Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We're Baaaaacccckkk

OK, I admit to feeling sheepish. And stupid. . .

How dare I presume to just come back here and resume blogging like I never left off???

I don't know, don't have an answer for that. I just know I need to write, especially about things requiring a safe place to talk about them.

When last we left off, our family consisted of me, Nate, and 3 cats: Holly, Buster and Boo. The intervening time has seen fit to bring two other cats literally to our doorstep: Willi Wunderschoen (can you guess who named him??) and Autumn. Willi was within a day or two of starving to death when a neighbor found him and brought him to us. When he was cleaned up, medically cared for, and properly fed, we were astonished to see a gorgeous long-haired Russian Blue. He is a love.

As for Autumn - she showed up on Nate's car a few days before a hurricane hit. After all attempts to find her owner failed, we took her in just as the first drops of the hurricane hit. We took her to the vet to ensure she was healthy, and the vet was afraid she was pregnant. After the results of a blood test were inconclusive, a whole-body x-ray was done to see if any babies could be seen. No babies. However they did find that her spine had been broken in 3 places, as well as her hip. The breaks were at different stages in their healing, so that eliminated the possibility that she had been in any kind of an accident. No, someone had beat the shit out of her repeatedly, over time. I can only thank God that we had NOT been successful in finding her owners. She is a funny cat. She is heartbreakingly sweet, but also frequently contrary. She adores people - the other cats, not so much. She can growl and purr simultaneously.

As for me, when I last blogged, I had explained how I had just spent several weeks in the hospital for a severe asthma attack. While I was in the hospital and subsequently recovering, Nate was fired for the intermittent time he took to help care for me. Fired. For helping me. From a job he had held and loved for 10 years. The bastards.

Meanwhile I had returned to work, but work had become chaos itself. While I still loved the work, those in power were truly evil - not something I say lightly. I never talked about it here, but the President had been sexually harassing and emotionally abusing his administrative assistant. She was a close friend, and I had witnessed almost all of it. In January she had reached her breaking point and filed a lawsuit against him. Myself and three other close friends testified on her behalf - we simply told the truth. The parties in the lawsuit reached a settlement, and part of that settlement stipulated that the working conditions detailed in that settlement would go through a 6 month trial period. The President, it seemed, thought that meant he had to behave for 6 months, and that was it. 6 months to the day, all of us who had testified on her behalf were fired.

So that left Nate and I, both fired within about 5 weeks of each other. If, in January, you had told me that both Nate and I would have been fired, and we would both have separate lawsuits, I would have laughed my ass off and wanted to know what drugs you were taking. But it was true.

Meanwhile, my health deteriorated substantially. I was spending weeks at a time in the hospital, mostly for my asthma. Once for an unbreakable migraine.

Here's irony for you: right before my first hospitalization for my asthma, we had finally worked up the guts to make an appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who was highly recommended by Dr. Love. We'll call her Dr. Q. She was located over two hours away, and did not "follow" patients - that is, she only provided a consultation, not direct care. She was absolutely amazing. We fell head over heels for her. And the astonishing thing was that she saw no real barrier to us having a baby - not the meds I was on, nothing. Astounding. AND it gets better. She agreed to make an exception to her "no-direct-care policy" and agreed to treat Nate and I. But she felt that because of the distance, she wanted us to also use a maternal fetal medicine specialist closer to home, that she could also work with.

Not 5 days after we get the green light, I end up in the hospital for the first time.

So after I recover a bit, we do visit a maternal fetal medicine practice much closer to home. They are ok. Not exactly warm fuzzies, but they are top notch doctors, without question. They were concerned about the asthma, but ultimately felt that if the asthma did flair while pregnant, they would be able to manage it without real incident. They also weren't crazy about my size, no surprise there. But they were also ok with things.

Then came a downward spiral of one hospitalization after another. So baby-making plans got put on hold.

But, we're baaaaacccckkk. . .

As of last month, we took the next big leap to actively TTC.

