Sunday, November 6, 2016

Medicine or Voodoo?

I have resentments from my years of attempting to "fix" my infertility. I know my husband does as well. I tried very hard for a long time to not fault anyone and blame a particular doctor, during the treatment because it wasn't going to be very helpful or productive. I personally have been an advocate for better patient care since I was in undergrad. It is something I am passionate about. It sounds very broad, but it is my driving force for all the career decisions I make.... but I never really thought about my own care.
I believe I am decent advocate for my own health, doing my own research and speaking up when I am uncomfortable with something, or asking about alternative treatment options. But for the most part I removed myself from my passion because I didn't fight for me, I fight for others, it's what I am best at. With time having past and my continued work towards healing I found myself thinking about my own extensive healthcare experience thus far in my life.
I realized that my treatment felt like a trial and error, like a voodoo science kind of thing. I know from my education and research that the medical community can do better. I am incredibly passionate about personalized medicine, I think in part, because I wish it had been a real option for me during treatment.
Having visited 3 different reproductive endocrinologist clinics, I felt like all three had the same approach: Step one: Does she have all the plumbing working properly?, Yes, good. Step two: What do we think she has? PCOS, yeah sounds about right, ok moving on, Step 3: Start with treatment option A, that fails after a few months, then option B, then C... etc until she gets pregnant. Period. (No pun intended)
And I am sure this is not the only condition this reasoning is used for, maybe not exactly but for Depression, Anxiety, Adult Onset Diabetes, Migraines... Its a stab in the dark until something sticks. 
The reason I have a problem with that is because they are attempting to resolve the immediate issue, which in my case was barrenness. There was little regard for my own health and the risks taken were my own to bear. 
I would have preferred that they work harder on identifying WHY I was barren, and not just making assumptions based on past diagnosis and minor work ups. If you are looking for PCOS, you will find it, and that was reason enough for them as a cause. What about how I was responding to the medication? How about family history? Medicine as a means to an end, instead of treating the WHOLE patient, especially in something as emotionally charged as infertility is just cruel. And of course, there is the cost of it all, if you really want to treat the whole patient you need: an RE, psychologist, nutritionist, meditation/yoga classes, couples therapy, time off.... the costs are exorbitant, all for the privilege of having your body do the main function that it was created to do... reproduce. How humiliating is that? I think those of us that have gone through this become numb to that feeling, constantly having to strip down and spread our legs to whomever comes through the door, being poked, prodded, stabbed.. the whole thing is traumatizing, degrading, and then to not have anything to show for it?! 
I digress... the point of my post is that we deserve better. As patients, as humans, we deserve better care, we deserve for the medical community to find a better way to treat the barren. I feel for those who are given the awful diagnosis of Undiagnosed Infertility.What is that? How unfair to be deprived of having a child, and being told "we don't know what is wrong with you or how to fix it?" 
We can do better.... we must do better. The mindset needs to change, the humanity needs to be brought back into the practice of healing the human body. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Deja Vu... Infertility SUCKS

I have talked about the burden of the home we own on previous posts. We have been trying to sell this house for 7 months now, in a sellers market, with what we have been told is an "easily sellable" house. Updated, beautiful, good neighborhood, etc. And you know what? We have had two contracts fall through for different reasons, mostly not having to do with the house itself, just bad luck. And yet, I see houses all around me pop up and be sold quickly.... sound familiar?
I remember being told that my infertility was going to be an easy fix, and that I would be pregnant in no time, and yet, time went on, and things weren't happening, and every new treatment felt like, it was it that time. In the meantime, I felt that pregnancy was happening all around me, even in the unlikely of places.
This feels like deja vu.... no, you know what? Today, in this moment, it feels like I'm cursed. Like the one thing I had wanted more than anything in the world and can't have, is going to haunt me, and taunt me for the rest of my life. And any move I make to try to regain my life, will keep throwing me back into the 4 worst years of my life. I feel like I will never escape, and that my optimism, faith, and hope for a better life is not going to be enough. There is only so many fake smiles, and "looking on the bright sides" that I have left in me, and right now, I am all out.
My life sucks right now and I feel like there isn't going to be a better tomorrow. And even if there is, I don't have the energy to hope for that future. Right now, today, IT SUCKS...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On Creativity

I am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have recently decided that she and I are made of the same stuff. I hear her talks and read her work and it's like she wrote it for me, to wake me up. And well, she IS best friends with Rob Bell who we all know I adore and wish he were my friend too!

I feel like my subconscious is so intense that it taps into something like the Speed Force, but instead it's the Creative Force. When I am asleep and my mind is allowed to wander, it wanders into the invisible world where the ideas live and it picks one or two up to read and recreates them in my mind.  It's like I'm a lightning rod. Most ideas are incomplete because they haven't found their partner which is why the story never seems to end. I tend to pick up things that are perhaps relevant to my life, or things that resonate with my mood and most prominent feelings of the day or week. By the way, this also happened to be how I decide which book to read or buy.

