Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Reading

One of my goals for 2015 was to read at least two books (for pleasure) a month.  In an effort to remain accountable and track my progress towards this goal, I'm going to list and describe my thoughts on each book that I read at the end of each month and try really hard to not give any spoilers.

Drumroll please....

Here are the books I read in January in the order that I read them:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.  It was good, don't get me wrong, it just left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.  It has a predictable story line, the plot is simple, and the characters are unrealistic.  It seems like it would be better suited for the teen genre (al la Twilight and Divergent) as opposed to adult fiction.  If you're looking for a quick, easy read this may be a good choice, but if you're looking for complex character development or a plot with twists and turns, you should probably skip it.  Overall I'm glad that I read it but I'm also glad that my sister left it at my house and that I didn't have to buy it.

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes.  I initially picked this book out because Klara recommended a different book by this author that my library didn't have so I "settled" for this book.  I am a huge history buff, particularly World War I and World War II, so when I saw that this book partly took place in occupied France during WWI I (the other half being modern day) was immediately drawn to it, and I wasn't disappointed.  I found the plot to be very rich and not  predictable and the characters to be very complex and I really felt like I got to know them.  The story transitions from from 1916 to modern day with ease.  I think the richness of the book was increased for me because I already knew a fair amount about WWI and retrieving stolen artwork in modern day, but I don't think this knowledge is a prerequisite for enjoying the book.  If you're looking for a book to take you to a different time, you enjoy historical fiction, and you're not looking for a particularly easy read, this is a great choice!

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  This book takes place in the WWII era in the United States. (I told you I was a history buff!)  It is set in Seattle after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor when Japanese Americans were rounded up and placed in internment camps by order of the president.  This is an ugly part of American history that many know nothing about and/or they are very keen to forget.  Anyway, the story has a very believable plot that is easy to follow and I like the characters.  My one critique is that much of the book involves the main character flashing back to his childhood and  the character's voice is the same when he is 12 and 56.  Overall this was a pretty easy and quick read with an engaging story line and likable characters.  If you don't know much about Japanese internment camps and you don't want ton read history books, this work of fiction will give you a fairly accurate picture of the camps.  This TED Talk given by George Takei (of Star Wars fame) also talks about internment camps.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.  This is the Moyes book that Klara recommended to me.  I believe that her description of the book was something along the lines of "it's a book that will stick with you." and I concur with this statement.  I'm not sure that a work of fiction has ever provided such an intellectual challenge for me and enabled me to see a complex issue from a first person perspective.  I really wasn't prepared for a book to make me feel on the level that this book did.  At it's very core this book is a romance novel that brings together two unlikely people, but it's not the traditional sappy, over the top romance novel and the end isn't what you inevitably will hope it will be.  Amazing plot.  Complex characters.  The works.  I can't write much more about the book without giving away spoilers so I won't.  But I will say that if you haven't already read this book, obtain a copy, pour a big glass of wine, grab a box of tissues, and read it already!

So that's my tally for January!  Off to a good start, I think.  :)

Friday, January 30, 2015


I had the most amazing dream last night.  Hubs and I had a daughter.  She looked to be around three years old.  She was tall and thin with blonde hair and blue eyes.  I knew that she was our daughter.  She had hubs' eyes and thin build and my facial features and height.  She had my energy and zest for life but she was gentle and had a really high attention to detail like hubs.  Hubs and our daughter were assembling a Star Wars lego set.  Her name was Sylvia.  We were happy.  It felt so real.

I woke up in the greatest mood.  Then I realized that it wasn't real.  I don't mean to sound overly dramatic but it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.  Of course I couldn't go back to sleep because every time I closed my eyes I saw her.  It wasn't my life.

This has been one of the roughest weeks I've had in quite a while.  I just want to wave the white flag and go into hibernation for a while.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Things I'm trying not to think about (and not succeeding at it)

I haven't talked to my sister (or my mom or other two sisters who were all present) since the birthday party debacle.  I don't know that I want to talk to them about this particular thing.  My feelings are still hurt.  Hubs and I aren't really that open about the whole not having children thing with our family (particularly mine because they don't seem to understand confidentiality) so I don't think that not inviting us was to protect us, I think my sister just forgot.  I had an ugly cry about it on Saturday night and now I'm trying not to think about it.

