Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Perspective

There is so much going on around us, sometimes just taking the time to realize it takes our minds off  our own problems. This week I've heard of a wide range of things going on -- some terribly sad, some happy -- but all of them have drawn me out of my own head and into prayerful and positive thoughts towards others.

Some sad news...

This darling, lovely girl whose blog I've grown to love... her mother passed away a week ago Sunday. She wrote a beautiful tribute to her here. I suggest you go read it and be inspired.

Another woman whom I've never met, but stumbled across through another blog... her husband was tragically killed in a car accident a few days ago. They have two young boys. You can see her blog here.

Note: Another blogger I follow is doing a little fundraiser for this family on her Etsy site. Find out about that here.

Finally, another girl I have never met but have been following her pregnancy journey on her blog... she has been trying to get pregnant for nearly four years. She got pregnant once and had a miscarriage. They just went through one round of IVF and it failed. She is struggling right now and, once again, I can sort of relate. You can read her blog here. She is doing so great at keeping the right perspective and attitude, but I'm sure it's hard. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

Now, the happy news!!

An old childhood friend I'm still friends with through Facebook just brought home her new baby boy, Jadon, yesterday! They went through a private adoption agency becuase she has never been able to get pregnant. They also went through one failed adoption before this one (where the mother decided to keep the baby at the last minute - can you imagine?!?). I have a special happiness for her, because I can relate to how over-the-moon she must be feeling taking this little one home after so many years waiting for him. I don't have a link or anything, but this was her Facebook status earlier today:

"Thank you Lord for our precious gift of Jadon. We got home with him yesterday afternoon and have been introducing him to friends and family ever since. He is doing so well, just taking in his surroundings! He slept a few hours stretch together last night which was a blessing. I wish I could post pictures of him, but the agency doesn't allow putting pictures online. I will be mailing out postcards, though! Thank you again so much, everyone, for loving us and loving Jadon!"
In other news, this blog friend of mine Katie is about to pop out her baby! She and I talked early on via email about their struggle to get pregnant, and she had some of the same issues as I did. Then she suddenly got PREGNANT and is currently at 38 weeks! I'm so happy for her!

I'm putting this in the "happy" section even though some may not consider it so... my bestest friend Jen found out today that she didn't get a promotion she had been working at for two months. Yes, that is sad. But I'm so happy for her, because a closed door means another open door somewhere else. There obviously is something else planned for her near future. Plus, now that she's gone through this process, she will be even more prepared next time around for this promotion!! :) I love you Jen, and while you deserve all GOOD things, I hope you remain open to the BEST things yet to come (and yes, I'm preaching to myself).

Finally, I'm so grateful that my sister and my nephew JJ are ok! My sister wrote on Facebook this morning that she was almost hit head-on by a vehicle driving in the wrong lane, but swerved at the last minute and thankfully everything turned out ok. It's one of those things that make you think about the "what if" of what could have happened, and then remember God is in control and breathe a little prayer of thanks for His protection. This is what my nephew (4 yrs old) had to say about it (obviously it's an exaggeration, but it cracks me up!!):

"JJ wanted to call James [his dad] afterwards, and made up this huge story about how we were being chased by bad guys, "and him rolled down him window, and him pulled out him gun and him shot at me and mama had to drive lightning truck really fast and change to the other side of the road and I was not scared."
Ahhh, I'm so grateful that God is in control of the sad things and the happy things. Life is good, because God is good! I am grateful for that.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The dirty details

So I don't know if I've ever really gone into the details of what we're doing to try and get pregnant, other than saying I'm taking medication. I just caught up on my blogs this morning, and saw that Kelly at Kelly's Korner posted a link-up thing for people struggling with infertility. While I didn't link up, I was so encouraged reading over a few of the blogs. I really realized that I'm not alone in all of this.

This struggle is one of those things that you just don't understand until you've gone through it. Isn't that true with most anything in life? Pain, heartache and struggle are often blessings in disguise. After having gone through a struggle yourself, you can empathize with someone else who is struggling. That is something I do not take for granted, and often remind myself of that positive aspect that has come out of this whole ordeal.