I have  a difficult time accepting that I am a creative being and what that means for me. But I have felt that tingling feeling, hairs on end, stomach knotting, anxiety and thrill of being hit by an idea, it's just that they always seems so marvelous that I couldn't possibly bring it to life.

I am hoping that while reading Big Magic I will be able to untangle myself from the fear, self doubt and lost sense of self so that I can be open and available for when an idea finds me again. I would love nothing more than to feel that again and to take on something beautiful.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"You will have many 'children'"

I'm a big fan of Rob Bell's work. I went to an event of his called "How to be Here" this past spring and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (forgive me if I have told this story before, I need to hear it from myself today). Not because I got to meet this amazing person whom I admire and respect, though that was cool, but because I had the courage to speak in front of this group of 100+ strangers and tell my story. Granted, it was among half sobs, and with nerves and adrenaline coursing through my body. I remember saying: "After having gone through years of failed treatment, my husband and I have decided to live childless. And we are ok with that decision. But [in your book] you are talking about how to manage your energy when you have a lot going on, but what I am struggling with is what to do with all the energy I have and no where to put it. I was going to be a mom, and now we have this ... space... and I am terrified of it, and don't know what to do with it."
I remember him complimenting my purple hair, and then telling me he was sorry. He also said, I have this prayer that I say when I feel lost and in need of guidance, I say "Show Me." That's it, that's the prayer. And then he looked at me, his eyes filled with compassion and said "You will have MANY 'children.'"
Afterward during the break and for the rest of the event, I was approached by many people, older couples, and women who went through a similar situation and decided to live childless. I remember the older woman with tears brimming in her eyes that took my hands and said "me too." And I hugged her and said thank you. And the older gentleman who told me he and his wife have lived childless for 40 years after failed treatments and they got on with their lives and they are happy. He said "you can be happy." I believe him.

I recently been hearing in my head Rob Bell's sentence "You will have many 'children.'" I put it in quotations because I know that he didn't mean literal children, he's not a prophet that is foreseeing the future, or an angel of the Lord making me a promise. I know he means projects and people that I will pour love over and love as my own. But until recently I think I have been feeling like it HAS to be children. Since I don't have my own, and I wanted my own for so long, my responsibility is to devote my extra energy in other children, children in need. But that's the funny thing about these paths that the Lord has made for us, we tend to think that we know what the Lord wants us to do, instead of listening to what he really wants us to do. A lot of times what I think is the Lord's demands of me, are really society's pressure on my situation. I know today that it's not. How I know, I'm not sure, it's one of those trans-rational things in my subconscience or what have you that tell me that I am projecting my own guilt and feeling the pressure of society as a childless woman and thinking that I still have a responsibility to children in need. Perhaps one day I will do something to help those children, but that is not quite what I am feeling is my purpose. I can't force myself to want to open an orphanage, or foster children, or go into teaching to fill the void my childlessness has left me. It's just not there.

My passion continues to lie in patient care, in utilizing science for the betterment of medicine, making sure the right medicine gets to the right people, that the right information gets to the right patients.

Someone I love is imminently dying of cancer right now, because we haven't figured out how to cure her cancer, how to stop it from spreading....

"My children" may not be children that I care for directly... they may be young and old, and everything in between. People's lives that I want to help make better by throwing in all my love and passion into my belief in science and humanity.  That is what rings true in my heart today.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Waiting for something amazing! Part II

We love going to trivia, and we are always struggling to find a clever and nerdy team name to use. But lately my husband, without talking to me about it, has started using the team name "Something Amazing." Its our own little inside secret, only we know what it's about and I LOVE that he took it upon himself to take ownership of this phrase. It also made me really think about what this blog means to me, and our life.

This life is something amazing! We live every day searching for the beauty and awe of the day, for the blessings big and small that appear in the most unpredictable places.

The fact that we are now team "Something Amazing" means to me that we have taken this life that was once broken and painful, and we are rebuilding it to be our own, to find joy and things that amaze us and gladden our hearts, to fill our days. We don't care what others think about what we are creating together, as long as it makes us happy and helps us heal and grow and enjoy life.

This blog will continue to be about an infertility survivor, servant of God, who's current resolution is to live childless, with the man she loves. I will blog about my struggles as I find myself, as I wait for the answer to the prayer I say everyday "Show Me!" Show me what I am going to do with this life, but I am not waiting for the answer, standing still, no... I am waiting and in the meantime I will continue to enjoy all the amazing, wonderful moments that we will create and live together that form our lives. Living with gratitude, joy, love, and compassion for the glory of our Creator who makes all things new, even these broken hearts. 


