Tuesday, May 29, 2012


7.5 teaching days left to go. The kids are crazy. I am tired. I am so grateful to have the summer off this year!

This morning was rough. I woke up feeling off. I tried to eat but I ended up throwing up 3 times before I left for school. I wasn't sure if I should call in sick or not. I decided to tough it out. I am surprised at how much I seem to suck at pregnancy. I am not complaining about any of my symptoms; I know I am extremely lucky. I kept my cool the first 2 times I threw up this morning. But when I was sick for the third time and had tears streaming down my face I realized that getting pregnant wasn't easy for us and it seems that being pregnant isn't going to be the smoothest, either. I hope that our appointment (a week from tomorrow) will make me feel more confident about everything. Throwing up won't seem as bad after I get to see a healthy, growing baby.

I always thought I'd eat such a healthy diet while pregnant. I am not eating horribly but I am sure I am not getting enough protein or fat right now. I can't stand beans, avocados, or my gluten free bread. I have mostly been living off of apples, oranges, frozen blueberries, ginger ale, vegetable soup, and potatoes (of the mashed and baked varieties). I feel guilty about this. I try to eat the way I was 4 weeks ago but now I find myself gagging on most of my favorite foods. And here's something that my husband finds hilarious...I want steak and hamburgers. I don't think I have ever eaten steak in my life and I probably haven't had a hamburger since I was 4 but I can't stop thinking about them! I don't know that I'd actually be able to eat meat if I had it in front of me, but it smells amazing (so many people in the neighborhood were grilling last weekend, oh my goodness!) and when I try to think of something to eat those are the first things that pop in my head. We never even have that kind of food around. The only meat my husband ever makes at home is chicken.

Thank you for letting me vent. I am still thankful. I still know that I am blessed and lucky. Tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just a quick update

Most of the time I am still in disbelief about getting a positive pregnancy test earlier this month. I am extremely thankful and feel very, very blessed to have been given this gift! I am about six weeks pregnant. All day morning sickness/nausea has started setting in. I am not sure if it is the progesterone supplements that I am using or just being pregnant. I am hoping and praying that it is a good sign that my hormones are doing what they are supposed to! If all continues to go alright, we shouldn't find anything out until our first ultrasound on June 6.

We have still only told my older sister and best friend our news. We plan to tell our parents after the ultrasound. It has been very challenging not to tell my Mom, Grandmother, sister who is 2 years younger than me, and another girlfriend who we have been open with about our struggle with infertility. I feel like we are in a bit of a pickle because our families and a few of my friends know that I was going to be scheduling my laparoscopy for early June and some have (very sweetly) started asking about it. We've been saying that we won't be able to schedule it until after we get results from some tests we have scheduled for June 6, which is totally true! I am hoping like I've never hoped before that we'll get positive news at that appointment and I won't need to have my surgery before we take home our first child. Lots of prayers are being said and lots of thanks being given around here! I am praying for all of you everyday, too! My St. Gerard prayer card remains on my nightstand and I say that prayer every night:)

I have 10.5 teaching days left of the school year! Hurrah! I am probably a little too excited but this is my first summer off since I started working at age 16! I already have a nice stack of books ready for summer reading (including The Hunger Games, A Game of Thrones, the last 3 Harry Potter books, and several books on artist and author Edward Gorey). I also have a dozen or so canvases waiting to be painted, lots of flour sack towels waiting for embroidery, an office that is waiting to be cleaned, a new bread pan waiting for gluten free bread to be baked in, and a few swim suits that are waiting to be worn!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Something Beautiful

One of my favorite bloggers, Erika of Something Beautiful, wrote a wonderful guest post for the series "A Letter to New Moms" on the blog E, Myself, and I. Something Beautiful was the first blog I started reading when I realized our journey to start a family would not be as easy and joy filled as my husband and I had imagined. I had her blog bookmarked at first and would check in frequently (but silently). Sometimes I'd close my browser in tears after reading about a difficult day or experience, other times I'd be laughing hysterically - Erika is absolutely honest and she is also hilarious. Her blog is actually what inspired me to begin my own blog!

Enough gushing already?

Okay, here's the real reason for this post. You should check out her guest letter here:

A Letter to New Moms from Erika (on Infertility)


After reading her letter, hop on over to Something Beautiful and check it out, too, if you haven't been there before!

