Monday, June 28, 2010

A River Runs Through It

Sunday night we returned from our three-day rafting trip. I feel sick but I think it's just the result of getting beat up by the river. I never could quite decide if I was having a good time, I was just happy to get through it. We had a big group of 5 guides, 2 trainees, and sixteen paid customers. We all managed to live through a harrowing swim test in a fast moving current, 22 miles of Class V and IV rapids, numerous people falling out of their boat, poison oak exposure, hard camping mattresses, four unplanned rock climbing sessions which were a result of trying to rescue people who had fallen out of their boat. I ran through the entire range of human emotions in three days. Let me explain.

First, the people. Boat 1 held "The Company." The boss thought this would be a good team building exercise. He thought very wrong and admitted the same on the bus ride back to the rafting center. Day 1 started with a swim test in a local park. The river was moving fast. The trainee guide that demonstrated looked tired but not very disturbed. Well, we all came out disturbed. They told us to take a breath in the troughs and obviously, not the waves which were hitting our faces with incredible force and making us swallow lots of water.

I was so panicked getting into the river to start the test my breathing was fast and shallow, not the best for aerobic work. The current was so fast, I couldn't time when I was getting to the trough to breathe and I couldn't take a calm, yogaesque breath. I managed to swim out of the current to the land point we were supposed to. Several people were not so lucky. Three of "The Company" participants dropped out from the trip. And four were left.

We were bussed up a windy mountain road to a trail head where we would hike 2.5 miles to an island were the boats and lunch were waiting. The best friend of the company boss couldn't handle a 20 mile an hour windy drive and barfed into the trash can. Fun, fun.

And there were two older guys with gray hair who seriously looked like twins. They were making comments about the breasts of one of the women on the trip and cussing like crazy, being losers and jerks. I was pissed. I thought this trip was full of the world's lamest people. My husband and I were the first to the island off the trail so I told the guide captain that the comments from "the older guys" were making me uncomfortable. Could he please speak to them about this? He said he would.

Members of "The Company" fell out of their boat about five times each. By comparison, no one in our boat (six people) ever fell out on any rapid run. So, some Company members were transferred to the supply boats piloted by guides with large oars meaning additional people with paddles were not necessary to move the boat along. In addition, Company folks declined to run any of the three Class V runs.

Some reference on Class V: Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts.

It turns out the older gray haired guys were placed in our boat. I got to know them really well. And I'm left today really missing them. Ironic, huh? They are from Kansas, best friends since what they called eighth grade and I called puberty. Tom is a podiatrist, divorced, estranged from his two daughters, a Methodist who married in the Catholic Church (just like me!!!) but he never was confirmed in the Catholic Church. Paul lives with his second wife in Oklahoma. He told us he tragically, accidentally shot his own daughter in the neck. She was paralyzed and lived two years before dying. Talk about heartbreaking. I wanted to ask if his daughter's death was the catalyst for his divorce and cried thinking about this, but I couldn't bring myself to ask this question. They were very nice to me and complimented my ability to get through the trip.

And the third boat held "The Family" which contained a divorced father with his three kids; two in college and one about 15. The dad was kinda down on marriage. They had a big, huge guy in their boat who is Scottish but raised in the US, so no cool accent. A very nice guy.

Second, the rafting/camping. There was a lot more camping than rafting which could be boring at times. With only a couple cool people to talk to, somebody should have told me to bring a book. Some people spent lots of time napping, others helped out with loading/unloading boats at camp, cooking, preparing lunch, etc. So we had some hard workers and some lazy bums. I can't totally blame the lazy bums since, who wants to work on your vacation? The food was really good and we ate every four hours it seemed. Lots of food. We argued with the guides that this trip was totally doable in two days, not three. They said that's true but no side trips of hiking, water sliding could be done. That sounded good to me.

Third, my near-death experience. The group stopped for lunch, a water slide (a not very steep waterfall into the river), and a hike up a granite wall. I wasn't too jazzed about the water slide. It didn't look that interesting to me but it looked like everyone was doing it so I climbed up the granite. It looked real easy, the seven people in front of me slid down, plunked into the water, rose up to the surface, and swam to shore. NO PROBLEM.

