Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Less seriousness

Okay, enough seriousness. Here are the nuts and bolts of what's on my mind.

1. Maytag is still sick. Honestly, I can't even bring myself to comment anymore on this issue. Instead I have decided to include a picture of her and what she looked like in all her glory.

2. Our condo association forced me to write a letter. It was a nice letter, but it had to be done. They decided to close the hot tub! Our favorite spot! However, more than that were the Board's reasons. Reason #1: $2,000-3,000 a year maintenance. There are 100 condo owners in our building. This means about $30 per condo per year! That's like $3 a month. Hogwash! They just raised our monthly fees, assessed us another $800, and required us to get our windows sealed for $180. Surely we can keep the hot tub. Reason #2: health issues. This was due to one little old lady that found one article in some old newspaper somewhere and stuck it up on the bulletin board. I understand that there are some health issues, but no one investigated it. They read this lady's little newspaper article and closed the hot tub! I didn't blast the condo board. I thanked them for their service. Honestly, I wouldn't want my husband on that Board. They are hated more than politicians (Or, are Board Members politicians?) But I did tell them that something like this should be voted on by the entire building before it is just agreed upon. I think most of the building agrees. You should see the petition list on the bulletin board downstairs! Even though I have NEVER seen an old person in that hot tub since we moved in, these old people are putting their foot down on this.

3. This brings me to something else I have observed about older people since living in this building. I wonder if when I am older, I will be okay with saying whatever I want and not giving a CRAP what anyone thinks. These people write some thing and stick it on the bulletin board and sign their name and don't have even a moment's hesitation. I wonder if "whimpy wendi" will turn into "wendi won't take your crap" by the time I am 70?

4. In addition, I want to ask something else about older people. Do their clothes ever get dirty? I go down to that laundry room with pounds of clothes. They throw in like six dishcloths! What's with that?

Okay, so there it is: a moment in my brain!

'Tis So Sweet To Trust in the Lord


’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,

Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

How many times I have sung this hymn? How many times have we sung this hymn? As I write this now, this song is playing in the background on the website where I copied the lyrics from.

I must admit that all my life, I would sing this hymn, or something like it, and boom it with all my heart (or boom it quietly with all my heart as not to ruin it for those around me who sing much better than I.)

And all my life, I thought I did trust in the Lord. The Lord was great! He had given me two loving parents, a loving spouse, a roof over my head, a Christian school to attend, athletic abilities that paid for college, fantastic friends, great churches, health. Nothing bad had happened to me. Of course I trusted Him.

I was in the laundry room talking to a dear friend a few days ago (by the way, I have found that the laundry room is a great place to have very deep conversations . . . how Kentucky is that?) As we spoke, we both, in our own way, had come to realize that trust is easy when your life is going as planned. While my trust issue is infertility, your trust issue and her trust issue was something different, but it actually all boiled down to the same thing -- wondering what the heck the Lord was thinking?! Where are you Lord? What are you doing?

Recently I have seemed to face this with many people I know -- Great Christian people I know who have lost a parent, lost a child, not achieved the career goals they had in mind, been unable to conceive a child, been hurt by something or someone in the church. Suddenly the words of the hymnal become painful to sing. Trust Him? Well, sort of. I mean, I want to trust Him, but why the heck is He doing things this way? Why doesn't He do them my way? Why did He allow that to happen? He defeated sin.

In my case, it is looking around me and listing all the people that God should give me a child to before they give it to them. Yesterday it was a little Brazilian baby thrown in the river in a plastic bag. (She survived and people are now lining up to adopt her.) It's the people who have abortions (126,000 each day and 55 million each year). It's the teenage mothers or those who don't seem to have the money to afford them. It's the men and women who allow their children to be emotionally or physically or sexually abused. "Wait!" I scream at the TV or at the Lord. "Here I am and here are all the women in my support group. Give us those babies! Bless us with their pregnancy! We want those children!" It's a moment when I look to the Lord and say, "Lord, I'm not sure I do trust You. Do you know what the heck you are doing?"

If you are reading this, I don't expect you to relate to the infertility part, but as a dear cousin told me, "I can't relate to the infertility part, but I can relate to never being given the job I want." Or maybe you lost a parent who didn't deserve to die. Or maybe your marriage ended despite everything you tried to do. What the heck is God thinking?

I am reminded from a scene in Return to Me (the greatest movie EVER!) I don't want to ruin it for you if you haven't seen it. But if you have, I am sure you remember when Grace (Minnie Driver) is sitting in Bonnie Hunt's living room sobbing due to the events that just transpired and admist her tears she says, "What was God thinking?" I can so relate to that moment even though I can't relate to what happened.

Some of you know that I am in am in an infertility Support Group at my church. It's a group that I helped start with two other women. We now have about 15-20 women involved off and on. (It's not a group that I want to be a life-long member of by the way.) The group is called Hearts Like Hannah. Last night we held our quarterly "Caribou Coffee" meeting and a new woman joined us who had tons of questions -- tons of things that she wanted to know if "anyone else felt". We talked to her and answered her questions and completely understood every bit of where she was coming from. Another woman there has twins from embryo adoption. She looked at me last night and basically said, "I know what God was thinking. If I wouldn't have travelled the road I travelled, I wouldn't have these two boys -- and these are my boys."

As I was driving home, I had the moment I had wanted since this journey started shortly after my 26th birthday. I somehow, finally, trusted the Lord. I have been trying so hard -- every step of this journey, but last night I could honestly sing this song and mean it. I realized that while the Lord didn't cause this disorder I have, he is using it every day. "Rom 8:28-31 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to HIS purpose." Wait a minute! If I wouldn't have gone through this, I wouldn't have met this woman last night. If my friend with the twins hadn't have gone through this, she wouldn't have the twins she had. If I wouldn't have gone through this I wouldn't have reconnected with old friends like Kelly Gritter Stegemoller. I wouldn't have the faith I have.

