Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fresh

I am fresh off of a very... mixed... 48 hours.

In short, my hormones went berzerk on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I was pretty sure why and pretty sure I didn't like it. And then my temperature dropped Saturday morning. Kaplooie. Saturday morning, my husband and I got in the car for what was supposed to be a 6 hour drive to a dear friend's wedding. It took 8.5 hours and we walked in the door two minutes after the ceremony ended. Kaplooie.

On the plus side, I did get to see my lovely friend glowing in her dress, smiling at her groom, and dancing with her dad at the reception. And even though we missed half the event, I did get to see her full to overflowing, and in so so so many ways, that's entirely enough. Happiness is so beautiful, especially when it radiates from such an already beautiful person.

But last night in the hotel room, I felt absolutely flattened by frustration and disappointment. Between another failed TTC attempt and missing the wedding of a friend, I was just overwhelmed by the feeling that there are times that pass (though all are such) that you simply can't get back, and sadnesses that there aren't recompense for, and the infuriating powerlessness that comes from not having any enemy to rage at or any bad guy to blame. Sometimes it just rains.

But there was another side that, thankfully, wouldn't quite leave me alone. I'm only 27, but I have been lucky enough to have lived enough to know that any thing can be redeemed. The very wedding that we (almost, haha) witnessed emphatically - triumphantly - announces that fact. And that's no small thing. I have seen enough to know that the show really isn't over, even if it feels like the curtain is falling.

So we smile and gather close our blessings and hope for tomorrow.

I would be a fool to turn my face only to those things that cannot change (the past) and ignore the things that can. I would be a fool to miss the treasures for the spots of rust on the treasure chest.

As I've said before in this very blog. Things generally shake out OK, even if they suck beyond nightmare at the moment.

And in the words of a very fine author: "All will be most well."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bench marks

Well hello. I know, I'm a crummy blogger. At least it's intentional.

In the world of TTC, we are, in fact, still TTC. As far as we know, I guess. We could have "C"ed a few days ago, but wouldn't know it yet. It's the 2ww. I can't say that it's the 24th, what with my wacky cycles and all, but this cycle marks two years. This will be the third Christmas I've hoped for a couple little lines for Christmas. It's wild, looking back at the last two years and realizing that two years have passed. They have been full, and they have been happy, and I am not the person today I was then. I'm actually more myself. If I may be sappy, I have to say that that's one of the best things about being married to the perfect man for me - he makes me more myself.

I don't want to get back on the TTC rollercoaster. I might have mentioned that. So I'm not going to.

But I will say that I've learned to watch my temperatures and I've found it fascinating to see how they correspond to things my body does. I find it absolutely hilarious that here I am, plunked in this body, and it's like being dropped off on a foreign planet. I mean, it's MY body! Shouldn't I have a better instinctive feel for it? lol. But it's given me a much better handle on what happens when.

AND. We actually went in for the first IUI this month. We missed the LH surge somehow last month. It was all a very surreal experience. But hey, we've done it once, and are ready to do at least 2 more. On the down side, J's numbers are still way low, even for an IUI. But on the upside, it's the best shot we've ever had. So here's hoping, huh?

OK. I'm distracted and out of the practice of blogging, so I'm going to stop writing now. But now all 5 of my occasional readers know what's going on. :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eating my beans

Hello. Alive still.

Starting IUI next cycle. We're currently on CD 16 (I think - it's in that vicinity) of this cycle. So in something like 3 weeks or so I'll be going back on Letrizole (like Clomid, but way nicer) and then, the basting begins.

Am I excited? Not really. I feel like I know better than that now. Am I ready? Yes. :)

I have to say, though I can't even begin to get into it now, that these months off have been very good... for me. Not good, but good for me. Like, "eat your beans, they're good for you."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Engagement

My brother proposed to his girlfriend today. I am beyond delighted and honored to say that I was there for it.

Sitting across a pond from them, hidden behind a hat and sunglasses and a "torpedo" of a camera borrowed from a friend, I was able to watch them walk to the swing, sit down, talk. I saw my baby brother get down on one knee. I watched her wipe tears from her eyes. I saw them kiss. I took a billion pictures for them. I hope they came out.

I love him and I could never thank my parents enough for making him, and God for giving him to me.

I remember J proposing to me. So sweet, down on both knees on a boat in a country far away from here. The ring held between his thumb and forefinger, he said, "will you marry me?" with head cocked to the side and the sweetest smile I have ever seen on his face.

Marriage is quite the gift. It has such tremendous potential for harm and pain, but only because the potential for good is so enormous. I'm glad I've bound my life to J's. I hope my brother will always be so happy.

Blessings to the newly engaged. Love is always ancient, always new. May it be so for them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On a shelf

Yes, I've been gone for a while. I work at a camp for gifted high school students during the summer. It used to be 2 weeks. But the "blessed" (read: accursed) governor cut the funding state-wide, so no more camps. Ours was the very last in the state of Ohio into the foreseeable future. Makes my fists clench a little.

But anyhow. It was wonderful. Each week changed me. I am thankful it happened, and thankful I was part of it. I'm thankful for the people I've fallen absolutely in love with because of it. I'm sad it's gone. But the glow of it isn't.

So that's one thing we're putting on a shelf.

Another thing is the trying. At least for now.

I don't remember what I posted last, but J's numbers are still low. Directly in IUI territory.
I'm not ovulating. It's CD20 right now and there's no sign of ovulation. And that's late, even for me.
We want me to go to Italy with him when he takes a group in May.

So we're stopping for now. We'll probably gear up in September for IUI starting in October.

I'm both relieved and empty. I've not by any means given up hope. I'm just putting it on a shelf til the fall.

Friday, July 10, 2009

so then

So, J's to be on a regimen of Ibuprofen and antibiotics for the next three weeks to fight whatever it is that's causing the white blood cells.

We're probably planning on starting IUI in September. Time to start working on my turkey baster fetish. Oooh la la.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Data entry

Got the test results back. His numbers have improved - way improved. Yay. His motility percentages have dropped. Un-yay. And the white blood cells are still there.

We'll hear back later today or tomorrow about exactly what that means, but it looks like we're squarely in IUI territory, with some concern about the white blood cells.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Family

We live in a 160-year old farmhouse on what once was the edge of town. The Irish pub across the street was the milkhouse. The house was built in 1848. It has been around through all but a few of our nation's major wars. I wondered this weekend as I sat in the driveway and watched the fireworks what all this house has seen. We don't know much about the history of the people who lived here. Did someone walk out that front door and head off to the War Between the States (how very un-Yankee of me to call it that - but I can't quite bring myself to call it the War of Northern Aggression either)? WWI? WWII? Korea? Vietnam? Hm.

But I learned a bit about my family history.

I sat on the back deck of my parents' home and heard my grandmother talk about her father - how he liked ice cream, how he adored his wife, how he died, how he said to her after some testing that revealed 100% arterial blockage below his waist, "If there's a hell, I've been there and back." How he died the evening after he said that. How certainly that was the closest to hell he ever got, or ever will.

My aunt is the geneologist of the family and I heard about my father's family's history.

What's funny, she said, is that if you follow my father's parents' two lines directly back, you can't get very far at all.

My father's grandfather was a man named Rudolf Otten. He was born in Germany somewhere around 1898 and came over to the States in the 19-teens sometime. We don't know for sure which town he was from. We know nothing about his family. My grandfather doesn't know if he has aunts, uncles, cousins, or even what his grandparents names were. And what with the bombings in Germany - twice - there are no records. So that's where the paternal line stops. My great-grandfather.

