Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Newfound Appreciation for the Beatitudes

I know it sounds cliché for some people. But I need to testify about the most special and humbling part of our infertility journey.

I spent over a year of my life living without a breath of life in me: crying, tormented by thoughts about my inadequacy to conceive and be “a real woman”, not able to see or speak to those who were expecting a child of their own. I hit absolute rock bottom twice, I believe. I kept being told that giving it all up to God was what would heal me. I even began to get annoyed at the number of times I heard the same thing. But I finally reached a point where I, quite literally, could not stand my inability to do anything about my infertility; after all, I’m usually one to think, “Okay, this is the situation. What can I do about it?”, and soon after my mind has carefully crafted a plan to resolve the issue. But not this time. I became so sick of my own helplessness that I wanted to crawl out of my body and forget about the pain. And yet I was stuck. I wonder if this is the place where many people decide to do drugs, cut themselves, or even take their own lives; I don’t know. What I do know is that I finally said, “Okay… I’m done fighting. I’m so tired… God… take it. Do with it whatever you like. I’m done.” Around this time, Sam and I also began studying the Bible together. It was right around this time when I began to see light in my life again.

We began to study the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

I never truly understood this passage until a few weeks ago; poor in spirit… who IS poor in spirit? Well… it’s someone who has been broken by this earthly life; someone who acknowledges and accepts his or her own inability to do anything without Him. Someone who is poor in spirit is begging, spiritually speaking, for relief and rest. When I heard this explanation, I realized that this Beatitude was entirely about me. After all, I could not find a more perfect word to describe the state of my soul.


You would think that this realization (that little ol’ headstrong and independent me was broken) would've brought me profound grief. I had been denying the bad shape I was in since June of 2011; but, along with the admission of my brokenness, I also concluded that I NEEDED to be broken. Just like a wild horse needs to be tamed into gentle submission, my impetuous and often stubborn heart HAD to be subdued to His will. Nothing else could have broken me as much as the shattering of my pride. Infertility took me on a rollercoaster that went from needless pride to quiet humility. While on that bumpy ride, I often asked God, “why??”, and “when will you listen to my pleas?”. *sigh*. Little did I know, I needed to be WILLING to accept His will; I had to let go of my own reins.

So, here I am. I’m lucky to feel alive again. I’m sure that our adoption journey has brought me new hope, but I also know that if we would've started the adoption process six months ago, I would not be able to freely talk about our infertility, and see our loved ones who are waiting to meet their babies soon.

Praise be to He who has breathed new life into me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Permission to Feel Joy

This past Sunday Sam and I attended an all-day seminar on the adoption process, held at the San Antonio branch of Adoption  Affiliates. Even though we had already decided to work with this agency, the seminar further assured us that this is the perfect fit for us. I’m so excited I could talk about it all day long..!

The seminar covered a wide range of adoption-related topics, answering questions from “how does a birthmother feel when going through this process?” to “what kind of car seats should we think about getting?”. We got to hear stories directly from a birthmother and two couples who have become parents through AA: how the branch directors at AA (Jan and Julie) went above and beyond helping them through the process; how they were extensively counseled on coping with all these changes, how they still care even though it’s been a couple of years since the formal process ended. The sense of peace seen in these people, from their grateful words down to their body language, made us feel like we were in the process of not only becoming parents, but becoming family with this agency.

We were one out of six couples that attended the seminar; it’s funny how total strangers can instantly feel a strong connection the second they begin to share their stories with one another. Even though specific reasons for infertility varied among us, the deep longing and sense of humility in that room was palpable. For a split second I thought, “Sooo… a birthmother could pick us… or any of these other couples”, but instead of feeling “competitive” about it, I felt very hopeful and happy that we were all there, together, with one common hope: to expand our families and love a child.

So, a few of the many things we learned:
-          Many birthmothers are NOT teenage girls, as you would believe. The birthmother we met was 29 years old when she got pregnant with her third child, and since she is strongly opposed to abortion and could not take care of so many children, decided to give her child up for adoption. She still receives letters and photos from the adoptive family, and the little girl knows she has a birthmother (even though she’s only two years old). She is so happy that the girl is in wonderful hands.

-          Older people, as a general rule, tend to have a harder time accepting adoption as a safe way to become parents. This made me feel much better, since my grandma has been having a hard time understanding why we have decided to adopt. She believes that Sam and I “don’t have enough faith in God”, and wishes we would wait until a miracle happened. It’s been one of the hardest things to deal with, because it’s easy to feel like we’re being rejected for our decision. But, hearing stories about why older people react this way to adoption gave me a better understanding, and hopefully more patience too.

-          We should be getting ready for baby, after all. One of the most important things this seminar gave me was permission to feel excitement; permission to buy crib, look up bottle brands, etc. But, they do recommend that we wait until baby has been placed in our home before there is a baby shower. They explained that every once in a while they do have birthmothers who change their mind after all, so it is wise to wait until baby is home.

