I’ve missed writing here.  I’ll be back to it once we’re more settled.  Our house is in boxes, and I’m surrounded by general disorder as we try to move ourselves from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom townhome.  It’s great, despite the current chaotic appearance of everything.  I’m thrilled that we are downsizing, and hopeful that this will help simplify our lives.  In addition to living in a smaller place with less unnecessary stuff, my commute will be shorter by at least thirty minutes each way. 

The other good, big change is that M resigned from his job.  I’ve only mentioned his job briefly before, and don’t want to say too much about it here, other than that it was a position that caused quite a bit of stress and anxiety for both of us, monopolized his (and often our) evenings and weekends, and, perhaps most significantly, took up so much of his time that he was not able to focus on what needs to be his top priority: finishing his doctorate.  Once we realized he needed to resign, and put the plan in motion for doing so, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  He officially stepped down a few days ago, and almost everyone involved was supportive and understanding. 

I am thankful, and hopeful.  I’ve received encouragement and support in some unexpected places, which I will try to remember to blog about later.  These changes are good.  (And, side note, any wager on whether we’ll get pregnant now that we don’t have extra space for a baby room?)


Apologies in advance for the lazy format of this post.


Our vacation was good.  I only had to work a little bit, and it was a good time to be with family.  I got caught up in a good book, watched good movies, biked on the beach, and probably gained a few pounds from eating and drinking too much.   

Conversation with my mom

I had a good and reassuring conversation with my mom about all the infertility stuff.  My dad can be very pessimistic/negative (unfortunately I get that from him) and he gets a sadness in his face when the topic of kids/grandkids comes up, which is hard for me to see.  I hate the idea that my and M’s infertility causes other family members pain and sadness too.  But back to the conversation with my mom, she was very kind and said that she trusts that M and I will have children, whether it is through getting pregnant or adoption, and however we choose to proceed or whatever happens, she supports us and knows it will work out.   I love my mom dearly, but encouragement does not come very naturally for her, so while this conversation may not seem significant, it gave me a great deal of comfort.

Life changes

I’ll blog about this more at another point, but we are making some big family/career changes that are very exciting, relating to M’s job.  A weight from my shoulders has been lifted. 

As I suspected,  I am apparently having a long, anovulatory cycle again, with no signs of it coming to an end anytime soon.  This isn’t bothering me too much at the moment. 


Still busy, so not as much time for blogging.  I am going to try to be better.  I appreciate all of your kind comments, and I am reading blogs even though I haven’t had much of a chance to update. 

More later.

I already haven’t been posting as much as I would like, but this week I’m at the beach and haven’t had a chance to read and comment on other blogs either.  (I will catch up once I return).

In boring cycle news, I appear to be having an annovulatory cycle.  I’m almost one week late, but have no odd symptoms so don’t believe I’m pregnant.  I plan to take another test in a few days if my period hasn’t shown up, but I’m not anticipating a positive test.  (I took one test that I blogged about, then another this past Friday.)  My cycles tend to be fairly regular (though long at around 33 days), but at about this same time last year, I had an anovulatory/super long cycle that lasted 107 days.  I don’t know if it’s something about Spring coming or what, but I have a feeling the same thing may be happening this time around.  Oh well. 

Work has been extremely busy over the past several weeks, and based on a court order entered yesterday, it appears that April will be equally busy.  I am definitely not complaining, as I’m still very glad to have a job considering all of the lawyers that have been laid off over the past several months.  So keeping in mind how crazy things will be once I return, I’m trying to unwind as much as I can this week, doing my best to not let my thoughts wander to all the work that needs to be done once I return.  This doesn’t come naturally (but wine helps).  🙂

Some things I’d like to blog about once I have time:

  • conversations with M about treatment options
  • treatment options being so hard to choose with so much unknown (why can’t I have a crystal ball or fortune teller to say that YES, we need treatments to ever have a hope of a baby or NO, we should just wait because we’ll eventually get pregnant on our own?)
  • disappointing yearly appointment with a new OB
  • request for recommendations for natural (maybe NaPro?) treatment options prior to doing any “official” treatments such as Clomid or IUI.  Mostly because I’d like to try to treat whatever our problem is first, rather than throwing the standard medications at us even though they may not be suited to our particular situation.  But maybe I’m being unrealistic?  Does anyone have any experience with this?
  • Fighting the urge to fade out of friendships or other relationships once the friends have children, while we remain childless.

