Tuesday, December 6, 2011

November 10th, 2011

This is a day which marked a change in me. While at work looking over wallpaper samples for a project, I suddenly imagined using the samples I didn't use to decorate a dollhouse for our little girl. I quickly texted Sam, telling him that I couldn't wait to adopt a little girl so we could make these sudden visions of mine a reality. I was excited to adopt..!

Above all, I was so very glad that I AM, in fact, making progress. We've been doing the hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progesterone shots) to help level off my hormones, so things have settled down quite a bit compared to the months when I was at my darkest. I still have off moments, like a few weeks ago when we went to a Christmas special event at Wolfpen Creek, and I became teary-eyed at the sight of little girls all so excited to perform their little dance onstage, while their families looked on, proudly. Overall though, I am so much better; and I am relieved. I feel peace.

It's so easy to read the words in the Bible: "I am your faithful servant, Thy will be done onto me..." In reality though, this is one of THE most difficult things in life: to reroute your own selfish desires, no matter how good or pure they may seem to you, to match those of God. To literally let go, and tell Him that you've stopped trying to take those reins off His hands. But I'm trying.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Because I know you'll read this... eventually

When we married almost four years ago, I didn't think it'd be possible to love you more than I did that day. My heart was filled with joyful love, and full of dreams about the future.

Since our biggest trial yet began in June though, I have realized that my love for you has increased exponentially: I love you intensely, in our happiest times AND in our darkest times. You have shown me a kind of strength I had no idea you had; only God can provide it to those who love Him. I know it breaks you when you see me cry; and I know you stress just as much as I do when you have to give your wife painful progesterone shots. But in the midst of this torturous trial, we have fervently prayed together; have mourned our fertility together; and have slowly begun to come out of this together. And my love for you... wow, it's amazing.

A kiss tastes so much sweeter now; and your embrace... I long for your embrace if we're apart for longer than a regular day's work. If there is beauty in our suffering, unbelievable beauty... this is it, baby.

I love you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Joy

I love days like today. I love coming home from work, and it's cold enough outside to have the heat on and Sam and I are able to relax and have fun together. We had dinner together; played one of his video games (I loved it, and I'm totally sure it has to do with the fact that it has TWO actions you can do: run and splode. Yep, I spelled that right). And we watched the season 2 finale of "Heroes" (yes, we're very very late watching that show). Now I've got turkey chili cooking, and I'm joyfully watching "Scream 3" as I edit photos. Life IS good.

I missed writing about the great days.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What a Test.

Just found out that someone else I know is pregnant.

This'll sound utterly silly, but we need to adopt a child, soon. Otherwise, every time anyone around us becomes pregnant, it'll become another reminder of what we cannot have.

I'm reaching for Him. I'm not as bad as last time. It just sucks to have people tell us, "I'm/we're pregnant, and I'm/we're so happy, but I'm/we're sorry for you."

Romans 8:28.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

zzzzzzzzzzz..... ZOOM!

Well hello, Mr. 1.8-aperture lens. You're kind of awesome. ;)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our BRW CS latest: Sugar Land's Fire Station No. 7

Check out one of our newest designs..! This design was a collaborative effort between Ray (our boss), Janelle and me. I worked with Ray on the exterior, and Janelle led the interior design process. The grand opening was yesterday; it was quite an event: they had free food and popcorn, a bouncy castle, activities like taking your photo in a very old fire truck and getting to use the long fire hoses to hit a target... it was lots of fun and the clients are so thrilled with their new building. Even though Construction Administration has been a royal pain, it makes it ALL worth it when you know you've got a happy building user. Gotta say, I'm so proud of this one.. :)

The awesome lobby:

The kitchen. I WANT this kitchen:


Day Room:


Elevation from across the street:

The tower (my baby) stands so proud and tall:

YESSSSSS.

Grace, Acceptance, and His Promise

After two visits to Dr. K. in Austin in the span of a week, we've decided that we cannot continue going for ultrasound checkups every week. We've been spending over $100 each time we travel to Austin, and have had to work extra hours to make up for the time we're gone, since we're almost out of sick time. Most importantly, nothing has changed or shown evidence that my ovaries want to work. We'll continue with the treatments, and I will continue to get blood drawn whenever Dr. K. wants to see where my levels are, but that's about it. As much as I want to be a mom and carry a baby, my guess is that all the traveling is adding stress that will not help me get there.

