February 28, 2006

Life Ain't Always Beautiful

Sometimes a song really reaches inside and touches you. It takes everything that is rolling around and condenses it cleanly into a melodious 3-minutes. Even though you didn't author it yourself, it becomes "yours". This is my latest...

Life Ain't Always Beautiful
by Gary Allan

Life ain't always beautiful.
Sometimes it's just plain hard.
Life can knock you down,
It can break your heart.

Life ain't always beautiful.
You think you're on your way.
And it's just a dead end road,
At the end of the day.

But the struggles make you stronger,
And the changes make you wise.
And happiness has it's own way,
Of takin' it's sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful.
Tears will fall sometimes.
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.

Life ain't always beautiful.
Some days, I miss your smile.
I get tired of walkin' all,
These lonely miles.

And I wish for just one minute,
I could see your pretty face.
Guess I can dream,
But life don't work that way.

But the struggles make me stronger,
And the changes make me wise.
And happiness has it's own way,
Of takin' it's sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful.
But I know I'll be fine.
Hey, life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.
What a beautiful ride.

I know that my time will come and I will be a mother. The journey that has brought me to today has been filled with happiness, laughter and heartache; none of which I regret. I've always believed that in order to truly experience joy and happiness you need to know the hurt of heartache. The happiness and heartache has brought new people into my life, strengthened existing relationships and brought a new sense of love to my marriage. All in all, it's been a beautiful ride.

February 25, 2006

Wish I had more

My phone rang late last night. Late enough that I had a good idea who it was and I made a mad dash across the house to grab it as quickly as possible. Phone calls at that time of night (mind you it was late here and this person was calling from two time zones to the East, making it much later for her) always make me anxious as they usually mean something is wrong. The half hour I spent on the phone sent me through a roller coaster of emotions. All of which were directed at the situation not the caller. The initial anxiety subdued itself into frustration; frustration quickly morphed into anger; the anger spun wildly towards sadness. At the end the sadness melted into guilt. I felt as though by being this far away I've let this person down because I couldn't do anything more than to sit there and listen, quietly crying. I wish I had the answers, the sage advice that would fix everything.

Caller--I know that you're reading this. So many times I've wished that I could do much more than listen. I'm sorry that I'm so limited; at times I feel as though I've failed you as a friend due to these circumstances. Please know that I'm always here to offer what little I have, no matter what time of night.

February 24, 2006

The good, the bad and the ugly

Sometimes when life seems to be at its lowest point it's really easy to focus 100% on the negative and overlook the good. We take the amazing things we do have for granted. But when I sit back and take a minute I can see that even with the dark clouds in my life, I really am blessed.

The next time that it seems like nothing is going right and life isn't fair, I'll try to remember the things that I do have...after all, "the rain keeps the flowers from dying"...
  1. An amazing husband and 7 unforgettable years.
  2. My mom, who supports me 110% and taught me to be strong.
  3. Wonderful sisters who I've been proud to watch grow up.
  4. My dad, who has taught me how to stand up for myself.
  5. My dogs, who love me unconditionally.
  6. More friends than I can even begin to name.
  7. Kristin, her colon and her beautiful baby girl.
  8. Kristen who truly understands my quirks.
  9. Samara who I can disagree with and make up quickly.
  10. Jenn who could blackmail easily but never would.
  11. Unwavering support from the numerous friends.
  12. An incredible education.
  13. Tenacity and perseverance to put myself through school.
  14. A challenging job.
  15. Management who have been extremely flexible.
  16. A roof over my head.
  17. More than enough food to eat.
  18. Money to pay the bills.
  19. Vehicles that run well.
  20. A safe neighborhood to live in.
  21. Beautiful mountains out my front window.
  22. My health.
  23. Access to good healthcare.
  24. The freedoms I have as a US citizen.
  25. People who devote their lives to allow me those freedoms.
  26. Time spent in Nepal.
  27. Ability to take time to travel.
  28. A husband with a sense of humor.
  29. Family values instilled by my parents.
  30. The time that I have had as a mom.

