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


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.


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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen

There's a great article on this, the Lenten Prayers of St Ephrem the Syrian, here. Interesting bit on prostrations, which I've never done, at the end.

Today, incidentally, is also the celebration of the Annunciation of the Theotokos (translation: announcement of the pregnancy of Mary). We remember today Gabriel's announcement to the girl Mary that she was going to become pregnant and bear a son, lack of husband notwithstanding. The Apolytikion of today says, "Today marks the crowning of our salvation and the revelation of the mystery before all ages. For the Son of God becomes the son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaims the grace. Wherefore, we also cry out with him, 'Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you.'"

I find it interesting that the announcement of Christ's birth is made smack in the middle of Lent. I haven't quite digested it yet, but something about it seems quite... right... somehow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I run

Completely in love with this song right now, and completely in love with the adorable man I'm married to. We made a Thai/curry sort of dish for dinner last night, and I proceeded to bawl and blubber my way through it (aided by the 1/2 bottle of wine I drank prior to the meal). And he was sweet enough to say, and I believe him, that I didn't ruin our Monday date night with my floods of tears. It started with me asking if I'm always distraught when my period starts, and he said yes. And I said, "Well then why does it seem so much worse this time?" And the deluge started. I've been walking around with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes for the better part of a week, and I've felt too foolish to tell him. I don't understand the depth of this ache. It seems like petulance over timing. But then he said, "But is it really the timing you're upset about? If somebody told you that you would get pregnant in 6 months, would you be upset?" No, I wouldn't. So it's not really the timing. It's the growing, nagging fear that presents itself like grief. And then he said, "Would anyone think you strange if you weren't permitted to eat and you started to get a little upset about it? This is a biological drive, and is, by definition, a-rational, but its arationality doesn't make it less real."

And I told him how I'm feeling just swallowed by this. And beat up. And tired. And sick to fucking death of it.

And how so many well-meaning people keep telling me to wait on God's timing, or for it to happen God's way, and how that doesn't mean anything at all to me. It's not that I don't care about God's "way" or "timing", but that the words hold no meaning. This is biology, and there's no reasoning, bargaining, bartering or bribing. Sure, He could step in and perform a miracle. He made us out of dust and spit, He certainly could make another one of us out of an egg and sperm. And He does every day. But I have a hard time believing that every birth and every death are parts of a carefully articulated plan. I think He's pretty much already let us know what He wants and what His plan is, and it's fairly simple. Trying to push the right God-button to get what you want seems to me to be a pretty bald-faced manipulation of the Almighty. He knows who I am and He knows what I want and all good things are being worked out through grace and in time.

And yes, there is mercy everywhere.

This might be my last cycle on the Clomid. And J is going in Wednesday for another test. And we might do an IUI this month. And I don't know what's next, but the feeling of being robbed of something is returning.

Please be gentle with me. I'll be better tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

OK now

I've made it through CD1. Yay hooray. At least that first moment of "no no no no no no no" has passed, as has the crying-the-whole-way-to-church (alone in the car, thank goodness) moment. So we can move on. It's funny, though, how the whole world seems a little muffled. That'll pass soon enough too.

I didn't really expect to be pregnant this time, and I wouldn't have been surprised had the cycle ended several days ago. It was really just the delay that messed my head around. But what are you going to do, really? Nothing. It comes down to that, really, in the end. Or right now, at least. "The end" may be a bit too dramatic, eh? :)

I'd planned all kinds of things I wanted to write tonight, and most of them not even on the whole nonexistant baby topic. There are a few new songs out on the radio that I really like. And I had a bit of an epiphany in the car this afternoon. And I'm really appreciating a particular friend at work. And I'm totally adoring my husband.

But I'm really tired. So goodnight.

The end

CD35 has dawned CD1.

I would have been OK if this happened 3 days ago.

