Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband Can Support a Wife During Infertility #6

For part one click here. For part two click here. For part three click here. For part four click here. For part five click here. 

6.) Be a man willing to seek out and to create community – I want to exhort you to find community. This may be a simplistic, but it can be very counter intuitive to men. We are told to be individualistic or as a couple to be “private,” especially in regard to such a private suffering as infertility. While some privacy is certainly called for, there is a false individualism lurking here that translates into the thoughts of men "to do everything on our own," which is a very dangerous attitude. In particular, men are taught at an early age to isolate themselves in the work they have to do, rather than be relational. But if you want healing and growth, then you need to realize that we men, like women, are relational beings who need a good parish, a good set of friends, and support from family (if possible). Broaden out of your comfort zone to be more with people who can rejuvenate you as a couple.

Also find or create a support group of friends who struggle with the same struggle of infertility through blogging and reaching out to others within your community. You will be surprised at how many of us there are! By doing so you will also start to bring out healing to your suffering in ways you can never imagine. In particular, you should avoid lamenting that "there is nothing in your area" and instead reach out to others in your community by creating opportunities for infertile couples. Talk to your pastors about how you could do this. Or informally create events for tough days, like this Mother's Day, we decided to have a champagne brunch with another infertile couple. Or go to the family life director at the Archdiocese to see if you can start anything. We were blessed with being able to start an annual Archdiocesan Mass to facilitate this meeting up of infertile couples. We are also planning an informal pilgrimage this Summer with a few couples to a shrine in New York City. Others have started powerful retreats for infertile couples, like Rebecca at The Road Home blog. Do something! Be creative and remember that just like no one was brought to the faith alone so too no one can grow during infertility alone. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband can Support a Wife During Infertility #5

For part one click here. For part two click here. For part three click here. For part four click here

5.) Be a man willing to be healed and to heal – I just mentioned in my last post a unique and greatest suffering of men in regard to infertility, but there is a lot more suffering we face. Here are some of the more, common experiences: We suffer when we get no recognition on Father's day or have no child to take to work on “bring your son to work day”. We suffer extra hard when our careers are not going well and we cannot fall back upon the usual standby of manly confidence - “well at least I am a good father!” We suffer when we play with our friends' children and think “Man I wish I had children like this to throw around”. We suffer when we feel excluded by other men whose lives revolve around taking their school aged children from one event to the next or have no time to hang out with you anymore because of family duties. We suffer on the sidelines of school sporting events because we have no child of our own to cheer for. We even suffer in the quiet of our homes and our prayers when we think about all the future activities we would like to be blessed to do with our children, like introducing them to nature, to sports, and to God. We suffer at the irresponsible fatherhood all around us when we so desperately want to be that good father for many children. Speaking of fathers, upon recognizing the lack in our own fathers and wanting to change that for the next generation, we suffer greatly because we realize we don't have a 'next generation'. We also suffer bitterly every time our wife cries about this pain and we can't console her completely. We suffer because we feel constantly impotent, impotent to bring a child into existence and to make our wives happy mothers; and this impotence makes us, above all, feel weak and worthless and therefore unmanly. Yes, we feel at times half a man and half a husband, broken and certainly not whole. 

Unfortunately, despite this pervasive suffering of infertility, we men are told that we must always act like we are whole and composed, yet this is a facade and it puts up a barrier to our legitimate healing. In fact, I think a man's greater need “to prove themselves” is due to the fact we are more broken than we care to admit! After all, one who is whole and content with himself is in no need “to prove himself to others.” So while we ought to be the calm composure sometimes when our wives are having a difficult time, we also need to acknowledge our brokenness, dare I say our weakness, so we can be healed and made strong again. If we don't, then we will put off healing until long after the suffering of infertility sets in. This avoidance just creates more tension, stress, and suffering in our marriage. 

Also, remember that infertility is a joint suffering so our wives cannot be healed alone without us being healed as well. Too often healing doesn't come to a relationship because one of the spouses, usually more often the man, refuses or avoids healing in regard to this suffering. We can't let this happen to our wives or our relationships. This is not being the virtuous, protecting man we want to be. So we need discover where we need healing in relation to this suffering, have the honesty and courage to admit it, and be healed along with our wives. If we don't do this, then our relationship and everyone around us will suffer. We need to let go and let God heal us. What healing do you need? How can you cultivate this healing further? How can you heal with your wife?

