Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Room That Shall Not Be Named

For the last few days, hubby and I have been busy every evening, up to our eyes in sawdust, woodworking tools, paint cans, measuring tapes... eeesh, I'm dizzy just thinking about it. Our goal is to strip and refinish "The Room That Shall Not Be Named" before Friday, February 2.

I bought the house in December of 2001, and hubby and I moved in in late January 2002. Shortly thereafter, my aunt, a seamstress by trade, worked her magic and made lovely curtains for all the bedrooms. In that room, I chose a beautiful green and yellow pattern; yellow stars, moons and suns on a green background, with flecks of yellow throughout.

The green and yellow was a no-brainer. You see, The Room has an intended purpose. Oh yes. And many of you infertiles know exactly what I'm talking about. It just screams "nursery" at me. In fact, that room was a major selling point of the house. Forget the fact that it has a large in-ground pool, or a huge finished basement, or any of the other good features. No no, it was The Room that really sealed the deal for me.

And because we have not yet had a child, The Room has been designated under many appellations. It's been called: the small guest room, J's room (when my stepson lived with us), the back bedroom, the white bedroom (originally I just whipped a coat of white paint on the previously grey walls), the room with the walk-in closet, etc. But never, ever, ever will I dare call it The Nur... well, you know. THAT name. So much like in the Har.ry Pot.ter films that refuse to utter the name of the bad guy, I've decided to give it the privilege of being called The Room That Shall Not Be Named.

Anyone who knows me knows darn well I will not, I absolutely refuse to, I positively despise putting pretty pink or pale blue on a room that will be used for that purpose. If ever I have the blessed opportunity to have a child, the room will be yellow, green and white. Crisp, classic, fresh colours. THAT is what I want in The Room. Thus, the green and yellow curtains that I so adore. Thank you Aunt B for those gorgeous curtains! *kisses*

Anyway, in refinishing The Room, we started out with the idea of putting in new laminate flooring. Then I thought if the floor is going to be done, we're going to be taking off the baseboard and quarter round. So, a great opportunity to finally get a nice coat of paint on the walls. To get rid of the bland, boring old white. Ugh. It needed a paint job long ago anyway. I took the material from the curtain and I went out to find a paint to match. Then I thought, well, it'd also be nice to go ahead and put on the white wainscoting that I'd wanted to have in The Room when it finally gets used for its intended purpose. I mean, why bother to do the floors and the paint and then put it all back together in order to tear it apart again in the future? So I bought the wainscoting.

And the renovation work begain. Off came the baseboard and quarter round. Hubby pried up the old and damaged parquet flooring. I've put on the two coats of paint on the full wall, and painted the wainscoting. Tonight, we lay the laminate and either tonight or tomorrow we put up the baseboard, wainscoting, chair rail and quarter round. Put up the curtains again (the inspiration for the whole room) and load in the furniture again. Voilà. New room to enjoy.

In considering whether I would even tackle the work, I wondered why, oh why would I deprive my guests and my own family of having a beautiful room to enjoy? I just think it's a little silly to sit and wait; to count on something that I am never certain about and hold off those plans until... well... heavens knows when, right? Life goes on. I have to live for today and enjoy my surroundings today instead of pinning my hopes on all that. I cannot let it control my life. I didn't want to jinx it before, but you know, I can't think that way any longer. Part of taking stock of my life I guess and moving forward for now, until I cycle again.

And why do we have to do all this before Friday, you ask? Because my stepson will be 11 years old on Thursday. (Side note: I was introduced to him when he was four, almost five, and his sister was six at the time.) And on Friday, hubby and I are going with nine of our friends and their children to a junior hockey game. After the game, three of the kids will be having a sleepover at our house so I'd love to put the room to use. Worst case scenario, they will bunk on the living room floor in front of the fireplace and watch TV and play video games or whatever floats their boat. Besides, it needs to be done before the end of February because Aunt B and my mom are coming to visit for 10 days. And they deserve to enjoy a beautiful room too.

