Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Kindness Friday Part I

Previously, I wrote about the mental image I have of my womb: “I always imagine my womb as an angry, hostile, barren place. In my mind’s eye, it’s grey and dusty and full of cobwebs, and it is a hateful place that rejects life.”

For this week’s kindness Friday, I tried to re-imagine it. I know it sounds weird, but it was actually a fairly healing process. This morning when I woke up, I was so perfectly comfortable. I had multiple quilts on the bed so there was a nice heaviness to them, and I was so very warm and snuggly and just wanted to stay there forever. While I was enjoying my perfect moment, I tried to imagine my womb as a similar place–a place that is warm, comfortable, and dark (not scary dark, more like a dimmed room). I imagined it as a place that is welcoming, a place that a baby would want to snuggle in and stay for awhile. It made me feel better, encouraged, and I’m going to try hard to hang on to that mental image.

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Kindness Friday

After my last post, Theresa from Journey to the Finish Line and I have decided that we need a kindness Friday. The idea is that every Friday you write a post where you are kind to yourself and fight against some of the negative internal dialogue we all subject ourselves to. People in this community can provide such great support, but the support always seems to go outward–to other people, and it is time fore us to start sending some of that support inward.

This can take lots of different forms, so get creative. Here are some ideas I have thought of if you are unsure of where to start:

  • Confront a specific lie that you tell yourself and write about it. Write about why you tell yourself this lie and why it isn’t true. Then replace it with something else–something encouraging, kind, and maybe even flattering.
  • Write yourself an encouraging letter or comment and post it on your blog.
  • Draw/paint/doodle a kind truth about yourself and put it up where you will see it. It could be as simple as one word. Post a picture of it.
  • Take some time where you pamper yourself and surround yourself with things that make you happy. Do this for no other reason than the fact that you deserve it, and then tell us about it. 
  • Write a post where you tell us all something awesome about you. Don’t be modest, brag on yourself.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of the kindness tomorrow, and on Fridays to come! Also, since I have started writing about hubby’s Crohn’s disease, I seem to have acquired a new group of followers, and I encourage you all to participate as well. A lot of my posts are directed to the IF/loss community, but I know that those suffering from a painful and frustrating disease like Crohn’s could use some kindness as well!

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Lies I Tell Myself

Over the past month or two, our small group at church has been studying James. A few weeks ago, we talked about James 3 and the tongue. We talked about the devastating power that our tongues have and how this power for evil includes not only the words we speak, but also our internal dialogue. This discussion made me much more aware of the things I tell myself, and I’ve begun to realize how hurtful some of those lies are. Here are some of the lies I tell myself about my fertility:

  • I hit the jackpot with my husband, and I used up all of my life blessings with him. He is so wonderful that I don’t deserve any more blessings. 
  • I somehow jinxed myself earlier in life by claiming that I didn’t want children. It wasn’t until I experienced some serious emotional healing and self discovery that I found my deep desire and calling to be a mother, but it was too late.
  • I’ve had a lot of hard stuff happen in my life, and I’ve begun to believe that is just the way it will always be for me–as soon as I recover from one life disaster, another will follow in its stead. That’s just the way my life will always be, and it can never change.
  • I always imagine my womb as an angry, hostile, barren place. In my mind’s eye, it’s grey and dusty and full of cobwebs, and it is a hateful place that rejects life.
  • I did something to cause my losses. Whether it was from a physical shortcoming or from being a person who doesn’t deserve children, those losses are my fault.

I’m working very hard now to change the language I use when I speak to myself. I’m learning to be kind to myself and not place blame where it does not belong. And when I am to blame, I am learning to treat myself with grace, understanding that we are all broken, and if my God can forgive me, I can forgive myself. I’m also learning to trust hope. This can be so hard to do–as a friend of mine said, hope is heavy because it is an anchor.

I think that all of us could benefit from this. We have  to change our internal dialogue. We have to stop beating ourselves up. We have to stop prophesying disaster over ourselves. We have to start treating ourselves with grace. If we can’t do it for ourselves, we have to do it for our future children. I challenge each of you–pay attention to your internal dialogue over the next week, and make it a point to be kind. All of those wonderful, encouraging things you post on each other’s walls? Say those to yourself, and see what a difference it makes.

