Remember. Give Thanks.

Somehow despite the groaning protests my body huffed at me as I contemplated rising early to head the gym, I was able to stifle these strong desires to stay in bed and I over came.  Another small victory for team “best” for me.  You see, there are two teams.  The “lazy, indulgence” team and the “best” for me team.  They wage war for my physical well-being constantly. *smile*  Today the BEST team won and it was off to the gym by 7a.

Now, I sit at our kitchen counter, strength renewed – a whole day ahead of me and a world full of possibilities.  The sunlight streams in upon me and I am just overall feeling thankful.  My heart is full.

I’m feeling thankful for the roses that sit beside me.  Soft yellow roses with pink tipped petals, still so full of life from LOVE Day.

Next to that, I have a little bit of Red Velvet Cake leftover from an evening with friends.  Homemade and absolutely delicious.  I’m actually calling it pink velvet cake as it is more fitting.  The recipe called for 3 Tablespoons of red food coloring.  I just couldn’t bring myself to put so much “carcinogen” (as my friend put it last night) into such a divine and delectable cake.

But even deeper than those things that find themselves on my kitchen counters is the words of encouragement I received from a dear friend late last night in an email:

So here is a beautiful quote for you (from a book called “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, which I highly recommend):  “I shake my head at the blinding wonder of it: Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks.  Remembering frames up gratitude.  Gratitude lays out the planks of trust.  I can walk the planks — from known to unknown — and know:  He holds.”  Thinking of where He has brought us both, from singleness, loneliness, infertility … He can be trusted.  Praying!

Do I not have one of the most dear friends?  She too has walked the road of infertility.  She too has waited, has longed for the joy of children.  She was blessed with twins just over a year ago after doing IVF and having had a trying and difficult pregnancy.  Now she speaks life, love and peace into my own infertile pilgrimage.  I am grateful for her.

I am blessed too by books so perfectly written with words that capture the essence of living and simple gratitude.  Blessed to be reminded that remembering can be soul renewing.  Today, I remember.  I remember where I have been.  The broken roads I have walked down, the unsettling journeys I have completed.  Will He, my God, forsake me now?  Of course not.  I trust.  I wait.  I hope.  The desires of my heart will be fulfilled, beyond what I can now ask for or imagine.  He will lead me into my tomorrows and there I will find more of Him.  Will my life ever be perfect?  Of course not.  Will I ever have his perfect peace and most complete of joys?  Probably not while walking this earth.  But one thing is sure, He is with me and will work ALL things together for GOOD in MY life.

For now, I am grateful.  For now, I trust.  Today, I remember.

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Lazy days and fertile weeks

Taking it in….

I’m feeling so incredibly lazy today.  I have had my yoga pants on all day and I am finding that my bed keeps beckoning me back to its comforting goodness.  Honestly, I feel really guilty about it.  My husband is at work…I am accountable to no one.  So, why not just slip back the covers and slide once again in to my favorite indulgence.  How I love naps.  My little puppy doesn’t seem to mind either.

[A Digression] *** When we first got him, we were very strict about him not being on the furniture. Now…being that we bathe him at least once a week and always wipe his paws after he comes in from outside, we have given in and up on the bed he goes.  He doesn’t shed either…a HUGE bonus. All in all, he is the perfect little snuggle companion always eager for my naps. You see, there are so many reasons to give in and crawl back into bed.

[Back on course] *** I finally heard back from my OB/GYN this morning.  It was a simple 3 sentence email telling me that my plan was “fine”.  She wished me luck with conceiving in the future and told me to have a “nice weekend.”  Simple, short, to the point.  Of course, I was a little disappointed, hoping for some further comments on my husband’s “reversible” infertility.  I have to remind myself it’s only an email.  She probably has hundreds of them each day to respond to. I think I have come to expect too much from my doctors.  So, I’m pocketing my unmet expectations and am moving forward.

