Thursday, December 2, 2010

The race

We got up at 4:45. We left for the city at 5:15.

There were thousands of people milling around, waiting for the bathrooms, pinning numbers to their chests, warming up, chatting. It was exciting. I was nervous til I got there. Then, I just wanted to run.

The weather was perfect. The morning was perfect. Gorgeous. Perfect.

We were led to the start line in waves, according to our predicted finish times. I was in the purple group. And then we started running.

It took about 10 steps for me to fall in love. I felt great and the atmosphere was exciting. There were thousands of runners and even more spectators. The sun was rising, and around mile 1, I realized it was Sunday. And yes, there was more than a little Shabbat Shalom coursing through my veins.

Miles 1, 2, 3, and 4 just fell away. I felt mile 5, like I thought I would. There were a few ups and downs in mile 6, and at the water stop in mile 7, I asked what mile we were on. Seven was where I thought I was, and it was just about right. Mile 8 was as hard as I thought it would be, and there was a "Holy hell, who the heck put this here" hill in mile 9 that most people walked up. I muttered "Not walking a step of this" in my head and plugged my way up. The leg stretch, relief and exhilaration of the downhill on the other side made it totally worth it. I'd earned that downhill float. I almost cried when I passed the 10 mile mark. I'd never been farther than that before, and the satisfaction there went so deep. The realization that there was only a 5k left made me almost drunk through mile 11. Mile 12 hit like a train. The road curved back and forth, and the side-to-side grade made first my right leg and then my left leg burn. The sun was in my eyes and I got grumpy, wanting only to sit down for a damn minute. But there was that low steady voice in my head saying, "You've got this. You're strong enough. You've got 10 minutes of this left. Easy." So I put my head down, listened to what I knew was true, put one foot in front of the other and then the mile 13 sign was visible, the road curved up and to the right, and I started to hear the announcer at the finish line, the roar of a crowd and I ran. And I was in love again. Before the finish line even passed below my feet, I was in love. I was stunned at the finish line. It was one of the sweetest things ever.

I ran the whole dang way. All 13.1 miles. It was worth it every mile, even the ones that burned, the ones that ached, and the ones that about knocked me on my butt. I think the hardest ones were the ones I loved the most.

I am alive and it's a really good thing.

One thing that was amazing was that our bibs had not only our numbers on them, but our names. The race route was almost entirely lined with spectators, and so many of them cheered for you by name. There's nothing like hearing someone belt out, "You've got it! Good job!" at about the moment I was wishing I had one of my buddies running by me. We can stand in for each other sometimes and it counts. It counts more than I could have imagined.

I don't think about my own name much. But you know how it is. Or is there anything more encouraging than the sound of your own name shouted when you're about to drop over? Is there anything more comforting than the sound of your own name spoken by a person who loves you?

It was a great race.

Oh. Finish times. I went into it with a 3-tier goal. Anything under 2:05 would have left me delighted. Anything under 2:10 would have been satisfying. Anything over 2:17 would have been disappointing. I finished in 2:04:57. :)

Without a doubt, one of the very best things I've ever done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's Wednesday night. On Sunday morning, I'll run a half marathon.

I'm nervous. It's not like it's something I've never done before (but it is - I haven't). It's not that I think I'm going to fail (I don't). I know I'm allowed to walk a tenth of a mile here and there if need absolutely be. But need, real need, won't be. I've run 10 miles before, and I know I can do another three on top of it. I know it'll hurt, and I'm prepared to deal with that. I know where to file away the "ouch" and the "tired".

I know which voice in my head to listen to. The one that says low and steady, "You are stronger than you think you are. You are ready and I'm proud of you and you can do this."

I just want to be there. I want to shiver in the early morning chill. I want to stretch my quads and touch my toes and line up my playlist. I want to hear the siren and take the first step. I want to feel the first two miles fall away and know I have another 4, easy, before I hit another wall and have to "easy", "breathe", "drop your shoulders", "look at the sky", "breathe", "breathe", "breathe in now", "breathe out NOW". I want to be in that moment when I remember the choice I've already made to run the whole way and choose again, when it hurts, to do it. I want to be a body moving, carrying a mind, sorting out the wrinkles in a soul. I want to taste what all this work is for. I want to be stunned at the finish line.

I want to be there.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

And when...

And when I look at myself today, I find that I am drastically different than I might have been. Every now and then I have moments like this. I remember almost 2 years ago, I went on a trip with my brother to VA, and I realized while there who I really was at that point, and realized who I might have been had things worked out differently, and I realized that the two different possible "me"s would hardly have even been able to converse.

And today I find a similar experience in my hands.

I would have been due today.

Instead, I am lean, leaner than even my wedding day. I bought new bras today because the girls have shrunk with all my running. I am capable of running ten miles.

I have new virtues, and I'm coddling a new set of vices as well. Those are the biggies - bigger even than defined muscles and disciplined endurance. The who I am has changed over the last seven months for good and for ill.

I want a priest and I want a blanket.

Today I'm missing someone I never got to meet.

Maybe two someones. Maybe I'm missing the me I might have been as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The body

A few weeks back, I took my stepkids down to my brother's Nazarene church. He's a youth pastor there, and he was preaching that Sunday. Before I go any further, I have to say, his sermon was brilliant. My baby brother has turned into quite a guy, and I'm very proud to know him.

And while there, the wheels started to seriously turn. I've been mulling it over ever since.

One thing that was weird was how foreign that service felt to me. I grew up in an Anglican church, then went Evangelical non-denom for quite a while before quitting church (though not the faith) altogether for a while and then becoming (though not official yet) Orthodox. It was strange to struggle to find goodness and truth in a church, but I did in his. Struggle, that is. And find it, actually, eventually, also. I told myself over and over at the beginning that it's not for me to be a connoisseur of churches, that all goodness and truth is God's goodness and truth, and not to miss it by it being buried in a bunch of "stuff" that I just don't understand anymore. But it was hard and uncomfortable and foreign, and so much of what they assume is so far off the mark as to be downright harmful to a person trying to learn to love God and neighbor.

But the first thing that hit me is this. We sang the song "Breathe" which at one time was a very meaningful song for me. And I have to say, my heartstrings immediately shot down to a little town in Virginia to a woman who is very far away and so very very dear to me. And I said a prayer of thanks for her - for who she is and who she is to me. She is a giant in my life and in case you're reading this, B, I love you. Consider yourself hugged. But my dear friend, that song is empty for me now. God is simply not so far away, and I can't pretend He is, and I won't imagine He is, and I couldn't sing a song that created more space than it had ever diminished. Desperation is not an emotion I experience when it comes to the presence of God.

And that was the first stunner.

And then I started thinking about what redemption is, and how it happens. Or rather, how it's happened for me.

And I've come to this. Bodies are very important things. Holy things, even.

I sat in the church, listening to my brilliant brother, with my stepson under one arm and my stepdaughter's head on my lap, and I thought about the miracles that were nestled up next to me. It is hard to parent them. It's not what I imagined in all my rosy daydreams, and stepparenthood is not what I had planned for myself. I wanted my own children. (Silly thing, I had to lose one to learn that she would have only been "mine" in a very limited sense. She would have always been God's first, her own second, and mine only third, and only for a while.) But those two little people in those two little bodies are absolutely essential to my working out my faith with no small amounts of fear and trembling. They are the rolling pins that are working out so much of the selfishness and impatience that wrinkles me up inside.

And I thought about my own body, and what I know about it, and how I'm learning to forgive it for failing me, and love it for carrying me, and be in amazement at how much it can actually do. I ran 5 miles yesterday - the last one for fun. For fun. My body has yet to give birth to a new life. But it is presently birthing itself, and it's amazing to watch.

And I thought about the Body of Christ that I am finding growing up around me. I don't have a church right now, but I am surrounded by the Church anyhow. My friends are incredible people, and each random one of them is absolutely beautiful.

The body is a holy thing. I need to remember that these days.

And, I'm just now coming to this. I think I've figured out a way to better explain why that song fell so flat for me. When God is searched for only in a certain set of experiences, and even when those experiences are so carefully constructed and perfectly presented, we certainly may find Him, but we only find a part of Him. How can we expect to find the fullness of the infinite in only one of the gifts He has sent? We can't. And we will be left unsatisfied, desperate. We are found, saved, redeemed, made whole, made joyful, made ourselves, made His when we seek and find Him in all the gifts He has sent. He is certainly in the the wistful beauty of a sunset and the power of a song. But He is also in the drops of sweat that roll down our back, evidence of the body that is breaking and being made new. He is in the friends with the wrong background and the wrong lifestyle choices. He is in our bodies, the Body of his Church, the body of gifts he sends, and (Christmas is coming!) His own Body. We are complex creatures and can no more survive on one kind of spiritual nourishment than we could survive on only apples, healthy and delicious and good as they are.

God is not so far away.

O world, as God has made it
All is beauty
And knowing this is love
And love is duty
What further may be sought for?
-Robert Browning

Friday, August 20, 2010

Living with the absolutely idiotic

Or rather, living in the absolutely idiotic. :)

Backing up a little bit... We're allowed to "try" this cycle. All that means is that we're allowed to do what we've already been doing all summer, which is absolutely nothing to prevent pregnancy. Really, we've not been holding our breath. We were instructed that for two cycles we were to be absolutely vigilant about preventing pregnancy. Abstinence at certain times, and protection at all other times. Friends, with our combined fertility, having sex at all is having sex with protection. If 33 months of concentrated effort has yielded us nothing, I'm pretty sure we're good. Haha.

