Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving weekend recap

Bullet points seem appropriate for this post, so here goes:
  • My mom came to my house for a visit from Wednesday-Friday and then went back to her house with hubs and me on Friday evening.  It was a nice visit, but I'm glad to have my house to myself again.
  • At no point did my mom bring up IVF and only briefly brought up adoption before I shut her down on that topic.  Maybe she'll finally get the message that those two topics are off limits?
  • My mom and I went Black Friday shopping.  For the most part it was fun.  We scored some pretty good deals!
  • I used to think that the exclusive club of parenthood was the most annoying thing ever.  Now I wonder if the exclusive club of grandparenthood is worse.  Or at least equal.  More than once, while shopping, I had to endure my mom striking up a conversation with a fellow grandma (can I coin the term "granzilla" here?).  It was so absurd that it didn't even bother me.  Or, more accurately, it did bother me, but I didn't let it hurt me.
  • I am happy to report that Thanksgiving dinner wasn't a debacle.  Around 40-45 people ended up coming.  There was plenty of food for everyone and it was excellent.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.
  • I cooked probably 75% of the food.  From scratch. With little help.  
  • I was overly optimistic in thinking that I could get through this family event without consuming alcohol (my family aren't big drinkers and you aren't supposed to bring alcohol to the facility that my mom rented).
  • Thankfully, unlike the state that I live in, you can purchase alcohol pretty much anywhere in the state that I grew up in.  Like gas stations.  Conveniently, there was a gas station next door.  This particular gas station also sold corkscrews.  Which was a good thing since I was smuggling alcohol into an alcohol free facility and took the liberty of assuming that there would be no corkscrew in the facility's kitchen.
  • The selection of wine at gas stations is as bad as you might imagine.  Still preferable to no wine at all.
  • Being seen drinking a glass of wine is an effective deterrent that seems to head off family planning questions.
  • It wasn't terrible.  I'm glad it's over.  I'm thankful we don't have to do it again until next year! 
In all seriousness I have so much to be thankful for.   I wrote a list of things that I was thankful for  last year and those things still hold true in 2015.  But for this year, I'd also like to add that I'm thankful for all of the friends that I've made through blogging.  Honestly I never thought anyone would read my blog or that I would stick with it for this long.  But I'm glad that people read my ramblings.  Blogging is kind of like therapy for me.  I'm also thankful for hubs' job situation and that he was brave enough to leave the field he's always worked in to pursue another opportunity.  If we had kids there is no way that he could have done a complete career switch without commuting financial suicide, and I am so proud of him for taking the plunge.  My life isn't perfect, but I do have a lot to be thankful for, and it's good for me to sit down every once in a while to take stock of all of the good in my life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Baby shower drama

A few weeks ago I was in between work meetings I decided to hit the Taco Bell drive thru for a quick lunch.  A win win, I thought because it's cheap, sounded good, and hubs doesn't really like Taco Bell so if I want it I pretty much have to go on my own.  Anyway, as I was sitting in the drive thru waiting for my turn to order and my phone rings.  It was my pregnant sister.  I'd been avoiding her calls since she called to wine about her baby shower planning party, but I decided to pick up because the drive thru was taking forever and I knew that it would be a good excuse to get off of the phone with her.

Within the first 30 seconds I regretted picking up the phone.  She started out by asking me what my weekends in January look like.  I immediately knew that she was trying to firm up a date for her baby shower.  Playing dumb, I made a comment about how January is always tricky (weather wise) to plan trips, and asked why she was asking.  She replied that she was trying to schedule her baby shower and wanted to schedule it around my schedule since I'd be coming from out of state.  I thanked her for taking my schedule into consideration but that she didn't need to because I wasn't going to be able to come.

Cue the tears.  She thought I'd change my mind.  She really wants me there.  I'm her big sister.  It won't be the same without me.  It's important to her that I come.  It's just one afternoon.  She thought I'd change my mind.

This is the sister that dealt with infertility and required fertility treatments to get pregnant.  Providing more evidence, at least in my mind, that sometimes people forget the struggle to get pregnant as soon as they are pregnant. 

I started crying too.  Sticking to my guns I apologized, and assured her that it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with me.  That I couldn't come because it would be far too hard for me and that it was just something that I needed to do to take care of myself.

Mercifully the line moved and I was next to get my food so I was able to get off of the phone, though I'm sure the drive thru employee thought I looked like a hot mess.  As did the people who stared at me as I sat in the parking lot and sobbed as I ate my burrito.

I get that it's important to her that I come to her baby shower.  I really do.  I mean, nobody envisions a baby shower without their big sister present.  Heck, a few years ago, I never planned to be the big sister that missed out on the important life events of my sisters.  But infertility changes a person, and in this case, not for the better. 

A few days later I was on the phone with my mom.  She mentioned that she'd talked to my sister and that my sister said that I wasn't coming to the baby shower.  I had also previously told my mom that I wouldn't be coming.  She mentioned how hurt my sister my sister was that I wouldn't be coming and implied that I needed to suck it up and come because it was important to my sister.  I replied that my mental health and well being was more important to me and as such I couldn't put myself in a situation that I knew would leave me a wreck and undo much of the recovery that I've worked so hard for.  I know she thought I was being dramatic.

I really do wish I could be there for her.  Or more accurately, I wish that I could take care of myself but at the same time not disappoint my sister.  Unfortunately those two things are not compatible.  So I chose my own wellbeing over doing what is socially acceptable.  It makes me really sad that by doing what I need to do hurt another person, but it's not going to change my mind.