Last week and for the fist time, I spoke with Mimi (my grandma) about the possibility of adoption. I explained that Sam and I had decided to begin looking into adoption if we have not been able to get pregnant by January or February, and even though she'd love to deny it, I could tell she was not thrilled with the idea. When I said that we had to accept that maybe having a baby naturally was not in God's plan for us, she told me, "Don't say that. You're giving up too easily. God can do anything..."

*sigh*. Yes, I know He can. Turning my little ovaries around to have them produce a tiny little egg is peanuts for Him. He once parted a sea... I think He could handle this.

She proceeded to tell me, "well, maybe this is just not your time to become parents..." I have to wrestle myself a little to not feel insulted by the comment.

Ever since I talked to Mimi I have wondered if I have, indeed, given up hope. Sometimes I think that I have; sometimes I just think I'm beginning to accept. I've nearly torn my brain in half trying to pull myself out of the darkness I was in... I don't know that I could be out of it if I don't learn to surrender my stubbornness and move forward. How many times have I tormented myself with questions such as "what's going to happen...?" and "what will I do...?", only to have the situation "figure itself out", without being affected by my input at all? How many times must HE show us that HE is in control for us to learn to let go...?

If anything, I need to accept this for my own mental well-being. Call it an act of self-preservation, if you will. Have I stopped thinking of what I'm in the process of giving up? No... but I need to move on. I have neglected so much in the past few months because of this: some of my rose plants have died. I didn't have my car's oil changed this Summer, and a tire's looking low. Our house is a mess. I've been afraid that I will neglect my husband as well, and I categorically refuse to do this. As soon as we decided to not go to Austin anymore, both Sam and I felt instant relief. This weekend I got to organize a bunch of things around the house, and I feel rejuvenated, in a way. Finally, I feel the kind of peace I hadn't felt in a long time.

I know that He can provide us with a miracle. He knows how much I have desired this. But in the midst of my recovery, I sense that He has an amazing plan for us. He has made this promise:

"For we know that in all things, God works for the good of all those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose..." - Romans 8:28.

I'm holding on to this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Surrender...

I wrote this yesterday while taking a break at work.

I don't know why I've been so emotional lately about this. Maybe it's the progesterone shots, who knows. I'm struggling again with the idea of letting go of my beautiful dream. I again feel the temptation to think this is so unfair, and that I feel so betrayed by this body of mine. Lord, how can I give this to you? Please teach me... I'm so weak. It's a wrenching tug-of-war inside: I try so hard to hold on and let go. I'm afraid of the struggle again. Last time I went through this I eventually saw my spirit fall, exhausted from my eyery thought. I want to let go...! I want to...! If anything to have peace inside. Somehow, a part of me fights this though. How can the beautiful desire to carry a child become such a harsh restraint on my soul?

I keep thinking of this Barlow Girl song, "Surrender". There is not one word in this song that doesn't ring true with my internal struggle:

My hands hold safly to my dreams

Clutching tightly not one has fallen
So many years I've shaped each one
Reflecting my heart showing who I am
Now you're asking me to show
What I'm holding oh so tightly
Can't open my hands can't let go
Does it matter?
Should I show you?
Can't you let me go?

Surrender, surrender you whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't you see?
My dreams are me. My dreams are me

You say you have a plan for me
And that you want the best for my life
Told me the world had yet to see
What you can do with one
That's committed to Your calling
I know of course what I should do
That I can't hold these dreams forever
If I give them now to You
Will You take them away forever?
Or can I dream again?





Sunday, September 4, 2011

P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E. Patience.

I can now see why so many women struggling with infertility become obsessed with trying to get pregnant. Ever since Dr. K. in Austin prescribed this plan we're following, it's made me think about the possibility of becoming a mother that much more.

So a brief (hopefully) recap: only two days after returning from our trip to Austin, after Sam and I had definitively decided to begin the adoption process, and after 15 months of not having had a period... I had one. I did not know what the heck to think, but I decided to call Dr. K. and see if this changed his initial reaction to our case. He immediately ordered further blood work to check my FSH and estradiol levels; my FSH had dramatically lowered to 38, from the initial 130. My estradiol was low, but not too low. So Dr. K. did some research and after a few days, suggested a plan to try to get us pregnant naturally. There's only about 33% chances it will work, but we were more than willing to try this: it was something, at least. The plan consists of three phases: phase 1--I take ethinyl estradiol for two weeks; phase 2--ethinyl estradiol plus an FSH compound; and phase 3--I take something else... HCG? Can't remember. I do know that while I take the FSH, he wants to perform several ultrasounds to make sure that my ovaries are not being overly stimulated. Ever since I started taking the ethinyl estradiol, I've had fertile mucus so we're taking advantage of that.

