Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And I'll Be a Year Older in Two Weeks

As one grows older, there are reminders along the way that one is, in fact, growing older. Some are subtle, like changes in the face and body. Although, I dare you to ask any woman if she thinks those changes are 'subtle.' I don't think any of us really and truly appreciate what we have when we have it. Then it's gone, and we're left wondering where it went!

All my life, it seems, I've been told by different people that I look younger than my age. Don't worry, I've also had enough remarks made to me to keep me humble. For example, when I was about 17 years old and selling tickets at a movie theater, this gorgeous woman and her gorgeous daughter were buying tickets and the mother asked me, "Have you ever considered jaw surgery?" I was caught so off-guard that I had no idea what to say. Kind of wish I could go back and defend my teenage self and say, "Lady -- she is only a kid!" Turns out she worked for some plastic surgeon, and thankfully her daughter was appropriately shocked and embarrassed. Had she snickered or agreed with her mother, that might have raised the insecurity levels just a bit.

Another time, I was working at a summer temp job when I was 19 years old. I came to work one morning with part of my hair pulled back. Keep in mind that this was the summer my skin decided to go insane and break out all over so yeah...I was self-conscious about being out in public on most days. I sat down at my desk, and the woman next to me turned and said, "You shouldn't wear your hair like that because you've got a big forehead." That was 14 years ago, and Casey is still trying to convince me that it is not the freak-show forehead I imagine it to be.

There are a couple of other examples but I'll spare you for now. I have definitely laughed over these stories, years later, and I've shared them with others many times. I think I used to share them because I was hoping for reassurance: "Jaw surgery? She's crazy!" "Your forehead's not big, look at my forehead!" Nowadays it's just for laughs.

I think all of those moments have prepared me for what happened a couple of weeks ago. Casey and Miles and I went to a big pep rally at the university's football field and met up with a few of our freshmen students. We hadn't been there long when the guy who was with us was approached by a Facebook friend, also a freshman, who he hadn't met in person until that moment. After some greetings and laughter, the Facebook friend glanced at me and asked, "Is this your mom?"

WHOA. What?!?

I made my best efforts not to embarrass the guy, who left shortly afterward. And of course there were plenty of jokes made during the pep rally ("Aw, c'mon Mom!"), and they'll probably continue on for a while. I certainly laughed at the moment and had to admit it was possible because I am, after all, 15 years older than the current college freshmen. But it's not normally assumed that most women give birth to a child when they're 15 years old. Which means...the guy thought I looked older than my age.

This was one of those not-so-subtle reminders that I am growing older. I guess something like that has to happen at some point, right? Still, it's no help to the ego. But now I have a much better insight into the lucrative business of face creams and botox.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun Friday Question!

When I exercise, I try to choose that which I will enjoy most. Okay, sometimes exercise is just tough and you're going to seriously hurt later...but some things can be work and fun.

Back in the day, I was a rollerblading fool. I got my first pair of rollerblades in high school, but I didn't use them too much. The day after high school graduation, I went with three marching band friends (no band geek jokes, please!) to a park where all but one of us promptly slid down a hill and skinned up our knees and elbows. The one guy who didn't fall watched the whole thing and said, "That was so awesome!" Meanwhile, we're lying on the ground bleeding. Ah, memories.

Anyway, when I was in college I decided to invest in some more expensive 'blades. (I don't know if anyone calls them that, but maybe I'll start something.) This was the real beginning of my love for in-line skating. At one time, I think I was about 21 years old, I was skating roughly nine miles a day. And this was before iPods, so I would attach the extremely cool Walkman or Discman and go. And I would go fast. I fell only a couple of times over many years, and I was afraid at times that I was really going to hurt myself with how fast I was going. But the music powered me and gave me a sense of daring that I usually didn't possess. So off I went, zooming down the sidewalk or -- when it was completely empty -- the middle of the road. Sorry Mom!