My father's grandmother was an Irish woman named Mary Burke (my Irish friend out there -any relation to any Burkes?). Mary Burke was one of three children - Delia, the eldest, Mary, and a little brother. Her father ran off when they were young, and Delia made the trek across the sea when she was in her teens, in the 19-teens sometime. Their mother died, and Mary came over shortly after. Little brother spent some time in London, then went back to Ireland and breathed life back into the family farm. The Burke family is still there. My grandparents have met them a few times.

Delia married some Texan, a "bum" my grandpa says, and lived in New Jersey.

Mary married Rudolf, had six children, and lived in the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania region. I'm unclear on exactly where. Mary (Mamie) was born first, then Charlie, Edward (my grandfather), Bobby (died as a child), Helen and Kathy.

Incidentally, though I never met Rudolf nor Mary, I have heard their voices. A recording was made when my father was quite young, and in it, you can hear my aunt as a toddler, my father as a young boy, my grandmother before one of her vocal chords was paralyzed, and my great grandparents. Each with their own accents.

I have yet to learn more about the Lees - my grandmother's side. I know my grandmother was the youngest of three - Eva Mae, Chester, and then her. I know her parents names were Charles and Mabel. I knew my great grandmother. I remember her as being scary and old. She was both scary and old, but then she did raise three children during a depression and all.

So there you have it. For now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lewis Sonnet

A friend at work tonight asked me, "Doesn't it make you mad - seeing some of the people in this world popping out babies while you aren't?" And this Lewis sonnet instantly was in my head. No, I didn't start reciting it. But it was there.


You think that we who do not shout and shake
Our fists at God when youth or bravery die
Have colder blood or hearts less apt to ache
Than yours who rail. I know you do. Yet why?
You have what sorrow always longs to find,
Someone to blame, some enemy in chief;
Anger's the anesthetic of the mind,
It does men good, it fumes away their grief.
We feel the stroke like you; so far our fate
Is equal. After that, for us begin
Half-hopeless labours, learning not to hate,
And then to want, and then (perhaps) to win
A high, unearthly comfort, angel's food,
That seems at first mockery to flesh and blood.

Thank God for Lewis. His words are always a life raft. Because anger is just a handsbreadth away. Every month that passes, I feel like a big silent space somewhere in me grows just a little bigger. I'm not sure why that's the image that leaps to mind, but it is. These first few days, I always feel acutely aware of the place in my body where someone could be growing, but isn't, and I feel very ... still or empty. Thankfully, the sharpness of the pain I experienced, say, 6 months ago, has passed. This is much more like a prolonged sigh that sounds a lot like "someday".

Someday.

Meanwhile. There are things to do.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The painfully obvious

Life is not a movie.

Were it, I would have found out on my 27th birthday that I was pregnant, and I'd be due on my Dad's birthday. I'm not and I won't be. The much anticipated progesterone crash started last night and once again, CD34 has turned into CD1. Or at least, it's about to.

We'll find out how J's counts are this week, but either way, we might have to give up on the next 3 months. Why? You ask. Well, the great July shag-a-thon will be meagre due to the both of us working at a camp for high school kids for the duration of that week. We might be able to sneak away once. I'm sure it'll be phenomenal. Then, J is going to Italy for three weeks next May into June and no way in hell am I going to risk delivering our first child with him in some foreign country. Apparently he would not cancel the trip even if I should end up knocked up and due while he's gone. I'm resisting the urge to glare. *sigh* So there's that. In all likelihood, no babies for me until the end of next summer. At best.

Screw that.

On a positive note, I had a really nice birthday. I slept in, in a quiet house (no kids, no hubby), sat around a bit, had an awesome awesome workout, read a book in the sunshine, sat around a little bit, and then I went to work. Not the ideal birthday day, but it was good. I have some very good friends where I work, and lots of very friendly acquaintances and I really enjoy being there most days. After work, a few of us went out to Applebees for a drink. We go just about every Saturday night, but this week, one of my friends found it necessary to tell everyone it was my birthday. Thankfully, they don't do birthday songs there. But since we go there a lot, we know a lot of servers. I had no fewer than 6 balloons tied to my wrists. It was delightfully ridiculous. But it was a happy day. Not bad for 27.

J got me a throwing axe. Have I mentioned that I throw knives? Not well of course, but recreationally and occasionally. Well, he got me an axe. Might go outside and try that out this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A summary of my day

J left before 7 for his "nerd conference" (technically referred to as a "Gaming Convention" - whatever. Nerd conference. Nerds like him congregate for an extended weekened and game. He does strategic gaming - apparently a more respectable version of gaming than the weirdos who dress up like Chewbaca).

I got the kids at 7:35 AM.

We went to Dunkin' Donuts.

We went to the park.

We went to the library.

We got three MILLION books on pythons, the planets, some Native American folklore, the ocean, fairy tales and cooking.

At some point in the late late morning, I put small male J (their names all begin with J - it's not fair) down for a small sleep while small female J watched a show. I, naively, thought I might also take a small nap. Hormones make a certain someone sleepy.

20 minutes later? SLAM (the door). He's up.

No way. This child, when he sleeps, sleeps for an hour. This stepmom? Desperately wanted an hour. So, she sends him back to bed.

20 minutes later? SLAM. Creak creak (on the stairs). I stomp from my bed to the door. SLAM (door opening). Sob sob sob. Small male J stands outside my door sobbing, "I have a button in my tummy. It hurts."

Combine fury (at being woken up. AGAIN.) with panic and you have a certain stepmom shouting "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE A BUTTON IN YOUR TUMMY? DID YOU EAT A BUTTON?" (It's possible, really.)

wail wail wail, "I don't know."

Shout shout shout, "What do you mean you don't know? Did you chew on a button?"

wail, "no"

Shout: "Did you eat a button?"

wail, "I don't know?"

(vague wondering: how do you NOT know if you ATE a BUTTON.")

Continuation of same pattern until a certain stepmom says, "OK, I'm going to call Daddy and see if he thinks you need to go to the hospital."

At which time a certain 5 year old wails, "Don't tell Daddy! Don't tell Daddy!"

*eye squint*

"Lay down in bed while I call Daddy."

Panic: "Don't tell Daddy!"

"Did you really eat a button?"

wail. "I don't know. My tummy hurts."

Panic-fueled fury ensues.

Child is planted in bed. Small child's elder sister and daddy are consulted.

As it turns out, after the first time I sent the beloved child back to his bed, he laid there and cried and hissed himself into an absolute lather and stomach ache. He did not eat a button. He came up with that to avoid the nap. Which he then took for 45 minutes after being planted back into his bed, discussed with, and threatened to the very brink of his life. He's been a saint since.

Yes, he is still alive.

Dinner was not, as I was tempted to make, button soup.

It was, though, constituted by some phenomenal pork tenderloin, steamed green beans, yummy salad, and HOMEMADE (*bow bow*) garlic-herb butter. AND French rose wine. YUM.

*nonsensical griping deleted*

However, I do have my stepkids to care for. And something to sew for someone I've never met but care a great deal about.

Thank God in His mercy for giving us neighbors, lest we collapse in on ourselves.

So there we are. 9:07 PM on June 24, 2009.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Counting on fingers

Well, due to a small miscalculation, and resultant "hiccup", we had to put off J's visit to have his swimmers counted. They ask for abstinence at least 48 hours (very minimum) before the test. Sunday is not 48 hours before Monday. So, our swimmy-counting expedition has been put off til early next week. *snicker*

I am pretending not to notice that it could be a moot point by next week.

