Friday, March 30, 2007

My Personal Egypt

I have a question that may not have an answer…or at least not a satisfactory answer. Which is better; to have been pregnant and experienced at least some of what it has to offer and have miscarried or to have tried and tried and never have been pregnant at all? Can you compare pain to a satisfactory result? I think not. Still, I was listening to the 3/25/07 sermon podcast from Mars Hill and struggling through the latter half of the sermon. The topics during this Lenten season have been about leaving your personal Egypts as the Israelites left theirs so many eons ago.

The speaker, Brad Gray, spoke of leaving the Egypt of despair and entering a new promised land of hope. He shared his own experience with despair in that he and his wife lost their first baby to miscarriage last year on the same day his best friend’s wife delivered their first. As he spoke, I felt myself tearing up and choking back the great heaving sobs of anguish (since I was at work and all). Not only was I empathizing and feeling his pain and loss, I was certainly feeling the persistent poking into my own place of pain as he shared. At one point I felt myself getting angry and not at him or the pain or the circumstances that bring such pain and grief. No, I got angry because he mentioned that at Mars Hill, there are groups specifically formed to help those coping with miscarriage and infertility. Imagine that! A church who reaches out in love to those experiencing pain and loss, who would have thought?

I guess I am angry because after all this time of struggling and striving with our lack of pregnancy and children, no one in leadership in our church has ever suggested anything that might help me work through it. I have close friends that pray with me (all have their own kids) and who believe for me when I don’t have the strength. I know the church cannot be all things to all people or even all things to some people, but it’s not as if they don’t know this has been an issue for me. I’ve shared it at women’s meetings and retreats. I’ve written letters to the pastors. I’ve cried at the alter and prayed with the prayer team. Still, it seems to me (or at least feels to me) that there is an attitude of "maybe if we ignore it, it will go away". After all, there are approximately a dozen women in various stages of pregnancy in our church right now. All are due to deliver this year. All already have children and so are adding to their quiver. Yet we, after mover 5 years of trying, are still empty.

It’s not as if every day is painful and full of grief and tears. We enjoy our lives and we enjoy each other. We love sleeping late on weekends and just jumping in the van to go somewhere at the last minute. We like having disposable income to spend on cameras and eating out and putting into savings. We like that we can sleep in the nude because no one is there to walk in on us. We like making one meal per mealtime and not fighting with anyone to eat it. We like going to Target and just picking up what we went to get and not having to buy a million toys to appease someone out of a tantrum. We like doing 4 to 5 loads of laundry a week instead of 10-15. We like that we can take a vacation after school has started and drive almost 2,000 miles across the country without having to change diapers or answer "are we there yet" a million times.

Yet, we feel incomplete. We feel unfulfilled. We struggle with what to do with all the dreams and scenarios and what ifs we have stored up over the years involving children and parenthood. We don’t know what to do with the pain and the hurt and the emptiness except share it with those who love us from time to time. We don’t know how to come to understand the possibility that this could be the reality forever. We don’t know how to make peace with a childless life.

Part of what helps is knowing that others have struggled with this before us. What did they do? How did they cope? What helped them get through? I think this is why the apparent lack of compassion and answers from the leadership at my church has been so painful. This is why I struggle to go there every week. This is why their celebration of the family model of one bursting with progeny is so hard to cope with on my part. If only someone in leadership there would just come to me and say, Amy we know this is hard. We know you are really fighting through this and trying to make sense of it. We don’t have any answers, but we will stand by you and love you through it. And if it helps, we know of such-and-such group that might help you work through it more". Is that too much to ask? It’s not for Mars Hill, but they are in Grand Rapids, MI, not Minneapolis, MN.


