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Friday, May 28, 2010

The ongoing battle against Fear

I subscribe to a daily email 'devotional', from Sarah's Laughter. Sarah's Laughter is a Christian online infertility support group, and they send out encouraging emails on different topics or issues dealing with infertility, which give you a few verses and a commentary on them. Their recent theme has been on Fear & Anxiety, which for me, has been much-needed. Since fear & anxiety are continual problems in dealing with IF (at least for me!), I wanted to share some excerpts from one of my recent favorites with you:

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

God has allotted to each a measure of faith...
Romans 12:3

What a whirlpool of emotions you face when infertility invades your life! What a whirlpool of decisions that must be made! What a whirlpool of thoughts and fears! There are times you honestly feel like you are drowning in the waters of infertility and every thought, every decision, everything you do just gets you sucked further and further into infertility’s depths. What could be more frustrating?

Someone telling you to relax?

Okay, okay! I know! I always promise to never tell anyone struggling with infertility to “RELAX!” But when looking through the filter of God’s plan for your life, I believe it to be appropriate to encourage you to relax! He’s not telling you to relax because the problem you face is unimportant or doesn’t matter. He’s telling you that you can relax in the knowledge that he knows what to do to pull you through the whirlwind of infertility. Isaiah 41:10 says it best:

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Relax in His plan for you. You can trust Him to have a good plan for your life.

Does this mean you won’t be frustrated any more? Of course not! But God has given you a measure of faith. Activate the faith He has placed in you and relax in the knowledge that He really does hold your life in His hands.

Eventually, you’ll find the whirlpool fading away.

Infertility won’t always be the intense struggle it is for you today.

Activate your faith in the One who promises to guide you through this terrifying time in your life.

You may just find the splashes of fear fading away."

...I am hoping and praying that we will ALL come out of this season of life as survivors of IF, as victors over the fear & anxiety that attempt to cripple us in our day-to-day lives, and as stronger and more compassionate wives/sisters/daughters/friends to those around us.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Round Two

Here we are... gearing up for IVF round #2. ...I wish there was a way to express the jumble of nerves that sentence makes me--how my stomach immediately twists up in knots, my heart rate speeds up, I suddenly feel restless and impatient... crazy what a physical reaction it brings.

But it's almost here...almost time to dive back into the shots again. I'm currently taking my BCP's---funny how that's something I a)apparently never needed, and paid for unnecessarily all those years, and b) now look forward to taking, since it means that we'll be starting our IVF round soon. Plus, let's just be honest -- it keeps my hormones much more in balance (read: less outburts of anger and/or tears, for which my poor DH thanks the good Lord), and my skin never looks this good on its' own.... so at least there are some perks, people!

At this point I'm feeling...cautiously optimistic. It's easy to feel this way when you're not yet "in the trenches" of the treatment though...before the fear & anxiety of potential failure starts to eat away at your confidence. But right now, I feel good. The DH got P90X for his birthday in April, so I'm trying to go through those workouts with him--pepper those in with the couple gym classes I like to take, and I feel like I'm getting more consistent with my workouts these days, which is a good thing! Summer is practically here already, and I'm about 3 months behind in my bikini-body preparations... hopefully by the time our vacation in September arrives, I'll be ready for one. 'Til then, shield your eyes people. There's a whole lot of pasty whiteness to blind you, combined with the flab. Oh so pretty.

Which leads me to a momentary lapse of frustration, over Boys and Their Lack of Understanding/Sensitivity... this is, as you may well know, a very broad issue. Today's installment comes to you care of Summertime Boat Outtings.

Not that there's anything wrong with the DH getting super-excited about summer, or about boat outtings. Or the desire for boat outtings to be a frequent occurence, given the season. The issue is the lack of understanding & sensitivity to the fact that he expects me to be JUST as excited as he is. Just as desirous of these ventures. Which I am not.

...Have I not yet already mentioned the extreme paleness that is my current skin tone? The flab that still clings to my legs, abs, and sadder still, upper arms? Umm, not super-excited about showing these off just yet, thanks!