More than anything, I don't think I would be able to understand when a friend told me they were questioning their faith or grieving a dissapointment -- whatever it may be. But somehow, now, because of this, I understand. And somehow (and not to say I won't have days where I struggle with this whole trust thing all over again), somehow, I realize that the Lord has the greater picture in His view.

Wendi, trust Me. I've got your best interest in mind. I didn't cause this, but I will use this in your life. When you look back, you will understand, either on earth or in heaven, why things happened the way they did. Trust Me.

I am not saying I won't have doubts in the future, but for today, I am okay. I know that even if I don't have a biological child of my own, the Lord is real, and He has got my soul in the palm of my hand. I trust that.

Monday, January 30, 2006

What is in a Coat?

This morning JB had to leave early (no big suprrise there.) I usually work at Mayo on Monday morning, but today my times were flip-flopped, and I was working this morning from home for RLS. So, being as it was 6:00 and I was wide-awake, I decided to walk JB to the shuttle which he takes to St. Mary's (about a mile away) and go to the gym.

There isn't much to report about the gym except: (1) I avoided jogging -- I tried one of those glider machines; not sure how I feel about it. It felt rather pointless. (2) The guy next to me really smelled. It was difficult to focus. He didn't just smell a little. Blasted, the guy really stunk! (I wonder if people realize they smell.)

However, let me get refocused on the really important aspects of the day. As I put on my coat to leave for the gym, I was dumb-founded by how many coats I had in my front hall closet. I was also dumb-founded by the fact that I even needed a front hall closet!

I remembered living in Florida. I remember that growing up, I had ONE coat. It was a windbreaker -- our basketball team's windbreaker. It was all I had and all I ever needed. We didn't have a coat closet. I hung that one windbreaker in my closet in my bedroom. Actually, now that I think about it, we did have a coat closet, but we didn't keep coats in it. It was a storage closet. Hey, I just thought of something else we kept in that closet, an egg carton crate of white socks. We all shared socks and we just kept them in one crate in this closet. Now that I think about it, this is really weird. You know what else is weird? I didn't own any dress socks! I just wore these basketball socks. Oh my gosh -- what the heck was I thinking. Speaking of that, I need to do a blog on my once horrid and now, not much improved, fashion sense.

Okay, okay, sorry . . . I have digressed yet again. I need to stick to the life-changing issues . . . like, coats, for instance.

Now, I have a closet FULL of coats. I don't know I actually accumulated so many coats but my coats now include:

1. Black dress pea coat -- used for every day wear.
2. Heavy winter jacket -- used for days too cold to wear the pea coat or when I am walking to the gym (pea coat is too fancy).
3. Waterproof jacket -- this is to go over my coat if we do any "snow-related activities" which we do not do very often.
4. Pullover -- I have 4 of these pullovers of various "levels". Those with hoods are often worn under my pea coat.
5. Very heavy winter jacket -- used for days when going outside is risking your life. This jacket looks ridiculous on me so I only wear it on very serious occasions.
6. Windbreaker -- I still have 2 of these in the closet! However, for some reason, I now very rarely get to wear it!

So there you have it. 10 jackets. Multiply that by Jb's 10 and we have 20 coats in our front hall closet. Insane! Because we are thinking we will probably be moving in about a year and a half, we have sworn to make no more winter purchases! What we have must make it through, and then, before we move south, we will SELL IT ALL!

P.S. On a side note, my good friend Kelly Gritter Stegemoller had her third baby this morning and her first boy. Some of you may know Kelly from our friendship growing up together. We have known each other since the day we were born! Kelly has been a precious friend to me during my journey with infertility as she struggled in conceiving their second child and never thought there would be a third. Here was the email I received this morning from Kelly's mother Nancy.

We have a brand new little Grandson!! His name is Dylan James Stegemoller, weighing in at 9 lbs 15 oz and 22 and a half inches tall! WOW!!! He has a large amnt of dark hair..I have not seen him yet..he was born at 6:15 this AM..they went to the hosptial at 3 and it went pretty fast! :)

Congrats to the Gritter and Stegemoller families!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Glorious Weekend!

Well as I have told you in previous posts, JB had a ridiculously crazy week. He worked 16 hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 12 hours on Tuesday and Thursday. I realized that in 3 days he worked 48 hours. That only leaves 24 more hours and if you use them all to sleep, there isn't ANY more.

Friday evening I went to hear the Medical School (and graduate school) recital. People sing and play instruments and these people aren't pansies either! It was stinkin' amazing! Not only are these people brilliant in their minds, their music is brilliant as well. Honestly, I felt quite inadequate as a person sitting there.

I ran into our friend "OK" (I will not attempt to spell his African name -- everyone calls him OK) during the intermission. OK agreed with me and said "Orthopedic surgery must become my talent!"

John actually made it for the last two acts around 9:45. I had been sitting with Danny Spoon's wife Kelsey (who played basketball at Notre Dame) during the show and the place was packed. It was held in the beautiful Gonda atrium. As soon as she saw JB, she got up and said, "You need to sit by your husband. I know how it is to never see your husband." It was very sweet. After the show we went home and ate dinner at close to 11:00.

So Saturday, John woke up pretty early despite wanting to sleep in. After getting up at 5:00 each morning, sleeping in wasn't easy to do. I have been sleeping very poorly too due to a combination of new hormones being introduced to my system and being woken up as he comes and goes at odd hours.

However, at 7 a.m. John rolls over and said, "Let's go to
Pannekoken." Now for those of you who aren't Dutch or who don't live in Rochester, I have hyperlinked this to the only picture of a pannekoken I could find online. However, the picture does not do this delicious food justice. Quite honestly, we should just go out for dessert. The things are awesome.

So despite the fact that I was still quite asleep and planned to be so for quite some time, I got up and went to Pannekoken (begrudgingly mind you) with my stir-crazy husband. When we returned home around 9:30, we laid back down. I woke up at 12:00. I finally got John up at 1:30!

