Thursday, April 29, 2010

What IF I can never just be happy with what I have...

...and I can't stop being angry, bitter, and sad about what I don't have?

This was another What IF question that I decided to write about.  I think this is a real thing that those of us with infertility face.  Infertility can really bring out the anger, bitterness, and sadness in a person.  It's not a pretty site.  And it has brought that out in me many times.

These were my thoughts as I considered my answer to this question:

I am a generally happy person, but like most people, I compare myself to others.  Unfortunately, when I do this, I tend to assume the people I am comparing myself to are better, smarter, and funnier, etc than I am and that gets me down.

Then throw the whole mess of infertility into the mix and suddenly everyone can do something you can’t—procreate.  They do this by accident.  They do this without even thinking or planning for the future.  They do this when they are ready to start a family.  Teenagers, people your age, family members, perfect strangers.  When you are infertile, suddenly everyone around you is fertile.  I had taken my fertility for granted, I assumed I had it, when I didn't.  I had looked forward to and dreamed of having little ones to love and take care of.  And now it seemed like everyone but me was doing just that. 

"Practice makes perfect" they say.  RELAX.  Buy a 2 seater.   Adopt.   Eat pomegranates.  Maybe try taking birth control.  I've heard it all.   And often all it does is make me more angry, bitter, and sad. 

So how do I combat the anger, bitterness, and sadness?  Well, I have a long list of things I’ve tried

For the immediate bitterness that can occur when talking to people or just seeing their pregnant belly on Facebook--sometimes I still struggle with that..  But I either try to ignore them, change the subject, make a joke tell the flat out truth and watch them squirm. ask them an equally nosy and uncomfortable question, or on a good day, just be happy for them, or don’t get upset with them for asking me a difficult family planning question. 

But, I digress…the main topic was how can I be happy?  I will always encounter pregnant people.  Sometimes nothing that is or isn’t said by a fertile person will help.  The change has needed and still needs to come from within.

It is a battle, one that some days I feel I am fighting pretty well, other times, I feel like I am miles back from where I started.  But I know my ultimate goal—Be Happy, Find Joy.   And do it NOW.

I remember one time after receiving a negative result from a treatment I received the wonderful news that another person I knew was pregnant.  It always happens that way, doesn’t it?  Any how, I was sad and bitter.   I was supposed to be the one that was pregnant.  Not her.  She had always said she wouldn't have kids.  Oh, the unfairness of life sometimes.  

I had recently purchased a sewing machine and my friend was going to teach me how to make a  baby blanket.  I had hoped I would be making this blanket for me, but I decided to make it for her.  As I made it, I felt some of the bitterness subside.  But even after it was made, I wondered if I should keep it for me, for my future child that would surely come.  But, ultimately, I decided to send it to her, and I was glad I did.  It was really remarkable.  My bitterness towards her left, and I was able to have more love for her and feel more happiness and joy in my life.  (And I didn’t have to hang onto what would now be a very dusty blanket shoved in the corner of my closet reminding me of my selfishness and bitterness.)  

This experience has stayed with me, so as hard as some pregnancy announcements and celebrations are, I try to focus on the person and realize that this is another opportunity where my relationship with them can improve and a little bit more of the sadness I feel for myself can dissipate.

I also try to focus on counting the things I actually have instead of the things I don’t.   I have just found that if I focus on what I don’t have, nothing but depression and sadness comes from it.  But on the flip side, I feel happy, blessed and joyful when I focus on what I do have. 

It kind of makes me feel like Count Dracula when I do this little exercise…Because once I start, the easier and faster I can count the things I have.  I have included this you tube video of him singing his counting song.  It brought back some fun memories.  But it true, either way, if you count what you don’t have, you can go on forever, if you count what you have, same thing, and you will be better off for it. 

So since the number of the day is 5, I’ll count 5 things that I have, (in no particular order)

One. (in a count dracula voice)—I have an awesome husband.  He is so funny.  I just wish you could all meet him.  He is so random and is always making me laugh.  He is so genuine and really cares about people.  I can’t believe I married such an amazing guy

Two.—Myself.  I am a kind, beautiful person.  I work hard.  I care about other people.

Three.—My family.  Immediate, extended, in-laws, etc.  They are all unique and good people.  I glad they are a part of my life.

Four.---My home.  After being on the road in small hotel rooms and apartments, my house seemed huge when I got home.  I am so blessed to live in such a nice home.  It is so beautiful and comfortable to live in.