This week is our fertile week.  We still have yet to decide how to approach it.  We have another 35 days or so until the lovely spermatogenesis process will have completed its course.  Only then can we count on my husband’s medication no longer exerting its deleterious effect upon his swimmers.  So, do we go for it?  Do I even bother with LH testing? Morning temps?  Or should we just try to “relax” and “enjoy it”?  Those words always bring a feigned smile to my face.

Happy Saturday to you all!  Thanks for reading.

Thankful Thursday – I like it!

I’ve been noticing others have been blogging their thanksgivings on these Thursdays.  I like it.

I think overall a heart full of gratitude is a heart that moves towards the right things.  I don’t want to be one who dwells in self-pity, insecurity or jealously.  Rather, I want my life to be marked by a tendency towards reflection, thankfulness, and simply relishing life’s special moments.

So here are a few thankfuls on my list today:

I did it.  After all my moaning and complaining, I shook myself free of procrastination and  wrote my OB/GYN.  I have to say that I am really proud of myself for FINALLY doing it.  I might have also felt a tad bit guilty for venting my frustrations to you all too last night!!!  It definitely spurred me on to take care of it.

I ran today!!!!!  WOW!  I am thankful for that.  I haven’t run a block in almost 3 years…but today, I was sooo stressed after work.  Tension had seized my body and I just knew I needed to do something about it.  Something BIG…so, I told my husband that dinner was on hold and that a family run with our furbaby was in order!  Success.  I ran the whole way.  Over a mile!  Go with me here…I know, for all you super in shape ladies out there…that is nothing, a joke.  For me, it was a milestone.  I am so intimidated by those that regularly hit the pavement.  I don’t understand how they do it.  But today, I needed it.  Needed its vigor to calm my frayed nerves. I am so very proud of myself and thankful I endured.  Sometimes its the small victories in life that count.

And how about this picture.  I am so thankful for cameras that allow us to capture the beauty and essence of a moment in time.  So grateful to share such wondrous places with my husband.  This was a beach we went to this past weekend on a little surprise getaway he had planned. Beyond perfect, beyond blessed.

Now for some wine, a roast, some creamed spinach and a little of our favorite programming.

Provider frustration…is it just me?

I have been avoiding talking to my OB/GYN about our current plight.  For some reason, I don’t even want to communicate with her about the results from our recent visit with the RE. Well, I guess it’s not so recent anymore. It’s been over 3 weeks.  I really probably should initiate a little communication.

You see, we stepped out of bounds.  She refused to give us a referral to an RE until we had followed her prescribed plan for 2-3 more months.  We chose to go see one anyway.  I knew our insurance probably wouldn’t cover it regardless.  Plus, the clinic we chose to see our RE at doesn’t require a referral.  So there.  We did it.  Why not?  I am SO tired of WAITING.  So TIRED of being PATIENT!  I know, I know…waiting has got to be ultimately good for me.  After all, isn’t this life all about character building?  Don’t most of us find ourselves constantly trying to convince our minds and hearts of such things?

Honestly, deep down I am a little frustrated that she didn’t pick up on my husband’s medication issue.  She sat down with both of us.  She reviewed our charts and lab work in detail.  How does she not know that there is talk of his blood pressure reducing medication being a potential “male contraceptive?”  How do you work in fertility and practice gynecology and obstetrics and not be up on this information? I suppose it could have been overlooked.  Very possible.

I know, I’m overreacting. I need to give more grace here.

Like I said earlier, it’s been 3 weeks.  I am now a week into my next cycle.  I really should initiate a little communication.  Besides, I will need her help again if this is not really the culprit in our infertile journey.

Ahh, juggling the many eggs and baskets.  How many should we put here and how about over there?

Does anyone else ever have frustrating interactions with their healthcare provider?

TAG! Your next!

Hello all!  K.Smitty at Daydreaming in Progress tagged me in the latest meme circling through our blogging community.  Thank you so much!  It was a lot of fun to fill in the blanks.  I have tagged a few of you as well at the end of this post!!!!  Take care!

