Circle + Bloom Giveaway

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Nearly three years ago I purchased Circle + Bloom’s IVF/IU Mind-Body Program meditation set, which is a 4-CD set of meditations for women going through ART.  As it turns out, C+B accidentally included two disc “1’s” in my order.  When I wrote to notify the company of the error, C+B generously sent me another full CD set as a replacement—not just a replacement disk, but the entire set!

Now I have two (well, 1.75) once-used C+B sets collecting dust on my bookshelf.  Since I spent good money on them—and since I now regret my very secular purchase of something I disagree with on a spiritual level (meditation)—it’s time to re-home these babies.

Which brings me to this post.  I’m going to give away both sets to two people who can use them.  Each set is valued at $59USD.  Now, I haven’t opened the disk cases in quite awhile, so I can’t say for certain who will get the set with two disc-ones, but, hey—it’s free!  All I ask is that you are someone who currently follows my blog or I follow yours.  If you blog anonymously and enter the giveaway, I promise promise promise not to reveal your identity EVER.  Because #1 that’s totally uncool, and #2: then you’ll know my identity too—leverage!

So, hey: If you’re down for possibly scoring a free C+B meditation set, submit the form below.  I’ll draw two random winners on June 1, 2018 and mail the set to you.

Peace.

 

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Opting Out of M- Day

It’s fast approaching. That day of the year. The one that fills me with a special kind of pain: Mother’s Day.

Reminders of MD are unavoidable, as everywhere I turn advertisements oh-so-helpfully remind me of its impending arrival: “Don’t forget mom!”, “The perfect gift!”, “She’s worth it!”   It’s epidemic.

All my life, MD has been the one day that I yearly want to kick in the nuts.  See, I never knew my mother.  And the person who later became my so-called stepmother managed to scar my psyche in myriad ways against the concept of mothering…  but that’s entirely too much crap to cram into a blog post.  Toss in six-plus years of infertility and three miscarriages and here’s the result.

This is only pain talking.  Deep pain.  Real pain, not to be mistaken with bitterness.  Just sayin.

The last several years I purposely avoided church on MD.  Then last year on MD—fueled by some unexpected bout of starry-eyed over-enthusiasm—I attempted to attend church.  I lasted exactly ten minutes, congratulating myself on my valiant strength in the face of adversity all the while.  That is, until I encountered a fellow parishioner who’s five years younger than me and has four children.  Wearing matching mommy-and-me dresses, she and her youngest toddler paraded through the church hallway holding hands, smiling, and basking in compliments on how adorable their matching garb was.  Yep: that was the catalyst.  Jake and I ducked out before service even began.

I won’t make that mistake again.  This year I’ll resume skipping church; avoid restaurants; stay away from the grocery store; flee Facebook like the plague.  Instead, I’ll hang at home with Jake, Puppy, Netflix, and a pint of almondmilk ice cream.  Maybe even pop a painkiller, because this is the third consecutive year that I’ve had my period and monster cramps on MD weekend.  *insert extra gut punch*

Sometimes you just need to protect your heart.

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All’s Quiet on the Fertility Front

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Another month-long delay on updating this blog?  You guys are probably used to that by now, I’m hoping.  I’m such an unreliable blogger.  Really, there just hasn’t been much to say on the fertility front.  Here’s some mini highlights to tide you over though.

First, in an act of age-related desperation, I caved and purchased a fertility monitor. Well, a used one that is.  And before anyone “Ewwws!” me, the monitor was used one time, four years ago so c’mon now.  Besides, it’s not like I’m going to be licking the thing.  Even though urine is sterile, I still disinfected the crap out of the machine with rubbing alcohol as soon as I opened the package.  In its user manual, Clearblue “strongly recommends” that women not sell their used monitors, but…. psssssh…  I know corporate greed when I see it.

I spent $80 for the monitor itself, plus an extra $20 for three months’ worth of testing sticks. Thank you, Ebay, for the cheap deals!  Straight retail would’ve cost me $150 for the monitor and another $50 for the test sticks.  I was pretty stoked to save a few bucks while simultaneously dropping $100 for a machine that tells me when to have sex.  ‘Course I can’t actually use the monitor until my next CD1.  Update to follow on how it works!

Also, somewhere between now and my last post I turned 36.  *gulp*  That may have had something a lot to do with buying the fertility monitor.  The feeling of not being able to afford any more missed cycles is real.  Time’s a tickin’!  I feel all this self-induced pressure to finally resolve already, one way or another.  Jake and I are closing in on seven years (!) of TTC and anymore it’s all I can do to try just one more month… just one more month…. just one more month…

In other news, Intermenstrual Bleeding: It’s Still a Thing.  Except lately it’s been accompanied by new, weird pains in my lower uterus.  The best way to describe the pain is like someone inserts a needle into my skin sideways and then vigorously, repeatedly jerks the needle up and down, over and over.  The pain waxes and wanes and mostly occurs during my luteal phase.  It has me concerned.  But I’ve learned by now not to even bother an OB/GYN or RE with these kinds of legit concerns, because they just customarily dismiss me: “It’s only your hormones being out of whack,” “Nothing we can do about it,” “You should consider another IVF (because that will stop the pain???),” rinse. repeat.

