Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review

I figured that I would do a year in review type of post.  So here goes!  There have been a lot of good parts, some bad parts, and a whole lot of growth.

The good:
  • My relationship with my husband is much stronger in 2014 than it was in 2013.  This year has challenged us and stretched us nearly to our breaking point several times, but rather than drift apart, we've drifted closer together.
  • Hubs and I celebrated seven years together and three years of marriage.
  • I got back into the gym and have been hitting it really hard since August.  Exercise is one of those things I gave up for trying to conceive.  Taking care of me is my priority now.
  • Hubs and I spent Christmas at home this year rather than trying to attend everything that everybody wanted us to attend over the holidays.  We took care of us.  
  • We started to selectively open up to family and friends about our infertility as we've felt strong enough to do so.  For the most part the people we've told have been pretty supportive, have respected our privacy, and haven't (for the most part) said unintentionally hurtful things.
  • Professionally I had an awesome year.  Looking forward to continuing it into 2015!
  • We decided to quit trying to have a baby and to not pursue treatment or adoption.  To remain childfree.  It was also good that hubs and I were on the same page about this and it was good just to make a decision and move forward with it.
  • I discovered blogs and then started blogging myself.  I'm so lucky to have found the support and friends that I've found! 
The bad:
  • Hubs and I found out that we were unlikely to conceive without IVF (likely with donor eggs).  We decided, quickly, that this wasn't an option that we had the emotional fortitude to pursue.  We had to give up our dream.
  • Two of my three sisters are pregnant.  I suppose this is good for them, but it's bad for me because it is yet another reminder of what I don't/can't/won't have.
  • All of the hard and ugly emotions that come with making the decision to remain childfree.

Goals for 2015:
  • Survive the birth of my niece and whatever the second baby is without going off the deep end.
  • Continue to feel what I'm feeling as I feel it. It's hard work but no good will come of not dealing with my emotions.
  • Continue to hit the gym.  I'd like to run a couple of 5k and/or 10k races this spring/summer/fall.  Maybe even a half marathon in 2016.  
  • I am going to read at least two books a month for pleasure.  I've always read a lot, but somewhere along the line my reading transitioned from reading what I want to read to reading for professional purposes and I want to change that.
I'll be completely honest, when I started writing I expected my list of bad things to far outnumber my list of good things.  It didn't turn out that way at all!  I won't lie, parts of 2014 have really sucked and I would choose not to repeat this year again, but it has been a year of tremendous growth, and for that I am thankful.

So now I pour a glass of something and toast the new year.  Here's to 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

What comes of sleeplessness

After sleeping like crap, I woke up around 3 this morning in the midst of a massive hot flash, drenched in sweat.  I'm pretty sure that my body temperature was somewhere in the vicinity of the temperature of hell (should such a place actually exist).  I figured the quickest way to cool down was to go outside so I made the dog get up and go outside with me.  Because a woman in nothing but a drenched tank top and underwear looks less weird standing outside at 3am with a dog then she does without a dog.  I stood out there for  at least 10 minutes and couldn't stop sweating.  Finally the dog wanted to come inside because he was cold so we came inside and I took a cold shower.  After the cold shower I was finally cooled down to a reasonable degree but was up for the day.  So I made a pot of coffee and got my day started.

First I read some of Sarah's Infertility Honesty blog, which I recently discovered.  Holy amazeballs.  Her writing is brutally honest and deep with a healthy dose of sarcasm.  If you don't read her blog do yourself a favor and go there now.

Next I did a little bit of work that I needed to get done even though I'm "off."  My colleagues just laugh when they look at the time stamp on most emails from me.  I'm a terrible sleeper and would rather be productive as opposed to laying in bed and staring at the ceiling.

Next I started perusing The Onion's Year in Review.  The Onion bills itself as "America's Finest News Source."  If you're not familiar with it, it is satire, and it is hilarious.  They write their articles in such a manner that some people and organizations, including Iran's news organization Fars, often can't tell if they're legitimate articles or not.  For proof of this, see their Facebook page.  Anyway I stumbled across two articles that are particularly relevant for our community.  One about kids in restaurants (because I'm sure we've all experienced these types of parents and kids in a restaurant).  and the other about breastfeeding and knowing everything.  The breastfeeding article does have a picture  of a woman breastfeeding but the article is absolutely hilarious.  I'm happy to copy and paste the text of the article into an email if you want to read the article but don't want to see the picture.

It's just after 1 pm, I've been up for more than 10 hours, and I'm on my third hot flash of the day.  This crap is getting old!  My last post was a bit doom and gloom so I thought I'd lighten the mood around here a bit.  Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

No, we will not be adopting

Over Thanksgiving my mom came to our house to stay for most of the week so we could spend some time together.  As the oldest of four kids, I seldom got alone time with my mom as a child, so it was really special when I did.  Even as an adult I haven't got to spend much quality alone time with her, partly because I've not lived at their house in almost 15 years and not in the same state in eight years, but also because no matter how many times I invited her to do things, she rarely took me up on the offer.  Today we have an amicable relationship, but I wouldn't characterize it as close, and I don't trust her.

She only knows about our infertility because we had planned to go to my parent's house the day we met with the doctor and received the diagnosis.  I called her to say that we would be a bit late (because not going at all would have created more drama than I could have handled), I had been crying, she picked up on it, and she pestered me until I finally told her just to shut her up.  I would have told her eventually but what I really needed at that time was to process it myself.  I asked her to keep it between us, so naturally she shared it with at least two of my sisters and god only knows who else.  I don't necessarily mind that these people know, but I do mind the manner in which they found out.  It was my story to share on my terms.

Over the summer we spent a couple of days at my parent's house.  At that time she brought IVF up and told us that it was something we could consider because she knows some lady who did it successfully, blah, blah, blah.  We told her that it wasn't an option that we wanted to pursue.  She pushed more.  Finally my husband told her that our family planning choices were ours to make and that we didn't need any outside pressure so he would appreciate it if she dropped it.  It hurt her feelings (because she likes to be the center of attention and get her way) but she did drop it.  Until Thanksgiving, that is.

My mom and I were alone in the car together and she brought up adoption.  She started the conversation with "your dad and I have been talking and we think you should adopt." (Translation: I've been thinking about this but wanted it to sound better so I threw your dad into the mix.)  Then she proceeded to tell me about all the people she knew who have adopted, including my best friend who has successfully adopted through the foster care system in the state where she lives.  According to her, adoption takes the pressure off of couples and a lot of them go on to conceive a baby.  Finally I managed to get out that adoption was a great way to build a family for a lot of people, but it wasn't something that we were open to considering for reasons personal to hubs and me and that it wasn't open for discussion and that I hoped she would respect our privacy and not talk about it anymore unless hubs or I brought it up.

I still don't think she fully gets it.  I know that she cares. I know that she feels bad for us.  I know she's just trying to help.  But her method of helping is actually pretty hurtful.  I just wish that she would understand that no we aren't trying IVF (among other things, there is a low probability that it would work anyway), no we don't need help paying for IVF (because money wasn't even in the top 5 reasons why we didn't want to do it-had we wanted to do it we would have figured out a way to pay for it), that there is no need to look into a gestational surrogate (because everything seemed to indicate that I would have no trouble carrying a baby), no we're not interested in adoption (we looked into it and decided it wasn't for us), no I'm not interested in hearing about what sexual positions you've heard are optimal for conceiving (because talking to my mother about sex is just as awkward at 33 as it was at 13, we tried everything you can imagine and more, and it's all junk science anyway), yes I know that I would have made an excellent mother and that hubs would have been an excellent dad, and yes I know that you are disappointed that you will never get to have grandkids from us.  I also wish that she would understand that she has no role in any decisions that we make.

So why did I decide to talk about conversations that happened over the summer and at Thanksgiving tonight?  Because I've been thinking about my mom's reaction to our infertility all afternoon.  Earlier she called just to tell me about all of the cool things that she bought for my niece that will be born in February.  Just more evidence that she just doesn't get it.  I'm doing everything I can to hold it together both pregnancies as it is and she goes and tells me about all the cute stuff that she bought.  Apparently I'm being selfish because I don't want to hear about it.  Whatever.  At least we got through Christmas without her bringing up our business.

Just needed to get that off of my chest.  I guess you could say that I have a lot of emotional baggage when it comes to my mother, but that started long before infertility.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a Merry Christmas while it's still Christmas!

We had a low key but nice day.  We woke up, made breakfast, opened presents, and lounged around for the rest of the day watching movies and basketball.  It's just what we wanted our Christmas to be like.  Hubs got me lingerie and I got him liquor.  We joked that the gifts would be mutually beneficial.

