Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Definitely Not Sexy

Hubby had an S/A test scheduled for today. The first S/A we did, we were able to collect the "sample" at home and then do the "Forget Paris" drive to the lab to drop it off. Unfortunately, because of many circumstances, we have since learned that we may as well just throw out those first results (and the $120 we paid for them...). This time we went to a specialty lab (an andrology lab) and are working with a urologist who sepcializes in infertility issues. In order to avoid some of the problems that we ran into last time we decided to go into the lab to make the sample deposit.

It's kind of funny how reality is never the same as what you imagine it will be. I am reminded, yet again, that TV and movies are not a good indication of what happens in real life. Last night my biggest worry was the thought of hubby looking at pornography and masturbating. It just didn't feel right, even if the goal was to help us have a baby. He did tell me that he wouldn't look at porn (it didn't feel right to him either). However, he was nervous about going so he asked if I could go with him. Making a deposit in a lab is much different than being in the comfort of your own home.

We were both so nervous and worried that we would be held up in traffic that we arrived at the lab about 30 minutes early. Instead of going to sit inside to feel like idiots for half an hour, we waited in the car for 15 minutes and watched a bird family in the tree in front of us. The daddy bird kept bringing the mom and the babies worms to eat. (Secretly I was hoping this little bird family was symbolic...) Then we decided to go sign in. After 10 minutes we were lead back to "the room."

I don't know what hubby thought the room would be like. I was imagining a small room with a TV and VCR, a rack full of dirty magazines and porno films, a chair, and one of those padded examination tables you find in every doctor's office. And, possibly sexy posters on the wall (I don't know why the posters). When the door opened to the room I couldn't help but laugh. It was the opposite of what I expected, it was bare. There was nothing on the speckled gray wall-papered walls except a small sign that gave instructions for how to deposit the specimen. The floor was a darker linoleum versioin of the walls. There was a sink, a chair, and a small cupboard with a drawer and a lower cabinet. Oh, and there was a small door in the wall in which to deposit the "specimen" when you're finished. Before she left, the lab tech told us there were "magazines" in the cabinet drawer.

I don't know why I imagined a reputable lab would have a room that could be described as anything other than sterile. This room was definitely NOT sexy. I actually felt sorry for the men who had to make a deposit and didn't bring their wives with them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

My Relationship with God

It's been a while since I blogged about my prayer life struggles so I thought I would post an update. I guess the update is kind of a mixed bag. I did find a spiritual director and have met with her several times and we are getting along pretty well. My prayer life has also improved. I have been praying more regularly, even daily, although this last week has been a little more spotty. I have been praying with the Psalms more, and that has been good too. The best thing, though, is that I'm feeling more comfortable with God. A couple months ago a friend made a comment to me that God was not sending infertility to me because He thought I would not be a good mom. Instead, God is crying with me in my sorrow and mourning. That really helped me stop and adjust my thinking. Since then it has been much easier for me to want to invite God into my life again. I have been imagining myself as a little girl sitting on God's lap and it feels safe. That is nice.

So, why is the update a mixed bag? It comes back to my trust issues again. I feel like God is calling me to rely in Him completely, not just partially. I still find myself struggling to trust. I don't really trust that I will get to be a mom, my deepest desire. I "know" that God puts our deepest desires in our hearts because they are signs of our vocation... at least the academic part of my head knows this. My heart is not so sure. Actually, it's probably more acurate to say that deep down I don't believe it will ever happen. Then, there's a little voice in me that remembers that I didn't believe I would ever be married, but then I met my wonderful DH and now we're ecstatically happy being married to each other. So, maybe I haven't lost all hope. I am trying to build off of this little sliver of hope to improve my trust in God. It's serving as my "proof" of God's trust-worthiness.

I'm so going to hell for not trusting God, even after everything He has already given me...


I've been thinking about this post for a while. A couple cycles ago, during my period, it hit me why (at least one of the reasons why) it was so painful every time my period arrived. Every month I embody failure, barrenness, and pain. After a while of embodying these things, they start to feel like they are part of my identity, part of who I am as a person. Then, eventually, the struggle with infertility starts to feel like I embody death every month because I cannot embody life. I fail at creating life. Every month my husband and I mourn as if a loved one has died. Although an actual person does not die every month, the hope of expanding our family dies a little more; our faith that we will some day be parents dies a little more; the hope of new life dies. I try to renew these hopes and dreams with the renewal of my fertility symptoms, but every month it becomes harder and harder. I find myself almost hoping I stay emotionally numb and apathetic because it is easier than the emotional roller coaster. God, please help me find hope and not loose it again.