All these developments have been exciting, nerve-wrecking and ever-present in my mind, primarily because I have to take the ethinyl estradiol three times a day (so how could I NOT think about it, right?). We bought pregnancy tests; and even though I know this is not the time to take one yet (it's just way too early), I took one today. I couldn't contain myself anymore, I had to know. As I should've known based on what I now know about the menstrual cycle, the test came back negative. I began having negative feelings right away: "what if this doesn't happen?...what if I've built up hopes for nothing?..."what IF...!!!?". *sigh*. I promise, I really wish sometimes that I could turn it off. This is exhausting, mentally speaking.

Tonight at church, I once again prayed fervently that the Holy Spirit help me accept God's will, if His will is that we adopt. I need to be gracious with our Lord and Creator, and with His perfect will. I need to be prepared. I felt somewhat ashamed that I took a pregnancy test today knowing that it likely wouldn't show anything, because it showed my lack of trust in the Lord. No matter how many times I take that test, whatever happens cannot be changed by how many times I do that. It may be a bad analogy, but I reminded myself of Moses and how he succumbed to the temptation of hitting the rock with his staff twice, even though God had instructed him to hit the rock only once.

The culprit is, as so many times it's been, my impatience with almost everything. If I could name one wonderful thing that marriage does for a person is this: marriage allows you to see yourself at your best and at your worst; you get to display and face your absolutely best and absolutely worst qualities (and then you go, "Aw crap."). And mine is impatience... maybe this trial, this cross I'm bearing at this time, is God's way to purify my soul and teach me about patience, and trust in Him. In a way, I rejoice at the opportunity to feel humble, to be quiet, and to learn. Quietly, in prayer. I cannot deny that this is painful, not being a mom yet. But my faith in Him has not, and will not go away. This is a trial He must know I can stand, through Him. The beauty of these painful trials is that you get to realize how flippin' helpless you are without Him. And I am so weak, so humbled by this...

A couple of weeks ago when this treatment started, I prayed that God teach me how to leave everything in His hands; let Jesus carry this cross for me. And I have been doing much better these past couple of weeks, but the second the possibility of becoming pregnant looms... I fall to my old tricks again.

A part of me cannot wait. My body has ached with this desire for over a year now, and it's so very hard. But this anxiety goes against Him, and what He wants me to do. I need to calm down. I need to let go. Because as much as I'd like to believe the contrary, I'm not holding down anything, I have power over nothing. Only He does. I get tired of thinking about this all the time, my life is about so much more. I know I'm at a point where motherhood IS my next step as a woman.

How I dream of becoming a mother....!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Austin.

This past Friday we had yet another confirmation that we cannot have children. Our last hope, medically speaking, was a doctor who studied and worked under Dr. Hilgers (the man who developed the NFP method we follow). The hope is almost gone. This doctor was very polite and very upbeat when he first introduced himself. After seeing our NFP chart and my history, he was at a loss for words. Before I had a chance to fully digest his reaction, he was saying that adoption should be considered. Though very polite, it annoyed me that he kept saying, "this is very tough, guys. Very, very tough". I understand that he just didn't know what to say, but it felt like rubbing my nose on my infertility over and over. Even if we would've been in favor of IVF, I wouldn't have been a candidate because my hormone levels are so off the charts. Even the exploratory surgeries that Dr. Hilgers likes to perform would be pointless.

Now I know how Michael felt right after his first wife died. He told Sam he hated the pity looks, the "time heals wounds" comments that people would give him. I know that feeling exactly now. I HATE the pity comments. I hate them. I'm thankful that my faith has been strong enough that I have not become angry with God, yet I hate the "we're praying for you" comments. That does not alleviate pain. I think it's because "we're praying for you", along with the equally popular "our thoughts and prayers go out to you", has become one of those Hallmark-type things everyone says when they don't know, or don't care, to come up with something better to say. Yes, we appreciate the prayers. At this point, prayer is the only thing that can pull us out of this. But I HATE hearing, "we're praying for you". Half the time, the words are empty.