Somehow, my proposal to postpone all boat outtings 'til after Labor Day (remember, bikini-ready in September, people) was met with a blank stare and a "are you freggin' crazy??" from the DH.

Also, as girls, we all know that there's no such thing as just throwin' on your suit and hitting the water. We girls require preparation.. more specifically, a little "maintenance" is required in certain areas, which takes time & effort (and usually results in a lovely case of razor burn). So. Not too super-excited about those efforts, either. ...what I wouldn't do for lazer hair removal!!

Granted, the boat is always fun--once you're there, and in the water. Not fun getting ready for it. Not fun riding in the car on the way there, contemplating your own stark pastiness and flabbier-than-you'd-like bod.

But. The smile on DH's face when you get the boat into the water, and set out to enjoy the lake? Priceless.

...Guess I'll just have to take one for the team, and blind any and all who stand too close. My apologies in advance!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hope & Acceptance

Just read this on another IF blog (which I would link to, if I knew anything at all about blogging!...another lesson for another day though). It resonated so deeply with me that I wanted to repost it here:

"What do I think God meant when he gave me infertility?

"I think he meant for my husband and I to grow closer, become stronger, love deeper. I think God meant for us to find the fortitude within ourselves to get up every time infertility knocks us down. I think God meant for our medical community to discover medicines, invent medical equipment, create procedures and protocols. I think God meant for us to find a cure for infertility.

"No, God never meant for me not to have children. That's not my destiny; that's just a fork in the road I'm on. I've been placed on the road less traveled, and, like it or not, I'm a better person for it. Clearly, God meant for me to develop more compassion, deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this journey to resolution, and I haven't let him down.

"Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God has singled me out for a special treatment. I think God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I've ever known.

"While I would never choose infertility, I can not deny that a fertile woman could never know the joy that awaits me. Yes, one way or another, I will have a baby of my own. And the next time someone wants to offer me unsolicited advice I'll say, "Don't tell me what God meant when he handed me infertility. I already know."

author unknown

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Related News...

From today's Fertility Authority headlines:

The Connection Between Infertility and Depression
by Jennifer A. Redmond, Editor-in-Chief, May 20, 2010

A former Food Network personality, Juan-Carlos Cruz, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder and solicitation to commit murder. According to the Los Angeles Times, sources say that Cruz and his wife have infertility and that the alleged murder for hire of Cruz’s wife was a plan hatched to put her out of her misery. We don’t know if that is in fact the case, but we do know that women with infertility suffer with greater levels of stress and depression than the average person.

“Three studies have shown that the stress of women with infertility is equal to the stress of women with cancer,” says Alice D. Domar, Ph.D. Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, in Waltham, Mass. and the Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF. “We forget how stressful it is to not get pregnant, to have a fertility workup, to have fertility treatment,” she says.

Other studies have demonstrated disproportionately high rates of depression as well, according to Domar. Approximately 34 percent of women going through IVF had depression, and 68 percent suffered from depression following a failed IVF cycle. This is compared to 3 percent of the general public. And, only 21 percent of those who were depressed were in treatment for depression, Domar adds.

According to Domar, it’s important for women with infertility to recognize that depression is associated with infertility, and be proactive about it before you hit rock bottom: join a support group, talk to friends, or see a counselor. Domar also suggests learning coping skills and cognitive restructuring, which entails reframing negative thoughts.

While infertility will leave a scar, it’s a temporary crisis, Domar explains. Studies have shown that women’s long term mental health is not affected by infertility or the method chosen to resolve infertility.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Haircuts and Puppy Kisses

...are two things that can always brighten this gal's day.

Nothing feels better than getting your haircut. To me, it's like a mini-spa day. Someone else washing your hair. The scalp massage..! Chatting with your stylist (whom I LOVE) and/or the interesting people around you. Leaving, feeling like a million bucks. Being told your hair looks like a million bucks..even if it is only for the next few hours, before bedtime. ..Such a nice feeling!

And, of course, coming home to my two sweet puppy girls, who are always thrilled to see me, and push/pull each other out of the way, trying to get closest to their 'mama' to see who can give the most puppy kisses. Slobbery as they are, they always brighten my day.

