Monday, July 08, 2013
We've had an influx of fruit flies the last couple of weeks, mainly because I eat so much fruit myself and don't like to keep it in the fridge. Well, I moved the fruit to the fridge somewhat resentfully and hung fly paper in various places around the house. Then, I read that they breed in your pipes and multiply from there, so when a haze of them swarmed me in the bathroom one day, I hung fly paper in there too. Genius.
When my husband came home in the middle of the night from work (It had been up for a day or two so he knew it was there) - I caught him instead... and indirectly ruined his glasses. He needed new glasses anyway but that wasn't the problem... the problem was that these were his safety glasses that are required for him to go to work. He got an eye exam, and we went and ordered him new glasses, but it being the week of the 4th of July, and with a weekend following close behind, even with a rush on it, they could not guarantee them to be there before the weekend. Long story short, we still have no glasses, and my husband may lose his job because of my hair-brained attempt to annihilate all fruit flies.
I have learned many lessons from this fiasco. (1) Don't hang fly tape where it can catch people. (2) Don't try to save money by putting off things like getting new glasses and always have a backup pair. (3) It's time we start putting money back for that emergency fund (unless he loses his job, in which case we won't have any money to put back).
So now with this new Sword of Damocles dangling over our heads, of course my mind goes where it always goes... I wonder if I would be selfish to still try and have babies when my husband and I are under financial stress. But with fears of infertility I still think that I should not miss any chance to conceive. People all over the world deal with these kinds of issues all the time and they survive. Also, I talked to my husband about what we would do if we learn that we can't conceive. He's all for adoption, even though it's supposed to be really expensive.
As you can imagine, we are both under quite a bit of stress right now. Yet, I know that God is going to lead us through it. I don't know exactly what the future holds for us, and while life hasn't turned out exactly the way I planned it, I know that God is in control and He has a better plan for us than the plans we have made. When I put my trust in him, it always turns out for the best, and that's what I need to do. When I needed a job, He provided for me, and blessed me with a job that was better than I could have imagined myself getting.
Here is the cool part about all of this. We went to Young Families this Sunday. We never go to the main church service because my husband and I don't get that much out of them. But in the Young Marrieds group (adult Sunday School) there's always something for us. This group started up a few months ago, and now it's exploded. It's a packed room and the guy who runs it was my youth minister a couple years back... or more, and he happened to start leading this group just as my husband was about to give up on church. Perfect timing. This group has given him the opportunity to start talking and opening up. Most of our friends are in different places in their lives, there aren't a ton of people who understand what we are going through. Plus, we've kept much of it behind closed doors. However, when they asked for prayer requests this weekend, we finally decided to lay it out in group. He asked for prayer about his job situation (he hates his current job, and wants something better) and I asked for that and health and to pray for us because we're having trouble starting our family. I broke down in tears, and as much as I hated saying it out loud in such a public way, it was a relief to share it. And because we shared, for the first time in that group, we made connections with people. Many of the women gave me hugs afterward and agreed to pray for us. And our youth minister introduced us to a couple we'd only seen once or twice who are having similar struggles and are trying to adopt.So, talking about it turned out to be a good thing, although I'm still worried that it will define me in the group.
On another note, I asked my sister (who is pregnant now with her second child) to ask her doctor when I should visit him. When I was pregnant before, he was very strict to timelines, and I don't want to waste a dr. visit if he's only going to make me wait and come back later, but my menstrual cycle keeps getting shorter and shorter. It used to be regular (26-28 days, with a 6 day period), now it has shortened to a 23-24 day cycle with a 3 or 4 day period. I read that a luteal cycle of under 12 days means increased difficulty in getting pregnant. (According to my phone - I've been keeping track of this using an app on my phone and this is the only reason I even know what a luteal cycle is - my luteal cycle is now down to 11 days)... So with this progressive shortening of my monthly cycle, I'm concerned that my chances of conception are dwindling and I'm worried about wasting time. I know we can adopt, and I know that if we did, we would love the child/children as much as any we would have naturally, but I also know instinctually that it is not quite the same as having your own flesh and blood. I worry that if we did adopt, that my family would not be as accepting of our children, and they might be treated or even perceived differently than my nieces and nephews. Also, I worry that adoption may not be an option for us, because I have no idea how expensive it is. I don't want to really look at it until I know where I stand with my own chances of conception.