Sending hugs to
Katd over at They Grow in Your Heart. She and her husband are waiting for news from their adoption agency about the birth mother who was matched to them. The birth mother is due this week, but they've not heard from her in awhile and are wondering whether their adoption will take place at all, or whether luck will fall in their laps and everything will go as originally intended. Keep us posted katd. May good things come to you!

**Edited to add**
Ah ha! Caught ya! By the looks of things, I'm not the only one out there with a Room that shall not be named! You guys seem to have them too; I knew I wasn't alone. So I'm opening up comments to you to tell me about your "Room" and what you use it for now, what you would like to do with it, colours, styles, anything at all. Share. :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Jessica's Story

In my meanderings of various IF blogs, I came across one the other day that just broke my heart. Let me tell you a story...

This is the story of Jessica. She is a 24-year old mother of a young toddler, and experiencing secondary infertility. She has a full-time job and juggles many things as we all do. Her husband, Jason, works full-time as well and they are working on expanding their family, as young couples do.

Jessica called home the other day, and chatted with her husband. He was marinating meat for dinner, he was going to pick up their son from daycare and he would see her when she got home. He told her that he loved her. A little later, she called again because she was doing their taxes and had a question for him. No answer; she thought he was avoiding her. She called again and again. No answer. After work, she picked up their son from daycare and she went home... to a darkened foyer. No husband. No message. Nothing.

A friend of hers came over; Jason had been in an accident and it was bad. They drove her to the hospital, where she soon learned that at 3:38 that afternoon, her beloved husband Jason was taken from her. An accident had claimed his life and he was gone. She is now left to raise their son and somehow find her way in the world.

My thoughts turned towards Jessica and their young son. She is a widow at the tender age of 24. She has to make her way now, without her husband by her side. And then, what of their plans? What becomes of their hopes and dreams? Of their aspirations to add to their family? What sort of plan will she have now for her life? Can she create one or even envisage one without Jason next to her? What happened to the "growing old together" part of their story?

I cannot fathom the pain and grief that Jessica must be going through. And her story made me stop and think; what if? What if (God forbid) something happened to my husband? Where would I be? How would I go on? What path would my life take then? Specifically with regards to the IF treatment we are undergoing, would I continue?

I spoke of this to my husband, relating Jessica's story to him. His first thought was, "Well, you'd have the insurance money." Good Lord! To h*ll with the money! That would be the last thing I'd consider. Fine enough, but what would I do about our treatments? Would I continue? Would I forge ahead and try (at going on 37 years old) to have a child and raise him/her as a single mother? Would I let go of the idea of having children altogether? Would I hope that somewhere down the line I would have someone else in my life with whom I would try to start a family? What would I do?

Hubby gently reminded me that the IF treatment we are undergoing is because of his vasectomy and failed reversal. There is no indication that I cannot get pregnant, we just need good swimmers to do the job (thus our decision to move down our path using donor sperm). So hubby mentioned that he thought I would find someone else with whom I would start a family. I don't know that I could or would do that though. Who is to say? Maybe that would never happen. Maybe I wouldn't find anyone to share my life with. For the moment, I just give thanks that I am lucky enough to have a good man who loves me tremendously. I have him by my side as we travel this road and I am grateful for the love that we share.

I guess Jessica's story just brings to mind the harsh reality that life throws at us sometimes. It makes us think and consider "what ifs" because we are only human, and "what ifs" can and do happen. Have you considered your "what if"?

My heart aches for Jessica and all the infertiles that are faced with a sudden loss that turns their world upside down. My thoughts are with you at such a traumatic time, and I can only hope that one day, you find peace.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Third Sex

I have been mulling over something that the IF blogosphere has been discussing lately. A few days ago, Mel at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters brought the topic of femininity to the forefront.

I trembled as I read her words. My eyes welled with tears. She perfectly expressed my feelings of doubt and insecurity about my own femininity. I actually copied a portion of it and sent it to hubby, with the link to Mel's blog to read the whole entry. Below is a relevant excerpt from her blog (with minor editorial changes).