Getting to Know You (the Rules):

1 – Post the rules
2 – Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you.
3 – Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
4 – Tag people and link them to your post.
5 – Let them know that you tagged them. (I’ll try!)
Here are my responses to K.Smitty’s Questions:

1. What dinner item ends up on your table most often?

We LOVE Mexican food.  Maybe it’s because I spent a few years living in Arizona, maybe its because there is a huge Hispanic influence in our area….maybe because it is just SO good.  That being said, we have tacos at least every other week.  All kinds of tacos…pork carnitas (roasted all day), beef (both ground and shredded), fish.  YUM!  We like them with cilantro, avocado, shredded lettuce, Jack cheese, fat free sour cream and squeezed lime juice on top.  Plain and simple…preferably on small corn tortillas…just like the taco wagon in my hometown used to make them!  SO delicious!  Sometimes, we are extra naughty and fry up the corn tortillas in grape seed or olive oils.  SOOOOO tasty!

2. What song(s) always makes you smile and/or get up and dance?

I love the song Dancing Queen by ABBA.  A timeless classic, I can never get enough of.  Also, I love the music of the 70s and 80s.  I never tire of it and my poor husband has to suffer through hours of it.  Thank you, Pandora, for broadening my ability to indulge myself in my favorites.

3. Favorite bad-for-you food?

Cookies!!!!  I was known, lovingly, as the cookie monster by my friends in Grad School.  I love to seek out the best places for cookies…oftentimes, I find that my kitchen is the best stop off for a sugary sweet. I have been so bad for years.  Oftentimes, I will make up the dough and just make enough for that evening and keep the rest of the dough in Tupperware in the fridge.  Each night I will make a few fresh cookies for my husband and I.  Bad. Bad. Bad girl.

4. Any irrational fears or bad habits?

Dying young. I have witnessed so many premature deaths doing my job every day.  I am VERY aware how precious life is, how short it can be.  Sometimes it haunts me…most times my husband and I road trip, or he drives to work…I can’t help but to sometimes wonder…does he know he’s loved.  Have I said everything I wanted to say?  Have we made all the proper arrangements for our future if one of us dies early?  I could go on and on.  It’s not good….I constantly have to surrender it all to God.  Does it consume me…no, of course not, but it can often be back in the far reaches of my mind.

5. What’s the #1 thing on your Bucket List, (besides being a mommy)?

Travel, travel, travel.  I didn’t have the opportunity to travel internationally until I was in my late 20s…and now I am HOOKED.  I love it!  I really do love Europe.  I love planning, preparing, making memories, looking back at our photos…I LOVE doing it all with my soulmate.  It’s wonderful.  This spring/early summer we are traveling to France…with a little Iceland and London mixed in too.  But mostly, we will just be traveling around the French countryside.  I am beyond excited!

6. Do you live in the same area you grew up in or have you moved a lot?

I have moved quite a bit.  I grew up in a small town in North Central Washington State. I have lived in Spokane, Washington; Tucson, Arizona; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Portland, Oregon.  Portland is by far my FAVORITE.

7. What’s your take on smartphones? Got one? If so, what one? Love them? Hate them?

You know, I love ‘em.  I will never forget my road trip out west after graduating from grad school in Philly.  My good friend who road tripped with me had an iPhone and she would be on the internet, checking her email in the middle of nowhere.  I remember being blown away at the possibilities.  Internet…in the middle of the Nebraska countryside?  This is crazy.  The following year I jumped in when my department offered to pay for them in full.  I have been hooked ever since.

8. Got any furbabys?

I have one sweet labradoodle named Higgins.  We got him last July!  As soon as we realized we were on a road of Infertility…we knew we needed another companion and distraction to get through it.  We have poured ourselves into him…following all the dog whisperer’s recommendations.  He is now 9 months old and I think he is pretty much perfect.  We LOVE him!

