Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Calling all Crafters!

I didn’t get a lot of responses on my Little Miss Craftypants post, but that’s ok. Anyone who wants to participate is welcome, and if no one wants to, you can all see what I make :o)

Anyone who wants to participate in February needs to email me by the end of the day Friday (catchingourrainbow (at) gmail (dot) com), and I will make a post showing the projects that we are going to make. Your email needs to include:

  • A picture of the project you are going to make (or a picture of your inspiration)
  • A link to the project if you got your idea online or the name of the book/magazine you got your idea from
  • Tell me why you picked this project, you can even add a little history about how long you’ve knitted, why you started sewing, or why you love painting, etc.
  • Also, let me know if you are interested in making this some sort of challenge? I’m not sure yet what the prize would be…maybe we can do three months and everyone who participated can do a crafty exchange or something?

I was thinking about saying the projects are due Monday, February 25–does that sound reasonable?

I’m looking forward to your emails and having some ladies to get crafty with!

9 Comments »

Not a Resolution

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl. Throughout the year, I try to be more mindful of stuff or improve on things, but I rarely set hard “goals” because I beat myself up so much and I have so much anxiety when I don’t achieve them.

Having said that, I have come to a realization that I have to stop comparing myself to other people. I know that this seems so obvious, but I really struggle with this. I compare myself to people who have more than me–women who are fertile and have no problems in pregnancy, people who make more money than me and don’t struggle to pay their bills, people who seem to have endless patience and compassion (or other enviable qualities), people who get to travel the world while I’m stuck in small town East Tennessee, etc. I also compare myself to people who are facing hardships that I am not facing (the “Oh my gosh, if it happened to them it could happen to me and I should panic about it” comparison). Either way, it makes me feel bad about myself, and if I would just stop comparing myself to others, I would see that my life is actually pretty great and I’m a good person who is worth knowing.

Today, one of the girls I work with came in our office and announced that she is pregnant. She actually announced it by grabbing my hand and putting it on her belly and beaming about having a baby. She went on to say the she got “fixed” three years ago because they were done having children, and she only has a .03% chance of getting pregnant. I just smiled weakly because I was so shocked and luckily she was too excited to notice that I wasn’t jumping for joy. After she told everyone in the office, one of my co-workers told her congratulations, and she responded with, “Yeah, I guess you could say that!” (because, you know, this wasn’t planned and was as prevented as you can get). My mind immediately went to a pity party–she has a .03% chance of getting pregnant because she had invasive surgery to prevent pregnancy and yet she is having a baby and I’m looking at adoption options. How unfair is that? It makes me want to scream and cry and throw a legit temper tantrum because I am just so angry at the unfairness of it.

Yet I can’t compare myself to her. I will make myself crazy and miserable if I compare myself to all of the people having babies. I have to just concentrate on myself–my health, my sanity, my marriage, and the options that are available to me. What can I do with what I have been given? Because no amount of envy or wishing or anger or longing or comparing is going to change what I have been given and make me like someone else.

So it’s not a New Year’s Resolution (because it’s almost February and I don’t do those anyway), but it is something I am going to try to work on. I’m going to concentrate on me and try to not feel like a failure when I am not accomplishing the same things as those around me or go into panic mode and live in fear when something terrible happens to someone else. I know that is easier said than done, but I think awareness is a good first step.

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Endurance

For those of you who are church-goers, have you ever gone to church and felt like the pastor was speaking directly to you? Like he is addressing everything you are going through and his sermon was written specifically to encourage you with your current struggles? I have felt like this every Sunday for weeks, and I have been taking a lot of notes so I can go back to them for encouragement and insight. I wanted to let you all know a little of what he said in hopes that you find encouragement too.

Pastor has been doing a sermon series on Nehemiah for a few weeks now. In his first sermon on the series, he talked about how Nehemiah went straight to prayer and fasting when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had fallen. He said that when disaster comes, we usually do one of two things: we ignore the problem or we frantically try to fix the problem. We do not usually immediately turn to prayer. This spoke to me quite a bit. In this journey, how much time have I spent charting, researching, blogging, and doing other things to “fix” my problems? We always have a plan B, plan C, heck we’re on plan G right now, but I think in a lot of ways, pastor was right–I spend a whole lot more time trying to fix our fertility issues than I do praying about them. Which is funny considering they are ultimately out of my hands.

