Well that Explains It

As I was feeling myself unraveling on Friday, it never occurred to me that it was going to turn into CD1. It was only P+13 and usually the prometrium gets me to P+15 and my temp hadn't dropped yet. But just a few hours after hitting publish there was some light spotting, and then Saturday morning, there was no doubt.

So, that explains it. A bit.

I started to just brush it off and blame it all on CD1, until I thought about the fact I've been feeling like this for a couple of weeks, so it couldn't just be CD1. So, I've made a few changes and I think this will help. I'm going to share them here, because I know the idea of changing up how I list the blogs came from TCIE's explanation long ago of why blogs are listed on her site the way they are, so maybe what I'm doing will help one of you too.

First, I have to say thank-you for all of your sweet, kind, loving comments on my last post. I really wouldn't have been surprised if you'd all just decided I was mean and you didn't need my negativity in your life. So, thank-you for loving me even when I was being, well, grouchy.

Second, I had already contacted Kelsey about doing a tiny bit of a tweak to the blog layout, so it was a good time to sit down and really think about what this here blog is for and why I come here in the first place. So, if you happen to be reading this in a reader or on your phone, please visit the full site and check out the new header - the only really obvious change. Once again, Kelsey did an awesome job! The cross and quote in the picture are a gift from my friend Kate, the cross was handmade by her. I still haven't been able to tell her in person how much it meant to me, but I've emailed and I hope it's presence front and center here is further proof of my gratitude. That quote - wow. Just. wow.

Third, I did take the time to go through my blog list and make two categories of blogs. I think I'd been putting it off because somehow my anal particular self thought I needed categories for every kind of blogger - ex. infertiles, singles, mommies, general, photo, etc. But I came to the realization that 2 categories would work - one for those still waiting (for either a spouse or a child - including those who have chosen to remain childless) and one for everyone else. Titles of recent posts will be included in the first group "Our Hope is in the Lord" and just the name of the blog and date of most recent post will be included in the second group "Places to go, People to see."

Fourth, I organized my Google Reader into folders - very similar to the categories on the sidebar here. This way, I won't miss any good news or sweet pictures, but at the same time I can choose to look at them when I'm up to it and not end up feeling less than charitable towards people I love when I'm not.

Fifth, as sad as I am to say this, Thankful Thursday will not necessarily be every single week. I started it out of a desire to help keep myself focused on the positive things in my life, to regain my positive outlook. But, sadly, as I'm posting it now I find myself thinking horrible things like "hmmm, someday it would be really nice to say I'm grateful for a BFP, but that won't happen." and also little negative things about all of the positive things I list (see last week's snarky comment about wishing my body would work for evidence of this.)  While I firmly believe an attitude of gratitude is extremely important, I also realize that I can't force it. So, please don't stop your awesome Thankful Thursday posts if you feel like you want to keep doing them every week...and I promise not to stop doing them all together, I just need to remove the pressure of having to do it every single week.

And last, I think I need to stretch myself. I have so many half-started posts both in my drafts and in my head that talk in more depth about faith and my faith experiences with IF. I think I need to work on them and get them out. I need to go down this path of asking why? Of being willing to accept I will probably never get an answer in this life. And of facing what that means for moving forward. This also includes some frank posts about what comes next for The Man and me on this road - what is the next route we take and when do we stop?

Thank-you for being here. For praying for us. And for being patient with me as I figure out what this all looks like.


A New Way

I'm not really sure how to categorize my feelings of the past weeks. I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of baby-everything that seems to be surrounding me. FB is becoming even worse of a nightmare than usual and I finally had to turn off the recent titles of posts in my blog roll to the right. I really need to separate them into categories, but that requires time and concentration.

There is a piece of me that is feeling so left behind. So left out. So much more alone than ever before. While I'm so happy for every. single. one. of you who have babies in your bellies or in your arms, I'm finding that coming here and going through my reader just isn't the same. And when I sit down to write, I feel like a broken record, so I'm sure I sound just like one too. Thankful Thursdays have even lost their luster.

And then I realize there are still plenty of others who are still waiting and have been waiting so. much. longer. than me, and I become very aware that I need to get over myself. Yet, this is even different too. Instead of finding hope and inspiration in your stories of perseverence, I'm only seeing the truth of how long this just might go on; of the pain that lies ahead. And I'm so angry that any of us ever had to experience even one moment of this.

I'm lost for words when wanting to comment. I'm lost for tact and perspective when writing here. (If you could only see the draft posts...well, let's just say it's better you can't see them...)

