Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Frightening Halloween Story

I don't usually share things about our farm on this blog, I save those stories for our farm blog. But today things are weighing so heavily on my heart that I need to vent it here, where I hold nothing back and completely put myself out there. Sorry if anyone is bored by goat talk. Here are a few things you need to know. There are lots of different kinds of goats, some for milk and some for meat. We have both. The dairy goats are typically dehorned as babies while meat goats keep their horns. I'm not exactly sure why. Some people dehorn the babies themselves (we have the vet do it). We recently got a 9 month old male dairy goat (named Sunny). The farmer had tried to dehorn him and did a poor job so on one side he had a small nub and on the other about a 1-2 inch horn. This is where the my Halloween Horror Story begins.......

We have a set of triplets about 3 weeks old. So far the mother has had enough milk for them but as they get older and demand more we sometimes need to supplement them with a bottle to make sure they get enough to eat. Yesterday late afternoon DH said he thought one was not getting enough and starting to to starve. It was late and I was tired so I decided I would feed it in the morning. It got to be about 9:30 and I started to feel such a prodding to go out and take care of this baby goat that I got all bundled up and went out in the cold with my little jar of warm goat milk. I got to the barn and was rummaging through the cabinet looking for the bottle. I heard Sunny grunting and flirting with the meat goats he is supposed to be breeding since our meat goat male died a few weeks ago. I just glanced over in the direction of their pen. I saw one goat whose head was all red. I thought that's peculiar but they do rub on the red tin outside the barn sometimes. Then I noticed red on the white bodies of some of the other goats and I realized it was blood. Now thank goodness I'm a farm girl and not squemish about blood cause it was about to get worse. Then I saw Sunny.......he was not just red with blood but was literally sopping wet with it. I began to feel panic set in, not because of so much blood but because I knew something really bad must be wrong to have that much blood everywhere. Sunny was standing around acting like he was totally fine so I felt somewhat calmer. Then he started butting heads with the one whose head was red and I put the puzzle together. He had broke off his little 2 inch horn by fighting with this other goat. I immediately pulled him into his own pen and called DH (who was out late harvesting). DH was not all that concerned even though I stressed there was A LOT of blood. When he finally came to check out the situation he was suprised to find that I was not being overly dramatic or exaggerating the immense about of blood everywhere. It appeared the bleeding had slowed to a trickle but we applied bloodstop powder anyway. This morning he was still acting normal and strong, although it did look like there was a little bit of fresh blood. The vet said as long as its not bleeding heavily and he acts normal we can just observe and give him antibiotics. There is no way this little goat will let us touch his wound or clean him up. But he looks just horrible with his blood caked head and neck. I don't even want to go out to the barn and see him. Its so disturbing. I don't know a lot about horns but I know there is live tissue inside them and they grow out of the skull. Not like antlers which fall off deer and such animals as part of natures process. We assume this horn was weak because of the poor dehorning job the other farmer did. I just can't get the images of this bloodied little goat out of my head. Talk about a Halloween bloody horror show. I hate Halloween and I hate horror movies. I will be so glad when this wretched "holiday" is over.

In addition to that horrible event last night, this morning we went to find the mother of the triplets dead. DH says it was probably something she ate that made her sick since she had no signs of being sick yesterday. Now we have three little orphaned goats that are all being bottle fed. Some days I hate being a farmer's wife. Farming is not a job its a life. You don't just leave your work after 8 hours. Especially for me because I fall in love and get attached to all our animals. I hate to see them suffer, orphaned and caked with blood. I barely slept last night and am feeling lousy with a head ache today. Sometimes I think I should just forget it all and sell stamps the rest of my life. It requires very little thinking and very little personal responsiblity. Its easy and at the end of the day I go home and forget about it.

I now realize that the reason I went out to the barn at 10:00 last night was not because the baby goat needed fed but because God was prompting me to go check on things. The fact is that Sunny would have probably fought with this other goat all night and been dead by morning. So first I thanked God for prompting me to go out the barn and save Sunny from himself. But then I thought, why would God bother prompting me to go out there and stop it when He could have saved us both the trouble and just made it never happen in the first place. And why follow that horrible event with a dead mama goat this morning? Are we being tested? After all DH has been reading his bible a lot and really growing his relationship with God, I'm sure Satan is not happy about that. God did let Satan test Peter and "sift him like wheat", does He still do that to us today? Or are we doing something wrong that He's trying to get our attention? I am feeling really battered and beaten today. Seems that our farm is cursed with troubles the past month. But I know this is only a season and God has not abandoned us. I don't know why all this is happening but He is with us even when life is difficult. At the end of the day it is still just an animal and I can be thankful that my family and friends are still healthy and safe. Despite all the hardships we've had with our animals this year the Lord has blessed our farm with good profits and our personal lives with many special blessings as well. I much prefer Thanksgiving over Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week 5 Weight Loss Update

