Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When the Doctor Says "You'll Never Be a Mom"--My Response

I stumbled upon this post today, and seeing as how it's been two years since my polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis, and four years since we began our TTC journey, I thought I'd take today to respond to that post.  While I haven't specifically been told,"You'll never be a mom", with the factors we're aware of, it's going to be more difficult than the "norm" for us to get to that point.

The points in bold are from the original post, but my thoughts follow them.

1. Let yourself grieve. More than once.

I totally agree with this. Ask any woman on the CFPN who has taken more than a few months to conceive, and they'll tell you what I've told them. The trying to conceive journey is much like the grieving process. I've been through the whole cycle more than once, and I think it's safe to say that I tend to waffle between anger, and acceptance a lot.  You might say I'm in a bargaining phase, with all the dietary changes we've been making ("They say women with PCOS shouldn't eat gluten or soy, so if I drop those... maybe I'll get pregnant, right?").  But, I'm also dealing with some anger.  Two weeks from today, I'm leaving for the CFPN's 5th Anniversary reunion, and I'm the only one going (out of 12 women) who isn't either currently pregnant, or already a parent. Ouch. Even one of my IF besties is going to be there with her seven and a half month old.  Actually... come to think of it... no... on second thought, I don't want to do that math.

All that to say, yep, definitely have done the grieving thing more than once. It's hard.

2. Tell friends that you’re battling infertility.

I think I've got this one covered.  Both sides of our family know, and I've posted a few infertility-related things here and there on Facebook, but we've still gotten some insensitive comments or questions about "When?". We usually try to figure out how to tell people about our struggles, and for the most part, the comments and questions have stopped.

I definitely agree that having the support of family and friends, once you work up the courage to tell them, is invaluable. I know it must be hard to be in their shoes though. I'm sure I've had friends and family ask themselves,"How do I tell Stephanie & Daniel that..." (insert pregnancy announcement, gender announcement, etc), and that does pain me a little bit.  Maybe some day I'll write a blog entry about the best way to announce that sort of thing to us.

3. Don’t avoid babies.

I'm not sure I agree with this one to be honest. I know many women LOVE the infant stage, but I'm not really a big fan of newborns. They seem so fragile, they cry, and they poop.  :P  But... they also represent a huge void in our lives, and that's hard for me to deal with. It's also hard to see the joy that they bring their parents, because we long for that, but have yet to feel it.

In the blog post that inspired this post, Natasha says that it's okay to cry over newborns, but I just don't see the wisdom in doing that. I don't understand, and I don't see the point in heaping MORE pain on myself.

I think this post could also be expanded to include children. Daniel and I are in our late 20's now, and while there's still plenty of people who are single in their late 20's, there's also many that have children. But... we can't relate to them. Get two moms together, and what will they talk about? Nine times out of ten, they talk about their children. So, I end up sitting there like a bump on a log, with nothing of value to contribute to the conversation.

So... I tend to avoid most babies and children in group settings. With family, and close friends, I'm mostly okay now.  But I purposefully go to the evening Women's Bible Study because they don't offer childcare, and we don't volunteer in the nursery.

4. Repent.

Natasha explains:
I guarantee that if you’re struggling with infertility there will be a day when you see a mom that isn’t fit to be one and you will think, “God! Why does THAT girl get a baby and not me? I would be a better mom than THAT.”
Ummm... yep, definitely been there, done that. Volunteering at our local crisis pregnancy center the first year we were trying to conceive was HARD. I ended up quitting after only a year and a half because it was so difficult for me.

Something that has helped me NOT have these thoughts is to remember that their kids aren't MY kids given to her. God saw fit to give those kids to her, but that doesn't mean that there's less chances for us to have a child now.

5. Remember: every person carries pain.

I think this is probably the one that women who deal with IF tend to forget the most. Because IF and pregnancy loss are taboo topics, often we have no way of knowing the journey other women have taken to get the one, two, or ten kids they have now. Maybe that mom of three had multiple miscarriages, or maybe that mom with the cute little baby isn't actually genetically related to her child.

We don't know other people's hidden pain, and just like we want them to be sensitive to us, we need to be sensitive to them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What is our Society Coming To? (Part 2 of 2 so far)

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I've been amazed, confounded, and a little nervous about the steep downhill descent our society seems have been on for the last few years, and especially the last few months.  Two and a half weeks ago, I wrote about a book and a movie that have sucked in many American women, and the affect that they could have on our culture, and how Christians can respond.  Thank you to those of you who commented on that entry!

Today I'd like to talk about another part of our society that isn't helping us.  Debt. It's no secret that our country is in over its head in debt.  Here's some facts for you.