At times I envision myself with my eyes tightly shut, holding my head with both hands and screaming with my mouth wide open as strongly as I can, yet no sound comes out. It's a deaf cry. Sometimes I envision an arm extended up, pleading for help at the bottom of a jet-black pit. But no help comes. When I think about what's happened during the past couple of months, I have a knot in my throat. It feels like I can't get enough air, I cannot speak. My heart shrinks. I have this heart which was so ready to give our child all the love I could give him or her. I was so ready to feel life inside. Been ready for over a year.

Sometimes I feel like just posting it on Facebook for EVERYBODY to see: "Dear everybody: we CANNOT have children. Ask us one more time when we're going to have kids and I'll punch you in the face".

Thankfully, the rest of the weekend was better. We spent it in Austin, going to McKinney Falls (which should be more aptly called "McKinney trickles", at least until they get some good rain), the Austin Zoo, several local food joints. I like Austin. It wouldn't be the end of the world to live in Longhorn county; the natural beauty of the area, tied with the quirkiness of everything you see, makes it a very special place and makes up for the abundance of burned orange we'd see everywhere. Sam was... unbelievably amazing. Supportive and kind. Gentle. Exactly what I needed. Sometimes I'm truly amazed at how God knew exactly who I needed to cross paths with, because without Sam I truly do not know where I would be.

Now we're home, and it's back to the grind. We have discussed our options (or lack thereof), and have decided to proceed with adoption. We need to educate ourselves more about it all. As a couple, we're ready to be mom and dad. I'm so ready to be a mom. In a way, it's better to be messed up enough that there are no other options. If I would be a more typical messed up case, we'd probably consider other routes before thinking about adopting. Sam's reading a book titled "What to Expect when she's not Expecting", and the author talks about how he and his wife spent about $250,000 in in vitro treatments ALONE, and never got pregnant. They also tried hormone replacement therapy, surgeries, you name it. Sam even said the lady had a procedure where somehow her cervix was slowly stretched artificially. Nothing worked; they had to resort to surrogacy. So, my lack of eggs and everything else messed up with me keeps us from considering anything else. Adoption it is.

I've said it before: one day I will be better. It will take time though.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dark.



Anything that reminds me of my "different state" angers me. Then it depresses me.

A foreword of sorts: this is MY journal. As such, I feel entitled to say exactly what is on my mind. I need it. I need it so badly.

Someone at work just had a baby. Someone I know is pregnant. Back when we first learned of my condition, I cried a lot. I eventually thought, "The worst thing would be if someone I know becomes pregnant soon." Then like magic, it happened.

I'm too damn young to be dealing with this. Inside, I feel a very dark voice crying out. As it cries, a very thick, tar-like substance covers it. It eventually drowns out the voice, and only a large empty hole remains. Haha, I often imagine my mind like Samara from "the Ring". Not menacing Samara though. Dark Samara. "Falling into a freaking abyss" Samara. Freaking helpless.

I pray, a lot. On and off this weekend, I've found myself begging to God to provide me with solace. With comfort. Maybe the dark voice I feel inside is not crying in anger. It's begging to be pulled out of darkness.

Friday was a pretty alright day. Until nighttime. Then all hell broke loose inside. Yesterday my eyes were still evidence of how rough the night got. I eventually went on: at work, I helped set up for today's conference. Then I went to my second photography lesson in downtown Bryan, which after an hour or so helped me forget. It helped me smile again. It was so much fun, actually: two models, two cameras, and wonderfully unique backdrops. I loved feeling free from those awful feelings, and I loved forgetting about the truth of my condition.

We're supposed to have lunch with some of Sam's friends today. I know life goes on. I have to move on.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Obesity and Awful Diets and Rationalization and...














Yesterday while I was talking to one of my coworkers, another one comes in with a huge piece of chocolate cake; she sits down and interrupts our work-related discussion to say, "Look at what I'm eating. I didn't have time to go get lunch so I had a piece of cake then. I haven't had anything to eat since then but since I have things to do after work and won't be able to get home until after 8pm, I'm having another piece of cake!". She then stares at us with a smile on her face, waiting for a reaction (maybe a "oh it's okay, you poor thing!"). As far as getting a reaction like that from me: FAT chance (no pun intended).

