Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This Stuff is HARD

I just finished re-reading the first Harry Potter book. I may be 32, but I love children's literature. I was  struck by the ending of the book. When Harry has to go back to the Dursleys for the summer, he is surprisingly upbeat about it. He knows what it's like there, he grew up in it. But he has a small kernel of knowledge now that changes everything. There's a spark in him that they can't stamp out and that makes him smile as he walks away from his school friends.

I need to find that spark again in myself. When I get down about things in my life and struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed, I need to remember what my spark is. Here's the thing though, I'm not sure what it is anymore.

It used to be working with children, but it's not that anymore.

It used to be sewing, but it's not that anymore.

It used to be dancing, but it's not that anymore.

I know what it should be. It should be my faith. I should be joyful everyday to be alive and glorify my God because of that. Instead, I sideline that and forget to give thanks for the good things God has given me. I focus on the chores I need to do, the obligations I have in my life, the duties I have to do during the day. Ugh, that's a terrible way to live. So as I sit in bed, unwinding and going to sleep, I am making a change. I am not going to see tomorrow as a list of things I have to do. I will choose to see it as an opportunity and a gracious gift. Tomorrow is full of hope and promise and the chance to share the joy in my heart (or at least build it up).

So while health issues abound, projects are unfinished at home, more time is spent away from my husband that with him, and work can be a pain at times...I will rejoice because I am alive and here and able to change my attitude about the situation, even if I can't change the situation.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Being Kind to Myself

In church today, my pastor said something that struck me. It was a simple enough phrase, and something that I am all too much aware of, but tend to neglect. He said, "The most influential person in your life is you. You talk to yourself the most and know everything about yourself."

You know what? It's so true.

With Ginger on the night shift, I spend a large amount of my waking hours alone. Of course I have an inner monologue going on the whole time. Sometimes I can shut her up with a good book, but not often enough. Thinking about what the pastor said today makes me believe that my inner monologue doesn't like me very much. She tells me that I can't lose the weight. That I should just give in and have a burger and fries. You'll never be as skinny as your sisters, so why try? Just don't go to the gym and if anyone asks, say you did. You don't deserve to be healthy and get a baby. You're too ugly and stupid for that.

Where did she come from?

Where did this mean girl come from and why did she decide that I was to be the center of her ridicule? I grew up in a nice household. My parents loved me (still do) and encouraged me to be independent. I recall moving to the beat of my own drum through my teenage years and on into college. I have positive friends and a husband who adores me. So why do I have this voice in my head that makes me believe horrible things about myself?

I honestly don't know. But I do know that I have to beat her. So when I feel like I can't win or can't do what I've set out to do, when I hear that nagging voice start to whisper, I shut her up. I tell myself that I am strong. I deserve to be healthy and happy. I deserve to be a healthy person so I can be an amazing mother, because I will be. One way or another, I will be a mother. I am loving and deserving of all the good things I have in my life and so much more.

It's hard sometimes, to be kind to myself. But I can only take it one day at a time. Right after I eat the last mini cupcake. :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fertility clinics and requirements

It's been an interesting route Ginger and I have taken so far in our journey to become parents. Interesting from my perspective as an American, in any case. In the US, it's very common to have insurance that pays for infertility treatments or for people to simply pay out of pocket for it. In New Zealand however, there is a national healthcare system in place. Among other things- all GP visits for under 13s are free (in my area of NZ), prescription medicine is subsidized (we only pay around $5 per script for Ginger, which is awesome considering how many scrips he's on), flu shots are free for a large percentage of the population, and there is a system for publicly funded infertility treatment.

Yes, you read that right. There is a way for a couple to get treatments up to and including IVF with ISCI for free. 100% free. It's mind-boggling to think about. But for Ginger and I, it's our only option.

I only work part time and Ginger works more than full-time, but we just make enough to cover our basics and add to our savings. Our savings have taken a few hits the last few years with getting married, buying a car or two, and Ginger needing to take sick leave from work. So our savings aren't what we'd like, our mortgage is still two years away from being finished and we're looking at the short end of a stick with wages. Without public funding, we can't proceed with infertility treatment.

After a referral in April and two more rounds of staph infections and antibiotics for Ginger, we have met with our doctor at Fertility Associates and have been processed for the waiting list for treatment. But guess what they didn't tell me. They didn't tell me that in order to be fully eligible, I need to lose weight.