Yesterday, I swear pastor was talking to me. The sermon was on endurance. Pastor talked about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and how the people were tired and wanted to quit after the wall was half built, and he said that opposition is inevitable, especially when you are doing something that God has called you to. Something I thought was particularly relevant was when he said that the tools Satan uses to bring opposition haven’t changed over the years. Nehemiah refers to discouraging people (Neh 4:1-3) and discouraging progress (Neh 4:9-10), and these are things we face today. I think it is something we especially face with infertility. I know each of us has had a conversation with someone who just didn’t understand and ended up discouraging or upsetting us instead of building us up, and I also know that we have all faced discouraging results–things just don’t move along the way we want them to. Every cycle it feels like we have to start over from the beginning, especially if we experience a loss. Pastor kept emphasizing: just keep praying, just keep building, just keep picking up bricks, just keep praying.

It was just really encouraging yesterday to hear this–to be reminded to persevere through prayer. Prayer may not make me able to have a child, but it will encourage me and it will keep me connected to God and His plan.

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Perspective

I came to a life-changing realization a few days ago. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it was big and important and it has affected  my actions ever since.

As you all know, hubby has been very sickly. He still goes to work because he is stubborn and doesn’t have any paid time off, but he spends almost all of his time at home on the couch in pain. He has also slept in the guest bed for the majority of the past three weeks because he tosses and turns so much from the pain, and he doesn’t want to keep me up. This has resulted in a few things, the biggest one being that I am the only one who is able to do anything around the house. I was always aware of everything that he does to help out, but I guess I never realized just how helpful those things were. Hubby’s sickness has also resulted in a severe lack of intimacy. I don’t just mean sex (although that hasn’t happened in over three weeks), there has been very minimal cuddling and playfulness. As I said before, we haven’t even been sleeping in the same bed (which is a big deal because we are the rare couple that actually cuddles all night).

I’m not sure how many of you have read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I highly recommend it because it changes the way you see people, especially your spouse. The basic idea of the book is that everyone has his or her own primary love language, which is the way you feel and receive love. The different languages are words of affirmation, receiving gifts, physical touch, acts of service, and quality time. My love language is physical touch. You can ask anyone who knows me in real life, and they can confirm that is definitely my love language. So this has been a hard month for me. Not only am I on my own keeping up with the house and the puppy and all of the meals, I am not receiving affirmation from my husband in the love language that is the most important to me. Add in a few pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, and my due date, and I’ve done a whole lot of feeling sorry for myself.

Now for the good part, my realization. It took me a long time to figure out my husband’s primary love language, but I finally realized about a year ago that his is acts of service. It was hard for me to figure out because he has such a servant’s heart, and he is always so busy taking care of me that I don’t get a lot of opportunities to take care of him. Do you see where I’m going with this? A few days ago, I finally pulled myself out of my pity party and saw this as an opportunity to take care of hubby and serve him and make him feel completely filled up with love.  I spent my day off yesterday cleaning, organizing, and doing laundry, and it no longer felt like a burden that I had to take on all by myself. Every moment I spent working around the house felt like an act of love towards my husband, and instead of feeling bitter and resentful, I felt thankful for the opportunity.

It’s all about perspective. How can you change yours?

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Little Miss Craftypants Club/Challenge?

Hello lovely ladies!