My day needed brightening. It was a rough one. Some days I am fully capable of functioning like a normal human being, going about my job, getting things done. Other days--not so much. Today was one of those 'not so much' days.

I've had a lot of those alarming number of them, really. My DH even pointed out to me, during our 'evening consistution' when we walk our pups round the neighborhood, that HE's even noticed it's getting bad. Which is definitely not...good.

When it gets to the point when you have drag yourself out of bed, after more than 8 hours sleep (which i have to have to function well), dragging yourself to work--only to get there and barely tolerate the 8 hours at your desk 'til you can leave again---then you are looking at some serious red flags, folks. You aren't happy.

And I'm not.

Thing is, I love my company. I work for a wonderful Christian non-profit. It's a very encouraging and inspiring place to work--most of the time. The people there are wonderful, truly. The job, even, is both interesting and challenging. Granted, there are some definite negatives (non-profs = not the greatest salary, and working massive OT during Christmas/New Year's isn't exactly ideal), but overall, it's a great job.

Then came The Project. (secretly labeled "The Project from Hell")

The PFH came about for the very good reason that we were growing--had grown too big, in fact, for our old systems. We needed a new one. One that would, God willing, enable us to grow much, much bigger, and take us many many moons into the future of the company. A new system that would be more efficient, more automated. Less work!

We were sold. The system was found, sales contracts were signed, and preparations were made. Early in 2010, we officially launched the PFH, requiring the company to convert all our current systems over to the new. Departments named individuals to represent them and manage their team's conversion. The VP of ours sought me out to nominate me as representative for ours... I was snowed by the talk of the 'grand' opportunity to showcase my leadership skills, by how impressive it would look on a resume. ...of it being a good 'filler' for an otherwise slower time of year...

Another thing I was promised was that it wouldn't be stressful. Which, of course, was a big fat lie. LIE, people!

---Not that my boss would intentionally, knowingly lie to me. He wouldn't. He is a very nice man--nicer than most of my former bosses--but he oversimplifies things. And convinces himself that everything's easier than it is... And if this wasn't the mother of oversimplifying, I don't know what is.

So I'm stuck. The project will last 'til the fall, at which point our busy season commences. Which means, NO BREAK. No rest for the weary. --Not that I want months of slowness--but hey, 6-8 weeks of it, I could handle.

The bigger issue is that the PFH isn't going well. It's waaay off the projected timeline, and due to some major delays related to my department (which thankfully, aren't my/our fault whatsoever), it will continue to fall behind... which could mean that we don't actually finish it this year...which means it'll just roll right into 2011, and keep on going.

And I just don't know if I can handle that.

Today was a breakdown-in-the-bathroom-day -- twice, in fact. The stress of a) not really knowing what I'm doing with all this, coupled with b) increasing pressure from the project leads to submit weekly reports with increasingly-detailed 'status' updates with detailed timeframes, when c) the delays in my dept mean we don't know when the freak we're going to have any of it ready, nor do I know when the hell we WILL know, all loaded on top of d) trying to get through the freaking day without succumbing entirely to the obsession that IS my IF blog-reading (or just on on infertility in general).... and I am losing it. Rapidly.

I just don't know how much more of this I can take. I've debated telling my boss that I can't lead our dept anymore---but he's stretched with some other projects as it is, and I'm not sure I can do that to him. I also don't want to feel like a failure to the company/big-wigs, for giving up. (which, given how few know about my IF issue, is probably how it would be judged) But I'm not sure I can go through another 4 months (this year, plus Lord knows how much next year if/when it gets extended) of it all. I'm barely keeping myself together as things are now.

Today I had to skip a lunch meeting so I could get away from the office for an hour, just to physically leave the place. That's bad. My old job has never looked so good.

But on the larger scale-- I'm starting to wonder if it's time for me to start looking elsewhere. Which is SUPER scary. (interviews?! being new again?! learning curve?! AHH!) But I'm in serious need of something less stressful. More manageable. --Possibly with the option of flex hours, job-sharing, or potentially part-time in the future (assuming we do eventually get knocked up, please God!!). Can something like this exist, within 30 minutes of our house, at a level-or-higher salary, with a good boss/company???

