Rollercoasters and boardwalks

January 28, 2012 at 10:22 am (Intro)

I had the pleasure of living about 10 minutes away from Santa Cruz for 3 years, and whenever anybody heard that I lived near there, one of the first questions that I would get was “Do you go to the Boardwalk?” Everybody knows about the iconic Santa Cruz Boardwalk. They can envision the smell of carnival foods, hear the midway noises of bells ringing and barkers calling; but most of all, they can see the Giant Dipper, the large red rollercoaster that is the most recognizable symbol of the boardwalk. 

The thing about having a tourist attraction down the road from you is that you forget to go.  I went to the boardwalk maybe twice a year, at the most, and it wasn’t to sun on the beach or to ride the rides, usually it was to just go mini-golfing. But when I could find a friend who wanted to go to the carnival part of the boardwalk, I’d normally try to get them to ride the Big Dipper with me.  See, I used to really like roller coasters, not the huge, screaming metal, spin you upside down a dozen times, roller coasters that left you feeling like you’d left your stomache 10 spins back, but I enjoyed ones that twisted you this way and that, jerking you first one way and then the other, toss in a few slow creaky climbs, and at least two steep plummets.  But I’m not such a fan anymore.

My everyday life has turned into enough of a roller coaster that I am not really tempted to voluntarily ride the big ones anymore.  Each and every month I find my mind and body conspiring to twist me around, leaving me hopeful, and then dashed as I watch my temperatures make a slow creaky climb and then steeply plummet, as I feel symptoms that I recognize from last June when I got the second line, but then a heart-breaking return to reality when there are not lines for this month. 

If you ask anybody who is trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully, you’ll find that many feel the same way.  The slowly rising feelings of hope and excitement that you tell yourself not the get too excited about, saying that it’s too early to know, too soon to tell, can’t test quite yet, and then when you realize that it still isn’t your turn, the swift and painful fall back to reality when your period returns or your temperatures drop back lower and lower, coming to rest when they started, ready for the next go round; it’s an emotional roller coaster that is suffered mostly alone, or with just one or two around you.

At a theme park you can see somebody with their hair mussed, clothes a bit disheveled, walking not quite straight, and you can smile and ask how the roller coaster was, but for those who are TTC, it’s all internal. Nobody can really see the quick calculations you make when your thermometer beeps at 6:30 a.m., or feel the analysis you make of each symptom your body produces every day in your cycle. It’s an inside battle. 

I am fortunate enough to have a supportive husband who is a very active partner in the TTC process. (insert chuckles here) More than just that part though, he wakes up every morning with me, hands me the thermometer, and records our data.  He doesn’t always understand what it means, but he knows enough to see the patterns, to be hopeful, to make jokes about it with me, and when we see the drop that means another month of no luck, he’s wise enough to hug me and say he loves me and there’s always next month.  He knows without saying that I don’t really want to talk about it, just to be held.  I’m so very blessed to have him.  He doesn’t like roller coasters either, never has actually.

I was asked by a close friend about why I write all of this down, what’s the point.  And the only answer that I had was that it’s a way for me to process everything, and to maybe help somebody else.  With the exception of one share on facebook a year ago and one friend in real life who reads this, my blog is absolutely anonymous.  Hubs and I talked before I started writing personal stuff and although he’s relatively private, he agreed with this as long as it was fairly anonymous, and I can accept that. So to the dear, wide world out there, I saw thank you for listening and enjoy the ride of life.

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Local history in the media.

January 28, 2012 at 12:25 am (Intro)

Hubs has been really interested in a new series called Alcatraz and he finally got me sucked in.  It interesting because we live in the Bay Area and actually recognize some of the places.  The last episode took place in Walnut Creek, only a few miles from where we live, and while I doubt it was filmed there, seeing local road names and whatnot on a national show was pretty cool.  This show is pretty sci-fi though, not a genre that either of us normally like, but I am guessing that we’ll be watching this one for at least a few seasons.  What else will we be doing? Well, I am also guessing that we are going to be going to Alcatraz! I enjoy history, especially local history, and have a feeling we’ll learn a lot when we go.

There are other places that I’d like to check out, including Mt Diablo, Mt Madonna, pretty much all of Marin county, and others.

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Date in a Box…

January 20, 2012 at 12:07 am (Intro) (, , )

For Valentine’s Day, Hubs and I are going to trade presents and I finally figured out what I am going to get him…Date in a Box!

Allow me to explain: I am going to preplan 4-5 dates and put all of the information in separate envelopes.  On the outside the envelope might say “$30, evening, includes dinner” and inside might include a gift certificate for a local burger place and the money needed to buy our tickets for the drive-in.  The outside of the envelope will only identify the monetary value and the appropriate time of day, but inside will be all planned out!  I’ve figured out a few ideas so far, but need some help, so give me your ideas down below!