I hope that all of you had a great day too!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's ok to feel what I'm feeling

Right now I'm feeling vulnerable.  Weak.  Flawed.  Like I'm not cut out for this.  Like it's my fault that we'll never have kids.  We did make the conscious decision to put an end to it (or, more accurately, to never get started), but goddamnit this is hard.  I am enough, I know that, but it doesn't feel like it.  I feel like I am less.

I had a good cry earlier.  I'm feeling sorry for myself.  This is hard.  It's not what I had planned for my life.  I'm having trouble visualizing life without kids as awesome.

I know these feelings are temporary and that they will pass.  I know that having these feeling these feelings is ok and just part of the process.  But I hate it.  I don't want to feel like this.  

I have a cold and am feeling pretty miserable.  I think that's part of my state of mind today.

*Editing to add that I put something on Facebook about being sick.  One of my pregnant sisters who is also sick made some snarky comment about me being able to take able to take over the counter medication and she couldn't.  STFU. I think I'll go make another cup of green tea and cry some more. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Telling family

All of our Christmas traveling is done! We're home now and excited to start working on our own traditions!  With as excited as I am, it's somewhat bittersweet. This will be the first year that I haven't seen my parents or sisters on Christmas.  Now I just need to start Christmas shopping for hubs which should be fun (in the same way that root canals are fun).

We had Christmas with hubs' parents, brother, and his family over the weekend.  It was fun but I'm glad it's over.  I'm quite lucky in the in-law category (they like me, I like them), but my mother-in-law is a lot of work.  Hubs and I are used to a simple, quiet life, and MIL talks....all.....the......time.  We nailed the gifts for our niece and nephew too, so we were happy about that.  With as many kids as we have to buy for we have to set a strict budget, so we really put a lot of thought into gifts to make them meaningful, so it's rewarding to see them love their gifts.

We're relatively quiet about our infertility and the decision not to pursue the treatment options available to us.  Not a lot of our friends know and most of our family don't know either.  They might be able to put the puzzle pieces together, but we haven't said anything.  We're not trying to hide anything, it's just not easy to talk about.  I mean, how do you bring it up in conversation?  Where is the balance between our privacy and letting the people who genuinely care about us know.  Yesterday afternoon, we went to my husband's extended family Christmas with his aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  They are a huge group of Catholics with Italian heritage so they have limited boundaries when it comes to asking personal questions, particularly about family planning.  It was brought up.  I responded with "we tried really hard for a long time, it didn't work, and we're moving on."  I feel like I gave them just enough information for them to know a little bit about what's going on but in a manner that made it clear that further questions were unwelcome, and it seemed to work.  I didn't cry either (well, at least not until we got home).  This is progress, I guess.  I just feel so bad because hubs is the only cousin that doesn't have kids, and he's not even close to being the youngest.

Unfortunately we're both fighting colds after being around kids (which I affectionally refer to as "germ cesspools") for two weekends in a row.  Hopefully they won't develop into full blown colds and we won't be sick for Christmas!

I hope that everyone had a great weekend and that you're ready for Christmas (if you celebrate it)!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Conflicting emotions

Hubs and I went on a little road trip this past weekend to celebrate Christmas with my family.  I was pretty ambivalent about going (remember that two of three of my sisters are currently pregnant) and it turned out to be ok.  There were some fun memories like seeing White Christmas on the big screen with my mom and sisters.  It's one of my favorite Christmas movies and apparently they brought it back to theaters for several showings since this year is the 60th anniversary of it's release.  I'm very glad that we went but I'm also glad it's over.  I am so ready to celebrate Christmas in my home this year.

My sisters kept the pregnancy talk/complaining to a minimum so that was nice.  My sister that is due in February did ask several times if I wanted to feel the baby move, but after the third time that I declined I think she figured it out that I had no desire to feel her stomach and didn't ask again.   My youngest sister (the one due in June) told our godparents and grandparents that she was pregnant and it was hard to witness all of them fussing over her.  I'll never get to experience announcing that I'm pregnant to my family and that makes me sad.  I don't like being the center of attention by any stretch, but, I don't know, it must be sort of fun to have everybody be excited for you?  Oh well.  My youngest sister finds out the gender the week after Christmas and wanted my gender guess.  Again, I'm not interested in guessing.  It's either going to be a boy or a girl.  Providing a guess isn't going to change anything.  Collecting gender guesses just another thing that I'll never get to experience.  I guess that I feel like a jerk that I'm not really able to be excited for them and share their pregnancies with them, but at the same time I know that I need to protect myself.  Right now protecting myself is my priority.

I have two nieces and one nephew.  My nephew will be eight in February, my oldest niece will be four in January, and my youngest niece is 18 months old.  They don't see us that often so when we do see them, we make sure to spend a lot of quality time with them.  I'm sure I don't see or hear about everything, but it breaks my heart to see my siblings interact with their kids.  Or, more accurately, not interact with their kids.  How hard is it to sit down and spend 15 minutes reading a book to your child?  Or to sit down and assemble a lego set?  Or to play dollies?  Or color?  My youngest niece is teething and wasn't feeling well over the weekend and she just wanted to cuddle.  She picked me to cuddle with.  Even at 18 months I think she understood that I would indulge her need to cuddle whereas her parents would have just been too busy to stop and comfort her.  I'm worried about my nephew for when his little sister is born.  They don't pay much attention to him now and I just worry that they'll forget about him when the baby comes.  I know that they love their kids but it just seems like they take them for granted and it breaks my heart.  I like to think that I wouldn't take kids for granted if I had managed to have them.  I guess we'll just continue to be the fun aunt and uncle, shower them with love and affection when we see them, and hope that's enough.

I had a lot of fun spending time with my family and a ton of fun spending time with my nieces and nephews, but at the same time my heart was broken on so many different levels.  Conflicting emotions summarizes my feelings about the weekend.


I haven't told hubs about this blog yet though I'm not really hiding it.  I'm sure he doesn't mind.  He trusts me.  I haven't shared anything that he doesn't already know, but he also doesn't completely understand the whole grieving process for me, which was one of my primary motivations for starting this blog in the first place.  I think he doesn't completely understand why I'm not over it yet.

I was perusing Facebook and the blogs I follow this morning and hubs asked what I was doing.  At the time I happened to be commenting on loribeth's blog, specifically her most recent post where she talks about her SIL saying that her sons were her greatest accomplishment and how that stung.  I read that specific part to him and gave him the Cliff's Notes version of loribeth's story.  For the first time I think he understood that what I am experiencing is normal and that it's not a matter of weeks or months, but a matter of years or probably even forever.  So many thanks to loribeth for being the catalyst for a meaningful conversation between hubs and me.

Friday, December 12, 2014


A few things are bouncing around in my head, not really enough to make a separate post about each topic, but things that I want to put down on paper (or, more accurately, on the internet for everyone to read).

  • In August I wrote about my good friend bringing her baby home from the hospital.  I don't think I wrote about my first interaction with her after the baby was born.  Hubs and I dutifully sent a gift for the baby (well, a gift card for a large online retailer since shopping for baby things is hard and I refuse to spend money on things I think are stupid, a wipe warmer, for example) and she sent my husband and I a message on Facebook thanking us for our generosity.  Except instead of just expressing appreciation, she gave a detailed rundown on labor, an eventual emergency c-section, and the baby's short time in the NICU.  This friend is one of the few people who know about our situation so I was taken aback and quite hurt that she would share these things with me.  Now I realize that her world had just been completely changed and that she was probably inundated with congratulatory messages and people wanting details and for efficiency's sake she just copied and pasted a standard response to save on time, but it hurt me deeply that this friend who knows about our infertility would not think before sending such a message.  Anyway, I talked to her on the phone for the first time since the baby's birth earlier this week.  I'll never tell her how badly she hurt me because deep down I know that it wasn't done intentionally. We had a good conversation and it was nice to catch up, but it was painfully obvious that we're in different places in our lives now.  I'm going to try really hard to continue a relationship with her because the truth is that I have a really hard time making friends, so I don't want to lose those that I do have.
  • We're going to spend this weekend with my family and next weekend with hubs' family.  I'm feeling ambivalent about both trips.  I don't know why I feel this way but I do.  I'm sure that once we get to both places it will be fun.
  • I gave up on sleep around two this morning.  I couldn't think of anything better to do and I had four eggs that I needed to get rid of, so I made noodles.  Everybody raves about my noodles so I'll take them with us this weekend.  Too bad I didn't have time to make chicken stock too.
  • Commencement is one week from today.  I have a ton of grading to get done between now and then, but by this time next week, I'll be hours away from having two weeks off.  I am so looking forward to this break.
  • Hubs and I got engaged five years ago today.  His proposal was a complete and total surprise.  I  always joked that he'd never pull one that good off on me again.  Well this week he came damn close.  When I was growing up my family had a Christmas Countdown Calendar, specifically the 1987 Avon Christmas Countdown Calendar, and I have very fond memories of fighting with my sisters about moving the mouse.  I have always wanted this calendar for my own house.  Last weekend my sister sent me a picture of my two nieces and nephew at my parent's house moving the mouse (to which I responded "little jerks"-meant with love, of course).  I showed the picture to hubs and mentioned that I'd love to have one for our house.  Unbeknownst to me he went online, found the exact calendar, and bought it.  It came on Wednesday and he surprised me with it when I got home from work that evening.  Yes, I cried. Below is a picture with me with my Christmas countdown calendar.  It's a terrible picture, I was a gross mess after a workout, I hadn't even taken my jacket off, and I'd been crying.  I don't even care because it is a great memory! 

