Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Different Kind of Life

The memorial service this weekend was very, very beautiful.  The pastor gave the eulogy and although she flubbed a few names, I/we did overlook this given the great job she did on the full presentation.  I met my great Aunt ten years ago when she was in her eighties.  So, for me, her life was specific to her elderly years however, after hearing from other family and friends, she led a very consistent life up until the very end.  She was one of the greatest women and greatest Christians I'd ever met and hearing how she lived a life faithful to Christ was very inspirational.

Right before she died, she'd mailed a birthday present to her great-granddaughter.  She'd mailed her monthly church tithe, and left instructions that when she died, her son should pay the remaining tithe amount for the calendar year.  She never spoke badly about anyone, and although I'm sure she had her judgments, she never expressed them to me and no one claimed any different.  She was for me, the grandmother I never had, someone so pure in heart, she was an archetype for the ideal woman, gentle, kind, loving.  The pastor quoted her favorite biblical passage in Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  

I had a great conversation with my second cousin's cousin (you wouldn't believe the distant familial connections in that house) and told him that during the service, I couldn't help but think about my own funeral and what people would say about me.  He said he was thinking the same thing.  It's one thing to admire and revel in the great faith and love shown by another person but I think it's appropriate to feel compelled to follow her good example.  

But, in thinking about how I might do this, I've paused many times to ask if this is even possible?  My great Aunt was a child of the Depression, did not go to college, married young, didn't work after her marriage or in her widowhood.  I don't think she ever traveled much beyond Alabama.  She was a product of her geography, her family, and her generation.  Could someone like me, ambitious, restless, worldly, Gen Y, showy, even hope to aspire to be like my great Aunt?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

She Died

Shortly after my last post my dad called to tell me my great aunt died on Wednesday.  It's been a whirlwind of activity making flight reservations, car reservations, hotel reservations, and coordinating with family members, let alone deal with her death.  I'm very sorry my visit to see her got put off so many times but God knows best.

I'll be flying into Birmingham tomorrow and staying the night there before heading to Montgomery on Saturday.  Too bad none of the men in my life could accompany me; I'm flying solo this time until I'm back in the heart of Dixie and embraced by loving family members.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If you haven't tried...

...taking a break from attempting conception, I highly recommend it.  For the last two months I've gotten my period and it was no surprise since we didn't try.  That spared me the crying, the extreme disappointment, the crazies; I feel in control again.

It didn't even bother me that for some reason today, both my MIL and my mom asked my husband and me, respectively if we had any news to share.  Husband replied confidently, "No, she's not pregnant."  And I told my mom, "No, I have nothing to report."  Rather than feeling on the defensive, I'm projecting an image of I Know What's Going On In My Life and I'm Not Wasting Time on 'did it happen this month'?  CD 1 is full of hope and I'm embracing it.

Lent Resolution Check-In

We're two weeks into Lent and I've (we've) strayed a total of three times.  To re-cap, we decided to not go out to eat during Lent for all meals.  The exceptions are, if someone invites us out, that's OK and if we're away from home and have to eat, go ahead and buy something.  The first time I cheated, I was just being temperamental and drinking a margarita alone in a Mexican restaurant was quite a revelation.  We did go out for St. Patrick's Day and then again for lunch on Monday but my boss invited me, but I still consider that a stray.

I just got my period and I think that means this cycle was pretty short.  I didn't chart and only checked the dates a couple times this cycle but I guessed I'd be at 28 days on Friday.  So, and this is just a guess, my cycle ended yesterday, was it only 25 days?  The suspense will remain until I get home to check my excel chart.

I'm really hoping we can make something happen this cycle.  I really dread going to another Easter family event with no pregnancy, but that's the way it goes.  It's seriously depressing with no children in the family (that's close by) and everyone just keeps getting older and talks about the same things at every holiday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I think it's time for me to go

It may seem silly, but I feel like Alabama is my home.  I mean, I was born and raised in California and live there now.  But, my grandmother (who has long passed away) is from Montgomery.  And my father lived there intermittently.  My great aunt still lives there.  I was there when 9/11 happened.

