Tuesday, December 30, 2008


One of the worst ‘side-effects’ to infertility is lost friends.

Some people change in an instant, such as the chameleon. They used to be where you were and now they are not. I don’t know if it is ‘survivor’s guilt’, or if they feel they are on to the next stage of life and don’t want a reminder of the pain in the past. Maybe they just don’t know what to say, so they disappear. People who used to regularly read my journal entries and commiserate with me have moved on. As happy as I am for them, I do miss them.

Then there are the friends that have never dealt with infertility, and are excited to be there to support you and hold your hand. But they have no idea how long this process can be and, after a while, they grow tired from it. They are starting their families and growing in that way. Soon, it becomes obvious there is nothing left to talk about. The phone calls fade away, then emails, and finally you simply wave hi when you pass by. Your friend has become an associate.

I understand how this happens. When I was younger, I had a friend who struggled with an eating disorder. I did everything I could think of to help her, including ‘pretending’ I had it too, so I could go with her to support groups (she refused to go alone). This went on for a few years. Finally, I couldn’t take it! I felt I couldn’t help her anymore. I was tired of her pain and depression dictating my life too. So, once I was sure she was getting professional help, I faded away. I’ve been there, I understand.

I think back to years ago. I had several friends when I was a newlywed. We were getting married and excited for what life had in store. We would make wedding plans, complain about our apartments, and basically discuss everything that came with that new stage of life.

Then, time moved on, and so did they. I stayed here… in “Newlywed Land” while they jetted off to “Babyville”. They found other people to discuss things with: breast pumps, bottle feeding, potty training. I don’t blame them; it makes sense. I don’t know a thing about any of that and, most of the time, I try not to even go there. But losing them still hurts.

I sometimes wonder about the day I join them, when I finally have a family of my own. Will they re-enter my life as if nothing ever happened? Will I find new friends who are just beginning their families and we will share our experiences together? Will I feel relieved or bitter about the reigniting of a friendship simply because of a change in my circumstances?

Infertility or not, perhaps friends are always fluid. Maybe you are close with certain people during a time in your life you need them, or they need you. Once that need is fulfilled, you grow apart, and new friends emerge.
Then, of course, there are those friends you’ll have forever. They support you now when times are tough, and you return the favor for them. I have so much support around me.

I have friends who I met through this journey, and I will always be your friend, supporting, encouraging, and crying with you. Even if by some miracle I am blessed with motherhood, you will never loose me. I know how it feels to be forgotten.

I have friends who were there at the beginning of this mess, and will still be there at the end, despite the bumpy road between. Words can’t express my gratitude. And when life deals you an ugly hand, as it does to each of us at some point, I will return the favor.

I have friends who dealt with infertility and beaten it, but are not scared to leave me words of encouragement anyway. Those are few, but much appreciated. I hope to be you someday for someone else.

And I have friends who just can’t be friends now, our lives are too different, but will be waiting with open arms when I catch up someday. What a wonderful reunion that will be!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas and two miracles

I belong to a LDS group of women dealing with infertility. I don't say much, but I learn from their examples and lean on them for support. Many have reached out for comfort and guidance during this holiday season. Krista, the founder of the group, has reminded us that Christmas is the story of miraculous births. I have been thinking about this a lot this month. When God wants something to be, it will be.

The miraculous birth we celebrate at Christmas, of course, is the baby Jesus born to a virgin Mary. This is the greatest blessing God could give the world. The Bible reads, 'For unto US is born this day'. Jesus wasn't just born to Mary, but to all of us, even those who have no children of our own.

Prior to this immaculate conception, was another miracle.

In Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias who was married to Elisabeth. The bible describes them as 'righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless'.

Unfortunately, Elisabeth was barren and they had no children. In those days, fertility was thought of as a sign of favor before God. I could not imagine the loneliness that Elisabeth must have felt as she grew older and motherhood slipped away.

One day, the angel Gabriel came to Zacharias while he was working at the temple, and spoke these words:

Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

Zacharias could not believe these words. Elisabeth was too old to have a baby. Because of his unbelief, he was struck dumb. Zacharias stayed in the temple for a long time, thinking about what Gabriel had told him.

Soon, Elisabeth did conceive. Said she,

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach (barrenness) among men.

Not too long after, Elisabeth's cousin Mary was also visited by an angel. Mary learned she would be the mother of the Son of God.

And a few months later:

Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.

And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

Anytime I begin to have the irrational fear that my infertility is some sort of punishment from God, I remember this story (and others like it). I am no Elisabeth (not even close), but I can gain strength from her example and the knowledge that God has a plan for each of us.

So today, on Christmas, the day we celebrate the miracle of all miracles, I want to take a moment and think of Luke 1:31

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Merry Christmas.


I have always loved this Christmas carol, but it has grown to mean so much more to me over the last several years. It urges gratitude for today and offers hope for a happier tomorrow.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be far away

Through the years, we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Monday, December 15, 2008


Yes, that is the right word for it. Something happened last week that left me stunned.

I have a friend who has been going through a tough time for a while. Finally, after a lot of soul searching, praying, and perhaps desperation, she realized that she needed professional help. Having been there, I empathized with what she was going through and was so proud that she had taken the first step towards recovery. It is not easy.

My friend sought out a therapist and met with her. As they talked, her therapist begun to recognize symptoms of depression. She suggested my friend may want to see her doctor about taking an anti-depressant. This is understandable. My therapist told me the same thing. I chose not to go that way right now, but I know it's an option if I need to. If I can't get out of bed because the pain is so great, I have a refuge.

And my friend was already at that point.

She summoned the courage and went to the doctor. Because of insurance issues, this was actually a new doctor to her. When my friend expressed her feelings and suggestions by her therapist, her doctor shot her down cold, and was extremely uncompassionate.

In an effort to vent her frustrations, as well as help anyone else feeling this way and thinking they are alone, she did what I am doing now: bore her soul in a blog posting about the entire situation.

You would think that such an honest and exposed telling of her most dark secret would be met with compassion, right? If someone didn't have something nice to say, they probably would have moved along, right? Even if someone had a differing view, they would have presented it in a caring and compassionate manner, right? You would think.

But, you would be wrong! Although most comments were supportive, my friend was told by an "anonymous" poster that she was (among other things):

Looking for the "cure all" pill

Medication was 'a little excessive'

She needed to 'just face it, life its hard'

She just needed to 'pray everyday and night, read her scriptures and let the Lord help with her burdens'.

And 'try a little faith first before popping the pills'

Apparently, this person was able to make all these judgements and conclusions from one simple story. In reality, it was my friend's prayers and guidance that led her to seek help in the first place.

'God helps those who help themselves'.

Can I ask this: When did we as women decide to turn on each other? What leads us to believe we can judge each other and pull each other down? What benefit does that have to anyone? What happened to compassion, acceptance, and love? After all we have learned about depression and mental illness, why is there still a stigma associated with it?

If a young mother is depressed and is denied help, who are we to judge if and when things go devastatingly wrong? A woman is judged for seeking help, but then judged for the ramifications of not doing so.

When I read this person's comments, I was stunned. Stunned at the ignorance, stunned at the insensitivity, and stunned at the cowardly way these feelings were expressed. Perhaps this person cares for my friend and was trying to help, but you sure couldn't tell that from the awful way she attacked her.

The next time any of us sees a sister in crisis, I hope we will shut our mouths and open our arms. Share your opinion if need be, but cushion it with love and compassion. A hand to hold is worth a thousand pieces of advice.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This post is going to seem like a dramatic contradiction from my last one. And it shouldn't be. I really am trying to find joy in this journey, and some kind of happiness this holiday season. And I have been successful for the most part.

Let me just say I am really looking forward to Christmas and celebrating the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ. I know all those other things - Santa, presents, etc etc, are just fluff. But it is impossible to avoid it, and to not imagine sharing these things with my child too.

As for the actual holiday season (Christmas Day excluded), it can't be over soon enough. While I am keeping my chin up as much as possible, some nights are just really hard. And tonight was one of them.