We then went for a long walk in the underground to get some exercise and finished up in the Public Library (shocker there!) JB has so much free time, he needed some more books! That evening we FINALLY went to dinner at
Lord Essex Tavern in the Khaler Hotel. I have been wanting to go here since we moved in but we very rarely have enough "fun money" left each month to afford it. This month, however, we spent practically nothing as John was never home so we splurged as this restaurant designed to feel just like a British Pub. I loved it!

Sunday has now come and almost gone. I worked some at Mayo, we went to church and listened to the lead lawyer in the Terri Shiavo (sp?) case speak. I have now done laundry and have also taken a nap. It's been a wonderful weekend, and we are both almost ready to reenter the real world.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

40 degrees is still COLD MOM!

So you all see my post from yesterday? The post about it being in the 40's in Minnesota in January. Well, you MUST go back and read the comments that my mother included. She said, and I quote:

Since the weather is so nice why don't you walk some where!! I hate the machines. I like to feel like I'm going somewhere .....

I think my mom thought that the "4" was a "9" or something. Mom, must I remind you that when you came to visit me here one October, it was in the 50's, and you were RUNNING to get inside! Do you forget those days in Florida when it is in the 60's and you guys are sitting there with the heat on and your windbreakers pulled up around your necks? All the Kits bust out their sweaters and little toe-socks and "booties" as if it is about to snow. And that's 60! 40 is still cold! It's just not freezing. It's still not time for frolicking in the tulips.

Okay Mom, you know I love you even though you are a misplaced northerner. :)

It's still so cold in Minnesota that there are no birds at all. I realized this this morning when we were walking into Home Depot and I heard a bird chirp! Jb and I both turned to find the bird. It must have been living in the store and forgot to migrate. I didn't realize until I heard that bird chirp that it has been months since I have heard a bird chirp (outside my house of course -- Chaucer and Twain have been chirping enough for a whole Rochester-full of birds.) I don't think their "season" is over yet.

However, this weather has been so strange that we actually had RAIN today! Lots of rain. The "natives" tell us that this is more than unusual -- they aren't sure it has ever happened in January. However, they have also told us that we are about to get some sort of weird Alaskan-blast. I thought they were joking, but they are serious. If the natives say this will be unbearably cold than it must be really cold. They very rarely admit anything is cold or snowy. It was always worse "forty-three years ago".

Minnesotans are strange. Just look at the fact that they want to live here -- forever!

Friday, January 27, 2006

The temperature starts with a -- 4?

For the second day in a row, the temperature is supposed to start with a F-O-U-R in Minnesota! And that 4 isn't going to have a negative in fron to fit. Yesterday it hit 41. Today is supposed to do the same. While I can't officially confirm this, I have been told by many "natives" that they are saying this is the warmest winter since 1864! Holy cow! Yesterday, I checked the national weather. We are only 20 degrees colder than Fort Lauderdale in January. It is unbelievable right now here. Who would complain about the weather in Minnesota? This is fantastic.

In other news, I had a second doctor yesterday, this time a PMNR doctor tell me I needed to give up jogging. So I tried this. I went to the gym, got on the treadmill and started walking. I was soooooo bored that by the end I was jogging! However, I know that for multiple reasons, Jogging isn't in my best interest. My reproductive endocrinologist has revised against it and now this physical medicine doctor has told me that jarring it is doing on my uneven hips is not advisable. I am contemplating their advice closely.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Good IVF News!

Well I got a call from the IVF clinic today. An earlier spot has opened up. My "introductory consultation" was originally scheduled for March 10th. A spot for an "introductory consultation" opened up on Valentines Day, February 14th due to a woman who cancelled. This cancellation also opens up her "stim" week (the week they start medications). Her stim week was about 2-3 weeks early than mine. However Mary (the nurse) said that by getting in earlier for my "introductory consultation" this could possibly open up an even earlier "stim" date as they are hoping to have a new doctor and fellow on staff soon (thus allowing for more women to start at once.)

Anyways, this was great news. I was following JB's advice and just planning that we were going in March 10th. I was even thinking about it this morning -- thinking that it felt like a very long time when I saw I had a message and found out that a cancellation had occurred!

I can't talk to JB right now. He's on his surgery rotation and probably won't get home until close to 9:30 or so, but I did page him, so I know he's excited or will be when he can look at his pager!

Thanks for listening to my excitement.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thanks Bara!

Well my friend Bara taught me how I can share video with you!!! This is AMAZING and will completely change my blogging skills. He has opened up a WHOLE new door for me!!!

If you would like to see JB's surprise, simply click on the following link and follow the directions:


Let me know how it works!

Also, please be praying for the Kit. family today. Matt Kit., the 5th child (and 3rd son), is leaving for Missouri today for basic training.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Surprise Party takes JB by "Surprise"

Well, the Surprise Party for JB last night was a HUGE success! We arrived at Ron & Ebby's at 6:30. Ronnie then proceeded to tell JB he needed to show him something downstairs where a group of about 25 of our friends were waiting. Needless to say, he was completely shocked. I actually have it on video and wish I could show everyone his face. He received a bunch of books (I asked people to give him THEIR favorite book as a gift) and a bunch of gift certificates (all to Barnes & Noble -- staying with the book theme.) We had pizza, cake, and watched the great video that Ajit put together.

Thank you to everyone who helped: Tia (drinks), Melissa and Tara (decorations), Tara (cake), Lesley (cake, bringing all my "crap", and a lot of emotional support), Rays (house), and everyone else who brought snacks and just listened to me complain about how nervous I was and tired of lying I was. We had a great time.

P.S. Today I was at Mayo getting some tests run. In the course of the conversation, I tell the tech that we are getting ready to do IVF. She smiles and pulls out a picture of four kids. "Here's what IVF got me," she says. I smile at four kids all about the same age and ask her how old they are. She then tells me that the kids ARE ALL SEVEN! QUADS! So then, of course, I ask her how many embryos they put back in her. They put in three, and she got four! She also accidentally called them monsters. She also told me I would love my monsters!

