blood, to the horrible biopsy, to the not so horrible sonohysterography, and the other blood tests in between. I felt ill as I headed to the appointment today, nervous about what we would hear.
It really was a bit anti-climatic as we sat there listening to, "You're healthy. The biopsy came back negative. The sono didn't show anything wrong."
As it turns out the only things that have shown up are some slightly elevated hormone levels and a TSH (thyroid) that was on the high end of normal. A lower TSH level is more ideal for pregnancy, and the hormone levels are often connected to poly-cystic ovarian syndrome although I don't really have any other symptoms. Dr said she would recommend some cycle monitoring to keep an eye on the hormone levels to see what they were doing over a longer period of time, possibly thyroid medication, and then monitoring and progesterone once I got pregnant to give the baby an optimal chance. 
There is one test that we don't have results from yet, and that's the genetic testing. It is possible that those answers will come back and will reveal an issue that will have been the main cause of all our losses, and that will be daunting since as far as I know there won't be anything we can do about it. I might be wrong - I haven't looked into it that much, but what do you do if your genes are screwed up?
Since we are moving next week, Dr is going to give us a referral to a clinic in our new city, and we will see about pursuing some of these options. I'm still not really sure how I feel about all of this - the meds make me nervous, and knowing that there is still a pretty decent risk of miscarriage doesn't really help. I'm really not much farther ahead than I was before, and I want to be able to try again, I want to have another baby, but what if there are just more losses ahead for me? What do I do with that? How much more can I handle before I give up? How successful would all of this be and how much would it screw with me on the way?
There is so much going on right now, so I will wait until the new year to focus on all of this and figure out what exactly to do from here. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Frenzy

 Is there anyone out there who doesn't have a crazy life? Because mine just seems to go from craziness to craziness. There is so much going on and it's only going to get worse over the next weeks. So I know that despite really only having a tiny bit of time to write tonight, that moments like this will get harder to come by. This will be my attempt to get down at least the main details of everything that's going on, even though there is so much going in my head that I want to write and share, too.

Part One
My last post was all about how we were waiting on word for a job that Boy really wants. If you aren't following my Twitter feed, or just missed it - he got the job! It's looking like it will be an amazing job for him and an amazing place for our family. I'm pretty sure I'm very happy with it, but for some reason, our excitement over it has been a bit lacking. I think it may be that we are somewhat overwhelmed with all we have to do and I know Boy is feeling anxious about this new and more intense position. Also, saying goodbye to family and my home town certainly carries it's own sadness. Hopefully, once we get there and start unpacking and meeting people, we will have that enthusiasm come back!
Things were greatly dampened as the job offer came in when, it did in fact, include the condition that we only bring two cats. I wept and sobbed and decided along with my Boy, that this is what we would have to do. We needed this job and the hope and future that came with it.
While still very emotional, I asked Boy to send a request begging (yes, I used that word) them to please reconsider. I had little hope they would do so though, and began to inquire with friends if anyone knew of a good home for our poor kitties. I was especially worried about one girl, knowing it would be very hard to find a home for her and that we might have to make the decision to put her down. She's a skittish little girl who doesn't like anyone to come near her, pick her up, or generally exist. Oh, and she tends to pee on things. Who wants a cat like that? (Heck, most of the time we don't even want a cat like that, but she's our cat, she's part of the family, and that's what you do.)
Then - surprise. They really did consider our words and think about whether they could change this condition. And they did. We could bring them all! They did place a few conditions on that, but none of it was more than we offered to do in the first place. I am so very relieved to be free of the burden and sadness of finding good homes for four kitties. I am very grateful that we get to keep our family - and that I don't have to try to explain to Bug where are kitties are going.
Now to be completely honest (cause this is my honest space), it can be a huge pain to have so many cats. After spending a few days adjusting my mind to what it would be like to have only two cats, I am feeling anew the burden of six. Transporting them, vet bills, expensive food, keeping them out of bedrooms, cleaning up hairballs or vomit every couple of days, and of course, the joy of coming across something that has been peed on. I disconnected from them a bit during that time, and while I still love them and would hate to say goodbye, I can see how much easier our life would be without so many, and I'm closer to being willing to let go of them than I've ever been before. I'm not sure I would openly admit this to anyone in real life, but there it is.
Everything else on this storyline is going well. We put our house on the market and had an offer accepted, conditions waived, in one week. Our realtor said it had been a long time, since he'd seen a deal come together this quickly and smoothly. Just another confirmation we are on the right road.
We hired a U-Haul, the biggest they have, and then worried that we still wouldn't fit, so we got a trailer for it too. Boy was pretty anxious about driving this and happened to mention it to our new pastor/boss. He found someone to drive the six hours down here with him, in order to drive the truck back up the next day. How amazing is that? And I think this is only the first sign of what a great church family this is going to be.
We seem to be doing well with packing, as the boxes pile up to the ceiling, and it looks like we will be on track to be ready before we need to start loading the truck! (not always the case for us) We do have a few things going on that make this a bit more challenging for us though.

Part Two
For over a year now, I have been moving towards trying to find some answers as to why I'm having so much trouble carrying a baby. It took months to get in to see an OB/GYN, and if you've been reading, you know how much of a disaster that turned out to be. After that, I knew I needed to take greater measures, and I contacted a clinic in Toronto. I was still pretty nervous that I would get all the way down there and they would give me the same, "sorry, can't help you," that I'd already heard, but even on the phone they sounded friendly and professional, and I was assured more than once that my own experiences and home pregnancy tests would be taken seriously.
My appointment finally rolled around this past week. We did the 90 minute drive while my phone chirpped with the never ending, ever so valuable support from twitter friends, and I worried that it would be a huge gaffe taking Bug into a fertility clinic, despite the fact that I had been told that was just fine. We had a bit of trouble finding the clinic in the huge building, but with a bit of help, we arrived on time. I was immensely grateful to see that not only was it ok to bring a little one, but it was also expected, as Bug immediately spotted the a children's area off to the side.
Meeting with this doctor was like night and day from my last experience. She was quiet spoken, professional, friendly, had the ability to listen, took the time to explain things, allowed me time to ask questions, and most importantly of all, told me my early losses did indeed count in the puzzle of my fertility. She didn't necessarily know what they meant, might not be able to figure it out, but they were important and she was going to see what she could find.
She heard my story and then took me step by step through what she wanted to do, pausing to make sure I followed along and agreed with everything.  The first thing we did was blood work. I counted and they took seventeen vials of blood from me! I've done blood work before, but definitely never that much at a time. Next  week I go back down for an endometrial biopsy. She explained it as doing a pap, but going deeper to get a tissue sample. Since I really don't like doing paps, and have never had one that didn't hurt, I'm really not looking forward to this. I have two more blood work requisition forms and will have to call later to book a sonohysterography - an ultrasound where they use a bit of saline to expand your uterus to get a better look inside. Also not looking forward to that.
She's been very understanding of our imminent move and has worked to get as much of this done before we are four hours away from the clinic. It's making our days that much busier and giving me that much more stress, but I'm appreciative of her efforts to take care of us.
At the end of this month, maybe we will not only have a new home, a new city, and a new job; maybe we will also have some answers, some hope, and some help, giving us a chance to add another precious little one to this precious little family of ours.

If anyone has any info, tips, or encouragement on these procedures I'm looking at, please share! I'm quite intimidated by them and will welcome anything that would help them go smoothly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Weight of the Wait

I'm not sure I've ever had so many migraines in such a short period before. Every day I feel like I'm a little heavier, a little more weighed down. The stress is pushing me into the ground.

