Monday, November 26, 2007


Well, Thanksgiving is over, but it is never too late to give "Thanks."

I am thankful for: my wonderful husband, my beautiful stepdaughters, my father, my mother in Heaven, my sister, my friends, my life, my health, my pets, my home, the food in my refrigerator, everything. I am so blessed, it is a shame that I have to sometimes remind myself of that - it seems I should just know it all the time. I always feel so ashamed when I realize that I often focus on what I don't have instead of what I DO have.

Thanksgiving went okay. It was not perfect but it could have been much worse. My beloved went hunting in the morning. I stayed home in my toasty warm house, drank my coffee, watched the parade, and relaxed. It was delightful. My husband showed up about an hour before I expected him and I thought for sure that he got a deer. Instead, he told me that someone had tampered with his stand (removing the straps that tie it to the tree). When he climbed up (about 12 feet high), he said the stand just did not feel right. So he reached down (mind you in the dark) and felt that the straps were gone. He took several deep breaths and reminded himself that he got up there okay and that he would be fine. He went to check on our friends (to make sure the straps were not gone on their stands). All were fine. He was quite shaken when he got home, even though it was two hours later. You see I was supposed to be in the tree that morning. So I am most thankful that my husband is safe and sound. I would be lost without him.

He is still shaken by the event. He was telling me yesterday after church that he could not believe that someone would do that (potentially hurt or kill one of us - our kids get in those stands too). He also could not believe that it was "that stand" because he has knelt beside it separate times to pray - for me and my sadness regarding our infertility, for our family and that God will allow it to grow, and for his anger. I told him that he should not view it that God allowed someone to tamper with that stand, but rather that God made him realize that he needed to check the strap and protected him while he got out of it despite the fact that someone tampered with it. He had not thought of it that way.

Friday was great. I had a nice morning with my family. My husband made a nice breakfast for us and we just got to relax. That is rare for us. Usually there is sports, dance, children Bible study groups, Girl Scouts, 4H, youth groups, etc. that we are racing off to attend. I spent the evening in the woods. It was cold, but gorgeous. I watched the moon rise over a small pond. It was golden and made the ice on the pond sparkle. I gave Thanks to God right then for allowing me to see such beauty. We, my husband and I, then went our small town's Christmas parade (tractors and trucks covered in Christmas lights). We then watched the Live Nativity, where our oldest played an angel. It was wonderful. She looked so precious up there - in the spotlight, with her angel costume on - another reason to give thanks. The youngest was particularly loving - tickle fighting and cuddling. The person in charge of the Nativity, came up behind me, put her hand on my shoulder and asked "Do you feel as blessed as I do." I told her "Yes, I am certainly blessed." Before she left, the youngest came running and jumped into my arms to give me a big hug and a kiss. I told her, "I love you soooo much". I gave thanks for that moment.

Saturday, we got our Christmas tree. It was fun. The girls danced around the trees and were as usual just plain silly. We decorated it that evening while we watched Elf. It is the simple little things that make me so happy.

Sunday, it was our turn (my husband and I) to be in the Nativity. I was Mary and he was Joseph. It was fun. I must say, that I enjoyed pretending to be pregnant and adoring my new infant with my husband by my side. Perhaps one day, I will be giving thanks for a real pregnancy and infant to be adored by me and my husband.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Feeling Hopeless Today

I had a really tough night last night. I woke up around 4am feeling so totally hopeless in everything. I sat there for a half hour trying to fall back asleep, but eventually started crying and then woke up my husband. I felt terrible for waking him up because he was so exhausted. You see, he just defended his dissertation proposal earlier that day. I was very proud and happy for him. But at the same time, depressed for myself. I defended my dissertation proposal almost two and a half years ago, but have made very little progress with regard to the actual dissertation. It is not for lack of trying, it just seems that I cannot get the necessary support to actually make the project happen (funding, academic, etc.). So in the middle of the night (because that is when these things happen), I was filled with fear that I will never finish and fear that if I do find another project - it will be so lame that I will never be able to get another job at a top institution (should we need to move).

