29 August 2010
Or at least I used to be.
I thought that working in the big stinky city last month was a test to my system, but last week was even worse. I knew that going back to work after a holiday was going to be difficult, but two days of teaching a workshop was almost the end of me.
No, I wasn't teaching aerobics or an intense yoga workshop. I also wasn't the sole presenter. The most physically strenuous thing that I did was a few activities on a math carpet, although my body felt as though it had climbed Mount Everest. In one day.
I should be thankful that I've been too tired to sad about being infertile. I should be glad that Mr. JB feels so sorry for me that he has volunteered to help out at my school when he really should be working at his own (then again he's got the same grade AND the same classroom for the fourth year in a row, so he does have the time).
I cleaned out the refrigerator this afternoon and I had to take a two hour nap to recover. The entire job took two and a half hours because I decided to clean every shelf, drawer and crevice because it hadn't been done since we moved in (Mr. JB says that he did, but man cleaning isn't the same as woman cleaning, you get that girls, right?). I cannot believe how many jars of seafood sauce and olives that were in our fridge!
But I digress.
I could understand taking a little 20 minute snooze to celebrate, but two hours????
I see my Napro doctor on Wednesday and I pray that there is something REALLY wrong with me. I also hope that my adrenal results are enough to sound the alarm bells AND that my thyroid results are all wonky so I can get some more drugs! The homeopathic stuff that I've been taking has helped, but I'm still living in a fog.
I miss my energy. I miss having the drive that I used to have. I miss being able to accomplish jobs around my house without wanting to cry from exhaustion.
I want to be able to cook dinner for my husband, organize our closets and teach without having to collapse from the effort.
I know that a lot of the sadness and frustration that I have felt in the recent months are because of my overwhelming tiredness. I'm not used to having a foggy brain and I have never struggled to find words to express myself. The person that I am right now is not the real JellyBelly, not even close.
It's strange to want another diagnosis. It's sick to want more medication, but even if I never conceive I want to feel like a normal functioning human being!
For now, I'm going to have to slog through getting my classroom ready. I'm so thankful to have my cousin and a former student helping me out because there is no way that I could do it on my own!
Lastly, although I would rather stay home indefinitely, I am glad that we're going back to work so I can have routine back! Can you girls remind me that I wrote that when I'm complaining about being back to work in a couple of weeks?
23 August 2010
My post-barley eating incident left me with a gluten hangover the next day and I continued to be in a daze into the early afternoon. What fun. It was tough having to get ready without Mr. JB since he was at the groom's parents' house getting ready with the other groomsmen. I didn't share my angst about the wedding with my brother-in-law because he seemingly didn't have a problem with the bride's predicament AND I didn't want to get into an argument with him.
To top it all off my BIL asked me to help out during the ceremony. Not only was I a Eucharistic Minister, but I also had to organize the parents with the offertory gifts. I know that it wasn't an accident that I had to be on the altar during the mass, and I'm sure that the Lord had a few chuckles at my expense, but I was definitely humbled.
Which brings me to my revelation at the reception.
The wedding was beautiful. The bride is an event planner so it did not seem like a wedding that was thrown together in two months. There was more than one comment during the speeches at the sheer magnitude of having to renovate a new home, plan a wedding and also anticipate the birth of one's first child in such quick succession.
There were also quite a few snickers and winks around the reception hall.
That's when it hit me. I was so wrapped up in my jealousy and anger (I so need to go to Confesssion!!!) that I didn't realize something: this bride didn't get the wedding she wanted. I was able to be the blushing bride that got to enjoy the year of basking in my engagement. I got to pick out my wedding dress, choose the dresses with my bridesmaids, have bridal showers and the other celebrations related to wedding planning without pressure.
I did not have to make any rushed decisions. I did not have to become a task master and boss my family and friends around (there was more than one comment about that during the speeches as well!) so I could have the wedding that I dreamed of. In fact, my friends and family went out of their way to help me and I really didn't do as much as other brides do.
And most of all, I had not one feeling of shame on my wedding day.
No one looked across the dinner table and winked because of the circumstance of my wedding. No one made a comment about how my dress was hiding my growing bump. No one thought that my wedding was scandalous.
