Monday, August 14, 2017

This is not ok

A woman was killed by a Nazi.  In Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.  August 13, 2017,

A bunch of racist thugs (white nationalists, neo-nazis, alt-right, whatever your preferred term for these maggots is) hell bent on "white (Christian, male) superority" and their guns descended on the city to protest the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a noteworthy (for all of the wrong reasons) figure in the US Civil War, and just generally protecting the rights of white people.

This wasn't a march.  It wasn't a protest.  It was essentially what amounted to one big KKK rally. They came looking for a fight.  The governor of Virginia said they were more and better armed than the state police.  The governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

Once our spineless, illegitimate president bothered to make remarks on the events in Charlottesville, he seemed to, at least in part, blame those who have been disenfranchised by years.

If you aren't horrified by all of this, you either haven't been paying attention, or you need to do some serious soul searching.

I'm not sure if I want to cry or puke.  This is not ok.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Object of pity

A few years ago we were just coming to grips with the fact that we'd never have children.  Within months of ending our quest to have children we found out that one of my sisters was pregnant in a very public announcement with much fanfare.  As you might predict I didn't react well.

To decrease the likelihood of reacting poorly (and publicly) again, I asked my mom to give me the heads up if she found out that any of my sisters were pregnant and she promised to let me know. Now, I haven't written much about my relationship with my mom, but suffice to say, it's complicated, and she has an established track record of not coming through for me.  But with this she did.  It gave me the time and space to process the news and the ability to pretend that I was happy for them when I "found out."  

A few weeks ago my mom called me, randomly, on a Sunday night.  I knew from the tone of her voice that one of my sisters was pregnant, just not which one.  I soon found out.  

I figured that my sister would call within the next few days, or at least text.  But she didn't.  About a week later my mom called me again.  Apparently my sister feels so sorry for me that she can't tell me herself.  My mom was tasked with giving the official news.

So basically I'm an object of pity (and/or the bitter infertile).

I can deal with the pregnancy news.  I mean, I'm the oldest, and I'm 36, which is not ancient by normal reproductive standards, so realistically it's far more likely that there would be pregnancies than not.

But to be pitied?  That hurts.

I don't want pity.  A little bit of sensitivity and empathy would be nice.  But please don't pity me.

I'm not sure how to deal with this.  Or whether or not I should bother.  I don't want my family to fear telling me their happy news.

I haven't talked to my sister since my mom told me the official pregnancy news, though this is for reasons completely unrelated to her pregnancy (and completely related to her being a selfish jerk). Honestly, I'm not in any hurry to talk to her.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

And another

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have three sisters.  And starting three months after we found out we'd never have children of our own, each of them got pregnant.  When it was all said and done, I endured right around 20 consecutive months of at least one sister being pregnant and welcomed two nieces and a nephew in just over a year.  If you think that sounds like some special variety of hell, trust me when I say that it was.  If you're not familiar with the narrative, click here, here, here, here, here, here, and quite a few posts in between.

Which brings me to why I'm bringing this up.

One of my sisters is pregnant.  Again.

Am I surprised?  Not completely.  I just didn't anticipate it would happen this soon.  They had trouble conceiving their first  so I (incorrectly and naively) assumed that the second would take a long time too.  I thought I'd have more time before dealing with this again.

How am I taking the news?  That's more complicated.  Compared to how I took the news a couple of years ago, better.  Though "better" is relative.

I am being reacquainted with feelings I don't wish to be reacquainted with.  I am feeling sorry for myself.  And I'm angry with god or the universe or whatever.  Because none of this is fair.

Just when I thought I was in a place where I was doing really well, this happens.  Fan-fucking-tastic.

If there's a silver lining in the situation, it's that there is no chance of having more than one sister pregnant this time.  The other two have their tubes tied.  Yay for small victories.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The posts I want to write

I have a lot on my mind yet I seem to have lost my writing mojo.  Not to mention that free time seems to be lacking.

I want to tell you about how we're updating the look of our house by painting the exterior.  About how it's taking longer (and costing more money) than anticipated.  And about how, despite my complaints, many trips to the home improvement store, and arguments with hubs', I'm loving every single minute of it.

I want you to know that my poison ivy is almost gone.  It took a seven day course of steroids to jump start the healing, but slowly but surely it's disappearing.  And at least it doesn't itch (that much) anymore, though I suspect I may have some scarring around my ankles and on my right wrist.

