Saturday, April 30, 2011

Myth: If you're infertile, you don't deserve a child.

Earlier this year I was visiting with a sweet friend who had just received news that her first donor egg IVF cycle didn't work. She was of course devastated and unsure of what to think. We cried over the sadness of it all, laughed over the ridiculous stuff we go through, and wondered where one goes from here. But one thing she said to me, through tears, that has haunted me ever since was this... "Do you ever think, that maybe I don't deserve to have a baby?"

Those words broke my heart. My initial thought was, how could you think that?! Of course you deserve it! But as the hours passed, and even days later, I still found myself thinking about it. Because the truth is, all of us infertiles have felt this way at one time or another. Maybe it was only a fleeting thought, but I doubt there's anyone out there dealing with infertility that's never found themselves asking this very question. Do I even deserve to be a mom?

Well I could go on for pages and pages arguing that no one really deserves to be a mom. So maybe "deserve" is the wrong word. But it's so very easy to trap ourselves in this way of thinking. A woman can't help but feel a sense of shame when her body's not able to do the very thing it was created to do. Infertility is found all over the Bible and with it lots of sorrow, ridicule, jealousy, anger, and disbelief. "Shame" hardly covers it. Some chapters even speak of God closing a woman's womb for one reason or another... so it's no big surprise that we all find ourselves asking if we have done something wrong here. Am I being punished somehow?

Girls, please don't believe this lie. It's nothing short of the devil's work. His #1 mission is to turn our hearts away from God and he'll use anything to plant these lies in our fragile minds. It could be something as simple as a well-meaning friend saying, "well, maybe it isn't meant to be." And the thought festers and festers and we start questioning our every action. Am I wasting my time and money here? There must be a reason I'm not getting pregnant. God must be angry with me. What did I do wrong? Does God even hear me?

I know we all have asked these questions and some of us have struggled to find answers. Well, here's what I believe... God doesn't use infertility to punish us. And God doesn't use fertility to reward us. We live in a broken world and people will continue to have babies - people who "deserve" them (by our own standards) and people who don't. But I do know that God uses infertility to grow our faith. He uses it (and any other big struggle in life - you fill in the blank) to draw us closer to Him. C.S. Lewis wrote that "God whispers in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain."

My husband and I are still in the thick of the battle, but I can faithfully say that this journey has already blessed us. I have been connected with other women struggling - people I never would've come across otherwise. God has placed some amazing people in my life to walk along with as we fight on. And He has opened my heart in tremendous ways. I grew up in a Christian home and have always been surrounded by the church, but never before has my faith been on fire like it has been over the last five years. And of course there are ups and downs, even in the good seasons, but I know my God is on this journey with me. It's not about whether I deserve this or not. He knows the desires of my heart because he placed them there, and He hurts along with me. I believe that God has not only used infertility to grow my own faith, but the faith of others as well. Throughout the Bible, God continually uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He works through people. I never would've chosen this path for us, but if God wants to use this journey to do a great work in me and possibly others, how can I not praise Him for that?

I certainly don't presume everyone believes what I believe. Whatever you believe, please don't let anyone make you feel like you somehow don't deserve to have a child. Look around you - it's obviously not a qualification for parenthood! But if you do find yourself completely consumed with this lie... even if it's just one random night in bed when you're trying to fall asleep... try calling on Jesus to kick the devil's ass to the curb. I honestly have to do this a lot. And it works every time.

Truth: If infertility is part of your story, remember it's just that. It's part of your story, not your entire story. God can see the bigger picture and he does not make us wait without reason. So continue to seek Him and praise Him and know that He has incredible blessings in store for you.

Please click here for more myth-busting posts and more information on National Infertility Awareness Week.

For more general information on infertility, please visit Resolve.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making Progress