On to other things. Bob is REALLY excited about our cross country vacation in September. We have a tentative itinerary. We will be leaving here and driving to Sioux Falls. There, we will be making a quick pass by of the college I attended for 3 years. We will also stop by Falls Park to see if they are as spectacular as I remember. From there, we may stop in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace, but eh. On to the Black Hills, Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore. We will be spending the night (maybe 2) in Rapid City. We will leave there and travel to Wyoming where we will be stopping to see Devil’s Tower and then on to Yellowstone. We will be spending the night at Yellowstone. From there, we drive up through Montana, over the Rockies and into Idaho where we plan to spend another night in Coeur d’Alene, ID before making tracks to Seattle. Bob has never been west…at all. He thought South Dakota resembled the Grand Canyon. I had to Google Earth South Dakota to show him that the majority of the state is flat prairie until the Bad Lands. Still, he’s like a kid waiting for Christmas with all of this. Thankfully, we have 6 months to save up our shekels for all the gas money this trip is going to cost us. Of course, I will be taking photos along the way and I can’t wait!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm Here! I'm Here!

Where have I been?  Ive been here but busy.  And as each day passes without adding an entry, it gets easier to not add another entry.  Tax time is crazy at work, yet we are still no where near as busy this year as in years past. 

Anyway, heres what Ive been up to:

1.)     I went home to visit my family.  It was a nice visit.  My mom and I went shopping and to lunch.  A friend and I went shopping and to lunch.  The weather was freakin warm.  I saw my first robin of the season as I pulled into my parents driveway and heard them singing their little hearts out as I got out of my car. 

2.)     I have decided to begin looking into starting my own photography business.  I have a name, a concept, an idea for a website, and the desire to get started.  I need to research pricing, advertising, and marketing.  I would also like to get a couple of new pieces of equipment as well. (An auxiliary flash and a zoom lens.

3.)     My cousin is getting married in September in Seattle and Bob and I decided to forgo our usual annual vacation and instead are going to drive cross country.  Along the way we will stop in Sioux Falls, SD, the Black Hills, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Montana, and Idaho.  We also want to see the Pacific Ocean since neither one of us as seen it.  We are super excited about this and cannot WAIT!

4.)     I am having iPod anxiety.  This means that as soon as a song comes on, I want to push the next button just to hear whats coming up next.  Its not like I want to actually hear the song, I just want to know whats next.  Anyone else experience this?

5.)     Bob and I went for a walk on Monday night because it was 80 degrees in the tundra.  We walked almost 4 miles to the local subshop (which happens to be conveniently located next to a DQ).  About a mile from home, Bobs wheelchair lost power.  I had to push him the rest of the way.  I have been sore every day following.  Holy heck what a workout!  Of course ever since that day, the weather has been colder and grey and rainy.  I want my spring back.

6.)     Bob is getting extra excited about our patio garden.  He wants to go shopping this weekend for Morning Glory seeds and soil so he can get a jump on them this year.  Cute!

So thats my update in a nutshell.  I will be working on keeping more up to date in the coming days.  Also, click my Flickr link to see all my most recent photos from my trip home, the walk I took with Bob, and a party for a co-worker.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Review is Done.

I had my review.  It was good.  I got a raise.  This is what it feels like to be an adult and to work in a place of adults and not a place that has reverted back to Jr. High.  *sigh*  Yay!  Not only that, but I got to talk to my boss and have her undivided attention for an hour and that? Was awesome.  It hasn’t happened in a long time and it was long overdue. 

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Burbly Tummy

I am back at work today.  Im not feeling 100%, but am able to sit in a chair, stare at a computer screen and type. Although in my light headed befuddlement, I did make a rather large, but not horrendous error this morning.  It was corrected and everything is fine now.  I am just embarrassed that I made it.

Recovering from stomach illness is hard.  First, when you are in the midst of the illness, you notice that every daytime TV commercial is for food.  My stomach rolled and lurched through my sick days.  Oh, and Bob kept asking me if I was hungry and then would name food he thought would be good for me to eat.  I ate nothing the first day and only peanut butter toast the second day.  I drank Gatorade, water, and 7-up.  Today I was finally feeling hungry but was kind of at a loss as to what to eat.  I had my peanut butter toast for breakfast and had to run errands at lunch.  While I was out, I stopped at a local soup place to get some soup.  Soup sounded good.  Soup is good for you!  Unfortunately, this place specializes in soup and therefore had a dozen soups on hand, not all of them smelling or looking good. I had a hard time standing in line with my burbly tummy.  I ordered a chicken and rice soup and went on my way.  Both breakfast and lunch tasted good but neither sat 100% well.  Oh, they stayed where they were supposed to stay, but my tummy rolled and rumbled and I still felt lightheaded and woozy.  Oh well, I think it takes some time to overcome illness, no matter the malady.

