Category Archives: men’s health

Everything is everything, after winter must come spring

With the power vested in me by the understanding of basic logic I would like to dispel some common myths for you my lovely readers. Firstly “when it rains it pours” is simply not true, sometimes it just sprinkles. Next “never look a gift horse in the mouth” is bad advice; just because something is free doesn’t mean you should just take it, an unhealthy horse is going to be a budget killer you might want to know about before you accept this gift horse. Lastly “3’s a charm” I’ll be the one to tell you that the 3rd time you try something you may not get the result you want. (side note what is a charm?)

I was five days late this last cycle, five days of hope that left me crushed and almost unable to peel myself off the floor. Our 3rd IUI was not charming, and having only been 1 day late in the last year I was exceptionally certain that our dream had come true. Instinctual reaction is “hope costs too much, stop buying into hope” but a few hours of crying later I defer to logic and realize that trying to conceive with no hope is foolish and sounds boring. So how to balance is the question I ask, where on the spectrum of hope should I situate myself.

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Here is a strangely lit selfie we took the day before our hopes were crushed. You can see the hope and fear in my dorky expression, and the patient waiting and supportive endurance my darling Joshua has in his expression.

Last week I was practicing tree pose in a yoga class, this is a one footed balance pose like a flamingo, and the teacher suggested we close our eyes. So yeah we all fell over and laughed at ourselves, and how surprisingly hard it is to balance one footed with no vision. Go try it….hard huh? Her nugget of wisdom was this : balance is not about being still, its dynamic. I mentally argued with her. When you are balancing two scales (viz: lady justice) you know they are balanced when they are level and still. Maybe she means the process of balance is not still, keep adding to one side until its too much then take some away and so on until you find just the right amount to keep it level.

The advice I most often receive is “stop trying and it will happen” which is pretty bad advice. You wouldn’t tell your friend who wants to be a musician to stop looking for gigs and their career will take off, or your friend who wants to move to Oregon to stop looking for affordable housing and a landlord will call with a great offer. Were supposed to go after what we want in life, and sometimes that means pursue your dream as a side job until it gets to a launching point. I’m not mad at anyone who has offered this advice to be clear, I know its hard to know what to say.  A sweet friend recently sent me a little video with 7 things not to say to someone struggling with infertility, with an apology if she’s ever said any of them.

I am floored with the compassion and tenderness my friends have shown me, so much kindness and I’m sure deeply thought out words. I have friends who invite me to their baby showers as if I wasn’t a fragile hopeful parent, or sent me an announcement with their precious child’s birth date and weight on it.  THANK YOU! I love being seen as someone who can operate in society even though my dreams make me borderline crazy.  I have had friends who have put off telling me their good news because they don’t want to hurt me and while this is incredibly generous, please know that I am so happy for you and I promise not to fly off the handle and freak out at you. It is my nature to celebrate good news with those I love, and Beyonce. I can politely decline to attend your event if I find that I am not up for it, but you can trust me to make that decision.

I’ve been trying to surrender control, knowing (because of my propensity towards logic) that I have never had any control anyways.  I wrongly perceive that I can solve this dilemma with more data, smart decisions, more dollars, and a really positive attitude. All of those things are good ideas and I will keep pursuing them, but I’m letting go. Hope is a muscle that gets stronger when you use it more, and when it fatigues and then you rest it, and get back at it. I’m not giving up on my dream, I’m going after it with a new kind of agility. I’m closing my eyes, and working through not being balanced yet, and not getting mad at myself when I topple. You know when Alice falls down the rabbit hole and is pretty scared at first but then her dress catches air and makes a parachute of sorts for her and she can look around and experience the free fall with a little less fear? I think my skirt just caught and I’m attempting to enjoy the ride not knowing where it leads.

I would like to report that half of our fertility expenses have been funded by generous donors, and this is a huge relief to us. Its so helpful to know that people are with us in this weird one footed thing we are doing. If you feel inclined here again is the link. Give

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Cause I miss you babe, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

You can’t start a letter to your (hopeful) child by talking about it’s conception! It doesn’t care if it was conceived in a doctors office, or because its parents were doing it, kids don’t want to think about that-especially if it was foggy that day. I’m already failing at parenting. *face palm-rolls eyes*

That last post was terrifying, I almost took it down after 47 minutes but a hot shower and a somewhere to be prevented me. Transparency is hard, and I feel like I’m toeing the line between vulnerability and oversharing. I guess if you feel like I’m saying to much you just won’t read it. No one is making you. Just go back to facebook scrolling and forget about this nonsense.

Now its just us? Okay can we get real and talk about refried beans please. Holy yum, I love the beans at Los jalapenos! In high school I asked my prom date if we could go to Los for Prom, he said no, but I’ve long been loving their beans. You nice people saying all the nice things, I love you too.

