Saturday, October 31, 2015

Because I can laugh at myself

Earlier today I needed to go out to get supplies for trick-or-treat.  To be clear, by "supplies" I mean wine.  I would prefer to just keep the light off, draw the blinds, and be antisocial, but hubs insists we have to pass out candy, so if I have to do it, I prefer to not be completely sober.

Anyway I made it to the liquor store and got a couple of bottles of wine (note: I do not plan to consume all of the wine tonight) and headed for home.  Except the road home was closed.  I should pause to mention here that I have no sense of direction.  None.  Like I couldn't find my way out of a box with a flashlight.  I should also mention that where I live is a notoriously difficult place to navigate because of challenging geography (rivers and mountains) and is not on a grid pattern as a result.  For a normal person this would be an inconvenience.  For me this is always a cause for concern.  My default strategy is to follow the car in front of me.  Which I realize is completely illogical and highly unlikely to work.  At least it was daylight.

So I'm driving along without a clue in the worlds where I was.  No place to pull off and get directions on my phone.  I may have also been somewhat distracted by the beauty of the western Pennsylvania fall foliage.  I tried to call my husband to have him figure out where I was and how to get home, but he didn't answer (he's the sort of guy who can find his way out of a jungle with a compass and a knife).  After driving for about 25 minutes (lost for probably 20 of that) I came upon a church, where I was able to pull off and get directions on my phone and take of my sweatshirt.  Because hot flashes are apparently aggravated by stress.

Having directions was a good thing, except the GPS on my phone told me to go east on whatever road.  At which point I was like "goddamnit Siri, left, right, or straight.  I don't know east."  Naturally I turned the wrong way and had to make an illegal U turn to right myself.  Thankfully there were no cops nearby.  Long story short what should have been a 10 minute drive took an hour, but I made it home.  With wine.  Finally.

I walked in the door and hubs remarked "took you long enough!" to which I replied "had you answered your damn phone you'd know why."  For curiosity's sake he tried to figure out where my unplanned detour took me.  Apparently landmarks such as "trees" and a "twisty curvy road" are not sufficient descriptors for him to figure out where I was.  He also tried to show me a map and have me trace my route.  This attempt was laughable.  Oh, and he informed me that the car has a compass in the rear view mirror which may have helped with the whole "go east" directive....

This isn't the first time I've been lost.  This isn't the most lost that I've ever been.  And I'm sure this won't be the last time I get lost.  This is just who I am as a person.  I have accepted my lack of direction as a piece of me and know that it's never going to change.  But I don't take myself too seriously and am having a good laugh about my scenic trip home.  I hope you can too!

Oh, and trick-or-treat went well.  I had a few moments of longing for a life that will never be mine, but for the most part it was ok.  Merlot helped.  Most importantly it's over for another year

Monday, October 26, 2015

A higher standard?

When you go through infertility it seems like there is something at every turn that causes pain.  You seek out support of those in similar situations.  These are the people who know the pain of an unexpected pregnancy announcement.  These friends know how a scan pic can ruin a day.  Newborn pictures.  Complaints about pregnancy.  These things and so much more can take you from ok to a an ugly cry in a millisecond.

Yet it seems, at least in my experience, that these very people, friends who know the pain of infertility, seem to forget it all the moment they get a positive pregnancy test.

Announcing a pregnancy on April Fool's Day.

Using a scan picture as a profile picture.

Posting weekly "bump" pictures on Facebook.

Complaining about the gifts that people buy them because the gift isn't exactly what they want.

I could go on and on and on.

All by people who know the heartache of infertility.  All people who just months or a year ago openly complained about these very things.  Yet now that they are pregnant they do the very same things that once caused them so much pain and heartache.

I guess that I hold friends who went through infertility and later ended up pregnant or wound up with their take home baby to a higher standard.  Normal people don't bother me (as much).  They don't know what it's like to see the months turn into a year and then into years.  They don't know what it's like to try every old wives tale to try to get pregnant.  They don't know what it's like to see a fertility specialist and all of the impossible choices that this brings.  They have sex, they get pregnant.  I can excuse them.  But not my friends who battled infertility and eventually got what we all wanted so badly.  They should know better.