There’s my stream of consciousness list–if anyone has any early thoughts or advice, I would appreciate it.

Last night over dinner:

“Alright, I’m only telling you this because it’s on my mind.  But I’m sure it’s nothing.” 


“This morning I woke up feeling nauseated.  I then had cramps that felt just like period cramps, and some spotting.”

“Are you getting your period?”

“If so, it’s a week early.”

“So…do you think you could be pregnant?”

“I don’t think so.  But more than that, I don’t want to even entertain the possibility because I don’t want to get my hopes up.  So, here are all the reasons why I’m not pregnant:  I get pre-period spotting all the time (though it’s never been this heavy or accompanied by cramps).  And I don’t think we really timed everything right this cycle; we’ve both been so busy and distracted.  And my breasts aren’t tender.  And the nausea was brief and may have just been part of the cramps.  I think. ”

“Are you going to take a test?”

“NO.  Absolutely not.  I hate taking tests and getting a negative.  I would rather just wait.  There’s no point in taking a test now when we’ll know soon enough what is (or isn’t) going on.”

“Okay, that makes sense.  I’m going to do my best not get excited or anything.”

I proceeded to drink two glasses of wine.  When we got home, I took a test.  Just marched right over the cabinet, grabbed one, and did it like it was No Big Deal.  I told myself that I should take it because a negative would actually make me feel good this time (since I could ease my mind about the wine I had, plus the Aleve I took that morning for the cramps).  “Oh, since I’m going to start working out again TOMORROW, it probably would be better to not be pregnant so I don’t have to worry about doing a hard workout in the morning* to get myself back into the swing of things.”  Right?  Yep, makes perfect sense.


This is so typical of the over-analysis that I’m trying to get away from.  I had to get away from charting and TTC message boards.  But inevitably, I always over-analyze during the two week wait. (Do you know how many google results there are for spotting/cramping/etc. 2WW symptoms?  Why do we do this to ourselves?)  I want to stop but I can’t help it.

*Oh, and guess who didn’t work out this morning?  Shocker.

We are talking about God. What wonder is it that you do not understand? If you do understand, then it is not God. – St. Augustine

I’ve found that my conversations with other Christians about infertility have been some of the most frustrating.  Granted, I haven’t shared this struggle with a lot of people, and the few people that I have opened up to (in real life) happen to be Christians, so I could be being somewhat unfair.  After all, you don’t have to be a Christian to say something stupid. When people say things to me that are really just comments that make them feel better, but are disguised as comments meant to encourage me, that is hard enough.  But multiplying that discomfort by bringing God into it, particularly when one is purporting to understand God’s will and/or purpose in things happening a certain way… it just makes me angry. (I should mention that I am a Christian, and that there are a few Christians that have been very kind and haven’t said anything stupid at all regarding my infertility.  I don’t want to be unfair to Christians here, it’s just that there have been several who have tried to bring some bad theology in to explain away M’s and my predicament). 

I haven’t posted in awhile because there’s been a lot happening here.  My firm has been laying off attorneys and staff, so I’ve been nervous about losing my job.  Those of us that survived the first round of layoffs are trying to work very hard, as if that will somehow make us immune the next time they decide to make any reductions.  All of that has led to a lot of stress at work (but I feel bad complaining, of course, as I’ll take stress at work over not having a job any day). 

