Redemptive suffering

My interstitial cystitis is officially back. I’ve had two flares and we’ve been navigating that carefully.

I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of self pity and it’s so hard.

I’ve tried offering it up, and sometimes that helps, but so far this is the easy time.  The IC isn’t at the worst pain of my life stage (which is really saying something, if you figure out how often I am in pain).  Right now, we’ve been fortunate that the flares have come at times were G has been home, to help take care of the Bean.

I passed blood clots last flare but not big ones.  Previously, I’ve passed clots the size of dimes out of my urethra.  Right now I’m okay, and I’m praying that when it comes to the point of where the pain is bad, that i can continue to offer up the pain.  It’s just the struggle to offer it up, and not be mad at the situation.   If things stay true to course, I should be okay this month, and expect another flare in December.

My husband has been great about it.  The stress of the house and everything makes the IC flare worse.  My daughter doesn’t understand why it takes Mommy so long to pee.

I had the option of undergoing a surgery to hydro-distend my bladder, and I’ve had success with that procedure, but trying to get an actual estimate of the costs has been hard and nerve wracking.  Again, nerves make the IC flares worse.  The insurance company makes it sound like it will only cost us $100 plus 30% of materials, but we are afraid that if we have the surgery and then get a huge bill, we will be sunk.

So until that house sells, I’m trying to hold out for the hydro.  I told my husband, I could handle the pain for now, but when I need support, I’m going to need support.  Help holding my head up, and help not feeling sorry for myself.

So, I need to remind myself to offer it up, not to take it personal and internalize it so it eats away at me.  I’ll be happy to pray for all of you.  Well, I don’t know about happy but I’m willing to try.

I need something to help get through this.

Pumpkin Scones

Yesterday the Bean and I made pumpkin scones.  It was a lot of fun and one of my favorite thing about her growing older.  She’s four, going on five, but she’s been helping me in the kitchen for a long time.  She knows how to smooth out the measuring cups, pretends to read the recipe.

Mama, it calls for 15 cups of flour and 77 cups of purple sugar.

Taste the batter, Mama, it needs more pepper (we are making pumpkin scones here, which recipe does not call for pepper).

Times like this, I’m happy she’s growing up, where I can trust her not to turn on the Kitchen Aid (Afflink) http://amzn.to/1S0XnaW without flour going everywhere and how we have actual conversations about things that we did the day before.

I’m happy that she calls me Chef Mama and tells me to call her Chef Bean. I’m happy with the experience of having a growing child and having that time to focus on her and be center in her life experiences.

It’s bittersweet when I can temporarily take that moment and think “Yes, this isn’t so bad.”

On a related note, we had to give all the pumpkin scones away. G is a little upset that we baked all kinds of goodies and he’s supposed to be dropping weight.

At least all my neighbors are happy, and my daughter is happy.

Sigh. I’m happy too, right?

Amazon Affiliate

Ladies and gentleman,

I’ve started an amazon affiliate.  I needed to find something that might allow me to have some income.   My house hasn’t sold.  We are running out of savings to pay for the mortgage.  I’m panicking.  Plain and simple.  So I’ve started this endeavor.  I feel guilty about it, and I promise I won’t overload my blogs with links, but I do also know that I get asked a lot about where I get my fertility supplies and my cooking supplies.  I love to cook, so I hope that this will allow for people to click on my affiliate links and maybe, just maybe, make a purchase or two.

Thanks,

Shop Amazon’s Thanksgiving Store

Results and changes.

Sometime in July, we got notice that the results were finally faxed to PPVI.

They called my husband and told him that he counts were low.  His motility, which should have 60% swimmers, had less than 5%.

All the clomid, letrozole, Folistim, femara, would not have gotten us pregnant with those results.

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At first, I was very angry.  We had purchased, on several occasions, male fertility supplements just to ‘boost our odds’.  G would either forget to take them or decide that he wasn’t the problem and not want to take them.

If you think about it, we had been operating on the premise that I was the only problem.  G had several people ask him if he wanted a son, and his answer was always “Yes, of course, right now I’m the last male in my family to carry on the family name.”

Intentional or not, that would hurt me deeply because at that point, I was the problem and I was there reason his family name would ‘die out’ with him.  (Although, to be fair, our last name is really common.)
So, I was mad, I had been made to feel guilty about my issues.  I had put my body through the hell of repeated rounds of fertility meds, been probed countless times by ultrasound wands, and all he had to do was take supplements to help his odds.

Which. he. didn’t. take.