So, we have turned in the formal application paperwork and have now entered phase 2: home study, letter to birthparents, and profile (AKA cute album with photos of us and our life together). Here we go..!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baby Room Color Palette

I've been away for so long, that I haven't mentioned that we found the adoption agency we'll be working with. So, we did! The Agency is Adoption Affiliates, from San Antonio. We met with the director of the agency about a month or so ago, loved her AND everything we learned about the agency. So we're in the process of filling out the application paperwork, and on October 28th we'll attend an all-day seminar where we'll get to meet families that have come together through the agency, as well as women who have given their children up for adoption and other waiting families. The Lord has, at last, given us a ray of hope.

So, I've started clearing out the guest room so one day with the Lord's blessing, it will be full of baby things. Like I said in my previous post, it's a different kind of "nesting mode" because we don't know when baby will come. However, since we expect to be officially on the waiting list some time early 2013, we technically need to have the baby essentials in case we're called sooner than we expect.

So far, everything we have thought about discussing: making room in the guest room's closet, looking for a crib, etc., I've been quite cautious about my excitement. No necessarily on purpose, it's just that... I guess I'm afraid to be happy all the way. I know, I know: "afraid" should not be in my vocabulary, if I know the Lord carries us through all trials, all moments in our lives. I just don't want to hope that a birthmother will pick us soon, and that we'll be parents by next summer. But, there is one thing that I HAVE been getting excited about...

Baby room's colors! Furniture! My passion for color and design combined with... my incredible yearning to be a mom!!! So, after doing a bit of sketching the past few days, I came up with a really cute color palette today, I think:

I have been dreaming about painting a tree silhouette in the room, and this was my "anchor idea" for the whole thing. After considering several wall colors, I decided on Sherwin Williams' "Cargo Pants", which is a very soothing, very light green. The rest of the colors, well, need to stay pretty neutral since we won't know until last minute whether it will be a "he" or a "she". So:
- The tree will be white, and it will feature leaves of all colors. There will also be an owl, which I'm thinking will be the "boy" or "girl" part of the tree design. Kind of like the owl that I LOVE in this picture:

- I have a mobile made out of real tree branches and beautiful little birds that I painted (will HAVE to write a whole other post on that), so that will go beautifully with the tree, etc.
- Since the room is fairly small AND we will have to leave the full-size guest bed there, I decided the crib cannot be a dark brown, as I initially thought. Instead, we'll buy a white crib to help "lighten" the room. The only dark piece will be the tea cart shown in the sketch, I think I'm going to love seeing it there..!
- The bedding for the guest bed won't be just white... just wanted to keep it "open for ideas". Same with more specific decorating items like stuffed animals, etc.
- I bought this beautiful antique mirror a few months ago and haven't really found a place for it.. until now :) It will go, as you see in the sketch, above the tea cart. I knew the whimsical design of that mirror was lovely.. :)

Anyway... I'm SO excited to have this started. Yippee! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

About Baby Showers.

What can I say, it's been so long that I'm not done with my thoughts.

We have started the "nesting process"... somewhat. We haven't finished filling out the paperwork yet, which makes it a little strange, I guess. Maybe it's that in getting to hold my niece, "baby mode" is slowly settling back within me. It's a variant of a typical "baby mode", though.

I imagine that a woman who's blessed enough to become pregnant begins to realize just how many things need to be set up and get done before baby arrives once she notices changes in her body. These changes: the morning sickness, the slowly burgeoning belly, the ultrasounds... all these things function like police sirens, reminding her that a room must be set up, and that an array of new things must be purchased: bottles, burping towels, onesies, diapers, receiving blankets...

I don't get to feel any physical changes. We don't get to have a "due date". Instead, we hope that someone will pick us. Once picked, we hope she doesn't change her mind. We get to hold our breaths and hope for 48 hours once the baby is born. We are not sure of our impending parenthood until two days after the baby has been in this Earth. So because of this, looking at cribs, making room in the guest room's closet for baby things, etc. feels quite odd. I don't feel the absolute joy that biological parents feel. I feel caution. A slightly "sad" joy.

I went to my first baby shower, ever. It was for my good friend from BRW. Since she quit BRW in September, she and her family have moved to Dallas, so I told myself I would make it to her baby shower so I could get to see her: after all, she's the only close friend I have had, here in town, since I graduated from A&M. So I braved through my uncertainty and made it to the shower. For the most part I did... okay I guess. I hardly ever smiled. When the women took turns to say a prayer for my friend... this is what got me. I had to fight to not let tears fall. Hearing over and over things like, "thank you Lord for the beautiful blessing you have bestowed upon so-and-so...", boy, that was hard.

But I soldiered through, and to me, even though I was kind of miserable at the event, it meant that I'm slowly taking one more step toward recovery. I'm still afraid of what will happen when my sister in law or my brother in law's future wife become pregnant... I'm still not looking forward to being reminded of my uniqueness. But I can't worry about that too much, now.

The shower did make me realize one more thing that made me sad: I probably will not get to have a baby shower. As I write this my eyes are watering, and I feel silly for giving this such importance. But really, I just don't see how it would happen. Like I said before, we do not know whether baby will be ours until 48 hours AFTER the baby's been born. So having a shower before knowing this for sure would feel silly and imprudent, and afterwards we'll have a baby. So... yeah, probably not.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

P.S.: The hilarious graphic above was found here: . I love Google..!!

