Wednesday, February 29, 2012

These shoes weren't made for workin'

I've often hated my work environments.  Not that I didn't have a comfortable chair, a steady room temperature, and good lighting.  It's because I sit down to work.  I've tried introducing the idea of the treadmill desk but it's such a foreign concept to my superiors that I haven't pushed it any further.

So, I've compromised in my need to sit to work and my total obsession with physical activity.  I believe the body is made to move, and moving is intrinsically healthy.  I walk three to four times a day (in addition to any strenuous workouts) and average 1/2 mile on each little trek.  And I do this by wearing comfortable shoes.

I stopped wearing high heels to work about five months ago.  I used to wear them all the time and it made me cranky and annoyed with life.  No joke.  I couldn't wait to get home just to get the darn things off.  I still love going home as soon as possible after work but it's not quite with the same desperation.  My gait is now normal contrasted by the silly balancing act almost every woman wearing high heels does.  I found heels made me not want to walk, not move.  It hurt to move and I don't believe anybody who tells me their three to four inch heels are comfortable.  Is that why you take them off sitting at your desk?

Are high heels sexier?  I'd buy that.  But once you're comfortable with your professional abilities, it makes a lot of sense to treat your body right.  I can move freely, happily, and now don't think I'm hurting my health by doing my job.  Ok, I'm heading out for a walk!

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm Used To It By Now

But it doesn't mean it gets any less painful.  Granted, I'm doing better.  I didn't cry until CD 2 which I consider a major breakthrough and the only reason I did cry was because one of my best friends called me to lend a kind ear.  She's an angel on earth and her sympathy only made me feel more sorry for myself.

Here's the play-by-play.  On Thursday of last week I was very concerned that even if I wasn't pregnant (and at that point the odds of that were less than 50%) the progesterone supplements would just delay my period by several days and fool me into thinking I was pregnant with no test to confirm this.  So, I printed off an online coupon for an HPT and prepared to buy the thing at some point on Friday.

My Friday was very busy and lest you think that I think God was not looking out for me on such a terrible day, you'd be wrong.  Between seven thirty and nine pm, I was never alone except in the bathroom and that was only in the stall.  By the time I got to the sinks, there were plenty of women I knew to talk to.  The late morning bathroom trip was the confirmation.  Pink.  It was just spotting so I held out a tiny bit of hope that maybe, just maybe this was a fluke.  But I was P+13 and much too late for implantation spotting.  After briefly feeling vindicated that I hadn't wasted $10 on a test I didn't need, I went back to concentrating on my day.

After work, I went to Mass, had dinner with friends, and then went back to church for Stations of the Cross.  A long night but fun and spiritually gratifying.  Praise God!  My husband, of course was gone for the weekend and I wanted to be strong for him.  He hates it when I fall apart when he's gone.  So, I count the one crying episode that he doesn't know about as a victory for self-discipline.

So, those are the facts as they happened.  Now it's time to wax philosophical.  I know most of us have acknowledged that infertility can wreak havoc on our feelings and it always does that to me.  Am I crushed that I'm not pregnant after a medicated cycle?  No.  Am I surprised?  Well, yes.  I mean, I took injectibles that produced more follicles.  I took a trigger shot.  What the heck happened?  Could I just get pregnant even for a couple days?  Maybe I have been pregnant before but I never know since I never test.  Misfit wrote about this yesterday, the possibility of being a habitual aborter.  I harbor that theory and it will never be proven.  So, I should let it go.

It's just weird that twelve long days of progesterone doesn't length my cycle even just a bit.  I mean P+13 is where I am cycle after cycle.  Hmmm.

This idea that my reproductive system doesn't work at all is really devastating to me.  And terribly ironic.  Everything else with me works, why not this one thing?  This is not about being a parent.  My feelings about being a good parent is totally separate from the physiological issue.  Why the heck can't we get pregnant?  It looks like we can't even get to the first step, fertilization.

