Thursday, December 31, 2009

Je parle francais!

(Cross-posted in En Francais, S'il Vous Plait)

Well, not exactly. Not yet anyway. It would be more accurate to say Je parle un peu francais. the end of 2010, I hope to be much more fluent than my current state. This is my resolution for 2010. Now, you may wonder why I chose this particular resolution when there were so many other things I could have chosen to do, so here's the explanation:

The other day, The Hubs and I were discussing how the last six Christmases have been spent away from his family (five of them with my family and the one prior to our move in early January 2006 from England to the States we didn't want to put our dog in the kennel because we didn't want her to pick up anything that would prevent her flying). Neither of us were thrilled that it had been so long, so we both thought it would be good if we could plan to spend Christmas 2010 in England! A lot of things have to change in order for us to accomplish this, but that's another matter altogether.

While discussing our Christmas 2010 plans, the conversation turned to how, despite having lived in England for 3 1/2 years, I had never ventured over the French border. We decided that, should the Christmas 2010 England visit come to fruition, we would make it a point to try to go to Paris for a couple of days between Christmas and New Year.

That's when the conversation turned to my French conversational skills. I did take two years of French in high school, but I'll be the first to admit my French is not very good (long story about how the teacher we had the first year was terrible to the point that all I learned was Bonjour, Au Revoir, how to French-braid the teacher's hair and how to play poker and she was forced to resign at the end of the year). So, I thought it made perfect sense to make regaining my minute amount of French and learning the language properly my resolution for 2010. I also thought creating this blog and committing to posting to it at least three (trois) times per week about my progress would aid in assuring I stayed with the project. Over time, my posts will begin to contain more and more French until the entire post is in French (at least that's what I hope!).

So, if you are a native French speaker or are fluent in French as a second or third language, please follow me! I need all the help I can get!

For the record, The Hubs does speak pretty good French and will be helping me over the year.

**And a final note to say goodbye to 2009! I'm very grateful I'll be carrying my friends with me into the new year. May you all have a safe, blessed and happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

The Hubs, Eldest Niece (Boop) and I in our Christmas Cracker hats.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It's Christmas Eve and I haven't yet written my letter to you. I've been a good girl (mostly) this year and I have a few things I'd like to ask for.

This last year has been terribly hard in several different ways. Firstly, The Hubs has been out of work the entire year and that has added stress. Secondly, infertility is kicking our butt. We thought we would surely be pregnant by Christmas once we started treatment, however, nothing has happened yet. And then, add in the almost adoption and I'm sure you can understand why I'm glad to see this year coming to a close.

This year has had some good things happen, though. The Hubs and I have grown much closer after some tough times. We've had some unexpected blessings this year to which we are ever thankful to the Lord. And I've started blogging again and this blog has become my saving grace. I've met some wonderful ladies who I couldn't imagine not having in my life now and I've seen their triumphs and their tragedies. I'm hoping the next year has more triumphs than tragedy for them.

So, onto my Christmas wish list (oh, and I don't have to get it all by Christmas Day!):

1. This year, I would like to see a positive HPT for the first time. It would be wonderful to finally experience the excitement of seeing those two pink lines!

2. I would like for The Hubs to find a job (sooner, rather than later) just to ease some of the pressure we're both feeling and so that we can move forward with our IF treatment.

3. I would like for The Hubs and I to be able to move from living next door to my family. While I love them dearly, I would really love to have some privacy and "us" time for The Hubs and I.

4. I would like for all my online friends to get their own BFP's in the coming year. It's so difficult for all of us to continually have disappointment and I want us all to have good news. Also, no baby losses for anyone. There've been quite enough of those.

5. I want 2010 to be a better year than 2009. I want to forget the difficulty this year has brought our way and look only to a positive future.

Thanks for reading this letter, Santa. I know I babbled my way through a lot of it and I know you're probably scratching your head wondering why you're receiving this, but, hey, it's Christmas, right? Miracles happen, or so they say!



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Show and Tell - Christmas Ornament Exchange

Earlier this holiday season, I had the idea to do an Ornament and Dreidel Exchange. We had 16 participants, which I felt was a very healthy number for our first year! I was very pleased and I hope to make this an annual event.

