So here we are. It's slightly past mid-June and summer has come and decided to stay...finally! For us folks in Ohio, we had a teaser of spring coming back once or twice but I think summer's hanging on now for the long haul.
In the past three weeks I've found myself doing something that I never thought I'd love. Gardening. Planting. Weeding. That sounds so silly. I can't believe I'm even admitting it but you know how sometimes things in life just feel right? You may not be thinking of it consciously but it's there...at some point you smile to yourself and say, "This is right. I feel content and happy." Well, that's how I felt again this evening--it was my third time in the past few weeks planting flowers at our new house.
Now, what no one knows is that I've never been much of a green thumb. I can remember as a kid we would have family work days where on a Saturday we would work as a family to clean out the garage, rake leaves, etc. Typical chores kind of stuff. For some reason, as much as I loved to play outside, to ride my bike outside and to feel the grass beneath my bare feet, I just wasn't one to care to plant flowers, veggies, pull weeds or anything. In fact, if I had a choice of chores, I would usually pick the inside stuff like vacuuming or dusting while my mom, dad and brother went outside to work. I know I wasn't fond of dirt and bugs were definitely not high on my list so perhaps that was it?? For whatever reason, I preferred housework to yard work.
Anyway, as I grew older, got out on my own and then married, I did try to plant flowers wherever we lived. I never had any luck. In Texas, it was just too hot. Plain and simple. I could never figure out how often to water what I had planted in pots outside of my apartment during my grad school years and so every flower died within a week.
Oklahoma wasn't much better. Our home there had a few bushes and ugly grass. It wasn't very scenic. It was also very shady so didn't allow for petunias and the like to enjoy the sun.
Let's move ahead to when we lived in Tennessee..any luck? Nope. When I planted flowers in flower boxes at our one house, they all died. Too much water? Not enough? Who knows. Of course it probably didn't help that one box fell right off of the porch because the wood had rotted. Bad memories of that place. Enough said about that.
I think besides the weather, the other problem that I found through my adventures in gardening was that we have always been renting homes. We've moved 5 times in 7 years (yes, you read that right) so haven't officially settled down yet (but I'm really hoping we can buy soon!) Most of our homes didn't have flower beds or any space to try to plant flowers or a garden in. I guess I could have just dug up some grass and plopped a flower into it but I kind of think the homeowners wouldn't have appreciated that much.
So you have my history of not being too in to gardening. Let me throw a contradiction out there if it makes sense. Would you believe that oh, in the past 5 or more years I've found myself imagining what life would be like on a farm? Not that I'd ever see myself as a farmer but...well, I guess I've been attracted to the calmness. To the idea of trying to understand how the earth works--when dirt is ready for planting, how to plant and actually grow things, how to eat what you grow, etc. My space. My land. I guess it's kind of a secret dream of mine to maybe someday buy a couple acres and play around with it. A garden here. A flower bed there. A play area for the kids over there. Space for my husband's dream Army WWII Jeep somewhere (wait, that's his dream!)
Well, I guess you could say here in Dayton, we've hit the jackpot as far as space. The house we are currently living in has TONS of flowerbeds. They are everywhere. When we moved in last August, they were overgrown with weeds and such and we didn't want to spend money to plant so late in the season. But, once the rainy spring finally let up a few weeks ago I jumped in and gave it a shot. Our landlord has joked with me several times saying that if he had it his way he'd dig up every bed and put grass seed in. But, because it was his mother-in-law's house and she's still alive, they can't change things too much in case she wants to drive by to see her old home. She really misses it and prided herself on her flowers. He told us several times too that we weren't expected to do the flower/mulch thing but I told him I wanted to for us. I love how flowers look so was so excited to see what might happen. Did I mention that in the past our home had been in House Beautiful Magazine for it's beautiful landscaping?? Talk about a past!
I think a big part of my recent enjoyment of planting came when we returned from a week-long trip to my mom's. I was so surprised to see that the petunias and marigolds I had planted were STILL ALIVE!! And, would you believe the seeds I planted were sprouting?? Well, whatever you call it--sprouts, seedlings...little green stuff was poking through the dirt. I have never had any luck ever with seeds and yet, here they were showing themselves! I was overjoyed to see that something I planted had actually lived. And they live still!!