The other big stress contributor is M’s job.   I’m not quite comfortable blogging in detail about it, but his job has been taking a lot out of us both for quite some time now.  He’s a minister, and even though I work full time, his job tends to place a lot of pressure and demands on both of us, particularly on weekends.  We’ve been saying for over a year that we know we can’t keep going at this pace.  We may be moving towards making a change soon, which is scary but also makes me very hopeful. 

This post is like a thirty-second clip from a three hour movie.  It’s missing a lot, but it still feels good to get some of the basics out in a safe place.  I’m thankful for that tonight. 



A brief history of our infertility journey:

Prologue: Over a year before we think we might start trying to have a baby, I begin exercising regularly, taking vitamins, and make sure that I’m not using any medications or over-the-counter products that aren’t approved for use during pregnancy.  I want to make sure that my body is completely ready once we say “go.” 

July 2007: After being married for five years, we decide to start trying to conceive.  I go off of the pill (I had been taking BCPs for about thirteen years), and begin charting based on the Fertility Awareness Method described in “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.”  After reading the book and keeping track of my morning temperature and cervical fluid, I’m amazed at how precisely one can be aware of and control the conception process.  (I’m so impressed that my temperature actually drops on the first day of my cycle).  Wow–this is so simple!  I’m sure that we’ll be pregnant in no time at all, especially since we’re so informed about how to time intercourse.

Summer 2008: Hmmm…well, we’ve been trying.  No pregnancy.  My cycles are long (around 33-35 days), but regular.  According to my charting, we’re having sex at the right time to make a baby.  I note that most infertility literature indicates that the definition of infertility is trying for over one year without becoming pregnant.  I check the calendar.  We’re about to be officially infertile.  This doesn’t seem right to me–after all, I’ve only had about ten cycles.  It doesn’t seem like that’s long enough to use the word “infertile.”  On the other hand, couples that started trying to conceive when we did have already had babies.  On the recommendations of a few friends and my mom, I add OPKs to my charting regimen.

November 2008:  I start worrying.  I visit with my doctor, then make an appointment with the RE for testing.  I have an HSG, then a sonogram.  Everything looks normal.   M’s sperm is tested, and it comes back with a 3% morphology (everything else looks normal).  The RE tells us he’s seen many fertile men with similar morphology percentages, so this isn’t necessarily the problem.  According to him, if it turns out that the morphology is our problem, our best bet would be IVF with ICSI, because the abnormal shape of M’s sperm may be preventing them from fertilizing my eggs.  Because we seem to be relatively relaxed and not visibly upset when we’re meeting with the RE, he tells us to come back in six months to a year if we remain unable to conceive.  He advises us that, considering side effects and risks of multiples, there are no “minor” infertility treatments, and that with our test results, we may still get pregnant on our own.  We decide to continue to try to get pregnant without any treatments. 

So, here we are.  Still trying.  Processing our situation.  Talking through what to do next. 

In the meantime,  I’ve stopped charting.  The micro-management of each cycle was getting to be too frustrating for me–not to mention the fact that it wasn’t working for us. 

And to avoid being too downtrodden, I’ve started taking piano lessons–something I’ve always wanted to do.  

Our friends continue to get pregnant and have more babies. 

I love M more than ever.  It breaks my heart to think that he might not ever be a dad; that I might not ever be a mom.  It breaks my heart that my parents might never be grandparents. 

Despite this, I trust that God can make something beautiful and wonderful out of our life.  I don’t say that to mean that I think this is some part of some larger or cosmic plan, like our infertility is an obstacle purposefully placed on the chessboard of our life.  The fact is, we all live in a broken and distressed world–a world where things like infertility, sick babies, suffering animals, cancer, war, abuse and death permeate our everyday existence.   But I do believe in a God who restores what seems lost; who makes all things beautiful in their time.  So I continue to hope, and pray, that I can face whatever comes our way with strength and wisdom.

A short while ago, I was a bridesmaid in a high school friend’s wedding.  M and I traveled to my hometown, stayed with my parents, and had a great time at the wedding and all of the surrounding festivities.   I am so happy for my friend.  She is an exceptional person, and the man she married seems to be very special too.   Importantly, he seems to realize how incredible she is.  He looked like a guy who had just won the lottery (which, in my opinion, he did). 