So that's some of what is going on in my life at the moment.  I'm looking forward to my Christmas break.  I have drafts of a few blog posts that I want to finish, edit, and publish that are on my agenda for break as well as cheesy Christmas movies, and reading.  Christmas will never be how I imagined it to be a few years ago, but we get to start our own traditions this year and it's going to be great! 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Christmas has always been a hectic time of year for Hubs and me.  For the duration of our relationship we have traveled to see both his family and mine and have never spent Christmas together in our own house and as a result we don't really have any of our own traditions.  Over the summer we started discussing holiday plans (Hubs is always the planner....) which resulted in a minor argument.  There's never a solution that enables us to make everyone happy, where we can spend equal time with both families, and where we can attend all extended family gatherings for both families.  Throw into the mix that we have a dog, my in-laws live in a pet free condo building so our dog can't come there, and I refuse to board him over Christmas, and it all just ends up stressing me out.  We've said for years that it will be so much easier when we have kids because we can use them as an excuse to stay home.  As we discussed plans, I started to cry and through the tears I told him that I just wanted to stay home at my house this year.  He thought that staying home was a great idea.  So we decided that is what we would do.  

Since we are staying home this year we decided to go all out on decorating (we've always done minimal decorations since we've never been able to really enjoy them).  We decided to decorate last night so we started a fire, made big mugs of Winter Jack, and brought all of the decorations up from the basement, and made a party of it.  As we put the ornaments on the tree we talked about when we got each one or who gave it to us, including one that his grandma (who has since passed) gave me the very first time I met her and the one we got in Hawaii to commemorate our wedding.  It was really fun to reflect on our relationship through Christmas ornaments.  Once we finished decorating we watched a Christmas movie.  Overall it was a fabulous evening and I am so excited to finally start our own traditions.  

Even though we are both excited, I will fully acknowledge that it is bittersweet too.  Our first Christmas at home isn't how we imagined it would be.  We always assumed that we would start new traditions with our kids and get to see the joy of Christmas through their eyes.  But families can consist of two adults and traditions don't require kids, so we're going to make the best of it and have an awesome time.  We'll obviously open a few presents and I think the rest of the day is going to be spent watching Christmas movies a playing board games.  We're planning to make gnocchi for dinner too, which will be interesting because I've never made it from scratch before.  Basically just a lazy day at home together. 

I'm curious about how others spend the holidays.  What do you do?  What are your traditions?  Any suggestions for us?  Christmas movie suggestions?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Where I whine a bit......

This post is whiny, pure and simple.  I won't be offended if you don't read beyond this sentence.

My first whine is about being busy.  Right now I am slammed at work and will be until approximately December 19th.  The worst part is that it is partially my own fault that I am so busy right now.  I love my job, I really do, but right now I'm ready for this semester to be over! 

My second whine is about sleep.  I've always been a terrible sleeper and it's been progressively worse over the last few months.  I would give just about anything for six consecutive hours of sleep.  Or five.  Or even four.  Heck, at this point three consecutive hours would be a huge improvement! 

My third whine is about being hot.  For the first 33 years and two months I was a cold person most of the time (think wear jeans outside when 90 degrees and not be uncomfortably hot) but over the last three months I've been hot most of the time.  I haven't worn a winter coat yet this year and I haven't even got my heavy sweaters yet either.  At this rate I'm not sure that I will get out the sweaters.  Hubs may freeze to death before too much longer if I don't get out of this hot phase soon.  We came to a compromise and keep the thermostat at 64 degrees (he wanted it set at 68, I wanted to turn the furnace off), I get a fan in the bedroom, and he gets an extra blanket.  He still freezes, I still wake up drenched in sweat.  It's not working out.

My final whine is about my uterus.  I'm currently on the 24th day of my cycle and am on my third (or maybe fourth, I forget) day of spotting.  It's incredibly annoying.  I know that I should schedule an appointment with my GYN, but that office is housed in a large research hospital, the same large research hospital that my RE is housed in, and to be honest I have a minor panic attack when I even think about going there.  I could find a different practice but I'm short on time right now and honestly I'm scared of what any testing will show anyway.  Yes I am making excuses.

If you read all of that, thanks!  Hopefully my next post will be a little less whiny! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014


I hope this post finds all of you well!  It was supposed to post on Thanksgiving day but for whatever reason it didn't....I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of Blogger, I guess.  We had a busy holiday, hosting my parents from Wednesday-Saturday, and my sister and brother-in-law last night, so it's nice to have our house back!  I also cooked (from scratch, of course) an entire Thanksgiving dinner for 19 people and I must say that I did a pretty darn good job!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  I can't really describe why, but I've always loved it.  There's something about getting together with your whole family for the sole purpose of spending time together and eating good food that makes me really happy.  In addition, Thanksgiving gives me the opportunity to reflect on all that I am thankful for.

I'm thankful for my husband.  We have completely opposite personalities.  We love passionately and we fight passionately, but we compliment each other, we are strong where the other is weak, we embrace each other's differences, and we challenge each other intellectually.  While I can't say that I'm thankful for infertility, I'm incredibly thankful that he is the one I got to go through it with.  We are perfect for each other and I wouldn't want to go through life with anyone else by my side.

I am thankful for our health.  Allergies (me) and high blood pressure (hubs) aside, we are a relatively healthy couple.  Not everybody gets to be healthy, so we are very lucky.

I'm thankful for family.  I have three wonderful sisters who are all strong, independent women.  I'm thankful for my dad who showed me the value of hard work.  I'm thankful for my mom.  Things with her haven't always been awesome, but I've made peace with her and we have a decent relationship now.  For such a long time she had an uncanny knack for making me feel like I was the biggest failure on the face of he earth, and that hasn't changed too much, but now I recognize how she operates and I no longer react to her games.  I'm thankful that I finally figured it out.  I'm also thankful for my inlaws.  I really did luck out in this category.  I like them, they like me.  While I won't go as far as to say I want to be their neighbors or go on vacation with them, but we do have a good relationship.  Not everybody gets a good relationship with their family and I'm thankful for it.

I'm thankful for our financial situation.  We're not rich and we never will be, but we can afford to pay all of our bills, we live in a nice house, we drive safe cars, we have food in our pantry, we have excellent medical insurance, and we can afford a few extras.  We are a lot more fortunate than a lot of people, and for that I am thankful.

I'm thankful for my job.  I have a job that I love, essentially my dream job.  I worked really hard to get where I am today and it required a lot of sacrifices for both me and my husband, but I'm here and I love it.  I feel like I make a difference with my work and most of the time I can't believe that they pay me to do it!  I realize that not everybody gets to go to a job that they love (or even like) which makes me even more thankful.

I'm thankful for the little things in life.  I love to savor a leisurely cup (or four) of coffee in the morning, before hubs rolls out of bed, while I read the news, check blogs, etc. I'm incredibly thankful for that alone time.  I'm thankful for a glass or two of wine with dinner or to help me relax in the evening.  I'm thankful that I have the time to exercise regularly.  I'm thankful for friends who support me and make me think.  I wish I got to see them more often

I may not have kids, but I do have a great life.  I have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Year of Change

So this post is going to talk about periods.  If you're not comfortable with that, you should probably just skip it.  Don't say I didn't warn you! ;) 

November of last year was when everything started to change (reproductively speaking).  This time last year my husband and I had pretty much lost hope that we were going to be able to get pregnant without help.  We'd been trying to conceive for long enough that if it was going to happen, it probably would have.  During that whole time I didn't even have a single late period, that is until last November.  I've always had 28 day cycles so when I hit 29 days I thought something might be up.  I told hubs.  He got excited.  I was scared and a little bit excited.  We got pregnancy tests, the good ones, and waited until the next morning to test.  Hubs got up early with me and I tested.  After the longest three minutes of my life I looked at it.  Negative.  He was still hopeful that it was just too early.  I knew that if a test wasn't positive by 16 days past ovulation that it wasn't going to turn positive or if it did it probably wasn't a viable pregnancy anyway.  The next morning there was still no period so I tested again, even though I knew what the result would be.  Negative, as expected.  I went back to bed and we laid there and cried.  I think that was the day that TTC broke us.  I had to wait two more days before my period finally arrived, and arrive it did, the day hubs and I were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for approximately 15 people.  To top it off, it was a very "memorable" period, and I'm a person who has had really bad periods for my entire life.  