I have read a few different blogs that mentioned craftiness: sewing, knitting, painting, crochet, etc. and I was thinking about doing some sort of crafty club/challenge. I know I’ve starting doing a lot more sewing and knitting in the past year to deal with everything that is going on and it would be fun to share our projects. After all, there is much more to each of us than infertility, and I would like to share that with you. I know Dog Mom Chasing the Stork did a Lazy Pinners Challenge for awhile, and I would love to do something like that, except it doesn’t necessarily have to be on Pinterest and it’s just for crafty stuff. I need some sort of fun thing to do with you all to help brighten my spirits and give me a distraction. I haven’t figured out the details yet–I’m thinking one craft per month and you can choose to participate or not depending on where you are at the time? It’s a little late to do one in January, so we could start in February. Let know know if you are interested and any ideas you have about how we should do it. You can comment here or send me an email: catchingourrainbow (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Insensitive Comments and a Sad Day

Yesterday hubby’s volunteer fire department had their annual banquet. Despite being sickly, hubby insisted on going because he loves the department and the guys he volunteers with. In an earlier post, I briefly mentioned that one of the guys at the department just got married and a month after the wedding, he told hubby that his wife is pregnant. At the banquet, a few of us were talking with him and I asked him how he is enjoying married life. He told me that they are expecting a baby boy, and I had already braced myself for the announcement, so I handled alright, but I was really upset when he followed this announcement with “That’s right, I’ve got Olympic swimmers!” Seriously? Is that necessary? I was hurt and offended and we aren’t even dealing with male factor. I’ve learned so much since I’ve entered the IF/loss community, and one of the things that I have learned is how damaging a diagnosis of male factor can be on a man’s ego and self image. Honestly, I don’t see how these men do it, because a lot of men don’t announce pregnancy by talking about how excited they are to have a baby–they announce it by talking about how they are man enough to knock a girl up. I have never heard a women announce pregnancy and then say, “That’s right, my uterus is so much better than yours at sustaining life!” If I do ever hear that, I will punch her in the face. Last night we were in a big group of people, and there were a lot of excited high fives and cheers so I kept my mouth shut, but I feel sick every time I think about it and my heart breaks for men who have to put up with that when they are already down.

In other news, my pregnancy twin had a baby girl this past weekend. I’m going to refrain from further comment on this because it will be petty and unfair.

Also, today was the due date of my first pregnancy. I wanted to write a whole post about this, but I’m still processing, and I don’t need to tell this community about how today makes me feel.

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Still in the Trenches and a Sickly Hubby

This month is not our month.The spotting I had 9 DPO was apparently a fluke (or the new normal because I failed to mention that the only time I had mid-cycle spotting and wasn’t pregnant was the previous cycle), and AF arrived on Wednesday. The truth is that we really didn’t try very hard this past cycle because hubby has been sickly, and I went into this TWW knowing that we might have missed our window. While I am a little disappointed, I’m ready to shake it off and move to next month.

The reason that I haven’t posted in a while is that hubby is quite sick. He went to his doctor on Friday the 4th, and his doctor referred him to a gastroenterologist. We went and saw the specialist on Wednesday, and he sent hubby to the hospital for a stat CT scan. The diagnosis? Hubby has Crohn’s disease, and he currently has a lot of inflammation and a small amount of air leaking from his small intestine into his abdomen, which is causing a lot of pain. The doctor said there is a 70% chance that this leak will be fixed with medication (antibiotics and Hu.mira), but there is a 30% chance it will turn into an abscess and he will need surgery. Hubby started the antibiotics on Wednesday, and he is going in for a TB test today. Once he goes back and they see the test is negative, the doctor can prescribe the Humira. My biggest immediate concern was helping hubby’s pain, and I asked the doctor to give him some pain killers so he can actually sleep through the night. At this point, we are just waiting for the Hu.mira and watching for any signs of an abscess–increased pain, fever, etc.

Crohn’s is a big deal, and Hu.mira is a big bad drug, but this is not too much of a shock for us. Hubby had some major tummy issues a few years ago, and Crohn’s was suggested as the culprit, but he was never officially diagnosed. He went into remission and we didn’t give it much more thought until he started feeling terrible again at the end of October.

Needless to say, TTC is on the back burner right now. I’m ready to try again this month if hubby feels up to it, but if he doesn’t, we’ll just keep waiting until he is better. Right now, his health is so much more important to me than TTC.