We were not listening to TV when it happened and my cell phone was turned off for several hours.  I was supposed to fly back to Los Angeles that day.  When I turned on my phone, I had eleven new messages.  My cousin and I were driving.  My dad was telling me not to get on the airplane.  I didn't know what that meant.  When we got back to the house, we saw the taped images.  I couldn't fly home.  I stayed in Montgomery for several days when I finally found a rental car and drove to see family in Florida.  I don't remember if I flew out of Florida or Alabama back to Los Angeles but my then boyfriend from Dothan, AL picked me up from LAX.

My siblings don't feel the same pull I feel towards Alabama.  One of them visited once but I was the only one who flew there to bury my grandfather who wanted to be placed next to my grandmother.  My father's extended family was distant from me in childhood but as an adult I felt I needed to know them because I had such a bad experience with my mother's family.  Put kindly, there were weird and sometimes mean.

Perhaps my father idealized his family but I only find kindness and acceptance with his relatives.  When my mother's mother was telling me she couldn't believe and could eat ice cream and not gain weight, my father's mother's niece was telling me who much I reminded her of my grandmother, that I was kin.  And when I was in AL, my great-Aunt said how sorry she was she couldn't cook for me like she did for my dad and uncle.  It was a kind of tenderness I didn't see often.

When I'm very sad, I guess like now, I really want to be there.  I know I have the means and the ability to catch a flight there tomorrow.  It's a good fantasy.


Heading to Alabama

I'm working with a cousin of mine to meet him in Montgomery in May.  At first I was just going to stay there but now I think it'd be fun to see an old boss in VA and I hope to be able to see some bloggers I've only read about ;).  If you're in the vicinity, could you drop me a comment?

Friday, March 18, 2011


I feel I'm not Catholic enough for some people, but it doesn't really worry me since I've never been one to look for validation beyond very close friends and family.  I keep telling myself not to post my criticisms of the Church or Church policies, but I really can't leave well enough alone.  Besides, what's the point of being an American if you can't exercise your free speech and work for intelligent public discourse?

I'm a faithful Catholic, I attend Mass every Sunday, go to confession, support Catholic charities, adhere to the guidelines against contraception and other banned substances and fertility procedures.  I also can't stand by when religious and apologists make statements that are untrue.  I'm an activist myself and I know that when you believe in your position so strongly, it's tempting to polarize the issue by making the other side look patently evil and misrepresent them.  It happens with animal rights, gay rights, abortion, etc.

Quite a few of the stances I take in my own life might line up with Church teaching but a lot of them also make good sense.  I like rational decision making, I think it's good for people.  My decision not to use IVF is not because the Church says it's wrong, it's because it's not a rational procedure to submit to.  It's very expensive that most middle-class people cannot comfortably afford it.  I've read a fair number of couples go into debt (the dreaded credit card kind) to undergo an IVF cycle.  Bad decision.  When I first started this blog, I'd just finished reading The Baby Business.  It's not technically considered Lenten reading material, but I highly recommend it.  I wanted to understand assisted fertility as a business, because most everything in life is a business, sadly.

I've also learned that fertility drugs make me crazy and I have an inherent moral duty to be good for my husband.  Clomid makes me bad for him and that's unfair.  And why in the world would I go to a drug even more powerful?  A child couldn't exist without our marriage so why would I sacrifice it's goodness by submitting to medical treatment that might give me a baby but make him want to divorce me?

I'm not an apologist for the Creighton Method, and I've said so here before.

And I guess that gets me to my ultimate point for this post.  Christina posted in her last comment an article that I'd half read several months ago: Babies Deserve Better.  After she posted I link, I read the whole thing pretty carefully.  There are several serious errors (that I spotted) in the article.