So when I woke up on Sunday morning I prayed for them, particularly the bride. I would not want to start my marriage with so many stressors. We got to enjoy being newlyweds in our new house. Our family and friends were overjoyed that we finally got to share our lives together. I got to put away all of my wedding gifts and use my new things (my mother wouldn't let me use any of the new things that I got until after the wedding, some strange superstition she has).
I still so incredibly envious, don't get me wrong. I wish with all of my heart and soul that I could be pg as well, but I know that the Lord has given Mr. JB and I this time to build our relationship. I am so thankful for a husband that is 100% supportive of all that I do (for example, he got up early this morning to help me bring all of my workshop materials to where I was teaching today then he picked me up and helped me in my classroom afterwards!). When our child finally comes into our lives we will not have to worry about our relationship because we have a solid foundation.
I hope and pray that Mr. JB's cousin and his new wife will have a happy life together, but it isn't going to be easy. It was hard enough for us to get used to living together in the best circumstances! We know that the trial of IF has made us a stronger couple, and hopefully this current trial in their lives will do the same for them.
As for me, I have put aside my bitterness and I've decided to pray for them. I know how to pray and being angry was just taking too much energy. And we all know that adrenally fatigued JellyBelly doesn't have any extra energy to spare.
20 August 2010
While we were in Scranton I picked up a wheat-free cookie. What I didn't know until this afternoon what that although barley flour is wheat-free, it isn't gluten-free.
I'm not feeling as sick as I usually do when I ingest gluten, but I'm incredibly dizzy. Every time I stand up the room starts to spin. I've been trying to nap, but the sleep isn't coming.
Have I mentioned that I think that I may have celiac disease and not ulcerative colitis? I definitely have a sensitivity to gluten and not just wheat.
Thank you all for your encouraging comments on my last post. I waited
until this morning to tell Mr JB and he gave me the biggest hug. I wish that I could believe that we will be parents the way that he does. He also reminded me that I can drink as much as I want at the scandalous wedding tomorrow night.
I love being married to an optimist.
19 August 2010
Saturday would have been Peak +17. Yes, the day of the scandalous wedding.
Alas, yet again AF has decided to show up, ever so lightly but there nonetheless.
I talked myself down all day. I had the conflicting voices going on in my head, "It could be...Don't be silly...Well it's already 7pm and AF hasn't arrived yet...Maybe????"
I need to channel the feelings that I felt on Sunday. I need to remember that the fruits of all of the prayer and the wonderful blessings from Fr. Mike will make my dreams come true.
I will be a mother.
I don't need to despair.
But knowing this didn't stop me from breaking down. I'm so good at keeping it together, or at least seeming like I am together. I could've won an Oscar.
I have to pray harder. I have to believe more. I have to be willing to let my heart hope.
For now, I am going to order some more F.emara.
There's always next month....
18 August 2010
I'm also glad to be back in my own kitchen.
Being gluten-free on vacation sucked. With the exception of two meals that we ate out (one of which was with Mr & Mrs TCIE), I ate salads. Boring, boring salads. We even altered our plans to go to Scranton so I could eat at a vegan restaurant (and then we visited St. Ann's Basilica which was so beautiful). I almost cried when the waitress brought me my meal. It was the first time in a week that I could eat with abandon -- I didn't have to worry about feeling sick or about eating any hidden wheat.
I try really hard not to complain, but I was almost brought to tears more than once.
Thank God for gf cereal (I stocked up on every kind of Rice and Corn C.hex). I was worried that we were going to be stopped at the border and I would have to explain why I had EIGHT boxes of cereal in my trunk!
"No Mr. Border Officer, I'm not trafficking cereal into Canada. I just really love C.hex products!"
That would've been funny.
So tomorrow I have my first in a series of teacher-related workshops that I'm attending. I was excited all day at the thought of a new school year. I'm trying not to think about the unpacking and reorganizing I need to do in my classroom. I can't wait to see the kids! I bought quite a few books for my religion library and they will be so excited! I'm also going to ask my father-in-law to make me a little kneeler for in front of my prayer table. I figure the kids are going to be preparing for their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion so they should have an actual kneeler! I'll keep you posted on how that goes...
