Thursday, February 21, 2008
Now, of those 76 grandchildren, I am the 5th eldest if you count my brother John. I grew up spending a lot of time with many of my cousins from the older batch. I started babysitting the younger batches at the age of 8, though I remember changing my cousins' diapers when I was just about 5. Anyway, I feel very close to most of my cousins and I miss them terribly at times. When our family goes through bad things, or good things, I know my cousins are there with love and support.
On my dad's side (the 76+ is on my mom's side), I think there are about 20-25 first cousins and I have no idea how many kids they all have. I grew up much closer to my mom's side of the family even though my dad's relatives lived closer (some just up the street). Sadly, my dad's family has had more than their fair share of family fights and estrangements (not that nobody is blameless in that). Last June, Dave and I went to Utah for a family party with that side - the first one in at least 20 years! I haven't seen many of my cousins on that side in about that long, or at least since my grandfather's funeral in 1993.
My cousins are very important friends of mine. That's one of the heartaches of dealing with 1) how long it took to meet, fall in love with, and marry Dave and 2) how long it took to conceive. My children will be a lot younger than all of their cousins. My youngest niece/nephew is 8 years old now and the oldest will be 16 when this baby is born. My children will be missing out on that kind of closeness in their childhood. I may not even be able to provide this current child with siblings. That makes me kind of sad. Fortunately, I have good friends with young children. I hope our kids can all sort of form that bond like I had with my cousins.
I have 2 cousins that require extra love and prayers right now. They are on my mind daily and I pray for them often. One of them, Jimmy, was part of the just a bit younger than me group of cousins. I spent a lot of time at his parents house when my parents were traveling. Jimmy has a wonderful family now and beautiful children - and he has cancer. It started in his knee but it has metastasized and he is fighting it bravely. He's been fighting this battle for over a year now.
The other cousin is Ashley. Ashley is in her early twenties and has two little children that both need extra love and prayers. Kelsi was born with a congenital heart defect and has had to undergo several surgeries on her heart. She had a pacemaker implanted last fall and around that time, Ashley learned that her other child had cancer. Little Cohen has a neuroblastoma near his liver and kidneys. Kelsi's pacemaker is working great and her recent surgeries have so far proven to be a success, but she still needs prayers. It's likely she'll need a heart transplant at some time in the future. Cohen has had several rounds of chemo and is gearing up for surgery soon.
Please join me in praying for Jimmy, Kelsi, and Cohen. Also pray for Ashley, that she will continue to have the strength she needs to face each day and each treatment and surgery.
Her blog and the blog for Kelsi and Cohen are linked over on the left in my list of favorite blogs.
Thank you for reading. :)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I've always wanted to go to Cuba.
Okay, so here I am going on and on about world news and you're probably wondering why I am not sharing my big news. Yes, we have BIG NEWS but not on a grand global scale. It's just global to me and many friends and family members. You all know that this has been a very long and difficult journey for us, so today's news is wonderful. We have a heartbeat! We went to our first prenatal ultrasound - which, btw, I've graduated to the prenatal level and my doctor appointments are free (no copay)! So, I'm 6w4d and the baby measures 6w2d, which is very good! My estimated due date is October 10, 2008. He/she will be a Libra. As if that matters. Sadly, there was a second gestational sac but that baby didn't make it this far. So, we are very happy to be having 1 baby! We are really glad we decided to transfer 3 embryos, especially now. There were times we were afraid of having all 3, but would have been happy to do so if that were the situation. Some people had me afraid that all 3 would implant and split, giving us sextuplets!
We are very very happy with the one. They were all so sweet at the REI (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility) clinic. I've been seeing them there for nearly 2 years and have appreciated their kindness and support through all of that time. Every person at that clinic is exemplary in their professions and I'm going to miss them - but I'm so happy to be graduating out of their care. I'll see them again sometime next year when we transfer our snowbabies.
I don't have many of the typical symptoms. I have my sleepy days, which are increasing. I still get the cramps, which can be quite bad, but I'm told are normal. They feel different from menstrual cramps - more like being punched in the guts. I'm happy to have them as they remind me that good things are in the works. I've had some nausea but that comes mostly with the cramps so I think it's less morning sickness and more due to the pain of the cramp. My boobs do hurt, but again, they are happy reminders of good things in the making. I haven't vomited, yet. Maybe acupuncture is helping that. Food doesn't appeal to me, but that's nothing new for me.