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Every time i would noticed that the supplements we had purchased, voluntarily, hadn’t been taken, I would ask him.  Do you not want another baby?  Because there is no point in me putting myself through this, if the only thing you have to do is take pills and you aren’t doing it.

Every time he would swear he would take them, every time, he would take them for a few weeks or less, and then stop.
So, now we knew that he was mostly the problem, at this point.  Which it doesn’t seem right or good to quantify the ‘fault’ in this fertility, but since I had been bearing the brunt of it, it felt a little good to know that it wasn’t completely me.  It was us, but mostly him, as I’d had several good ovulatory cycles and had better mucous scores.

I’m still going back and forth with being livid.  After all, the window for endometriosis removal is almost over, and odds are that it could be back, and I’ve already had minor IC flares, which means a major flare could be coming.

It will take 6 months for new semen to be completely matured and that’s just hoping the meds will take.

So far he’s been doing well with remembering to take the pills.  He’s had some side effects and he’s gone as far as to cut down on the amount of dairy he eats, one cup of coffee a day, no soda, lots of water, and no heated seats or hot showers.

We are 2 1/2 months into the medication regimen and will need to do another SA to see if there is an improvement.  If not, I’m not sure what the next step is.

Right now though, I’m staying on HCG, which still sucks, but otherwise, not taking anything else until we know his meds are working.

It’s been nice.  No scheduled sex, no major amount of pills for me.  The only thing that is ticking is the clock for the IC to come back in full force, and the fact that we are running out of money for the house, which, no money will equal no surgery either.

St. Joseph, please sell our house!

This was not fun.

After 3 1/2 years of infertility, we decided to get G tested.  Dr. Hickner didn’t think G was an issue because G had “conceived at least two children”.  By that logic, I had conceived at least two children too.  The PPVI prescribed the test and we had to find a place that would actually do the test in the Catholic licit way.

What. A. Headache.

The licit way is brutal.  Since masturbation is frowned upon in the Catholic church, the option was to do it within the marital act.  Using a condom.  With holes poked it in.  Doesn’t sound too complicated, right?

Step one:  Finding a lab.

Find a place that will accept a sample carried in.

Narrowing down places that we could get to in 30 minutes was fun.  The sample had to be accepted within 30 minutes of collection.  So, you had to find a lab that was within 15 minutes, and wham bam thank you ma’am, somebody has to rush our to take the condom full of semen down to a lab.

Calling around 6 places in the area which will accept a condom full of semen is also fun.  Embarrassing.  Fun.  Explaining how you intend do the test.  Also fun.  Explaining why Catholics have to do it that way.  Loads of fun.

Step two:  Finding the materials.

Some labs provided the materials.  Some labs did not.  So the lab’s that didn’t provide a kit, we had to…

Obtain the condom, which cannot have spermicides, additives, lubricants, etc.  Also, in my case, must be latex free.  In some kits, obtain a sterile needle to poke holes in the condom.  Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.39.27 PMMale FactorPak.

Fortunately, somebody volunteered to mail me an unused kit.  Score one for infertility networking.  Of course, after we got the kit, we found the lab that provided the kit.  Though, everybody told us it was a good idea to have more than one condom on hand, in case something happened to the first one.

Step three:  Schedule the darn thing.

Scheduling sex while infertile is always sort of an issue because you ‘want’ to have intercourse on the most fertile day.  Sometimes two or three days in a row.  Love making should be a want thing, not an obligation to use the days because there is mucus present. When you are IF, you don’t always have that luxury, when injecting yourself with $1300 worth of follicle stimulating hormones, you really want to try and use the days or miss it.

I had told my husband “it’s really hard to try and procreate with you, when I am on hormones that make me want to throttle you”.  Way to spice the up romance!  This is why we have enjoyed not charting our intercourse, and not being on FSH drugs.

Anyway.  We had to abstain for 3 days but no longer than 5 days.  So that meant, we had to ‘schedule’ intercourse to fit into that timeline.  “Let’s have sex on Tuesday, so we can have sex on Friday morning, because if we don’t have sex by Friday, we might be having to use a condom on a fertile day, and we don’t want any goalies on the field during a fertile day.”

Always a good way to schedule romance. “Lets schedule the SA intake appointment at 8:30 so we can have sex around 8:00 that way G can still have time to shower, and haul his sample to the lab.  Or, no, let’s schedule it for 7:00 so we can make it there by 7:30, but then you hit the traffic there at 7:30 and then you might be late.”  Etc.

Schedule the appointment the first time, forget about it, have spontaneous love making that made us have to reschedule the test.