Five weeks ago we drove six hours to do a three day interview with a church, an associate pastor position for Boy. It went fantastic. The church felt comfortable and familiar, the house provided with the position felt good and fitting, the people felt like friends and family. Boy received compliments on his preaching and positive reviews on leading the service. Their priorities fit with ours. Their style of service keeps the children in until it's time for the sermon - a rare find and very important to us. Their theology meshes with ours and has actually helped Boy define some things. He says he didn't know before that he was (insert this church's denomination). Except for the fact that it's at least six hours away from all our immediate family, it looks like the potentially perfect church for us.
The high from that weekend only lasted so long though, because then we had to wait. And wait. And wait. And we are still waiting to hear. They had another candidate they wanted to interview and he and his family came a month after us. Now they have to decide who they think will be the best person for the job and for their church, and we get to wait. Is there anything so wearing as waiting? I'm not sure getting a negative answer is worse than waiting and dreading a negative answer. Especially when it feels like your last chance. Boy has been searching for a job for almost a year and our time is running out.
To add to the stress, the pastor sent an email last week asking about our cats and how "non-negotiable" they were. I think they're nervous about all our babies in the house after the previous residents left the (relatively small) carpeted area smelling like cat pee. I get that, but our house rarely smells like pee, and when it does, I hunt it down until it's GONE. There are few things more humiliating for me than to have people walk into my house and have it smell. I could just die. So anyways, we said we would repair any damages done out of pocket, give them a deposit if they wanted it, and would even replace the smelly carpet on our dime. I'm desperately hoping that it's enough, because if they come back and say they want us, but the cats can't come, I will break. I just don't think I can do it.
My sister says, "You aren't willing to give them up to be where God wants you to be?" First, thanks for the support. Second, I don't think I am. It's just too hard. These cats are part of my family and in a strange way, they are all tied up in my losses and my faith. I don't know how to let go of them. Maybe it makes me a bad Christian. Maybe it makes God disappointed in me (as my childhood picture of God would be). Maybe it will cost us a really great job with a really decent house in a time where we really can't afford it. I don't know. The one truth I know, is that God loves me. He loves me even if I can't make big sacrifices "for him." If I hold my cats tight, and we manage to thwart something big and miraculous and fantastic that God wants to do - he still loves me. I'm hoping that love means that whatever plans he has for us, whatever good he's working for us, that that includes this part of our family, these animals that are so close to my heart and so much a part of my life. I don't know really. I'm still just figuring out who God is and what he wants. The only thing I've got - he loves me.
So, I'm pretty familiar with the "be anxious about nothing" verse, cause you know, I'm working on it, but seriously, never been my strong point. I come from a long line of worriers. I really don't want to be like one older lady I know, who literally worries herself sick, like, put herself in the hospital sick. I'm hoping by that age that I've somehow figured out how to just trust God and let things rest in his hands, but I'm not sure I'm making much progress yet. It always the wait that kills me. I don't do well in waits. Once I know what is happening, I can usually handle it. I have seen God's hand in our lives and know that we have never been without what we need. We've always had a place to live and food on the table. Should this job not work out, I know I can trust in that. But, I'm still scared and stressed.
One of the church leaders called Boy last night to ask a few questions, so we know he's still in the running, and he seemed to think that we would know by the end of the week. Our wait may finally be coming to a close. Hoping and praying that this will be the place for us. A place to call home, a church family that feels like family, and a position where Boy can shine in the way I know he was meant to.
In the meantime, here's hoping the migraines will leave me alone.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Thing

Several years ago, I finally noticed that my life was not what it should be. I was depressed and I needed help. I wish I had had a better idea of what warning signs to look for, but I didn't. I thought I was fine. Seriously, I should have known that it wasn't ok to have mornings where it was hard to get out of bed. Where I needed to call Boy to help me put my underwear on. I just thought I was letting myself be overly dramatic, that really, I could do it, if I just made myself. I should have known that it wasn't ok to be getting upset every time Boy came home from work, and less ok that at one point I wanted to scream, "Could you please just stop breathing?!" because everything he did, even how he breathed, was irritating me. I just thought that I was hormonal, going through a rough patch in our marriage, whatever. The realization point for me was one morning while getting ready for work. I knocked the cats water dish with my foot and soaked down my sock. Annoying, but you just go change them, right? Nope. I broke down. Sat on the floor and bawled. Finally, my head said, "This is not ok. A wet sock shouldn't destroy you. Something is wrong." I met with my doctor and after a few hits and misses, found anti-depressants that helped me feel normal again. I used them for two years, and then slowly weaned off through much ups and downs as my body readjusted, eventually taking over and doing the job on it's own.
Ever since then, I've been terrified of heading down that path again. It stole my joy and my life. Turned my marriage into a burden. Took all my usefulness and made me nonfunctional. Every time I have a few bad days, it scares me. If things are feeling grimmer than usual, it scares me. If Boy feels especially irritating, it scares me. I know I struggled with depression as a teenager, hormones I suppose, and this deeper bout with depression was brought on by hormone imbalances (birth control pills) and stress. Now, I will never do the pill again, but guess who's life has been full of stress for quite a while now? Yeah, mine.
Boy has been looking for work longer than he's been out of work, and that's been since November. I don't know if any other hiring process is quite so stressful as within the church. I think they have more steps than other hiring processes and the waiting in between each step is often at least a month. So we are talking 5-6 months for the entire search to hire, or at least a month to find out if you've been rejected right off the bat. And the rest of your life in the meantime? It's on hold. You don't want to make any major decisions, commitments, or changes because you don't know what your life will be like in a few months. You don't know where you will be living, or how much income you will have, or if you will still be on hold. It's a sucky way to live.
The past year has also been full of dealing with, well mostly waiting on, doctors and hoping/fighting/despairing over trying to find answers as to why I've had so many miscarriages. Either one of these big things is a lot of stress. Together they are immense and overwhelming. Throw in a bad habit of going to bed late, with a little one whose struggled with his sleep this summer, resulting in some serious sleep shortage and we have a cocktail for disaster.
A few days ago I sat down with Boy to tell him how I'd been feeling. I was worried and scared. It seemed like I was spending a lot of time irritated with him and I was pretty sure it was me, not him or our marriage (although I'm not sure spending almost every second together for the past nine months has been that great for us. We love sharing everything and being together a lot, but we never have a chance to miss each other.) Also, I thought that I maybe wasn't being happy very often. I ended up breaking down, totally freaked out that I was headed towards depression and needing medication. He tried to calm me and said it wasn't that bad. He'd help me keep an eye on it, but I was doing ok. He prayed with me and for me, and I prayed. In praying many of the burdens and pain I've been carrying for years came out. My spirit touched again by Emerging Mummy and led by the heart of a child, I poured out that my heart was full of bitterness and cynicism and irritation, and I didn't want it anymore. I was tired of carrying it around. Despite the "coolness" of being a cynical Christian, and of being wary of emotional spiritual displays,and being too cool to be one of "those" ("Isn't Jesus great?!!") Christians, I didn't want it anymore. I was tired and broken and done. I wanted my heart to be full of him, and full of love, peace, and the joy he promises. I called and he answered. Somehow I felt freer, happier, and more alive. I also felt more connected to my husband than I had in months. Things weren't perfect. I knew I wasn't perfectly healed or over all I'd been feeling, but I knew he had heard me.
The next day I felt like nothing had changed. I was frustrated, irritated, and breaking down again. I felt dragged under, like things were actually worse than before. Talked with Boy and felt myself falling apart. "Where is he? Why can't I have the joy so many others have? Seriously. I can understand him not healing every cancer patient ever prayed for, not saving each baby I lost, not protecting every person from sickness or death, but when it comes to spiritual healing, why wouldn't he give that as soon as it was asked for? Isn't that what he wants most of all? Isn't that what Christ is all about? Why? Why can't I just have joy? Why would he deny that?" I don't remember all he said, but I remember his face and him voicing his fears that I would just give up. There have been many times I've struggled with believing God was really real, mainly because of wondering where the peace and joy were. I know that's not what I want. From the depths of my soul came, "I will not give up. I choose Christ. I choose joy." He promises these things and I will not give up until I have them. I will pursue them until they are mine.
There is no explanation for how this has happened, but these past few days have held more joy for me than the past year did. I've had moments of overwhelming, bubbling out of me, had to giggle out loud, joy. I've been more connected with my husband than I have been in months. I've initiated more kisses with him, than several previous weeks combined. Last night, we actually played together, wrestling and teasing like little kids. I can't remember that last time we did that. It's not been all sunshine and roses. There are times when the fear consumes me and I worry that none of it is real, I'm going down again, where is God and joy? There are times when I'm so irritated and frustrated I could cry. There are times when the cynicism takes hold and I think, "There is no way this job for Boy will work out. This doctor won't be able to help me, just like the others. This all has just been fleeting hope, and I will just be back where I started, wondering where God and his promises come into my life." But, I am finding ways to connect. I'm realizing how much I need quiet time, with no chance of distraction, times to walk alone and sit at the water, and be overwhelmed by God's Spirit. Each day is still a struggle, but if each has moments of joy, I am beginning to heal; to be a whole functioning person again, instead of pieces scattered on the floor. My heart has been a wasteland, but he is doing a new thing.
I choose Joy.
Isaiah 43: 18-19:
“See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the desert 

and streams in the wasteland.”

