Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

TWW and Kindness Friday Part III

After months of missing the big O because of hubby being sick and some weirdness in my cycles, I am officially one week into the two week wait. I feel like this is our first full-hearted attempt since my last pregnancy, and as much as I make excuses about why we couldn’t really try each month, I think the truth was that I wasn’t ready. I want a baby, but I wasn’t ready for the emotional roller coaster that is TTC, and as much as I hope and pray that our next baby will be our rainbow, I have to acknowledge the very real possibility that I could have another mc and I couldn’t face that possibility. Now, I’m ready to try. I’m ready to hope. I’m ready to risk great heartache for a chance for our rainbow. I’m ready to hurry up and wait I have begrudgingly resigned myself to waiting.

Whenever we aren’t trying or I’m not currently in the TWW, I always think that it’s not that bad–I can stay calm and be patient and stick to my POAS plan. Seriously, I’m an intelligent, reasonable person, and I can conquer the TWW with grace and sanity. Then, starting just a few days after ovulation, I feel the desperate need to start peeing on all the things. No matter what I’m doing, the upcoming peestick day and everything it represents (the possibility of a baby growing in my ute, the possibility of another mc, the possibility of our lives being forever changed) is always in the back of my mind. The harder I fight it and try to stay calm, the more forcefully it drives itself into the forefront of my thoughts. It’s ridiculous.

So, in an attempt to distract myself from obsessing about the current state of my ute, I’m going to spend the next week doing things that I enjoy and will leave me feeling content and empowered. Let’s think of it as a whole week of kindness that will keep me mentally (and possibly physically?) happy and healthy. Here are some of the things I plan on doing over the weekend and during the evenings next week:

  • I would like to spend as much time as possible outside. I haven’t posted about it, but hubby and I have been busy little bees getting a garden ready for this summer. First, we built a fence to keep out the pup, then we built two raised beds, and two potato towers. We also used the extra lumber from our fence to make some small boxes for me to grow herbs. Now that it looks like we have had our last frost (I hope), I’m ready to plant some seeds and some of the seedlings that we have been growing in our house. I absolutely love the feeling of the dirt under my hands and watching the miracle of life coming from these tiny seeds. It really builds up my self esteem and also makes me feel more connected to God. Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain all weekend, but that’s ok because I have a back-up plan:
  • I’ve been spending some time lately reading blogs and watching youtube videos on how to make my own cloth pads and panty liners.  I spent my winter knitting, and now that it is summer, I am ready to start sewing again! Sewing makes me feel so calm and empowered–it’s like the whole world disappears for awhile, and there is nothing but the whir of my machine. Also, wearing something that I made is an incredible feeling! I’m planning on taking aspects that I like from different patterns and products and meshing them into a super awesome hybrid that’s just for me :o)  I know it may seem silly to make these during my TWW, but maybe I can jinx myself into pregnancy…
  • Over the past few months, I have slacked on my reading and replaced it with watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix. In the past week or so, I have worked on remedying that and revisiting my “to read” list. I’ve started a pretty hefty epic fantasy series called that Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, and I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ve almost finished the first book, and it feels really good to lose myself in a series again, which I haven’t really done since I finished reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (can I mention that he needs to hurry up with the next book?). I’m also doing daily bible readings (following the OWNit365 plan), and reading different nonfiction works, like those by C. S. Lewis.
  • The last thing I want to concentrate on is spring cleaning. I’ve gotten a little bit of a head start, but there is still plenty to be done–we bought a fairly large house with the intention of filling it with children (because we are responsible and couldn’t possibly start trying before we had a place to put a baby), so there is lots to clean. Once the nice weather hits, I actually enjoy cleaning–opening all the windows and smelling the fresh air while I organize, sort, scrub, and fold.

So that’s it. My be-kind-to-myself-by-attempting-to-salvage-my-sanity-during-the-TWW plan. What do you think?

Also, here is a bonus picture of our little Molly hanging out in one of the raised beds before we filled it with dirt. She’s not so little anymore!

Our sweet little furbaby!

Our sweet little furbaby!