In an attempt at perseverance, I decided to try again with my diet today. I started my morning off with a breakfast protein smoothie, and that's as far as I've gotten. My doctor said I can start working out again, but I'm afraid to show my face in the gym, since my trainer will want me to work with him again, but I can't afford it right now while still paying a chiropractor every week to fix my back and I haven't been cleared for strenuous exercise. Suggestions on that end?
Monday, July 01, 2013
I don't know a ton about my own body. I never even thought this could be a problem for me because my parents spent my entire adolescence and young adult years warning me about safe sex and birth control and not getting pregnant before I was ready, and no one EVER thought to talk to me about miscarriages of problems getting pregnant. No one even tried to encourage me to get pregnant, of course, until after my first miscarriage (which only makes things worse in case you're wondering).
Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 6 months to a year of trying, or as not being able to carry a pregnancy to full term.
Also, each year after a woman turns 30, her chances of conceiving drop drastically. I'm 29 now, and each month that I get closer to 30, my biological clock sounds more like the an eerie funeral chime.
I know that certain things affect fertility/infertility. For the most part, I live a fairly healthy lifestyle, but I have some concerns. I eat fish that generally does not have high mercury levels, like salmon or tilapia or mahi mahi. I eat very little red meat. I eat plenty of protein, fruits & vegetables. I avoid artificial sweeteners and coffee like the plague. I NEVER drink sodas. In fact, aside from a smoothie, I mostly drink water. I do eat quite a bit of chocolate, and have a sweet tooth and that is a constant battle. I'm an emotional eater, and the more emotional I get (for instance, right now), the worse my eating habits get. I've tried to eliminate most wheat and dairy products from my diet except for ice cream occasionally or a TBSP of mayo in a recipe here or there. I cook with olive oil. I drink moderately, and usually only one week out of the month (period week). Of course, this month, I just felt like the probability of my being pregnant was so unlikely, so I drank once last week. Also, up until I popped a rib out of place and developed slipped rib syndrome a couple of months ago, I had exercised regularly 6 times a week, mostly with a trainer for almost 2 years.
My concerns are as follows:
Obesity (I am considered obese even though I eat fairly healthy)
Working out (when I did work out, the level of my workouts COULD have effected my ability to get pregnant)
Not working out/gaining weight (Since I have been unable to work out, I've gained a lot more weight back, and am concerned that that could affect fertility)
STRESS (this is probably the biggest reason I haven't conceived since my previous miscarriage - my stress level is through the roof. For me, there is no such thing as calm - I am always at a mid-high stress level)
Now those are my logical concerns. What follows is the emotional fallout I've been dealing with on and off for the last year. The following is more for me than it is for anyone else, but I thought I would post it anyway, because you never know when talking about something may help someone else or lead to some kind of realization that will help you. When I'm feeling down, I self-medicate with writing... at least it's not alcohol. : )
I saw this movie last week: Away We Go. It started out as a feel good, funny movie that was a sampler tray of sorts of modern parenting styles and families, and then there was this one part of the movie where the tone abruptly changed. The main couple (who were expecting their first child) looked up a couple of their college friends in Montreal, who had a kaleidoscope of adopted kids in their home. It was only the second or third time I had ever seen a movie portray infertility in a movie, but in my opinion, it was the most poignant portrayal I've seen. By the time it got to the pole dance, I was bawling. It's moments like those when I have no choice but to confront my own sadness. And I've been fairly depressed ever since.
Then, last week I noticed some possible symptoms. I felt some breast tenderness and a little twitching and cramping in my stomach and reproductive area that happened to coincide with the window in which implantation could occur. And I did something I should never have done. I started to let myself hope again.