Five.—My faith and my religion.  The gospel has brought such happiness into my life.  I am so grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ and His love for me.  I am also grateful for God and His love for me. 

How do I feel after counting?  Happy.  Grateful.  At peace.  It works every time.

Just call me Count JRS.  (I did have fanged teeth I was younger—thank goodness I got them pulled.)

So here is my new What IF question,  What IF I focus on what I have and find joy now?  What IF I keep on counting my blessings?

Check out resolve.org or stirrup-queens.com to join in Part 2 of Project IF for National Infertility Awareness Week (4/24-5/1)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bungy Jump Video

video
Here is the video of my bungy jump.  I still can't believe I did it.  New Zealanders invented the bungy jump and my hubby said, if i thought I wanted to sky dive, I should be able to handle a little bungy jump.  Did he do it?  No he had no intention of doing it.  But he told me, it looks so easy.  He is a funny guy.  Glad I did it, but I don't know if I ever want to do it again.  

Australia Pictures

aboriginal people making fire.  

hot air ballooning. it was beautiful.  at the end we helped put the balloon back in it's little bag

 we fed bird heads on a stick to crocodiles

hanging out with "joey"

we saw some beautiful beaches

 most koalas are sleepy

 just hiking around. 

 a local working on his tan

bondi beach

 my bruise from falling on the rocks :(

hubs at Manly Beach showing off his guns

Blue Mountain.  

 Tourist JRS

 This kangaroo has the right idea. 

 calmly feeding the cockatoos, things aren't too out of control yet...

this isn't working out. 

I'm outta here. Give me my thumb back!

 Bats hanging around in the Botanical Garden

Opera House and Sydney Bridge

There you have it, a smattering of some pics from Australia.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

What IF infertility negatively affects my relationship with God?

National Infertility Awareness Week (4/12-5/1) is underway and in order to raise more awareness resolve.org and stirrup-queens.com are currently involved in Project IF part 2.  Here is the link to Resolve as well.

I have chosen to write a "what IF" about how infertility impacts a relationship.


What IF infertility negatively affects my relationship with God and I end up losing my faith in Him?

Once I realized how difficult IF was, I knew I my spiritual strength would be tested, but I had no idea to what degree. 

I am a pretty religious person, and knew that God answers prayers.  I also knew that I had to accept His will, and His timing.   But I was confident that sooner or later, our two concepts of timing would coincide. 

As time went on, I began to think I needed to buy God a watch.  Did He not realize that my biological clock was ticking?  Even enduring a month to wait to get into a doctor for a consult was difficult.  Time seemed to crawl when I was waiting a few weeks for my period to come and go so I could get started on treatments.  Then when we took a break between treatments, I could hardly stand to wait.  I felt like I was running out of time.  Apparently I was not. 

My first negative IVF cycle nearly broke me.  I was crushed.  I was angry.   I hated hearing people say, “trust in God and His timing.”  I wondered why does He get all the credit when things go great, and then when things don’t go as planned; it just gets chalked up to His timing and His will. 

With time things got better.  I still didn’t enjoy hearing people tell trite little stories about how they lost something and then prayed to find it, and lo and behold God answered their prayer.  But I tuned it out and didn’t let it affect me too much. 

Then we decided to try IVF again.  I prayed and prayed to know if this really was something we should spend our time and emotional energy on.  I was keenly aware of where this could lead me emotionally if things didn’t work out.   We decided this was something we should do again.  I was more stressed than ever.  I did acupuncture which helped a lot.  I was most scared that if the test came back negative I would lose my faith in God, and to me--nothing was worth that.   I studied scriptures, I prayed.  I tried to stay calm.   

I was a wreck on the day of my beta results.  But lo and behold, they came back positive.  I couldn’t believe it.  I let myself relax and feel joy.  And then, as happy as I felt is how sad and sorrowful I became as it eventually became evident that I was no longer pregnant. 

All of my plans to not be angry with God went out the window.  It wasn’t immediate, but I admit, I did get angry with Him.  The anger passed fairly quickly because I knew from the first time that it wasn't fun to be angry with God.  But I was a bit disillusioned.  It seemed like He was playing a cruel joke on me.  If it wasn't going to work out, why did I feel like I should try again?   If it wasn't going to work out, why let me have a positive beta?  Ironically, that Sunday at church I taught a lesson on prayer.  I held it together until I said “I knew God answered prayers, but sometimes His answer was no.”  I took a break from IF--at least from talking about it or considering any treatments.    