Surprisingly, my boss was kind and open upon my return.  Interestingly, tomorrow is my performance review.  I am not expecting much.  No raise most likely and maybe a write up of some kind.  Well see what happens.

Tonight Bob and I have to attend a board meeting for MDA.  I am bumming because I would like nothing more than to go home and lie on the couch and watch ABC all night.  I hope we dont get into the long winded board meeting and can make it home early enough for me to hit the hay before 10pm.  I am a party animal!  Woo!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sick Days

I've been sick these past couple of days. I woke up at 1am Tuesday from a dead sleep knowing I had to make it to the bathroom post haste. Which I did. Then I went back to sleep. For another 45 minutes before having to make the same trip to the bathroom. Which I ended up doing every hour or so through the night. About my fourth trip in, I added the beloved dry heaves to the party. Not only was I expelling things from both ends, I was achy and so cold. I could not get warm no matter how many blankets I piled on or how many socks I wore.

I spent the day at home yesterday on the couch watching a "The Real Housewives of the OC" marathon on Bravo. Man, those are some high maintenance women, huh? I went to bed early and slept crappily so I called in sick again today. I may be in for some trouble since my boss's boss was in the office this week and this is review week, but stuff it. I was really and truly sick.

I feel much better today. I have managed to keep down 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and some Gatorade so I feel confident I can go to work tomorrow. Nothing is scarier than going to a job where you are sitting all day with a condition that requires you to be no further than 2 feet from a bathroom at all times. I have managed to do OK today so should be OK to go tomorrow.

I've been watching lots of birdies eating from our feeder today. I can only name the cardinals and chickadees but there were at least 3 other kinds of birds out there as well as 3 of our squirrel friends. The squirrels prefer the suet to the seed but they haven't managed to open the feeder yet so it's all still intact. I took pictures of the feeing frenzy and as always, they are posted on my Flickr site.

There isn't much going on here to write about. I am nervous about review time because of last year's depression episodes and how my boss reacted so negatively to all of that. Plus, I was out sick for 2 days this week while her boss was in town and that can't bode well. However, I have made it my mission to stay at Big Bank Co until August 2nd of 2008. That is when I become vested and can take my 401K money with me to the next place without losing what they've added to it for free. If they let me go before that, well, that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fighting the GCC

Do you ever get tired of fighting the fight?  I don’t know what the fight is for you.  It is different for all of us and sometimes it is different for each of us day by day.  For me, today, the fight makes me weary.  Bob called me at work.  I was at lunch and not at my desk when he called so he left a voicemail.  I am not always happy with the voicemail thing because he sometimes uses it to unburden himself while making me feel frustrated because I am chained to my desk at work and not able to do much about why he’s calling. 

Today’s call left me feeling defeated and helpless and so, so tired.  Apparently he was having trouble with our printer and the new cartridge he put in yesterday.  He called the toll free help line for Giant Computer Conglomerate GCC in order to ask for their help.  I am proud he took this call upon himself.  Usually he leaves that stuff to me because he loathes telephone errands.  And when I say he usually leaves it to me, I mean that he whines and complains about the issue so long that I tell him I will call just to get him to be quiet about it for a while.

He finally got through to a customer service person who asked him for some kind of identifying number found on our printer.  Bob told the rep that due to muscular dystrophy, he could not lift or turn the printer.  Apparently the rep didn’t even let him finish explaining why he didn’t have the number.  Based on Bob’s message, the rep told him he didn’t care about his personal problems, didn’t want to hear it, and if he didn’t have the info, he should just hang up.  Bob attempted to speak with him about his attitude but the dude ended up hanging up on him.  Bob tried to call back and speak to a supervisor only to be thwarted at every turn.  He was angry and sputtering in his voicemail and I felt myself getting angry and frustrated on his behalf. 