I know I can't give up this place; I know for a fact I might just go crazy if I do that. And yet, I have to find a new way to do this. A way to do this where I feel better rather than worse; where I have hope rather than more doubts; where I find strength not fear.


Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

  • Netflix. (I'm watching Les Miserables as I write this :).)
  • A body that has finally decided to work with me instead of against me and can run 4 miles without wanting to die. (Now if it would just work in another area....)
  • Spring thunderstorms :).
  • Good friends.
  • A three day weekend coming up!
What are you thankful for this week?


A Sad Day to be a Mountaineer

Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer!

Friends, this man wasn't "just" a football coach. He was a faithful Catholic, true West Virginian, a devoted husband and father, and a member of our parish community. If you would please keep Coach Stewart's family, friends, and former players in your prayers. (The tweets from former Mountaineer players have brought me to tears more times than I can count today. Photo links to story that includes some of the quotes.)

Rest in peace Coach Stewart. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.


"No one will take your joy"

You know how sometimes things related to babies and other people being pregnant and reading about it and seeing it all. around. you. doesn't seem to hurt so bad. In fact it almost seems like those days when all of those same things hurt like nothing else seem so distant.

Unfortunately today was the latter type of day. And the reminders kept coming and coming.

First, as soon as I got to work I logged into Facebook to check out the group #Cathsorority (also a popular twitter hashtag) into which Michelle tagged me. I, of course, had to check out all the features, add my blog to the list, and check things out. And there it is. A beautiful list of all of the members of the group who are pregnant, what # they are expecting, and their due date. Something that should bring joy - a celebration of new life coming into the world. And yet today, it took everything in me not to write a nasty comment about being considerate about people who can't have children and maybe we should have a list about what month TTC it is and how many different treatments there are.  And then, of course, it occurred to me this was not the most charitable way to make new friends and I decided instead to pray a prayer of gratitude for all of those on the list and ask God to protect the mothers and their unborn children.

I went about my morning, and then headed over to Mass. Feeling I needed it so badly and kind of glad my boss was still tied up in a meeting so if the tears that were sitting just under the surface came I wouldn't feel like a complete idiot OR try to bottle them up.  And then we get to the gospel and this:
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived, but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also now are in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you." ~John 16:20 - 23
Let's just say that this didn't help. Nor did the homily that continued the analogy and then went on to say that we won't ever know or understand God's timing, but it is His timing. Ugh. Not the rosy, uplifting Mass I was hoping for. At. All.

I'm pretty sure I left Mass feeling worse than when I walked in - and beating myself for not just being grateful to get to go to Mass and be in the presence of and receive Our Lord. I almost completely lost it in line between the Host and the Precious Blood, desperately begging Jesus to consume me.

I spent the rest of my lunch hiding in my cube.

Then, one of my coworkers (the new Grandpa) made his daily FaceTime call to see his Granddaughter and we all got to look at the new baby and her beautiful mama. And talk about how cute she was. And you'll just have to trust me that there wasn't a way out of this.

At this point, I knew I'd had all I could take. It was 4:00 and if I could just make it 30 more minutes, I'd be in my car alone with my tears for an hour and a half. As soon as I was in the car, I turned on two of my "go to" songs, turned up the volume and let the tears come. (Go to songs: All I Can Say by David Crowder and Blessings by Laura Story. And God, via the shuffle setting, went ahead and picked a few more of my "let it all out" favorites in Word of God Speak by Mercy Me and Refiners Fire by Hillsong.)

Finally, feeling a little better and armed with an awesome, gonna earn best wife ever points, plan for dinner I was able to gain a bit of perspective and drag myself out of my own head.  I got home, asked The Man to put the groceries away, slid into my running shoes and headed out the door. This time the music was as far from the above songs as it could get, but the heavy beats combined with my feat hitting the pavement and the sweat dripping was the final step I needed to pull it together.

The icing on the cake was The Man just saying "I'm pretty sure this meal was Divinely inspired." (The Man loooooooooves to eat and loooooooooves food. This is high praise, I promise. Recipe from here - a new blog I found today. The only modification I made was for my sandwich I used gluten-free bread.)

And lastly, as I typed the words above, the real understanding I was searching for in my music and miles came and I finally saw them with new eyes/heard them with new ears. The promise is right there in the words: So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. While Monsignor was right, we cannot know God's timing, we are given His promise. I must remember to fix my eyes upon Him. To find my joy in Him. To not let all that I have not take away all that I have; the promise I have in Him.

