Thursday, May 28, 2015

Aha moment

Throughout my time in the blogosphere I've stumbled across some really meaningful posts, posts that put into words something that I was thinking or feeling or posts that said exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.  The other day I found one of these posts.  To back up a little bit, before Pamela's most recent post, Justine Brooks Froelker wasn't even on my radar.  As it turns out she has a pretty amazing blog and has also written a book (which I am very much looking forward to reading).

I'll admit to a little bit of bias here.  I'm not typically an eternal positivist, rainbows, unicorns, glitter, and all that shit sort of person.  I've never really given things like meditation and prayer much thought because frankly they seem a bit hokey and I tend to lack the focus to engage in such practices.  I don't tend to be drawn to things that are like this, and at least on the surface Justine's blog seems to be (well, maybe minus the rainbows, unicorns, and glitter part).  But I decided to give her blog a chance, and I'm glad that I did.

When I come across a new blog I tend to start at the beginning.  I usually start on the first post and read all the way to current posts.  It's my way of getting to know the blogger.  I was less than 50 posts into Justine's blog before I found a post that really resonated with me.  The post was about owning her truth.  She wrote:

What if people think that I did not want kids bad enough because I didn't do 5, 10 years of treatments?  What if people think that I did not want kids bad enough because I'm willing to admit that adoption isn't right for me? 
What if people think I didn't want to be a mom bad enough? 
Maybe to some, I have chosen to not be a mother. 
But I know my truth. 
I fought really hard to be a mother.  I paid lots of money to be a mother.  I endured painful tests and procedures to be a mother.  I put my body through synthetic hormonal hell to be a mother.  I put my faith and trust into many doctors and other humans to be a mother. 
Does accepting that the battle would never have my desired outcome mean that I chose to not be a mom?  Does redefining my life and figuring out childfree mean I chose not to be a mom?  Does accepting what is mean I chose not to be a mom? 
Maybe to some, this is my choice to not have children.  But, I know I tried to be a mom.  And, though I respect your opinion, I will not be defined by it. 
I am working every day to accept graciously that I will never be a mom in the traditional sense. 
And I know, accepting my truth doesn't mean I didn't want it. 
And I know, redefining everything doesn't mean I chose not to have kids. 
I have chosen what I can.  I have accepted what is.

I'm not going to lie, I read her words, then read them again, and then the tears came.  Why did it hit me like this?  Because it gave me permission to own my truths without shame.  Because I've always feared that I would be perceived as less than because we didn't do IVF, we didn't do anything, we applied the brakes and did a complete 180 before it even got started.  I've never been made to feel this way in this community but I have been in real life.  We've been accused of not wanting it bad enough.  We've been accused of giving up.  We've been told that we're someone's worst nightmare (this one happened in the last week).  All because we took the data that was available to us, mulled over it, and decided not to pursue treatment.

But what those people seem to not be able to understand is that we made the best possible decision for us.  Pure and simple, we went as far as we were willing to go, and we're the ones who have to live with that decision.

We chose not to do IVF.  It doesn't mean we gave up.  It doesn't mean that we didn't want kids bad enough.

We know adoption isn't right for us.  It doesn't mean that we're against adoption, it just means that it's not the right thing for us.  This doesn't mean that we didn't want to be parents.

I chose to get an IUD.  I chose my short and long term health and wellbeing over the reallyfuckingsmall chance that I would get pregnant naturally.  It doesn't mean that I didn't want to be a mother.  It doesn't mean that I didn't try really hard to be a mother.  And it doesn't mean that I gave up.  I chose me.

And if I'm your worst nightmare, that's your problem, not mine.  I'm sorry you feel this way, and trust me, I'd love to not be anyone's nightmare, but it worked out that way for us.  And it has nothing to do with not wanting it bad enough.

So those are my truths.  Now I need to work on owning them.  I don't need to justify any choices that we made to anyone.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Monday, May 25, 2015


For whatever reason kids are drawn to hubs.  All of them, from toddlers to teenagers.  He regularly plays legos, video games, dolls, cars, board games, whatever.  Heck, around Christmas my then almost four year old niece painted his nails a lovely shade of obnoxious pink with glitter and he proudly wore it for a couple of days.  He's always the guy the nieces and nephews go to if they want to read a book, help with homework, or learn something new.

On Saturday we went to one of those paint your own pottery places, where you pick a piece of unpainted pottery and different glazes, paint it however you choose, and then pick up the finished product in a week.  As we were sitting there painting a mother and her daughter (maybe 3) walked in to the shop to pick something up.  The little girl honed right in on hubs, walked up to him, and stood and watched him quietly for a minute before starting to ask him approximately 724698014932 questions about what he was painting and why he was painting it.  He patiently answered her questions as he sat there painting.  It lasted maybe five minutes before they left, but it was absolutely adorable to witness.

