life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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Push Through

My Struggle with Possible Infertility

As I’ve thought about blogging while I’ve been home from work, it has been difficult for me to think about publishing an entry that I can’t put a positive spin on.  I’ve come to realize that I like to present everything to the world outside of me in a pretty little package so people will accept it and like me. I am a people puh-leaser and frightfully insecure at the root of it all.

I have realized that the only way I can authentically blog right now is to write for myself, not for an audience.

A few weeks ago, I went to a new gynecologist who diagnosed me with possible endometriosis and/or PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Neither of these are easy to conclusively diagnose, but my symptoms and medical history pointed to the possibility of both. Since coming off of birth control in April, I got a period at the beginning of May and nothing since. I’ve had daily (though not constant) pelvic pain, discomfort, and nausea that mimics morning sickness for over 3 months.

I’ve been through some pretty painful doctor’s visits and test check-ins where it was strongly suggested that I may be pregnant – and then getting those big fat negatives became a huge letdown.

I’ve never really wanted a period in and of itself, but I found myself jealous of women who have predictable cycles where their periods come every month like clockwork. My body couldn’t do that. Not even after 13 years of “training” on the Pill. I’m back to being 13/14 years old and wondering where my period is for months. But on top of that, now I have intermittent pain, discomfort, and nausea that prevent me from being a normal functioning adult.

Truth be told, the whole situation is making me frustrated and angry. So getting a diagnosis was a relief in the sense that I can name what I’m going through, but it led to even bigger questions and problems because neither one of those conditions has a clear diagnosis or a clear answer. My gynecologist literally told me to either get back on birth control pills or get pregnant. Kind of weird because birth control pills just mask some symptoms (although it positively prevents the growth of endometriosis if that’s what I have) and it will be pretty hard to get pregnant when I’m not ovulating. So I asked her about fertility and she told me not to worry about it because I’m “only 27”. Okay, I get it – logically I have at least 13 years left of “childbearing years” – but what about my life? What if raising children is what I wanted to be doing for the next 13+ years, not waiting to get started?

The day that Dayne and I went to see her, I was VERY resistant to going back on birth control pills because of my last experience with them, so I told her I didn’t want to go back on them and she told me to just monitor my (lack of a) cycle. We also discussed the Progesterone Challenge my previous gynecologist recommended, and she thought I should go through with it (with natural progesterone instead of the synthetic because it carries less risk of side effects) and then continue to do it every 3 months if I don’t get a period in between. That was that.

After we came home, that night was filled with arguing and LOTS of tears. One of the worst nights ever. Dayne called me out on being terrified that I might not be able to have children, and I am. It’s not that we wouldn’t try to adopt, but, from what I understand, that process can be excruciating (and incredibly expensive) and I know I’ll experience some emotional devastation if we’re not able to biologically have our own child(ren). Plus the fact that either route – trying to get pregnant naturally and then adding help, or adopting, could take years upon years. I thought we’d be happily off to starting our family within the next two.

I completed my Progesterone Challenge last week and I got a brief period a couple of days ago. The period was a relief but also a reminder – now we have to make some more difficult decisions based on a couple of inconclusive diagnoses. If I stay off of birth control, every month that I don’t get a period will be filled with anxiety and disappointment, let alone the pain and discomfort that I may inevitably continue to feel. If I go back on it, I will temporarily feel better but know that I am just “going through the motions” and waiting to go forward with another possibly very difficult 6 months (the GYN said I should be off of birth control for at least six months before trying to conceive, and I am currently in my 5th month) before I can truly move forward with what I want to be doing (trying to become a mother). And then there’s the possibility that we may start trying in the near future, and I could go see a reproductive endocrinologist/fertility doctor and feel like I’m moving on with my life.

The funny thing is that once you’re married, you have to make these decisions with somebody else who may disagree with you. I can’t just settle on what I think is best and run with it. We have to emotionally be in the same place to move forward. And that becomes a very difficult thing.

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Christmas 2011 in Words & Images.

If I had to come up with one word to describe Christmas 2011, our first Christmas as a married couple, it would be blur. It wouldn’t be romantic, refreshing, exciting, intimate, touching, profound, relaxing, or even fun — it would be blur.

Halfway through our Christmas Day Relay, we realized what was happening: in the midst of trying to see everybody and get the gifts where they’re supposed to go and sticking to our scheduled timeslots, we completely lost Christmas and any quality time with anybody at all.

That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy Christmas or the time we did have with our families, but… we did it wrong. Now we know it, and next year we’re going to try to do it differently.

Plus, as I also learned from Thanksgiving 2011, too many holiday meals=a very sick Lisa. I can’t handle all the food multiple times a day.

So, now that my summary/disclaimer is out of the way, here are a few pictures we took to commemorate Christmas 2011, with a special bonus section at the end:

Our Christmas morning mimosas. This was something we did very, very right.

Our Christmas Morning Cinnamon Buns baking in the oven. This is a tradition Dayne carried over from his family... and also something we did very, very right.

The ornament I made (out of oven-bake clay) and gave to Dayne. (Thanks, Dana, for the inspiration!)

The star on the left of our 1st Christmas ornament is the ornament Dayne gave to me.

Some of our wrapped gifts under our tree.

I really loved this ornament from Aunt Carol & Uncle Eric. Just what I was looking for!

Some of our Christmas gifts for each other: Dayne got me the candle and a subscription to Real Simple. I got him Couples TableTopics for fun conversations 🙂

We got very generous gifts from our family and friends this year. One thing that I’m ultra excited about in our kitchen is our new Griddler from Dayne’s parents:

It’s a panini press, indoor grill, and griddle all in one! You can even buy waffle inserts. We grilled burgers on it the other night, and I can’t wait to make tomato & cheese paninis and big breakfasts with it!