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IF Bloggers Book Club: Hind’s Feet on High Places

When I got the results of my second beta during my last pregnancy, I was devastated. The next day I went to a good friend’s house, and she hugged me and asked how I was doing. That was all it took for me to basically collapse on her floor and sit and sob and pour my heart out for a very long time with her and two of her friends. I was a little embarrassed, but I’m glad it happened because it was very healing to open up to someone besides hubby, and it was so nice to have them validate my feelings and encourage me without giving me any lines about “what is meant to be” or any other bullshit like that. Anyway, my friend then handed me this book and told me I need to read it–she even said I could keep it:

This is an allegory about Much Afraid and her journey to the High Places to be with the Shepherd. Before I tell you anything else about this book, I have to make a confession. It’s something that might be obvious to those who know me, but it’s hard to admit and I’m willing to bet some of you reading this blog could confess the same thing: I’m a wallower. I wallow in self-pity, sadness, pain. I’m really bad at letting stuff go, and I would usually rather just be miserable. Because I’m a wallower, anything that encourages me to move on, heal, etc. usually pisses me off. Having said that, this book did not piss me off, and it actually helped me immensely. It is so full of love, and it presents huge concepts in such simple terms making it easier for me to relate to them. So it technically could be a light, simplistic read, but if you choose to really read into it and see the deeper meanings, it can be pretty heavy. There were many times that I had to put it down and just absorb what I had just read. There were also times that I had to put it down and just cry for awhile. It is a beautiful book, and I plan on reading it again and again. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I recommend giving it a try.

Make sure you go and check out these other bloggers and their book posts!

Songs and Sonnets

Return to Go

Dog Mom Chasing the Stork

Future Fords

If you want to participate in the IF Bloggers Book Club this next month, either comment on this post with the book/books you want to read or send me an email (catchingourrainbow@gmail.com) letting me know. I will put up a post next week with the participants. I’m thinking the “due date” for the posts will be November 16. Let me know if that’s a problem.

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A much needed and fun vacation, and a new life plan

Hello! I’m sorry I haven’t written in awhile–I’ve just been so distracted. I know I have a bunch of October writing prompts to catch up on, but I want to tell you all about what has been going on first. I’ll start by telling you about my wonderful weekend! I took a vacation day from work on Friday and spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Nashville at the Southern Festival of Books. It was wonderful. I was surrounded by authors and people who truly care about books and reading, and it really reminded me about what is important to me and my passion. I also got to feel very strong and self-sufficient because I went alone, and I didn’t have hubby to lean on for directions or anything. Solitary travel isn’t something I have gotten to experience since I was in Germany, and I had forgotten how much I actually enjoy it. I stayed with a friend from college who lives in Murfreesboro, and it was so much fun to hang out and catch up–plus we went to a beer fest on Saturday night which was really fun. The best part? I got to meet Katherine Paterson, who is my favorite children’s author! For those of you who don’t know who she is, she wrote The Bridge to TerabithaThe Great Gilly HopkinsJacob Have I Loved, and loads of other awesome books. She is basically amazing.

Another great thing about going to this festival is that it really motivated me. I remember now just how much I love literature, and how much I love to learn. I always wanted to work in a college as a professor, and my original plan was to go the grad school and get my doctorate in order to teach at the collegiate level. Life, however, got in the way of that plan. This trip was just the kick start that I needed, and while I can’t give up 5-7 years of my life to a doctoral program right now, I have decided that I am going to go back to school. I’m applying to the Masters program at the local university! I’m so excited that we are finally in a place where this can happen because I love going to school: class discussions, reading books I would have never thought to read, learning about things that matter to me, I could go on for quite awhile.

So now I am spending my time working on my application, asking for letters of recommendation, studying for the GRE, editing out an excerpt from my thesis for my writing sample, working on my statement of purpose, etc. The deadline is January 15th, which seems like a long time from now, but it doesn’t leave me a lot of time to study for and take to GRE. I’m still too excited to start freaking out, but I’m sure that will come soon :o)

On an IF/loss note: I have officially finished my first AF post-miscarriage. I has definitely given me a feeling of “moving on” which is great in some ways and very sad in others. Today I saw a picture of the girl who found out she was pregnant at the same time I  found out about my first pregnancy. She’s 27 weeks. Broke. My. Heart. I’m excited about where my life is going right now, but I’m homesick for my children that I will never meet. I’ve accepted it, but I am still so sad. At the book festival, there was someone dressed up as Clifford to celebrate his “birthday,” and some kids were singing happy birthday to him with their moms. I had to walk by very quickly because it made me cry. One day at a time.

I promise I will catch up with you some more soon!