P.S.S. Maytag's doctor made a house call today and the medicine he brought was the WRONG medicine. It wasn't his fault -- it was the company's fault -- they packaged the wrong medicine in the right box. He looked at the dishes stacked in my sink, looked at my pitiful face, and promised to bring new medicine as soon as he possibly could!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pray for Maytag

Just a note to say that Maytag (our dishwasher) is still a bit under the weather. Well, in fact, she is still completely incapacitated. If you think of it, please keep her in your prayers. Her illness has severely impacted my life. Rumor has it the doctor may pay us a visit on Monday but I'll believe it when I see it!

Speaking of prayer, last night Karuna came over to play for a few hours while her parents went to a concert. Karuna is talking like crazy now. She says "Don" (a.k.a. John). (Wendi is too hard). As soon as she came in she said "Play", and when I started eating dinner while JB was still in the kitchen, she looked at me, with a similar expression to what your grandmother would give you when you forget to start your meal with prayer (which we usually do not forget to do) and said "PRAY?!" Duh! We hadn't prayed and she was not going to touch her broccoli or cauliflower or 2 noodles until we did. She was still a little confused because I prayed, but we didn't hold hands, but my prayer satisfied her, and she allowed me to eat afterwards.

So pray for your food tonite, and pray for Maytag!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Gender Identity: Our Confused Birds

Chaucer (on the left) was DEFINITELY a she. (Picture taken before her untimely death.) Twain on the right was thought to be a HE. (We now believe Twain is a SHE. )

Monet, our new bird, was an IT. We are now convinced Monet is a HE.

Well, the pieces of our bird puzzle and why Chaucer died are now fitting together.

Yesterday, while I was working at home for RLS, I saw something very unusual. Now those of you who know me, know that I am fairly modest. I prefer not to talk about anything that causes me to blush. Some of you respect that. Others of you (Josh!) prefer to watch me blush and disrespect my wishes.

So yesterday, while I was IM'ming with my cousin Justin and editing a webpage, I noticed that our birds had gotten very quiet. I looked over and realized that it was because they were, ummm, well, busy.

Now ordinarily, seeing two animals mate wouldn't really intrigue me. It especially wouldn't confuse me. However, this occurrence intrigued and confused (quiet in the peanut gallery please) me because, well our poor birds have been told they were something they weren't for quite some time!

Chaucer was our first bird. We had her sexed so we KNOW that Chaucer was a girl. You get them sexed by sending a feather to this company. They actually mail you a box, you pluck a feather, and they return an official document telling what sex your bird is. Now some of our friends have asked us why don't we just look to see what sex our birds are. This is not possible. It isn't like a cat or dog. Birds are different. Please don't make me explain more than that. If you want to know more, ask JB. He doesn't blush.

Okay, again, I want to keep this conversation very embarrassment-free. So let's just leave it at the fact that: Chaucer was a girl. So when we bought Twain, we made sure that he was a he.

However, after yesterday, I am convinced, that woman that sold us Twain LIED TO US! Twain is most definitely a She! I'm not going to get into how I know. Just trust me on this one.

So it's all making sense to me now. We put a nesting box in the cage for Twain and Chaucer and two days later, Chaucer was dead. Of course she was! They were both fighting over the nesting box. Chaucer wanted Twain to act like her husband! And Twain was a WIFE! Chaucer wanted Twain to bring him food. He wanted her to GET OFF THE EGG! That was his
(Uhhh, her) job! (Stay with me here. I know this is a little confusing.)

After Chaucer died we bought a new bird and named him/her Monet. We didn't know what kind of bird (sex-wise) Monet was. However, this is okay. If you end up with two birds that are the same sex, they can still pair up as friends. However, because we thought Twain was a he and Monet was so pretty, we called him/her a she. (I'm getting tired now.)

But yesterday, it all came together, in one horrific moment! Twain and Monet are more than friends. Yesterday was quite traumatic. I am basically positive that Twain is a GIRL and Monet is a BOY. Twain I am sorry we gave you a boy's name. We really didn't know. Monet, I am sorry we called you a she and told you how pretty you were.

I will not be putting a picture of this on our blog, nor did I take one or plan to take one. You all are grown-ups. You've watched animal planet. You can put the pieces together. Even I put the pieces together. The bird we thought was a male is a female and the pretty bird we were confused about is a male. Okay, I need some chocolate.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Doctor Life Begins

John takes a moment this morning before leaving to spend a few minutes with Twain and Monet.

I have come to realize a few things during the last two weeks:

  • Up until this point medical school has not been that bad (for me).
  • I ate very well during JB's research rotation.
  • If you don't attempt to line up your sleep with your busy spouse, you will really never see each other.
  • JB is able to get ready for work in 10 minutes flat. This includes shower and breakfast.
  • It is quite possible to wear nothing but scrubs for five days straight.
  • Our birds do not like me nearly as much as they like JB.
  • Pancakes are a good dinner.

JB's cake-walk through his three months of research are over. Gone are the days that he is home more than I am and has time to scan through Netflix, make huge dinners for me and groups of people, work on redoing our bathroom, and browse the afternoon away at the local pet store or Barnes & Noble. JB is on six weeks of his surgery rotation and life has definitely changed.

Each day this week John gets up around 5:00-5:30. He is out the door no later than 6:30 (sometimes closer to 5:45). Each evening he returns home sometime after 7:00. He is wearing the same thing he left in. Here is a photo of exactly how he looks each morning when I say good bye (on the mornings I get up with him or shortly thereafter).

This is how JB is dressed each morning and how he comes home each evening. This includes scrubs, "crocks" (these comfortable shoes everyone wears), and stethoscope (doctors are very attached to their own personal stethoscope.)

John is actually on a week of critical care. He is dealing with very sick people pre- or post-surgery. Not only is this physically taxing but it is emotionally taxing as well.

For the few weeks leading up to his surgery rotation, John decided to make twice as much food when he cooked and freeze the meals. For dinner, we either eat one of those meals, or I attempt to make dinner (hence the pancake bullet above). On Thursday nights we attend a Medical/Dental Bible Study that includes dinner. Last night I made him a plate in case he didn't make it, but he managed to get in on the last 15 minutes of the study.

