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Phew! Where to begin?

5 May

Wow, I have so much to write about! Not even sure where to start.

I guess the thing that happened first since my last post is that we attended our second adoption class. We’re excited with how they are going. The group is larger than usual, but is very dynamic and we have a lot of fun while learning a lot. I actually look forward to class.

We had our first homestudy visit. In it we scheduled all our remaining visits. If all goes as planned, the caseworker’s visit to the house will be June 12th and that is the last visit. Assuming we have all our meetings and none are canceled or postponed, she expects to send in her report by the end of June. The sometime in July or August, we should be certified and then we can begin waiting for a match! That’s so soon!

I’m starting to work on our family profile for the match book–scary but fun and exciting, too!

Last week was a whirlwind. We came home from adoption class Tuesday night and left very early Wednesday morning for Michigan to attend the Med school graduation and wedding of DH’s best friend from high school (who was also our best man 5 years ago). It was a wonderful trip, which included a reunion with a friend who is a missionary in Germany, but every ounce of every day was full, between the bachelor party, the graduation, graduation party, wedding rehearsal, wedding, reception and as many extra moments of free time we could spend with the happy couple.

The wedding was Friday night. I’ve seriously never seen my husband cut a rug the way he did that night. I think I’m a combination of astonished, amused, tickled pink and frightened. He was the talk of the party that night and he continued to party throughout the next day.

On Saturday we were able to take a day trip (the couple was “busy” –gee, wonder why 😉 ). I emailed our friends and gave them a list of cities I had heard were fun and to my surprise (and delight) they picked Holland, which is where DH and I vacationed last year. It was so nice to be there again. We went back to Windmill Island and froze our patoots off. It was too cold to wait in the line for the windmill tour, which I think they would have enjoyed, but the Island itself was fun and we had Dutch food for lunch. We stopped by the local Wa.lmart for some warmer clothes (we were FROZEN!) and much to our chagrin, Michiganders apparently think 40 degrees with high winds off the water and rain is summer weather because all we found were tank tops, bathing suits, capris and sun dresses. We did find a little cart with clearance hats, a few pair of mittens and some umbrellas. I found ONE long sleeved shirt on the clearance rack for me, and ONE for DH. I don’t know how people live out there without becoming Eskimos. Seriously, Sara, clue me in!!!

Anyway, we went to the Veldeer Tulip Gardens again, which is quite possibly one of my top 5 favorite places to go. 6 million tulips are all planted in a dazzling display of God’s beautiful handiwork in color, variety and texture. Plus inside they have a Delftware factory and make wooden shoes, which is fun too. We had a TON of fun! The boys were bored to tears with the flowers and suddenly relapsed in to their dancing ways of the night before and treated onlookers in the garden to a spontaneous comedy routine, leaving us all in stitches. The rain and cold kept us away from some of the other places we wanted to share with them but I definitely think we got to see the two best attractions there. We saw a movie that night (Ma.de of Ho.nor–not recommended!) and hit the jacuzzi before collapsing in to bed.

We snuck in one more breakfast and lunch with the bride and groom today (they don’t leave on their honeymoon for 2 more weeks-don’t worry!) and then it was off to the airport.

In an amusing set of events, the Governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano (not-so-affectionately known as J-No, so dubbed for her extensive abuse of gubernatorial veto power) got on our plane in Chicago and flew home. Much as I was tempted to “accidentally” spill something on her, sit behind her and “accidentally” kick her chair 50 times, or sit next to her and hold her attention captive while I told her what a crummy job I think she does as Governor, I resisted (much to my friends’ relief). She did get like half a brownie point for flying Sou.th.west instead of some swanky airline in first class, but that was quickly lost as I wondered what she might be doing in Illinois, considering she’s the governor of Arizona. Given that she was surrounded by staffers (though not body guards/security detail), I doubt it was a personal trip, and given my knowledge of how enthusiastically she supports a certain Presidential Candidate whose home state happens to be Illinois, I can wager a pretty good guess about what she was doing there, which annoys me but (my tax dollars are not paying her to spend her time gallivanting around the country campaigning for someone else’s job!!) but like I said, I WAS mildly impressed that she flew cattle car airlines like all the rest of us “little people.”