Friday, March 20, 2009

To management

I am so thankful for so many things. I have a wonderful husband who loves me. I have two stepkids that expand me. I have two little kitties that cuddle up in my lap and float me through the bad days. I have a family that is charmingly rife with issues, and so very dear to me. My father is my hero, my mother is my friend and my mommy and I love her so much, my brother is one of my best friends. I have more good friends than I could have believed I would see 5 years ago. Maura, Susie, Jen, Becky, Emily, Becca, Beth. I am well fed and well clothed and I have a roof over my head that our insurance company just paid to fix before it fell on our heads. I am happy. I am confident in my God and I'm not worried about anything he touches, which is everything. I know the universe is fundamentally just, despite current appearances. I believe in redemption. I've seen it.

So in light of all that, this complaint is very small. CD33 has dawned CD33 and not CD1 as I'd thought. I'd been blissfully unhopeful for the last month, and now that tiny little flower has started to grow in me - and that makes the knowledge that it will likely have its head lopped off in the next day or so rather frustrating.

So, my Manager, thank you. And be merciful to me, in all the things I need and in all the things I lack. Kyrie eleison.

O Monogenis Ios ke Logos tou Theou athanatos iparhon ke katadexamenos dia tin imeteran sotirian sarkothine ek tis Agias Theotokou ke aiparthenou Marias, atreptos enanthropisas, stavrothis te, Hriste o Theos, thanato thanaton patisas, is on tis Agias Triados sindoxazomenos to Patri ke to Agio Pnevmati, soson imas.

*Edit* Given the sensations starting to emanate from my abdominal regions, I think I may be about to have my request handed back to me on toast with a pickle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So we've decided to go for it. We're keeping the option open to still try this next cycle, but we've not decided either way.

Honestly, I do identify with your sentiments, xbox. This is one aspect of the Fast that I don't understand. I've seen the effects of abstaining from and limiting food. I know it's valuable. But this I don't see yet. I think, generally speaking, it makes the Fast even more relational. Maybe it also acknowledges the great good sex is by saying, "Hey wait, save that for the times of feasting." I'm not sure. In a month, I should know. Cheers to April 19.

There is something to the respite that the elimination of hope provides. We've done that once before, back in the fall. And in a way, the whole month was much calmer. There was no 2.5ww to worry about. But there's another side of me that just aches. All the time. And saying, "OK, I'm going to voluntarily continue this ache for another month" just does not appeal.

Of course, the next few days could alter everything. Not the commitment to abstinence, that we'd hold to, but we're sitting pretty on CD30. *snort* I estimate Thursday will be the end.

It's very funny, because just yesterday, I was telling a friend that I feel like I'm beyond the strong emotions of all this. I seem to have settled in to a detached pessimism. I mean, I know "eventually" it'll happen, but I'm really not anticipating it to be this cycle... or next. The minute you say such things, things change. I've found myself feeling just so very raw all day today. I don't want to hear about babies, or adoption, or anything really. I just want to sleep. Or eat a cheeseburger. Neither of which are going to happen today.

Now might be a good enough time to explain the origin of this blog's title. There's a song, called "To Say Thanks" (I think) by an artist called Nicole Nordeman. Now, should you listen to it, keep in mind that not all of it would apply to me. But there's an interesting question posed in the second verse: "Even fields of flowers / Dressing in their best because of You / Knowing they are blessed to be in bloom / But what about November / When the air is cold and wet winds blow / Do they understand why they cant grow?" I'm seeking to answer that. So far, I've come to this. No, they don't understand why. But the why isn't always important. It's enough to know they can't grow right now. And yet, Thanksgiving falls in November. "I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come. You are Autumn." is another line from Ms. Nordeman.

So, for now, I will refer back to something written on the board of my dorm room door many years ago: "Let sorrow be as gain, not loss. Purpose that I might find You here."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oh dear

So have I mentioned that part of the Orthodox Fast is abstinence from sex?

J and I have blissfully blown that one off. SURELY they're not serious.

