Happiness ebbs and flows.

Back-to-back posts today. I thought about putting everything in one giant post, but I wanted to leave the “definition of trying” post alone.

In last month’s issue of Redbook (one of my favorite magazines), they had a very interesting article regarding happiness. To get straight to the point, happiness ebbs and flows. I suppose that’s common sense, but people must forget that simple fact, because there was a need for that article. I sure needed reminding.

The best part of the article was the examples. A graph was used to show the happiness levels of three women throughout their lifetime. I found that when I looked back on my own life, I saw the same chart, and it did make me feel a little better. Try it yourself – start with your childhood. If you don’t want to make an actual graph, rank times in your life on a happiness scale from 1-10.

In general, my happiness level had always been a 10, until my parents got divorced, and for a while, I’d say it got down to a 5. Then I got married, and back up it went. Even my relationship with N could be analyzed using this same scale – there are months that go by where we’re at a 10 every day, and then sometimes, it dips down. It’s done that many times since our teenage dating days. But I know it goes back up, and it does. Sometimes there are reasons for this dip in marital bliss, and sometimes there’s not. It always goes back up.

The first two years of marriage, my life’s happiness scale stayed high, between 8-10. I love my job, I’ve loved 3 out of 5 classes I’ve had (sorry, those other two just..didn’t make the cut!), and the rewards teaching brings me has helped keep that happiness level up. In the last year, my happiness level has gone from a 9, and slid all the way down, farther and farther, until I’d say it’s solidly been at a 3 or so. There are good days and bad days of course, and your own happiness chart can be as specific or general as you’d like. I’m content-ish, right now. I’m living. But my happiness level won’t really change, until..well, you know. Something good happens.

If your happiness level is currently peaking above an 8, well then the thought of someone else’s being as low as a 3 is a bit pathetic. But I don’t over-analyze this – the article is right. Happiness ebbs and flows. Like I said, it’s common sense that your life isn’t always going to be amazing, and similarly, won’t always suck. But I think it’s a nice reminder. Bad things will eventually lead to good things, just because that’s the way life works. Sometimes, it just takes a while. I’m not a “fate” person. But the odds work in your favor, eventually. They have to.

And until they work in my favor, at least regarding pregnancy (because, I know, things could always be worse), I’ve attempted to focus on other things. It is the third week of summer, and it has taken until this week for me to really accept that summer is here, and it’s mine for the taking. I don’t like excess free time, I don’t like doing nothing, and I especially don’t like being alone. I’m trying to keep from two days in a row of being in this empty house. I can do one day, but not two. The first two weeks I walked around in a daze – no papers to correct? No kickball to play? But now I’m trying to enjoy the weather, the reading, the…run-errands-when-I-feel-like-it, staying up later, random kickboxing and Pilates classes in the middle of the day.

I’ve also enjoyed this:

I love fresh fruits and veggies. I love picking them myself. I especially love fresh-picked blueberries. We’re in the peak of the season right now, and as you can see, these berries are huge. I picked $13 worth. Excessive, yes. But these aren’t any old blueberries you get in a store – they’re the best. Yum.

Also, I joined a women’s softball team. N has been on a men’s team for a few months, and watching him, combined with my new recess sport of kickball motivated me to join my own team. They had already played a few games before I joined, and my first game was Monday night. I am SO BAD. It’s embarrassing. I had to buy a new glove, of course, and N and I have been playing some catch. But in a game situation – not knowing anyone and yeah, it’s been 10 years since my last softball game, I was awful. Hitting wasn’t any better. Just – bad. I am going to continue, because it is fun. I’m kind of quiet around people I don’t know, but don’t get me wrong, I like to be around people. I like the “team” atmosphere. But man, am I bad. I think I’ll be hitting up the batting cages this weekend.

I’m also reading. I’m about to embark on a Nicholas Sparks marathon. I’ve read him before, and it’s okay. I’m not a die-hard love-story type, but yet, maybe it’ll keep my spirits up this summer.