But we're "eligible" for the next IUI now.

But anyhow, we're on cycle 3 since ye olde miscarriage, but because J might (read: he thinks he will, but his wifey is pretty certain it's not going to happen) take a group to Italy next May, and if it worked right away, I'd be due in May, we're waiting one more cycle.

This cycle, if last cycle is any indication, will end in approximately 3 weeks and a day or so.

I'm on CD 18 right now.

Enter the idiotic.

I do not want 41 day cycles and I am irritated at this body of mine.

That's all. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Permission to Fail


Bits and pieces of this post have been popcorning around in my brain for the past several days. Maybe weeks. I'm wondering if I can make this make as much sense here as it does in my head.

So for a long time, back in the day, in my earlier life, I thought I had to be perfect. I thought it was expected of me, and that was partially true. There were sources of that expection. I was one of them. The pressure from that intense self-scrutiny had me turned so far inward that I imploded on a fairly frequent basis. It also made me fairly self-absorbed. Funny how self-loathing is self-obsession in an ugly dress.

Thankfully, I had a lot of the shell that I had built around myself shattered for me. There's no such thing as a pleasant shattering, but as my good friend Gandalf says, "not all tears are an evil."

But, you know. Old habits die hard. That sort of thing. I still have a very hard time taking criticism. If the bathwater isn't sparkly, perfectly temped and fragrant, I'm strongly tempted to just toss the whole dang tub, baby included. (I'm the bathwater and the baby, you see...?)

There came a point, perhaps as recent as last fall, when I realized that I had to give myself permission to fail. I'd been moving towards that point for quite some time, mind you. There was the day some 5 years ago when I traded in my GPA for an apron and went to work waiting tables. I still occasionally feel from some sources that my only redeeming move was to have married a professor. At least I still have some "status." Whatever to that, I say.

But I think it was last fall that I actually articulated to myself the principle that had already blown the lid off my life: "You are allowed to fail." In keeping a house, raising children, learning how to be a wife, etc, I had to literally give myself permission to fail at one thing per day. Perfection is not a goal I can reach, and insisting on it in myself was going to set me farther back from real virtue than an honest, trip-and-fall, approach to the daily grind of loving ever could.

That doesn't mean that I don't strive to be the very best me I can be. On one hand, I strive. On the other hand, I say, "Relax." Life is a thing that must be carried with both hands.

So what got this whole train of thought out of the station was an invitation that bounced and bounced and bounced around inside my head. "Hey, why don't you run a half marathon with us in November?" November. The month that sends gong-like reverberations of "ow" vibrating through my chest. Not to mention the 13.1 miles that constitutes a half marathon. Surely not. Surely not. I run 3-4 miles three times a week. I do not cover vast distances.

But it's to benefit Connor's House. I believe in this project, and I love and admire the people who started it. And I realized that I can certainly walk 13.1 miles. And I can certainly run 4 miles. So between now and November 21, I can probably work up to, say 10 miles. The fundraising isn't contingent on running the whole way. I can walk any or all of it and they still get whatever funding I raise. I can fail and still achieve my real goal.

*nibbling lip*

And then a funny thing happened. Giving myself permission to fail took the pressure off. I signed up. I have a training plan in place, thanks to my fantastic brother in law (BIL).

And I think I can do it.

And I'm pretty sure I'm going to run across that finish line.

And I'm pretty excited about it.

BIL and I talked a lot about running in the past 2 weeks. Enough that other members of the family learned to roll their eyes and wander off the moment we got started. But we view running in much the same way. It's almost sacramental. The more you use your body, learn it, get to know it, and use it in an amazing way, the more it gives back. It shouldn't be a surprise. We kneel to pray. We fast to prepare. Our bodies teach our minds and souls things all the time. This is yet another activity has become a grace-bearer in my life. Perhaps I'll write another entry about it sometime.

But I guess what I'm trying to say is that by granting myself permission to fail, I've given myself the freedom to not lose sight of my actual goals.

This is carrying over into my parenting too. We spent the last 2 weeks on vacation in NJ, and my stepson was a major challenge. He was negative, mouthy, mean, contrary, hyperactive. Ugh. This child is a good child. He's a sweet boy. He's always had traces of what we saw while away, but never so much. The actual details of how he was/is is subject for another post. It's too much for here. But both of my sisters in law, who were enormously helpful in their observations and suggestions, were also so encouraging. At the same time that I felt like I was falling on my face, over and over, when it came to dealing with him, they kept telling me how good a job I do with him. "What?" "But you don't know," I kept wanting to say, "You must not have seen when I failed here and here and here." But they saw something else. I'm still not sure what, but I do know one thing.

I know that before he left our home last night to go back to his mother, he came over to give me a hug. He usually bounces over, gives my knees the obligatory squeeze, and trots excitedly out the door to go see her. It's fine - he's supposed to be happy to see his mother. I don't mind that. But it always stings a little too. But yesterday, he wrapped his arms around my neck and didn't let go. Even he seemed surprised at his own reaction. He just held on. And we chatted a little bit about what he was feeling. "Are you excited to see mommy?" Shrug. Nod. "And you seem a little sad. Are you sad to leave too?" Nod. "You know what? I think that's OK. It's exciting to see Mommy after so long. But it's OK to be a little sad to leave too. You'll have a great time with Mommy and we'll see you in a couple days. I love you always." Nod, "I wuv you too." And then he went happily trotting out the door.

What if life turns out to be like that? What if it's just fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, until you find that, somehow, unbelievably, all the grace-bearers that seemed to hint at another interpretation of all those failures were right? What if all the fairy-tales and folk lore are right? What if there really are pots of gold at the end of the rainbow? What if they're in the puddles along the way?

(This can't be completely right. But I think there's something worth hanging on to here.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Heaven and hell

My brother is getting married on Saturday.

I will be wearing a strapless teal dress in front of 250 people. I was so white as to be blue a week ago. So, I purchase a 6-session tanning package. I burn the first day. Can't go back the next. Then, I run outside twice, read outside in the sun, and then stand around outside at a picnic. All in different shirts. I have 5000 tan lines and look a little like Neapolitan ice cream. Not the plan. Sigh.

I ran my second 5K this past Saturday. My time? 32:14. That's a steady 10:20 mile. I actually ran a steady 10:20 mile. No speedy gonzales presto-chango-ing into the tortoise. No walking. Solid running. Two thirds of the course was up"hill" (not uphill in a car, but DEFINITELY uphill running). It was over 75 degrees out by the time we finished. This little sissy indoor air conditioning treadmill with the TV on runner had shin splints from hell for 2 days after. They're gone now.
Did I say hell? I mean heaven. Planning my next one for September. I'm gonna do it in under 30 minutes next time.

The thing my husband used to be married to has been stealing money from us via the kids school tuition for the last several years.
She committed fraud (and possibly tax fraud) to do it. :) The smile? Finally, someone is going to tell her "No. You can't act like this." And it might even be a judge.

The people in my life.

My cats are fighting like raccoons. They are where I go when I get stressed. I am experiencing way too much anxiety about this.

Peeling wallpaper off the bathroom walls. UGH. I'm ready to never do that project again in my whole life.

The way the finished bathroom will look. :)

And there it is. Life as it currently stands.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back to the CDs

And here I am on CD2.

It's hard to ignore that I would have been 19weeks yesterday.

But oh well. Water over the dam, under the bridge, spilled milk and all that, right?

So we've got one of the two mandatory cycles down.

But the good news is that my body did it all on its own. That, I suppose, is something deserving a small smile.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things that I can (and cannot) fathom

I may have mentioned that we had our priest over for dinner last night. While he was here, I was able to ask him about a question my brother and I have been chatting back and forth about. It's something I have some experience in and have dealt with before, but experience makes it no less hard. Namely, forgiveness. It's easy to forgive someone who asks us to. Or it ought to be. Love always hopes for restoration. But how do we actually, actively, deliberately forgive someone who does not ask for it, and who continues to harm?

In my life presently, I'm talking about the Ex, the "Un" I mentioned a few days ago. The harms just keep coming and I walk a very fine line between anger and hatred. I don't want to fall from one, which is just, into another, which is never, at present, just.

He used an interesting image. He said, "Imagine that every wrong she does you is like a flaming arrow. It's going to hurt. It's going to burn. Of course it is. And of course you're going to be angry, and of course you might rant to J. But you have to let those little fires go out." Don't keep fanning the flame. In one sense, we have to keep a record of wrongs. We have to keep track of the relationship, especially when it comes to the kids. But in our internal life, we have to leave each rock thrown wherever it lands. We can't pick it up and carry it with us. We certainly cannot throw it back. And we must actively hope, not only for our sakes, but hers, that the arrows and rocks stop coming.

I can fathom that. I can learn to do that.

I have a harder time with the dictates of biology. My stepdaughter started her period this week. She is nine. Nine. She still believes in the tooth fairy. She is in every way a child and yet nature already makes it possible for her to bear one. WHAT? Does that sounds incredibly young to anyone else? I mean, I'm no yardstick of normalcy. I was sixteen. But nine?

I feel like a baseball bat just collided with my head. Not in a painful way, but in a sit-down-on-a-step-and-let-my-head-spin-for-a-sec way.

Now really, where in my mind do I put that?