We're taking this month off.  We have a big family event next weekend and people are staying with us so asking them to please excuse me and not watch while I get a needle from the refrigerator and lock myself in the bathroom is not going to work.  I just have to take this one day at a time.  Getting upset is not helping anybody least of all myself.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Society Has Really F*cked Up Ideas About Having Children

A few days ago, a study came out that showed half of all births to American women under 30 occur outside of marriage.  Then there was a two-person discussion with Gail Collins and David Brooks published by the New York Times titled Who Decided That This Election Should Be All About Sex?  It was an interesting read and they also talked about the aforementioned study.  Here's the most intriguing exchange:
Gail: But I know the woman-related news that most interests you is the new government data on the rise of unwed mothers. It seems likely that pretty soon most American children will be born to unmarried women. The big argument seems to be whether this is a result of the lack of good-paying blue collar jobs or a split in our society, in which the bottom third – or half or two-thirds – lead lives that are too chaotic for long-term relationships.
David: I’ve tried to argue that it’s both. It’s a spiral of economic and social influences that are impossible to untangle. As one social scientist put it, what nature hath joined together, multiple regression cannot put asunder. 
Gail: There’s a really good book on this subject called “Promises I Can Keep,” by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas. They concluded that low-income women saw marriage not as the beginning of their lives, but as the payoff. They intended to wait until they had put together enough resources to have a nice wedding, and then live in a good place of their own. They were also, of course, waiting to find a man who was settled and stable enough to be a good husband. 
In some ways they weren’t different from college-educated women, who tended to put off marriage until they’d gotten their careers off the ground. The difference was that the poorer women regarded marriage as a reward, but children as a necessity. They weren’t prepared to defer motherhood the way their better educated peers were. 
David: I’m so glad you mentioned that book. I’ve been hoping to plug it in a column. It is indeed really good. I do think that the life script that many low-income women envision is simply not correct, though. As you say, they see marriage as a culmination. They have kids, get a good job and make some money, and then they can afford the lovely wedding. That’s backward. For most people getting married is not the payoff after an upward climb it’s the tool to advance the upward climb.
Married people save money. Married people have more settled habits. Married men are much more stable. When people marry first they are more likely to make it later.  
I really believe we need to have a national discussion about marriage and having kids.  I'm not sure where those topics are introduced.  Perhaps in sex education?  I went to public school and in high school we heard the topic in health class.  The mechanics are interesting sure but the significance of a stable marriage and having kids at the right time are far more critical to a person's well-being that simply understanding puberty and how fertilization takes place.

It's not like the educated classes have the upper hand in understanding life priorities and fertility.  I had lunch with Afina last weekend.  She's pregnant again.  I'm thrilled!  Really.  It happened in her last pregnancy and again now where the obstetrician at the best university hospital west of the Mississippi said to her and her husband, "Was this a planned pregnancy?"  Her husband rightly replied, "You're kidding, right?"  I know the argument that planned pregnancies result in a healthier mother and in turn, a healthier baby.  That's great.  But for a doctor to presume pregnancies among highly educated women in their mid-thirties are somehow an accident is very offensive and ignorant.

Ok, maybe it's not so ignorant.  With all this HHS/contraception stuff going on, our government is sending the message that contraception is health care.  And a lot of people, millions are buying into it.  I can see the value in not having children born to unwed mothers.  But apparently a lot of people figured out, but not me, that if you marry in your thirties (and your husband in his late forties), it might be too late.  

I was asked again this week by a co-worker if we planned to have children.  My reply was that it's not so easy to get pregnant in your mid-thirties.  I could see in her eyes that, that didn't compute.  I said that the best time to start having children is in your late teens and early twenties, biologically-speaking.  She said that's what she did; got married at 17.  I asked if they started having kids right away?  Oh yes, of course.

Americans love to believe everything in life is a choice.  All you have do is really want something, work hard at it, and the goal is seized.  There is a great column which I can't find right now in the Washington Post by a doctor who writes that even for the terminally ill, we view death as an option, not life's certainty.  Families sometimes want to put their loved ones through very rigorous medical treatments to hopefully make them life longer but those treatments can sometimes mean just a more miserable death.