Peak Plus 12


Well, today is peak + 12 (12 days past ovulation) and my period (AF) has not arrived yet. I'm not very hopeful that I'm pregnant though, because yesterday I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. Also, I had some slight cramping yesterday, the kind I usually get the day or two before I get my period. However, I haven't had any cramping today yet. Although, I started taking progesterone this cycle on peak + 2. I am supposed to take it until peak + 14. This may be keeping my period away longer. For this cycle, it's just making it difficult for my schedule. Unfortunately (at least in regards to the timing of my cycle) I leave at 6am tomorrow on a trip. I will be away from Hubby (who has to stay home and study) during the exact time that I will probably find out for sure how this cycle will turn out. I will bring all supplies with me in case AF comes, and I'll bring my progesterone to take me through peak + 14. I'm not sure about taking a pregnancy test while I'm away. I won't have a private bathroom, and I don't really want to test in a public bathroom... It's definitely a dilemma. I will probably test tomorrow morning before I leave for the airport. If I don't get pregnant this cycle, I think we'll try some new tactics next cycle.

It’s a Whole Different World

I was struck today at how surreal my TTC journey has been. Sometimes I feel like I have been sucked into a whole different planet, complete with it's own language and method of marking time. Only a select few people have been granted access/citizenship into the infertility world. Everyone else on earth seems to be clueless to the existence of this world. However, for the citizens of the infertility planet, it can be their primary experience of community. It is so easy to eat, drink, and sleep in the infertility zone. I find myself using all of the short hand and vocabulary of the infertility citizens as if it were my native language (at least in the conversations in my head and online with the other ladies struggling with infertility). It's almost like we (the infertile) are sisters. I am more comfortable sharing my struggles with perfect strangers than I am with my friends. It's amazing how much goes on in the sub-culture of those struggling with infertility. If you look in the internet, you could be trapped in websites and blogs for weeks. These strangers understand my struggle much better than most of the people in my life. And, if I meet another "sister" in person, it's like we have an instant connection. I can share intimate and sometimes gross details without batting an eye, but only if I am speaking to a citizen of the infertile zone. Otherwise, I find myself wanting to be a closed book.

There are people in my life who might be invited to visit my new planet, even though they aren't citizens. These people are few and far between, but there are some out there. Then, there are definitely people who are NOT invited to visit. The black list is mostly made up of people who find themselves pregnant at the drop of a hat. Frankly, I'm so jealous of them it makes me sick. It's like they have the plague and, therefore, should be shunned. I know it's not fair, but that's the way I feel. However, I would like to go on record as saying that I wish that I wasn't a member of this new society. I would give anything to be one of the plague-ridden shunned...

Finding Hope


I'm feeling much more hopeful today than I was a week ago. I talked with a co-worker who has adopted children and she helped me feel a lot better. In addition to helping me really believe that low motility can be overcome naturally, she gave me some pointers on how to help Hubby's spermies get closer to my eggie through positioning. Also, we talked about adoption a little and I feel pretty good about the possibility of adopting a child and giving them a loving home. I'm still realistic. I know that having a child (no matter which way it happens) won't be easy or quick. I hope it will not take too long though...

As far as this cycle goes, I'm at peak + 7. If I don't get my period by Thursday morning, I will take a pregnancy test. I leave Friday at 6am for a trip. I'm not really looking forward to the probability that I will be mourning another failed pregnancy attempt and dealing with AF while I'm away from Hubby. However, it will great to see friends and to be present for the guys' ordination! Unfortunately, Hubby has to stay home and study until he can't study any more...

Spiritual Direction

My first concrete decision, given our current circumstances, is that I NEED to be in spiritual direction. I have thought I "should" be for a while, but I have been putting it off. The time has come where I feel it's imperative. A few months ago I had a preliminary meeting with a Carmelite priest, but I think I really need to meet with a woman. I got a recommendation from a good friend for a woman in our parish who directs. I plan on calling her tomorrow. As an added bonus, this woman is married, has adopted a child, and knows what it's like to not be able to have children. I think she will be able to help me cope with our situation. I am looking forward to having someone who can help me sort through everything. Hubby and I had a good talk yesterday, which was very helpful, but he can't help me figure out my identity issues (woman stuff...). Also, his relationship with God is different than mine. Therefore, we have some different spiritual needs. I think spiritual direction will help me with my specific journey.