Dave Ramsey compares the national budget crisis to a family budget:
If their household income was $55,000 per year, they’d actually be spending $96,500—$41,500 more than they made! That means they’re spending 175% of their annual income! So, in 2011 they’d add $41,500 of debt to their current credit card debt of $366,000!  source
That's a lot of money that our country doesn't have! But... it's not the national budget and debt load that I'm concerned about. Consumer debt is pretty common too. Ramsey is also famous for saying,"Don't keep up with the Joneses! They're broke!". We need to stop trying to out spend each other, and instead, challenge each other to live within our means, so that we can pay off our debts faster.

DH and I have been married for almost five years. When we got married, we had nearly $20,000 in student loans. At the beginning of our marriage, we were both working minimum wage jobs, and doing our best to make ends meet. I was laid off in 2008, and promptly got involved in full-time, online, ministry. So, now we're living on one income. Thanks to some raises, and a six-month stint with a different company, we've been able to live on just DH's income, while still making payments on the student loans. Last summer, we thought our car was on its last legs, so we took out a loan, and purchased a newer (used) car.  The car purchase set us back about two and a half years, in total debt load, but through diligent money management, we've been able to stay at a place where we should still be able to pay off both loans by their end dates!

My challenge to the American population would be to stop using your credit cards (cancel them, and cut them up!), and get out of debt ASAP!  Stop overspending your budget! Sure, this might actually hurt the economy a bit, when people stop buying the latest and greatest toys (Seriously, no one NEEDS a 42 inch TV bought on credit. :P), but in the long run, you will be able to pay cash for those fun purchases, and inject money back into the economy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: A Book Review

I'll admit, it's been many years since I've read "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" (aff link) cover to cover.  But, I still think it's a great book, and I still consult it on a regular basis when I answer questions over at the Christian Family Planning Network. So, I thought I'd do a little post about it here.

One of the main reasons I like "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" (hereafter TCOYF) is that it teaches women to interpret their natural fertility cycles, giving them a viable alternative to hormonal birth control.  I think TCOYF should be required reading for every engaged woman, at least until someone comes out with a book that covers the material from an evangelical Christian perspective.

And that brings us to my first caution in regards to TCOYF. It is written by Toni Weschler, MPH, from a secular standpoint.  She doesn't say anything against religion in the book but in the chapter on practicing the Fertility Awareness Method responsibly, it is clear that she views sex as something that can be shared between two consenting single adults, and not solely within a marriage relationship.

If you can get past the author's stance on sex outside of marriage, then you will find TCOYF to be a very helpful book. Weschler does an excellent job of laying the ground work for the more complicated concepts through sections on changing the way we view our fertility and reproductive health, explanations of the natural fertility cycle, using FAM as birth control, achieving pregnacy, and even practical benefits of charting your cycle.

Within each section, she breaks the issues down into chapters, and covers the material in manageable chunks.  Many women are intimidated by the size of TCOYF, as it's 473 pages long, including the index, but the chapters are short, with many pictures, diagrams and sidebars.  Weschler writes in an easy to read, humorous style. When I read TCOYF for the first time, I found it difficult to put down!

All in all, TCOYF is a great resource for any couple who is looking for a natural alternative to hormonal birth control, if they can look past the pitfalls of the secular perspective.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Leaving a Legacy

Friday would have been my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.  Grandpa passed away four and a half years ago though. I still try to make a point to call Grandma on that day every summer to let her know I'm thinking of her. I also called both my siblings to remind them, and they were able to call Grandma as well. My sister let me know that Grandma's neighbor stopped by with a plate of brownies and was going to visit for a little bit, so Grandma didn't have to be alone.

I didn't really think about this on Friday when I talked to my grandma, but she really did set a great example for us grandkids in how to live out the "in sickness" part of our marriage vows. Grandpa had a number of strokes when I was a teenager, and Grandma cared for him at home until I was in college. Eventually it did become too difficult for her to care for him at home, and he did have to go into long-term care, but even then, Grandma visited him multiple times a day, and still took care of brushing his hair, washing his face, cleaning his dentures and doing his laundry. We even celebrated Thanksgiving at the long-term care facility with Grandpa.

Remembering how Grandma took care of Grandpa the last decade of their marriage, despite Grandpa not really being able to "give back" to her beyond words of thanks inspires me. When I reflect on everything that they went through, our dietary issues don't seem so big and scary anymore.

So... Thank you Grandma for setting a great example for the rest of the family on what it means to love your spouse in sickness and in health. I love you!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We survived our first dinner!

So, in our quest to become a gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free household, last night for dinner we had mashed cauliflower and hamburger patties.