It was better than expected. I have already indicated that sex is more than a bit of an issue, given our respective histories. And Nate is on a number of medications that make "traditional" physical intimacy a challenge. That not withstanding, Nate is very creative, and works with what he's got, and so when we do get down to it, I am one very satisfied spouse. But as far as sex that would result in a baby. . . well, that's another story. We had discussed ways around it, and agreed our best bet was our version of an at home insemination, but actually doing it was another matter. And then, out of the blue, Nate meets me as I'm coming out of the shower with a Dunkin Donuts cup and array of pipettes. Who said romance is dead??? (never fear, I corrected the supplies) .

I think we were both afraid that doing this would be a serious infringement on intimacy. And that it was an acknowledgement of our failure in being able to conceive the "natural" way. But is was actually very intimate, not too big a deal, and while I don't relish the feel if a pipette up my unmentionables, otherwise it was altogether pretty fun. And satisfying.

But perhaps the best part was maybe an hour or so later, when we were fixing something to eat. Nate suddenly pulls me onto his lap, wraps his arms around me, and starts praying for God's blessing over our attempts and our future baby.  It was actually rather moving. . .

Until next time. . .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Back. . . After a Hiatus

    Sorry, Everyone.  I didn't mean to leave off for so long, especially on that maudlin note.  Turns out the past few months have been very difficult.  I have been plagued by repeated sinus infections - No sooner do I shake one, and just when I start to feel like myself, it comes back with a vengeance.  Then I got hit with what I thought  was the flu (103 fever, aches, etc.) After being on and off antibiotics so long, I decided to try to tough it out.  After 4 days, flu symptoms receded, but my asthma flared.  After having been cooped up all week, I decided to accompany Nate to a school function.  Big mistake.  Stuck behind a woman who was wearing a ton of perfume, my asthma took a particularly nasty turn.  Long story short, I ended up in the hospital for several weeks, the better part of a month.

     Now I am back home, with computer access!!  And weighing 26 pounds less.  Turns out that when you can't breathe, you also can't eat . . . But in this case you don't get the benefit of looking good because IV steroids make you look bloated and pimply.  I didn't EVER have that many zits, even as a teenager.  And I got a taste of Mag Sulfate - something I know many of you Ladies have dealt with. Lovely stuff.   Recovery has been slow and wobbly, but at least there has been progress.  I'll keep busy catching up on all the blogs I've missed. . .

     So, where was I . . . yes, I had intended to tell you about Buster:
 BusterOur "Live Wire"

     Turns out he had been rescued, along with his brother (who was grey), by two town police officers, who found them when they were about a week old, and brought them to our vet (interesting that they didn't bring them to the town shelter, isn't it?)  His brother had been adopted fairly quickly, but Buster had been left there for quite a while.  He was six months old when Nate and I came into the picture, and while his every physical need had been taken care of and he was perfectly healthy, he had spent almost all of his life in a cage.  
     When we brought him home, we placed him by himself in the back room, to give him and the other cats a chance to get used to each other.  As you know from reading Callie's story,  we were not anticipating getting another pet when we had gone to our vet that night.  At first, Buster couldn't believe that the world was bigger that a 2 foot cage.  He wouldn't leave the corner. When he tentatively explored the room and found it bigger, he literally went nuts.  He would race across the room, and up one wall, as high as he could get before gravity kicked in and he crashed back down to the floor.  Then he would get up, race across the room to the next wall, and do the same thing.  For hours. Then he would collapse in an exhausted heap. 

     After we had gotten Buster settled and comfortable, we came out of the room to find Boo at the door waiting for us.  Boo bent down to sniff under the door.  Because I wanted him to associate Buster's smell with good things, I put a few treats on the floor for him.  Boo then did something I have never seen a cat do before.  He deliberately separated three treats, one at a time, then he pushed each one under the door for Buster.  I was stunned.  And my heart swelled. 