First S/A Results


Hubby had a sperm analysis done Wednesday morning. We got the preliminary results today.
159 sperm count (normal is 60-150)
8% motility (normal is greater than 50%)
25% normal sperm [don’t have 2 heads, etc.] (normal range is greater than 30%)
normal white blood cell count
liquefied time was greater than 60 min (usually 20-30 min)
11.5 semen volume (normal range)

I don't fully understand some of the results (like the liquefied time). I do know that 8% motility is not good. Hubby and I are still kind of in shock I think. We cried together. I wish the results had come out normal. Of course it would be nice to not have another issue to work against us achieving pregnancy, but really I don't want him to take it personally and feel a sense of failure. It is not his fault! It's not my fault that my body has problems. It is heart breaking though. I know these results are not equivalent to sterility. However, it's hard to imagine that pregnancy will occur naturally with a motility count that low. We were advised to go see a urologist. I think we will need to do that to really understand what these results mean. Unfortunately, I don't think that will be covered by our insurance... I suppose we can submit the info and see what the insurance company says. The doctor is listed on our insurance website, so I guess we'll have to see.

Right now I'm tired (physically, emotionally, spiritually) so I'm going to log.

Health Update

I forgot to blog about how my post op went with the doc. I basically have endo in 1 place (that he could see) but it is pretty bad (stage 4, although my doc doesn't think the staging categories really apply to my situation). I have endo on my right side, from my ovary to my bladder, all around my ureter. The complication is that there are several major arteries in this area so surgery could be dangerous (at least more so than if the endo were somewhere else). The good news is that my uterus is still pliable (not cemented in place by the endo) and that the endo doesn't seem to be blocking anything (fallopian tubes, bowls, etc.). So, it could be worse. It could also be much better...

I'm not sure if the endo is what is causing the infertility problems. Hubby had a sperm analysis (SA) done, so we'll find out the results soon (today?). However, I'm hoping that after the lap, I will have a better chance of conceiving. Doc said that the only way to get rid of the endo is to have surgery with a very skilled surgeon (probably not laproscopic this time tho...) or to take contraceptives that will "dry up" the endo (but will also stop my period and nix our chances of conceiving for quite a while). Or... I could hope I get pregnant soon. Pregnancy and breast feeding will actually dry up endo too because I won't have all that estrogen in my body. Hubby does NOT want me to have surgery. I do NOT want to take contraceptives. We're going to try the "wait and see" approach for at least 3 months (doc said we could do 6 months). In the mean-time, I made an appointment with an allergist (April 17th) and I am looking into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I have heard only good things about accupuncture and it's covered by my insurance, so I definitely think it's worth a try. I am about to ovulate tho, so I think I'll wait to see if I get a big fat positive (BFP) this month first.

Harden Not Your Heart

Our parish had a Mission this week lead by a Discalced Carmelite priest. After listening to two of his talks, I walked away with one main insight. The first line of the Morning Office, that he prays every day, is "If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart." He talked about how we often harden our hearts to God. How many times do we think we have an intimate relationship with God, but in fact it's a pretty surface relationship? True intimacy requires bearing open your hear and trusting (from that very vulnerable place of an open heart) that God will take good care of you. True intimacy can be scary, at least when you are first starting or feeling especially vulnerable. Real trust means being willing to say that, even if God's plan for you is NOT what you want, you truly believe that it will make you happier in the long run.

So... how am I doing with my intimate relationship with God?? Not too well. I definitely need to soften my heart. I definitely have "trust issues" when it comes to God. I'm not sure why. Although I waited a long time to find Hubby, I eventually did get to marry the most wonderful man in the world. I am very thankful every day for Hubby and I believe that God put us together. I would hope that this would be enough "proof" for me. I have been trying to focus on how wonderful my vocation as a wife has turned out. I know that Hubby and I needed to meet when we did (and not before) because that is when we were "ready" for each other. Now, I just have to figure out how to have faith that we will become parents when we are "ready."

As far as softening my heart, I think I just need to quit avoiding God (at least avoiding intimate experiences with God) and take a leap of faith. I think I'm scared about having to go through something painful before I can come out on the other side... However, my head knows that being separated from God is actually going to be the most painful thing. My heart still feels like I want some distance. Except, I find myself writing this blog and attending the Mission... Maybe the deepest parts of my heart are stirring and yearning for God??