Monday, May 14, 2012

9 days

I have been absent because I wasn't sure if I should share this with all of you. Or when I should. Out of fear of hurting people I have come to care about even though I have yet to meet any of you in person. Out of concern that I would lose the support and sense of belonging I have come to cherish so much. Out of an overwhelming worry that it might not matter at all in the long run. But I feel like I need to get it out there so I don't feel dishonest or like a phony bologna anymore. You have all been so honest about your journeys and I owe you the same. Infertility sure makes you view what should be happy news in a different way, though.

Nine days ago I expected my period to start. I expected that 7 days ago I would talk to the surgery scheduler and get that important date on the calendar. The day of the surgery that was supposed to make my body work again and give us our first real chance at having a baby.

But nine days ago, my period hadn't started by the afternoon. This is not normal for me. And my cramps felt different. I was doing dishes and thinking about my best friend who announced her pregnancy to me on May 2 and I laughed thinking, "Wouldn't that be something if we had babies around the same time? After all we've been through in this struggle?" It was just a funny thought but I couldn't shake it. So I sneakily took a pregnancy test knowing that my husband would have a hard time not rolling his eyes when I came to him crying, negative test in hand.

But then it said "Pregnant." I began shaking all over. I was thinking, "How is this possible?!" After almost 5 years of unprotected sex, almost 2 years of well timed BD and actively ttc, after 9 months of medical tests and diagnoses...I didn't believe it. I carried it out to my husband who was studying for his next exam and asked, "What do you see on this?" He looked at it and his eyes just got huge. We were utterly confused. The rest of the day was spent getting excited, then terrified and then excited and terrified again.

Eight days ago I bought more pregnancy tests at Target. Just in case the one I took on Saturday was faulty. I got another positive.

Seven days ago I called my doctor. The nurse laughed when I explained the situation, "I am supposed to be scheduling a laparoscopy for next month, but we got a surprise positive pregnancy test on Saturday? What am I supposed to do now?" She told me that because I was not high risk, I didn't need to come in until my first OB appointment in June.

Six days ago I got a call from my doctor saying that I should come in for a blood test to measure my hCG and progesterone, due to my borderline low progesterone in January. I went in that afternoon.

Five days ago I got a message saying that my hCG was good (4115) and my progesterone was adequate (15.6). They said they like to see progesterone between 15 and 20. I called back, worried that my progesterone would not be okay and asked if I should think about supplementing since I was on the low end of normal.

Four days ago they called back and told me my doctor said I could supplement with progesterone if I wanted to, given my "long history of infertility and history of low progesterone." I decided it would be best to do all I can to keep this pregnancy viable. I took another home pregnancy test because I feel so unsure that my body can actually do this.

Three days ago I picked up the progesterone supplements.

Yesterday I cried at Mass when the priest said his blessing for mothers. I cried for myself, and my friend, and my sister-in-law, and all of you. Infertility is a terrible, terrible thing and although I got a positive test, I am still in the thick of it all.

And now I am just hoping and praying that everything will be alright. We are trying to remain cautiously optimistic. Women with endometriosis are at higher risk for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy so I am very worried. If we aren't lucky enough to have a baby in 9 months, at least my body seems to be working some of its issues out so our chances of having a baby after surgery don't seem so far fetched anymore. We are waiting to tell family until sometime in June after our first appointment. We don't want people to get excited and then find out bad news at the first ultrasound.

So that is where we are! Infertility wins a point again by striking fear into our hearts when we finally got the positive test we have been dreaming about.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

This quote is often attributed to Plato, although there is some controversy over that. Anyhow, it is a good quote no matter who said it. Today I was given a good understanding of this. And I was granted a glimpse of how infertility has changed me.

During Kindergarten Art class, several students were excitedly talking about how many teeth each of them had already lost or how many loose teeth they currently have. Well, there sat little A, slouched over and frowning. This little girl is one of my favorites (shhh...don't tell, teachers aren't supposed to have favorites!). She is a petite little thing with dark brown hair cut in a cute bob. She has huge brown eyes and can't say her R's. She is smart as a whip and is always the first to help when a classmate spills something or gets stuck on their project. I noticed tears starting to well up in her eyes and asked what was wrong. "I haven't lost one tooth yet. Not one! None are even loose yet!" I put my arm around her and said, "You'll lose a tooth. Probably soon, too! And won't it be SO exciting when you do?" She replied, "I know, but one of my friends, she already lost EIGHT TEETH!" Then I felt really sad for her, because I know EXACTLY how she feels! Wanting to experience something so badly and seeing so many around you doing just that! At the same time, I had to try hard not to smile too big because I know she'll lose those baby teeth. In contrast, as couples dealing with infertility, we never know when we'll get to see that positive pregnancy test or get to take a baby home in our arms. She stood up and gave me a tight hug and said, "I hope I lose one soon!" I looked at her and thought, "Oh, kiddo, I get you, 100%" but just replied, "I think you will; don't worry!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Now is right on time

Recognize this, Erika? Haha! I love it and it was EXACTLY what I needed to read!

