A Letter to My Mom

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day. I know you don’t like material gifts, so I thought you would rather have a letter. I don’t know how to start it, except to say that on this Mother’s Day I want you to know how much I appreciate you as my mom and want to let you in to my world.

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When we told you we were moving to New Zealand, you were so happy for us. We Skyped often and I was my usual bubbly self, talking fast about all the things we were doing and going to do. I told you everything that was going on in my life. Our first 6 months in New Zealand were great and we felt like we were on top of the world. Then we decided we were ready to have a baby.

I was so excited to fly the nest and do this on my own. I’ve always been very independent and thought this would be the ultimate experience for Will and I to have alone. I didn’t need my mom to be there in the hospital and to help me through my first few weeks of motherhood. I was tough, I would do it all with a smile on my face. You would come visit when the baby was 2 or 3 months old and be amazed at what a good mother I was. The baby was so cute and well behaved. The house was clean and I looked great. I had everything planned out.

We told everyone we weren’t going to start “trying” until we moved back from New Zealand, so we were so excited at the thought of surprising everyone with the news that we were going to have a baby in New Zealand. Will and I had thought that when we came home in April, we’d be announcing that we were pregnant. I was so upset that the timing was off, and we’d probably have to tell you over Skype when it happened. But it just kept not happening.

As the months passed by, as a year passed by, and now as 18 months pass by, there are so many emotions. I didn’t feel like myself. I’ve never been anything but self-assured and happy before. I was sad, anxious, jealous, hopeful, hopeless, excited and nervous. I didn’t know how to deal with myself so I retreated inward. I stopped talking to you, I was awkward when we did talk and just didn’t like life. I know you noticed. You tried to help by telling me encouraging things, but that is just not what I wanted to hear at the time. I don’t know how to talk about how I feel when I talk to you; it just feels weird. There was nothing you could do to make me better. You couldn’t solve my problems.

I’m sorry that my crappy luck has affected you. I’m sorry you’ve lost the daughter who always made you smile for a year and a half. I’m sorry I avoided you. I’m sorry things haven’t worked out as planned. You should be a grandma again by now.

I really hope that soon you’ll get your daughter back. I’m trying really hard to feel like “me” again, but it is not easy. I’m able to fake it sometimes, but usually I just feel phony. So thank you for understanding that this has been the hardest period of my life and the ride is not over yet. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and can get an insider’s view to how I am and what is going on without me having to talk about it. It’s a win-win.

Love,

Tally

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It’s Starting…

Mother’s Day is a little more than a week away and the cultural assault on non-mothers via newspapers, internet, TV, billboard and store marketing has started.

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To be honest, some of the ads don’t bother me. I love my mom so it’s great to thank her. Ads that show adult children loving on their moms is heartwarming. What I don’t like is the ads that make it seem that motherhood and giving birth is the epitome of a great woman and the best thing a woman can ever do. The ones where the whole world  is rejoicing that she is pregnant or has a new born, and that because she is now a mom, she really has climbed the ladder of societal acclaim. So therefore, if you aren’t a mom, you mean nothing to society. Ouch.

And to top it off, I’ll be staying with a first time mom for mother’s day weekend in Melbourne. Hopefully since they know what we’re going through they won’t make a big fuss of it in front of us, but on the other hand, they don’t know how all the little things can sting so they might unknowingly say and do things that will hurt me. Good thing I’ve got Jesus to hold on to.

I think it’s no coincidence that twice today this scripture was given to me. Once by a Salvation Army donation collector and once in my email via the Amazima newsletter. The Salvation Army in the US would NEVER be allowed to hand out bible verses to people who put money in the bucket! So this is the verse I will meditate on this Mother’s Day season.

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I wish you all strength in these next few weeks to endure the suffering and sadness.

xxTally

Resolve to Know More

So I’m guessing a lot of people’s readers will be full of blogs with this title, but I thought, hey, why not join in the fun?  It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and I thought I would capture the theme of this year by writing a letter to myself before we started this messed-up journey with all the things I wish I knew then.

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Dear Tally,

I know you are so excited that you and Will have decided to have a baby, but let me tell you, it’s not as easy as the world makes it out to be. I know since a lot of your friends have recently told you they got pregnant on the first month, you thought it would happen right away, but that’s not what God has planned for you.

Your life has been easy up until now, you’ve not suffered much, and you’ve accomplished everything you’ve tried by working hard and having a little luck. Well my dear, God has chosen you to be the 1 in 8 couples that struggle to get pregnant, so get ready to have your world rocked.

Don’t start planning how you’re going to decorate a nursery and pinning maternity clothes on Pinterest. Don’t stop buying new clothes because you think you’ll be too big to wear them soon, or keep clothes in your closet that clearly don’t fit or that you don’t like because they’d be good to hide anything when you first start to show. Wear what makes you look good now, because you won’t always feel good.

Jealousy is going to be a big part of your life for the next 18 months. You need to get a grip on it now and maintain that tight grip. Pray and meditate on the fact that God has a plan for you and nothing you do or don’t do will make it change. It will be hard for you to see so many friends announce pregnancies and have babies while you continue to wait. Some of your best friends will get pregnant easily and you will be happy for them, and smile, but when you get to your car, you will sob, and that’s ok.