So not only was I not pregnant that cycle, it soon became apparent that my textbook 28 day cycles were a thing of the past.  My periods were changing, in duration, in intensity, and in flow.  None for the better.  My regular OB/GYN wasn't the slightest bit concerned because, while abnormal for me, everything was still in the range of normal.  We were referred to the RE who was also unconcerned.  So I decided that if they weren't worried about anything I shouldn't be either.  We went through all of the testing, got shit results, and my periods continued to be inconsistent and weird.  They are still weird and heavy, and near crippling cramps a year later.  Oh, and hot flashes, can't forget those.  The solution seems to be to put me back on birth control, but that's not an option that I'm really open to exploring because I'm one of those people who didn't do well on birth control.  At this point I don't know what's up.  I know that something isn't right but I don't know what to say to make them take me seriously.  My fear is that this is the beginning of peri-menopause.  Is that illogical or are my concerns founded?  All of my female relatives had hysterectomies in their mid 30s so I don't even know what my family's average age for menopause is.  If anybody reading has gone though/is going through peri-menopause/menopause I would love to hear your two cents.  (I should mention that given my test results, early menopause is expected, I just didn't expect it this soon.)

A lot has changed since last Thanksgiving.  At this point I'm just going with the flow and taking things on as they come up.  Mercifully I will not have to deal with my period this Thanksgiving.  As an added bonus I should be in the clear for Christmas too.  There's not really a point to this post, I've just been thinking a lot about how last Thanksgiving was when it started to sink in that kids probably weren't in the cards for us, and how this Thanksgiving we're firmly there.  Thanks for sticking with me through this less than pleasant conversation about my biological functions.

Monday, November 17, 2014


A few years ago, back when I thought I would/could actually get pregnant, I bought a crib.  It can be categorized as an impulse buy.  I was at IKEA one day, it was on sale, and it was "the one," so I bought it.  It's different, quirky (it's bright green!) and perfect.  Ever since then it's been stashed away in the guest room closet still in the box.  It was a silly purchase and I never should have bought it.  I should get rid of it.  But I can't.  Not yet.  It doesn't make sense.

I talked to my sister yesterday (the one who is due in February) and she mentioned that they needed to buy a crib.  I usually buy a car seat for all of my nieces and nephews because all of my sisters are terrible drivers and I want their babies to be safe.  I've already been shopping for one as I can tolerate looking at baby stuff because I want to find a good deal.  I offhandedly mentioned their need for a crib to Hubs, who suggested that we give them the crib taking up space in our closet instead of buying a car seat.  Totally blindsided.  I felt the sob growing deep in my chest as the tears started to roll down my cheeks.  I collapsed on to the couch.  I couldn't speak through the tears, sobs, and snot.  I cried until I didn't have anymore tears left in me.  It was intense.  It was visceral.  It was ugly.  All over a stupid crib.  

My reaction surprised me.  Poor Hubs.  It surprised him too, obviously.  Now, I'll admit, this is a good idea, and the logical/rational side of my brain knows this.  It would give them something that they need, would clear out space in our closet, and we wouldn't have to spend any money on the gift.  Hubs definitely wasn't out of line to suggest it.  But that crib was for my baby, our baby, not somebody else's baby.  I just can't handle the thought.....

I wish I had some reflections or growth or something better to share.  I don't feel like I'm making much progress in grieving.  I'm in the thick of my grief right now and it's ugly.  I'm trying my best to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Today is better.  Hopefully tomorrow will be too.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Laughing at the absurdity of it all

In my last post I wrote about how two of my sisters are currently pregnant and how I suspect the third is as well.  As I've processed all of this I've tried to see things from their perspective.

The sister with the baby due in February found out in September that her job would likely be eliminated and her company will close by the end of the year.  Even though it's illegal to discriminate against someone for being pregnant during the hiring process, I think we can all agree that she's unlikely to find a new job before the baby is born.  Right now I think that her plan is just to hang on for as long as she can and then collect unemployment while on maternity leave (so she will at least have some income coming in) and then start really looking for a job after the baby is born.  It must be scary to be facing a layoff while pregnant.  I certainly wouldn't want to trade positions with her.

The sister with the baby due in June, my youngest sister....I'll be honest, I'm having a hard time not judging her.  She's 24, hasn't worked in over a year because she got fed up with her previous job and quit without a backup plan.  Her husband is also unemployed and they live in my parent's basement.  They already has two kids, both unplanned, and yet weren't using any protection at all.  You would think that after two kids they would have a clue how babies are made, but I guess not.  It must be scary to be facing a third unplanned child (they'll have three under 4.5 when this baby is born) when there are no prospects for employment and you live in somebody else's house.  I wouldn't want to trade positions with them (though I can argue that I never would have put myself in that position in the first place).  Let's all keep our fingers crossed that after this baby is born that they elect for some form of permanent or semi permanent preventative measures so there isn't a fourth child that they can't support in the future.

As far as my third sister goes, I don't know if she's pregnant or not.  She's very private so the chances are good that if she is pregnant that I (or anyone else) won't find out officially until she is darn good and ready to share the news.  My Spidey Sense is telling me that she probably is though, and my Spidey Sense is rarely wrong.  My brother-in-law did share with my husband that they had an early miscarriage over the summer, so I just feel like the timing is right for her to get pregnant again.  While her pregnancy will hurt, particularly if I get the trifecta of sisters pregnant, hubs and I will be genuinely excited for them.

And then there's my situation.  It really couldn't be more different from my sister's situation.  Funny how that works.

I've been thinking about  how fertility is completely random, and there is no explanation why some people get pregnant so easily and some can't get pregnant at all.  I think that if logic or a higher power had anything to do with it that I would certainly be a better candidate for parenting than my youngest sister.  There is no good reason that someone addicted to drugs, who has had children taken away from them for abuse or neglect, or somebody who lives off of the taxpayer's dime is able to get pregnant easily but that someone who is educated, employed, and financially stable isn't able to.  There's just no explanation.  My default reaction for the majority of this week has been to just laugh at the absurdity of it all, because if I don't laugh, I'll cry (or drink).

Now if I could just get my mother to stop shoving fertility treatment and adoption down our throats.  Fertility treatment has a low probability of success for our situation thus we don't see it as being a good investment.  As far as adoption goes, it's just not an option that we have any desire to pursue, and I don't feel like we need to explain our reasons to anybody.  We're perfectly confident and secure in the decisions we've made, even though those decisions mean that we will never be parents, and I don't see why others are having such a hard time with it.  The last time I talked to her I told her that I wasn't going to discuss our choices with her and I requested that she not try to make our fertility a topic of discussion.  She said she'd continue to pray for us (she thinks prayer means something, I think it is a big joke, but my thoughts on religion will have to wait for another post).  Most days I regret even sharing our issues with her.

I'll see my sisters for the first time since August in a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving.  So I have until then to process this enough to not have a public meltdown and fine-tune my 'shut-up' filter so that I don't say something that is likely to come across as judgement and/or hurt feelings. Thankfully we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner so I will be busy cooking for 25-30 and hopefully won't have much time for conversation.   I want to be in a position where I can be happy for my sisters, but I don't think that's going to happen before Thanksgiving, and I'm not going to rush it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sometimes life sucks

I have three sisters.  I knew one was pregnant, I found out today that the second is pregnant, and suspect that the third is pregnant as well.  I want to move to the moon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why egg freezing is important to me

For the past several weeks there has been a lot in the news about egg freezing. Specifically Facebook and Google announcing that they are going to add egg freezing to their employee benefit portfolio.  This caused an avalanche in criticism (e.g., this) as well as kudos (e.g., this, this) for the companies involved. Essentially there was a whole lot about how this is a huge perk for women because they can work hard in their careers without having to worry about potential future infertility as well as how it benefited the companies because they wouldn't lose employees to parenthood.  One thing that was glaringly absent is talk of the short and long term health risks for women who choose to undergo elective egg freezing.  Enter Pamela, an ever-present voice for women, who wrote this and this and a few days later Josephine Johnston and Miriam Zoll wrote this. All of these badass women wrote about these exact issues. For some reason the egg freezing debate really resonated with me.  It's an issue that I've been doing a lot of reading about over the past week or so, mainly in (nerd alert) bioethics and law journals with a few medical journals thrown in for good measure, and I can honestly say that the more I read the more infuriated that I get.