You see, I keep trying to give up. People keep inserting their own advice all the time. Don't give up. Give up. Forget about it and then it will happen. Stop stressing. And all of these things, if you've ever tried to conceive do NOT help. How can you forget on purpose? How can you try without trying? A cat may pretend not to be interested in the laser light someone points on the floor next to them, but believe me, it drives them crazy. Well, this is driving me a little crazy too. My best friend doesn't even understand.
With every month that passes, I feel a little more desperate, a little more hopeless, and a little less in control of my life. With every month that passes, I feel a little more like a failure.
Somehow, motherhood seems like it should be the most natural thing in the world. And in addition to the sadness I feel over losing a child in the first place, I feel both ashamed and depressed that I can't provide the family my husband and I want, that I can't do the most basic thing that a woman is supposed to be able to do. And no one talks about it and no one wants to talk about it, except people it's never happened to. I do want to talk about it, but with someone who understands. I hate hate hate how people trivialize it or avoid it, or how the ones who do want to give advice have NO IDEA what they are talking about because they have never experienced it and now it's making me angry. Or if I talk about it, people act like I'm not stable or like I shouldn't be talking about it. What is wrong with the world that people can't talk about real problems that affect them, but everyone can whine and complain about little problems they take for granted that other people would be overjoyed to have?
Off of the soapbox...
I'm terrified. Terrified that I may never have my own children. Yes, I could adopt, but that's an entirely different can of worms. I don't think I would ever actually stop wanting a child of my own flesh and blood, even if I had a house full of children needing love. Don't get me wrong; I would love those kids as my own, but it would be different to some degree. If you don't know, watch Away With Me - just youtube the montreal part & it might make my point for me. I'm also terrified that I could get pregnant - several times - and end up with several miscarriages, which in my opinion might be inhumane for my babies and maybe even for me. If one miscarriage took this much away from me, I don't know if my sanity could survive others. So, the fear of future failed pregnancies terrifies me. I'm afraid that I would spend every pregnancy worrying over it and maybe even cause problems because of my fear and stress. Then, what if I actually have a successful pregnancy and I end up being a terrible mom? That one is not all that realistic, I know, and it pales in comparison to my other fears, but it is an actual fear that I have.
I just had to get that off of my chest.
So all that is on my mind, plus I've been reading about infertility.
Let me interject that this is already an especially difficult time for me because last year at this time, I was pregnant. And I most likely miscarried around this time. I don't know the actual date my baby died because I had a missed miscarriage, where the baby dies and it takes a while for you to know because you don't actually experience the miscarriage part until later. And right around the time that it happened I had this terrifying dream about losing someone very close to me, and within days I started feeling the classic symptoms. I had that dream again a couple of nights ago, so that didn't help either. So back to the part about allowing myself to hope again... I took a pregnancy test yesterday and today, even though most sites say I should wait a few more days. They were both negative. I will test again in a few days, but I'm pretty sure it would have shown up even though it was early, because my cycle is a few days shorter than the normal cycle.
But now that makes me wonder if I'm so desperate that I could have a false pregnancy - I really don't think I could handle that one. I was going to share my symptoms with my husband, but now I'm glad I didn't do it before I tested, because I don't want him going through everything I've been going through.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I've got that song stuck in my head...
"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day."
I started Advocare again after making the choice to start eating right, set some goals and stick to some kind of plan.
I've really cut down on sweets. Except for the chocolate flavor of my protein shakes, I've been steering clear of chocolate... and dairy, and gluten, and wheat products.
I've been taking an energy supplement made by Advocare as well as ginseng, and I think that, in combination with eating better has greatly affected my resolve and my level of optimism.
I haven't worked out in a week, but that's because my doctor says I can't due to a pulled rib. In fact, I should be icing my back right now.