Just get off Facebook now. It’s a waste of time and you’ll feel a lot better when you aren’t constantly being reminded of what other people have that you don’t. You won’t miss it.

You should make an appointment with your doctor when you feel like things aren’t right. I know they say you should wait one year, but you will know something is wrong with your cycles and hormones, so don’t be afraid to step out and speak up. Others may try to tell you to relax and not worry, but you know your body well and you know in your gut something isn’t right. And when you meet with the doctor, write down your questions and make sure you ask them. When you are in the room you will be very nervous and end up being a passive participant in your first few appointments because you are intimidated by the process and your lack of knowledge. Speak up when you don’t understand something your doctor says.

Oh and that acne that you got when you were in college and went off the pill for a few months, that was child’s play compared to what you are going to get. Be prepared for it to last for a while and start your preventative scar treatments now. Use your Traumeel cream and a gentle face cleanser, that’s it. No harsh chemicals and expensive products are going to work, so don’t waste your time, money and sensitive skin on them. You’re going to feel ugly and unfeminine. Just know that your husband loves you for you, not for your appearance and don’t call yourself ugly in front of him–he will get angry. Wear makeup even when you don’t feel like it, trust me, you just feel better and more like yourself when you do.

You are going to be so nervous to go to your first pray for babies night at church, but after 6 months of actively trying you will already feel sad, lonely, and frustrated, so it’s worth it to start connecting to people now. Be brave and own your story. Yes, some others have been trying for a lot longer, and you feel stupid for feeling how you do after only 6 months when they’ve been trying for 5 years, but I bet they wish they started going to those groups earlier.

When you start to tell people about your story, you’ll find out there are so many more out there just like you. You are not the only one who cries during diaper commercials or gets excited when you have egg white-like stuff coming out of your hooha. You’ll be afraid to tell people you know, some will have an amazing reaction you didn’t expect (like Will’s brother) and others will disappoint you with their reactions. You’ll start blogging and find there is a great community of support and understanding from people all over the world going down the same path. You won’t be ready to tell everyone you know or broadcast it on social media, and that’s ok. You will someday.

This is going to be hard on Will too, but it will manifest in a different way. You might get frustrated with him sometimes, but be kind to him. He is a gentle soul and that’s why you picked him to be your life partner and father to your future children.

Most of all Tally, I want you to remember that you are loved and cherished by God. He has not forsaken you and He will make you a mother. It may be different from how you imagined it, but it will be amazing. Your story is not finished yet. I can’t tell you how long you’ll have to wait to be called “mommy” but I know when you hear those words for the first time, you will look back at all the money and time spent on this journey and be thankful.

Love,

me

Check out these links to learn more:

Coping better than Britney?

As I start another cycle of Clomid and am barraged with more pregnancy announcements I ask myself: how am I going to get through this? I had no idea my life would get this hard.  How am I going to deal if this continues for many more months, and years? I can’t cope anymore. The pain feels like more than I can bear and we’re only 16 months into this thing.

Then I realized, you just have to cope. (Note my usage of the word “cope” = get through). There is no alternative to coping. There are good and bad ways of coping, but nothing short of dropping dead will make me not cope. No matter how bad I feel today or how I think I just can’t handle this anymore, tomorrow I will still be battling infertility. I can’t stop it.

I saw this meme on Pinterest and it just made me laugh and totally spoke to the last few days I’d been having.

 

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Truth.

I have been doing my Bible studies each day here and here and it is helping, it really is. But as the old adage says “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. I still have doubts and fears. I’m still worried about what the future holds. I still wonder: Will I ever see what my husband’s and my genes will create (I think it would be a pretty great outcome…)? I must stay strong and hold onto the belief that I will become a mother someday and even though God hasn’t promised it directly to me, he has given me the heart of a mother for a reason. Nothing is coincidence.

How Exciting

This past weekend in my kicking infertility’s butt series, I completed the 20k Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Will and another couple this weekend. We spent the whole weekend in the area since it was about 4 hours drive from Auckland. A nurse from the clinic called to talk to me about my last cycle and next plans while I was in the car with one of them and so obviously I said some things while on the phone that I felt I had to explain. Things like “day 10”, “day 1”, “same dosage”, “earlier scan”…

So I filled in this friend on our situation. Most people we’ve told have reacted in a way that I expect with saying they were sorry or something like that. This friend responded to me explaining that we were undergoing fertility treatment with “How exciting!”. At first, I was taken aback. I was thinking no, not exciting, sad. Sad was the word you were looking for.

Then later on while discussing the amount of wine that needed to be purchased for the weekend, I had to explain that I would not be drinking any, and not for the usual reason women of my age give. His response was something very similar. He smiled and I can’t remember his exact words, but they were also positive.

It really got me thinking. Am I looking at this wrong? I feel like I’m using a ladle to bail out a sinking ship and they think I should be excited. But you know what? I am excited. I am excited about the possibility of using modern medicine and The Lord to grant my deepest desire that hasn’t come easily to me. I’m excited that we’ve been able to do 2 cycles of Clomid before moving home. I’m excited that my turn is coming up. I’m excited that this could actually work.