There are other forms of exercise I enjoy: power walking, yoga, ultimate frisbee, weightlifting. Running? No. Jogging? Nope. Stair-climbing? Uh-uh. I mean, I can do those things, but if there's another option that is more enjoyable, I'm choosing that instead. And I almost always need music in my ears. With the music, I can get completely lost in the fact that I'm even working up a sweat!

So finally, to the 'Fun Friday Question': If you exercise, is it something you find enjoyable? Is there a specific form of exercise that is easier for you to do because it's more enjoyable? Do you also require music when you exercise?

Okay, that was more than one question...you can answer one or none or all of them!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Out of the Mouth of Miles: Vol. Two

You know, there have been times over the past year or so when I have wondered if Miles thinks what is in his pull-up or potty is as yucky as I do. When he was a baby, I knew he was completely oblivious to being changed. Mostly he just didn't like that I was bothering him with, you know, cleaning him.

But as he got older and we got into the pull-ups stage and potty-training, I was watching him for signs of cringing or making a face -- something. Mostly he was copying us, saying, "stinky!" or "nasty!" And all of that is cute...even when he would just have to look in the potty when he was done and make some remark about what was there. But I thought that surely one day he would look in the potty and not find it so fascinating.

Well my friends...that day came last night. In Wal-Mart.

I was buying a couple of things in the electronics department when Miles announced to me (as children are wont to do), "Mom...I have to go poo-poo." So I hurried up with my purchase and we made our way to the front of the store and into the bathroom. After Miles was done and I was doing what moms do and cleaning the kid, I was waiting for his usual exclamation at what he found in the potty. Instead I heard him speaking in a very soft and serious voice: "That is disgusting." And there it was...he finally got it. My boy is growing up!

Okay, onto the much cuter and cleaner stuff. This morning our students were out in front of the student union giving out free hugs. I thought I'd go with Miles for an hour or two and take over the filming from Casey while I was there. I had told Miles we were going to the free hugs and asked if he remembered doing that. He said yes -- although, there are times he says 'yes' and I think he's just saying it to appease me.

As we approached the student union Miles stated in a very happy voice, "Almost there...to the kissing!"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Building Memories

This is what kept Miles and I occupied for part of the morning. At first I wasn't in the sun room and was encouraging him to play out there, to build with his blocks. Then I decided to join him, but sat on the couch with my knitting...there's honestly not much better than that for me. Throw in a vanilla latte and I would be on cloud nine!

But Miles wasn't content to have me even sitting nearby while he built with the blocks. He wanted me on the floor building with him. How could I say no? I asked him to wait while I finished the row I was on -- this I must do, because otherwise I will come back to my knitting and be completely lost. He waited patiently, not even touching any of the blocks until I was ready. Soon we were both on the floor, each working on our own tall tower. I'm not too creative in the Lego department, so I do what Miles does: stack one on top of the other until the thing is about to fall over. The one he's standing next to in the photo was nearly as tall as him!

It was a nice morning.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Out of the Mouth of Miles

Miles is seriously revving up the vocab these days. It's something new every day! And now there are questions about everything.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I promise I'm not -- I am loving it! Miles has shown for a while now that he has his own, strong opinions about the way things should be. Now he has added to that an extremely inquisitive nature. There have been sprinkles of questions here and there, but now it is almost a constant thing. It makes me nervous too, because...I certainly don't have all the answers, and now here is this little person I'm responsible for asking me for them!

This morning before worship, I took him to the bathroom. As we were leaving he saw a small container of potpourri on a table and asked to see it. I showed it to him and of course he wanted to know what it was. I told him, "It's called potpourri." At this point we were leaving the bathroom and walking back down the hall. Now he asked, "What does that potpourri do?" "Oh, it just helps the room to smell nice." But that wasn't all. Miles then asked, "And how does that potpourri work?" Umm...well...and I answered, "There are just all different things in there to make it smell good." This seemed to satisfy him. Whew!