I feel disconnected from my uterus. When I look at all the parts that make me a woman--my breasts and my uterus, my ovaries and my cervix--I don't feel very feminine.

I think what I was coveting wasn't (my friend’s) pregnancy or this particular baby. What I was coveting in the moment was her fertility. Her ability to get pregnant while on birth control. A femininity so ferocious that it knocks synthetic hormones out of the way in order to utilize her ovaries and uterus. That is a f*cking woman and watch her body roar. And after she gives birth, she will use her breasts to feed the baby. She will utilize every part that makes her a woman.

From my point of view, despite everything happening in her body, she is hyperfertile. And it's her fertility that makes her feminine. It makes her a woman. And it is what makes me feel like a third sex. Certainly not male, but not female either.

On my wedding day, I felt like such a woman in that white gown. I felt so feminine and pretty. On my wedding day, I thought I would be pregnant within the year. I walked through that day with so much confidence--with so much femininity--my womanhood on my sleeve. I want to get back to that day when I felt sexual and sensual.

I don't want someone else to make me feel feminine or tell me that I am feminine. I want to feel feminine. I want to feel like a woman.

I can relate to these emotions all too well. To my surprise though, there are many women in the IF world that feel the same way. The question remains though: why do we equate the ability to bear children with our femininity? Rather perplexing, isn't it?

But it's so true. I certainly don't feel male, but not quite female either. Like I'm somewhere in between. I have lost that feminine self-confidence that I once had. I don't feel feminine anymore. I don't feel like a woman. While I want to feel that again, I'm not sure how.

I don't think that anything external can give me that feeling back. I can't put on a fancy dress and makeup, have my hair and nails done and "feel" any more feminine. A chick flick doesn't do it. Not even a night with my girlfriends makes me feel feminine. Sweet nothings whispered in my ear wouldn't do it. Compliments galore wouldn't give that feeling to me. It comes from inside I think. But I think that part of me is gone. Can you get it back? How do you feel feminine? What makes a woman?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ah ha... that's it!

Today, I write of a revelation of sorts.

I think, in the end, the only thing that might stand in our way *crosses fingers* is that I may merely be Sperm Deficient. Wouldn't it be nice if that was our only problem?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mundane and yet, not so mundane

There are a few things I need to write about today. Some days I have absolutely nothing to add, but once in awhile, there comes a day that just screams at me, "Write it down!"

There's mundane stuff.
I got a call from my RE's office and the receptionist will pop both CD3 and CD23 bloodwork in the mail to me. Superb! NOT. Twice the blood to take. Ugh. Again, the list for CD23 is rather daunting. They'll be checking glucose, hemoglobin, w.b.c. count, FSH, LH, TSH, T4/T3, Prolactin, Estradiol, Progesterone, Free testosterone, DHEAS, Feratin, Folate, Vit. B12, Insulin and for kicks, BHCG. I rather find that last one funny, don't you? *cue hysterical laughter* Oh my. Quite the sense of humour there! Hee hee!

So I'll have that bloodwork done (with the assistance Lorazepam) between now and whenever hubby and I are ready to try again. The receptionist also told me that when that time comes, call them on CD1. She'll have a prescription for Serophene (Clomid) at the pharmacy for me, and book me for a CD8 u/s to start the injectables. That was a decision hubby and I wanted to discuss too; whether we'd go the injectable route again. Insurance does cover it and it can't hurt, so why not? I mean, other than the fact that I'll be sticking myself with needles every morning again, but hey, we all get used to that, don't we? Seriously. It happens all the time in the TTC community. But do you ever really get used to doing that? And do you ever stop focussing on the reason you're doing that in the first place? Emotionally, it pulls at you every d*mn day. It does for me anyway. Maybe I'm just the weirdo in the mix though. *shrugs* God only knows. Anyway, hubby and I decided that yes, we'll go the injectables route again, combined with the Clomid and the donor. And we'll hope for a better result next time.