The first thing that came out of my mouth was, "Weren't you on a diet about two months ago?". A diet which mind you, kept her from eating any fruit at all (because the sugar in fruit is BAD for you), and made her starve for hours because she could only have protein shakes and salads. *groan*. So her reply to my question was, "yeah I was on a diet; I lost a little bit of weight then and when I got sick afterwards, I lost 25 more pounds. But I'm gonna gain it all back!". I realize me asking that question sounds pretty mean, but when she was on that diet, she would be absolutely miserable, hungry all the time; whenever I would offer fruit or some crackers, she would say they were all bad for you.

Again, *GROAN*. I just read an article online which stated that the obesity epidemic that's plaguing our country is worsening. Texas was only one of many states which saw the percentage of obese people increase. Approximately 30 PERCENT of all adults in Texas are considered obese. Not overweight, which typically means having a BMI of 25 or more; OBESE. Now, I'm not saying that all obese people have awful diet habits and that's the only reason why they're in the shape they are. I know people who genuinely have a problem they can only try to control through medication. But I do hear too many people blaming genetics for their weight issues, people who I see eating a huge meal loaded with complex carbohydrates and fat at 9:00pm. People who think eating a BANANA is bad for you because it has sugar. YES people, some fruits have a lot of sugar. NATURAL sugars. The difference comes when you eat one banana versus THREE or FOUR. Cliche saying #1: eating in moderation works, people! Eating cake is perfectly okay. Eating TWO pieces of cake, one as a substitute for an entire MEAL, is not okay.

I know some people will say, "well you've got it easy, you're not overweight". But I also have put on weight (10-20 pounds after moving to the US, 15-20 pounds after a year working), and it was dang hard to lose it. I still struggle with weight (I should be about 10 pounds lighter), but I guess sooner or later a "let's do something about this problem" attitude kicks in; I can't stand feeling sorry for myself for a long time. I also cook at home, and try to abstain from a big meal or dessert after 7:00pm or so. And honestly, I want to remain desirable for my husband; I completely agree with cliche saying #2:"He should love you no matter what you look like", but if I can do something about it, I will work to remain attractive for him. I know what it feels like to look in the mirror while naked and feeling depressed. Why perpetuate that feeling?

Does skinny always equal healthy? Absolutely not. Some other coworkers at the office are pencil-thin and eat candy all the flippin' time. They eat junk nonstop and will not gain one ounce of fat. They believe that as long as they work out, they can eat whatever junk they want. Sadly though, this is not the case. Your heart, arteries and blood circulation do get affected; that treadmill won't erase all the damage. These people look AMAZING in their cute little outfits, they could be models. But it makes me a little sad to hear them talking about going to the tanning salon and eating junk, and worrying about their looks. Forget health. LOOKS come first.

*sigh*. I know this is a long rant. It just worries me how the country is fattening itself to oblivion. I don't even want to start listing reasons why this is happening. It's just a sad outlook: people work harder, work longer hours, become consumed with work, spend less time with their families, have less time to cook at home, run around from place to place while stopping at drive-thrus to pick up anything that will help them keep moving. Exercising, taking care of your body becomes last on your list. Work comes first. Then family, then your health. It's such an awful cycle. I admit that it's really hard to get up from the couch once you get home; it's hard to get started exercising. Even doing regular home chores is hard after an entire day's work. But we've got to. For our own sake and for our well-being. Otherwise, we are denying our right to complain about rising healthcare costs; we're denying our right to wonder why more of us are becoming diabetics, why our kids are having more weight-related issues than ever.

Get on the treadmill, America. And for God's sake, eat healthy stuff. We're blessed with an abundance of healthy foods. There's no excuse.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week Full of Testing

This week I went in to have my blood drawn once again (they sucked three vials outta me this time), and to get the bone density test done.

I broke down today. I cried like I haven't cried in a very, very long time. Laying on that cold bed, with my legs spread apart just right so the giant machine's arm could capture a more accurate image of my pelvis freaked me out; it made me feel like I had some sort of horrible disease and was fighting to find a cure. The radiologist asked when I'd had my last period and I about lost it; I think she felt bad for asking, once I explained why I was there.

It's so dang hard to not feel broken. Defective. I always felt sad for women who were called "barren", and now I'm pretty much one of them. The worst thing is, I feel so dang guilty for feeling this miserable. Aside from this specific condition, I seem to be in good health. I'm now swimming and that's helping me so, so much; not only physically but emotionally and mentally. I've begun to crave the pool now; it's the one thing I can do which completely clears my mind from everything else going on. Yet, I have days like today where I felt absolutely miserable about this. Why should I technically feel like that? I don't have cancer, or a terminal illness. Yet.. the pain I feel when I think that I probably will not be able to carry a child... NO ONE ELSE except for another woman going through this would understand it. In a way I feel like a small part of me has died; the reproductive part of me. Premature menopause; the name says it right...?

