Acupuncture

I stumbled across the notion of acupuncture purely by accident.

I was reading an article about something or rather and clicked on a link which lead to something else which lead me to a website about a “miracle” book for pcos suffers. It boasted a bunch of wondrous things you could start doing that will cure you like nothing else. It never actually said what these “things” were – you had to buy the book to find out. It had screeds of testimonials.

It screamed scam.

But as I was reading this phony, promotional, scammy website it mentioned acupuncture – in a passing thought kind of way.

Google became my friend.
I began to research it. I’m not a fan of needles. Can’t stand them actually, so I was naturally wary of acupuncture seeing as needles is its “thing”. But the more I researched the more compelled I was to find out more.

After exhausting my Internet sources I began asking friends and family. Grant was a bit skeptical but agreed that if I researched it more then he would support me. I was curious whether anyone I knew had experienced it and I wondered about the “religious” view on it.

A top nz sportswoman and close workmate revealed that she often got physio and acupuncture to help her with sporting injuries. She couldn’t praise it highly enough. I talked it over with my mum because she’s a nurse and because she’s wise and a faithful Christian. I also talked it over with my dear friends Leo and Fi, who are also wise and faithful Christians who attend my church.

They all agreed that perhaps I should give it a go and go from there. In more of a “no harm in trying it once” and “what have you got to lose” type way. My mum was probably the most skeptical, but only because she hates needles. Which is funny. Because she’s a nurse.

I rang around 10 different places and asked a whole lot of questions. The prices were waaaay more expensive than I predicted. It seems to me that infertility is a lot like weddings or a 21st – just mention those words and watch the prices double. So it seemed the same when talking babies and infertility.

I had one place in mind that gave me “good vibes” on the phone before ringing the last place on my list. I rang. They informed me they didn’t do fertility type acupuncture. But could give me the number to someone who did. I rang the number and by the end of the conversation I was sold. There was no competition. All my questions were answered and more. They instantly seemed knowledgeable about my general condition and possible complications. He encouraged, no insisted, that Grant come along too “as most husbands are unsure about this type of thing.” And best of all, he was easily the cheapest.

On the day of my appointment I was quite nervous. Mainly about whether it would be ‘weird’ and ‘chanty’ or have lots of talk about inner chi or something. I was also scared it was going to hurt.

I was instantly at ease when we meet. Guy was so friendly, reassuring, knowledgeable and completely unassuming. He made Grant and I feel so relaxed and comfortable.

Initially Grant had said that he would sit in for the consult but leave when he started on the needles.

He never did leave.

Guy explained each step in understandable, western medical terms as well as explaining the Chinese background.

And it [mostly] doesn’t hurt. (And I’m usually a complete wuss about these things.) One hurt, like a pinprick, when he put it in but once it was in it didn’t hurt at all. At the most it felt like a warm, tingling sensation. Which was actually quite pleasant.

Since the first appointment I have been back four times. There has been mixed results, which apparently are due to complex issues and finding the right signals and areas to target (well, that’s my very basic understanding of it.)

I’m so very intrigued by the whole process and every time Guy tries something new. I’m astounded by the complexities of our body and I find myself in awe of God just contemplating it.

What I love most about the appointments is that I always walk away feeling hopeful, relaxed and like a winner.

And if acupuncture doesn’t work as it “should”, if my cycles don’t become more normal or predictable and my cysts smaller or nonexistent, I would still say that it has been a positive, beneficial experience because of how good, positive, hopeful, peaceful, excited and faithful I feel when I leave.

Guy has stuck needles of various kinds over my body, used electrical currents (sounds like shock treatment, it’s totally not) and polarizing. He’s also burned some form of weed on the needles. I like this as it feels nice (and no, not the marijuana kind of weed. An actual weed, possibly called moxa but dont quote me on that.) He has also used this “moxa” to lightly burn my skin. It sounds awful and painful but it really wasn’t. It stung for a second and then it was over. The idea behind this is that as my body heals the burned skin it will continue to send messages and signals around my body. And right now as I type this I have two needles embedded under my skin. They’ll stay there til the tape holding them comes off, or my next appointment – whichever comes first.