Also, the posts for the IF Bloggers Book Club is “due” Friday. Is that ok with everyone, or do you need another week?

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October 5: Favorite Book

October 5: What is your favorite book?

I mentioned many favorite books in this post, but I figured I would take this opportunity to go into a little bit of detail about my favs. I know most people aren’t into the classics, but I love to read classics. Anna Karenina is currently my bath book. Anyway, here are my two favorite books at the moment–I encourage you to give them a try.

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities has been my favorite book for a long time. Charles Dickens just has a way with words and characterization that I find so beautiful. I once had a friend tell me that this is not actually my favorite book, that all English majors say that because it is supposed to be their favorite book, but that just isn’t true. I adore this book. It was one of the few that I took with me when I studied in Germany, and whenever I felt homesick or overwhelmed I would start reading it again–like a comfort blanket. I first read A Tale of Two Cities in 9th grade before I truly understood the different aspects of literature, so this book taught me important things like symbolism and foreshadowing. It helped refine my love for books into a love for literature, eventually leading to my degree in English Lit. It’s that good.

 

The Monk is not quite as well known as A Tale of Two Cities, but it is still a solid classic. This was the first book I read after graduating college and had the time and mental capacity to read whatever I wanted. Seriously. I starting acquiring a taste for classic Gothic Literature my senior year of college, and I had a professor who kept referring to this book, so I bought it as soon as I graduated. I had another professor affectionately refer to it as the classic literature equivalent of a slasher movie, and I’d have to agree. It’s full of some serious character development, crazy plot twists, and good ‘ole fashioned abuse of religious power, and it was such a page turner that I would stay up late into the night reading  it.

Are there any other lovers of the classics out there? Anyone? Beuller?

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IF Bloggers Book Club!

So if you read this post, you know that I’m taking my life back, and one of the things I’ve planned to do is replace useless, stressful Google searching with reading real books. I have always loved reading–my mom is a librarian so I was raised reading good books. In college, I realized just how much I love classic literature and I earned a BA in English literature. A couple of my favorites include A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, and The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. Yeah, I’m one of those people. I also absolutely love the Harry Potter series. I read the first book in the fourth grade before anyone knew about Harry Potter and there wasn’t a second book yet, and the last book came out the summer after my freshman year of college. So my childhood was really wrapped up in the series, and rereading the books gives me a comforting, homey feeling.

When I first graduated college, I worked at the local library and read some popular series like The Girl with Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I enjoyed branching out a little, but my heart will always be with the classics.

So, now that you all know a little more about me and my love affair with books, let’s talk about the IF Bloggers Book Club! I’m not entirely sure what this will look like yet, but here is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • To participate, you read at least one book a month and write a post about it on a predetermined day. I’m thinking about choosing a day in the middle of the month? I know the completed pin pictures for Storkchaser’s Lazy Pinner’s Challenge are due at the end of the month, and I don’t want bloggers stressing about finishing pins and writing a book post. So the October post will be…the 19th? Would that work for everyone?
  • You can read any book you want, but the book you choose has to be a book you’ve never read before. Don’t cheat and write a post about a book you read years ago.
  • You can write whatever you want in your post: a summary of the book, how much you loved/ hated it, expand on a theme that means something to you, get creative with some fan fiction, etc.
  • After everyone has posted, I will make a post linking to all of the book posts.

Everyone can send me an email (catchingourrainbow@gmail.com) or comment on this post letting me know 1) That you want to participate and 2) What book you are thinking about reading. If you are not sure yet which book you are going to read, you can list a couple of different books to choose from, and if you change your mind or hate the book you chose, you can always pick a different one. I just would like to have an idea of what kinds of books everyone will read :o) I’ll give everyone a week to make their books choices, so please let me know by the 28th. If you guys want to change anything or if you have a good idea to make this book club awesome, just let me know!