Once I changed my perspective and quit my job, my stress level started to diminish just a bit. My husband said it was like a visual change came over me. Anyway, I have been putting in my application for the Fall, and my current job even said if no one hires me, they would be happy to keep me on part-time in the Fall. (But I don't think it would pay enough to get me through)
I've lost 4 pounds without even exercising in the last week. I believe it's the change in eating habits. My husband is extra supportive. He started to curb his eating habits too, and has already lost 9 pounds.
I feel more positive because I made a choice between focusing on fertility and focusing on health, and right now my focus is on health, so I'm not stressing about it nearly as much. I am afraid of getting pregnant before I'm adequately prepared though.
I want to meet these goals first:
Stable job by Fall
Better health insurance coverage
Doctor/healthcare taken care of: yearly checkups, dental health at optimum level
I want to buy a sleep number mattress before getting pregnant to help with back pain issues (the first time, I remember how sore my back could be, and now I want one more than ever)
Lose a minimum of 40 lbs.
So I think a good timeline would be to get all of this done by 2014 and then start focusing on fertility again. And I doubt I will even have to, because if all of those things fall into place, odds are I will be preggo before I've reached my ideal weight... which is more than 40 lbs below where I am now. Ideally, I would be between 125 and 135 lbs. But last time, I got pregnant at 168 lbs. Here's hoping.
My parents are moving to the next town (they live in the same town as I do now), and since my husband works two towns over in the same direction, I am thinking it might be more practical if we decided to move in that direction as well. I have a job interview next week in that town, and if I get it, that would be one more reason to think about taking that step.
I'm trying to decide if I should take birth control or not. Part of me thinks that limiting fertility is a good idea because I don't have to worry while working toward my goals that I might be doing things that could put a baby at risk without knowing I was preggo, like being too strict with diet and work out, or just being overweight, or not having the healthcare I need first. (I'm pretty sure I have gingivitis or gum disease, and I read that it's linked to pre-term births and miscarriage. I wouldn't know if I have any of that though, because I am scared of dentists and haven't been to one in a couple of years.)
Part of me thinks my husband would secretly resent me if I took contraception. He wants babies yesterday. Of course, doesn't it make sense to be ready first? By his logic we aren't getting any younger and we will both be 30 before we have kids, even if we were to get started right now.
Part of me is also afraid of waiting to long and it being too late. That would be the part that constantly hears the tick-tock of my biological clock.
So what should I do? I feel less stressed now just knowing that I've made the decision to focus on exercise and stop focusing on babies. Of course that's easier said than done, because what am I doing right now? Stressing over contraception, which is related to conception. Comments? Suggestions? Advice?
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Or lack thereof. : )
I had a rough day today, and my week so far hasn't been as successful as I would like. I have the proverbial angel and demon sitting on my shoulders, only for me one is optimism and one is pessimism. My normally optimistic conscience doesn't like this long period of dark pessimism I've been suffering through.
I used to never let anything get me down. What happened?
I had a pity party today and went through an entire bag of chocolate covered almonds. Yep.
I bought them, telling myself it was a bad idea, but that I would be strong and limit my intake. Didn't happen. I had been good all day. Protein shake for breakfast, jerky snack, PB & J sandwich for lunch, light on the J.
Then, I got a text from my sister with the happy news - she's now pregnant. Yay. I should be happy, but it sent me spiralling out of control. Why, after I've been praying for months, grieving my miscarriage, feeling pressure and stress in my marriage from not being able to conceive when my husband and I want a baby. I felt/feel so pathetic. Then I got a text from my trainer. The workout I was looking forward to, to help me get my mind off things and free up my caged emotions, was cancelled. It's a "rest day." Why, when I always want one, do I only get one on a really bad day? lol
I feel like a horrible person. I should be happy about it, but I'm not. With the exception of my best friend who is in a happy lesbian relationship, every woman I know under the age of 35 has gotten pregnant this year. My other best friend, my sister, my ex-friend, women who go to the gym with me, three cousins' daughters who are in the family generation after mine.
But I had to put things into perspective, too.