For someone who hates needles, blood, guts and gore I’m completely intrigued by it all. Although I have not seen results yet I’m still hoping for the best. I know that no matter what ends up ‘working’ – whether it be the acupuncture, medication, Pilates, healthy eating or prayer – at the end of the day it will be my God who gets all the glory.

What I’ve learnt from this is to take a risk. To not be afraid of something that may hurt. Or to let something that I don’t understand stop me from giving something a go.
Because if I let fear, lack of understanding, pain or meekness hold me back I may miss out on opportunities to take hold of freedom, hope, inner strength, and peace.

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Cherry Blossom

Theres a reason why I chose cherry blossoms as the background picture of this blog. They represent beauty and the fragility of life.

I like that.
The fragile beauty of life.

Because life is fleeting, time is constantly moving and theres always a certain unsureness about the future.
Sure, we can predict the future with some accuracy. But then there are things that can just sideswipe all plans.

Unaccounted events, that in an egocentric way, you don’t think will ever happen to you.
Like death, disease, redundancy or mother nature.

The fragile beauty of life.
Its funny because thats the very thing my husband and I are trying to create.
We want to have a baby. A fragile, beautiful life that will rely soley on us to provide, care and nourish it.
A fragile beauty that will forever impact our lives.

But there is so much uncertainty around whether this will ever happen for us.
If this next round of treatment (when it happens, hopefully in July, after my wisdom are removed and healed) doesn’t work then we will find ourselves back in the place of ‘now what?!’
There will be meetings with the doctor and discussions over what paths we could take next.
Most will involve some form of injecting myself. Which I can assure you, I am NOT looking forward too. So feeling just a little more hopeful that this next round works, and sticks.

There is a lot of unknown at the moment. And I find that frustrating as I love to make plans. And lists. And lists of plans. I love to be organised, on time, ready to go. (My husband, on the other hand, does not.)

But this is something that I cannot organise or plan for. My body does what it does, when it wants. And I have no control over this. I can’t heal my body. I can’t physically control my crazy, ‘abnormal’ cycles. I’m doing the little I know how because doing something has to be better than sitting here feeling sorry for myself. A pity party for one isn’t much of a party. I’m believing that as I do the little I know how God will step in and work a miracle.

Over this ‘break time’ I am learning to let go. I am learning to trust God. To trust him in his plans for us, to trust him to heal my body and my sorrowful heart. I am learning to praise God because He is worthy. My faith is building and my hope is growing. I’m trying to get into a place that no matter the outcome I will remain positive. I am learning to enjoy the now, the very present.

Because life is fragile, and uncertain, a lot like our future right now.
And I’m learning to see that
there is a beauty to it.

It’s Been a Year

A year ago today I stood in the resource room at work and took the phone call that rocked my world.

Although I knew I wasn’t pregnant a small part of me was still hoping that I was. Hearing “you’re not pregnant” out loud was waaaaay worse than I ever thought it could be. It was a punch to the guts. The knock out punch was “and you have pcos.”

Like I said in an earlier post, I actually didn’t know what this was but I knew I didn’t want it.

I stood crying in the resource room for a while that day. Trying to get it together so I could go back to work and no one would know. I wasn’t very successful.

That night I rang my mum (who is a nurse) and cried to her. My world was over and I was never having children.

So a year later here we are.

It’s been a roller coaster of emotion. Which I don’t think everyone can understand. It’s not cancer. It’s not a death sentence. It’s not the loss of a limb or brain function. Yes, all those things are terrible, horrifying and tragic.

But I was still devastated.

Pcos comes with its own problems. It means I’m far more likely to get diabetes, heart conditions, or cancer. I will forever have to monitor my health, my exercise and eating. If I do get pregnant I have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage. If I get pregnant I could pass this onto my children. I may never get pregnant.

I may never have children.

And that’s the hardest thing of all.