But then yesterday, we had lunch with our priest. He's been gone on Sabbatical since Christmas, so we've not seen him. And honestly, we've missed him. He knows everything, which is awesome for J. And he's wise. And he's got an AWESOME chanting voice. And we like him very much.

I'd recently told him via email about our IF issues, so he brought some holy oil with him, annointed us, prayed over us, and then said... "Now, I won't command you, but I will suggest that you abstain from marital relations until Pascha."

Shit. (And I'm sure he chuckled all the way home at the "shit" looks on our faces when he said that.)

Now, some part of me chuckles and says, "Now, I know you're a monk, but surely you know how babies are made."

But I know he does, and I know the suggestion was made in the face of that. Lent is a time of preparation, and a feast follows. I think he asks of us obedience. Now, we know that God is not a vending machine, and abstinence would not be the nickel we put in the baby machine for immediate help. It would be something done for the same reason that all faithful Orthodox have for abstaining. Preparation. And a step into grace.

We've not decided yet. I think we're going to. Not because we're compelled or feeling guilty, but because someone we love and respect so much asked us to.

But the question is, do we break that part of the fast for one day when the OPK beckons? I break the food fast from time to time. I have meat once a week, and dairy a few times a week. Hmmmm.

And do turkey basters count?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hilariously heartbreaking

So we just heard from the doc.

The good news is that J griped up front that he didn't get "it all" in the cup. And he thinks it was the "first shot" (which is the most concentrated) that missed. (gross, tmi, I know. Sorry). So that might account for the extremely low counts.

Very low count, and a very low percentage of the swimmers who made it in the cup were actually moving. Basically, they want at least 20 million swimming. He had just under 4 million. Haven't heard anything about the shape yet. That "good news" should come on Monday.

So, he has to go back in and do it again. Which is where the "hilarious" comes in.

OR, he could just go straight to a specialist. But given the low volume due to the miss and an "odd" *ahem* *cough* "shot", it's better to have him reanalyzed. Should we end up going to the specialist, I will not make you vomit by discussing any physiological reasons there may be for the low count. Promise.

But he's crushed that he's part of the problem. I tried to comfort him by saying that at least it's even now. I couldn't even f-ing ovulate on my own. But still.

It looks like a good chance of IUIs on our horizon. *sigh* But hey, at least our hope levels could rise a bit.

And yet. It's hard to hear that if those stats were accurate, we have a markedly lower chance of conceiving each try. I feel a little like I just kissed my 2009 baby goodbye. And f*** all that.

A few hours have passed and I'm calmer now. We didn't really get bad news, like it felt. We really don't know anything more than we did this morning, just that the sample was no good. Bad news for J, because the "harrowing ordeal" must be repeated. But we're not doomed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The 2.5ww is ridiculous. Up until, oh, say 3 hours ago, I was feeling rather pessimistic about the whole baby thing, but simultaneously detached. It was nice. Sort of a relief. Then I found out my sister in law might be adopting a baby, very soon. Very cool. She and her husband started TTC something like 8 years ago, and have pretty much given up on it. She's not been told she can't conceive, but the odds are very much against it. So they've been talking about adoption for several years, but due to life circumstances, have been unable to pursue it. Til now. They may have a baby by summer. She met said child even. And I'm THRILLED for her and them. I love them dearly and they deserve it and they'll be wonderful parents. No negativity there at all. But it started the ache all over again.

So, incidentally, I somehow managed to stumble across (I don't know how it happened, so don't ask) the information that if I should turn up pregnant this round, I would be due, oh, say, right smack on Thanksgiving day. *misty eyes* But it sort of makes me want to punch a wall, because I feel so very very far from hoping for it.

It also means we only get one more shot at a 2009 baby. Puh. Now, I grant fully that it would be much easier in the long run to have a 2010 baby - much easier to calculate age, you see. And that's a major benefit. (You may be detecting a tiny bit of sarcasm. Pay it no heed.)