Anatomically correct is the way I like to explain things about our bodies to children. When my nephew was 4, he is 8 today, I taught him that the heart muscle says “lub-dub” and we would put our hands on our sternum and pound out the heartbeat rhythm saying “lub-dub” together. I think I explained to you what the IUI procedure we are doing biologically achieves here and also here.

What I may not have explained is that it has a cost that is not at all covered by insurance which is why I offered you a link to give.  Except that I did not get the link in there right. OY! *face palm agian* Each time we go in for an IUI our chances increase, and so does the bill. We have tightened the budget some but its costing us quite a lot of dollars. Once the kid moves in we both will be covered by our pretty awesome insurance that Joshua’s job gives us.  The prescription that I take leading up to the procedure isn’t covered, the ultrasound to confirm the prescription did the thing it was supposed to do is not covered, and the bill for the IUI is not covered.

Here is where you can click to help us with these expenses.

It is a mystery to me that this medical thing is so expensive and necessary. I know of a lady with several children that she grew in her body and she took drugs during her pregnancies, like hard drugs…everyday. God confuses me with this kind of thing. When Jesus was born there was a King who was threatened by him, and killed all the baby boys born then so as to ruin this rumored baby King’s chances of overthrowing him. Jerk King! Why didn’t Jesus father, the creator of all mankind, put a stop to this? They were told to go to Egypt, the land of their oppressors if I remember right, and hide from the murderous King. What the what? As Christmas approaches I can’t stop thinking about this part of Jesus birth story. Did God really think this was the best way to save him from Jerk King’s wrath? Also the wise men were spies of the Jerk King, which was not how the story was told to me, so many surprises.

Jesus story was filled with plot twists and unexpected answers to questions, best friends that betrayed him and time spent alone in the desert. I can’t figure out why my story is going this way, or why the world is filled with darkness. Whatever the cost I’m going to hope again and again that redemption is at hand, and look for the coming light. It gets hard to imagine light sometimes, don’t you think? Remember July when the sun didn’t set until like ten pm or something, all those glorious hours of daylight. Starting Friday we will be on the way back to them.

Revised Letter to my hopefully baby:

Dear baby, I like you. If you exist now you will be born in the summer, and everyone loves a summer baby. You don’t have to hurry, but please don’t take your time.

ps. friends: I promise to tell you when we are expecting, so as to save you from having to ask.

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A sunny day in winter, they do exist!

I don’t want to close my eyes

It was 28° and foggy the evening you were conceived.  (Is this how you start a letter to your child?) We left the doctor’s office with stars in our eyes.  ¡Champagne! We exclaimed in agreement. We picked up Lebanese food because its a comfort food, and we told you (if you existed) that trying new things would be important. Your father lectured you about cultures and kindness and spicy food. There’s no snow yet, its December 8th & your great grandma’s birthday.  I hope you are a quarter of a day old, and that you like being in this family already.

Isn’t it crazy how dark it is right now? The shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, is next Thursday and it is 9 hours less daylight than than the longest day of the year. I know a lot of folks who are really feeling the dark this year. I’ve got a friend who is divorced and learning to celebrate all by herself, a friend who lost their brother and is learning to be an only child , and a friend who is getting sober and learning how to enjoy the holiday without drinking. My brother and sister in law lost their baby son 10 months ago and they are facing that darkness this year. No wonder we put up sparkly lights and cheer ourselves with decorations.

We will know by the solstice if our 2nd IUI resulted in a baby person. Last month our two week wait ended right before thanksgiving dinner when we learned that we were not pregnant. It was only our first IUI , I wept bitterly as we passed the gravy and my family was pure grace around the table.  I have decided that the second week in the TWW is shark week. It seems to me that I should know before I find out, like some innate mother instinct. I don’t want to miss any part of the 40 weeks I get to share space with this kid. Thinking I will know before I know is unreasonable to expect of myself. Its very shark-fin-above-water-swimming-around sort of looming and now you see it now you don’t. Here’s what I look like when I’d dodging sharks in the high desert.

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A friend recently said to me “I read your blog” and I think she was saying that she is glad I write, her follow up sentence was “is that weird when people say that to you?” Most days it feels like I have this flash mob of very excellent humans surrounding me and hassling God on my behalf and doing song and dance numbers that are very inspirational. Other days I want to ask the person saying they read my thoughts and feelings to say something vulnerable about themselves to even the field.

Friend: I read your blog

Me: Cool thanks, how much do you weigh?

Its my choice to publish my experience and it is mostly very helpful to know you guys are out there, that some of you feel encouraged by my rambling. My dear friend suggested that I put a Pay Pal button on my blog so that if anyone wanted to contribute to the expense of fertility stuff they could. I stewed on this and decided it couldn’t hurt, so its here if you were thinking you wanted to toss us a couple bones. She’s a smart friend with her own fertility journey and the fundraising she did was very encouraging to her. This is your chance to get vulnerable I guess. I’m not sorry that I invited you all into our story, it will make the victory that much more glorious and flashy.