Been a While..! Update on Doctors.

Time really has been going by so flippin' fast. I blame my not updating the blog to my beloved lappy, which at almost eight years old now, really is on its last legs. Thankfully we have some money saved up so I can get a brand-new spankin' laptop when this one decides to join lappy heaven.

So anyway... since last time I posted, I decided to go see an OB-GYN who a good friend of mine had recommended. She had said this guy had amazing bedside manners, was understanding and kind, and really cared to listen to his patients. So I thought, "let's try him out..!"

Oh, what a mistake it was. From the moment the man came into the room, he had an attitude with me and I'm not sure why. I can literally write down a "laundry list" of how he was the worst doctor I have met:

- He asked why I was there. After giving him a brief history on our infertility and my need for prescription hormones so I can have a period, he asked, "why do you WANT to have a period?". "Ummm, because I am SUPPOSED to...", to which he proceeded to explain that this was not true (even though EVERY OTHER DOCTOR out there will tell you that a woman is supposed to have at least one period every three months).

- He checked the test results that other doctors had done to me; to which he proceeded to tell me that the results on hand were not enough for him to give me a diagnosis, and that for all he knew, "you could have cancer... or lupus... heck, it could be a number of things!"

- He was super annoyed when I told him that I was on a thyroid supplement. He said that when looking at my numbers, he would never think my problem was thyroid-related. When I asked him what his professional opinion would be when I told him I had: a crippling lack of energy, very cold fingertips and feet, dizzy spells, nausea, very dry skin... he said he thought I was depressed. He even tried to blame SAM for "my being depressed". I would accept this diagnosis if the symptoms would have first shown up in June of 2011, when we learned that my chances of getting pregnant were nearly zero. But I have had these symptoms since I was 12 years old.

- He suggested that I try antidepressants. Enough said.

- When he did the pap smear, he was NOT delicate. It hurt quite a bit and did not seem sympathetic when I said it hurt.

- When he did the breast exam, he did not give me a "warning" (as every other doctor has done, just to be respectful) and instead flung my gown open and started feeling up my breasts.

- Saved the BEST for last: near the end of the appointment, he said, "I prescribed the hormones for you. If I don't hear from you within the next month, I'm going to assume that (a) the hormones I prescribed worked, or (b) you fired me." Just like that.

To be fair, the TWO things he did right were:
- He prescribed bio-identical hormone supplements, as I asked.

- He recommended reproductive endocrinologists for me to see, who would likely have more experience with premature ovarian failure. Right at the beginning he acknowledged that in his 30+ years of medical practice, he had only seen about four other cases of POF. So, why not just shut up..? Why suggest that I may be depressed, likely because my husband is "devastated" at my infertility?

He's lucky I didn't walk off the room. His name is Dr. David Doss, from the Brazos Valley Women's Center.

Anyway. I did end up making an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist in Houston; I will have a phone consultation with her this coming Friday (October 19th). Here's hoping that this lady knows a thing or two about POF. I'm not holding my breath though.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How I Love Projects Like This.

Our present for Shelby, among other little things, was a trio of onesies that I decorated with fabric paint. For the first one, I picked one of Amanda's favorite childhood creations, Butterfritty. Butterfritty is a lovely creature, part cat, part frog, part butterfly that Amanda came up with when she was little. I've always loved it because it's such a wonderful display of innocent and whimsical creativity, and I figured Amanda would appreciate a symbol of her happy childhood (and the many happy moments that await her and Tim, as they see Shelby grow up). So here are a couple of photos I took of the process:

First, I sketched what Butterfritty should look like, based on an actual "model" that Amanda built when she was little (thankfully, Sam was able to give me a sketch to help jog my memory of what it looked like). Then, I scanned the image and sized it in Photoshop. I then printed the image at full scale, and placed it under the front side of the onesie. Luckily I was able to see through the material well enough to paint over it:

Greens first...

Then pink, blue, yellow...

Bad photo take at night, but... finished product!

iPhone photo, showing the little frog "footprints" I added, too:

Second onesie, no "process" photos but finished product only. This one shows Dizzey, a fainting goat that's a favorite of Amanda's, too:

And the third (simplest) of all (it still had to have a butterfly in the design):

I really enjoyed working on these; it always reminds me of working at the daycare and coming up with new ideas for the kiddos in our class. How I love stuff like this...!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Diagnosis. *BIG SIGH*.

So this Summer I have been having allergy problems (which I've never had before). I've also had a sleuth of weird things going on, like losing tons of hair (more than usual), super-dry skin, muscle cramps, fatigue to the point of being absolutely worthless when I get home, difficulty concentrating, feeling more cold-natured than usual... etc, etc. Many of these symptoms I've had for a long time, but the fatigue has been far worse than usual lately: it's exasperating.