I cried like I hadn't cried in a long time. I cried like a toddler does: furiously, without caring about tears or makeup or running noses. Sam held me.

Only through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit can I get up when I'm down.

Hear me, O Lord... I need the comfort and relief that only He can provide me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I went SWIMMING!!

I can't believe I did it! If you asked me if it was fun, I'd say, "I have no idea"... All I was doing was trying to stay afloat and relearning to breathe and swim. But it felt good. :) We went to Academy yesterday and bought a swim "something" (what DO you call what I wear?? See the photo below), goggles and a bada-- swim cap. The cap was just needed because I have colored hair and the chemicals from the pool wouldn't agree with the color in my hair. I probably embarrassed myself times 10 when I repeatedly stopped after HALF A LAP to take a breath (Meghan stop making fun), and I probably looked like a weirdo for wearing a cap (everyone else was just there to have fun, not swim), but I DON'T CARE. It felt very good to feel active like that again :)

And by the way, I'd completely forgotten how many flippin' muscles work when you swim. I'm already SORE. :O I can't wait to go again, and just... become better at swimming, enjoying being in the water, getting healthier.

That's the first "yay" in about a week. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Post-News

It would be a heck of an understatement to say it's been a rough couple of days. After the initial test results came in, the doctor said she wanted to run a few more tests. The high FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels have all but confirmed that I indeed have premature ovarian failure (POF) or premature menopause. So the next step is try to figure out WHY. Either this coming week or next, I will go in for more blood tests which will check my thyroid a second time (levels were OK the first time around but a second check is always necessary), and test for Addison's disease and a chromosomal condition. The doctor will also refer us to a reproductive endocrinologist in Temple.

Since this took place, we have informed our families about it. I also let my boss know, since I may need to take time off if even more tests are ordered. Before I decided to tell him, he was also asking when I would be going back to grad school; and honestly ever since the news came in, I have decided I do not want this extra, silly pressure on me. So I was clear with him: don't mention it again, please. I'm very lucky to have an amazing boss; he completely understood.

I'm also trying to stay busy; I'm almost obsessed with projects (well.. have been for a while). So, I'm in the middle of:
a) Editing photos for a girl I went to college with;
b) Designing menus and calendars for the Eagle's Nest;
c) Helping the girl who cuts my hair come up with interior design ideas for her soon-to-open hair salon.

I'm also considering taking up swimming again. A part of me is very scared of keeping any kind of hope that I will become pregnant (especially since, well, the doctor herself said if she were me, she wouldn't count on it happening), but I have found articles which talk about ways to naturally reduce FSH levels so I'm going to try it. I basically need to get back in shape and just become more active, and reduce my caffeine and salt intake. I also cannot ignore the biggest risks I now face because of having POF: bone loss and heart disease. Yipee-ki-yay.

I'm not as miserable as I sound. We have received some amazing supportive reactions from our families, and I have an AMAZING husband who's being very patient with me as I learn to accept this. I also know that those who love us are praying for us, and we can feel the power of these prayers. Whenever I think of it, I have a short talk with God. I ask for peace of mind and heart. I ask for strength. I ask Him to not let me forget that He is here.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This Post Has No Title.

I really can't think of another way to start this one except than to just talk about it.

Yesterday I started experiencing sharp, shooting pains in my lower right abdominal area; this pain I have only felt a handful of times before, and when I have talked to other women about it I've been told that it's probably ovarian cysts. The first time I had the pain (back in 2007) I didn't have health insurance so I didn't have it checked; the pain can be so strong that I almost have to crouch down while sitting at my desk. This time I decided I'd make an appointment with my ob-gyn; after all, it's obvious that something is not right. I'm glad I finally had the guts to do it.

When I was on the phone to make the appointment, I explained not only the sharp pain but also that I had not had a period for over a year. I said I was concerned because my husband and I have been married for over three years and are beginning to talk about having children. This made the nurse put my appointment as an urgent one, so I was able to have the appointment today. Our NFP practitioner had told us that it was very hard to get a local ob-gyn to do an ultrasound; I knew this statement was at least partially correct, because during my last checkup I mentioned my desire to possibly get an ultrasound done and my ob-gyn said that she didn't think I needed it. This time, the painful episodes I was having made her reconsider: I had an ultrasound done.