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Fear vs. Hope

Infertiles deal with a lot of fear. During my journey, I’ve been afraid that I wouldn’t get pregnant, afraid that I would miscarry, afraid that I would miscarry again, afraid that we would never have children, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to function after multiple mc’s, afraid of BFN’s, afraid of BFP’s, afraid that my friends would move on without me, afraid that there is something seriously wrong with me, afraid that hubby will give up on me, etc. Fear is just a huge part of this whole process, and it is something I have been struggling with a lot. There is one big fear that has been consuming me for months.

I’m terrified of hope.

Terrified.

I’ve been apathetic and disconnected. I’ve used reason and stuck to the facts, writing lists and making back-up plans. I’ve mentally beaten down any symptom spotting. I hesitantly post about our plans, thinking they sound too naive and unrealistic, but they are met with so much enthusiasm. I get comments full of smiley faces and exclamation marks, and it reminds me of how far I have fallen from hope. I am so grateful to have this community to be hopeful for me because I seem to be incapable of it right now. It’s like I’ve been in the darkness too long and can’t stand to be in the light because it is so painful.

But at some point, I have to let myself hope again.

I have a beautiful friend who always seems to understand my heart, and she told me a few months ago that I have to stop prophesying disaster over myself. She’s right. This is no way to live. The question is, how do you move away from the fear and allow hope back into your heart? Are there maybe some magic sunglasses that make the transition from the cave into the light a little easier?

I noticed yesterday that I was spotting. I’m pretty sure yesterday was 9 DPO, and I have only had mid-cycle spotting three times before. Two of those times, I was pregnant. Ever since I saw it, I’ve been using all of my mental and emotional energy trying to suppress hope, and it is exhausting. Would it be too much to hope that this is our month? Would it be too much to see the spotting as a good sign of implantation? Would it be too much to pray that we get a BFP and our take home baby? Would it be too much to hope that this year will be different–full of joy instead of pain?

Thanks you for leaving encouraging and enthusiastic comments–they help more than you know. I hope I can feel that same enthusiasm soon.

 

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The BFP Plan

Over the past four months, I have thought a lot about what our next steps would be. We came up with a plan to try one more time to get pregnant and stay pregnant without any major tests or treatments. I was really convinced from the beginning that my low progesterone was the problem, so we’re going to give it one more try with the supplements, and I’m as hopeful as I can be about it while still staying sane.

The biggest question I’ve been asking myself lately is, “What do I do when I get that BFP?” After getting pregnant three times, I’m fairly confident that I can get pregnant again if we try hard enough (but I also know not to take anything for granted when it comes to TTC and pregnancy). So I had to come up with a plan, a BFP plan, based off of my last three mc’s. Here’s the general idea:

  • I will not call to make an appointment until I hit six  weeks. I lost my first two pregnancies so early that I never even made it to my first appointment, and with my last pregnancy, I somehow had it in my mind that my baby would be fine if I could just make it to an appointment. Now that I have successfully made it to a first appointment and had two betas, I know the truth: going to see a midwife or OB earlier is not going to keep me from miscarrying. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but calling to cancel three different appointments for three different pregnancies was humiliating, and I don’t want to do it for a fourth time. So to avoid making yet another first appointment to only cancel it, I’m not even going to make an appointment until I am far enough along to hopefully find a heartbeat. 
  • No Betas I thought these would be helpful and enlightening, but all they really did was upset me and stress me out, so I don’t see a reason why I need them. I’m not going to argue if my midwife really wants me to do them, but I’m definitely not asking for them.
  • I will not tell anyone IRL until I see a heartbeat. Whenever I say something like this, people always look shocked and say, “You aren’t going to tell your husband?” I guess I’m the only one who thinks it is implied that I will tell my husband. There is a woman I work with who has some weird sixth sense–she always comes into my office on the day I get a BFP and asks me if I’m pregnant with this knowing look on her face. With my first pregnancy, she asked me before I even knew. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to avoid that because I’m the worst liar ever.
  • Double my progesterone supplements. When I went for my follow-up appointment after my last mc, my midwife said she could increase my progesterone for my next pregnancy, at which point I asked her if it was necessary because my progesterone was within the normal range on during my last pregnancy. She told me it wasn’t necessary but it couldn’t hurt, so I’ve decided that I will increase it to twice a day as suggested once I get a BFP. Why not before? I am very susceptible to medications that make you tired. For example, I cannot take a Benadryl without taking a two hour nap. When I take those supplements at night, I sleep so well because they make me so tired, and the midwife said to take one in the morning and one at night if I choose to take two. I have a boring desk job, and it’s hard enough to stay awake without taking the pill in the mornings, so I’m not going to give up two weeks of productivity until I get a BFP and it’s totally worth it.
  • I will take it easy. Nothing strenuous at all. I’ll get a burly EMT the change to bottle at the water cooler at work instead of doing it myself. I’ll do a lot of sitting around the house. I’ll read a book on my lunch break instead of going for a walk. I’ll love on hubby in ways that don’t involve my pelvis. It’s not permanent–just until I go to the first appointment at get some confirmation that I have a baby that is actually growing and has a heart that’s beating.
  • I’m limiting myself to one HPT every other day.  I don’t want to ban myself from them entirely in case I need some reassurance, but I’m limiting myself so I won’t constantly agonize over the tests. Part of me wants to say that I have to get rid of them after I use them so I can’t obsessively compare them all the time, but I’m trying to be realistic here.

