Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Just Gotta Laugh

So I've been all hot and bothered about my MRI appointment (or non-appointment, as it was for the last ten weeks). For me it is an urgent matter because I want to get it out of the way so we can move on. I want to know if anything's (more) wrong with me or not. Then I want to know if we need to do anything about what we find out.  I want I want I want... I want it now!

Anyway... we have continued to hassle them and found out. Guess what?

Of all days...

My MRI is on my birthday.


Honestly. I'm thankful that I got the appointment. But still... is this good or bad? I don't know. I feel mixed about that! Me and my little uptight self.

But as I'm learning from specific friends, and from this mad infertility journey in general...  you just gotta learn to laugh!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

10 things...

Here are 10 things I'm THANKING GOD for:

1. This pic. I love this picture. I didn't take it but I've been 'storing it' to share with you and since it was beautiful again today here in Auckland, this photo is a good representation of it. (Can you tell I'm dreading the weather cooling down?)

2. I had a weekend. Yes a whole Saturday and a whole Sunday!

3. The husband and I got to spend some time together. In light of new job hours and health, this has been sooo precious.

4. Friends who have been there to hang with me, laugh with, cry with and pray for me/us. (And haven't gotten sick of us.)

5. Coffee/walks/seeing/meeting up with the above in point 4.

6. New ideas. Someone (from the Hannah's Prayer Forums) came up with the great idea of 'IF (infertility) points'. This is where you think of something you have been able to do that you would not have, or would be hard, if you have kids or a baby. Look, I'm human, know this isn't gonna work on some days but overall, I LOVE this idea. For example, here are three:

7. For the last two weeks, we were able to have a friend stay with us in our spare room while she's in between places to live. She was great to hang with. It was fun having a temporary flatmate! (If we had kids, we probably wouldn't have had the space, and at most could've only offered a couple nights for her to stay.)

8. I spent a large part of Saturday baking cupcakes, decorating them and naming them (yes I named them). I got to take my time and enjoy the process. (If I had kids, I'm not sure how much time I'd have like this to just choose to do 'whatever' for a few hours.)

9. In the morning, I can go for a walk or run (um... if I do get up early to do this) without having to worry about getting back to the kids in time for something- except sometimes I have to be careful of being late for the next thing on haha...

10. Tenth thing I'm thankful for... Hot Fudge Sundaes at McDonalds. Oh actually! A resource- On another blog (patientlywaiting) I found this link The Infertility Awareness Project.
It is to a video/slideshow that this lady made for her friends and family, to communicate about infertility. It was hard to watch but reflected what would be on my heart too. Maybe it could be useful for you?

11. Okay this is more than ten but, BOOKS. God On Mute by Peter Greig is one I'm reading through slowly. He looks at why sometimes prayer is 'unanswered'. I'm enjoying his writing style. Thank God also for friends who share these books with you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Finally! I have heard from the public hospital. I am on the MRI list. We don't know how long though but I hope to find that out soon. They disowned any responsibility for messing us around the last few weeks, so that makes me mad. I want to write a letter! But I'm not sure what good that'll do.

Anyway. Thankful that we got that sorted after much teeth-pulling. Now we begin a fresh wait.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Seeing Others Hurt

It has been an intense week. I had to study for an exam, which I am not great at- I panic and zone out quite a lot, but it is over so that's done! Yes. Thankfully I also got to do this paper with a good friend, which made it all the more enjoyable.

A friend of mine miscarried her baby at nine weeks. It was really sad news. In a way, I got to be in the shoes of my own friends, trying to find the words, or lack of, to express often what can't really be expressed. I hurt for her and her hubby knowing that they'd just gone from announcing the good news, to having to suddenly deal with the bad.

At the same time, I was trying hard not to project how I felt in my experience, on my friend who was going through it, and I think I am learning that we all deal with things, sometimes similarly, but mostly differently. I needed to remember this as I sometimes have expectations that others will react like me, which is a silly expectation but something that I do. I just hope I was there for her and wasn't too intense about it all.

A close friend also pointed out that the fact that when you are dealing with the loss of a baby in light of infertility, which was the case for me, that is also an added factor for difference in reactions, and that was helpful for me to think through too. (Thanks.)

Overall, it just sucks to see others hurt.

The husband hasn't been feeling all that healthy the past months too, and is on his own medical trail. (Together we are keeping both private and public medical sectors busy- this is what a phlebotomist said to me the other day, after she saw us for the second time in a short space of time. She's pretty much become one of my best friends- when we hang out we chat but we don't have coffee, we just exchange forms and she draws my blood.)