Not that he is the only one dealing with this of course. It all depends on what rotation you are on. Two nights ago Lesley was in until midnight. Last night we missed Dave at the Bible Study as he was gone until midnight.

What amazes me is that while John is doing this for six weeks (upon which he will change to a different rotation), the residents and fellows he is working with are doing this for, like, four years! The one guy he worked with yesterday had been doing these 13-14 hour days for TWENTY-ONE days in a row. IN A ROW!

Those of you who are in medical school are reading this, I am sure, and nodding your head enthusiastically. Those of you who are not in medical school (and like me have no interest in going to medical school) are shaking your head in complete bewilderment. Who would do this?! I mean, it's great because we need doctors, but who the heck wants to go to medical school and deal with gross and sad stuff while not sleeping at all.

I read a great book the other day that I have to recommend. It is called Hot lights, Cold Steel: Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years. It is about a Mayo Clinic Resident in surgery. It's really fascinating if you want to understand what these guys go through. John isn't going into surgery, but you still get a great appreciation for what this journey is like (and what Rochester, MN is like). Thanks for that recommendation Rachel!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Writing is on the Wall

If you have visited our home in Minnesota, the first time you came in, you have probably said something like, "Why have people written all over your wall?"

We aren't really sure why we have let people do this ourselves, but the story does have an origin. If you have visited us, I have probably told you the story because you asked "Why have people written all over your wall?" and therefore, you wanted an answer.

It started back when we were moving into the condo. One afternoon I asked JB something about gravity. I don't know what caused me to want to know something about gravity, but I did. JB had a pencil in his hand, so he leaned over and started drawing the illustration on the wall. My mouth dropped. "What the heck are you doing?!" He reminded me that we were going to paint the wall and continued discussing gravity.

A few weeks later, our friend Sarah, a wife of JB's classmate Travis was over. Sarah is infamous for saying exactly what everyone else is thinking and she didn't hesitate to put her hand on her hip and demand to know why we would draw on our wall. "We're going to paint it," I repeated. Sarah then said that if we were going to paint it, she should add a note. I agreed and found a pencil.

The tradition has continued. If you visit our house, we ask that you don't leave without signing our wall. I know these might be hard to read, but I still wanted to share some of the messages.

Oh, and we do plan to paint the wall, eventually. It's kinda like the Pepsi can. We want to take pictures so we can remember what everyone wrote, but we know we have to get rid of it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Remebering to Live for Today

During all the years since time began,
Today has been the friend of man;
but in his blindness and his sorrow,
He looks to yesterday and tomorrow.
Forget past trials and your sorrow.
There was, but is, no yesterday,
And there may be no tomorrow.
Yesterday was a tough day for me. Once again, I feel like I took a chance, got my hopes up, and then when things didn't go as planned, I got frustrated. I gave myself permission to be a little bit (okay, a lot) frustrated yesterday. I appreciate those of you who talked to me yesterday (you know who you are) and just love me and encourage me and make me laugh (Hey what do you call a cow with no legs?! Ground beef. Duh!) and those of you who I woke up today to find emails from. I really needed that and it was very appreciated.
Last night when I was talking to some close family, I remembered that they had given me a handout on the statistics of their clinic. In 2002, Mayo Clinic was rated the #1 clinic in the world. While they were closed last year, here are their statistics in 2003.
In women under 30 years of age (me), they had:
  • 47 people start the IVF process
  • 42 people had a successful retrieval (got some eggs)
  • 17 of those people had a positive pregnancy test (40%)
  • 4 of those 17 had a miscarriage (24%)
  • 13 of the 17 delivered (31%)
  • 3 of those 13 had twins (23%)
When he showed me these numbers, I got a little down again, but JB said that medically speaking, those numbers are very good. Actually the stats go up when you get older because they start transfering more embryos and being a little more aggressive.
My other frustration includes the fact that I have to go on the pill from now until the transfer in order to suppress my ovaries. I really don't want to do that. When I "complained" to Dr. Cottington about my trouble handling the progesterone drug he said "Well you and progesterone are going to be good friends." I only took it for five days (as usual) but during IVF I will be taking it for weeks. Both Dr. C and Mary, my favorite nurse, told John he had just as hard of a journey as I do because he has to live with me on all these drugs.
I appreciate all the prayers and encouragement. I am blessed to have the finances to be able to do this. I am blessed to be at Mayo Clinic. I am blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive husband and such caring and encouraging family and friends. I am blessed to live in this day and age when IVF exists. I am blessed that all our tests came back looking so good. One of the best tests was my follicular count. I have 43 of these. Now how the doctor and JB explained this to me is that I have the potential to produce 43 eggs each cycle (they won't let me go that far.) My point is that I have so much to be thankful for.
Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Appointment Today

Thank you to those of you who prayed for our appointment today. The good news: all the tests came back good. The bad news: they are not going to be able to start me on IVF as soon as they had originally implied or I had hoped. They are only starting 2 women a week. My turn isn't until May 29th. I will be on a few medications until then, and there is a slim chance that if someone were to drop out or have to postpone, that I could get in early. However, for now, we wait for my next appointment March 10th when we will officially make our decisions and sign all the appropriate paperwork.

I will keep everyone updated.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Meet Antonio and Latova

JB's friend Antonio who is in his class got married on December 31st and his new wife Latova has joined us in the Polar North. Tonite we had a few people over (Dave, Lesley, Tara, Hans, Rachel) to celebrate their wedding since no one made it to North Carolina to celebrate with them.

Here are a few pictures from this evening. We did a pasta-pot luck and watched their wedding video. I think JB was a little cooked out from previous nights cooking. Since his schedule is about to pick up big-time, he has been cooking on the weekends and freezing food, and when he cooks during the week, he's been making double portions and freezing. Then he writes instructions on them for me to make the side dishes and serve. We'll see how this new plan goes.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yesterday's post

Okay so rumor has it, yesterday's post was a little difficult for some of you. Congrats to any of you who spotted the tiny thirty-eight degrees in the corner of the picture. I was trying to make a point that the temperature here has been unseasonably warm. My desktop thermometer actually read 38 degrees. In January! Can you believe it?! Honestly, if the weather was like this all the time here, we would have no problem calling Minnesota home permanently. However, I had trouble posting any text with the photo (hence the long title.) So, I am posting the answer to the trivia quesiton today.