In all likelihood, I will be a grouchy bleeding mess, and he will be a grouchy lab rat on Monday next.

Ah, the familiar madness of rolling the CD over and over in one's mind; of ticking off the DPOs and making sure that today, still Tuesday (STILL?) is 12dpo; of being quite thankful for the wisdom of not having bought any HPTs in the last 8 months or so; of trying not to imagine or hope or whatever. My sense of humor has kicked in this round and I'm finding the whole thing still a little tragic, but in an almost funny way. My body is being quite kind - none of the typical PMS symptoms have shown up yet, which means as a direct derivative that there are no symptoms for me to overanalyze. Thank you, thank you.

Well, me and my 12 progesterone friends are going to go back and finish this cute green and pink handbag I started a bit ago.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My dad

My dad was friends with the UPS guy. I don't mean he had a friend who was a UPS guy. He was friends with the UPS guy.

I remember being a kid and hearing, on what seemed like a daily basis, the *beep beep beep beep beep* of a truck backing up our driveway. Once or twice during the summer, a birthday box for me or my brother would be arriving. But most of the time it would be a new tool for my dad's workshop.

And I remember going out there and seeing him, box tucked up under one arm or set protectively at his feet, one foot on the fender of the UPS truck, just chatting away with this guy he wouldn't have otherwise had any reason to meet. I don't know what they talked about exactly, but I'm pretty sure the UPS guy was married and had at least one little kid. My dad would know.

He's that kind of guy.

My dad is a fireman and a carpenter, and those two things somehow seem to say so very much about him - to me. He is a hero, and he is honest, and he works hard, and whenever I smell diesel and rubber or sawdust and varnish or soap and sun tea, I think of him.

I don't think he knows just how golden he is.

All he sees is the stormy temper and the blue collar, and I suspect that he thinks those things just about sum him up. It's both endearing and tragic, really. If he knew, he wouldn't be as real and humble as he is. But not knowing, I think, causes him more pain than he ought to carry.

He is the sort of guy who can chat up the UPS guy and end up with a friend. He cares about people and somehow often manages to get to the bottom of them, finds out what makes them tick, and sets them in motion. He's a cool guy to have in a church. He's a cool guy to have in your corner. I think this key is this: he really cares, and I'm not sure that's as common a characteristic as we would wish.

I wish you knew my dad. And if you do, I wish you knew him better. I know I do. Not that he's a stranger by any means - he's not one of this distant dads. But you know those people who you like more and more the more you know them?

He's that kind of guy.

Happy Father's Day Dad.

Friday, June 19, 2009

12

Well, the doc called. Actually, one of his nurses - my favorite in fact. I've only spoken to the actual doctor twice. But I speak to his nurses often. In any case, she called tonight with my results.

12!

You need at least a 3 to confirm ovulation, and anything over 9 indicates a "nice lush lining". I'm nice! And lush! Twice in a row! All on my own! For the first time in at least *counting on fingers* 5 years!

Knowing that needles aren't necessarily an inevitability is making me very happy right now.

Plus, I can now say that we are 8dpo. Hoo hoo hoo! That does put us on track for a 34 day cycle ending on June 29.

Have I mentioned that my birthday is June 27?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Commence twitching

Happy Thursday.

Bloodwork day. Did I ovulate or are there daily needles in my future?
Kids whining and fighting.
Elder kid whining to daddy about evil stepmom having the gall to break up said fight and make recommendations as to how to avoid/escape them in the future.
Hubby griping about location of clean laundry (admittedly not in correct location).
Hubby griping about just about everything that's out of place. Really, I'm trying. I just haven't managed to get ahead of things lately, so they're backed up and I apparently stink at guessing which thing is going to bug him next. Hello, I have 2.5 jobs. Oh, plus stepmom housewife duty.
Insane employer being her typical irresponsible unreliable disorganized self.

Commence twitching.

Next entry will be a happy one. Promise.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spitting it out

Wow. Why are these days so hard? It set in two night ago, and I can't shake it. I feel like there's a wrinkled green creature squirming around in my chest. This usually sets in more around the time of the Red Menace, not around the time of alleged ovulation. It's poison, it is, if you let it sit. So here I am, spitting it out.

*ptah*

*shake shake*

Getting on with things...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mind-Body

There is a debate in the philosophical world, and has been for quite some time, as to whether the mind and the body are distinct things, or two manifestations of one thing. In other words, is the mind something other than the body, or just a function of it. And then some folks throw the soul or spirit into the mix just to make things fun.

I have to say, I'm not sure. We're certainly material-spiritual amphibians, but how that works and how the mind figures in and where they all connect is not something I have an answer to. I don't honestly know if I really care, haha.

Preambles, preambles. Where I'm going with this is an observation. When this TTC thing starts to get to me, I can feel it in my body. It's a tightness in my chest and electricity in my arms. Weird? Perhaps. But there it is. Unfortunately for my sanity, it's dark and rainy out and I'm stuck in front of my computer stewing, I mean, working. All day. Bah. My pile of brightly colored fabric is, literally, 24 inches away from my elbow, along with my newly fixed sewing machine. I'm itching to dig in.

I'm going to try to open up a shop on etsy.com and see if I can sell some of the results of my self-medicating (not medicated) sewing therapy. :) I'll post the link when it's up and running. We'll see. If none sell, I'll simply foist them upon my unsuspecting friends and relatives. Luckies. har har har

----

I've been in a tussle in my mind (whether that's located in my brain, or otherwise linked to it, haha) about the subject of prayer. I've found lately a certain stilling in my prayers. It's not that I don't want to - it's that I seem to be losing any sense of what to say. The Orthodox prayers are full of acknowledgements (otherwise known as praise, but they feel more like statements of fact than statements of emotion... does that make sense?) and petitions and lots of "Kyrie eleison"s. I suppose there's a hint there.

But what do you do when you feel blessed beyond expectation or hope - knee deep in treasures - how do you possibly work up the gall to ask for more? Obedience is the answer, I know that. We are told to pray for our daily bread. Not just the starving are told to pray. We all are. And we are told to give thanks when it comes. But ask nonetheless. So it's obedience, again and again, that is required.

But it feels like audacity.

And how do you pray for specifics? All I've found myself capable of asking for lately is, "Whatever You want to give" because to say, "Almighty God, I want this" just seems... odd. I suppose that's why the Orthodox repeat Kyrie eleison. Mercy, please, as I ask for something that maybe I ought not have. Mercy, please, and give me wisdom as I ask. Mercy, please, and teach me how to seek the things You are pleased to give. Mercy, please, I want that and it's breaking me. Mercy, please, patience. Mercy, please, comfort. Mercy, please, gratitude. Mercy... please... Mercy, please. Mercy, please, and forgiveness for silence.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A couple poems

All by C.S. Lewis.


There's a repose, a safety (even a taste
Of something like revenge?) in fixed despair
Which we're forbidden. We have to rise with haste
And start to climb what seems a crazy stair.
Our consolation (for we are consoled,
So much of us, I mean, as my be left
After the dreadful process has unrolled)
For one bereavement makes us more bereft.
It asks for all we have, to the last shred;
Read Dante, who had known its best and worst -
He was bereaved and he was comforted
- No one denies it, comforted - but first
Down to the frozen centre, up the vast
Mountain of pain, from world to world, he passed.




Relapse

Out of the wound we pluck
The shrapnel. Thorns we squeeze
Out of the hand. Even poison forth we suck,
And after pain have ease.