The bridesmaids’ luncheon was hosted by several of the brides’ mother’s friends, and was a very Proper and Southern luncheon (i.e. fine china, small portions of food, and large portions of small talk).  Before serving the cake, the hostess asked the bride to introduce each of her bridesmaids, and then one by one each of us pulled a ribbon from the cake, revealing a silver charm.  Once the charm was revealed, the hostess would announce some connection between the charm and our future life.  (As an aside, I’ve been in a lot of weddings, and have never seen this done before–is anyone familiar with this?) 

The first bridesmaid pulled her charm, and it was a baby carriage.   “You will have many children,” said the hostess.  

As I waited my turn, I was really hoping that there weren’t any more baby carriage charms in that cake.  I am truly terrible at hiding my feelings, and I did not want to get sad (or worse, visibly awkward and emotional) if pronouncements about any future babies I might or might not have came my way.  Particularly in front of a room of strangers.  I started to steel myself. 

The next bridesmaid pulled out a money charm.  “You will be very wealthy.” 

“Stop over-analyzing this,” I thought.  Whatever charm I pull out means absolutely nothing, and to ascribe any more meaning to something this silly is just ridiculous.  For goodness’ sake, this is a silly shower game.  Just smile, pull a charm, smile, and move on.

Next, a wedding cake.  “You will be the next to get married.”   Everyone oohs and ahhs, because this bridesmaid is actually getting married in just a few months. 

Then it was my turn.  I reached for an innocent-looking blue ribbon, unable to shake off the feeling that I really did want this charm to be something good to look forward to.  A sign, perhaps?  Even though it was such a small thing, I wanted my pronouncement to be something true.  And something fabulous. 

I pulled out a sailboat. 

“You will have a life of travel and adventure.”

Yes, I thought.  Yes I will.

With all of the octuplet mom brouhaha, I almost missed this story regarding the increasing number of American women having babies when they’re “young” (according to the article, in 2006 the average age at which women had their first child was 25).  The article quotes Candace Parker, the 22-year-old WNBA star who recently announced her pregnancy, extolling the benefits of having a baby sooner:

“[T]his decision obviously was for myself and my husband and my family.”  Ms. Parker’s parents were in their 30s when she was born, and “I kind of missed out” on shooting hoops with her dad and other shared play, she says. She wants her children to have the benefit of young parents.

The article goes on to note that young moms value their children having close bonds with grandparents.

*deep breath*

So I’m being overly sensitive.  I know.  But it’s hard not to feel a bit stung after reading this article.  I always wanted to be a young mom (whatever that even means–isn’t mid-thirties still somewhat of a young mom?)  I started trying to conceive when I was twenty-seven.  Yes, I had already finished graduate school and started my career, but that’s still pretty young, right?  It wasn’t my choice to be out of my twenties before having a child.  Infertility is what put me here.  And who says I won’t be able to shoot hoops with any kids I have when I’m in my thirties?  Is this really true?  Do women that have children at twenty-two love their parents more than I love mine?  Is it less important to me that my children have a relationship with their grandparents, since I didn’t have a baby before I turned twenty-five? 

I refuse to accept the notion that because I waited to start trying to conceive until I was finished with school and had a job (even aside from the fact that M is still in school), that therefore it’s not important to me that my children know their grandparents, or that I’m able to run around and be active with my kids.  For what it’s worth, Wall Street Journal, my “plan” was that I’d have my first child while twenty-seven, then have one or two more (approximately two years apart each, of course), and be through having kids by the time I turned thirty-five.  I was naive, sure, but plenty of people remain right there in “life according to plan” land and make their “choice” to have kids while “young.” 

And it’s not so much the naivete of anyone in that position; but what bothers me so much is assigning a purposefulness to these young moms, that really isn’t there except by sheer luck.  One might as well say that people who live to be one hundred made the choice to not get cancer, to not have a heart attack, to not get hit by a bus.  Am I way off base here? 