 Still, we wanted to take things slow with the cats.  We hadn't when we had brought Boo home, and had paid the price for it.  So we let them interact under the door for a few days, then progressed to baby gates between them, so they could see each other.  At one point over the weekend, we allowed Boo into the room.  There was no gentle greeting, sniffing of noses and bottoms for them.  No, Buster greeted Boo with a flying tackle, absolutely flattening him. Boo was stunned, dazed.  Then he looked at Buster with absolute awe - there really was a cat who wanted to play with him???  Then he tackled Buster back.

     We had to go to work, and although things had gone well between Buster and Boo (Holly was simply pretending they didn't exist) we didn't want to leave them alone, unsupervised.  And because Boo is unbelievably smart and can open any doorknob, we closed the door, and put the baby gates up in the door frame over the door knob.  I left a few inches of space on the bottom so they could interact under the door, and left for work.  When we came home from work, we found the baby gates in place, but the door ajar.  Sitting in the rocking chair, curled up together, were Buster and Boo.  Boo, who is about 14 pounds, had somehow flattened himself to squeeze under the baby gate, and climbed in the 2 - 3 inches between the baby gate and the door, turned the doorknob, pushed the door open, and trotted inside.  

     Once they were together, they saw no reason why they should ever be separated.  So we put a baby gate (which Boo could jump over, but not Buster) across the top of the stairs, and let the two of them have the run of the upstairs.  Holly stayed downstairs and pretended she was an only cat.  Boo was in heaven, as was Buster - they were soul-mates and they were inseparable.  Buster could not believe the world was this big, and raced frenetically around the upstairs.  There was a desperate quality to his running - he ran as if he feared that at any moment he might be locked back up and might never run again. 
     It took Holly about a week, but she came around.  She took to perching next to the gate and watching the other two.  I eventually took the gate away, and Buster, who had no idea what stairs were, or that anything existed beyond the upper level, stayed up there.  Gradually, his frenetic racing lost that desperate quality, and he ran just with sheer joy and exuberance. And gradually, all 3 cats came together as a family. 
Boo and Buster, partners in crime

     Buster was a game-changer.  With any addition family dynamics are altered.  Buster has two speeds: flat-out racing around, in to everything, and flat-out exhausted.  And when I say in to everything, I mean everything. He HAS to know what I'm doing at all times, and will let nothing stand in the way of his finding out.  If that means sending a carefully organized collection of pill bottles scattering in every direction, or jumping smack into your plate of pasta, then running off, leaving a trail of tomato sauce paw prints along a white couch in his wake, so be it.  But he also has a softer side, a gentler side.   He is a cuddler.  And while I adore all the cats, I am delighting in having a snuggler.  At least once a day, he climbs confidently up into my arms, rubbing his cheek along my nose or chin; he loves to be kissed on the forehead.  I say there are two adjectives to describe Buster:utterly exasperating, and utterly enchanting. 

Oh, and did I mention he is blind? 

Monday, April 4, 2011


Ok, I intended this post to be about the latest addition to our furry family - Buster.  But to do that, I had to talk about Callie - the two are inextricably linked.  And I'm afraid it kind of took on a life of its own from there.  So this is the story of how Callie came into our lives ever so briefly, but touched our hearts and lives profoundly. . .

You may remember when we lost our 19 year old cat, Aslan, last February.  I talked about his final moments with us and his brother, Boo, here

Well, in August 2010, we found ourselves ready to enlarge our furry family members once again.  After a doctor's appointment for Nate, we kinda ended up at the city shelter.  To be honest, I had been dropping not-too-subtle hints that I really wanted a dog.  In fact, that day at the shelter, until we walked out with Callie, I wasn't sure if we'd be leaving with a cat or dog.  

So we met and fell hard for Callie.  

Callie, on the night we brought her home. . .