Head to Head with the Demon

A few posts back I mentioned that demon--the one who tries so vehemently to grab hold of me and pull me under. Yesterday we went head to head again and I'm proud to say that I won. Although barely.

Do you ever have those days where shortly after you get out of bed you realize that maybe you made a huge mistake? That you should have shut the alarm off, called in sick and pulled the covers over your head? Yesterday was one of those days for me. I wish someone would invent an alarm clock that would not only remind you to get up, but could somehow forecast how your day would unfold. If it was going to be a good day, the digital display would be a nice, soothing color. I'll say green. Because most Americans associate the color green with "go". As in "go, get out of bed, face your day, it will be okay". If it was going to be a bad day, the digital display would be a color that isn't so soothing. In this case, I'll say red because we associate red with "stop". As if the alarm was telling you to "stop, stay in bed, save yourself the agony".

If only it really was that easy.

I should have known that it would be one of those all-day battles yesterday. Shortly after I got up I was in the shower, getting ready for work and I felt the demon. Standing in the corner, watching me ever so closely, waiting for the right minute to make his move. I tried my best to go about my way and ignore him. Hoping that I was stronger than him, that I wouldn't succumb. Once I got to work I could feel his presence moving closer, now standing over my shoulder. Every time I turned around the demon was there. Trying to trip me up, make me fall flat on my face. I continued to try and ignore him but it became increasingly difficult. At one point mid-morning I contemplated giving up the fight and going home to the haven of my bed. But I stood my ground and slowly pushed the demon further and further away until he was standing outside my window looking in--no longer able to grab me and pull me under.

These days are occurring less frequently as time goes on. With each passing one I seem to have more strength to fight the next battle. What baffles me though, is how the demon comes out of nowhere. I can't see or feel him coming; I can't predict when he'll make his next appearance. I've racked my brain trying to figure out what triggers his arrival. I wish he'd be like the dentist and send me a reminder card saying, "Your Next Appointment is due after August 21, 1006". That way I could schedule our next "go-round" and prepare myself mentally for the torture.

If only it really was that easy.

February 21, 2006

No Left Turn

Just a block from work is a fairly busy intersection, busy at least by Provo standards. Center Street is the cross street and is the "inferior" of the two. Traffic on Center St. is not allowed to make left turns (from either direction) onto the cross street (Hwy 189 or State St.). You can only go straight or make a right turn. There are 3 huge signs, that are impossible to miss, that specifically say "NO LEFT TURN". I was coming home from work tonight via Center St. When the light went green a car up ahead of me ignored all signs and sat blocking traffic, waiting to turn left. Obviously this guy either was blind to the obvious or blatantly defiant.

As I cursed at him for causing me to miss the green light I sat and wondered if I was doing something very similar. Here I sit, trying my damndest to make a left turn. Am I missing the signs?? Am I totally oblivious that the best option for us really is to try unmedicated for 6 months?

Somebody please honk quickly and snap me back to reality...

February 17, 2006

MVP goes to my wonderful husband

Even though today's game was a total bust, I forgot to say that honorable mention went to C. As mad/frustrated/disappointed/upset as I was, all I could do was sit there and bite my lip to keep from tearing up. (Which I why I hate being a girl; I wish I could control my emotions better.) He stepped up to the plate and tried his best to answer all the questions that he knew I had bouncing around in my head. He said that we wanted to get more aggressive, that we felt 18 months had been a long journey to be on already, especially with the heartache of 2 losses.

He might not have said things exactly how I would have but he did a fantastic job nonetheless. Once again I realize exactly how lucky I am to have him.

2 Strikes & We're OUT!

Today's doctor's appointment went no differently than last week's with Dr. DoNothing. Seems like the infertility docs out here must have all gone to the same school...and since there are only two clinics in Utah and they serve Utah, Idaho and Nevada, we're out of options. So much for a homerun today, looks more like a swing and a miss.

To sum it up, I got the same speech, just told in slightly different words.