When people, even some of my friends, ask me if we're going to have children I know they view it as a choice.  I'm trying to start having that conversation to at least educate people that wanting children does not equal having them.  I've read some comments on blogs that if they just had enough money to afford IVF, they'd have their family.  That's very sad for me to read.  We think medical tests can tells us what's wrong 100% of the time, and medical treatments will work 100% of the time.  And that's completely wrong.

When I was 29 or 30, and dating my husband, Dr. Elizabeth said that I shouldn't really put off having kids.  That once I found the right partner, (I'll note that she didn't say I had to marry him) I should start trying to have kids.  Fair enough but I think that advice was a little late and misplaced.  Apparently the low income women under 30 get it right, biologically-speaking.  That's the best time to have kids because you're more likely to actually get pregnant.

When I was in college, the lone female executive at the company I was to start my career at, said (and this is burned in my brain), "All of my friends did it wrong.  They had kids in their twenties, at the start of their career when they had no power.  I waited until my late thirties to have kids when I could write my own ticket because I'd been at the company so long."  And she worked from home when she had her first child because she was so damn important to the company.  But there were consequences to her thoughtful decisions.  Her second pregnancy was with a severely handicapped baby.  She had an abortion and was out of the office for several weeks.  When I was talking with some of my co-workers about her absence, I'd referred to her having "a miscarriage."  My co-worker said, "You realize it wasn't a miscarriage, right."  "Yes, I'm just trying to be polite."

In retrospect, perhaps politeness was a bad decision for me.  We probably should have had the discussion that you're more likely to have an unhealthy baby when you're in your late thirties.  And make good decisions now to prevent that.  And if I ever had the chance to testify in front of some school board or heck, Congress about infertility, I'd say we need to start telling girls and women that you will have a harder time getting pregnant if you put it off for whatever reason.  At least educate people and let them make their own decisions.

I want all my friends and everyone I know that Bethenny Frankel put it best, "IT'S NOT MY CHOICE."  And it's not my choice or anybody's choice.  I want to have children but desire does not equal attainment.  When the interviewer asked, "Do you want to keep trying [after her miscarriage]?"  What the heck does that mean?  Does she or I want to keep having sex with our husbands without birth control?  Or in this case is "trying" using ART because everybody knows that ART will absolutely guarantee you a baby.  This whole thing is crazy to me.

What should we be doing to reform our society?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And We're Off!

Husband and I attended the very first Mass today at 7:00am.  Not too crowded which was nice.  You can make out a distinct cross on my forehead not the dreaded smudge which makes your co-workers think you're fixing the copier by yourself again.  We have a joint sacrifice this Lenten season - not arguing.  Last year we did not eating out.  That was unrealistic but we'll see how the not arguing goes.  Interestingly, the priest touched upon arguing in his sermon.  He said there's no point in fasting or denying yourself food and then you go home and be a jerk to your family.  So, he said try and be a nice guy which I think is always good advice.

I don't have a Lenten prayer buddy this time but I'll be praying for everyone in our blog community that God gives them the strength they need to draw closer to Him through sacrifice.  Amen!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I don't know Bethenny

However, I did watch an interview she recently gave.  I guess she's a reality tv person.  Anyway, she does talk about her recent miscarriage and I thought she touched upon a lot of fears and pain women like us feel about infertility and miscarriage.  The interviewer, once Bethenny reveals the miscarriage gives a dismissive response, "Huh," but B is clearly emotional as of course this topic is.  If you want to skip to the miscarriage talk, go to 3:45.

