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!