Oh. I ovulated 12 days ago. Right smack in the middle of a 3-day "stint" (if you catch my drift). My doc would throttle me if she knew. I was told in no uncertain terms that we were to avoid such a thing. In my defense, virtually none of my typical preovulation symptoms showed up. Aside, ahem, from the "drive" that brought about the "stint". :-D So I didn't know it was coming and didn't know it had until a couple days later when my temperatures started to rise. Eight days later, I registered a significant temperature dip. It's risen every day since then. I've been tracking my temperatures for a year and it's only done that twice. Once led to nothing. The other was on February 28th. I'm only barely hoping and not really expecting anything. But, well. you know how it goes.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It feels like second best. But hey. :)

Hey M! GUESS WHAT?! No, not that. Not this time.

But we had Fr. Nicholas over for dinner tonight. About 15 minutes before he gets here, J casually says, "So, we'll tell him we're ready to be chrismated?"

I was chopping things. I am glad I only froze, and didn't start jumping up and down.


We're going to be Orthodox. For real.

Oh yeah, and M, there's a something I want to talk to you about. I was trying to wait until you were huge and pregnant before requiring you to play another major role in my life, but J went and mucked the timing all up. You're partially off the hook.

What a funny blog. It's more of a letter, isn't it?

I don't know when. We don't have a date. But I've been ready for this for at least 3 years.

Oh, and B. Wanna drive up for it? Just for fun?

Just wanted to put these somewhere...

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." - CSL

"A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in." - CSL

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It turned into a post on insanity

You might have noticed a certain crumbling in my last post. There's no more of that going on. Heh. Not that certain people aren't still infuriating and certain losses aren't still making themselves known from time to time. But I'm feeling better about it. Thankful for that.

Had an encounter with the Unwoman. (J's ex. If you've ever read Perelandra you'll know why I call her that.) I don't even know how to begin explaining the conversation. Basically, we need to get the summer schedule with the kids nailed down. (Nailing anything down is something she balks at. She always wants the option to change her mind, so we never know anything about her schedule until the last minute. It's a bastardization of the notion of liberty. She wants to have so much freedom that she can't choose anything, lest she be obligated to live by that choice. But then, of course, she can't ever actually do anything. She'd be a fascinating case study. In a book. Have I mentioned that she is a real live, diagnosed Narcissist?)

So she and J have been screaming over the phone at each other. Because they can't talk about anything.

So J and I decided that we would take another tack with her. Basically, I talked to her for about a half hour the other day. The approach I took is not typing fodder. It would take pages. But it worked. But I left feeling like a nuke had gone off in my brain. It defies explanation - the way she sees the world. I have never, ever, ever seen anything like it. I basically took every insult and insanity she dished out. Every bullshit nonsense totally crazy thing she said, I granted. And we were "allies" by the end. But, she is in charge of this alliance, don't you forget it. *roll eyes*

I used to be manipulative. I squash that tendency in myself every time I see it. But I played her. And I hate it. But what are you supposed to do with someone who will not use reason? She would deny the sky is blue if she thought it would suit her purposes.

I made the mistake at one point of saying "we", referring to J & I regarding the kids (like, "we have them on this date"). She informed me in no uncertain terms that, "There is no 'we'. This has nothing to do with you." I said, "But I am married to him." And she said, "Maybe you're 'married' to him, but this has nothing to do with you. There is no 'we'. You're not mentioned in any of the paperwork and you're not one of their parents."

sigh. Silently granted. (But REALLY?!?!?)

Have I mentioned that she has told the kids' friends to call me Miss (maiden name)? That she refuses to use my married name when she talks about me?

OK. Here's an example of just madness. My brother is getting married in 3 weeks. The kids are in the wedding. She was wanting to get the kids after the wedding on that Saturday. I'm like, "well, the reception might not be over until late." And the conversation went like this, verbatim.

Un: Affronted: "See? I don't even know when this this will be over. Nobody has even told me when the reception is going to end."
Me: "Well, I don't know when the reception will end."
Un: sneering "Nobody ever knows when the reception will end." Like I'm an idiot.


Ugh. Anyhow. Enough poison. At first, driving away from that conversation, I felt so sick. Like I'd just bathed in something vile. Badness that is as deep as hers is bewildering.

But now I'm feeling more empowered. There's something about seeing evil so clearly that's almost a comfort. It's clear what it is and what it isn't. And it's so ugly that there's no question of being drawn in by accident. She's been personally attacking me for weeks and I'm not gonna lie, it gets stuck in my head. I start wondering, almost. Or at least responding. When I dress the kids in the morning (or help them, rather) I found myself saying to myself, "See, their clothes are just fine. They're not all wrinkly or full of holes. They fit. They're clean." Which is the opposite of what she's been saying to me via text message for weeks. She actually brought a change of clothes to my stepson's school and changed him in the middle of the day because the dress shirt and khakis I'd sent him in weren't good enough. And I know she's wrong, but still, I found myself wanting to justify myself to an insane person.

Having spoken to her, face to face, for even 20 minutes has cured me of that.

I hadn't meant to write all of this. But here it is written. Maybe some things need purging?

The other crazy lady is still refusing to pay me. *pursing lips*

I changed the blog background. Years of brown were fine. But hey, why not pink for a little?

I have more to say, but methinks this blog is long enough. Maybe another time.

The days have gotten progressively better since Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I am having a hard time.

First, there's all that. Which we hardly need to go into, because you already know. Oh, but today I found out another dear friend of mine is pregnant and due in November. Thrilling, and I'm truly ecstatic for her. Truly. But I'm not going to lie. I got in my car and cried.

Then, there's J's ex wife. She is giving me fits. Personal attacks on me, using the kids, harming them to get at us, etc etc etc. She is evil, and far beyond the misfortune of a few months ago, she is the greatest thing in my life that makes me wonder about the justice of the universe. How are such people to be tolerated? How does God go on, watching them, unblinking? I'm buzzed. I know the anwer to that. But I'm angry, strike that, furious, and I'm hurting, so stuff bubbles out.

Then, there's this crazy woman I do work for. The long and short of it is that she's not paid me since February and is presently withholding that money until she gets out of me all the contacts, data, etc, I use to do my job. I know she's replacing me from other sources. Not from her. I don't care. She's a pain in the neck and I'm up for something new anyhow. But she's like a lite version of J's ex and I'm slowly going mad dealing with the both of them.

And my kitties are at each other's throats, literally. They're my babies, and one is always trying to kill the other and it's breaking my heart.

I am not a conflict-happy person. I feel totally under attack from all sides and I'm tired.

So again I say,

give us this day our daily bread...
and forgive us our trespasses...
as we forgive those who trespass against us...

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I've been going in for blood work every Friday for the last... how many weeks? Six? I'm not even sure really. I'm not sure why they wanted to monitor my hormone levels so closely, but they wanted to be certain of when the pregnancy had "resolved", or when my hcg levels were below 5. Recall, they were at 70,000 on April 14th.

My results from last Friday are 4.6. The pregnancy has "resolved". For the first time since the end of February, I am no longer in any way pregnant.

I'm not sure why they call it "resolved".

I don't really want to talk about how the sadness lingers still, though not constantly. I don't want to sit here for too long and say how hard it is to pass silly landmarks in time. I don't like to realize that I'd be showing by now. The word "missing" is one that hardly needs saying.

So I'll say that it's nice having my energy back. That's what took the longest. Between the hormones and the sadness, all of April and most of May has been a bit of a whammy. But, I can finally run without thinking seriously of just laying down on the moving treadmill. I actually ran 2 miles on Tuesday. I haven't done anything close to that since my 5k at the end of Feb. I've signed up for another 5k on July 3rd. There's a half marathon in November that I might shoot for. Being honest, I don't care a whit for it at the moment, but maybe by then I will.

We start trying again in September.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I had to have more contractions induced earlier this week. Severe pain over last weekend brought me to the ultrasound room again on Monday. There was still a huge piece left to pass, and my body just couldn't get it to go on it's own. Contractions all Tuesday night and I think it's finally over.

I'm generally OK. Still quite sad, but taking day by day by day, and finding mercy every morning and comfort when I need it.

But. A dear friend of mine found out on the same day I did that she was pregnant. We were due the same day. She found out last night that the baby had died at 9 weeks 3 days.


And yet we both find ourselves singing this:

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that we have been friends since 5th grade, but we didn't speak for 5 of the last 6 years. We failed each other, miserably, deeply, my Junior year in college. We were fully reconciled this past fall, and the resurrection of this friendship is one of many big reasons that I believe that anything can be redeemed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three years ago

Three years ago today I was on a plane heading to Savannah, GA, with my brand new husband.

Three years ago yesterday, I walked down the aisle and got the best gift ever: him.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I've not been feeling very "wordy" lately. But I want to mark this all down, in case I want to remember someday, and today is not a heavy day so far, so perhaps this is a good day.

I've been thinking a lot about loss. I've been lucky so far in my life. All my grandparents are alive. My parents, sibling, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are alive. I've not suffered any sort of loss that would require this sort of grief process. So I'm finding it surprising. It's very weird how I can go days and be fine, fine, fine, and then suddenly ka-wham I'm not fine. And sometimes the not-fine sticks, and sometimes it just keeps rolling by.

I'm looking at this experience and I'm glad I chose to go this route. The medically induced otherwise natural miscarriage route. I'm still glad I didn't have a D&C, even if I'm still bleeding and cramping 8 days later. I'm proud of myself last weekend. I drove for over an hour through one nearly constant contraction. My mom said to me the day after, "I don't know, but that sounded a lot like labor to me. If you ask me, if you can drive through that, you'll be fine when there's a baby at the other end." Hwah. Yeahhhh. *flexing biceps* (although the biceps were the most unaffected set of muscles, haha)

An hour of hellish driving. 7 more hours of Vicodin-relieved cramping, heavy bleeding, and sleeping. 7 more days of bleeding. That's the losing.