Friday, February 17, 2012

2ww Update

It pains me to write "2ww."  I haven't considered my luteal phase a two week wait for over a year, perhaps longer than that because I found it wasted time.  And I deplore wasted time.  One of my favorite Madonna songs (all of her songs are practically my favorite, actually), "Love Song" has a great line:
Time goes by so slowly for those who wait
And those who run seem to have all the fun
It's the inherent sense of urgency I've adopted in my life that forces me to take action now, today and not tomorrow.  I'm fortunate to have married someone who feels the same type of time pressure.  And pressure's not bad in my book.  What's interesting about Madonna's Like A Prayer album, it's where I learned the Act of Contrition.  She recites it in the last song on the album.  And back in the 80s when the album came out, I got it in a CD and the booklet was scented with some aromatic oil.  This was during her whole Catholic rebellion phase (at least the start of it) so I don't know if the oil was supposed to be holy oil.  When I was anointed, I don't remember it smelling so nice.  Wiki chimes in:
The packaging on the first pressings of the CD, cassette, and LP were scented with patchouli oils to simulate church incense. A publicist for Warner Bros. Records said, "She wanted to create a flavor of the 60's and the church. She wanted to create a sensual feeling you could hear and smell."
OK, back to present day.  I've been taking the progesterone since Sunday.  My mood hasn't exactly been great, I'm a little jittery but maybe that's because work this week has been very busy and our lives are filled with an inordinate amount of administrative details that require almost constant attention.  The only physical side effects of the progesterone (or something else) is melasma, aka pregnancy mask.  But the weird part is it's only on my left palm.  It looks like orange self-tanner gone wrong.  Thankfully, I can hide it.

I'm not sure the progesterone insert is helpful in that the reported side effects of the drug are the exact same as early pregnancy.  I'd have to chalk up any symptoms to the drug since I'm only seven days out from the trigger shot.  For sure, I have tried very hard to not assume anything.  Of course I do the occasional obsessive stuff like figuring out the date I'd notify my happy family of the little one and trolling blogs and reading very closely those posts that track early pregnancy, here, here, and here.

Beyond those things I'm living my life as normal.  I've had a couple drinks, exercise like normal, keep contributing to my retirement funds.  Nothing can stave off disappointment when you try hard to get pregnant but don't but at least, if that happens, I'll be able to look back at the last two weeks and not have any regrets.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The great thing about modern communication technology is that you can flip someone off virtually.  I think I mentioned that Dr. Sti.gen has a "patien.t p.ortal" whereby patients can access records, get health information, email the doctor, make appointments, etc.  While that might seem handy is today's busy times, it feels like a way for the doctor to keep their patients at arm's length.  I just wanted to talk to her but they were going to charge me $25 to do it.  I can talk and even visit my RE for FREE.

I have orders for P+7 blood draws to measure progesterone and estrogen.  They are from Dr. St.igen.  I used the portal to email her asking if I could use the order and would she kindly call me with the results.  That's all I wanted and I thought it was a simple request.  And now I'm reminded why I quit her and NaPro technology.  This was her response:
[ATC], You should ask the RE who is treating you to order and interpret the blood test for you - he/she is the one who should be monitoring what your response to the medications are. In general, I don't do hormone testing or interpretation except for patients undergoing NaProTechnology treatments. Sincerely, Dr. Sti.gen
Now, I understand the overall message.  She's not the prescribing doctor for the drugs I'm on, so I should get blood draw orders from that doctor.  Cool.  Great.  But the second sentence I took as a sort of "F*ck U, you're not doing NaPro, so no assistance for you."  I would have appreciated a little more customer service like, "Let me know if there's anything I can do for you," or "Let me know if you have any questions."  I'm hurt by the "I don't do this [full stop; end of story.]  She did operate on me, I did try her NaPro treatments.  They just didn't work and didn't get me pregnant.  I'm not bitter about it but it sure sounds like she's bitter I'm not doing NaPro anymore.  I haven't done anything inconsistent with Church teaching but if it's not in the right box, she doesn't want anything to do with me.  The Christian love is palpable.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Maybe I Need a Twitter Acct

I have a bunch of little things today.  Can I keep it to under 140 characters?