Life was a bit rocky for awhile.  My prayers were hollow, my scripture study minimal.  I still knew that He answered prayers, but like I said, sometimes His answer was no, so why bother asking Him for help? I had no problem praying about many things, as long as it wasn’t related to my infertility. 

I think blogging about all of this these last few months has helped.  Time has really helped.  And continuing to pray and read as little and as minimal as it was helped.  I realized that when I was angry with Him or didn't reach out to Him, he couldn't help me.  I realized I wanted and needed His help. 

Slowly my faith in God related to my infertility has been returning.  In writing this, I get anxious that now it will be tested again.  I just want to catch my breath.  I honestly don’t know if I can ever do IVF again.  I don’t know if I am strong enough to “get back in the saddle”.  I don’t know if I can do anything related to growing my family.  Fear of the intense pain and sadness that can result from it paralyzes me from moving in any direction.  But then I find myself impatient for children.

I guess He thought I could handle this difficulty, and so if He thinks I can handle it, than I intend to.  I truly believe in God.  I know He keeps His promises, and that is what I hold onto when things get difficult.  So sooner or later, I will have to build up the courage to try something else and be able to rely on God’s timing—if only I could get a peek at His watch. 

All that truly matters in the end is that I maintain my faith in God and therefore experience joy, and hopefully have a beautiful family to enjoy it with. 

What IF I can achieve that?   For me, that would be the ultimate reward—to come out of this a better, happier person.  I’ve got the time, so I can see no reason for not achieving that goal.  


New Zealand Pictures

I am going to try to load some pics of my trip.  Slowly but surely.  
New Zealand has tons of hills w/ sheep and cattle grazing all over them.  It is beautiful there.  My hubby is so wonderful, he is always willing to stop on the side of the road to take pics.


another roadside pic.  Driving on the left side of the road was quite an adventure.  


New Zealand geothermal park.  This is in front of the "Devil's Bath"

We hiked this mountain.  It was beautiful, right next to the beach. 

Sheep show where the guy sheared sheep super fast, and I fed a baby lamb.
Mauri dinner show.  Great food, great fun.
New Zealand invented the Zorb--I rolled down the hill in it. and they invented the bungy jump, so if I was ever going to do it, this would have to be the place.  

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Goose Egg for Infertility Awareness Week

My hubby and I went to a wedding for some people he knows from his work.  So we were chatting w/ a bunch of his coworkers or buddies that he hadn't seen in awhile.  One of his friends asked if we had any kids, and my husband, said, we had a goose egg--meaning zero.  It was pretty funny.

I was reminded when I was browsing some blogs that this week is Infertility Awareness Week.  As I have been thinking about it, I have realized that the disease of infertility has affected my life.  I try not to let it define it, but it is a part of who I am.  Infertility affects your emotions, your relationships, your body, your life plans in a way that nothing else can.

When I first realized I was infertile and this family building thing was not as simple as I thought it would be, I hoped to hurry and do my "infertile time" and then have it behind me.  Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.  But in some ways, I think it was good that I couldn't rush through it.  If I had I might not have fully realized how difficult infertility can be on people.  I am also much more aware of what a blessing it is to have children.  I have also been reminded of the fact that life is not just supposed to be all "rainbows and ponies", but that we will all go through tough times and we just need to help each other get through them.  I hope that at some point the general public will better understand how difficult infertility can be for those of us that go through it and end up stuck holding a goose egg.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Australian Time Machine

Yesterday--Thursday I stepped into the Aussie time machine.  I left Australia at 10:30 am only to arrive in Los Angeles, CA at 6:45 am on Thursday which Down Under was around midnight.  And since I left early in the morning I hadn't been able to sleep a wink.  I was wide awake the whole trip except of course the last 2 hrs when the lights were turned back on and I was being served breakfast.

We practically flew into the night time.  On the plane they fed us lunch, popsicle snack (my favorite part), then breakfast.  After I made it through security in L.A.  I went to go buy lunch.  I had no idea it was 8:30 am until the food court people told me that they didn't serve lunch that early.  Thankfully I found a Chili's to  go lunch because I had just eaten breakfast and didn't want to repeat that meal again.

The whole day seemed liked groundhogs day.  And it was so long.  I was able to sleep on my last leg to Texas, but now I'm wishing I hadn't because here it is 2 am and I am wide awake and not quite sure what meal to eat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Australian Toilets

Here the toilets are called bathrooms, but within each toilet is an actual toilet.  And with each toilet after you go to the bathroom you have the option to do a full flush or a half flush.  It is quite strange.

