Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Kev and I were married six and a half years ago in the Gunnison National Forest in Colorado. We didn't originally set out to have a destination wedding, but we couldn't get the guest list below several hundred without feeling guilty for not inviting dozens of cousins, distant relatives, co-workers, grade school friends, parents' acquaintances... you get the picture. So we decided to ditch the traditional and opt for some place out of the way yet beautiful to exchange vows. Our most immediate families and life-long friends joined us in the majestic mountains of Crested Butte as witnesses to our love. There were about 30 people in attendance as my father walked me down the makeshift aisle to Willie Nelson's "I've Loved You All Over the World." The minister gave an incredible ceremony based on the simplicity and spontaneity of nature before we, newly married, skipped back up the aisle to Cat Steven's "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out." I know everybody says this, but everyone there said it was the "coolest" wedding they'd ever been a part of. I don't know...I like to believe it.

Anyway, as unique and fitting as our wedding was, there was one thing missing. That was our Catholic faith. We are both cradle Catholics (I just learned that term from my priest & I know I'm overusing it, but so what?) and have had all of our sacraments except holy matrimony. We honestly hadn't given it too much thought. We love God. We are spiritual, religious, curious, devout. Over the years, we've engaged in various religious retreats, one being the year-long Jesuit retreat called The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I think we've both felt blessed and loved by God despite the fact that He hadn't officially blessed our union. We're still married, right?

I guess people change. We are both in a place now where having our marriage blessed by the Catholic Church is very important to us. So this Valentine's Day* we are celebrating a convalidation ceremony so God and the Catholic Church will officially recognize us as the soul mates we really are. How romantic, right? It will just be our parents and us and our sweet, wonderful priest after the 5:30 mass. We will then all go out for a nice dinner to celebrate love, commitment, and God. Who knows, maybe this has been the missing piece in our puzzle that is baby-making.

*I know it may seem strange to celebrate a very Catholic tradition (the sacrament of HOLY MATRIMONY) on a day that is no longer recognized as a saint's holy day by the Catholic Church, but at least the day does have Catholic origins. Do you think God will mind?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Not quite knowing why I had to, I jumped in the water and snapped this shot at Itaska State Park a year and a half ago.  For some reason, I just HAD to record this sight.  It was not until several months later that I realized the reason I was drawn to this tree.  The tree was growing out the side of the low bank.  However, it was not about to fall; the roots were deep and holding tight to the earth.  Notice the healthy leaves and branches reaching for the nurturing sun.  This tree is alive.  This tree is beating the odds.  One would think gravity would pull this tree into the water, ruining its chances for life.  But this tree is strong and its roots are holding tight, supporting the massive trunk and sun-reaching limbs.  

We who endure infertility are like this tree.  For one reason or another, our bodies or our situation grows in a way that makes it difficult for us to conceive our dream.  The gravity of infertility tries to make us fall.  But we find strength in our roots.  We hold fast and send our branches high into the hope of the skies, reaching for energy to keep trying for our dream.  And no matter the outcome, we too will beat the odds.  Whether we get the two pink lines, adopt, or decide to enjoy a childfree lifestyle, we will have endured the pain and heartache of infertility and come out of the trials strong as oak.  We are infertile, but we learn to grow in ways most don't.  We are women and men of incredible strength and resolve.  And we beat the odds.   

Go now to Mel's Show & Tell to see who else is standing strong.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


My head is full.  

I can not even remember what it was like to be oblivious to the woes of infertility.  Every day, I am reminded that I am in my thirties and not yet a mother.  My friends are parents, my nieces and nephews are parents, my parents are parents, my students are parents.  I am not.  I try to get pregnant.  Nothing.  I try to adopt.  Nothing.

My heart aches for a child.  

I've heard some fellow teachers say that their students are enough children for them to handle.  They say that they don't need their own kids because their students are like their kids.  I can definitely understand that.  As a high school teacher in an urban district, a lot of my energy is sucked from me, er, devoted to the well-being of the 175 adolescents who walk through my classroom door each and every day.  But honestly, that doesn't do it for me.  Those people leave my life - most forever - after a few short months.  