That's the easy part.

It's the loss that presses in at unexpected moments, keeps rolling, keeps emphasizing its own finality that's hard to carry. The losing was over quickly. The loss is a road that disappears over the next hill.

(Thankfully, though, my body doesn't seem to be about to drag it out ad infinitum. I went in for bloodwork on Friday, and while my hcg was over 70,000 last week, it had dropped down to 10,000 a week after the miscarriage started. 1000 would have been awesome, but 10,000 is OK. It's a good indication that I'm looking at weeks, rather than months, before my hormones drop back to 0. Yay.)

But I'll say this. I have a friend at work who lost a baby 3 years ago under very similar circumstances. She named what she imagined was a daughter. I've thought about this and I don't see there ever being a time when I refer to this lost child by name. I don't think I'll ever hear myself saying, "Back before (name) died." Or any such thing. I talked to J and he wasn't keen on the idea. He said, "What if you give it a girl name and you meet it someday and it's a boy?" Men. :)

But this child gave its mother something in the short time it was here with us. It gave me hope. And hope is a virtue traditionally depicted in the feminine form. So in the deep places of this mother's heart, I have named her a slavic name (I studied Russian in high school and have always loved the language) which means hope. It's a small whisper of thanks, a nod as I aquiesce to the dictates of biology, and a reminder, always, to hope.

(And if it was a son, I hope he forgives me the sissy girl name. (Haha. Makes me think of that song, "My name is Sue. How do you do?!"))

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Moving on

It's over, and that's a relief, really.

It's very odd to consider that a month ago I was pregnant. Technically, I was pregnant 3 days ago as well. But to be pregnant with what you believe is a live baby is very different from being pregnant with what you know is an empty space. Not physically different. But different. I miscarried at 10 weeks. But that was a fluke. I lost that little life at about 5 or 6 weeks. I guess what I'm trying to say, badly, is just that it's weird.

But it's over now, and that is a relief.

What follows is blood work til my hcg gets back to 0. Then, 2 cycles where we're not allowed to try. Then, we go back to the IUIs. Each cycle will likely be about 6 weeks, give or take. So that's 12 weeks til we can try again. Three months. July, probably August.

I'm going to say it. Only once. This sucks.

I'm trying to figure out now what I'm going to do with myself between now and then. I've started running again, so perhaps a few races are in store. I'm just hesitant to do long races outside in the heat. (sissy) (I know) But I'll probably do them anyhow.

I need to get my house in order. It's a disaster. That'll probably take all 3 months, hahaha.

Maybe I'll paint the bathroom! (yes, that warrants an exclamation point. It's been needing paint! since I moved in 3 years ago)

The time will pass.

But that's part of the problem. Time keeps on passing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The beginning

It's started.

I took the pills this morning. It was supposed to take 24 hours to take effect, but lo, it started 4 hours later. As I was at the baby shower for a good friend. 70 miles away from home.

I was terribly irritated that I had to leave the shower early. I became less irritated on the drive as the cramping came in like a hurricane. 1200 mg of ibuprofen didn't touch it. I talked to my mom on the phone the whole way home about heaven knows what. Sometimes just about breathing. My mom was precisely what I needed her to be and I'm so thankful she was there.

When I finally got home, I downed a Vicodin. I am in love. :)

Even with all the pain, I'm so glad I decided to do it this way. It sounds stupid, because the baby died so long ago. But whatever is left of it is still my child, and I'm glad I'm present and awake as it goes. I saw a little clot at one point and I actually talked to it for a moment. It sounds like madness, I know. But it feels very cleansing.

Maybe it's just the narcotic talking, but this is physically far worse and emotionally far better than I imagined it to be.

(humming) everything's gonna be all right... rockabye... rockabye...

Friday, April 16, 2010


What a lovely lovely morning it is here. Sunshine and warm and gorgeous. My kitty is playing with half a plastic easter egg, her favorite toy, and the house is full of her happy yowls.

It's a good day.

I feel a little heavy and sad today, but it's expected and OK. It fits. I opted to put taking the medication off until tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to having things over with. It'll be good, in the end. :)

I'm glad for the extra ultrasound, actually. When the doctor called that morning, I didn't expect, really, to find a baby there. I'd seen the pictures last time. I knew there was nothing there. But the extra reassurance is nice, in a way. I'm a little frustrated with my body for, once again, not doing anything "right", but on the other hand, I smile a little because I feel like if there ever actually is a baby in there, my body will hold onto it like hell. We'll probably have to bribe it to give it up after 9 months.

So there's that. Another pointless post. But there it is.

I'm going to go read a book outside. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I mean, really? Stop it. Yes, you, body. You. Stop.

So bloodwork yesterday, just to see what my body is up to, trying to figure out why I haven't bled yet.

For some reason, the trip home from the blood lab triggered waterfalls of tears and hiccups. Here's why, I think. Why the tears and hiccups.

(Pardon me while I meander.)

I think I'm handling this whole blighted ovum thing fairly well. I mean, I hate it. But I'm doing OK, overall. Have you ever heard of the palaces of the mind? It's a medieval means of memorizing large quantities of information. The idea is that you assign different topics different rooms and then assign each thing to be remembered a place in the room. It's more complex than that, but you get the general idea. Amazing stuff. These guys memorized entire libraries with this method.

It makes sense to me, because I often remember things, events, etc, in a location-based way. I see things in my mind, and that's how I remember them.

But anyhow. Remember that day, 2 weeks and 2 days ago? Yeah. That day. I've managed to stuff everything sore and sad into the ultrasound room in my memory. Lunch, where we talked about how big the baby would be. The walk from the car to the office. Those moments staring at a silent screen in a silent room. J's face. All those sore-don't-touch-it things are in that room in my memory. And I keep the door shut. I'm not repressing it. I'm keeping it there, where it's safe, and I don't have to trip over it every day. But sometimes that door just starts to swing open...

The blood lab unlatched the door. It swung open. I cried for 2 hours then grabbed myself by the collar and dragged myself to my workout and into the rest of my day. That was yesterday.

Today the doc calls me. She says, "Um. Your hcg levels are enormous." Like 70000+ enormous. Like normal for a 9 week pregnancy. "We're going to need to see you today."

It could be anything, we say to each other. Immediately, the entire month of November is before my eyes and the 14th is a date that doesn't make me want to curl up in a chair for days. But we also know there are other things my body could be busily building, and we don't say those things to each other.

So for 4 hours, J and I wonder again.

And when we get there, the doc asks all the normal questions. "Are you experiencing any pain?" (Does daily cramping, breast pain and exhaustion count?) "Are you experiencing any emotional or physical abuse?" (We both laugh and I say, 'Aside from what my body is currently doing to me?')

Then, up on the table with me. Stirrups, dildo-cam (thanks, V, I steal this from an older post of yours), silence.

And there it is.

The sac. It's bigger than last time, and measures exactly right for 9 weeks, 2 days, which is where I thought I would be.

And there's still nothing in it.

My doc's eyes welled up with tears. Mine didn't. J let it roll off his shoulders. I watched him again, watched the fear of the bad and the hope for the good wash off his features.

The doc talked to another doc, consulted, showed pictures. There were wispy things in the sac this time, but they did some magical color thing to the screen and determined it's just blood.

There is definitely no baby. And my body, damn the poor thing, is industriously building a nest for nothing. "A" for effort, but put the pencil down, honey. This is not a fight that can be won. You could build for three more weeks, but hush, hush, and let it go.

I will get some pills tomorrow that will cause the cervix to soften and the uterus to contract. I have Vicodin prescribed because the size of the sac could cause some significant cramping. It's expanded, you see, just like it should. And it'll be harder to pass now.

What is there to say, really?

Monday, April 12, 2010

2 weeks

I'm 9w1d pregnant. Technically. Thankfully, aside from a few pesky remaining symptoms, I don't feel it. It's less of a headf*ck that way, and I'm thankful for it.

We'll talk to the doc today or tomorrow to figure out what to do since it hasn't "passed" on its own yet. I know my inclination, but we'll see.

It seems like 2 years ago that we sat in that little room. It seems like a dream, almost, that I was pregnant with a baby at any point. But I was.

And I'm hooked. I so want that feeling back. But I want to keep it next time. Duh. Seems obvious. But it needed saying for some reason.

One thing that's making this so much easier (and I think I've said this before) is that we have something back that had all but gone: hope. I feel like there's a really good chance that it might actually happen again, and maybe not in the too-distant future. There's no way to know, but having a strong suspicion that the wait might end someday makes the wait easier to take. A little.

I'm unwrapping my heart from November. Aside from hoping that I can be sick and miserable again by then.

This is a very strange experience.

Monday, April 5, 2010

These days

God was just so nice to me. A friend I've been wanting very much to see is coming into town. I'm actually blubbering like an idiot about it. :)

Comfort comes, it does.

I was sitting in the car a short time ago remembering this time last week. We'd had lunch and were killing time in a book store before the appointment. Then we drove to the office and I took J's hand and said, "Ready to go see our little blueberry?"

I look back and I'm surprised that at no time was I surprised. I don't even remember a moment of understanding. There was just stillness on that screen, darkness, and I slowly just knew. I cried before my brain even kicked in.

Last week was weird. There were solid days of "This will be OK, we can do this, and there's hope for the future, finally." And there were days of just tears tears tears.