Today was rough to say the least. 

But this is my blog so I am going to write about it at length now. 

I painted with five of my classes today. Five. In a room with no sink. Normally that doesn't phase me (I am a painter and most kids love to paint, too, so usually everyone is happy). Well, today is CD28 and I am feeling super emotional. It has been pretty bad for the last 3 days, really. Take a super emotional, subfertile Art teacher and then have her paint with five classes in a room with no sink. Four of the classes were back-to-back. Then I immediately had recess duty. No time to even wash my hands before trotting out to the playground (because in case I haven't mentioned, there is no sink in my classroom). More than one event (minor things in retrospect) nearly made me tear up during those first four classes, which is not normal. I mostly had the stinging in my nose that I get before tearing up/crying. Maybe a little extra water in the eyes, too. Thankfully, none of the kids seemed to notice. They were too busy painting and doing this:

Ummm...blogger wants to show you this awesome, abstract Kindergarten mixed-media piece sideways for some reason.

Then I had my middle school class. And they painted, too. But not like you see in that photo above. They worked on painting their sculptures. They were pretty mellow considering they only have 19 days of school left (8th graders get out a week earlier than everyone else. Luckies.)

During that class I got a phone call from the surgery scheduler (I had called yesterday to ask some questions/get the ball rolling with setting up my laparoscopy). I didn't know until the end of the school day when I checked my phone. I called her back and left a message. Then I washed a ton of paintbrushes in the preschool bathroom (the closest sink which is the correct height for, well, a preschooler and it actually really far away from my classroom), packed up my weekend work and headed home. I was paranoid about missing her call back so I turned on my little hands-free thingy that The Bee gave me for my birthday last year. Sure enough, she called when I was sitting in traffic on the freeway!

Based on my expected cycle, my next CD1 (after tomorrow's) should be June first. Originally I was told they liked to do the surgery between days 6 and 11 of your cycle (after heavy bleeding has ended but before ovulation to avoid any undetectable early pregnancy) so I thought I'd be JUST making it for the tail end of the ideal time frame and not have to miss any school days. Well, it turns out they'd really rather do it a little earlier in my cycle. This is because of the early pregnancy thing (which made me sort of giggle, to be honest, because, let's face it, that is probably not much of a risk with me) and because a woman's uterine lining is thinner at the beginning of their cycle which helps them see and take care of more of the endometriosis. So, now we are looking at June 7 or June 8. My last two days of school. Or I would have to wait until July. Wait. Another. Month. After we've already waited six.

Cue freaking out. 

It isn't scheduled yet because she (the scheduler) was going to ask my doctor about June 8 being a possibility (she already has one surgery scheduled for that day). My sub-plan hating self immediately called The Bee (in tears) and told him the new info. He was calm and his only concern was whether or not I'd have to go back to school after the surgery to wrap up classroom prep for summer cleaning. As I was talking to him I realized that I think I can do it! I have no class June 6 (Kindergartners and 8's finish school June 1 and they are my only Wednesday kids) and I never hold class the last 2 days of school anyway (too many school events/teachers need their kids to clean and pack their rooms/I am trying to clean and pack my room). 

I can do this. 

Then I got home. I submitted a pricing/cost question form to the hospital to find out exactly what this will cost. Then I called my insurance (which is not the best since I work for the archdiocese). The insurance lady was very helpful (and impressed that I was armed with the procedure codes). Based on the fact that I have already met my deductible for the year and I have almost met the out-of-pocket max for the year...we should only have to pay about $200 out of pocket because the laparoscopy and tubal dye study don't require any preliminary authorization. Thank God! I asked her about 100 times in about 100 ways, "So, no matter how much it costs...it will be covered, save the $200 that gets me up to my out of pocket max?" She was very patient, thankfully. After I felt confident, I exclaimed, "That is wonderful news! Thank you so much!"

Then I called my husband again (crying AGAIN because I am an emotional, hormonal mess) and told him the good news. And I reminded him that, because I am a teacher, my insurance is reset in July. Yet another good reason to get this surgery over with in June.

So today has been rough. I am a wreck. But I am a hopeful wreck.

