Month: June 2012
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While I Breathe, I Hope.

“Dum spiro spero.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

I’ve been thinking about this tattoo for a long time.  I knew what I wanted it to mean, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I wanted it to say or look like.

A couple of months back, I was raiding the book shelf for an old book to lend to a friend when I came across my Latin textbook from high school.  I took a few years of Latin, which seems like a total waste of time unless you’re going to become a doctor or a lawyer – neither of which I am.

I loved Latin for the sheer fact that I love the written word.  I was in love with the way words started out, morphed into something new, and transcended languages in order to become this universal understanding in a few simple letters.  Latin for me was all about English, strange as that seems.

When I ran across this book, dusty from years (and yeeeeears) of neglect, I sat down for a minute to flip through the chapters.  Stuck in between the pages was a piece of college-ruled notebook paper, and written in pencil was this:

Dum spiro spero. 

While I breathe, I hope.

I can only assume this was part of some homework assignment from back when I was sixteen years old.  Back when I knew nothing of what it meant to truly hope.  Or before I knew what it meant to just breathe through the pain, hoping for relief on the other side.

The paper, the handwriting – my handwriting – hit me like a ton of bricks.  The statement was something I’d studied and long since forgotten, and yet it’s a lesson I am still learning, every single day.

Knowing what I wanted to say was half the battle, but knowing how to incorporate it into a design was something I had trouble imagining.

I have always loved birds.  All kinds of birds.  I have my grandmother to thank for that… I learned to read from her Audubon field guide.

Steadfast robins, chipper chickadees, regal cardinals, spunky sparrows, beautiful bluebirds, even raucous blue jays.  I love the freedom in the form of a bird; a creature that can literally leave a situation by taking flight.  The purest form of freedom, as their troubles cannot often follow where they fly.

I started researching bird tattoos and came across some information that solidified my choice.  The traditional swallow tattoo was one that mariners and sailors received after logging five thousand miles at sea.  They received their second after ten thousand miles.

The swallows were said to represent a long and arduous  journey and hope for calm seas and a smooth passage home.

I’m no sailor, but I’ve been on a journey of my own.  If miles were dollars spent in the attempt to conceive, I’d have a flock of swallows tattooed on me by now.

This ink is something I’ll live with forever.  Something to remind me always of this journey, whether it has a happy ending or not.  A permanent manifestation of hardship lived, freedom from strife reaffirmed, and the hope of calm seas for the rest of the journey.

I know that my journey is not over; in fact, it may only have just begun.  There may be more struggles ahead for me, but even when things get stormy, to my last dying breath, I will always have hope.

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Tattoo Day!

Today is the day!

It’s not my first tattoo, but it’s been so long since the last one that I’m nervous!

I’m also super excited.  I am currently planning an outfit to wear to my tattoo appointment.

I might be crazy.  Oh well.

Anyway, stay tuned for updates… and photos!  🙂

 

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Weezer

I’m currently on Holiday with the husband.

We are not exactly on an Island, but we are spending a lot of time In The Sun.

I just thought I’d share this photo of the Midwest paradise that’s home for the next few days.

And now, I must Keep Fishin’.

Umm… BuddyHollyHashPipeSayItAin’tSo.

Vacation makes me happy.  Weezer makes me happy.

Also, I’ve been into the wine.  🙂

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Ugly Truths

I wish yesterday had never happened.  I wish I hadn’t spent a half hour crying in front of my office building in the middle of the workday.

But it happened, and I did.

I have some things for which I need to apologize, and then some things I feel I need to better explain.

First, I approached a situation in an inappropriate way yesterday, and in doing so, hurt someone I care deeply about.

I’m sorry.  I was out of line.  I could have conveyed my message in a far less inflammatory way, and it wouldn’t have led into the blow-out that it did.

Second, I allowed my feelings about my infertility to take over a situation that had nothing to do with infertility in the first place.

I’m sorry.  I pray every day for the grace to be able to control the way I express my feelings about my lack of fertility, and I often fail.  I know I’m not the only one who fails at some of their attempts, but it never feels good to have to acknowledge that fact.  It feels almost as bad as the devastating effects of infertility…

Third, I word-vomited all over said person about whom I care deeply, thereby making said person feel like I resent their fertility and pregnancy.

I’m sorry.  I do not resent you, your family, your child-to-be, or your ability to create said child.  I do, on the other hand, sometimes feel resentful toward all people who are able to conceive without much trouble.  That is not your fault.  It’s mine.

And this is where the ugly truths come out.