My soul yearns for more.

Yesterday I sat in my classroom after work and sobbed into my hands.  Nothing really sparked the tears.  No one asked me why I don't have kids.  No one inquired about our seemingly stagnant adoption process.  No pregnant student came to me for advice.  Yet, this is what I do.

I just cry.

I cried yesterday because it was after 5:00 pm and I was still working in my classroom.  I had been there for over ten hours - eleven once you factor in my commute - and the only person who honestly knew it was me.  I really never have a reason to go home early.  Granted, "early" in my teacher world means after the American standard eight hour day, but no one would know the difference if I left my job at 3:00 instead of my usual 4:30 or 5:00 or later.  No one is waiting for me at home.  When I finally do make the thirty minute journey to my slice of the world, I unlock the front door to an empty home.   No babies crying, no kids latching onto my legs, no nothing (except for little Nacho begging for a treat, of course).  Just a dark, quiet house that faintly smells of the old people who lived there before us.

I used to be oblivious to this.  Going home was just that - going home.  Now, it seems as though I just go to an empty house.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


For the IComLeavWe'ers, you can find a brief outline of my IF journey in the side bar.  Look for "Baby Making Road Map."  For a more detailed (but still relatively brief) account of how I came to be a traveler on this infertility journey, click on the links under "You Are Here:  How It All Began."

Quick outline:

I.  Infertility related
A.  TTC for roughly six years
B.  Not preventing for eight
C.  Diagnosed with PCOS & endometriosis
D.  Tried alternative therapies
E.  Tried infertility drugs
F.  Achieved pregnancy
G.  Miscarried
H.  Three failed IUI's

II.  Who I am without infertility
A.  Married almost seven years
B.  High school English teacher
C.  Daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend
D.  Vegetarian
E.  Vespa driver
F.  Cradle Catholic

III.  Current state of affairs
A.  Waiting to be matched for domestic adoption
B.  Waiting for summer
C.  Wanting to be a mommy

I look forward to hearing from all the ICLW'ers!  Welcome to you.  

Those of you who are regular visitors, welcome back.  Thanks for being here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


On Saturday, my parents, Kev & I drove to a neighboring state for a funeral. On the way there, I phoned a local florist and placed an order for a bouquet to be sent to the funeral home. The service was beautiful. Very sad, but beautiful. We drove back to my parents' house and slept, then returned to our little corner of the world this morning. As I snuggled in my office chair with my protein shake in hand, I saw the light on the answering machine flashing.

Message 1: Card services has placed a block on my credit/debit card because of some suspect charges. The automated voice asked me to please call to verify the charges and lift the block.

No problem. I figured the block was placed because the florist is roughly four hours from my home state. I'd just call and verify the charges were placed by me and get the block lifted.

Message 2: The florist called to say the charge didn't go through. The flowers would not be delivered.

I can handle the identity theft. It's happened to me before. A few years ago, someone in LA had used my social security number to create a utilities account. This time, someone got my credit card number, my address, my phone number, and who knows what else. They didn't charge much - just a few measly charges to an overnight printing service and some other places. Maybe a bit over a hundred dollars. No big deal. I can handle it. I'm pissed off and put out, but I can handle it.

But the thing that makes me LIVID right now is the fact that my cousin, his son, the 14, and 17 year old children of the deceased never received the flowers from my family. They've been through so much the past few months, and the flowers were just supposed to be a reminder of the support we'd like to offer as extended family. But they didn't receive flowers from us. I feel like an ass right now. I ordered the flowers on my card to represent the 30+ people in my family. Now it looks as though no one in my family thought enough to send flowers.