I've found myself thinking a lot about this in the past few weeks, and especially tonight as I was planting more flowers that I bought while at my mom's. When I was pulling weeds from the warm earth with my bare fingers earlier today, I felt proud of the work I was doing. I knew I'd see the result and be happy with it. So it was raining. So I had dirt in my fingernails. It just felt right to be there in that moment doing what I was doing.
And then tonight again after dinner, even as my cheap shovel broke in two, I was still smiling as I plopped each little flower into their hole. You know how people talk about "seasons" of their lives? I think there's even a song--"For every season..." something-something-something. Well, I've heard that a lot in the past 2 years. Friends in writing groups, online, etc. have mentioned that they were in this season or that season of their lives. Even my Christian Writing Group in Texas last year mentioned that. That sometimes members were with us for a season and then may have to step out for a bit. The idea of "seasons" of our lives has kind of stuck with me.
Is this a season of growing for me? Could it be? Not just a green thumb but perhaps a pink thumb or a light blue one? Some of you might be wondering where we are at with our fertility treatments. We've finished "round 2" as I like to call it. Basically this is the second month of treatment that we've gone through with the RE. It was nice to finally be able to start a month ago. We did Femara for two cycles now. Femara works like Clomid and blocks the estrogen, I think, so that something else beefs up and helps your eggs grow better. I ovulated on my own last cycle and had a great ovulation based on my progesterone test but no luck beyond that.
For this cycle, they caught me just in time and gave me the trigger shot--Ovidrel--to start the ovulation process and help mature the egg. For those of you not familiar with this stuff, Ovidrel is a shot you get in your stomach. EEK! Well, it's not that bad. I hate needles so planned for the nurse to give it to me. It hurt a tad but nothing like I thought it could. Thankfully it's a little tiny needle that goes just below the surface of your skin. I still don't totally get it, but apparently by them triggering my ovulation we can better time intercourse. I just do what they say to do.
Well, with our eh, assignment, in hand, we did what we were supposed to do. While it was most definitely enjoyable, I won't lie and say it wasn't also a bit of work. I tell you, I am constantly thinking of couples who go through this and more for months and years to try to conceive. My heart truly goes out to them because it gets to be really taxing on you physically, emotionally, and of course, not to mention financially. Because we had timing to consider, we didn't always get a lot of sleep. Life goes on, you know. It doesn't just stop for you to do your fertility thing. The boys were in Bible School that week. We had just returned from an out of town trip. We have been getting ready for another big trip across country. To say that our efforts were a breeze would be a big ol' fib.
Work. Yes, trying to have a baby can be a lot of work. Just like trying to get things to grow outside. As I struggled with some of the weeds tonight I kept telling myself, "It's worth it. Think of how pretty this spot will look when you're done. Think of the stress you're relieving!" :) That's what I kept telling myself throughout the last week of our attempts as well. It's worth it to put forth the extra effort--to at least try. I remember I made that decision with myself back at the beginning on the fertility journey when I found out that I had old eggs. In February of this year, I had said that I'd try for as long as I could. I had been pregnant before and could be again if I tried hard enough, and if it was to be. But I knew I had to put forth the effort--to take the medications, deal with the side effects, plan our lives around doctor appointments, etc. If there were options, we'd go for it. If we could afford it, we'd do it. I'm grateful that my husband knows that this isn't an easy task. He's put forth the effort too (obviously) and so we run to appointment after appointment, he has to listen to me worry about new medications when I get them, cry if I have a cyst that prevents treatment, etc. He also just stays tuned in to when I tell him it's showtime.
As I walked around the yard tonight I stopped and checked out some little seedlings in a smaller bed. They don't look so good. A few of them in the row that I planted a few weeks ago are poking through but they are much tinier than all of the others in the yard. I don't even remember what flower I planted there--perhaps it was something that needed more sun than the area is getting, I don't know. I planted a bunch of impatiens around that area to give them some friends. I figure I'll see what happens when I get back from my trip in about 10 days. If they don't start growing more, I'll just re-plant more flowers there and figure that they just didn't take root.
I find myself wondering about how seeds take root. You can do everything right but sometimes things still don't grow. Just like in trying to make a baby. I truly believe it's way more than just science. God has a hand it in, I know He does. I like imagining Him as the Gardener who forms us in the womb--I love that verse in the Bible. I know He knew my special little Jacob in the womb. He had plans for my little sweetheart.
In thinking about my little flower seeds that are struggling, I find myself worrying about my own gardening going on. Has an egg made friends with some sperm recently? Will something take root and start to grow? Is it a good egg??