  • Chances are, if you are someone close to me who has become pregnant in the past two years, I have, at one point, felt resentfully toward you.  Not because I feel that you got knocked up to spite me, or to rub it in my face, but because of petty jealousy that I try, and often fail, to control.
  • This is not to say that I will continue to feel this way.  Every person close to me who has become pregnant while the husband and I have been struggling to conceive has created a child (or children) to whom I have become very attached.  I love you, and I love your children.  It’s just that sometimes the overwhelming feeling of “Life’s Not Fair!” comes over me, and while I can usually smile my way through it, sometimes it just comes out all over the place like so much word-vomit.
  • It takes me a while to reconcile my feelings when I find out that someone is pregnant.  The closer you are to me, the harder it is.  It’s not pretty, but that’s apparently how it works.  If I had any way to control that, trust me, I would choose to not feel this way at all!
  • The only cure for my bitterness, jealousy, and feelings of selfishness and guilt are God’s grace, and having my very own child.  I wish I could say that I was capable of working toward being able to stifle my emotions, but the longer I am on this journey, the harder it becomes.
  • Life is not fair.  Nowhere is it written that it is.  I know this, all too well sometimes, but I also know that I am better off than many.  I know that I should not cast stones in a glass house and that everyone in the world has their problems, but sometimes infertility makes me want to throw shit around and break everything in my path.  I’m not proud of it, and I don’t like when I become that person.  I want to be better, and I will try to be.  I will sometimes fail, and I need you to still love me even when I do.
  • I hate that when I get into one of my “break shit” moods, there is often collateral damage.  If it were just material things I can replace, then fine.  Often though, it’s relationships that take a beating when I am not in control of my emotions.  The things I feel are dark, powerful and all-consuming sometimes, but I know that expressing them can often be offensive and hard to swallow for those who have never dealt with something so crippling.
  • I sometimes say things I regret.  Sometimes out of bitterness and jealousy and hormone-induced emotional outbursts, and sometimes because I am Tracy, and I cannot control the litany of expletives that occasionally fly from my lips.  I do not relish these explosive word-vomits, nor do I relish hurting people close to me.  But it happens.  And I’m sorry.  Every. Single.  Time.
  • I am not familiar or comfortable with my emotions in any way.  I am not the type of person who cries at the drop of a hat.  Or ever, typically.  This process, these hormones, and this whole journey are forcing me – kicking and screaming – to face my emotions, and I am doing so clumsily at best.  I’m not a crier.  Except lately, when I am.
  • When I don’t have it in me to cry, I sometimes become withdrawn.  Sometimes I don’t eat.  Sometimes I am nauseous for days.  Sometimes I actually-vomit.  When my emotions don’t come out, they plague me internally.  Sometimes even when they do come out, I still feel guilt for having burdened others.  I’ve felt this way for almost 24 hours now, and I hate it.
  • I truly despise the fact that this process has taken such a toll on me.  The only thing I hate more is the toll it’s taking on those I care about most.  Whether they are the recipients of my word-vomit, the perpetual shoulder upon which I lean, or the dear friend who is forced to witness one of my emotional breakdowns, it doesn’t get any easier.
  • Having friends and family who are supportive is wonderful.  I understand that it can be difficult to be supportive of something you cannot possibly fathom, however, and I appreciate all attempts… despite the way I may act.  I want to make this easier for others to understand, but I can see that in some cases, doing so is only making me feel better, and them feel worse.
  • This is not my intention, and I am working on learning who I should be brutally honest with, and who I should leave out of the messy details.
  • Some people dealing with infertility go to therapy.  Blogging is my therapy.  It works amazingly well for me, but it lacks one of the key components of therapy… Privacy.  Which is kind of the point, right?  I want to share this journey with other Infertiles to make them feel less isolated in their own journeys, and to help the Fertiles understand that there is a constant hurricane of emotions going on inside of every person dealing with this process.
  • Sharing this process helps me, but it may hurt others.  If you are hurt by what I share here, I urge you to either talk to me about it, or stop reading.  I can work to control the way I express myself out loud, but this is my safe zone to say what I am feeling, whether it’s happy and hopeful, or dark and depressing.
  • That being said, I do not ever mean to offend anyone with my words.  That’s the thing… they’re my words.  My feelings.  My journey.  My infertility.  This is the hand I’ve been dealt, and if you are in my life, then sadly, you’ve been dealt it too.  I will try to protect you from the worst of what I feel, but if you ask me, I will be totally, devastatingly honest.
  • I want to be better, and I am trying.  It’s exhausting to express my feelings, and even more exhausting to hide them.  The fact that I have them in the first place makes me want to curl up in bed and not come out for days.
  • A wise man (believe it or not!) once told me that this process is like the worst lottery ever.  Everyone you know enters, and everyone you know wins a million dollars.  Sometimes they win three, four, five million dollars.  You enter the drawing the same way they did, and yet you still cannot win.  You are poor, and your friends are rich.  Sometimes people who don’t even enter the contest land a jackpot.  You want to be happy for them, but it grows more and more difficult.  It’s infuriating and unfair, and all you can do is watch, grow jealous, and continue to enter the drawing month after month with nothing to show for your attempts but an empty bank account and a constant sadness.
  • The worst part is that if this process were really about money, I would be in a much better place emotionally.  This is worse though, because while in real life your friends will rarely win a million dollars, they will probably procreate.  Money can be made over and over again in a lifetime.  It can be spent and gained back, gambled away and earned in earnest.  Fertility is hit or miss.  You have 3 to 5 days per month to conceive, and no more than a 20% chance even then.  Infertiles have far fewer chances, and their lottery entries are made painstakingly carefully every time, and are always met with disappointment on the drawing day.