So that’s where I’m going to be this week, excited.

Here are some pics of my colossal hike this weekend.

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Me in front of Mt. Ngauruhoe. This is the volcano used in Lord of the Rings as Mt. Doom

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Love Does

I didn’t do a book review in March since I was out of town, so I am ready to do one for April! While on vacation I read the book called “Love Does” by Bob Goff.

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The primary message of this book can be summed up in the final sentences of the introduction:

I reflect on God, who didn’t choose someone else to express His creative presence to the world, who didn’t tap the rock star or the popular kid to get things done. He chose you and me. We are the means, the method, the object, and the delivery vehicles. If you can shred on a Fender, or won ‘Best Personality’, you’re not disqualified–it just doesn’t make you more qualified. You see, God usually chooses ordinary people like us to get things done.

…we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by the getting to the ‘do’ part of faith. That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.”

In the book, Bob goes through stories of how the experiences in his life (both things that happened to him and things he made happen) illustrate that love does. He shows that us everyday, ordinary people with no platform can do God’s work every day.

The first story of how a Christian youth worker just hopped in a van to go out West with Bob to help him get set up after he decided to drop out of high school. He didn’t just quote scripture or give him a lecture on why this was a bad idea. He simply showed Bob that he was with him and personified Jesus’ call to love people. It made Bob wonder, as a non-Christian, if all Christians were like this. Wouldn’t that be great if we could do things in our lives that made people think “Wow these Christians really know how to love people”? Even strangers?

The book follows with several other stories that warm your heart. I highly recommend this book for a motivator to stop talking the talk and walk the walk. And you know what? It feels great.

I have recently been on the receiving end of Christian love. A few weeks ago I blogged about being in a spiritual rut and that I was feeling alone in my journey of infertility. A fellow blogger asked for my address and said she wanted to send me a devotional that she liked. I told her I lived in New Zealand, which would be ridiculous shipping so she could just ship to my sister in Chicago whom I’d see at the end of May. She told me no, she wants it to get to me now, when I need it.

Fast forward to yesterday around 5:00 a courier knocks on my door and I see a box.

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I got so excited to get mail! I opened it up to see that there was so much more than a devotional inside. 3 devotionals, a heart-felt card, and some cute little things with scripture attached to it. Two of the devotions are specifically for people struggling with infertility, which I already love. I was in tears thinking that someone could love me this much and not know me. I seriously couldn’t understand why she did. Having recently finished the book, I just kept thinking “Love does”.

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Seriously, who does this? Who mails a package halfway around the world to stranger just because I was having a bad day. This girl does. She has shown me that she loves me. She doesn’t need to. She could just tell me that she is praying for me, or say something poignant, but instead she does. Love does.

xBlessings

Keep on Dreamin’ Even if it Breaks your Heart

So Clomid cycle one was a bust.

I went in for a scan on Day 12 and they said things are growing well (I had 2 larger follicles that could ovulate and a few smaller ones), I had good uterine lining and that they wanted to see me back on Day 16 to ensure those 2 main follicles were developed and that no more did. So I went in Sunday expecting them to tell us to “get busy”, but instead, the doctor said he couldn’t find any follicles, so they either dissolved, or I already ovulated, and we missed it.

So I had to get blood work done to determine what happened. The clinic nurses tried to take me blood and she missed the vein (I have great veins). Then the lead nurse came and spent a good amount of time in my vein (as she claimed), but said no blood was coming out. She thought I was dehydrated since it was 9:00 in the morning and I said I didn’t drink much today (I believed her, but later realized I always get my blood drawn at 7:00am with no liquids in me and it’s no trouble at all). Well, after having the needle in my arm for about 1-2 minutes wiggling around, I got a little vasovagal and had to put my head between my knees-embarassing. So they sent me to the nearest lab, and they got it right away, no trouble…

All of this hassle made me already overwhelmed and sad thinking things are not going to be as easy as I thought. *Cue sobbing in the car* Later on we got the call that I had in fact ovulated, which they said they didn’t expect at all because my follicles were in her words “teeny tiny” on day 12. So, I have to wait until Friday to get a call from my doctor to discuss what happened and what the plan for next month will be.

So, I ovulate teeny eggs that can’t be fertilized. Could that be the cause of our struggle? Could this be an easy fix with treatment? The unexplained infertile in me wants to grasp at straws for a straight forward explanation.

One nurse said there is still a chance that I could have conceived this month, but another didn’t even mention it as a possibility, just that this cycle has been discontinued. So I have the choice: be realistic and not get my hopes up this cycle since science is telling me it’s not possible, or, hold on to the sliver go hope that it could be possible and risk another disappointment at the end of the month.

Today I was watching Sean’s season of The Bachelor (New Zealand is way behind in TV) and the Eli Young Band played the song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”. I started crying because I felt like that is what I want to. The lyrics are:

Ohhh, I can hear ’em singin’,
Keep on dreamin’, even if it breaks your heart.”

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So I will keep on dreamin’ that this is the month for a miracle, even if it breaks my heart.

Blessings,

Tally