So why have I devoted so much time to an issue that has little impact on my day to day life?  Because it could have.  You see, ten years ago I was 23, two years out of college and had my first grown-up job and paycheck.  I threw myself headfirst into my work.  I wasn't in a steady relationship and babies weren't even on my radar (well, except in the sense that I wanted to avoid one at all costs).  Same at 24 and 25.  I started a Master's program and I was dating a guy who was nice, but I was nowhere near ready to settle down and babies still weren't a blip on my radar.  At 26 I met Hubs, quit my much loved job, moved to a different state, took a huge pay cut, and went back to school full time.  Preventing babies was again the only item on my reproductive agenda.  By the time we started trying in earnest, right before my 31st birthday, we couldn't have known that my ovaries had already all but crapped themselves.  So that brings me to egg freezing.  If someone had told me at 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 that I could freeze my eggs to potentially preserve my fertility later down the line I would have, at minimum, given it serious thought, and maybe even gone through with it.  If it were a perk offered by my employer I almost definitely would have taken advantage of it.  Most of the available, easily accessible information conveniently glosses over the health risks and success statistics, and 23 year old me probably wouldn't even have picked up on it.  I mean, it sounds like a good insurance policy, right?  Maybe it could have made the situation that we're currently in a little more manageable?  The likely answer to that question is a resounding no!

I don't think that's uncommon for someone in their 20s to make big decisions without carefully considering all aspects.  I know that I certainly didn't carefully consider all of my decisions at that age.  At the end of the day, I'm so glad that I didn't have the option to freeze my eggs and I'm glad that I didn't have to make that decision.  But women from this point forward do have the option to freeze their eggs readily available and will have to make the decision, and that's why it is so important to get the word out by whatever means possible.  Egg freezing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Reflections

Friday night was my neighborhood's Trick-or-Treat.  Understandably I wasn't really looking forward to it, as I think most in my position can relate to.  I didn't want to do it at all but Hubs said that he didn't want to be "that house" so we did.  So I did what any self-respecting infertile would do and poured a big glass of wine (into a tumbler with a lid so as not to draw attention to myself) and went outside with Hubs to pass out candy.  Mercifully it was cold and started raining an hour into it so we got to go inside early and veg out in front of the TV.  Overall I handled it very well, better than expected, and I don't think it was the wine.  I won't go as far as to say that I enjoyed it, but it wasn't bad.  I think it was a small victory.  What I didn't handle well was seeing all of the pictures of kids in costume on Facebook.  I don't know if this is because I know these people whereas I don't know the trick-or-treaters or what.  I can't help but compare hubs and I to some of the people.  We could have kids as old as or older than their kids.  We never will, and it hurts.  I just hope I handle Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as I did Halloween, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I take one or both pretty hard.

Now my only problem is a bunch of leftover candy, but my plan is to pawn that off on my students!  I'm confident that won't be hard!

Monday, October 27, 2014


Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has infertility related breakdowns.  Like curled up in a ball on the floor sobbing for like an hour type of breakdowns.  I'm taking my sister's pregnancy/gender reveal really hard, and I guess I didn't realize how hard until last night.  Lets just say that it was ugly.

My husband and I are a fine example of opposites attract.  He is very logical, rational, calculated, level headed, thrives on planning and routines, etc.  On the other hand I'm very emotional, spontaneous, impulsive, dives headfirst into everything I do, etc.  Despite being polar opposites of each other, we really compliment one another and have a great marriage as a result.  While I know that infertility has hurt him very deeply, he and I are handling it in very different ways.  His grieving was a short, liner process handled within himself.  I have no doubt that he dealt with his grief in a logical, sequential manner.  But I'm not that way.  My grieving, on the other hand, is a long and winding road, full of hairpin curves, detours, and wrong turns.  It's really hard on him to see me hurting.  First because he loves me and doesn't want to see me hurt and second because he just doesn't get how I can still be grieving.

So back to the aforementioned breakdown.  Hubs tried to comfort me by telling me that I need to get over this and that it's not fair to my sister that I'm jealous.  Of course he said this a lot more sensitively and with different words, but that's what I heard.  It just goes back to he and I being so different and handling things in different ways, so I don't hold it against him.  Eventually he remembered that when I get in states like that, the only appropriate things that he can do are to hold me tight, tell me he loves me, and tell me that everything is going to be ok.

I know that everything is going to be ok.  I know that everything is going to get better.  But right now it hurts so freaking bad and I just want it to stop.  It doesn't feel like this is ever going to end.  I don't want to put my husband in a position where he has to help me pick up the pieces every time I lose it.  I just want to be a normal person who doesn't breakdown when somebody gets pregnant.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Crappy Week and Three Good Things

This has been a really tough week.  It seemed like everything collided and it was just rough.  I missed over a week of work at the end of September due to jury duty and I'm still not completely caught up from that.  To top that off, it seems like work conspires to have all meetings close enough together that it's hard to get a damn thing done.  But possibly the hardest thing this week was that my sister had her gender scan on Wednesday.  I was able to give my gender guess by phone without crying (barely) but later my idiot brother-in-law thought it would be great to tag me and hubs in photos of my nephew holding up a sign that said "It's a girl", my nephew holding up the scan pictures, and of their cute little family.  Thankfully I was able to hide the pictures and unsubscribe from comments and whatnot, but I still had to see them popping up on my news feed.  Then my sister texted to tell me that they had decided on a name, which coincidentally was "my" girl name.  Then at a meeting on Thursday there were three people showing off baby pictures (four people gave birth between April and June).  I was shown a picture, told the mother that she was cute and made a comment about her full head of hair.  Conversation ensued and I was asked if I was a "baby person" to which I replied "not really" and was then told that I'll change when I have my own baby.  I didn't even have the energy (and this woman is only a casual acquaintance) to tell her that no, I won't ever have my own baby.  Friday morning I got an email from a student saying that she found out that she was pregnant on Thursday and was freaking out a bit and was in no shape to come to class.  Also on Friday I finally told my mom that we decided to stay at our house for Christmas this year.  We decided that it was time for hubs and I to start our own family traditions because we've traveled every year we've been together and haven't had a chance to do our own thing.  She understands but took it hard.

After reading my previous post about emotions surrounding being child free (all negative), Obie challenged me to come up with a list of positive feelings about life without future children.  While I couldn't come up with 13, I was able to come up with a few.  I'll add to it as I come up with more.

Here are some positive feelings about life without children:

  1. Unencumbered- It is a nice feeling to know that I'm not going to have to consider children when making life decisions.  Hubs and I can do what we want without factoring kids into the equation.  When we eventually buy a house we can buy the house we want with no consideration given to expanding our family.  If I want to accept a new job, we can move wherever we want without worrying about things like switching schools or pediatricians. We can talk about whatever topics and use whatever language in our house that we want to without worrying that "little ears" are going to repeat what they hear at school.  It feels like freedom.
  2. Passionate-I think that one thing that most parents will agree on is that things in the bedroom take a hit when you have kids.  With no kids, we don't have to worry about this.  Additionally, without kids in the house we can be spontaneous and not worry about making sure the kids are in bed or that we'll wake them up.  I can say with 100% confidence that our sex life improved 1000 fold when we stepped off of the TTC train.  There are also bonuses such as, cough, not worrying about changes in your anatomy due to childbirth. 
  3. Connectedness-I can focus on the relationships that are meaningful and important to me without feeling guilt related to sacrificing time with my children to cultivate adult relationships.
This exercise was difficult but I think it was important.  Sometimes I get so lost in the grief and anger of this whole shit situation that it's hard to see through it and recognize that good could possibly come of it.  So thanks, Obie, for challenging me to do this.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thirteen Words

 A month or so I blogged about how I was feeling really good but also that I was waiting for the bottom to fall out on it.  Well, the bottom fell out.  I'm struggling to find adequate words to describe how I'm feeling and put them together in a cohesive manner.  Here are thirteen words that attempt to describe how I'm feeling right now:

  1. Loss-The sense of loss is profound.  I feel like we lost out on experiencing so many good things because I happen to have a shitty reproductive system. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
  2. Anger-It's just not fair.  It's not fair that it's so easy for others.  It's not fair that we wanted a baby so bad and it just never happened for us.
  3. Inadequate-How is it that crack whores and teenagers are worthy of having a baby and we're not?  I have to think that these people are a hell of a lot less prepared than we were.
  4. Lonely-Infertility is so isolating.  I have trouble making friends as it is, and now I have even less in common with people than I did before.
  5. Left behind-Goes along with being lonely.  I can relate it to being the last kid picked in elementary PE.  Except this time everyone has babies but leaves you behind.
  6. Incomplete-How is it possible to have a hole in my heart in the shape of something that never was?
  7. Confused-Did we go far enough?  Should we have tried treatment?  Should we have started trying earlier?  Even though I know we went as far as we were willing and I know that even had we proceeded with treatment that it would have likely failed, I'm still second guessing our decision to not even try.
  8. Frustrated-Frustrated that all of our efforts were in vain.  Frustrated that so few people actually understand (or make the effort to try to understand).
  9. Betrayed-My body can't do what it is supposed to do.
  10. Guilt-Intellectually I realize that there is no blame to be assigned, but I can't help but feeling like this is all my fault.  That if I weren't broken we'd have a baby.
  11. Sad-Just so sad.  Even on the good days I am sad.
  12. Vulnerable-I hate feeling this way.  I hate not knowing when I'm randomly going to burst into tears.  I feel exposed.
  13. Scared-Are we going to be ok?  Is our life going to be just as fulfilling as we thought it was going to be a couple of years ago?
I'm sorry this is so heavy.  My heart hurts so bad right now and I just want the hurt to go away.  It gets better, I know it does, but right now I'm having trouble remembering that.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Things I Can Control

This week has been rough.  I've been on the verge of an ugly cry since the weekend.  I've been in a lot of situations in the past week where I've felt like an outcast.  So much of the lives of others revolve around their family and when there is a family centric conversation I have nothing to contribute.  What's worse is that some of the people have actually expressed envy that we don't have children and can do as we please.  I feel left out and I hate that.  To top it off, work has been pretty crazy too.  I'm still not fully caught up from being out for a week for jury duty, and now there's the hectic-ness of midterms.  I feel like I'll never get fully caught up.  I can't control any of that.

One thing that I can control is going to the gym.  Between grad school and TTC I hadn't regularly hit the gym for a few (too many) years.  Not surprisingly I lost muscle, gained weight, and wasn't happy with how I looked.  A few months ago I decided to go back.  I needed to reclaim this part of my life.  At first it was pretty rough.  I was in the worst shape of my life and results didn't happen quickly, but I stuck with it.  Yesterday I was feeling particularly sorry for myself and quite honestly I just needed something to show me that I'm pretty darn awesome.  As I was walking out of the changing room at the gym I passed a mirror.  Usually I avoid looking at myself in full length mirrors because I haven't been happy with my appearance in such a long time but yesterday I caught a glimpse of myself out of the corner of my eye.  I stopped.  Rather than critiquing myself I focused on the good.  The change.  I'm finally starting to see change! Admittedly I still have a long way to go, but I'm working on it and I'll get there.

When I started this blog I wanted to keep it anonymous, or at least semi-annoymous.  I never thought I'd post a picture of myself, but here I am.  I was so proud of my observations at the gym yesterday that I made hubs take a picture of me when I got home.  I should have done a true "before" picture, but this will have to do.  The picture is crappy and I look like hell (just got home from the gym), but I'm proud of the changes and wanted to share them.  So here you go: (picture removed for privacy)

Because I'll never take myself too serious and will always be able to laugh at myself, yes, my pants are too short.  When you're six feet tall finding pants that are long enough is challenging and at some point you give up caring (for gym clothes, not work clothes).  

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I'm not used to failure.  I set a goal, I work hard, and I achieve it.  It didn't work that way with having a baby.  We did everything we were supposed to do and more and it still didn't work.  The worst part is that I'm the one who is broken and it's all my fault. My husband will never have a biological child because of me.  I just can't get past that.  He says it's not my problem, that it's our problem.  The logical, rational part of me understands that it's not my fault.  I didn't do anything wrong, that sometimes even when you do everything right, you still don't get what you want.  I can't convince my heart of that though.  My heart is shattered.

*This post is brought to you by PMS, waking up with cramps at 5:15am Sunday, spending an entire weekend with my niece and nephew, and my sister complaining about pregnancy.  I'll be back to my usual, more cheery self soon.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The evolution of my Google searches

Last night my husband wasn't feeling well so we had a quiet evening at home.  He complained numerous times about his throat hurting, and since he refuses to take any kind of cold medication or even Tylenol, I figured a nice frozen margarita would help his throat.  As I was making his margarita (and one for me too, of course) I got to thinking about Tequila  at which point I realized that I didn't know what Tequila was made from.  Naturally this led me to Google where I entered "What is Tequila made from?" into the search box.  This made me think about how my google searches related to having a baby have evolved over the years.

Around 5 years ago (before TTC) my searches looked something like:
Could I be pregnant if I haven't missed a birth control pill?
How often do women on birth control get pregnant?

Around the time we started trying to conceive my searches looked something like:
How to get pregnant quickly
How long does it take for the average woman to get pregnant?
How long does it take to get pregnant after birth control?
Due Date calculator

A few months in to TTC my searches were gems such as:
What are the best kind of cloth diapers?
What is the best car seat?
Maternity leave laws in my state?
Birth centers in my area?

Then worry started to creep in:
How to take your basal body temperature
Ovulation charting
Ovulation tests
What does a positive ovulation test look like
How many times should we have sex to get pregnant?
Supplements to improve fertility
If you have a BFN at 14 DPO can you still be pregnant
Old wives tales to get pregnant

Then we made the decision to get tested:
Reproductive Endocrinologists in my area
Who is the best RE in my area
How long does it take to get an appointment at an RE
What types of tests will an RE run?

After we got the results:
What are the chances of getting pregnant with DOR without IVF?
Cost of IVF
Cost of IVF medications
What is IVF like
IVF success rates for women with low AMH
What do you have to do to get certified for foster care?

A few months after that:
Will we be ok if we never have kids?
Benefits of being child free
Childfree after infertility blogs
Will I ever feel ok after infertility?

It's funny to me how my searches have evolved.  I think back to the types of searches and how they painted an accurate picture of the worry that slowly started creeping in.  So to address my searches from a few months after we were diagnosed with infertility:

  • Yes, we will be ok.  In fact, we are stronger than ever.  Definitely stronger than we ever were in the depths of TTC.
  • Full nights of sleep, doing what we want when we want, not having to budget for childcare or a college fund, no dirty diapers, no teething etc.  Of course, we'll miss out on a lot too, but we're figuring out our Plan B and how it's going to be awesome!
  • I didn't even know what I would get when I searched for child free after infertility blogs, and what I found was a goldmine.  What I found was an extremely supportive community of women who have gone through this same thing who are willing to share their experiences so other women don't have to feel so alone.  Lisa's Life Without Baby blog and her book are the first that I discovered.  I read her entire blog from entry one to present and her book in a weekend.  Then I discovered Mali's No Kidding in NZ blog, which I also read from the beginning to present.  Then I discovered Pamela's Coming2Terms blog which led to the Silent Sorority blog and her book, which I particularly connected with for some reason.  Now I'm working my way through Loribeth's The Road Less Traveled blog. I'm sure there are many other good ones that I haven't even found yet! 
  • To answer the last question, I know that someday I will feel ok.  I'm doing really well right now.  I've felt ok for over a month, but I also know that I'm early in this process and the bottom could fall out at any time.  
While I won't lie, I would very much rather have a baby (or two), but the fact that I've found this super supportive community makes this crappy process so much more manageable.  Oh, and Tequila is made from Blue Agave.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Silver Linings

Sometimes after a really long, busy, and stressful week, it does the soul good to go to bed early, sleep in, and have a lazy morning filled with coffee and reading.  My plans for the rest of the day include exercising, showering (and probably putting pajamas back on after), more reading, and unfortunately some work too.  I can have this de-stressing day because I don't have a child and because I'm not responsible for anyone but myself (and to a lesser extent the husband and dog).  A year ago I couldn't have seen this silver lining.  Right now I'm incredibly thankful for it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Being Brave

I know that most people hate their commute, but I actually don't mind mine.  I live about 13 miles from work but on an average day the commute is around 45 minutes each way.  In the morning it gives me plenty of time to go through my mental checklist of things that I need to do for the day and in the evening it gives me plenty of time to reflect on the day and switch my brain from "work mode" to "home mode."  Essentially it's my "me" time and I quite enjoy it.  On Mondays I teach an evening class and often do not leave for home until around 9pm.  There is something about the darkness and the lack of traffic that always makes me particularly reflective.  This past Monday evening, as I was driving, I was singing along to the radio when F***** Perfect by Pink came on.  I've heard this song many times, but I really listened to the lyrics for the first time and thought about them within the context of infertility and just generally being a woman.  The lyrics to the chorus are:
Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, F*****' perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing you're f*****' perfect to me 
The video is below.  If you've never heard the song or never really listened to the lyrics, I encourage you to do so.  I intentionally opted not to post the link to the official music video from the artist's approved youtube page because there are several themes in the video (e.g., drug use, self-harm) that may be triggers for some people.  Also, if you find language offensive, this probably wouldn't be a good thing for you to watch.