I've been cutting down the acupuncture in an effort to wean myself off of it. I'm afraid to stop it cold-turkey because I believe it is keeping some things in my body in balance. If nothing else, it's incredibly relaxing and a great stress-reducer. Still, I know that if done improperly it can cause uterine contractions, which at this time are not good. I trust Robert, but I also trust my instincts, and my instincts are telling me to slowly wind down to once a month.
I miss my baths. Dave still doesn't want me having a bath and he's probably right. Even though I've been told warm baths under 99-100 degrees are fine, I know I have a tendency to push the heat and I might just not be satisfied with a bath unless it's scalding. So, I'll stick to short showers - but I confess that I still like the heat. I am trying to go easy on it, really easy. My foot bath is great and I really enjoy that, especially when I'm having jacuzzi withdrawals.
I'm still organic as far as bath products are concerned. My skin is clearer and I feel better for it, physically and mentally. The baby's reproductive organs are forming now and parabens affect that specifically so I'm proud that I know I'm doing what I can so that this baby has every chance at good health (reproductive or otherwise).
I can't wait to talk to Dave some more to see how excited he is getting. He has been cautiously optimistic so far. I think he really needed this ultrasound for it to sink in. I did.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I voted today. As a non-partisan I was kind of limited in my choices so I chose to vote as a Democrat. I was tempted to be a Republican for the day but the GOP decided to no longer allow non-partisans to participate in their primaries. Hmph! I guess they are trying to get people to get off the fence and register for their party - perhaps so they can get more funding?
Anyway, so I know it's bad mojo to discuss politics but it's just so interesting! I'll tell you, though, I didn't vote for Obama, even though to me both he and Hillary about about even keel (I like some of each of them, dislike some of each of them, and am disgusted with their behavior in this election). My vote was specifically against Obama, though, because his campaign called that day and asked me for money. I'm still a bit peeved about that (especially considering they took in over $32 million last month alone - they don't need my $$). Can you tell? Besides, I'm not so concerned about the Presidential Primary - it will be what it will be and anything is better than what we have now. Well, okay, maybe not Huckadoodle Hound.
Gee, I hope I'm not offending anyone checking out my blog.
Oh well. As Scarlett O'Hara says, "I won't think about that today, I'll worry about that tomorrow."
So, we had some important local issues on our ballot, which I believe is the main reason people should vote in the primaries and all elections. Otherwise, laws could get by without many people really participating. Today it was mainly about Indian gaming. Several tribes have negotiated a deal with the state so that they could build more casinos (mainly slots, I think) and there was a complicated division of the revenue set up. This was a controversial issue and both sides (for and against) spent over $100 million dollars campaigning their side. I won't tell you how I voted.
There was also another proposal for term limits for the state legislature. Still important, and also controversial. I also won't share how I voted. Anyway, I just think it's really important for people to pay attention to these things.
I like voting in person. My polling place is at a neighbor's house around the corner. His family is the original owner of all the land where my neighborhood is built. His lot is quite nice and he has a little guest house/converted garage (I think) where we vote. I like to go in person because it's nice to say hello to him (I only see him once or twice a year) and see the other neighbors as they go to vote. I also just really enjoy being part of the process. California has been trying to encourage as many people as possible to vote by mail but I don't want to do that just yet. I'd miss out on many of the things I like about election day. Plus, I probably would have voted for Edwards, and he dropped out of the race.
After voting I went to acupuncture. Robert, my acupuncturist has a strong accent but I understand him pretty well. Sometimes I have to work out what he's saying or ask him to repeat himself.
Sometimes it's a bit awkward. Like today, he wanted to put the needles and electrodes in my upper buttocks. Yes, in my bum. So, my skirt is pulled halfway down my cheeks and I have needles sticking out with electrodes attached to them (last time he put them in my head like antennae with the electrodes - I got some interesting alien communication during that session). So, I'm lying there with my head in the donut thing at the top of the table, bum in the open, and Robert takes a seat and starts chatting to me as he folds some rags.
He tells me about another patient of his that is an elderly nurse from Holland. He said she had an interesting story about WWII. You see, her fiance was picked up by the Nazis and she was informed that he died on the transport train from an explosion. Two years later he returned to her and they were over the moon to be reunited. The crux of the situation, however, was that he'd spent the last two years in a concentration camp. During his time there he was one of many that they medically experimented on. "The Nazis had cut his nerve and he could no longer get an erection."
Did I hear him right? Did he say erection? We had just been talking about the elections and now we're talking about erections?
Well, I was a little more embarrassed, but I quickly got over it because this was an interesting story. The Nazis cut a nerve in the poor guy's penis so that it made it impossible to ever get an erection. So, the couple married but through all their lives they couldn't have sex.