9. What’s your favorite outfit you own that makes you feel fabulous?

I love a good pair of Hudson jeans.  Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I have succumbed to designer jeans…they fit and feel fabulous! …a cute tank and a long, rear covering sweater.  Oh and also a cute, shimmery long necklace, and some wedge ballet shoes to top it off.  Always feel good!

10. (Because I’ve had a rough day): If you take out any instances about not being pregnant, how often would you say you get emotional in front of your husband?

Well, I just asked him and he said about once a week.  I guess I’m a little surprised.  He tends to be more emotional than I am, so I typically don’t think of myself being that emotional…oh well…emotions are a good thing.  It’s something I really value in my husband.

11. Do you have a favorite quote? Or even a favorite Bible verse?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight.  Pro 3:5-6

LOVE THAT verse!  SO much HOPE!

My Questions:

  1. What are your top 3 favorite recipes?
  2. What are 3 attributes you most love about your husband?
  3. Ascribe 5 words to your Infertility journey.
  4. What is 1 thing you have learned about yourself in the past year?
  5. What is 1 thing very few people know about you?
  6. What is your favorite place you have visited?
  7. What is your favorite color?
  8. What was your most recent favorite book?
  9. What is you guilty pleasure?
  10. What is your favorite blog post you have written?
  11. What is your #1 on your bucket list (beside being a mommy)?

There are so many amazing blogs out there!  Here are a few blogs that I have been following since beginning my blogging journey over a month and a half ago:

Scared not to follow him

When’s it gonna be my turn

A cup of bliss

Loudsong

Coping with Infertility

We’ve all been there.  You’re off work, you want to RUN out the door but your bladder beckons you.  It pleads with you to give it some attention before facing your unpredictable, bladder sometimes demanding commute.  You give in and of course, that is when you notice the spotting has started.  No newsflash need be made.  Period is imminent.

For the first time in over a year, I was prepared for this day.  My husband’s sperm is not working.  I knew my period was inevitable.   I was ready for the hemorrhage to begin from my body. Not really a hemorrhage, I guess, but for the shedding of that beautiful, life giving, nourishing blood.  It becomes quite personal when you go through infertility.  This should still be inside of me, giving life to a growing soul within my womb.

But no, not this month, probably not next month either.  Remember, we are on the slow bus.  The sidelines.  It is TIME out for us.  I quickly pushed the reality back into the far reaches of my mind.  Is that even possible?  Informed, prepared, expectant…but still it cuts deep.  Another month older, another month closer to my next birthday.  The thirties just seem to be flying by and I am just getting into them.  Advanced maternal age isn’t far off.

I made myself a margarita and aimlessly read blogs while my husband readied a homemade pizza.  It wasn’t long before I was buzzing.  Being that I never really drink anymore, it only took half for me to feel sluggish. I decided half was plenty and made my way to our shower, my legs heavy beneath me like dead weights walking up the stairs to our bedroom.

Showers are my go to coping strategy these days.  I guess they have been since grad school. I love to sit in the shower and let the hot water just flow over me.  Yes, I could sit in a bath, but there is just something about the shower.  Something about the steam, something about the steady streams of water pouring over my eyes, shoulders, and knees.  It’s soothing.  It’s when I do some of my best thinking, best praying, and best just being.  I LOVE IT.  Tonight, I began to wonder how others cope.  What do you do to get through?  What are your simple pleasures that help you along the rough and wounding roads of infertility?

I felt a lot better after showering.  I am now ready to sink into my most wondrous bed.  Goodnight, blessings, and thanks for reading.

Infertile Limbo

Lately, I have been avoiding blogging about my infertility journey.  It has been easier to write about other things…how I met my husband, God’s faithfulness in my life, etc.  Really, I don’t know what to say or even what I’m thinking.  I feel lost in a daze.  You see, we are once again in limbo land.  We are in the waiting zone.  We have been here for about 2 weeks, ever since our appointment with our reproductive endocrinologist.  Waiting for Andy’s sperm to regenerate.  Waiting the 65 day cycle it takes for this to occur.