So, I got into position, and pushed off into the slide. I went down for all of three seconds, took a breath before hitting the water so I could breathe out in the water to take another breath coming up. That's not what happened.

I hit the water, came up briefly and got sucked back down. I bobbed up once and got sucked down again. I panicked thinking my life vest had some how come undone because why the heck was I not floating to the surface??? By the fifth time I was sucked down, when I came up I was yelling, "HELP! HELP!" and wondering why none of the jerk guides were getting into the water to rescue me. Then I saw a flash of orange and realized that they had thrown out a rope to pull me back in. Grabbing the rope was fairly easy and they pulled me in.

I was freaked out and scared witless. One of the female guides took me by the hand and led me to a seat on the shore. They asked me if I was (physically) OK and once I coughed out some water, I was really physically OK. My husband asked me if I was OK and then told me he was going on the slide again. I was dumbfounded he wasn't sitting with me given what I had been through. Then the guides said last call for the slide and if you were going on the hike to get ready. I was in no shape to go on the hike but given my husband's attitude towards me, he was getting ready to leave me. And that's when the crap hit the fan.

In a nutshell, I told him that I felt like I have a husband but not a friend. All the obligation without the support. DH told me he supports me. Where's the evidence, I said? After tears, an argument, and his missed hiking opportunity, I was so thankful it was the last day of the trip and I couldn't wait to get the heck out of dodge.

There was one more Class V rapid to do in the afternoon. I told my boat guide that there was no way I was doing it, my confidence in myself and my husband was shot to hell. Guides said, "no problem. You don't have to anything you're not comfortable doing." My husband couldn't believe I was backing out. I told him to stop thinking about himself all the time. So, I stayed behind to rejoin the boat after the Class V run. Lots of other shitty things happened in the afternoon, but I'll spare you the details.

In summary, I felt like I paid $800 to get beat up. Sadly, I was able to finally confirm what I'd long suspected... my husband thinks about himself first and doesn't respect my feelings of helplessness and fear. The trip plunged me into a depressive state.

However, there is one piece of good infertility news! I got my period twelve hours after the trip ended. Talk about convenient. My husband thinks I'm upset about not getting pregnant. BIG FAT NO. I've accepted my infertility. It's a reality.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seven Days in Sunny June

I'm stoked! I just found this song on! It's perfect for the remaining week in June. Hope it makes you feel light and sunny.

Next Step: Acceptance

Last night, one of our neighbors came over to look at our newly completed backyard. This couple is very nice and very helpful to us when we are away from the house. They got married soon after they moved into the house so perhaps October of last year. I noticed she was touching her belly and then in the conversation referred to being over "terrible morning sickness." Her baby is due in December. They're very sweet and I'm very happy for them. And I thought, of course, that's the way it happens with normal people, you get pregnant within a handful of months of trying. We're beyond that and so there's something wrong and it's mostly likely me.

So, I'm beyond the denial and grief to a certain extent and now have accepted the journey I'm heading on. It's a huge relief, actually. To know that testing will take place and I can control the speed and frequency of the testing. I'm still working out how/where the hormone series will be done but I need to decide within the week because I'm about seven days from CD1. And the warm summer months are a delightful relief to the cold, rainy winter we've just experienced.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mucinex killed my CM

Dr. D told me to take Mucinex twice a day from P-5 to P+3. I had to guess at what was P-5 since my unmedicated days of CM vary between 3 and 4 days. The first day of peak-type CM was awesome, 3 times of 10KL. I was stoked. Then the next day it was dry for half the day then super watery the rest of the day. The next day was watery and then it was completely dry for three days. I guess I'm P+5 right now but I'm having a hard time telling. I should have been able to think this out: OK, mucinex loosens bronchial mucus, so it will probably do that to my CM.

Now, plenty of women have reported to me that Mucinex worked for them but they weren't Creighton charters so what were they looking for? When you're trained to think stretchy CM is the only thing that makes you fertile, it's hard to think that watery CM is going to do the trick. I reported this to Dr. D and he wants me to try one more month. I'm still taking the B-6 every day. I'm on the fence on whether to try again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A cheap distraction

Tomorrow morning, very early Pacific time, Sweden's next queen is getting married. Aren't they cute??? She's a bit older than me by mere days. Victoria is marrying what the Swedish press called the "hottest hick" since he's from a small town and his parents worked in civil service. What's wrong with that? I'm kinda Swedish with one of my great-grandparents are from Sweden. My Mom sent me to Swedish camp when I was 12 in Minnesota where all I remember learning is "tack för maten." "Thanks for the food." Anyway, the wedding will be big, in a big church, with big ceremony and fanfare. I'm getting up at 5am to watch the arrivals. If you're looking for an escape from the infertile blues, you can check it out here:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm so happy tonight, that His love is alright.