Before worship began, Miles was having a bit of an attitude. He's like this at times with the transition from Bible class to worship, but it doesn't last long. I had brought his library puppet (love that he gets to check out books and puppets!) and told him that he wasn't going to get it if he didn't start being nicer. His response was, "I was being nicer and I said could I have ag-a-dayo (armadillo) pwease!" I had to turn my head away so he wouldn't see me laughing. Eventually I gave him the puppet and said, "What do you say? Can you say 'thank you'?" Still in a mood, Miles answered, "I don't have the words!" My response was, "The words are thank you."

Sometimes questions are both endearing and uplifting. As Miles and I were driving to Bible class this morning (Casey had to leave earlier), the rain was pouring down. And it wasn't just a simple rain shower, it was the kind of rain that is difficult to even see through while you're driving. From behind me I hear Miles ask, "Mom...could you make the rain really soft?" It was so cute, and at the same time I thought, how cool that my kid thinks I am powerful enough to control the weather!

Friday, September 18, 2009


It's something I've been preparing for, and have already met, along this road to IVF. It is called ignorance, and I have dealt with it in different ways so far. Today I'm addressing it on my blog, because today I received an anonymous comment that, although the person who left it may have thought they were being helpful, only left me hurting. I usually delete negative anonymous comments, but I wanted to share this one.

When I've shared my experiences and tried very hard to get across what Casey and I are dealing with emotionally in all of this, one of my priorities is to help others understand. And until I've gone through your exact trials and sufferings, I will never know exactly how you feel. The same is true the other way around. Now, there are certainly other women who have suffered infertility and can relate much better to my emotions. What I'm trying to do is help everyone else understand. I think that's a big part of all of our lives: we want to be understood.

But when someone comes along who only knows a portion of the information, mostly because the rest of it hasn't been shared, and makes assumptions on that information and then tells you what they think about that...well, that can hurt. And I wasn't going to share this, but the comment that was left anonymously today hurt me deeply. It actually had a physiological effect on me. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking. In fact, my heartbeat is still going a little too fast. I started typing a response and left the computer to cry on Casey's shoulder.

Please, please...before you leave a comment (especially an anonymous one), ask yourself something: "Do I really know everything this person has been through or is going through? Do I have all the facts?" And here's the most important one: "Do I know what is in their heart?"

I don't know for certain if the anonymous person really knows everything I've been through and am going through, but my guess is they don't. I do know that they don't have all the facts. There are people we see on a regular basis who don't even have all the facts, and that's simply because we don't share them. And I can tell by the comment -- and you should be able to tell by my reaction to the comment -- that the anonymous person does not know what is in my heart.

The comment reads:
I simply wonder why, with your overall health and the status of your reproductive system, you don't say "It is not in God's plan, nor is it good for my body, for me to have more children?" I would dare say that it costs less to adopt a child than to pay for IVF.
If you're wondering whether the comment made me angry, it did. I don't think I would be human if I didn't feel anger. But overwhelmingly the feeling was more of hurt than anger.

As far as my overall health goes, it is actually very good. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I played two straight games of ultimate frisbee while carrying my three-year-old on my back. Yes, running. Yes, catching and throwing and scoring goals. With people 15 years younger than me. I've had more than one doctor tell me that I am 'very healthy,' and this was even in the midst of some of my major abdominal surgeries in the past few years.

The status of my reproductive system...I've shared many, many times that both of my fallopian tubes were blocked. Besides that, everything works perfectly fine! That's one of the reasons it's so frustrating for us in having to go through IVF to have more children, because if that one minor thing was okay we'd be fine! After all, we had no trouble getting pregnant the first time before my tubes became blocked. And in fact, the reason thousands upon thousands of women use in vitro fertilization is because of 'tubal occlusion.' Contrary to popular belief, IVF is not the most sought-out way to get pregnant. It's what we avoided as long as we felt we could, even when we were told nearly a year ago that we should proceed with IVF. Also, I recently met with a high-risk doctor -- a maternal-fetal specialist -- and he told me that I was an excellent candidate for IVF because of my age and my health and other factors.