This path of healing will be different for each man and for each woman. But I am sure some of it will be found in doing the things mentioned in this series and finding multiple meanings to our suffering. After we have found our meanings we need to let our suffering be fruitful as I have talked about here. Part of the fruitfulness is that once we have found the path of healing we need, then we must turn around and offer this path of healing to others, especially sharing what is helpful to our wives. My prayer for you all is to let the divine physician heal you so that your suffering may be transformed from a burden into a place of strength. Don't let your suffering overcome you and your marriage. Let your suffering become healed into the suffering power of the cross. It is this mutual suffering with Christ that saves the world. In regard to this thought, I leave you with the wisdom of a very manly saint and martyr: “Tribulation is a gift from God; one that He especially gives His special friends” (St. Thomas More). 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband Can Support a Wife During Infertility #4

For part one click here. For part two click here. For part three click here.

4.) Be a man of protection – I truly believe that the greatest suffering men face during infertility is not the actual fact of infertility, but watching helplessly their wives suffer through infertility. Our greatest suffering is watching our wives suffer. Don't get me wrong. Childlessness and fatherlessness hurts me in many other ways, but I wish this was a suffering I could just take all upon my shoulders. But I can't. We are in this struggle together for however long the Lord allows it. However, we men are not completely helpless.

We can still protect our wives from this suffering by shielding them from hurtful comments, standing up for them or just listening to them when they are hurt by others with their thoughtless words and actions, and being peaceful and encouraging during very difficult, emotional times (like Cycle Day 1). We can also protect by going to some of their medical appointments (at their discretion). That is, wives often feel a lot more comfortable with all the uncomfortable procedures if you are simply there in the waiting room or to drive back with them from their appointment. Perhaps you may want to treat them to some of their favorite things to do or to eat on those days. They do deserve a break, a lot more than we do because they take the brunt of the infertility medical treatments and suffering given their fertility cycles. Again, it is not an accident, therefore, that they are more likely than us to blog – because they need the support more.

Another important place to protect wives is at parties or even in our parishes. Often women who have children will want to talk only about their joys and crosses with children. This is fine and good and we don't want to steal their joy away, but it can be emotionally draining on our wives. So make sure she has an 'out'. Invite her over to talk with the guys as guys hardly ever talk about their children or if it is just too much than be willing to go home early from the party/parish sometimes. This is a great way to protect our wives.

Finally, especially protect your wives on difficult days, like Mother's day or Christmas. Go the extra mile to make those meaningful days by celebrating your marital love in some way. Plan an elaborate date, go on a vacation, or buy flowers and a gift. Do something to protect them from these hard days. Go to an earlier Mass if necessary in order to avoid families. Also, try to protect them by calling your parish office and politely requesting that a prayer intention be included on Mother's day, Father's Day, Christmas, etc. for those struggling with infertility. Ask that this intention be included also during national infertility awareness week. We need recognition of our suffering and one great way is to include an intention during the weekly prayer intentions said at Mass.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband Can Support a Wife During Infertility #3

For part one click here. For part two click here

3.) Be a man of virtue– So much of a proper moral life is overcoming our selfishness in various areas. In the area of infertility, we need to overcome the selfish ways we have dealt with this suffering. We can't use our infertility as an excuse for sin. Above all, we need to stop comparing ourselves to our neighbor in regard to virtue. Jesus doesn't say "compare yourself to your neighbor," but "love your neighbor;" and there is a world of difference between the two. The real problem with comparison is that too often we justify a mediocre, sinful life by saying, "Well, I'm not as bad as so and so" or we often think, "Well, so and so, who may be holier than us, doesn't have to go through infertility or x." With these rationalizations in place, we comfort ourselves into not taking action to become more holy. By doing so, we assume the position of the pharisee over the publican, who unlike the pharisee doesn't compare but instead beats his breast in constant acknowledgement of his sin. On judgment day, you and I will not be judged how well we did vis-a-vis bumbling sinful Garfield or holy Joe down the street, but to Jesus Christ. The only people we should be comparing ourselves to again and again is Jesus or His closest followers, the Saints, who are holy because they sought to compare themselves to only Him. So how do you compare to Him or the Saints?