But images that grow
Within the soul have life
Like cancer and, often cut, live on below
The deepest of the knife,

Waiting their time to shoot
At some defenceless hour
Their poison, unimpaired, at the heart's root,
And, like a golden shower,

Unanswerably sweet,
Bright with returning guilt,
Finally in a moment's time defeat
Our brazen towers long-built;

And all our former pain
And all our surgeon's care
Is lost, and all the unbearable (in vain
Borne once) is still to bear.

Snap

The good news is that my body managed to do it all on its own. For that, we are very pleased. We're hoping it's starting a new trend.

Am I surprised this cycle ended? No, not in the least.

But still. You know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An image

It's CD33. Pretty sure it's going to turn into CD1 here in a bit. The "stars" are aligning. Taking a deep breath, and waiting. This whole cycle has been a bit of a vacation. With a few stinging exceptions, we didn't think too much about the whole TTC "thing". I had a vague notion when I might have been ovulating, but I didn't tell J, and we had quite a good time not worrying about timing and position and what have you. I didn't expect to wind up pregnant this round. The odds are as low as they've ever been, really. His counts are still in the toilet, and there was no guarantee I'd ovulate on my own. I've only done it twice in the past five years after all.

So given all that, I'd have thought that maybe I'd get off easy this cycle. Maybe I wouldn't have to try, again, fruitlessly, to batter down the hope that inevitably rises as the days go by. Maybe I wouldn't wake up one morning to find the pain in my breasts forebodingly diminished. Maybe I wouldn't have to fight the urge to dig my heels into fate in front of me and my fingertips into the hope behind me.

Well, folks, there really is no cheating. No free passes. The hand stinks, and you fold it again. And you wait to be dealt a new one.

Oh. The image? Have you ever broken a stick with your foot? You know that slow cracking before the snap? These hours are like that.

I'm going to go sew something. And listen to that song. "Ain't no rhyme or reason, no complicated meanin', ain't no need to overthink it, let go laughin'... Life don't go quite like you planned it..."

Bootstraps. Yank.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Introducing...


My stepson. He's five, and this is his brand new trademark face.
In other news, I am sane and no longer the spawn of lucifer. Yay! I am, however, a water tower. I think I have retained every bit of water I've swallowed in the last 3 days. Please, someone, wring me out. I would love to swell up, but with a brand new person. Not with enough water to douse a small house fire. Am I being picky?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Satan pills

Bad news for all you fellow Clomid-poppers out there. And those of you related to said Clomid-poppers. Coming off the Satan pills is just as bad emotionally as starting them. I am the devil's spawn.

Just sayin.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Still Alive

Hi. I'm still alive. :) I just haven't had much to say.

This past Monday, J and I went on a bit of a road trip to Lexington, Kentucky. It was LOVELY. He didn't know I'd planned this whole trip, mind you. He had a meeting Monday morning, and when he got home around noon, I had everything packed and ready to go. Into the car he was stuffed and off we drove. About halfway there I told him where we were going. :) It was cool. His birthday is coming up next week, so this was his present.

We got there Monday night and had a tasty Thai dinner. Tuesday, we visited the Woodford Reserve distillery where one of the best small batch, triple distilled, Kentucky bourbons is made. We'd never had bourbon before, but as it turns out, we rather liked it. :) We bought a bottle. It's delicious, yo. ;)

DELICIOUS dinner and awesome conversation Tuesday night. We came home Wednesday.

I love my hubby. He's awesome. *happy sigh*

I have a pic I really want to upload onto here. My stepson, who drives me absolutely nutty sometimes, is hilarious. He turned 5 (FIVE!) on May 3 and his party was last weekend. He was delirious with joy. Both sets of grandparents were here, along with two awesome uncles, an awesome aunt and an awesome almost aunt. OH MY GOSH it's great to be five. He was a blur. Haha.

Incidentally, it's CD *counting* (I love that I don't know off the top of my head) 24. I'm eager to see if my body can crank out a cycle all on its own without any help from certain Satan pills.

So, how are you?

Friday, May 8, 2009

New theme song

Again I will say to ignore the actual video unless you need help catching the lyrics. Apparently there's no official video out yet. I do what I can folks. I will just say that in the past week, there have been several moments where you might have found your local non-mom dancing ridiculously around the house with a broom, mop, duster, etc, to this song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ph49YlxCqi8

I will say that 2 weeks post-meeting with the doc who seemed to insinuate that we had no chance of conceiving on our own, and about 1.5 weeks post-cry-your-eyes-out, I'm doing very well. I think, in fact, that this might be the healthiest I've been about this whole nonsense in quite a while. Life simply isn't how I planned it. But whose really is?

It's like what I tell my stepkids when they don't want to eat something someone else has prepared for them. I don't have to like it, but I do have to be nice anyhow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Folding

We went to J's appointment yesterday afternoon. The doc is not worried at all by his low counts, or the extra white blood cells that were present in the sample. The counts could very easily be due to the fact that J had a prolonged fever just about once a month since, I don't know, October. If "certain areas" get too warm, little swimmy guys start to suffer. However, it takes about 3 months to bounce back (Q: how does ANYBODY get pregnant if even a fever can squish your chances?). So, J need to have another analysis done towards the end of June, assuming he doesn't get horribly sick between now and then. He will not.

Yes, this is good news. I'd pretty much resigned myself to not being able to do this ourselves, so it's nice to have that possibility back on the table. It's frustrating to, once again, not know anything for another 2 months. And more between then. I'm not going to be on any meds at all til we know what's going on with J. No IUIs, no IVF til the end of the summer. The doc said to consider it a vacation.

Yeah. OK.

Truth is, I'm just about "responsed" out. This is all good news, right? And I should feel that way, right? I just pretty much feel exhausted and flat.

But generally speaking, doing OK.

Oh. The title? Ever heard that classic, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run..."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Channelling

It's an odd energy, this. It's worn out from months of fruitless hoping and raging, etc, and yet still finds it within itself to twitch impotently when poked.

It's funny, because in my head I realize that we've never really had a popsicle's chance in hell all this time, but I feel like we just lost our last chance at doing all this the "real" way. Of course, that's not even technically true, as we have one more month before all the needles and scans start. I have a friend who's been unhelpfully prophecying that I will get pregnant when I go off the Clomid. We'll see if she stands up there with Nostradamus or not.

In any case, I've been channelling all this impotent energy into bag-making. No kidding. I have a pile of cool fabric that I bought on a whim last summer that I've never quite figured out how to use. Well, I found two cool patterns and have been sewing up a storm. Now, I have a pile of cool bags I have no idea what to do with... Anyone want a bag? Mother's Day is coming up - that'll knock two out of the way (one for each of our moms)... Hmmm.

Also, (has anyone else noticed this?) it's easier to be nice when all the fury (not using the word as a synonym of anger, but as an illustration - like trees being whipped around in a "fury" of a wind) is spent. My stepkids and I are getting along, for the most part, beautifully. I like it. I wish I'd been stomped on a long time ago, for their sakes at least.

On a different topic entirely, it's lovely here today. Finally. Makes me think of guns. Haha. No, really. Maybe J and I will go shooting later this week. Target, not creature. We've got a way-fun black powder that makes a phenomenal "kaBOOM" and kicks the hell out of your arm. And a small handgun. I've been lusting after a revolver for years. Maybe when we're rich I'll get a sexy little silver thing with a wooden handle. Mmmmmm. But in any case, there's something quite lovely about staring down a barrel at the target. It makes everything else just go away.



"This is what it is to be loved,
and to know
that the promise was when everything fell
we'd be held."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tiny tiny mercies

It didn't toy with me this time, dragging things out, sending false symptoms, or any such thing. CD34 turned into CD1 very straightforwardly. That was nice of it.