My next step is to schedule a consult with the renowned Dr. Seckin in NYC about this issue.  He’s, like, THE dude to see if you suffer from endo and all your docs have basically written you off as an overly-emotional hypochondriac.  I was able to score incredible, awesome, unbelievable, AND amazing medical coverage through Jake’s new job, which will make my visit practically free.  The only catch?  I have to wait six months for my benefits to start (thank you, Pennsylvania, for the delay).  In the meantime, well, I don’t know.   I suppose that I’ll just deal.  Pain meds help.  Lots of pain meds….

Update to follow on the fertility monitor.  I get the impression that the monitor and I will become close buddies over the coming months.  Perhaps a cute nickname is in order?  Drop your suggestions in the comments below!

Peace.

 

 

 

3-Year Blogoversary Musings

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It feels like just yesterday I was posting about my two-year blogversary on WordPress.  I blinked and another year has passed!  Last year when I lamented about two years of infertility blogging, I really expected things to be different for me within a year.  My fertility status, unfortunately, remains unchanged.

What’s more, is that many bloggers who underwent successful IVFs around the same time as my two IVFs (September 2015 and April 2016) are now busy working on their second babies.  And I’m over here just… here.  Stiiiiiiiiiiiiill trying for my first.  I feel pretty left in the dust, like that kid who keeps getting held back a grade in school, over and over again, and ends up graduating when he’s like 22.  I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others; I’m on my own very unique timeline.

I’ve started every single new cycle since last year full of optimism.  I do it all perfectly, to the ‘T’—all the right supplements, timing sex just right, paying close attention to my ovulation.   Then around cycle day 20ish, I begin deflating: the bleeding starts up; my ovary pain kicks into high gear; my temperature won’t reach optimum heights.  My faith quickly slinks into a downward spiral, and I scratch off yet another month.  I don’t understand why my time hasn’t come yet, and I have to restrain my impatience.  Another full year of infertility wasn’t in my plans.

Despite all of the above, there have been many, many blessings in my life since my two-year blogoversary post; I can’t lose sight of the rays of sunshine amidst these clouds.  Besides, no matter how much it hurts (and it totally does freaking hurt, every day), life is so much more than whether I have a child.  So much more… So I’m believing for a cheerier post for my four-year blogoversary, Lord willing.  A lot can happen in a year.

Peace.

Those Late Periods

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A couple years ago I stopped taking monthly home pregnancy tests.  Stay at this game long enough and you’ll longer need them.  My BBT alone tells whether I’m pregnant: if my temp starts dropping around 10DPO, then it’s certain I’m out that month.  My last two pregnancies taught me that my temp skyrockets when I’m pregnant, even immediately post-transfer.

This past cycle my period was late.  I rarely have late periods—my body’s great at cycling like it should.  A cautious hope with a type of nervous expectancy for a BFP began to set in.  After all, starting 11DPO I’d been having strange poking pains in my lower right uterus which were so weird because—since I’ve no ovary on that side—it rarely sees any action.  But, my temp began dropping on CD24 and hope remained dangling on the edge of caution.

I fleetingly thought about taking a HPT from my arsenal, but—honestly?—I just couldn’t be bothered.  I couldn’t be bothered to continue tracking my symptoms, either.  I eventually forgot what cycle day I was on.

Ambivalent was the best word for my feelings on the matter.  Ambivalence causes me to think I don’t want this as much as I used to.  It causes me to wonder if I’ve become a resigned, faithless, half-hearted TTC-er.

On the same morning when my period app reminded me that I was three days late, I finally took a HPT.  It was negative.  And I mean negative just like that cutesy “BFN” acronym—a big. fat. negative.  I felt nonplussed by my results.  And as I’ve done many times over the years, after thoroughly scrutinizing for a squinter, I chucked the test in all its stark white one line-ness into the trash and got up to go about my day.  Scratch off another month and move along, I valiantly told myself, intending to go about my day business as usual.

A mere half hour later, where did my so-called valiant “strength” land me?  Why, sobbing to Jake on the sofa while cramps overtook my body and the beginning of my period approached!  Through big ugly tears and out of my desperation, I devised implausible ways to pay for another IVF.  I lamented my fate as permanently childless.  I gave voice to the feelings of failure, the tediousness of endless TTC, and the general hopelessness that is constantly trying to get the better of me.  The battle is real; so is the enemy.

Here I’d been moments before thinking I was so tough and had become ambivalent—also known as hardened—to this years’ long process.  Turns out, I’m still all mushy in the middle.  Most months I don’t allow myself to feel the feelings.  But they’re all still there: faith and hope mixed with failure and tears.  Gratitude mixed with feelings of unfairness.  Impatience mixed with patience.