  1. I'm just not into it today.  It's cold, windy, rainy.  I just want a piece of chocolate cake, a cup of warm cider, and snuggling with my man under a warm blanket.
  2. I started the Endometrin suppositories last night.  They look just like big pills but in the morning they turn into a delightful cream.  
  3. My lower back was hurting this morning.  I didn't want to read too much into that if there's anything to read into about lower back pain mid-cycle.
  4. NOVA has a great science documentary about conception and pregnancy that I'm sure we all saw as teenagers.  But, I think it's worth checking out if you've already seen it or not.  The photography is mind-blowing.  Reproduction is clearly God's creation.  With how complicated it looks(and all the different ways the process can go awry) , I'm amazed anybody gets pregnant.  Link here:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dipping my toe

I did a little blog housekeeping.  I took some stuff down that sounded pretty aggressive and subsequently received no comments.  When will I learn that ya'll want to hear about my latest pie recipe, not my unladylike rants?  There are a bunch of drafts that I just keep for a little private diary, but I have no doubt that Google is trolling my private posts to find better ways to sell me things I don't need.  OK, so I'm still a cynic.

Yesterday I started to realize I was a public infertile blogger with a private mindset, a total oxymoron.  So, I should share for the good of the group.  I hesitated to share this (and might actually take it back at some point, sorry) because I was really getting into my arguments for accepting childlessness and because of infertile blogger solidarity, a mindset I very much believe in.

Of course I don't want to betray the latter but I think these are facts worth sharing and documenting.

It all happened so fast.  At about CD 3, I was feeling pretty good.  I wrote about treating myself a bit more gently and that really made a difference in my mood.  The idea of talking to the RE again was gaining traction in my little mind.  I told my husband about this on CD 4 and called the doctor that day.  I had barely uttered the words, "I think we're ready to get started...."  She said, "well, you're supposed to start the medication on day 3."  Oh, great.  But apparently CD 5 was also a definite possible starting point so I locked up the hubby and we drove to see the doc last Friday morning.

The protocol was fifty micrograms (I think that's the measurement) of Follistim from CD 5 to the first u/s on CD 11.  Depending on what the first or possible subsequent ultrasounds revealed, I take a trigger shot (Ovidrel.)  My husband started out giving me the injections (in the thigh) but then I got the hang of it.  Besides, he's not always around so I had to do it at some point.  There was really no pain from the injections and my mood was pretty darn good on the Follistim.  So, I have no complaints.  I didn't have to pay for the Follistim, just the Ovidrel and that set us back $135.

I was worried and shared my concerns with a fellow blogger that the RE, not being Catholic, was not at all Creighton minded so having the first u/s on CD 11 seemed darn premature.  I have never had a peak day that early and was anxious I was just wasting my money on an early ultrasound.  None of this infertility stuff is covered by my super not-so-great insurance.  Being budget conscious, I have a special little fund for these expenditures.  Well, I was bolstered by the fact that peak-type mucus started on CD 9!  And it's been really great for four days.  Praise God, I have been doing a lot of Hail Marys.  CD 11 was yesterday and I had the u/s done at my local hospital, the same place where we did the SA, blood draws, and baseline u/s.

It took a fair amount of time to explain to the staff what the heck I was doing.  What's a follicular ultrasound? The first receptionist asked me if my bladder was full.  Um, it's transvag, so that's not necessary, doll.  The u/s tech was the same one from a year and a half ago.  She was very sweet and even called a friend of hers that worked in a fertili.ty cl.inic to explain what she was to look for.  Even though I'd complained bitterly about transvag u/s, it wasn't that bad especially because I was hopeful and curious about the follicle sizes.

The tech didn't give me any measurements but did show me a few images and yeah, the follicles looked big.  I followed up with the RE and she asked me if the tech told me the sizes?  "No, was she supposed to?"  Well, that would have been helpful to get the info ASAP.  I guess the hospital had to have their radiologist prepare a whole dang report on my u/s.  I called them four times throughout the day imploring them to hurry it up and get the report to my doc.  Will a preliminary report work?  YES!  Fax it!

My doctor was vague about the results yesterday afternoon just telling me to take the trigger shot and start having s*x pronto (but we'd already started when fertile mucus appeared.)  Then on Sunday, I'll start taking progesterone to "support the pregnancy."  While that was sure a nice thing for an infertile to hear, it didn't quite compute since conception is a nebulous concept to me.