Disclaimer - Depression and faith have a very real connection, but in NO way do I think that if you are depressed it's because of lack of faith. My faith could not save me when I experienced long term depression before, and I am very grateful that anti-depressants were available. Depression is a condition that can eat your soul from the inside out, but it's also a medical problem. Sometimes faith can carry us through and I have seen God heal those struggling with it. Sometimes it can be managed with a good diet, sunshine, and exercise. Sometimes you need counselling. Sometimes medication is needed. More often than not, it's a combo of these things. If you think you may be depressed, please talk with your doctor or counselor. They can help you come up with what will work for you. Please don't suffer alone trying to ignore it, or "just get by." I am still trying to keep an eye on how I am doing, and am constantly reevaluating if this is just a blue period where I seriously need more sleep and less stress, or if it is pointing to a greater problem.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Still Standing Still (as my heart aches)

Exactly two months ago, we finally got in to see a gynecologist. The plan was to ask for testing to see if we could find a reason that I have five miscarriages. It didn't go how we hoped. We did the month of cycle monitoring, and then had to wait another two weeks for a follow up. That was today. The result - pretty much the same thing that went through at the first appointment - only less professional.
He came into the room, told my son to get off the "couch" and told me I had to sit there. Um, there's a reason I'm not up there already. I hate sitting up there. It makes me feel like a child. It makes me feel more vulnerable and less like a person with rights. We're already a bit crappy at speaking up for ourselves, so we shuffle around to our "appropriate" seats. I'm really not sure why this is an issue since Bug sat up there last time, and I definitely did not. But, maybe it has something to do with the young man standing in the corner, who we haven't been introduces to. I have to only assume he's a student doing some shadowing, since I get a glimpse of a McMaster badge hanging around his neck. Now, I have nothing against a student being in this appointment, but surely it would only be common courtesy to introduce him and make sure we are comfortable with his presence. Whatever.
He asks me how I am, what can he do for me?
"Um, I would like some testing, please?"
"Well, I see you are not pregnant."
No kidding. Didn't we have this conversation already? I'm not going to try until we can rule out causes of the miscarriages.
We are interrupted by his yelling at my son to sit down. Excuse me? Where exactly do you get off? Boy politely asks him if he having a bad day, because really he wasn't like this last time. He says no he's not, but this isn't the place for tots. He should be in the waiting room and not getting into my things. You mean the completely sealed package we immediate took away and move him away from? I try to explain that I need my husband with me and we haven't got anyone to leave Bug with, so here he is. He dismisses the issue.
We return to the frustrating circular conversation about whether or not he can do some tests for us. One moment it seems like he can, the next not. Essentially he says he has to have proof to report to the government on why he's ordering the tests. Without proof, he can't order them. There are no miscarriages and no reasons to do testing.
He says if we are "afraid" to get pregnant, that that is a different matter and we can check that everything is ok. What does that mean? What's the difference? At the end he tells us he can give us a referral for genetic testing "on patient request." (What does that mean? It won't be covered?) We accept it, cause it's all we've got right now, but it's not enough.
I'm looking at a clinic in Toronto, and so far it sounds ok - they have a specialist who is researching repeat pregnancy loss, but I'm so nervous that we will drive all the way down there, with hope for help, only to be told the same thing, "Sorry, nothing we can do without proof."
I was so anxious about this appointment for exactly this reason, and now it's staring me in the face. I'm still not moving forward. It took me ages to decide to do this, ages to get the appointment, and nothing. I have to start a new route somewhere and try to keep hoping someone will do tests without us obtaining more "proof."

God, I don't understand. Please, send us people who will help, and who will do so with compassion. Please let us be able to find some answers without having to first get "proof."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lost In the Dark

Lately I've been feeling like I'm failing at everything, but especially at being a mama. I think it's probably tied into how miscarrying affects my feelings as a mother (not being able to protect them and take care of them = major mama failing), and also because being a mama is my biggest role right now. There are also so many other stressors in my life right now, that so little energy is left for this role. I find myself short on patience and ideas and energy. I'm snapping more, saying "no" a lot, and giving so little time to this one that needs me. I feel like I'm forcing him all the time. Gently forcing, but forcing none the less. I can't figure out how to teach and guide and convince him to do the things that need to be done - like eat and sleep and tidy - without just saying, "You have to. I'm sorry you don't want to, but this is what we're doing," which wouldn't be so horrible if it didn't turn into a fight half the time. I don't like to physically struggle with my son to get his diaper and pajamas on, and constantly bring him back to the bed crying, because he doesn't want to sleep, he wants to play; or tell him again and again, "Eat. Eat. EAT. It's supper time. You need to eat," and then deal with him saying at bedtime, "I'm hungry," and knowing that it might very well be true, because he didn't actually eat that much at supper, but now he really needs to sleep, and if I let him eat, he'll end up being overtired and not sleeping very well, except if he really is hungry he won't sleep well either. (ahhh! deep breath)
Anyways, I'm super struggling with the whole discipline (as in teaching, not as in punishing) thing, and I'm not really sure how to figure it out. I'm frequently drawn to the "let your child express themselves/be their own person/work with, not against" style of parenting, but occasionally it does seem to go too far or have a very humanist view point. I very much want my parenting to be Biblically sound (not in the "you must spank you child" kind of way, cause I really don't think it says that), to honor God, and to teach my son just how much God loves him, but I can't figure out what that all means or how to do that. So I have these two ideas about parenting that I think should mesh, but no idea how do either one, let alone put them together. My lack of energy and patience is not helping.
I feel like I'm hunting for gold, except I only have this vague idea of what a mine is, I've never heard of a pick-axe, and my headlight is on backwards. As I search through this semi-darkness, stumbling around, I can only hope I'll do more good than harm, and perhaps someone who's been this way will pass by and offer a helping hand.

On Failing and Contenment

Finding myself struggling today. I've actually been struggling for a while now with feelings of failure. I think it's pretty common with those that have trouble carrying a child. Not being able to carry out this basic, intrinsic function can leave a women feeling less than, and incomplete, and not enough, and well, broken. It does a pretty good job on your self-esteem, often causing this feeling to flow out into other aspects of your life, and can make a gal feel like she's just not good at anything and is constantly failing. Well, at least that's my experience anyway.
I've been feeling like I'm failing as a wife, a mother, a home maker, and well, just being me and taking care of myself. So many days are made up of randomness, disorganization, and problems. We started this family schedule, but have we managed to actually make it through a day on the schedule? Maybe once. I'm gaining weight, not getting the exercise I want, and spending far too much time online. Boy is supposed to have time to work on some writing he is doing, but it's constantly being overrun by the family things that don't end up staying in their scheduled place. Bug is not eating well enough and spending far too much time watching television, which I can see in his whining and inability to imagine something that's not from his favorite show. Wow. Just writing this out is making me feel terrible. Of course, that's probably also partly due to the fact that it's twenty to twelve and I'm still up instead of in bed, where I should have been about two hours ago, since I am so short on sleep (therefore also everything else) lately. To sum up - I've been very miserable lately and feeling like I'm not good enough at anything.
In reading some posts by Emerging Mummy (If you aren't reading her, you should be. Her writing is beautiful and inspiring.) like this one, I've been realizing that my life is seriously missing some joy and contentment. I am certainly not happy right now. Here's the part I'm struggling with today - scripture tells us learning to be content is important, but I'm pretty sure how we are currently living is not very God honoring. How do I have contentment and welcome joy in, while realizing there are things in my life that need improvement, especially when considering trying to fix most of these things is incredibly daunting (like so overwhelming it keeps me from moving daunting)? How do I strive for a higher goal while still being content with how things are? I know I need the peace of contentment, but I also know that things can't go on as they are and changes need to be made. I'm currently so messed up inside, and this internal struggle and lack of answers is making my brain feel like it's bouncing around in my skull trying to get out. (It makes you understand why little kids have temper tantrums, because I'm getting closer and closer to wanting to throw things.)
The best I have tonight is the very real situation that I need far more sleep than I'm getting. First step - go to bed on time! Second step - seek God. That's all I've got. I need to find some way to make sense of this all, and they say he has the answers. Of course, even that seems daunting right now, and I'm really afraid that I'm going to fail at that too. Trying to make daily time for God has been difficult for several years, and I can't figure out how to make it work.
Somebody pray for me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sometimes Caring is Not Sharing