A sad fact: we know that this wonderful weather which allowed me to go to work one day without leggings or boots and, GASP, no hat, will not last forever. This is sad so I'm not going to talk about it anymore.

Another fun event occurred today. The electricity went out in our building. We figured this out when we returned from church and couldn't get into our underground parking garage. We hit our door opener against the dashboard, turned it upside down and did everything else we knew how to do. Finally, we parked outside, went inside, and discovered the elevators were down as well. So that's why our opener wouldn't work! In addition, there were quite a few older people stuck in the lobby. They were at church and when they returned, could not walk the stairs with the elevators out to go back to their homes. (We've often wondered what would happen in our buildling during a fire which is why JB and I graciously volunteered to be fire captains! We get a badge and everything! Okay, not really, but we are fire captains!)

About two hours later, the power returned. JB and I followed up church this morning with a few games of Monopoly (I won both) until the power came back on. We had a great time.

Yesterday, Tara and I scrapbooked for six hours! What an accomplishment! Then Jb made us dinner, Tara went home, and we watched War of the Worlds. It was okay in my opinion. JB loved it. Two nights ago we watched the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I thought this was entertaining. So did JB. I didn't like the new umpa loopas (sp?). JB loved them.

Tonite, we are having a few friends over to celebrate our friend Antonio's recent marriage and to meet his new wife. I'll take a few pictures. Right now I am doing some much needed cleaning. Well, actually, at this moment I am posting on my blog but I am just putting things off.

Our appointment is on Tuesday. Please keep praying everyone.

Friday, January 13, 2006

This old Pepsi Can

When we moved into our condo in May of 2004 and tore down the walls of our kitchen, JB found this Pepsi Can complete with a plastic pull back top. Since our condo was built sometime around the 1960's,we think that this Pepsi can was probably put in the wall during the construction process and is about 50 years old.

This can illusrates the differences between JB and me. JB wanted to keep the Pepsi can. I wanted to throw the Pesi can away. "What would we do with it?" I asked. "It's cool," John says. "It's clutter," I say. "It's a collector's can," JB says. JB wanted to keep the can. I wanted to throw the can away. We comprimised. He could keep the can and try to sell it. So he got on Ebay. Turns out the Pepsi can isn't worth anything. So for the last year it has remained on our counter tucked behind a few cookbooks -- both of us pretending the difference of viewpoint didn't exist.

This week, JB agreed that we couldn't keep the can forever. I suggested we take a picture of the Pepsi can so we can treasure it always (in the comfort our own hearts.) So, above, is our precious picture (taken just prior to the can took a ride down the garbarge shoot.)

JB and I constantly have a discussion fairly similar to the one with the Pepsi can. I don't like clutter. I don't want any clutter. However, I go to extremes. I end up throwing away things that are actually valuable. I remember when I was about 14 I threw away my parents' cruise tickets. Good thing the trash hadn't gone out yet!

So we try to meet in the middle. We throw some things away that are probably a little bit valuable. We keep some things that are probably a little worthless. And we take pictures of the things inbetween.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"John the Chef" needs "Wendi the Dishwasher"

As many of you know, my husband is a fantastic chef. Now I am not complaining (nor would I dare -- I eat very well), but as you can see from the pictures below, JB's cooking style creates a fair amount of mess in the kitchen.

This fantastic cooking is normally not a problem. That is, it is not a problem when the dishwasher isn't broken.

Our dishwasher broke this week for the third time since we bought it. So much for a great Maytag reputation!

Every time I mention my frustration about the broken dishwasher, JB reminds me that our dishwasher is not broken. This is because he considers Wendi the dishwasher for our house!

My father would have an appropriate comment for this flawed bit of intellect. He'd call it "stinkin' thinkin'!" Jb thinkin' that I am the dishwasher is really stinkin' thinkin'! Our dishwasher's name is Maytag, and as soon as she gets her new part again, she will be feeling just fine.

I pray for each morning. In the meantime, we've broken our rule and bought some paperplates. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

P.S. Wendi acknowledges the sarcastic nature of this piece and hopes everyone recognizes that she is married to the most wonderful man in the world who would do the dishes for me everyday if I asked!

Monday, January 09, 2006

IVF Questions and Answers

As most of you know, JB and I are right at the beginning of our IVF journey. As most of you also know, we have decided that we are going to share this journey with our friends and family. Our ultimate reason? Well there are two. We believe prayer is a powerful thing. So why wouldn't we want as many people as praying as possible? The other reason is that sharing this was much easier than keeping it quiet. I have many friends who have gone through various aspects of infertility. Some have kept it completely private except with a few close friends. Others have shared everything. For me, sharing was so much easier. During the first few months of tests and procedures, we shared with only one or two people. However, well-meaning people who knew nothing about our struggles asked a lot of questions like "So for crying-out-loud, when are you going to have kids?" and "What on earth is taking so long -- do you need us to help explain to you what to do?" and other things like that. Normally, these questions would be laughed off. However, to someone who hasn't been able to have kids, they can really hurt. So sharing eliminated these well-meant comments. You can't expect people to say the right things if they don't know what the right things are.

During the last few months, we have received a lot of questions about IVF. I thought I would post some of them (and their answers) here to help you if you have the same questions.

1. Will this child/children be 100% you and John? The answer is yes, absolutely. We are not using a sperm or egg donor. We are using 100% John and 100% me. John and I are not in a situation where we would have to use an egg, sperm, or "surrogate" for our baby. My friend Katashia, who now has two children, has already agreed to be my surrogate if I need one. Katashia was my little black teammate from WKU. We had a good laugh about the attention that one would get! Tall white babies being birthed by Katashia! Love you Tash -- if I need a surrogate you are my numero uno choice!