I’m the girl who has wanted to be a stay at home Mum since I was a child. I’ve always looked after children, even when I was a child. My career is looking after other people’s children. I’m passionate about children and enjoy looking after them. And I really want to do that with my own.

I feel so lucky to have some amazing support from my family, friends and husband. Grant has been my solid supporter, comforter, listener, and encourager.

Now I’m working through this roller coaster of emotions and hope to come to a place where I’m happy and content whether we have children or not. Some days I have this nailed. Other days, not so much.

And I’m learning that this is ok. It’s ok for me to feel upset, scared, hopeless, doubting, overwhelmed and sad. Because my God can handle all that. And when I give it to him the burden of these emotions lifts and my perspective changes. When I’m feeling these emotions He is my rock, my peace, my hope.

With my head held high I’m looking forward to this next year and all that will surely come. This journey is far from over.

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(Thanks Pinterest for this!)

Limitless

I’ve been thinking lately about God and limits. About how I shouldn’t be limiting God. Not limiting God through my self imposed rules, regulations, thoughts, ideas. Not looking back on past experiences on how things did or did not work. But rather, instead of using that as an excuse to have a small, minimal view of God, believing in a God who can do all things. Thereby un-limiting God in my life.

It sometimes seems quite assuming, to me, that I would think that little old me could limit this big, powerful, ‘nothing is impossible’ God moving in and through me. And I get that. Who am I to stop God from moving? All I know is that I want nothing to hinder what God has in store for Grant and I.

My Pastor says, “most people want a God big enough to carry all their problems and burdens, but a God small enough for them to get their minds around. We can’t have it both ways.”

I know my perception of God and my infertility has room for improvement. But I do believe that no matter the outcome of this particular journey we are on, that God is bigger. I have to believe that God is big enough to handle my fears, doubts and questions. Yet I can struggle with comprehending what all this actually means.

The reason why idols, [metaphorical] gold calves, money or people are so easy for the world to believe in is because we can physically touch, see and comprehend.

But with God…we can touch, and see and I guess to a certain extent, comprehend. But it’s different. It’s a different touch, a different sight and what we do comprehend is so minute, minuscule, microscopic in comparison to how great, majestic, powerful, graceful, holy, awesome God is.

Even these few chosen words do not do justice in beginning to describe God. The bible says that the train of his robe fills the temple with glory. Just the bottom bit. The bit that drags along on the ground can fill an entire temple with the glory of God. The bible also says that the angels constantly, 24/7 cry out “holy, holy” because they are so in awe of God that that alone is all that they can say or do. That just his name, just saying his name, once, has the power to move mountains, save a person, persons, city, nation.

My God. My God. What do I know of you?

I’ve been asking myself how I think I limit God. When? Where? How? Why? But I don’t think I honestly want to ask myself or even answer. Or ask God to show me how I limit him. Because then I have to act. Then I have to do something. Then I have to change. Which is what I want. Which is what I don’t want. And so there is this battle is raging within me.

I want to be this person the bible says I am. The daughter of the living King. A person of authority, and purpose. A great woman. A warrior. Yet, it takes sacrifice. Sacrifice of laziness, of self-doubt, of fear, of caring what other people think, of complacency, of lip-service and actually actioning what I hear, what I believe, what I say. To get off the couch and do, physically do something. And that’s scary. It’s scary because it’s what I want. Yet, it’s what I don’t want.

I know that I’ve come to a place where I desperately want to believe that God can, and will, move in my life and provide us with a baby. And I don’t want my doubts, fears, stubborn independence or inability to give up control to get in the way. I need God in this journey because there is no way I can navigate it by myself. He is my hope, my strength, my joy. And I’m looking forward to getting to know God better and going deeper in my relationship with God. I’m looking forward to finding new ways to allow God to move, unlimited, in and through my life.

Where We’re At…

Grant and I have decided to take this month “off” and by that I mean we will not be taking the medication prescribed to help us get pregnant. We will not be actively trying to get pregnant. We had decided this before our friends obediently offered to pay for our next round of treatment. We have decided that, depending on when my next cycle falls, we will take them up on this offer, but for now we are taking a break.