In cycle news: It's Peak +14 today. I would really like to believe that visiting Our Lady of Czestochowa & St. Gianna's Shrines, getting Fr. Mike's blessing and then visiting St. Ann's Basilica are going to help. I also know that after five years of IF that I shouldn't get my hopes up too high.
The scandalous wedding is happening this weekend. Unfortunately I'm not in traction nor do I have some strange contagious disease, so I will have to attend. In order to cope I got a really cute dress (have I mentioned that I love the tax-free clothes shopping in PA???) and an even cuter pair of shoes. There are going to be more than one frustrated prayer said to get me through the extravaganza -- have I mentioned that there will be FOURTEEN attendants (Mr. JB being one of them). She is going to be SHOWING on the altar.
I'm going to be offering up all of this frustration to all of my friends that are still waiting. You girls are going to get a TON of prayers!
p.s. I didn't take any of my adrenal support today and I felt like garbage. Only 14 days until I see my Napro doc. My appointment can't come any sooner.
16 August 2010
On Saturday Mr. JB and I piled into the new car (that I haven't been able to drive since it's a manual transmission in an incredibly hilly part of the world, I can barely get out of our church parking lot since it has a TINY incline to get onto the road) and drove south to our first shrine: Our Lady of Czestochowa. I loved being greeted by a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother and as we drove up the long driveway we saw another statue of Pope John Paul II (who is a huge part of my faith story that I will write soon, sorry Leila! My homework is so late!). Mr. JB was so excited, particularly because he is half Polish, and because the shrine was breathtaking.
We were able to visit the main church, the lower church, the candle chapel (where I lit a candle for the intentions of all of my Catholic IF friends) as well as the fantastic gift shop (I got the coolest t-shirt that I'm planning to wear my first day back at work!). We didn't have time to visit the outdoor stations of the cross since we had a date to meet TCIE and her hubs about twenty minutes away.
We continued our church tour at Nativity of Our Lord Church where St. Gianna's Shrine is located. When I realized that St. Gianna's Shrine was but a two hour drive from our resort, I knew that we had to go. I was so excited to see TCIE again and I was also so happy that her dh came along since I didn't want Mr. JB to be bombarded by infertile-girl speak! I have to admit that I was a bit nervous to go inside to see St. Gianna's relics, but as soon as TCIE and her dh pulled up the nervousness went away.
When we entered the church we were greeted right away by A who is the St. Gianna's Shrine Director and VP. I knew that she didn't work on Saturdays so I was so touched that she came to the church to make sure that there were enough prayer cards and medals! Mr. JB was taken aback when she greeted me as JellyBelly (he actually asked me in the car after mass if I was famous or something, I didn't know how to answer him, but I reminded him that I don't blog under my real name so that's what everyone that reads my blog knows me as JB) and that A gave me such a warm welcome.
I felt myself tear up a couple of times, but I was able to hold it together because I really didn't want to ugly cry in front of everyone! TCIE went up with me to hold St. Gianna's glove to my womb since I was so overcome the first time I prayed in front of her statue. I was hoping to feel warmth (like Sew did), but I didn't feel anything until we were all sitting in the pew. I had some twinges on the lower right side of my abdomen for a little while that could not have been digestion since I had eaten so long beforehand. Saturday was Peak +10, btw.
The four of us stayed for 5pm mass since we knew that the next day we had a very early day for day two of super Catholic weekend. I approached the priest about my gluten allergy before mass and I was told to go up to the altar during the "Lamb of God." I have to admit that it was a bit strange to be on the altar at a church I had never visited, but I guess that's what they do for us gf people (and I wasn't the only one that went up to receive the Blood of Christ).
Yesterday morning started bright and early. I am so grateful that TCIE made contact with Fr. Mike, a priest in PA who has helped many couples conceive after infertility. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. When we arrived at the rectory of his parish it was pouring rain (we seemed to drive into every spot of heavy rain yesterday!), have I ever mentioned that on our wedding day the rain was so heavy that we could barely see the road in front of us? Anyhow, Fr. Mike was very welcoming and TCIE and her dh, and Mr. JB and I spent a good hour and a half talking with him about our IF struggle.