As it gets closer to February and pregnant sister 1's due date I'm feeling sad.  Not sad for her, I'm glad for her that she was able to get pregnant when she wanted to and that she's getting the little girl that she wanted, but I'm really sad for me.  I know that I don't need to describe why I'm feeling sad because I know you all get it.  I guess that feeling ambivalent didn't last for long.  And I get to go through all of this again in June.  Yay.  Just another thing (or two things, I guess) that I'm trying not to think about.

I'm also trying to forget a conversation that I had with my mom last week regarding pregnant sister 1's texts to me complaining about being pregnant and me (kindly but firmly) informing her that I wasn't the best person to send these types of messages to.  She told me that I hurt my sister's feelings (ok, I can see that), that I "needed to grow up and quit being selfish," and that I should call my sister to apologize.  It's really nice to have my own feelings acknowledged (sarcasm intended).

We're rapidly approaching the one-year mark of receiving an infertility diagnosis and realizing that treatment options that were available to us weren't likely to succeed.  Trying not to think about this either.

To end on a positive note, I've read four books in January and have started a fifth that I might finish before the end of the month.  I'll write a post at the end of the month with all of the titles so I can keep track of everything.  Another positive is that I was engaged in a work-related conversation about maternal age and Autism risk and not one of the three people involved in the conversation inquired about my reproductive status.  That was nice.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Not invited

I'm used to not being invited to things.  It's a shitty side effect of not having kids.  Most of the time it doesn't hurt my feelings.

My niece's fourth birthday is next week.  Apparently she had a birthday party today.  I found out about it when I saw party pictures on Facebook.  We weren't invited.

I don't even know what to think.  We have a present for her and everything.  Unfortunate oversight or not, my feelings are really hurt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wednesday miscellany

  • This morning I woke up around 4:45am.  Which was actually sleeping in a bit compared to yesterday.  Waking up between 4-5am has become somewhat of a trend for me over the last two months or so to the extent that I no longer bother trying to fall back to sleep.
  • I usually try to avoid the rabbit hole that is "how my life would be different if I had kids" but today, for some reason, I can't avoid it.
  • One of my goals for 2015 was to read at least two books every month.  I've already read two for January!  I might get a third in before the month is over too!
  • I was an hour late to work today (technically I set my own schedule so I wasn't really late, just later than I wanted to be) because apparently it was supposed to snow this morning.  And rain, and freezing rain.  From about 5-9am.  Also, apparently the state department of transportation felt the need to close one lane of a major bridge during rush hour.  So my 15 mile drive was a blazingly fast 90 minutes.  Not a productive use of my time, that's for sure.
  • I was supposed to have my annual GYN appointment yesterday afternoon.  But then a meeting that I couldn't get out of was scheduled so I had to reschedule the appointment.  They rescheduled for the beginning of February, which chances are decent that I will have to reschedule again.  I should mention that scheduling an appointment of this nature amounts to a crapshoot for me with somewhat unpredictable cycles and extended periods of spotting.  The scheduling lady was not amused when I told her to just schedule the next available appointment and I would cancel it if I needed to.  Oh well.
  • Pregnant sister 1 is due in a month.  Her baby shower is in two weeks.  I'm not going, even if I have to fake being sick. Childish?  Maybe.  Probably.  Do I care?  Not one bit.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

An interesting conversation

Hubs and I planned a date day yesterday.  We decided to go to the really awesome Natural History museum that is close to our house and then out to a late lunch.  When we got to the Natural History museum and it was overrun by families with young kids.  We really didn't feel like dealing with that so we changed plans and went to the art museum instead (they are right beside each other and we hold a membership that grants admission to both).  We had a great time wandering around the museum together.  On the way out hubs needed to use the restroom and I didn't so I sat down on a comfy couch in a little alcove and started leafing through a book.  Not 30 seconds later a woman with a baby walked in, sat down on the couch, and started breastfeeding.  Here is what followed:

Me: (closes book, places it on the table, and gets up to walk out of the alcove without saying a word or even looking at the lady)

Breastfeeding Lady: I'm allowed to feed my child wherever I want to!