Do you have one of those people in your life that truly cares, but always seem to have the wrong concerns? I do. She's sweet - sometimes overly so, but at best I can tell, it's not fake. She's soft spoken and gentle, but manages to rub me the wrong time and again.
This morning she asked how I was doing and so I told her about our weekend, and poor Nod, how he got hit by a car, has a broken pelvis, missing teeth, paralyzed tail. How surgery would be $5000 and not a guarantee of anything any ways. How we're keeping him crated, letting him heal, anxiously keeping an eye on his intake and output. How it looked like a long hard recovery, but that he was doing well and showing good signs. (We are actually a bit nervous today, because he needs to pee twice a day, but hasn't since last night - he's shown he can, but if he keeps it in, he'll get an infection.) 
So, I shared all this with her, and then listened in some shock as she went on this little trail about how it's so difficult to let them go, hard to judge their quality of life, hard to balance between their peace with God and wanting their presence with us. ?!?!?!? Are you trying to tell me I should put my cat down?! What the heck?! I think I just sort of nodded in shock and moved away when there was an appropriate time.
She is also the one who told me, with oh so much concern, that I shouldn't let Bug sleep with me, he'd never learn to sleep on his own, he'd have so much trouble being independent; and told Boy that we really shouldn't let Bug go without shoes, it was dangerous and hazardous, and he would catch MRSA, and die. (she didn't actually say die, but...) She also told me about a fertility clinic that a daughter of a friend went to, and wasn't it a a great clinic, and I should look into it, and - next week - here's a print off from their website (cause maybe I don't know how to use the internet...?) Cause apparently I really need to do this (despite the fact that I told her I didn't want to travel to Toronto right now, I was going to stick with my doc, but thank you). Bleh.
Later, she came to let me know that she put Nod on the prayer list for the morning. She really does care, but gosh, it's so unhelpful.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friends Are Friends Forever

I <3 Twitter. I've learned the twtspk (a lot of it anyway). Figured out how to share pictures. Followed hashtags. Made up hashtags. Joined Twitter chats. And made connections. I've been on there for about nine months now and I've met so many amazing people. I don't know what it is about Twitter, but the community on there is pretty fantastic. I suppose it's not the same for everyone, but that's been my experience, and it seems to be the experience of most of my "tweeps." The majority of the gals I know (and yes, they are basically all girls, with the exception of Boy, and a fellow barefooter I follow - who I may just drop [sorry] because he doesn't tend to respond when I tweet him, oh - and a couple of "famous" folk I especially enjoy) any ways... the gals are mostly "members" of the infertility community and they continually come around each other to support and encourage in whatever stage they are at, whether it be the infamous "two week wait," starting a new procedure, dealing with a "BFN" (big fat negative pregnancy test), going through a miscarriage, or, wonder of wonders, celebrating a "BFP" (positive test).
Yesterday, we realized that many of us have another thing in common - lack of close friends in the places where we live. We chatted and dreamed about living in a community all together, bringing these friendships in closer and being able to support each other in person (grow a garden, raise some chickens, keep a cow - there was also mention of flowers, a tractor and booze - we're all set!). It's a pipe dream, but I was humbled and honored that they all wanted to include me. It's so nice to be liked and wanted, you know?
Unfortunately, it got me wondering - would they continue to like me so much if they met me in person? I don't have a great friend history. I've always had a hard time making friends, and occasionally the people I thought were friends, really didn't care all that much about me. I've struggled for a lot of my life with feeling like people would really rather not have me around, like I annoy them. I've had very few truly trusted friends over my life - actually I can count them on one hand - and I don't have any here and now.* I don't really understand it, but it makes me wonder - would they still like me if they met me?
I like bubbly, energetic people, but they are usually not drawn to me. I'm sort of shy, and don't often say a lot, except when I say too much.  I am a perfectionist, and it tends to make me overly critical. The bad things stand out to me so much more than the good things. I can find the bad in anything. I have an overly strong urge to correct, which I am slowly learning to temper. I am too sensitive and it's not unusual for me to be emotional. I can usually control my words, but my facial expressions are another thing. I don't change directions or plans easily and I NEED to know everything that is going on. I procrastinate terribly, and I think of all sorts of lovely things to do for others, but rarely actually do them. I want to, but I'm bad at making myself actually do it, and I get nervous. I don't have a lot of guts. I'm always afraid of what other people think and how they will respond to me. I have the hardest time approaching people I don't know really well about almost anything - to say "hi," offer help, ask a question. I tend to be an observer and not a participator. On Twitter it would be so easy for me to sit back and just read, interacting only occasionally. Sometimes, I have to push myself to respond, to put myself out there, to share my thoughts, to encourage, support, and love. It's totally worth it, but it doesn't always come easily to me. Plus, I'm always afraid I'll say the wrong thing. (And apparently I have self esteem issues.)
And, in this community I wonder how I would fit -with my beautiful little boy, and my ability to get pregnant (although not stay pregnant). Would having me around be hard? Would they resent that I had a son with no difficulties? Would they be ok meeting me along as he wasn't there? Would I be an outsider because I have responsibilities to take care of him, and not the freedom to whatever, whenever?
I hope that we would still be friends in real life. I have great appreciation for all of these ladies and the love they show one another, they way they share their lives, their pain, sorrow, and joy. I hope that they would see in person the same things they see on Twitter - the love I want to give, the kindness I want to show, the heart I try to reveal. I love to laugh and dance and sing. I have a good sense of humor, even if it's often a little sarcastic. I'm loyal to a fault and quick to forgive. I'm honest and trustworthy. I value my friends and have a heart of generosity towards them. I have a gentle heart and hate to see anyone in pain.  I cherish my friends and always try to treat them the way I would want to be treated.
I would love to meet some of the online friends I have made - infertile community or not - and I hope it would just strengthen our relationships, bringing us closer together.

*I do have a few dear friends who are still dear to me, but we've grown (moved) apart a bit and don't talk as often as we'd like.

By the way - bonus points for anyone who can tell me what song that title is from.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finishing New York