One of my points here is that Casey and I are not at all going into this process lightly. I would say that anyone who does must not realize what they're getting into. Also, with all of the many, many tests that are given beforehand, and the talks one must go through with the doctors must tell you that they do not let you go into this lightly. If my doctor thought my body couldn't handle this, he would tell me. He's had a woman with severe Crohn's Disease go through IVF successfully. The body is an amazing thing and can handle a lot (trust me!), but if anyone thought this wasn't a good idea they would let me know. And Casey would be the first to stand in my way if he thought the risk was too high.

As far as whether it is in God's plan for us to have more children, I don't know. Have I had a sense of what he wants in this? No. Have I been prayerful about it? Yes. I think a big part of God's plan for me -- for everyone -- is to love him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. That I know for sure. But try telling a woman who has no children that it might be in God's plan for her to never have a child. I certainly won't.

I think adoption is a beautiful thing. I know people who have adopted children, I have friends who have been adopted. It's beautiful. And it isn't something we've never talked about, it's just that for us it was a further-down-the-road topic, if one at all. And I could be wrong on this, but it's possible that adoption would cost more than twice what we're paying for IVF. Don't quote me on that, but I have seen some numbers.

If you could get inside my head, my heart, my emotions to search out why I long so much to have another child, I don't think you'd find the exact answer. God instilled that longing in me, and so I know it is a good thing. I strive to be a godly woman, and I found an amazing spiritual leader in the man I call my husband. He helps keep me grounded, helps set the tone for calm in our home. I may have -- like we all do in our youth -- some silly things without first thinking of the consequences. This path we have prayerfully chosen, this process called IVF, is not one of those things.

Fun Friday Question!

I've wondered for a while if I have something like that Seasonal Affective Disorder. It took me a long time to realize it, though, but after a while I could see that, yes, the weather was affecting my mood! Not to say that I don't have control over my moods, but I do believe there is a correlation in there somewhere. I don't know that I would say it's anything severe, but if I lived in Alaska? Yeah, I'd probably need some kind of treatment then. Also, I won't be living in Alaska anytime soon.

So the question for today is this: Does the weather affect your moods? If so, is there something you do to compensate?

Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Big Box. No, Really...BIG BOX.

If you've read any other blog about IVF, there are always the inevitable pictures of THE BOX OF MEDS. Did you think I would be any different? Okay, maybe I did scoff a little at the beginning, thinking, "Why in the world are these women posting pictures of their injectable meds?" But the more I learned about the process and realized that a lot of people really don't know what goes into it, I was ready to join in. I knew that when the day came that my box was delivered, I would be pulling out the camera. I really hadn't intended to post these pictures until later (with THE BIG POST), but I couldn't help myself. You just have to see this stuff. Have to.

While taking pictures of the box, I noticed that Junebug was becoming terribly interested in what I was doing. Either that or she just wanted to be inside. If there was a thought bubble above her head in this photo, I think it would say, "What is in that box and can I have it now, please?"

I had set everything up in a nice pretty way and taken some photos, then Casey and I did as the instructions said and made sure everything on the list was actually in the box. The Follistim, which is probably the most important thing in the box, was nowhere to be found. But then we realized that the HUGE silver bag still sitting in the box -- which I thought was just a cold bag to keep some of the 'refrigerate upon arrival' meds cold -- contained ice packs and the Follistim. Some days the blonde shines through a little more than others.

I examined everything carefully. Some of the contents were very clear to me, some were of the that-which-I-will-Google-later variety, and some were just plain scary. Yes, the needles. You'll see that the length on most of them is 1-1/2 inches. And if you don't think that's scary, I guess you would have to see it in person. Except for me they're in several bags, and in great numbers they just look like evil.