Eventually that fear was transferred onto my infertility struggles. What if we can't get pregnant. What if adoption doesn't work out. What am I going to do if I can never realize my biggest dream - that of becoming a mother - and then I don't even have a career to fill part of that hole.

Yesterday, I fell to my knees praying to God that he blesses me with a child. I then prayed that if that is not His will, that he takes this desire from me.

I was still depressed this morning, so I decided to clean my office (cheer myself up with clean surroundings). I was clearing off my desk when I noticed that my notepad was turned over. I turned it right-side up and could see that something was written on the sheet just beneath the top one. It said, " I love you!". My stepdaughters were in my office yesterday and the oldest had left me a secret note. It made my day. I am still fearful, but I know I am loved by my family, my friends, and of course God and that no matter what happens - it will be okay.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Here we go - almost

Day 1 is today (all the IVF'rs know what this means) but for the non-IF/IVF'rs - Day 1 is the first day of your menstrual flow. I do not think I have ever been so happy about my period before. Now we can officially begin this IVF cycle. I have called my nurse and am waiting for her phone call regarding our next step.

I just got off the phone with the nurse. I had two options. Option 1: Go in this weekend, take birth control pills for 1 week, start stimulators (drugs to hyperstimulate ovaries) the week after Thanksgiving with retrieval at the beginning of Dec. Option 2: wait until my next period (mid Dec.), go in, bcps for a week, stims for a week (right after Christmas), retrieval around Jan 1st and transfer between Jan 5th and 7th. I chose option 2. Apparently they want to run a short course with me. I originally thought I would do a slower course (take bcp's for three weeks, Lupron for 8-10 days, and then stims, with retrieval around the same time of option 2).

It was tough to decide. My beloved husband goes into the urologist for a epididymal aspiration on Thursday 11/29. I am praying that there is sperm and that they are healthy. If they do get some, they will freeze it on the 29th. However, since we are not sure what they may get, I decided to not go through ovarian hyperstimulation, even though I want to get this started (and over with) as soon as possible. The other bad thing about option 2 is that transfer (God willing that we get embryos)will occur right when MSU starts up again. It will be tough to take it easy. But that is what I already had somewhat planned on. At least the good part is that I will be on break during the stimulation and observation period (so that will be easier than having to go through that while working and preparing for the holidays).

So, I am on hold until Dec. waiting again for my period, to get this baby-ball rolling. I just cannot believe what we are having to go through for a child.

I must admit, I think I chose option 2 because I am more than a little scared about all of this. But I also have to admit that for the briefest moment, I cherished the idea that I could possibly be pregnant over Christmas. It is that second thing that scares me most - that I am already getting those hopes up (even though I try to consciously tell myself that odds are that this will NOT work). My darlin hubby is right - it is going to be very sad if I get the dreaded Beta Negative.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Catchin up

I have not written since last week. Not a lot to report on. I had my mammogram (or as my youngest calls it - the boob squishy thing) on Friday. Those are NO FUN. I was pretty uncomfortable, especially when they had to do one twice in a row, because the computer did not read the signal. I feel a lot better though just having it done. I also got a flu shot on Thursday. I guess the one good thing about this whole infertility treatment stuff is that it is making me take better care of myself. I think had we been able to get pregnant naturally (and easily), I would still be taking my health for granted. I know I would definitely still be taking God's place in my life for granted. So today - I rejoice in my infertility and how much better and stronger I already am because of it.