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In the Meantime…

I’ve noticed a trend on the IF blogs lately: bloggers are deciding to stop putting their lives on hold. You make a decision to TTC and make adjustments in your life to prepare for pregnancy and children, but at what point do you decide to stop making those sacrifices and take your life back? Today I am choosing to take my life back–fertility issues may be able to control my ability to have children, but I will not let it have power over any other part of my life. I am going to choose joy, and I am going to enjoy the time I have now. I decided to come up with a list of things I am going to allow myself to do. Some of these things are ideas I acquired from other bloggers and some of them are purely my own:

  • Buy new clothes: I know this is a common thread with women who are TTC, and it is really two-fold: you don’t buy new clothes because (1)  you are trying to save money and (2) you don’t want to buy clothes and then get pregnant and have a bunch of new clothes that don’t fit you. I needed new jeans a year ago, but I didn’t buy any for the two aforementioned reasons. Now I’m getting a little desperate, and I plan on doing something about that. I plan on buying new clothes this fall season–and not just clothes that would still look good if I get pregnant. I didn’t buy any new clothes last year, so I’ve decided that I get to buy two years’ worth of stuff this year. Because I deserve it.
  • Work on home improvement: We bought our house in September of last year and while I would not call it a “fixer upper,” there are some aspects of it that are a bit dated. We’ve done a little bit of work remodeling one of the bathrooms, but we haven’t really dug into a major project. One reason is that demos can be expensive and babies can be expensive, so we were saving for the latter. Another reason is that we didn’t want to get halfway through a project and find out that I’m pregnant and not nearly as useful and helpful as I was before pregnancy. Now, I’m ready to make our home the place of our dreams. I want to remodel our kitchen.  I want to tile the entrance.  I want to paint the extra bedroom that I’ve been waiting to paint because it will be the nursery and I don’t want to jinx myself. Seriously, whether it turns out to be a nursery or not, it will still be yellow, and we already have the paint, so I don’t know why I keep waiting. No more waiting.
  • Start some serious workouts: When we first started TTC, I was going to Tae Kwon Do three times a week. I earned my second degree black belt and had just passed the test to be a trainee instructor, helping teach the kids classes. There were a lot of reasons why I quit, but one of them was the idea that very strenuous workouts and intense cardio can negatively affect your fertility. I wasn’t getting pregnant, so it was a sacrifice I was willing to make, but I miss it. I miss learning. I miss pushing myself to the limits. I miss fighting. I’m not sure if I will join another school because I haven’t found one that I like close to home (another reason I quit was because the school  was so far from our new home), but I will start training again. I may not have someone to spar with, but I can still work on my technique, my speed, my accuracy, and my strength.
  • Go on vacationFor years I have talked about wanting to go up to Washington DC with hubby because he has never been there. It’s such a neat place to visit, and all of the museums and stuff are free. Plus, I have a lot of family up there that I never see. We just never made definite plans to go up there because we are saving money (are you seeing a trend here?), and we weren’t sure when I would get pregnant and how that would affect the trip. Well, we have made the decision to go up there in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom–pregnant or not! Beyond that, I want to go back to Europe. My junior year of college, I studied for five months in Germany, and I loved spending time out there. Hubby and I both have a close friend who lives in Manchester, and we want to go out to England to visit him and possibly hop on over to Germany to visit my friends there. We are still hashing out this idea and figuring out how we will save up for it, but I am determined to make it happen!
  • Read lots of books: Is it just me, or do any of you waste a lot of prime reading time researching infertility and miscarriages? I spend so much time trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and how to become and stay pregnant, and at this point, I’ve decided that time can be much better spent. Useless Google searches are going to be replaced with quality literature. I have the heart of a nerd and reading is one of my great passions. Lately, I’ve been letting all of this crap take away one of my passions, and that is just not acceptable anymore. I’ve actually been thinking about starting some sort of IF blog book club where once a month or so we all write a summary/review of a good book we read that month–would anyone be interested in that?

Life is too short. I’m not going to let fertility issues and loss steal years of my life. I’m going to enjoy time with my husband. I’m going to eat and drink whatever I want to eat and drink. I’m going to make plans.  I’m going to seize the freaking day. What about you?

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Staying Busy

I have one of those personalities that are prone to anxiety and worrying. Remember my post about charting? I tend to obsess over things (like temping) and sometimes I have to make some adjustments to my life or the way I do things so that I don’t feed those tendencies. One thing I have worked on is taking all of that energy and applying it to a healthy distraction like cooking, cleaning, or playing with my new puppy :) Here are some of my favorite ways to stay busy so I don’t worry too much, especially during my TWW. These are in no particular order (Can you tell I like lists? Because I really like lists):

