Intimacy and Infertility

Categories: Infertility

There are things in our lives that are automatically on public display. And with technology and social media going the way they are these days the number of those things seems to be increasing at a tremendous rate. Yet there are some things everyone (with a few weird exceptions) still keep private, still keep intimate.

Intimate: adj. very private; closely personal.

Intimacy: n. 1. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship.
2. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding.
3. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like.
4. the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar.
5. privacy.

Marital intimacy. It’s right there in the term. Intimacy. The relationship between husband and wife is private and personal. It’s part of a loving relationship. There is no deeper understanding you can have of a person, no greater way of being comfortable and familiar with your husband or wife. It’s not a normal topic of open discussion.

So when it doesn’t work, when intimacy doesn’t lead to pregnancy, one in eight couples feels alone. One in eight. Over twelve percent. That number right there means they aren’t alone though.

But even knowing you aren’t alone. Knowing you aren’t the only couple experiencing infertility, doesn’t make it feel less alone. Because you want to keep the intimacy. You want to keep the privacy of your intimate life. So you don’t talk about it. Making a child is one of the most intimate things a couple can do. Opening up about it is one of the last things you want to do.

I am eternally grateful for all of those, more than twelve percent of my friends, who shared their infertility struggles with us. Who shared intimate parts of their lives with us.

I will always be infertile. That diagnosis does not change with the fact that we have children. Medically I will always be infertile. It will always require help for me to get pregnant. Always require a team of specialists to do what I’d always thought would be the result of an intimate act between my husband and me. Yet even with that team of specialists, we found ways to keep certain things intimate. And while I will share our story for the rest of my life so that others will know they are not alone, paying it forward for those who shared their stories with me, I will still keep parts of that story close. I will ponder them in my heart and in the heart of my husband only.

Intimacy and infertility. There are times when they feel at complete odds with each other. Infertility does not have to, and should not, completely rob the intimacy of a marriage, of pregnancy, of children. Yet being more open about infertility can mean others feel empowered to get the help they need. Being more open can help others find the strength to continue.

#NIAW You Are Not Alone

Cheerios and Repentance

Categories: Gospel

We’ve been working with Iddo on finding other ways to express her anger than throwing things, especially food. When she throws in anger she has to pick up whatever she’s thrown, and we’ll make her sit there staring at it till she does. And sometimes we’re sitting there for over 20 minutes. As soon as she picks it up though we give her a very enthusiastic “thank you!” and a hug.

About a month ago on a Saturday morning she got upset that we weren’t giving her any more banana or Lucky Charms for breakfast since she’d already eaten what we gave her and she was just going to have to finish the bowl of (dry) Cheerios she still had on her tray instead. And the whole bowl went flying. Cheerios everywhere.

Brett got her out of her chair and sat down with her in the middle of the Cheerio mess. He turned her bowl right-side-up and calmly told her to please pick up the Cheerios. And then they both just sat there. For several minutes. Him staring at her. And her staring defiantly at the Cheerios, actively not looking at her dad.

At one point Brett said that when she started showing a real effort to pick them up he’d step in and help and I agreed that would be a good idea.

Eventually she decided that she really wasn’t going to get away with not picking them up and started putting them back in the bowl (or eating them, we aren’t picky about what she does with the food she throws as long as it’s picked up off the floor). As she started and then kept going Brett sat there right next to her encouraging her the whole time. And in no time at all she’d picked up all the Cheerios. Brett gave her a huge hug and a very enthusiastic thank you. And she happily went on her way.

Two days later it was lunch and she threw a bowl of black beans and rice. So I sat there next to her on the floor with her bowl and a wet wash cloth so I could clean up her hands and the residue on the floor after she picked up all the big pieces. And I gave her a huge hug and an enthusiastic thank you when she finished.

We want her to learn not to throw her food because it is not acceptable in public and we’d like her to be a good person by finding other ways in which to express her anger.