And as I like keeping busy, these next few weeks will be the quietest of the summer. After that, I’ve got a couple mini-vacations planned. N has his big Ironman race in Lake Placid next weekend. I’ll be back at school, working on my room in mid-August. And of course, my daily shots in the stomach.

I don’t even know what cycle day I’m on anymore, I’m too lazy to figure it out, and really, who cares, but it’s in the upper 60’s. Either way, my ovaries are reacting very slowly to the follistim, and today will be my 8th shot, without an ultrasound yet. None needed – nothing much is happening. I just bumped up my dosage to 66 IU last night, and I’ll have more bloodwork done on Friday. This is taking a while, but it’s okay if it works. N’s race is coming up, though, and I’m worried about the timing. Worst comes to worst, he will go in before the race and we will freeze his sperm. It’s not covered by insurance, but I’m not missing this. So we’ll see.

Even in one post, things are up, things are down. You probably knew this already, but it was important for me to see in print: happiness ebbs and flows.

It’s a new day.

It’s been another week of not knowing what to write about, so I haven’t. But then, it’s amazing what a 10-hour mostly uninterupted sleep will do for a person, because I woke up today and decided it’s time for an update.

On the infertility front, I’ve been trying hard not to get worked up about the fact that my consultation appointment with the doctor isn’t until the end of June. Since I started with my RE back in November, I haven’t been in limbo. I’ve been waiting, maybe, to ovulate, but since we all know that isn’t going to happen right now, I’m just going on with life until the doctor would like my period to start. Back to Provera – it’s been 7 months since I was last on that.

That’s why I was a little surprised to have some tell-tale CM signs a few days ago. It was around CD 21, and I wondered if maybe it was possible, that I could be ovulating. I used OPK’s two days in a row, nothing, and decided I don’t want to waste them. My CD 12 ultrasound showed absolutely nothing happening, and they haven’t monitored me since, especially after I declared an end to stair-stepping and more Clomid.

Besides, there are three weeks left of school. Three very busy weeks. I will be throwing all my energy into my students, with activities, awards, parties, reflections, etc. and by the time it’s all over, my appointment will be here. It will go fast. And what if I did ovulate right now? I mean, I’d be happy, definitely. But then I’d have to take time off work to go in for the IUI, and lord knows what other tests I’d need to have done, and I do not want to miss any more school this year. I want to be at work, with the kids who have made me pretty happy the last 6 months. So I’m letting it all go.

And when I say all, I mean all. I haven’t temped, I haven’t charted, I haven’t tried to plan anything with regards to fertility. Unfortunately, Clomid is still in my system. I still have good moments and bad moments (I wouldn’t even call them days, it’s up and down multiple times a day), and when it feels really bad, I chalk it up to Clomid. Now, I wouldn’t be able to do this, probably, if that were the only sign that Clomid is still around. But my hot flashes continue. You know, I’m having a hard time remembering a time when I didn’t have hot flashes. They are so common now that while they irritate me, I don’t think much of them. I’m having one right now, as a matter of fact. I just get super flushed, all of a sudden, and have to take off a layer, or throw the sheets off, while my skin burns for 3-5 minutes. Then it’s over. But I’m hoping with the end of Clomid, they are on their way out. I wake up in the middle of the night only once or twice now, as opposed to two or three times, like the last few weeks. And my good moments are increasing. I feel more like myself –  more motivated, excited to be and feel healthy, happy to be laughing with good friends. I feel better, most of the time. This just reminds me why I will never go back on this drug. I’m moving on to injectables this summer, and I’m frankly excited to do so.

I had a little conversation with my husband this week, after Facebook revealed one of his closest friends and his wife just had their baby. They had had a miscarriage at 6 months, which was extremely hard for them, and finally got a take-home baby boy. I am happy for them, of course, but the pictures still sting. Anyway, I asked N how he was feeling. I said something like, “I know the ups and downs emotionally are usually all about me, and we never talk about you. Surely you must be a little upset over seeing the baby pictures?” And he replied, “No, not really. I mean, I do really wish that was us, but just like with everything else in my life, (and he shrugs his shoulders), it’ll happen soon. I know it will.” And that’s really his mindset. It used to drive me crazy, when we were dating, how nothing fazed him. Sometimes it’s a good thing, but other times, when I wanted him to care about something, he didn’t. Either way, this is who he is. He doesn’t stress, he doesn’t get worried, he assumes things will work themselves out. This is NOT who I am, but I am grateful to be married to someone this way, because if my husband was as worried and stressed as I am – we’d be a mess. He balances me out, for sure.