Holidays can be SO hard for people who are struggling, not just with infertility, but with any of life's challenges. For someone struggling with money problems, it could be the fear of having nothing for your children for Christmas. For someone struggling with the loss of a parent, Mother's or Father's Day would be difficult. For someone who is lonely, Valentine's Day can hurt.

I have always been a person who treasures traditions and celebrations. Watching holiday after holiday pass by, year after year, can feel devastating at times.

I read this blog entry recently. The author, Lisa, describes what each holiday feels like in the world of infertility. I have a lot of experience writing out my own thoughts, and that is helpful. But nothing prepares you to read someone else's words describe your feelings so precisely. Yes, it is dark and depressing, but I have had all these thoughts. I usually try to put on a positive face, but they are there, even though I wish I could say they weren't. Tears fell as I read my experiences of each holiday for the last five years, as told by Lisa.

The year starts off easy enough...

New Years -- This is where we make all those resolutions, or in the case of an infertile, their hopes and dreams and goals for the year ahead. We tell ourselves that this is going to be our year! We are not going to face another new Year's without a child. We are going to do whatever it takes to reach our dreams this year. And we kiss, still crushed from the year prior, but with a renewed hope for the year to come. This is going to be our year -- it has to be.

Valentines Day -- Finally, a holiday that doesn't remind us of children! It's all about love. Only, we are pumped up on drugs, or so exhausted from treatments, that it's hard to enjoy. Not to mention, in the back of our minds, we know all those other couples, sitting around us, eating their dinner, have children they get to go home to. Valentine's cards to help them write out. Little hearts and chocolates to scatter around the house in anticipation of little excited faces.

March Break -- On the heels of Valentines Day comes March break. Children abound, as families pack up to enjoy a fun week together somewhere. But not you. No, you plough forward, head down, trying not to notice.

Easter -- Next comes Easter. The stores are filled with reminders of children. Everywhere you look is a reminder of what you are missing. Easter bunnies, Easter baskets, Easter egg hunts. Pretty spring children's dresses. Excited little faces and happy families are everywhere. You long to be part of an easter egg hunt of your own, but instead, you close your eyes and hope you just make it through.

Mothers Day -- As if Easter wasn't bad enough, Mother's Day is close behind. A slap in the face to infertiles everywhere. You are not a mother and you wonder if you ever will be. You do not get breakfast in bed, a hand drawn card, a hug from that sweet little child telling you they love you. It's a painful reminder of what you will never have, and what everyone around you gets so easily. It's almost too much to bear, as you watch others enjoy what you long for so badly.

Fathers Day -- Of course Father's Day is right behind. Happy children and their dads, out to brunch, playing golf, fishing, enjoying the day together. You think of your husband and what he is missing. You can't help picturing him as a father, knowing how good he would be. You imagine your own children taking his hand and hopping up on his lap, smiling up at him. Their dad. Their hero. And you can't help from thinking how robbed he is, when you see the pain on his face.

Summer Holidays -- One of the best times of year for family fun. Kids are out of school. Everywhere you look are happy families picnicking, going to the park, the beach. And you long to be one of them. The carefree days of summer are everywhere. Long weekends and camping trips. Innocent times and bonding and memories being created that will last a life time. Yet, you still cannot join in the fun.

Weddings -- Of course, what would the summer be without weddings. You watch, as other couples get married, knowing that soon, their dreams will come true, and they will be blessed with families before you. You think back to your wedding, how excited and hopeful you were for the future together. All the family plans you had, the big house, the fun family trips. And it's painful to watch it come true for everyone else but you.

Baby showers -- Invites to baby showers come fast and furious. You can't even bear to open the envelope. You shop for other peoples' children, holding back the lump in your throat, trying not to breathe, and maybe you will get through it.

Birthdays -- Next comes your birthday. But you have nothing to celebrate. It's just a painful reminder that you are another year older, another year has passed without a child. Your chances are decreasing every single day. And you can't bear to blow out your candle, yet again, and make the only wish you have been wishing. Because it still hasn't come true.

Anniversaries -- Your wedding anniversary is upon you, and it's time to celebrate your love. The one thing that keeps you going through all the pain. But unfortunately, it's also an anniversary where you both will mourn another year passing without a child. The family you haven't created.

Back to School -- Back to school has become a season these days. You look around at all the stores, all the little knapsacks, and school supplies. Your nieces and nephews are getting older. Friend's children are growing up before your eyes. Life is moving forward without you. You can't help but feel like it's completely passing you by.

Halloween -- As the autumn leaves fall, families are huddled up carving pumpkins together, making candy apples, playing in the falling leaves. And Halloween rolls around quickly. Parents dress up little angels, princesses, and monsters in the cutest outfits you have ever seen. You dread the day as it grows darker, knowing that soon, happy little children will be knocking on your door, saying trick or treat. And you will barely be able to keep yourself from crying. You think about everything you are missing. You long to be taking your own children out from house to house. And you end the night, a puddle on the floor, sobbing your eyes out, wishing you could hide away forever.

Thanksgiving -- The season of family is officially upon you. Happy families get together to share turkey and rejoice in all that they have to be thankful for. Just the thought of another holiday where you still don't have your own family to share it with, tortures you beyond belief. You have a hard time thinking of anything to be thankful for, let alone, sharing the holiday with family and friends who have everything you want. Everyone has a family except for you, and the pain cuts so deep you don't think you will survive it.

Christmas -- The holiday season is upon you in no time. The pinnacle of holidays is finally here. Christmas is the motherload, the holiday of all holidays. The one you have been dreading all year. For it is the season of children and dreams and families and miracles. For everyone but you. Little stocking hanging from the fireplace, ornaments on the tree, hopes of Santa, snowmen on front lawns, Christmas parades, hot chocolate, cold little toes and noses and happy laughter fills the air. The stores bellow out Christmas music. Commercials celebrate families and children. Movies are filled with the magic of family. Christmas lights and Santa sleighs, and nativity scenes are everywhere. Christmas cards arrive in the mail, all those happy smiling family pictures and updates from friends and families. The magic of the season is everywhere, all around you, suffocating you, choking you to death. The pain has never been so great, so real, and so deep. You envy everyone you see. You can barely venture out your front door. It is the happiest season of all, a season you once loved, a season you wonder if you will ever love again. A season that now pulls you under with such grief that you are sure you will die. But you don't die. You survive. As you brace yourself for the upcoming New Year and the whole new calendar that comes with it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joy in the Journey

The ancient Roman philosopher Horace admonished, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”


Last night, I had a long talk with a good friend about trying to live in the here and now. The overwhelming theme I walked away with was 'just survive today'. How do I get through today?

In October, we had a church-wide conference, full of talks by various church members and leaders. I chose not to watch at that time. Why? Not because I didn't want to hear the messages, but because we do not know ahead of time topics that will be addressed. Back in October, I decided I wasn't strong enough to handle listening to a talk on 'parenting' or 'raising a family' or 'motherhood'. So, instead, I ordered all the talks on CD. I figured I could listen to them one at a time, in whatever order I wanted. And if there was a talk that I just wasn't ready to hear, I could save it for another day.

My CD came in the mail yesterday, and this morning I skimmed the titles. I paused on Thomas S. Monson's talk, 'Finding Joy in the Journey'. So similar to my conversation the previous evening, I decided to listen to this talk on the way to work.

Halfway through the talk, President Monson repeated the quote written above 'Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.'

How many years have I been postponing my joy, waiting to start a family, to finally be 'truly happy'?

Thinking about this time of year specifically, how many Christmases have I spent thinking, "Maybe this will be our last Christmas just the two of us" or "By next Christmas, maybe I'll be a mom, or at least have the promise of being a mom soon"? How many Christmases have I mentally counted the number of children I should have by now, the ages they'd be, the gifts they'd ask for, their faces as they sang Christmas carols or saw the lit tree for the first time.

No matter the happiness and gratitude, there is a cloud over every holiday, as thoughts like these take residence in my mind.

I would love to say I have lived happily, no matter what place I was. I am trying to do that, but some days it is just so hard. I feel that sometimes, for me personally, it is impossible to simply choose to be happy. At one time I felt I could do that, but lately I've struggled.