Now having said that, I was not rejoicing on Sat. night. I was having quite the pity party for myself after hearing that my oldest stepdaughter was going to go dress shopping with her mom and possibly her mom's boyfriend and his daughter. I had expressed earlier to my daughter that I wanted to go with her also when they looked for dresses, especially being so involved with the dance (being on the decoration committee and volunteering to chaperone). I was broken-hearted Saturday night, once again being not so subtly reminded that "I am not their mother, nor will I ever be." I just excused myself for a bit and shed a few tears. For whatever reason, that event made the ache for my own child so severe that night. My beloved offered to call his ex and make sure that I could be included as well - but who wants to be included that way.

My sweet husband then got the kids going with a pillow fight, which cheered me up. It was the perfect way to blow off the hurt and anger. We had a ball even though a little glass was broken (pillow gone astray) and I (and the kitchen floor) ended up soaked. My littlest came sneaking in the kitchen with her pillow, when I turned and asked "What ya doing with that pillow?" - her reply was "I was just gonna lay down in here." So I turned my back and went back to washing dishes. As she approached (she is not subtle), I whipped around and covered her face with wet soapy hands. She, however, got the ultimate revenge at the sink (I thought I was very funny giving her wet-willies and laughing), when she grabbed the sprayer, put it over her shoulder and let go. I got drenched, but we both had a good laugh. I love my family!

All in all - a great weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sweet moment with youngest

Last night, my youngest stepdaughter asked if we could pray for her schoolmate that has been in the hospital.

We all took turns praying for the young child, who was seriously injured in a car accident *anyone reading this, please add your prayer for this child and her family* . During our prayers, both my husband and myself, also thanked God for our sensitive and loving child that is so worried about her classmate.

A little later that evening, she (my stepdaughter) was telling us about something she wrote in school. The topic was "change". She told us that she chose to write about her parents divorce - about the changes that occured with that. It always breaks my heart a little when she talks about it (their divorce) because I know it hurts her, but she actually surprised me a bit and said with a smile on her face "I wrote that my parents divorce brought good change and bad change. The good change is that if they didn't get divorced, I would not have such a nice and loving stepmom."

It was lucky that she already ate a healthy dinner, because after she said that, I would have let her eat cake and ice cream for dinner if she wanted it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Adoption papers arrived today

Today, we received two packets from the adoption agency we will likely use.

One packet contained the formal application for international adoption. I started looking it over but did not filling anything out. I don't know why adoption frightens me so much. The thought of all those shots, potential physical pain from procedures, and even emotional pain of failure some how seems easier than the emotional pain of getting attached to a living child only to have the adoption process fail.

The other packet was for embryo adoption. My husband and I have discussed that if we create more embryos (children) than I can carry and care for, we would would consider putting them up for adoption. This decision is much easier for him than for me. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of 1) having more than enough healthy embryos and 2) being able to give the chance to have a child to another infertile couple. I just think I will forever wonder, how is the child - would I be able to recognize him or her on the heaven..will he/she understand why we could not keep him/her. For the first time, however, I thought about adopting an embryo. The thought of it before today, honestly never entered my mind.

The one thing that I really do not like about infertility (well there is lots of things) but for right now - it is all the REALLY difficult decisions that have to be made. I am so envious of those couples that get to make a child the traditional way. No signing of consent for storage of your embryos, or releasing your rights to them in the case of divorce, death, wondering if one choice is more selfish than another worrying about all the money that it is going to cost you just to get a child (by whatever means it happens) and then still having to worry about financially supporting that child after they God-willing arrive (the 10-20K spent on artificially conceiving/adopting the child that could have gone to a college fund) worrying about if you are forcing your will over God's worrying about if you are making morally correct decisions.

There are times when I am so frustrated and sad about this journey, but I HAVE TO remember that although it is difficult I MUST BE GRATEFUL for it. It has already strengthened my relationship with God and I believe that is bringing my husband closer to God as well.

But right now I am still waiting for the answer of what we are supposed to do.