We got pregnant the first time on a fluke, the week of our honeymoon, one week after we got married. All the conditions were right. I was at my healthiest, my husband was at his healthiest, we were stress free, and not really even trying. It seemed like fate, and I was on top of the world when we found out. I could feel that I was preggo within two weeks. But we lost her. I say her because we decided on a gender even though it was too soon to really know. Even gave her a name.
And we started trying almost immediately. And it's been.... October, November, December, all the way to now... April. In perspective, it's only been 7 months. But each month we have tried so hard, keeping track of days, trying to lose weight and stay positive, taking vitamins. Without success.
Also, my sister and her husband only plan to have 2 children. After her first, we always talked about timing her second and my first close together. I'm feeling discouraged with each month that passes. And now I feel left behind, like even my sister doesn't have enough faith in me to wait. I know I shouldn't feel that way. I should be happy for her, and I am, but the bad thing is that my happiness is bittersweet, and I am so selfishly worried about my own problems.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Ironic, yes, I know.
I'm writing again because I feel stuck - again. I guess I always feel a little like I am spinning my wheels, because for every positive step I take, I feel that I am backsliding more. I'm doing a few things positive, but I don't truly feel good about them. I'm starting to, but I realized that the reason I can't feel great about my life is because I'm afraid I am going to fail at it - at anything I try. I work out, and hard, but I fail at my meal plan because I don't follow it. I asked myself today - if I want so bad to be stronger, fitter, if I want my trainer to keep training me and not to drop me like he says he will if I don't eat right, then why am I undermining myself by eating all the wrong things. And I can tell myself it's someone's birthday, or that I deserve a little chocolate now and then, but everyday? And I know this is why I'm gaining weight. Well, I came up with an answer... not an excuse - I've always got those.
Answer? It's failure. And fear. Why try if I know that at some point, I'm going to give in to the temptation, or at some point, I am going to plateau, or get to my goal, and then what? How do I maintain? I'll either lose too much or it will get harder and harder to keep that goal. And that scares me.
Things I'm working on/failing miserably at...
I bought interview clothes, I've tweaked my resume. I want a new job so bad I can taste it. I LOATHE going to work. I called in yesterday because it was my husband's birthday, and I really did have a stomach virus (But I had to admit to myself that I felt like calling in regardless of my health and the day, and I had to drag myself to work today). It's not the kids. It's the fact that somehow they paid me less this year than last, even though my salary is supposed to be frozen (we don't get steps right now bc they found a loophole that allows them to not give us aour rightful pay bc of financial distress). It's the unethical and illegal things I know my boss is doing. It's the hostile and overly dramatic work environment and the harassment of coworkers I know and respect and consider as family.
Still, I haven't submitted my resume to anyone yet. I have a possibility of an opportunity but I haven't jumped at it yet. I can have my foot in the door if I go talk to the person, but again, I'm afraid. What if they don't want me? What if I'm dressed wrong? What if I catch them at a bad time and seem too pushy or make a bad impression? What if because it's a temporary summer job, it prevents me from getting a fulltime teaching position next year because of scheduling issues? What if all the people who I rely on don't come through? What if no one takes the time to write a letter of recommendation for me? And the worst fear...What if my boss does what he has done in the past to other good employees and tries to blacklist me? But if I go and get the summer job lined up, I'll have a positive work experience to follow the bad one. I'll have something good to prepare me for an even better job elsewhere. I'm just afraid.
My house is clean...er. After the miscarriage, I let it all go. I let things pile up for months. Didn't sweep the floors, didn't wash dishes or clothes unless I had to, didn't really organize anything - I just let junk accumulate. This weekend, I swept, mopped, vacuumed, washed dishes, and laundry, got the trash together, put new sheets on the bed, and started putting stuff where it goes. Obviously, you can't undo months of disarray in a day and a half, but I made a big dent. I feel better. That doesn't scare be too bad, unless I fall into that rut again. And I have to get the house clean, because in a few weeks, one of my best friends will be staying here for the baby shower I am throwing for her. (Yes, I know, it was stupid to sign up for it, but it was before I knew how hard it would be for me to do and I'm a bit of a glutton for punishment, if you can't tell) I feel like the house has to be perfect because she is a little OCD and will be even more so now that she's hyped with pregnancy maternal instinct and hormones.