I pretty much cried myself out on Monday and Tuesday, and after an emotional hemmorage like that, there's just not much to devote to a few tablespoons of blood. So that's nice. At least I'm not a wreck today. Just very, very quiet.

It's also a good thing that I don't think there's any big expansive reason for any of this. Otherwise, I'd start asking things like, "why?" As it stands, all I know is that it's just not supposed to be like this. But there's no one to shake a fist at.

Oh well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If, objectively

If I'm not pregnant this time, I will be on my first unmedicated cycle in a year.

If I ovulate, great and awesome. Let's hope that the problem of a year ago doesn't rear its ugly head again.

If not, and we'll know from the OPKs and possibly a progesterone test, then we will do a progesterone dump to bring on the next.

Jeff's numbers are low enough that IUIs might not be worth the money. We will find out on May 4 if this is the case.

If the numbers are good enough, we will do some variety of "super ovulation" injections, a trigger shot, and an IUI. The odds are, apparently, 20% each time.

If the numbers are not good enough, it may be due to a problem that can be fixed. That would be awesome.

If there's not a solution, our only real chance will be IVFs.

IVF has never really been an option. So many moral conundrums. We'd have to find a way through that mire. If there's no way through, then we're not going in.

This is very hard to swallow.

"This is what it means to be held
How it feels
When the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved
And to know
That the promise was
When everything fell, we'd be held."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Resurrection and needles **warning: emotional rollercoaster**

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!

Христос воскресе из мертвых, смертию смерть поправ, и сущим во гробех живот даровав!

Xristos anesti ek nekron, thanato thanaton patisas, ke tis en tis mnimasin, zoin xarisamenos!

Pascha is here and He is risen! Woo!

Pascha was awesome. J and I went up to Cleveland to celebrate with some very dear friends at a wonderful church and it was stellar. It's the sort of thing I want to bring everyone I know to.

You walk into the church. It is totally dark except for a few candles around the "tomb." We each do our prostrations, venerate the icon of the crucified Christ, and sit down to wait. At 11:30, we stand and the first prayers start. Still dark, still subdued. The candles are blown out. It's early in the morning, and Christ has risen, but we don't "know" it yet. We in the church wait. At midnight you see a light behind the iconostasis, and the priest in the most spectacular vestments you can imagine appears with three candles in one, all lit, and begins to sing: "O come, all ye faithful, and receive the light..." I wish I could find the text. We all have candles and light them from the Candle, and then slowly file out of the church, singing softly:

"Christ is risen from the dead! By death trampling down death, and to those in the tomb, bestowing life."

And the procession starts. Around the church we go, singing. Incense is heavy in clouds over and around us. There are torches and candles blazing, golden crosses, banners, a choir. You get a taste of what the Church really is, and for the first time, I really got it - why millions of people over the millenia have died for this. Not because we owe God, but because there is nothing more real than this. And I understand why it's still alive. It hasn't faded because it can't. Because it participates in something that is both at the root and at the end of all things.

One of the coolest moments for me came as we were rounding a corner of the church. I start hearing this "pop pop pop" sound. Gunshots? It sounds like fireworks but it's midnight. But then, off in the distance, there are fireworks. The Greeks down the road were shooting off fireworks! "Christos anesti!"

My absolute favorite part, though, is all the times throughout the service when the priest, censing the absolute dickens out of us and the church, clouds of incense billowing, the choir sstill singing, shouts over and above the chanted liturgy, "Christ is risen!" And we all shout back before he even finishes, "Indeed He is risen!" And he shouts back at us, "Christos Anesti!" (Greek) And we shout back, "Alethos anesti!" And then he shouts, "Christos Voskrese!" (Slavonic) And we shout back, "Voistinu Voskrese!" Again and again, in more languages than I could identify, he shouted and we, or some, or a few, shouted back. The celebration is timeless, ageless, disregards distance and difference, and our only common ground, this victory, this feast, is enough.

It's funny, because at the time, I know I got a little grumpy. My legs, hips and back just ached from all the standing, and standing for 3 hours from 11:30PM - 2:30AM having fasted for 6 weeks, and moreso for the last few days, was not making me happy. But you look back and you'd do it all again. You start counting the days til you can. 365-7-2=356 more days til Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

For now, the glow stays on us.

My friend said, "You know, I have friends who work in other churches, and every year they have to figure out new ways to make Easter exciting."

Not a slam against other churches, not at all. They are our brothers and sisters, and we are all one body. But the riches they miss. By forfeiting the fast they forfeit the feast too. It is just massive and I'm only at the foot of the mountain.

I am in no way doing justice to the mystery and majesty that unfolds. Please bear with me for the next few days as I continue to gush.

----------------

Having said all that, and keeping that in mind (it helps), I had my appointment with another doctor today where I learned all about superovulation, IUIs, IVF, etc etc. "Should" this cycle fail, we will take one off. There is apparently no way I'm staying on the Clomid and should, apparently, have been taken off it a long time ago. Apparently Clomid effects the brain, telling the brain to tell the ovaries to make and release an egg. But that explains why you can get neurological side effects. Apparently the kind and severity (apparently they were considered "severe" months ago) of my side effects basically meant that OK, the Clomid is working but the body is hating it.


The reason for not just going ahead and starting the next round of new meds is that J's numbers are low enough (they're "on the bubble") that the docs might recommend not even doing an IUI. They're apparently on the border of IVF territory.

We had not wanted to do IVF. There seem to be too many moral conundrums.

But we'll see what the doc says. J has his appt on May 4, so we'll know then how to proceed in June. June.

Had myself a good cry about it on the way home. Still sort of on the verge. I don't want any of this. I hate this. I feel like something has just officially been torn from my hands. All this time, we could still say that any child we had was a direct result of our love for each other. Somehow, what with all the appointments and shots and scans and doctors and shit, it feels like we're treating a problem, not creating something new. I'm not excited about this new step into "greater probability of success"; I'm frustrated and crying again and I just want anyone who can hear me to know that this is NOT FAIR. Of course, anyone reading this already knows that, but it's just bubbling out of me.

Of course, on CD30, one could always step back in say, "In 5 days I might be looking back laughing at myself." But I'm just not buying that today. I feel like I'm watching the tide come in. There is no dam to build. No amount of kicking the waves will make them go away. You can cry and rail and shake your fist, and there's just no fixing it. There's no hiding. There's only bearing. Only scraping together more courage, more patience, and more insistance to still love, love, love, my spouse and my stepkids and my family and my friends, and the Crucified and Risen God.

And I'm, honestly, so tired. I don't want to talk this over with anyone. I don't want to say another nauseating word on the subject. I'm so sick of it. I just want two little pink lines on a stupid little stick.

Here's a song I've listened to about 30 times in the last hour. Don't watch the video. I think it's distracting. I just am liking the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOufqWodFNo

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Home


There is nothing quite like coming home.

I spent Thursday evening at church with a good friend of mine. And Friday afternoon at the same church, remembering the death. Remembering the darkness. Remembering that last breath. Remembering the burial.

I did my first prostrations. Ever. I learned again, or rather, had it underlined, what it means to worship. In a world without kings or queens, it's hard for us to understand what allegiance or worship or even bowing means. But to cross yourself and bow your forehead to the ground makes it darn hard to forget that the shroud and icon you are about to kiss more than stand for the Very Shroud, the Very Icon of the Most High. They are part of the original.