Bob’s suggestion was for me to call or email the GCC on his behalf.  I could do this, but I doubt it would get very far.  I don’t know the specifics and would just be working on the information Bob left me in his voicemail.  I also do not have the original information the customer service rep was looking for.  And finally, as much as this irritates me, I just don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to have to finagle my way through GCC’s phone tree.  I don’t want to have to explain what happened and why it should not have happened.  I do not want to have to escalate it in order to get a manager involved.  I do not want to be “handled”.  I do not want to have to fight my way to an apology and good customer service.

This is the thing.  People, if you are in a job that works in any way with the public, learn to be nice!  If your job is specific to customer service, ask for more training in dealing nicely with people.  Do be nice!  Do apologize.  Listen.  Do something to help the people calling you.  Don’t give attitude.  Don’t be sassy.  Don’t say you don’t care.  If you can’t do anything to help, give suggestions that might help with future calls or transfer to a manager.

I cannot wait until we pay off our computer and printer from GCC.  Then we won’t have to deal with them for anything and they won’t have our nuts in a vise.  Plus the interest rate on our payments is outrageous.

Looking this entry over makes me want to delete it altogether but I realize I just need to vent/rant/etc and I am going to leave it up…for now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I will have to thank my doctor the next time I see her.  At my last visit she prescribed some things for me to help me get over the intense cramping pain of the first day of my period.  I can’t remember what it is called, but the first RX made me sick and dizzy.  I got my period yesterday while at work and didn’t really experience any pain at all.  UNTIL 3am this morning.  The pain was so great it woke me up.  I got up to see what else I had in my pharmaceutical arsenal and was delighted to find a lovely bottle of Vicodin.  I forgot about my doctor’s habit of prescribing back up RXs in case her first guess doesn’t work. At 500 mgs a pop I worried I might choke on my new BFF so I broke it in half.  Also, I am allergic to codeine and worried that I might hurl on a full dose.  It seems the straight codeine is the culprit and not so much the delightful cocktail that makes up my beloved Vicodin.

After about 20 minutes of lying on the couch holding my cramping stomach, I was able to get back up and go to bed.  It was at this time that I discovered I had accidentally left the bedroom door ajar.  Bob was just getting up to go to the bathroom and wondered if I was alright. I told him what had transpired and how I was feeling better but was worried our bedroom was now inundated with felines.  He said he hadn’t seen or heard any so he assumed we were cat-free.  I shut the door and got into bed only to see the kittens run to the now closed door.  I scooped them up and tossed them into the hall.  It is not as easy to do this as it was when they were little.  Plus, Chloe the brat shrieked and hissed at me the whole time.  Brat.  

I was afraid other cats lurked inside our room somewhere but I was too tired to care.  I had a hard time falling asleep so Bob rubbed my back for a bit which always helps.  I was dreaming about something delicious whose specifics escape me now when I was rudely woken by Maisey’s whining meow in my ear.  I hopped up, scooped her up, and tossed her in the hallway and shut the door confident we were rid of all feline interruptions.  I managed to get back to sleep only to be awoken by my alarm in what seemed like minutes later.  I was tired but thankfully cramp free. 

I am at work right now, getting ready to leave for lunch.  I had to take another pill to stave off the pain of the incessant cramping.  It’s a bad time to be at work when all you want to do is curl into a ball under your desk and cry.  Thankfully I have my friend Vicodin to keep me company today.  I wish I also had my other BFF, The Heating Pad, but I will wait until I get home to spoon it.

*Sniff, sniff*

Have you ever put on a favorite perfume after some time away from it and not liked how it smelled on ya?  I always had two signature scents.  In the winter I wear Vicky’s Secret Divine.  I LOVE that scent.  It reminds me of a grown up Love’s Baby Soft.  In spring and summer, I always wore Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers.  I ran out of Divine over the weekend and today decided we are close enough to spring so I could wear the Sunflowers.  I put one spritz on one wrist and rubbed it against the other and then rubbed both against my neck.  Now I am sitting at my desk hating the smell of my once favorite perfume.  Maybe my body chemistry changed or they changed something in the formula of the perfume.  Whatever it is, I don’t like it and am disheartened that I need to find a new spring and summer signature scent.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Taking Care of Business