I told J that really, if this cycle, this Jan 30th cycle, was going to end in blood, I would rather it be this than just another period. And I still mean that. We have something back that had all but withered away: hope. There is no fear in this, and that makes it better in a way.

But there is just loss. Loss that just sits on my chest like a rock. And the days are getting harder because the loss is not new, does not sting, does not throb. It's just emphatic.

I'm not going to lie and say I don't ask why. But it's so personal. I'm thankful, in a way, because God has rarely felt so near, and so personal to me. And there are times that there comes bubbling out of me, "How could you? How could you let this happen?" And it sounds like anger, but anger is often just the voice that pain uses. Anger wants an answer. Pain isn't looking for information. Pain doesn't mean the questions it asks. It's looking for something else.

And I do find what I'm looking for. Every time I turn around, it seems. It does not give me back that baby, cannot give me back my baby, and God I wanted that baby.

It's exactly like CS Lewis said, "When I lay these questions before God, I get no answer. But a rather special sort of 'no answer.' It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate gaze. As though he shook his head not in refusal but in waiving the question. Like, 'Peace, child; you do not understand.'"

I don't need to understand. The concrete facts are solid before me and I don't need an explanation. What I do need, though, is being poured out in bucketfulls.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

They say it's Pascha

There's this rumor going around Christendom, and that's that tonight is Pascha.

My favorite night of the year. You might recall, I started counting the days down to it immediately last year.

I'm just not feeling terribly Pascha-y.

I haven't fasted. Not even today.

I lost a baby this week. And my body still hasn't caught on (aside from being able to stomach broccoli again - I'd lost that ability for several weeks). And I'm riding this absolutely wild emotional rollercoaster.

Yesterday was fine. Today, not fine.

We're going anyhow, to be sure, and I'm sure I won't regret it.

But yeah. This is a "I need a hug" day.

I suppose, looking at it objectively, that today is the perfect day for Pascha.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Holy Friday

These are my favorite days.

Heaven bends so near. There is nothing that cannot be borne these days.

shhhhhhh... Steady now. He is dying, and we with Him...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Christ the Tiger

I have been reading and rereading this passage for about a week now. It has grabbed me this Holy Week. It is written by Thomas Howard and (spoiler alert) is the conclusion of his book Christ the Tiger. It is long. It is worth it.

…In the figure of Jesus we saw Immanuel, that is, God, that is, Love. It was a figure who, appearing so inauspiciously among us, broke up our secularist and our religious categories, and beckoned us and judged us and damned us and saved us, and exhibited to us a kind of life that participates in the indestructible. And it was a figure who announced the validity of our eternal effort to discover significance and beauty beyond inanition and horror by announcing to us the unthinkable: redemption.

It was a figure we could neither own nor manage. We claimed it as our special possession, and exacted tribute and built shrines and established forms in which to incarcerate it, only to discover that it had fled. It would not be enshrined. It was the figure of a man, and a man must live and walk with other men or die, and this man was alive. He scorned our scruple to shelter him and to prop up his doctrine. What he spoke, he spoke loudly and freely, and his words were their own defense. When we tried to help things by urging sweetness and light, or by interdicting what looked threatening, or by tithing mint, anise, and cumin, or by devising rituals and nonrituals, we found him towering above us, scorching our efforts into clinkers, and recalling us to wildness and risk and humility and love. Just at the moment when we thought we had guaranteed our own standing in his good favor by organizing an airtight doctrine or a flawless liturgy or an unassailable morality, he escaped us, and returned with his hammer to demolish things. Try as we might, we could not own him. We could not protect him. We could not incarcerate him. For he always emerged as our judge, exposing our cynicism and fright by the candor and boldness of his love. He tore our secularist schemes to ribbons by announcing doom and our religious schemes to tatters by announcing love.

He appeared as a man and demonstrated a kind of life wholly foreign to all of our inclinations. For he showed us what a man’s life is like when it is energized by caritas, and in doing this, he became our judge, because we knew too well that it is that other love, cupiditas, that energizes us. He told us of a city, the City of God, in which caritas rules. He told us that all who participate in this are citizens of that city.

We experienced this announcement as both death-dealing and life-giving. It was death-dealing because we knew our own incorrigible cupidity – the energy that makes us shriek for the shovel in the sandbox, cut into the ticket line, rush for the subway seat, display our prowess, parade our clothes, and pursue delights regardless of prior considerations.

We remembered our own torrid yearning, for instance, for other bodies, and our insistence that we must seek satisfaction at all costs because this was such an ecstatic bliss. And he said to us, yes, yes, yes, you are quite right, another body is the most beautiful thing in the world. This kind of congress is ecstatic bliss, but your unexamined pursuit of this will, irony of ironies, dehumanize you, for it is a failure to ask the questions that must be asked – questions about the imago Dei in you and your partner, questions about sex as a form of knowledge that requires a high warrant, questions about sex as a metaphor of realities that lie at the heart of everything, and questions about the undying notion in all of us of sex as significant and binding and most holy.

And what is true here is true in all regions of experience. Your mad pursuit is for freedom and intensity and bliss. It is natural. But, by a wry irony at work in the world, the pursuit leads you into a prison where your agony is to become more and more insistent that things shall be as you wish, and less and less able to cope with denial.

But I show you a different way. It is an alien and a frightening one. It is called Love. It asks that you forswear your busy effort to collect the bits of bliss and novelty that lie about. It asks that you disavow your attempt to enlarge your own identity by diminishing that of others. It asks that you cease your effort to safeguard your own claim to well-being by assuming the inferiority of others’ claims. It asks, actually, that you die.

For, paradoxically, it offers to you your own best being beyond this apparent immolation of yourself. It says that the cupidity energizing all your efforts is the principle that governs wherever hell is found, and that the dwellers in that realm are a withered host of wraiths, doomed to an eternal hunt for solidity and fulfillment among the shards that lie underfoot. This is not your best being. You were meant to find your home in the City of God, which is among you. Here duty is ecstasy. For that is what is meant by caritas: it is the freedom which follows upon the capacity to experience as joy what you are given to do.

But the City is not reached in a moment. It is as remote as the Towers of Trebizond, and as near as your neighbor.

And we experienced his announcement as death dealing again, because it knocked over all the little pickets and wickets that we had tapped carefully into place to guarantee the safety of our religion. He saw our masses and rosaries and prayer meetings and study groups and devotions, and he said yes, yes, yes, you are quite right to think that goodness demands rigor and vigilance and observance, but your new moons and Sabbaths and bullocks and altars and vestments and Gospel teams and taboos and Bible studies are trumpery, and they nauseate me because you have elevated them, and I alone am the Host. Your incense is foetid, and your annotated Bibles are rubbish paper. Your meetings are a bore and your myopic exegesis is suffocating. Return, return, and think again what I have asked of you: to follow justice, and love mercy, and do your job of work, and love one another, and give me the worship of your heart – your heart – and be merry and thankful and lowly and not pompous and gaunt and sere.

But we experienced the announcement as live-giving because it was an announcement, appearing in a dirty barn, and heard among the dry provincial hills and then in the forum of Rome and in the halls of royal princes and in the kitchens and streets of Paris and Calcutta and Harlem and Darien, that Joy and not Havoc is the last word. It announced to us what we could not hope. It saw limitation and contingency and disparity and irrevocability and mutability and decay and death, and it said yes, yes, yes, you are quite right: terror and horror and despair are the only eventually realistic responses … if this is all there is to it. But it is not.

You have thought of a world free from such conditions. In all your imaginings, and in your myths and your mime and your songs and dances and epics – in your quest for form and significance and beauty beyond fragmentation and inanition and chaos – you have bespoken such a vision. I announce it to you. Here, from this stable, here, from this Nazareth, this stony beach, this Jerusalem, this market place, this garden, this praetorium, this Cross, this mountain, I announce it to you.

I announce to you what is guessed at in all the phenomena of your world. You see the corn of wheat shrivel and break open and die, but you expect a crop. I tell you of the Springtime of which all springtimes speak. I tell you of the world for which this world groans and towards which it strains. I tell you that beyond the awful borders imposed by time and space and contingency, there lies what you seek. I announce to you life instead of mere existence, freedom instead of frustration, justice instead of compensation. For I announce to you redemption. Behold I make all things new. Behold I do what cannot be done. I restore the years that the locusts and worms have eaten. I restore the years which you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheel-chair. I restore the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massifs your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you through plunder, and the identity lost to you because of calumny and the failure of justice; and I restore the good which your own foolish mistakes have cheated you of. And I bring you to the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bear with me

There may be a flurry of entries from me for a while. I don't know.

I'm just so sad today. Yesterday was OK. Today, I just can't pull my mind out of the memory of those ten minutes in the ultrasound room. Watching J realize what wasn't there. Ugh.

The irony is that I don't want to carry my own pain, but find that I can. And I want more than anything to carry his, and can't.


Yesterday was a surprisingly good day. I sat in a comfy chair all day with a Law and Order: SVU marathon on in the background. A friend sent flowers. I ate macaroni and cheese.

I felt optimistic. Disappointed and sad and occasionally tackled by sudden bouts of tears that just as suddenly stopped. But OK.

The nurses that I primarily talk to (who I'm actually referring to when I mention the "doc") called. The one I spoke with said that the other told her to call because she was the least likely to cry. They were very supportive and very optimistic about the future. We know I can conceive. We know my body knows what to do.

So when it comes to all that, I'm feeling relatively OK. Unhappy, but peaceful.