However, I can always choose to try. To pick myself up, and forge ahead.

I am no different than anyone else dealing with something difficult in their life. Good days, bad days, but forging ahead anyway. There are people who have lost a loved one, a job, a friend, a dream. And we are all pressing on. This is life.

Quoting again from President Monson's talk: In The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill, one of the principal characters in the show, voices a caution that I share with you. Says he,

“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”

So, here's to today, this season, this Christmas, this New Year. Worry about next year... next year. It's a day-by-day, minute-by-minute decision. And just trying is enough for now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this poem. I am working on each and every line, but especially the last one.

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving
Author Unknown

Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

29 Things Infertility Is Teaching Me

Yesterday was my birthday. Last year, when I turned 28, I wrote about 28 Reasons to Smile - Things I Am Grateful For.

In celebration of my 29th birthday, I am attempting the ultimate task: 29 Things Infertility Is Teaching Me.

And here we go (in no particular order):

1. Good people say stupid things. Stupid people say stupid things. Forgive the good ones, and dismiss the stupid ones.

2. Holidays aren't a happy time for everyone.

3. Even though people experience different trials, many of the feelings and emotions are exactly the same.

4. Cats make great friends.

5. Patience is truly a virtue.

6. Be sensitive about what another might be going through, but don't treat them differently. They already feel different enough.

7. You are not to blame for your infertility, no matter what people say. You are not infertile because God is punishing you. You are not keeping yourself from pregnancy because you can't "relax".

8. While events like baby showers are wonderful for most, they are painful for some, no matter what precautions are taken. It's a fact and nothing can change it.

9. God never abandons you; you abandon Him.

10. Music can speak louder than 1000 words.

11. Force yourself to look at people's intentions, rather than their actions. It doesn't always help, but it does sometimes.

12. Doctors don't know everything.

13. Sometimes having faith is harder than you'd think, but so worth it.

14. You have the power to choose who you let in.

15. There will always be setbacks. Things rarely turn out as planned.

16. Try to enjoy the time alone with your husband, but it's okay to be annoyed when people tell you to do that.

17. It's acceptable to be angry, even pissed, about the place you are in your life. Just don't get stuck there for too long.

18. Therapy is a good thing, and not indicitive of a lack of strength.

19. Sometimes, you just don't want to be around kids, simply because it's too hard. But that doesn't make you a bad person.

20. Be careful with jealousy. It may seem another person has it all, but they may soon experience (or may be experiencing) something you wouldn't wish on anyone. You don't want to think (or say) something you'll regret.

21. Avoid dreamcrushers.

22. No matter what your current situation, there are people out there that would call you lucky.

23. It is okay to grieve infertility. It is just as much a loss as anything else.

24. You can miss people you've never met.

25. We typically compare our weaknesses to other people's strengths. This is not a fair comparison.

26. Take care of yourself, even if it means being greedy with your time, energy or emotions.

27. Every baby is a miracle.

28. You will never be the same person you were before, but you can learn to love the new you.

29. You will survive this, and be stronger on the other side. The love and appreciation you will have for your babies will be incalculable. Believe it or not, this will all be worth it in the end.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways, acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct thy paths.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh, the narcissism!

I love when people make assumptions and think they know me.

I can't control other's actions, but I can control my own.

Sometimes, I am just floored by the egotism and lack of class exhibited by others. Especially those whom I have moved heaven and earth to make their life easier.

Experiences such as these remind me how blessed I am to have true and wonderful friends, people with compassionate and tender hearts. They also help me to realize that I can choose who I let into my life, and who I leave behind.

And now... I am letting it go!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dead Cat Bouncing

This week, I learned about a term used in the investment world known as the 'dead cat bounce'. Now, the visual is pretty harsh (I don't like thinking about dead cats bouncing... or dead cats at all actually...), but the term describes a falling stock market that rapidly rebounds, only to drop again.

Well, this week I felt like I had my own dead cat bounce. Several weeks ago, I had a very spiritual experience that brought me closer to God, and gave me a bit of peace for the first time in a while. Compared to the darkness that loomed over me for the last several months, I was on the rise.

Then, a sequence of events happened at work. Because of circumstances beyond anyone's control, I saw my career progress screeching to a halt for the unforeseeable future. Between drops in the market and losing a staff member permanently, I no longer have the speedy timeline I was hoping for. No big deal, except that the entire financial aspect of my 2009 Plan was dependant on the immediate progress of my career.

I felt like I was just starting to pull myself out of a hole, when a big hand came down and flicked me back in.

Mostly, I felt silly for believing that this was really it, that things were actually going to change. Now, I know change will come someday, but I hate not knowing when. I'm a planner... so much so that I chose it for a career. Why am I so great at planning everyone else's success but my own?

So many times, so many plans, so many years, and I'm still waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. So many "if this, than finally that", praying for the if's and never seeing the that's. I wonder if I read all my blog entries over the last few years, how many 'plans' I wrote about that never worked out. Depressing.

And that's why I don't read old entries!

Anyway, on the day when my plans came crashing down (a bit dramatic, I know), I drove myself home from work in tears. Because of my recent experience gaining comfort through spiritual music, I threw in my Jenny Phillips CD.

A first, I resented every word she sang. I didn't want to hear it! But I kept listening and soon a song I had never heard before began to play...

Like a ship that's worn, with a sail so torn,
drifting out to sea,
the wind is blowing in, and you're tossed again.
Is it time to leap behind the ship,
and walk to Him?

The anchor's gone, you're moving on
further from His arms.
Go to Him. Face the wind.
If you trust enough, His mighty love
will get you through.

Do you believe that the seas
will hold your feet if you go?
Close your eyes, feel Him in sight,
walk to what you know is true.
And He will not fail you.

Give up your fear. Let go of doubt.

Lay down your load. Let it go.

As I listened to the words, I imagined the Apostle Peter and the incredible faith he had as he stepped off that boat onto the water, and walked toward Jesus.

Right now, I don't have the faith to step off that boat. I am still clinging to the edge: scared, doubtful and tossed around. But I am working on it. Someday, I hope I can let go. I can imagine how wonderful that would feel.

In the meantime, maybe 'dead cat bounce' is not the best way to describe this week. Maybe I just took a tumble and had a rough landing. If that is the case than someday, in true cat-like form, I'll have to land on my feet. Right?

And the journey continues...


Life and its troubles can do one of two things.
It can make you better or bitter.
I have experienced both,
and better is better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The End

It's always okay in the end.
So if it's not okay, than it's not the end.

This quote was in our recent youth musical and
it's been on my mind ever since.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Always By Your Side

I have written recently about my struggling relationship with God. I am having a hard time coming to terms with my infertility, and that has lead to anger and hopelessness. It has sometimes seemed God was very far away.

I have always felt that I was put on this earth to be a mother. When that didn't happen, I felt empty, like half a person. All around me, women were becoming mothers, realizing the glory of their creation. Meanwhile, I was there watching on the sidelines. I felt forgotten, tarnished, passed over, not good enough.

Tonight, I attended our church youth musical. As I listened to the words of one of the songs, my heart began to pound deep in my chest. I felt my eyes sting with tears. I could have broken down and sobbed right there.

I felt closer to God at that moment than I have in a long time. Suddenly, no one else was in the room. I felt a warm glow, like the song was written for me.

I truly feel like tonight was the first step in healing my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I still have a ways to go, but He reached out and touched me. He let me know He is there with me always, even when I choose not to see Him.

I hope this feeling stays for a while.


Press ► to play music

You look around you
And you wonder if
you’ll ever measure up
In this world it seems
you may never be enough
Don’t let anyone convince you that it’s true
So much beauty lives inside of you
And you are enough
Just look up

Remember you are greatest
When you walk with God
When His light is in your eyes
You are truly strong
You don’t have to prove your beauty
In the eyes of men
You are divine within
You were sent here to become like Him

When you’re uncertain
Of the place you hold
and who you are inside
He will share with you
your part in His design
Seek for His meekness
Seek to emulate His life
And you will feel Him
always by your side
You have His love
Just look up

Remember you are greatest
When you walk with God
When His light is in your eyes
You are truly strong
You don’t have to prove your beauty
In the eyes of men
You are divine within
You were sent here to become like Him

Holiness and love, good works, mercy
To be like Him
Charity, hope, truth, and wisdom
To be like Him

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Life's Little Gifts

I had an amazing time with my husband the last two nights. We didn't do anything particularly unusual, just spent time alone together, him and me. What we shared would not have been possible with children running around the house. This is one of those times I am choosing to be grateful for the place I am right now.