As I reflected on the day I realized that the experience wasn't a painful one.  I didn't at any point feel that familiar pang of "my husband would have been such a great dad and now he won't be because of me."  Instead I felt pride that my husband took a few minutes to make a little girl's day.  He would have been an amazing dad and he won't get that opportunity, but he will get many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of other people's kids, even if it's just a couple of minutes in a pottery shop.

It was a great day.  When the progress of acceptance seems slow (or maybe even stalled or going the wrong direction) it's frustrating.  Most of the week before had been rough and left me feeling pretty raw and vulnerable, but then Saturday happened and not only did it not hurt, but it left me feeling happy.  It's times like this where I know that everything will be ok.


My sister called me on Friday and asked if I would come and support her in the delivery room.  I'm the oldest and she's the youngest, at 10 years younger than I am.  She's always viewed me as more of a parental influence than as a big sister.  I told her that I wouldn't be able to, but that I'd be thinking about her and have my fingers crossed when the time came and would be waiting by the phone for news.  She didn't push or beg.  It was hard to tell her no because I've always been there for her, but I knew that's what I had to do.  I'll be there for her, just not in person.  It wouldn't have been fair to me to put myself in that situation.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The grief monster strikes again

My sister is due to have her baby any day now.  She's not actually due until early June but her doctor seems to think it's highly unlikely that she will make it to her due date.  I haven't written much about it recently because honestly I really haven't thought much about it.  Living away from your family has its advantages...  Anyway, it hit me last night that her due date was rapidly approaching and that if she follows the pattern from her other two daughters by delivering 2-3 weeks early it could be any day.

Perhaps unsurprisingly this sent me down the path where I spent most of today thinking about all the things I'll never get to experience.  Like picking out a baby's name.  Or decorating a nursery.  Or holding my child.  Or telling my husband that I'm pregnant.  Cue an ugly cry.  Next came the self-depreciating phase of the ugly cry where I cursed my broken body.  I hate that something so good and happy (for other people) can reduce me to a mess of tears.  I hate that this whole grief thing seems like three steps forward and two steps back.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

To give myself a little bit of credit, I'm actually handling this better than when I found out she was pregnant.  Or when I found out my other sister was pregnant.  Or when my niece was born in February.  So that's good.  Hopefully I my down in the dumps phase has passed and I'll be able to handle the birth relatively well.  If I don't handle it well, I don't have to go meet my newest niece until I'm ready.

When I initially found out she was pregnant and heard her due date, I had everything crossed that she didn't have the baby on hubs' birthday, our anniversary, or my birthday, all of which were very realistic possibilities.  Hubs' birthday and our anniversary have already passed and it seems unlikely that she'll make it to my birthday.  I'm so happy that we won't have to share any of our days!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why we didn't adopt, part 2

I've been debating writing about this for a couple of weeks and I finally decided to pull the plug because this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want.  Back in February I wrote about why we didn't adopt and this post is sort of a follow up to that.

Infertility makes you see the world differently.  A couple of weeks ago as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across a post from a woman who I've known for close to 25 years.  Apparently when she was young she found herself unexpectedly pregnant. was unwilling to get an abortion, and knew that she was unable to care for a baby at that point of her life.  So she made the courageous decision to place her baby boy up for adoption.  At that point in time (1981) adoptions were completely closed in the state she gave birth in so she only knew vague information about the family who adopted the baby.  Through the years she wondered about the little boy, celebrated his birthday, and was very open with her other two children born later that they had a brother that was placed for adoption, but through it all she was unwavering in her decision to place him for adoption.

I should pause here and say that I think that it takes one hell of a courageous woman to make that decision and this story is not meant to sound judgmental of her or her decisions.

Fast forward to 2015... Earlier this year the state she gave birth in changed the law so that birth parents or children could unseal adoption records as long as both parties (the birth parent and the child) agreed.  The woman I know placed her name on the registry and apparently her son did as well.  A couple of weeks ago they received each other's contact information.  They began emailing and learning about each other and I believe they have plans to meet in person sometime soon.  As it turns out he was raised as an only child by doting parents who lived less than 30 miles from where this woman lived.

I'm happy for this woman and I'm happy for her son.  I'm sure they both always wondered about the other and now they have their answers.  But I can't help but think about his parents, the parents who adopted him, cared for him, and raised him to be a fine young man.  I wonder how they feel about this.  Are they ok with it?  Supportive?  Resentful?  Or do they feel like infertility is the gift that just keeps on giving?  As for me, I think it would feel like a swift kick to the ovaries to raise a child for 34 years and then have to share him.