All this from a late period.  I’m grateful to learn that I still have an emotional connection to this process, to know that I’m not hardened by it as I’d secretly feared.  Sometimes this Tin Man just needs a little oil now and then to know for certain.

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Mom and Mothering

This week is the 35th anniversary of my mother’s death.

I thought about writing a nice memorial post for the anniversary; it seems important to not just let it slip by, unwritten.  Even though my mother has long passed, I’ve always maintained a sort of internal lifelong vigil for her.  But how to write the snippets of secondhand information that I have into a memorial for a person I never knew?  I put a lot of thought into what to say and drew just as many blanks.  I  mean, what I know of her can be written in only a few sentences.  After that, the main thing that surfaced were my own attitudes toward motherhood.

On My Mama:

From what I’ve pieced together of my mother, she was kindhearted, loyal, and loved us all a whole lot.  In pictures she was always beaming; vivacious is a good description.  A person who truly LIVED her life.

Her dream was to have 6 children and be a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom.  She had 4 of those 6 children and spent her entire marriage as a pastor’s wife and as a SAHM, so in some ways I think her dreams were fulfilled.

A form of cancer took her life at 30 years old.

I often wonder how my father, my siblings, and I would’ve turned out, had she lived…  How radically different each of our lives would be.

 

On Mothering:

I don’t often talk about my mother—in real life as well as on this blog.  Her death has always been a fact of my life so in a way I don’t particularly “feel” the loss.  Even so, I’ve always felt off kilter somehow: like there’s this universal mother thing that the rest of the world knows about, but I totally don’t get it.

This is a good place to mention that the words “mom,” “mommy,” “mothering,” and “motherhood” fundamentally upset me.  Hearing those words causes me to feel… slightly angry, actually.  I’ve never examined deeply the psychological reasons behind this—I suppose the reasons are fairly obvious.  But I have really terrible connotations of motherhood.  My therapist would have a lifelong client if I ever let her get into this subject with me!

That leaves the $65,00 question: Why do I want to be a mama (remember: not a mother, a mom, or a mommy)?  I question my own maternal desire: I’m adverse to the “M-word” and I haven’t a clue to how mama someone.  Is my wanting a baby a way to carry on her legacy?  a simple biological urge?  an effort to right a childhood wrong?  Un-fun thinking, this is.  Thinking to be put off for another day….

Sometimes I consider whether it’s been for the best that Jake and I haven’t had children.  I fear that some key element that it takes to be a mama is missing from me. I have a genuine concern that my mama style will be unfeeling, aloof, distant.  I must trust that mama-ing is instinctual, and that God will provide me whatever link is missing when my time comes.

These are my thoughts on motherhood—the real, ugly parts of it.

 

In Conclusion:  My mother loved Jesus with all her heart, and I’m confident that she is in Heaven with Him.  I hope that He allows her to glimpse down at our lives now and then; there’s no way to know this side of life if that’s true.

Those of you who’ve also lost a parent during infancy/childhood, know that you’re not alone; we may be a small club, but we’re not the only member.

Peace.

 

 

Endometriosis and Running

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I’m not a runner type.  There is absolutely nothing appealing to me about lacing up my sneakers and running around town or through parks or along tracks.  Running outside?  No thanks.

But I am one of those weird class of people who loves running on the treadmill…  looooove it.  I think it’s because my speed, incline, and rhythm when running on the treadmill always stay consistent, which I don’t get when running outside.  I like having that control over the elements.  Getting a few miles in before work goes a long way toward feeling healthy and energetic for the rest of the day.

But, endometriosis = inflammation. And inflammation + pelvic organs jostling about when running = pain.  I’m so over pain… so over it.

Last summer I began noticing that I’d experience pelvic pain during and after running near my ovulation time.   Like, I would step off the treadmill and double over while my uterus screamed at me and my ovary throbbed.  Fine: I quit running mid-cycle and swapped it out for the elliptical trainer. Problem solved.

Then the running pain began staying consistently during my entire luteal phase.  Begrudgingly, I again adapted. Running became something I’d do only during my follicular phase.

But now running even during the first part of my cycle is problematic.  This past cycle I ran on CD 3, 4, and 5.  And afterward?  Dude.  I could barely stand the rest of the day.  Instead, I’d be bent over in pain, shuffling around work clutching my uterus and praying for the pain to stop.  No more treadmill for Marixsa.  But there’s only so much elliptical trainer and cycling a girl can do before her eyes glaze over with boredom.

I miss running.  And I’m bent about this latest development in Endometriosis Land.

The good news is that since I’ve begun running and lifting weights, my arthritis has dramatically improved!  I’ve had exactly one arthritic “breakout” episode in the last year.  It happened only this past weekend, incapacitating me to my bed for a day.   I forced myself to work it out at the gym though and felt 100% better the very next day!  Score 1!

Anyone other endo sisters out there who experience this kind of pain when running? Any solutions to work around it?

Peace.