But that is presently conflating with another issue that is turning me into a little dark raincloud today.

I look forward to Lent and Holy Week and Pascha all year. The fast, deepening, the Holy Week, deepening, the services, the Pascha. This year, I got a week of the fast before having to give it up for, as it turns out, nothing. I'd planned to go to every service this week and now can go to none save Friday and Saturday. And we can't figure out which church to even go to for Friday and Saturday's services because the one we went to for several services last year and loved is over an hour away and full of people we don't know, and the one that's closer is full of people who have no desire to know us and is dry and frustrating.

And so I'm feeling a little cheated.

Like I said. Little gray rain cloud.

**Edit. J & I talked about it and I'm going to be able to make it to the Thursday service. I feel much better knowing that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Give us this day...

...our daily bread...

The heart breaks quietly. I didn't feel it at first. And then I did.

That stupid little ultrasound room, silent. The doctor zooming in, zooming out, rolling through the layers (so I assume), again, again, again. And there was just darkness. I knew very quickly that there was no heartbeat. I was just praying, praying, that it was just too small to see still. But it became clear that there was nothing there to see. I am pregnant with nothing.

I asked why I haven't miscarried yet, since the baby is long gone. He said he didn't know, but that if it doesn't happen within the next 2 weeks, I should call.

He said that because there's not even a visible embryo there, I shouldn't have to go through a D&C. It'll just be like a really heavy period. Probably a good deal of cramping. But there won't be tissue.

He said that he's very optimistic. He said it happened very quickly for us (the pregnancy).

I laughed louder than I meant to. I think I sobbed somewhere in the middle. I said, "27 months is quickly?!"

He said he meant it only took 2 tries with the IUI. So he believes that there is every reason to believe that we will become pregnant again.

He said the pregnancy itself was healthy.

I stared at him.

He said my body did everything right. I conceived and my body responded well.

There was just something very wrong with the embryo and nature took its course.

I didn't lose a healthy baby. Nature took something that couldn't have lived.

We will have to wait two cycles and then we will try again.

We knew this was a possibility. We knew that 1 in 5 pregnancies end this way. We were somewhat prepared for it. But we still really don't like it.

The most insulting thing? My body still believes it's pregnant, so I'm still nauseous and tired and sore and swollen. And may remain so for 2 more weeks.

Give us this day our daily bread...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Letter to the lost

My dear (tiny) little one,

We went to see you today, our little "blueberry", half me, half your father.

But you weren't there.

We saw a large dark spot, get bigger, smaller, move here, move there. Definitely a pregnancy sac, and definitely empty.

You've been gone a while, he said.

I want to explain to you why you can't be here with us, but I suspect that if you can understand anything at all, you understand this far far better than I do.

So I'll tell you only the thing that I do know. And that's that these weeks with you have been one of the greatest pleasures of my life, and I have treasured you.

Your mother loves you; loved you before you were conceived, loved you for every moment you were here with us, and will love you always.

Sleep well, child. I will see you in the Morning.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


With approximately 234 days left in this little adventure, otherwise known as being 6w3d pregnant (really? I'm still blown away that I get to use that word), I am thinking about a few things.

The first is that while I know that abdominal twinges and cramping are normal, I hate each and every one.

The second is that the world(?)-famous nausea-curing wonder-beverage Ginger Ale is my intestines' worst enemy, which is unfortunate for ye olde tummy...

Which leads me to my third thing. It's going to be a dang hard project to keep this a secret as I spend most (yes, most) of my waking hours tinged an elegant, no, delicate, shade of green. Very Eastery, really. Very season-appropriate and festive. But noticeable, ya know?

Which leads me to my fourth thing. I now understand what "cravings" are and I believe that that word is utterly inappropriate. You crave water on a hot day. You crave chocolate when you're sad or pissy. This is not that. This is being starving and being unable to eat anything but maybe, just maybe... ahhhhh, blueberries! And so, blueberries must be eaten. Because if you don't eat, you'll die. And if you eat anything else, it'll get stuck in your throat. If you're lucky.

I'm learning things. And I'm so dang thankful for all this misery it's ridiculous.

Which leads me to my fifth thing. Thankfulness. Only a few of my friends at work know "the news" and apparently two were discussing it amongst themselves. One passed on to me what the other said. Apparently there were happy tears involved (happy tears for me? It's so amazing I feel like I could just puff up and float away) and one said, "It's been such a long time, but it was bound to happen. All those prayers had to have been going somewhere."

Now, there are bits of that statement that I don't know how to speak to. I don't know how to match up specific prayers with specific events in the world. I don't know how to say why now, why not before, why not later, why me, why not someone else. All those "whys" are just so far beyond me.

But I do know that God hears all prayers.
And I know that He is the giver of all good things.
And I know that all He gives is good.
And I know that these people in my life are gifts. Good gifts.
And this little pea-sized life wreaking havoc on "our" body is a good gift.
And regardless of the specific communication cause and effect, I know where all these things come from.

And I want to stand out under a starry sky and shout "THANK YOU" til my throat is sore.

And while I'm hormonal and sappy, I just wanna say to all 5 of you readers, that I'm thankful, so very much, for you too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


There are 240 days until November 14th, which, according to, is my approx due date.

I learned today that no matter how good a taco may sound for breakfast, in the long run, it is not a good idea.

Can't say I've been experiencing any nausea per se. I've gone from hungry all the time and eating anything to hungry all the time and not finding anything appealing. The only thing I could imagine happily eating this morning was a taco. Lucky for me, we had tacos earlier this week, so there was leftover meat in the fridge. J turned green as he sipped his coffee and I microwaved the meat. I turned green later. Man, I tasted that thing for hours.

Maybe it's just the novelty of it. But I don't mind at all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Go team

I am a team now. Go team.

We went in for blood work again yesterday. My hcg on Wednesday was at 201.6. They wanted to see at least a 60% increase, which they tell me would have put me at 330-something. So they wanted at least 330-something when I went back yesterday. I was awakened by a phone call from my favorite nurse this morning who said, "Hi! Your numbers are beautiful." Hcg is sitting pretty at 460-something.

Go team. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Now that you know...

It was something else, in the bathroom, suddenly being let in on a secret that only God had known. I suppose we all share secrets with God. But that's one set of five minutes that I will always hold near. Just me and Him knowing something small and huge and cool.

My kitties stared at me, my hands over my face, and then at the stick, hoping it was something that maybe they could play with.

The stick stared at me. One word. "Pregnant." No "not" to be seen. I've seen "not" so many times. But not that time.

That was something.

J's face. That was something.

Friday afternoon I felt like I was on the most massive jet lag of my life. Nauseatingly tired. Slept for 2 hours. That was weird. And I thought it was weird. But I know better by now than to really "think" anything.

Saturday morning (13dpo), my temperature jumped. I wasn't expecting my period until Monday, but still. A jump is peculiar. And I thought to myself, "You know, just take a test. That way you won't have to hope all weekend."

I ended up having to hope all weekend. :)

I still am. Hoping.

I'm tired. I'm hungry. That's the funny thing. The hunger. I'm never a hungry person. These days? Hungry. The Fast has gone out the window.

I've never been particularly well endowed, but I'm moving in that direction.

I'm clinging to every sign and symptom, trying to believe that it's real. That everything is going to be OK.

I'm not ecstatic. I'm calm. Optimistic. A little afraid. But what's most noticeable is that something I've carried around for the last 2+ years is just... gone.

Bloodwork was done on Wednesday, 17dpo. My hcg was at 201.6 and my progesterone is at 12. Progesterone is a little low. Not worrisome, but I'm going to go on progesterone supplements just to support the wee mustard seed. More bloodwork tomorrow (Fri). We want the hcg to be in the 300's.

Life is pretty dang funny sometimes.

Ah. Here's the word I'm looking for: Thankful. I am so so so thankful.

Funny how things go

My blog is entitled “What About November”. I don’t remember if I’ve ever explained why it’s called that. Perhaps I have, and perhaps this is old information. But I’ve been thinking about it recently again.

There is a song called “To Say Thanks” by Nichole Nordeman, and I’d recommend you looking it up (there’s a full version on and giving it a listen. It is a heart wrenching song, heartbreaking, and I heard it first at a time when the very ugly was right before our eyes.

We are told to give thanks in all things. And she wants to know why it’s so damn hard sometimes, and why it just gets harder and harder.

The chorus is something I left behind about a year ago. I don’t ask why anymore. I think it’s both an irrelevant question but with a very obvious answer. We start looking for specific reasons for the rain and we’re liable to read too much into things. I think it just rains. And sometimes it washes us away and sometimes it washes us clean.

There are things that are up to us, and things that just aren’t.

We don’t need to ask what God wants from us, or what He wants us to learn, or what He’s doing. We know. He’s told us already. He wants us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. He wants us to learn to love. He is always here.

The second verse says, “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 can’t grow?”

I’ve found myself in 27 months of November, unable to grow anything new. It has rained, it has been cold, I have cried, I have been angry, I have been strong, I have despaired, I have hoped. I have never been alone.

I have been wrong. I have been growing a new me. I have been growing a new family with my husband and stepchildren. I have been growing a new faith.

This journey started in November of 2007. And I imagine a small, wry, pleased smile on the face of my Father as I cross my fingers, cross myself, shake a little, and whisper to you that as things stand right now, another journey will start in November 2010.

I’m pregnant.

(Shhhhhhhh – this isn’t Facebook fodder for a while yet…)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

3rd Saturday of Lent

"Brethren, recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; but my righteous one shall live by faith." - Hebrews 10:32-38

For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry...