I took another picture of the needles on the windowsill, hoping to make them look more shiny and happy. It only worked for a little while. They still have to be stuck into my skin, after all.

So there you have it: my official post about THE BOX OF MEDS. I was anxious about them arriving. I thought seeing them would raise the anxiety level a bit, but it had the opposite effect! I feel so ready for this and I'm actually excited to get started. Now, don't confuse my excitement for happiness. Yes, there are good feelings about the possibilities at the end of all of this. I promise I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but when you are in the middle of this situation having just written a very large check for something you may never see results from and you are looking at several weeks of anxiety, incredibly crazy hormones, and more than one procedure wherein you have less than a 50% chance of coming away pregnant...well, there is just not a lot of jumping-up-and-down excitement going on.

I'm saving all that up for later.

Not a Product Review

I promise I don't own any of this jewelry, nor am I getting any of it for free to plug the site. I just had to share it because I think it's genius and if I have another baby it is something I want to get for sure! Just another one of those 'why didn't I think of that?' products. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Joy and Sorrow

This is taken from a chapter in The Prophet by philosopher Khalil Gibran. It strikes such a chord with me because I have talked more than once about my own joy and sorrow living side by side and what a mystery that is to me.

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the self-same well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tweaking the Blog

If you visit my blog often enough, you will surely notice that it looks different. I was inspired by another blog I came across just a few days ago. That's when the obsession kicked in. Honestly, I don't enjoy becoming obsessed with projects, and I know I can fight it off. But in my weak moments it takes me over. Also, it's the kind of thing that can easily take my mind off any IVF anxiety. For that, I am grateful.

I also tweaked my photoblog (Leaning Tripod) a bit just today, although I really need to make a better effort to add photos on a regular basis. I had fun making the header, making it my own. Same with Beauty For Ashes...I had an idea in my head and went to work in Photoshop. At some point, I did something with the design that I cannot replicate no matter how hard I try, but at least I made it happen when it counted!

There are a few new things and less old things in the sidebars (I have more than one sidebar now!). Under 'Our IVF Journey' I give a short recap of our fertility/infertility lives since April 2006. There might be some things there that I haven't mentioned on the blog until now. I'd like to add more to it after everything is said and done.

Speaking of IVF, our little family will be making a trip to the clinic very soon for three different appointments. Since we live over three hours away, we tried our best to combine as many visits into one, and we managed to get three! We're still on the beginning end of this whole process, and we actually don't even know what protocol they'll be using for me as it's different for everyone. I'm hoping for the shorter protocol, but I'll do what they think is best.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fun Friday Question!

I loved going to the library as a kid -- still do! I remember learning the way there (and it really wasn't far since we lived in a small town) so that I could put on my backpack and ride my bike there without having to wait for someone else to take me. I wish I had a picture of the place, because you wouldn't believe me if I tried to explain how tiny this library was (Joy can back me up on it), but it was tiny. And it seemed that when I was there, hardly anyone else was -- in some ways that seems sad now, but to me it was awesome because it meant having the library all to myself!

The librarian was a little woman (is there a theme here?) who was so kind each time I visited, even though I was painfully shy and hardly spoke to her. I don't even remember her name. But nearly every time I was there, she would show me a new book or series that came in if she thought I would like it. That's how I came to own the Love Comes Softly series by Christian author Janette Oak. Those are some of my most treasured books to this day.

Now it's your turn. What are some of your best memories of visiting the library as a child?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

More from Holy Experience

I've pointed to this blog before, long ago, but Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience never ceases to draw me in with her words and ponderings on The Word and what it is doing in her heart. She always finds a way to motivate me, and sadly I haven't kept up with her blog for quite some time. I think the last time I was reading it on a daily basis was right before Miles was born.