Hey, a girl can dream.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just for Kicks...

A silly post, inspired by fellow blogger Jaime at, just for fun...

The ABC’s of Me…

A - Age: 31 (gah!) …or should I say, 29 + 2 anniversaries?

B - Bed Size: Queen …though with our two puppies in it, it’s getting a bit crowded… maybe one day we will upgrade to a King!

C - Chore you hate: All of them really! But vacuuming & cleaning the bathroom are the worst.

D - Dog's name: Lucy Belle and Lila. Lucy’s a soft coated wheaten terrier, and Lila is a wheaten/sheep dog mix.

E - Essential start your day item: I used to say caffeine---but now that that’s taboo, I guess I must say breakfast & water. …can’t start a car without gas, right?

F - Favorite color: blue or green

G - Gold or Silver: Prefer gold, but will wear silver if the outfit calls for it…

H - Height: 5' 7"

I - Instruments you play(ed): I was forced to take piano lessons as a child, for 6 long years as “part of my education.” Guess who can barely play chopsticks now?!

J - Job title: Peon. ...maybe that's not the technical term for the role, but it's still accurate.

K - Kid(s): Yeah yeah, workin’ on it.

L - Living arrangements: Traditional two-story home in an older neighborhood in suburban Atlanta. Despite the fact that my neighborhood lacks the requisite amenities of neighborhood pool & tennis court, I actually love my neighborhood. It was formed back in the late 60’s, when our area of town was considered “the boonies,” so the yards are big, the trees are older and very large, the streets are wide…and you don’t feel like you’re in Atlanta anymore when you drive into the neighborhood! ...such a nice feeling.

M - Mom's name: Peggy Jean

N - Nicknames: As I’m keeping this blog anonymous, I’ll share my childhood nicknames only. Bell, Bean, Monkey (apparently my folks couldn’t stop me from climbing anything in sight)

O - Overnight hospital: Thank goodness, no.

P - Pet peeve: Chewing your fingernails, people! Or clicking your pen incessantly… it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me… Negative people, or those who only want to tear others down, instead build them up.

Q - Quote from a movie: “Gerry, I'm a woman! We don't say what we WANT! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don't get it. That's what makes us so fascinating…And not a little bit scary.” Sliding Doors

R - Right or left handed: Right

S - Siblings: Two of ‘em, an older sister, and a younger brother.

T - Time you wake up: Weekdays—between 7:30 and 8 am. Weekends—as late as my pups will let me!

U - Underwear: Always!

V - Vegetable you dislike: brussel sprouts, asparagus out of a can (mushy and gross!), cauliflower.

W - Ways you run late: Umm… I’m a slow-mover in the mornings anyways… so combine that with my lack of sleep, inability to be proactive and choose my outfits the night before, and numerous failed attempts to get my one sleepy-head pup outside in the morning, and yeah—I’m pretty much always late. But hey—you get points for consistency, right?

X - X-rays you've had: Teeth, of course. Anywhere in the vicinity of my lady parts. Head ---due to an icy spill I took when I was young, and knocked my head against a tree… weeks and weeks of headaches for a child will almost guarantee you a CAT scan. Thankfully, no lasting brain damage—that I can recall. ;-)

Y - Yummy food you make: white chicken enchiladas from The Pioneer Woman…amazing! Also love making my grandmother’s cherry cobbler for holidays. Lightened breakfast casserole for weekdays… grilled veggies to go with whatever else is for dinner...

Z - Zoo favorite: Who can resist baby ANYTHING at the zoo?? Baby koala, baby penguin, baby black bears, baby monkeys? But overall, the monkeys. They’re just so funny to watch.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A sweet friend of mine, a fellow IFer, gave me a devotional book for my birthday this year... Yesterday's message really resonated with me, for obvious reasons. The devotion reads as if it is God speaking directly to you, and then gives supporting scriptural references...I love it. Here it is:

Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth. Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me.

When you start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me. Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependence on Me and increasing intimacy between us. Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom. Thank Me for the difficulties in your life, since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance.