Thus began the debate with the shelter over whether or not she had to be neutered before we could take her home.  They had a policy that any animal over 2 pounds had to be neutered before it could leave the facility.  Callie was technically over 2 pounds, but not by much. After years volunteering in a major urban shelter, believe me, I totally get why they wanted to neuter her before she came home with us.  And I wanted Callie neutered. But I wanted my vet to do it for two compelling reasons.  The first was that although they said she was 6 months old, I highly doubted it.  She was severely malnourished and her growth was significantly stunted.  I was worried about the stress the surgery would have on her at that time.  And, again, having assisted in the mass spayings/neuterings at a major urban shelter, its SO not pretty how they do it.  Most of the vets are donating their time, and they are providing a crucial service.  But they are rushed, and have vastly limited resources.  There is no pre-surgery evaluation.  They are simply taken from their cages, weighed, anesthetized with a single injection,  the surgery is done in about 5 -7 minutes ( I have actually witnessed vets race each other and come up with other challenges like doing them one-handed), the sleeping cat is stuffed back in the cage where someone hopes they wake up.  If they don't, well, it was a waste of time and veterinary resources, but that is one more available cage.

This was not what I wanted for Callie.  I knew my vet would do all the appropriate pre-op tests, it would be done when Callie was best ready for it, and every concern would be given for her safety and comfort.  We argued back and forth with the shelter, even offering to leave a $500 deposit, redeemable when we showed proof of her neutering.  The shelter would not budge.  So. . . as we were already taken with her, we felt we had no choice but to comply.  

They would not tell us ahead of time when her surgery would be, but would call us immediately afterwords.  Once they called, we had 2 hours to come pick her up, or we would forfeit the adoption.  We got the call at about 6:30 p.m., got there by 7:30 p.m.  She had just had the surgery, and was still pretty out of it from the anesthesia.  And, as I had feared, there was absolutely nothing about post-op care.  No pain meds, no antibiotics, nothing.  We got her home at about 11 p.m., and immediately brought her into a secluded room.  I planned to bring her to our vet first thing the next morning.  She seemed pretty quiet, but otherwise ok.  She even ate some dry food with apparent enthusiasm. 

Early the next morning, it was obvious she was sick.  We rushed her to our vet, who diagnosed a post-op infection and allergic reaction to the sutures.  We brought her home that night, but it was quickly obvious that she was getting worse, not better.  We could get no food or water in to her, she was very listless, and drooling constantly.  After being up with her all night, singing to her, holding her, begging her to eat, we rushed her back to the vet as soon as they opened in the morning.  She was hospitalized immediately.

This began a roller coaster week where Callie deteriorated in an utterly heartbreaking fashion.  After 5 days in the hospital, she was transferred to the equivalent of an ICU.  We still had hope she could pull out of it.  On day 2 in the ICU, the doctors notified Nate they had discovered the root of the problem: the stress of enduring the surgery when she was so malnourished had resulted in a twisting of her bowel.  By this point, she was septic.  If there was any chance to save her, she had to have emergency surgery.  The chance of a positive outcome was virtually nothing, but they would try if we wanted.  And the price tag for just the surgery would start at $15,000.  Nate called me at work, in tears.  He was talking about trying to get a loan. . . Some of the hardest words I have ever had to speak were, "No.  She has suffered enough.  Its time for her to be in a better place." 

I was several hours away, and they did not think Callie would hold out until I could get there.  In an act of love that was as much for me as it was for Callie, without saying anything to me, Nate rushed to the ICU.  Callie died in the arms of one who loved her, even if he had known her only the briefest of time.

We were devastated.  It had been a whirlwind of love and loss inextricably entwined. I was heartbroken, raw, and angry.  Even though I had been right in every concern I had for her, I felt like I had completely failed.  It was my job to protect her, to fight for her, and I had ultimately been unable to carry through in the courage of my convictions. 

The day following her death, we went back to our vet to return a carrier we had borrowed in order to transfer Callie to the ICU.  We wanted to talk to our vet, to thank her for all she had done to try to save Callie. We had to wait a while, and when our vet came in the exam room where we waiting, she was carrying a squirming bundle of black fur. 