As part of this examination, we need to be aware of the following sins that are all too common to men struggling with infertility: sexual infidelity with yourself (aka masturbation and/or pornography), lust toward your wife by demanding sex even when she is tired or doesn't feel like it, isolation from your wife, friends, or family, escapisms (sex, over-fixation on career and money, excessive internet surfing, food, etc.), fixation on defects and weaknesses except where necessary to avoid sin, lack of trust in God's love and hope, avoidance of God in one's prayer life, stonewalling your feelings and emotions from your wife (as discussed previously in my last post), contempt, lack of empathy for your wife's feelings, lack of patience and mercy especially towards your wife's feelings and shortcomings, entitlement/victim mentality justifying sin and bad behavior, envy and disdain for other people's gifts (especially the gift of a child or success in a career), making people feel guilty about having children, pride that manifests itself in defensiveness, disrespect in words, gestures, or tone towards your wife, and undue or excessive anger. 

Find your weaknesses, go to confession, and then cultivate the opposite virtue to root out slowly this weakness of yours. Be patient with yourself about virtue too. It will take time to develop virtue. There are several means you can use to develop virtue quicker though. Let me list a few here that are time tested, effective means. First, share your particular virtue you want to work on with your wife on a month to month basis. Second, do a long examination of conscience once a month. This can be done prior to and in conjunction with discussing with your wife. Third, consider sharing this goal with a trusted holy friend(s) or a priest as the surest way to virtue is to be a part of a virtuous community. Fourth, come up with a simple motto to remind yourself of this commitment when you are tempted. My motto for my particular sins is “be poor of spirit” and sometimes it is just “empty yourself.” If you are having a hard time coming up with a motto, then look at the beatitudes or the entire sermon on the mount. Fifth, meditate on scripture that relates to your sin. Really, dedicate yourself to a consistent prayer life even if only for a 15 minutes a day and begin by focusing on scripture that is most relevant to your goal of living virtuously. Sixth, envision to yourself how you are going to accomplish this virtue in particular temptations. Seventh, envision it again, but now perceive how Christ will be there with you. Do this over and over again. Eighth, pray for the grace and wisdom to accomplish this virtue. 

The bottom line is: there are a myriad of ways where we can sin in dealing with this cross of infertility so stay attentive. Always be willing to confront sin by using the means mentioned in the above paragraph as well as one more means, which will be listed below in the next section. Remember that finding sin is like finding gold. It is gold because it is a rich discovery of where and how we need to change. The man who should be truly afraid is not the man who finds and confronts his sin, but the man who does not know his sin and therefore does not know what he needs to do in order to grow in love.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband can Support a Wife During Infertility #2

For part one click here.

2.) Be a man unafraid of emotions – Besides prayer, this task is probably the most difficult thing for us men to do, which is why I am giving it considerable attention here. I urge you to go deeper into your wife's emotions, rather than running away or trying to suppress them. Sharing emotions is a necessary part of grieving well together. Remember you are in this together and you are not just two individuals fighting it on his or her own. So be willing both to share your emotions from time to time and to enter into your wife's emotions again and again even when you don't feel like it. Remember this advice from a great Catholic infertility speaker Kevin Wells, “The saint is one who does the opposite of how he feels.” Now, he is not suggesting that if we feel like sharing our emotions or do a good deed, then we don't do it or something ridiculous like that. No, he is suggesting that in times when you may feel like it is gut-wrenching hard to do x and you know x is good, then do it anyways. Listening to your wife's emotions is one of those instances to stress this motto because as men we want to run far away from feelings, especially sad feelings. Don't we try to avoid them at all costs? Be honest here! Well we need to stop doing this escape act and be willing to enter into emotions.

Also, get it out of your head that it is not okay or not normal for your wife to be sad so often in regard to infertility. If you think this (as I have), then it is important to remember that this false belief is an example of us being more out of touch with the grief because our bodies are less involved in the fertility process. In reality it is completely natural for our wives to be sad month to month as infertility is a suffering that is cyclical with each woman's monthly cycle. So it is a grief that occurs every month and it should be expected that she gets sad every month. Therefore, given the frequency of this cyclical suffering, she really needs to be able to express this cross to you and we should not explain it away as 'unnatural' or scoff at its frequency. It is all part of the cyclical grieving process of infertility to express her sadness many times on multiple and varied occasions.