Right before she did it, she said she was fairly certain that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However what she saw actually puzzled her. You see, if a woman doesn't have a period for a long time and she's not pregnant, it means the ovaries have been producing eggs which haven't been fertilized and the body is not getting rid of them or shedding the lining of the uterus (which is necessary). If the lining of the uterus is not being shed, it thickens. In some cases, it can thicken to the point of becoming "toxic", and that's how cervical cancer can develop (remember, cancer basically means "cells gone bad", i.e. mutated). What my ob-gyn saw was a THIN uterine lining. No evidence of thickened walls. This is when I received the news.

My ovaries have basically shut down; they're not working. Not producing eggs. This explained to her why when she prescribed Prometrium (same as Provera, a synthetic version of progesterone) to help me have a period, it did not work.

I can't produce eggs. I currently cannot get pregnant. I have what is called "premature menopause".

So the next step is trying to find a cause. The doctor ordered blood work done. My LH and FSH levels, thyroid, prolactin, and testosterone levels will be checked. Results are due tomorrow. When I read about premature menopause, several websites say that it is not reversible; that other approaches to having a child should be considered: fertility treatments (such as in vitro), having an egg donor, adoption.

The part of me who has longed to become a mom for a while wants to cry, curl up somewhere and dwell on feeling like a loser for not being a "complete woman" to my husband (I don't think anyone EXCEPT those in my shoes can make sense out of that one), and think that we won't ever be able to see what our baby, made from Sam's and my biological makeups, will look like. It hurts quite a bit.

Another part of me somehow accepts it. For the past few months now, while thinking about our possible problems conceiving, I have wondered if Janelle was put in my path for a reason. Because of her, the idea of adopting has become a much less foreign idea to me. This reminds me that God's plans are so beyond our simple understanding. As I drove home today after the appointment, I suddenly found peace within me. I heard myself say, "I am your servant Lord, may it be done to me according to Your will".

So this is a test. My test. I choose to trust in our Lord, and in His will. Does it mean that I will not cry at all? Absolutely not; as I've been writing this my eyes have inevitably watered several times already. But I have to find strength in Him; knowing that He has a plan and a will for every single one of us provides amazing solace to my sad heart.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Ever-Changing Palette

So now that Sam's grandparents are coming to visit us next weekend, I have found the perfect excuse to change the paint color in our bathroom. YES I remember I just painted it just last Spring! Back then I made the mistake of not buying a pint sample to test the color (Sherwin Williams' Backdrop), and though I liked it okay during the day, at night it made the bathroom look like a dungeon. I couldn't stand thinking that Sam's grandparents would see this color, so a couple of weeks ago I embarked on a "find a new color" journey. After seeing several samples I decided to go with SW's Notable Hue! (Then changed it five minutes before buying the paint to Meditative. I KNOW.)

Since I don't have much time I decided to be brave/dumb and NOT tape anything up, and instead trust in my ability to paint straight around base and crown moulding. (I KNOW). Not only am I almost done after only a few hours' worth of work, but the color looks BEAUTIFUL!
Score! :)


So long, Backdrop!



Helloooo Meditative :)

I've promised Sam this is the last time I'd change the color in this bathroom, so I'm GLAD it turned out good. Sam has GOT to win the award for most patient husband, ever :O

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rambling...Like Inside my Head



I figured that if I got accepted by A&M's Department of Architecture, my "gut" reaction would be a good indicator on whether this is something I truly desire to pursue. Well guess what: my reaction was utter shock at first, then... nothing. In the past two weeks since I received the acceptance letter, I have not once thought, "yay I get to do studio again!". So I believe I'm done thinking about becoming an Architect now. About a month and a half ago, I emailed several friends and acquaintances who live in the area offering to photograph their families for free; I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my camera and capturing happy family moments. This "on the side" gig has made me feel happy again. At the risk of sounding complacent and lazy, I feel very content working and photographing on the side.

Watched the movie "M" tonight. The movie amazed me in more ways than one:
- I usually consider music to be utterly important in a movie in helping the storyline convey emotions. This movie had absolutely NO music, except for when the title character whistled as he preyed on young children. The movie kept me on the edge of my seat, even during absolutely silent raid scenes.
- The main actor (Peter Lorre). His monologue/confession which makes up the climax of the movie. It almost makes you empathize with a sexual predator's tormented soul.
- The camera work was quite revolutionary for its time (filmed in 1931). Reminded me slightly of "Citizen Kane" due to its approach to filming action scenes, character monologues, etc.