While I was visiting with my new allergy doctor, he asked me questions about my overall energy levels and whatnot, since according to him, hormones and allergy problems go hand-in-hand many times. So he ordered a range of blood testing on me. The nurse got FOUR FLIPPIN' vials out of me by the way, which was insane. Yesterday I had my follow-up with him, and got to hear another diagnosis, and possible cause for my ovaries not working: hypothyroidism.

He actually mentioned "Wilson's thyroid disease" which is not at all recognized as a medical condition. In fact, many many doctors say that it's a bogus diagnosis, and that the symptoms that have been used to describe this disease (many are outlined above) are psychological in nature.

Oh sure!!! My dry skin and hair loss are clear signs of me going mental. Anyway... it turns out that this Wilson thyroid disease has been claimed to be a mild case of hypothyroidism, but one which can deeply affect many women. This allergy doctor put me on "sustained release T3", a type of thyroid, to help increase my energy levels, help reduce weight gain from low thyroid, reduce my difficulty concentrating, etc. However he recommended that I find an OB-GYN who is willing to work with me and is willing to focus on finding the proper estrogen/progesterone dosages for me. He suggested that I take bio-identical hormones, which are better than the synthetic hormones that often come in birth control pills.

The problem is... it is NOT at all easy to find a doctor who is willing to "walk that extra mile" to help one patient find balance. I have seen some doctors, some willing to help, some not so willing to do anything; and it's physically and mentally exhausting to go through it. I keep paying co-pays to doctors who either don't know what to do with me, or are not willing to do more than prescribing birth control.

I have an appointment with a doctor on September 20th. I have not read great reviews on this doctor, but I've got to try someone else. There is one great doctor who doesn't have any openings until mid-November; I'll probably set up an appointment with her as well, in case the first doctor doesn't work.

*sigh*. I'm afraid and not looking forward to this. I'm afraid to see that helpless look in a new doctor's face and hear, yet again, "you've got very serious hormonal imbalances going on, but I don't know what to do..." I am willing to try this thyroid supplement, though I have read some serious possible side effects and that scares me, too. But I have to try something.

Yesterday I went to help my good friend Janelle pack for her and her family's big move to Dallas. I'll miss her a lot. While I was very happy and glad to be able to help, it did affect me some to see her 6+ month pregnant belly, and her son running around the house. Through this condition, this seeming curse, I am learning a great deal about humility (which makes me wonder if in some way, this curse is truly... a gift). However, in the past week or so: (a) we have been rejected by a Christian agency for not belonging to the same Christian denomination; (b) I have been yet again told that my body's not at all working right, and have learned of another possible diagnosis which will require me to try a medication that may result in very serious side effects; and (c) been particularly weak, physically first which in turn makes me weak spiritually.

I'm ready for some good news. At some point, soon. I would love to hear some good news for us. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

When Believing is not Enough... Apparently

Well, we have been rejected by the first adoption agency that we sent application papers to. It turns out that being a practicing, believing Christian couple is not enough for this agency: instead, we should have belonged to the same church.

Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (APO) seemed like a very fair (not to mention cost-effective) adoption agency. Their information packet and application paperwork were well organized, and they seemed to be genuinely interested in bring Christian families and children who need a loving home together. They also don't have differential pricing for children of different races, as other agencies do. We had been warned that APO had somewhat strict requirements when it comes to selecting adoptive families, but we truly hoped that by setting up a meeting and explaining our beliefs, they could better understand that we fully intend to raise our children as believers in our Father, who so loved us that He gave His only Son in sacrifice, to save us all. We could have explained so much... It just seems a bit ridiculous to not even give us a chance. Instead, I got a "please let me know if you would like to discuss further, but you currently do not meet our requirements..."

But, I guess this was not meant to be. In all honesty, I feared we would be considered "undesirable" because of this very same reason; but I also hoped that they would let us show them how much love we're ready to give a child. I understand if they want to have their requirements, and want to reject us. Okay. What ticked me off is that we sent our application about two weeks ago, and never got a "hey we got your application, thank you for your interest" email, or anything. The only reason we finally heard from the Director is because I emailed him to make sure he got our paperwork, so he then replied. If you're going to reject someone, LET THEM KNOW! We have been looking at other agencies as well, but were also on standby to see what they said about us.

I guess this was not meant to be. Onto the next agency.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm So Ready.

Today was a very good day. I went to work at the daycare where I've been doing part-time work for 10 years or so. The Director asked me just a couple of weeks ago if it affected me to hear and see babies around me, and I'd explained that it depended on how I was doing that day, emotionally. Today was a good day.

As I came back from my lunch break, I realized that there were three babies crying in the infant room right behind the office where I was working. There was also one teacher there who was trying to feed a fourth baby, so I thought I'd go in to help. I sat on the floor and began talking to the chubby baby boy who couldn't quite crawl yet, while I tried to rock another boy about 3 months old. The lady who was there said that the itty bitty one was probably hungry and handed me a bottle; so I sat down with him, tried to feed him but realized that he really didn't care to eat. Since he kept crying on and off, I swaddled him with his blankie and began walking around the room while swinging him. Oh, I was in heaven. It felt good to realize that I haven't "lost my touch" with babies. When I used to work full time at the daycare, sometimes teachers would ask me to come into their rooms so I could help a baby feel better. I don't know why, but I have always been particularly good with babies, and they almost always love me from the second they see me. So this afternoon, God gave me a piece of heaven.