We’re home now, and exhausted from the combination of activity and the confusion of jet lag and multiple time zones. But it was a wonderful trip! I’ll sign off with some pictures, all from Holland.

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Specialist Update I

14 Jan

We had a bit of a disappointing week. We received the results from the test administered by the specialist. If you recall, our specific prayer was that these results would be the exact opposite of the results of the same test, performed earlier by a lab ordered by my doctor. My doctor had left out a key piece of information about the conditions of the test so we had a glimmer of hope that perhaps the results were due to a faulty administration and not a reflection of the actual condition.

The results of this second test were exactly the same as the first.

So, the next step is determining the cause of the problem that produces said results.

I felt a little bit kicked in the teeth when we found out. However a huge part of that was the method of notification. We received a bill with the diagnosis right on there. We’ve never even seen the actual doctor. This office does the test in advance so that the doctor can review the results and have something concrete to go off of at the first meeting. We didn’t receive a phone call or a letter or the courtesy to make sure the bill arrived after our first appointment. Just a bill with the diagnosis right there in black and white. I called to confirm that they were indeed the test results and not what the test was checking for and the nurse confirmed that they are indeed the results. Even on the phone she was very matter of fact and not at all friendly. I guess I was just supposing that an office that deals with broken hearted IF people every day would have a clue. It’s a significant, potentially life-changing diagnosis. I just think that getting it on a bill was a really crummy delivery method. My best friend did suggest that people probably don’t go to this office unless they’ve already had bad test results elsewhere so in the initial results they’re not telling anyone something they don’t already know, but I still would have wished for a little more sensitivity, especially because they were partially responsible for the hope we had that perhaps the first results were faulty (it was the nurse’s suggestion when I first spoke to her).

I know it’s not a huge deal but it really doesn’t set me up with a good impression of this office going in to our first appointment this week. I think that my frustration is magnified by my frustration with my own doctor, who also has adopted a “you’re a number, not a person” mentality lately.

My DH is a good fit for me. I tend to care too much about bedside manner and he doesn’t seem to care at all about it, so hopefully between the two of us we can come out with one balanced opinion. 🙂

We’d appreciate your prayers especially as we go in to this appointment this week. I’ve been willing and wishing for it to come for more than a month and now it’s almost here and I’m filled with fear about the “what ifs?” Fortunately we have some nice distractions between now and then. We’ve got a Packer Victory to celebrate ;), lunch with my MIL tomorrow, a seminar with my BIL and his wife, and the start of my photography class, all before the appointment. I’m hoping those diversions will help the week to go quickly!

I know that perfect love casts out fear. And sometimes I’m afraid to voice these fears because they reveal my lack of trust and faith. And I hate that because I don’t want to lack trust. I want to be wholly confident of God’s good will and pleasure in my life. But that part of my heart is still so full of desire for a baby that I’m fearful that perhaps that desire and God’s will could be mutually exclusive, and I don’t know how to accept that, much as I want to. And I don’t know how to find the balance between praying that it isn’t so, and telling Him, “Yes, I’ll love you, no matter what.” Praying simply for “His will” seems empty and hollow because my heart betrays me. I want to want and do the right thing, but my flesh is weak. May His power be perfected in my weakness! That’s certainly the only way I can envision any good coming from this.