On My Own

Here is a tip that I have learned over the past five years. When someone is going through a difficult time, never tell them how they should be handling their trial. Believe me, they know, and they are already handling it the best way they can.

They know that they should be grateful for all the wonderful things in their life, but occasionally there are moments that this is clouded with pain. They know that this too will pass, but sometimes this realization is covered by fear. They know that there are worse things in this world that they could experience, but every now and then this thought is crowded out by the magnitude of what they are going through right now.

I don’t think there has ever been a case that someone’s life turned around because they were told to ‘get over it’. There comes a point where you have to let people work through issues on their own. You can be supportive or lend a listening ear, but you don’t have to solve it for them.

I know it may make you feel better to give them guidance and advice. And those things are fine, as long as you have been ‘in the trenches’ with them. But if you are an outside observer, or are not close to them, think hard before you make a judgment. Your good intentions could backfire.

I have been on the receiving end of such casual comments or ‘suggestions’, by people who hardly know me. Just for the record, I realize that there are others out there with problems so massive that mine seem insignificant. When I feel sorry for myself in spite of this, I am fully aware that this is the wrong decision, and I heap enough guilt on myself because of it. I look at someone who has lost a loved one, or is battling a life-threatening illness, and I recognize the magnitude of their burden compared to mine. I know these things, and hearing them again from you only splits open a wound I am trying desperately to close.

Infertility is a loss. It is the loss of a dream, the loss of your identity, the loss of the life you always pictured. With that loss come true stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Some days, it is a mix of many stages, and I have cycled through the first four many times trying to achieve number five.

So, let me work this out. Perhaps I feel angry? Let me feel that way. It’s good for me to try and work through that.

I could compare this to a chick hatching from its egg. Supposedly, if you help the chick break through, she will die. It is in the struggle of emerging from the egg that the chick finds the strength for survival. I am looking for that strength, and I need people outside cheering me on, or at least watching quietly, not someone yanking my shell away before I am ready to hatch.

I will get there; just be patient. If you can’t handle the wait then move along. I will meet you on the other side.


I know you said
Can't you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

Forgive? Sounds good.
Forget? I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting…

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I heart your blog

The sweet, talented, and supportive, Emily, author of the amazing blog, What to Expect When You're NOT Expecting has honored me with the I Heart Your Blog Award. Thanks Emily!

Now, the way this works, is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Here
2. Where is your significant other? Kitchen
3. Your hair color? Blondish
4. Your mother? Supportive
5. Your father? Strong
6. Your favorite thing? Vacation
7. Your dream last night? None
8. Your dream/goal? Parenthood
9. The room you're in? Living
10. Your hobby? Writing
11. Your fear? Loneliness
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Mommy
15. One of your wish list items? Obvious!
16. Where you grew up? Clovis
17. The last thing you did? Talked
18. What are you wearing? Jeans
19. Your T.V.? PBS
20. Your pet? Cosmo
21. Your computer? Laptop
22. Your mood? Stressed
23. Missing someone? Yep
24. Your car? Yaris
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? None
27. Your Summer? Over
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Now, I'd like to pass this award to 7 bloggers who share my same struggle, and excite me when they publish a new entry (8, if you count the fact that I'm unofficially giving this award back to Emily!!).








Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Beautiful Parallel

I belong to an email support group centered around infertility. Recently, someone made the comparison between having a child and getting married. The more I thought about it, the more I identified with it. I thought it was remarkable, and I hope I can explain it in a way that is not offensive.

Planning your wedding day is a big deal for a woman. As little girls, we grow up wanting to have a beautiful wedding someday. Once we are engaged (and sometimes even before then), we spend hours over every detail: the dresses, the cake, the colors, the music. We want that day to be everything we have ever dreamed of.

Fairly quickly though, the wedding day passes and we settle into the marriage. It is in the marriage (hopefully) that we discover what the 'wedding' was truly all about. Although we look back fondly on our wedding day, it is the actual journey through life with our best friend that fulfills us, uplifts us, challenges us, and molds us. Our life is not defined by that one day frozen in time, but by the days, weeks, months, and years that follow.

You can make a similar comparison to pregnancy and parenting.

I remember as a little girl stuffing a pillow under my shirt and pretending I was a soon-to-be-mommy. I believed that carrying a child was the gateway to the job I want most in the world, Mom; much like the wedding day is a gateway to a marriage.

I have never been pregnant, or had a child. Even so, I imagine that, despite the beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) moments in pregnancy, the true guts and glory of being a mother is achieved in the rearing of the child.

Thus, pregnancy might be compared to a wedding day. Wonderful, amazing, stressful, emotional, and even majestic... but what really matters is the result: a beautiful new life and the start of a family.

So, what would it mean if I adopted a child? Maybe I would miss the 'wedding day', but I would gain the 'marriage'. Isn't that the important part anyway?

And I wouldn't really be missing the 'wedding day'. It would just be different than I had planned; like some exotic destination wedding. Different stresses and different joys... same beautiful result.

I don't need to fear that the train to motherhood will leave me behind at the station. I just may be getting on at a different stop. The trial is in waiting for my turn to board...


Recently, I wrote a blog about an experience with screaming children during a recent grocery store outing. I feel I need to clarify something, as I have spoken with a few people about the subject and feel I was misunderstood.

I have often seen weary parents trying to wrangle their exhausted, screaming children in public places before. I have looked on their situation with compassion and adoration at their seemingly endless supply of patience. I have doubted my own future ability to handle such a dilemma. I have not envied their position one bit and have hoped that there was peaceful resolution for them soon.

The difference in this situation was the parent's encouragement of the behavior and the apparent disregard for the comfort of anyone else in earshot. Combine that with an especially difficult day and you have a recipe for a good batch of venting.

I hope that makes sense! :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Life in 2009

One strong characteristic of mine is punctuality. I am usually on-time for everything: a party, a meeting, you name it. When I am late (or when I think I might be) I stress a bit. It makes me uncomfortable.

My cycles have always been the same way. Regardless of the spotting issue over the last 5 years, I have always been regular, on-time.

This month was different. Although I got major cramps on 'Day 1', my cycle had not started. The next day, I was so nauseous I could barely move. I tried Sprite, canned pears, hard candy, saltine crackers, all the usual stuff, and nothing helped. I was sick all morning. This was the first time in years I dared think I might be pregnant. The nausea faded that evening. I must have had a touch of the stomach flu. Even so, the next day (should be 'Day 3'), still no period. I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. That night, I finally started.

During this confusing chain of events, there was a day or so when I actually thought I might be pregnant. While I was 99% excited (albeit afraid to hope), about 1% felt unprepared. Now I know the mantra: 'You are never fully ready to become a parent'. I have heard that a million times and I believe it, I promise. But the tiny, minuscule, not-viewable-with-the-naked-eye silver lining on the dark cloud of infertility is that we get more time than most to prepare for the job of parenthood. I mean, infertility is all about waiting: waiting for the next cycle, waiting for the next treatment, waiting to save money for the next treatment, waiting to be chosen by a birth-mom, waiting for paperwork to be processed, waiting for test results, waiting for answers, waiting for blessings, just waiting.

While you wait, you might as well become the best parent-to-be you can, right?

Over the past several weeks, I have been reviewing my life and what it will take to achieve that goal of parenthood. I am in no financial position to seek adoption or fertility treatments right now. At this point, it seems those options will not be available until at least 2010. Therefore, my life in 2009 will consist of more waiting. So, how do I pass the time while I wait? There are several areas I need to work on:

Financial: Seeing that my finances are the reason for the delay, there is a lot to do in this department.