Fr. Mike also shared how he discovered that he had his special gift, which he attributes to his sacrifice of having his own family for the priesthood. His blessings have helped fourteen children be conceived to formerly IF women (one of them being our K). After our visit Fr. Mike took us into this church and he prayed over the four of us and then he gave us each a blessing. It was truly an amazing experience. Afterward he was kind enough to let us take a few photos with him, after all, our babies are going to need his picture for their baby books, right TCIE?
After leaving Fr. Mike's the four of us decided to have an early dinner before the long drive (we spent a great deal of time in the car this past weekend which is why we haven't left our resort and it's almost 1pm!). I felt so light and happy in the car, I hadn't felt that way in a long time.
We had such a great time with TCIE and her dh. It was like we were old friends and it was so easy to hang out with them! Mr. JB joked (and apparently so did Mr. TCIE) that he was worried about me when I went to the BW weekend last summer since I had never met any of them in person (I believe his exact words were, "They could all be axe murderers of something!). Now that he's had the pleasure of meeting two bloggers in real life (he met Lifehopes last summer) he's more comfortable with my internet friends. In so many ways the friends I've met through the Catholic IF world are closer than my friends in real life and I depend on their support so much. My fertile bf is an amazing person, but she just doesn't get it!
Prayer Buddy Reveal:
I had the pleasure of praying for Maria at Hail Mary, Full of Grace!
I felt a kinship right away to Maria since she has also suffered with endometriosis and she also has a beautiful devotion to the rosary. We were quite the match!
I dedicated many rosaries to Maria's intentions as well as the St. Anne novena that I prayed for her (as well as other Catholic IF women who are still waiting to become mothers). She also had many frustrated prayers said in her name while I was working for the Minis.try of E.d! I also offered up a lot of tired prayers as I was commuting into the smelly city!
I also took Maria's intentions with me to Our Lady of Czestochowa and to St. Gianna's Shrine. And don't worry Maria, on our way home from the Poconos we're stopping at St. Ann's Shrine in Scranton and I will say some more prayers for you there!
I did pick up some goodies for you during our travels, but I'm going to keep those a surprise!
God bless you prayer buddy! I will continue to keep you in my prayers!
12 August 2010
As you can imagine from someone that has been dealing with primary infertility for over five years (wow, that is a sad statistic, isn't it?) there wasn't anything new to be learned. What was interesting was how the five hosts were so open about their struggles with miscarriage, IVF and general infertility.
I knew that B.arbara W.alters had an adopted daughter, but I didn't know that she had struggled with three miscarriages. S.herri Sh.eppard had her only son via IVF and has frozen embryos that she can't touch after her divorce. Elisab.eth Ha.sselbeck self-diagnosed herself with celiac and when she took gluten out of her diet she went on to conceive her three kids (btw, is she a practicing Catholic or not? I did some quick research and I found out that she was raised RC, but I couldn't find out any other info). As for J.oy B.ehar and Wh.oopi I can't recall 'cos I was brushing my teeth, but they both have one child each.
The show featured couples that have dealt with IF and one 47 year old woman who was in the process of getting divorced who was fighting over her frozen embryos (I think that they attributed her divorce to her IF struggles). It was unfortunate that they didn't talk about any alternative or natural ways of conceiving, but then again the way us Catholic IF'ers do it don't make a lot of money like the mainstream methods.
I think that it was a big step to have such a popular show talk about IF issues. I wish that it was something that everyone (okay, that I personally could) could talk about. I think that is another post for another time.
So Mr. JB and I are enjoying our vacation in the Poconos. Our hotel room is smaller than our master bedroom back home and the resort is a bit kitchy, but you get what you pay for. This is the first time we're using our time.share and we didn't want to spend a lot of points.
I was doing some research on real estate in the area that we're in and I found that our resort is on the market for $699, 000!!!! Not very expensive in comparison to the housing prices back home! Don't worry I'm not planning to abandon my life in Canada to be an innkeeper in the Poconos!