It is confusing seeing him go through this. I feel like our relationship in the last couple years has been about  constantly finding ourselves on shifting ground, and here we are again on a new platform of jello. Here we are trying to figure out both my gynaelogical things and his mysterious health stuff- chasing down test results, referrals and faxed-throughs. How did we get here? He's the stable one between us two. He's not supposed to be unwell.

(I'll be honest. I have also thought over how all this is affecting MY plan to try again soon. Which is pretty small-minded in light of the stress that he's going through. But that is a constant battle in my head. )

It is very hard to see him worry. I want to protect him, but I can't- and I know this is how he has felt about me too in these past months. Its funny- you want vulnerability in a relationship, especially marriage, but you don't necessarily want the circumstances that come with it.

But God is also taking us to a depth in our relationship with Him and each other, that we are not going to know of otherwise.

(Oh God what will tomorrow bring? Please keep our eyes on you.)

On another level there have been some small pleasures, walking a sweet old dog for a friend, Dunkin Donuts, a coffee together at the beach before summer weather really goes...

... we can do one day at a time.

A Safe Place- Psalm 91

...the LORD, who is my refuge...
- Psalm 91:9

I wrote this for another blog last week, so I thought I'd share it here too:

The night time can be harsh particularly when you are alone or lonely. In the past few months, there have been times where I haven’t been able to sleep because of things we are going through, or the husband has been far away when we have received sad news, making it hard to survive the night. It is dark, quiet and still. It is a feeling you don’t forget. (As Good Friday approaches, I wonder too, how intensely alone Christ felt that evening, when he was praying on the Mt of Olives before he was betrayed- Luke 22:42.)

It is especially in light of these situations that I think of Psalm 91, as it has been a comfort in the moments when I have felt afraid or vulnerable. It reminds me that God is my refuge and my fortress. He is also my shelter and my dwelling place. He rescues me and protects me. I can rest in His great shadow.

Maybe it is because the psalmist uses such familiar terms relating to physical cover that I like or I can identify with, I’m not sure, but these words of God’s protection and presence have been priceless to me as I have read it over and over in the past two years, when fear has seemed overwhelming. I was initially challenged to read it once every day for a month, and from there, I have come back to this psalm repeatedly.

If you are going through a hard time too, I hope you find some rest in God’s word. (If you are like me, I still often seem to forget that the Bible is the best place to go to first.) I encourage you to read Psalm 91 over and over too, so maybe you will remember it at times when you need it most. Here’s the link to that passage if you want to have a read:

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Car With Four Doors- A Poem

I'm trying not to spend my time just waiting
but you follow me around

from the bathtub in the bathroom and the tray across it that would hold your bath things
to the drawers in the bedroom where I quickly push past stretchy clothes that were set aside for when I were to carry you

from the kitchen where my jar of folic acid seems to be mocking me, while I take it for yet another day
to the bookshelf that holds pregnancy books (though the only chapters I'm familiar with are the first and the last)

from the calendar with empty pages because we never know how far to plan
to the Christmas tree that holds ornaments meant for you

from the weighing scales that fluctuate with my body's reaction to treatments (and grief)
to the short walk around the neighbourhood that I had initially mapped out in waiting for you

from the pages in my journal that are conversations I have with God about you
to the cupboard with extra boxes of tissues we have for tears I never knew could flow so unceasingly

from the photos of our wedding day when we first became family
to the blank wall next to it anticipating framed pictures of you

from this house with three bedrooms, where we've been planning to have one be yours
to the car with four-doors, waiting to cart you around, that we thought would be better than two.

I try to not spend my time just waiting
but you follow me around

leaving a trail of broken pieces of my heart.

I think you'd like it here
but it is not for me to say

and I hope we meet one day soon.
In the meantime

I can't help it
I will keep anticipating you.

(This piece of writing was started in December 2009, the title was inspired by a conversation I had with a certain friend- I hope you don't mind me using it! It is based on my experience but also written to all who are waiting for or missing their children; for those experiencing infertility or have been through loss in general. Especially dedicated to one valued friend for whom today is sadly memorable.)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Take up your crutches and follow me?

I live by a pretty intimidating hill. It isn't fun to walk up. It doesn't take that long, but it just looks menacing and is pretty tiring to get to the top.

The other day on my way home, I was driving down it (braking my way down it, more like) and I spotted a guy walking up.

But he kinda wasn't walking up. He was on crutches and was slowly hobbling his way up this steep hill. More like inching his way up. Crutches on that hill!!!

It just made me think. Would I do that?