I know...  I am so dang behind on posting.  I've just been away from bloggy world and cyber world in general over the last couple of weeks!  It really takes me a few weeks to get back into a normal schedule after tax season.  I was out of town last week, busy all weekend with Easter festivities (which were awesome!) and this week we had a conference for work that was an overnight thing at a resort with horrid cell reception.  So I couldn't even tweet.  And on top of all that, it is National Infertility Awareness Week.  Any my participation has been lacking, to say the least!  BUT, I am planning to get a post up this week.  The "theme" that Resolve is throwing out there this year for infertility bloggers is "busting infertility myths."  I am choosing to bust the myth that if you're infertile, you don't deserve a child.  Sounds harsh, but you must realize that this very thought enters every IF girl's head at one point or another.  I know where that thought comes from, and I know how to kick its ass.... so more on that later.
As for now, I just upped my Estrace (estrogen) dose yesterday.  It continues to stair-step up over the next couple of weeks. I will increase it again on Saturday.  And then my ultrasound is Monday!  Very excited to see where my lining is.  This past Tuesday I had acupuncture and my doctor did this cupping procedure on my inner ankles to help improve circulation.  I am up for WHATEVER works but dammit if I don't look like a leper now.  My poor ankles are all butchered up.  No big deal, but we've got a wedding tomorrow!  No, not the royal wedding (swoon!), but a local one we're attending tomorrow afternoon.  I'm thinking my little emerald green cocktail number's not going to cut it.  I guess a long dress is my only real answer here...  that or some of those heels with the ankle strap thingees to hide my ugliness.  But (a) I don't think my frame can pull those off and (b) I don't want to spend money on shoes.  I have a gift card to Fab'rik so I'm running over there at lunch to see if I can find a solution.  The only long dress I have in my closet is a maxi dress from Old Navy... even if I dress it up I think it's going to be too casual.  And I refuse to wear hose with a short dress, so that's not an answer either.  Hmmm...  I'll let y'all know what I figure out!
But speaking of the royal wedding, my Tivo will most definitely be set for all the festivities in the morning.  I haven't been following it too much, but for whatever reason, I can't seem to get enough of it this week!  I just find the royals so darn fascinating.  Will you be tuning in?!
Also... we braved the mighty storms here last night.  Actually, they weren't all that mighty in our neighborhood.  Atlanta really didn't get hit too hard as far as I could tell.  But the hub and I were glued to the television till nearly midnight.  My thoughts and prayers are certainly with all the families in Alabama and other regions that had severe damage.  How terribly sad and frightening...  did any of y'all have significant storm damage?

Friday, April 22, 2011

FET Update on Good Friday!

Ahhh... I've been away from the computer for three whole days. I didn't even log in to online banking for like a 48 hour period - that's got to be a personal record. My mom and I took a girls' trip over to Birmingham this week as a post-tax-season getaway. We had a fabulous time! We stayed at a great B&B right in town (the ONLY one in town, actually) and had a fun couple of days exploring the city. Our best discovery while there? This amazing spice store - Penzey's! I had never heard of it before. We were in there over an hour sniffing away and loading our baskets. Why Atlanta doesn't have one of these, I don't know - but one of the ladies there who helped us said they're looking for a spot in Atlanta! Oh, yes, please come!!!

I also left my Moo Goo diet behind as soon as we crossed the state line. I seriously ate more bread in the last three days than I have in the last six months. No for real - that is not an exaggeration. I ate ridiculous amounts of gluten and dairy-full goodness. But vacation's over and I'm going to be good now! I've got to get my oven bake-ready, so I'm really going to be good. After one final hoorah last night over margaritas with the hub, I'm going to stick to my guns going forward.

So yesterday was officially FET cycle day #1 (hence my need to get back on the wagon)! I called my nurse while on the road back to Atlanta. They sent me my protocol info for all my meds. And our transfer is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11th!!! Wow, less than three weeks now. I stay on Lupron right up until the transfer, but they cut my dose back to 5 units (was on 10 units). So I did my first dose of 5 units this morning. I also start the Estrace (estrogen) today. The dosage will go up little by little, but right now I'm doing 1mg by mouth in the morning, and 2mg vaginally at night. Yep, that's just as fun as it sounds - but nothing I'm not used to.

My ultrasound to check my lining will be Monday, May 2nd. We're really praying for some fabulous lining here! I know I will be a bit anxious that morning to see how I measure up, as this has always been a weak area for me. And then the progesterone shots with the big-ass needles should begin later that week. Exciting stuff!

The only thing not-so-exciting about all this is the extra fluff around my belly. I've already gained 5lbs (and I'm sure my calorie fest over the last couple of days will only help matters!) and now that I'm starting the Estrace, I'll really start puffing up. So yeah, I've totally been hiding under "blousy" tops lately. Which is tough considering 75% of my spring and summer wardrobe is made up of form-fitting tanks. So basically I keep rotating the same three boring outfits. Whatever... it's all worth it!

I hope you all have an excellent GOOD FRIDAY! We'll be at Gwinnett Church tonight for the church's first official service! Super exciting... we had a gathering last night with all the volunteers for this weekend. Had to be over 200 people there! We're all looking forward to seeing how many people come this weekend. We just have no idea! There are about 1,100 seats set up with room for more. The hub thinks there will be standing room only - I hope he's right! So excited to be a part of this church from the very beginning. And while I'd love to sport a cute Lilly dress for Easter Sunday, I have to admit I'm glad to hide my FET belly behind this T-shirt...