2. Why do you have to do IVF? The reason that we have to do IVF is that while I have plenty of good eggs, my body does not release them each month like the average woman does. A lot of women with this problem can successfully get pregnant with IUI (intra-uterine insemination or aritifical insemination). Those of you following our story closely know that we tried this many times. My problem with IUI was that I produced way too many eggs.

3. What is wrong with producing way too many eggs? Multiples is a huge concern. Mayo is adamantly against triplets and attempts to avoid it all costs. The reason is that when you are pregnant with triplets, you have a 20% chance of one of those children having cerebral palsy. The odds go up with the more children you have. Women you hear about in the news who have more than 3 children, do so because their doctors were either very stupid or they made an attmempt at pregnancy on their own even when the doctors told them not to. So when doing IUI, if you have too many eggs, the chances of multiples is too high. If you agree to do selective reduction (abortion) if you have more than two babies, they will go ahead and do the procedure. John and I would not agree to that.

4. How is IVF different than IUI? Okay, with IUI fertilization occurs INSIDE the woman. With IVF fertilization occurs outside of the body. The will go in, take my eggs out, and fertilize outside of my body. A note of trivia: the oldest IVF baby is about 23 years old right now. This shows you how new this technology is.

5. How many fertilized babies will they put back in you at a time? They will put 2 fertilized "embryos" back in me at a time. Sometimes Mayo will put in 3 but only if you are over 35 or if you have had multiple failed attempts with 2.

6. What happens to the rest of the fertilized embryos (babies)? These are frozen. We have decided that we will not attempt to fertilize more than we would be able to use. They will be stored in Rochester. We will return to try 2 more at our "convenience". If we get pregnant the first time, this would obviously not be for a bit. If we don't get pregnant, we can try again when the doctor says my body is ready for another attempt.

7. What step in the procedure are you in right now? Right now, John and I are running a variety of tests, taking various medications, and just following step-by-step guides up until our appointment on January 17th. On that date, we will generate a more firm "gameplan" for how all this will play out. I will let you know the additional tests as I find them out.

8. What are your chances? As best as we understand it, we have a 40% chance of having a pregnancy go all the way to term. Each time a woman gets pregnant they have a 20% chance of miscarriage. This is no different with IVF than it is with a woman conceiving "naturally". As far as our chances as having twins, all we know is that they are obviously much higher than for the average woman.

9. What will you do if you have twins? We have no idea. In all reality, we could potentially have multiple sets of twins. We are trusting that the Lord knows best!

10. We heard that there is an increased chances of the egg splitting in IVF. Is this true? We have heard that it is. I know a woman who had IDENTICAL twins with IVF. This means that one of the embryos didn't make it but the other one split. I also know a woman who had triplets with IVF but only had two put in her. You can figure that one out.

11. Could you get pregnant without IVF? We serve a God of miracles so John and I definitely believe we could. The doctors have put our chances at this happening as very low. For this reason they have encouraged me to pursue IVF now, while I am only 28. The good news? Our frozen embroys will always be created using 28-year-old eggs which means, I could technically get pregnant with these into my forties or fifties! (P.S. I wouldn't do that.)

Okay, if you have additional questions, post a comment and ask away. I'll then add to the list. If the question is really complicated, that's okay. I don't know the answers to some things, but JB usually does. Like I said, we are trying to educate everyone else while we do this. I have a few hopes through sharing this journey:

  • that people understand how precious life is and treasure their own children even more.
  • that people appreciate the miracle of life and their own ability to get pregnant.
  • that people learn what to say and not say to people who are struggling with infertility issues (more to come in an upcoming post!)
  • that people recognize that even though things can be done medically, it doesn't mean that is what the Lord wants us to do. Infertility is a very personalized journey, and every woman has a different story.
  • that people realize that the Lord knows best! I have learned through this journey how much we need to trust Him. Ultimately, even as we watch those embryos being dropped into my womb, having children is in His hands.
  • that people understand that while life doesn't always go the way we have planned, God is faithful and will always work for the "good of those that love Him." I know that I will be able to look back and see why this had to happen this way -- no matter how this all turns out.

Blessings everyone!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Biggest Sheets in the World

So for those of you who have visited our home (either of our homes in Kentucky or either of our homes in Minnesota), you know that JB and I have a big bed -- a king-sized bed. This is of utmost importance to us.

When we first went to buy a bed, the bed salesman told us to lie on the bed as we would when we slept. We tried that on a queen and started laughing. We definitely need a king-sized bed. So we bought a king.

King-sized beds are good things for obvious reasons when you are dealing with two people who are 6'3". However, they are difficult things in other ways. We had to turn down a few apartment choices in our past because the bedroom simply wasn't big enough for our bed! Moving a king-sized mattress down or up a flight of stairs is very difficult as well.

In addition to having a big bed, we have our bed built up very high. This is so, while living in apartments, we have significant storage for a few old high school memory trunks, our Christmas decorations, etc. In addition to having a big bed built up very high, JB and I went one step farther this week and bought a pillowtop mattress pad to go on top of our mattress.

Okay, so as you can probably tell, this makes for a very big bed. One would think that that means we have plenty of space to sleep. However, as some of you know, we still sleep with separate sheets and blankets as we are unable to share despite all of this space. This is a sad fact. We had tried everything but no matter what, I would roll up in the sheet or blanket we shared like a window shade and leave John with no blanket by the end of the night. Finally he said that he had enough and that we would never share sleeping utensils again. So we make the bed with a nice sheet and comforter, but then we fold a separate sheet and blanket for each of us on the end of the bed to use each night. Ridiculous, I know, but quite necessary.

However, all that has now changed! Jb's mother bought us a beautiful set of sheets for Christmas. King-sized sheets are very expensive, especially ones with a high thread count so this was a very welcomed gift. Last night we opened the package and made the bed. Check out the sheets she bought us in the photo below!!!