In the first four years of our marriage, Ryan and I racked up some consumer debt. Some of it is from unexpected and necessary expenses, some is a result of irresponsible purchases. Once I started working in financial planning, our habits changed. Unfortunately, rectifying the situation has been slow going. I am hoping in 2009, as I get my career going, our progress will speed up. I want to be consumer debt-free (or at least have my debt tamed) by the end of 2009. Then I can pursue adoption or fertility treatments with a clear conscience because I am bringing a child into a financially secure and responsible household.

Spiritual: I need to work out my relationship with God. I wrote a bit about it in Un-stuff that anger. It is the most important thing I need to work on.

Mental: I want to grow my career and become the best financial planner I can be. Although I enjoy what I do, I am often distracted at work by my feelings toward my infertility. Over the last few months especially, I have been struggling to keep the two separate and my work has begun to be affected by my sadness. I'd like that to stop, if possible.

I also am learning new and useful things, all those things that will help me be a great mom. How to grocery shop on a budget, cleaning tricks, and perfecting the art of chocolate chip cookie baking.

Emotional: I plan to continue with therapy as long as I find it helpful. I have recognized that I am dealing with some depression, and I am trying to work through that. I want to 'take care of myself' more by giving myself a break. If I would rather be alone on a Saturday night than go out with friends, that's okay. I'm not going to force myself to go to 'child events' if I am struggling that day. And I will not be attending church on Mother's Day (unless I go with my mom). After five years of torturous experiences dealing with that day, I refuse to do that to myself anymore.

Physical: I could be healthier. I could be stronger. In a couple years, I may be asking my body to do extrordinary things. I could prepare now to make that time in the future easier on myself, should I become pregnant with a child (or children).

So, this would be my life in 2009. It isn't what I planned or wanted, but I hope I can learn to be happy in this life. I hope I end the year a better person than when it began. It will be a long, tough year but, as long as I am working towards my goal, I should be able to make it.

Over the next year or so, I would love for one day to go by that I don't think, dream, or cry over my childless life. I'm not optimistic that will happen. Even so, I will get through it anyway. And at least now I have a plan, which is comforting for someone who loves to plan.

It should be an interesting year!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The screams only a mother can love... Seriously.

I think kids are cute. Really. I can find something cute about nearly every kid I see, no matter how bratty or homely they may appear. But I draw the line at this.

I went grocery shopping today and this mom and dad had two shopping carts, with one child sitting in the basket of each. These kids were probably ages 3 and 5, or so. I was already a little annoyed because their parents would park both carts side-by-side in the isle. I would have to suck in and squeeze my way through to get to something, grab it, and suck in/squeeze my way back. This happened several times. One time the mother looked at me and gave me a half-hearted 'sorry' but made no attempt to move her cart (one of her carts!) so I could get through.

Anywho, a little later into my shopping experience, they started playing a game with their kids. I'm not sure what game exactly, but it caused the kids to scream at the top of their lungs. Not one or two screams, but continually. Many, many screams. For ten minutes. A long time. The parents thought this was hilarious.

Maybe I'm a tad bitter, but I feel I deserve the right to shop without picking up a migraine along with my groceries. Maybe you think your kids' ear-piercing, blood-curdling screams are amusing, but I don't. I love the sounds of happy children: giggling, laughing, and even a cute squeal or two, but at some point, shouldn't you respect the peace of others and keep it noise-appropriate in public? Or am I just sour grapes?

Friday, October 10, 2008


Today I had a tantrum. A real-life, yell-down-the-hall-at-a-coworker, shut-my-office-door-and-bawl-my-eyes-out tantrum.

The old Michelle would have been mortified at my behavior. This new girl apologized with a bit of embarrassment, then seemed to shrug it off.

I don't even recognize myself anymore!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Un-stuff that anger!

Therapy is going well so far. By that I mean that I feel crappier than ever, but I think that’s a good thing.

My situation is a tricky one. If I was told that I could never have children, I could grieve that loss. It would suck, but at least I’d have answers.

The mystery of my infertility is why I can’t move on. Until I have an answer, I am stuck thinking ‘what if’. The five years of trying without success has taken away my hope, but I feel like I don’t have enough information to justify letting go. It’s quite a conundrum.

Yesterday, ‘N’ (my therapist) suggested to me that I acknowledge the frustration and anger I feel about my situation. I normally just stuff it down and replace it with numbness or sadness. I mentioned that many times I feel like just throwing a tantrum. ‘N’ said, “Well, why don’t you?” I replied, “Because at the end of it, I will still be in the same situation I am in now, only with fewer friends.” Even so, some kind of cathartic release might be beneficial. I am going to give that some thought.

During our conversation, I admitted that much of my anger is directed toward God. I hate even seeing that in writing, but it’s true. I feel so spoiled and ungrateful when I look at all the many blessings in my life and then think about my current attitude. How horrible!

Still, ‘N’ suggested that I explore that. She told a story about her friend who had the opposite problem I have; she was dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. She had a rocky childhood and had no desire to parent. She couldn’t believe this would happen to her and she was angry at God.

‘N’s friend finally ‘had it out with God’. She expressed all those ugly feelings inside. At the end of it all, she was able to accept the pregnancy and her relationship with God became better than ever.

It has been a good two years or more since I have prayed and asked God for a child. Pretty rotten when you think that there are people out there praying for me, and I’m not even doing that for myself. I don’t deserve their prayers. It’s just after years of asking for the same thing, trying to figure out what lessons I am supposed to be learning, trying to have faith with no reward, I just gave up.

So my prayers turned bitter, then angry, and finally stagnant. This is why ‘N’ suggested getting those feelings out. She said God knows me better than I know myself. She said He understands and He can take some anger. Then she said something that struck me, “He probably just misses you”.

And to tell you the truth, I miss Him too. I miss that part of my life. I still have a strong faith in the things I believe; that is unwavering. But I miss the connection, and I am sure the anger I am feeling is the main contributor to that.

It is time to un-stuff that anger. I have a feeling that I won’t come out of it looking very pretty, but hopefully I will feel better. And, (obviously) as I work through this, I won’t write those ugly feelings on here. I have tried to just put everything out there, but this part should probably remain personal.

I can already feel that when this fertility game is all over, I’m going to wish I handled it with more dignity, humility, and grace. Sigh.

What is a Family?

Tonight, I was making cookies for a youth activity. I was watching/listening to the TV show 'The Biggest Loser' while I was baking.

Apparently, for this season, the contestants signed up in teams of two: either a parent and child or a husband and wife.

What I love is that they call the teams 'families'. They are referred to in that manner throughout the show. I think even the title is 'Biggest Loser - Families'. It was so nice hearing this.

Sometimes, I forget that Ryan and I are a 'family', just the two of us. I had always imagined that my family would consist of children. I am sure someday it will. But in the meantime, I need to remember that our family begins with us. Children, when they do come, will be a welcome addition.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Fine Wire

Time for another music post. This one is dedicated to my apparent uncanny ability to hold it together in public during a time in my life when I feel like I am falling apart. Just this week, I mentioned my dabble into therapy to two people, both of whom seemed shocked at the idea that I would pursue that type of thing. Guess I fooled 'em all! :)

Anyway, this song came on during my drive to work today and, as I listened to the words, it was amazing how closely they described my life as it is now. I'm sure there are many people who, at one time or another in their life, felt like they were balancing on one fine wire.

I try so many times
but it's not taking me
and it seems so long ago
that I used to believe
and I'm so lost inside of my head
and crazy
but I can't get out of it
I'm just stumbling

Life plays such silly games inside of me
and I've felt some distant cries, following
and their entwined between the night and sun beams
I wish I were free from this pain in me

And I'm juggling all the thoughts in my head
I'm juggling and my fears on fire
but I'm listening as it evolves in my head
I'm balancing on one fine wire

And I remember the time my balance was fine
and I was just walking on one fine wire
I remember the time my balance was fine
and I was just walking on one fine wire
and it's frayed at both the ends
and I'm slow unraveling...


In the posting Lost , I explained my motivation to document the music that has comforted me over the past five years as I've dealt with infertility. This is another song in my collection.

