Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Article- Infertility: What It Feels Like

Beckie's Infertile recently posted this article, that another blogger also shared (Homemade Happenings). Thanks for sharing you guys! It is a great article called Infertility: What It Feels Like (from Beckie's). You'll find the original brochure here. Might be a great one to share with close family and friends too...

It is from the Ferre Institute and they have more resources/brochures too if you'd like- about both infertility and miscarriage... I like the one about 'Coping with the holidays'. Hope it is helpful for you too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ring Ring!

I'm allergic to phone calls. I know I need them but I don't like them! I'm not sure why, but I just prefer other ways of communication. (You can still ring me though!)

So it makes it so much worse that I've had to deal with the phone A LOT these past years because that's how the nurses pass me information etc.

How can so much of your future hang on one phone call? (I really want to say 'stupid phone call' but I'm holding back. ha.) Blood test results, scan results, prescriptions, pregnancy test results, etc. 'Crazy' does not even begin to describe how I feel on the inside when I'm waiting for a call.

The waiting and picking-up part is one thing, then you have to figure out what sensible thing you need to say or ask once they've delivered the news, which is usually not cool. Somehow all the questions you wrote down while you were preparing yourself for the call fly out the window because all your hope has suddenly dissipated too- in half a second. Or you ask them but they don't have the answers... so you have to wait for a second phone call...

Anyway. That doesn't always happen, but it does too often. Grrrrr.

My  result (yes, by phone) for this week is that I have not ovulated, and probably still will not on my own. Which pretty much means the drilling hasn't done anything. Sucks. Frustrated.

So now I'm just waiting to hear about what the next-best-thing is.

The husband was really sweet and got me a food magazine ('delicious'- aussie but I like it haha.) and a random little SPCA dog figurine (think it is for kids but love it still) to make me feel better, as he knew I was pretty bummed.

On another note, I did my second 10k run for the year and did it under an hour! Very stoked and thankful for my friend, k, who did it with me!

Speaking of friends, I'm so super fortunate!

I had a lovely coffee with a special friend during her lunch break, and I'm thankful for her as we are sharing some of this difficult journey together.

And I'm also always thankful for my wonderful 'protector' friend who warns me everytime there's a pregnancy announcement lurking around... phew. Where would I be without these girls?

I'm praying you have sensitive people around you too. (And handle phone calls better than me.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Waiting for the Sun to Rise

Today I had my fourth blood test, which should tell me whether I'm ovulating on my own or not. I know that even though I'm not super hopeful (since it didn't work last time we drilled the ovaries), I will still be super disappointed to find out I'm not. I'm also not looking forward to having to make a decision with the husband about possibly starting a new cycle of treatment.

As much as a new cycle of treatment brings new hope, I only have three more rounds funded of this FSH-injection-treatment. I am thankful I have three, but I also feel like I'm slowly using up all the chances I have at getting pregnant, and I'm scared to have to strike another one out. The fear is so overpowering!

Yet I know we will try and we will come out of it somehow, like how we've survived the last couple years.

Since it has been winter, I've thought about how hope is like the warm spot in the house or on the couch where the sun shines in from the window. The snuggly sun-kissed spot where we want to sit and catch the soft rays instead of being in the chilly corner. (Cats seem to know about it particularly well.)

For me, the warm spot hits the dining area of the house in the morning where I like to sit and read the newspaper with a cup of coffee if I have a late start. (I love it!)

I long to bask in hope but sometimes it seems like it moves away quickly, especially in winter, on the cold and short days.

When hopes are dashed, and when I get bad news, I get that sudden stale, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. For me I think that is what disappointment feels like physically. You know what I mean?

Yet, the sun will be there the next morning- unfailing, and the night will be over.

So I have to remember that and hang on to that truth:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gratefulness and Grief

One of the things I've been learning through infertility is the 'duality' of things. For one, gratefulness and grief. They seem to be on opposite ends but they really are a combo.

(I love this and have been saving this photo for something. Since there are two flamingoes that make up a one gorgeous pair, I thought it'd be cool for this post!)

I've been thinking about this topic for a long time- things like these keep me awake at night! (Do you do that too?)

It has come up because I think sometimes we feel like we should not be 'down' or should only be for a short time. There are a few logical reasons for this.