Is it right that I hold them to a higher standard?  I don't know.  Probably not.  But I do, and I don't think that it's going to change anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rolling with the punches

Today I talked to my sister (the pregnant one) on the phone.  She asked for advice regarding a potential career move and I gave it to her.  I asked how she was and if everything was ok with the baby (everything is fine with both).  Then she mentioned that she'd asked our mom to come to her next appointment with her.  It hit me that I'll never get the chance to ask my mom to come to a doctor's appointment with me.  I wouldn't have asked her, not in a million years, but that's not the point.  The point is that infertility stole that choice from me.

Luckily I had a really busy day today and couldn't dwell on it and didn't even have time to cry (though I really wanted to in the moment) and by the time the day calmed down the feelings weren't quite as intense and the urge to cry had passed.  I'm obviously still thinking about it though.

Later I ended up going out to dinner with some extended family who came into town tonight to catch an early flight in the morning.  Hubs was supposed to go to but he was feeling a bit under the weather and decided to stay home.  I honestly wasn't looking forward to it because I knew that my sister and her husband told them about the baby a couple of weeks ago and they are super excited (as they should be) and I expected a good deal of the conversation to revolve around my sister and then turn to my uterus (as it does almost every time I see them).  As it turned out, once they saw I wasn't wearing my wedding/engagement ring combined with the fact that my husband wasn't with me, they were much more concerned about my marriage than my uterus.  I quickly explained that I had my rings inspected over the weekend and left them to be rhodium plated and they won't be back until the end of the month.  So it turned out that not wearing my rings was a good thing.  Or at least it diverted attention from my (useless) reproductive parts.

The doctor's appointment thing caught me completely off guard but I rebounded relatively well and the dinner wasn't as challenging as I expected it to be and I had myself all worked up for nothing.  Today was hard but I tried not to dwell on the hard stuff.

I don't think that time will ever heal all of the scars that infertility has left on my heart, but it does get a little bit easier to roll with the punches with each day that passes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Reflections on a rough week

I've had a rough week.  Actually probably closer to two weeks.  Grief and resentment have been right below the surface.  I wrote about what I called ugly feelings in my last post.  It was a post that I was honestly unsure if I even wanted to publish, but this community assured me (once again) that what I'm feeling is normal and ok.  Thankfully I'm starting to pull out of it because these phases suck.

Right now I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Normally this is the type of book that I'd steer away from (memoirs, particularly about spiritual journeys, aren't one of my preferred genres), but I picked it up because I stumbled across the author's podcast that she did to correspond with the release of her latest book and liked it a lot.  Plus it was on the clearance rack at the thrift store so I figured that even if I didn't like it, I was only out $1.  If you're not familiar with the book (or movie by the same title), after a nasty divorce and breakdown, the author goes on a quest to discover pleasure, devotion, and balance by traveling to Italy, India, and Bali for a year. Anyway, this book appealed to me because I'm currently feeling restless with life and feel like I want to do something new and big.  But I don't know what.  I'm only about half way through the book but I already have so many take aways.  Mainly to be nice to myself.  And that whatever I feel is ok.  And to be true to myself.  These are reminders that I need (continuously, it seems).

I know that I'm not the only one who feels the itch to do something big because Another Forty recently wrote a post on the same topic.  Mali also wrote a poignant post about what she called "The Next Big Thing" pointing out that it doesn't need to be something that is earth shattering.

The quote above is my life.  Well, the glorious mess part, not necessarily the embrace part.  But I'm working on it.  I actually swiped this picture from one of Liz Gilbert's Facebook posts (if you don't "like" her page, you should!).  She started the post by sharing that she had been "cheerfully fucking things up for the last 24 hours," something I could definitely relate to.  She then went on to point out that "....I am loved and I am worthy, and you are loved and you are worthy" which is a reminder that I desperately needed.

Moving to Italy (or India, or Bali) isn't an option for me like it was for Liz Gilbert (unless someone wants to volunteer to foot the bill, in which case I'd gladly accept), at least not right now, but I can take care of myself.  I can honor myself, my feelings, and my grief.  Right now I think this needs to be my next big thing.