I want to tell you about our absolutely fantastic trip to London that was everything I'd hoped it would be and more!  While we saw so many amazing things while we were there, easily my favorite was using the public transportation network.  You see, I've always had a fascination with mass transit (to the extent that if I had a career do-over, I'd probably be an engineer), so it's no surprise that I'd have a fascination with one of the first mass transit networks in the world.  Maybe someday we'll get to live abroad! 

Back in April I wrote about a potential promotion at work.  I didn't get it.  There were politics involved.  The process was circumvented.  I don't know how to play that game (and even if I did I wouldn't).  I'm less upset that I didn't get the promotion then I am about HOW I didn't get it.  I'm sure there will be other opportunities at some point, here or elsewhere.  At the end of the day I have a job that I love and that I get a lot of fulfillment from, and that alone is more than a lot of people have and something to be thankful for.

I want to write a post about Father's Day and how that day is actually harder for me than Mother's Day.  Because, medically speaking, it is my fault that my husband will never be a father.  While he's always said that he'd rather be with me and not have kids then be with someone else and have a litter of kids, it's still guilt that I live with and that I can't shake.

I want to tell you about my favorite niece and how her birthday is always a bittersweet day for me.  When I took her from the doctor's hands and handed her to my sister so she and my brother-in-law could marvel at the chubby, blue eyed, dark hair beauty that she was/is, I didn't know that it would be as close as I would ever come to experiencing childbirth.  This year it hit me a bit hard.

I want to complain about how sometimes the universe sucks.  Like how hubs and I had planned a trip to Long Island so he could see a band he's always wanted to see in concert, we could spend some time lounging at a beach cottage, and spend some time with Sarah and her wonderful husband Julio.  But that was all snatched away when hubs ended up in the ER with kidney stones less than 36 hours before we were supposed to leave.  With the help of some pretty powerful pain meds, he was able to pass them, but it really was shitty timing.  Though honestly, I'm glad it happened when it did as opposed to while we were away, because I have no desire to navigate the bullshit that is finding an "in network" hospital in a different state.

And finally, I want to write about how Independence Day was hard to celebrate this year.  America is no longer the great nation that I was born in and lived the first 35.5 years of my life in.  We are as divided and as hateful as ever and it's frightening.  It is my sincerest hope that we can weather this illegitimate president and impeach him before the Constitution and this country are irreparably damaged. 

So that's a bit about what's been on my mind.  Maybe eventually I'll sit down and write it all out.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Desperate measures

For the first time in my life I have Poison Ivy.

How I managed to make it for 36 years without getting it, I have no clue.  Especially since I grew up on a farm and spent a significant portion of my childhood outside.

I must have contracted it last week when we were doing some outdoor work in our yard.  I know what the plant looks like and I knew there was some in a particular area in the back of the yard, so I was careful to avoid it.  I should have been wearing pants and sleeves, but since it was slightly cooler than the surface of the sun outside, I opted for shorts and a tanktop.  This was a mistake.

Anyway, it started on my ankles/lower legs on Thursday.  Annoying but not a big deal since legs are easy to slap some calamine lotion on, cover, and go on with your day.  Then a few spots started to appear on my upper legs.  Then my abdomen and back.  Then my neck.  Then my face.  A blistery, puss filled rash ON MY FACE.  Each day it seemed to double in size.  It wasn't too bad until it started to creep to areas that I can't cover.

From everything I've read, the rash itself isn't dangerous as much as it is annoying. The danger comes from the risk of secondary infection (from scratching the blisters open) and if it gets to your eyes or in your mouth/throat it can cause some pretty serious issues.

I tried everything I can think of to manage the annoyance of it and try to get it to stop spreading.  I tried several different types of cream, plus oral Benadryl, plus my regular allergy medication. Minimal relief and very short-lived.  So I turned to Dr. Google (I know, I know, desperate times call for desperate measures.....) for some less mainstream cures.  Pouring vinegar (two different types) yielded no effect.  Same with rubbing alcohol.  Same with a cold coffee compress.  A cool shower provided temporary relief, as did making a paste of baking soda, rubbing it on my skin, and letting it dry (though I'm not sure the mess it caused was worth the minor temporary relief).  I stopped short of putting bleach on my skin, though I did briefly consider it before my youngest sister (who has a well established history of acquiring and treating severe cases of poison ivy) reminded me that it was fucking crazy to put a caustic agent on my face.