There are a few reasons for this, the first and most important one being that I have to have some wisdom teeth taken out in two weeks. We were advised to stop trying by the surgeon as some of the medicine they will be using could impact me and any potential babies negatively. We were already considering taking this month off before my appointment with the oral surgeon as we felt a ‘break’ could be nice.

Although its hard to take a break from something that can be quite consuming.

But, it is nice for the pressure to be off.
I have been enjoying being able to eat what I like guilt free. As when we are trying I do try and cut out foods that I know don’t help things along and can cause cysts.
I have been enjoying spending quality time with my husband, just because (and not because things need to happen in the bedroom. Grant and I have always tried really hard to ensure that our bedroom life doesn’t become mechanical and goal orientated or scripted by the calendar date and my cycle. And I think we’ve really stayed true to that. But its nice to know that, right now, making a baby isn’t the goal.)

I’m also viewing it as a time to get myself refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go again. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a cost to being infertile. Finding out you’re not pregnant again and again hits hard because there is very little I can do about it.

So I’m using this time to get positive, hopeful, faith-filled and strong for this journey that’s ahead.

My revelation today is that strong doesn’t mean hard hearted. Strong and independent doesn’t mean that I do all things in my own strength, to force or strive for things to happen, to become independent, doing everything myself, in my own strength and ability. But rather, I rely on God in a way that causes me to have a supernatural strength, from which joy streams from. There is a freedom in relying on God and this freedom becomes a strength in Christ. He will be my hope, my joy, my strength.

Eyes Wide Open

One thing I love about our parents at work is the relationship they have with us Preschool teachers. They feel so very comfortable in telling parenting how it is. There is no pretense, no fakeness and no perfect, happy little families charade. it’s the same with my friends who are parents. They will come and tell me all about the battle they had last night/this morning over pulling hair/getting dressed/eating breakfast/listening to instructions/getting their bag ready/cleaning up spew/the weeing-on-the-carpet-competitions/finding their shoes…. And so on…

They talk about how hard it is to be a parent. How darn right difficult this parenting gig is. They will share the downright ridiculous battles and conversations they have with their kids over [mostly] the weirdest, unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) stuff.

They will discuss the absolute low points with complete and honest abandon. One friend joked to me today, “if you’re thinking about kids come and spend the weekend with us. You’ll soon be a firm believer of contraception.”

So I completely understand that no matter how hard this ‘getting pregnant’ stage of my life is, being a parent will be harder.

I feel keenly aware of what parenting is going to involve.
I feel more educated than the average childless person in the harsh realities of parenting. I also feel that having been a teacher of 1.5 to 2.5 year olds, 6 to 8 year olds and now teaching 3.5 to 5 year olds has somewhat prepared me for parenting.

I have no fairy tale notions of always knowing exactly what a crying baby needs or wants, no expectations of sleep filled nights or of keeping an immaculate, display model house. I have no assumptions of how great I will be at defusing a toddlers tantrum.

I think I have an understanding of what this parenting thing may involve. Of the price that I’m going to have to pay. The price of my emotions, patience, finances, sleep, sanity…
The list of expenditure is endless.

Knowing all this – I still want a shot at it.

Yes some days I desperately want this with every fibre of my being and it’s hard reminding myself to cherish the now. Other days I’m relishing in exactly that. To be honest the days where I feel so relieved at not having children and the freedom I have are few and far between. Often they are more of a fleeting thought than anything else. But I’m starting to consciously remind myself again and again to cherish now.

Yes, sometimes, for a moment I think not having children would be a good thing. I would have freedom to be spontaneous. And selfish. I could travel the world. I would have more money and nicer things. I could have a mess free house. My sleep will be uninterrupted. My make up would be safe and our books and walls will be scribble free….