See how I tied my comments about Election Day to the title "Erection Day"? Hehehe
Monday, February 4, 2008
I thought I'd re-post what I wrote in my MySpace blog last year after his death.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Current mood: sad
Category: heartbroken and devastated
Little kitty Bugs died last Friday night. He hadn't been well for a few weeks. We tried everything. His body just started breaking down to a point where he couldn't walk. We gave him pills, he got injections, we did everything we could. We had decided, per the vet's advice, to see how the last injection would help and to give it about a week to see if he got any better. He lasted 3 days after that injection.
He laid in my arms that day, just rubbing his face on my chin. He asked me to take him to his box so he could pee (he had his own way of communicating and I understood him well). I guess that trip was too much for him because after that he had difficulty breathing. He was panting like a dog. It got worse and worse. It was heartbreaking to watch and I tried to put him in various positions to take pressure off his chest and to help him relax. Nothing helped. He seemed to panic, reaching out and hugging my arm. He groaned and gasped a little.
I turned on some soft music like he would always enjoy. "It's a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong came on and I sung to him. He looked at me with big eyes, acknowledging the song. It was one of his favorites. Then he started to convulse. All of his muscles were going wild. He groaned some more. He peed a little (there wasn't much left). I cried and prayed for him to be taken. I couldn't stand to witness this; it was too heartbreaking. I tried to sing him his favorite song, "Green Sleeves" with his special words as he died. It didn't sound very good through my sobs, but it was his song.
Then he was still. His eyes were open and so was his mouth. I closed them. He was all curled up in a ball, just the way he loved to sleep.
It has been nearly one week and I miss him so much. The other morning Dave swore he heard a Buggy meow. That night while in the bath, I heard a distinct short meow followed by a very long gutteral meow, just like Bugs would do when he would say hello and then stretch in preparation for a cuddle. He's still here, but gone.
He was all happiness and cuteness. He was the embodiment of everything that is good in the world. Now he's gone. I know his spirit exists, and he is free from the ills of the flesh, but I am not. Sadly, the two forms cannot mix easily. We cannot hug easily. We cannot cuddle. He cannot kiss my eyebrows in the morning, or snuggle me at night. There are no more feeding times, no more combing sessions, no more fluids, no more vet trips. Those things took time, and I enjoyed every bit of caring for him.
Every night I thanked the Lord for another night with our cute little Buggy. We were truly blessed, for he lived a long 19 years. Somehow I thought he would live forever.
He will always be with me.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I guess the bubble came to be around the time that I developed RSD. It was my way of coping with the intense physical pain brought on by the world around me. People just don't know that their mere closeness can cause me feelings of electric shock or needles boring into my arm. They don't know that just by walking briskly inches away from my right arm that I brace myself to keep from gasping from the pain.
This makes it very difficult for me to go out, especially in crowds. The first year of this affliction, I stayed mainly at home wearing anything that I could tolerate, tearing my shirts to keep them from touching my arm. After awhile and after realizing that this was no kind of life, I started envisioning this "bubble" around me. This imaginary bubble is filled with warmth, to try to keep me from suffering too much from the cold outside air. By picturing a sphere around me, I also try to use it to keep my distance from others when out in public. Over the years I've relaxed a bit on this restriction and allow others closer into my atmosphere, but sometimes that means I have to deal with getting hit. When we went to the Tech Museum the other week I was hit twice by unsuspecting strangers who gave me the dirtiest and weirdest looks when I gasped and cringed in horror at the pain they caused me. It's an involuntary reaction and I've come a long way over the years in suppressing it, but sometimes it comes out. Still, the looks they give me, coupled with the pain, is sometimes enough to throw me into a full-blown panic attack. Sometimes the panic attack just comes from the anxiety brought about by my trying and failing to keep my bubble free of intruders. Sometimes it comes about by my feeling trapped in a crowd when I can see no avenue of escape without pain.
The bubble helps in other ways, too. You see, I'm a nut-magnet. It's a hereditary thing. My mother is a nut-magnet as are many of my cousins. Maybe it's because we're nuts ourselves. We all have countless stories of the strange things that happen to us when we go out in public. Like the time some one asked my mother, out of the blue, to watch their bread that they just purchased, while they went and did something. My mom thought that wouldn't be such a difficult task so she consented and they put their bread down on her table and she proceeded to mind her business. Anyway, some guy starts walking toward her and she knew the nut-magnet had been activated. The guy walked up to her table and grabbed the bread and while taking a big bite proceeded to sit down in her chair. She barely had time to get out of the chair before he sat or he would have been on her lap. There are many other stories, like the time a bum gave me his spare change, or the naked guy at the stop light, or the one that liked my green shorts... a lot.