Second appointment, get it done.  It felt like a hit and run.  Mechanical, no fun.  It’s hard to believe that this was a licit way, when it didn’t feel good at all.

Then we had to wait, and wait and wait for the results.

The lab wouldn’t tell us the results, and it kept telling us that they had sent the results to PPVI.  PPVI kept saying they hadn’t gotten them.

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Adopt-a-blogger and God’s timing.

This morning, I woke up thinking “I need to do a blog post”.  I wanted to do this to help other women, and I haven’t done a single thing.  Cue God’s timing.  I got a PM telling me I’d been selected as this month’s Adopt-A-Blogger.

Where people (other bloggers–mostly), would pray for my specific intentions.  What an awesome thing, and I mean, that truly, gratefully, and humbly.  Especially because the last couple months have been such a struggle.  I’ll explain more later, but the TL:DR version is that I’ve really been struggling with my faith.

I ask all of you to pray for the quick sale of our home.  We were running the numbers and found out that if the house doesn’t sell this month or next, we will be out of money and will be forced to start defaulting.  For our new realtor, who is also Catholic.

I ask for all of you to pray for a little infant girl named Bella.  Who’s currently in the custody of dear friends of mine, and who’s custody is being contested.  That the judges and the people involved with her care make decisions in her best interest.

I ask for you to pray for all the little Saints that are being remembered this month, as part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance/Awareness month.  For our Isaac.

I ask for prayers to to help me with this struggle of faith I am having.

Please, and thank you.  I return the prayers, and my heart is grateful.

Trying to keep balanced.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. A lot of things have gone on, but no real forward motion.

Our house is still on the market, and we are still trying to conceive.  I did however, get a small job and started bringing in money.  The Bean started swim lessons, which she enjoys and excels at.  She got promoted to Yellow belt in Karate and more recently, orange.  My husband has been working long hours and then selling plasma to help with costs.  So we’ve been busy, and that busy has both helped keep our minds off heavily TTC and helped relax the boat.

We contacted PPVI, which is practically considered the Catholic infertility Mecca and they did some chart reviews blood draws and decided that we needed to test G for male factor.  They also changed me from progesterone in oil shots (PIO) to HCG post peak.  HCG is the pregnancy hormone that I swore off of after it left me, crazy, broken and disheartened.

So, I started HCG and immediately regretted it.  I started having what we called “rage bubbles” or just “bubbles”.  I’d be talking to somebody and just get mad at anything.  My husband wearing a hat, my daughter tapping her feet, the sweet mail lady because she hadn’t filled my box yet, my neighbor because she couldn’t hear me the first time I said something, etc.

The plus side is, that we figured out how to work around it.  When I would feel the bubbles coming on, I would just tell my husband, “Bubbles” and he would try and correct whatever was making me mad, stupid or not, or leave me alone.  Since we had a coping mechanism, I did a couple more cycles on HCG, and each cycle was better than the last, so there is definitely some improvement there.

They changed my thyroid medication to a compounded form but after three months, I decided to go back on the NatureThroid.  There are a couple reasons for that decision, one was cost.  It was ridiculous how much the compounded medications PPVI wanted me on, cost.  I was paying $150+ out of pocket and then I decided that with the HCG, I needed to be back on Low Dose Naltrexone.  So that brought the total, non-insurance covered cost to close to $200.  Plus, I didn’t feel any better on the T3.  I actually felt worse.

It’s amazing how much hormone imbalances can wreck you.  Physically, emotionally, etc.  The issue that’s specific to me being secondary, is that I have a little person who doesn’t have the capacity to understand that it’s not her fault that Mama is angry at something insignificant.  It’s not her problem that Mama is stressed out.

The hardest part, is when the rage bubbles need me to separate myself to pull myself together, and she wants or needs me.  So, if I am overly harsh about something, and realize it after she gets upset, I have to calm myself down before I can address her feelings.  Otherwise, I found out that I have a tendency to say more things that I don’t mean, and she doesn’t deserve.

My husband for the most part, understands, or tries to understand.  He has that capacity to at least reason through it or let it go.  She does not.

She’s also become very insistent that she wants to be a big sister.  Saying things like “Let’s not give this book to the poor children (Goodwill), lets save it for my little bother or sister.”  or “When you have another baby in your belly, I will be able to read to it and teach it things.” Plus, she tells people that she has brothers or sisters when she doesn’t.  Then corrects them as cousins, but I always have that twinge of guilt that she is saying brothers and sisters because she wants them.

I try to be delicate and direct but sometimes, my temper or emotions get the best of me.

It’s exhausting trying to navigate everything.