Anyway, back in December I switched OBGYN's because I wasn't happy with my current one. My new doctor has been awesome, and I feel like I get a lot more feedback and support. One of the things he pointed out was how my dose of Clomid can be adjusted depending on my levels of progesterone. I'd been on Clomid for three months and my first doctor never got me tested to see if the dose needed to be changed! I couldn't believe it!

So, December I got my first 21-day progesterone level test. I knew I wasn't ovulating on my own, but really didn't know why. I was currently on 50mg of Clomid. The new doctor told me a "good" level of progesterone is around 10-15.

My first test came back. My level was .07. I was in shock and quickly went into a downward spiral of discouragement and disbelief. I couldn't believe we never knew this and had been wasting months of precious time. I couldn't believe my body was being so difficult and refusing to work.

But, after that I gathered myself up and my doctor increased my dose to 100mg in January. The next test came back at 6.8!! I was so excited. This was the first good news I'd had in months. Still not where we needed to be, but I was so encouraged just to know the process seemed to be working.

February rolled around, he increased the dose to 150mg - which is the highest he said he would go. Also, he originally said I could only be on Clomid for 6 months before having to switch to a specialist for other options. So this month was month 6, so I was nervous. I was so frustrated that we wasted the first three months without any feedback, because now we were finally getting somewhere and we'd have to stop!

My levels came back in February at 11.8!! Slowly  but surely, I felt we were gaining momentum. YAY!

Just last week, after the second month at the high dose of 150mg, my levels came back at a record-breaking 18.6. This is way above  the 10-15 mark the doctor said was good! I was beyond stoked. I had an appointment a week or two ago, and we talked about staying on Clomid for another 3 months just to allow it to work now that we're finally in a good place. He said that is ok. So now, I'll continue doing what we're doing until July, at which time he's going to refer me to a fertility specialist to probably have an IUI.

I am simply thanking God that I have had such encouraging news latley, and that my heart finally is opening up to a glimmer of hope for the future.

You know, a LOT of people like to say that we should just stop trying and it'll happen... to stop "worrying"... that as soon as we take a break from "trying" we'll get pregnant. I love those people, I really do... but I really wish I could slap some duct tape over their mouth every time they say that. That is like saying to someone to ignore the itch of an ant bite on their foot, or just stop thinking about their migraine and it will just go away. Really. That is nigh on impossible.

Right now, I'm just working on getting my heart in the right place. Like I talked about a few days ago, hope is what I'm striving for. I'm getting there. I no longer think that I can make this happen on my own. I'm simply doing one thing after the next that's in front of me, trusting at every turn. I realize it's out of my control. But I truly believe God is teaching me some life-changing lessons throughout this, and I wouldn't want to miss out on those for anything!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend wrap-up

Man this Daylight Savings time change is hard! After a packed weekend and getting less sleep, I couldn't make myself get up at 6AM to run this morning! I will definitely be going tonight... it's time to get serious, because my next half marathon is only about a month away! Yikes. I did get a 4 mile run in on Saturday morning before all the activity started! It's getting SO hot here in Florida that early-morning runs are quickly becoming a necessity.

Eric and I went to Dick's Sporting Goods yesterday and I found my next pair of running capris! Totally getting these before the race! :-)



In other news... I got a slight hairstyle change this weekend! I took Friday off to get ready for our big BBQ party, and took the opportunity to get myself to the salon. I had been debating on getting bangs for a while... especially since Eric expressed his opinion on how they are "sexy" lol ... so I bit the bullet and got 'em!




I definitely like them, but they are taking some getting used to. I feel like they make me look way younger, and I'm not sure how I feel about that ... but that's partially because the last time I had bangs I was about 13 years old. Haha. What do you think... should I keep them? :-)

Oh.. here's an updated picture of our new living room and the furniture! It's so awesome to finally have this room how I want it with nice stuff!