My closet is full, but not in a good way. It's full of clothes I should have taken to Goodwill when I lost the weight, but unfortunately, I'm back into some of them. I've gone up from a size 12 to a size 18 since June. I know it's a sign of depression and I've owned it, but now I really need to do something about it. I have to fix this myself, I know. But I have to admit anyway or it won't do any good.
Family, Fellowship, and Intimacy
I have made it back to church - er- Sunday school. This is a good thing. My husband actually joined me the last time. I feel like I have something to prove by going - that I can sit in a room and listen to people talk about their problems and their kids and their families, and it not be all about me or all about my loss, that I can listen without crying. I'm getting there.
I have been spending more time with family. I've opened up to my mom about my feelings. She knows what I'm going through, but like all mothers, she is extremely misguided in her advice... she thinks it can all be solved with a new baby and her grandma clock is ticking faster than my biological clock ever did. She thinks I shouldn't worry about my ability to have children - "bigger women than you have babies all the time with no problems." Yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence. And of course' "you can't wait forever, because you're not getting any younger - you're almost 30." She also asks questions about how often I'm trying and says that I don't need to wait until my depression goes away. I don't want to be depressed when I bring a child into the world. And I don't want my weight to cause issues with my unborn child's health or my health and take me out of the picture. And I am extremely afraid of trying again, but I'll get to that.
Intimacy - my husband wants me to have a baby worse than my mom, but he's very good about not pressuring me. Instead he pressures himself. As much as I blame myself and feel that I'm the reason we haven't gotten pregnant again or that something is wrong with me, he feels the same - I can tell. He doesn't have to tell me. And I can tell when we are intimate because he seems more and more desperate each time. And I feel like a failure each time because I'm not giving him what he wants most: Children. But I also feel selfish because I'm afraid and so I'm not sure I'm ready yet. Because I'm sure that I will fail if I try - I've already failed at motherhood once. And I'm afraid of failing and, if I do, what it will take from me. I feel like I lost part of my soul the last time. People say, "oh, don't think like that - you'll have a baby." And I think, really? How can you know that? I could have a miscarriage. I still feel so alone in this.
I have this image in my head of the person I want to be, but even though I am trying, I still feel like I am getting further and further away from that person. I want to be beautiful, and strong, and wise. I want to be a perfect teacher, mom, wife, etc. What I want most is to feel like I am the person who is in control and running my life again, not like my life is running me, or depression is running me. I have to try, and I promise I will keep trying until I get there. I just have to take baby steps.
I'm also afraid of trying. Because I keep trying to pick myself up and I keep failing, and then I feel like it's an endless cycle. I'm afraid of giving up, I'm afraid of staying here stuck spinning my wheels. I'm afraid of trying and failing and even strangers getting tired of me and turning their backs on me. I'm afraid I could give up on myself.I won't because of that fear, so I guess in a way, fear is a good thing. I just have to find the motivation, the thing that is worth fighting my way back for. Right now it's not failure, it's not my family, my children, my job, my church or anything else. I haven't found any reason strong enough to pull myself up out of this yet, except maybe that I'm tired, so tired, of being unhappy, and tired of not being in control of my own life. I'll never be perfect, and maybe my life won't go exactly as planned and that makes me want to give up on everything, but if I can feel good about and get a little self-control and self-respect, maybe I can turn this around.
If you've read all the way down and you're still with me, I'm guessing it's because you're in, or have been in a rut yourself, that at some point you hit rock bottom. I think it might help if I knew when you knew you had to try, what led you to decide it was enough? How did you take your life back? Or if you're still there, what will it take? What are you doing to try, or if you aren't then why not? I guess I want to know that there is something to look forward to.
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