Tearing Up

I teared up in mass today. We were singing the song "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."
Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name
Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name
Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say Lord,
Blessed be your name

This song cut pretty close to home. I definitely felt like it was a challenge to me. Sometimes I want to embrace the pain of my situation and offer it to God and still be able to be gracious and "bless His name." And, sometimes I don't want bless God. Sometimes I am just upset with God and I want to avoid Him. My head tells me (from my many years of study...) that God did not send me infertility to punish me. My heart still hurts. I know God is trying to comfort me. A couple months ago I could not sleep for a few hours. It occurred to me that I might be having a "Samuel moment" and God was trying to get my attention. So, I said "Here I am Lord, I am listening." God just told me that he loved me. It made me cry. I had been avoiding God for a while. I still go to Sunday mass and pray with Hubby every morning and night. But, I haven't been spending quality time with God alone. I appreciate that He was trying to reach out to me and reassure me. I still don't feel like I am ready to pray again. I have moments of "break through" prayer, even when I'm distracted in mass. Usually it's music that leads me to prayer. But, I don't want to give myself over fully to those moments of prayer. I'm not sure if I'm afraid of breaking down in public (a very real possibility) or if I'm just avoiding looking at my sorrow in the face. Every month when my period comes I get very upset. The last time I failed to get pregnant I went to church and bawled my eyes out.

I'm not sure how to handle this situation. I don't know if I want to do something differently. Part of me thinks that spending more time with God will make it easier for me to handle this situation. Part of me thinks it will make it worse, or at least me my emotions more raw and near the surface. Maybe my defence mechanism of avoiding is healthy and just the way I have figured out to deal with the situation and still function in the rest of my life. Writing about it on this blog is my way of starting to look honestly at myself. I think I can only handle one peak at a time so I'm going to log now.


I decided to start this blog mostly so that I will have a place to vent. I never expected my trying to conceive (TTC) journey to be so complicated. Hubby and I have been trying to have a baby for almost a year now. I knew that I had crazy cycles before we got married. I just didn't realize how crazy they were, or why they were crazy. Thankfully, I decided to follow the Church's teaching against contraception and have been charting my cycle (for NFP purposes) for several years now. My charting has enabled us to find a doctor (who is an NFP only doc) who knows a lot about dealing with fertility issues and was quick to find an accurate diagnosis for my "issues." On Wednesday, March 14th I had surgery (a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and chromotubation). It turns out that I am lucky enough to have both PCOS and endometriosis... Isn't that great?!?

The doctor was able to remove some endometrial polyps in my uterus, but was not able to remove the endometrial growths outside my uterus (the main one was too close to a major artery). My ovaries are enlarged, but did not have any cysts, so that's good. Also, my tubes are clear, so that's good too. I don't know how bad my endometriosis is. I have a follow up appointment with my doc on Tuesday, March 27th. I have a slew of questions to ask him at that time. Hopefully, we will leave that appointment with an action plan in place.

So, how are Hubby and I dealing with all this? I guess it depends on the day. We both want to have kids pretty badly. Last time I asked Hubby he said he was about an 8 on a scale of 1-10. I would say I'm at least a 10 on that scale. The best realization I've had during this crazy time is that I love being married to Hubby. I would rather be married to Hubby and never have children than have children with someone else or by myself. This realization has helped me believe that we can be happy if we never have children. It doesn't, however, take away the longing in my heart. Hubby says that he just wants me to be healthy. He hasn't talked about it too much though. I'm trying to keep perspective and focus on the positive during this whole journey. We know what is wrong with me. It could be worse. Many women in my situation successfully carry a pregnancy to term. We have not even come close to exhausting our options to increase our chance of pregnancy. Although I am 30, I am still not old enough to be at higher risk for achieving/maintaining pregnancy.

I will admit that I break down sometimes. I have a hard time dealing with the knowledge that some women, who don't even want kids, get pregnant at the drop of a hat. It infuriates me when I hear about couples who get pregnant and they are bad parents or have an unstable marriage. It's not fair that they get a baby! I wish I could take their baby away and raise him myself. Hubby and I have a wonderful marriage and the skills to be decent parents (at least). I'm trying not to get bitter. I want to be able to rejoice with others. Lord, help me to spend my energy on being thankful for all of the wonderful gifts I have been given!

**NOTE: I moved this blog over from where it previously lived, so the dates from March to June of 2007 are a little off.