My name was given to Mattie at Creative Joy and I recently received my beautiful ornament from her.

Isn't it lovely?!

Please forgive me for the poor quality of my photos the past couple of weeks. My camera is currently being repaired, but I should hopefully have it back next week. So, for good measure, here is another photo of the ornament when it made its way onto our tree.

The light washes it out some, but it really is gorgeous!

In a separate but related note, after suffering her own loss earlier this year, Mattie blogged today that her cousin would be burying her own 3 month old daughter tomorrow. The baby was the same age Mattie's little Shyla would have been. Please go over and offer her your condolences and let her know we're all with her in spirit during this most difficult time for the family.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Projects

First of all, let me say a huge THANK YOU to all my lovely commenters who were so supportive of my last post (and of all my previous whiny posts)! I feel much better today and a large part of that is down to you. It is so great to be reminded occasionally what awesome friends I have!

Now, on to a more pleasant post today. I have recently started two new online projects. The first one is pretty much a solo project, but may prove useful to some of you :D I've started a new recipe blog called Notes From a Wistful Kitchen. It currently has only two (delicious!) recipes on it, but I'll be adding more over time. I LOVE to cook and am even a Certified Catering Specialist and Line Cook, so I think I do a pretty good job, even if I do say so myself, lol! So, I thought I would share some of my very favourite recipes with you.

The second project is a more widely reaching project. Recently I've seen several posts about meet-ups that bloggers who were local to one another have had and I was feeling very envious of the face-to-face support they were able to give and receive. I was chatting (read whining) to The Hubs about this and he suggested I start my own local meet-up group for those in the Southeast Georgia vicinity. Thus was born Southeast Georgia IF Bloggers. So, if you're in or near the Southeast Georgia area and would be interested in meeting up with fellow IF bloggers face-to-face, head on over and join us! So far there are two members: myself (of course :D) and Kym from I'm a Smart One. We'd love to have more members! Right now it looks as though we'll probably try to arrange one meeting per quarter next year (more if enough people join and want to meet up more often) and we'd love to have you if you're near enough!

Okay, so I feel I've offered more than a rant today, lol! Maybe its because Christmas is right around the corner or perhaps I'm just a little light-headed from the flu I feel coming on (again - I had it over Thanksgiving and I can feel it starting again.....btw, did I mention I had a flu shot?!?!), but I more light-hearted than I have since the fall through of our adoption. Maybe the wounds are starting to heal a bit.

Anyway, I hope you're all having a great last few days before Christmas. I'm hoping to leave work early tomorrow and then I won't have to be back until Monday, yay! What's everyone else's schedule looking like this week?

Monday, December 21, 2009

IComLeavWe / Rant About Comments

Today starts the December IComLeavWe. I wanted to take a moment to welcome all my visitors for ICLW and to say I'm glad you dropped by!

Normally, I would have a light little post giving you some information about me, but unfortunately today is not a good day and I just saw a comment on our Christmas photos post that really pissed me off! So, sadly, what you get from me today is a rant.

The comment read "Weight and Fertility. Being overweight or obese may reduce a woman's fertility. ... Weight loss may improve fertility and pregnancy outcome."

Really?! You mean, after 6 years of TTC, this brand-new life-altering information is just being dropped on me?! Because, apparently I'm too stupid to have thought of this myself. (If you didn't hear the sarcasm dripping in that post, please re-read and add in copious amounts of sarcasm.)

What I wonder is which failed attempt at losing weight would this poster (who, btw, posted anonymously, being too cowardly to even give their name) suggest I give another go?

Perhaps the year gym membership The Hubs and I purchased, used 4 times a week, every week for a year and I managed to lose a grand total of 10 pounds on. Let's not forget to mention that I was also on a strict diet during this time (which I followed to the letter!). Towards the end of the year, I actually began to gain weight back, despite continuing with the efforts I had been at all year long. Maybe I wasn't exercising correctly, this poster may say? The personal trainer we hired thought differently. He was utterly puzzled himself as to why I didn't lose more weight and why it began to come back near the end of the year.

Rather than continue to waste money, our next plan was to walk 2 miles everyday, a practice we still try to maintain today, although its more often only 4 or 5 times a week we manage the feat. Not good enough either?