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It wasn't EXACTLY like mashed potatoes, but it was close enough that it wasn't a horrible substitution.  We were also able to test DH's potential reaction to tomato, with some organic ketchup he picked up.  And.... we discovered that he could eat it, so it looks pretty likely that the culprit that started all this was the high fructose corn syrup IN the tomato sauce, and not the tomatoes themselves.  :)  Yay!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday's Letters


Another week gone, means another set of letters!

Dear Facebook "Likers",
Thank you for liking my blog's Facebook page!  I do hope you've made your way over here to read my full post!
The newbie blog author

Dear friend,
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, for being patient with me while I learn, and most of all, for being my friend!
Your friend

Dear gluten, soy, and corn,
It is with deep sadness that I must bid you goodbye. I hope you have a happy existence... in someone else's stomach.
The one who no longer wants to feel icky

Dear casein,
If you promise to be nice to us, you can stick around a little longer.  We really like our ice cream and cheese.
The one who doesn't want to see you go

Dear UWMC,
It looks like you forgot to send us half our bill.  Oh well, I know I shouldn't worry. I'm sure you'll send the other half soon.
The one who owes you money

Dear Husband,
Thank you for coming on this adventure with me, and for running to two different stores tonight when I forgot  various food items.
Your loving wife

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Answers!

We have SOME answers!  The doctor from Urgent Care just called with his allergy test results from Monday.  Apparently my wonderful DH is allergic to: Soybean, Wheat, Peanut, Corn, Shrimp, Sesame seeds

I'm sure we'll be adding to that list once he gets the major test done.    FWIW, his mom is sensitive to soy, and corn, and his dad is allergic to shrimp, so all of that didn't really surprise me.

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And life continues...

Well, DH is STILL breaking out in hives, but we think we know what is causing it this time, so we're changing our diet yet again.  Some of it we're changing for my health, and some we're changing for DH's health.  No more gluten (me), no more casein (both of us), no more soy (me), no more corn (DH), no more rice (DH), no more tomato (DH, at least until we get his allergy tests back).

I called our naturopath today and asked if they would take DH on as a patient so that we can get a more comprehensive allergy test than the little dinky one they ordered at Urgent Care on Monday.  They are going to take DH on, so they'll order those tests, and two others we need run.  He has an appointment on August 6th with the ND to talk about his test results.  We're praying for some answers so we can figure out what all DH can eat!  :P

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


How about another story about Life in Little Hispaniola....

This past Saturday, DH broke out in hives about the same time we were sitting down to eat dinner.  He took one dose of Benadryl before bedtime, and we figured we'd see how things looked in the morning before we decided if we were going to church or not.

On Sunday morning, he was more broken out, so we just stayed home for the morning and hung out together.  In the early afternoon, we headed to DH's brother's house, and had lunch with them.  DH crashed on their couch while the rest of us watched Numb3rs on Netflix. :P

We left their place after DH had another dose of Benadryl (his third), and came home, and went to bed after a fairly calm evening.
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Monday morning, it was obvious that the hives were not letting up, so we decided to go to Urgent Care.  We were there for probably close to three hours, waiting, and then talking to the doctor.  We're fairly certain that the hives were caused by something DH ate, so we asked her to order an allergy test, which she did.  She also prescribed him some prednisone.  We went directly to the lab for the blood draw, and then went to Wal-mart to fill the prescription and get some groceries.

Once we got home, we made lunch, ate, and then DH took his first dose of prednisone.  Two hours later, it was VERY obvious that the prednisone was NOT helping, and may have even made the hives worse.  So, I called the Urgent Care location we had been at in the morning, and they said to take him to the ER.  I called DH's brother and sister-in-law, and sister-in-law drove us to the ER.

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The physician's assistant at the ER took one look at DH's hives, his eyes widened, and then he prescribed a bunch of different medications, including a shot of Benadryl, Singular, Zantac, and Vistaril.  The RN gave him the shot of Benadryl, and then we got to sit there for an hour.  DH got pretty drowsy, but he didn't fall asleep.  Within the hour, the hives went away almost completely!

We finally got to come home, where DH rested on the couch for a bit longer, and then we had dinner.  When we were sitting down to dinner it looked like the hives were picking back up again, this time on the bottom of his feet, but he took some more Benadryl, and they were gone this morning, so he went back to work.

And that was our weekend.  How was yours?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday's Letters


My friend Monica has been doing this fun little link-up for a few weeks, and I just thought I'd give it a try this week.  We'll see how it goes.

Dear Husband,
Thank you for being so patient with me as we deal with my health struggles. Thank you for being so active in helping to nurse me back to health.
Love, Your loving wife.