I stand around in my running gear, special shoes with orthotics, dri-fast hat and grippy sunglasses, yet am reluctant to take on that long trek upwards. Sometimes I walk along all the other roads to avoid it. Sometimes I don't walk at all. Somehow I am waiting to get 'fitter' before taking it on.

Yet, here is this man who's injured or broken some part of his leg and is justified in sitting down and hanging out on his couch for a few months, but he's not doing that, he's outside inching his way uncomfortably up the very same hill I'm literally running from. Sure it may be part of his rehab... but I was intrigued by his will to do it.

There are many ways we can use this as an illustration or analogy of our spiritual lives or walk with God, things about perseverance, faith, or just stepping forward in what seems like an ever-uphill journey. But I'll keep it simple and let you think through it how ever you want. For me, it just made me re-think... so what am I doing with my situation? How am I taking on this journey?

(An escalator would be nice... or would it?)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Meltdown No. 550 million

How do you have a massive meltdown when you're in your 'break'? A time when you're supposed to be breathing deeply, sane and collected...

I had one yesterday, and there were decent reasons for it (of course! ha). The public hospital doc was supposed to put me on a list for an MRI but they didn't and I've been already waiting eight weeks... blah blah... hopping mad!

But who am I kidding? It was pretty major and oh so ugly. Anger, frustration and  impatience all busting out of me like an overfilled sausage.

I feel silly now, but I was so mad so mad. It kinda surprised me. What do I do? What do I do?

My poor husband.

(I typed 'ugly' into the photo search and this is what I got...)

( appropriate for the 'melting theme'. I hope I looked that good yesterday.

And it kinda made me laugh.)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Oooh, updates...

Think I'm getting better at this. I managed to add 'My Infertility History' and 'My Bookshelf' as pages, up the top. (Go me!) Also, on the left are 'links to laughter' if you want to have a little giggle- which we probably need more of. (Yes, I'm a little bit addicted to those jumping-jacks-soldiers. Hilare.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

When Bombshells Hit - Pregnancy Announcements

I'm trying to think through what it feels like when a friend tells me she's pregnant. I think maybe I should clarify that actually, it is more, what it feels like when a friend tells me she's pregnant AND I'm not (well... still not pregnant, or no longer pregnant, ultimately, not pregnant now).

Firstly, I need to assure you that I do often feel genuinely happy for the friend who has shared the news. I am glad for them that they are going to be parents and I am glad for them that they are not in my (current) shoes. At the same time though, and somehow this is possible, I'm am gutted. I'm gutted almost on a separate dimension. That they are and I'm not. And it is not about the friend or person who is having the baby, it is somehow separate. It is about the significance or the representation of the very thing I desire so badly.

And this feeling of 'guttedness' is so peculiar. I felt it when I found out about my PCOS and that I'd have problems conceiving. I felt it when I let myself acknowlege my baby losses. I feel it when I stare at my husband and think of how I ache for a child that looks and takes after him. It is the craziest deep feeling of someone extracting the core out of you and slamming it into a wall- and then played over in slow-mo. It is inside of me but almost a tangible pain.

Maybe kinda like this:

Do you feel this too?

And of course there are deeper issues here, like anger, frustration, questions about God's ability, fairness, justice, about His understanding, whether His google maps to my house aren't working, my basic self-centeredness magnified to the max, etc. (Will pursue that later.)

But here are a couple things that make it easier for me, in terms of baby announcements:
1. When I'm warned. Whether it is by the prospective parents themselves, letting me know earlier and personally (as in not in a huge group/public), or by another friend, it seems to ease the 'surprise'. I know I cannot expect this of everyone, as it is their news to celebrate when they want, but if you are a friend to someone struggling with fertility, this could be something to note.
2. Knowing they have been trying helps. Similar to the first point, when I know, for example, this is the year they are planning to have kids and they do get pregnant, this also takes away some of the shock.
3. Sometimes with closer friends or relatives, it is easier, maybe cos' you knew they were trying, or you know they are gonna be cool parents or you know they aren't taking it for granted. I'm not sure why. It can be easier to be judgemental of the ones I don't know well or at all. However, sometimes the grief can be more intense when they are closer to you cos' you feel all the more envious. I guess there are no clear rules to this.

Funny (well, 'funny' is one way to put it) what you think of when you get the news though. I think through how old they are compared to us. (Sorta freak out if they are younger.) I think about how long they've been married compared to us. (Sorta freak out too if they have been married for a shorter time. Or try to relax it if they've been married longer. ) I think about their jobs. I think about whether I think they are ready. I think about the quality of their marriage (as if I would know). I critically try to analyse them in two seconds to see if they really know how fortunate they are. blah blah. The things I NEVER wanted to do, I do in my head. (Oh please help me God.)