I understand the concept of conserving water and all, but I do get tired of thinking after each time I use the toilet--should I do a full or half flush?  Australia is very environmentally conscientious which is good and all, but to a point.  I have used several composting toilets.  That's a little much if you ask me.

I am looking forward to when I am back in the USA and I can simply flush the toilet without the added pressure of which flush to choose.

That is probably more than enough toilet information for you. 
By the way, the bathrooms today were soap less. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Attacked by Cockatoos

So now I can add another injury to the list--bitten left thumb and scratches on my arms. 

It is my own fault, or maybe better yet, my friend's fault.  She had these pictures of her feeding cockatoos and said it was so fun and so easy.  So I decided I needed to do it.  She told me to wear a long sleeve shirt b/c their talons are sharp--I did, but it was a thin long sleeve shirt. 

Anyhow, so I had sunflower seeds in each hand, and sat down in the middle of the lot of them.  And they started climbing all over my arms and eating the seeds from my hands.  They were going nuts, jumping all over me and scratching me.  And then one flew on my head and then I decided I was done w/ this feeding the cockatoo business.  As I stood up, they flew all around me and I was shaking my arms to get them off me, but one hung on.  I looked down and realized his beak was attached to my thumb.

What was I thinking feeding these crazy looking birds?  Well, obviously I wasn't thinking. 
I'm glad I got out of there with only some scratches and a beak bitten thumb and not another bruise on my butt. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Soapless Bathrooms

I am starting to get a bit tired of using the public restrooms here.  Maybe it's because I'm a nurse and hand hygiene has been drilled into my head, but since when did washing your hands with just water count as washing your hands?  I am so glad I brought hand sanitizer.  And maybe the USA has bathrooms like that, I guess I have just been visiting tons of public restrooms in remote locations and I guess it's bound to happen wherever you are. 

This is the last week of my trip.  It has been fun, relaxing, and beautiful. 

I have come to love some Australia treats:  Tim Tams--delicious bits of chocolaty goodness, and anything that the company Arnott's makes--biscuits, crackers, etc.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blue Moon at Blue Mountain

So yesterday my hubby and I went hiking at Blue Mountain.  It was beautiful.  The mountains really do look blue.  I think it is from the eucalyptus leaves or something like that.  But anyhow, we went on hike along some waterfalls and it was lots of fun.  But guess who fell on her butt?  Yep, me.  I slipped on the tiniest little rock and banged my other butt cheek.  My butt has really taken a beating on this trip.  Luckily I have a lot of padding there.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Drowned Rats

Today we went to few other beaches and I came away with more sand in my suit, a huge bruise on my butt, one less pair of sunglasses and an exciting story to tell.

My hubby and I were climbing around on some rocks that the surf would break on and we decided to try to go out to the highest and closest rocks to the surf.  It was pretty cool and when the waves would break the water would just cover our ankles and occasionally our calves.   So you needed to brace yourself when the waves came because it could sweep your feet out from under you.  There were also channel and pools in between the rocks.  So as we made our way back we needed to jump from one area to another.  As we were getting ready to do that a big wave came and swept our feet out from under us.

I am always most in awe of the power of the ocean when I am stuck in a huge wave and getting tossed about like a little rag doll.  We were thrown in between the huge rocks into a narrow channel and started trying to get back to the surface and avoid getting a concussion from being thrown at the rocks at the same time. 

My hubby was hanging on to me to keep me safe but it was keeping me from swimming.  When I finally got my head to the surface I yelled, "let go".  and then I was able to swim more freely.  My hubby gets sunburned so easily, and we saw his hat rushing away so we swam after that.  I saw him holding his flip flops and I realized that mine were no longer on my feet.  I was holding my sunglasses and saw they were broken. 

We slogged unto shore--our clothes dripping wet.  We were a mess.

But we had survived. 

But I needed to find my flip flops.  My mother in law had bought them for me before my trip because I couldn't find "the flop to my flip"--or in other words one of my flip flops before the trip.  So I scrambled back on the rocks.  My hubby yelled, "stay off those rocks".

I replied, "ok" and continued on my search.  Luckily there was my flip and then my flop sitting on the rocks.

I have the biggest bruise on my butt.  It is so sore.  Picture to be posted later.

What a wipeout we had today.

The day ended with me laying on a grassy part by the beautiful Bondi Beach sleeping peacefully until a big white dog ran over my forearm.  At least there is no bruise to be seen there.