And the not so mundane stuff.
One of our good friends made a comment in my blog that really hit home.
"Do put everything that you can into (your goals and dreams) but don't put everything that you are in them." I think that is something many of us need to figure out. How far to go, when to draw the line, and when to realize that you begin to lose yourself along the way and it's time to take it back.

Realistically speaking, not all my goals and dreams can or will come true. And at the end of the day, I have to live with myself and who I am inside. If I make my life completely IF-focussed, I lose so much of who I am as a person. To do that would mean I would discount the fact that I've done and seen so very much in this world that many people never have the opportunity to do or see. I would toss away the fact that I am blessed to have a loving, caring husband who would give me the moon if he could and for whom I would readily give my life if I had to. I would not consider the fact that I'm a sensible, capable woman who is an independent, productive member of society. I would forget the fact that I have a wonderful family and many friends who love me very much and want nothing but the best for me. I would ignore that I am a sensitive, sympathetic, generous person who tries to do her best in just about everything. None of those wonderful things would be a part of me if I lose myself in the IF world. And I'm not willing to let those great things go.

My sister wrote me an e-mail awhile ago (I saved it sis; forgive me?!) when I posted about being a failure at this IF journey. And I'm going to take the liberty to reprint it here for you.

I was so mad when I read your message! Raging mad! You are NOT a failure! Anyone that has family and friends who love them as much as yours do is NOT a failure. I repeat - NOT a failure. You are far from it. You're intelligent, witty, charismatic, caring, generous, hard-working (I could
go on and on for years). You may not have had any success with getting pregnant but that does not constitute a failure - in any way. Do you understand what I am saying to you? You are exploring all your options and doing everything you can to conceive a child - that does not reflect someone who is a failure. So get that stoooopid idea out of your head right now and get on with it. Yes, you're allowed to cry mope around for a while, but that's it! You don't have the luxury of giving up and being a depressed lump! That is not who you are - I know it because I've known you your whole life - don't forget! I may be younger than you but I know a thing or two as well, and sometimes you have to listen to me for a change. Got it?

Yup. I got it. Thanks sis. I needed that. For those moments when I feel like I need a kick in the pants or I just need to remember that so many people do care about me, and that IF is not all that I am, I kept this message and I read it.

So for those of you who "get it" or "need to get it," there you go. Straight from the mouth of my sister.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Healthy as a... ugh. NOT.

I've been a bad blogger; I've been absent. Shame on me. *thwaps her own knuckles* I'm sorry. Forgive me? *puppy dog eyes* But I think I'm a little more functional now that I've MOSTLY recovered from the horrid cold that I got just after New Year's. Hopefully I can stop sniffling soon. I think I've used a box and a half of tissues! Yikes!

Okay, so news, news, news... hmm, there isn't much really. As I mentioned in my last post, I've decided to take a couple of months and focus on me. That feels good already. You know when you put something off for what seems like ever-so-long, and then you can't get it out of your head, feeling guilty for NOT working on it? And then you take the bull by the horns and just DO it? Yeah. That feeling. Heavens that feels incredible. Like a weight lifted from my shoulders. We all need to feel that now and then. It feels truly glorious.

I went the other evening for a CAT scan on my sinuses. I'm horribly prone to sinus infections (read: between three and seven per year, usually necessitating antibiotics to clear up) so to ensure that there is sufficient space for my sinuses to properly drain, my GP sent me to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, who ordered the CAT scan. I have to say, it was quick and painless, as I expected. However, I had also expected to be lying on my back for the scan. You would have expected that too right? Nope! Not so fast. The nurse asked that I position myself on my tummy. Now on any ordinary day, that would be all right, but think about this: I have a cold! Runny nose, people! And you can't move during the scan! You know what that means? Ick is what that means. TOTAL ick. Ickiness to the -N-th degree! I was never so glad to be able to wipe my nose in my life! Disgusting I know, but hey, when you read about consistency of CM in infertility blogs, and all the stuff that motherhood brings, runny noses are the least of your worries!