It's been a heartbreaking couple of days since I got that bit of news and it's just that. Heartbreaking. I want to be a mother. I want to start the next part of our lives. But every time I think we've got it sorted out and will make progress, some other bump appears on that road. It's not a massive amount of weight I have to lose for them, but it's just hard to accept that this has to happen in order to even get on the waiting list. Which is 10-12 months anyway. It's so far away, I can't even touch it.

So I need to start making serious changes and this blog is going to be my journal. It's going to be brutal and not pretty. It's going to make me cry. Hopefully it doesn't make you cry too.

August 7th update:
       Weight: 92.1 kg
       Goal Weight: 87 kg (for the clinic), 75 kg for me
       Food diary:
             breakfast: 1/2 cup skim milk with 1 scoop of chocolate flavored health supplement
                         Verdict: Satisfying
             lunch: large salad of spinach, kale, mushrooms, apple, carrot, ham, boiled egg, flaxseed and
                  cheddar cheese
                          Verdict: Surprisingly satisfying and felt full all afternoon
             snack: handful of vanilla sugar coated almonds, my weakness
                          Verdict: I should have chosen plain almonds. But am weak with sweets.
             dinner: MacDonalds cheeseburger combo with cola.
                          Verdict: I undid all the good I had done all day. Was craving some serious salt and
                               carbs. Need to balance it during the day so I don't do this at night.
     Exercise diary:
             30 Day Shred after I had breakfast. Not bad, but could have done better.

What needs to improve? Well, it's just been one day, so it's hard to be judgmental right now. I know I need to be better about my food. I'll be doing some meal prep and planning this weekend to make this coming week easier to stay on track. I need to exercise every single day. Doing something, anything to get the blood moving.

So here we go. Ginger is going to help me and my sister is sending me information and a plan as well. Really have to be determined to lose the weight this time around because if I don't, we may never have a family and God knows how much I want that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Coming through the other side

It's been months now since I wrote on here. Months of agony, heartbreak, the one year mark, waiting for a referral to an RE and waiting longer for a diagnosis.

Waiting sucks.

The mourning process that we've been going though sucks too.

But I finally feel, for the first time in months, that things are where they should be. We still don't have a lot of answers and what answers we do have have given us more questions, but I don't quite feel so lost in this journey.

I want to talk more about the process in NZ of moving on from our GP for care, but I'm not quite ready for that today. Today, though, is halfway through National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and I have decided to go public with our personal struggles with infertility. It has been an eye-opening week as people I didn't know had struggled with infertility have come forward as I have been posting information, links and images to my personal Facebook feed. It's heartbreaking to see so many people I know suffering the way that we are, but many of them have come through on the other side and have families now. There is hope for us after all. :)

Here's just a few of my favorite images from this week so far.

So for what it's worth...I'm glad to be back here and chronicling our journey from two to more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's been a long, cold winter

You know how you get started on something and are really determined to stick with it? You know what happens at some point in the process.


Here's a quick catch-up of the last two months for Ginger and I.

- We were in a community theatre production of Cinderella at the end of July. So July was a blur because of rehearsals, prop-building, singing, choreography and late nights.

- I turned 31. Ginger and I went out to dinner and the movies. I don't remember what we saw. I think it was good though.

Embracing older woman color- red.
First time I purposefully bought red. 

This is not trick photography. It was a GIANT pizza.

- I finished my nannying job and have jumped back into job-hunting for a better paying job or a second part-time job (I still work with the old folks most days).

- Ginger has been fighting major skin allergies for the entire winter. Culminating in several doctor visits and a temporary relocation for us.

- Ginger has realized (in the last couple of days) that he can't keep doing the work he's doing. That's what is causing the skin rash to stick around. Ugh.

- I have gone through 4 more cycles with no BFP. Not even a late AF. Double ugh.

- I started doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.

That about sums it up. There's just so much going on and I am hoping that things will settle down again and we can get back to something normal. But I realized today that I need to be writing. I need to get my words out somehow and this blog is a better venue than facebook. Hope to see you soon.

ps- I also started doing some research into essential oils and their effectiveness at increasing fertility and have been using them more in our daily living. More in-depth post to follow soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Next Step

When you've been TTC for awhile, oftentimes it can be discouraging. It's discouraging when you don't get a positive result as quick as you thought you might. It's discouraging when month after month, nothing happens. The longer it goes on, the more easily discouraged you can get.