Maybe, this poster would suggest I go back to one of the hundreds of diets I've tried throughout the years that have all led to naught.

Or, maybe, just maybe, they think the bulemia I had during my high school years would work better for me. No?

At the end of the day what I will say is that my weight has been a battle for me throughout my entire life. I was a large baby when I was born (9lbs, 1/4 oz) and I was a large child. Throughout my adolescence I was large. When I was 16 I got the grand idea that maybe I would lose weight if I threw up what I ate. That way, I could eat anything and still get thin, right? Wrong. What I did was make myself sick and still I was overweight.

In fact, the lightest I've ever been during my adult years was still what would be considered overweight for my height. During the ages of 19 to 21, my weight fluctuated between 160 lbs and 175 lbs. I wore a size 12 clothing. Wanna know how I managed that? I ate one meal a day, danced 4 to 5 hours every night (I was a bit of a wild child after high school - no freedom during the high school years = rebellion during early adulthood), and smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. The nicotine suppressed my appetite.

Maybe, dear anonymous poster, you would suggest I take back up smoking (which I managed to quit cold turkey 8 years and 4 months ago tomorrow)? Would that make you happy with my weight?

Oh, I should also add that when I was at the smaller size, my cycles were still not regular. I had a maximum of 3 or 4 AFs each year. So it seems to me being a lighter weight didn't really have much impact on my fertility.

I'm not suggesting that the size I am now is helping with infertility problems. I'm sure its not. I want to lose weight, if for nothing more than I don't like being as large as I am now. However, that is my business, not this anonymous poster's or anyone else's for that matter. This blog is not a place for ANYONE to pass judgement on me. It is a place for me to express my feelings, whether joy or despair, hope or hopelessness. It is a place for me to find support from others like me, NOT CRITICISM. If what you have to offer me is helpful information, by all means, feel free to do so. If what you have to offer is condemnation and judgement (which you know you were doing, otherwise you would not have commented anonymously), then please pass on by.

Regretfully, I have made the decision make my comments require approval before being posted. I have always said I did not want to do this because it feels as though I'm censoring the comments. However, I feel I have to do this now. I toyed with the idea of removing the Anonymous function, but have - for the moment - decided against this drastic move.

Again, apologies to all who visit from ICLW to fall into the drama of the moment and to those of my regular blog readers who have had to read this simply for one thoughtless individual. I want my blog to be a haven for me, not another place in my life that makes me feel worthless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Show and Tell - A Night in ER

As I've said before, I work in a hospital. I am responsible for insurance billing. That's my job, that's what I know. Recently, the manager of our Admissions/ER Registration department asked me if I would mind covering Registration while the department had their Christmas party. I told her I didn't mind and thus ensued my 2 days (yes, 2 DAYS - not enough!) of training.

So last night was the big night. I finished my work in my office about 4:30pm as normal and made my way to the Registration area. When I arrived, it was chaos and I was immediately thrown into the midst of things. Due to privacy laws, I am unable to give details, but my first memories of working in ER is that the sound of unexpected grief tears at you and will stay with you. I don't know when I'll be able to go to sleep again without hearing anguished screams from bereaved family members.

After that incident, things calmed down a good bit. We're only a small rural hospital, so its not often things of that nature happen. The Admissions/ER Registration Department were able to have their party and, at the end of the evening, they thanked me for covering for them and presented me with a gift.

I love the gift! I think it's very adorable and I appreciate their thankfulness. I was happy to be able to help them, but I fear the early evening trauma will stay with me for many months to come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the 2WW

I'm officially in my first 2WW post-Clomid, as our first cycle was annovulatory and the second one we thought we were going to be adopting, so we prevented. I'm 8DPO today and I keep finding myself obsessing about any possible symptom.

I don't want to be like this. I want to understand that it hasn't happened in 6 years and it probably won't happen this cycle. I want to understand, not because I have no faith, but because I don't want to suffer the pain that will come with either that BFN or AF's arrival. I want to get beyond the pain.

I envy those who've found the numbness, I honestly do. I would give anything to feel numb and not know the pain that awaits when it all falls through. Or to be back in those early days when it was exciting and it seemed a real possibility.