It's amazing to consider that this tradition is unbroken. Not centuries nor persecutions nor anything else have managed to stop this memorial. We keep it. And because we keep the memorial, we also get to keep the Miracle.

But back to coming home. I curled up in my own bed last night, safe next to my snoring husband, cozy between my own sheets, and thought about coming home.

There's nothing quite like it, is there?

And I'm understanding better the Fast. It is all sorts of things. It is complex. But right now I'm seeing clearly that for the last 6 weeks, we have been living a stunted human life. We have not eaten meat. We have not eaten dairy. The very strong have not eaten oil, or wine, or even anything cooked. We have not had sex. And truly, sex is essential in a marriage relationship. J and I have felt the lack, and not just physically.

But I'm starting to get it. We have fasted to draw into sharp contrast the withered from the full, the robust from the gaunt, the feast from the fast. We have given up part of the fullness and the freedom of our lives so that we can understand, really and fully, what exactly is given to us in the Passion of our Lord. We are given ourselves back. We were made to take joy in the good that is all things He has made. Our sin has bent us and made it hard if not impossible to fully participate in that joy and goodness. By death, He has defeated death. When we die with Him, we rise also with Him. It's not just so much imagery and myth. It's real.

We volunteered to wander in the wilderness so that when we are called Home, we might come, truly.

We taste tonight a part of the coming Feast when all things that look upon His face and love Him are freed to be what they were made to be.

We taste tonight the present Feast. Even now, we live fully. Even now, the Kingdom is come. Even now. Even here. Even in this. Even in all the trouble. The Kingdom is here.

I have goosebumps already.

Soon, I will type, and sing, the Great Hymn.

For now, I wait in the hush, in the garden, and I watch. The Dawn is coming!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Heaven comes so near

I love the Orthodox Church. I really really do.

Tonight, I drove up to Cleveland to go to church with a good friend of mine. We walked in, and the first thought in my head, OK second after, "whoa clouds of incense," was, "Wow I love Orthodox vestments." Those folk just don't miss anything. Even the vestments are spectacular. There is no mistaking that man there, who you might enjoy a hamburger with on any other day of the week (except in Lent, then it would be a bean burger or something), is a PRIEST and an icon and ordained, really, and used, truly. It's very very cool.

For me, there is no time of year when heaven comes so near as these last days of Lent. We are tired. We stand for hours and we get sore. We're hungry. We're sex-deprived. And suddenly, you start to find the end of the rainbow. And there's really gold there.

Much of the beginning of the service focused on Judas. I puzzled over this until I started noticing that the focus was being honed in on his faults, his transgressions, his underlying vices that laid the foundation for his final betrayal. The Orthodox have a very interesting way of grinding lessons into you. They don't come out and say, "this is the way it is." They paint picture after picture after picture after picture. And you start to see. Sound like Anyone else we know?

The first thing that tipped me off to the Judas theme was a part of the service where a series of verses (Antiphon) were chanted. Each calls to mind something Jesus said or did. He raised Lazarus, he predicted his betrayal, he washed the feet of the disciples (even Judas's)... and in all of these things, Judas was unwilling to understand.

He chose.

Over and over again, throughout Holy Week, we are given contrasting examples. Be like the virgins who waited for the bridegroom with the lamps lit. Don't be like the ones who missed him. Be like Peter, who, though fallen, repented and loved and lived again. Don't be this; be this.

And it started to become painfully clear. Judas was unwilling to understand. He was avaricious. He was envious. He was impatient. He was unfaithful. His feet were washed and he was ungrateful. He had all the evidence directly in front of him and he refused to understand. He sold the Man who made him.

And how different are any of we?

Now, it must be noted that at no time did I feel that any sense of guilt was being contrived and shoved down my throat. In fact, I didn't sense any guilt at all. It was just the massive realization that I, too, can refuse to understand, can refuse patience, can refuse generosity, can refuse gratitude. I can do all of these things. It's not an emotional response that's necessarily generated, though it does follow. It's the knowledge that all this is not just about a few random men 2000 years ago. It's alive and present and still being played out here, now, today.

But again, we are drawn to another set of contrasts. There are two thieves crucified with our Risen One. One repents. One mocks. Be this, not that.

Judas and Peter both find shame, guilt, and remorse. Judas's last act of faithlessness was failing to wait to see what the third day brought.

----

There was a great deal of painful irony present in the service. The first I saw was at the end of the second Gospel reading. John 18:28. "They (the Jews) led Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. Now it was early morning, and they themselves did not enter the praetorium so that they might not be defiled , and might eat the passover."

Oh my. They didn't know. But they should have.

And later: "Today the Jews nailed to the Cross the Lord Who had divided the sea with a rod, and who had led them into the wilderness. Today they pierced His side with a spear, who for their sakes smote Egypt with plagues; and gave Him gall to drink, Who had rained manna upon them for food."

And again: "Today is hung upon the Tree, He Who suspended the land in the midst of the waters. A crown of thorns crowns Him, Who is the King of Angels. He is wrapped about with the purple of mockery, Who wrapped the Heavens with clouds. He received buffetings, Who freed Adam in the Jordan. He was transfixed with nails, Who is the Son of the Virgin."


---

Matthew 27:24-25. Now Pilate, seeing that he was doing no good, but rather that a riot was breaking out, took water and washed his hands in sight of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just man; see to it yourselves." And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children."

What a horror to say. What a glory it turned out to be.

---

Insult after injury was poured out on the head of Christ. Absurdities. Appalling ironies. And yet, He sees fit to give us back an irony of our own. Through all of this, heaven bends so near to us. It's funny, but really shouldn't be (given all we know), how in the middle of the greatest horror we find the greatest glory.

I find, somehow, on what the West calls Maundy Thursday, a desire to pray for Christ. It seems sacrelige, somehow, to think that I, the creature, should take pity on and pray for the Son of God Son of Man. But on this night, I remember God Almighty prayed in the Garden, tasted fear, and was utterly alone. And I wonder, is it pride to long to comfort Him? Through the eternality of God, might I somehow reach back and offer the Comforter comfort?

I've always wondered what the angel brought when it came and ministered to Him. I have no way of knowing, but sometimes I wonder if it brought to Him visions of us. Maybe it showed Him my face, among millions of others, and said, "This is why. And these, your Saints yet unborn, asked me to tell You, here and now, that they love you, and they thank you, and they will wait with you in the Garden this night, and they will kiss Your feet on the cross tomorrow, and they will each try, with all of their frailty, to ease and lessen Your pain."

Son of God, Son of Man. Remember me in your Kingdom.

oh no

I was a lunatic in a dream last night.
I felt my first cramp this morning.
I'm choking up about everything. And nothing.

Methinks doc maybe not so dumb. Dangit.
...Or maybe doc is as adorably naive as she seemed. We have been known to enjoy week-long PMS. Either way, someone say a prayer for my husband.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A hodge podge of human and divine

Visited the vampires yesterday for a progesterone test. Lovely levels, "excellent" they say. 54.7. Woot. Go me and my progesterone production! (They want a minimum of 3 and are happy if the levels are at 9). So yay. The body is well prepared for baby growing.

snicker-snort. We all know better by now. But at least we know I'm still "functioning", even if with some help.

My doc is so cute. We were talking about how if ovulation was somewhere around CD17, she'd expect my period to come, oh, say, probably this weekend. Right around CD28 or 29. Hee hee. For a medical professional, the level of naivete is endearing. We all know the Red Menace will not be rearing it's ugly head til the middle or end of next week.