Apolytikion in the Second Tone: O Apostles, martyrs, prophets, hierarchs, righteous, and just ones, who have finished your course well and have kept the Faith: seeing ye have boldness with the Saviour, beseech Him for us, since He is good, that our souls be saved, we pray.

I love Great Lent. There is such a feeling of expectation and excitement even as we struggle. (He is coming! He is coming!)

The Fast has been a little bit of a challenge, but so far, it's also been the best one for me so far. I've been more intentional about what I'm eating - thinking it through, planning it out - and I'm actually feeling not deprived, interestingly, but satisfied. Some of J's friends marched a meat lover's pizza into my house on Wednesday night, and I sure oh sure did feel the fast then. But hey.

I've started noticing things about myself that I've never really seen before. I think somehow I'm more able to hear the little voice in my head that tends to constantly grumble, mutter, and come up with snarky sarcastic retorts. You know that voice? That one that, when you find a sink full of dishes, starts muttering to yourself, "I guess everyone else around here has broken arms... Oh sure, like I have nothing else better to do... Why would he bother..." You know that voice? It chatters away in my head almost constantly. But I realized yesterday that a good amount of the time, it's coming up with utterly contradictory complaints. If the kids are playing video games, it grumbles that they're too lazy to do anything else. If they want to play games with people or do projects, it grumbles that they're incapable of entertaining themselves. Good lord a'mighty. No wonder I get so grouchy. I'm impossible to please.

So I'm learning to tell that little voice that if it can't say anything nice, it can just shut the hell up. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The run

So, I did it.

The stats:
31:29 total time
31st place out of 64 runners
2nd of 13 in my age division
16th of 39 women
Splits: 10:15, 11:03, 10:33

I am pleased about some things. I am pleased I did it. I'm pleased at my standings.

I am pleased that the size M pants I bought for the occasion turned out to be too large. :)

I am surprised at my times. I've been training at 9 minute mile pace, and had sort of expected something like that for my race. I ran/walked 3 miles on Wednesday in 28:20.

I think the largest contributing factor to the slower time was my inability to pace myself without the treadmill to do it for me. I'd planned to run outside several times before this race, but what with the mountains of snow and the tendonitis, I didn't get to it. This was the first time I'd run outside since I was 16 years old. I have no idea what a 9 minute mile actually feels like.

Next time, I will have many outside runs under my belt. I found out I don't mind running in the cold. It was just fine. I will also wear a watch next time to help me keep track of my pace every quarter mile.

The cool part? Kicking it into high gear for the last half mile.

Plus, I got a sweet shirt.

I've got my eye on another 5k at the end of April. The plan is a half marathon in Philadelphia in November. I think I'm hooked.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Have I mentioned I'm one of the cheapest people in the world? Not that I don't spend money. I do. I have a family. They need feeding from time to time. But I cringe. And I never spend money on something I intend to throw away.

That alone will guarantee that I will actually be running a 5k on Sunday. I just filled out the registration and clicked "submit". And then I called the host hotel and booked J and I a room. So we're going.

And I'm gonna do it.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Great Lent started 7 days ago. I was not ready, hadn't thought about it, and had to come to the difficult decision to wait to start it.

This is my Cheesefare Week. The last meat I ate was yesterday, a phenomenal red snapper. I find that I'm ready for this and so excited. I know that this year it's springing more out of my need to find comfort, and whether that's good enough is something I'm not sure of. But where else to find comfort than the Comforter? And how better to find him than shoulder to shoulder with all saints, living and dead, walking with Him through the last 40 days before our victory was won?

I find in Lent the nearness not just of my God, but of all the saints. They seem right here. And it sounds like madness, but my mind's eye is nearly always seeing the banners and hearing the music of the Triumphant.

There is a temptation here to use this gift we've been given and try to turn it into a bargaining chip. "God, what if I did the full fast, all of it, and threw myself at the feet of Saint Anne and promised to..." "Would you give me a child then?" "What if I proved I deserve to be a mother, somehow, by..." "I would walk 10000 miles. How about that?"

But that's not what this is for. This is about being prepared, no matter the circumstance, to be strong, and faithful, and thankful, and courageous, and ready to meet him at the cross, the tomb, and the upper room. It's not just mothers who see the face of God. The barren can find Him too.

Being a mother will not save my soul. But what I choose to do about the outcome, either way, can.

I was laying in bed yesterday afternoon in tears, the ugly kind, trying to figure out how to face the rest of my life without the dream, or the reality of children. Trying to wrap my head around a door shutting on not just pregnancy and babies, but first days of kindergarten, school plays, soccer games, homecomings, proms, weddings. Grandchildren. The loss is gargantuan. And I was asking, out loud, "How am I supposed to carry this? I don't know how to do this."

And the answer came at once, and so clearly. And I don't know the immediate source of it, but I do know who to give the credit to.

Yes you do.

And I do. I carry the trouble of today, today. I cry when I need to. I allow myself to be buoyed by hope when I can. We're only ever asked to carry each moment as it comes. Someday when I am old, I may mourn still as my friends have grandchildren. But I don't have to carry that today.

And I polish and shine the gifts I have.

I just don't want to do this. I just don't want to hear, finally, "no."

"Take this cup away from me, if you will." Does this sound familiar? The cup isn't always taken, but comfort is sent, if we will have it. Lord help me see it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

eleventh hour

I had an LH surge yesterday. CD22. So, after a great deal of mad scrambling to get my stepkids taken care of (HUGE props to my future SIL), we actually made it to the appointment 1.5 hours away at 7:30 this morning.

The procedure itself went well. The swimmies are swimming. And so we hope.

But what with it being a Sunday and nobody being in the entire building besides us and the nurse, we had a good long time to chat through our situation.

J's number of moving swimmers today was at 2.5 million. They want, at minimum, 5 million. But all you need, really, is 1 to make it. So not impossible, but not good.

But then we started talking about "the next step". Basically, you can be on the kind of meds I've been on (Clomid and Femara) for 12 ovulatory cycles safely. After that, they start to worry about long term damage to the ovaries. This was our eleventh cycle. We have one more left after this.

Then, we'd be looking at superovulation meds, which operate directly on the ovaries and essentially guarantee ovulation and known timing of ovulation. It takes the body out of nature's hands and puts it in the doc's. We'd then pair it with the same IUI method we've been using. You can do this indefinitely without any known side effects. Aside from the $2000/month that it would cost, the main problem is that it won't help if there are problems on the daddy's side.

There are problems. First, there's the overall number of motile sperm. That's way low. But we also learned today that morphology is a major problem. As in, only 3% of the motile sperm are properly shaped. So, we have 3% of half the ideal number for a successful IUI. What's that? Someone else do the math and tell me. What's 3% of 50%?

With male problems like that, IVF is the only viable option, short of just sort of winging it and hoping for the best. First, that costs about $10,000 at the outset (can that possibly be right?!?), plus another 2 grand for every "frozen" implantation thereafter. Second, what if we end up with, say, 8 viable embryos?

All I can say today is that I'm aching. There is a very real chance that next month is the last chance.

And all I'm going to say right now is "please".

Friday, February 19, 2010

the acceptable time

It's been a rough week. I have been frustrated, and sad, and frustrated, and feeling so very alone. My body has frustrated me, my husband has frustrated me, etc etc, blah blah blah. But it's also been a good week, looking back. Externally at least. I have been and done, mostly, what I want to be and do.

Yesterday I was the sort of stepmom I want to be. After school, I helped one with her homework while chitchatting with the other. Then, I built a block tower with the redhead while chitchatting with his sister. Then, she and I made brownies in Christmas molds, which delighted her. And me. Now I have brownies to eat. Both kids were bathed, the kitchen was cleaned, a delicious dinner was made, the kitchen was cleaned again, and both kids were tucked in bed on time. Both were skipping and singing on their way. Happy kids are the "A" on the day's report card.

I'm not sure why this is, but it always seems to be times when I'm lowest that I seem to be the most patient and able to focus on the needs of other people around me. I'm really not sure how that works out. But I'm grateful.

Last night was an anniversary for me. Eight years ago, something particularly negative occurred in my life. It wasn't out of the blue, though it was unexpected. And I won't be daft and say that everything was fine before it. I wasn't fine. But let's use this image: it was the wrecking ball that eventually brought down an already decaying building.

But today, I'm sort of thankful for it. Not that I'd sign up for a repeat. But consider. I'll say all the traditional things that people say when they come through something ugly: I learned who I am, I learned who my friends are, etc etc. All true. I also learned what mercy isn't and what justice isn't and what forgiveness is.

Mercy isn't about sparing hardship. It's the voice that calls us through it. Justice isn't about vengeance. Vengeance is something different, though it has its place in one hand of justice. Justice is about giving to each what they are owed. No less, and no more. Justice and mercy must walk hand in hand. They are not themselves without each other. They must speak to each other if they are to speak to us. Neither weakens the other. They are fire and steel. They heal. They cleanse. Without them, we stay sick and dirty.

Forgiveness springs out of the heart of both. Forgiveness must be honest. It must say, "this harm was done." It may not say of a harm that it was not done. It must not diminish the harm. It must not inflate the harm. Forgiveness must look the harm in the eye, hold it in the palm of its hand, and put it away. Forgiveness looks forward to the day that the putting-away can be completed. Forgiveness feels pity, real pity, for both the harmer and the harmed.