  • Cleaning up the house We bought our house in September of last year, and I love having a home we can call our own. Surprising at it might be, I’m not a neat freak. Hubby and I are actually both big slobs, and I’ve never really enjoyed cleaning. Ever since we bought our house, however, I take pride in having a home to take care of, so I try to keep it looking nice. It is definitely not the cleanest house on the block, but it is consistently cleaner than our apartment was. Every once in awhile, I will start to clean up the kitchen or something and get in the zone, realizing hours later that I’ve deep cleaned half the house. This has been happening more lately–probably because I’ve had so much going on mentally and emotionally and it is so nice to just turn off my brain and concentrate fully on physical labor. Although, I do have to confess that I’ve been really lax in cleaning since we brought home the puppy because she takes so much time and energy. So despite everything I just said about cleaning, my house is a disaster right now. Maybe I should do something about that this weekend…
  • Sewing I don’t have a ton of experience sewing (or doing anything that can be classified as domestic), but I have started working on some projects lately and I have really enjoyed it. I started a Pinterest account in July and have since made two skirts with matching headbands. I am also in the middle of making a cute dress from a pattern I bought a few weeks ago. When I start sewing, it’s like all of my thoughts and worries just float away and are replaced with a calm contentment–I’ll put my head down to work on a project and not even notice as the hours fly by. Plus I end up with cute things to wear and show off!
  • Cooking/Baking Once again, I wasn’t really raised to be domestic so this is fairly new territory for me. Because I didn’t cook much growing up, I have to concentrate really hard and double check myself to make sure I don’t screw up recipes. So it takes quite a bit of concentration to cook or bake, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I love being able to see a recipe and make it that night. Or when I get a craving for something sweet after dinner, I love being able to just whip something up. Lately, hubby and I have been trying meal planning, and we’re still trying to get the hang of it. It takes some effort, but I would rather direct my energy to planning meals for the week and putting together a shopping list than worrying at 6:00pm about what we are going to eat that night.
  • Playing with my furbabies :) We have two furbabies. Gaia is a dilute tortoiseshell cat that we adopted about two years ago. We couldn’t ask for a better kitty–she is very friendly and loves to snuggle. We also have Molly who is a little ball of energy and takes quite a bit of time and attention. She’s a labrador/australian shepherd mix, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her–she looks all lab. We take her outside and run around with her multiple times a day, so not only is she a good distraction but she also encourages me to get some exercise (hello endorphins!)
  • Readinglove reading. My mom is a librarian, so I was constantly exposed to good books as I was growing up, and reading is my passion. I especially enjoy reading the classics: Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Matthew Gregory Lewis, Fyodor Dostoyevski, etc. but I also have a special place in my heart for Harry Potter :) Right now I’m reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Every night that we don’t have something planned, I take a long bath and read a few chapters. Talk about relaxing and clearing your head. I started doing this a week or so ago, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in a my stress level.
  • Spending time with hubby Not only is my husband supportive, loving, fun,  sexy, and a hard worker, he is also the funniest person I know. Whenever we go somewhere, my favorite part is almost always the drive where we just talk about our days and whatever we are thinking about, and he almost always has some story from his day that makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. In those moments, I forget about the crap that has been bothering me. Usually, spending time with the hubby entails grocery shopping or some other errand, but as long as I’m hanging out with him, I’m fine. I am so content spending the rest of my life with that man.

I think that’s a long enough list for now. Maybe some of these things can help you get out of your head and be productive.  Storkchaser has started a Lazy Pinner’s Challenge where she encourages everyone to actually make something from Pinterest every month for three months, and I think that is a great idea that really coincides with this post. Check it out and maybe even join us (I’m making pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies because I love anything with pumpkin in it!).

I feel like I can’t write this post without also saying that I am sometimes guilty of distracting myself too much and not actually dealing with my emotions and the problems facing me. Sometimes when I am staying busy, I get this panicky feeling like something is creeping up on me and will catch me any moment. I can’t escape the reality of our difficulty getting pregnant or the loss of two pregnancies. That’s another reason why I started this blog. I can  sort through everything I’m dealing with and articulate my feelings in a safe way that doesn’t involve crying in the fetal position on my bathroom floor (although I sometimes do that too–everyone needs a good cry sometimes). I’m working on finding that balance of dealing with my struggles but not allowing myself to wallow and sink into a deep pit of self-pity.

How do you distract yourself from fertility issues or loss? Do you sometimes find that you distract yourself too much and need to slow down to face some of your emotions?

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