Monday, May 4, 2015

Thoughts on Infertility: Part 1

I've tried to put down my thoughts on this topic several times over the 6 years we've been working toward starting a family, but it was always really hard because it was too fresh and we were in the middle of it all. Like an argument you just had or the recent death of a loved one, the subject would make me too upset when I tried to accurately describe it. I decided I'd keep it between myself, my husband, and family and close friends. We're now nearing the end of this long and trying part in our life with one IVF cycle left and I can honestly say it will be a relief whether it's successful or not because it's time to move on and I'm ok with that.

The medical details of everything we've done would bore you, so I'll summarize: this book that everyone suggested with all the body temperature charts, Clomid, A.I., mandated weight gain with protein shakes, IVF - four fresh cycles interspersed with many frozen cycles, 3 miscarriages, 2 D&Cs, and tens of thousands of dollars. This upcoming cycle will be our 5th. We sometimes realize that we could have had several cars and foreign vacations under our belts at this point.

Infertility was hard at first. I went through several stages, and the angry part was by far the worst, but I think it's normal. Emotions were high combined with Clomid and other medications as I got used to how I felt on them.  The first year we started IVF was the most difficult. Two of my best friends and two of my sister-in-laws all got pregnant within a month or two of each other. I read their blogs and Facebook posts and would either get mad or cry. Even though it had nothing to do with me, each pregnancy announcement was like a personal attack. I felt like I was somehow falling behind everyone and felt very much alone.

People complaining about their pregnancies or their children invoked bitter mutterings of "at least you can have one. I would give anything for just one child." I hated mommy blogs and wanted to punch multiple women I had never met.

Infertility sucks because, like some other situations in life, you can work really hard and try to do everything right and there can be zero pay-off. Money also can't solve the problem. I wasn't used to this. I would work hard and put in extra hours at my job or at school and then reap the results.  I tried to apply that to our treatments. I was very good at taking all my pills and injections, racing to my appointments for blood draws and ultrasounds during my lunch hour at school and missing fun activities, photography classes, and vacations to go to my surgeries and appointments. I didn't flinch at needles. I took my meds like a pro. I exercised and ate right. But nothing worked. We'd also planned out our lives in what I thought was the textbook "responsible way" so that we'd be prepared for children. I picked a solid major that could bring income immediately, we didn't go abroad for work or pursue extra degrees, we put down roots in an affordable area, we bought a modest house, and we saved a lot. I had the plan down perfectly:
  1. Graduate.
  2. Work for 2-3 years and save.
  3. Have child #1 and stay at home.
  4. Have more kids but space out the rest by at least 3 years.
I was naive. Obviously these types of plans don't work out exactly for anyone. For some reason I just thought they would because I was doing what was right. 

I read a slew of church articles on infertility one day thinking they would boost my spirits and most of them just annoyed me. The majority of them ended in adoption and those stories didn't help. I needed help for now. I didn't feel like there were guides for dealing with the waiting portion gracefully. I also think I wanted to be mad because it felt good. I remember one night I read that someone said it felt good to yell at the universe about your frustrations. I tried that. It was terrible! I turned into a raging lunatic screaming every possible swear word I've ever heard with tears streaming down my face. It didn't help me feel any better but instead quickly escalated into throwing things. I probably cursed every pregnant person I knew at the time - sorry if that was any of you!

John and I had some long talks after that. John is really good at reasoning with people, even people in highly agitated states. First of all, he quickly helped point out that the "let it all out" method doesn't work, at least not for me.  Yelling and getting mad only makes things worse. Reasoning things out calmly and letting go of negative thoughts requires more mental discipline but has better, lasting results. One thing we decided together that has helped immensely through the years is that we would celebrate everyone else's successes. Along with that I had to acknowledge that our infertility and our lives didn't need to be compared to others. Infertility wasn't a punishment from God, a sign I would be a bad mother, a sign of a bad marriage, or that we had to learn specific "lessons" that others didn't. It just was. After this baby showers weren't hard anymore, we tried to be at all the baby blessings we could, and we rejoiced when our friends and family rejoiced as they brought more children into the world.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mary Visitng

My mother-in-law came to visit for a week! It's always fun to see family and we got to hang out every night of her stay over dinner. We'll be getting together soon with the whole LeSueur family for a summer family vacation up at the Woolley cabin and I can't wait!

Zoo day with Athelia Claire! It was actually my first time at the Hoogle Zoo but A.C. was a pro at it. 

Sunday mornings.