And my first thought was "No, I can't do this.  Not now, its way too soon. . ." and after that my thoughts kinda melted away because he was in my arms, and was already working on my sore, badly bruised heart.  He gave his love almost instantly, totally, and without a backward glance.  And his doing so helped me to do the same.  

Next time, I'll introduce you this furry mixture of exasperation and utter enchantment:
                                 Buster quickly claimed HIS spot - on top of the microwave. . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why Nate is The Bomb

While there are many, many reasons, tonight I am specifically referring to the fact that he knows me so very well, and can, on occasion respond, with both big and little moments that take my breath away.

Take for example, the movie "Marley and Me".  I have spoken on here before about my unabashed crush on John Grogan and how I loved this story.  So much, in fact, that I was initially reluctant to watch the movie, because I mean, really, how do you do that story justice??  But despite my reservations, I thought they did a great job with the movie.  And I have subsequently watched it umpteen thousand times.  And Nate will be elsewhere in the house, doing his own thing (after all, that's the only chance I have to get control over the remote).  And regardless of what he is doing at the time, he will walk over to where I am curled up on the couch and hand me Kleenex at two crucial moments (Spoiler Alert for those unfamiliar with the story): 1.) The scene where Marley reacts to Jennifer Aniston after she has just come home from the doctors after miscarrying. and 2.) The scene where they must put Marley to sleep and they are doing a musical flashback to the highlights of Marley's life with their family.

Now, to be honest, I am not really one to get emotional at movies.  Really. But this one gets me every. fucking. time.  Even when I think, "Ok, I've seen this how many times now? I am NOT going to cry this time."  And I still fucking loose it.

And even before I loose it, there Nate will appear out of nowhere, tissue in hand.

If you want an even deeper example of how that man knows and can speak to my heart?  This is a letter he wrote me when we had to put our kitten Callie to sleep after we had only had her a week this past August:


I have been trying to think of some words that may comfort you, my Love.....but it is hard to think when ones heart is breaking and even more so when the heart that is one with mine is breaking too. It is surely shattering to have lost our sweet Callie in less then a week. I never thought a cat would ever evoke so much feeling in such a short time. 

My heart and soul beamed when I saw her in your arm, and the way she looked in to your eyes. I know that even in her short life, it was in that embrace, that she at last had found a true home on this earth. Be it ever so short, I know that our little one's life was comforted by that special Hannah I have come to know and love. I believe that gave Callie the spirit to endure her trials of her last week on earth. 

She seemed like one who was blinded, but was ever so briefly able to see how good life could be, and would forever kept it in her heart. Even when you were not with her, I know she felt the warmth emanating from you my love. You are one of Gods special creations that has been gifted with a unbounded source of immaculate love. 

In times of sorrow, I reach back to my younger musical times for comfort. Today brought to mind two sections of the requiem by Brahms. I hope they may bring you some comfort also. The first is a beautiful soprano solo:

Ye now are sorrowful,
howbeit ye shall again behold me,
and your heart shall be joyful,
and your joy no man taketh from you.
Yea, I will comfort you,
as one whom his own mother comforteth.
Look upon me; ye know that for a little time
labor and sorrow were mine, but at the last
I have found comfort.
(St. John 16, 22)

The second is a celestial choral piece:

How lovely is Thy dwelling place,
O Lord of Hosts!
For my soul, it longeth, yet fainteth for
the courts of the Lord;
my soul and body crieth out,
yea, for the living God.
O blest are they that dwell within Thy house;
they praise Thy name evermore!
(Psalm 84, 2f )

Know my love that I am there for you as, I know, you are there for me. We shall weather this store as we have so many .... together as one inseparable in Love. Nate.

Now do you all see why I love this man so???

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Charms . . . Part 2

Dear God in Heaven I am horrible, just horrible.  No excuse for not writing this.  Aside from broken wrist and torn cartilage in dominant wrist. . .  Still haven't managed to get out of wrist brace. . .