I wanted to share one particular post, where Ann speaks of journaling as a spiritual discipline. Her suggestions are very simple but very helpful. I hope you are able to draw from this as well and use it to grow closer to God. Click here to read the post.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Since my last post a few days ago, I realized something: as much as I feel I shouldn't share too much about our IVF process, all the little details, it is very unlike me to not share. If there weren't so many emotions and possibly huge disappointments wrapped up in IVF, I would be giving up-to-the-minute newsflashes every day -- no, every hour.

If you take from that, as you should, that I am a sharer (maybe an over-sharer in some cases), then you should be somewhat impressed with how well I'm doing in holding back. This should also give you a small glimpse into how high the emotions can get with infertility issues. I have to say that I am loving reading blogs by women who suffer from infertility and are going through or have gone through IVF themselves. We don't all have the same exact issues, but I can tell you from reading their posts that they know how I feel. That is huge.

I really do have something to say, I promise.

Because I do want to share this experience with you but don't want it to be a 'real-time' sort of thing, I have come up with a compromise (which, if you watch The Office, is actually a win-lose situation!). I am going to keep a draft post updated with every new IVF visit, what I'm going through, how I'm feeling, and then hopefully some good news at the end. The entire post will cover the entire process, but I won't post it until much later, when I feel the time is right. Isn't that a great compromise? (This is the part where you nod your head.)

I have to hand it to those women who have enormous courage in sharing the details the day they happen. I might be that way in some circumstances, but I suppose after all is said and done I am feeling more protective over this than I thought I would. It's my heart...it has felt so heavy over so much recently concerning this one issue, and because of that I have to be cautious.

But the compromise -- this makes me happy! It will be so cathartic to write about what's going on, knowing that I'll actually be able to share it with you later.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Holding Back

I like Friday. Friday means that tomorrow is Saturday, and I like Saturday as well. But not as much as Friday. It just feels different. To quote Newman on Seinfeld, "Tuesday has no feel." And you have to admit, it doesn't -- not like Friday or Saturday anyway.

I keep going back and forth on how much I want to share about our IVF journey. I know it may not seem like a big deal, and I honestly would love to share a lot about it. But here's my biggest reservation concerning the sharing: Let's say I'm giving updates on everything, like "started my injections today!" or "egg retrieval is tomorrow!" At some point, because my readers would know every step of the process we're on, there would be a time to say 'it worked' or 'it didn't work.'

Now, if you are someone who has struggled with infertility, or just trying for a while to get pregnant without success, you understand how hard it is to tell people (who know you're trying) that you are not pregnant again. Finding out you're not pregnant is hard enough without the pressure of having to tell everyone who is waiting to know if you are or not. And while I very much want to share good news with everyone, I'm not so sure about having to share the bad. After a year and a half of this, my heart doesn't want to do that anymore.

I'll give you this much: the entire process -- from baseline tests (I had mine on Tuesday) to the blood pregnancy test that takes place two weeks after the embryo transfer -- can take up to about two months. So for those of you who thought I'd be making an announcement any day now just need to sit back and wait. And if we do have news to share at the end of two months, we will be first taking time to share with family and making sure everything is running smoothly before we make a blog announcement. Call me crazy, but I'm an old-fashioned gal who posts her pregnancy news on the blog a little later -- and that means possibly not letting the world know 'the news' until about three months have passed.

I will say that I'm totally fine with questions about anything -- about what happened in 2006, about my infertility issues, etc. And I will most likely answer any questions thrown my way. If I don't want to, I'll probably say that too. But I won't be offended, assuming the questions aren't meant to offend of course. I know there are people out there who don't know what we're going through -- but just asking about it means that you want to know, and that means a lot to me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Zuvo Water

I read about an excerpt from a NY Times news article at SheBlogs about the possible growing amounts of atrazine (a herbicide) in tap water. I also checked out the Zuvo Water site, because the Zuvo Water Canteen was mentioned and I was interested in learning more. We actually use a small Brita filter, but it looks like the Zuvo stuff costs way less. Seems more and more there are concerns about our water systems but it's hard to stay informed. Check out Zuvo Water if you're interested too!
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