"You're young"...
"You haven't been trying that long"...
"Obviously you can get pregnant"...
"Healthy couples take on average six months to conceive"...
"Be patient, it will happen"...

This doctor doesn't see it as we do--that we've been trying for 18 months now. He sees it as we're on our 3rd or 4th cycle from the miscarriage in October. Well within the "normal" time frame. And if you want to get technical, this is the 1st cycle since the surgery to remove the polyps. Once again, we're to give it 4-6 months unmedicated and then he'll think about moving us on to ovulation induction meds. Even better yet, he told me to quit charting and using the fertility monitor. I vaguely remember him saying, "relax and have fun, it will happen in time".

So after 18 months, it looks like we just got drop-kicked back to square one.

February 16, 2006

Time to fess up

For the past week or so (since my follow up appointment with Dr. DoNothing) I've been ranting. I've ranted about how I don't want to wait anymore. I've ranted that I don't want to try "naturally" to get pregnant. I've ranted about how we need to get aggressive in our treatment. I've ranted that I'm tired of this journey. What it really boils down to is the fact that I'm tired of the heartache that I carry around inside of me. I hate that I've turned into "that" person. The woman who sneers at beautiful pregnant bellies, changes the channel when commercials for pregnancy tests come on and can't even find the courage to call my sister-in-law and congratulate her on her pregnancy. That's not who I am inside, but it's who I've become. It's not that I'm not happy for these pregnant women. It's just that I'm so incredibly envious that it turns my stomach and makes my heart race. It brings tears to my eyes because it's something I want so badly but feel is just out of my reach. I know that the heartache of my losses will always be with me. Personally, I don't ever want to lose it completely because it's a daily reminder of the wonderful things that I do have in my life. But I'd like some of the rawness of the heartache to diminish. The only way I think that will happen is for me to get pregnant and to safely get past the first trimester.

Even before my appointment with Dr. DoNothing I had been seriously thinking about injectable ovulation induction meds. Yeah, the kind that you hear women giving birth to quintuplets because of. I've tried the clomid and it's obvious that it does work. But I'm afraid that it's also contributing to the miscarriages. Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking but it's just a step I'd like to bypass at this point. My hope is to have this new doctor tomorrow ask me what I want to do, where I feel we should be headed. Maybe I'll be brave and try the clomid for a couple of cycles; maybe he'll force me to be ever braver and try the injectables.

A conversation I had this morning with my sister really brought some things into perspective. I've done a lot of ranting the past week (actually since the miscarriage in October) and in all reality it's just a smoke screen. An illusion to keep my mind occupied and my true feelings hidden from view. Deep down inside I'm terrified of the next step. I'm terrified of moving onto injectables, even terrified of going back on the clomid again. I want to be pregnant so badly but the thought of it scares me to death. This past year has been so emotionally devastating. A positive pregnancy test no longer results in shrieks of jubilation and the desire to scream the news at the top of your lungs. It brings tears, fears and trepidation. I can't allow myself to get excited because of the heartache that could slam into my world at any moment. I've lost that naive excitement about being pregnant and it's been replaced by chill you to the bone fear.

I'm not sure what feeling is worse--wanting to get pregnant to lessen the heartache I carry with me now or being afraid to get pregnant because of the risk of further heartache...

February 15, 2006

4-Legged Fur Therapy

There are three very special boys in my life--my husband and my dogs. All of which drive me absolutely nuts at times and all of which can be the very best therapy in the world.

Logan just turned a year old the end of January and still acts very much like a puppy. He is always on the move--chewing on a bone, picking fights with Dakota or barking at C and I. His big "brother" (although not related by bloodlines) is much more calm. Dakota would rather lay contentedly at your feet or in his kennel. Looking back, he began to grown out of the puppy phase and calm down shortly after he turned one. Hopefully Logan will follow his lead shortly.