For all the music postings click here .

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I am a Liability.

Recently, I had an eye-opening experience.

A friend of mine, who also dealt with infertility, is pregnant. I was told that I would not be invited to her baby shower. The reason was incredibly sweet and heartfelt. She knew that if I were to be invited I would feel obligated to come, and she knew first-hand what it was like to go to baby showers when you're dealing with infertility. So, she took that dilemma upon herself and decided not to invite me.

I was impressed with her compassion and insight. I will admit, deep down, that I kind-of wanted to go. She has been through so much the last few years, I felt this baby shower was a celebration! I made that argument, but still no invite. I guess it's probably for the best... it's impossible for me to know how I will feel on any given day and, as good-intentioned as I am now, who knows how I would react to the ooohhing and aahhhing inherent in baby showers.

Which brings me to my enlightenment. In the middle of the baby-shower-invite negotiation (as I was making the "I wanna be a part of the celebration" argument described above) something dawned on me. I was so concerned about how I would be feeling at the shower, I hadn't thought about how me being there would make her feel.

She knows how it feels to battle infertility, especially when it seems everyone around you is pregnant or has children. If I came to her baby shower, and she spent one second wondering how I was feeling rather than simply enjoying her day, that would be awful. Not to say it would happen, but it could. That's when I realized that I am a liability.

I wonder if people censor what they say around me because of my infertility. Would they talk more openly about pregnancy, or babies, or children, if I weren't around? I pray that I have never taken away a moment of someone else's happiness because of my situation or, worse, because of my depression or bitterness. The thought of that crushes me.

Needless to say, this realization has opened my eyes to my selfishness. I was so wrapped up in my own feelings that I didn't even think about the fact that my very presence, or my attitude, could take away joy or make someone uncomfortable. If that has happened to anyone, I am truly sorry.

It's just another way that I am different. Can I just say, I hate being different. I long to be like all the other married women my age: to attend playgroups and complain about diapers, to be able to walk up to a group of women at church and join the conversation, to get an invitation to a baby shower and have the only question be which gift to buy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Step 1: Admit you have a problem

You would think that a psychology major, who also dabbled in a marriage and family therapy masters program, would easily recognize when it was time to get help and not be embarrassed to ask for it. You would think.

But you would be wrong.

For a while now, in the back of my head, I have wondered if my sadness and depression was a little too much to handle. My bad days were getting worse and more frequent. What would throw me off was I would have good days in between. I still felt sadness on these days, but I felt I could function normally and I was still laughing and smiling. So every time I would have an awful episode and consider pursuing help, the next day would be okay and I'd think, "I can do this on my own". Adding to this dilemma was my stubborn and independent attitude.

Well last week, I had one of the worst nights ever. Let's put it this way, I cried for hours and ended up broiling a batch of lemon bars (instead of baking them). Nearly catching your house on fire is enough to make you wonder if now is the time to get some help.

In my clinical psych class, the question was asked how you know if someone needs treatment. We were told, once the problem is affecting their ability to function they may need some help. I thought about the times I will sit on the couch and just stare for an amount of time that is embarrassing to share. I thought about those nights when my body is exhausted but I refuse to go to bed and sit up until all hours of the night. I thought about the times I avoid doing things with family and friends. I thought about the times I close my office door and just sit there and cry. I thought about that very night when I, a proficient baker, made two batches of lemon bars, both of which had monumental errors, one nearly causing a fire. I thought about the fact that I didn't even remember making them and that one batch broiled for 35 minutes and I didn't even smell it.

Fortunately, that awful night continued into the next day. Because of this, I was able to sum up my courage and call for some help.

One major reason I had been avoiding that phone call was money. Most therapists can cost over $100 an hour. Insurance can cover it but I had always heard of insurance coverage being something like six sessions. I had noticed a phone number on my insurance card for mental health, so I decided to give them a call.

As soon as I heard them say, "Psychological Services", I nearly hung up the phone. What am I doing? My 'problem' is not big enough for all this, right? How many people deal with infertility without therapy, and make it through just fine? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?

It took a second, but I found my voice and told them the reason I was calling. I think that God knew if He put one obstacle in my way to seek treatment that I would give up. Not only does my insurance cover therapy, but they will help pay for 35 sessions a year. This is pretty much unheard of. Even the lady on the phone was surprised. All I would pay is the co-pay, which is somewhere between $15 - $25. After all the money I have wasted on infertility treatments, I figure it's time to spend some on myself.

With the money business out of the way, it was time to find a therapist. The company that runs my insurance's mental health division is unbelievable. I told them a little bit about myself and why I was calling and they matched me up with someone. They were soft and considerate and understanding. I truly am blessed.

So, I have my first appointment in 2 weeks. I am scared and unsure. What will I talk about? How do I start? What if I just sit there and cry for the entire session? Can she really help me feel better?

I always thought the only cure for infertility was adoption or pregnancy. Now I am learning that there is no cure. I have a wound deep inside me. Someday it will heal, but there will always be a scar. If I can find someone to help the healing process, than it's worth a shot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

You Don't Have to Win, You Just Have to Finish

I had a moment of inspiration today, and I wanted to make a note of what I learned before it gets lost in the minutia of my life.

A speaker in church today told a story about an "Iron Man" race he had once watched. An Iron Man race consists of a swim (2.5 miles), a bike ride (112 miles) and a marathon run at the end (over 26 miles). It is a strong test of endurance.

He remembers watching a certain woman compete. She had finished her swim and bike ride. As she was coming up on the end of her run, about 100 yards from the finish line, her body gave out and she collapsed. Physically, she just couldn't do it any more. Even so, she wanted to finish the race.

This woman dragged herself the last 100 yards towards the finish line. She literally used her elbows and forearms to pull her limp body along. Her desire to finish the race was an inspiration to everyone. I didn't ask, but I bet the man telling the story can't remember the person who won the race that year, but I am sure he will never forget the woman who didn't give up.

In Hebrews 12:1 it reads:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

As I listened to the speaker today, I felt tears come to my eyes. Sometimes, I feel like I am in a race that will never end. I want this infertility marathon to be over! I want to sit down and rest my soul, and catch my breath!

But God has other plans and my job is to finish this race. I don't have to win; I just have to finish.

And if I have to drag this body across the finish line, that's what I'm willing to do.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Five Lessons Learned

Five years ago, I started on this long and bumpy road of trying to start a family. Last year, I wrote about earning my "Bachelor's Degree in Reproductive Science". I was hoping I wouldn't be headed to 'Graduate School' on the subject, but such is life!

Anywho, this year I decided to list lessons learned. Infertility has taught me many things, I will name just five.

5. You can be truly and honestly happy for other people and, at the same time, feel jealous or sad. This doesn't make you a hypocrite or a bad person; it makes you human... and your friends will love you anyway.

4. As long as there are people in the world, stupid things will be said. It can't be helped, so you might as well wipe away those tears and laugh about it. (Still working on this one.)

3. Always pray, even if you feel angry or resentful, abandoned or ignored. Angry prayers are better than no prayers.

2. There is only so much you can do. After that, you have to let go.

1. And above all else, the words of Plato: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle (even those who's life seems perfect).

Perhaps instead of saying these are lessons learned, I should say they are lessons I'm learning. But I am closer than I've ever been.

So, here's to year 5! (Note the forced enthusiasm - haha!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lucky? No... Blessed.

As I have expressed many times in the past, Ryan and I have different emotions towards our infertility. While at times I am distraught over the whole thing, Ryan is calm and cool. He wants to be a dad, but is okay with whatever amount of time it takes to get there. In the meantime, he is content to go on small trips and fix up our house.

I, on the other hand, am like a roller coaster. I can be calm for a while and then the whole situation buries me and I am out of control. I have a hard time just enjoying the ride.

So it's safe to say I have often felt like he is not as supportive as I want him to be. Notice I didn't say he wasn't supportive, just not as much as I want, which is usually a pretty unreasonable expectation. Sometimes, I don't take advantage of the strong man he is. I want him to be all soft and squishy, like me!