So that’s the truth.  I’m not proud of it, but there it is.

Raw.  Honest.

Unfortunate, but sadly realistic.

To the person (people) I hurt yesterday, I’m sorry.  I love you.  All three of you.  I hate that what I’m going through has changed our relationship, but I know we still have some elasticity and bounce-back.

None of what I’m doing is happy, and everything you have is amazing and joyous.  I am rejoicing along with you, and trying to reconcile the rest of my feelings at the same time.

It’s all a process.  I’m in the middle of the ride.  The rest is still unwritten.  Life goes on.  Carry on my wayward son.  …Okay, that last one didn’t really work, but… meh.

I hate infertility.  I love my life and everyone in it.

Somewhere there has to be a middle ground.

I’m working on finding it… at least until fertility finds me.

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*Grumble*

A note to my new primary care physician:

First, thanks a bunch for the MMR and tetanus shots.  Like my other arm wasn’t already torn up from giving eighteen thousand vials of blood this morning for the clinical study’s exit blood work.  Sheesh.

Second, I didn’t say that I needed a referral to an RE because I was starting fertility treatments, I said that I was hoping to continue with them.  So yes, I am on prenatals.  And yes, I know that stress can hinder conception efforts.

And for the love of god YES, I know that I am thin.  I have gained 20 pounds in the past six months!  Is that not enough??

Oy.  Apparently not.

Thank you also for recommending yoga and healthy oils.  Already on top of it.

And finally, thanks for saying that if I do exactly what you recommended, I shouldn’t even need the referral to the RE.

I sincerely hope that you’re right, but I’ll go ahead and take that referral just in case… kaythanks.

*sigh*

 

 

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Downward Facing Ouch.

Sooo… In some kind of masochistic effort to improve my body and rid my thighs of the fertility-drug-induced dimples, I have joined a gym.

The local YMCA, in fact.

And, in continuing with said masochistic efforts, I have joined a class called Yoga Basics.

It should really be called Whip-Yo-Ass-Into-Tomorrow… Basics.

Last night was the first class, and I AM SORE!

I did not realize how out of shape I actually am… for a skinny girl, I really need to be more active.  I hurt in places I didn’t know I had.

I’m also fairly certain that I looked like an idiot.

I really wanted to do yoga because it looks so peaceful and serene…

I wanted to look like Kristen Bell in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Instead, I’m pretty sure I looked like Jason Segel.

I’m going to keep with it, but yowza.

The husband and I are going to start trying to get to the Y at least 3 times a week to get ourselves back into shape.  I’m feeling pretty positive about the whole thing, despite the sore muscles.

And hey, if one of the side effects of all of this new activity is a more inviting environment for a baby to grow, then I’ll take it.

Namaste, amigos.

 

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words…

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My Period Shall Now Be Called “Shark Week”

And with that…

Happy Shark Week, friends.

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Moving On

Friday, July 15th, 2012.  CD26, Who-gives-a-crap-how-many-DPO-at-this-point.

Well, today was beta day.

As I have come to suspect, thanks to some lovely cramps and chocolate cravings, I am not pregnant.

Again.

Even though I had a feeling what the results would be today, I am still a little in shock over the fact that I’ve done THIS MANY medicated and IUI cycles with NO real progress.

*le sigh*

But, the only thing that’s sure about life is that it goes on.  It might not be fair, but thankfully–mercifully, it moves forward.

And so shall I.

As much as I have loved working with the ladies in the AMIGOS research study, I have an appointment with a new RE here in Toledo in a month, and I am optimistic about getting a different opinion.

I know there are still lots of different avenues to try, and there is still hope for me.

In the meantime, I have a lot of work to concentrate on, as well as a myriad other things to occupy my time and interest this summer:  house-hunting, good books, WINE, vacation with the husband, visiting friends, new nephews…

Oh, and I can now make the appointment for my NEW TATTOO!!  🙂

Speaking of which, I better get on the phone and do that.  No time like the present!

Have a fabulous weekend, all!

 

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Flag Day

Thursday, June 14th, 2012.  CD25, 13DPO/12DPIUI.

I wonder if Lady Liberty ever shanked anybody with that torch while in a hormonal rage. I probably would.

 

You know how when people are super-patriotic, they say that they “bleed red, white, and blue”?

I mean, I love my country and all, but I have a feeling I’m only going to be bleeding red by the end of this particular Flag Day.

 

…Oh, you want me to substantiate my claim?

Here’s a picture of my chart.  Note the pretty little temp spike from yesterday, and the Nosedive of Doom for today:

What’s that?  You’d like more proof?

Well, here’s a shot of my pee-stick progression from testing out the trigger:

The last one was from this morning.  Observe the lovely stark-whiteness of it.

I also have an Aunt-Flo-sized case of the munchies right now, along with a reproductive system that would growl at you if you were too close to me.

I’m pretty sure this cycle is a Big Fat Negative.

I’m not thrilled about it, but I’m hanging in there.

I’ll have beta results tomorrow, so at least I will know for sure.

 

…Something tells me I will have confirmation before tomorrow, though.

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