Fun fact about week two of the TWW I am a grumpy, snippy, punk of a woman. I get so freakin mad at things that are tangled, you can’t even believe it. I should laugh at how mad I am, but I am too mad to laugh. I was trying to switch some laundry and the spaghetti strap of a camisole had wrapped around some leggings and was a muddled labyrinth of lunacy. I responded by threatening to tear the garment limb from limb until it behaved like a respectable shirt and pants. I threw it on the floor all discombobulated and jumbled and stormed down the hall to sit on my bed alone. I want to crush my computer for being slow, and I want to honk at anyone not signalling out of a round about. I have the smallest amount of patience for inanimate objects and will not tolerate insubordination. Great parenting skill are no doubt being forged.

Last Man Standing

“Rest your head on your mat, open your eyes, see the mat.” I see it. I has tiny circles separated by capital letter I’s and inside the circles are little squares. My eyes get blurry like I’m looking at a magic eye picture from the 90’s, but i don’t see a hidden picture of a dolphin appearing. This is of no consequence to anything. At the end of class he says “open your eyes, meet the eyes of the people sharing your practice today, see each of them” I prefer seeing people to seeing my mat. They have eyes and expressions and they sweat with me here today. Baptiste Power Yoga is hard, and I feel like I am building something when I’ve finished. Daily yoga is my Lenten commitment. I cry every day because they say “happy baby” which is a pose you do towards the end while lying down, and the hot tears drip into my ears. I’m not totally sure why I chose this for Lent. I know that I didn’t want to give up anything since my diet is already paleo and very restricted, and I feel like I have a lot of loss in the balance of my life. So adding something felt like a safe choice, turns out an hour a day commitment is still a sacrifice. Shrugs.

Fun update: we went to the naturopath on Friday morning for our most recent fertility results. These results have to do with my dear sweet grooms body not mine, and so I asked him yesterday if its okay for me to write about. “This is our journey, Kate, not mine. Be as transparent as you need to”. Our culture has taught us that one’s manhood is tied to his performance and sperm count, I challenge that to say this guy’s manhood is tied to his response when asked to be vulnerable with his numbers. Together we have done so much work to improve our fertility, and now we embark on a new leg of the journey towards being parents. ( I doubt anyone really watches my song links, but I literally listen to this song everyday. it is the title of this post. Last Man Standing )

In November I wrote about the odds being stacked against us for natural conception, here are the details of that, and the fantastical new plan to beat the odds. The swimmers need to be at least 60% quick and zooming, we’re at about 30%; We need at least 20 million of them and we only have 16 million, lastly only half of our guys are normal the other half have two heads and coiled tails and stuff like that. Upon receiving this news (on his 37th birthday) he had his game face on and was ready for the next step, our ND calmly asked “how hardcore do you want to be.”  “Very” was my champions answer. She explained oxidative stress like this (3 minute animation)  and told us that  carrying some extra weight is the main cause of his oxidative stress. Well he has been hitting the gym an hour or more a day, 5-6 days a week since November and while he has lost some weight he needs something more dramatic to jump-start his metabolism.

 

Drum roll please….

Enter the HCG diet. Daily injections of this cool hormone will cause him to burn fat cells as energy, and somehow survive on 500 calories a day. Don’t worry guys its only for 3 weeks and then he can resume normal (is paleo diet normal now) eating. Did I almost pass out at the office when I heard about this, and saw the price tag, and comprehended the commitment level? You bet your buttons I almost did. So I’m in the waiting room looking at the patterns in the carpet and sipping water and being told to breathe, and my bad-ass groom is getting the instructions to take injections at home and how to count calories and scheduling weekly followups with our ND.  My head is spinning. Sally you will be proud of how Dr.Science this post is, the rest of you might be rating this post high on the EW! scale.

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Here’s us on our wedding day

I honestly don’t even know what to expect in the next 3 weeks, but did I know what to expect the last 3 weeks? NO one could have known that we would be sad and mourning the loss of a perfect little baby in our family, and it felt like I couldn’t breathe at some moments. Today I showed up though, and I might show up again tomorrow. Its a daily thing. We wake up grateful and put one foot in front of the other, we look each other in the face and try to see one another. So far that’s what I’ve learned from yoga-show up and see. We do not know what will happen in the hours and minutes we spend on this earth, sometimes its awful and unbearable and we feel crushed. The man I have married is so clearly the best partner for me in this journey. He is grounded and focused and kind and compassionate and also really tough. We are sharing our story so that you can see into us, and can lament and rejoice with us at the appropriate times. If you have experiences with this diet or infertility or grieving lets talk about those things and learn from one another.