I’d still appreciate your prayers for rest. I did get a lot of hours of sleep this weekend but they were broken up and I still don’t find myself rested. We missed church for the third week this morning because my body physically ached too much from fatigue to get up. (I had several 4:00 and 5:00 am nights this week resulting in only 3 or 4 hours’ sleep when I just could not fall asleep). I finally got up at lunch time and was able to do some grocery shopping tonight, but it took 3 hours and a lot of help from my husband because I was moving so slowly and stiffly (and in my defense it was our big, once a month trip so it usually takes a least half of that three hours). Anyway, I’m hoping the lengthy hours of rest will at least relieve some of my fatigue and that the busyness of this week will force my body to fall in to a more normal activity pattern that will produce more normal rest patterns, too. I may go to a doctor about a short term sleeping medication if I can’t figure out something that will work because I’m at my wit’s end with this fatigue. So, I’d really love your prayers that this cycle of insomnia would be broken!

Of course it is now 1:26 am and I am wide awake after tossing and turning for more than an hour in bed, but in the interest of at least producing the best possible chance for rest, I shall bid you all goodnight and return to my sweetly (though not quietly) snoozing husband.

Bad combination: Exhaustion and Insomnia

8 Jan

Just a little update on the fatigue I mentioned the other day. Right now I’m struggling with being as tired as I was, but not being able to sleep at all. When I’m alone with my thoughts it’s hard to keep my mind from racing. They’re not always worries–sometimes it’s curiosity, ethical dilemmas, prayers, memories but night time seems to be the time my mind and heart runs wild with the “what ifs” and “maybes” of this journey. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t will myself to stop thinking! It’s frustrating and exhausting because it exacerbates the problem of feeling too tired to do much. It also heightens my emotional sensitivity which I’m sure doesn’t make me much of a good wife or friend. So, your continued prayers would be appreciated.

Just checking in

6 Jan

Thank you to all of you who have checked in on us in my absence of posting. I hope this finds you enjoying a Happy New Year.

I haven’t posted for lack of anything profound, interesting or even new to say. I realize that what I say is not always or even usually profound, but I would so much like it if I had something to say today that was different than what I said yesterday. Methinks I’m just supposed to sit and stew in the current state of affairs and really internalize those lessons that are oh-so-easy to write about, and less so to actually adopt.

DH and I spent most of New Year’s weekend sleeping. I don’t know if it was just the cease in the emotional momentum but a few days to ourselves came along and “Wham!” we were both more exhausted than we could remember having been. We literally slept most of the day and most of the night of all of our 4 days of time together. Part of me was a little disappointed that we weren’t out conquering the world together, but I am so glad for the rest, especially for DH. We did spend a few hours of every day shutterbugging–you can see the pictures by clicking on my flickr collage —-> DH picked up the other camera has now caught the bug too and so that was a lot of fun for us both.

I’m a little worried about me. I’m so tired all the time. I sleep a lot, and I have a hard time getting up the energy or motivation to do anything. Then the amount of work that piles around me overwhelms me even more and the cycle perpetuates itself. I just want to be released from this. I hate feeling exhausted all the time. The last of our birthday parties and functions have finally ended today so I’m hoping to get back in to the gym routine I established before my brother’s fire and I hope that will help me. My sister in law suggested that it could be some depression but I don’t feel sad or worried–it’s just that I’m so weary! So I’d love your prayers for release from this. Thankfully, I have a DH who is patient with me!

There’s nothing really to report on the visit to the new doctor’s office. We went and turned in the ridiculously long (and personal) questionnaire and gave the sample for the test, and now we just wait. I don’t know if they’ll notify us of the results over the phone or if the doctor will tell us when we see him later in the month.

DH has asked me to keep specifics of the current problem we’re trying to address private so I’m going to try to honor that by speaking vaguely while asking you for specific prayer requests.

Would you please pray that the results of this new test we just took are exactly the opposite of the first test of its kind that we took. An affirmative answer of this prayer would take a miracle and we’re asking for one.

Would you also pray that if the results are the same, that the doctor would swiftly find the cause of the problem. Would you also pray that it would be a cause that can be easily fixed in such a way to restore the broken parts to proper function. Please also pray that whatever the cause is, is not indicative of a more serious, health jeopardizing problem.

Whether a problem never existed and the tests were wrong or if there is a problem but it is corrected, it is our heart’s prayer that we would be able to naturally conceive a child that is biologically ours.

