Friday, April 29, 2011

A State Of...

I've had a couple topics rattling around in my brain the last few days. Most notably, I happened on a link on FB which took me to *shudder* WBC's website. I HIGHLY recommend never going there, especially if you're trying to stay positive about everything. Because, honestly, there is so much hate spewed there that it made it really hard to see the world in any sort of positive light afterwards.

I may have had a crisis of my own faith lately. I may be frustrated and feel that my "lot" in life has become too much and is unfair. My faith in a God who takes an active part in our lives may be shattered... or at the very least, dwindled to feel that, for whatever reason, my life isn't getting any attention and all the answers to my prayers are "no" for some reason.

But, I do NOT believe that "God Hates..." anyone or anything.

The concept of a God of HATE is foreign to how I was raised... to what my heart wants to believe. And, if for some reason WBC would be correct in their hate-mongering ideas of God, well... I don't want anyting to do with Him anyway.

The world is pretty bad. And full of evil people. And evil deeds. Mankind is not living as Christ taught... and Christ taught LOVE. Not "love if..." or "love only"... LOVE. And I have to believe that, even if WBC were correct in the concepts of certain ways of living ones life are wrong and not condoned by God, that does not mean we HATE those people or deeds. We love them. We embrace them and pray for them. But, we do not hate them. We do not spread that hate and teach that hate.

And we certainly never say that God hates any part of His Creation.

Today is a day full of melancholy. There's a lot tumbling around in this little brain of mine and making me feel tired and sad and alone.

Stop The Hate. It's not doing the world any good...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Follow the Leader!

OOH... LOOK! I have three followers! I feel special. :)

So... for my dear followers, here's a post... or sumfng.

I have, as some of you know, been half-heartedly job searching. With the unemployment, plus Wes' new job, money's been tight, but not necessarily scarce; meaning I can actually take my time and not rush into a job anytime soon.

And, as we discovered last month, this is likely a blessing in disguise as the IVF takes a CONSIDERABLE amount of time and energy during 2-4 weeks of the process. I wouldn't really be doing a good job anywhere I was at that time.

So I had some hopes yesterday - a company I had JUST applied to contacted me right away and wanted to talk about my salary requirements and what I was looking for. However, after a few emails tossed back and forth, it was realized that any offer they'd make would be at LEAST $10k less than my last job doing the same sort of thing, would involve an extensive commute and then, after a phone call with the HR rep, would also been a lot of work hours at very little financial return.

Now... if you see the above money statement, you might think that even at a 10k loss and increase in commuting costs, I'd still be ahead of the game than on unemployment. And... you might be right (always hard to tell, as taxes are harder to figure out and gas prices keep fluctuating, typically on the higher side and I need a new vehicle). But... what really got me was two things - The HR reps insistence on the "my hands are tied; we're paying for the job not for your skills set which are considerably more than we're looking for; and (my favorite) "it's a very high paced, up-and-coming company, where I often even come home exhausted."

Now... normally that last one wouldn't scare me off. I like to be SUPER busy most days at work, so the time goes by faster and I am not bored to tears.

But then I did a bit of research on the company (at Wes' direction - and Current and past employees have a different take on "fast-paced" environment. It's basically a company who seems to squeeze their employees for all they're worth, with little compensation and home/work balance in return.

I am trying to have a baby. I need to have my stress levels kept as low as possible. I will need to dedicate a great chunk of my time in the next couple months (and hopefully thereafter) to doctor appointments and ultrasound and bloodwork and procedures.

I do not need this job. Not by a long shot.

Wes' answer to me was "Do what you want... but I really think you shouldn't look seriously until after this next cycle."

And he's probably right.

So, I turn my daytime endeavors to more entertaining activities. Or at least more productive around the house - cooking, baking (yes, me... baking! I KNOW!), cleaning, laundry, my garden. It's good. It gets me out from behind this computer for several hours... makes my day pass quickly... and gives me other things to focus on than sitting around feeling bad for myself.

If something falls in my lap before the next cycle... that's great. But, I'm not going to settle. I'm not going to rush this. I'm not going to let it make me feel useless or stupid or any of those negative things. I am WORTH getting paid what I want for the skills I'll bring to any company. What's more, I'm WORTH finding the job that's going to make me happy and make me be content with my work/home balance.

And that's ok. I accept that.

Look... back to some positive. ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A little sparkle

Hope is a fickle thing. Faith even more so. I still hurt. I still feel that I've gotten that proverbial "short end of the stick" and that I've been given far more bad than I deserve and still managed to come through. Whether "coming through" is due to "grace of God" or merely my own temerity or tenacity (take your pick... I've got them both in spades some days), remains to be seen.