Now, though, I can't escape the hope, even though with every passing minute I'm more and more aware of how slim the possibility of a BFP is.

The Hubs wants us to wait until Christmas Day to test. By that time I'll be 18DPO and if AF hasn't arrived then, I guess that would mean we were the p-word. I don't think we'll make it there. I want to test early - I always want to know. I want to wait - Its what The Hubs wants and I want to give him that. I want Christmas to be beautiful and a BFP would do that - I just don't trust it to happen.

I feel very confused and emotional, which probably means I'm PMSing. Wonderful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Show and Tell - Christmas Photos

The Hubs and I have had Christmas photos made a few times during our married life. We thought we wouldn't do it this year, but then my employer offered a complimentary sitting and photos to all employees, so we changed our minds :D For your viewing pleasure, here are our 2009 Christmas photos.

I think we look pretty good together :)

And a close up shot!

Now head on over to Mel's and see what the rest of the class are up to!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Affording TTC

A friend of mine recently wrote to discuss beginning TTC. She is also a sufferer of PCOS and, after following our progress for the last few years, was beginning to worry of the passing time and getting older (she's in her mid-twenties).

While discussing the pros and cons of beginning TTC, she mentioned one of her worries being that her DH was currently out of work. As many of you know, The Hubs has also been struggling in our fledgling economy and the question arose "what criteria makes it a good time to TTC and what indicates the wrong time?".

For us, it was a question of which was more important: the possibility of The Hubs remaining out of work beyond the birth of a child to call our own (via conception or adoption or stork delivery or however we achieved that feat) or the definite slipping away of the fertile (supposedly) years we have remaining. It was an easy decision for us. While we hope not to have to test the theory, we both felt we would be able to make it work even if The Hubs was out of work.

The additional expenses brought on with a child are great and I am by no means trying to kid myself differently. However, if The Hubs were still out of work, there would be no child-care expense. He would be able to watch the baby. Also, we hope to cloth diaper so, while there would be an initial expense for the diapers and an expense as the baby grew, it would still be far less expensive than purchasing diapers. If the child is ours biologically, I plan to nurse (assuming I have no problems with milk development and the baby has no problems with latching or swallowing), so that cuts the expense of formula. Once the child becomes old enough to start partaking of solid foods, I would like to use my beloved food processor to make our own baby food.

The downside of The Hubs being out of work is that all of the assumptions I made in the last paragraph could fall through. Our baby may come early and have health problems that require more in depth care. My milk may not come in or the baby may have problems with the whole process. Cloth diapering and making our own baby food may prove to be more hassle than worth.

I simply don't know and cannot predict what the future holds. What I do know is that I am simply not willing to give up the most promising years of fertility we have due to a situation that will not always be a stumbling block. In the future, I do not want to look back on these years with the same regret I currently have looking back on the ones that have already passed. I don't want to regret waiting.

I'm sure there are many people who say this makes me selfish and not truly caring about our potential child. However, I disagree. I want to still be able to enjoy my children. I want to be able to get out and play with them and go on vacations and show them things that I've found fascinating. I want to explore things they've become fascinated with with them.

And, essentially, this is a decision only each couple can make for themselves. No one else knows the situation or the thoughts and feelings involved in the decision.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Allowed to Grieve?

Today The Hubs and I were eating our lunch, minding our own business, when a lady who attends church with us approached. We looked at one another because this had been one of the people who had not seemed excited for us when we told her about the adoption, so we were both expecting it to be a bad encounter.

When she reached us, she asked how we were doing and then launched into a litany of how awful the past week had been and all the tragedies that had befallen people she knew. I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and tell her the adoption had fallen through. Her response? "Well, I figured that would probably happen. Very few adoptions actually go through and I knew that now was not the time for the two of you to be parents. The Lord knew you couldn't handle it."