I have some idea of the trajectory I was on on February 18, 2002, and I know that had that event not happened, the person I am today would not recognize, understand, or probably even be able to converse with the person I would have become.

I easily could have married him. Thank God for making that impossible.

Lent started Monday. I've been reading The Lenten Spring as part of that journey. I realized only a week or two ago that Lent was already almost here, and knew I wasn't ready to start the Fast on time. I'm preparing this week and will start next. I'm ready and excited.

Lent is called "the acceptable time". I'm interested in finding out more about that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth
lust of power
and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity,
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 the ages of ages.


Monday, February 15, 2010


So today I ran 2.5 miles in 22:30. That's a little better than before - it's a steady 9 minute mile pace. Not awesome, really, but consistent.

I can live with that.

What I'm bumming about is the increasing pain in my left ankle. I first really "noticed it" on Friday, and it made my 2 mile run that day incredibly difficult. It hurt all weekend, more each day, while at work. Today, I finished my 2.5 mile run, went to shower, and my ankle is all swollen. 10 hours have passed and it's still swollen, tender to the touch, and uncomfortable to walk on. I've been doing some reading and it's sounding like tendonitis. I'm seriously bumming about it. Practical solutions? Elevation, ice, rest, better shoes, and perhaps a trip to the doc if it doesn't improve in the next couple days.

I just don't want this to be taken away right now.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The status of a Facebook friend...

"I am trying to teach my mind to bear the long, slow growth of the fields, and to sing of its passing while it waits." -Wendell Berry

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Guess what?!

I ran two miles. All in a row. Without stopping. In 18:20. Not awesome, but HEY NOW I've never run that far all in a row without stopping or dying before in my life. So ha.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A few countdowns

Approximately 4 hours until I call in to work and see if they really need me to dig my car out of a snow drift and drive on unplowed roads to come in and stand around for a few hours, making nearly nothing, before driving back home on said unplowed roads and park in the snowdrift from whence I uselessly came.

19 days til my first 5k. :) I haven't registered, but that's neither here nor there. I'm registered in my mind and I'm starting to suspect that I might actually be ready to run 3.1 miles in 19 days. I'm scheduled to run 2 miles (all in a row - I know) tomorrow and I'm sure I can do that. I decided at the beginning of this running thing that I would be able to run that 5k at the end of February. I don't think I actually believed it though. As I've seen the change in my body, I've seen a change in myself. Again. :) I think it's cool how human beings are mind-body-spirit composites and I think it's cool how tinkering with any one of the three will create changes in the other two. I think I take myself a little more seriously, and a little less seriously, all at once. I'm in awe of my thighs, which are trimtrimtrim! and frustrated with my knees, which aren't cooperating. But I'm realizing that the good and the less good work together quite well. And it's, well, good. :)

And I can do it. I can run that sucker. Which means that someday, I'll be able to run farther. And hey, maybe I'm stronger than I thought.

Approximately 8 days til IUI attempt #2. I'm ready. I'm ready for the roller coaster. The up, the down, the up, the down, and the unknown. I'm not afraid of the suspense and the suffering therein this time. It's mercy. Each time is different, and I'm thankful for the present calm. I didn't know 26 months ago that I was starting a race, and I don't know now where the "finish" line is. But I'm pretty stinking sure I can make it. I'm pretty stinking sure that there are more rough days ahead, but I'm pretty stinking sure that I'll get through them. (running makes you stinky, haha)

Courage today, see? Thankfully, that's all that's expected of us. I'm not being asked today to carry tomorrow. I'm thankful for that and I'm thankful that today I can see that.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

neither here nor there

I'm neither here nor there on the artist; I am definitely not "there" with the video (ick); but how 'bout this for a new theme song? :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An insight

I'm probably right this time. ;)

I think I know why this whole TTC thing is a no-go. I'm far too selfish and God knows it. Really. He's being merciful to my husband, and/or justly treating my innermost thoughts with necessary tough love.

See, Thursday is my day to get the kids ready and take them to school. And every Wednesday night, I think, "Gee I hope I get pregnant so I'm too sick and tired to get up and J will have to take them."


1. I hate mornings. Especially the cold, dark variety. Those mornings, especially, can crawl back into the Pit from whence they came. I have no need for them and think it would be best to skip over them directly from Night to Day. If I ran the world, I would make that amendment, surely.

2. The hubs, bless his utterly incomprehensible heart, likes mornings. Even the cold dark Pit-generated ones. He perkily pops his peepers open of his own accord somewhere between 5:30 and 7:00 every morning. All on his own. I think he's excited about playing his computer game without me bugging him to turn the volume down. But nevertheless, the man is awake.

I have never quite seen the use of dumping sleepy me out of my cozy warm bed when someone else (ahem) is already up.

Pregnancy might be my door out of Thursday driving duty.

I know. Pregnancy would only in fact be a door into perpetual morning-facing. Unless my children, like me, have the sense to avoid mornings at all cost as well.

But maybe I'm on to something here. I just don't know what to do about it...


Saturday, January 23, 2010


(my temp popped back up again. phew. yay progesterone.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Warning: Pedantry ahead

This post is for me, though you may certainly read it.

(First, I must say that my sad pensive mood has been temporarily altered by trying to swallow a mouthful of wine before sneezing. I failed. The sinuses burn, the eyes are watering, the throat is sore, and my family is laughing. Thank God for the absurdities He sends lest we take ourselves too seriously.)

I'm 7dpo, on CD26. Had my LH surge on CD 18. Temperature jump on CD19. Just as it should be, although a bit late. And then 4 days ago, it started a nosedive. I've lost nearly a degree in 4 days. I don't know what that means. I don't think I like it, and I certainly don't like not knowing what it means. I'm guessing it means a certain lack of progesterone in ye olde system, but why is a puzzle. Just this whole TTC thing should get me a degree in reproductive medicine. Seriously.

But seriously. I'm up to my eyeballs in the whole TTC/infertility clash. Again. And it's shitty and sucky and I'm pretty freaking sad a lot of the time. It's sent that part of me that lives in the throat and chest into a downright tizzy. And I know why CS Lewis said once, "No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear." They both approach the same thing (loss) from two different sides. Fear is approaching grief. They mingle.

We've had one failed IUI. This cycle, the IUI didn't happen. Scheduling and whatnot. And now the temperature snafu...

We've got a few more IUI trials left and I think the dismay I'm mired in is a little early. But I feel it. I feel like it's just not gonna happen. I feel like I'm going to have to do a lot of mirror-talking and pillow-crying this summer when we give up IUI and turn away from IVF. But I have a 5k and another Lent and another Pascha between now and then. And perhaps I'll be more ready then than I am now.

I watched Beth's posted video "Blessed Be" this afternoon. (Thanks Beth) And it was a lovely reminder. I've become an emotional, though not intellectual, deist through all of this. I don't ask "where is God?" because it's a senseless question. I know perfectly well where He is. I just don't feel a thing about Him one way or the other. But deserts were always promised and I know a stretch of sand when I see one. Rivers and forests and rolling hills will come. And I will look back and see that the streams were always here. I see some of them even now. There is always Grace.

And I was thinking about the line, "though there's pain in the offering, blessed be the Name of the Lord." And I thought, "Yes, that's quite right."

But that can't be all. It's dangerously close to stoicism, which we're forbidden. We're not to just steel ourselves against pain, singing throughout. Christianity is not a cheat. It's a road straight through. We're required to taste even a bitter cup, and drink it to the bottom. It's poison otherwise. Consider Mara in MacDonald's Lilith.

I'm not being clear.

Christ talked about taking up our crosses and following Him. Lewis, in the Screwtape Letters talked about taking up our present crosses. There's no sense in trying to take up future crosses, because they conflict, they may never come to pass, and moreover, they're not here yet. it's today's cross that needs tending to. It's the daily bread that requires requesting. My present cross right now is not knowing. And fear. And the frustration of years of what feels like lost time.

And so I tell myself over and again, "courage, courage."

Motherhood is a joy that I may never taste. I'm starting to look that in the face. That loss is massive. Vacuous to consider. But I am deciding not to let the possible loss of one joy mean the loss of all joys. Today's cross, oddly enough, is carrying the joys that I wouldn't have chosen first, but have received in spite of myself. How stupid, no? To consider joys a cross?

And there I find that they're not a cross at all, but joys. Duh.

The real cross is the wanting of a different joy. But, I will swim in the wave Maleldil sends (check out Lewis's Perelandra to decipher that line). Perhaps not a cross. Perhaps a coin to polish and give back. I'm not sure.

Where am I going with this? Running. Motherhood requires the changing of a body to do things that seem impossible at first consideration. It requires the growing of a new sort of strength.

And so I run. My body is changing, and I am developing a kind of strength I have never had before. I take step after step after step and I get tired and sore, but it's exhilarating. Even as I face the possible loss of a lifelong dream, I'm finding a joy I never imagined. There are gifts, always, all around. My own body (imagine me saying this!) is one of them, and I can choose to polish it til it shines.

I went 3.8 miles yesterday in 42 minutes. In 5 weeks, I plan to run 3.1 miles (5k) without stopping. Run. Tomorrow I will run more and farther. Run. Love and polish what I have.

My stepdaughter struggles with anxiety. She's 9. I have a certain history here and a certain sympathy, and I've actually been able to help her a bit. My husband called me a "Godsend" to her. Run. Love and polish what I have.

There are some things that are not up to me. And there are many things that are. It is a race, in fact.

Funny, isn't it. All the images our Lord used. They're not just images after all. They're not like, they are.