By creating this bubble, I try to protect myself from the nuts, as well. Sometimes these experiences just leave me feeling drained and raw. I don't want the attention from them, it just happens. So, with this bubble, I try to fill it with the white light of Christ's love, partly so that I may see these people and the world with new eyes every day, and also so that I don't feel so afraid of the world. With this light, I imagine it forming a reflection against the edges of my bubble, so that negativity can bounce off of it and not come through to affect me. I cannot take credit for this idea, I was coached by someone that once read my palm (I was getting my kicks while visiting Tiffany at a psychic fair, but some of the folks at that fair just took too much of me and the palmist could see that in my body language and apprehension). Though it came from a strange source, I really liked his concept so I tried it and it has helped me through some difficult moments.
There is one other way that the bubble protects me. This is where the "bubble of ignorance" comes into play. I use the bubble to keep certain things from bothering me. I'm a very sensitive person and just seeing a commercial about homeless pets is enough to keep me from sleeping for several nights. I realized there is no reason I need certain things rubbed in until they made me go mad. There is no reason I need to be constantly reminded of the troubles of the world. I know of the troubles, I am not ignorant to them, but I don't need to be reminded of them every day for me to be a modern educated and socially responsible person. I just can't handle it. So, I tune out some things that I know will disturb me too much. I had to tune out during Hurricane Katrina, just as I tune out during that commercial about the animals (the one with Sarah McLaughlin singing "In the Arms of an Angel") just as I tune out where there is news of yet another terrorist attack in the world. I am not turning my back, I am just closing my eyes to save me from the nightmares.
I cannot take on all the burdens of the world, as much as I would like to, so this bubble helps me to only allow in that which I can take on and handle. It serves as a filter or even a bouncer. My bubble helps me to keep my stress level at a controllable level. While it doesn't completely do it all the time, it certainly helps a lot.
The best method of controlling the RSD is through relaxation and stress control. I cannot take the medicines my doctor would like to prescribe because I have been ttc - and am now pregnant (I'm having such a difficult time grasping that concept!). So, I have been trying other methods of controlling the RSD and keep it from spreading. This includes changing my diet to the 4 F's, doing relaxation exercises (yes, relaxation is an exercise), doing acupuncture, and getting the occasional stellate ganglion block to help me get through the winter. I can't do the blocks, though, now that I'm pregnant. Actually pregnant! Whoa!
Speaking of which, the pregnancy can affect the RSD one of 3 different ways: it can make it get worse, make it get better (perhaps even push it into remission), or make it stay the same. So far, while I have had some good days this last week, the RSD is still about the same as ever. We'll see what happens.
Also, speaking of pregnancy, I've so far chosen to share this blog with very few people. I've shared it with my friends at LoungePlace and my friends at MySpace (if they chose to check my blog there). Some of those people know me in real life, and I considered this before giving the link and I am happy you're here reading this, but please keep in mind that many people IRL don't know about this blog and they don't know our latest news. Dave and I would like to keep it that way at least until the ultrasound around the 18th.
I'm feeling very content with the pregnancy and the blood work on Friday showed very healthy levels of HCG, Estradiol, and Progesterone. While I've had a lot of cramping, nausea, and insomnia, it seems everything is normal and looking good so far. Dave, on the other hand, is really very worried about a miscarriage. I guess I'm just so happy at making it this far. I've never ever been pregnant and I'm relieved to know that my body actually works in this way! This is something I had wondered for years if it was even possible and this pregnancy has filled me with such hope, no matter what happens. Still, Dave is worried and some of his worry is rubbing off on me. I know there is a much higher rate of miscarriage with IVF. Add my age to that, and the high possibility that we are having multiples, his concerns are not unfounded.
So, I ask you to please understand that we are trying to take this one day/one step at a time. My answer is that for now everything is going really well! :)
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I recently read an article in the Deseret News about this group that calls themselves Christians. Led by Fred Phelps, these people believe that it's their duty to hurt people in times of grief. These are the same people that protest at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. Their official domain name is "Godhatesfags" (though at the time of my writing this their website seems to be down). Their protests are vicious acts of hatred and while they are peaceful, at least lacking in physical violence, they are not sending messages of Christ, yet they call themselves Christian.