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Catching up

First of all, thank you so much for your support on my last post. Although I’m a little ashamed of just how bitter I sounded, I appreciate all of you validating my feelings. I guess it just goes to show that people say dumb things no matter what you are going through, whether it be infertility, loss, or even Crohn’s disease. Life lesson learned.

I have a few things I wanted to post, so I’m going to go with bullet points today:

  • Hubby has been doing much better since the ER trip. I’m learning that this pattern of feeling good one day, then having the worst pain of your life the next day, then going back to feeling better the next is fairly typical for Crohn’s. I’m also learning that the frustration, helplessness, and anger that I am feeling is normal, and it is ok to break down every once in awhile. I called a good friend on Friday and cried over the phone with her, and it helped me realize that it’s ok to be emotional and upset–that I don’t have to be an unwavering tower of strength for my husband. You would think that I would have figured this out a little sooner because I have been saying that hubby is allowed to be upset about the IF/loss that we have experienced, but I guess I’m a slow learner.
  • I got into grad school. I’m really excited and proud of myself, but I’m not doing a celebration dance just yet because I was put on a wait list for an assistantship. Which means that my school may or may not be paid for, and I may or may not get the resume-boosting experience. Right now, hubby is of the opinion that where there is a will, there is a way, but I’m not sure how we are going to make it happen without that assistance. Especially when we have medical bills piling up (just when we are almost done paying the bills from my miscarriage). It’s actually looking like we will reach our 2013 out-of-pocket limit this month, which I think is fairly impressive.
  • It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update on my lady parts, so here it is (disclaimer, in-depth period talk ahead): I had a normal period for the first time since I was on BC, and I’m freaking out about it. Ok, freaking out is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I am quite perplexed. On day 29, AF started. It just started, which I thought was weird because I usually have three to five days of spotting before it actually arrives. Then it lasted four days. This is unheard of. Mine usually last a week to a week and a half–and that isn’t counting the spotting that happens before it actually starts. I mentioned to hubby that it was over and he looked at me like I had grown another head and said, “But didn’t it just start a few days ago?” Also, it was blissfully light–it only filled my diva cup about a third of the way every twelve hours (as opposed to completely filling it every six to eight hours). Apparently, this is what “normal” periods look like, and I would be ecstatic if I wasn’t so weirded out by it. Maybe it’s a sign of good things to come?

Those are the biggest things happening in our life right now. The most important thing is that in the midst of everything that is going on, I’m still feeling very hopeful. I just know that things are going to work out, even though I don’t know what it will look like. I’m frustrated, tired, and impatient, but I’m hopeful. I think a lot of that has to do with the beautiful weather we’ve been having–it just lifts my spirits. Spring is trying its very best to settle into East Tennessee, and I am beyond ready for it! It also has to do with the amazing amount of love, prayer, and support we have received from our new church. I hope to post a little more on that soon, so stay tuned!

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People suck. And so does Crohn’s.

I think people are misunderstanding me when I say hubby is getting better. When I say hubby is doing better, I mean he is only having pain three days out the the week instead of every day. I mean that his pain is tolerable and not causing him to walk hunched over or constantly wince in pain. Yes, he is better, but only when you compare his pain to how he felt before Hu.mira. I think people have this idea in their heads that he will go to the doctor and start on this magical medication and never have any more pain or problems, and as much as I wish that were true, it isn’t. Crohn’s is a lifelong disease that is painful, exhausting, and discouraging, and we were reminded of that this week.