(This is a post I began while we were still in New York. I'm going to try to complete the thoughts.)
It's been a long day again today. We didn't sleep very well last night. The single king sized bed (eta - when rearranging the bed for our second night, we realized that this "king" bed was about a foot shorter than our "king" bed at home. No wonder it felt so small) didn't really fit the three of us and Boy ended up spending a large part of the night on the floor. We were also so overtired by the time that we made it there that we had trouble falling asleep. So we weren't really ready to get up when Dune started bouncing on us at seven. So began our first full day with Boy's parents.
It was a very bouncy bed!
A little background - I love Boy's parents. I know they love us. But, it's like they are from a different culture. We simply don't speak the same language and even simple gestures have entirely meanings to each of us. They really don't get why we choose to go barefoot, that Dune and I can't eat milk products, why we prefer to avoid chemicals, the way we parent, and more personally - our personal expressions (eg. tattoos, no suits, despite the the fact that Boy is a pastor), and my very particular taste in food.
I fall into the picky eater category, and I know some people (like the IL's) see me as just being difficult, but it's really not that. It's truly difficult for me to eat other foods. I try occasionally. As I've gotten older, I've pushed myself to try things that weren't on my "normally eat" list and some things that were way beyond that (food is not supposed to be foamy and green. I don't care.) But, when it comes down to it, there just isn't a huge list of foods I enjoy eating, and that list got significantly smaller when I took dairy out of my diet. I know that this makes life difficult for others (try having me over for supper), and I always feel horrible about that, but there are times when I would truly prefer to go hungry than eat certain things. Not too long ago I read an article about highly sensitive kids that made me realize my food preferences were part of my sensitive nature, that it was actually "normal" for me. It doesn't really make life any easier, especially when dealing with people who see it as more of a character flaw, but it was like this little feeling of freedom to learn that.
So, mealtimes were stressful, not at all helped by the fact that Bug has a habit of taking off his shoes the moment he enters a building. (oh no, barefeet! how horrible! whatever shall we do?!) Activities had stressful moments since we all had different ideas on how and when to do things. And, 75% of all interactions involving Bug were stressful. Please don't ask my son what he wants to do if we aren't actually going to do it. If you want him to answer a question, give him a moment to think and respond, don't just keep rephrasing the question every two seconds. Don't tell him something might happen that you know won't. Don't say, "maybe there'll be pony rides" when it's highly unlikely. Don't tell him, "tomorrow we'll do this exciting thing," he doesn't understand tomorrow yet.  And, above all, DON'T step over my parenting/discipline and do things your way. If I am right here handling the situation, you don't get to step in. Bleh. I'm getting tense just thinking about it, and it was weeks ago.
I hate conflict, so we never actually addressed most of these issues (Boy touched on the outright lying to Bug), we just tried to parent around them. I don't really know what was the best way to handle it, although if there had been more than two times they overrode my parenting, we would have had that discussion, because even once is really not okay.  We will have to see what happens when we get together in the summer...
Bug enjoyed most of the trip - seeing the dinosaurs, playing at the Children's Museum, watching the polar bears at the zoo, enjoying his first hockey game on tv (how do I have a sports child?), but at the same time he wasn't so sure about this staying in a hotel room business and asked at least once a day to go home.
Of course, the whole point of this trip was a stressful one. I don't think I ever mentioned, but we went to NY to meet the IL's because my father in law was there to do some testing at Slone-Kettering's cancer center. He has melanoma that has spread to his lymph nodes and liver. His current treatment is chemo, but it generally has very little effect on this type of cancer. If he qualifies (and he does, we just found out today!), he will be able to receive a new drug that is just finishing it's trial phase. It's likely not a cure, but would make life better and longer for him. So having this test and result hanging over everyone added to the stress of the occasion. (one of the reasons we didn't make a bigger deal out of their frustrating interactions with Bug)
Good points - I got to see New York! Far from all of it of course, but I saw the Empire State Building out my window, Central Park and the zoo, the American Museum of Natural History,
impressive stores like Tiffany's and Saks, famous sites such as Rockefeller Plaza and The Plaza Hotel, and well known streets like Broadway and Madison Avenue.
One of these days I'm going to actually make an online album of all the pictures!
So the great things helped balance out the stress, but this experience took a lot out of us. It took us almost a week to prepare for the five day trip, and about a week and a half to de-stress and re-energize. I'm glad I had a chance to see this famous city, but we were all so glad to be on the train home.

Step One

I'm not sure I even know where to start right now. It's been a very rough couple of weeks. The trip to New York was so stressful and took ages to recover from. Then, over Mother's Day I got sick, which passed to Bug (his first time really being sick, and it made us all miserable), which then passed onto Boy, who was sick for ages. Nobody was getting enough sleep and we were trying to take care of each other - it was a horrible week. I felt like I was never going to get my energy back and be in a decent mood again.
Finally, I began to regain some balance (it really is amazing what just weeding a patch of land can do),
what happens when you do yard work barefoot
and I had to begin to prepare for my appointment with Dr. O - the OB/GYN my family doctor had given me a referral to. When? Oh, back in January. Yes, he had a four month waiting list. So maybe I should have been prepared earlier, but really, I just prefer not to deal with stressful things until I have to. Plus, there have been so many other things going on, that I just felt like I couldn't deal with this yet.
So, at the end of last week, I sat down and wrote out my whole story, and I mean the whole thing. From the beginning of always having very crappy periods, to my first miscarriage, my endometriosis diagnosis, my healthy pregnancy, my easy periods after pregnancy, my next four losses, my trial with progesterone cream, my ovulation pain, and finally, my increasingly worse periods, again. I marked down all the important dates, listed specific questions I wanted to know about any test we might do, tried to gather info on what tests might be good to start with or might have not have heard of yet, and did my best to not be anxious about the meeting. It was just to talk after all.
Bah. So how many of you are thinking, "Well, that was a waste of your time?" Cause you'd be right. Any of you who aren't thinking that, can I have your doctor, please? I really wanted a chance just to tell my whole story, because I know it's all connected. I wanted a doctor who I knew was really listening to me and taking into consideration all I have experienced and learned. I'm not entirely sure such a doctor exists.
It went sort of how I actually expected it to. He asked a handful of questions - how many times have I been pregnant, how far along were the miscarriages, when did they happen, and oh - did I have any proof? Because apparently, if I don't have medical records to back up my statements, they might not actually be valid. My four pregnancies that are based only on HPTs might have been false positives. (What?! Am I just that clueless? Cause really I thought it was incredibly difficult to get a false positive. Like, you had to be intentionally adding certain hormones to your body...?) He was calm and professional throughout and not quite as horrible as he sounds, but it's not possible to nicely say, "Your babies, whom you deeply grieved, might have been imaginary." He then tried to explain that it was possible that despite my monthly ovulation pain and bleeding every twenty-eight days, that I might not be ovulating and having regular cycles. So, he wants to monitor my cycle for a month (or three to six) - do blood work and ultrasounds through my cycle to see what my ovaries and hormones are doing. Hopefully, one month will tell him what I already know, cause there is no way I'm waiting several months to even talk testing. Especially since he tells us that having five miscarriages would put me in a "high risk" group that would likely need to do chromosome testing - something that takes three to four months to get the results. Ugh. I knew this was going to be hard, but this is even more than I was expecting.
Somewhere in there, his words made me begin to wonder if he was going to have me try to get pregnant so that he could see what happens. I'm really hoping that was just my perception, because I really can't handle that. I can't do this again without a plan, without an idea of why my babies are not staying alive. Even if he doesn't think I've had five miscarriages, my heart knows, and it can't handle another attempt without hope for a different outcome.
Before we left the office, we sent up contact info and blood work dates with his administrator. She was happy to inform me that doing the ultrasounds would let me know the best time for "trying." Um, honey, I know when to try. Trying isn't the problem. Getting pregnant isn't the problem, staying pregnant is. "We won't be trying these months."
"How come?"
"From my perspective (notice that I, at least vocally, give allowance that they could be right), I've had five miscarriages, and I just can't do that right now."
"You might not have."
Slam, bam, thank you mam. I think I'll just go home and cry now.

(Giant SIGH) At home, totally drained, I try to work some of this out, sharing it with a few who care about me. Out of their love and caring, three separate people let me know I need to find a new doctor PRONTO. I get this. I would likely give the same advice to anyone in this experience, who also had a different medical system. I don't feel like I have many options. In order to see a new doctor, I would have to go back to my family doctor and get another referral, which would most likely take another three to six month wait for an actual appointment, and no guarantee that they wouldn't say the same things. While writing this post, I actually looked up fertility clinics in Ontario (the closest of which is about an hour and a half away). I would still need a doctors referral, but they say they try to see clients within two weeks of that, which would be great, but - their initial task is to do a month or more of... monitoring! So I wouldn't be in a much different position. Plus, their site makes it sound like all blood work, ultrasounds and other procedures have to be done in their clinic, requiring several trips a month to the city (with a three year old - or at least almost three!). So, I'm sticking with this and hoping I'm not making the wrong decision. I do feel a little bit better knowing that the top docs will do the same monitoring. I feel less disregarded knowing that.
I have been praying about this, and will continue to do so, trying to trust that God leads our path even now. Hoping that he will make sure we are with the right doctor and will receive the right tests and treatments. God, give me wisdom to make the right decisions, to take care of myself and my health, and grant me trust in your provision.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New York, New York – Here We Are

So as we neared the end of our many long hours on a train, Bug began to reach the end of his amazing patience. He was becoming just too antsy to stay in his seat. Really, he did remarkably well. He'd been on the train for eight hours and now he just wanted to move around, at least be in a new spot. It was a bit difficult that the new spot he chose was the middle of the aisle, but we just did our best to make sure he moved before someone was trying to get by.