OK, so when I last left you eons ago, I was in the process of telling you about 2 charms.  The first one, from La Belle Dame jewelry, was a fertility pendant of a sea turtle.  I am still wearing it as we speak.  It is an embodiment of the hopes I hardly dare breathe aloud, and yet stir deep in my soul.

The second one had the opposite effect.  It was a Christmas present, and I couldn't have been more affronted if she had hauled back and punched me in the stomach.  At least then I could have had some plausible excuse for gasping and flopping about like a fish out of water.  

It looked like this:

In case the image is acting up again, it is a necklace with a very cute charm that reads "All My Children Have Paws"

Please, Beloved Internets, tell me I don't have to explain this one to you. . .

This was from someone who was both privy to what I have been through in the past and what Nate and I are going through now.  And I know she only meant good by it; did not mean it to be the slap in the face it was.  As I opened it, I just kept saying in my head over and over, "I will not cry here. I will NOT cry here. . ."  I actually had to command my frozen lips into some kind of an upward grimace. 

And I had also gotten her a piece of jewelry, which she immediately fussed over and tried on, ooing and ahhing appropriately the whole time.  And I could not make myself try on this necklace.  I thought if I had to wear it, even for a moment or two, I would throw up right on the spot.  The thought of it touching my skin made me shudder.  

In two necklaces I see the embodiment of this infertility experience:

If you can't see this image go to this link - http://www.labelledame.com/fertility-jewelry.html.  It's the fourth picture from the top of the page.  Her work is beyond words. . .
The one above gives substance to the deepest desires of my heart. . .

OK, this is back to the image of the "All My Children Have Paws" necklace. . .

While this one throws in my face the fact that the only thing I have in my life to give my nurturing love to had four paws and fur.  It is a mockery of all I ever dared to dream. . .

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Tale of Two Charms . . . Part 1

Happy New Year Everybody!!!

I spent from 3 am Christmas Eve until New Year's Day curled up in a fetal position suffering the ill effects of Smaug.  It sucked every bit as much as it sounds.

I dearly hope each and every one of you fared much better.  In spite of Smaug, though, we shared family time that was special, and I will always treasure.  It could very well be our last holidays with my eldest nephew before he is deployed.  He graduates and will be on active duty in 5 months.  

It was also the first time I really experimented with dropping Nate a hint as to what I wanted and it worked well.  While we were out at the mall, I told him I wanted to try on a pair of Uggs - I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  (I know, I know, I am so behind the times.  The point is that I get there eventually.  Although perhaps, in this case, by the the time I get there, the style train has moved on.)  Anyway, where we were looking at them was quite budget-friendly, and I figured might be something good for a gift.  Turns out he bought them online the next day, and was so excited he told every member of my family.  Only hitch - they didn't fit, were too big.  I urged my Mom to try them on, more so she could also see what the fuss was about.  She's very hard to fit shoe-wise, and they fit her to a T.  So Santa got her a little something extra this year, and to me, that was a double bonus.

Ok, but there is something specific I want to talk about.  
This past August, Nate and I adopted a kitten, a little calico we called Callie. 
Look, she even matches that wretched carpet

Its a long story, but we ended up only having her less a week.  She became horribly sick the morning after we brought her home, and after a week in the hospital and then intensive care, we had to help her say goodbye to this world, it wasn't for her.

Nate and I were devastated, and although I don't want to cut short her story and the impact on Nate and I, now is not the time to talk about that experience at length.  But I wrote about it here because I needed to give a little background.  As part of dealing with her death, I was looking for a necklace I could wear as a way of commemorating her and her intense but oh so brief time as part of our family.  And in looking for this necklace, I came across this amazing site:http://www.labelledame.com/.  Many of you may be familiar with Kimberly's breathtaking work, many of it commemorating infertility, miscarriage and loss. **Now please note, when I stumbled upon her site, I was looking at the work she does for pet loss.  As much as I love our pets, I would never equate the loss of a pet with the loss of a child, born or unborn.  There is simply no comparison. 

But it led me to her work concerning infertility.  And as I was looking at her designs, I had one of those transcendent revelations - so beyond the stereotypical "Aha!" moment.  