Its week 5 of my 10 week diet and exercise challenge. I lost 7 pounds the first three weeks. Week 4 plateau and still sitting on there at the end of week 5. Its so so hard not to quit when the scale stops moving. 7 pounds was a lot for the first three weeks so I'm not surprised to have already hit a plateau. In order to break it I'm trying to lift weights more and run more intervals this week. I also read that it sometimes works to stop dieting for a week to let your body adjust and reset its metabolism. That's a tempting idea, fall off the wagon on purpose for a week? Alright that's my kind of diet! Unfortunately I don't dare try that technique because I know the wagon will keep rolling on without me and I'll never get back on! So I'm trying to focus on the fact that I feel better, my clothes fit better and I'll just keep eating right and exercising. One day last week DH and I went out and I ate a cheeseburger and curly fries. Mmmm, it was so tasty but I knew I would suffer for it. I did fit it into my calorie goal by doing more exercise that day but I was miserable. My digestive system was upset for the f0llowing day and a half. I sometimes think I have IBS because I feel totally fine when I eat healthy but when I eat a lot of fats and sugars (or when I'm nervous), I'm always running to the bathroom. Just another reason for me to eat right. So I don't know why I convince myself that I'm deprived of something by eating healthy food, obviously my body much prefers it. Even though the scale seems to be stuck, I'm really trying hard to keep going for another 5 weeks.

In fertility news.....we are not sure if we will get to do our December IUI. Right now the timing of it would fall on Christmas day and I'm not sure this new doctor would be okay with that. If it falls even a few days before Christmas I will be too busy working so everyone else gets their holiday time. However, IF I can convince my body to ovulate early the next two cycles I can move our December timing up about 4 days and it would work out perfect. Do you think I can mentally convince my ovaries to ovulate two days early? Its not asking that much, sometimes they ovulate on day 12 all by themselves. If only they will do so the next two cycles. One other thing I'm a little concerned about is this wedding we are going to be going to a week before our IUI in December. These are close friends so we've been planning with them for two years to drink heavily and party all night. My first concern is the combo of alcohol and clomid. Is that a bad combination? My second concern is DH's sperm. I know drinking can affect that but is one night really going to hurt? If necessary we will most likely be scaling down our drinking to just a few. We don't have to be drunk to have a good time. Our friends might be disappointed in us but after waiting two years for another treatment cycle, I'd hate to mess it up because of one night where we had a few too many drinks. That would be a huge waste of our money. We have also thought about skipping December and doing IUI cycles in January and February instead. We know DH has high counts from the end of Dec. through the end of Jan. but we've never tested in February or March and we know by April his counts suck again. Of course I'm hoping it will only take one IUI but if it doesn't we might be doing a second the end of February and his counts could totally crash by then. We will have to wait and see how the timing works out as it gets closer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hope - Remedy Drive


Last night I had a wonderful dream. In my dream I was peeing on sticks and they were coming up positive. But the best part was how I felt, how happy and full of praise for God I was. I woke up feeling so peaceful and hopeful for starting treatment cycles again. When we got our only positive pregnancy test ever after IVF, I wasn't as joyful as I always thought I'd be. Even before the low betas starting coming back. Its like I expected it to happen because I thought we deserved to get pregnant after IVF. But this time I really think it would be different. We have changed so much in the two years since our miscarriage. I think that this time I could truly praise the Lord with a thankful heart and rejoice in the miracle. I don't know why I didn't feel that way two years ago. I guess its hard to praise God for something you feel entitled to and like its about time He gives it to you. Here's a song by Remedy Drive that I love. Its called Hope.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lessons From The Dog

This is Missy. She is my baby. I once heard Ken Davis on the radio talking about the difference between cats and dogs and how we should be more like dogs. This is how he says they think:

Cat: "Wow, you feed me, house me, love me, give me treats, spoil me.......I must be a god."
Dog: "Wow, you feed me, house me, love me, give me treats, spoil me......YOU must be a god."