#1 $40, evening, 3-4 hours – two movie tickets and $25 for pizza across the street from the theater

#2 $20, daytime, includes meal – bowling and lunch/dinner at a place nearby

#3 $10, daytime – Park at a large local park, walk over to get gelato

#4 $25, evening – Drive in theater, money for snacks at concession stand

What else should I do? I’d also love to include some ideas for something a little more…..personal.

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Bye Bye Babe!

January 14, 2012 at 11:11 am (Intro)

When Hubs and I had been married for about 6 months, we ended up living in different cities part-time.  His job was in San Jose while mine was based out of Richmond. Because his parents lived about 5 minutes away from his job in San Jose, Hubs lived with his parents part of the week, with me the rest.  It was not easy, but we made it work.  One of the hardest parts was watching him back up clothes and stuff on a Sunday afternoon, knowing that he was leaving soon and that I wouldn’t see him until Tuesday evening. The feeling of seeing him load his car and grab his keys before kissing me good-bye for a few days stunk, especially because I knew that when he did come home, it would only be for a night and then he’d be gone again.

This is on my mind right now because Hubs just left to go spend the day with friends in San Jose and the night with his parents. Then he’s off to church at a friend’s new church (first Sunday, yay!) up the Peninsula, back to his parents, and finally home tomorrow night.  When I was supposed to be at work from 10:30-7 today, this plan didn’t bother me, but my boss noticed that I’ll be working overtime all day Sunday, and decided I should have today off so she doesn’t have to pay me more. Hubs and I talked about me going with him, but I have to work tomorrow and don’t want to drive to San Jose and back today, even though it’s only about an hour, so I’m on my own. And watching him walk down the hall with his stuff brought back those feelings from when we lived apart.  I know I’m being silly, but I already miss the big goof-ball and he’s only been gone about 15 minutes.  I guess that’s when you know it’s love.

Off to quickly scheduled girl time!

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Sometimes when …

January 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm (Intro) (, , )

Sometimes when life is getting me down, I make lists. I am especially fond of to-do lists, and may or may not include teeny-tiny things that I’ve already finished in order to cross something off of the list.  I was reading a fun new blog today that made a list of 5 things she loved and 5 things she hated about where she currently lived (Albania).  I thought that might be a fun thing for me to try, but small scale.

3 things I hate about the Bay Area:

1. Traffic is horrible.  It seems like going anywhere from 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. is too ridiculous to even contemplate.  My normal commute of 25-30 minutes can grow to well over an hour.

2. Life is expensive. My mom rents a 2 bedroom house in Chico for the same as what we pay for a relatively small 1 bedroom apartment. 😦  Gas, groceries, entertainment, all is more expensive here.

3. Pollution is pretty bad here. Yes, we do get fabulous sunsets because of it, but the air quality can be stinky.

3 things I love about the Bay Area:

1. Public transportation can take you almost anywhere.  There is a train station that is a 5 minute drive from my house (but parking can be tricky) and by work, there is a station that is only a 7 minute walk away.

2. Choice! Yes, life is more expensive here, but we have so many choices for what to eat, where to go, what to do, it can be hard to decide.

3. Everything is central to here.  My mom is three hours north, his family is an hour to the South.  Nevada is a 3.5 hour drive away (we totally went once!). LA is only 6 hours south of here.  In a matter of hours, we can go practically anywhere, including west into the ocean.

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Diabetically pregnant, pregnantly diabetic? What does it all mean?

January 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm (Intro) (, , )

As many of you know, just over a year ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  This has meant some changes for my husband and I, and when we get pregnant it will mean more changes, as we know from our miscarriage earlier this year. 

I found out after a high A1C blood test that gauges your long term blood sugar level and based on several conversations with my doctor, it boils down to a few simple things: eat less sugar and carbs, be more active, and lose some weight. Of course, if I do the first two, the third should automatically happen.  I previously handled the diabetes with just diet and exercise, but then we got pregnant. The very first appointment that I had after getting pregnant was to meet with a nurse to discuss blood sugars and eating plans.  Within a week or two I was put on metformin, a drug that helps your body handle sugar but is also used for women who are having a hard time getting pregnant.  About a week and a half after that I was put on insulin, twice a day.  Each meeting (twice a week) resulted in an upped insulin dosage, which started to make me feel a bit depressed because my body ought to be able to handle this (common feelings).  After we lost the baby the nurse showed me how to adjust my insulin to whatever my body needed and my doctor gave me the go ahead to take the amount of insulin I needed each day.