We are also loving this awesome gift from my parents:

SO much fun and it’s great to have a new game to play together on our Wii!

Now, as I promised, a special bonus section:

A few weeks ago, Deb and Ed (Dayne’s parents) came over and brought lunch to eat with us at our apartment. In the midst of preparing the food, we needed a stirring/serving spoon. All I could find were slotted spoons, and we needed a solid spoon. I swore up and down that we at one point had a solid nylon spoon.

Fast forward to December 28, 2011 — me hanging out on the couch browsing Pinterest after a long winters’ nap (since I got out of work early), and Dayne coming in the door around 4:30. He tells me the apartment smells funny. I had noticed a funny smell in the kitchen a little earlier, but thought nothing of it. As I got up and walked around, I noticed the smell was stronger all over the apartment – and it wasn’t the trash. I thought it might be an animal in our heating ducts. Turns out, it was this:

Completely melted through and burning in the bottom of our dishwasher. How did it get there? Nobody knows. I had started the dishwasher before my nap and it had just completed its post-cleaning heating cycle. So not only did we lose the only solid spoon we had, but our apartment smelled totally rank and we thought we broke our dishwasher.

Today, this is what our kitchen looked like, solid spoon and all:

The Countertop Catastrophe was only temporary so that the repair guy from our apartment complex could come in and fix an empty dishwasher, but it so symbolized how my life feels right now. The counter is just so cluttered with stuff, and our Christmas was so jumbled with everything, and we both worked most of last week and this week, and I would just like to get to a place where I can focus and enjoy all the aspects of this time in my life. I don’t want everything to fly by unnoticed and unappreciated; I want to embrace life and live it out.

I want to take more pictures, go more places, live more generously, give more recklessly, laugh harder, love better, take on more new adventures, and have fuller relationships. Which starts with the little things, like cleaning the kitchen counter of our apartment/my soul.

I hope 2012 is a good year for some of that stuff. I think reading the Bible in its entirety will definitely change my life, and hopefully embracing God and His Word will be the first step towards embracing everyone and everything around me.

For now, here’s to lessons learned and God loving us in the midst of & in spite of our messes.


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It’s the Most (Fill-in-the-Blank) Time of the Year

This is the busiest Christmas season I have ever had, hands down. Juggling our first Christmas as a married couple, with a new celebration schedule and gift-giving agenda, and full-time work and long-standing commitments and quality time with family and friends is enough to put someone a little less stable in the nuthouse!

Actually, I haven’t been holding it together quite that well. By 3:00 in the afternoon on Sunday I had cried not once, not twice, but three times. Part of it was pure exhaustion; I had just worked my first wedding with my wonderful, amazing wedding coordinator Stacey in the city on Saturday, Dayne & I got up early to go to church that morning, and I was getting ready to hop in the car again to drive to New Jersey to see Erica. The other part was just the stress of the season – trying to think of and please everybody is an overwhelming job, especially when at least one person is inevitably disappointed. For a people pleaser and perfectionist like me, it’s upsetting.

So, here I am, with very little free time, sitting down and finally writing a blog update.

SO much has been happening, and we’ve been experiencing so many of God’s blessings. First of all, amazingly, we found a church. Thanks to google, a recommendation, and some wise advice from family and friends, we tried a new church two Sundays ago. Within five minutes, someone came up to us and introduced himself, and he and his wife happen to be the leaders of the young couples’ small group. We stayed about a half an hour after the service ended that morning meeting and talking with new people. We made some pretty interesting connections, and as it turns out, I used to sing on a worship team with the lead pastor. We had been praying so desperately to find a church where we could make connections, and here God is just completely overwhelming us (in a good way) with friendly, welcoming people who we could really see ourselves building relationships with.

Of course, we went back, and we went out to lunch with two couples after church this past Sunday. We are excited to see where God takes us in this church, and relieved and so grateful to have found it.

I have two Christmas parties at work this week that I am looking forward to! It’s such a wonderful change of pace to be part of a staff that I can make friends in and hang out with.

Speaking of, I am grateful for the encouragement of one of my co-workers in particular, Dana, who is embarking with me on what I’d like to call the 2012 Challenge. My mother-in-law emailed me (and a bunch of other women) recently to ask who would be interested in reading through the entire Bible in 2012. We’re using The Daily Walk Bible, which I just got in the mail yesterday and am so excited to break into. It has devotionals and questions and summaries and charts to guide your reading, which should be extra motivational!

Married life is super great and I love having someone to enjoy the holidays with! Oh, and I am SUPER grateful that Erica is home for Christmas. I have missed her so much and it is just a moving feeling to be able to see someone in person who you care so much about who has been gone for a while. She’s safe & sound and it was really cool learning all about her life in Cameroon! Check out her blog here.

I’m hoping to get my blogging groove back after the holidays. Come to think of it, Dayne and I even went to Longwood Gardens with Andy & Leah and I don’t even have the pictures from that, let alone a blog entry about it. So sad.

Here are some Christmas traditions Dayne & I are starting (or continuing) this year:
-cutting down our own tree and decorating it together*
-watching Christmas movies & specials (including A Charlie Brown Christmas, obviously)
-making a gingerbread house
-decorating the house together*
-exchanging ornaments as part of our Christmas gifts
-sleeping under the Christmas tree Christmas Eve (we’ll see how long this tradition lasts)
-mimosas & cinnamon buns Christmas morning
(*and by “together”, I mean we’re in it together until Dayne gets tired of it, and then I’m on my own!)

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?