When I started this blog, I was sheepish about joining an online community that had suffered years of physical and emotional pain because of infertility. Trying only six months, me? What a complainer! I read about the "cross of infertility" and didn't have the first clue what that really meant. But, now I'm really starting to.

I used to tell my college boyfriend, "That's God" when something good or positive happened to him. But, it never occurred to me to say, "That's the Devil" which we were tempted by despair and sin. Going through the last two months of despair and pain not understanding why this was happening to me, wondering what I could have done in my past to cause these problems, thinking that perhaps this was just "karma" after getting my way all these years in work, education, love, I was due for a little disappointment.

I was in despair last night. I'm still trying to fight it off. It occurred to me this morning... I love Anne of Green Gables. I watched the Canadian TV series on PBS when I was a kid. If you haven't watched it, I can't recommend it enough. In one scene, Anne says to Marilla Cuthbert, "I'm in the depths of despair. Haven't you ever been in depths of despair, Marilla?" Marilla says, "No. To despair is to turn your back on God." Then the sad, dramatic music begins.

I am beginning to really understand what a call to faith this experience is. The Devil's dragging me down and making me think terrible thoughts. I don't spend enough time in prayer and giving myself over to Christ and feeling so strongly how transformative His love can be. Please pray for me, not for a pregnancy, but for stronger faith and stronger love for Our Lord.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Infertility Blogging

I mentioned in my opening post that I used to have another blog. I started it in 2003 and pretty much ended it by 2007. The old blog was not anonymous (my name was in the URL) and I thought it was really fun to write about my 20's life. I mean I lived in SF, LA, DC. I had an exciting, stressful, aggravating career that provided my readers with plenty to laugh at. I dated all kinds of men in those cities and got a jazz about picking out the most quirky episodes to blog about when I returned home from the date. Old blogging was cool! Once I started dating my husband, I ditched the old blog.

I started Airing the Chapel to get my infertility angst off my chest and hopefully be able to share critical information with what looks like to be a very small club (Catholic women using NaPro Technology.) I'm pretty sure it's not that small of a club but how many women are going to go to the trouble of writing for an open audience? And I keep thinking about couples who are don't seek treatment for their infertility. Most procedures are very expensive for the majority of people and from what I've read, the procedures are time consuming.

One-off experiences are much easier to write about, so I'm left wondering how writing about feelings is going to turn into a good product. I'm not a professional writer but my job is to communicate information, ideas, commands and that's easy for me to do. But what about feelings?

I was hopeful about the treatment plan on Friday. Now I'm questioning whether a rigorous routine of blood draws is worth it. Do I want to find out I've got too little of this essential hormone or too much of that ancillary hormone? Will I be racking my brain with "How did you not know?," or, "What were you not paying attention to all those years when you had the luxury of time?" Is it going to be interesting to read what contradictory angst? Somehow I doubt it.

In the interest of adding color to a colorless website, I've attached a picture of my favorite hat at the Royal Asc.ot horse races. I like the one on the right.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yoo Hoo! Hope Returns!

My 2nd NaPro doc rocks! He and his office staff were totally worth the over 300 miles I drove today. I need to go do some exercise before bed and shouldn't be sitting blogging after driving so long, but I had to share.

Dr. Delgado is the man to meet in southern California. He listened carefully, we conversed, shared ideas, and came up with a treatment plan for our infertility. First, he took me very seriously in that we'd had "only" seven failed conception events. It is time to take action, he said!

First thing is getting my CM up to par. So, taking mucinex and B6 for that. I'll do a full hormone panel next cycle as today is CD8. Those samples will be shipped to PPVI for testing. In August, I'll do an ultrasound and selective HSG. I'm friggin' excited!!! I'm ready to conquer this barren field.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poison Oak trumps infertility?