When I woke up Sunday morning it had spread again and was less than a 1/2 inch from my mouth.  I decided it was time for medical intervention.  I'm fortunate to have e-visits included as part of my health insurance plan, so I didn't even have to leave my house to go to the doctor.  I logged on to my account, entered a few bits of information, snapped a few pictures, paid my $5 copay (which, I know for some of you paying to see a doctor is reprehensible, but by American standards, $5 is a steal), and waited less than five minutes to see a nurse practitioner.  She had seen my pictures so had a pretty good idea what we were dealing with.  She asked a few questions to verify what I'd already done to manage it and how it had spread, verified my medication allergies, and told me she was going to prescribe a seven day course of steroids to treat it (because apparently my reaction was pretty severe for a first reaction).  Hopefully they work because I'm done dealing with this crap!

Oh, and apparently reactions get more severe with each exposure.  So the next time I get it, it will be worse.  Joy.

This morning, I realized that seeking alternative treatments for poison ivy was much like seeking alternative treatments for infertility.  I got to the point of desperation where I was willing to consider anything, even things that seemed "out there" or were potentially unsafe.  It was a weird trip back to that place of desperation, one I hope I don't have to revisit for a long time to come.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

That day

There are things in life that you should do.  Because they are the right thing to do.  And because they are the socially acceptable thing to do.

Like sucking it up enough to wish your own mother a Happy Mother's Day.

Yet this year, for the first time ever (including the really hard years during infertility), I didn't have it in me.  I. Could. Not. Do. It.

It wasn't a terrible day.  I avoided the usual social media triggers.  I went out and about shopping for a few things for our upcoming trip (though I'm not going to lie, I purposefully selected checkout lanes with early 20s appearing males figuring they were the least likely to wish me a Happy Mother's Day). I had a long chat with Sarah.  Despite the fact that she has a fuckton of stuff on her plate right now, Cristy made it a point to check in on me throughout the day.  And I got several other texts or emails from friends made through blogging but don't have blogs themselves.

But despite all of the love and support from friends there was an intense feeling of being different, especially when it came to my family.  I was caught in the middle of a group chat with my mom and my sisters. Messages were flying back and forth.  Plans for the day.  Pictures.  Descriptions of gifts. Not one big hurt, but 100 little hurts.  And not one inquiry about me or how I was doing.

As the day wore on, I knew I couldn't call.  Or even text.  I didn't have it in me.  I cried a little.  Hubs reassured me that I didn't have to do it.

I've heard that my mom's feelings are hurt, so there will probably be fences to mend when we talk next.

The day is not about me, nor will it ever be.  And I'm not trying to make it about me.  But I don't think it's asking a lot for my family to realize that the day might be difficult for me and to cut me a little bit of slack.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Healing Place

There were many reasons that we chose to buy a house.  Interest rates were at historic lows.  Rent kept rising (and finding a new rental with a large dog was next to impossible).  We scrimped and saved enough to have a decent down payment.  For the first time in a long time we knew that the city we were living in wasn't just a temporary stop, that we'd be here for a while.  Buying was the next logical step.

And honestly, after infertility, after officially closing the door on parenthood, I needed something big, something positive, something special.  A fresh start of sorts.

So we looked (and looked and looked and looked) and eventually we found the house that would become ours.  It felt like home the minute we walked in to the open house.  The vintage 1950s glass door knobs sealed the deal.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of buying our house.

One of my hopes was that our house would be a place of healing, and it has been.  I feel comfortable here.  Happy.  At ease.  Safe.  Stable.  For the first time in a long time.

There will be no negative pregnancy tests here.  Or ovulation tracking. Or sex when we don't feel like it.  Or month after month of disappointment. Or conversations about how far we want to go down the fertility treatment path.  And no envisioning any of the rooms as a future baby's room.

I'm also proud.  We've done all of the work so far ourselves.  With our own blood, sweat, and tears (literally and figuratively).

We still love our bold, funky paint colors.  The hardwood floors that we refinished ourselves have held up remarkably well.  I planted a garden and managed not to kill the plants.  We're chipping away at the landscaping which was minimally maintained for probably close to 10 years, but suffice to say that it looks a heck of a lot better compared to when we bought the place.

Our projects for this summer are more landscaping, to paint the exterior of the house and garage as well as gut the bathroom.  I hope we're not getting in over our heads....

I feel like I'm failing miserably at saying what I want to say.  Our house is the healing place I'd hoped for, and so much more.