Thursday, November 27, 2014

People Like Us

"Here's to the damned to the lost and forgotten/It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom" 

I loved "People Like Us" the first time I heard it; it speaks to the loss, the pain, the isolation, the struggle to keep going ... the cycle of infertility. It's hard not to feel like IF leaves you living on the bottom. 

"People like us we've gotta stick together/Keep your head up nothing lasts forever."

I loved how it hits on the need for community, for understanding. For the longest time I was stuck on how much we infertiles need one another, as there is so little understanding and compassion in the wider world. ("Why don't you just...?" or "You must have so much free time and money." etc.) In much of the world we are freaks; we don't fit in. We are neither parents nor cheerfully child-free. Commercials focus on parents, on families with children; aging is so often depicted in the having of children, then grandchildren; healthcare commercials make it sound like we don't have reason to live. Or they focus on couples enjoying exotic travels and a life of material excess.

But who are "people like us?" Are they only other infertiles? Only other Catholics? We can split people up into so many categories, divide them so many ways, leaving groups of "us" and "them." Do we need people who have faced similar struggles? Of course, but that doesn't mean we should limit ourselves to just those who are most like us. 

Who are "people like us?" People of faith... and people of none. As Christians we are called to see all of God's children as "people like us." We can't ever focus so much on the "us" that we forget that those whose lives seem completely opposite. The family with 10 children? They're people like us. The young couple whose plans have been ruined by an unexpected pregnancy? They're people like us. They might not have walked the same road, but they, too, struggle and suffer. They, too, are created in His image. 

This Thanksgiving, as we enter into season that so often centers around family and children, I hope that each of us can find refuge with those whose suffering enables them to offer love and compassion while still keeping our hearts open to all of God's children, even those who annoy us, frustrate us, hurt us, and deny Him. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

God is Not a Cosmic Oprah

Though years have passed since our Couple to Couple League NFP classes, one phrase stuck with me: "becoming co-creators with God." This phrase, used to describe the miracle and profound responsibility of conceiving a child, led me to a deep misunderstanding of God's role in conceiving. It made it sound like God affirmed each and every conception, that He considered each potential conception, agreeing to or denying each and every one of them. Over time it led to me picture God as almost a cosmic Oprah: "You get a baby! And you get a baby! And everybody gets a baby!" (except you, and you, and you...) except with less jumping up and down and screaming. 

How can you not get angry at a God who deliberately chooses to give children to people who will kill them or abuse them but not to people who would be amazing parents? I couldn't; it wasn't until I saw the flaw in my thinking that I could quit being angry. God doesn't have to affirm each and every conception; more often than not, He simply permits natural processes to play out. While God always and everywhere has the potential to work a miracle in contradiction to the laws of science and medicine, most often He sees fit to work within the rules and framework that He has established. So, yes, it is easier for the 20 year old who "isn't ready" to conceive to do so; it is more likely that couple without endometriosis/PCOS/thyroid problems/adrenal fatigue/low sperm count, etc. will conceive. It is in the diagnosis and treatment of the underlying causes that those of us with IF are most likely conceive. 

God isn't saying "You get a baby!" to everyone else and "... But you don't." to us. He isn't picking out winners and losers; He isn't judging us less worthy. His plans for us may be wildly different from our plans, but He loves each and every one of His children equally. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More to Say

I know I've been quiet lately; it's not that there hasn't been anything going on here; if anything there's almost been too much going on, leaving me little time to write. First there was getting ready for Halloween, and the giant family birthday party we hosted the next day (5 birthdays, including Cindy, [our step-great niece] and 15 guests), then I had another rather nasty period, and most recently I've gotten sick. Somewhere in there was the nasty e-mail from the Neo-Malthusian (people are the problem; overpopulation is the root of all the world's problems, etc.) that sent me into paroxysms of rage; she was appalled that our alumnae group would even consider hosting an event on fertility. (To top it off, according to her sig file, she was a professor of pediatrics. Hmmm... hypocritical much? One would think that a Neo-Malthusian would best fit in the medical world as an abortionist.) Despite my emotional reaction, I refrained from replying to her message.

But at the root of my lack of posting is a certain ennui, a boredom and frustration, with the cyclicality of IF. While the number of times that it happens doesn't diminish the disappointment and hurt when P+16 turns into CD1, there is only so much I can say that I haven't said before. And if I bore myself writing it, I can't imagine that you particularly enjoy reading it. Our dance coach talks about learning as going around a pyramid in a spiral; what you are looking at and seeing isn't necessarily anything new, but you are seeing it from a different angle. There are certainly times when I am struck by a new insight or reaction, but much of the time my day to day IF struggle is routine and repetitive. I'm not going to stop writing about IF and faith, but I need to branch out, to say more than just the same old thing.

I've joined Blogging for Books. Alright, technically I joined months ago, but I finally finished my first book and will be posting my review of it soon. What is Blogging for Books? Free books, my friend! FREE!!!! (Yes, I get excited about free stuff.) I love to read, and I am certainly not shy about sharing my opinions. In exchange for your honest review, posted both on your blog and the Blogging for Books website, you get free books. There are fiction and nonfiction books, books on cooking, on faith, on business... Well, you get the picture; there are a lot of choices. My first book was on Catholicism, but my future book reviews will not necessarily be on religious topics. Basically, I'm going to choose whatever I want to read and treat you to my opinions on them. I promise to label book review posts, so you can decide if you want to read them. I also promise that getting the book for free won't affect my opinion of it (as you'll see in my first review). I hope you'll continue reading as I have much more to say.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Abnormal Bleeding

We had a phone consult with Dr. P on Nov. 7. He has been happy with my blood work, with my mucus cycles, with our timing of intercourse. The fly in the ointment is the abnormal bleeding; he had hoped that surgery and removal of the polyps and endo would clear that up. (For perspective, May had 8 days of bleeding; June had 10, July 8; August, which featured surgery during my period, had 10. Since surgery, September had 11 and October 9 days of red stickers.) This cycle I thought I might be done with excessive bleeding; it looked my period stopped on day 7, until spotting returned for days 9 and 10. So much for that thought. Also on the negative side, those two days of spotting have featured some brown bleeding. At this point Dr. P doesn't have many ideas of what else to try with regards to the abnormal bleeding, though he has some things he plans to look into. He mentioned the possibility of adrenal fatigue, though he seemed to think he had checked that before (DHEAS, I think he said); I need to rummage through my lab work paperwork, since I have no recollection of that particular test, especially since many of you have written that adrenal function is best tested through saliva and at different points during the day. 

The first two periods I had post-surgery were awful, heavier and more painful than ever before. (If they had been like that before surgery I would have been eager for it.) This one was better, though still heavier than before; I suppose getting rid of the same volume of material in a shorter time would necessitate that they get heavier. Now if only they actually got shorter...