I expected it to be bad, but that really was like shrapnel to my heart. While I sat in stunned silence she continued "By the way, I saw [enter person] this morning - you know him right? Well that's [enter her son's name]'s friend and he was telling me that he's going to be a daddy! Isn't that wonderful! I had to call [enter son's name] immediately and tell him the good news. I've called him with so much bad news this week I thought this would help him out to know." Did I mention the friend in question - and, indeed, her son - are both 6 years younger than me and 8 years younger than The Hubs? Why is he better prepared to be a parent than we are? After all, we've been married for 7 years and he isn't married to the mother (hasn't even been with her for very long), so what gives?

When I lacked enthusiasm in being happy for them, she proceeded to tell me I should not be upset about the adoption falling through. She again repeated the Lord knew we couldn't "handle" a baby right now and that our time would come in a few years. (I didn't realize she had a mystery phone line to God! If I had known that, I would have snuck over to her house to use it many years ago! But, sarcasm aside...) She could not understand why I was upset about the adoption falling through. It wasn't as though I had been pregnant or if the baby had even been born yet.

It was all make believe.

Which leads me to the question: am I allowed to grieve?

It is true that I was never pregnant, so its not as though I had a miscarriage. We had only known the adoption was even a possibility for a few weeks, so I hadn't had time to get so thoroughly invested that it was like my own pregnancy. I didn't even get to attend a doctor visit. I didn't even begin to suffer what others in this IF community have been through, but still.....

I was his mother!! He had so throroughly become my own in my mind that it was like losing him through a miscarriage. It was like having him in my arms and then him being snatched away. It would not have felt any less of a loss had he vacated my own body too early. He was MINE......and now he isn't.

Am I to not be afforded the time to mourn him? Does the fact that he will live, albeit with someone else, negate my right to grieve? On top of the inability to conceive myself and the continual sentiments expressed to me that this is not important, am I also to be stripped of my time to feel the pain of this latest loss all because he was not of my body?

It seems truly unfair.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Show & Tell - Cold December Dog

On Tuesday morning I was getting ready to leave for work and I couldn't find Melly (the outside pup) anywhere. I started looking for her because I know her siblings and mother had previously disappeared on us and I wanted to avoid anymore loss (of any kind) right now. When I found her, I couldn't resist taking a photo.

She was all cuddled up with our kitten, Campbell. A testament to how cold it was in South Georgia Tuesday morning.

Go see what the rest of the class are up to over at Mel's.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All the Messy Details

For those who participated in ICLW last week, I'm very sorry. I completely flaked out on it, but I will make it up next month! Its been a very complicated, messy week and I still feel very down about the whole thing. We've now made a decision, so I feel I should share the details.

On Saturday, November 21, The Hubs and I went out to the movies and a meal for my birthday and our anniversary. We had just left the cinema from seeing New Moon and were headed to the restaurant when my phone rang. I saw that the call was from C, so I answered to see what was wrong. She asked what we were doing and I told her, then she started to cry. She explained that they (she and her BF and 2 kiddies) had lost the camper they were living in due to the police claiming it. Apparently the BF had purchased it a couple of years previously from somone who had actually stolen it from his own father. Therefore, it was considered theft by receipt. She went on to explain that her mother had call the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and they had removed the children from her home and placed them with relatives. Her BF had then told her he had a place to stay and didn't know what she was going to do, but she was on her own. She said he left her with no money and no where to stay except with her mother. Her mother was not allowing her to eat anything or use anything without paying for it.

Naturally, The Hubs and I were seriously concerned and cut our evening short to make the 45 minute trip back home and see what we could sort out for her. She had asked for $30 to get the things she needed. Perhaps its a bad trait in me, but I'm wary of giving people cash, so I told her we would come get her and take her to get anything she needed. I also said we would try to do what we could to help her find somewhere else to stay seeing as her mother and her mother's BF are involved with drugs.

When we got to the house to pick her up, she was in her pyjamas. She got in the car with us and we rode around and talked for a bit. She asked if we could come the next day to get her and procure the things she needed. We said that would be fine and, against my better judgement, we gave her $15 cash so she could eat at her mom's home. After she had calmed down some and we had reassured her we would be there to help her out, we returned her to her mother's home (which I was not happy with, but she insisted it would be okay) and we went home.

The next morning, we called her to tell her we were on our way to get her. She didn't answer when we called, so we proceeded to start on our way to get her. We figured we could wait if she needed to get ready. About 10 minutes after our original call (when we were nearly to her mom's home) she called us back, stated that her BF had come back and they had gone to get the things she needed and they didn't need anything right then. She would call me if anything changed. So The Hubs and I turned around and went back home.