Time to listen to some Circle + Bloom and calm down.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Not merit based

I started this post back in January and never finished it. Until now. For some reason I feel like I want to write it now. Okay, I know exactly why I want to write it....in real life more and more people around me seem to be announcing pregnancies lately. So far I have only been truly, 100% happy for two of them (my nice sister-in-law and then just yesterday my BFF who has been trying for 2 years this month!). With the rest of the pregnancies I try to be happy but my overwhelming thought is, "Why them? Why not me?" or on a nice day, "Why not me, too?" 

Back in January one of my facebook friends posted a link to a site called STFU Fertiles. Against my better judgement, I clicked on it. It is pretty much a bunch of women doing what a lot of us do on our blogs: lamenting over the rude pregnant lady they ran into that day, feeling angry about seeing a pregnancy announcement or ultrasound on facebook, questioning why every stupid teenager seems to get pregnant after one sexual encounter, you know, the kind of stuff most of the population isn't even phased by. I haven't been back, though, because many of the women who post there are just very, very angry and do not seem to have any hope. I could relate to some of it, but I am trying so (SO!) hard to stay positive through all of this and reading all of those furious posts put me in a bad mood!

Side story about trying to stay positive: Just last night I started to cry while talking to my husband. I told him that my greatest fears are that either I'll be too damaged to fix with my laparoscopy or they'll do the surgery and everything will seem good but then we still won't be able to get pregnant. My husband just hugged me and said, "It is a physical blockage. They will remove it. It will work. We will have our baby. If you had a car that wasn't working and were bringing it to the shop to be repaired, would you cry and worry about the mechanic not being able to fix it and get it running again?" I said, "No, but human bodies are a lot more complicated than cars." He did have a point, though. I need to trust that my doctor will be a great 'mechanic' and will get all of my parts cleaned up and functioning again. I am lucky to have such a hopeful husband (maybe some of it will rub off on me!).

Okay, back to the STFU Fertiles site...I read this post and, despite some strong language, I thought it had some good content:
Trophy Child 
I was just reading another blog and one of the posters referred to her new pregnancy as a "fuck trophy." I get that she's trying not to be an entitlement parent who reveres the child as the second coming; but this is FAIL. If you don't appreciate your "trophy," why don't you give it up to someone who will?

If anyone used that term in front of me, I would let them have it with both barrels. It is a supremely insulting and dismissive way to refer to a child. I keep trying to see the humor in the term and failing. For those of us who would do anything to be awarded, "the fuck trophy," as she put it, it's extremely aggravating to see a pregnancy dismissed so thoughtlessly.

Here's a clue, honey. You didn't get pregnant because you did something right that deserved an award, (as a trophy would imply), you didn't get pregnant because your love is so special and magical. You got lucky. Whether you appreciate it or not, you got lucky. That's why pregnancy is called a gift, not an award, because it isn't merit-based, or deserved, or earned. It's given. Appreciate what you've been given, because many people aren't given what you have. Many people do have to earn it or buy it, with monitoring, and charting, and proving their worth to a social worker, and spending money like water. And, newsflash, they don't refer to it nearly as dismissively because they appreciate what they went through to get it. 
source: http://stfuferts.blogspot.com/2011/09/trophy-child.html

The last paragraph of the "Trophy Child" post struck a chord with me. Again and again I have questioned whether something I did put me here. Did I eat too much soy? Did I drink too much caffeine? Was I not careful enough in college when I used oil paint that contained lead or when I took traditional photography and used lots of yucky developing chemicals? Can I not get pregnant because I don't deserve to? Is it because of that time when I was seven and I lied about eating the caramel off of the pineapple-upside down cake my Mom made? Can I not get pregnant because I let myself get worked up over stupid things? Do I not exercise enough? Can I not have a baby because I won't be a good enough mother? This Trophy Child post made me realize, "Hey, I didn't DO anything to deserve infertility." No more than anyone else DID anything to be blessed with a natural pregnancy and child. They don't deserve it more. They didn't earn it by being smarter, more qualified for parenting, or having a kinder soul.

Ladies, when our times come (AND THEY WILL) we will appreciate what we are given and what we have worked for and what we have hoped for for so long.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

She gets me

Yesterday on the way home from work, I changed lanes on the freeway and one of my sisters was right behind me (this never happens even though we only live about 10 minutes apart). She waved and I waved and then she followed me home. When we got out of our cars she said, "I just thought I'd stop to give you a hug!" Of course she ended up coming in and we talked for the better part of the next 2 hours.

I spilled my guts about how I feel like a loser wanting to skip my sister-in-law's shower later this month. I prefaced it with, "You will probably think I am so horrible for what I am about to say." Her response? "Sometimes I feel like certain people are happy enough for themselves that they don't need my happiness, too!"

 I have great sisters:)