I've done the telling, so for the "show" part of this show and tell, I'd like to show the email address that the identity thief used to purchase services from Ironically, it's a service designed to protect its clients from identity theft. That's right. Was playing a cruel joke? Maybe. Maybe he won't like his email address plastered on the internet in association with identity theft. Maybe he won't like the nasty emails I'm going to send (feel free to do the same). Maybe is just a bad person who steals from innocent people. I don't know. But I do know that is the reason a grieving family received one less floral arrangement in their time of despair. Thanks You're a theif and a prick.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We went to a Friends of Adoption meeting this Monday at a local synagogue.  The group was not quite what I had expected.  In my fantasy, I envisioned lots of kids of all ages and ethnicities playing with one another and the adults sort of mingling, getting to know each other or catching up.  What the meeting turned out to be was a nice mix of people who have had all kinds of experiences with adoption, ranging from open adoptions to semi-open to embryo adoptions.  Only one couple brought a child, but many brought pictures or letters.  Also present were several couples trying adoption on for the first time.  They came prepared with questions and pads of paper upon which they furiously scribbled notes.  There were three couples (counting us) who were waiting to be matched.  It was roughly a two hour meeting that was just sort of a discussion-question-and-answer type circle.  The woman who conducted our home study actually led the discussion - a nice surprise - and topics ranged from how to afford adoption to interstate issues to crazy family members to over-priced lawyers and so on and so on.  

I can't even put into words how ready I am to be a mother.  The desire fills my lungs and travels through my blood, finding every inch of my body, every extremity.  At times, it feels as though the pain not only beats in my heart, but it aches in my eyes, my hands.  I think they are aching to behold and hold my baby.  Babies.  Life.  Family.  Love.   

Lacking the child to care for, I find myself over-nurturing our pets.  Hence, they are enormous.  They are spoiled.  They walk all over me.  They sleep all over me.  But, you know, it's what I've got for now, and I love my little fuzzy ones.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

SHOW & TELL - 2009 GOAL #5

On the very short list of things I am passionate about, photography has been close to the top for about 13 years.  I took three photography classes during my second year of college and was told that I have "a good eye" for the art.  I don't really know about that, but I do know that I get excited when I see an opportunity for a beautiful shot.  It could be the lighting, the subject, or even my own deep memories that draws me to capture any given moment.  It really just comes down to the fact that I like pretty things and photographing them lets me hold on to those pretty things a little while longer.  

I mostly enjoy photographing nature for beauty and my family for posterity's sake.  However, 2008 was a difficult year for me emotionally.  I resolved to find a new job and had started interviewing, but when Kev made a career move, I felt that in order to support him I needed to sign another one year contract to continue working the job that I suspect may have a slight impact on my fertility (mostly because of the incredible compacted stress).  I endured three failed Clomid/HCG cycles, and an even bigger disappointment with three failed IUI/injectable cycles.  One IUI cycle was even cancelled due to OHSS exacerbated by the anti-depressants I was taking.  These things, on top of other drama among my friends and within my family added up to the loss of my inspiration.  I didn't take my camera anywhere in 2008.  I didn't see beauty; I saw vast bleakness.   

So my fifth goal for 2009 is to get back into taking pictures again.  As hard as it may be to find it at times, the world is beautiful.  Truly beautiful.  And I want to capture the beauty that I see.

For the sake of Mel's Show & Tell, here is one of my favorite shots I've ever taken.  It was taken right before sunset in Canyonland National Park in Utah in 2005 (it may have been 2004 - the years are starting to blur together).

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The hits just keep on coming.  

This week, I have learned about three of my friends' new pregnancies.  Yes, I am happy for them.  They're beautiful, strong women who will make and are already great mothers.  But I'm sad for the gaping hole in my life.  I'm sad for me.  And Kevin.  

He doesn't show his emotions much, but I can tell when things get to him.  And they're starting to.  

He would make a terrific father.  He's devoted and active and loving and funny and curious and playful and a million other things.  I want so badly to make him a daddy.  He deserves it.  I'm the only reason he's not already a daddy.  I feel like such a failure.  It's the truth and it hurts like hell.  