I received a reply to one of my last posts that said the book I was reading (Taking Charge of Your Fertility) was about the Rhythm Method of birth control. Actually, it’s not. The book is about the Fertility Awareness Method, or FAM. FAM takes into consideration a woman’s waking morning temp, her cervical fluid, AND cervical location. Once learned and combined, a woman should know her cycle like the back of her hand and will know beyond all shadow of doubt when she is ovulating, fertile, and when her period is due. This book is so good; I AM going to buy myself a copy. I recommend it for EVERY woman whether in need of fertility help, birth control, or otherwise. The information provided is so good and some of it so basic, I am ashamed I was not more knowledgeable about the inner workings of my body before. Speaking of which, I got my period today. Two days earlier than I expected. Last month it was 2 days late and this month 2 days early. I need to print out some of the cycle tracking sheets and start tracking my stuff. I also did not have any weird cervical fluid this month like I usually do, so I’m not sure what to think about that. I do think Bob and I need to start practicing the “every other day love making for a month” and see what happens after that.

In relation to my reading this book and still hoping to bear children of my own, I write the following:

Did you ever have a dream so personal and so dear to you that to think of it never coming true brings tears to your eyes? Did you ever have a desire and longing so deep that it felt personally connected to your soul? As if it was an actual appendage of your body? Did you ever try and try and try to make that dream come true only to be thwarted at every attempt? If so, did you struggle with continuing to hope and dream and think it would ever come true? Did you stop hoping and dreaming and trying altogether? That’s what having a baby is like for me. There is still hope. I still dream. However, the hurt is so great with each passing month without a pregnancy that the hoping and dreaming are squelched and I no longer allow myself the luxury of whiling the hours away thinking of baby names, imagining baby activities, and coming up with new and creative ways to announce a pregnancy. Instead of dreaming and hoping, I just go along in a grey haze of denial which goes a little way to guard my heart and mind.

However, I have friends who love me. I have friends who say they KNOW I will have children. I have friends whose faith in dreams coming true is bigger than mine. I have friends who stand in the gap for me believing that there will be little Bobs and Amys running around one day. I was gob-smacked on Saturday by one of these friends. Once a month, I meet with up to 5 other women for coffee and fellowship. We either meet at someone’s home or at a local coffee shop. This past weekend was our time to meet at the local coffee shop. These women are my lifeline. They love me when I am not lovely. They lift me up. They make me laugh. They point me in the right direction. They take on my biggest, heaviest burdens and leave me with little else to carry. They stand and fight bravely the monsters that send me cowering in fear. They are my friends but they are also my heroes. This is not to say that they aren’t broken and hurting and feeling lost themselves, but somehow it is easier to stand in belief of someone else’s hopes and dreams than it is for your own. These women do that for me. (Let is also be known that I do the same for them. It is easy to be brave and strong in the face of someone else’s problems.)

One of these women, my friend Lisa, brought a large gift bag with her to Saturday’s coffee chat. The front of the bag said “Happy Birthday!” As far as I knew, it wasn’t anyone’s birthday so the bag remained a mystery until it was almost time for me to leave. She finally brought out the bag and said it was for me. She said that I have been on her heart day and night lately. She said that she has been praying for me. She said that she KNOWS Bob and I will be parents. She said that sometimes in order to really believe in something, we need a tangible thing to see, touch, and hang on to. She handed me this gift bag and told me to open it. Inside was a beautiful hand made card detailing her faith in God and in dreams coming true. Also inside the bag was a bottle of baby lotion, a receiving blanket, a baby sleeper, a cute little onesie, and two cute little baby outfits. As I read the card and unpacked the bag, tears began to fall. Then great heaving sobs began. (This is always fun to do in public! Try it sometime.) I was so grateful for her faith. So amazed at her steadfast belief. And yet so fearful that she went to all this trouble and expense for nothing. (See…hoping and dreaming now goes hand in hand with doubt and unbelief because I can’t allow my hopes to get too high.)

I had to leave my friends in order to get home in time to pick up Bob for his step-dad’s 80th birthday party, but I left with a sense of amazement, love, and the feeling of being deeply understood (according to the ads for a national dating website, I believe I have found my soulmate!). I hated to leave. When I got home, I put the bag on my desk. Bob asked what it was for. I told him and pulled each item out one by one. I started to cry again. He liked the items and I think he liked the idea of what Lisa did for me, but I don’t think he understood. I put the items back and left the bag on our file cabinet.