But perhaps as a good Christian you say, “aren't we supposed to be grateful?” Yes, but there is such a thing as being both grateful and mourning at the same time. One is not ungrateful just because they are mourning. In fact, Christ didn't just instruct us to give thanks to the Father at all times for all good things, but also to mourn. Remember the beatitude? “Blessed are those who mourn.” Why are we blessed when we mourn? Because mourning is both a form of grateful love and an opening oneself up to healing. We will never get healing without sharing our pain with another and being listened to and loved in return. It is, therefore, tragic that many wives feel alone and abandoned by their husbands when it comes to emotions regarding suffering of any sort. Not only do they feel isolated, but also their path to healing is stifled by our fear of emotions. Therefore, do not see your wife's emotions as a burden to be avoided, but instead as an asset for your relationship. An asset because it is part of the healing, a healing that you can help bring about by listening and responding compassionately. Her emotions are your opportunity for love and for accomplishing that one flesh unity you so desperately seek in your marriage in order to compensate for the suffering. It is, thus, a big mistake to run away from emotions and it creates even more unnecessary suffering.

Still, perhaps after all I have said, you may remain unconvinced. You may still think her feelings are “irrational” and “dangerous to the health of your relationship.” So you believe that your job as a man is to temper her emotions with some good old stoicism towards feelings. Usually, this strong conviction to do so comes out of a sincere desire to help our wives because we feel that they are doing some destructive things because of these feelings. So we want to fix the problem by getting rid of the root feelings that have led to the bad behavior. Also, we tell ourselves that it is a just desire to help our wives by getting rid of harmful behavior. I get it. I totally understand this perspective and I am sympathetic to it as I have admittedly thought this on many occasions too. However, the mistake here is two-fold. First, we should never stonewall, which is trying to suppress talk about emotions. This will just create more problems. Second, stonewalling is often the result of a double failure: a failure to distinguish between feelings and your wife's reaction to feelings; and a failure to recognize how important listening and expressive sharing are to a marriage. Let me explain these two points in more detail as it was illuminating for me.

First, feelings are just feelings. They are not wrong or right and as such they need to have an outlet. They need to be shared with your spouse in a constructive way. If they aren't, then it will cause some serious explosions in anger, criticism, and other unhealthy reactions listed below. It is these reactions to feelings that may very well be wrong and need to be addressed. So while you should always listen to your wife's emotions, you don't have to agree with all of her reactions in regard to these feelings (like excessive anger to the point where they scream or yell at you, disrespect including calling names or slamming objects, globalization of negativity that extends to questioning the relationship, isolating oneself from others or God, escapisms, criticism, self-pity, despair, blaming God for problems, entitlement/victim mentality, envy, jealousy, saying intentionally hurtful comments to others, etc.). These unhealthy reactions to feelings do need to be discussed and changed slowly.

Second, it is crucial to understand that before a husband gives any wisdom on how “to fix” his wife's reactions he must first listen to his wife and enter deeply into her emotions. Why? Because it may just be his own refusal to listen that has provoked or contributed to these problems. Often the solution to her problems is just listening because listening is loving praise. Listening to her emotions sends the message to her that “you are worth being listened to.” This in turn builds up her trust in you and her self-esteem. As her self-esteem and trust increases, her happiness increases. As her happiness increases, your happiness increases. As your collective happiness increases, then these unhealthy reactions will decrease. Eventually you will find that by just listening well to her she is able to deal with this cross of infertility in a lot better of a way because you have built up her love and self-esteem. Do you now see the importance of listening well? Yes, you can 'fix' the problem, and this 'fix' chiefly begins and ends with good listening. Who as men would have thought that the solution was the exact opposite of what we were doing?! Stunning.

For even more motivation, contemplate that Christ in the Gospels was constantly mentioned as just 'sitting down' with his disciples without any recorded testimonies of spoken exchanges or dialogues. Then the Gospel account, after what seems like a dramatic pause where a reader waits for discussion or words, simply moves on to other aspects of a particular scene as if it was completely normal to mention such a mundane fact (cf. John 6:3 or Matthew 9:10). I think one reason why we don't have written conversations here and only a mention of Christ 'sitting down' with his disciples was because Christ simply listened at those times. He, the perfect man, recognized the importance of simply listening to others, as a form of loving praise, before giving any subsequent teaching. Therefore, avoid all of those nasty reactions to feelings and learn how to listen well like Christ. Be content to just 'sit down.' If you don't know where to begin because this is so foreign, like it was to me initially, then I strongly encourage you to follow the Relationship Enhancement Model of Communication. My wife and I use this model and I think it has a great balance of accommodating men and women's differences when it comes to communication. But above all, be a man unafraid of emotions. Share your own emotions and share in her emotions. By doing so you will be on the path of healing, happiness, and love.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

mother's day 2014: game plan

It's that time of year again. This is my third Mother's Day as a married, childless woman (thank God we got married at the end of May!) and I still remember how awful the first one was. Almost one year TTC, no baby, I felt completely blindsided at Sunday mass, the pain searing my heart from out of nowhere as I looked around at all the smiling mothers with their children and felt what felt like a bottomless longing to join their ranks.