Dear Weather,
Please cool your jets. We humans haven't done anything to spite you, so there's no reason to fry us to bits.
Sincerely, the Sweltering Housewife

Dear Laundry,
Since Weather is showing no signs of responding to its letter, you're going to need to do me a favor and march yourself outside, downstairs, around the corner, and into the washing machine.  And while you're at it, share your letter with the dishes.  Maybe they'll get the hint then.
Sincerely, the Sweltering Housewife

Dear Student,
You did fantastic at your first crochet lesson yesterday. Your mom is so proud of you, and so am I!
Your teacher

Dear CFPN,
Thank you for allowing me the privilege of walking with you for the last five years.  It's been great getting to know you all.
Your fearless leader

Dear Lord,
I'm sorry I struggle so much to make our relationship a priority.  Thank you for loving me anyway, and blessing me and Husband so richly.  Thank you for your provision, and for limiting our medical bills.  :)
Your grateful daughter.

Friday, July 6, 2012

What is Our Society Coming To? (Part 1 of ?)

Today begins a series of posts on society, culture, and the moral decline I see that just keeps snowballing faster, and faster.  I'm planning to touch on different topics, but I'm not sure how many parts this series will have, so you'll just have to bear with me as I write.  :)

I ran across this post today, when a friend of mine shared it on Facebook.

Now, I'd heard of Magic Mike and "50 Shades of Grey" but I didn't really know what they were about until I read this review from Focus on the Family's PluggedIn Online site, and saw "50 Shades" mentioned on a few other blogs I follow.  I very quickly realized that neither of these two new releases (one is a movie, and the other is a book) were things that I needed to be putting in my mind.

So, I simply haven't paid attention to them, and I have no desire to see the movie or read the book.  But, Melissa Jenna brings up some excellent food for thought in her post on these things.

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1.  Christian women need to reject both of these works, and instead, use our voices in support of what is good, right and true.

If my Facebook feed is any indication, most of my friends (both IRL and online) share my perspective that we don't need "50 Shades" or "Magic Mike" polluting our minds.  But... what if we take that a step further.  What if, instead of rallying against what culture is promoting as "okay", we stand firm on what is RIGHT.  Both are good, but did you know the best way to spot a counterfeit bill is to work with real bills?  Counterfeit bill spotters don't spend their time going over bad bills.  They spend their time with the real thing.  I believe we should be doing the same.  Rather than making "50 Shades" or "Magic Mike" the center, or starting points, of our conversations, perhaps we should be devoting more time to talking about God's design for marriage, and letting God fulfill our needs spiritually, and work with our husbands to get our physical needs met.

2.  Why aren't church leaders publicly denouncing 50 Shades or Magic Mike, by the way?

I haven't seen anything from our church about "Magic Mike" or about "50 Shades".  Nothing from the pulpit, nothing from Women's Ministries.  And we just finished a 6 week "Campaign for Marriage".  But... that would have been the perfect time to address these issues, but nothing was mentioned.  I'm glad to see that many Christian bloggers have taken up the fight against "Magi c Mike" and "50 Shades", but it would be nice to see pastors actively admonishing their congregations to stay away from this "mommy porn".

3. Just because evidently this summer we’re all about objectifying men, that doesn't make it okay. It’s not like there’s a scale, and all these years, it’s been heavy on the objectification-of-women side, and we need to balance it out by objectifying men now.

I can't say it any better than the way Melissa put it here.  It's time to STOP the madness, and stand up for what is right, true, and holy.

Further Thoughts

Some comments on Melissa's blog have tried to point out that if we're throwing out "Magic Mike" and "50 Shades", that we should go all the way and stop watching TV, reading secular magazines, and hanging out on the internet.  Do I think that's a good idea?  Well, yes, and no.

I do think that God calls Christians to a high standard.  We need to be mindful of what we're putting into our thoughts.  Garbage in, garbage out, so they say.  But, I don't think that means that we're supposed to be walking around with our heads in the sand, keeping ourselves totally clueless about whats the "latest and greatest" in the secular world.  As Christians, I do think it is important that we know what our non-Christian relatives and friends are exposing themselves to, so that we can show them that God offers so much more than what the world does.  Does that mean that I'm going to head out to the local theater this weekend with a group of my friends and watch "Magic Mike"?  Absolutely not.  What it does mean, that when I have the opportunity to explain how damaging mommy porn can be to a woman's view of sexuality, not to mention her self-worth, I'm going to do so.

Some people may tell me,"Oh, you don't know what you're talking about because you haven't read the book or seen the movie".  But that's not the point.  The point is... is "Magic Mike" and "50 Shades" good, right, true, pure, holy entertainment that we would be okay watching or reading with Jesus, or does God call Christians to something way better, and far beyond the imagination of any secular screenplay or book writer.

What are your thoughts on how we should respond to "50 Shades" and "Magic Mike"?