I was going to write: Chapter 1: but that would mean that all that was lived was a closed book, as we say in Spanish "punto y aparte" "period and new paragraph" but that doesn't feel right. I do not want to separate who I am from that painful chapter in our lives. We call ourselves "survivors" but I am still surviving it, every day, and I will continue to do so for the rest of ours lives. Its who we are. Its who I am. So, no, this is not Chapter 1, this is...

Part II:
I have been contemplating self discipline thanks to Gretchen Rubin, Elizabeth Gilbert and Rob Bell. I am slightly obsessive compulsive and I like to do "what feels right." I rely a lot on feeling and mood, and not so much on "shoulds and woulds" and YET! I definitely guilt myself with "woulds and shoulds." (I am an Obliger) Part of this process has involved eliminating things that "do not serve me" and I have relied a lot on how I feel about things, people, habits, and it has worked out for me so far. But now I have eliminated so much that now I have room for new things, and I want them to be healthy, and to serve me, so I may serve God...  the possibilities are daunting. I realize that I have never really worked to have self discipline because I rely on my character to get things done, as an Obliger, I do things in service of others and that is enough to motivate me to get things done, but I do not worry about things that I need. So in this space I want to fill some of it with what I need.

I have been thinking a lot about "Fixed-Hour Prayer" and how that may help me support my faith. I have pretty much stopped going to church. I never did find a community where I felt I belonged, and I did not find a church with a good Adult Christian Education program that I felt served me. I still love my church, and my denomination and continue to identify with them, but for now, I just need to keep my faith fed. I thought this might be a good idea. I love tradition, but am not much for ritual, despite my upbringing as a Catholic. For this practice I will need self discipline. I have also found great value and goodness in yoga. It serves my body, and helps strengthen it, and it also feeds my soul and calms my mind. It too is a practice and I think I would gain a lot by using it as a practice, as it is intended and not just a thing I do sometimes to ease my guilt or physical aches. Both of these require self discipline and both I think would do me much good.

Here's what I have figured out about myself regarding these two practices... the "fear of missing out" is what keeps me from doing it. I want to be available at all times for anything and be available to help someone else with what they may need, because that's "more important" in my obliger mind. If I think it through the way my therapist will want me to, I will acknowledge this has yet to be the case, and I waste a lot of time literally staring at the wall, or my phone, processing the day as it happens or my own existence, its like my own life voiceover, but I worry that it can be destructive. I think prayer may help guide that contemplation, and help me get out of my own head for a while. I have had many revelations during yoga, and prayer before, all constructive and healthy, and my hope is that this will be a kinder way to show myself some self love while allowing myself that internal contemplation that is so characteristically me.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New Truth

My husband and I have fully embraced our new journey of living childless. Our hearts reached the decision in silence on our own, until one day, one of us was brave enough to speak it out loud to the other. Since then we have worked together to make sure there are no regrets, resentments or doubts about what we have chosen for ourselves, and trust me we were thorough. I am the kind of person that can talk an issue to death, and my husband is the kind of person to make up his mind in a millisecond, so we may have worked over the issue more than he wanted but as much as I needed.
We are in the processes of selling that house with all the dreams and that other life that is hard to even remember sometimes. We are talking about new futures, plans and goals. This is our new truth.
But here's the thing, I struggled with accepting it because I kept wondering about those other moments when that felt like the truth of the moment. What about when I felt like there was no sacrifice too small to become a mother? or what about that day when I felt the universe was trying to tell me that adoption was the way to go? ....or what about the day when I felt in my bones that this was all my fault and that I was doing everything wrong? ... or even worse, the time I was sure my husband would be happier if he left me so he could still have a chance at a family?
All of those were truths to me at one point. Some darker than others. They all felt real, and in that moment in that time, they were. It does not take away their value, because each of those truths were part of the process that I had to go through to get to where I am today.
I said at the very beginning of all of this, what I seek is peace with this journey, not a child, not a "solution"... but peace. And this moment, this journey, feels like more peace than I have felt in a long time. And yet, I doesn't stop hurting.

Father's Day is around the corner, and I can't help but feel that pain that you feel in your chest when you know someone you love is feeling left out and hurting... My protectiveness goes into full gear and I want to make sure he is ok. But if he is not, that is ok too. He is allowed to feel whatever this day may feel for him and its ok if its different than my pain on Mother's day.

This is our new Truth, and we will embrace it, struggle with it, and be strengthened by it, every day.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Finding courage to finish my thoughts

There are a few posts that I started and lost the courage and strength to finish it. I have decided to revisit those posts and combine them here As I read through them I realize together they are a complete post. I have had time to sit with these ideas and feelings and I don't like making decisions out of fear, much less leaving things unfinished, so here I go.