All this infertility shit hurts like hell.  Every day.  My body is broken.  My brain is failing.  My heart is breaking.  My soul is wearing thin.

It's been almost six years of infertility.  I wonder how much more of this pain I can handle.     

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009 GOAL #4

A dear friend of mine who has a terrific blog dedicated to the sweet crafting she does has - as many bloggers do - a giant list of her favorite websites posted for the clicking.  Well, I clicked.  I clicked all of them.  Don't judge - I had a lot of time over my winter break to peruse the net in my precious, non-family (no offense) spare time.  She has a delightfully wide array of fun web spots (as I knew she would - she's, open to neat stuff?) on the left side of her blog.  

One of the links took me to a site about letterboxing.  I clicked.  I was intrigued.  I was inspired.  I decided that in my overall goal to further explore my creative self, I was going to throw caution to the wind and jump right in.  I made this one of my goals for 2009:   start letterboxing as a new hobby.  

I think it will be cute fun.  I like to hike.  I like to craft.  I like to solve things.  Combine the three and you've got an interesting pastime.  That's it.  I'm doing it.  I have to.  I made it a goal. 

It sounds like I'm talking myself into this, huh?  It's probably because I've got about a million concerns on my mind that are literally all over the map and this just seems like one more thing.  Damn it!  I thought this one would be one of the easier ones this year.  Maybe I'll try it and decide I don't like it.  That would be easy enough.  

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I've already written about my second goal which is to finish quilting the baby blanket my neighbor got me started on.  You can read about it here.  Even though I have no baby nor am I expecting, nor have I heard anything from our adoption agency or lawyer, I am still trying to stay positive.  It's so easy for me to fall into a well of depression - especially when loved ones ask (because they care) if we have any news to share and I still have no news to share.  I guess working on the quilt will keep me upbeat?  I honestly haven't worked on it for weeks.  Probably because I get depressed about my current lack of baby prospects when I pick it up and realize that there still is NO BABY.  God, maybe I don't know what the purpose of the quilt is.  It's currently sitting in a bag in dozens of pieces beside my oversized purple chair.  I think that maybe deep down the reason that I made the completion of this quilt a goal for this year is because that would mean that we have a baby on the way.  Right now, there is NO BABY on the way.  I just get that queasy feeling in my stomach when I think about the fact that there actually is NO BABY to receive the blanket.  It's the same kind of emptiness I feel when I walk past the empty nursery.

So my third goal for 2009 is to create a time capsule.  I got the idea from a fellow infertile blogger a few weeks ago.  She does a much better job of discussing it than I ever could.  You can read about it and get instructions on building one for yourself here.  I think that this project holds the same kind of hope for me that the quilt holds.  I hope that in ten years, I will open up the time capsule and remember the very different me from the past - the now me.  The me that isn't a mother.  Because in ten years I will have been a mother for ten years, right?  I will have a child in fourth grade, right?  Right?

Oh God, please let this be the year that Kevin and I are made parents.  Please...

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I was not planning on having a New Year's Eve party.  At all.  I was expecting Kevin's mom and sister to come over for chili and board games.  That was it.  A simple non-event.  

By midnight, however, there were about 25 people standing in my basement hugging and kissing one another as the ball dropped.  So sweet, but where the hell did they all come from?  Once the magical minute was over, the board games and cocktail drinking resumed.  

Oh yeah, and a hula hoop contest.  That was definitely the highlight of the evening.  

The luxury "Knight Rider" party bus stopping at my house was another highlight - worthy of its own post to be discussed at a later date.

What began as a quiet, intimate evening ended up as a raucous party comprised of the most random assortment of our family and friends.  

The night was a perfect and unexpected reminder of the blessings in my life.  Although we still do not have a child to brighten our days, Kevin and I are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends, neighbors, and family to lean on and play with.  

So if you were here that night and are now reading this, please know that I love you for exactly who you are.  And if you weren't here that night and are reading this, please know that I love you for exactly who you are too.  

Here's to a wonderful year... 

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