Preparing fresh strawberry shortcakes with homemade pound cake that we brought to Carl and CK's new house for Sunday dinner. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The dam, the burros, and the red rock

This was our second day of off-the-strip adventures in Vegas. As much as my mom hates the strip, she has this inexplicably strong love for the Hoover Dam. John and I didn't know a lot about the dam and as soon as we arrived my parents thrust us through the line for the dam tour. They had already been and so they did other things while we where there. Apparently this site has become quite the tourist trap and if you don't get there early enough you can sit around for hours waiting for your tour to start.

I did appreciate the experience though. It was interesting and I particularly liked the art deco used in the dam.  Gamers will recognize the elevator on the way out of the dam as the elevator in which you descend to the city of Rapture in the beginning of Bioshock. No, I haven't played it myself but I've watched John and may sometimes refer to the game in my genetics lessons.

Testing out the film filters on the Fuji x100t. Poor John was struggling all day with the sun and couldn't take a normal picture. 

This bench symbolizes the hours of waiting before the tour started. You have to go through a security check point (not unlike the airport)  to get your tickets and you can't get out of the visitor center area until you take your tour. My parents called to say they were eating a nice lunch while we were inside.

Feeling a little cooped up after waiting and then going underground for the tour, we headed to the nature! You may have noticed I was in my hiking clothes for the dam because I didn't realize that we were going there first.

As we were driving out of the preserve we were lucky enough to spot two wild burros running across the road. I can't imagine what an accident would be like with one of those. I wished I could have pet one, despite the no touching burros sign.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lions & Good Japanese Food in Vegas

We went to visit my parents, who are currently living in Las Vegas, for spring break.  My mom hates (really HATES) the strip so we had a unique tour of off-the-strip activities during our stay.

First up was the lion habitat, which being an animal lover, I was very excited about. The lions did not disappoint! We were lucky to see some tiny cubs that were only a few days old and watch a group of kids get sprayed by territorial males.  That was actually really hilarious! I'm probably a bad person because I laugh at things like kids getting sprayed with lion urine, but so be it. There were points during our time there when one lion would start roaring and then all the lions would join in. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time and I could only imagine how it would feel if you heard something similar in the wild. This is kind of a weird smattering of pictures from two different cameras.

Later that night we went out for dinner at Yuyu. I've been deprived of anything authentic in Utah and it was so nice to eat some good Japanese food for once. I think I could go to Vegas just to eat. They also had a Filipino restaurant next door that sold ginataan, which is a favorite dessert of mine from the mission days, but it was sold out. So sad!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sunday Walks: Trail by Utah Lake

Antsy from sitting around too long on Sundays? Me? Never! HA! I convinced John to go with me on a longer than usual nature walk since my birthday landed on a Sunday. There were big plans to go looking for barn owls and chukar in an area south of Utah Lake. I was so excited! Have you ever heard a chukar before? Don't worry, I haven't either, but that's why I really wanted to go. Hopes were dashed when we realized halfway down the mountain view corridor that we didn't have much gas.

John, resourceful as always, found a closer trail at the north end of the lake where we happily walked and chatted about books. And found dead things.


Long horn cattle.

Someone had set these bones up creepily . . .

right next to this rotting calf that we stumbled across in a thicket of trees. It smelled really bad! 

"I will consult the bones!" - Willow

This was my second outing with the Fuji x100t. I think it went a little bit better this time. Practice makes perfect. I can't wait to try it out in Japan!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Birthday Tea Party

I went out for a birthday tea party with Jen and Angelica at the Grand America back in March. I think every girl probably has a childhood dream of having a real English tea with cucumber sandwiches, clotted cream, and scones. It was so fun to have that wish fulfilled and feel fancy and lady-like for a day.

Started the week off with a birthday package from my sister.

I was using my new Fuji x100t which I got for the sole purpose of its easy purse portability and manual controls. It's way better than using my cell phone. I highly recommend it! It's no full frame camera and it's obviously not a Leica, but it will do for places and situations where I don't feel like lugging around something large. It was my first time taking it out and I forgot to change a few settings so some of these are a little off. Oops! I'm glad that it captured the fun moments though. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Michelle's Baby Shower

I forgot to write something when I first posted this! In the beginning of March I left John at home for a weekend and flew to San Diego to help throw and celebrate Michelle's baby shower.  Lisa and Claire (and Greg) decorated and hosted and my mom and I helped prepare the food. We started off with pedicures at Tiffany's and then headed to Lisa's home for lunch and presents. Andre's mom and aunt were able to come and it was fun to celebrate as a family. We're all very excited for this little boy! He will be the first baby in our family for 14 years!