Then there are times like tonight, when I just want to give up, and he's there pushing me on.

He is my rock, my anchor. The one who reminds me that this is a small time in my life; that infertility is a part of me, but it doesn't define me. He puts infertility in it's place.

He doesn't tell me all this. He shows me by being who he is: compassionate, logical, a bit silly sometimes. There are times when I'm with him, I hardly think at all about the pain of infertility. I just laugh - and it feels so nice. I am grateful for those moments.

Am I lucky to have found a partner like this? No... I'm blessed. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Am I the Only One?

In the posting Lost , I explained my motivation to document the music that has comforted me over the past five years as I've dealt with infertility. This is another song in my collection.


About 5 years ago, my friend Amy invited me to a Dixie Chicks concert. I only knew one song (Wide Open Spaces), but who am I to turn down a chance to hear live music? So, I went.

The concert was great and I enjoyed many of their songs. I downloaded a few of their CDs and listened to them, in the car mainly.

One day, I remember driving and listening to the Dixie Chicks. It was the first day after yet another cycle had ended with the same disappointing result. The song, Am I the Only One came on and I began to listen to the words.

Every word in this song rings of emotions I have felt throughout this process.

I will sometimes throw this song on when I'm feeling bitter and angry, and it feels good just to hear out loud the words I am feeling inside.

So many times, I have allowed myself to hope, only to be disappointed. What a fool I was. Infertility has wrung me and strung me and I don't recognize the person I've become. It has, in reality, hung years on my face. There are days when I feel I can truly fake only one more smile. It can be suffocating. I find myself begging God for some kind of sign that shows me I'm not as alone as I feel.

This song also speaks to the anger I feel watching friends cope with this same trial. My heart hurts for them and my imperfect, mortal side feels bitter and inconsolable for their heartache. If there are so many of us facing this trial, why do we still feel so alone and desolate? What is it about infertility that isolates you from everyone, even people who are struggling too?

Most of my "infertility" songs are hopeful and soothing, but there are a few that comfort in a different way. They allow the unresolved and unreasonable girl inside me to ring out for a moment or two.

This is one of those songs:

There Is No Good Reason
I Should Have To Be So Alone
I'm Smothered By This Emptiness
Lord I Wish I Was Made Of Stone
Like I Fool I Lent My Soul To Love
And It Paid Me Back In Change
God Help Me
Am I The Only One Who's Ever Felt This Way?

A Heart That's Worn And Weathered
Would Know Better Than To Fight
But I Wore Mine Like A Weapon
Played Out Love Like A Crime
And It Wrung Me Out And Strung Me Out
And It Hung Years On My Face
God Help Me
Am I The Only One Who's Ever Felt This Way?

Now My Sense Of Humor Needs A Break

I See A Shadow In The Mirror
And She's Laughin' Through Her Tears
One More Smile's All I Can Fake

There Is A Wound Inside Me
And It's Bleeding Like A Flood
There's Times When I See A Light Ahead
Hope Is Not Enough
As Another Night Surrounds Me
And It Pounds Me Like A Wave
God Help Me
Am I The Only One Who's Ever Felt This Way?

God Help Me
Am I The Only One Who's Ever Felt This Way?

For all the music postings click here .

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

'You have to admit, it's gettin' better...'

Consider this your warning... this post might contain TMI ( "TMI? Too Much Information. It's just easier to say 'TMI'. I used to say 'don't go there', but that's lame." ).

Seriously though, folks. This blog is to document my journey through the world of infertility. Mostly, I write about the emotional side, but there is a whole physical aspect too. And there's been progress. Thus, I write.

Proceed at your own risk.

I am talking about cycles. Menstrual cycles, that is. There... I said it. And you can't even see me blush! Ha! Oh, don't worry. I won't tell anyone you've been reading about my cycles...

So, guess what? Mine's been a'changing.

I was always the teenager with the regular cycles. Every fourth Wednesday, I would start my period. It would be accompanied by severe cramps that would last all day. A few times, I couldn't even make it to the nurse's office, they were so bad! That would be my heaviest day and it would be normal flow and color (I warned you!).

Side note: It was these very cramps that convinced 3 doctors I had endometriosis. Turns out... I didn't.

Then, I started birth control. The cramps subsided for the most part and my flow was lighter in color and amount. I took birth control pills mostly, with two rounds of the DepoProvera shot (I rue the day I did that). I used birth control for the first 3 years of my marriage (2000 - 2003).

Five years ago, this month, I stopped taking the pill. From that point on, I would still be "regular", but I would spot my way into my period. I'm talking about 6-7 days of spotting. Then, when it finally came, it was light in flow and the color was wrong. It wasn't the same. Not only that, but I had "breakthrough" bleeding mid-cycle. So, I would be spotting for nearly half of my cycle, but never really having a period.

I tried to be patient, as I was told (countless times by well-intentioned people) that it takes some time for your body to readjust after being on the pill. But YEARS went by, and my cycles stayed the same.

Finally, in April, I began taking herbs. I also started acupuncture. I began to notice a change in my cycles. No more breakthrough bleeding and less spotting before my period. It was greatly encouraging.

And then... BAM! This month was amazing. I spotted for a day or two and it was a perfect light pink color. Two days later, I had cramps all day that were reminiscent of my teenage years. I also flowed heavy that day - a beautiful, bright red - the best period I've had in five years.

Now, if you think it's strange or weird to be excited about your period, try five years of heartache and frustration, of not knowing what's wrong with your body, of seeing several doctors with no answers, of expensive tests with no results, of tears and anger and hopelessness.

Trust me, live through all that, and you can get pretty excited about your period.

In the last several months, I've tried a few different herbal combinations and it has progressively gotten better. Last month, I decided to simplify and use a prenatal vitamin/herbal supplement called FertilAid. Since this has been the best month yet, I'm going to stick with this combo for now and see what happens.

Like anyone who has hoped and been disappointed, I am cautious about reading too much into this one cycle. On the other hand, I am trying to celebrate any successes, no matter how big or small.

As the song goes, "You have to admit, it's gettin' better... it's gettin' better all the time!"

I pray it stays that way.

Friday, August 1, 2008


In the posting Lost , I explained my motivation to document the music that has comforted me over the past five years as I've dealt with infertility. This is another song in my collection.


I heard the song "Miracle" by the Foo Fighters for the first time a couple of years ago. As with many of the songs that have touched me during this time in my life, I am sure infertility was not the artist's inspiration in writing the song. Even so, this is what I take from it:

The verses resonate with the exhaustion and desperation that is inside me. The idea that I am blind to the reason for this struggle speaks to my heart, and the hope that one day I will see the reason why this was my path is comforting.

As I hear the words, "hands on a miracle", I can't help but think about that day in the future when I hold my baby for the first time. I can't wait to have my hands on a miracle and know the strength, endurance, and growth that has changed me over the past several years can never be taken away.

Often, I've dreamed of a home video featuring our precious miracle and this song. I replay this scene over and over in my mind. I know someday I'll hold a miracle and feel the overwhelming love that miracle brings.

Until then, I just listen to the song and imagine that day.


Crazy, but I believe this time
Begging for sweet relief
A blessing in disguise
I'm dying behind these tired eyes
I've been losing sleep
Please come to me tonight

Hands on a miracle
I got my hands on a miracle
Believe it or not
Hands on a miracle
And there ain't no way, that you take it away

Everything that we've survived
It's gonna be alright
Just lucky we're alive
Got no vision
I've been blind
Searching everywhere
You're right here in my sight

Hands on a miracle
I got my hands on a miracle
Believe it or not
Hands on a miracle
And there ain't no way, that you take it away

Hands on a miracle
I got my hands on a miracle
Believe it or not
Hands on a miracle
I got my hands on a miracle
And there ain't no way, that you take it away

For all the music postings click here .

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can’t I Just Love My Body?

For a long time, I hated my body. Here I am, a woman, who is unable to do the very thing my body was created for. Not only that, but no one could tell me why. It was like I was surrounded by women whose bodies were beautiful and mine was dysfunctional. I went through a time where I considered my body as deformed, inadequate, and ugly. I hated my body because of what it could not do.