Anyway, first I started thinking about this song within the context of being a woman.  We're bombarded with messages of "you're not good enough/smart enough/pretty enough/you can't do that/you're too skinny/you're too fat/you don't deserve good things/etc." from an early age.  And those messages are even stronger if you are "different" and don't fit in.  I've never really fit in and there are a precious few people who actually get me.  The truth is that  while I've done a pretty good job appearing to be confident, in reality I'm not.  When I started dating my husband he did amazing things for my self-confidence.  He told me that I was beautiful, smart, awesome, funny, etc. enough that I finally started to believe those things about myself.  Then infertility hit and all of those negative things crept back in.  Feelings like "I'm not good enough/I can't even give my husband a baby/I'm broken/I'm a failure." Since we quit trying to conceive, I've tried to work on regaining some of my lost self-confidence, and again, my husband has been brilliant.  So back to the song-I've spent a whole lot of my life feeling (and believing) that I'm less than perfect.  But the reality is that I am perfect.  I am exactly who I am supposed to be and am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  Every single thing that has ever happened to me has happened for a reason, even if it doesn't make sense to me.  I can't compare myself to others and use them as a measuring stick because I am not them.  I probably didn't do a very good job of articulating the thought process that or the progress that was made after listening to the song, but it really did hit me like a ton of bricks (in a good way).  It was definitely a message that I needed to hear, and I suspect that I'm not the only one.

As I continued to drive I was sort of marveling at my little breakthrough.  Then Brave by Sara Barellis came on.  Cue the tears.  I think this song so beautifully captures how brave we have to be during and after our battles with infertility.  I'm not even going to bother quoting some of the lyrics, instead I'll just encourage you to listen to the song.

Save for a few people, I've never openly shared about infertility with anyone (in real life).  I've always been one of those people who has a really hard time showing my emotions in front of other people and infertility is something that I can't really talk about without becoming emotional, so I don't share.  I need to work on being brave.  I need to work on letting the words fall out honestly without worrying what the listener is going to think of me or what they're going to say.  For some reason infertility is a taboo topic and living child free after infertility is even more taboo.  The only way to make it less taboo is to talk about it, and that requires bravery.  I'm not quite ready to wear a shirt that says "look at me, I'm infertile" or anything like that, but I do think that I need to make an effort to respond in a way that adequately describes the struggle and emotional impact, but in a way that also doesn't lend itself to questions or me sharing more than I want to (because there are so many parts of the journey that are so deeply personal).  I don't feel very brave right now, but I suspect that will come with time and practice.  Infertility is part of me, just like my blue eyes, brown hair, and crazy long legs, and that's ok!

If read this far, thanks!  I don't usually write posts this long, but I don't have breakthroughs like this very often either.  I also don't get summoned to jury duty selection very often which is why I had the free time to write a post of this length. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two pink lines

I apologize in advance that this post isn't well organized and is largely unedited.  I just needed to do a brain dump of some things that have been bouncing around my brain for a couple of weeks.  I hope it makes at least a little bit of sense.

Last week Pamela wrote an article about Blind Spots.  It really hit home for me because it's something I've been dealing with recently.  Here is what I wrote in the comment section of her blog:

I’ve been unpacking and examining some of these blind spots for the past couple of weeks. For a long time I’ve felt that when a person gets pregnant, even under less than ideal circumstances (with the exception of rape, obviously) that they are lucky. I’ve also felt like women who do get pregnant but end up without a take home baby are somehow luckier than I am too because they got to experience pregnancy, even if just for a little bit (yes, I do feel horrible even putting that in print). I concluded that a positive pregnancy test is something very symbolic to me, likely because it’s an experience that I will never get to have, and this really does cloud my mindset. People who have unintended pregnancies or who have losses don’t see themselves as lucky and I shouldn’t either. All I can do is acknowledge my blind spot and try to put it aside, or at least acknowledge that it shapes my attitude.
Here's an expanded version of what led me to discovering this blind spot.  August was a rough month for me.  A month filled with seeing other's successes (childbirth/pregnancy) and my failures (inability to conceive).  In short I was feeling really sorry for myself.  (Note to self: There is a whole heck of a lot more to you than your inability to procreate! Stop defining yourself this way!)

At that time, two things collided and wreaked havoc on my emotions: one of my very good friends brought her baby home from the hospital and a second friend found out she was pregnant.  Right around the time we were beginning the infertility testing process the first friend called me and confided that they had been trying for (gasp) two whole months and she was very frustrated.  I gave her a quick lesson in ovulation tests and wished her luck.  I'll be damned if four weeks later she texted me a picture of a positive pregnancy test and a hearty "thank you" for helping her get pregnant.  I had a very negative, visceral reaction.  I honestly don't know if I've ever cried that hard in my life.  I mean, it just wasn't fair.  Everything I knew couldn't get me pregnant and it helped her to get pregnant in one shot. A few weeks later we found out that it was unlikely I would have children without some intensive and expensive fertility treatments.   The second friend battled infertility to, so she understands on at least some level.  Right around the time that my husband and I made the decision not to proceed with treatment, her and her husband made the decision to try treatment.  We remained very close and supported so when she got a positive pregnancy test naturally I was the first one (not married to her) that she texted a picture of the test to.  The first couple of tests were really light, but then they started to darken appropriately, and she started sending close up pictures of tests and of tests lined up next to each other.  It was too much for me.  She did it innocently and didn't realize that it would hurt me and I didn't realize that it had hurt me until it was too late.  To top it off I didn't say anything.  I didn't want to rain on her parade.  Then she started to obsess about low beta numbers and miscarriage.  The hurt me part of me lashed out at her and told her that she needed to calm herself down and enjoy it just a little bit and that she was lucky to even get to experience being pregnant, even if just for a little bit.  Not surprisingly this hurt her feelings, deeply.  Long story short, we made up, but I think I damaged our relationship in a way that will never be fully repaired though.

Friend one brought her baby home the same week that friend two got her positive pregnancy test.  So two of my best friends had really great news and I was left out of the excitement.  Again.  It hurt.  Really, really bad.  I think I could have handled one of these two things, but to handle them together was just too much.

I needed to figure out why I reacted so intensely to these situations.  I needed to know so that I could protect myself in the future and so that all of my hurt won't make me a bad friend to others.  The only trigger that I could come up with was seeing the positive pregnancy test for both of my friends.  And when the second friend got the positive test right as the first was bringing her baby home from the hospital, it just seemed like history was repeating itself, and it was hard on me.  I started to unpack these feelings even more.  I've never had a positive pregnancy test of my own.  I'll never get to see a positive pregnancy test of my own.  I'll miss out on telling my husband, my parents, etc.  It's the start of something big and I'll never get to experience it and that makes me incredibly sad.   I guess that seeing those two pink lines makes me remember everything I'm going to miss out on.