My pregnant sister announced her pregnancy on Facebook the other day with a cute little "our little pumpkin is due....blah blah blah" picture.  It took me by surprise because she previously said she wasn't going to announce it on Facebook.  No big deal, I can hide it so I don't have to see it.  But what I couldn't hide was people tagging me and asking what my reproductive plans were.  Since it was a completely inappropriate venue to go on a batshit crazy rant I just ignored the comments.  But they hurt.  By the time this baby is born I will have had at least one sister pregnant for 22 consecutive, and three babies born in slightly over one calendar year.  Frankly, I can't wait for it to be over.  Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that my sister that gave birth in June manages to not get pregnant before her tubal scheduled for early December (not getting pregnant has proven to be quite difficult for her).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Some of the ugly feelings resurface

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I think it's absolutely wonderful that this topic is being discussed.  For so long things like miscarriage and pregnancy loss have been hush hush and taboo to talk about for far too long.  Everybody has either lost a pregnancy or infant or knows someone who has, yet no one talks about it.

The truth is that I'm having a hard time with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  A really hard time.  Because it makes me feel like we didn't lose anything.  I was never pregnant.  We chose not to do IVF so we didn't lose any embryos.  We lost nothing.  At least by the conventional definition we didn't.

Yet it feels like we did.

And I know that we did.

Don't get me wrong, the thought of losing a pregnancy or an infant is more than I can bear, and knowing that people actually go through this breaks my heart.  Which is why writing about this, making Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Loss month about me feels so wrong.  I didn't want to write this post, but I couldn't not write it.  Denying my feelings (no matter how ugly they are) isn't helpful or productive.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

September reading and a few odds and ends

One of my 2015 goals was to read two (non work related) books per month and write about them on my blog.  Publicly stating my goal has made me push harder to achieve it.  I'm reading more than I have in years!  You can read about January-August here.

This month I only read one book.  Life got in the way of reading, I guess.  This month I read:

Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
This book was in the thriller genre.  Apparently it's part of a series, but I didn't realize that until I pulled it up on Amazon to share the link here.  So needless to say you could read this book independent of the rest and not feel like you're missing part of the plot.  Speaking of the plot, it was a bit outlandish, but I liked it, even if it did drag at points (100 pages and one whole character could have been cut out of this book without losing anything).  I liked the writing style and if I didn't know there were two authors I wouldn't have guessed.  This book was just ok.  I'm glad I decided not to return it to the library before I finished it, because that did cross my mind.

So if my math is correct, this puts me at 19.75 books for the year.  I'm hopeful that I can hit 24 and my two per month average.  :)


We went to a joint birthday party for my husband's niece and nephew yesterday.  At one point all of the women at the party were congregated in the kitchen area.  Every single woman there was a mother or grandmother except me.  And they were talking about all of the things that mothers and grandmothers talk about.  So in a house full of people I felt lonely and invisible because I didn't have anything to contribute (and I didn't really care to listen).


I recently bought this pillow after about a week of waking up with a really sore neck that eventually spread to my back, shoulders, etc.  It's amazing!  First, it really supports my head and neck without feeling like my head is sinking into the pillow and my neck pain is gone.  Second, it is so cool, unlike previous memory foam pillows that I've had, which made me so hot (and this was before hot flashes/night sweats).  I spent more money on this pillow then I normally would spend on a pillow, but I can already say that it was worth every penny!  Dare I say, I'm even sleeping a bit better.


I went shopping at a big box store today because we needed some things that aren't in the regular grocery and they had Christmas displays out.  It's not even Halloween yet, damn it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A subtle sign of progress

I had one of those "I've come a long way" moments today.....

Every year my work has several flu shot clinics and I always get one because a) I've had the flu and it's miserable, b) the shots are free, c) I don't have time to be sick, and d) I work with college kids who are pretty much germ cesspools.

Anyway, I was filling out the paperwork and got to the "could you be pregnant" line where I could, for the first time in years, confidently check the "no" box knowing that there was no chance that I am pregnant, not even a little one.  And you know what?  I was ok.  In fact I was a bit relieved that I didn't need to have the awkward conversation with a nursing student that I might be pregnant but I probably wasn't.  A year ago it took everything I had to not burst into tears over this stupid question.

I've felt like I haven't been making much progress on my grief lately, like my wheels have been spinning.  I've been feeling restless with life.  But this was a sign of progress, subtle as it was, and I feel good about it.