As Brett sat there with her Cheerios though we thought about how what we were doing was an object lesson for repentance. We all do things that we shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s just a fork we throw. Other times it’s an entire messy bowl of beans and rice. And we have to pick it up. But we are never left to do it alone. Our loving God is sitting there right next to us, eager to encourage us when we get started making it right, ready with a wet wash cloth to help wipe up the mess when we’re done, and always with a huge hug after we finish.

We are asked to repent of our sins not because He couldn’t fix them and make them right on His own. But because teaching us to do so teaches us not to do them again and helps us grow spiritually into successful eternal beings.

No one is more anxious to help you flee from sin than your Heavenly Father. Go to Him. Acknowledge your sin, confess your shame and your guilt, and then plead with Him for help. He has the power to help you triumph.
– President Ezra Taft Benson, “The Law of Chastity,” New Era, Jan. 1988

I remember a Mormonad from back in high school that showed a young man having painted himself into a corner of a room with red paint. As I think about that image and then the image of Brett sitting in the corner with Iddo surrounded by a mess of Cheerios, I can’t help but think that the picture of the young man was missing something. He is not sitting in that corner by himself. Because all of us have divine help in getting out of those corners we find ourselves in. Always.

Random Giggles | Cheerios & Repentance

Bored?

Categories: Life

Way back in high school, or a little earlier, a long time ago anyway, I made a spherical pillow and put the continents on it. It’s a bit over a foot in diameter and it’s a fun little globe. Iddo loves to throw it and sit on it.

A kid 11 going on 12 was at our home recently and saw it. He wanted to know what the big stripy thing on the top was and I told him it was Asia. Then he asked if I always made things when I was bored.

He seemed real confused when I told him no because I’m never bored. I can always find something to do.

Pickles - You want to know what I do when I'm bored?

At what age do we finally figure that out? I can’t remember when I stopped being bored but I know it’s been a long time. Okay, maybe I’ve been bored standing in line at a store a time or two, but who doesn’t get bored there?

Favorite Things – The Toddler Edition

Categories: Family, Featured, Food, Life, Random

When Iddo was 6 months old I wrote a post about all the things we had that had made those first 6 months easier – Baby paraphernalia six months in. Now that she’s entering the toddler stage we have slightly different list of things we love.

Travel & Safety

Britax Marathon Car Seat – We’re still in love with this car seat. In fact, we love it so much that it’s what we’ll be buying the current model for future babies as well. She still fits great in it rear facing at 20 months even with her long legs. She just bends them or hangs them wherever she wants.

Mei Tai Baby Carrier – This I actually made (using basically these instructions). It can resemble an unruly squid when the ties get lose in a bag, but it rolls up real compact and it’s super easy to put her, even at the toddler age, on my front or my back. When we were still breast feeding I was able to do it while carrying her without any problems.

Diapering

Flip Diapers – We’re still using the same covers (although they are starting to wear out a bit, but that’s because we rotate through them so often since we only have 8). We’re still using the same inserts, knowing that she needs 1 full-size and 2 newborn-size in her night diaper, and they’re working great. We’re planning on using their training covers when we get to that point.

Small Planet Wise Wet Bags – They are the perfect size for holding wipes, a few diapers, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. It’s still what we grab most from our diaper bag. In fact I’m probably going to get some more because they are also the perfect size to keep small toys together in the diaper bag or a back-pack as well as keeping snacks in. They’re just a great all around bag.

Eating

Random Giggles | Favorite Things - The Toddler Edition: Eating made simpleFisher-Price booster seat – This has been the absolute best high-chair/booster seat. It’s super easy to clean. We took it with us this summer when we traveled and she always had her spot to sit at. We took it with us to the chili cook-off at church for Halloween and she was able to eat her dinner while we ate ours and didn’t have to balance her on our laps or switch off who was eating. It’s great!