We had our consult with the doctor today. The positve side of me says the news was not as dire as it could have been. That negative side of me, however, says that the assumed issue of our infertility is pretty big... and falls squarely upon me. I hate that feeling. I hate feeling that I am, yet again, somehow "less"; somehow "at fault"; somehow... broken once again.

I am to change my diet in hopes that it will improve our chances. High protein... which isn't necessarily a bad thing; but something I just can't seem to get into the 20-25% range he'd like. I'm hovering roughly 18%... and even if I do get it up, the literature I can find on the problem says that it could take 3 months for improvement... and that's if it can be improved.

I have a month and a half. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the financial aspect of this will make further cycles beyond 2 very difficult, unless I can get a job. Or a lottery win. Which is hard when I don't play.

And even with a job, the time commitment is immense. I know others are obviously doing it... getting in for bloodwork and scans before work starts; taking personal time off. But any new job isn't going to be so forgiving with needing time off. And that makes this a daunting task indeed.

A month and a half. More protein. Finding funds. And... all of this while trying to keep those good ol' stress levels down...

Yeah. Cake Walk.

But, my title to this post seemed a little more optimistic, no? A little sparkle. It is there... it's buried deep behind self-doubt (and a heaping of self-pity); frustration and stress and depression and exhaustion. But... it is there. And if I can just hold onto that little nugget, just for a while longer, maybe that's all I need to make this dream happen still.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Title Blank

There are no words for me to even come up with for a title. I'm not even exactly sure where this post is going to take me. I have so many topics which have floated through my head on this over the weekend, I'm not even sure where to start.

It's the post I most dreaded needing to write... the post that hope kept at bay; and yet "realism" made me certain of having to write it.

We all have moments we dread... or moments which stick out in our mind. Looking down at the cell phone Friday, only a few hours after my visit to the lab, made me certain I wasn't going to look forward to listening to the resulting voicemail.

I am still mostly numb. I alternated between that and ambivalence and gut wrenching tears on Friday. Saturday dawned and I tried to "put my head in order," with the result being going back to bed to cry silently... and lose my faith.

I've said before... I'm not a very religious person, but I am rather spiritual and I still had faith. I'm not so sure about that anymore. Because, after all I've been through in life, all the "tests" I've suffered through, "crosses" I've beared and patiences I've kept... to still end up where I was on Saturday leaves me with two conclusions - either a cruel Diety which I'm not sure I want to follow or The Eternal Watchmaker - wind it up and let it go and just see what happens. Either way, there comes a time when it's hard to keep faith and keep praying when the answer inevitably always seems to be "no." I'm sorry if this offends you - but right now I have little proof otherwise, when good people try and fail and others step all over their fellow man in order to succeed and do. In spades.

And please, if you have any real love or respect for me at all, don't comment with a lecture or "have faith" or "I'll pray for you." I cannot handle that right now even with the best of intentions.

I want to believe in the great big concept of "God is Love" but weekends like this one make it very difficult. I'm not sure if there's a certain irony to this change of heart at this particular time of the year... or if it's just very sad.

I feel my heart has more to say on the matter at hand... but again, I'm numb and I just cannot seem to find the words. I want to believe... but there's no longer anything left in me to allow it. It hurts and that hurt takes up everything else I had right now.

We have our follow-up with the doctor on Tuesday. Barring him from telling us there's something in evidence that shows it's impossible, we will try another cycle. But, between fnancial aspects and the emotional aspects, I doubt there will be any chance of a third cycle. Unless, ironically, by some miracle we discover another way to work through some of the impeding aspects, I will have to learn to reconcile myself with this failure.

I'm not sure how much I will post during the next cycle (if there is one). While it helps me in some respects to keep positive, in others it just makes disappointment that much harder to bear. I'd like to thank those people who have been kind enough to understand... who knew when it was right and appropriate to ask questions or give encouragement and who knew when silent companionship was a far better means to help me through this. I love you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Posing a question

As some of you know... I've been on this HUGE "positivity" kick.

Always a firm believer in "you get out what you put in" as far as a Life Plan goes, I have started to realize that the more negative I put out, the more unhappy I become. It's not been a sudden realization... it started when I was still out in Pittsburgh and my oldest brother commented on my FB statuses and how "down" they always seemed. I endeavored from then on out to try to keep things more "up." But, the process this month has been difficult to say the least. I've managed, in small ways, to find positives. But, I'm running out... with serious lack of job on the horizon, a self-perpetuating doubt of "this didn't work" and overall gloominess of most days here at home, positives are becoming short on availability.