So we had a great BBQ on Saturday, lots of good friends, food and fun! I made this to die for crock pot macaroni and cheese (I just Googled "crock pot mac n cheese" and took the first one I saw! I wasn't sure about it based on the picture... but it turned out SO FREAKING GOOD) ... it was gone in like .7 seconds! I also made my Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip which is always a hit. Needness to say, between the amazing food and drinking my bodyweight in Captain and Diet's, I totally bombed my calorie-counting habit/diet this weekend (even though I've lost 8 pounds so far! Yay). BUT- I'm back on track today and ready for a good week!

Happy Monday and I hope you're adjusting to the time change better than I am! ;-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

your biggest fear

Everyone has one. Some hide it better than others, some deny it, some ignore it. But it is there, deep down, just waiting for an opportunity to rear it's ugly head.

So what is yours? What is your biggest fear?

Mine surfaced yesterday. I don't think we're ever prepared to face this thing we consider our biggest fear... our worst nightmare. Mine is probably similar to yours, and to many people. I hear it a lot.

"My biggest fear is something terrible happening to my loved one."

Whether they are hurt, dying, gone missing. Whether it's my husband, my  parents, my siblings, my nephews, my extended family members... it doesn't matter. It is quite simply the worst thing I can imagine having to experience, and honestly I do not know what my response would be.

People ask me all the time, how do you do it? How do you cope being the wife of a law enforcement officer? How do you handle the stress, worry and fear that plagues you on a daily basis?

I really do not know how to answer that half the time. My canned response is to say that I just don't think about it. You can't dwell on it or you will go crazy, be paralyzed with fear, and kill yourself with stress. But what happens with you're forced to deal with it -- when a situation comes up that brings to life the very thing you're afraid of?

We live in Brevard County. My husband is a deputy in Osceola County - just a few miles away. Yesterday at 11:30 AM a female Brevard County deputy was shot by a guy trying to steal furniture from a local motel. She was shot at five times and died shortly after. She had worked for the agency for 15 years, had two sons in law enforcement, and a daughter in law who was a crime scene investigator.

Bam. There it is. My worst fear. In my face.

My initial response is to whisper a prayer for this brave woman and her family. Second, I become overwhelmed with thankfulness and grace that this was not my husband. Finally, I watch the news report last night sitting next to Eric, stop trying to hold it in, and have a good cry. I have been plagued my whole life with an overwhelming sense of empathy for people who are hurting. I find myself imagining being in their position, and it breaks my heart. My heart is broken for this woman, her family, and the local law enforcement community who knew her.

Here's the thing. I know that God is in control. I personally believe that just because my husband has a more dangerous job than most, that doesn't mean he has a higher chance of dying. This is your destiny, the day God had planned since your birth, and it is going to happen one way or another. I could die driving home from work today. Eric could die in his sleep. That might sound morbid, but my point is that this is a part of life that is out of our control. While it is important to be aware and thankful for what we have, it is just as vital to remember the things we have no control over.

This is a tragic situation; a seemingly unnecessary death of a good person at the hands of a criminal. There is no avoiding it. Can one ever be prepared for situations like this... for their worst fear to be realized? No, I don't think so. Because in this moment, God gives grace in just the way you'll need it. I don't need to worry about the future, about the "what if's" that are all around me, because I know when and if that time comes, I will have everything I need to cope through God's grace.

Once again, let this serve as a reminder that life is a precious gift. There are no guarantees in life. We should all be so fortunate to be constantly reminded of this fact and to never take our blessings for granted.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Alternatives to Hope

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I can't remember the last time I blogged on a Saturday. In fact, maybe I never have. There's a first time for everything right?

I'm currently sitting in bed with my laptop and dogs, taking a break from writing a paper on the difference between the mind and the brain (oh, thrilling philosophy class). I'm debating whether or not I will work out today, because after a week of avoiding the sickness Eric had, I think I might have caught some of it. This makes me very unhappy, because I have a 6 mile run scheduled this weekend for my half marathon training. Blah.