As a result, we have decided to sit on the sidelines during my next 2 cycles.  Putting on hold my clomid, ultrasounds, ovidrel shots, and timed IUI.  I know this reality will be strange once it sets in.  We have been on a treatment course since last summer.  Undoubtedly, I will still check for ovulation and we will do what needs to be done to make things happen.  But overall, we are not counting on anything to transpire until we have some sperm that can actually PENETRATE the egg.  Ahh, the blessings of hypertension.  Thankfully, since Andy went off of his medication, his blood pressures have been stable.  Who knows, maybe he won’t need it at all in the future.

After these 2 months have passed, we will resume treatment.  Andy would love to give ourselves even more time, to see if things can now happen “naturally”.  I, on the other hand, am pushing to continue treatment.  I am not getting any younger and why not set ourselves up for success with timed IUIs and such, right?  We have already been through so much and by the time these 2 months pass it will have been a year and a half since we started TTC.  So that is our tentative plan.  2 months to regrow sperm and then jump back on the treatment train.

So for now, I fill my time with painting, planning, cooking.  And…for the first time in a year and a half…I am trying to get back into the gym a few times a week.  We’ll see if I can continue to make this happen.  But overall, it feels great.

Thanks for all your support and for reading my blog.  My grammar isn’t always the best, language arts was never my forte.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Man Find 2010

We called it Man Find 2010.  It was near the end of July 2009.  A dear group of girlfriends were in town for a weekend of fun.  Girls’ night out was a must do.  Can you guess where a group of 6 girls wanted to go? Dessert, of course!  As each indulged herself on bites of creme brulee, triple berry crisp and chocolate bread pudding, people got comfortable pretty quickly.  It wasn’t long before the topic was raised…

Danielle, you are turning 28 in a few days.  Let’s face it, you’re not getting any younger.  I think it’s time for you to dive back into the dating scene.  You need to sign up on Eharmony and give it another chance, no matter the cost, no matter your previous experiences.  We’re going to call it “Man Find 2010”.  Our hope is that by the end of 2010 you will meet and marry your husband, but you need to set yourself up for success and we think eHarmony is one of the best ways to do so.  We’ll commit it to prayer, form a private facebook group to post updates and see how God shows up. 

Begrudgingly, I conceded.  That night I rejoined eHarmony.  Maybe round 3 would bring fresh hope to my search for a husband.

Well, it didn’t go so great.  I couldn’t wait to end my contract at the end of my 3 month commitment.  I have a few funny stories to show for it, but mostly it was disappointing.  I was DONE with eHarmony.  I would rather be single and satisfied then married and miserable.  That was my standard line.  Somehow, I managed to do a pretty good job of convincing myself of this after so many failed dates.  That fall of 2009 was pretty busy with travels, work, and keeping up with friends.  Somehow, towards the end of October, I missed the deadline to cancel the plan.  It automatically renewed for an additional 3 months.  I was stuck.

Meanwhile, in my small group, we were praying big prayers.  My leaders had shared how in their previous group, they had a season where they focused on praying BIG prayers for eachother, life transforming prayers.  God showed up and awesome things happened.  I was inspired.  I felt in my heart that it was time for me to pray mountain moving prayers too.  I had been praying to meet my future husband for a long time, but was always reluctant to share my deepest desires in mixed company.  You get to a certain age and haven’t met the right man and people start telling you that you need to seek “contentment” in your current situation.

Well, one night, I decided to share.  I was completely surprised when the group embraced me.  I told them that I wanted to meet my future husband by the end of the year.  It was early November.   The group prayed, but in my mind’s eye I couldn’t even begin to anticipate how God would bring about his answer.

Later that month, during my morning breaks at work, I began to get into the habit of logging in daily to my eHarmony account.  I found it quite entertaining to scroll through my recent matches.  It was a welcomed interruption from the fast pace of the operating room.  A few minutes of R & R for the brain.  It was on one of these breaks of mine that I saw him. He was handsome with a genuine smile.  I decided, “What the heck?  I’m going to initiate contact.”  Things began to flow pretty quickly.