It was definitely a memorable day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Manly Beach

Today we went to Manly Beach.  The name came about when some explorer arrived on the beach and saw aboriginal people and thought they looked manly.  Strange name, beautiful beach. 

My hubby would do something chivalrous like let us go ahead or hold a door for us and then say, "that's a manly thing to do".   I got him to flex and show his muscles and show how "manly he was".   Hubby wasn't wearing speedos, but we saw other men wearing them.  We didn't see anyone sporting a mankini on the beach.  It is the craziest thing--it is a speedo that a man wears, but it hooks up over the shoulders.  It's pretty gross. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's up Down Under?

Well, Sydney is a beautiful city.  We are staying w/ friends and they have an awesome view of the Sydney opera house and harbor from their balcony.  Every night huge bats (they call them flying foxes) fly by their windows, this morning we saw them all sleeping in the trees at the botanical gardens.  It was pretty crazy.

Today we saw a cool koala and kangaroo exhibit.  I have learned all sorts of cool animal facts out here.  It also seems that we have learned all sorts of reproductive information about these animals.

  • koalas are pregnant for 35 days. And their babies are so tiny--just a few inches long.  
  • kangaroos also have a short pregnancy, but if say there is a drought or other reasons they can stop their pregnancy for a year of two and then resume it.  Who knew that they would think a month was just too long to wait for a kind.
  • snakes have 2 penises.  The ranger said they only reason they could come up w/ for that was just in case one didn't work.  LOL
  • sharks practice tough love--bite the female so they can get in position
Hope you enjoyed that little bit of trivia.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I survived!

The bungy was so fun.  The bungy cord was attached to my feet and I went off head first.  The scariest part was waiting for my turn and then when I was at the very top having to go off.  I told the guy I might need a little push to help me out. 

I got pictures and everything!

It was in a beautiful setting, with cliffs and a lake below.  I tried to touch the water, but my bungy didn't quite make it that far.  If I was ever going to bungy I would have to do it there.  And New Zealanders invented bungy jumping. 

Now I'm ready for skydiving.  My hubby said if I couldn't bungy, how was I going to sky dive?  So now that I have conquered the bungy, there is no stopping me.  My hubby was so funny.  He kept egging me on to do it, even though he had no intention of doing it.  I am the daredevil in the family. 

Today we saw the coolest sheep show.  We saw all sorts of wooly sheep and then we saw one of them get sheared.  Then they had sheep dogs come in and they walk on top of the sheep.  It was the craziest thing.  And then we saw a demonstration of a sheep dog herding sheep and then a wool carding demonstration.

And then I also went down a hill in a ball called a ZORB.  (also invented in New Zealand).  It was pretty fun.

Tomorrow at the crack of dawn we are on our way to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef. 

Woo hoo!

New Zealand words:
trolley is cart
lift is elevator
cabinet food is what they call pre made foods like muffins or cakes behind the glass in a cafe

Oh, I tried some Vegamite,  to all of those Aussies and New Zealanders that love it, I have to say, I don't think my tongue will ever touch it again.  It smells awful and tastes how it smells. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why live on the edge when you can jump off it?

That is the slogan here at Taupo Bungee Jump.

And for whatever reason I signed up to do it.  What was I thinking?  Aaaah!  I  am SO nervous.  And now I just need to wait a little while until it is my turn to go. 

I hope I live to see the end of this day. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Zealand

is beautiful!!

The trip here was brutal, 13 hrs on a plane from LA.  A family was sitting in front of us and as soon as we would fall asleep it seemed like their girl would start to scream bloody murder.  I had my neck pillow and sleeping shades and somehow got some sleep.

But so far, it has been worth it.  We spent a lovely day in Aukland and today we are in Rotorua.  We hiked to the summit of a small mountain and had a lovely view of the beach, and then tonight we are going to a Maori cultural show w/ dinner.

It is fun to hear the accents here and the funny different ways they say things.  They like to call trash, rubbish which is funny.

Driving on the left side of the road is a bit crazy.  The passenger sits where the driver should and away we go.  Thankfully we have our GPS and have just been following that.

It is so fun being in a different country.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Easter

I am mid flight.  Stopped off in L.A. to see family and will be heading back the airport in a few hrs.  But with Easter this weekend, I wanted to share a neat Easter video.  Click on this link from you tube to watch it.

Hope everyone had a fun april fool's day.  My hubby tricked me by saying he only put one of my bags in the car when we got to the airport.  I need to figure out how to trick him.  I still have a little bit of time left.