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12 dpo

So, thanks to Fertilit.yFrie.nd, I can overlay several charts over my current one. The yellow line is the current cycle. Tomorrow is the day where my temp either stays up, or it doesn’t. Cool, eh?

A very close friend of mine was just diagnosed with endo. She is understandably very shaken up. Being able to share this experience provides some comfort to both of us, I think. We even have the same RE. But of course, I so much wish she didn’t have to go through this at all. She is already dealing with other fertility issues, and this is another setback.

We prayed together this morning as we do regularly. In her prayer, she said she is not always sure of the point of praying. I could relate. My recent thinking has moved me to a different place on this issue. I have started to see prayer more as a realignment with reality than a forum for requests or an “audience with God”. Yet it is more than just personal therapy. Proclaiming what is true is an act of faith – an act God calls us to. It is done together with others in an alternative community. Some things we can proclaim about infertility : God is a good Creator. What he creates (including our bodies) is beautiful. He does not delight in our suffering. He suffers with us. We can trust his good intentions for our lives.

At 12 DPO I’m having some watery CM. I read somewhere that this was a sign of a pre-AF estrogen surge. May it not be true! Otherwise, I feel fine; great mood, no pain or cramps, just a stronger sense of smell and a more sensitive appetite than usual (but usual pre-AF). Oh well. We’ll see soon enough.

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10 dpo

Tender nipples, bbs beginning to be sorer, frequent sore/bruised feeling in right ovary area, and heightened sense of smell. Nothing I haven’t experienced before except the nipple sensitivity. Usually, bbs are sorer by now. Also, I’m pretty irritable and fragile-feeling!

Communion

We took communion for the first time today with our community “church”. I felt uptight during the beginning of the service. Being one of the organizers made me more attentive to every little rustle and whisper. I was distracted what I saw as negatives – why hadn’t we thought of something more child-appropriate? Why were M’s words sounding so sermon-like? When we got closer to communion, I started getting seriously nervous. M wasn’t telling people clearly enough NOT to participate if they weren’t ready. He wasn’t explaining the gospel clearly enough. People would feel forced, tricked into participating in a ritual that they didn’t really want to participate in. This would be the beginning of the end of our group. All the care we had taken to not push people into the church would be for nothing… S brought out a tray of wine. While the bread and wine started to circulate, something almost imperceptibly started to change in me. There was lots of whispering, rustling, explaining, and disorganization. A spent time making sure that both of his young sons were ready to participate in this symbol. Little pieces of sentences made it to me: “Do you know who Jesus is?” The boys very solemnly took pieces of bread and wine. In the meantime DH passed me bread with the word “Jesus died for you, A”. I was freed to let go of the stressed-out, busybody mindset of making sure everyone was served just so. I served bread to a neighbor with the words “Le corps de Christ a été brisé pour toi.” M reminded us that Communion was a feast, a celebration. I saw L and N taking bread and wine, and knew that they were old enough to decide for themselves whether to partake. Suddenly I was full of happiness to be sharing in this feast. I could see the joy on the faces of others. It was a short moment, but in that moment Jesus was there with us.

8 dpo

I thought it would be fitting to post my chart, making the most of the last day of my FertilityFriend trial. It took me a long time to figure out how to do it, so that will be all I post for now…

5 dpo

It’s a grey, chilly fall day. I do most of my work at home, so at the moment I’m sitting at my computer, traffic starting to pick up just outside the window (we live on a busy street) and a pot of green tea beside me. I’m juggling three jobs at the moment: teaching an English class once a week, working 15-20 hours per week researching the grammar of African languages for a company producing text messaging software, and trying to finish the translation of my Masters thesis into French. I try to focus on a single task on a given today, so today, Tuesday, is thesis-day. I am just under a thousand words away from being finished with my first translation attempt. Considering that I’ve been working on this off and on for almost exactly a year, and that there are about 25000 words to translate in total, I am very pleased to have gotten this far! Tomorrow, my challenge will be to finish marking my students’ first writing assignment (a persuasive paragraph) and to think of creative ways to convince them that my marking is not unfair: their writing just sucks!