So, the obvious question at this point in the story is Where do you want your husband to be when you take the trigger shot?  If you said two and a half hours away from his sweetie, you'd technically be wrong but that's where he was.  Send blessings to my husband he drove home early this morning (got up at four am) to join me in renewing the marriage covenant.

As to the foregoing, I think we have our bases covered, I hope and pray.  I'm very grateful this has been a fairly easy and pleasant process.  Even if we don't get pregnant, I hope I remember that the process was at least a good experience and that's something to treasure no matter what.  I'm not sure why I was so afraid to move forward with treatment for so long, I guess I just wanted to be able to get pregnant without needing augmentation.  And last year was just a bad year that I needed time to clear my head a bit.  And we had a bunch of trips that precluded a pregnant me participating.

Before I forget, here are the stats:  left ovary had one follicle just 12mm in size.  The left had four, the largest two at 23 and 17mm.  So, all the burden's on the lefty.  The doc wants me to take a pregnancy test on CD 26.  I don't need the torture of someone saying, "I'm very sorry, you're not pregnant" so I think I'll just let it play out.  I have some orders for a P+7 blood draw from Dr. St.igen.  I should probably give her a heads up before she gets a test result out of the blue from a woman she hasn't heard from in a year.

I don't know what's going to happen.  Just have to pray for the best.  But, like I said this has been a positive experience so I'm very grateful for that.  And that can stand on its own.  Since I started charting for this cycle and hadn't in a great many months, I posted a little snippet below.  You might notice a little "2009" at the top which is when my charts were transferred to Excel, a very long time ago.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Treating Myself Better

I often say I don't have many regrets.  And that's generally true.  I know that personal growth is a journey not a eureka moment where somebody declares that they've figured it all out.  But when I arrive at some point of wisdom that had previously escaped me, of course I look back and wish I'd known then what I know now.  I feel confident enough to declare that I'm starting to learn how to take better care of myself.

That's funny for me to read since I'm pretty self-aware and have a healthy dose of self-centeredness.  That selfishness, however is married to a strong sense of responsibility.  I care deeply about appearing trustworthy, competent, and responsible.  My greatest nightmares are about letting people down and I'm desperate to get somewhere to do my job but no matter what I try in the dream, I can never get there.  I wish I just had falling dreams.

Since I started working when I was 21, I've been denying myself time away from work to find calm or spend time with my family.  When I worked in D.C., my grandfather was dying and I flew back to CA to see him but did not return for the funeral.  I do regret that.  I left that job happily in 2005 and rarely think about that job and I'm sure my ex-boss or co-workers don't think about me.  I should have been wiser about that situation.

I've often put my health on the back burner to be at work and get there on time.  But, this last cycle, for the first time, I did not deny myself.  The night of CD1, I was in a lot of pain.  I couldn't sleep so I read on the couch in the den for a couple of hours and finally the aleve kicked in and I felt tired enough to try and sleep.  Normally, I would have woken up at the regular time and despite the exhaustion, I would have been to work on time.  This time, I felt strongly my sleep came first at least for a couple hours.  So, I emailed my boss and came in a couple hours late.  Nobody died, the work got done, and life went on.

Despite the obvious disappointment of the situation, I felt the more I attended to my needs, it made everything better.  And I started to take things one day at a time, philosophically-speaking.  I've felt better emotionally this time than I have in a long time and I hope I can extend myself enough grace for that feeling to continue.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Drop Kick Me Jesus

Has anybody ever sung, "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life?"  No, man it's the best!  I have always loved Super Bowl Sunday ever since I was a preteen and threw up M&Ms because I ate just too damn many.  We are keeping the party small this year and with very close family (just like an intimate wedding) and I'm preparing the food, somebody else is doing the beer.  On the menu is:

  • Pita crackers with mango salsa and guacamole
  • Cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower with ranch greek yogurt dip
  • Shrimp sliders and cheeseburger sliders
  • Some kind of dessert, perhaps those yummy peanut butter/chocolate cupcakes
It's going to be a great weekend.  Although I had wished my husband would have sprung for game tickets at, I can understand he was deterred by the $9K price tag.  It's sad not getting what we want.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fools Rush In...