Lately Logan has begun to settle into a nightly pre-bedtime routine. As soon as I crawl into bed he flops himself down on top of my chest. Often times if I'm not quick enough the covers end up in a puddle somewhere beneath his belly, no where near covering me. Logan weighs just slightly over 40 pounds, so him laying squarely on my chest isn't exactly the most comfortable thing in the world. However, he lays with his head on my chest, looking at me with his beautiful, big, "cow-eyes" and licking my chin. As soon as I reach up to pet him, he picks his head up and pulls away from my face. I put my hand down and he lays his head back down, content. Last night as we did this he looked at me, as if to say, "Mom, you don't need to pet me as I lay here, just let me give you kisses and show you how much I love you."

That's why I love my dogs as much as I do. They love C and I unabashedly, unashamedly, unreservedly. But more important, unconditionally. It is reassuring to know that no matter what, they will accept, forgive, adore and be loyal to me, no matter what. All that they ask is that I give them the chance to do so.

See if you can find that in a $150/hour therapist.

February 14, 2006

RE Russian Roulette

Infertility testing done in early December showed a rather larger polyp in my uterus that was in dire need of a relocation. Preferrably the pathology lab at LDS Hospital. On February 1st I had a hysteroscopy and D&C. There are no incisions made during the surgery so one can put two and two together to figure out exactly how the doc got where he needed to be. Yeah, I don't need to say anything else. The hysteroscopy part is actually pretty cool, they send in a tiny camera to be their seeing eye dog and then use a thin wire to slice off the polyp. The D&C part is not so cool, they scrape the endometrial lining to "clean out the cobwebs" as C would say. All in all the surgery went well although much more involved and longer than anticipated. What was thought to be a straightforward procedure--get in, cut it off, scrape it out and "git-r-done"--turned into a much more complex event. Once in place the video screen showed a minefield of polyps and debris. The RE said that in 25 years of being a doctor he has only seen polyps that extensive in a patient my age a couple of times. But now we're all cleaned out and good to go, or at least I thought.

Last Friday I met w/ my RE, who I have officially dubbed Dr. DoNothing, for a follow up appointment. To put it mildly I was dissatisfied with our discussion. Actually I felt that the conversation was rather one-sided as my thoughts and opinions were tossed aside like a two day old newspaper. He discussed, I sat and fumed. He said that it was important that I "get pregnant quickly" as he has concerns the polyps will return. His plan of action was to continue charting my cycles (see "Hormone Report" under Links) and try unmedicated for 4-6 months. To me his plan sounds completely absurd.

I had originally been referred to this RE after my second miscarriage last year. Both times I had gotten pregnant my ob/gyn (Dr. Amazing) had me on low dose clomid to induce ovulation. The first miscarriage was thought to be a fluke, one of those "1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage" statistics. The second one six months later opened both of our eyes. Dr. Amazing realized there could be a problem that he was not entirely qualified to diagnose or handle. Dr. DoNothing began by running some preliminary tests, one of which showed the monster polyp. But I digress...

I've been trying to get pregnant for 18 months now. Throwing everything I have at this journey--charting my basal body temperature, using a fertility monitor, drinking green tea, eating baby carrots, taking prenatals, swallowing Robitussin and Mucinex, scheduling our sex life and putting my hands god-knows where to check bodily fluids. 6 cycles of those 18 I've been on clomid, 2 of those cycles I got pregnant. You do the math. Seems like those 12 unmedicated cycles where I didn't get pregnant and the 2 medicated ones where I did show some sort of pattern. Perhaps my body needs a gentle shove to help procreation along. It appears that Dr. DoNothing attended a very different statistics class than I did. He seems to think that I need to waste another 4-6 months unmedicated. I don't think the same way. I want to go back on clomid or move on to injectables, NOW. That's the most logical way for me to get pregnant quickly.

Obviously, what do I know? I'm certainly not a medical professional. I'm just the one who's dealt with the heartache of 16 cycles that failed to end in two lines on a pregnancy test. More importantly I'm the one who's dealt with the heartache of 2 cycles that did end in two lines on a pregnancy test but failed to thrive past 9 weeks gestation. I think that I am qualified to know what's best for us in this situation, what is an appropriate plan of action. I'm tired of waiting. Tired of dealing with the heartache and pain. I want to be a mom more than I can even convey to my husband.