The gift bag full of baby clothes sat on our filing cabinet for 2 days and every time I saw it, I had to squelch the hope that the sight of it brought to me. In fact, fear began to rise up at the sight of it. So much fear. Fear that I would never have a baby. Fear that I would never get to use those precious baby things. Fear that I would never know the great joy of this deep, deep dream come true. Fear that I would disappoint Lisa who believes with such reckless abandon on my behalf. Fear that I am a failure as a woman because I cannot conceive and bear a child. Fear that I will never make my husband a daddy. Fear that I will never make my parents grandparents (though they already are to my brother and his wife). Fear that God hates me and doesn’t care about my hopes and longings. Fear that if I allow myself to hope and dream and believe again that this dream CAN come true, I will just be disappointed and hurt again.

I had to take that beautiful gift bag and all its contents and put it up in our closet. I know it’s there I just can’t see it. It needs to be there right now. It needs to be somewhere where I know it exists but I can’t see it every day. I need the reminder that someone else hopes and dreams my fondest desire for me because I still don’t quite have the strength to hope and dream it for myself right now.

I hope you have friends like that. The baby things in the Happy Birthday gift bag were a thoughtful and delightful gift. Yet the best gift Lisa gave me was the gift of her friendship and the depth of hope she has in my dream coming true.

Friday, March 02, 2007

You Know What I Mean?

Are there things about the people you love the most in the world that bug the every living crap out of you?  I love Bob dearly.  He is my best friend and he is my hero.  He rocks my world.  However, there is one thing he does that drives me crazy.  Its like nails on the chalkboard to me.  I know it may sounds so trivial and minor, but if you had to live with this every day it might drive you a little crazy too.  After almost everything he says he follows it with, You know what I mean? or You know?  So, well be having a conversation and it will go a little bit like this; 

        Amy     What do you want for dinner tonight?

        Bob     I dont care, but not zucchini, you know what I mean?

        Amy     Yes, fine.  No zucchini.  How about pizza?

        Bob     Sounds good.  Hey, the blue crayfish in the aquarium are really growing.  You know what I mean?

        Amy     Yes, I see that

        Bob     I wonder if I can sell them on Craigslist, you know?

        Amy     It cant hurt to try

        Bob     I wrote a new poem today.  Its about pain and suffering, you know what I mean?

        Amy     Oh thats nice. (bangs hand with meat tenderizing mallet to keep from choking husband to death.)

I seriously do not know why this bugs me so much other than it feels to me similar to the times kids say your name over and over and over to get your attention.  Its like he needs me to acknowledge his each and every thought and cant just let a topic rest on its own.  Or its a bad habit he cant break.  He knows it drives me crazy but he doesnt even realize hes doing it.

So nows the time to share.  Anything your loved ones do that drive your crazy?  Please tell me Im not the only one.  Thanks!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Another Storm of the Century

We got to leave work early today. Our department left at 1. The department we used to be a part of had to wait until 3 to leave.

I drove to the drug store before going home. Bob had an RX that needed to be picked up. On the way home, I stopped and picked up some sandwiches, bird seed, and suet. The sandwiches were for us. The bird seed and suet for the birds of course. Finding food is hard for the little critters when everything is covered in a cold white frosting.

Today is the perfect day to stay home and read. I've been reading a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. It's very interesting. Why isn't this information passed on in Health classes and doctor's offices? Weschler teaches the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) which looks at a woman's vaginal discharge as well as her morning waking temp to gauge her fertility. Her frustration with the medical profession is that the 28 day cycle with ovulation on day 14 is universally accepted and rarely challenged. I'm not very far into the book and already I'm feeling hopeful about what I'm learning. It's a giant thick book and I got it from the library, but I'm thinking I might have to actually break down and actually buy a copy of the book to have on hand.

I realized something this weekend. I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a photographer. I want to record memories for people. I want to stop time in little flashes of light. I don't know when or how but that's what I want to do.