Christ stood for love. The New Testament is filled with stories that direct us to that end every time - that it's about love! I believe that our true meaning in life is trying to find that love, that true purest form of love. This is not easy. We are all too jaded by daily life and just as pollution clouds our view of the world, so do other things... like hatred.
I always thought that to be a Christian was supposed to be about loving thy neighbor. The Beatitudes really say it all. These are the guidelines we are meant to follow to experience true happiness, to experience Heaven:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
I don't see how the protests can be accomplishing any of the above. To believe in God and Heaven, is to also believe in Love. I don't think there has to be opposites to have understanding. I don't think we need Hell in order to have Heaven, any more than we need pain to be able to experience joy. However, the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church are telling me otherwise. They are telling me that for there to be love, there has to be hate. They are also telling me that if God spreads the message of love, and if the Holy Spirit is the power of that love, then there is something else guiding these people. It always amazes me how evil can disguise itself in the form of religion. This has been true throughout history, so it shouldn't amaze me, but it does just the same.
Another thing that amazes me is that the only thing I feel when I read about their protests and their words is hatred. At least that's what I think it feels like when all I want to do is yell at them, perhaps flip them off, maybe even gouge a few of them. I guess that they are succeeding, then, in spreading their hatred. If love and hate were elements they would be water and fire. Hatred, like fire, can spread very quickly and cause great damage and destruction in its path. Love, more powerful than hatred, can put out that fire. Sometimes the fire, however, is great, and it requires a lot of water and effort to quell the flames.
I don't want to be victimized by their hatred. They succeed when they make us feel that fire, rather than the calm peaceful waters of love. We can stand against them by forming a barrier of love and by not allowing their message of hatred to continue. Perhaps if we prayed for these wayward souls, they might someday again be touched with the Hand of God and feel love in their hearts.
Friday, February 1, 2008
I'll get another blood test on Monday to check the doubling rate. After that, the first ultrasound will be around February 18th.
Dave took me to the hospital for the blood test around 8am. We were told that if we went to this particular hospital, our clinic could have the results in as little as an hour. We got home around 8:45 and then started the longest 2 hours of my life, or so it seemed.
The wonderful ladies at LoungePlace kept me company as I'm grounded - Betsy (my car) isn't working so well - needs a new clutch, a smog certificate, and current tags. So, to help pass the time I took a lovely shower and enjoyed the new paraben-free products. I used Dr. Bronner's Pepermint Soap and the smell was lovely and the tingling really awoke my senses. After the shower, I used some organic "fresh mint" body lotion and was really feeling quite good and relaxed, all things considered.
And then the phone rang!
I stared at it knowing that by that time the clinic may have received my results already. I watched the caller ID and all it said was "Unknown Caller." Sometimes calls from my clinic say that. I thought for sure it was them. My heart was pounding and I prepared myself for the news - knowing that either way my world was going to be rocked.
"Hello?" I answered. There was silence on the other end, then a click, and a woman asked for me by name. Obviously this was an autodialer but not wanting to believe it, I thought maybe it is someone I don't know calling from the clinic. I said, "speaking." The woman on the other end introduced herself as calling from the Obama for America Campaign. I interrupted her and told her that I've already received one call from their campaign (I'm not even a registered Democrat - I'm registered "decline to state") and thanks for her call, but I'd already spoken to a representative. She said, "so then we can count on your contribution?" The first time they called they asked for my vote, now they want my money? Last month alone they raised over $32 million dollars. They don't need my money. I told her that I really was not in a position to donate. She said that was no problem, that she had my mailing address and was going to send me the donation form anyway and count on my pledge. I told her NO WAY, that I am not in a position to donate to them NOW or LATER. I was soooooo pissed.
The call had me trembling, literally!
Anyway, I tried to relax and wait. I waited some more. I finally couldn't wait any longer so I called Anne, my IVF coordinator and asked her. She looked it up and said it came in about 10 minutes prior and that it was.... 254! She said it so quietly I asked her to repeat it. The second time I heard it well, but I wanted to hear it again and again. :)
She said that this "discomfort" I'm feeling is quite normal, that my ovaries have swollen up and have dropped. She said for every follicle I had (last count was 12 or 13 plus cysts) that they were working well to feed the baby (or babies?) and that it will feel like rocks in there. Yup, that's how it feels. It feels like every time I cough I'm going to push an ovary out of my vagina or bum. Sorry for the TMI but that's the way it is.
Now that I know that the feeling I have is from pregnancy and not from the worst biggest mother of a period ever, I can try to relish it and appreciate that I feel something.
Thank you, everyone, for your sweet comments here and for your support and prayers. I feel so warmed and loved. I know that He was listening.