Besides, he has other things on his mind, too. He’s got a full Ironman he’s racing in July, but tomorrow, he’s “practicing” with a half-Ironman race. It’s a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride, followed by a half marathon, 13.1 miles of running. It’ll take him around 6.5 hours, and I am bringing snacks, a comfy chair, my camera, and the second book  of the “50 shades” series (more on that book series in another post).

I’m finding, recently, that I’m craving movies and books more than I have in my whole life. I think I’m enjoying being lost in something, other than my thoughts, and that has never happened to me before. Therefore, in the past two weeks I’ve read the first “50 Shades” book (that took two days last weekend) and saw two movies. For those who really know me, I don’t watch movies. I’m really not interested, unless there’s someone really good-looking in it (and this has only occurred since my hormones have decided to show themselves), and then I’m interested! I saw “The Avengers” with N last weekend, because he’s been dying to see it, even though it’s not really my thing. But then I got stuck on the actor who plays Captain America (Chris Evans, btw), so then last night, I watched “Captain America”.

I’m going to need more books to read, after I finish this series. I am looking for those that I will get stuck in, can’t stop thinking about, and can’t put down. Those that take me away from my own problems. Any suggestions? I know you all read a lot out there – what’s a really good book recommendation you can give me?

Finally, on the health front – since my happiness has returned to me (it’s been two weeks since that awful weekend), I’ve been motivated. Exercise has never really been a problem, but I continue to do it, with spinning and running and Friday afternoon kickball games, of course. But as for food – I continue to try to take my sister’s advice. (In between meals), when you’re hungry, drink water. I’m not a water drinker – I never have been. I can run a half marathon and not want a drink. But pushing water has really helped. It helps my IBS issues, it curbs my cravings, and it keeps the bloating away. I’ve lost a few pounds of water weight, but I wake up feeling skinny, because of the lack of bloating. I’d say the biggest thing I’m finding, to wake up feeling skinny, is that I force myself to drink a whole water bottle between dinner and bed. As for what I’m eating, I’m still 100% gluten-free, 99% sugar-free. I haven’t caved, and my proof is in the hives I don’t have. I’m eating a lot of produce, that’s for sure. I feel good with vegetables. So, when I do want that snack, I have a bell pepper, cut up cucumbers, or even fruit (watermelon, apple, etc). Fruits aren’t as good for me as vegetables, but I can still have them in moderation.

My students laugh at my bell peppers. In fact, they have created this “event” they are calling “pepper time”. There are about 5 students whose buses are called late in the afternoons, so they stay in with me as I have my after school snack, my bell peppers. For whatever strange reason, they have built this up to be a huge thing, and during the school day, they are setting timers and counting down until “pepper time”. I have, on occasion, given them a piece of one, and they love them. They started asking me if they could bring in peppers for pepper time. One student in particular brings in red peppers every day, to match mine, and when I eat mine, he eats his. Two other kids brought in jalapeno peppers one day (disgusting), but whatever they bring in, they are happy to sit with me as I eat a pepper, of all things. Strange, yes, but their innocence and happiness is infectious. I’ve decided, as a treat, that in the next few weeks I’m going to bring in a ton of cut up peppers, cucumbers, and carrots, and let my whole class enjoy “pepper time”. To think that I don’t need to bake them cupcakes – they want what I eat, vegetables. I can work with that.

You know, every day is a new day, and I’m not always sure what my mental state is going to be. I’m still a little worried about this summer – I have to keep busy. Just thinking about sitting home, doing nothing, and wallowing in self-pity is depressing. But until then, I’m going to enjoy these last three weeks, with hopefully a happy, optimistic attitude, because I deserve that. Now, to pick up “50 Shades Darker”…