So I guess that what I can do is remember that this is going to be a blind spot for me, at least in the near future.  I can recognize that it's going to trigger some negative emotions and try to protect myself the best that I can.  I also need to remember that even though I might feel like other people are lucky, they may not feel the same way.  Feelings are messy and don't always make sense.  I'm imperfect, but I'm trying.  I'm growing.  I'm getting better.  I'm trying to heal, but I'm also trying to not leave a path of distraction in my wake.  I'm doing the best I can.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ups and Downs

Right now I feel like I'm in a really good place.  I don't have that "elephant on my chest" feeling every time I think about not having children or other people having children.  It's been a couple of weeks since a pregnancy or birth announcement completely gutted me.  I'm able to differentiate being happy for them and being sad for us instead of just all-consuming jealousy and sadness.  My husband and I have been spending a lot of really great quality time together and not once have I lamented about not having children or how whatever we were doing would somehow be better if we did have a child.  I feel good right now.  I feel confident right now.  I feel like I can handle whatever the universe throws at me.  But I also wonder when the bottom is going to drop out.  I wonder how long the inevitable depression will last once the bottom does fall out.  Does anybody else get this way?  My plan is just to ride this wave as long as possible and then deal with the fall out when it comes.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What a difference a year makes

I work in academia.  In May of every year, everyone scatters after commencement and for the most part we don't see each other again until August when school starts, so there is always a lot of catching up to do.  Last year at the beginning of the school year we had a meeting with a catered lunch afterwards.  The department head was moving about the room making conversation with everyone as they ate.  I happened to be sitting at a table with a pregnant colleague, a colleague who had a baby only a couple of months old, and another with a baby under a year old.  Everyone was making small talk about their kids (I'm sure you all know the type of conversation) when the department head asked me when I was going to contribute a baby to the department (there's a joke that at least one person in our department has had a baby every semester for something like 14 semesters running).  I fumbled through an answer, excused myself, and went to my office and had an ugly cry.  Fast forward to yesterday.  Same people, same scenario.  The same department head asked me about my family planning timetable.  This year I said: "The truth is that we tried really hard for a long time, we aren't comfortable pursuing the treatment options available to us, and right now we're figuring out what the rest of our lives are going to look like since children are realistically no longer part of the picture.  There is still a small chance that I could get pregnant, but the reality is that the chances of me getting pregnant are somewhere in the vicinity of my chances of getting struck by lightening."  And then I changed the topic.  You could have heard a pin drop.  I was so proud of myself.  A year ago it was a victory just to get through the conversation without crying publicly.  A year makes a world of difference! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Random thoughts

When my husband and I scheduled our first RE appointment, we weren't exactly sure what to expect, beyond that there would be a bunch of tests.  We did all of the tests and scheduled our follow-up appointment to go over the results.  The doctor started out with Mr. Bent's results where he informed him that his sperm looked more like that of a man 10 years younger.  Off to a great start.  Then he started with my results.  He threw out a bunch of numbers with little to no explanation and then informed us that our next steps were to try a high stim cycle "just to see if it worked" and then on to IVF with donor eggs.  No "I'm sorry to tell you this," no "do you have any questions," no compassion or empathy whatsoever.  Then we were shuffled out to "talk to" the IVF nurse who went through the whole process at warp speed and then gave us a one page sheet with instructions and told us that if we were going to start the process during the next cycle we would need to make the decision in full because things had to be paid in advance before anything could start.  After that we were shuffled to the finance guy who again informed us that everything would need paid in advance since our insurance didn't cover anything, gave us price sheets showing all of the costs, and information about financing (which I joked probably had a 27% interest rate and could be paid in 120 monthly installments).  We walked to the car in a daze and had made the decision that IVF was not for us before we even pulled out of the parking garage, and even with hours of research it didn't change.*  We didn't have the emotional fortitude to endure IVF, which for us, had a less than 10% chance of being successful, and we felt it was irresponsible to completely drain our savings (plus a bit) to put ourselves through something that would likely be unsuccessful.  That was in March.  We've not second guessed our decision once.

I really didn't think about IVF again until this weekend when I read two articles, one on HuffPost and the other on NPR, about egg freezing and shared risk IVF, respectively.  I also ventured into the Facebook comments on the NPR article.  I fully expected to find what I did in the comments, but I didn't expect people to so vehemently disagree with assisted reproduction and attack those who chose to go this route.  It was vicious and it made me realize why I prefer the company of my dog to that of most humans.

The HuffPost Article about Egg Sharing was a huge eye opener about something that didn't even occur to me about being an option.  I mean, I've heard of it, but only within the context of cancer patients.  The author of this article went to a informational session/cocktail party at a swanky New York City hotel.  Literally something this important and life changing was discussed over cocktails.  I'm all for a good cocktail and I'm certainly not a prude, but I think that alcohol and big decisions don't mix well.  Anyway, from the tone of the article, it seemed apparent that the informational session glossed over some really important details while simultaneously overestimating the potential for success. In short, it really seemed to me like this company did a fine job of misleading these women. I just find this deeply disturbing.  I mean, if a woman wants to freeze her eggs, by all means do it, but make sure you are educated beyond one-sided facts presented to you by a company who is far more interested in your wallet than your family building plans.

The NPR article about Sharing Risk was eye opening to me as well.  In the program discussed in this article, couples can pay a flat fee for up to six cycles of IVF, and get their money back if unsuccessful.  The premise of this program is that the couples who get pregnant the first cycle essentially subsidize those that it takes longer for.  This seems like a relatively "good deal" but I also question putting a woman through that many cycles of drugs, presumably increasing every cycle.  It just seems dangerous given that there is little to no research about the long term effects of messing with hormones in such a way.  I would also be interested in the "eligibility criteria" for this program, which, other than age, is not clearly outlined on the website.  The cynic in me figures that this program is aimed at couples who have a good chance of success anyway, thereby increasing the clinic's profits.

I guess there's really not much point to this post.  These articles really opened my eyes.  I figured out early in our experience that it was about our ability to hand over money to the clinic as opposed to building our family.  I worry that couples desperate to have babies are being taken advantage of.  I worry that success statistics are being overestimated.  I worry that couples are given misleading facts.  I worry about the long term side effects for women who have undergone IVF.**  I think that women need to be better advocates for themselves when it comes to fertility and I think that the medical community needs to do a better job of presenting accurate information when it comes to fertility.

*This was the right decision for us.  I'm a firm believer that all couples should make the right decision for them and that no couple should be judged based on whether or not or how far they decided to go down the ART path.

**I hope this paragraph didn't sound judgmental.  It wasn't intended to be.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why not me?

My best friend is pregnant.  My sister is pregnant.  My good friend, the one I taught how to use ovulation tests, brought her baby home from the hospital yesterday.  I want to be happy for them.  I know I should be happy for them.  But the truth is that I'm jealous.  And I'm mad at myself for being jealous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gut feeling, ignored

I've always had a gut feeling that I would never have biological children.  When I was a teenager (admittedly not interested in reproducing) I remember thinking one day that I was never going to be able to have children.  Crazy.  I ignored it.  The feeling popped up several times over the years and I just ignored it because I thought it was silly and I wasn't at a place in my life where babies were even on my radar.  Then I met the man who would be my husband.  We fell hard and fast for each other.  We decided early on in our relationship that we were going to get married, have babies, and live happily ever after.  I confided in him early on that I had a gut feeling that I'd never be able to get pregnant and we both agreed that it was silly.  Three years later we got engaged and four years later we got married.  Hubs wanted to start trying to conceive a couple of months before we got married.  I said no because I couldn't face writing a dissertation, interviewing for jobs, and being pregnant at the same time.  So we waited.  I finished grad school and told him I wasn't ready yet.  I landed my dream job and told him I wasn't ready yet.  We moved half way across the country and I told him I wasn't ready yet.  I was scared that my gut feeling would be right and wanted to save us from the heartache. Finally, I ran out of excuses and we started trying to have a baby.

The first six months or so was fun.  We figured that we'd just have a lot of sex and I would get pregnant.  Nope.  At about six months I started to get worried.  I started temping.  Hated it.  But kept doing it because I thought it would help.  It didn't, and I hated it.  Then I started peeing on OPKs.  They didn't get me pregnant either, and hubs HATED the pressure of being expected to perform as dictated by a peestick.  I started to get worried.  I saw the writing on the wall and started to get really worried that it wouldn't happen for us.  Hubs reassured me that it just hadn't happened yet.  Around Thanksgiving of last year my period was late.  I thought that this was maybe, just maybe it.  It wasn't.  My period came on the day that we hosted Thanksgiving for both of our families.  Fun.  Then it came again on Christmas Day and I lost it.  When we got home from being out of town, Hubs said that we should go get tested because it would make me feel better.

In January of 2014 we started the testing process.  Meeting with doctor and complete medical history.  Physical for me.  Semen Analysis for him, blood work, HSG, and ultrasound for me.  I was nervous, but excited to get answers.  We knew that that there could be several different outcomes: unexplained, something wrong with both of us, or something wrong with one of us.  His results came back in before mine and I had him call and get the actual numbers.  While I'm no RE, I do know enough to know that as soon as I looked at his numbers that we could cross something being wrong with him or something being wrong with both of us off of our list.  We scheduled an appointment the doctor on March 7th to go over everything.  The night before the appointment I had a dream that the doc told us that the only way we were going to get pregnant was to use donor eggs.  We met with the doc.  My fears were confirmed.  My gut instinct was confirmed.  We left in a daze, our world rocked.  I was broken and it wasn't easy to fix.

I'll probably write another post about the emotional parts but I wanted to get some background written down.