One, I think we are nervous  about how we look- as it portrays that we are not grateful or thankful for what we have. It makes us look greedy, needy or dissatisfied. For example, I am married so I should find sufficient peace and happiness in my marriage and be grateful for that, instead of continually aching for children.

Totally. I'm all for 'counting my blessings', believe me! It makes sense. But honestly, at times, depending on the context, a response like that can be somewhat harsh.

Two, as Christians, there is that sense that we should be 'happy' because of what Christ has done for us, and though this is true, maybe being happy-all-the-time is unrealistic. We can be full of joy but we may not be happy about everything. I think there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happy being more of an emotional response, where as joy is maybe being positively assured and knowing you are okay deep at the core of you? Maybe? Hmmm... (Maybe I'll leave this for a Part 2 or something... )

Three, often grief involves questioning God himself, our concept of who God is and faith and sometimes we are nervous to do so. Fair enough.

I find grief a hard word to describe. My definition would be something like- engaging in and responding to the situation that has left a large impact, or something like that... There is also the famous five stages of grief that are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This is a useful way to understand the way grief is expressed, as we go through it.

With infertility, because it is not a one-off situation and there is no closure for a while or at all, even the five stages of grief may be an insufficient way to express it, as instead, it is an ongoing process, and the 'stages' pop up here and there and we get better at dealing with them, but they come back throughout life. Complicated.

For me, in terms of infertility and miscarriage, it is easy to think that it is simply all about babies. Like if you plonked a baby on my lap, all will be solved. Sadly it is not that simple, I have discovered there are more layers to this.

I grieve:
  • the loss of being able to ovulate as a woman usually does,
  • the loss of being able to conceive all by ourselves,
  • the loss of carrying a baby/being pregnant to term,
  • the loss of giving birth to a baby,
  • the loss of bringing up a child,
  • the loss of having a child that looks like us.
Now, please please know that I am aware these things may change in the future (or could already be changing) and we do have hope that it will, and pray that it will, but as we live in the present, this is the reality for me now. These are the issues I'm having to engage in and process through. Does that make sense?

It is not necessarily that I'm sad or crying all the time, it is more that these issues are always close to my heart, I wrestle with them daily and I have an ongoing discussion about them- with God, others, myself.

At the same time, I am grateful for everything I have. Quite possibly, in light of what I don't have, it makes me treasure what I do have all the more.

I have an indescribably-awesome husband, supportive friends, caring family, shelter, food, great country to live in, a job that is meaningful, an income, shoes, bags, clothes, etc. God's made me to be someone unique, with my own particular quirks (lots), strengths and weaknesses. I've been slowly molded as I've been following Christ. I'm learning a lot from the decisions I've made, etc... I am thankful for many things and I can list a hundred more things I'm grateful for if you ask me to.

So how does this work?

I guess they are not mutually exclusive. Having the bacon doesn't mean you will automatically resist the chocolate cake. (Probably not a fool-proof illustration, but I thought I'd use it anyway, as food's always a good one haha...)

I am discovering I can be grieving and grateful at the same time. And I'm learning to not be afraid of engaging in the seemingly 'sad' or difficult things in life. (Of course there is a point to which we should dwell on this stuff... as being too introspective has its hazards too!)

I think this reflects the reality of being human. We know things can be better and we seek it out. Whether we believe in God or not, we all seem to have this sense of looking forward to something better- desiring things to be fixed, made good, improved etc.

I believe this is because we all have an understanding of perfection, and as we are imperfect beings in a broken world, we desire it. What I'm trying to say is that longing for things to be made good is a natural part of us and it will not go away, probably not until heaven.

Additionally, we are only able to truly understand the beautiful and lovely things in life, only when we can also grasp the difficult and the ugly, as they exist in relation to each other.

What do you think?

Hmmm... I'm trying very hard to keep my posts short-ish haha... so I will end here for now... I hope this made sense and connected with you too (and that you are keeping warm wherever you are)!

New Blog Design/Layout

Do you like the new look? Just thought to change it up a little. Love the colour of this template thingy, and since blogspot was doing all the work for me, I figured why not!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today I noticed that I have five followers! Plus, there are probably friends who are following anonymously too.

Just stoked that someone out there is reading my blog. It is encouraging. Thank you!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ten Things... at Ten A.M.