I will get to pretend and imagine what it would be like to be pregnant around Thanksgiving. I just volunteered today to play Mary in the Living Nativity in front of our small town's courthouse. My loving husband will play Joseph and I am hoping that the girls may be able to play Angels that night. We did it last year and were the Inn Keepers, but this year I specifically asked if I could be Mary. I don't what it was, but I felt that I was supposed to play her this year - perhaps it is God's way of letting me experience being pregnant in His own special way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Just took my prenatal vitamin. I don't like taking these right now. It feels like I will be that much more disappointed if the IVF does not work. Yet, I do it anyway just in case.

It looks like we should start the IVF cycle in December. I am both excited and nervous about the whole process. Excited about the possibility of finally having my own child and feeling what it is like to be pregnant. I also feel terrified about all the shots, potential side effects, and worst of all that after getting my hopes up it wont work.

We also have our pre-approval in for a Christian adoption agency and will go to the information meeting in January. I am still waiting to "hear" God's voice about what we are supposed to do. Both feel so right and honestly, I can think of nothing better than to give birth to a child and adopt one at the same time. If only we had unlimited financial resources, I would do both in a heartbeat.

I have been spending a lot of time in the woods lately. It is my time to escape all the stress of infertility (IF) and dealing with an ex-spouse's really really poor parenting choices (that is the MOST difficult thing about step-parenting - loving the kids as if they are your own and having virtually no say in half their upbringing). But mostly, I pray while I sit in my tree-stand. I give thanks for the beauty that is around me, pray for my family, pray for the other people I meet struggling with IF, and pray for peace (my own, others, and for the world).

On Friday night, I got treated to quite a show. Two fawns came in, a button-buck and a doe fawn. The milled about and ate. I can't explain to those that have not experienced it, how cool it is to see deer so close (with 5-10 yards). After they finished eating, they each took turns licking each other's faces. It was very sweet. Then the little button-buck decided he was going to act like a grown -up buck and began thrashing the tree (a tiny little sapling). It is the pre-rut right now, so the bucks are making rubs (where they rub their antlers and scrape bark off the tree to mark territory and let females know they are in the area) and scrapes (where they scrape all the leaves away to expose a patch of dirt which they then scent mark). So this little guy, makes his first rub as I said on the skinniest of trees (I actually giggled a little out loud when he did it), then he went over to a larger tree and tried, but really just hit his head. He made a few scrapes and one more rub before leaving. It is just awesome (and funny) to get to watch that.

It is hard to feel sorry for myself regarding IF struggles and other irritations when I have been so blessed to be able to do and see the things like I did on Friday night and on top of all that have a partner in my life to share it all with - I just need to keep reminding myself of that sometimes.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Just starting down this road of fertility treatments and options

Where do I begin? I feel so new to this journey, yet realize that I have already been on it for many years.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a "Mom". I wasn't in a rush, however. I went to college...met my college sweetheart...married him 4 years later...decided to wait a bit before starting a family and enjoy "just being married" as so many had advised .....

and then hit the first break in my path ...... my new husband changed his mind and did not want to have children anymore .... "just wait" others said "he will change his mind." ...and so I waited....four more years of hoping and encouraging "but you will be such a good Dad"...and still nothing...two more years of troubled marriage...

and hit the second break in my path...filed for divorce....

a year later found a new path...fell in love and married my best friend...but this path although easy because of love is a rocky path to motherhood because my beloved husband had had a vasectomy. This road, however, also has the joy of stepmotherhood - to two beautiful and loving girls. Six months after the wedding, my husband had a vasectomy reversal...and after eighteen months of trying to conceive with no luck we went back for a recheck....and have found that we are now on the path of infertility....

so here I am today... traveling along my broken road to motherhood and realizing that all the bumps along the way have made me who I am and although it is tough and I am afraid will get tougher, I am blessed because in some ways - I already am a "Mom" to my stepdaughters and I have found my soulmate, who will be by my side as we face this fork in the road of IVF - or adoption...

I don't know what tomorrow will bring...but I pray that whatever happens it is God's will and that I will know enough to be happy for it.