I go tomorrow for my progesterone test. I hope my score is as good as last round. Last round they said it was "excellent" and for some reason, both doctors said this. I still wonder why both docs looked at my blood tests when I only see one of them? Perhaps it's because I'm older so they were discussing how well Femara works in older women?? :) Hah. Who knows! But hey, I'll take the "excellent" news any way I can.
If they call me with a similar rating tomorrow afternoon, I still have to wait another week or so to take the HcG test. Our out-of-town trip is delaying how soon I can take the test but I hope to take it July 1. What I don't get is why they are scheduling me for this. I thought in the past they just told me to come in if and when my next cycle started to start the baseline ultrasound process all over. I am nervous about that appointment. Well, actually, I'm nervous about missing it! We'll be getting in late the night prior so there's no wiggle room here. I'd hate to miss it and have to wait until July 5 (with the holiday) to get in. Of course, if things don't work this round, I'd probably find out on my own either through the urine home tests or if my cycle starts up at some point.
Where does that put me right now? I really don't know. I've been wondering how I would answer this question if someone out there reading my blog asked me how I feel--optimistic? hopeful? doubtful? I just don't know. I think I'm still very hopeful in general. But I can't even begin to imagine it, you know? It seems almost foreign to me. And scary, very scary. Because I know that even if I get a plus sign or two lines or a great blood test, I may not get a heartbeat. Or my precious little one might only make it a short while. It's a very difficult spot to be in mentally and emotionally. And of course, I try not to think too far into the future about the "end"--that time when and if they tell me we've done everything possible, I'm out of options, etc.
A season of growing. Boy I really hope that this is MY season. I really hope and pray that this is my time now to conceive again and to carry the child throughout a healthy pregnancy and delivery. My boys can't wait to be big brothers. They talk about it all the time. Sammy even saw an infomercial for some organic baby food maker and told me we should get it for my baby. I smile every time I see a baby and imagine me with a baby again. My heart melts when I imagine my husband holding a baby--I know we'd both love a little girl--but would be equally happy with another little boy. It takes a lot of work, time, money, patience and energy for sure. But it's so worth it just knowing that we aren't giving up. We are putting in everything we can to try to make it work.
Okay, time to be honest. :) I should have been packing tonight--not gardening! Oh, I had a million indoor tasks to do! We're going out of town for a major trip soon and I have nothing packed!! Panic!! So my flowers might have died in their little plastic holders while we were out of town. So. I should have been packing. But, I didn't want to!! I longed to be taking care of my flowers, to push them snug into the ground and help them grab ahold of the earth and to live! It was a lot of work tonight, but so worth it.
This baby-making work on my journey is also worth it, I know. I don't know what exactly will come of it, but the whole experience has opened my eyes to a world I truly never knew about. I look at children and the "miracle of life" in a whole new way. Really, I do. I still treasure my little Jacob in Heaven and am so thankful we keep the memory of him alive on a regular basis.
So go little seeds go! Grow all of you petunias and dahlias! Come on blooms on you zinnias and whatever the other flower seed was that I planted! Let's go pumpkins (yes, the boys asked for pumpkins--that ought to be interesting if those grow!) and peas, tomatoes, rosemary and corn!! :) And of course, go baby seed go!!! Make friends with little sperm and find a happy spot to settle in mommy's uterus! You can do it baby!!!
And lastly---I must mention how much I've thought about my precious little Jacob in the past few days. I saved out a few impatiens to plant in near the praying angel statue that came with the house. I couldn't clear the weeds away fast enough. The angel is praying and the bright pink flowers are right in front of her. When I told my mom what I had done, my voice broke. My baby deserves a memorial garden and I'm going to do what I can to make that happen this year. The angel just looks so beautiful with the flowers with her. This was the same angel I had never noticed until after Jacob passed away last October.
Monday, June 20--you would have turned 2 months old my sweet baby. You couldn't grow so well here on earth but I know in Heaven you are totally healthy and oh, so happy!! Won't you please send Mommy a little coo tonight in my dreams? Oh how I would love to hear you coo! I hope you enjoyed seeing Mommy play in the dirt today...someday we'll play in the dirt together. I bet Heaven's dirt never stains!!
May you all find your seasons of growing, my friends...growing in love, growing in energy, growing in health or relationships. I really think we can learn from paying attention to the seasons of our lives.
Here's to our green thumbs this summer--and of course, to my dream for pink or blue ones. :)