We went hiking on a local trail this weekend where, unbeknownst to me, poison oak flourishes. While my husband walked the same trail, I'm the one that has ugly red rashes on my legs that don't exactly itch like crazy but it's more like a low level itch that feels like Chinese water torture. Not that that's happened to me but I'm guessing. This has kept my mind off infertility to some degree. Just keeping it together at work is a challenge that I'm sometime failing.

After deliberating for several days, I've decided to go through with my appointment at the Culture of Family Life Services. I've been doing a lot of concentrated research using various sources including dozens of Catholic women blogs who talk about their infertility experiences. I can't thank them enough for giving so much detail that helps other women determine what could be going wrong for me.

I'll blog about my appointment when I get home on Friday or this weekend. I'm very encouraged to do the right kind of testing to figure out what's wrong and take charge of this painful experience and turn it around into something worthwhile. I'm hopeful.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moving to the next stage

While today was supposed to be the day I would confirm a pregnancy, it was not to be and it's now CD4. I called my NFP instructor Friday afternoon. She's sometimes flaky so it's Monday and I'm not surprised I haven't heard from her. I did some research the only way I could (the internet) and have a new NaPro doctor about three hours away from me and the appointment is this Friday. The last one I saw, I was not impressed with. I'm trying to put together a diagnostic plan for myself based on the information I'm reading from other Catholic women in similar positions. I'm hoping to save myself money and time by not getting tests done that would seem completely unnecessary for me.

So, while I have no physical symptoms that would suggest I have a problem, I'm sure that something is impeding our ability to get pregnant. I'm all for patience but seven months of (what's the term?) lots of "renewing the marriage covenant" during fertile mucus days is coming up with zippo. I complained before about my age being the problem, I strongly doubt this is the case now. We all make mistakes!

I really do have a lot more going on in my life than what I lead readers to believe. It's just easy and helpful to express my utter frustration here since I don't tell anyone except my best friend and husband just how awful these experiences feel. I do my job, I show up to the places I promised to be, I help out where I can, I'm trying to give this burden over to God.

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's easy to dwell on my situation instead of every good thing.

The stress of not knowing whether "it" will work this time overwhelmed me yesterday. I yelled at my husband for coming home late. I made my own dinner and not his. We didn't talk to each other for four hours but managed to get back together early in the morning. I'm ashamed. I'm stupid. I'm losing it.

We talked this morning and I was explaining what was becoming so painful about not being able to conceive.
  • I resent that for what some people is a cost-free process might become costing me thousands of dollars just to figure out what might be wrong.
  • My Creighton charting, NFP instructor, and NaPro physician can't see any reason why conception isn't happening.
  • While getting pregnant is a physical process that isn't happening to me, my mind and my heart wants the responsibility of being a mother. My husband mentions activities and vacations to have that cannot be done with a child unless taking a baby into the backwoods for five days is considered safe these days. So, while I think he's more in the carefree, "let's go have fun" mood, I'm projecting seriousness and responsibility as to what it means to be a parent.
While the stress still exists this morning, I tried my very best to trust in the Lord and improve my attitude and give thanks for all the wonderful things about my life. I put on my iP.od and listened to a playlist entitled "Christian POP!" I created probably six years ago. I've never liked folk and rock style Christian music. I favor pop, R&B, and some hip-hop Christian groups. You can dance to it! Here's a song I listened to this morning to help bring me out of the doldrums and back into a joyful mindset. I should go to adoration chapel today and give this stuff over to God.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


After I went though two NFP charts and ran out of green stickers, I opted not to buy more charts and went to Excel. I'm pretty handy with that program and it works better for me when it comes to analyzing patterns. I apparently had nothing better to do Sunday night so I created a chart based on nineteen cycles with total cycle days, luteal length, last day of peak-type mucus, variation of luteal length from cycle to cycle. It was all very consistent. And depressing trying to figure out why a pregnancy hasn't happened yet.

A nerdy-cool correlation for me this month is that the last digit of my days past peak is the same as the date. So, today is peak plus 11 and it's the first of June. If we finally "make it" this time, I'll know I'm pregnant on June 7th since I've never been peak plus 16 before. No POAS for me. :)