Over time, I taught myself to be grateful. My body can not (or at least will not) give life, but my body is still a gift. It is not ridden with disease. I can walk, run, and even dance. I get sick sometimes, but I become well. It is a long and continuous process, but I have begun to appreciate and accept my body again. And I am still working on it.

I’ve been trying to treat my body better. I have been taking a ballet class for months now. I have begun increasing my activity and have concentrated on stretching and making my body stronger. I have been eating better with more veggies and fruit. I have switched to organic products as much as (financially) possible. I have been trying to love my body for what it is and take care of it.

There is a person in my life right now who considers me unhealthy. Those words have never been mentioned, but the comments that are made lead me to believe this is the case. I notice this person never “encourages” any one else to do certain things to improve their health, just me. It makes me feel singled out.

Today, a comment was made to me in passing. I was having a problem that really has nothing to do with diet or exercise. In fact, I have had this problem my entire life, including high school when I was dancing six days a week and was the healthiest I had ever been. Today, this person used the situation to, again, point out what I should be doing to be a better, healthier person. When I described what I have been doing, I was told that wasn’t good enough.

Can’t I just love my body for what it is? This exchange of words brought back all those feelings I have been working so hard to let go. I know I am not perfect. I know I could exercise more and eat better. Who couldn’t? But, you know what; at this point I am just trying to get through the day.

I know this person has no idea how the comments affected me. I know he/she would feel badly if they knew they made me sad. There were no ill intentions there; quite the opposite, the comments were probably intended to be "helpful suggestions".

And in another lifetime, these comments wouldn’t bother me at all. The old Michelle might have used them as a motivator. The person I am now just sees it as another reason I don’t measure up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Holdin' Babies

This last weekend, we visited with Trav and Britt and their little guy, Schroeder. During our visit, Brittany and I babysat for her friend's kids, a boy almost two and a girl Schroeder's age.

I got some time to hold some babies. The experience was kind-of emotional and spiritual for me. I know you are never really ready to become a mom but this weekend I felt strongly that I am as ready as I am going to be.

I could be wrong and (obviously) I am because I haven't been blessed with a child. I guess there is something else God wants me to learn. I wish I knew what that was.

I am just so ready to hold a baby of my own. I can't explain it, I just am. I hope someday soon my Father in Heaven will feel the same way. I pray for that day...

Friday, July 25, 2008


They say that music is the soundtrack to our lives. Sometimes, I will hear a song and I am instantly transported to another time and place, whether it's a childhood memory, my wedding day, or the high school prom.

The same thing has happened over the last five years as I've dealt with infertility. Certain music can comfort me when it seems there is nothing else that will. Some songs are hopeful, some sad, some bitter, some spiritual and some have a touch of irony.

I have been known to listen to some songs over and over on my drive to work. Something about hearing the words several times helps to inoculate me for the day and buoys me up. Other times, a song will come on the radio and catch me off guard. Before I know it, I'm crying and, in that moment, it feels the singer is the only one in the world who knows how I feel. Most of the songs were not written about infertility but something in them, whether it's a particular verse, or the chorus, or even just the melody, causes me to pull that song into this part of my life.

Like any other life-changing event, my infertility has a soundtrack. So, over time, I hope to record the soundtrack on this blog, starting with "Lost".


Michael Buble is known as a crooner, a modern day young Sinatra. Mostly he sings old school crooner-style songs (which I love): I Got the World on a String, That's All, How Sweet It Is, etc. He also has a couple "original" songs as well: Home, Everything, and Lost.

One lonely morning, I was downloading some Michael Buble songs and I saw the song "Lost". I had never heard it before but I thought, why not? I've pretty much liked everything else he's done. So I added that to my list and burned all my songs onto a CD.

This was back when Ryan and I were carpooling, so I left to go pick him up. I popped the CD into my stereo and it just so happened that Lost was the first song.

As I listened to the words, tears began streaming down my face. I don't know why, but I felt comforted. Infertility is very lonely. There's nothing anyone can do about it, it just is. As I heard the words, "You are not alone, I am there with you", I really felt peaceful, like someone heard me, someone understands, and someone cares. And I'm not lost.

It sounds ridiculous, I'm sure, even to me. But someone was there with me that morning. I don't know if it was a spiritual thing, or what. Maybe the strong part of me was talking to my weaker part, like my head was talking to my heart? I don't know. All I know is, in that moment, that song spoke to me and I didn't feel as alone.


Can't believe it's over
I watched the whole thing fall
And I never saw the writing that was on the wall
If I only knew
Days were slipping past
That the good things never last
That you were crying

Summer turned to winter
And the snow it turned to rain
And the rain turned into tears upon your face
I hardly recognized the girl you are today
And god I hope it's not too late
It's not too late

'Cause you are not alone
I'm always there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When your world's crashing down
And you can't bear to fall
I said, babe, you're not lost

Life can show no mercy
It can tear your soul apart
It can make you feel like you've gone crazy
But you're not
Things have seem to changed
There's one thing that's still the same
In my heart you have remained
And we can fly, fly, fly away

'Cause you are not alone
And I am there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When the world's crashing down
And you cannot bear to crawl
I said, baby, you're not lost

For all the music postings click here .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I was looking for the perfect way to describe how I feel today and I finally found it: Blah. Here are the components...

A hunk of exhaustion
A teaspoon of bitterness
A scoopful of stress
A cup of resilience
A dash of depression

Luckily, Blah shouldn't last too long. It will expire soon and I'll have to whip up a new mood "recipe". Hopefully, the next one will be sweeter.

And tomorrow is another day... :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's a Choice, People!

Can you choose to be positive? I think so.

I am going through the hardest trial of my life, thus far. I know that there are so many people out there (some I know personally) who's trails far outweigh my own, but for me this has been hard. It has been long and intense and, although I know that I will overcome it eventually, sometimes it feels it is a battle that will never be won.

There are a lot of days that I want to roll over in bed, pull the sheets over my head, and disappear for a while. Many times, I'll just sit and stare into space for a while, absent of any thoughts or feelings. Sometimes, I have to force myself to do things that I should enjoy.

Why do I share this? I'm asking myself that same question at this moment. Confessing these feelings is embarrassing. It makes me feel selfish, especially considering what some people struggle with everyday: illness and disease, the death of a loved one, the loss of a child, etc.

Maybe someday I'll look back on this and feel so silly, roll my eyes, and tell myself to get over it. Or maybe not.

Can you choose to be positive? I think so. But it's not easy...

Most days, I consciously make that choice hour by hour. On bad days, minute by minute.

Sometimes, it is literally an excruciating choice to make. Hiding under the covers would be so much easier. I wouldn't have to venture out into the world, pulling myself away from my selfishness, and think of others. Showing happiness for friends and family who appear to have everything they want, sometimes celebrating the very thing I desire. Feeling empathy for people who have their own struggles, forcing myself not to compare their struggles to mine, a comparison which usually results in frustration or guilt, depending on the situation. Either way, it never ends well.

A motto I have learned to live by: "Fake it until you make it". I feel ashamed to admit it, but occasionally I fake this positive facade. But I think that's okay; it usually only takes a little while before I become more genuine. And this way, I don't hurt anyone's feelings or bring anyone down. Despite what they say, misery doesn't always love company! (And, despite what Ryan says, sometimes I can be a very convincing actress...)

And positive thinking is a choice.

So every day, I'll make that choice. When I have a tough day, I'll wake up the next morning and make it again. When someone unintentionally says something discouraging, I'll encourage myself. And, when all else fails, I'll fake it.

And those times I just can't do it? I'll get through: whether it is taking a long shower, shedding tears in the car, shutting the door to my office, or purging those selfish feelings on here, I'll conquer it somehow. That's what everyone else is doing... fighting their demons one at a time. For we all will have them; no one is exempt!

Can you choose to be positive? What other choice is there...


Side note: I just reread this journal entry and, wow, I was brutally honest. I reconsidered posting it, but then stopped myself. If I truly want to record this experience, I have to do it 100%, warts and all. Otherwise, what was the point?