It's been quite difficult to accept that we may need to wait two years until we can become parents. Two years until I can hold a baby at home and make him or her our child. Today made me want to wear a t-shirt in public that says, "Looking to adopt a baby soon!". Which surprisingly enough, women have tried SUCCESSFULLY by locating a birthmother of their own.

*Sigh*. I'm very much hanging on to His Promise. Because there is no other way I will be able to wait that long without Him.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Keepin' It Real: lows at work.

The past two weeks or so have been pretty rough. My hormonal state was at the perfect progesterone-high for me to be extremely down when Sam's niece was born. I hesitated on whether or not to post about my personal prayers from about a week ago while at work, but in order to keep considering this blog my personal journal, I find it essential to stick to my "disclose all" policy.

So, about a week ago at work as I furiously battled tears, I wrote this:

"Every time when I think the pain is starting to subside and I feel I can begin to move on, a child is born to someone we know, or someone posts photos of their newborn child on Facebook, or someone announces their pregnancy... I'm feeling tempted to resent you, Lord, I cannot fight this battle without you. Hear my plight Lord, let me put on your armor so that I may get out of this depression... my heart, my whole being aches. I have a knot in my throat and tears I'm fighting to keep from dropping. Infertility is such a horrible agony. Free me, O Lord, from these demons that torment me; help me move on to the place where You want me to be. I'm powerless without You, Lord; I beg You, listen to my plight..." 

A part of me felt awful about not being able to see my sister (sister-in-law really, but I love her so) and her beautiful baby girl. That day, as the delivery time approached, I prayed and pleaded that both momma and baby would be okay. I checked my Facebook a hundred times, waiting for Shelby's first photos. I could feel the excitement, but it was all cloaked with such a mournful sadness. I'm working on a present for Shelby and this somehow makes me feel better, because it makes me realize that I will see them fairly soon. I'll have to time it just right so that I'll be in the chock-full estrogen part of my cycle, as the odds of being content are so much higher then. 

We have also begun calling adoption agencies and are slowly learning about the process. It's a daily struggle to accept that becoming parents will likely take a year and a half, at minimum. This is twice the amount of time a woman is pregnant, and it means spending so, so much more money than if it could happen "the natural way". I'm trying to move on from what we could've had because, well... nothing comes out of that. But like I said in my prayer, permanent infertility is agony. A cyclical agony.

I found this article titled "Infertility Etiquette", which I found quite interesting in that, the writer herself KNOWS. Women like her are the only ones whom I can truly, truly relate to. It reminds me that I'm not alone, even though many times I do feel pretty lonely. This particular fragment gives a very accurate description of the struggle:

"Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.
The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No more.

We have started the adoption process. I'm done getting my hopes up and feeling like a fool a few days later. My body will not do this, and I just don't want to lose all our money on less than 5% hopes. I'm done!!!!!!!!!

I know that when we find out little one, we will be THE happiest couple, ever. But we're not there yet, and are still reeling because of our inability to have children naturally. So, as Sam very eloquently put it, "this is a solemn decision we have made" after many tears have been shed, and after being broken by this; this is not a cause for celebration just yet. I was finally brave enough to talk about our fertility problems and decision to move on with adoption, and a lot of people have congratulated us and whatnot. Very nice and well-meaning thoughts from people we care about tons... but we're not celebrating yet.

So. Next step, here we come.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PMS / Maternal yearnings

Strange title, huh? Well, I am indeed hoping that my down mood from the past few days is PMS, which means that a) the tea has again helped me have a period, and b) the weepiness will go away soon.

How cruel can infertility be. Because of unstable hormone levels, I every so often experience symptoms which typically present themselves during pregnancy: elevated libido, food cravings/habits, deep nausea, weight gain, body temperature changes. And as hard as I try to not think about it much, every time I experience these symptoms I wonder if the miracle we have been hoping for has happened. The past few days have been chock-full of these symptoms. Often, as I (foolishly?) let pregnancy hopes creep into my mind, thoughts like the following (which I wrote today, while at work) inundate me:

"Are you there...? Or am I imagining, wishing that you CAN be there...? The Holy hand of our Father can create you, and I could feel you there... What if this is not His will? Will you remain a lost dream forever...? Whether you ever come to exist or not, I love you, so much. A few nights ago I even dreamed about you; I held you in my arms, and I felt such a powerful maternal instinct that I still felt it when I woke up...I so wish that I could hold you..."

*sigh*, very much hoping I go back to happy soon....

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Anniversary.

It's been a year, now. A year of many tears wetting my pillow at night. Many prayers. Many consoling hugs with my hubby. One very wonderful dream potentially shattered. And one ongoing process of acceptance, thankfulness and loving worship despite this, the biggest of our trials so far.