If a diabetic gets pregnant, the likelihood of a birth defect is four times higher than for a non-diabetic, and there are several possible issues for her baby.  Sugar can cross the placenta, but insulin cannot.  To keep a baby healthy, the mom needs to keep her blood sugars low so that the baby’s aren’t too high.  Diabetic women are more likely to miscarry or have a stillbirth, and babies of diabetics can grow very large, be susceptible to high birth weights, early births, or have heart or neural defects.  It’s not a pretty picture.  A woman who has well controlled diabetes has the same risks as a non-diabetic, so you can see where the importance comes in.

Why am I focusing on this now? Well, I haven’t been taking very good care of my diabetes since we lost our Ducky.  This has meant not checking my sugar as often or taking my meds. Now that we are getting serious about trying again (and not having a ton of luck), I have got to get back into the habit of taking care of myself.  This means going back to checking my blood sugar every morning, taking insulin every night before bed and in the morning, and making wiser food choices. Oh, and taking walks more often.  The best gift that I could possibly give a future child is the healthiest possible me and my husband fully supports that.

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Castles in the Cloud, or Napa Valley

January 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm (Intro)

For our second anniversary (and first) we went wine tasting at a beautiful castle in the Napa Valley, specifically by Calistoga.  It’s called the Castello di Amorosa and is absolutely stunning.  Don’t trust my words though, check out the pics in the slideshow down below. 🙂

Castle from the parking lot

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Other half, better half, it’s all the same

January 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm (Intro)

I know I’ve talked about adding a new member to our family a lot lately, but I want to focus on my husband for a few.

Hubs at Christmas in the Park, ice skating under the palms

Hubs is a wonderful man who blessed me 3 1/2 years ago when he asked me to share his life.  Even though he is a little younger than me, he is incredibly wise and mature (most of the time).  To provide for his family, he is often out the door by 7 a.m. and not home until nearly 6 p.m.  He is an active partner is charting as a form of family planning, and he tries to never tell me no (not that I’m spoiled, promise).  He gives up his weekends to help with women’s ministry events if I am unable to attend, and is always beside me when I can go to various events.  If I say that something is important to me, he learns about it and makes it important to him.

Hubs, helping me make cupcakes after our cake decorating class

We met through theater during the fall of 2006 and acted together. We became much closer friends during the spring of 2007, and started dating April of 2007, right before I graduated. I moved to his hometown because I’d applied to do my Master’s work there before we’d started dating, and we got to spend the summer together.  That following fall he went back to the school we’d met at because he still needed to finish 3 semesters of schooling. Although we were only about 30 miles apart, we only got to see each other every 2-3 weeks.  He was involved in student leadership, played on the baseball team, was still doing theater, and was an honors student.  I was working full-time and was a full-time graduate student.

Because we were both so busy, it would have been easy to make our relationship less important, have it take a backseat to everything else, but we decided that we were too important to each other to do that.  We devised a plan of nightly phone calls (usually at least 45 minutes, often going to nearly 2 hours!), doing Bible study together over the phone, and visits as often as possible.  This meant sacrifices for both of us though.  My apartment had poor cellphone service, so I’d walk around outside or stand by the pool every night.  He travelled with the baseball team and got a lot of ribbing from his teammates.  Depending on our schedules, some calls wouldn’t start until 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. and he often had morning classes at 8 a.m. but had to be up earlier to work on sports conditioning.  But through it all, we decided it was worth it for us to invest the time. It wasn’t always easy, and on a one occassion in particular, we nearly walked away from it all, yet we kept it up.

Every relationship requires sacrifice, but here’s the interesting part: neither of us had ever dated anybody else before! He’d gone on 2 or 3 dates in high school, just times where he’d invited a girl to prom or winter formal, but that was it.  I hadn’t even done that.  Neither of us had ever held hands with a member of the opposite sex, no first kisses, nothing.  And so as we had to learn about having a relationship with each other, we also had to learn about how to be in a relationship. We had to learn the balance between significant other and friends, how to give in or stand your ground, how to compromise, how to communicate, and it wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.

Hubs going to dinner for his birthday

One of the things that was vitally important to us was to find a church we could attend together, and then to attend as often as possible.  We held each other accountable when we weren’t together.  We also had to determine physical and emotional boundaries.  We chose to abstain from sex until marriage, but had to determine what that meant was okay and wasn’t.  We had to make the conscious decision to invest in each other emotionally, financially (gas wasn’t cheap), physically (time, energy, and touch) and in every other possible way.  Because we decided that our relationship was important to us, we had to be willing to be devoted even if we couldn’t always be together.  It was hard work, but it was also incredibly rewarding.