When we finally got off the train, we were so eager to get outside. Bug wanted to ride in the stroller (being ready to fall asleep) and no one was thrilled to find we had three flights up to ground level. Sunshine at last! After some finagling with luggage and which direction to go, we began our walk to the hotel.
Made it to the hotel, and first disappointment - our room is on the third floor. Second - there is no such thing as away from the elevator. Third - this room is half the size of our bedroom, and the tub is half the size of our tub. No robes, no room service, no chair to sit in. Poo. I won't (well, maybe) complain too much since we aren't paying for the room and I know how much it costs. :o But really, it was difficult to realize that a large portion of our time will be contained by this room. Bug goes to bed about 6-6:30 each night, meaning we are here with him after that. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I may be blogging a lot more this week. :P
Bug was asleep before we'd passed a few minutes walking, and stayed out like a light until we tried to change him at the hotel. Some nursing and he was out again.
 He's already woken once since then, so I'm wondering if the poor eating habits, and over-tiredness will make this a frequent wake night. I guess we shall see. I'm also worried about the bed. It's king size, but at home we have a king and a crib pushed next to it, so when Bug wants his own space, it's not an issue. I'm a very afraid that he will sleepily scootch over to "his bed" only to find himself fallen on the floor. Not cool. I really don't know what to do about it. Normally, I'd push the bed over to the wall, but the arrangement of this room doesn't allow for that. I have had one incident where he has fallen while we were sleeping in a strange bed, and it has made nervous about it happening again. Plus, there are these lovely built in nightstands that he will likely hit his head on on the way down. Those I will try to pad with pillows, but so far it's not working very well.
Alright, I'm so tired now, I've got to go to bed. We shall see how this goes. I can hear the never ending traffic and many conversations floating up to our window, and while I could happily people watch for ages, I don't really want them in my sleep.
Overall, It has  been interesting to mesh the really cool, "I'm in New York!," and look at the architecture on these buildings, and the street vendors, and the shops!, with the  fighting against the flow of people, dealing with so much second hand smoke, and the foreignness of the city.  So it's super cool, but I kind of hate it at the same time.

New York, New York – Here We Come

Ok, so if you have a better choice, don’t choose the wake your child at 2:45 am to drive for three hours and then get on a train for nine.  Unfortunately for us, this was the best choice. I’m so tired.
 Bug is doing remarkably well despite having asked several times to go home. He loved the novelty of getting up in the middle of the night, thank goodness – I was prepared to have to deal with a screaming toddler upset about being disturbed from his sleep and not being able to get his precious “sidey” to resettle him.  It did mean that he didn’t go back to sleep for an hour and then he slept only briefly. So he’s working on a deficit of about four hours - eight hours of sleep instead of his usual twelve – we are so going to run into problems later.

 He was also a big fan of seeing and getting on a train, even though he is getting bored with not having much freedom to move or climb. (He really wants to climb stuff. He’s climbing my arm and sitting on my shoulders as I write this.) We brought along some books, stickers, new activity books, and snacks to keep him entertained. He’s enjoying the occasional walk up and down the aisles with his Daddy, and hopefully that will be enough activity until we can get off.
 So far, I think we are doing pretty well for traveling with a toddler. Only one meltdown when I flushed the strange train toilet instead of him (apparently the whole car could hear his piercing scream, lovely), and a few moments of frustration. He’s generally calm, coming to me to nurse when he wants some quiet time. I am feeling pretty comfortable with nursing him here, whether it’s the privacy the seats afford or the knowledge of how much he’ll need it, I’m not sure, but he’ll have his sidey whenever he needs it.  
We are now half way through the train ride, and I’m grateful for how well things have gone. Happy early morning wake, non-crying car ride, easy border crossing, arrived for the train early, and a reasonably content Bug. Also, a previously very stressed Boy has calmed considerably is working to make this ride as easy for me as possible. I’m sure that all the people I asked to pray are doing so. Trips are never this smooth for us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In Which I Am Not Pregnant

The past two weeks (well, just under) and been overly stressful. Boy and I decided to try one more time for a baby before stopping to wait for tests. A few days into the "two week wait" I was beginning to feel what could be pregnancy symptoms. I knew it was early yet, so I waited patiently. The patience lasted until I was about a week through and I had a complete emotional breakdown. Then I realized I was either pregnant or crazy. I was more and more convinced that I was indeed pregnant - heartburn, leg cramps, aching hips, runny nose, sore boobs, insomnia, mood swings. What else could be going on?

Then the back ache started. Oh, the familiar back ache. The indication that all is over. I hung on to hope. Some moments, I was convinced I was pregnant and feeling like it was all going to be ok. Some moments, I was certain I was pregnant and my body was already moving into miscarriage. Occasionally, I was just wondering what was going on. Was I really pregnant or not?

Eventually I gave into the temptation to test. Eight days past ovulation and a negative test. Well, really, it's too early to test anyways. Didn't you know that? Ten days past ovulation and a negative test. Ten days - nobody gets a positive at ten days. Hmm, but maybe, maybe I'm not pregnant...  Twelve days past ovulation and a negative test. Well, it's still early. Lots of people get negative tests this early.  But - I get a postitive test this early. Maybe I'm really not pregnant! That would also mean I'm not miscarrying! Oh, thank God. I don't know if I could handle another miscarriage right now. I'm still not convinced, but I think I will just be relieved. Thirteen days past ovulation and the barest hint of signs of period start to show.

And the sadness crashes down. The disappointment sets in. What the heck? I thought I would mostly be relieved to be not miscarrying, but somehow I'm so sad that there is no baby. Rationally, I know it's partly due to the crazy hormones that have been going on. Rationally, I know that I'm glad to not be fearing, dreading another miscarriage. Rationally, I know that it's probably good that we will now be waiting until our appointment, until tests are discussed and preformed, until we have a few more answers. Rationally, I know that it will be good for us to have a little break from baby maybe and worry and fear. But then, emotions aren't rational and I carry this weight around with me. I'm not pregnant.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Have You Thought About Stopping?

Had a recent online conversation that went like this:
"How many is this?"
"Have you thought about stopping?"

I'm pretty sure it was said out of some level of concern for me, but really? The question is somewhat thoughtless, both the obvious "not thinking about how it might make me feel" thoughtless, and the less obvious "not thinking about the human body and how it works" thoughtless. You can't get to this place without thinking about stopping. FIVE miscarriages. Each one heart rendering pain. You know pain is the natural deterrent. Pain is your body sending messages to your brain, "Stop doing that!" That's why so many people think spanking is a good discipline option. They want to take advantage of the "avoid pain" function of the brain. So when you repeatedly go through something that causes pain, you at least consider the option to stop doing what is causing the pain. 
So, of course I've thought about stopping. Every time I lose a baby, I think about next time, and that it could happen again, and maybe I just shouldn't try. Sometimes, it's just a brief thought, sometimes it's a serious consideration of where I'm at and what I want. 
Way back when, I'd thought that four would be a great number of kids to have. I loved the idea of it working out to have two boys and two girls. Everyone would have a sister and everyone would have a brother. Perfect. This journey has made me question all of that. Maybe we will go on to have four, but maybe we won't. Maybe we'll finally be blessed with another one, and then we'll decide to stop and not go through all of this pain again. I don't know. 
Right now, I'm not stopping. This is hard. It hurts like hell. But, I want another baby. I want a sibling for Bug. I'd love to have a daughter for Boy (although I'd be quite happy with either gender). And, I just simply want a baby, in a way I can't really explain, in a way that you can't really understand unless you've been here. Sometimes I feel a bit selfish when I think of the other ladies I know who haven't yet been blessed with a child to hold and are struggling to have just one. But it doesn't stop me. I want another one. I just do. Despite the fact that I have one - a great one. Despite the fear. Despite the pain. I'm not stopping. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Like a Breath - Losing Aliento