Sassy Grow Up Cup – We got tired of trying to clean the no-spill valves in her sippy cups (because it’s almost impossible to really get those clean), but she hasn’t yet mastered the art of drinking from a normal cup. Enter this incredible invention! It’s an around-the-rim sippy cup. She drinks from the rim just like a normal cup but it has this rubber ring with ridges on it that she has to suck through and it keeps it from spilling unless she flings it in anger. She caught on to how to use it as soon as we gave it to her. It’s brilliant!

Munchie Mug – By far the best spill-proof snack container. It has overlapping fabric pieces that she sticks her hand through to grab the largest handful of Cheerios and craisins (our current snack of choice) that she can and doesn’t spill when dropped or carried upside down. It comes with a separate lid you can screw on to keep snacks fresh but we’ve never used it because we don’t keep it in the diaper bag unused for that long. But if you did, it has that lid. The handle in the mug makes it real easy for her to carry around with her too.

Playing

Squigz – Yes, these say they are for kids 3 and up, so we just watch her when she’s playing with them. Because Iddo’s been getting a kick out of them for several months now. You can stick them to your forehead, the window, mirrors, each other. They are made from food-grade silicon and are easily washable. The hard round knobby parts were perfect for her to chew on when she was teething because they gave her some resistance to her gums. I have yet to meet a person of any age who doesn’t like Squigz.

Random Giggles | Favorite Things - The Toddler Edition, Playing with Squigz & Bilibos

Moluk Bilibo – We have a big one and two little ones. The mini Bilibos were perfect this summer when we found ourselves at a mountain stream and needed something fun to float down the stream. They also worked great at a lake beach. You can put them on your head. You can put things in them. They’ve been the perfect size for her little hands. Now that she’s getting bigger she’s enjoying her regular sized one as well. She likes to sit on/in it or stand on it. It’s great for sticking Squigz in. It’s fun to throw balls into and watch them roll around. I’m sure we’ll find dozens of other uses for these as her imagination grows.

Other

Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets – These are still a favorite. And now that she likes having her toys swaddled, it’s wonderful that they are thin enough that I can actually wrap them around a toy and have it be tight enough that they don’t come unwrapped for days or weeks at a time. They’re also the perfect blanket for throwing in the diaper bag because they don’t take a lot of room and sometimes you just need to play “Where is she?” (Iddo’s version of peek-a-boo) on the go.

Momo Baby Soft Sole Leather Shoes – Have you ever seen a kid learning how to walk wearing shoes with regular soles? It’s like watching a dog wear shoes. It’s awkward. We bought Iddo a pair of these a month or so before she turned 1 when she really started being interested in walking around holding our fingers. They are one of the few shoes approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association because they protect baby and toddler feet while still letting them feel the ground and allowing their feet to develop naturally. In October after she’d been walking for a few months her feet had grown and she’d actually worn out the toes on her first pair (she dragged her toes a lot when she was starting to walk), so we bought a second pair. She’ll probably be outgrowing the second pair by her second birthday this summer. But by now she’s gotten the walking thing pretty much down so we’ll most likely be moving on to more traditional shoes next. But we’ve absolutely loved these shoes. And she can’t pull them off so her socks stay on.

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It’ll be a lot of fun to see what new things she’ll introduce us to in the next year.

Lunar New Year!

Categories: Food, Science & Tech

With the new moon happening at 4:47pm local time yesterday, today is the first day of the new year in the lunar calendar. The year of the sheep as they’re calling it. I think I’ll need to knit a lot this year in honor of it. We did have stir fry for dinner tonight to celebrate.

What are your favorite stir fry vegetables? I love snap peas, water chestnuts, and baby corn.

The new moon on Wednesday also meant that the moon was basically up during the day on Monday and not at all at night. It rose at just before 5am and set just before 4pm and it was very much a waning crescent with only 7% visible. Which was a problem this week.