Scripture references: John 15:5 II Corinthians 1:8-9 Ephesians 5:20

To me, those scripture references seem lacking somehow... I would have paired the devotional with the following verse:

James 1:2-8, 12
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.... Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

This has long been one of my favorite verses of scripture, and one that infertility makes quite relevant to me. Although I can't honestly say that I count my infertility pure joy--or my dr visits, or my injections, or my meltdowns---I can say that I know that He is working in me through this.

It's not fun, it's not easy, and it's most often painful on many different levels. But I know that He is bringing me on my knees through this...

I can either wear myself out with vain attempts to 'control' things in my life, OR... I can rest in my dependence on the One Who Controls It All.

Ummm, yeah. I think I'll rest.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I almost named my blog this, but decided not to, in case it made no sense to anyone. But this is really how I feel/what I am… “Wistful” (adj) Pensive and sad. Deep in sad thoughts, especially thoughts of something yearned for or lost, or expressing this sad yearning. “” (noun/verb) “Double-Income, No Kids.” I am one-half of a DINK couple, wishing it weren’t so. (also trying to make a play on the word “dinking” as a sub for “thinking”---but I didn’t have to tell you that, did I?

The title, of course, brings up the recent holiday, Mother’s Day.
MD, in recent years, has become one of the most painful days/weekends of the year. Truth be told, any sort of milestone mark of the year (birthdays, holidays, etc) forces me to reconcile where He has me in life versus where I wanted to be/thought I'd be by this point (a mom with x number of babies, staying home or doing something else, whatever!), and the reality of where I am in life is, at times, quite difficult to accept.

MD in particular, is one of the most difficult. Mothers across the country are celebrated and praised, publicly as well as privately. You can’t go anywhere on MD without it being rubbed in your face…grocery store, restaurant, church, CVS, you name it—something or someone references it in front of you or to you. Even your TV, radio, and movies are safe from it. Friends are celebrating it. Families are celebrating it. You’re expected to participate in the celebration, and swallow any pain that it might cause you.

This is the second year that I opted out of church services… they’re just too much for me to handle, what with the kids choir singing to their mothers in the crowd, the mommy-centric sermon, constant stream of tears running down my face, having to make excuses for why I am so upset… it’s just too much.

So we slept in, and took it easy. And it ended up being a nice day. My DH swept our downstairs for me (a minor miracle, considering he typically spends his time/efforts in the yard during warm-weather months), and I did laundry and tidied up the house. I walked our two pups around the park where my DH had an afternoon soccer game. Spent some time looking at pictures that I want to frame for my office, and figuring out what to put on our guest room walls. (My current project is to finish decorating our two guest rooms--and no, we didn’t really intend to have two…but.) Given my lack of decorative skill or background, this is quite an undertaking. But overall, it was a nice day.

During our evening walk with the pups, DH asked me how I was doing. This was a loaded question, as he was really asking how my heart was doing with the whole baby-hungry-but-have-infertility-doing-fertility-treatments thing. I try my best not to cry in front of him too much though (it makes him so upset to see me crying, so I try to spare him that), so I managed to keep my tears in check and just talk.
Honestly, I’m both impatient and scared. Impatient, because I want to get this friggin’ IVF show on the road and get through it already---get to the point that we might have a real shot at this, at conceiving, carrying, and having a baby of our own… And on the flip side, I am scared to death that something else will go wrong. That we won’t make it to a transfer. That there will be no embies to fertilize or freeze. That we’ll experience another miserable failure, and have to go back to scrimping & saving up our money for the next __ (months? Years?) in order to afford future IVF treatments. That it will be another __ years before DH and I will be a mom and a dad to a sweet, precious baby.

On a lighter note… DH got P90X for his birthday a few weeks ago, and I’m trying to go through it with him. Luckily, he’s not doing it hard-core --- he’s done Days 1, 2, and 3 over a two week period (which is MORE than fine with me! Those suckers are tough man!). I’m looking forward to doing Day 4 this week—Yoga. I think I’m going to enjoy watching DH do Yoga more than anything…. Let’s just say this will be “beyond his comfort zone.” But we’re both trying to be more active and get into better shape. DH, just ‘cause he wants to. Me, ‘cause I know I should be more active, and at least my activity and diet are within the realm of control, right? Nothing else is, so I might as well enjoy this and make the most of it!