Last Tuesday, I started spotting, then bleeding, and Wednesday I passed a tiny piece of tissue that I knew had contained the life of my child. Honestly, I didn't think it would hurt as much as it did - does. I wasn't totally sure they existed, and I'd had a week to get used to the idea that I was losing whoever might be there, but the ache... It just goes and goes. I think the outside sees me as doing ok if a bit grumpy and short, but I'm not ok. I'm not. It hurts and hurts and hurts.
Things are not going well around here. I'm down and on edge, because of losing another baby and dealing with my FIL being sick, and Boy is on edge and down, because his Dad is really sick and he's lost another baby. (They are reverse for him and that's ok.) We're just barely supporting one another. Thankfully, Bug seems to be doing ok - nursing a lot more, but if that's all it takes for his world to be alright, we can nurse as much as he wants.
I couldn't handle telling all of my family in person (parents, four siblings), so I sent them a mass email. Every loss seems to get less response - one phone call from each sister and mom, one short question from a brother ("Have you thought about stopping?") For them it's just "again." "This thing that happens to my sister." Sometimes, even I think I should be getting used to this by now, and I'm surprised by how much it hurts, but it's just impossible. You can't get used to it.
What do I do with this pain? How do I handle this? I want to tell people, to get support, but not having any close friends, I'm not sure who to tell. I don't even know how to tell anyone. What do I say, "Oh, yeah, by the way, I lost another baby last week...?" There's no conversation intro for this. I felt desperate to talk with someone, someone who'd been down this path, so I posted a request on Facebook, knowing that I have "friends" who've been through this, but I got no response. Finally, in my need I sent a private message to a few ladies I know who've lost babies, and asked if any of them would be willing to meet with me. It shows how desperate I feel, because this is very out of character for me to contact people I don't know that well, to share intimacies with them and ask them to share with me. Thankfully, they were gracious to me and hopefully I will be able to connect with one and feel some freedom from this burden - this "secret" that I can't shout to everyone, even though I really want to.
Where is God in all of this? Really, I'm not sure. I don't feel "unloved" or "abandoned," but as the feelings that remind me so much of my depression surround me, I'm having a hard time connecting to him. I know I need to put more effort into that, time in scripture and not just the hasty, needy prayers I keep sending up, but I just. don't. want. to. Except maybe right now... when I don't feel like I have time. Maybe, he'll come and find me.

Baby, I love you. You'll always be mine. You have good company with your siblings there, and Jesus will hold you when you need holding. Wait for me. I will come to you.

Aliento (breath) 
 LORD, what are human beings that you care for them,
   mere mortals that you think of them?
 They are like a breath;
   their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Psalm 144:3-4

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's Story

I've only just started talking about this to people today, because I haven't really known what to say. I think I might be pregnant. But - I really don't know for sure. My cycle was really different this go round and Boy and I decided just to take a test, even though we didn't think there was even a chance of a positive at that point - if I was pregnant, I was, at most, a week past ovulation. (I normally know when I ovulate due to intense pain, but still hadn't experienced it yet. I had all the lead up to ovulation symptoms, but then nothing. I figured there was a chance I slept through it this time, since I've been so exhausted lately.) So, we test... and nothing. Ok, expected as much. Assuming that something delayed ovulation, and I'm still waiting.
A hour or two later, I come back to the bathroom and take another look at the test (know I'm not alone in this), there faintest of faint, is a line. Well, technically this is not supposed to count. They say not to read the test after ten minutes - evaporation lines can happen, but my experience with these tests have never shown evaporation lines. We decided to try another one - same deal. I'm beginning to realize that I'd been experiencing a few things that generally only happen to me when pregnant - pain while nursing, leg cramps, etc. At the same time, a dull ache begins in my lower back, the kind of ache I get in the days before I miscarry. Now I'm just in a cloud. Am I  pregnant? Not? Pregnant and going to miscarry again? How much of this is simply psychological? I mean, the back pain started the moment I showed Boy the faint line.
Ok, let's give it a couple of days and try again. This time we decide to have have Boy do a test, too. A control group of sorts. Two hours later mine shows a faint line, his nothing. One hour later, his shows a line even fainter than mine. I say line, but they're really more shadows. If it's possible to feel more confused, I do. I tested twice more since then, two days apart each time, and gotten the same results. I know that "officially" these are not positive tests, but then why has my body felt this way for the past week and a half? But if they're positive why did Boy's test turn up a line? But, if they're just evaporation lines, why have these test never shown one in the past? (Believe me, I've checked.)
Here's one of my biggest problems right now - I don't know if there is any way for me to confirm that I'm not pregnant. I feel like I am, or was, anyways. I could be miscarrying and have it start the same day I would normally expect my period. On the other hand, I may never be able to confirm more than this that I am pregnant. I may never get a stronger test line, and, well, a miscarriage could start the same day I would normally expect my period. For some, this might not be a big deal. Don't think about it too deeply and when the period shows up on time, or a day or two late, assume that's it and move on. No pregnancy, no worries. This is basically what my sister said she'd do, when I tried to talk to her about it. But see, it just doesn't work that easily for me. I've had too many babies this way. If there is a baby there, they're mine. They're important to me. I want to name them, remember them. How do I do that if I'm not entirely sure they exist? But, how do I not do that, if I think they do? To not name them, write their dates down with all their siblings, tell my parents... I'm not acknowledging them, I'm ignoring them, disowning them. I can't do that to my baby! On top of that, how do I tell my family? "Yeah, so I'm pretty sure I was pregnant and miscarried, so I named them            ." My one sister has basically already said she wouldn't take it seriously.
My heart aches. I hate waiting periods. I hate not knowing what is going on (with pretty much anything). When I tested this morning, Boy and I watched the pink flow across the viewer, and for a minute saw a line come into sight. I was so happy. I knew it didn't mean that I wasn't miscarrying again, but it meant I could know. I could be sure of the life there and I'd know where I stood. But then, as the pink faded away to leave the control line (dark and strong), the test line faded too. Again, it's shadow showed up two hours later, but I still don't know what that means...

After that first shadow, I panicked. The familiar stab of fear shot through my soul. Pregnant? What if I lose them? What if I lose them? I cried and prayed, occasionally on my knees, hoping that God would see my earnestness and my humility before him. As much as I was asking him to let my baby (if one currently existed, or when the next one did) live, I was also asking how I would get through this again. Asking for simply the strength to handle it, to handle a pregnancy and the fear that would go with that; to handle another miscarriage, if that's what life held for me. I searched scripture - mainly the Psalms, like so many troubled souls before me - for comfort. I no longer search for words on what the outcome will be, or reassurance of the outcome I want. I simply want to find strength to get me through whatever happens. I want to find peace and the assurance that God is actively loving me no matter what my circumstances are telling me.
Eventually, the frantic, on edge feeling wore down, and I felt, not quite peace, but enough calm to move on with my daily life. Since then, God continues to give me a sense of calm about it all. It's not constant, but the emotions are more sadness and confusion than fear and panic. For that I'm thankful. I don't know what will happen when I finally get a reliable positive test, or the pre-peroid/possible miscarriage starts, but today I'm holding on.

All of that huge post is has been my life's background chatter for the past week. Today has added more to the pile. It's a very gray day here today. The sun is shining (thank God for sunshine) outside, but inside our house is a gray cloud. Last year, FIL had a malignant melanoma removed from the back of his shoulder. Today it was confirmed that the cancer had spread to his liver. As of yet, we don't have a definite prognosis or treatment plan, but it doesn't look good. Boy doesn't know how to process the likelihood of his father's life ending. A few hours after that news, Boy received a rejection letter from the last church he had an application out too, the last church with a position available that fit him and our family. Now what?
Matthew 6:32-34 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

List of Love

In an effort to see and recognize God working in my life and reaching out to me with his passionate love, I've decided that I need to start writing things down - making a list a blessings and love filled moments in my life. Writing them down will help me to take the time to think about them, to process them more deeply in my memory, and give me something to look back on when I need reminders.

This is my list for this weekend:

The sunshine through my window.
The blessing of Bug in my life.
Someone yesterday heard my story and told me they'd been praying for me that afternoon.
Another one I barely know, told me that they would pray for me as well.
I read an excerpt from the The Jesus Storybook Bible (Go ahead. Read the "first pages" section. Amazing. We are so buying this book.)
It's a rare Sunday that I feel I can honestly sing the worship songs at church. This was one of those days. This weekend has been a step forward for me.
The way my husband intimately prayed for me at our Bible time.