  1.  According to the Pope Paul VI Institute, couples who have learned to chart effectively have a 76 percent chance of conceiving during their first cycle of use and a 98 percent pregnancy rate by their sixth cycle.
    1. Not true.  According to the Institute, this quoted success rate is only for couple with "normal fertility" and that is never defined.  My guess is you're considered normal if you've gotten pregnant within six months since that's very close to 100% in that study.
  2. The primary reason the Church opposes IUI and IVF is that these techniques frustrate the unitive aspect of the marital act.
    1. Partly true.  I'm not sure about the Church but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have neither approved nor disapproved IUI when the sperm is obtained through a natural act of intercourse.  Dr. Hilgers himself said the main reason the Church opposes IVF is that it's abortive in nature meaning many embryos are created in the process and some will die or be destroyed when the couple doesn't want them or need them.
  3. When you are infertile, every act of intercourse is pregnant with the hope that God will work a miracle. 
    1. Every act?  Not when you know you're an infertile in the infertile part of her cycle.  It's disingenuous to dismiss the fact that lovemaking when you're infertile is very stressful and heartbreakingly frustrating. 
  4. Ironically, many couples using IUI and IVF in their late twenties and mid-thirties were contracepting earlier in marriage. This is because IUI and IVF are the logical counterparts of the contraceptive mentality, which has as a fundamental tenet that women enjoy total control over their fertility.
    1. This is far from ironic.  The vast majority of sexual active adults use some form of contraception.  NFP is very rare.  "The contraceptive mentality" permeates the Western World, not just for people who use IVF.  I think most free people assume total control over most things in their life, not just as it comes to fertility.
There are certainly some very good points in the article and I think it's good to hear those things from a couple who is experiencing infertility themselves.  The article was written some years ago, I wonder if they ever were able to have their child.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


There's just such good dialogue in When Harry Met Sally.  Sure, it's an old movie and maybe quite a few of you youngins haven't seen it.  If that's true, good ahead and stream it on Ne.tflix.  A sample:

Sally - The biological clock doesn't start ticking until 36.


Sally - ...And I'm gonna be 40!
Harry - When?
Sally - Someday...
Harry - In 8 years.

Oh, how I wish it was eight years away for me.  I turn thirty-four in several months which puts me squarely in the mid-thirties range.  I'm not saying anyone who can't get pregnant after trying several months shouldn't be concerned, they should be, but I think being infertile at 34 trumps 24.

This is a completely anecdotal observation but most women heading towards IVF or try it sooner, are over 35.  Maybe they got married "late" or just decided to wait to start a family.  But I can understand the time pressure you feel you're under at this age.  Women under 30 probably feel they've got some time to let things work themselves out.  Older women don't feel they have that luxury.

I think the Church should give a little attention or show some empathy towards women who feel the pressure to go down the ART road.  Is it just me, or does the Church spend more time giving declaratives rather than exploring the complexity of human emotions?  I know why "feel good" churches are popular these days because people feel they are getting attention on the issues that affect them the most.  Can we come to a happy medium in the Catholic Church?  Declaratives are good for small children, not adults.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not going down without a fight

For several weeks I'd been contemplating an email to Jack slicing him for neglecting our friendship to the point of whithering death.  I don't shy away from telling people who've upset or hurt me how I feel.  I used to do it with great speed (the telling part) but now it takes me forever since I'm mindful of coming off as diplomatic as I can be in that type of communication.

My feelings really were lying here... I was a loyal, close, very supportive friend for many, many years and to drop me is in serious bad taste.  Screw you and arrivederci.

For some reason we decided to watch When Harry Met Sally this weekend and I think the movie helped me understand something I didn't realize previously.  That no matter what I think/thought about the friendship with Jack, his wife thinks about it entirely differently.  No matter that for eleven years we were strictly friends and NEVER were we in an even remotely romantic situation, I'm forever an ex-girlfriend.  Maybe his wife feels threatened.  Maybe she would just rather cut me off at the pass, I don't know.  But, I know that they don't think of me in the same way I think about myself.  I'm a good friend.