We go for a walk after dinner every Monday as a family and Iddo was really looking forward to saying hi to the moon and stars on our walk this week. She spent the first almost quarter mile having a bit of a fit and crying because she couldn’t see the moon to say hi. Us telling her it was sleeping didn’t help any. Neither did pointing out all the stars she could say hi to. It was actually rather funny.

This coming Monday it will be a waxing crescent with 30% visible and definitely up when we go out for our walk. That should make her much happier.

Where I get my lunar information: Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day

Books. Measles. Enjoyment.

Categories: Books, Health, News, Relationships

What do books, measles, and enjoyment have in common? Not much except I’ve read some interesting things about all of them recently.

Books

They announced the Newbery and Caldecott winners last week.

I’m excited to read this year’s Newbery, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, mainly because it’s an entire novel written in poetry, and not just one long epic poem either but different types. I wonder if it’ll have me speaking in meter like I found myself doing when I read Skellig (review) several years ago.

My dad has been helping us build our Newbery collections every year for several years now. Looking at this year’s Caldecott winner, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat, I think we need to start building our children’s Caldecott collection. The illustrations I’ve seen are just gorgeous. Add in the fact that I’ve never read a book from the perspective of an imaginary friend before, and I’m very much intrigued.

In the non-children’s book department, I’ve just been made aware of the book Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen, and it’s now been added to my list of books I’d like to read. As part of my alphabet non-fiction challenge I read a book about the history of words in the English language – The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English by Henry Hitchings (review). This book is the history of the letters in the English language. It would probably be a good idea to read about the history of the letters that make up the words I’ve read the history of already. That, and it would make for some fun non-quantum physics small talk topics.

And then there’s this piece of awesome book related music. Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison with The Doors singing the Reading Rainbow theme song.

YouTube Preview Image

Measles

I thought Scientific American’s explanation on the level of vaccination needed for different diseases to keep them from becoming epidemics was interesting. I had never heard of how they calculated that, or even that there was a way to do so. I was especially surprised at how contagious measles is to other diseases. It’s one of the highest.

And in light of the dropping vaccination levels in our country, I liked the brief summary NPR did on how doctors should approach vaccination questions with their patients and the parents of their patients. I didn’t go to medical school. The majority of parents did not. But our pediatrician did. And I am capable of reading actual research (not scare blogs, on either side) on the topic. After the research I’ve done and continue to do, I’m trusting our pediatrician.

Enjoyment

And finally, if you want to enjoy something, do it with people you enjoy. It’s the shared experience, and the ability to continue to share it in memory, that makes the experience extraordinary. Put this in the category of things that it seems like we shouldn’t have needed to research but someone did the research on anyway. Because of course it makes sense that humans, extremely social creatures, would need the social experience to enhance the emotional experience. Even as an introvert I can get behind that conclusion. It’s just that as an introvert I’m good with sharing an experience with just a small number of people, like 1 (hi Brett!), and not a larger number.

Thanks for sharing this blog experience with me.

You are never too old, or too young, to learn

Categories: Education

Last week I read two articles that stood out to me, for their similarities and their differences.

The first was about the world’s oldest first-grader. Kimani Maruge started school for the first time at the age of 84 in 2004. Before that he’d been too poor to attend school in his native Kenya. He lived his life as a farmer and fought in the army for Kenyan independence, hoping then the government would stop charging fees to go to school. Even after independence though the government continued to charge fees till 2003. At the age of 84 school was finally opened to all, not just those who could afford it, so he went.

It’s never too late to learn. It’s never too late to chase your dreams. It’s never too late.

The second article was about learners on the other end of the spectrum – newborns, how their brains process new knowledge and the knowledge they already come with. I’m always fascinated by studies showing just how much newborns know and understand and the ways scientists are finding to measure their intelligence since they aren’t exactly adept at filling in bubble sheets. The first year is an intense period of growth physically and mentally for humans and it’s amazing all we’ve learned about that period, and all we still don’t know.

It’s never too early to start learning. We shouldn’t wait till the time seems right or the process seems easier because the process began before we even knew it.