The curious thing (and a good, unexpected sign) is that the day of the one-year anniversary since I was given my diagnosis, the three little words which have completely changed our outlook on our family-building dreams... I didn't remember about it. I was quite shocked once I realized that a week had gone by since June 13th, and it just hadn't crossed my mind.

It must mean that I'm in a better place, overall. I still have some tough bridges to cross, and I expect to be able to cross them at some point. But I'm not planning on pushing myself to do so. I'm happy and welcome all progress I have made, and patiently look forward to the days when my face won't become one of deep sadness when I see a mother with her child. I know I'll get there, it'll just take some time.

I have learned to put myself first more often. I know it sounds selfish, but in the past few months I have come to know other infertile women who in order to please other people and avoid hurting feelings, have forced themselves to be in situations they were not ready to be in, and will hate themselves for doing so later on. These women advice other "infertile newbies" like myself to take our time, to not make the mistakes they have made or we may inadvertently take a step back in our healing process. And I have come to realize that by putting my well-being first, I am indeed happier and our household is happier. Doing this has also allowed me to talk to my sister in law and friend from BRW (both pregnant) and be at peace with it. The path to acceptance is a long one, but I can see progress.

I only have God to thank for this. He has not abandoned us, and after what seems like the longest year of our lives, we have begun to be quiet and listen to Him. To feel His holy and Perfect presence with us.

It's been a year, now. Life is finally beginning to be beautiful again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Almost three weeks into the new job, I can safely say that I'm enjoying the change (AND the electrical mumbo jumbo, too). The new job is a straight 8-to-5, no-stress job. I come home every day with plenty of time to spend with the hubby, read, relax... yep, THIS is what life should be like for everybody.   

I have begun drinking this tea I found at HEB, called Don Quai's Women's Energy tea. It's helped me enormously when it comes to feeling more energy throughout the day, and even helped me have a period. I'm very much hoping that it helps me have a second period (and a third, and a fourth... you get the idea), since ideally I would love to be synthetic-hormone-free. We'll see.

I read an article recently regarding premature ovarian syndrome. It turns out that aside of being at-risk for osteoporosis and heart problems, women with the condition (like myself) have a shorter life expectancy and are at risk of having potentially fatal cerebral aneurysms and developing neurological disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The article also explains that previous estimates which calculated that 1% of women suffered from POF were low: it turns out that the number may be closer to 6%. 

Thankfully this tea, which I drink everyday, also keeps me from having minor panic attacks (common in menopausal women). Otherwise the paragraph above would make my heart explode. And thankfully, my life has changed for the better: information like this makes me feel even happier and more relieved that I'm OUT of the stress I was in for far too long. As much as I enjoyed designing buildings, it is not worth it. 

And you know what... I have not missed Architecture. I truly enjoyed it while it lasted, but nothing compares to beginning to be happy again, both at home and at work.

Praise the Lord for this. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dear Architecture: It's not You, it's Me

Well, my career in Architecture will officially come to a potentially permanent end on June 1st. I have accepted a part-time position with an Engineering company here in town. To say that I'm feeling ambivalent about it is an understatement, but what's done is done. When I think of the people I won't get to see anymore, the nice salary and the awesome fourth-floor Aggieland view I get everyday, I know I'll miss BRW quite a bit: the group of people who work there are really great. When I think of potentially spending 5-6 more months fighting with lazy/incompetent contractors and traveling up to six hours in one day to visit a construction site, not to mention all the extra work away from Sam...I'm happy and relieved that I'm leaving.

While at BRW I got to learn quite a bit about building design, and I'm happy when I think there are four buildings in Texas that look the way they look because of me: I designed their facades. Three of these buildings will serve as a "home away from home" for many firefighters, and the fourth will become THE symbol of civic duty for one town. While I'm happy about this, as Switchfoot says: "...we were meant to live for so much more..."

It may be a challenge for me to really love the new position: I'll be a CAD monkey (which I don't mind, actually), helping design power substations and power lines. Wheee! They look like this:

The company all of a sudden has A LOT of work to get done, work which will last for at least the next two years. They need someone to help engineers get drawings out, and also help create a CAD library of electrical components, etc. which I'm actually excited about (because let's face it, I friggin' love CAD). The company does NOT like overtime, and even offer 401K and some paid vacation/holidays to part time employees, which is unheard of. So I'm pretty excited about that. Even though Sam and I have exhaustively looked at our budget making sure that we will be able to afford my move to part-time I still feel a bit apprehensive; but I have to trust that the Lord will provide. Besides, we are blessed enough that I know we could adjust our budget more if needed.