(PS Michelle: I'm very grateful to you for tagging me and bringing me into the group. I never know when stuff like this is gonna happen. If I'd checked out the site an hour earlier or later it might have been a totally different reaction. I'm telling you this because we are enough alike that I suspect you felt guilty and I don't want you to, not at all!!!!! :) The Man is also very grateful, obviously :)).


Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

  • Being home in time to get a few miles in before my evening activities on Wednesday.
  • The Man.
  • My sweet fur-babies - unconditional love at it's best :).
What are you thankful for this week?


Can of Worms

Homosexual Rights, Revisited
What is a Can of Worms post?

Much like with abortion, my thoughts on what I wrote about here and here have changed somewhat, or to use the politically-correct term of the day, they have evolved. These thoughts actually evolved quite a while ago, and I can say that with confidence because Alison can back me up if need be, as she has the proof in writing. (An aside: She has the proof in writing because when I asked for a letter of recommendation for my current job, she asked directly about my thoughts on this issue to be sure it would be appropriate to write the letter of recommendation.)

I also want to explain a bit why I haven't broached this topic sooner. There is one main reason: I honestly haven't felt emotionally up to defending my thoughts on this topic; as anyone who has read here regularly knows, my emotions have been bared in this space and it has become a safe, encouraging community on which I rely. I haven't wanted to risk seeing comment notification emails and feeling dread rather than encouragement. That said, I bring it up now because it is in the news, because I'm feeling rather confident as I've decided to put one step forward, and probably a little bit because it's not CD1 or close to it.

Finally, before I delve into this further, I also need to make something very clear as I write this: I am writing this here, on my personal blog in a capacity as an individual person. I am in no way writing in my capacity as an employee of our diocese. While my views are in line with church teaching, I do not pretend to be a theologian or apologist, and in fact, as you read, you may be surprised at the lack of faith-based reasoning behind my views. For official, Catholic Church teaching and resources, not just the writings/thoughts of me, please visit the USCCB or the Vatican or Catholic Answers.

Ok, I think it best to go over these, as I did with abortion, in a bulleted list with the before and now. How/what I used to think is in bold, followed by what has changed, how I currently think in italics.

1.  Homosexuality is not a choice. Thought for 2 reasons: 1) I do not choose to be heterosexual, I just am. 2) Why would anyone choose a life that will subject them to ridicule and cruelty? I continue to agree with this. I do not think any person wakes up, attracted to the opposite sex in the morning and sometime over lunch decides to be attracted to the same sex. This may beg the question, why does God the Creator, create a creature that is homosexual. I honestly, do not know. What I know is that he creates us all differently and that we all have our struggles and crosses to bear in this life. For some, that is infertility, for others it is same-sex attraction, for others it is physical disability, for others it is mental disability, and on and on and on.

2. I strongly agree that homosexuals should receive protection under the equal rights act for hiring, housing, etc. and not be discriminated against because of sexual orientation just as someone should not be discrimianted against for being a woman or black.  Yep. Still agree with this one. I don't really care whether you are attracted to men or women; whether you are black, purple, or green; or whether you are Catholic, Hindu, or Athiest as long as you can do your job well, are the best candidate for the position, pass a credit check for a mortgage, or pay your bills on time then by all means you should be hired, given a rental agreement or mortgage and be allowed to live and work just like everyone else.

3. We're skipping marriage for a second and going to homosexuals in the military being an okay thing. Again, as it relates to #2, if you have same-sex attraction, but are an awesome snipper or intelligence officer, go for it. I think "don't ask, don't tell" was a bad idea and am glad it's gone. Personally, I think it shouldn't even be an issue. There are rules against fraternization within the military that should prevent an sexual activity from occurring. Of course, we know rules are often broken, but whether you break the rule by having sex with someone of the same sex or the opposite sex, you are still breaking the rule.  As I do not want to misrepresent Catholic Church Teaching, I do want to say that I know the Archbishop of the military diocese has spoken out against this repeal and what I understand his main concerns to be were 1) that military chaplains would be forced to violate their conscience as it relates to service (wo)men wtih same-sex attraction and 2) the repeal would be used to push forward an agenda violating Church teaching. If either of those are occurring, I agree, it is a problem but IMHO it is a problem of misuse of the repeal, not the repeal itself.

4. And we have arrived at the biggest current hot topic, and where my thoughts have changed. Previously, I thought that secular or civil marriage should be legal for same sex couples. Now, I do not feel it should be legal, or frankly that it is even possible for it to be legal. To touch on Faith for a second, I do still know that Jesus taught love, forgiveness, respect and tolerance. He taught to love one another and to forgive our enemies. BUT, he also taught us to pick up our crosses, to follow him, and to repent. It is in this area that I feel our society has lost all touch with our Judeo-Christian roots - frankly both secularly and within our churches. There is much to be gained and learned from sufferring, from desiring something we can't have, and from obedience to a great power and a willingness to follow natural law.