I find positives in sometimes the unlikeliest ways - a random message from a friend, a poem I stumble across, a nice night out when I wasn't expecting to enjoy myself.

Where do you find your positives? What are reminders to you that Life isn't always so bad and maybe, just maybe, things can be so much better than you're allowing for?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Occupation of Thoughts

Today was a pretty good day for that, actually. I smidge warmer than I'd have liked but after the crappy beginning of Spring, I'll take it. Planted the majority of my garden (and keeping fingers crossed ol' Black Thumb doesn't strike again!), planted my irises, cleaned the (ahem) less desirable aspect of the yard when you're a dog owner, organized the kindling pile for the fire pit (as best I could), signed my tax forms at H&R Block, made phone calls, got laundry started... collapsed in a sweaty, dirty, but happy, mess. :)

I need to keep the thoughts occupied going for the next couple weeks and just hope and pray things are progressing as they should. Waiting truly is the hardest part.

Sadly, the rest of the week looks kinda poor for outdoor work. Which means I need to find things inside to occupy my time that don't require a lot of heavy lifting. We shall see if I can keep the trend going...

Friday, April 8, 2011

This post brought to you by the letters...

"Plan" and "ning"

So... I've been out of work, coming up on 6 months now (technically 5 1/2 but who's counting).And, in the course of that time, I've had exactly... one interview. Now, granted, I haven't been trying as hard as I normally do because there's been so much else going on, but there is coming a time when I'm going to need to make a decision. Keep plodding away at my attempts... or decide what else I want to do with my life.

Any and all of these things require a lot of planning. For example, if this whole incredible process actually results in a miracle, then I have to contend with interviewing while pregnant and/or convincing someone to hire me knowing I'll need to go on maternity leave eventually. Not a huge deal the first few months, but eventually someone's gonna figure it out. Not to mention if this DOESN'T work (a real possibility as far as I'm concerned at this point),  then  we have a lot of decisions ahead on how to proceed.

At any rate, aside from a "normal" job, I have two other options potentially available to me: 1) stay home and not work (ideal if the miracle occurs; less so if it doesn't, but also easier if we keep trying) or 2) consider other alternatives to "normal" jobs. Like getting my writing off the ground (unlikely... I just don't have the confidence in it or the prolific ideas to make a Living out of it) or starting my own business.

Both of these choices however, mean a lot of planning. And a lot of need for changing the way I run my household currently. It becomes slightly easier with Wes' job change, but still not exactly our "current standard of living" (which, admittedly is probably beyond what we need, hence the below list).

So... here's a list, in no particular order:
1. Quit nickle and diming ourselves. I'm notorious for this. Lunch here, breakfasts there, order out... these are the three top offenders. But also little things that we don't need or "perks" (like wanting to have my BBC channel despite the fact that it adds a stupid amount to our cable bill).

2. This Old House. Literally. This house isn't exactly a "money pit" but it's not remotely financially efficient either. New heater, new windows, new water heater... little odds and ends. And the mortgage and taxes aren't pretty either. The location makes Wes' commute suck; and the price of gas making living here significantly LESS than ideal. But with the market as bad as it is, I just cannot fathom unloading it. And I can't do so at a loss either. Last thing I need is to find MORE money just to pay off the stupid mortgage. And, doing that, will make getting a new house closer to his job that much harder... and that much more expensive.

3. Groceries. I plan my grocery and meals poorly. All this time on my hands (and don't say it... blogging is a way to sort out my head to make such things easier, so this IS productive to the matter at hand) and I can't even plan a proper meal. Which leads to running out for little things, spending more than I need or WORST *gasp!* having to order out. Inexcusable and costly. Plus, I can no longer stand shopping in this area, which means driving to DE... more gas; more wear and tear on an already busted up Jeep; etc., etc., etc.

I need to resolve these three things. The first and third are relatively easy, I just need to buckle down and do it. The middle one is the most expensive and the hardest to resolve. But I need to do it. Once I can get a handle on our expenses, I can figure out how to make those proverbial "dreams come true." Whatever those dreams may turn out to be...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

TTC, 2ww and other fertility acronyms

This is by far the worst part of it all...
Worse than the testing, the needle sticks, the funky reaction to meds, the watching the tests and not having a warm fuzzy about it all.