Just blowing off some steam.

I’m finding that this infertility struggle can bring out the worst in me.  Jealousy, bitterness, frustration, pessimism, self-pity…and particularly anger.  I don’t think these traits arise solely from infertility, but rather, they’ve been somewhat dormant in me for some time, and my infertility has simply brought them to the surface.  It’s as if my inability to get pregnant has somehow crumbled or dissolved away my ability to act and believe as if I have things together.  That all things are Going According to Plan.  And although I never thought that I had everything together, I had certainly (albeit subconsciously) bought into the notion that I was in control of my destiny.  Infertility turns that fallacy on its head (where it belongs, actually).  None of us has a guarantee of tomorrow, of what the future holds for us.  Infertility makes that much clearer for me than it ever has been before. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously wrote “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  I believe this to be true.  And right now, let’s just say that I’m not to thrilled to see my “measure” revealed by where I am standing in this challenge of infertility.  I’m too often standing in anger, impatience, cynicism, self-pity, and jealousy (just to name a few). 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, though all this, I actually became a better, truly different kind of person?  If my soul is actually polished and made more perfect and beautiful by struggling with infertility–no matter how the story ends?  Because ultimately, my infertility will come to an end one day–even if it ends the day that I die.  This story may not end with children.  But will it end with a courageous, patient, strong, kind and wise woman?  A woman I don’t know now, but want to become?  A woman who comprehends the kind of joy that Emilie understood so well?  A woman who can see the bigger picture, and has somehow turned her hardest struggle into her greatest strength? 

I hope so.  And, unlike getting pregnant, this wise woman beckoning to me at the end of this journey seems clearer and more certain in her existence than any other circumstantial end result.  Perhaps I should long for her, for that future wise and strong me, more than for my barren circumstances to change.

So I’ve been working my way through Mel’s fantastic Creme de la Creme of 2008 list, and wow.  Just, wow.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of us there are.  How many people are struggling with infertility.  It’s quite sobering, actually.  Reading some stories makes what I am going through seem like a walk in the park.  For which I don’t know whether I should feel guilty or thankful.  Perhaps both. 

I want to be better about not being completely consumed by self-pity over this.  It can easily take over my mind and heart such that I don’t appreciate the good and perfect things that I experience each day.  Not to take away from the fact that infertility is A Big Deal, but I just don’t want to let it get me down so much that I fail to see the beauty in small moments each day.  Like the chocolate I just ate that M put in my stocking, or my sweet cat that is sitting next to me now.  Or the amazing energy and excitment I felt on Tuesday while standing on the mall lawn in the freezing cold watching our new president be sworn in.  Or that fact that I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.  Walk.  Have friends.  Read.  Drive.  Vote.  Anyway, I’ve seen on several blogs the Grace in Small Things project, and I think it is good for all of us to remember each little thing that goes perfectly right every day. 

In college, I had a professor that made us write down ten good things that had happened to us every day before class began.  The class was at 8:00 am.  He said that if we couldn’t think of ten good things that had already happened that day, then we needed to change our definition of “good.”  I love that.  How often do I take for granted that I woke up in a warm bed, with the love of my life sleeping next to me, had a hot shower, was healthy enough to drive myself to work, worked at a job that provides for my family, had friends to talk to, had work that challenged me–the list really does go on and on. 

I love this poem by Jane Kenyon.  I have “The Best Day the Worst Day” (by Donald Hall about his life with Jane Kenyon) on my shelf, and maybe I should read that next.  Thanks again to the late Emilie of lemmondrops, for bringing this poem to my attention.

By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon was married to the poet Donald Hall. She died of leukemia in 1995 while compiling this collection of poems.

My sufferings are truly minor when compared with others’.  But even if they were not, I hope and pray that I would have the grace and courage to face them without self-pity, with hope and with peace that surpasses understanding.