I just want... peace of mind. I'm tired. I want my job to JUST be a job; not the reason why I'm away from my family.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Child of the '90s

In an effort to brighten up my days (and after listening to totally awesome songs on our Sirius stations in the new car), I decided to make a list of songs that make me happy the SECOND I hear the first notes; with the purpose of making an "in case of an emergency" playlist. So I've been putting together this list for about 3 weeks now, and the obvious has been revealed to me yet again: even though I have fairly diverse music tastes (from the blues to the Beatles to Tchaikovsky and Beethoven), musically speaking I am essentially a child of the '90s. You see, I was very lucky to have lived my "moody teenage girl" years in an era when grunge and bands like Oasis, Third Eye Blind and The Wallflowers ruled the radio waves. It was a perfect fit! So without further ado and in no specific preference order, here's my running list of what I consider "timeless" songs:

- Killing me Softly with His Song, by the Fugees (1995)
- Counting Blue Cars, by Dishwalla (1996)
- I Know, by Dionne Farris (1995)
- Shy Guy, by Diana King (1995)
- Strong Enough, by Sheryl Crow (1994)
- Are you that Somebody?, by Aaliyah (1998)
- Your Woman, by White Town (1997)
- Never Let You Go, Third Eye Blind (1999)
- You Make my Dreams, by Hall & Oates (1981)
- You Get What You Give, New Radicals (1998)
- Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill (1998)
- Unwell, Matchbox Twenty (2003)
- I Don't Want to Wait, Paula Cole (1997)
- Virtual Insanity, Jamiroquai (1996)
- One of Us, Joan Osborne (1995)
- All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow (1994)
- A Long Walk, Jill Scott (2001)
- Daydreamer, Adele (2008)
- Hometown Glory, Adele (2008)
- Waterfalls, TLC (1995)
- No Rain, Blind Melon (1992)
- Don't Speak, No Doubt (1995)
- Lovefool, The Cardigans (1995)
- Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer (1997)
- I'm a Slave 4 U, Britney Spears (2001)
- One Headlight, The Wallflowers (1997)
- Jumper, Third Eye Blind (1998)
- About a Girl, Nirvana (1989)
- Wonderwall, Oasis (1995)
- Two Princes, Spin Doctors (1993)
- December, Collective Soul (1995)
- Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind (1997)
- Crazy, Aerosmith (1994)
- Ray of Light, Madonna (1998)
- Don't Tell Me, Madonna (2000)
- Kiss from a Rose, Seal (1994)
- Beautiful Stranger, Madonna (1999)
- What's Up, 4 Non Blondes (1992)
- Missing, Everything but the Girl (1994)
- Every Morning, Sugar Ray (1998)
- Iris, Goo Goo Dolls (1998)
- Lullaby, Shawn Mullins (1998)
- Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman, Bryan Adams (1995)
- There She Goes, Sixpence None the Richer (1999)
- Around the World, Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)
- Save Tonight, Eagle-Eye Cherry (1997)
- No Scrubs, TLC (1999)
- Fly Away, Lenny Kravitz (1998)
- Te Propongo, Gilberto Santa Rosa (1994)
- Everyday is a Winding Road, Sheryl Crow (1996)
- At Last, Etta James (1961)
- Luck Be a Lady, Frank Sinatra (1965)
- Como es tan Bella, Guaco (not sure... early '90s?)
- She's so High, Tal Bachman (1999)
- Scream, Michael and Janet Jackson (1995)
- 1979, Smashing Pumpkins (1996)
- Free, Ginny Owens (1999)
- Torn, Natalie Imbruglia (1997)
- Roll to Me, Del Amitri (1995)
- Free Fallin', Tom Petty (1989)
- Shine, Collective Soul (1993)
- Freak on a Leash, Korn (1998)
- Selling the News, Switchfoot (2011)
- Dark Horses, Switchfoot (2011)
- You Gotta Be, Des'ree (1994)
- Something's Always Wrong, Toad the Wet Sprocket (1994)
- South Side, Moby feat. Gwen Stefani (2000)
- Closing Time, Semisonic (1998)
- Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms (1992)
- Drive, Incubus (2000)
- Name, Goo Goo Dolls (1995)
- Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb (1994)

So, to recap:
- Total # of songs: 72
- # songs from the '90s: 57

Yep, I think I've made my point. I know I'll keep thinking of other songs, but I'd say this is pretty solid. The songs from the '60s and the slow ones may not make it to the playlist because they don't fit as well with everything else, but... can't wait to have this playlist together..!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Breath of God... While I'm Waiting

There are a few Christian songs that will make me tear up the second I hear the beginning notes. During the entire song, my weak self becomes one with every word. Tonight was the first time I heard these two: one as we went to church, and the second AT church. I typically prefer songs with more upbeat music, but listening to the lyrics, it took all of me to keep my composure:

While I'm Waiting (John Waller)
(audio here: )

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Breath of God (Cindy Rethmeier, Terry Butler)
(audio here: )
Breathe on me, breath of God
My spirit yearns for you
Hide me in Your fathering arms
Fill up my longing soul

Flood over me like a river my God
Immerse me in Your living stream
Awaken the song that You placed in my heart
Spirit, breathe on me
Spirit, breathe on me

Breathe on me, breath of God
Burn bright, eternal fire
Father, draw me near to Your heart
You are my one desire

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Garden.

Thankfully this year we have received lots of rain, and with this, we have been blessed with lots of beautiful flowers in our garden. 3 weeks ago I planted four new plants (Silky Gold Butterfly Weed), and they're all thriving, thank goodness. It would've been a huge blow to my ego to not be able to grow anything from "scratch" (either inside or outside of me, ha ha).

