January 28, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I'm deep into researching my next step in suburban homesteading: gardening and composting. Does a rotting pile of organic matter excite me? You'd better believe it!

The backyard of my house is *giant* by my standards, just over a half an acre in the backyard alone! never mind the sides and front yard. And right now it is very boring; mostly grass, a blank canvas. I never realized until I heard a woman on TV express this opinion: I like *green*, but not grass. That's exactly how I feel. I feel that grass is a complete waste of space and far too much work. I see the way my dad slaves over his yard in the warm months and how upsetting it is when a drought turns everything brown no matter what you do or a low area is a soggy, muddy bog. That's not for me. You want to know my favorite form of sunlight?

Dappled, coming through the branches and leaves of a tree. Beautiful. 

We have 3 trees in our backyard currently: one evergreen at the back of the lot and two apple trees, only one of which is salvageable. The other is hollowed out in the center from pests or disease. There are another two trees in our side yard and one in the front which is WAY too close to the house, fighting a fungus, and leaning precariously. So, there's a lot of work to be done.

I don't want to bite off more than I can chew (see earlier post about getting overwhelmed), so this year I am limiting my gardening/landscaping plans to one 4x4 raised garden bed, 3 raised compost beds, and removing the front yard tree (hopefully salvaging the wood for a farmhouse dining table).

Eventually, in the years to come, I want to shape my backyard into a low maintenance, sustainable green space for relaxing and gardening. I want little to no grass - currently researching other ground cover options. I want wildflowers and other native plants. Fortunately, I have the freedom to be more creative than someone living in a planned neighborhood. I live at the end of a dead-end road and my yard is only visible to my various neighbors' side and backyards. I don't have to worry about someone driving by and then complaining to the city that my front yard is nothing but a tangle of clover.

In other news, I bit the bullet and called my RE's office to schedule a game plan meeting. Thank you to those who offered advice on getting around the clomid crazies. I will definitely ask Dr. B about Femara - I know his office does use it for some patients. Still not sure when I will feel ready for a medicated cycle, but at least I will have all my ducks in a row for when the time comes. Eventually, I'm sure I'll get sick of spotting 3 weeks a month and the only way to end it is to do medicated cycles. Oh joy :-P

Anybody else a gardener, beginner or otherwise? I love plants, but I have a black thumb, so this spring is going to be...interesting...

January 21, 2013

What to Say

Mid-winter is always a down in the dumps time of year for me. The holidays are over and there's little to look forward to either than far-off Spring.

I still consider myself on a break from cycling, although I think my body is doing its little "impression" of functioning. I was on BC in November and December because I have a lot of break-through bleeding during non-medicated cycles. I went off my Metformin on the instruction of my dermatologist who was trying to figure out what I was allergic to. But the BC made me VERY moody towards M (why does he always have to take the brunt of my hormones?) and my skin reaction cleared up, so I went off BC and on Metformin before New Year's.

I had 2 or 3 blissful weeks without spotting, which was great. Followed by about 4 days of EWCM. Yesterday, everyone around me was complaining about the cold while I walked about without a coat because I was SO HOT. I don't have to temp or waste OPKs. I know this story very well. Today, I started seeing brown tinged CM. I'll spot for 2 weeks, get my period, and spot for another week before it all clears up. Then 2ish weeks off and back into it all over again.

My poor little ovaries. They do try, but they are so very flawed.

Did I mention that a friend *texted* me that his wife is pregnant on New Year's Eve? I can't remember if I did. Men are so stupid - he knows we are trying and having major problems. She came out on Facebook at only 7 weeks. It boggles the mind. I was only a little sore over it and not for very long. Once upon a time, I think I would have raged for weeks over the injustice of it. But now, I just worry about them. Neither has a college degree, she works in a salon and my friend has had several retail and food service jobs in the past 5 years. How are they ever going to afford a baby?

I'm glad I'm past the blind rage of my early infertile time. I don't want to be miserable and hate strangers, none of us do. Everybody has their problems in life. Some die young, some struggle financially all their lives, and some of us are infertile. Maybe accepting infertility is a lot like the stages of grief. Actually, it is probably *exactly* like the stages of grief. For almost 2 years I was grieving the loss of so many things. A "normal" conception and pregnancy, the rights of passage that are unique to women, the pride of providing much wanted grandchildren for my parents and in-laws. There was a lot of self-blame during that time too. I'm very good at blaming myself for things. So, it took a long time to convince myself that I'd done nothing wrong, there was nothing to blame myself for.

But now what? Where do I go from here? Accepting my infertility and managing only a *few* cruel words about fertiles doesn't bring me any closer to a resolution for all this. I don't even know what to talk about any more. I'm not really looking forward to more medicated cycles. I hate how they make me feel. I hate how all the peace I feel just falls away when I'm in the grips of a medicated cycle. In my head, a negative pregnancy test still equates to YOU HAVE FAILED - even if I can shake that feeling pretty quickly. But I can't stay in limbo forever.