We know these requests are big and specific and we know that God’s answer could be “no” but at least we ask.

Would you also pray that if the answer to all of the above is “no,” that we would be given wisdom, guidance and unity on what procedures, if any to pursue. One book we are reading suggested that we outline which procedures we are ethically comfortable with before we need to make a decision so that they can be as objective as possible. We are so far from knowing what we may need to do medically and we still lack a lot of specifics about our diagnoses so it’s hard to make all the decisions but we have at least started. There are a couple ideas that excite us a lot and a couple others that right now we are not in agreement on (and I think for the first time ever, DH is the more liberal of the two of us on one issue in particular!–that’s been interesting!) So we would appreciate your prayers for harmony and peace.

We also pray that through it all we would make decisions that honor God and honor life. We pray that this doctor (whom we don’t know to be a Christian) would honor our commitments and help guide us in a way that is supportive of that, rather than in a manner that attempts to persuade us toward something else. We pray that we would have all the relevant facts to make our decisions and that they would be made available to use in language, relevance and ramifications we can fully understand.

We pray for protection of our hearts. We pray that fertility would not become our god and that above all, we would seek and Honor God and His will for us, whatever that may be.

Have a great week, everyone!

Grief: 1, Jen: 0

19 Dec

Grief won one over on me today.

Let me provide a background. My love language is time. Uninterrupted time with my husband is fiercely important to me. We’ve had a pretty rocky last quarter. My husband was sick several times, my brother (who lived with us at the time) was in a fire that left him hospitalized for almost a month and it just happened to be at my husband’s place of employment and he is the insurance liaison so we had the personal AND professional stress, I had that wretched horrible HSG, and we got our awful IF news, all since October 1.

The newest infertility diagnoses just about set me over the edge. One thing that kept me going was the knowledge that DH (dear husband) and I would have a week of uninterrupted time together. It’s our first Christmas at home where we’re not traveling (an opportunity I’ve prayed for for years but we never wanted to disappoint family expectations–whose year do you take off first–your own parents or your in-laws? Either one carries emotional consequences that we just didn’t want to deal with.) Anyway, I was really really relishing that. For the first time Christmas wasn’t going to be exhausting. It wasn’t going to be spent following someone else’s routine and traditions and getting exhausted from broken sleep and lengthy travel… we were going to have it in our home, together. Then after the festivities died down, we would a few days to decompress and recoup, together. Rest, together.

I just can’t even tell you how much that prospect has kept me motivated and encouraged these recent weeks. When we got our most recent news, it was like we got the news of a death and then DH went back to work the next day, never having time to process or grieve. And in truth, I’ve felt like he’s shut everything off and out because he hasn’t had the time to spend on really muddling through things. He’s shut off to the point that it worries me. Anyway, I could cope with that because I knew it was short term. I knew that I just had to make it a couple of weeks and then we’d have time to really do this together because I’ve felt so alone thus far.

We sat down together in May and budgeted the rest of his days off (which are few!) I emailed him the dates (as is our custom) and he then promised to take those dates and get them on the calendar. I’ve asked him several times since then if he got the dates off and he said yes. He just told me 3 weeks ago that he didn’t think that he’d requested them after all. So he requested at that time and his boss said no. DH asked him to reconsider and he said no again.

I’m crushed. I just can’t even describe how much I need this time to process with DH. To connect with him. He’s so exhausted in the evenings that we can’t do it then and he’s had some sort of work obligation every weekend since our doctor’s appointment. I feel like I’m stuck in some suspended animation. The only way I was getting through this particular aspect was the knowledge that a reprieve was coming soon. That there was at least a temporary end to my endless loneliness. Plus, DH is a Controller and does the accounting for his company. Auditing season is in February, and in preparation of it, he’ll be working ridiculously long hours making my time with him even shorter.