Yesterday we had a super lazy day. We walked to downtown Hawley, had an all you can eat lunch (for $5.50!) at a local diner and then we returned to our room to sleep. Last night we went on a boat tour of Lake Wallanpaupack which was absolutely beautiful. When I finally get my act together we're heading to the outlet mall since it's supposed to rain all day. I LOVE all of the tax-free clothes shopping in PA!!!!!
Better go, Mr. JB is itching to go shopping too! Isn't he the perfect husband?????
11 August 2010
8 August 2010
I've blogged before about how I have conversations with God, usually in my car. Since I am in yet another IF low point, I've had more than one pleading conversation with the Lord. I usually get my signs soon after I beg and plead, but this time I was put in my place and my answers came in full force this weekend.
Ask and you shall receive indeed!!!
Sign one: Last night at the reception for Mr. JB's cousin (beautiful wedding, perfect weather and an amazing meal that I was able to enjoy -- the BRATT diet totally works and I am off cheese for an extended period of time since I am sure that it was the culprit!).
Mr. JB and his brother disappeared from the reception hall after dinner and I went searching for him. I ran into his cousin's dad and his wife outside and I was complaining about how cold I was. At this point in the night everyone (well, not me, but it's because I was behaving myself because of my bad belly) had a bit of a shine going, if you know what I mean (wink, wink!) and I was complaining about how cold I was. Well Mr. JB's cousin's wife said, "Well that's not normal JellyBelly! You've got to get your thyroid checked! It's not cold in the hall!" Then I told her about how I was always cold and she continued, "Well, a girl at my office had thyroid issues and she was always cold and she was also having problems getting pregnant [btw, I have NEVER discussed my IF with this part of the family, so it totally took me by surprise!] and then she got her thyroid sorted out and BAM she got pregnant." Yes, she was more than a bit tipsy and yes, she was speaking really fast which she is prone to do when she has been drinking, but I was absolutely flummoxed.
She was happy to hear that I had gotten my thyroid checked in July and she kept on saying that she was sure that it was what was keeping us from conceiving. Apparently Mr. JB and I have been fodder for some family gossip, which isn't a surprise since he comes from a huge family from a small town. Well at least she had something positive to tell me and I definitely count that conversation as a HUGE sign!
This morning at mass (btw, have I mentioned how much I LOVE having a brother-in-law that's a priest! We didn't even have to leave the house for mass this morning!) I did the second reading. For some reason I have always been the psalm reader but this morning I read the second reading. I had a tough time holding it together, but I pulled through.
This is the part that got me:
By faith Sarah herself, though barren, received power to conceive, even though she was too old, because she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore."
Needless to say I was pretty distracted after my reading. It was like a hammer to head from above!
This afternoon we visited Mr. JB's uncle (it was his grandson that got married) and we ended up staying for dinner. Uncle J had a stroke a number of years ago and is lucky enough to have had ten kids that help look after him. Last week he fell out of bed and his homecare worker found him on the floor bleeding. He has been on blood thinners for quite a long time and when he gets cut the bleeding takes a LONG time to stop. He's one of the toughest people I have ever met and he really likes me (we had a photo taken with him and I was sitting beside him and he grabbed my arm and entwined it with his! For a big tough guy, he sure is sentimental!).
I was helping clean up after supper when Mr. JB's cousin K asked me right out of the blue about how I was doing in the pg department. I knew that she struggled with miscarriages after having her daughter 10 years ago, but we had never talked about it. She told me about having endo herself which wasn't diagnosed until she got pregnant, apparently she didn't have any symptoms until she was 30! She also asked me about my doctor and how I was doing mentally. After we spoke for a while she apologized for prying, but the conversation felt so natural and I was so relieved to finally talk to someone that understood! She also understood that IVF was something that we didn't want to do.
I told Mr. JB about my conversation with K when we got back to his dad's house and his only response was, "Well K's awesome that's why."
It seems to me that we have a lot of people praying and worrying about us. It has been very difficult for me to open up with our families because it's been so hard on me. I'm one of those "fake it until you make it" kind of people and the last thing I want is for someone to feel sorry for me!