I don't know his parents or their feelings about this, everything I wrote is completely my hypothesis based on how I think I would feel in the situation.  Also it is my assumption that the adoptive parents battled infertility since they did not have biological children; this may be incorrect.

All of the comments on the post were very supportive and talked about how wonderful they thought it was that they were reunited.  As for me, I couldn't help but think about his parents.  I couldn't help but think about how hard it must be to support your child in his quest to find his birth parents.  I couldn't help but to think about how heartbreaking it must be for them.  Why did I immediately focus on the heartbreak of his parents when everyone else was focusing on the joy of the reunion?  Because infertility changes a person.  It changes how you see things.

I know that the climate surrounding adoption has changed a good deal since 1981 and I know that in this day and age it's unlikely that a scenario like this would happen (largely due to open adoption).  But I'd be lying if I didn't say that stories like this solidify our decision not to adopt.  I still maintain that adoption is a wonderful thing and it's a great way for a lot of families to grow, but it's also a calling and you have to be comfortable accepting that something like the story above could happen.  I know myself and my husband well enough to know that we couldn't handle our child seeking out his birth parents.  I don't think this makes us selfish, I think that it means that we are mindful of our feelings.

I wish this woman and her son all the best.  I hope they can have a meaningful relationship from this point forward.  I also wish that I could give his parents a great big hug and tell them that they did a damn fine job raising their son.  This has to be so difficult for them.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Yesterday wasn't terrible

Yesterday wasn't terrible.  Hubs fed the dog and took him out which allowed me to sleep in until 6:30.  When I got up I made myself a mimosa to drink while coffee was brewing* and made myself pancakes.  I deserve pancakes.  And a mimosa.

I went to my local big box store mainly because I was out of shampoo.  It wasn't as bad as I expected.  No one wished me Happy Mother's Day.

I called my mom to wish her a happy day.  She went on and on about how my dog was my child and wished me a happy mother's day.  I appreciate her effort to make me feel included, but with as much as I love my dog and consider him a part of my family, he's not a replacement for a child.  As luck would have it "my phone battery was dying" and I had to let her go. Tears were just below the surface so a white lie was better.  My mom doesn't really do feelings well so what I got was about as much acknowledgement that the day was hard for me as I expected to get from her.  Maybe even a little more.

Hubs made us a nice steak dinner, which would have been a bit better if there weren't some work things requiring his attention that apparently had to be taken care of as we ate.  But it's still a steak dinner so I'll refrain from (publicly) complaining (too much).  I didn't have to cook or clean up either which made it a little easier to not chastise him (that much) for texting while eating.

Otherwise I spent most of rest of the day curled up on the couch reading.  When I say curled up, I really mean that I was sprawled out on the couch in front of a fan trying to stay cool.  Because apparently we have both snow flurries and 90+ degree temperatures in a two week span where I live.

I'll admit that I was dreading it.  But it wasn't that bad.  No tears.  A little bit of sadness.  But I made it through.  We all did.  Hopefully next year will be just as uneventful.  Hugs to everyone!

*To be clear and so no one worries about me, drinking before 7am is not something I regularly do.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


We have an eight year-old nephew who just adores hubs and me (and the dog).  Yesterday I got a call from my sister, his mother.  Nephew and his class at school did a project at school where they wrote a letter to their mother and made a small gift.  She wanted to read nephew's letter to me.  It went like this:

Dear Mommy,
I love you!  I love you because you drive me to visit aunt, uncle, and dog.  I love you because you help me with my homework.  I love you because you make sure I have clean underwear.  You are the best mommy!


I'm just smitten that Nephew mentioned us in his letter to his mom for Mother's Day.  I'm thankful that my sister wanted to share it with me.  And I'm honored that we rank above clean underwear!  :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mother's Day and all that jazz

Last year I took Mother's Day really, really hard, and I didn't even leave my house.  This year I'm feeling petty chill.  In fact I'm finding all of the commercialism to be laughable.  A week of honoring mother's on Wheel of Fortune?  Check.  Mother's Day specials at the grocery store?  Check.  Morning radio shows hosting a mother/daughter look alike contest?  Check.  A huge Mother's Day display at a big box store?  Check.

My chill mood toward's the day may change.  I do reserve the right to be sad on the actual day.  Hopefully a comfy day at home with hubs, binge watching Hulu Plus, and without social media will make the day as painless as possible.  I hope that it's as painless as possible for all of us.


I stumbled across this article on Facebook.  This young woman, Emily McDowell, was diagnosed with cancer and struggled with feelings of isolation as a result of friends and family members retreating because they didn't know what to say (is it just me or does this sound familiar?).  Thankfully she is now in remission and came up with a series of empathy cards based on her experience with cancer and the things that she would have loved to hear from her family and friends when she was deep in the battle.  I love these messages.  Most are applicable to infertility (or any number of other things).  You can see her full line here.