I’m angry. I’m resentful of DH for forgetting something so important. He forgets really big things, often. And to a detail oriented person like me, that’s really hard to cope with because I take it personally. And I resent his boss for not giving him the time off. I know that that’s unreasonable because his boss can only deal with the time and information that’s given to him and I don’t want his boss to know all the particulars of why this season has been so dang hard but still. I can’t help but think that if I were the boss, I wouldn’t make that same decision, and it’s hard for me to not be upset with his boss accordingly. I know that’s unfair and I’m trying to subdue that emotion but I’m just crushed all around.

Why am I sharing all this? It’s not to put down my DH. If forgetfulness is the worst of his flaws, I can deal with that and I know I have it pretty good. Lord (and DH) forgive me if there is any hint of attack in this. I don’t mean it that way. I’m just so brokenhearted. I just don’t know how to navigate this horrible loneliness that had surrounded me and now is back with no reprieve in sight. I hate infertility. I hate the loneliness. I hate that I feel abandoned. I hate that gulf that seems ever increasing between me and my pregnant best friend. I hate that I feel like anyone I share these thoughts with is judging me, thinking that I’m feeling the wrong thing, or too much or too little of a thing. I hate that I don’t know what my DH is feeling and I hate that we can’t just lock ourselves inside a little room and deal with this! And I hate that I can’t will myself to stop feeling these things because my head knows that they’re full of lies and half truths.

Other IF ladies, have you struggled with this overwhelming loneliness? I try to pray and read and that doesn’t make this ache stop. I busy myself with tasks which helps suspend the emotion, but it resurges the second I’m alone again and I’m fearful of just “busying” myself instead of learning to cope with this.

I’m so discouraged and frustrated with myself. I felt like I was making some real progress in dealing with grief. If I’m honest I confess that I was afraid that maybe things were moving too quickly or too easily but I really truly did feel at peace and every positive thing I’ve thought, believed and felt has been sincere. Then this happens and my heart is smashed to bits again, even though I want to will that this particular incident wouldn’t be so shattering. In the grand scheme of things I know that it’s just a few days. I know that his boss is absolutely not at fault. I know that it’s easy to forget things when you work as hard as my DH does. I know that DH should not be who I lean on so heavily anyway. But all that head knowledge doesn’t make the tears stop flowing. I have such contempt for emotions sometime. They’re so unreasonable. Bah.

I feel stupid for even writing all of this because now that I’ve verbally regurgitated up all the emotion, I am tired and I can look with bemused indifference at how silly and stupid it is in the grand scheme of things. But that doesn’t make it one whit easier. In fact it makes it harder because on top of all this other nonsense, I’m trying to tame the demon of guilt that I so easily fall slave to.

I’m tired. All that to say–please just pray for me. I am so hesitant to post this because I feel so foolish but in the name of authenticity and accountability, I’m going to. And like I said, I’d love any advice from other IF ladies. Please tell me I’m not totally off my rocker and that these feelings aren’t foreign or unexpected. Help me navigate, please!

General Update

11 Dec

Hi everyone!

Well I sure got off to a rip-roaring start, only to peter out quickly! It’s my goal to be a regular IF blogger but I just let time get away from me this weekend.

We have a small update. I spoke to the new specialist’s real scheduler today (last week was a sub). She did confirm that we have the earliest possible appointments. It’s turning out to not be such a disappointment because the holidays are keeping us busy. The planning logistic woman in me wants to race ahead for all the practical reasons, but I’m trying to wait on the Lord’s timing. I have to start somewhere right? I’m not ready to wait for forever, but I can try another month. And then another, if He asks. And I’ll just try to do day by day henceforth. I can’t think about the what ifs and the nevers because I just work myself in to a tizzy. One day at a time…just like the sparrows and the flowers.