So, incidentally, this is where I stand at 3:59PM EST on Wednesday, March 11, 2009.

Massive props

Massive props to my blogger buddy xbox. Massive. I laughed, I cried. Sounds corny, but true. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I shouldn't laugh...

So yesterday was the BIG DAY in J's world. The doc had ordered a semen analysis back in January and my husband has managed to wriggle out of and avoid it. Til now. He grumbled the whole way up to Cleveland. He fidgeted and glowered in the waiting room. When they called his name, he slunk (is that a word? Regardless, that's what he did). And the look on his face when he reemerged 20 minutes later made me about wet my pants. It was a priceless combination of awkward-embarrassed-uncomfortable-oh-my-gosh-the-only-reason-I'm-not-running-out-of-here-is-my-wife. And in the car he moaned about how the list of instructions in "the room" was stressful, and getting the little cup out of it's packaging was difficult and "even the cap was sealed in plastic! why couldn't they give you scissors?" and "it's really hard to shoot it into a little cup" and "why was there a gay man's magazine in there? Why are gay men having their semen analyzed in a fertility clinic?". I chewed my lips off trying not to laugh, and I only pointed out twice that at least he didn't have anything pinched, popped or gushing blood after. Lunch seemed to brighten the man up a bit. But several times throughout the day, he referred to his harrowing and "traumatic" experience.

Now, typically, I am a very sympathetic and supportive person. Yesterday, I had to fake it.

And then we got a call from the techs later that day, which was a surprise because the results aren't supposed to be in for 3-5 days. Turns out they'll need another sample because what they found in the cup was Elmer's white glue.

Guffaw. Yes, that last bit was a lie. J and I had a good laugh about how funny it would be if some guy actually tried that.

I told him not to worry about it - that would be the only time he'd ever have to do that... unless we decide to go the IUI route in which case he'll have to do it once a month til it works. He was not pleased. But then I asked him if he'd rather wazz in a cup or get amorous with a turkey baster with a doc and two technicians looking on. The jury is apparently still out.

In any case, it was an amusing day. And we'll know by the end of the week how his little swimmer buddies are doing.

And it was also a good day. We had a yummy lunch, wandered around a bunch of stores and pretended we're made of money - or rather, pretended we had money and fantasized about what we'd do if we were made of it. I bought two awesome VS bras (heard of "the Perfect One"? Yeah, it's perfect. I will never take mine off), and he bought a slew of kitchen stuff including *drumroll* a potato ricer, star anise (which is hard to find in these parts), and three exotic salts - one from the Jurassic period y'all -, a doodad (technical term) for the storage of garlic and something else... Hm. And we held hands a lot. And we had some great conversations. I really do love the man, ridiculous as he can be from time to time. :)

Today we head south for a bit for some browsing around more cool culinary-ish stores, lunch and dinner. Hopefully with friends. Yesssss.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

OK so

So. Not the most funnest set of days, these last 4-5. The hubby and I were... "not seeing eye to eye" you could say. Not fun. I think it's all resolved, but it's amazing how much domestic strife just takes it out of you.

And then work tonight sucked. I'm talking 7% overall. Yes, 7. Half of what I "should have made" and far less than the percentage I usually take. AND I had shitheads. Not just cheapskates, but cheapskate shitheads. Ugh.

On the up side, I got an hour and a half nap this afternoon. Probably saved me from crying at work. Huge props to the hubby for letting me just totally go unconscious (I don't think he was up to anything... "nefarious"... so there was nothing in it for him, heh heh) this afternoon.

PLUS, the hubby and I are going to spend the next few days "Spring Breaking". So we're just going to go to one city, and then another, and drink some glasses of wine and eat a couple tasty meals. And J's going to get his semen analyzed (nyeh nyeh nyeh). And we're going to make like bunnies afterwards (woot!). You know, "just relaxing". (On a side note, does pessimism count as relaxation?)

And I have a kitty on my lap, and that always makes the world a little brighter.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


So. I am a much better person with a buzz. White wine is best.