(9:45 is close enough I guess haha)
... I'm thanking God for:

1. Vouchers- we have received generous vouchers from friends. This has been so helpful for so many reasons- dinner out, new laundry hamper, etc. And I love shopping, so it makes shopping better when it costs less.

2. Recovery- I'm good! Waiting for some stitches to dissolve, but otherwise I feel well.

3. A phone call- Got a call this week from CYFs about an adoption information (compulsory) session being brought forward, by two months! Yes. In April they said it was going to be in October- can you believe it? But the other day they called to say there's an opening in August, so we can go to that. So stoked. (I think this is the first time I'm mentioning adoption in a post. This is because we're not fully decided on the timing for adoption yet, for various reasons... we're just starting the process cos' it takes sooo long. Could be a couple years.)

4. The husband- He's sleeping better than he was before, so his general health is improved.

5. Time together- The husband and I were able to hangout for a good part of last weekend. That's always a good thing!

6. Breaks-
I have had this issue of continuous spotting since November. Probably due to PCOS, or the miscarriage, we're not sure, but doc thinks it is pretty harmless. I think I have had this constant slight bleeding for like four months out of the last six months- off and on. Not kidding. It has been so frustrating. However, this past week and a half, it has stopped. I am always thankful when it stops because it is such a hassle and such an annoying reminder of my crazy body. Maybe, just maybe it won't resume, unless for good reason, like a normal cycle. Anyway, still thankful for the break.

7. Friends and family- who are praying for us. There are so many people who have encouraged us and have been caring for us these past months with our various 'issues'. Through texts, emails, conversations, notes, gifts, meals, hugs, they have demonstrated Christ's love to us. Very grateful for their time and sensitivity.

8. Comfort living- My dad has a friend who has recently become homeless. Homeless. It is a sobering thought. I know it is not as straightforward as just that. There are so many things that are factors and things that I question. Overall, I'm thankful for a roof over my head and a warm bed.

9. Lollies- I love gummy-candies out of the Pick N Mix bins at the supermarket. I usually manage to walk past them pretty easily but this week I decided to get a bag. Sometimes a handful artificial flavours and gorgeous bright colouring can actually provide a bit of short-term bliss. Fake peach-ish sour snakes mmmmmm...

10. (Non-Gummy) Sustenance- God has carried me through another bunch of weeks- would've been way harder on my own.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bumping into Bumps, Blood, I'm Blabbing, etc.

I know! A whole week has gone by. Yikes.

So last weekend, the husband brought me to a small farmer's market just out of Auckland. It was a lovely way to spend the Saturday! I had a lot of fun. He even got all prepared and had cash on hand for us to spend at the stalls. Very sweet of him. I'm looking forward to more trips there, even if it is just to wander around. We had a lot of yummy things to eat. Like this:


We kinda had to laugh though... one of the very first things that literally greeted us when we first arrived was we heard our names called out loudly from somewhere, and when we looked up it was my old friend who is heavily pregnant. (Hadn't seen her for aaaages but I knew they were pregnant. Surprise factor- low. Phew.) The 'laughing' part has nothing to do with her though really. Like it was so good catching up and seeing her and her hubby all.

But here we were, driving out of the city, trying so hard to get away for a while and not think about our 'issues', being confronted with a very big and friendly reminder of all the things I was avoiding that day. Just had to try and keep it light inside of me and not try to crumple too much and still engage in conversation about the upcoming birth of the baby, etc. Focus S, focus. On them. Not yourself. Oh Lord help me. HA. Yes, I know. I'm selfish and I'm weak, a fab combo. (Oh dear friend, if you ever read this please trust that my communication was sincere, it is just always so so conflicting inside of me!)

Anyway.  I had a fabulous long weekend. And Saturday was a great day, including everything in it. Life is just so funny sometimes. Funny haha and funny painful all together in one big blobby bundle.

And I'm back on the blood bandwagon people! Have already had two blood tests (one a week)... this is to track my freshly drilled ovary (just one was done) and see if it is doing anything on its own. I'm not afraid of blood tests but some days, my vein doesn't cooperate and they have to fish around for it after the poke!!! Fun times.

Dare I even hope to ovulate on my own? I don't know. Didn't work last time, so I don't know where to put my hopes this time. You know?