This post was called: So much more than being a mother. I started it in October 2015. Here is what I had written at that point: 

I have been thinking a lot about why infertility still hurts. I no longer feel a horrible hollowness when I am around children, I feel awkward cause I have protected myself from the sadness that being around children caused for so long that I feel like my interactions with children are robotic and skiddish. But still, when I think about what I am going to do with my life and realize I am in this tailspin because of what we have gone through I get upset and the unfairness of it all hits me again. In a conversation with my husband the other day I realized that if we decide to stay childless that we would not go through that growth period of becoming parents and learning about selflessness, to set aside everything for someone who depends on you so absolutely. That fear and awe of being everything to a small child. For parents, its an external motivation, your child, but for those of us who don't have an external motivation, how do we obtain that growth?

This post was called: When I need feminism the most. I started it in December 2015. 

There is one thing that I have been genuinely afraid of talking about on this blog. I am afraid of talking about a life without children. I fear judgement, disappointment, outrage, pity... I have recently come across a blog called
They recently had a summit with women who are childless by choice and by chance as they say. When I learned about it I really wanted to go, but I couldn't gather the courage.. what would I tell my family? My friends? I wouldn't post about it on social media for fear of judgement. I lost the courage and decided not to go. Maybe some of the judgement I fear is in my head as much as it is in society, but a recent article I read on the website tells me there may be some truth in my apprehension and that I'm not entirely paranoid, the writer says "I believe that we can talk about women’s lives in ways that broaden the idea of what a fulfilled female experience looks like!"
Let's be honest, when we think of fulfilled lives of women, it has to include a husband and children, and then she will be complete. This is where I feel feminism hasn't made enough progress, or at least the progress that affects me directly. I don't want to feel that fear, or that pressure that if I do not exhaust all resources, or if we decide not to adopt, that I am not a complete woman, I am not fulfilling my destiny. I also don't want to have to surround myself with childless by choice women who tend to kid-bash and judge other women who do decide that they want to be mothers no matter what.
In my perfect world, women will be friends no matter their family status and their feelings on children. In this perfect world, there will be no kid-bashing, shaming for being childless,

Fast forward to today, March 2016: 

All of this still rings true for me. I realize that I lacked the courage to complete and submit these posts then because I was afraid of what others might think or say to us about considering living childless... because I hear them in my own doubts and thoughts. But this is part of that issue that I think God is working out in me, that perfect plan that doesn't deviate or change, that I can write out in permanent marker with a timeline and due dates. I need to accept that it is ok if the plan changes. This is my reality right now.... isn't that what reality means? "What is true right now." This is what is true for me and I don't need anyone's validation.It is such a blessing that my husband and I are on the same page his is the only validation I need. This is not a decision to make alone, but I have never been alone. Some how we have managed to keep pace throughout this journey and we have reached this same point together. When we disagreed it was because I was holding on to the white picket fence dream with tooth and nail.

Sometimes I feel like I can hear people's thoughts... "this is how you feel now, but things will change." It's what I used to think of young women who had decided to not be mothers. Shame on me.

So I am trading in my permanent marker for some sidewalk chalk that can be washed away by God's rain so that I can start over, wherever I am. Here I am Lord. Do with my life as you will. My Rock and my Redeemer.

Reinvisioning Christmas

December 22, 2015

I have struggled with Christmas for a few years now, even before we started treatment. I have had trouble feeling the true purpose of Christmas amid the noise, unrelated traditions, and consumerism that surrounds this time of year. It's like trying to have an important heartfelt conversation in the middle of a busy mall with obnoxious music blaring, people rushing around and hitting me with their shopping bags. I can't hear what the conversation is suppose to be about but I know it's important. And then there are the others around me trying to pull me away from the conversation because the conversation isn't important to them....
I try to find purpose in the story, the birth of the Savior... but the songs and the story talk about the birth of the long awaited child, of Mary full with child, Mary seeing her baby for the first time.... and as you can imagine, I can't. I wish I could detach my story from Mary's, but when it comes to faith, my emotions are the eyes with which I see and understand.
I need to find a different approach to Christmas. I want to be able engage in the anticipation of Advent and with the joy surrounding the season.
I was reading a devotional today with my favorite scripture for the season:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."  (John 1:1-5)

This is the beginning of Jesus' story, which began at the beginning of life itself.  Christmas is the celebration of the Incarnation of God, which is a bittersweet story. God, knowing of the rejection, pain and suffering that was to come, decided we were worth it... God in his infinite grace decided to come into the world to guide us and show us truth, hope, justice, mercy, life... LOVE

It's not just about a mother giving birth to a holy child, fragile and small that held the hope of the world. It's about WHY God did this... "For God so loved the world..."