Hubs started a new job this week.  I'm proud of him.  A career change at 38 isn't easy.  It's completely different than anything he's ever done before.  He seems to like it a lot and I'm really proud of him.  He deserves this.

He worked a really crappy job that he hated while I was in grad school.  When I finished grad school, accepted my current position, and we moved to a different state the plan was to kick up the baby making efforts a couple of notches (we'd been "trying" for a while at that point).  With my new position came a substantial salary increase enabling us to live on just my salary.  So the plan was that he'd take a few months off, we'd have a baby, and he'd be a stay at home parent while I worked.  You know how that worked out.

He applied to this job because it looked interesting and 10 days later he started.  Apparently in one of the interviews they asked about the gap on his resume, a fair question.  He told them that we'd struggled with infertility, that it didn't work out, and that he was excited to reenter the workforce.  Short, sweet, to the point, and completely true without revealing anything he wasn't comfortable sharing.  I don't know if I could have been that brave, or at least I don't know if I could have said that and maintained my composure.


The problem with sleeping pills is that I sleep really great when I take it.  But the kind I'm on can't be taken for more than 7 consecutive days.  The so called rebound insomnia is pretty brutal.  But at least I'm sleeping well some of the time now!

Monday, May 4, 2015

April reading

One of 2015 goals was to read at least two (non work related) books per month.  You can find my a brief description of what I've read to this point here, here, and here.  This month was a bit slow on the reading front because life (ok, work) took over my free time a bit.  Anyway, this month I read one book and then read a second on May 1, but I'm going to count it for April since it was almost April...

This month I read:

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm just drawn to historical fiction, particularly from the World War 1 and 2 eras.  This is no exception, with the bulk of this book taking place in occupied France in WWII with a small bit in Germany.  I really liked this book.  It was a fairly fast read because the story was just so engaging that I had to keep reading until I finished the book.  It was written in such a way that I felt like I was there.  I was so invested in the characters, the story, the place.  It's definitely worthy of the 4.6 stars from over 11,000 readers on Amazon.

My kinda sorta cheated a little bit to count it as an April book read was:

Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos.  It's a short book, a one sitting read (I read it in around an hour), but I think this was by design.  It was a great book, an excellent balance of staying true to the facts while maintaining readability for those without a degree in science or medicine.   I love it when a book makes me think!  The impeccable writing we've all come to expect from Pamela was on full display. She examines many aspects of the fertility industry that people either just don't think about or don't want to think about while weaving in updates on her post active grieving life.  It's a good book.  It's a needed book.  Find a spare hour or two.  Read it.  You will be glad you did!  Better yet if you know someone who is struggling with infertility or who is starting down the ART path, gift this book to them.

I think my book total for the year stands at 9.75.  Pretty darn good for me! :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Still in the trenches (but I'll see the sunlight eventually)

This week has been tough.  Really tough.  I don't know why.  Nothing has happened to upset me.... I just feel like the pain, the grief, threatened to crush me this week.  I've kind of shut myself off from the world and buried myself in my work.  I'm forcing myself out of the funk because I know it's not good to dwell in the dark place for too long.

Feeling down, I logged on to Blogger yesterday and read Mali's latest post, A snapshot in time.  It told me exactly what I needed to hear in that moment, that things will get better.  I know I receive this reminder regularly from multiple different people, but I guess I still need it.  Like riding a bike with the support of training wheels.  Eventually I won't need the training wheels anymore.  But right now I do, and that's ok.  It's no secret that I'm in the trenches right now and dark periods are normal and to be expected.  I even experience a vacation from the trenches every so often where I can bask in the sun, but not all the time.  Not yet anyway.  Things will get better and someday I'll be able to climb out of the trenches and into the sunlight all the time.  Thanks for being a M.o.M., Mali!


I had my IUD follow-up appointment earlier this week.  She was a little concerned that I'm still bleeding (which is longer than she usually sees but still not outside of the manufacturer's published range of possibility) and apparently what I consider light bleeding isn't actually light (for normal people) after all.  Anyway I'm now the proud owner of a progesterone prescription that will hopefully make it stop.  Let's all keep our fingers crossed that a) it stops, b) I don't gain a million pounds, and c) that I don't lose my libido.  The plan is to address the bleeding first and then deal with the hot flashes once that's under control.

I was also prescribed a sleeping pill.  It was hard for me to admit that I needed something to help me sleep, but I do.  I've taken the pill for three nights now and I feel rested and have a mental clarity that doesn't often visit me.


I downloaded Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos this morning (available for purchase on your Kindle or Kindle app here) and plan to read it tonight!  I have 23 final papers to grade standing in between me and the book (and a big glass of wine) so naturally I'm writing a blog post instead of grading those.  :)