January 08, 2013


I think I've been trying to do too much for a while now. Life was very different 6 months ago when M and I lived 5 minutes from work, 10 minutes from church and family, and we had no money to go out and do things most of the time. I spent a lot of time at home doing chores, cooking, crafting, that sort of thing. We went to bed at 10, sometimes 11 at night. We almost never woke up before 7am. We had exactly 800 square feet of living space to take care of and general maintenance was not our problem. We had zero outdoor space to take care of.

Now, we live a minimum of 30 minutes from work and family (and its usually more like 45 minutes). We can afford to go out and be social. It feels like we are *never* home except to sleep. We go to bed at 9, sometimes earlier if it has been a hard day. We wake up by 6am. We have exactly 2200 square feet of living space to take care of and all maintenance issues are our problem. We have almost a full acre of outdoor space to take care of.

Something's got to give. There are not enough hours in a day or days in a week for me to accomplish even the minimum of what needs to be done. I can't spend my entire weekend away from my house where the chores have been piling up for weeks. I can't spend 2 work day evenings a week away from home, not getting in until a half an hour after M has fallen asleep. It is impossible to eat a low carb diet when I don't have enough time to cook and prepare foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. And I can't even *think* about doing an IUI cycle when I am already feeling this much stress and pressure.

I laid in bed last night crying and thinking to myself, "what if I can't handle a baby? I don't feel like I can at all! If I can't manage to keep this house clean, how can I take care of a baby?? Why do I have to make this decision *now* when other women can easily wait into their 30's?" I'm overwhelmed with the burden of so many responsibilities, real and imagined. It would be selfish to stop helping my mom and sister with volunteering at church. It would be rude to not visit with my family as much as I can. I am a bad Christian if I don't prioritize attending bible study. I am killing myself if I don't go back on my strict low-carb diet. If  don't get back into fertility treatments ASAP, then it means I'm not trying hard enough and I don't want it enough. I am not a mature adult if I can't manage to keep my house in order and the chores in check.

I know that sounds ridiculous and I am clearly catastrophizing, but in my head these are very real, very *crushing* demands that must be lived up to or I am a failure. Or I will be a disappointment to people. And I can't handle either label, even if I would be the only person actually labeling me.

So before I go any more coo-coo bananas than I already am, I've decided I need to take a step back from a lot of "extra-curricular activities" and focus on getting the basics in order again now that I have a whole house to manage and less time in which to do the managing. When my physical space is a mess, my brain is a mess - does anyone else ever feel like that? Like at work, I can't think straight if my desk is a disaster area. Doesn't mean I keep it perfectly tidy all the time, but it does mean there are days I have to stop what I'm doing and take a moment to clean up before I can move forward.

I don't want to go back to treatments right now. The second half of winter is always a little difficult for me and I am clearly not in a good place to pile on extra stress, drama, and hormones. Maybe by March, maybe April. It will give us time to save up the funds in our Health Savings Account anyway. I'm going to try to stop being so demanding with myself, but I'm pretty sure its a hard-wired personality trait.

January 03, 2013

New Year and Anniversary

Happy 2013, everyone! Let's hope this year is better than 2012. 2012 was a real bitch for me. It ended on a high note, but the first 6 months were so brutal I will forever associate the year with bad memories.

In other news, it is my 2 year TTC anniversary. Two years ago I tossed out the birth control and prepared myself for battle. Unlike a lot of women who struggle with infertility, I knew it was coming. However, I had no way of knowing just how bad it would be or how long it would take. I remained naively optimistic that I just needed a low dose of clomid and we'd have our first pregnancy in maybe 6 months at the worst. Ha! At the worst indeed... Poor, sweet, simple two-years-ago Me. I have grown a lot as a person since then. I hope I have become more emotionally mature as well as compassionate and empathetic. I think I have learned to stop trying to control the things in my life that I cannot and to keep trying to enjoy life day by day instead of staring longingly into the unknown future.

I used to assume that I would be on the "winning" side of statistics in this battle. That eventually, given enough hard work and faith, I would have a family. I think I know now that any assumption is a bad idea. I am very close to being on the "losing" side of the statistics. How many IFers actually end up accepting a child-free life? Accepting...that doesn't sound like the right word. Resigning? Choosing to move forward with what fate has thrust upon them? Maybe there isn't a verb in the English language that properly captures it.

Whatever the right word or phrase is, it won't be long before I may be living it myself. Three IUIs. That's what 2013 has in store for me. After that, I'm going back on the BC and spironolactone to try to stop hating most aspects of my body. Then I'm taking a break to focus on EVERYTHING ELSE in my life until I'm like 30. At which point I will start researching adoption and prayerfully considering if that is an avenue we want to pursue or if we will just live child-free.

Two years ago I *never* thought I would be faced with these decisions. At least the journey has made me more prepared and more capable to handle the position I am currently in. There are blessings to be found even in the darkest nights and the most unexpected situations.