(FYI: that's the day I quit Facebook, probably forever. I read something by a new mom about "the best club I've ever joined!" and knew I just had to get out.)

How horrible - the worst part of Mother's Day for me is how happy all the mothers are and how much I wish I was them. I hate even writing that! But it's true, and I have to deal with it.

Strategy for Mother's Day #2 was to get the heck out of town. We went to Mr. M's hometown for a visit, which actually worked really well. We could focus on his mom, who is a beautiful, gracious woman not at all prone to asking probing questions about when more grandchildren are coming. And I could grieve at mass surrounded by strangers instead of having to act happy and socially interact with friends.

This year we were planning on doing the same thing but aren't for several reasons that are too boring to list. So we'll be here, and the strategy looks like this:

1. Attend the 7:30 a.m. mass where presumably mothers with young children will not be, since they'll be getting their breakfast in bed (ha). Give myself permission to grieve, basically among strangers since we usually attend a later mass. Avoid seeing all my mom friends and their adorable children. I love them! I just can't handle them on Mother's Day. I feel more left out than any other time.

1a. We wrote to our parish asking them to include intentions for women struggling with infertility, so hopefully that will happen.

2. Invite another childless couple over for brunch. I did not want to go out anywhere on Mother's Day - I have a strong, strong aversion to going to a restaurant and hearing either "Happy Mother's Day!" or "Are you a mother?" Ugh ugh ugh. I prefer to be at home, in a controlled environment, and I'll be so glad to be with friends who (sadly) "get it" too.

Yessss. All of these.

3. Eat yummy brunchy food and several mimosas!! (This is a key component of the strategy.) Talk about our lives, maybe kvetch a little about being childless on Mother's Day, enjoy the sunshine, play a game, try my best to not drown in a puddle of self-pity. Have another mimosa!

(I should add, of course, that I'll call my mom and my mother-in-law and thank them for their friendship, love, and motherly care because overall I feel pretty blessed on the mom/MIL front.)

4. Mr. M said he got me a gift - that will be consoling!!

I will be so thankful when Mother's Day is over and I don't have a bajillion emails about Mother's Day deals and sales and products! Even buying a card for my mom felt extra-hard this year. Just reading the titles of cards was killing me!! Although I did see a card for someone "like a mother" - a nice sentiment.

I'm glad I've come to terms that some days are just way too hard to handle by trying to act normally. I am fertility challenged, and I need a little extra TLC on Mother's Day. Hence the strategy. Thank God for understanding husbands and wonderful friends! I'll be praying for all childless women (married and single) on Sunday, big time.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Seven Ways a Husband can Support a Wife During Infertility #1

Seven Ways a Husband can Support a Wife During Infertility #1

This is another series written by Mr. M. It will be split up over seven posts throughout the month of May, but then compiled into one document for you on our “inspiration page” at the top of our blog. He was inspired to write this series because there is so little guidance for men struggling with infertility! We hope it will inspire other men to share.


            While equal in dignity and in many other regards, men and women are still nonetheless different. In fact, I think the best way to approach sexual difference is to realize that men and women can do almost all the same things but they do them differently. This is true in regard to suffering. It is evident that both men and women suffer when going through infertility. But men, let's bluntly admit it: the woman has greater involvement in the physical and emotional suffering of infertility because of the greater role her body plays in fertility; she therefore takes upon herself the brunt of the struggle of infertility. This truth is reflected in the blogosphere where women make up the majority, if not all, of the infertility blogs. They are writing all of these blogs seeking help because of their greater need to grieve! As a result of this difference, I think a husband has a unique role to play in supporting their wives. He should keep this following rule in mind: while the wife takes upon herself more of the physical and emotional suffering than the husband, a husband has to be a greater support to his wife emotionally and spiritually than she is to him. If this doesn't happen, then I believe there is an unbalance in the relationship in regard to the suffering and it makes the suffering a lot more unbearable than what it could be. So here are seven ways I help my wife through her suffering. I suggest them to all husbands for their immediate consideration, although they are in no way exhaustive. Comments with other ideas are welcomed. 