Get the connection? We should all be more like dogs and recognize that what we have comes from our God because He is God, not because we are. Another difference is that cats do what they want, come to you if they want to and make up their own minds about things. Dogs are so loyal and obedient (at least the good ones are). How many people do you know that are like cats and only come to God on their terms, not His? I know several. In fact this weekend I was talking to someone from our church who goes to bible study and church every Sunday. He has for as long as I can remember. In fact he used to be my Sunday school teacher. He was saying terribly mean things about other people in our church and then started giving me work advice about how I really need to look out for myself and do I what I need to to get ahead. And I realized then that he might be one of those people that go to church all the time but doesn't really get it. It bothered me a lot that he was saying mean things about others even though I don't like these other people either. Then I wondered what have I become? When did it start upsetting me when someone I don't like says mean things about other people I don't like? And when did it start bothering me when someone says I need to look out for myself? That used to be me, I used to talk behind people's backs and put myself first. Suddenly I realized that's not me anymore. I don't care about looking out for myself because career advancement and money means nothing to me. God has guided me to exactly this spot in my career and I'm happy here. When its time for me to move on or ahead I'm 100% sure God will handle the details and make it happen. As for bad mouthing people, I think that started with my SIL. We have a friend who just hates her and calls sometimes only asking what the latest gossip is so he can say mean things about her. I used to fall right into that trap. Now I find it annoying and always tell him nothing is new with her because I don't want to give him any fuel for his mean remarks. I still don't agree with my SIL or like her all the time but I hate to hear people say mean things about her. No one deserves to be slandered, even if I don't like them. We are all just a bunch of sorry pitiful sinners doing the best we can to walk this rocky path in life. Some have Jesus as their guide, some only follow Him on Sundays and some are so lost they don't even realize He's right in front of them or calling them to a better path.

I have often thought about the dog and how my relationship with God should be more like that with Missy. I praise her and love her all the time, even when she doesn't do what I want her to. I will just sit down next to her and say "your such a good girl, your the best pup in the whole world, I love you so much." It just comes so natural. I don't praise God that way but maybe I should. Also I've thought about how happy she always is to see me and DH. When I come home from anywhere, even if I was only gone 5 minutes, she will jump around with her tail wagging and barking for joy that I'm home. If we only greeted other people that way, especially our spouses, what a difference it would make. Missy is always so happy to just to be with me, even if we are sitting outside reading a book, relaxing on the couch, going for a walk or ride in the car, it doesn't matter what as long as she's with me or DH she's happy to go where ever we take her. Perhaps I should focus more on rejoicing that I'm with God and just be happy to go where ever He takes me, trusting that He will protect me and provide what I need when I need it.

If you have a dog, spend a few minutes thinking about him/her and see if you find any ways that God could be trying teach you a little life lesson.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Today I went to a funeral, not someone I was that close to so I didn't really find it personally emotional. Although it always pains me to see family cry. We were sitting around afterward with the close family and I was listening to a conversation at our table. I wasn't participating since I don't know these people that well but they were talking about grief and how each day the tears get fewer and further between. Funny thing.....when a former co-worker asked me about getting over her miscarriage I said the exact same thing. In fact everything they said about grieving was exactly what I have thought/said in the past dealing with infertility. So why is it that when we have a miscarriage we quietly suffer through our grief when we feel the same as those at a funeral? The only people that know about our miscarriage is close family and friends but we NEVER talk about it. DH and I rarely talk about it anymore. For some reason everyone just pretends it didn't happen. But it did happen and I will forever grieve the loss in my heart. Even if the tears are fewer and further between. Years ago when we first started down this road, when I would see people online who have been trying for two years, I thought "wow that's a long time, I can't imagine the pain or how I would ever survive infertility that long". Now at four years, I look at those on HP who have been primarily infertile for 7-10 years and I think wow that's a long time. But I think it actually gets easier as time goes by. I think that those who have been dealing with it for 7 years are actually in less pain than those who are only at the two year mark. Obviously I can't speak for everyone but my pain has lessened with time. God has shown us so much to be thankful for and He has torn down our false idols (money, pregnancy, parenthood). However, I can't forget that this Saturday my baby would have been turning 1 year old. I haven't mentioned it to DH because I don't want to remind him if he's forgotten. Better to let him forget. But I remember, I will always remember October 23 and the little life that should have been born that day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Post About My Niece