One of the best parts of a new relationship is trying new things together. He took me to my first baseball game. I talked him into going ballroom dancing.  He helped me understand how to navigate the Bay Area; I showed him how fun it is to get lost.  He found parks for us to explore; I taught him how fun it is to stay out later than usual to spend time together.  Before me, he thought that 9:30 was a great bedtime, but while we were dating 11:30 and midnight became friends of his.  Relationships are about doing things together and for each other.

I am blessed to have a husband who is incredibly supportive and encourages me in all that we do. Our wedding vows included the oft-used “two shall cleave together” and “man shall leave his family” and we’ve taken those vows awfully seriously.”  I do not thing there is one thing that I would change about the relationship between the two of us.  Not long after we were engaged, I wrote on my myspace (anybody still remember those?) that he “isn’t perfect, but he’s the perfect man for me” and that is still true to this day.

Going out for New Year's Eve

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Waiting, and wishing, and wondering

January 3, 2012 at 12:46 am (Intro) (, )

From my last two posts, I’m sure you have gathered that I’m having some issues with this whole TTC thing.  The thing is, trying to have a baby is confusing…yes it can be very fun and exciting and sexy, but it can also be hard, confusing work.  Because my husband and I use charting as a means to track my fertility, it can mean information overload.  Every month I know when I ovulated, when we ought to be trying, when we are most likely to get it right, when my period should be here, when we should test, and all of this information can get to be too much, especially if you are getting two very different answers to one relatively straight-forward question: are we pregnant yet?

This month has been especially difficult to understand.  I ovulated on day 12 of my cycle, had plenty of warning it was about to happen.  This meant that on day 24 of my cycle, I should either have a dreaded monthly visitor or a positive test.  Today is day 30 of my cycle with neither a visitor or a set of double lines.  For several days I experienced several classic pregnancy symptoms, but then they started to dwindle.  Also, while I was dealing with signs, my temperatures were nice and high, but as the symptoms decreased, my temperatures started to fall.  I’ve experienced symptoms decreasing before, when I miscarried, and I can I tell you that it was not fun remembering all of that.

Today I called my doctor’s office, hoping to arrange for a simple blood test that would tell me whether or not there was any HCG (pregnancy hormone) evident in my body…pretty basic blood work.  Before they’ll order the blood work, they want me to talk to my doctor on the phone, so at some point tomorrow I get to explain everything to him and see what he thinks.

Here’s my fear: I underwent a miscarriagein August, and I know some of the symptoms, such as dropping temps, loss of symptoms, spotting, and cramps.  It is possible to explain away most of these as pregnancy or PMS symptoms, but not the dropping temperatures.  The hormone that your body secretes when you ovulate causes your temperatures to rise and if you are pregnant, your temperatures remain higher. If they drop below your coverline, it’s a huge indicator to expect some flow soon.  If my body is showing me all of these symptoms (and it is) I might be going through a chemical pregnancy. Essentially, it would mean that I was pregnant for a few days, and then wasn’t. It is basically a miscarriage within the first 6 weeks.  If I am pregnant, I would be 4 weeks and 2 days. If I am not pregnant, my period is randomly missing and this is weird.  Eh, it’s all weird anyways.

Trying to have a baby is terribly confusing, and while this is all fabulously personal information to be posting out on the internet, I hope that it provides help or encouragement to somebody who needs it, or at least reminds others going through these crazy struggles that they are not alone.  As with many who are dealing with fertility issues of any shape or form, I do find comfort in the word’s of the Psalms “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb” Psalms 139:13 (NLT).  We have a creator who is infinitely interested in us and our struggles.  He cares for us and collects our tears.  As I sit on the floor, listening to my husband snore in the other room, feeling an odd twinge/cramp in the lower right part of my torso, I can rest in the fact that I am not alone, I have a husband who cares so very much, and a Creator who is holding us in the palm of His hand.

P.S. You do NOT want to know how much I have spent of pregnancy tests lately. Actually, my husband doesn’t want to know either!

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I’m not pregnant, but I’m not not pregnant.

January 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm (Intro)

I’ve sat here for about 10 minutes and I cannot figure out what to write.  Life’s been very busy lately, and I’m really struggling with a recurring bit of depression.  My period is a week late, but every pregnancy test that I’ve taken (and there have been a lot) has been negative.  This has really been bothering us, especially as I have had several symptoms that would lead us to think that I am pregnant.  Give me a day or two to think things over and I’ll have lots of stories for you about Christmas, New Year’s, and a few other things.  Life is really causing some pain for Hubs and I right now, but we’ll get through it because we get to lean on the Great Physician.  I was at the bookstore tonight and saw a bookmark that said “He makes all things beautiful in their perfect time” and it was a great reminder that we are not alone through this.

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