So, here are our most beautiful flowers:
Oleander flowers 


 Silky gold flowers (which as you'll see on the last photo, attract Monarch butterflies and caterpillars)

Knockout roses 

 Caterpillar.! We saw it poop yesterday. There's about 20 of them eating the leaves off the new plants. But it's all good.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Again... crumbling. And rambling.

I almost made it back to happy.

The first time someone I knew became pregnant after being diagnosed with POF, someone told me, "you're a proud woman..." It must be true. I must have the pride of an elephant. Otherwise it would not hurt so, so much when I'm reminded that I'm part of such a small group of women. A select few. 1%.

It's tough to keep faith alive with this. Maybe my faith is just not strong enough. I'm not ashamed to admit it, because we're all weak. I personally seem to have: the pride of an elephant, the faith of an amoeba.

I tire of feeling so minuscule, so helpless. So hopeless. I have prayed to God that He rip off this desire to carry a child. I want it GONE from me, sometimes. The past couple of days I want it gone. If I could just find a way to keep it from hurting so much. Last time, I managed to alienate a whole portion of our family because of this. I hate what I become. Nothing seems important. At work, I literally become glassy-eyed and aimless. I have to push myself to get things done around the house.

And I wish I could be one of those people who when they go through crap, they write on their blogs, "everything has a reason, and I'm confident that God will guide us..." Well, I want to see their weakness, too. I want to see the dark times right before getting to that calm moment. Because that would show their humanity, their brokenness. Everyone breaks. The great King David broke. He begged God to not forsake him. I know I will get there, too; I just... feel so lonely. Three women in our family, including myself, have feared/been diagnosed with "fertility problems". Three. Two are pregnant, in less than a year of "having problems". Guess who's not.......

These are some of the things I wrote today, while at work (thankful for my iPhone):

"Why am I unfit to reproduce? Three women in the family with "fertility problems", yet the other two go on to have big bellies. They go on carrying a child. Why must I be cursed? Why am I not worthy to carry, to sense my own blood growing inside? Hear me O Lord... Have mercy on my devastated soul. I cannot do this for the rest of my life... Please take away this desire if I cannot have a child of my own... I fear this depression lasting for the rest of my life... While I don't desire this on anyone else, if I knew ONE woman out there in our circle of family/friends with the same hopeless case... I would probably not feel as terribly lonely, as I do. The pain is so profound, the isolation so intense. It's horrible to be part of the ONE PERCENT who simply cannot conceive because of this condition.

This cross, Lord... I must need so much cleansing, to be bearing such a heavy cross... I'd been smiling so much lately, I was happy to see myself go back to normal, finally... As if the diagnosis had never happened... I missed being happy. It's gone, again."

I'm tired of tears.

All kinds of women out there get to have babies. Some hate that they got pregnant. Some wish they'd never had kids. Yet, here we are. I'm unable to give children to my loving husband. It breaks me to not be able to. I may not deserve children, who knows; but him? He deserves the world. Sometimes I break down in tears telling him "I'm sorry" repeatedly, because I can't do this.

So we've started looking into adoption. We run the risk of getting our hopes up, and possibly having the birth mother change her mind about giving up the child. We just got to talk to a family who JUST went through this, literally. Building a family, expanding it... I don't know why, but He has decided that it can't be easy for us.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Death and the Search for Rest

Last weekend we went to Austin to celebrate a late Christmas with Sam's sister, her hubby and Mom and Dad Harvey. On Sunday we all went to Amanda and Tim's church, and the pastor reminded me of a thought I had a few weeks ago. He was talking about how humanity in general is essentially looking for rest. Our lives tend to be so jam-packed, that we're constantly running around trying to catch up with the whirls of this life. Meanwhile, Jesus promises us... rest.

The pastor discussed Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The only way we've been able to get through all this is clinging to Him. He is our medicine. He gives us relief unlike anything else. After the months we've had, I came to a realization a few weeks ago that may sound a bit creepy to some. I thought, "I cannot wait to be in Heaven with Him!" To be free from all burdens, free from pain, from stress, from menial earthly things... to spend eternity with Him. Every single thing that clutters my mind... gone. For the fist time in my life, I didn't fear death. What a wonderful joy it is to know that this imperfect world and my imperfect self are not "it".

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bidding Adieu to my Bear

Happy New Year!

Sooo in the spirit of "new year, new beginnings", blah blah, I decided to go through stuff and get rid of anything I hadn't used in a while: clothes, knick knacks, you name it. I've had this flippin' ADORABLE bear for a couple of years now; Sam saw it at a store and bought it for me and I was THRILLED and melted when I first laid eyes on him (you'll see what I mean in a sec). Unfortunately since I'm not 5 years old, I can't carry him around everywhere I go and (blame watching all Toy Story movies this past week) I felt sad for the bear because all he was doing was collecting dust instead of being some kid's plaything.

So I decided to give him up.

But not before taking a bunch of parting shots. I HAD to share them.

Cuddliest stuffed animal ever!


Even his bow is cute... are his paws.

Thanks for the good times, buddy!