We officially met December 21, 2009.

The rest is history.

Man Find 2010 – MISSION accomplished.  JUST. LIKE. THAT.

A SaTUrDaY state of being

What a pleasant evening enjoyed by the warmth of the fire, the soft light of a 75 watt bulb, and the sweetness of a curly haired labradoodle. PERFECT.  Taxes filed today, trip to France planned, menu for next week penned and groceries bought. Overall, a very productive Saturday. My husband even spent some time out in the garden. He can hardly wait to start planting. So today he got some seeds started in the greenhouse, put up a fence to keep our tomato loving puppy out, and trimmed our rosemary bush. The once small plant has become an unrelenting shrubbery of sorts. With more rosemary pruned than one knows what to do with.  He put a cute little box on the corner of our cul de sac – a sign reminding me of those taped to my childhood lemonade stands read “free rosemary”. How I love him! What a delight it was to see people digging through it, searching for the perfect branch to add to their dinner.

Cheers.

Vision: Mine or His

A quote to ponder:

If the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God. From: Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

What is my vision for my life? Does it include God? Is it overwhelming at times to walk in? Do I want great things? Or am I settling for comfort, for ease? Do I even have a vision? What if I can’t put my finger on it? Am I even asking the right questions?

If you’re anything like me, this quote just leaves you feeling a little dumbfounded, your mind searching for answers. Intimidating to me, what is he talking about? Insulting to God, seriously?

Some are meticulous. They are the planner types. They have their 1 year plan, 5 year plan…even their 10 year plan sometimes. They would probably say they have a vision. But, is there room for God in these plans?

How about those just getting by….those who just want to make it through the day or week or the next 5 hours, for that matter? Do they give God opportunity to reveal real purpose to them? Are they willing to take their eyes of the floor, off of the immediate and look up and experience the power of His perfect plan, able to give them far more than they can imagine?

Most of the time, I fit into both categories. Certainly, I have my plans. Yet, I have learned all too early that cling as I may, life has a habit of getting in the way. So, I have a rough plan, but mostly I just want to get through. Preserve enough of myself on any given day for me and my needs and my fulfillment. Am I living out His vision for my life? Or am I just being selfish?

Let me write out that quote again:

If the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God. Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

I wish I could tell you that I have this larger than life vision: Be a lifelong missionary in Zimbabwe. Transform people’s eating one healthy recipe at a time. Give motivational seminars that will grow people’s confidence, equipping them with the tools they need to be successful in life and in relationships. Or how about opening my home and life up to orphans by becoming a foster parent.

Again, I wish I could tell you that I had GREAT and powerful visions to share with you. My life plan is pretty normal.

My current vision often looks something like this:

  1. Grow in love for God, serve Him.
  2. Be a blessing to my husband and invest deeply into our marriage – I want it to overflow with love and grace…for it to be a blessing for others.
  3. Hopefully, we will have our first child over the next year and I will be able to dwelve into motherhood.
  4. Stay involved in the local church.
  5. Probably buy a different house with more room for a growing family.
  6. Be good at my job…do extras when I can…always pursue excellence.
  7. Get moving, stay fit.
  8. Travel whenever possible.
  9. Volunteer at Pregnancy Resource Center

Is that enough? I hope to one day hear my Lord say to me…”Well done good and faithful servant.” Is this vision of mine His? Oh, that my heart would be open to his direction. That my feet would be willing to walk the roads he lays before me. Do I believe that God is capable of doing more through me? Am I willing to surrender my current vision and allow him to take the reigns? Stubborn ol’ me often wants what I want and I want it right now. Infertility has been a lesson in patience and learning that though my plans are many, ultimately God’s will alone will prevail (Proverbs 19:21).

I surrender. Make your vision mine own. Make it big, make it bold, let it bring GLORY to you.

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