Since my last surgery, I have had such a hard time getting back into the exercise and healthy eating thing, and truthfully, that's just not like me.  It's tough to work around Smaug, but ever since I was serious about having a baby, I have been dedicated to making healthy choices, all the better to be a healthier mother and have a healthier baby.  And when I would ask myself, "What if I do all this and I still am not able to get pregnant and carry a healthy child?"  And my response was, "Then I will be in better shape to care for whoever God gives me to mother."  And at the time I believed it. 

But since that surgery I really just couldn't give a shit about making healthy choices.  I just didn't care.  And I couldn't figure out why.  I just figured it was some kind of funk I was going through, and that I would work through it in time.  But as I was looking through Kimberly's designs on infertility, I was hit with the realization that the surgery brought about a very deep sense of loss, that my body had betrayed me.  A sense that I was never going to be able to give carry and deliver a healthy baby.  This hit me like a sucker punch in the stomach and left me quite literally gasping for breath and sobbing.  Thank God everyone else had left the office for the day.

The design that resonated with me the most was this:

Here is the description that accompanied it:
Fertility Pendant Necklace
A waterfall of tiny gemstone beads dangle from a sterling box chain, delicately framing a perfectly tiny sterling silver sea turtle.
The gemstones contained in this necklace are moonstones and rose quartz. Moonstone aids receptivity, and will help to prepare the mother-to-be to welcome a new life into her body, and the new phase of life that comes with conception. It is an overall promoter of female reproductive health.
Rose quartz beads are said to help promote and support a new pregnancy and protect the tender new life from miscarriage. They are also a gentle stone, providing us with love and compassion, balancing our emotions through our often turbulent journey to conceive a much wanted baby.
Our turtle is a powerful symbol of both fertility and protection. A sea turtle lays anywhere from 50-150 eggs at a time, our hope is that she may bestow her fruitfulness on the wearer! In Native American culture the turtle represents strength, patience and the power to endure and persevere. All gifts that we need on our journey, while we wait until the moment we can cradle our miracle babies in our arms.

It took my breath away, and I had to have it - to me, it represented the combination of soul-deep loss and hope that has been my infertility journey so far.  And so, without saying anything to anyone about the reasons, I ordered it, and have worn it almost every day since.  It is my way of whispering to the Universe, to God, my soul's deepest desires, and it serves as an outlet for this mix of agony and hope. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 . . .

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Very Bad Blogger

I must be spanked - I am a Very Bad Blogger.  Spank me, I've been really bad!!
Ok, enough with the bad Monty Python - I am very sorry for the long, shall we say "lull" in posting.  There has been a whole lot going on, but there really is no excuse.  I will do better.  In the mean time, Dear Internets, I hope the time has been very good to you all.

Update: When we last left our heroine, she had just come off of BCPs to see what, if any, difference it would make to Smaug.  And Smaug was sleeping in a bit, was running later than usual in his regularly  scheduled temper tantrum.   And we were holding our collective breath, afraid to hope something this simple would make such a difference. . .