Me: (pauses and then takes another step)

BFL: You heard me!

Me: (at this point I was pissed, I turned around to face her) I am well aware that you can feed your child wherever you want to.  It is my right to not have to see something that I don't want to see too.  That's why I got up and tried to walk away.

BFL: Breastfeeding is the most natural thing between a mother and a child!

Me: (I'm so pissed that I'm about to have a stroke)  So you think that just because you were lucky enough to have your reproductive system function correctly that you can call a random stranger out in a public place for doing absolutely nothing wrong while simultaneously flaunting your reproductive capabilities?

BFL: (stunned and speechless)

Me: (on a roll) For your information I can't have children and seeing you breastfeed your child is a very visceral reminder of what I'll never get to experience.  So I could care less that you are feeding your child but I don't want to see it because it hurts me.  I tried to remove myself from the situation but you felt the need to call me out.  Let this be a lesson to you that things aren't always as they appear.  Maybe in the future you could try being a decent human being and not assume that everyone is out to get you.

Thankfully hubs walked out of the restroom and saved me from going batshit crazy on this lady and making a scene.  This whole interaction took maybe 30 seconds but it was 30 of the most uncomfortable seconds that I've experienced in quite a while.  I probably should have just walked away but it did feel pretty good to stand up for myself!  I've come a long way in the past few months. Four or five months ago this probably would have reduced me to a puddle of tears.

Oh, and we went on to have a great rest of our date day.  I didn't let that stupid lady get me down!

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I'm feeling a little bit ambivalent about life right now.  The searing grief doesn't affect me that often anymore.  I don't feel like I'm walking around under a black cloud all the time anymore.  This is a development over probably the last month.  Lately I haven't felt bitter or angry or overly emotional very often.  It's always there, just under the surface and can come out at any time (sometimes when I don't expect it), but it doesn't consume me, if that makes sense.  How I feel is weird to me, however.  It's a general ambivalence about life.  I'm not really sad or mad or bitter  all the time but I'm not really happy either.  It's like I'm in a suspended state of just trying to carry on with my life.  Considering the alternative is being an emotional wreck all the time, I think this is an improvement.  I'm still mourning the loss of what never was and I think I will be for a long time (maybe even forever), but I'm starting to see glimpses of the me that infertility stole.  I like that me.

I think this is normal.  I think it is part of the healing process.  I think I am in a better place today then I was in a month ago, or six months ago, or definitely a year ago.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Insensitive things that people say

"Trust me....trying for the second child is so much harder!"

This woman knows about my infertility.  I thought she was a friend.

I have never wanted to punch someone in the throat as much as I did in that moment.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Catch up

In my last post I wrote about an email interaction with a couple of colleagues that crossed into uncomfortable territory for me when talk of pregnancy was mentioned.  The next day the colleague stopped by my office to bum some coffee and we got to talking about, of all things, birth control.  To give a little bit of context our employer sponsored healthcare plan does not cover contraception.  She asked me what kind of birth control I was on and I told her "broken ovaries."  She quickly connected the dots and began to apologize profusely.  It lead to a very meaningful but not invasive conversation about infertility.  I wish more people could be like her.

Pregnant sister 1 continues to be challenging and oblivious.  Thankfully pregnancy lasts for a finite amount of time and, at most, I have six more weeks of this.  I know she's due in February but I don't know and don't care to know her actual due date.

One of my goals for 2015 was to read two books a month.  I'm pleased to say that I'm almost half way through my second book for January.  I read A Fault in Our Stars by John Green per Klara's recommendation.  Right now I'm reading The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes.  Klara also recommended Moyes.  I'm terrible about writing book reviews but I may do that at some point.  Probably not for the Green book because it's popular and was made into a movie, but maybe for the Moyes book.