Popular culture is not on my side because When Harry Met Sally and My Best Friend's Wedding all point to the same conclusion, men and women cannot be just friends.  And I guess if you did previously date one another even if it was a heck of a long time ago, that status never goes away and some people are very fearful it will come up again.  I guess I'll have to let it lie.  Even though I never told my husband that he couldn't talk to his ex-girlfriends (but he couldn't see them without me and he has to tell me any time he contacts them or they contact him) maybe some don't have the same policy.  Oh well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's Your Style?

  1. I've made an observation on folks commenting on my blog recently.  They seem to fall into two different categories (although there are exceptions, of course), those who offer support/ideas on the life details I share and those who only seem to care about challenging my opinions on abortion.  I like to think I'm multi-faceted and hope people find the diversity here interesting.  I'd get bored with only posting my political and social positions or just talking about where I am in my cycle, etc.  I appreciate comments and don't get easily offended by differing opinions, I just don't like it when people put ideas and words in my mouth.  I understand that blogs are very public and hope that people who don't comment find useful information here.  Yes, some people can get through NaPro and not be cured.  I'm a shining example!
  2. My poor husband said that yesterday was the worst day he'd had in four or five years.  That period predates me so I'm selfishly grateful and very happy that I was not demanding with him yesterday.  
  3. I'm still growing my hair out although I have moments where I want to shave it off out of sheer frustration. This topic actually deserves it's own blog post.
  4. I realized this morning that Lent lasts until April 20th?  Is that right?  I think this not going out for food might be more difficult than I realize.  I'm already thinking about lunch especially given I can't eat meat.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday recap

We survived it!  Although we needed a cosmopolitan at the end of day to get through it.  We attended one of the evening services and it was really cool when one of our ministers of hospitality friends asked the hubby and me to bring the bread and wine to the altar.  It was very touching to be able to do that in front of that many people (around 600) and I'm very grateful for the blessing our favorite priest gave us as we handed him the gifts.  God has a wonderful way of turning around a bad day!

For Lent, we've decided to give up going out to eat.  If someone invites us, that's OK but we won't initiate it for ourselves.  Since eating at restaurants is one of my favorite things, this will be appropriately challenging for me.

There won't be any conception attempt this month.  My husband is under too much work pressure right now and even I can't/won't push him.  I did tell him that I was very disappointed we couldn't try this cycle but I wasn't blaming him and I understand the things he's going through so it's all OK.  He thanked me for being understanding.  I'm sure glad I didn't push because his employees screwed up royally this morning after I got to work and I think allowing the hubby to go on his merry way this morning probably helped him, I hope.

So, I'm trying to take the long view and remind myself in my weak moments that it's all in God's time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Lauren gave me a good excuse to write about something else that is on my mind today.  Is it Satan or is it me?  I most certainly believe that Satan exists and he's trying to wreak havoc across the world.  The Scr.ewtape Lett.ers is one of my most favorite books.  C. S. Lewis rocks to the core.  However, my negative tendencies I can attribute only to myself since I can see I inherited many of these characteristics.

My bite is the same if not worse than my bark.  No matter if I've just barked or just bit, I have a very strong flight response.  I can barely sit still especially if I'm sitting for something that doesn't interest me at all or I'm sitting for someone else other than me.  I am very selfish and have to make very conscious decisions to give and share.  I am demanding.  I'm writing as if this is kind of funny to me but it's really not and I'm sure I've hurt lots of people because of my behavior.

I tend to believe it's time and getting older that helps me control myself better.  A couple of times I've tried to pray in the middle of a meltdown but that's a huge, major struggle and reason always loses.  I think that's where Satan is stepping in, when I've decided to bite instead of trying to calm down.  And I think it's me up until that point.  I heard a sermon a few years back where the pastor said, "It doesn't matter if you were born with a sparkling, sweet personality or an angry one, being a Christian means you act as an example of Christ's love all the time.  You don't pass just because you are naturally good, it has to be a conscious decision to manifest Christ."  This might be hard for us that woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but it stand true all the same.      