Look at these sheets! They are so big they stretch all the way to the floor of our huge built-up bed and new pillowtop mattress. Who the heck could have a bed THAT big? I mean if anyone has seen a bed bigger than ours, please post a comment and let me know. I need to know what kind of bed these sheets are made for. They say on the package something about pillowtop mattresses, and I know those can big, but this big? And trust me, there is as much hanging on the side of the bed you can't see as there is on the side you can see.

Now don't get me wrong (especially Mom K if you are reading this), because we LOVE these new sheets. In fact, for the first time in over seven years, last night we shared a sheet! Seriously. It didn't matter if I rolled up like a window shade, there was plenty of sheet left for JB. Heck, he could roll up as well, and we would both still have sheet.

Anyways, you may be reading this wondering why in the heck I wrote a whole blog about our new sheets, but you know, it's the little things in life that mean so much, and this was one of those little things I just needed to share.

Have a great nite's sleep!

Friday, January 06, 2006

JB is really into cooking

Well, most of you know that JB is into cooking. However, I am not sure if you are aware HOW into cooking he really is. Okay, maybe you do realize this, however, I needed a blog topic and this seemed like a good one, so just pretend that you didn't realize it, okay? Geeeeeez.

Good evidence of how into cooking my awesome husband is, is evidenced by the number of cookbooks on our counter. Previous visitors to Rochester Towers 202 may not remember seeing any cookbooks on our counter. That recollection would be accurate. However, after Christmas this year, the cookbooks, which were previously stored in a cabinet, became too numerous for their previous home, and JB convinced me that they needed to move into a more accessible area.

Now I cannot complain too much about the number of cookbooks JB received from Christmas because me, his wonderful wife, gave him SEVEN of them. Now how stupid is that? I complain about being runover by books (non-cooking books as well), and I buy seven. Now to make this an even more stupid purchase, I purchased ALL hardcover books! Can you believe it? BIG hardcover books. Wait, it gets worse! I purchased these in Florida. That meant that these books had to make the journey back to The Polar North.

Diligent blog readers may recall my dismay that this year would be the first year we would have to SHIP a box (much to my mother's delight -- this is her suggestion every year to which JB happily nods away in agreement). However, I happily report to you that once again, we pulled it off without paying a dime! Frugal Wendi was very happy about that. How did we do it? Well, since the airlines are so frugal with their weight allowance for checked baggage, we decided to make the heavy bags the ones we carried onto the plane. This became a little comical when we found out we were on a tiny plane into Minneapolis. The airline will happily take your bigger bags into the area with strollers and baby seats and all those other good things. And, there is no weight limit! However, you should have seen the poor guy trying to get our bag of books off the belt to us! Oh my gosh! I felt bad -- but hey, I have saved like 50 bucks in postage so I didn't feel too badly.

This heavy suitcase on wheels didn't actually fare so well on the first plane either! We actually had to stop and take a book out of it to get it to be compact enough to fit in the overhead bin! However, did I mention that we saved 50 bucks!?!

Speaking of books, I really am not sure how many books JB received for Christmas, but we think the number was in the double digits and started with a 2. In addition, his brothers and sisters basically threw a party to return all the books they had borrowed from him in past years. One day into our vacation and we have accumulated like seven old books I thought we were rid of forever.

I presently have no idea what we are going to do when we move again. Sarah Huisman is witness that when we left Kentucky we needed a truck that was so big, it beeped when it backed up! How ridiculous is that. I am like the anti-pack-rat too. Then I realized! It was books. The whole truck was packed with books. (JB, when you read this, please know I am being a tad bit facetious for the pleasure of my faithful readers.) But, for real, he has a stinkin' lot of books.

And he likes to cook. I got off track, but if you have read this far ... thanks!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mid-week Update

Well, it's Wednesday. It's the first Wednesday after returning from Florida. It is also my first full day of work at Mayo. I forgot how long a full day of work is until I did it like I did today. It's long.

We have spent most of the beginning part of this week unpacking. In addition, JB has switched all of our budget information over from the MAC to the PC which has been something we have been wanting to do for awhile. I have ordered pictures for the last six months or so from online that I have been meaning to do for awhile and plan to do some major scrapbooking.

Okay, there it is. Wendi actually has a craft I like to do. I say I am not a craft-person and always complain because every women's event listed in the bulletin always says something like "come for a time of fellowship and crafts" and I always say I don't do crafts. But now I scrapbook thanks to Joan Van Wyck and my aunt Connie so I guess that isn't true anymore. And speaking of women's events . . . if they don't say crafts they say tea. All the men's events say sports and movies. I always want to go to those events!

I have also been trying to get over a sinus infection. I think that this is a result of spending time with Keith's girlfriend on the cruise as she had one of these too. Her's seemed worse as she had a fever. Mine is just intense head, neck, and back pain.

Some of you had been asking me what was happening with our infertility journey. During the next few weeks we are going to be doing a variety of tests up until our doctor's appointment on January 17th. I will post more details after that doctor's appointment.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Life in the Polar North Returns

Life in the Warm Caribbean . . . caput
Life in the Polar Narth . . . returns

We are home. The good news: it is not nearly as cold as I imagined it being in my mind. The bad news: It is still much, much colder than Fort Lauderdale.

Other good news: five of our six bags survived the long flight to Minnesota and the cold drive back to Rochester. Other bad news: we left one of our bags in Minneapolis on accident and have to drive back there today to retrieve it.

More bad news: Our flight last night was delayed an hour in St. Louis. Other good news: The captain felt so bad that we were delayed on New Years Eve that he bought a drink for everyone on board the plane. Too bad I don't drink!

Only good news: Our friends Christo and Melissa called us just as we landed last night and invited us over for a fantastic Indian meal. There really is no bad news to this story as our fridge is currently full of butter and water.

More good news: We brought in the New Year with our great friend Hans and his girlfriend Rachel and her family at their home here in Rochester playing Mexican Dominoes. This was a great time even though JB and I both got cremeated. Better news: I beat JB!

I am actually glad to be home despite all the snow and ice on the ground. Happy New Year Everone! May 2006 be a blessed year for everyone.