We had friends over last night for game night.  They're a few years younger but they don't have kids, so that is nice.  Even though (to my knowledge) they haven't even started trying, it was really nice to have adult conversation that didn't center around offspring.

If you haven't already done so, please go and read Mali's most recent post.  I needed those words. I bookmarked this post to go back to when I need to be reminded that it does get better, and I'm sure I will need the reminder frequently.

Otherwise, that's about it.  Work is busy, but it's always busy in January.  It will calm down significantly in a week or two.  For me busy is good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I think the universe hates me

I think that the universe is intent on reminding me that I will never have children and rubbing my nose in it.  This is my life today:

Pregnant sister 1 texted me a video of the baby kicking (I think, but I deleted it rather than watch it so I could be wrong).

Pregnant sister 2 called me to tell me that they found out they were having a girl this morning.  Yay.

Our 2015 membership card came for our local natural history/art/science museums came in today's mail.  We signed up and paid for the dual membership (two adults in the same household) again this year but our new membership card indicates two adults and four children.  This sort of makes me want to cancel our membership.

I'm working on a project with three colleagues (all female, all have at least one child).  This project has the potential to be really cool and also result in a conference presentation next fall in Florida.  We've decided that if our proposal is accepted that we're going to rent a beach house and that it will be a no husbands/no kids trip.  In an email exchange one of my colleagues said to the group "everybody needs to make sure that they're not pregnant for this trip so we can have plenty of cocktails on the beach!"  Which was followed by another colleague lamenting that this is when they were planning #2.  Which was followed by the third colleague stating that she and her husband are done and suggesting that I plan a spring 2016 baby.  I didn't even bother to respond.

Finally, as what will hopefully be the final reminder of my barrenness today, I started my period this morning.  I suppose it's preferable to another day of spotting.

The universe gets a two middle finger salute from me today!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New year=blank slate

Hubs and I always have a very low-key New Year's Eve celebration.  We lit a fire, ordered a pizza, and watched Football (American variety) on TV.  Hubs' cold is still hanging on and making him miserable so he went to bed early and I stayed up for a bit.  I sat in front of the fire and tried to read but couldn't focus so I watched the fire burn in the hope that it would relax me enough to actually sleep.  Instead it made me think about the year that 2014 was.  All of a sudden I started to cry.  Not an angry cry.  Or a bitter cry.  It wasn't a breakdown.  It wasn't an ugly cry.  It was a sad cry.  Of all of the cries I've had so far this one was unique.  I wasn't blaming myself or my broken body.  I wasn't feeling inadequate.  Or jealous.  I wasn't guilt-ridden.  I was just sad.  We lost a dream in 2014.  A big dream.  We never thought we'd end up without a child or two or maybe even three. But here we are.  We are grieving the loss of what never was.

Sometimes I feel like a fraud because we didn't pursue all options.  We said no to IVF.  We said no to donor eggs.  It wasn't right for us.  There was a low chance of success.  I knew in my heart that it wouldn't work.  I couldn't handle the heartbreak.  But I feel like a fraud, like we didn't do as much as we could have or should have.  It was the right decision for us.  We haven't regretted it once.  But we also have to live with the consequences of the decision.  I don't want to be judged for not trying harder.  We did what was best for us.

I'm still reeling a bit from last night.  The wave of emotions that I experienced caught me by surprise. To this point the majority of my emotions have been around the themes of anger, bitterness, self-blame or guilt, and this was none of those.  I don't know how long I cried but I did feel somewhat renewed when I was all cried out.  I'm still thinking about everything 24 hours later.

2015 is going to be a year of change.  A blank slate of sorts.  A year of redefining what we want our life to look like.  I am so much stronger than I thought I was, even though I feel incredibly weak right now.   I can do this.  Being nice to me is a start.  None of this is my fault.  Biology failed me.  This isn't my fault.  It sucks but nothing I have done or that has happened to me caused this.  My relationship with hubs is as strong as it's ever been.  We can do this.  Together.  Maybe if I write all of this enough I'll actually believe it.