Wednesday evening, hubby was having some abdominal pain. Nothing too bad or out of the ordinary, but it was bad enough that he decided to sleep on the couch so he could be propped up in a comfortable position and he wouldn’t keep me up by tossing and turning in our bed. This is not unusual. He usually sleeps on the couch about two times a week due to pain, but we consider it a big improvement from having pain every day. About 2:40 he came into our room in extreme pain and said that he needed to go the the ER because he couldn’t handle it anymore. Let me just stop and say that my husband is a tough guy with a fairly high pain tolerance who has never gone to the ER because of his Crohn’s pain, so when he said that he was in the worst pain he has ever been in, I took that very seriously. The doctor at the ER ordered some blood tests, and they gave hubby some good pain medication (can I just give a shout out to modern medicine and dilau.did?) while I sat and told hubby how much I love him and to stop worrying about how we are going to pay for the ER trip (we’ve almost met our out-of-pocket for the year because of all of hubby’s tests). Thankfully, all of his tests came back normal, which means he isn’t bleeding internally, he doesn’t have an infection, and he doesn’t have an abscess. The doctor said that he was just having “acute flare up pain,” and gave him a prescription for some pain killers and a steroid pack. We left the ER around 7:30, and I had to call one of hubby’s fire buddies to help me get him in the house because of the pain killers (they gave him some good stuff). That afternoon we called his GI doctor and let them know what had happened, and they said to go ahead and take the steroids.

This is our life. This is what Crohn’s looks like. Yesterday, one of our good friends who also has Crohn’s had to have surgery despite the fact that she was fine when we saw her a week ago. The truth is, even when you are doing better, you can have a night like we had Wednesday, with the worst pain you have ever felt in your life.

Why am I telling you this? I know that we complain a lot about the stupid things people say to infertiles, and I posted a little about some of the things people say to someone who has Crohn’s, but some of the things people have said lately INFURIATE me. It usually begins with someone hubby hasn’t seen in awhile commenting on the weight he has lost and how great he looks. That’s fine. By all means, please boost my husband’s self esteem by telling him how great he looks. Then we usually tell this person that hubby has Crohn’s disease and that he lost 50 pounds in 3-4 months because he was in too much pain to eat. How would you reply to this? Because the most common response is, “Well, at least you look great.” One girl actually had the nerve to say that his diagnosis must have been a huge blessing in disguise because he was able to lose so much weight.

Seriously?

What kind of screwed up culture do we live in? Since when is an extremely painful and life-long intestinal disease preferable to being overweight? Also, let me just say that my husband is 6’4″ and was 240lbs in November. Now he is 190lbs. So it’s not like he was morbidly obese, and he was in good shape (as in, he could run two miles in full fire gear). I would rather my husband be fat than deal with this disease because he can lose that weight–he can never lose Crohn’s disease. And it sucks.

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The Results Are In!

Sorry it has taken me so long to post the results of the February Little Miss Crafty Pants Challenge. It seems as though a few of us took on a little more than we could handle, and I’m still waiting on some pictures. For now, I’m going to go ahead and post the ones I have, and I’ll post the other results as they are sent in. I just want to say that I’m super impressed with these ladies and their mad crafting skills!

First up, Arwen from MRKH Musings:

Bear2

Bear1

Next is April from R. Savitus:

Here’s what she had to say about her project: I got my turtle finished in one sitting, about two hours. Abby ‘helped’ me, so by the time I was done sewing I’d had enough, and just hot glued his eyes on. Mistake! She pulled them off the next day. He’s blind for now, but I’ll sew them back on.

I did learn how to make his head stand up on its own, although that will have to be tried in the next turtle. This one just got a couple stitches between head and shell.

Lesson: if a two year old with a snotty nose grabs some polyfill, do not attempt to retrieve it. It’s already been used as a tissue. Yuck!

Turtle1

Turtle2

When I picked my project for the challenge, I was spending a lot of time at home sitting with hubby because he was so sick, but he has been feeling so much better that I am spending my extra time snuggling with him, going to the gym with him, playing lazer tag with him and some of our friends, etc. Because of that, my project isn’t even close to being done, but I’m not making any apologies because I love having a hubby who isn’t constantly in pain! But I still wanted to share my progress with you all because I’m still quite proud of it :o)

Sweater

Next is Elle from Hoping on Hope:

She also picked a pretty large project and is still working on it, but it looks lovely :o)

afghan

 

Please go ahead and send me your projects for March (catchingourrainbow (at) gmail (dot) com) and I will try to post them Friday or Saturday. For the lovely ladies who haven’t sent their results yet, you can finish them as your March project if you want–just let me know and I will post them again :o)

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