I know this personally from our sufferring with infertility. Our society tells The Man and I that we want a baby, so we should go demand a baby and make one any way possible. We've decided to honor the way God created us and how He wants us to create new life and have lengthened our sufferring as a result. But, you know what, we have grown and benefitted in so many ways as we've born this sufferring. No, it's not easy and on the days that the sufferring is the greatest, I feel it is all very unfair and I get quite angry. Yet, I see the fruits and the growth and the benefits of being obedient and willing to follow God's plan and natural law.

Which moves me to my non-faith understanding of why same sex "marriage" is impossible. When we look at a man and a woman, side by side and look at their biology, their objective design, it is clear what they were designed for - how they fit together, quite literally. It is clear from this fitting together how future humans are created. It is clear that a man's pe.nis was designed to deposit sp.erm into a woman's vag.ina and for the sp.erm to meet with egg to create a new life. Is this a pleasurable act? Absolutely. Is enjoying the pleasure of this act bad? Absolutely not! However, when the order is replaced and the pleasure is placed ahead of the purpose we have begun to violate natural law. We have reproductive organs and parts so that we can, in fact, reproduce. The pleasure is the bonus; the side effect if you will.

Philosophy describes it like this: the per se end of sexual intercourse is reproduction and the per accidens end is pleasure, bonding of the couple. While both are equal and legitimate ends, it is reproduction that is the essential end, while pleasure follows. In our society, we have made pleasure the purpose of pretty much everything we do, and specifically with our sexual lives, we have completely flipped pleasure and reproduction - in fact, removed reproduction in many instances. If something doesn't bring us pleasure or make us happy, we don't do it. Period. We have lost sight of the natural way of our creation and replaced it with our desires. When we separated sex from babies we lowered ourselves from a higher-order thinking creature to that of an animal; to that of a creature without self-control driven solely by pleasure and survival.

Often I hear the argument that same-sex attraction and actions are seen all throughout animal species, and I do not disagree with that, it is true. Yet, are we not different from animals? Are we not rational beings with self-control and higher-order decision making abilities? Do we not pride ourselves on our ability to think, to reason, and to discern? We, when considering objectively how male and female humans were created, are able to see that we were made to fit together, to become one, to marry and to reproduce; looking objectively at two men or two women does not yield this same conclusion. Does this sound cruel? Maybe. And this is where I return to the idea of pleasure and sufferring. In our society, sufferring = bad and pleasure = good. This is an absolute we have come to accept, and given this absolute and belief system, then it makes sense why same-sex "marriage" is ok to some. And yet, if we allow ourselves to embrace the sufferings in our life and to grow and learn from them, we can see a more fulfilling life than we ever imagined possible when only focused on pleasure.

Finally, I will return to my argument of faith, because, ironically, that is where I rooted my previous point of view. No, Jesus never said there was a limit or exception to His message of love, forgiveness, and acceptance and I am not, in any way, shape, or form suggesting we not love, forgive, and accept those with same sex attraction. Yet, if we are to accept that message, must we not also accept that we are sinful and that He told us to go forth and sin no more? Must we not also accept that our desires and that feels good may not be what is best for us? Are Adam and Eve not proof of this? Had they denied their desire for the forbidden fruit, none of us would be experiencing this fallen world. Jesus never said, if it feels good, do it. Instead he said to lay down our life for our friends; for a man to leave his mother and father and cling to his wife; that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; that whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will perserve it for eternity.

I will end this on the idea that tolerance does not equal agreement. One can be tolerant and kind without agreeing. While I do not think we can all agree all of the time (or even part of the time), I do think we can look for similarities and then work from there rather than focusing all of our energies on differences and why we are right or wrong. I have more to say on the difference in my own life and how I approach things between when I first wrote on this topic and now, but that is for a different post.

This Can of Worms has been opened. What do you think? (And a reminder, you certainly do not have to agree with me, but I do ask that you only leave respectful comments, especially replies to other commentors. If you wouldn't say it directly to the person's face, then you shouldn't type it here :).)

Edited to add some much needed paragraphing in #4 :).


Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:
  • Finding out I'm not the only one who sometimes gets teary while I run. Please go visit Sara and tell her congrats on her first 1/2 marathon!
  • The motivation and nerve to finally write a follow up Can of Worms to a topic I've long since changed my thoughts on...or wait, to use politically correct language, I've evolved my thoughts. Ugh! Anyway, coming soon...
  • Spring weather! Sunshine and thunderstorms almost every day - what more could a girl ask for?
What are you thankful for this week?


One Step Forward

I have frequently talked about how one of the hardest, if not the hardest for me personally, parts of IF is the straddling of the fence between the life I have and the life I'm wanting. While I've tried hard to not stop living my life for hoping, it became very clear to me this weekend that I've been doing just that.

On Saturday I ran the Pittsburgh 5K for the 2nd year in a row. This year's route was much better than last year's and even though it wasn't my best time finish, it was in many ways one of my best runs ever. Two years into this whole running thing, I think I've finally figured out how to pace myself so I'm not close to death at the end of a race.

After a shower which was pretty close to what I'd like heaven to be like, Sara and I headed to the Expo so she could pick up her number and stuff for the Half Marathon and we could walk around. In one sense, it was very positive, life-affirming thing as it was clear to me how much I've grown in the past few years because I was able to walk by vendors with lots of cool stuff and not have to buy something nor did I have to buy something every time Sara did just to keep up (trust me, this is a HUGE improvement). In another sense though, it became difficult. There were of course cute kids with their running mamas and cute t-shirts, stickers, and charms that said things like "run mommy, run" that served as a reminder of what I'm hoping and praying for. But, it was when we approached the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon booth that the two sides of my fence collided. For the first time, after a successful 5K (I know 3.1 miles is not the best judge for surviving 13.1 miles, but it's how my brain works) I was feeling like I could probably do a half-marathon, especially one that isn't until August of NEXT year!

But. Oh, the but. Then my brain kicked in with the usual "you should wait to register for this, hopefully you'll be pregnant or have a newborn by August of next year," and "grrr, I really wish I could plan my life so that I could live it," and "why? why is this so hard." And then, while Sara registered I headed off to the bathroom and told her I'd see her in a few minutes. Mostly because I had to pee, but partly because I could feel the tears building.

And as I walked, and thought and prayed, it hit me. What was the worst thing that could happen? There were 2 possible outcomes: 1) I spend the $55, get pregnant and can't run the race because I'm in late pregnancy or post-partum and lose the $55 or 2) I spend the $55, don't get pregnant/have a baby and I run a half-marathon. So, when looking for a worst case, there really wasn't one: I either lose $55 and have a baby or I run and finish a half-marathon. When I thought of it that way, I realized it was definitely a no-risk situation. And with that decision, in a bathroom stall in the Pittsburgh convention center, I immediately felt lighter and more at ease. Who says God isn't everywhere? :) So, I washed my hands and headed back to the booth. Fully expecting to lose my nerve before I got there. And then, I saw Sara, smiled big and said "I'm signing up too." The smile of support on her face was the proof that I'd made the right decision.

And, to prove to myself I don't need over a year to get ready, I'm seriously considering running a half-marathon right here in Morgantown this fall. I'm giving myself a month to run consistently and then I'll send in my registration form for that race.

While we have decisions to make regarding our infertility and what, if any, treatments come next for us, it has become clear to me that I can't keep not doing things because of what might happen. I didn't train well for this 5k because I kept hoping that I'd be pregnant and not be able to run it. While I'm pleased with how the race turned out, I wonder how much better it could've been? I'm pretty sure I could've broken my personal best time if I'd been training well. I refuse to beat myself up over this fact, but I also refuse to have this experience again. I know that exercise is good for my overall health, especially with PCOS. I enjoy running (and frankly, I can't believe I can say that truthfully) and I enjoy race days with Sara.

I'm deciding to take one step forward - in the form of 13.1 miles. The countdown on the sidebar is to remind me to live the life I have. While this doesn't mean the prayers for a baby will stop or the pain of failed cycles will lessen, but it does mean I won't look back in 5 years and have a list of regrets, of things I missed or didn't do well because I was trying to plan instead of follow His will.


Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for (it's a short list this week only because my brain is distracted by the awesome Survivor episode I just watched - pathetic, I know):

  • A chance to go run last night. It gave me a chance to clear my head and pound my feet on the pavement. I really need to do a better job at making my exercise time a priority.
  • A weekend away with Sara. Even if it is to run a 5k (me) and a half-marathon (her). Look out Pittsburgh - here we come!
  • Wednesday night TV - The Man goes to a friend's house and I'm left all alone with my favorite 50" friend :). Yes, I realize how sad this sounds, but it works for us.
What are you thankful for this week?