Lord, help me to give up bread and chips, and anything else that DH may choose to eat in front of me that’s bad (which you know he does ALL.THE.TIME.

Ps. Can you please strike his conscience about that for me, and make him feel just a tad guilty about that??

My LBs sure would appreciate it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grant me strength...

It's been a tough week -- lots of thoughts to share, but limited time in which to share them... at least for the moment.

Am about to go to my first baby shower in a while... Lord, please help me keep it together, and be able to rejoice in this celebration wholeheartedly.

And if you'd allow me to get home before losing it, I'd be grateful.


Sunday, May 2, 2010


I promised myself I would share a little of our history thus far... where we have been, and how we came to this point in our lives.

My DH and I were college sweethearts, and married soon after graduating in 2002. We moved to the big city, and determined to focus on having fun and getting our lives 'together' for at least 3-5 years before we'd consider having children... We were excited to be DINKs (Double-Income, No Kids), and gave no thought to what the future might hold in store for us. In my mind, there was nothing to worry about --my older sister had already proven how very fertile she was several times over, so it never even occurred to me that we would not have the same ease of conceiving. ...sooo very naive and presumptuous of me.

The years passed, parents on both sides began giving us a hard time about grandbabies (who am I kidding--my mother started in on that before we'd barely made it down the aisle!), and we began joking around about the 'revolving door' of our 3-5 year plan, just to get them off our backs. In truth, we retired my birth control as an early Christmas present back in 2006--fully anticipating that we'd be expecting by my 28th birthday the following March. Boy, how wrong was I.

As time passed, I started noticing the fact that my cycle had gone haywire within the first year off the pill. I'd go from 20-day cycles to a 45-day cycle...which is just long enough to completely mess with your head and send you through several packages of pregnancy tests -- all negative. The pre-pubescent acne that I had somehow managed to avoid as a teen came back and found me with a vengeance...and despite being MUCH nearer to my thirties than to my teens, suddenly I was fighting breakouts like I'd never experienced before; ones which were no longer responsive to my ususal facial cleansers. But the most disturbing trend I saw was my weight-- in the span of two years, I'd gained a not-insignificant amount of libbies, and found it near impossible to lose any of them. Even my DH, who had witnessed my healthier eating and 5-day-a-week workout regimen, would comment in surprise at how 'amazing' it was that I hadn't yet lost any weight. Amazing, my foot...more like 'shocking' for him and devastating to me. Clearly, the time had come to seek out professional help. And so I did.

In the 2nd year of TTC, I caved and went in to my ob/gyn. Clearly, they had no idea what to do with women who could not conceive. I was put through all the normal tests, diagnosed with PCOS (the real cause behind my erratic cycles, acne, and sudden weight issues that had never plagued me while on the pill and which, looking back, I could distinguish as a problem since I was 15), and put on metformin. It seems that PCOS also meant that I did not regularly ovulate---making pregnancy altogether unlikely without some medicated help. Based on this, the Dr prescribed 3 months of Clomid with TI (timed intercourse), unmonitored. It goes without saying, that we had no success.

After that, my ob/gyn really didn't know what to do with me, and upgraded to the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) at the Big City Hospital in our area. We were nervous, but also excited to meet with a specialist who wouldn't be so perplexed by my lack of fertility. I was made to go through more tests and consultations with the drs there, and again, it was recommended that I do 6 months of additional "natural" IUI (intra-uterine insemnination, aka the 'turkey baster method' -- but done naturally, with Timed Intercourse in place of the actual IUI procedure), which meant more Clomid--but this time with monitoring. For those unfamiliar with the world of RE, 'monitoring' loosely translates to early-morning appointments (requiring me to get up an hour and a half early so that I could be back to work on-time), vaginal ultrasounds (what I would soon refer to as my Electronic Lover) on specific days of your cycle to monitor the 'progress' of your follicles (which develop into eggs), unfeeling, power-hungry nurses, and distant, unfriendly ultrasound techs. There were the side-effects to deal with from the Clomid, too... I have never felt so uncontrollably emotional and on edge in my life. Poor DH! I can't say it was easy for him, either....all the hormone-induced emotional breakdowns, and the very unromantic scheduling of our formerly spontaneous love life.