2ww - The two week wait. What's more is the 2ww2ww... (or, in other words, four weeks).

I want to feel something, anything which tells me this all worked. But the meds create a false sense of "positive"... when I feel anything at all. You read all sorts of things including the concept of "well I just KNEW I was pregnant" and, feeling nothing, think "well... then I must not be." It's hard. Every twinge could be hope... or hope dashed. Each day I wake up with dread that it's going to be the day that things prove it didn't work... again.

And yet... LOGICALLY (because we all know how well I do that), I do know that I could have no symptoms at all. I might not even "feel" anything until WELL into the first trimester.

And so.... I have to wait. I have to wait until there is some actual evidence. A line on a stick; a blood test saying positive... the first sounds of a heartbeat.

And I can't bear it and everyone says to relax and not stress and stay positive.


But... wait I must. For good or ill. And just try to keep positive and hope and endure 2ww.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Am Me

For Able-Bodied Girl, my own self... and anyone else who needs this sort of reminder now and again.

I Am Me by Virginia Satir -

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it -- I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know -- but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tripped the Hurdle

When you enter into a process such as the one I'm in, your rational brain tells you all the things you need to prepare for. Failure is imminent every step of the way, to be honest and you try to remind yourself of that in order to armour against disappointments.

However, your blasted heart always manages to override this logic and let's those little things like "hope" and "positive thoughts" run rampant.

And that's when you trip that third hurdle. The news that out of seven only four fertilized was frustrating enough. But, hey... four, that's good, the only implant a max of 3 anyway, so I'm one ahead of the game, right?(damned heart again)

We left yesterday morning for the transfer, only to have me realize when I got in the car I had a voicemail on my cell. As we pulled out, I listened to the message. My doctor and could I call him right away. Never really a good sign. But, still trying to keep positive, I called back as we drove.

The embroys weren't dividing as much as he'd like, so he was cancelling my procedure for the day. He'd call Monday morning and let me know how things stood, with a transfer possible Monday afternoon. Day 5. The last day to do a transfer.

After an initial emotional turmoil, I got my head (heart) back together and proceeded with "Day 5... a couple more days to "cook"... this isn't a bad thing."

My cell rang this morning, just before 10. Three of the four have stopped (or slowed... emotion was taking over in a bad way and my brain wasn't processing right). One has moved to the next phase and "I'll call you tomorrow morning after the lab lets me know where we stand. Be prepared to come in for a transfer anytime tomorrow."

My heart hurts. It wants to be positive and say "hey... it only takes one, right?" But part of me thinks it's time to let my brain take back over and come to the realization that, tripping that third hurdle there hurt, and I'm not sure we're gonna finish the race, let alone get over the final hurdle. The odds have started to stack against me.

What's more, a completely failed cycle holds a lot of implications for the future. Aside from the big question of "why?" there are a lot of considerations before we'd be able to decide to continue this process.

Obviously knowing why it happened is the biggest consideration. The answer to that could make any future decisions moot... if it's not going to happen, if there is a fatal flaw in the components, as it were, then the decision gets made for us.

But, say it's just "one of those things." "Sometimes these things happen; it's not unusual; there's no reason not to try again."

Well then we come to the "reasons not to try again."

The process is not cheap. Even with a kickass insurance, this process (meds, acupuncture, copay, admin fee) was out of pocket over $1k. In addition, the new insurance does not cover IVF or acupuncture... which means in order to have insurance cover it, I have to stay on COBRA, which is just under $800/month

That's money we don't necessarily have with me unemployed. So... "get a job." Great plan, except for the time invested in this. Bloodwork / doc appt. / ultrasound / acupuncture which for two weeks kept me in the doctor's office approximately 4/ 5/6 out of 7 days. Two procedures (if we get to those phases) which required a minimum 1 day off a job each... with the expectation that it could be 2 days each. Four days... out of work at a new job. A possible 10-12 days pre-retrieval of having to be in for labwork (meaning... may need to arrive to work late). Another 5 days after transfer of the same. And, in between all of this, symptoms from the meds and process which make me feel like crap and most days just wanting to sleep or curl up on a heating pad.

I don't like the odds right now. What's more... I don't like the problems facing us with future decisions if it doesn't work this cycle.

These are moments when my head tells me to just "give up." The financial, time and most of all, emotional, investments may not be worth it.

And then I go to the store... see a little one... see how Wes looks at them.... and my stupid heart breaks all over again reminding me that this is all I ever wanted... and why should I stop trying?