I have seriously written and rewritten this post three times, and they are all saved as drafts.  Maybe I should get rid of it and let it go?  My problem is that writing is a bittersweet experience for me.  I often go back to things I've written before and have a little ego party thinking "dang, I'm cool."  I apparently completely forget about what it took to develop and express clever ideas or took for granted I wasn't constrained by or wouldn't censor myself because of what my audience would think.  I really didn't care what they thought because I wasn't representing anybody but me and I was unapologetic.  I miss those days like super crazy.

And I'm an inefficient writer.  I edit as a go.  No stream of consciousness, no write it all out and edit later.  I write very slowly because I organize and think in the moment.  It's better to make an outline I know but my brain won't go there at least for blog writing.  Clearly, in my job I use a lot more discipline.  And I really care about form.  I want my stuff to be easy to read, not too long, semi-organized writing.  But I'm trying to do this frickin' post differently since I actually want to hit the "publish post" button.

I feel very uncomfortable about what's transpired in them thar parts the last couple weeks.  Somebody wrote about how she's exhausted by the abortion and HHS contraception issue discussions.  I wish I remembered who it was and I'd link it.  Things got really ugly between people.  Really gross.  If you are a gentle soul that escaped this time by blogging about your baby or the events in your actual life, good on you.  I wish I were you.  But, I get kind of excited about civic affairs and I'm too stupid to leave well enough alone.  It's really that simple.

I was harking back to a time of blissful innocence when you could debate ideas, even religious ideas and not be told you have no right to call yourself a Christian.  I got into some pretty intense discussions, OK, it's coming back to me....  I belonged to an Anglican Church and the young adults got together to write a "code of Christian ethics."  And it was for us, our little big church!  The joy of officially decentralized religion.  This was all presided over by a priest, a married one with children and I remember very intelligent and sincere talks about how we thought God was directing us and how we felt about what that meant for our daily lives and relationships.  I'm starting to feel 23 again.

What I clearly didn't realize when I started the process to be confirmed in the Catholic Church and I swear what they didn't say in the RC.IA class (but what I later affirmed) was the dogma we expect Catholics to accept and support might be so unfamiliar to you that you'll believe you're living in an alternate universe.  I'm stating a fact here so do not assume I'm criticizing the Church.  I'm trying to explain the clear differences between Catholics and everybody else.  I bet a lot of Catholics don't realize how different they are because they haven't really experienced another Christian denomination.  Christianity without encyclical letters and additional teachings clearly makes a belief system much less complicated.  You might respond that Church teachings are based on biblical sources so it should mean there's a fundamental uniformity to Christian beliefs but I'd reply that biblical interpretation is less than a straightforward and an agreed upon process.  But maybe you know about other denominations and you still think your Catholic beliefs are working for you and should work for everybody else.  And that's good!!!  I am happy for you.

But what I'd said earlier about being able to debate ideas (yes, ideas, thoughts, opinions, totally separate from an action) in the Catholic blogging space has been fraught with disturbingly aggressive attacks.  And it's giving some Catholics a bad name or reinforcing the idea that "you are either with us or you're against us."  And that is very far from what I think all sentiments Christians should project and how we should be treating one another.  And it's not where I want to be when I feel bad about my infertility which is the real reason I'm on the web.  If I felt qualified to just talk about Catholic theology, I'd say that but I don't.  I'm not here for that.  I said this way back in 2010 (a lifetime ago) that some level of Christian compassion should be extended to those around us even if they disagree with us!  I hate to reference John 13:34 but it sure seems appropriate to me now.  "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."

You might say that's a cover, it's a way to not defend the faith, it's "hiding behind the guise of compassion."  You might even be so bold to say I shouldn't be a Catholic.  So be it.  You're not my priest, you're not my confessor, you're not God's spokesperson, you're just an overly opinionated Catholic and a sinner just like me.  Let's pray for one another and please play nice in the sandbox.