I'm definitely thankful that the Lord got through my thick skull. I know that each encounter was meant to touch me in some way and that I'm supposed to keep the faith that this IF business will work out.
Mr. JB and I are leaving for the Poconos on Tuesday morning and we're going to make a special trip to St. Gianna's Shrine. If you have any special intentions for me to pray for while we're there just leave a comment on this post. I'm super excited because TCIE is going to meet up with us!
p.s. This was my 400th post. Have I mentioned that my lucky number is 4?
6 August 2010
I've had a stomach ache (pretty much) off and on since Tuesday. I do have a very high pain tolerance, one of the many gifts of living with endo for more than half of my life, but I'm starting to get worried. As I fell asleep last night I had a brief, panicked thought that it was my appendix (the pain has been localized on the right side), but I don't think that it is since I slept through the night.
I have to admit that I've been eating outside of my comfort zone (read: cheese and corn on the cob) and after the lunches provided at my summer job I know that my poor belly has been working overtime. When we were away at my fertile bf's cottage I dealt with some pretty severe pain, but I had attributed it to not wanting to use the rustic facilities (yes, outhouses -- yuck!).
I took some digestive enzymes this morning after I had some toast (pretty plain, just some jam and margarine). I've been drinking green tea and sitting with my magic bag on my tummy. I'm hoping that the pain subsides so I can continue with my day. We also have a family wedding for Mr. JB's cousin tomorrow night that I absolutely do not want to miss, especially since they have gone out of their way to make sure that I can eat the dinner!
I'm just so tired of having pain. I had a mini-breakdown this morning and I just started blubbering. I don't think that it's too much to ask that since I'm still barren that I can count on being pain-free.
For now I will try to stay away from Dr. G.oogle and perhaps I will take some A.dvil. I'm supposed to meet my teaching partner for lunch so I need to get my giddy up on so I can get ready.
Feeling like this sucks.
p.s. I'm also hoping that the endo hasn't grown back and that I don't have horrible adhesions growing all over my pelvix, but I think this point is understood.
Mr. JB took me to my GP, yes the one that one that I'm angry at, but it was easier than going to the ER. She did a urine test to rule out a UTI and there was some blood in my urine which could be from ovulation (I'm Peak +1 today, so I definitely think that it's from o'ing). I have no pain when I pee and since I've had SO MANY bladder infections I know what my body feels like when I have one. She gave me a prescription for M.acrobid just in case my UTI symptoms get worse over the weekend.
The pain has subsided a bit and I'm resting on the couch with a heating pad. We also stocked up on lots of plain food so I can detox from all of the goodness that I've eaten this past week.
And yes Prayerfuljourney, having tummy issues do suck big GIANT donkey balls. Thanks for making me laugh! ;)
4 August 2010
Not exactly something that I wanted to celebrate, or even remember for that matter. I've had to look back on Mr. JB's guest posts to remember what exactly happened. Pretty amazing what morphine and extreme can do to one's memory!
Although my uterus remains barren, I am thankful to have no more nasty endo growing inside of me. I do suspect that I have adhesions again since I've been feeling some strange pain in my pelvis and because I know that after growing a pelvic abscess that I have a greater chance of having more. Yay!
I wish that I could say that I had a more exciting day, but I didn't. I had a planning meeting for a workshop that I will be teaching at the end of the month. Then I had a chiropractor appointment which was followed by a trip to the nice lady who threads my eyebrows (she removed the baby hair from my forehead which hurt a TON, well not as much as a laparotomy, but you get the point!). The best part of the day was getting a pedicure!
I am so thankful for my blog-friends that helped me get through my surgery and recovery. Although I have wonderful friends and an equally wonderful husband, none of them have gone through surgery and the subsequent recovery. I thank God for all of you every single day.
As for now, I know that I'm in yet another valley in the journey of IF. I've been thinking that perhaps a blogging break, and perhaps a TTC break as well, may be in order to maintain what sanity I have left. We have a vacation coming up and it may be what I need.
In the meantime, Mr. JB and I are going to watch some mindless TV and be thankful that I'm not sleeping in some hospital bed attached to a pain pump. I think that this occasion may call for some wine...