I just can't help it, she is the little girl I may never have and I just love her to pieces. I almost always hold her in church on Sundays and she always sleeps like a little angel. But when I hold her in church in makes people talk. It makes people say things "That baby looks so good in your arms maybe you should have one." Yep, maybe I should but its not my choice. Recently an older guy I've known my whole life and now work with (in fact I credit him for getting me my new job) made that comment to me at work one Monday after I held my niece in church the morning before. I already knew his daughter had gone through IVF for their first baby because our pastor told us when we met with him prior to our IVF. So I just told him that we can't have babies. It was a somewhat awkward conversation and it made me sorta angry that I had to have it. Not that I mind talking about it to people anymore, if my answer makes them uncomfortable then they should mind their own business. But sometimes I just get angry that I have to explain myself, that I have to explain why DH and I aren't parents when everyone sees we should be. Its been bothering me more and more as I start to think of myself less as an infertile and more as a whole and complete person the way I am. When infertility doesn't define who I am, it kinda makes me angry that I have to explain myself that way. He also said that his daughter did IVF for the first one and then the second one came along naturally. Am I the only one that hears that story all the time? I'm so sick of it! Sure it sounds like it should give me hope, it does seem that once God opens a womb once there are more to follow but seriously it doesn't make me feel better because mine is still locked up tight. That and "So and so wasn't suppose to have kids but they did". Things like that just don't make me feel better anymore. I feel like DH and I have been through it all and tried everything and if after four years, if we were going to get a miracle it would have happened by now. But on the other hand I feel sure in my heart that God is going to give us our own baby someday and I just need to keep being patient.

Last night I got to babysit again while my SIL took my nephew to a children's fair. This time she was happy and she's three months now so she's starting to respond to people with faces, smiles and noises. So precious! When my SIL came home she was complaining how my nephew still had a couple hours before bed and she couldn't wait. Of course he's two now so he's a handful. But I was thinking about how as an infertile we sometimes tend to glorify parenthood. Not that it isn't a wonderful experience but I think we focus so hard on achieving what we can't have that we tend to only think about what we're missing out on, like the smiles and laughter, the hugs and kisses, you know the good stuff. What about the diaper explosions, spit up, crabby kids, sleepless nights, and endless worrying about their safety and future? So while I still deeply long to be a mother, I think its important to look at it realistically and not glorify it as all good times when its not. Though I do still believe that infertiles appreciate the bad times more than those who don't spend years and thousands of dollars to achieve parenthood.

I've mentioned before our friends who are getting married in December. Well these friends don't make a healthy couple but it seems they are getting married because they are nearing age 30 and worried they won't find anyone else. I wonder if marriage is sometimes glorified the same way as parenthood. While marriage is rewarding, its certainly not all good times. DH and I have had some downright awful times together. Its not always easy and its not always fun. But when your not married and everyone around you is, I wonder if the same feelings kind of come to the surface. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? I just think that I'm so blessed to have God in charge of my life because if I made all my own choices and got whatever I wanted exactly when I wanted it, I'd surely have messed up my life pretty bad by now.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Some Days I'm Stupid

I just don't know why sometimes I do things that I know I shouldn't. Today is one of those days. I just can't wait to go to bed and wake up tomorrow so that I can start over. I've had a bad cold this week so while I've stuck to my calorie range and gotten the minimum 30 minutes a day of exercise this week, I've felt lousy. I decided today was a free day, a day where I wouldn't count calories or exercise. A day to rest and feel better. Well I feel worse and here's why....I made a lot of dumb choices today. Puppy chow and a glass a milk for breakfast? Dumb choice #1. Mindlessly surfing the net for 2 hours after work this morning - dumb choice #2. Eating a huge plate of nachos left over from taco night a few days ago - #3. Afternoon nap followed by 1.5 hours of TV- that's #4. At this point its about 3pm and I was feeling like garbage and like I wasted the day away so I went out to the farm to take care of my chickens and then took the dog for a short walk. I harvested my 8 pumpkins and pulled up the dead vines. Finally I accomplished something. I came back inside, ate a piece of left over cake from my parents anniversary this week and went back to mindlessly surfing the web. I visited the nest/bump. I haven't been there in almost a year, ever since all my infertile friends moved on to endless IVF treatments and eventually all got pregnant. This is huge mistake #5. Sure it was nice to see they all had toddlers by now but it was just a painful reminder that they moved on and I didn't. And worse yet, my baby is suppose to be 1 year old this month. Hello pity party! I knew it would make me sad to visit all my old buddies on the nest but I did it anyway. I knew eating garbage food and being lazy today would make me feel terrible but I did it anyway. WHY?! Why must I do things I know will not make me feel good and will not make me happy. I totally need to make better decisions. *sigh* I feel bloated and PMSy but AF is still a whole week away. Oh well, tomorrow I will wake up and make it a better day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A New Look

This morning in bible study our Pastor was discussing how you don't get to see rainbows unless you endure the storm. That really stuck with me and I thought it would fit in well with my new blog design and title. Doesn't a rainbow just make you feel a little lighter and brighter inside? It does me. At first I suggested Finding Joy in The Storm as the title but I just haven't been feeling it. I think the word finding didn't sit right with me. So I looked up other words I could use in its place. Ironically "conceiving" was listed as a synonym for "finding". I settled on "discovering" because like faith I believe its something we all have. Its not lost, we don't need to find it or search for it, in fact many times its staring us right in the face. We just need to look with a different perspective and we'll discover what's been there all along. I found a psalm about the storm and hesitated about the end where he brings to our desired haven. Do I leave that part out since I'm not yet at my desired haven of motherhood? Or do I add it anyway as a promise that someday I will be there? I'm going with the promise.