Why I Resent Infertility

I think this is an oft not discussed topic for us infertility bloggers and definitely not on Ash Wednesday but here goes.  My main reason for resenting my status as a subfertile is that it most certainly stresses our sexual relationship.  Two people can't be on the same page all the time and things might come up like work stress or maybe he hurt my feelings or maybe I made him angry or he's not in the mood at fertile time (even though I might technically be not in the mood at fertile time, I force myself but he does not feel that compunction.)

The window of opportunity is dang short and we've only got at most twelve tries in a year that to let one month slip by is almost unthinkable.  Sure, we skipped last month with the final Clomid dose disaster but that was more for purity of my soul.  What makes me sad is that he sees BDing as work.  He doesn't seem to get that I'm doing the very best I can to make those times great experiences where I hope he feels he got something out of it.  Intellectually, it can't make sense that it's work (when did sex become unpleasurable?) so is he just trying to hurt my feelings by saying that it is?  I mean how do you come back from that?

It's already a delicate situation with both of our work schedules crazy busy and seriously challenging.  I guess I'm looking at Lent as more of a burden than a blessing.  I just hope and perhaps you can pray that I'm able to weather this personal storm and come out of it with some amount of grace.  Marriage can be very trying on the soul sometimes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reasonable Expectations

At Mass this morning the priest announced a couple in the church was celebrating their first wedding anniversary.  I know the husband professionally and the wife through a ministry at the parish.  When I put in that intention last year for infertile couples, my husband and I went to the priest who would be presiding at the Mass to talk to him about why I put the intention in.  The priest mentioned the aforementioned couple and talked about how the wife was very anxious too that she was not getting pregnant.  She did get pregnant and she looks at if she's due any day now.  So, if they got married in March 2010, it appears as if it took all of three months to get pregnant.

What bothers me is that she let her anxiety take her over to the point that she consults a priest after she couldn't get pregnant by the second try.  I seriously didn't even think about consulting a priest on this infertility issue until I was about one year down that road.  Of course, I'm judging her but I think people need to adopt reasonable expectations about getting pregnant.  It doesn't benefit the community to think getting pregnant is easy and that it is controllable.  I'm not sure if people look at me and assume that I'm too career focused and Catholics think we're using contraception and that wouldn't have crossed my mind until another blogger mentioned they assumed that about married couples in their church who don't have children.

What Christ preached against, judging others and feeling anxious seems to be rampant.  Perhaps this is a good thing to look at we get into Lent, especially for me.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More info on gas prices

Yes, it's CA's environmental standards that are making gas prices rise so high: a short, interesting article.,0,2326955.story

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Putt putt

So, gas prices are going way up in California.  I'm not sure if it's everywhere in California, perhaps you can share what's happening in your state/city?  This is the second time since I've been married that prices have approached $4.00.  My husband is very cost conscious which I used to see as wholly aggravating but now I tend to look at it in a more relaxed manner as his penchant for saving does create good things for us.  However, the first time, he used a dictatorial tone when telling me I shouldn't go grocery shopping at my favorite specialty shop about 8 miles from our house because it would waste gas.  He would insist on carpooling for mundane errands in town.  I don't know what he did that ultimately made me feel like I was in prison with someone trying to control my every move, but I remember laying down the law telling him not to restrict my food buying activities, ever. ;)

I think I'll be able to handle the situation with a little more humor this time.  And it also helps that I'm moving to a more stable attitude about things I want.  I used to have no trouble driving miles out of my way to pick up a items I really want like a poor boy sandwich or a six-pack of Grol.sch.  Four dollars-schmore dollars.  But now I'm pretty much content with staying home and eating dried pasta if that's the only thing in the cupboard.  Thank goodness I've got way more than that!!!