Nothing came from our efforts with the Big City Hosptial RE in the end... 6 natural IUI's with Clomid and TI, and 2 real IUI's with femara (another form of Clomid). No luck.

Emotionally, the course of the year seems to bring a perfect dichotomy of feeling, between increased resignation & lessening hope of ever realizing our dreams of a family. After 8 months of such an emotional rollercoaster, and with the holidays looming, we decided to take a break, and all ourselves time to relax and regroup after the new year.

Facing no other options but IVF (in vitro fertilization, otherwise known as the 'petri dish' method), we knew we were facing the Big Time: IVF was the last-resort procedure on our journey to have biological children of our own, and came with a hefty price tag: $12-15k per round. We also knew that IVF wasn't a guarantee--the success rate, while drastically better than my chance of conception on my own, was still only 50-60%...which meant we would most likely need to save up enough for more than one round.

We'd heard of something called a "shared risk" program, and found that it was similar to 'infertility insurance' --- you put x amount of money down, and were guaranteed x number of IVF rounds. They even had a "refund guarantee" 'rider' that would give you 70+% of your money back if you didn't conceive and bear a child under the program.

The only thing was, Big City Hospital didn't offer such a program. To stick with them meant not only more of the same horrible patient-care and inconvenience of their location, but also greater expenses than what we would pay elsewhere.

That decided it for us. That brings us to this year, 2010.

This year, we transferred to a different RE, one that had received glowing reviews from other fertilely-challenged friends of mine. We love the new dr, love the staff, and have loved our experience thus far with them. Unfortunately, luck is still holding out on us. Our first round of IVF was a fantastic failure. Really. ... we never even made it to a transfer. I had 59 measurable follicles--- my ovaries were so enlarged that the U/S tech said they were the size of oranges, and TOUCHING even.. But something went wrong with our trigger shot, and my beautiful little follies never released any eggs. We left the Egg Retrieval devestated, never envisioning that we could face that sort of letdown at that stage in the game.

So now we're trying to heal - emotionally, as well as physically, for me -- so that we can put the past behind us, prepare for the next round of treatment, and ready ourselves to dare to hope yet again.

IVF was tough in many ways -- so structured. Two weeks of this shot every morning at 7 am. Then add another shot at 9 pm on top of that for an additional two weeks. Combine that with monitoring appointments (at the new RE's office super-close by, thank God), and it's pretty time-intensive. But surprisingly, it wasn't altogether terrible... If only the end result of round #1 had been different...

Today I find myself praying an unlikely prayer...for my period to make its' appearance. Until it does, I'm stuck--unable to move forward with another round of IVF, or make plans for trips, or move forward with life in general... thus we wait. As the song goes, "the waiting is the hardest part." Tom Petty definitely got that right. The waiting is the most excruciating part of this whole process. Of infertility in general. You wait for your next appointment...the next stage in the process...the results of your bloodwork. For your period to come, or to not come. You wait to get another chance at the whole game. It's psychological and emotional torture.

But it's not more than I can bear. God does promise not to give us more than we can bear, and He is not a man that He should lie. I continue to trust that He knows what He's doing with our lives--that His plan is so much better than we could ever imagine--and that He has not give us this desire to have a family in vain. I know that He will continue to go before us in all things, and will hold us together. He has blessed me with a husband more dear to me than life, two puppies that act as a balm to my soul, and with an amazing family and friends. In all these things, my cup runneth over. How can I not trust Him with whatever our future holds? He allows me the strength to hope that our dream of a family will one day be realized. And I cannot give up on hope. What would be the alternative? A life of despair? No thank you. I'll risk my heart first, and pray for God to look down on us in favor, and hear our prayers.