In two-week-wait news: after very good timing this month, I am a little more attentive than usual to every little twinge. I definitely felt ovulation this month. I’ve also been feeling funny twinges and pulling feelings in my pelvic area, and my nipples have been slightly tender (not my breasts). I’ve been somewhat irritable. Creamy CM. My busy subconscious has also been sending me interesting dreams at O day, 1 and 2 dpo.  The only way I can interpret these dreams is as “you’re not pregnant” or “you don’t really want to be pregnant”. For example, in one dream I tried to reconnect with an old friend who has always insisted that she doesn’t want children. The friend resisted my efforts to reconnect, saying I live too far away and it isn’t realistic for us to be close. In another dream, I was trying to escape from a large house where I was being imprisoned. I had successfully bound and gagged the guard and was just about to make a run for it when I heard the owners of the house coming back. Time stopped as I heard their car door slam and their footsteps approaching. Suddenly, I was looking at myself from a distance and saw that I carried a baby in my arms. My overwhelming feeling was disappointment that I could no longer flee because the baby would weigh me down too much. I realized that I would be stuck in that house for at least several months, feeding and taking care of the baby and not able to think about escape.

Although my tendency is to dismiss Christiane Northrup’s claims about infertility out of hand (see some reviews here), I have to wonder whether there are some attitudes toward my own fertility that I should be exploring more carefully…

Is it safe?

As we break the news to family and friends about our upcoming assignment in the DRC, we get a variety of reactions. Some are blissfully ignorant of years of war that have ravaged Congo, the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country and the political instability and social chaos that continue (from what we hear) to predominate. For them, going to Congo is like going to any other African country, and so far we haven’t felt the need to fill them in (after all, why cause unnecessary worry?). Others, however, ask hard questions.

Recently, a good (and well-informed) friend of mine was sharing her preoccupation for my safety in Congo. Isn’t Congo the country where rape as a weapon of war has reached atrocious levels? Yes. See these BBC photos for some background.

Although we will be living in the more secure western part of the country, knowing that thousands of women are being abused in the same country preoccupies me. As a white Westerner, I will be quite well-protected (or so I’m told), but as a Christian, how can I live in solidarity with sisters and brothers who are suffering when I am completely insulated from risk? At the same time, how will I handle the breathtaking scale of human suffering around me without becoming hard and unfeeling as a way to insulate myself from the despair?

This Sunday in church we were singing songs of dancing and rejoicing: songs that proclaimed “C’est la fête pour le peuple de Dieu… dansez, chantez, peuple de Dieu” or “Il y a de la joie dans la maison du Seigneur”. This kind of song sometimes irritates me, as it seems to encourage us to ignore the real suffering that many of God’s people face. However, as I sang, I thought about a photo I had recently come across, of Congolese women who had recently received reconstructive surgery after violent rape so that they could be freed from severe pain and incontinence. On the photo (see it here), the women’s faces are alight with joy. They dance with breathtaking exuberance. Somehow, this gesture of goodness in the midst of blackness gives hope. Somehow, God is there, manifesting himself, causing a riotous party to break out. When we sing “C’est la fête pour le peuple de Dieu”, this is what we are singing about. The church proclaims that God does intervene, there is reason to celebrate, and the violence and evil that surrounds us is not the end of the story. I suspect that my sisters in Congo have the kind of faith that I can only begin to imagine. It takes faith to start dancing and rejoicing after an operation that can never fully heal the trauma of rape. Part of me is terrified, but I want to learn more about this.

Empowerment and realism

Yesterday, at my pre-laparoscopy appointment with the surgeon, I had an ultrasound with the nicest technician I’ve met yet. She explained everything she was measuring, and complimented me on my great-looking uterus and right ovary. There was a beautiful follicle, somewhere between 2 and 3 cm in diameter, ready to pop on my right ovary. It made my day to hear about the parts of my body that ARE working well! We made the most of today, what with EWCM, high, soft, open cervix, and the knowledge that ovulation would be happening any moment (if it wasn’t already too late). I had a long talk with dh about whether or not my desire to make the most of these factors was due to a need to control something that actually is out of my hands, and if so, whether that is OK or not. Question somewhat unresolved. I do feel that by taking my fertility into my own hands, I am reclaiming it from the doctors and medical system, and this can feel somehow empowering. But at the same time, I was in tears even at the thought of “wasting” the great opportunity of today. I’m sure many other IF bloggers out there can relate. And I can’t help thinking about our many months of trying and telling myself that this will have been the best timing ever – so maybe we will beat the odds and conceive on our own this month! Realistically, this is probably not something I should dwell on too much.

This morning dh and I explained what a blog was to a 50-something woman from our community who stopped in to have coffee with us. She said she had come to see us in order to get some of our energy. I also was interviewed by a journalist today, and accepted a linguistics contract (to start next week) at a 5$ per hour higher rate than I have earned until now. Finally, I made cinnamon rolls. All in all, quite a day. Now I’m going to try to settle down and do some more work on translating my thesis.