Locals... click below for info on services for this weekend! It's going to be incredible, so come join us!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy April 15th!!!

Yeah I know the technical deadline this year isn't till Monday, but it's officially party time at our office! Woot woot!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FET Video Diary: Rough It Up

Today's video might make you nauseous since the bulk of it was filmed in the car. So there's your warning. We had my "roughin' up" procedure today with the doctor and I'd be lyin' if I said it was pleasant. Thankfully, it was rather quick, but I nearly passed out when the nurse unveiled all the test tubes and tools on the tray for the doctor. It looked like they'd be camping out in my uterus for a good six months with all those gadgets.

So there's no putting a bow on it... this morning sucked. You can see my mood go from fairly cheerful (at least for that early), to nervous, to upset, to doing-my-best-to-crack-a-smile. And no, I'm not rubbing my boob while on the exam table. Though it sure looks like it. Not sure what the hell I was doing. All I know is that as soon as the doctor left the room, I broke out in tears. And I am not a cryer! I'm blaming the drugs.

It's definitely been one of those "why the hell do I have to do all this" kind of days. No worries though... I'll be fine. I just have these days sometimes. We'll find better perspective tomorrow. For now, I think I'll just wallow a little bit. With some cookie cake. Oh wait - already did that... two slices today. Sorry, moo goo.

Next up: Yeah, I don't know. My ultrasound most likely. They'll be doing mine a little earlier than most to get a head start on monitoring my lining.

Previous: First dose of Lupron, CD 21

Monday, April 11, 2011

Costco Favorites

If you don't know of my torrid love affair with Costco, you haven't been around long enough. I could spend hours in the place ooohing and aahhhing. And it turns out they have some great products to keep me going strong on my Moo Goo diet. I know some of you are also gluten-free and/or dairy-free, so I just wanted to share some of my favorites!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my acupuncturist recommended I get this cereal. And I am in love! I eat it every morning with almond milk. It's very filling and packs a good protein punch with the seeds (Dr. Liu is ALL about the seeds).

Individual tubs of hummus are available at Costco and they make a great snack with these gluten-free crackers. Kinda pricy, but they last a while for me. I can sometimes get a bag at the grocery with a coupon for a better deal, but most often the big box ends up being cheaper. They've got a nutty taste to them due to the seeds. Again with the seeds!

I mentioned almond milk. We've ditched the cow milk and use almond for drinking, cooking... and everything we used to use cow milk for. I've tried a few brands and this one is my favorite. I don't like it super sweet and the Silk brand Original flavor suits me best. I did a fist pump when I started seeing it at Costco. It's normally $3.50ish at the grocery, but Costco sells a pack of three for like $7 or $8. Even with grocery store coupons, the Costco price is tough to beat.

The very BEST deal I've found is on this organic gluten-free chicken broth. I've seen these sold at every grocery at an average of $4 for a 32oz box. Costco has a pack of SIX for less than $10. Um, that's a $14 savings. We do a lot of crockpot meals, so I actually go through a good bit of chicken broth. A lot of things at Costco are not cheaper than the groceries, but occasionally you'll find a real gem like this and you want to tell everyone!!!

We do a LOT of tacos and Mexican fare in our family. So finding a good taco seasoning mix to have on hand was essential. Honestly, my favorite is the Taco Bell brand - I just love the particular taste of it. But sadly, gluten. In fact most taco mixes, chili mixes and the like that are pre-packaged have gluten-full flour in them. So I was excited to find this ginormous container of taco seasoning at Costco that is gluten-free. McCormick uses corn meal instead of flour as a thickener. I've also got a good recipe for make-your-own mix, but as much as we do Mexican, I've got to have a quick option at the ready!

Other "regulars" in my Costco cart are ground turkey (much cheaper than I've found in any grocery), nuts and nut mixes/snacks (definitely cheaper to get nuts here vs. the grocery), tortilla chips, and Costco brand salsa. We generally get our meats at Costco except for chicken. I always get my chicken cheaper at the grocery when on sale. I won't pay more than $1.99/lb for chicken breasts. I also get my eggs and cheeses (for the hub) at Costco. I get produce there sparingly... I always get a big bag of onions - very good price. Everything else just depends on the price and how it looks. And well, how fast we can consume it. Do we really need 15 lemons?