1. ) Be a man of prayer – Dare to be silent with God! Men more than women tend to run away from the spiritual life, although it is difficult for both in this secular culture. There are many reasons for this greater evasion by men,but I think men run away from prayer primarily because it has to do with the fact we men are constantly educated to do something ourselves first, rather than to receive from another. However, when going through a great suffering or a great love, our first action must be one of receptivity - receiving all God wants to give us and work from there. Women "get" receptivity a whole lot better than men, and we need to learn from them. Perhaps this difference is chiefly due to woman's greater receptivity involved in their fertility cycle.

This lack of receptivity is a great weakness of men during infertility because the greatest gift a husband has to give to his wife during suffering is his constancy and leadership in the faith, which is a gift we can't create on our own. Faith cannot be earned like a salary, but only received like a gift. This faith is crucial for getting through infertility joyfully for a few important, practical reasons.

First, faith in God is the only answer to your joint desire for children and your joint suffering. God alone can fulfill all of our earthly desires; when we have God we have everything. Also, God alone can give meaning to our suffering. To read more about this, click here.

Second, prayer is important because we need solitude to do the most important work in our lives – to discover our wounds, to examine our faults, to receive forgiveness from God, to grow in our awareness of God in all things, to develop a supernatural outlook, and to recognize the core of who we are. The core of who we all are is a son, a beloved son of God, regardless of our situations with our earthly fathers or the many sins we have done; and as a son we need to spend time with God and to receive everything from our good, heavenly Father in prayer.

Third, if you do this work of prayerful solitude, then it will build up greater intimacy with your wife. All of the above mentioned attributes and gifts of prayer are crucial for intimacy. Also, when we are courageous enough to examine our own sin and receive forgiveness from God, we begin to develop the important virtues of attention, patience, and forgiveness, which are crucial for a healthy intimacy. As a result we must never forget this law of a couple's married life together: "my intimacy with my spouse is measured by my capacity to have solitude with God."

Fourth, it is not enough to know about God. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we must also encounter Him as individuals and as a couple. The chief place of this encounter is prayer, especially the prayer of the Church in the Sacraments and shared, daily prayer together as a couple. 

Thus, for all of these reasons, we can only be good spouses through this struggle of infertility if we recognize the deep need of prayer for ourselves and our wives.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

what a tease

Alternatively titled: At least I didn't waste $12 or From bad to worse?

As is probably understandable, since this cycle I had an ultrasound series done that showed I ovulated, and since we took advantage of that information, it was hard not to get my hopes up that maybe this cycle would be "the one." Plus I had all the adopted blogger prayers + the graces of Easter! Doesn't get much better than that!

Today is P+14 (peak day was on Easter Sunday), so I was surprised to see the first signs of AF on Thursday, P+11. That would mean that my luteal phase was only 10 days, which is not ideal.

Of course, despite my better instincts, I googled "implantation bleeding" for, like, the billionth time. And as I learned for the billionth time, implantation bleeding and cramps are basically like the beginning of AF except that they usually happen slightly before your expected period and your period never really comes.

Helpful. Thanks.

So the past few days I've been trying not to obsess over what my body is doing. The bleeding stayed light Friday and Saturday, with enough cramps to require ibuprofen. I checked my lengthy chart history and saw that I've never had a VL-L-L pattern at the beginning of my period. It always transitions into M or H on the second day, third at the very latest.

This was driving me bonkers!!! It is mental torture to think, "Well, either my brand-new baby is burrowing his/her way into my womb, or my cycle is suddenly wonky and I've got more problems than I realized." No biggie. (!!!!)

Saturday night, I told myself that if the bleeding was still light or even non-existent Sunday morning, I would go to CVS and plunk down the $12 for a pg test and take the darn thing. As fearful as I am of testing negative, I think I'm even more fearful of waiting too late and God forbid having some preventable issue threaten a very early pregnancy that I didn't know about soon enough because I put off testing. (Does that even make sense?)

Well, Sunday morning came and went, and that $12 is safe in my wallet (until I buy more pads this afternoon, that is). Darn, darn, darn. Stupid AF. Such a tease this cycle!!

Not going to lie - it really troubles me that my luteal phase decreased by 3 days. I know I just got done whining about nothing being wrong with my cycle so why haven't I conceived, but I decided I didn't really mean it! I'd rather have less problems than more, I promise! I'm hoping this was just a fluke, maybe caused by the physical and emotional stress of the ultrasound series? Whatever caused it, I think I'll just wait and see what my surgery results are (June 20) before addressing it.

Okay. Deep breath. I've gone through CD1 before and survived. Plan of action: focus on the beautiful day, the date with my husband this afternoon (piano concerto at our local symphony hall) and have a beer on our patio tonight!!