Some of these points are for practicality (Do I really need to pay the copay on another appointment if I’m going to lose it a few days later?); some are to boost baby’s chances (A little more progesterone can’t hurt); and some are to save my sanity (Multiple HPTs a day can’t be mentally healthy). We’ll see how it all plays out once I actually see that second line.

What do you all think? Anything I should add?

9 Comments »

TTC Pregnancy #4–Cycle #1

If you think this post seems terribly apathetic, that’s because it is. That’s where I am right now. Bear with me, I’m hoping it will pass soon…

For the first time since August, I am officially in the two week wait. I wrote awhile back about how I felt stuck, and you would think that starting TTC again would help me feel like I’m achieving some forward motion. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I had a rough New Years. I have a very vivid memory of going on vacation with my very pregnant friend and our husbands on New Years last year. I remember crying to my husband because I wasn’t pregnant yet. Sure, we had only been trying for 4-5 months, but I had this gut feeling that something was wrong and we would never have a baby. It’s been a year since that moment, and we are essentially in the same place. So TTC may seem like progress, but we started TTC well over a year ago,  I’ve been pregnant three times, and the end result is that we’re in the same place we were last year.  You could even say that we’ve backtracked a little because now we have  more heartache and less hope. I’m fairly certain I won’t feel like we are moving forward until I am solidly into a viable pregnancy or we move on and start the paperwork and classes for the foster adoption plan–Plan H (seriously, there are only so many letters in the alphabet).

I’m not really holding my breath for this cycle because hubby and I haven’t been particularly diligent in our baby-making efforts. The timing wasn’t perfect–we had sex around the general time of ovulation, but we might have missed the exact window. Hubby hasn’t been feeling well (he’s going to the doctor tomorrow to figure out what could be up with his stomach), and I have stayed true to my promise of not pressuring him when he doesn’t want to. I didn’t even tell him when I was ovulating because I didn’t want to upset him or stress him out by making him think that he has to have sex with me. So we are basically only having sex when we feel like it and I’ve been watching for ovulation and hoping that he feels like it at the right time. It’s not really the perfect recipe for baby-making, but at this point, our relationship and hubby’s emotional health is much more important to me.

Even though I make it sound like I was tricking hubby by not telling him when I was ovulating, he is fully up to date and well aware that I am in the TWW. He also knows the official POAS date: Friday the 12th. I’ve been taking my progesterone in the evenings and I have enough to make it until Thursday before I need to refill it which is perfect because I think Friday is 14 DPO. So I’ll take a HPT on Friday morning, and if it is positive, I’ll refill my prescription that day. Then I will follow the “BFP Plan” that I have comprised over the past four months since my last mc. I’m planing on posting about it in detail tomorrow, so be sure to check back in, because you know you are on the edge of your seats.

7 Comments »

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