But anyhow, I now have an appointment on Monday to learn how to give myself shots. Yay! ? That's the next step. So, Monday I learn how to jab myself with needles and simultaneously stay conscious. Then, when RM appears, I need to lickety-split get my butt BACK up to the doc (have I mentioned they're 90 minutes away?) to get an ultrasound done between CD1 and 3 to see "where I am". I forgot to ask what that means. Then, shots starting CD3. I've always wanted to be punctured daily. I wonder, if I perforate myself in the right pattern, might I be able to get the last extra pound or two on each thigh/hip to easily peel off? It's well worth wondering. I might have to content myself with one hip per cycle. Lopsided for a month, but hey. A pound lighter nonetheless. Better than laying down on a treadmill.

For right now, I'm only going to flirt a little bit with the pissiness of all this. Flirt flirt. Feeling robbed. Flirt flirt. It's unfair. Flirt flirt. I hate this. Flirt flirt. Can't I just get f-ing knocked up already. Flirt flirt. What does that abdominal twitch mean? Flirt flirt. F.

On a different note, here we are up to our ears in Holy Week. Hooray. Today is "Great and Holy Wednesday." Those Orthodox sure don't mess around when they name things, do they? I'm rather excited that it's Wednesday, and not still Tuesday. With the way our church has services scheduled this week, there was only church on Sunday. We missed Monday and Tuesday, so the whole preparing for Pascha thing has seemed a little distant and surreal. The fast has gotten rather hard lately. I'm tired. I want meat. I want more than one serving of dairy per day. I want sex with my husband (gosh stinking darnit). But I remember that it's supposed to be hard, and we're supposed to be tired, and we're supposed to be anticipating the feast. And the fruits of all of this are coming, are in fact already here, even if we can't see them yet.

So, my next 5 days will look like this: church tonight, playing taxi all day tomorrow, driving up to Cleveland (I think) to attend Great and Holy Thursday's Matins of Great and Holy Friday with some friends, perhaps some 9 AM Royal Hours and 2 PM Great Vespers of Holy Friday on Friday also up in Cleveland, then home for 7 PM Matins of Great and Holy Saturday (Procession with Holy Shroud) (don't be confused - the matins of Saturday are celebrated Friday night). Saturday will involve me very busily being a collapsed heap on the couch for most of the morning and into the afternoon, working in the evening, then PASCHA (yayayayay) services and feast from 11:00 til something like 3 AM. Sunday, I will sleep, eat 3 or 4 varieties of meat, tackle my husband in the sack, then go to work again. Monday, fun with needles followed by some sort of feast at home Monday night. And maybe more tackling in the sack. Woo!

It sounds lunatic. All those piles of services. But really, it's amazing. I'm not a nerd. OK, I am a nerd, but it's still amazing. I'm looking forward to my next few posts as the focus tightens, darkens, and then explodes into light.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Life is fair

I believe, truly, that the universe is just. At the end, nobody will be left empty handed unless they choose to be. I believe in a God who is just. I don't often, really, see justice around me though. Or even fairness. Life seems to just take and take and take and sometimes I find myself wondering when it's ever going to give anything back. There's something about this clip, though, that seems put a pound on the other side of the scale, and so set things a little more right again. Read this lady's story, hear the song, and tell me that you're not smiling now. :)

http://talent.itv.com/videos/video/item_200081.htm

Beauty is entirely, entirely transforming.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Friday

Often, at this point in the cycle, I imagine what might be happening "down there". Maybe Hansel and Gretel (thanks Beth) met up. Maybe Hansel said, "Hey cutie" and Gretel giggled, and just like when J and I exchanged rings, the two maybe became one. It could have happened. Maybe it's happening.

But it made me think how often enormous change starts in the stillness, in the secret, without anyone knowing. A brand new person (it may as well be a brand new world) is knit together from two little cells. So quietly. So enormous. So small.

It made me think that so often, this is how God works in us. I think when we ask for good things, whether they be patience, kindness, goodness, justice, or "just" the ability to love, the answer is always "yes", but sometimes the work He starts in us is so far back and so deep in us that we can't see them right away. But they're there. I look back and think of the things I prayed for, say, 7 years ago. Today, I see them starting to come to fruition. I am a whole person. Happy. Secure. Scarred, but so very very alive. The process started so deep, I almost could have missed it. I could have despaired and given up. Maybe, at times I did. But, faithfully, He didn't. (Have you ever noticed that sometimes, the ability to ask for something - the ability to want something so hard to want - is part of the answer to the very asking? Grace breathes there too, and that, I think, is the divine chicken and egg joke.)

And here it is Good Friday, the day we remember the utter horror that faced the universe so many years ago when all hope was lost, when all faith was limp, and when God Himself was dead. Tomorrow is Holy Saturday, the gray day of stillness. The day that looked like a closet, but became a hallway. The day that looked like the end, but was really the Beginning. The day when all seemed lost, and yet those lost to death were seen walking the cities. We didn't know it at the time, but Saturday was the day death died, not God. In the stillness, in the darkness, He worked our rebirth, our release, our redemption.

But then, it makes sense. Because in the beginning, he sang all this out of nothing. It seems to be His joy to weave, out of desolation, life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rainy Day

It's gray and rainy. Perfect weather for Good Friday for all you westerners. Straddling East and West is odd, especially with the two celebrations only a week apart. For the Orthodox, Sunday is Palm Sunday and starts the Great Holy Week. For the west, Sunday is Easter. Odd. So, we'll start out Holy Week with Easter and end it with Pascha. Hiccup. Stinking halves should quit messing around and reunite. This 1500 year Schism is inconveniencing me.

Since there's no lightning striking for my bravado, I'll assume God agrees.

Still no lightning. There are only two interpretations.

I'm feeling a bit flippant today. Forgiveness is asked.

OK. I'm going to get back to what I was supposed to be doing before I decided to take a break to make this:


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Taking votes

I'm now taking votes on names. J's lazy little guppies need a name and my lonely little eggs need a name. Something you can wave on a banner, you know? Let's hear the ideas.


Because they're off, and they sure as shat had better be making beelines towards each other. I got a definite, absolute, no question LH spike yesterday. Add that to a conglomeration of physical and *ahem* other symptoms, and I believe we're seeing ovulation here folks. Real, live. Friday's little foray into double-lines-on-the-stick-hood seems to have just been an exploratory move. This is the real thing. Yay. So, mark me down for one LH surge on CD16.


Yes, we broke the fast. Briefly. And without any *ahem* real perks to speak of for certain people *points at self*. Gotta keep the monks happy, ya know. (Maintaining the spirit if not the letter. It's gotta count for something.) But enough to get those guppies where they need to be. I've had a serious talk with my uterus about how it had better stop screwing around and take this seriously if she wants to avoid having cameras and turkey basters and heaven knows what else coming to call. I didn't have the same chat with J's guppies - there's just no way to talk to "it" without "it" getting other ideas. Ha.


So bring on the 2ww, the inevitable optimism, and yes, the sudden stop at the bottom. But maybe it won't come this time. Who knows?


Monday, April 6, 2009

Hooked


I've been having a time of it lately. Keeping my... emotions... in check. I'm not going to dwell on it, and I'm not really going to expound. I'm just... sad. A lot. I think it's definitely linked to this IF thing, and probably just another phase to pass through. It's not rational, so I'm not really engaging it much. I talked it over with J, and he very gently suggested finding some distractions. So, I've been burying myself in books. And mosaics. Flickr's Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker is so fun. Huzzah. So here are the three latest.

I love the moon. J sometimes calls me "Luna" (not adding "tic" to the end, though I'm sure he thinks it at times), and even wrote a poem about me once that he entitled "Luna." As it turns out, one of my dearest friends loves the moon too. So I had that mosaic printed and gave it to her.