This Friday, I have an appointment with a new specialist. I hope this one feels I'm qualified to have some say in the decision making process.

February 13, 2006

The Strength of Others

I've come to realize an important lesson in life over the past 18 months. Plain and simple, everyone has their own trials and tribulations and none of them should be belittled or looked upon as unimportant or miniscule. We all have a certain set of problems in our own lives and to us they seem incredibly paramount; you might even say some of them are life-changing. Often times we look at the struggles of others and compare what we're going through to what they are facing. I know that I've done this myself and secretly thought, "my problems are so much worse than theirs, what do they have to complain about?". I've realized though that I can't make that kind of comparison. No matter what problems you may be facing at the moment, the most pressing one will always seem huge compared to everything else. My huge may be drastically different in scope than someone else's huge, but they're both huge none the less. Make sense?

There are many days that I struggle to remember this. For instance, when I hear an announcement of a friend who is finally pregnant after 3 months of trying. To her, this four months was the longest 3 months that she has ever endured. It was a struggle for her. To me, that 3 months seems like a drop in the bucket. I look at what C and I have gone through in the last 18 months and I consider my struggle to be significantly more difficult, worth some sort of sympathy/empathy from people. But then I look at the struggles that others have had to endure and I'm humbled quickly.

I'll give examples of two very close friends. Two people who are a huge inspiration to me. They are friends from very different times in my life, but each extremely special to me. Strangely enough they have the same given name although spelled slightly different.

Friend #1 -- We've been friends since about the 6th grade, with a lapse of a couple of years in early college (which I blame myself entirely for--stupid boyfriends). This friend struggled for about six months to get pregnant, finding out they had been successful shortly after my miscarriage last May. She had a great pregnancy and was incredibly considerate of my feelings. Early November she started having back and abdominal pain and things slid downhill from there. The middle of the month she was officially diagnosed as having gone into pre-term labor--serious medications, hospital stays and bedrest ensued shortly thereafter. Her beautiful baby girl made her entrance into the world on December 9th (my due date from the miscarriage in May) and spent close to 8 weeks in the NICU. This friend didn't quite feel right after delivery but wasn't sure what to expect, considering she had just given birth. The week after Christmas it was discovered that she had massive infection in her abdomen that destroyed her ovaries, uterus, appendix and almost her colon. Surgery removed everything infected but the colon. Everyone agrees that her baby truly is a miracle, that by being born early she saved both her own and her mom's life. Not once throughout this whole ordeal (starting with the pre-term labor) has this friend ever complained or said how "unfair" it was. Undoubtedly she has been a source of strength for me.

Friend #2 -- We've known each other for considerably less time and have never actually met face-to-face. We became friends through a website a little over a year ago and it's amazing how close we've become through e-mails, phone calls and posts on our forum. This friend has been trying to conceive longer than I have and is dealing with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), insulin resistance and low sperm count. She's undergone rounds and rounds of medication and inseminations, all that have been unsuccessful. Now she's moved on to invitro and has even taken the extra step to donate her eggs to help other couples in their journey. Not once since I've know her has she allowed this struggle to get the best of her. She continues to stay positive and push forward, never giving in to that demon that forces you to crawl into bed and pull the covers up tightly over your head. This amazingly strong person also puts many of her needs aside as she helps to raise her sister's 3 young children. Undoubtedly she has also been a source of strength for me.

There are days that I feel sorry for myself. Days where I'm jealous of others whose struggles seem "easier" than mine; days where that demon tries to grab hold of me and force me under. Those are the days where I look at what others endure so stoically and I find strength in them.

February 12, 2006

Jumping in head first

It seems as though I'm way behind the times, technologically speaking...so I've decided the best way to get back in the swing of things (and to keep other people updated) is to start doing this myself.

So here goes nothing.





(Guess this means I'm an official blogger now.)