I’m sorry I haven’t been updating much.  There is so much more I need to say and write but I’ve been overwhelmed.  Things have slowed down a bit so I am going to try and process things more.

Like riding a bike.

I wrote this a while back, but kept forgetting post it.  I hope you don’t mind.

We’ve been doing a St. Joseph’s novena, trying to get our house to sell.  The prayers that involve fatherhood, make me want to weep, because my husband is a good father and husband.  At night though, I wonder when our prayers will be answered
Come on, God.  Throw me a bone.  I have two major prayers that we’ve been repeating for months and years.  We’ve asked for St. Gerard, St. Monica, St. Joseph, St. Jude, St. Christopher, St. Raymond.  Still, our house is still on the market, and my womb is still empty.

I’ve posted our prayer request on every thread asking for intentions.  I’ve placed it in envelopes, I’ve whispered quick prayers as I balance checkbooks, I’ve sat before the crucifix and poured my heart out.  I’ve bowed my head in prayer for me and others, and I’ve reminded my daughter to say “St. Joseph, sell our house”.  We’ve researched online, studied books, we’ve dabbled into essential oils, and funky diets.

Our house is still on the market, and my womb is still empty.  I started wondering what the point in investing all this time on prayer was.

Yesterday, was glorious outside.  We went to the store and she tried riding the bike in the store, so we bought some new tubes for the Bean’s used bicycle, strapped on her helmet and set about refreshing her memory on how to ride a bike.

We practiced stopping before we started.  Peddle, peddle, stop.  Peddle, peddle, stop.  I walked along side of her with my hand on her back, keeping her steady and every once in a while, letting go and letting her peddle on her own.  Then Daddy did it, then he let go for longer, he walked ahead while I walked behind/beside, and we switched places.

I realized that even though she was both uncertain and eager, she needed our support.  Having us close by, ready to help steady her, comforted her, and made it easier for her to forge on.  While the support wasn’t always evident.   We were ready to catch her in the moment of true need.

I really hope that’s what God is doing for us.

Fighting for one step forward, going ten steps back.

It’s been one of those months thats so complicated that I don’t know how to process it.  I might have to make a couple posts.  I don’t know.

So many topics that I want to cover, and not enough time, and not even enough processing.

I finally got put on thyroid meds, did I say that already?  I had blood work done and while my numbers were in range, I argued that, using a website recommended to me in the IF group.  Just because thyroid numbers were in range, didn’t mean they were in optimal range.  So my NaPro prescribed me NatureThroid.  I also told him I thought my symptoms indicated I needed more progesterone so he agreed to raise my dosage.
After a week on NatureThroid, I wondered why the heck I hadn’t found that website sooner.
I have energy.  For some reason, I don’t know if it’s thyroid related or an essential oil that I started using as well, I had better quality mucous that I have had in a long time.  After two weeks, my hands weren’t as cold as they were.  Three weeks after it, my hair isn’t coming out in clumps.  So I was amazed that things were looking up, but my period still started, so I called my NaPro back.

The NaPro has told me that i could suggest blood work to him and he would be happy to do them, so I requested more blood work.  The results were inconclusive to him, apparently, and even though all the levels were low, he doesn’t want to treat them.  He did say maybe do more blood work post peak, but he wanted me off progesterone to do the bloodwork.  Having previously missed progesterone on accident, I remember how horrible I felt without progesterone supplementation.  So I’m not sure that’s a good move.  For my body, and for my sanity.
While I was trying to get him to think outside the box, come on, surely there is SOMETHING you haven’t tested, surely there is SOMETHING you can do to improve my odds.

He basically told me “I’ve been on the phone with you for 17 minutes, we need to talk about you compensating me for my time.”

Seriously?  You told me you wanted an open dialogue and suggestions and now, not only are you refusing to help me medicate to balance my hormones, but you want me to pay you for all this time telling me that you don’t want to do anything?

I basically told him that I didn’t have a problem compensating him if he was actually being pro-active.  I was the one that suggested just about everything that was done, I had to push to get ultrasounds, I had to argue for meds, and pester for blood work.  At which point he suggested maybe we should terminate our professional relationship.

#SMH

So, I’m not sure what to do now.  Continue with a doctor who clearly doesn’t have the WANT to help me?  Go with another NaPro doctor who was already given a poor recommendation?  Consult PPVI, and take more recommendations to the NaPro who already doesn’t want to help me?  Check with a mainstream doctor who may or may not be compatible with my Catholic faith?  Give up?

I settled on the obvious and cried for a while.  Angry.

So here we sit, spinning our wheels.

Again.