I called insurance and they said IF treatments are not covered, specifically conception assistance. Diagnostic exams and procedures are covered, as is the correction of any true biological problems. It’s funny because just last month there was a discussion on a message board I’m a member of about whether or not insurance should cover IF. I thought about it and my response was that insurance should cover the diagnosis and treatment of any actual medical problem or malfunction, but not conception assistance, for the specific reason of the cost passed on to the majority of policy holders that will never ever need or use the coverage. I realize this opens a can of worms about other coverages that a lot of the rest of us pay for but will never use like some contraceptions, s*xual enhancements (censored so I don’t get dirty google hits, not because I’m prude!), substance abuse related ailments, etc, etc, but that’s all for another discussion. Now I certainly wouldn’t refuse medical insurance that offered IF coverage and I think it’s a huge blessing for anyone who has it and needs it. My only point was I think that medical treatment coverage but not conception assistance is a reasonable, logical, fair compromise, even if it’s not perfect.

And what do you know? That’s exactly what our insurance does. My very initial reaction was a tinge of disappointment. But then I considered further and realized that I still think the same way I did when speaking in a vacuum just a month ago, and I am glad for the way God used some silly message board discussion to prepare my heart for this news. I won’t lie. The cost of IF treatments or adoption or whatever seems insurmountable. Thinking about it does stress me out if I dwell on it too much. But overall, I’m very much at peace. I grateful that if there is a way to fix our biological malfunction(s), that they will be covered. And I’m specifically praying that if they can be fixed, we won’t even need conception assistance. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I’m also grateful for a referral to this IF specialist, who with gobs of experience in this area specifically, undoubtedly knows his way around insurance codes and how to classify everything properly.

I also read the specialist’s website today and it gave me a lot more hope. It didn’t give me unrealistic hope but I certainly don’t feel like the situation is quite as desolate as I thought it was after speaking to my own doctor. We’ll see. His actual exams of us may change that, but at least right now I know there is the potential for hope, when before I was all but told that there was none.

So anyway, those are some things you can be praying for if you think of us.

Thanks also for your prayers last week. I spent most of last Thursday with one of my very favorite people in the world, a dear lady from my church whom I cherish. She has had her own very recent walk with grief and she reached out and wrapped her arms around us in prayer and friendship. She was so generous with her time and experience and comfort, helping me navigate these waters and answering some of my very practical and not so practical questions. I’m so grateful for her! My time with her, along with the knowledge of all of your prayers really made that day much more bearable than it originally started out to be. So, thank you, friends!

Difficult Day Today

6 Dec

10 years ago today, I lost one of the most important people in my life. My grandma passed away and her death devastated me. I continue to feel the ache in my heart, even to this day. 9 months later, my heart broke again when my grandpa, her husband of 50 years, followed her in death.

I miss them a lot. Sometimes so much that I can hardly breath.

This is particularly hard in the light of our infertility because I’d always dreamed of giving our first daughter my grandma’s middle name, and I’d even hoped that she might even have Grandma’s smile. I dreamed of telling my daughter all about her great grandma and passing on our family recipes that I remember making with my grandparents as a child. Now it’s very possible that I will never have that, and I feel like I’m losing my grandma all over again. I feel that both my grandma and my hope of my daughter are slipping away from my grasp and I want to cling so tightly.

I’d appreciate your prayers today. I’m trying to not indulge my grief too much because I don’t have the emotional currency to spend. Too much dwelling on my sadness will send me back over the edge and to be honest, I’m afraid of that place. I’m doing ok right now, but only because I refuse to think about it for too long. So, if you think of me today, I’d appreciate your prayers.

Wasn’t she beautiful?

And this is the last picture we ever have of them. It was taken at the party for their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Grandma was in the hospital so they let us have the party in the rehab room. Grandma died exactly 2 weeks later.

I wish you all could have known them. I think the only one of you, dear readers, who could have met them is Angie and I’m not sure if you would remember them or not. But somehow, knowing I still have a friend today who I knew then is comforting to me–almost like a connection to that time when I had them. So hi Angie. Thanks for being my friend. Would that we were back in Newbury Park 10 years and 1 day ago, even for a moment!

I hope you all are well today.