Added to that, because of my cold, I couldn't get my flu shot. Here in Canada, the flu shot is free; it's just a matter of actually going to get one at a clinic or making an appointment with your GP. Before Christmas I couldn't go because of the TTC thing. Apparently if you are in the first trimester, it isn't good to get the flu shot. So then AF arrived and right after that, we hopped on the plane to Florida for Christmas. I figured I'd get my shot after we returned. Now we're back and there was a flu shot clinic in our area on Tuesday. But I was too ill to go; the provincial public health information line (answered by nurses) informed me that really I shouldn't be getting the shot until I'm healthy again. Blech. So now I have to make an appointment with my GP to get this year's shot. If I don't, I'll pay dearly for it. I know. Ho hum. Yes Mom, I'll go. I'll go. Promise.

I also called my RE this morning (I left a message; after all, I do start work early!) to requisition the CD23 bloodwork again and to let them know that I'm taking some time to regroup. I mentioned that until that bloodwork is done, I'm not willing to move forward because those results can tell us a great deal. I expect to hear from the RE's office this morning or tomorrow with info.

And yesterday I had to spend some hard-earned dough. Over the weekend our oven died, and really, being as miserably ill as I was, I didn't bother much with it. When he told me about it, I vaguely recall waving a hand at hubby saying, "Whatever. I just need slee... zzzzz." Now that I'm more lucid, I realized, "D*mn! We have no oven!" so yesterday hubby and I bought a new one. It will be delivered next Wednesday. However will we survive?!

I am still keeping up with your blogs. And I'm thinking good thoughts for all of us. I think in 2007, we're due to have good things happen.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ringing in 2007

2006 has come and gone, and 2007 holds... what exactly?

Good question isn't it? When you start a new year, do you (as I often do) have high hopes of "changing things"? Or making your life better? Shaking it up a little? Moving forward?

I have those sorts of hopes for this year; to leave behind the negativity that has coloured so much of my perspective for the last six or eight months. I have aspirations and dreams. I have goals. Do I believe I can achieve them? Um... sorta. Kinda. Well... I dunno. Is that good enough?

A question: Why is it that I have so much faith and hope and conviction in other people and so very little in myself? When I tell a girlfriend, "You did the right thing by standing up for yourself in that relationship," or "I really believe that for you and your husband, you will overcome the infertility problems you're facing," or "Regardless of what people tell you, you have to go with your gut feeling sometimes and just know that it will work out for the best," I truly believe those things. I have the courage of my own conviction and intuition that tells me to encourage my friends. To get behind them and give that extra little push. Yet, when it comes to pushing myself, encouraging myself, having hope for myself, I fail miserably.

Yet even with the knowledge that I have little faith for me, somewhere, deep down inside, there is a spark that refuses to die. A burning ember that urges me to go forward. Something that shows me the path.

That little tiny firey ember tells me that I need to concentrate on making ME better right now. I need to stop focussing on my fertility health and start focussing on me, as a person, and getting me back to being "normal" again, even if only for a few months.

I haven't taken one bit of medication since about December 10th, and heavens that feels glorious! I have been able to relax (thank God for that vacation in Florida). I have been able to sleep in and that feels wonderful. I have been able to set some goals and straighten out my thoughts a little more. And Lord knows, I needed to do all of that.

I suppose it's some sort of New Year's Resolution, although I despise even invoking that term, knowing that any "resolutions" that I ever set never come to fruition. So I won't call it that. I'm calling it "Time for a change; Time for me." And I'm going to focus on that time for me until about March or April of this year.

In the meantime, I have a few things to do. I am booked for a CAT scan for next Wednesday to investigate the source of recurrent sinus infections. I have to call my specialist's office to see about getting a new requisition for that CD23 bloodwork that was "deleted" when it was done in October of '06. I am embarking on a few home improvement projects (like installing laminate flooring in the spare bedrooms and sewing with my brand new sewing machine!), and I get to dote on one of my Christmas gifts, a baby Abyssinian Guinea Pig that I've named Scruffles. He's gorgeous!

What about you? What does the new year hold for you, either fertility-related or completely off the fertility path?