I realized I haven't blogged in a while. If I were ordering excuses I would ask for "the usual" -- school, work, and no inspiration. But now I think it's time for a little update on the pregnancy, or more like non-pregnancy, situation. I try to only touch on this subject occasionally because I keep my life full of other distractions and ambitions. But maybe someone has been wondering, so here's the latest.

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We've been officially trying now for 18 months, and have been through 6 rounds of fertility medication and testing. That is a scary number, and it gets even more scary the bigger it gets. But I refuse to compare myself to others who have gotten pregnant the first month they tried, or even some friends recently who made their big announcement after only 3 months of half-hearted attempts. After all, this is my story... our story ... and it is unlike anyone else. I don't want a copy, I want a new original. And man, do I have an original story here. This is gonna be a best-seller.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about whether or not I'm allowed to have hope. Can or should I verbalize that I'm holding onto hope that our baby will someday find its way into our world? It may seem like a silly question. Instinctively friends say, of course you should have hope. There is always hope, and if you let go of it you will fall into despair. But really, have you thought about how painful it is to have hope only to get continually disappointed, gather your wits and bolster up another dose of hope for another month? Eighteen times? Maybe an infinite number of times?

When you see it from my perspective, it seems almost easier to be resigned, to just not have anything - to be ambivalent and void. This certainly ensures you won't be disappointed. But I'm beginning to dig a little deeper, to scratch off the scab, and ask myself harder questions. Slowly I do this - because I know myself, and if I push myself too much I will shut down. I'm funny the way I'm like my own psychologist sometimes. Is this just a coping mechanism that will hurt me more later on? Is avoiding pain by eliminating hope a better alternative than allowing my heart to feel it and hoping I can stand it? Am I more afraid of the pain of disappointment or of knowing I am fooling myself?

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As I've said before, my husband is my sole source of continual hope and encouragement. He says things all the time like "when" we have a baby, and sometimes acts like they already exist, or will definitely exist in the future. Yet, at the same time, we have found ourselves at an impasse on the issue of alternatives to a natural pregnancy. I want him to start considering adoption, but he is vehemently opposed to the idea of having a child that somehow isn't his -- biologically. Of course I work in the industry and see families coming together all the time, see the joy and happiness they find, and the love that is multiplied because they chose this child. He doesn't think we have exhausted our options yet, that we still have several years of trying before he says he will "give up".

But I know how long the process takes - at least a year, and very likely more than that, especially if you have a narrow criteria (such as specifically wanting a girl/boy, under a certain age, with or without disabilities, etc.). And then there are the stories that so often, couples who even simply begin the process of adoption get pregnant right away because the stress is gone. You have hope. You're no longer afraid of the future, because now you have a tangible way of achieving your dreams. Somehow this hope and anticipation you feel in your mind and soul change the chemicals in your brain and physical body and your body suddenly works with you.

All of this because of hope? Darn, there's that tricky word again. Maybe there's something to it. Maybe instead of pursuing alternatives I should pursue hope. Do I dare to allow myself to get excited, to somehow believe that this will happen? Doesn't that go against what I wrote before, that we are not guaranteed anything in life?  Or is hope simply a manifestation of a belief in a good God? If I believe that this is God's plan, that there is a purpose, that God is inherently good, shouldn't I have hope in what he has to offer for my future?

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At this point I definitely feel like I have more  questions than answers. But I'm here, asking the hard questions, which is a step in the right direction. I cannot tell you I am going to get out of this bed and instantly have hope. Maybe instead of asking my doctor for another round of Clomid I should ask for a prescription of hope. I don't have the answers, but I do know that I have a lot to think about. This is a process. Believing that my life story is being written at this very moment gives me hope just thinking about it. I'm excited to see where it will lead, even if it isn't what I think I want right now. Because God knows I've learned that my plans are quite often found to be shallow, narrow and selfish.

I choose to believe that God's plan is best, to take one step at a time, write one page at a time, and not try to skip to the final chapter and give away the ending.

After all, everyone knows that would ruin all the fun.