The next morning, I was at work when I received a phone call from the doctor C had asked to change to. I work for a hospital system with an OB/BYN employed there. C had told me she was not happy with the doctor she was using, so we filled out paperwork to have her records moved to the doctor at the hospital where I work. On the Monday, the call came through and I was told that the doctor's office had received a call from C's original doctor stating C was not changing doctors, did not want to change doctors and had never wanted to change doctors! I was completely confused because I had not pushed her to change, that was her decision. I was also told that C had been admitted to the hospital on Friday and stayed overnight to Saturday. The same Saturday she saw us and "forgot" to tell us she had been in the hospital! So I attempted to call C. She did not answer the phone. I tried 3 different times and each time it rang and went to voicemail. When I tried again a 4th and successive times, it did not ring at all, but went straight to voicemail. I was very upset and fearful that she had just turned the phone off to avoid my calls. The Hubs tried to calm me by stating that perhaps the phone had gone dead and I managed to keep my panic to a minimum.

Since I was unable to reach her and I really needed to know what was going on, I left work early and The Hubs and I went out to see her. When we arrived, she claimed she had just gotten back from DFCS seeing what she would need to do to get her children back. She explained to us that, when she first found out she was pregnant, she had been taking oxycodone pills and that she had since been seeing a psychiatrist to prescribe inhibitors to help her curb her addiction while pregnant. She stated that DFCS said this was not good enough and they would be sending her to rehab. She stated that because of this, they said the baby would not be allowed to be adopted upon birth and would have to go into a family placement with the other children. She also stated that the police were involved because of the theft charge against her BF. When questioned about her change of mind on changing doctors, she told us the DFCS would not allow her to change doctors. She did say, however, that she still wanted me to attend her doctor appointment on Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) with her and that the appointment was at 3:30pm.

As I've stated before, my family kept foster children when I was growing up and I was previously employed by DFCS myself, so her statement that they would prevent the adoption did not ring true with me. After our visit with her, The Hubs and I decided to visit DFCS ourselves, not to get details of her case, but to find out our own status and what we would need to do to become the foster parents and move forward with adoption. This visit led to the interesting news that DFCS were not involved with the baby yet to be born and that our adoption could proceed as planned. C had not been told there would be a problem with the adoption. We thought perhaps she had misunderstood, however, we were also informed that DFCS had not told C she could not change doctors. In fact, they were all for us adopting the child and saving them the work of placing the baby after birth. For, it turns out, C will be going off to rehab for something like 2 years!

From an independent source (DFCS could not give us this information due to privacy issues, however they told us there were several things we needed to know before proceeding with the adoption), we learned that on the Friday she was admitted to the hospital, C's BF and her mother's BF had been fighting and neighbors had called the police. When the police arrived, C had been found in their camper home passed out with a needle in her arm. She had been shooting up!

We were very upset over this news, as you can imagine! Neither of us knew what to think. C had lied to us repeatedly and now she was not returning our calls. And when we have gone to try to see her, her mother says she's not there anymore and she doesn't know where she is.

I tried to reach her to confirm the time for the doctor's appointment, but she wouldn't answer my calls or return them. Therefore, I contacted the doctor's office to confirm the appointment time. I was told the appointment was not at 3:30pm but was, instead, at 1:15pm! Again, C did not answer my calls when I attempted to contact her. (By the way, the phone is one The Hubs and I purchased for her to use. Fortunately, we only got a pay as you go phone.)

The Hubs and I decided to go to the doctor's office and wait to see if she turned up. We waited for an hour for the first appointment. No C. We thought she had, perhaps, actually thought the appointment time was 3:30, so we came back and waited another hour then. No C. And she still was not answering any calls.

At this point in time, The Hubs and I decided we needed to let go of this dream. For that's all it ever was. We have contacted DFCS again and told them we are still interested in the adoption if it comes to it on their end, but for now we have decided not to even attempt to go any further.

The Hubs has requested we try again on our own, which is our current path. I still feel numb about the whole experience.