Oh who am I kidding... I'm hoping this works. I always do.

Do you?

As always, it is late, so many more things to say... Type more soon.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Morning to Chill

(I took this photo myself!)

It is a gorgeous day today here in Auckland (i.e. not raining). I am trying to get some laundry done (I'm always trying to get some laundry done it seems!) and have hung some (yummy new) sheets outside, but I may still have to stick some laundry in the dryer eventually.

Okay, so laundry is a big obsession in my life (amongst other things) - where to hang it, cos' I don't have a proper line, and whether to use the dryer or not because will it rain, weather is so erratic around here, the machine keeps getting stuck, do we need a new one, etc, etc... haha, but I'll leave my laundry issues aside for now.

I'm not a huge fan of winter (who is?) and I dread pulling out my jeans when it gets here, cos' there is usually no turning back for the next six months, BUT I do love crispy cold mornings when the sun is out. Even though it is brrrrrrr cold, I love the smell of the early cold or freshness and how you can do a bit of outdoor activity without feeling all hot and bothered.

I have the luxury of starting late on Fridays, so today I went for my first walk-run attempt since before my surgery. BEHOLD! I am intact. I was afraid I might literally bust out at the seams (I even held my tummy down a couple times, as if that would help haha), cos' the incisions still have felt a achey here and there, but it is probably more because they are healing. Anyway, it was mostly a comfy walk and it felt good to do that. And good to know the gazillion-grand worth of stitches actually work.

Ahh... I think I'm just glad I made it to Friday. Somehow, I had a really tiring week. Not sure why. I'm also looking forward to the weekend because it is a long weekend for us (Queen's Birthday) and the husband doesn't have to work on Saturday, so we are hoping to have some fun, like a dinner out together, and he has a plan for us to do some kind of day-trip tomorrow! It is a surprise. Exciting!

I hope you have a good end-of-the-week too. Gonna go figure out what to do with the third load of washing as I'm out of hanging-space...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Dear Baby N: A letter to you...

Last week was the due date of our baby we miscarried last year. Here is a note I wrote to him (or her):

Dear Baby N,

This past week would've been the week you were due to be born.

It is hard for your dad and I to know how to remember you, as we have very few memories to hang on to.

What will remain special to us will be the fact that we saw you grow in my tummy from 7-weeks to 8-weeks, and from 8-weeks to 9-weeks. We saw this on the ultrasound each of those three weeks, and we saw your growth in size, as well as your strong and vivid hearbeat. We were so excited and so full of hope!

(I know it is not exactly related to what the psalmist is saying, but because it talks about the heart, this verse has been significant to me,

...He who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do...
Psalm 33:15

as it reminds me that you were created by God and are precious to Him. )

What happened after that 9-week mark, we're not sure and probably won't know. I guess there was just something that wasn't going well that we didn't pick up and I know, as you were still so tiny, we could not have done anything about it anyway.

I'm sorry that the events that followed colour my memory of you- when I started to spot, and got worried, and what eventuated at the hospital. I wish I could rub those mostly-difficult memories out but I know the best thing is to engage with both ends of the spectrum, however they come.

When we found out we were having you, your dad and I went out for a special meal and also shared the news with some friends and family. You also travelled with me to Singapore and even though you were a delicate little baby bud from the start, we had fun.

Later on it was his turn to travel (to the States) and then he had to come back early when we found out you were no longer with us. It was so hard. It is impossible to describe the devastation we felt when we lost you at 12-weeks.

I'm sorry that sometimes I wonder if you were imaginary and that I had dreamt you up. However, I know you were real, so much so that even our doctor was confident that we would meet you here and around this time.

We were hoping to find out if you were a girl or a boy, but that didn't happen and it will remain a mystery. As will your personality and what you look like. These are things I will be longing to find out.

Regardless of what happened, your dad and I will continue to celebrate you and are thankful that we even got pregnant with you in the first place, as that was a miracle in itself and we praise God for that.

I'm not exactly sure what it will be like when I meet you one day, as I still don't know how to comprehend heaven, but we look forward to that time coming soon. (And I know there are friends and family who are looking forward to knowing you too.)

I miss you. I wish you were here.

with love,
your mom,

p.s. This figurine in the corner of the pic below was a gift given to us by sweet friends. We look at it often and it is a precious reminder of you.