  •  To date, of all the things I've tried, coming off of BCPs is the only thing that has made any significant difference to Smaug whatsoever.  Still think there is no hormonal connection??
  • However, it did not come close to defeating Smaug, it merely changed his patterns of slumbering and stomping about my unmentionables.  To clarify: Instead of 4 - 5 really rotten days out of every 12 - 14, I have 7 - 10 really rotten days out of every 25 days or so.  And believe me, the days in between aren't necessarily smooth sailing, many hit a 5 or 6 on the pain scale.  And 7 - 10 days of straight agony really knock you flat.  But it gives me some very precious extended "better" time in between.  And if I get to choose, and for now it seems that I do, I'll take it this way.
  • I saw Dr. Love and she decided to try some special new drugs on Smaug.  They are suppositories (oh what fun!) and require a very special pharmacy to make them.  They are designed to work directly on my girly bits and Samug personally.  And I discovered that Smaug really likes them.  They distract him a bit, take the very worst out of his thrashing and tearing about.  It's like it takes the pain down just enough to bring me back from the brink of insanity.  And it doesn't knock me any flatter than the pain already does.  I think this is what makes it possible for me to get through  7 - 10 days of Smaug on a bender. 
  • I saw Dr. Saint.  Since I turned 35, she gave me a lecture about my waning fertility.  Don't laugh.  On the one hand, no one wants to get that talk.  On the other hand, I've been trying to get through to various specialists that I'm not getting any younger baby-making wise for quite a while.  This is the same doctor who previously told me that if she were in my shoes and was certain we'd be ok adopting, she would just go ahead and schedule a hysterectomy.  Never mind that that won't necessarily take the wind out of Smaug's sails. This time, however, she was saying that with all the different specialists we have seen, the focus of our efforts has always been on wrestling Smaug in to submission, not on baby-making.  Given my age, she didn't want us, five years from now, to look back and regret not pursuing a baby.  She recommends at least seeing the experts and finding out exactly where we stand.  She was initially talking about seeing an RE and seeing what the challenges to conception are, but remembering what I had been told by another doctor when Nate and I married, I think we're going to start with a pre-conception consultation with a perinatologist.  We need to get a handle, as best we can, on what the risks and effects getting preggers would have on me and any baby we might conceive.
  • Nate is on board with this.  This is not so simple as it might sound.  Usually, Nate and I talk about everything.  And we have spoken about this, just not really at any length about the specifics.  Each year, on New Years Eve, we take some time alone to talk about the best moments of the past year, and what we want to see in the new year.  For the past 3 years, the very top of the list of what we want in the new year has been starting a family.
 So we've been very open about where we want to be, and we've faced each obstacle to that goal together, but as far as the mechanics of staring that family goes . . . Well, as you can imagine, with a history like ours (mine in particular), sex is a bit of a loaded gun as far as topics of conversation go.  Just the issue of Smaug alone would be enough to make a man wilt at the idea of physical intimacy.  Then throw in my past and you've increased the difficulty a hundred fold.  Plus, Nate has his own demons with respect to this issue.  The last thing I wanted to do was make Nate feel any pressure about this.  So I tended to push down the depth of my feelings relating to this issue, and focus on getting the best of Smaug.
Have I ever mentioned that we see a shrink?  Let's call her Sara.  Sara is a rock.  We adore her.  Nate knew her from having seen her in the past, and we started seeing her together shortly after Nate's father died and I was in a Very Dark Place with regard to my illness and my past.  We did a lot of hard work together, and I think she is one of the reasons we got through a whole lot of shit prior to marrying. We now see her roughly every 2 -3 weeks, just to go over anything troublesome, help with coping techniques with Smaug, etc.  There are a number of times now where I don't know that we
need to see her per se, but we got into the habit of it, and it's rather a healthy habit, kind of like going to the gym.  

Anyway, a typical session for us is that Nate gets to spend some time with her alone first, then I get time alone with her, then we come together and meet with her as a couple.  While I'm rather lousy at bringing troubling things up with her of my own initiative, I promised myself that I wouldn't shy away from a subject when asked, no matter how difficult.  So when Sara asked how my last appointment with Dr. Saint had gone, and then asked how I felt about getting pregnant, I think I surprised her a bit when I answered, "I want it like my lungs want air to breathe." 

But it turns out Nate had been expressing similar feelings about having a baby.  So when we had our "couple time" with  Sara, we outlined where we were and a rough game plan.  Nate was surprisingly up for the medical consultation, even wanting his family dr to order a SA before we do a standard fertility work up.  That may sound weird, but he was born with an undescended testicle (wasn't surgically removed until he was 6), and he's always wondered what, if any,  effects that may have had on his boys.  I think I may have found perinatologist, now I just need to work up the courage to actually take a bite out of that bullet.

Much more to tell you all, but this will suffice for my first post back in a while. 

'Til Soon.