Other than a few things, I really do not buy a lot of high dollar gluten-free products. I know Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have a ton of that kind of stuff, and even my Kroger and Publix have decent GF sections but I don't bother with most of it. Really I just cook a lot of the same stuff I used to with minor alterations to make it all GF and DF. We use GF pasta but I get the cheap stuff at Walmart ($2 for spaghetti). I eat corn tortillas instead of flour. If I make meataloaf, I use oats instead of bread crumbs. We do a lot of brown rice. I've learned to use mayo a lot of make things creamy. But am I going to buy a $6 box of gluten-free cookies? Um, no. I just won't eat cookies. (Except when I say SCREW IT! and eat them anyway.)

I am always discovering new fun things at Costco, so if any of you know of some goodies that I might like - please share!!! Mmm... I'm already salivating over my next Costco trip. I got the new coupon book in the mail, so we'll be hittin' it up later this week!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

FET Video Diary: Lupron

Just for kicks, the hub and I thought it'd be fun to log this whole FET (frozen embryo transfer) process on video. You know, kinda like how couples try to spice things up with a sex tape. Hopefully you'll find it informational or maybe entertaining at best, but really we plan to force our kids to watch these videos when we throw them in timeout.

So today is the official kick-off! Cycle Day 21. I started my Lupron injections this morning and will continue those until Dr. T tells me to stop. Aside from a quick procedure next week, my next instructions are to call the nurse when I start my next period.

Drug Info: Leuprolide Acetate Injection
Dosage: 0.1 cc (10 units) every morning

Next up: early Wednesday a.m. appointment with Dr. T

That's right... while you're enjoying your morning coffee, I'll be in stirrups having my uterine lining roughed up. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I just haven't met you yet.

I know this song is about finding love, but it speaks to a different kind of love for me. Every time I hear this song I tear up a little thinking of all our babes on ice waiting for us. After all the struggles, all the waiting, I know it will be so amazing... but for now, I just have to keep fighting for you.

I Just Haven't Met You Yet

Michael Buble

I'm not surprised

Not everything lasts

I've broken my heart so many times

I stopped keeping track

Talk myself in

I talk myself out

I get all worked up

then I let myself down

I tried so very hard not to lose it

I came up with a million excuses

I thought I thought of every possibility

And I know someday that it'll all turn out

You'll make me work so we can work to work it out

And I promise you, kid, that I'll give so much more than I get

I just haven't met you yet

I might have to wait

I'll never give up

I guess it's half timing

and the other half's luck

Wherever you are

Whenever it's right

You'll come out of nowhere

and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazing

And, baby, your love is gonna change me

And now I can see every possibility

But somehow I know that it'll all turn out

And you'll make me work so we can work to work it out

And I promise you, kid, I'll give so much more than I get

I just haven't met you yet

They say all's fair

in love and war

But I won't need to fight it

we'll get it right

and we'll be united

And I know that we can be so amazing

And being in your life is gonna change me

And now I can see every single possibility

And someday I know it'll all turn out

I'll work to work it out

Promise you, kid, I'll give more than I get

You know it'll all turn out

And you'll make me work so we can work to work it out

And I promise you, kid, to give so much more than I get

I just haven't met you yet

I promise you, kid, to give so much more than I get

I just haven't met you yet

I just haven't met you yet.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reading Goals

Naturally, I've fallen behind on my reading for 2011 - I knew I would during tax season. And Goodreads loves to remind me how behind I am!

Are you my friend on Goodreads? You should be!

I'm still rolling through the books, but just at a bit of a slower pace with my current work schedule. Of course, my TV hiatus has helped some but not a ton since all I do is work and sleep. Only one more long week to go though! Ah... and speaking of books, one of the things I'm really looking forward to later this month is this movie...

CAN NOT WAIT! I absolutely loved the book. It's the one fiction goodie I've thrown in with my non-fiction books this year. Such a great love story... with the back drop of circus freaks! What more could you ask for?!

And I really want an elephant.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Alive (mostly)

I'm still breathing... just buried in work!  Hope you all are having a great week.  Nothing much new to report here.  All I do is work and sleep and throw down meals inbetween.  The last few weeks of tax season are just craziness.  Everyone's on edge.  Clients are calling.  There's a million things to get out the door and we're running out of days.  It's a lot of fun, in other words!
I hope to get back on here soon with some real *content*...  only news I have is that my 2nd acupuncture session went great (I apparently was much improved after just one week) and I start my meds on Sunday!  I hear Lupron makes you bitchy and fat, so this should be awesome.  I'll say it again - our baby better be damn cute.