All of these things made me feel the love of God reaching out to me or gave me a sense of peace I don't often feel. We are heading into what could likely be a few rough days. Hopefully, I will continue to feel God's love surrounding and carrying me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Story

I used to know that God loved me. I was so confident in it. I knew I was cherished, treasured; deeply, passionately loved. That knowledge flowed through me like power.
Those that know my story (or that have never been connected to a pet) may find the next part of my story frivolous or shallow. I had a cat. I loved this cat. He cheered and comforted me when little else could. He was a sleek beauty that cuddled up with me. Then, I lost him. In mid-January, in Ontario. My heart broke, and every time I thought about him being out in the (literally) freezing cold it broke a little more. I prayed. And prayed. I searched scripture for comfort. This was my baby. I was so desperate for him to come home, for someone to find him. I believe God would return him to me. I believed God had shown me that my precious kitty would come home.
When Dodger didn't come home that was the beginning of my faith anchor coming loose. Shortly after that I went through a two year bout of depression. I've met a few other Christians who've dealt with depression, and none of them have made it through without losing, to various degrees, their connection to God. It was the same for me. I couldn't find him anymore. The God I'd felt so close too, became far away. I tried and tried, but I simply couldn't feel him. I used to see his love in the sunset, the wind, a bird singing on my porch. I saw him all around me and though out my life. Now the connection had withered away. I didn't know where God was.
When my body finally regained it's equilibrium, and I could function normally without anti-depressants, I worked on regaining that connection. I desperately wanted it back in my life. I wanted the peace and strength I had received from it. But, I could never quite figure out how to get there again.
When I began to miscarry my first child, JJ, I worried that it would destroy what remaining faith I had. It didn't. I knew that God hadn't caused the death, and that he could carry me through the pain, even if I couldn't feel him.
That fist miscarriage threw my body into upheaval. I went through months of hormonal caused intense anxiety, and constant pain in my side (which made the anxiety worse).  The pain was finally (stupid doctors) diagnosed as endometriosis, and as much as possible was removed reducing the side pain, and thankfully, my debilitating period cramps. Now I just get pain side pain when I ovulate, and pain killers actually manage the cramps.
All through those anxious months, Boy and I kept seeing bunnies (real, live bunnies) in unexpected places. I don't remember why exactly, but they became our signals from God - the he was with us, and loving us just as greatly as ever. The bunnies continued to show up throughout my (worry and fear filled) pregnancy with Bug. (It's fitting that his nursing/sleeping friends are two little stuffed bunnies.) There were also run-ins with people I hadn't seen in forever, and friends in unexpected places with just the right words, that made me think God was watching out for me and baby, and that maybe things were going to be ok this time.
My relationship with my heavenly father was healing, but never returned to it's previous security. I've become overly cynical, and critical of Christian platitudes. I used to be free and excited in worship. Now I question those who are overtly exuberant. These feelings have become more ingrained as I've lost three more children over the past year. I get frustrated at Christians who say things like, "God shows his love by bringing trials," and I wonder whether they've ever experienced great grief or trauma. Would they still believe that statement? I don't. I believe that God shows his love, not by bringing us trials, but by bringing us through the trials this crappy world is made of.
This is my story. This is my struggle to get back to believing God and the promises he made in his word. I continue to seek him and to pray for the healing of my bruised and broken spirit.

Change of Direction

I originally started this blog to talk about parenting, specifically attachment/natural/instinctive parenting since I didn't have anyone in real life to talk to about it (except of course, my very patient husband, who listens to me rant about the same things over and over). Lately, (as I'm sure you can tell) my urge/need/ideas for writing in this area have somewhat dried up (I do have a vaccination post that I'm sort of, vaguely working on, and may finish someday). Instead, I'm finding that I need a place to write about my journey of heartbreak through miscarriage, and how it's affecting my emotions and my faith.
I know that most of my readers came here for the parenting writing, and that talking about faith (specifically "I believe in Christ and salvation" kind of faith) may not be your cup of tea. If you decided to stop reading, I will be sad to lose you, but I wish you the best and you can find other excellent blogs in my "Friends" page. I will probably still post about parenting and related issues when the drive hits me, but as recent history has shown, it may not be very frequently.
Love to all, and I hope you'll hang around for a while yet!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Do You Think?

Being a really great mom is one of my biggest desires. While the description of  a "really great mom" may vary from person to person, I think I'm probably not alone in this. I'm sure I'm also not alone in having a few faults to overcome.  The other night I realized something - one of my biggest hurdles is worrying about what other people think of me. I am at heart a people pleaser. I like to make other people happy. I can't stand it when someone is even a little bit upset with me. So when it comes to parenting my Bug it's not unusual for me to be at conflict with myself.
While I believe that children need boundaries, I also believe that kids should be allowed to be kids. They shouldn't be expected to sit still and be quiet all the time, but it should be expected that they will run, jump, yell, laugh, climb, explore, poke, and test. I think that they should be given the freedom to do these things as long as it won't endanger them, or anyone else, or pass the line of respect and love for others. But all to often, I find myself worried about what others are thinking of me and my parenting skills. Are they thinking that I let him run wild? Wondering why I don't control him? Frustrated that I'm not stepping in to tone him down? Is he bothering anybody in any way? (it is obviously my responsibility to make sure he never bothers anyone...) And then I fall into that trap, that somehow children are lesser people than adults. I start to control this "extension of me," forgetting that he is his own person, equally entitled to express his desires and do the things he likes to do, as any one else is.  He needs me to let him be who he is, to not hinder his spirit or personality. That doesn't mean that I allow him to run crazy, but to accept that he's two, and exploring and learning and being.

Exploring a random church kitchen

Bug is two and a half years old now and still nursing a few times a day, several times a night, and co-sleeping -  starting in his sidecar-ed crib and later with his mama. He's never been what would normally be labeled as a "good sleeper."  Even now his average sleep is about 2.5 hours before he wakes to nurse and then resettles to  sleep. Even though I'm choosy about who I share this information with, I still face the occasional comment about how maybe I should wean him (or night wean him),  that he's old enough to sleep in his own bed, or that CIO won't hurt him, etc. Especially with how far he seems to be from "sleeping through the night" (in quotes because everyone has their own definition as to what this means),  it's not hard for me to feel as though I've somehow failed in this aspect of parenting. Perhaps I should try one of these suggestions from parents who get a full nights sleep.
Oh, wait! Did I totally skip over the part where I'm nursing a toddler! at times in public! Yeah, I'm not really sure of what people think of that either. So far, I've not had to deal with any negativity, but I'm always wondering, "What are they thinking? Do they think I'm strange? That we're a bit of a freak show?" So, I keep questioning if I'm making the right decisions or freaking people out, if they think I'm coddling my little one, giving in to his demands, or even harming his development. Sometimes I push off giving him "sidey" (nursing) if I'm afraid it will weird someone out, or I start thinking about night weaning, wondering if we'd all get more sleep. He needs me to remember that for now, for him, most of these things are needs, and he relies on me to fill his needs, not neglect them.
Nursing Bug with a lap full - one baby, two bunnies, and two kitties, one stuffed, one real.

I hate conflict. Hate, hate, hate it. Which is why this last thing is always the hardest for me. Every now and then another adult will feel the need to step in with my child and bring whatever version of discipline they think is right. Sometimes, not a big deal. Sometimes he's needed someone to set a boundary. Sometimes they employ measures that are not used or acceptable to our family. I've had one mom put Bug on a time out. I watched and boiled (our little used version of the time out is a "break" sitting with Mama until spirits can calm), but Bug was unfazed by it - sat on the step for a minute and than got up and wandered off, so I didn't worry too much about speaking up. But there was another time, when Bug had a toy he'd been playing with for a while, and one of his friends kept trying to take it from him, leading to fighting. The other mom stepped in and removed the toy, stating that if they couldn't share nicely, it was time for it go away for a little while. I've used this tactic before, but in this situation Bug was in the right to be granted some peace to play with the toy, not have it taken from him simply because he was trying to defend himself. Poor Bug looked so confused and hurt, and I didn't say anything. I felt so ashamed of myself, but I just couldn't get up the guts to confront her. It didn't help that she was someone close to me, and whom I tend to offend easily. I didn't want to deal with the fallout, and so I let my son down. He needs me to be his defender, his safe spot, the one he looks to to protect him when he can't protect himself,  the one who helps him see that just because they are adults doesn't mean they are always right. He needs to know that his Mama is always on his side.

Hahaha. Even as I write this, I keep thinking, "What will readers think? Will they think I'm too soft on him? That I don't ever discipline him? That I think my son is always right and nobody should tell him what to do? Maybe I should clarify more. Explain one more thing." Ahhh! See, it's a problem.