I'm more patient, more relaxed, less on edge. What is one to make of that? I certainly can't spend my life buzzing. Intentional alcoholism is alcoholism nonetheless, eh? *sigh*

All I know is that this ache for a baby is ... pervasive ... no matter what I try to do about it. And it affects me. But white wine seems to undo it. I am the stepmom I want to be with a buzz. Plus, I'm sort of reeling from a string of criticisms on the spouse front. So the last 24 hours have been unpleasant. And again, white wine undoes it.

So tell me, to drink or not to drink? That is the question.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Signed, sealed, delivered

Here we are, CD16. I'm plumb sick of peeing on sticks, so I bypassed the OPKs this month. We've got the timing thing down pat, anyhow, and I hightly doubt I'm going to suddenly start ovulating on CD10 or something, so hey, we're covered. *sigh*

Monday, March 2, 2009

Clean Monday

"The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..."

Yesterday at church, I learned a small handful of new things. First, I learned that the Great Lent officially starts today, known as Clean Monday. I wasn't sure if it had already started last week or not. Apparently Meatfare Sunday through Cheesefare Sunday (one week) is a preparation time. You get ready. Today, we buckle down. You're also apparently supposed to thoroughly clean your house. We'll see if that gets done. It needs to be. The symbolism and the fact of it are not lost on me. :)

Apparently, there is a tradition (though it is not recommended that most people do it. In fact, they recommend that most do not, and if you do, it needs to be under a fair amount of guidance from your god parent or confessor) where some people do not allow anything - not food, not even water - to pass their lips from Communion on Sunday yesterday til the Service of the Pre-Sanctified (but don't ask me what that is) on Wednesday night. YIKES.

Also. And this was cool. At the end of the service yesterday, we had what's called the Ceremony of Mutual Forgiveness where every single person asked forgiveness from every other single person in the church, and it was mutually granted. (They had quite the system rigged up so that eveyr person actually met with and shook hands with everybody else) It was odd, because though I've been going for 4 years, I've only just started being more involved with the church and hardly know most of these people at all. But it made me think. It's possible to commit harms against people you hardly know, and it's possible to do it without even knowing. So I suppose it wasn't just an exercise. It did make me want to go into work and ask people's forgiveness there. I didn't. I was a bit of a chicken. But what good is it, really, to fast and pray with the intent of approaching God when things with your neighbor are still a mess? :-/

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A few short notes

Dear party of one, table 64,
Wow, thank you for the 100% tip. I'd hoped, with your bill of $13.47 that you'd hand me $17 and tell me to keep it. I mean, that would have been awesome. I didn't expect you to hand me $27 and tell me to keep it. You're a little old lady for pete's sake. How was I supposed to have known? But then, that's the delight of it. Or at least part of the delight in it (because the extra $10 is pretty cool in itself). I would have deserved a 20% tip. I didn't deserve 100%. It's nice, from time to time, when the tip tells more about the person giving it than the person getting it. Or rather, it's nice when it works out that way in a good way. Some people are just plain cheap, no way around it. Others, like you, are just plain generous. I want to be like you.

Dear party of one, table 64 (a different one),
I'm sorry I originally pegged you as the sort who'd stalk me after work and murder me with a pick. You looked freaky, really. I mean, shaggy hair, baseball cap pulled down over your eyes, black skull T-shirt, you mumbled... How was I supposed to have known? But then, that's the delight of it. Or at least part of the delight of it (because the 25% tip you left was pretty awesome in itself). I couldn't have guessed, and it's always just plain COOL to stumble into a pool of gentleness and kindness where it's not expected. You were very nice, very pleasant, and I'd wait on you again in a minute. I hope you had a nice evening and a lovely day tomorrow. May someone bring a ray of unexpected sunshine into your life, just as you did mine.

(Entertaining angels? Either way...)

I had a good night at work, and a good night after work. :)