While you are happy for the friends and family around you who are announcing their pregnancies, having their babies and otherwise making the whole process look ridiculously easy, it's still discouraging.

When I get phone calls or messages from my family asking when they will be getting a niece or nephew, it's discouraging because I have to say "We're still trying."

The danger here is to fall into the thought process that makes TTC a chore, a burden and a heartbreaking activity instead of the intimate union between two people who love each other. It is hard work.

When you get to a certain point, you have to admit to yourself that you may need help to TTC. I came to that point last month and called my doctor to talk about the next step.

That's a really scary thought. Admitting to more than just yourself and your partner that you may need assistance to conceive is a terrifying thought and a brave step to take. As it is, there are a large number of people who cannot conceive naturally and do need some sort of assistance.

So I met with my doctor and talked to her. She gave me some information and reassured me that things will be okay. I went away from that appointment with two notes for blood draws on specific days in my cycle as well as a baggie with a container for Ginger to get tested as well. Last Thursday was the day. I got up early and got to the hospital to drop stuff off and get my blood drawn. Of course now the wait is killing me.

I don't know what it's like in the US, but here in NZ I had to pay for my doctor's appointment, but to get the testing done at the lab, we didn't have to pay anything. I simply showed up with my paper from the doctor and they drew my blood. Oh yeah, what they don't tell you- the woman pulled about 10 vials worth of my blood. She looked at my paper and turned to the wall and just kept pulling vials off the shelf. Laid them all out in front of me and I nervously asked, "How much are you taking today?"

"Oh, only about 30 milliliters." (Only about 2 tablespoons).

Still, having those vials lined up one after another with my blood in them sure looked like more than 2 tablespoons.

So now we wait. If anything shows up, then we'll be able to go from there. But if nothing shows, then it's another six months of trying before my doctor will order an ultrasound and scope out my lady bits. It's a slow process, but I am still young and there's still a high chance of us conceiving on our own within 2 years. So here's to waiting and the next step, whatever that may be.

Monday, May 19, 2014


I had a really vivid dream last night.

It was Mother's Day, probably 12-14 years in the future. Ginger had brought in the gifts from our kids and I was looking at them before going to see my children. I had 5 children. Five beautiful, growing, healthy, bright, smart children. Close in age like I wanted, but just a couple more than we are planning on. 2 girls, 3 boys.

In my dream, I knew it was a dream, and my heart ached for these children.

Then it was the next day, a school day. We were outside waiting for their various buses to arrive and pick them up. Ginger came out of the house and started smoking ciggies with the neighbour. I found that appalling (and relieved to know he'd never smoke in real life) and felt annoyed and unsatisfied with him in general. This was a terrible feeling, I never want to feel that way about my soulmate. Silly dream.

While waiting for the buses to pick up my children, I took care to watch each of them, trying to imprint them into my memory. I failed, all I have are impressions of each of these dream children. The oldest is a girl- Erika, she reminds me a lot of myself. Dark hair, bold older sister approach. Henry James, the second youngest, blonde, bright boy with glasses. I like that name, Henry James. I never thought about it before, but in my dream it was like the name was being shouted at me. So that's going on my list of names for my sons.

Another son was in a wheelchair. With the work I do, I have come into contact with a few children who are handicapped and this has always been a thought of mine. What would I do if I have a child who has special needs? In my dream future, I do have a son like this. He is precious and I spent time in my dream kneeling down to talk to him and watch his face for a smile. It makes me cry now.

The buses came, the children left, but my second daughter came running back (ah the magic of dreams and the power to deny logic). She had found a packet at a shop containing a bit of lace that I had been wanting. She gave it to her dad and Ginger brought it to me. I knew what I would use that lace for, a pretty skirt for my baby girl.

And that was it...that was my dream this morning. Ginger came and woke me up before he left and I woke up sad that the dream had ended and I couldn't see my children behind my closed eyes. My heart aches for these children I don't have and I wonder if someday I'll be standing with them outside the driveway waiting for their buses to arrive and take them to school. I wonder if I'll ever meet my children.

It's a terrible thing to want something so much and not know if you'll ever get it. As we go into cycle 10 of TTC, I get more and more scared that something is wrong with either myself or Ginger. I shouldn't worry about it too much, but I do. Part of me really wants to call my doctor and seeing about scheduling testing next month if it doesn't happen this cycle, but then I'm scared to find out. The unknown is almost less scary that the known.