The other two I'll let speak for themselves.





















Sunday, April 5, 2009

Here are some more

I have a really bad head cold. So, I've been spending a good amount of time in a chair with tea... fiddling with Flickr's Mosaic Maker. I also found a really cool site where you can transfer designs to fabric - you upload the design, they print it and send it to you. I sent this first one to be printed on a "fat quarter" (18" x 20"), so we'll see how it turns out in a couple weeks. The design is the alphabet - one word per letter (4 letters got two words), then I flickr searched the words and chose a picture for each. Way fun.


No stories for the rest. Colors, flowers. Ya know. May transfer the flower one to fabric, depending on how the first order comes out.


Sorry, time

I'm afraid I must issue an apology to time. I've been killing it. I made these. :) I have a couple more, but it's only letting me upload 5. Boo.









Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stop Everything

An alternative title for this post could, with perhaps more accuracy, be "Biological Clusterf***".

You see, I started my OPKs today and apparently am up to my knees in LH. Yes, Little Miss 35 day cycle appears to be preparing to ovulate today. W. T. F. CD12? This surge showed up a mere 3 hours after talking to the doc and estimating ovulation last cycle at being somewhere around CD21. *glares at abdomen*

Needless to say, none of us know what the bleepity bleep my body is doing. All we can tell for sure is that it's figuratively stumbling and staggering around producing whatever the heck hormones it wants at whatever the heck time it wants. I asked the doctor about it, in the second phone call of the day, and she was as nonplussed as me. I said, "I don't think my body knows what it's doing." To which she said, "Well I certainly don't know what it's doing."

There's a good chance the whole abstinence-til-Pascha thing will be put on the shelf for a short time tomorrow. We'll pick it back up again, but I'm not going to have put myself through this last hellish cycle of Clomid for nothing. Darn. Sex. :)

And I get to go in for some blood work on Monday to confirm ovulation. But I'm supposed to continue the OPKs til then, just in case it dips and then rises again. The doc has heard of an LH spike (not to be confused with a positive surge) that dipped again before the official surge started. So maybe.

Yeah. I'm going to become very good friends with needles in these upcoming months. Enthusiasm.

There comes a point when all you can do, really, is laugh a little and go to sleep.

Results

I've always wanted a family. The word "big" never really played into it, but until I met J, I always thought I wanted 4. But he's already got 2, so I dropped my number of ideal hatchlings to 3. It's funny, you know, the plans we make.

We got J's results. The numbers are low. Not as obscenely low as before, but definitely low. Too low. Plus, there were infection-fighting cells present, which they didn't want to see at all. We're mildly freaked out about that because she wouldn't say what that meant aside from a possible prostate infection, but we're supposed to make an appt to see a specialist, so we'll find out then, I suppose.

I told her about the side effects I've been experiencing and I didn't even get through half of them before she said, "Whoa. OK. This is definitely your last cycle on Clomid. Visual disturbances are not good." So next on the list is injections with bloodwork and ultrasound monitoring and probably IUIs. Yes, I am a major needle-phobe. Yes, I feel woozy and nauseous thinking about it. Yes, I am going to do it.

Pfffffft.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The list

Theoretically, I have a phone appointment tomorrow with the doc. I say theoretically because I'm not sure it will actually take place. Maybe she'll call today. Maybe not til Thursday. Gah.

We will be getting the results from J's latest semen analysis. Fingers crossing that the numbers are way improved since last time. WAY improved.

We're thinking seriously about an IUI this month, especially if the numbers are low. But even if they're OK, I may want to give the IUI a good shot on the Clomid.

We'll discuss what's "next". I really want off the Clomid, but I've not yet voiced that to the doc. Either way, she's doubtful we'll continue it much longer anyhow. So we'll see what she's got up her sleeve.

I'm also going to ask about one specific side effect of Clomid. Depression. I did some reading about it, and apparently it only shows up in less than 1% of those taking it, but if you've been diagnosed with depression before, the likelihood that you'll be in that <1%>

Maybe a reduced dosage of the Clomid will keep me ovulating but cut down on the myriad side effects.

In any case, that's the list. Spermies, turkey basters, new meds, down with Clomid. Check.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Annunciation

I've been mulling over the Annunciation for several days now, and something said in the sermon yesterday really struck me. Father Michael was talking about a friend of his who is a Baptist pastor and lives down the street from the monastery. Pastor Baptist at one point was touring the monastery's chapel and stopped to ponder the Cross. He leaned back and pronounced, in a sort of wonder, "Jesus died on the cross for my sins!" And Father Michael said, "Well. Yes." (As Orthodox are wont to do. The "yes, but" is pretty popular amongst the bearded monastic types.) "But. That's sort of limited, isn't it? You mean to boil down all the works of the Almighty through all time and space to three hours on a hill outside of Jerusalem?" Some part of me recoils a bit even as I type that. It's easy to hear what Father said and think it seems sacreligous. But he's not minimizing the crucifixion. Consider what he said further. "All mothers know the story doesn't start at the climax. For us, on March 25, we remember that what God has done did not start on Good Friday, or Palm Sunday, or the 40 days in the wilderness, or even Christmas. God's work began the moment he wove himself into flesh in the womb of a girl who said, 'May it be as You have said.'" For this reason we honor her, and for this reason, we honor Him.

I think that's why it seems so fitting that the Annunciation should fall within Lent. Lest we forget one focal point in our concentration on another, we remember the Incarnation in the midst of the trial, and we remember that He came in flesh not just to destroy death, but to redeem flesh.


As an aspiring mother (haha), this really resonates with me. My motherhood, in a sense, started long ago, when the desire for a child was first born in me. The Fatherhood of the Almighty began before the beginning, before the Son became our Savior, and before the Father became a woman's Son. It began with his love for us, before we were born, before we were knit, before he breathed into dust and made us live.


Evlogimeni I Vasilia tou Patros ke tou Iou ke tou Agiou Pnevmatos, nin ke ai ke is tous eonas ton eonon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Silent treatment.

Clomid is not my friend, and we're not speaking to each other right now. Call it a bit of a falling-out, a disappointment. No promises were made, so I can't start crying "betrayed!" but believe you me, I'm tempted. Enter this blog's title: silent treatment. I'm still swallowing the nasty little pills, but I do it with a sneer.

The snarky tart has not only not gotten me pregnant, she's turned me into a raving headcase. Literally. I think I've raved aloud (alone) in my car more times in the last week than in the last 4 months put together. PLUS the everything-blurry-or-covered-in-squiggly-glowing-worms thing. PLUS a 7-hour long hot flash where I was sweating and hot even when I was freezing. PLUS utter. complete. insomnia. I'm talking 2 hours of sleep last night, bookended and punctuated by mostly inexplicable crying fits. Nice.

Needless to say, I think Clomid and I have gone as far as we can go and I'm searching for a new suitor. Yes, we'll finish off this round, but then I think I'm done. I'm interested to hear what the docs have up their sleeve next.

This is one of those times when stepping off the train is as exciting as stepping onto it was. A little sad, but at least it can pull away without me this time. Clomid, you're riding the roller coaster alone from now on.

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In other news, today is the Synaxis in honor of the Archangel Gabriel. No, I don't know what a Synaxis is. But the two prayers for today are lovely:

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying: "Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high! "


Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Supreme Commander of God and minister of the Divine glory, guide of men and leader of the bodiless hosts: Ask for what is to our profit and for great mercy, since thou art Supreme Commander of the bodiless hosts.