Speaking of looking with a new perspective, this morning in church I was holding my sleeping niece again, which I often do in church and of course she was adorable and precious as always. And I thought "Thank you Lord for sharing this little one with me, even if I can't have my own, at least I can open my heart for this one." I have to confess that for years having a baby seemed like an side effect in a way. I have been so obsessed with getting pregnant and being pregnant that actually having a baby doesn't seem like part of the plan. Recently its been different I think its because of my niece and my hope for future treatment cycles. The longing and passion feels deeper now. Its not just wanting something because I can't have it or getting pregnant just to prove I can do it. Its about love. That's it, just pure simple unconditional love that I can hold in my arms and kiss goodnight. I don't need attention, I don't need everyone to fuss and tell me how adorable or well behaved my baby is. I don't need anyone to say congrats or be proud of me or my baby. In fact if I had a baby my hubby would be lucky if I'd even share the baby with him -partially joking there :) When I used to think about my life with a baby it seemed so far off and like a fantasy that would never happen. These days it feels real. It feels like it did when we were just about to start TTC and like we would be getting good news next month and would soon be making nursery plans - minus the naivety of what it means to TTC and be parents. Where is this coming from you ask? Beats me. Probably a little bit from our upcoming treatment cycle with a new doctor. But part of me just feels like our miracle is coming soon. Its not even just good old hope, its faith -being sure of things not seen. Its scary to say that I'm so sure God is going to give us a miracle soon. I may be proved a fool when I'm sitting here next spring after more failed treatments crying my eyes out. But I can't deny what I feel now and that's the beauty of blogging for strangers. You can judge me a fool in a few months when I'm wrong and I'll never have to know or feel bad about it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week One Summary

Week one of my diet is complete and I managed to stay on track. I know I know a whole week big deal.....but it really is a big deal. Here's a summary of how it went.

Exercise: I logged 22.5 miles, mostly walking but with a little jogging mixed in. I know this seems like a lot but it mostly came from a 2 mile walk with the dog each morning and 30 minutes at the gym after work. In addition to that I put in 90 minutes on the elliptical trainer and 45 minutes strength training. I try to work out 5 days a week and take it easy with maybe only a short walk on the weekends.

Diet: I stayed in my calorie range of 1500-1850 every day this week except Friday night when I went 100 calories over my limit due to a spluge on 2 slices of stuffed crust pizza. Very much needed and I'd say well deserved. I met my calorie differential of 7000 and the scale showed a negative two pounds this week. It did require an extra walk on Saturday because of another splurge on puppy chow. I stayed within my calorie range but 1 cup of puppy chow has about 400 calories so I sacrificed more of the healthy stuff. Not a good idea but once and while can't hurt. I'm always amazed at how eating less actually gives me more energy. I'm sure its because I don't want to waste calories on junk that leaves me hungry so even though I eat less, I'm getting much better quality. I've also managed to get the minimum water intake of 8 cups per day. They say you should get have your weight in ounces so for me that would be about 12 cups. I'm working up to that. Drinking a lot of water takes some getting used to.

For the next week I'm setting two new goals. One is to take my multivitamin every day. I hate swallowing pills and often completely forget about it. My second goal is to spend more time reading my bible. I confess I'm terrible at that. This year in our bible study we are covering the last half of the old testament starting with Kings. We skip around and paraphrase a lot so I'm making my goal each week to keep up by reading what we skip. I'm already two weeks and about 20 chapters behind so I've got some work to do this week.

I'm hoping to stick with my weight loss plan because it is not a never ending plan. I like to think of it as short term. Lose 20 pounds in ten weeks, then maintain for 4-8 weeks while we do one or two IUI cycles. Then in February, (if I'm not pg), start with a new weight loss goal of that last 10 lbs. So this is not a long term indefinite plan, I'm 1/10th of the way there and only have 9 weeks to go. That doesn't sound so impossible, right? I can totally do this. By the way I read this great blog post about the myth of motivation. Check it out here.