Watch it! You'll thank me later. (I miss Monk.)

I get to see the girls this weekend! Meghan, Chau, Nicole, Stephanie. :)

P.S.: The title of this entry reminded me of the book "Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti" by Bill Farrell. I Googled "spaghetti brain" and the first picture was golden. :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Our Equation: Us = Silly!

On a Saturday night, making some coffee and about to watch "The A-Team" together :)


video

Monday, February 28, 2011

How Dare I

I woke up this morning having a wonderful realization about my attitude lately. It relates to my deep desire to become a mom.

When I hear about someone who complains about how miserable their life is while not doing anything to change their reality, it frustrates me. Why would you have any right to complain if you're not making any valid efforts to get out of said situation?

So this morning I wake up thinking, "You know you've been needing to get things done". Things related to my possibly needing surgery to figure out why I have not had my period for so long. Yet every once in a while I tell Sam things like, "'..'cause you know, I probably can't have a baby.." and "nothing has changed... I'm probably barren.." What is Sam supposed to say to that?

How dare I not accept God's perfect plan and will. I'm not sure if I'll be able to have kids, but there is a way for us to find out and that's by having the exploratory surgery. Yet I have not done anything to keep the process moving forward. How dare I complain about my life. Somehow I feel that God has planned for us to be parents one way or another. Maybe we will need to adopt. And that would be PERFECT because it would be His divine plan.

Regardless of what happens.. everything that happens in our lives is according to His plan, and if I truly trusted in Him I would not complain. He tells us to leave all anxiety behind and trust in Him, above all.

This is my plan now.



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Conroe No. 4 Grand Opening! and... Architect Barbie?!

So I was happily on my way to start writing up a new entry about how great the grand opening of my second fire station was, and I saw a fellow architect's blog mentioning an Architect Barbie. In an apparent effort to teach little girls about what they can be when they grow up, Mattel has begun an "I can be.." Barbie series and this is what Architect Barbie looks like:


First of all, KUDDOS on the great hot pink tube, Mattel! Can't wait to go to my next jobsite visit toting this puppy around. And look at that skirt! If I dress like that I'm sure I'll get Mr. Contractor to do anything I want. Oh what a happy and pretty and pink life, that of a lady Architect!

Anyway, back to business. Today was the grand opening of the City of Conroe Fire Station No. 4; this was my first full-fledged project which I saw from Programming all the way to Construction. It was so exciting! Kind of strange to see rooms and equipment you spent months designing and drawing be "real" all of a sudden. The station has some nice features and the Client couldn't be happier with their new building. That made me feel really good :) This year marks a centennial celebration for the fire department so they went all out for this grand opening:

two nice cakes (this one was based off our SketchUp rendering)...

colorful balloons...

... and even one of the original fire trucks for the City! Which was later used, along with a new fire truck, to do the ribbon-cutting. Pretty cool :)


The best part was seeing the fire station inside and out, seeing how the firefighters decorated the place and how proud they are to show it off. I absolutely love working on a design, getting to see it turn into reality and learn from the process so I can improve on the next design. It was a good day :)

The day room (very nicely decorated!):

One of the main corridors, which features stained concrete floors:

The tower:

The apparatus bay:

From the parking area (it was a cloudy day but thankfully it didn't rain):

Yay Conroe! :) For more photos of the station taken by a professional photographer, go here: http://www.glyonphotography.com/CONROEFD/

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Made by me!

I started off the new year wanting to make things again. When I was a teenager, I remember making a lot of things that I needed because I couldn't afford to actually buy anything new: a box for filing paperwork, a set of small drawers for desk tools, etc. I only needed a cardboard box, glue, scissors, and a little creativity.

I've done it again! :)

Since I'm not the best at going through mail and/or getting rid of little pieces of paper here and there, I decided we needed a mail box in our kitchen. Sooo I started thinking:

Cardboard box: Check...
Glue: Check...
Scissors: Check...

But what would I use for the outer lining of this box? I suddenly remembered that a few months ago I snatched a discarded binder full of laminate samples from the office, and sooo the process began!

Outer lining: laminate samples
Inner lining: plastic dividers from an old planner
Front tag: leftover basswood




It works! No more paper clutter on our counters!