But it is just a fleeting moment these thoughts. For really these things are tiny sacrifices for the joy and blessings that children are. I know I could stand to be a little less selfish and self indulgent. I could let go of a few things in my life, because its just stuff. I can’t take books or pretty things with me when I die. And things certainly won’t make the world a better place like a person can. Yes, I could stand to learn a few lessons from parenthood.

So I’ve been trying to cherish the now. To take a moment to enjoy coming home from work and having a random snugly nap with my husband – because if we had a baby right now that would not be happening! There would be dinner to organize and baths to be had.
I took a moment to enjoy the spontaneous decision to go out to lunch and a movie this past weekend. Again, something that would be far more difficult with a child.
I relish in being able to make dinner plans with friend without having to hunt down a babysitter first. If I want to sleep in on the weekend I can without being woken up by a crying baby, a wet bed or a hungry child.

Do I realize that having children doesn’t have to impact your social life? Yes. But I realize that sometimes it just is more difficult because there’s this little person who suddenly requires a bit more thought, attention and organizing before I rush out the door.

Do I realize that having a baby takes its toll on my body? Oh yes. I’ve heard enough horror stories to nearly put me off. Nearly. Do I really really fully comprehend what pregnancy requires of my body? Probably not, because I still want one. But I really truly have heard of some horrific stories. And if they can do it and survive then so can I!

I realize what I’m desperately longing for will be no picnic. But with eyes wide open its still my greatest desire.

I’m doing my best to enjoy the now,
While hoping for the future.

God Is Love

Love. God is love. God. Is. Love.

In Max Lucado’s Come Thirsty he talks of Christ’s love for us. He loves me. Despite what I think. Despite what I do. Or don’t do. Despite my disobedience, complacency, lies, attitude, selfishness…the endlessness of my failures and fears. He loves me. He doesn’t love me more if I pray without ceasing, if I read my bible for ten hours a day, and he doesn’t love me less if I don’t. His love is not based on what I do.

If I believe this, I have created a religion, not a relationship. I have created a rule. I have limited God in how he loves. Praying and reading the bible is not a chore. It should not be something that we do. It should not be like the expectation that you must visit your sick grandmother in hospital or turn up to a birthday party with a present – things you do without question because that’s what you do, and that’s what is expected of you. This is not a relationship with God. This is not love. This is not God. His love is not based on how long I read or pray.

There is never a day, not one single day where I am not loved by my God. God knows all. All my thoughts, dreams, attitudes, words, deeds, actions. He knows it all. Yet he still loves me. He knows all my thought, dreams, attitudes, words, deeds and actions to come. Yet he still loves me. Deeply. It never waivers.

The depth of his love can not be contained nor described, the volume cannot be measured or defined. He loves me. He loves me not because of my smile, my laugh…such is human love. We love each other because of characteristics, personalities, actions and deeds. These things warm our hearts to one another. And it is fickle, here today, gone tomorrow. It takes hard work to continually love someone. Because it is based on deeds and characteristics. And we are fickle. We are inconsistent. Not so with God. He loves me because he has decided to love me. Because he created me.

I don’t think I will ever fully understand Gods love for me. Maybe I will understand this better when I have a child of my own. If I know that God loves me. Always. No matter what, shouldn’t this knowledge change the way I live, the way I view myself, the way I view the world, this city, this nation?

If I know that God is love, that God loves me.
Unfalteringly.
Unwaveringly.
Unquestionably.
How would I be different?
How would my faith be different? How would my hope be different?

I choose to believe that God, in his unending love for me, knows what is best for me and works all things for good.

Therefore I must view my infertility differently. God is working everything out. This journey I am on has a purpose. Whether I ever bear a child or not, I choose to believe that God loves me and knows what is best for me. If he doesn’t bless me with children then I will still praise him. Because he is worthy to be praised.

I know that God hears my prayers and in his perfect timing will answer them. God can only act in love, and if he answers my prayers with a “no” then I will trust in Him and his love for me.

Will it be hard if the answer is no? Yes.

But I am determined to have faith in God regardless. I will trust in his great love for me.