The thing that makes me maddest about this situation is that I'm the bad guy.  I can think of so many other examples of a person who survived a trauma, not being expected to participate in a trigger of that trauma, and it being accepted without question.  Like no one would expect a recovering alcoholic to attend a party at a bar or a plane crash survivor to get on a plane again.  Their excuses would be accepted without question and they would be supported.  But infertility survivors are different.  They are expected to put on a happy face and deal with it.  It's not fair.  It's like my feelings don't matter.

I'm not going.  I'm not changing my mind.  I regret that by not going other people will be hurt.  It makes me sad that other people think I'm being selfish or dramatic.  But that's unfortunate collateral damage of taking care of myself, and right now I need to be number one.  Sadly I think that some people will never get it.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A debacle in the making?

I come from a family where chronic punctuality issues run rampant and advanced planning is an art that they've never mastered.  No joking.  As literally the only person in my family who is ever on time and has the foresight to plan anything ahead of time, I have hosted Thanksgiving at my house for the last couple of years.  Frankly hosting approximately 20 people at my house was far less stressful than dealing with the disarray that accompanies my family trying to "plan" anything.

In mid October I started to plan for Thanksgiving this year, assuming I was hosting again since it had worked out so well for the past several years.  Almost immediately I was met with a whole bunch of excuses.  It's too far to travel (I don't define 150 miles as far, plus for a long time I lived even farther away and still managed to not miss a holiday).  It's a pain to travel with kids.  Tight on cash.  Whatever.  It was painfully apparent that people didn't really want to come to my house this year.  So in a fit of rage I said we could just have it at my mom and dad's house, knowing full well that I would be the one who ended up cooking and cleaning up, just like I have for years (at my house or my mom's), with minimal help.

Once my pregnant sister found out that Thanksgiving* was going to be at our parent's house she started "planning."  When I say planning, what I really mean is that she started inviting people, mostly extended family and friends.  The guest list ballooned to 30.  Then 40.  Then 50.  Then 60**.  I was apparently the only one who had the foresight to point that there was no way that our parent's house could accommodate this many bodies, even accounting for those who won't be able to come (likely because it's being planned at the last minute).  At my suggestion, they were able to find a hall (with a commercial kitchen where we can cook the food) that could accommodate everyone.  So at least we won't be climbing over one another and there will be sufficient restroom facilities.  Unfortunately the facility does not allow alcohol, but there are ways to get around that little inconvenience. 

My pregnant sister called me today to talk about Thanksgiving.  I figured she wanted to talk about food.  Since, you know, if you invite 60 freaking people to Thanksgiving dinner, you have to feed them.  Nope.  She wanted to talk about decorating the building they rented.  I hung up on her, which was probably preferable to the alternate scenario where I told her exactly what was on my mind.***  Spoiler alert: I do not care about centerpieces for the tables.  Not even a little bit. 

Long story short, I sent out a spreadsheet detailing the things that needed to be purchased, tasks that needed to be done, and a timeline, with assignments for everyone.  I honestly don't think they realize how much prep goes into it.  Like the turkey needs to be out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge 4-5 days before dinner.  Now I just need for them to follow directions (another thing that my family is genetically predisposed to not do well).

So I don't know if it will be a debacle or not.  I hope not.  It's a toss up at this point.  The only thing that is certain is that there will be a lot of stress for me.  I love my family, I really do, but if I didn't look so much like my dad and paternal grandma, I would swear that the hospital sent my parent's home with the wrong baby.  I'm not a whole lot like my family.  I hope this is one of those times where I'm getting myself all worked up for something that wont' be that bad.

* We always have our family Thanksgiving on the Saturday after the holiday because it just seems to work best. 
**No fertility problems in my family! Except me, of course.  Speaking of that, the last time I saw most of these people was at my youngest sister's wedding two years ago.  Many seemed to have my reproductive plans on their mind then, so I'm sure that there will be more questions, especially in light of the fact that in a few weeks over one calendar year all three of my siblings will have birthed one child.
***I partially blame PMS.  Because apparently I'm going to be one of the "lucky" women who continues to have a regular(ish) cycle with an IUD.  And I get all ragey when I'm PMSing.  Yeah.  I don't really want to be around me either.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Have you all seen the "memories" feature on Facebook?  If not, it pulls memories from your timeline, usually pictures, and presents it to you as "on this day x years ago" and gives you the option to share the picture.  For the most part I've found this feature to be pretty fun (and also made me realize how many pictures of my dog that I post on Facebook....).  But yesterday it wasn't so fun.  My pregnant sister shared a memory from her timeline that I was tagged in.  The picture was taken in the summer of 2010 but for some reason she didn't add it to Facebook in November, and was of me, all three of my sisters, and our mom and dad.  At first I thought it was a pretty neat picture and marveled at how young (and skinny!) I was.  But my fascination was quickly quelled when my youngest sister, then 19, commented and said something along the lines of "Wow!  I don't even remember taking this picture!" and my currently pregnant sister said "this was the day that you told us that you were pregnant with oldest niece."

And there it was.   

Anger.  Five years ago we were right at the beginning of our TTC journey and I was naive enough to think that I'd get pregnant easily.

Jealousy. Getting pregnant was easy for two of my three sisters.  And the third seems to have forgotten the struggle now that she's pregnant. 

Left behind.  Only one sister had a child when the picture was taken, and he was an unplanned surprise.  Now one sister has three, another sister has two, and the third sister is pregnant with her first. 

Wistful.  Their lives certainly aren't perfect, but I sometimes I can't help but long for what they have and I don't.

It's times like this when I realize that I have a lot of healing left to do.

Friday, November 13, 2015

My heart hurts for Paris

I spent most of my commute home today composing a post in my head, something I've been wanting to write about for a while.  But then the attacks in Paris happened.  And what I wanted to write about seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

I will never understand hate.  I will never understand killing.  I don't know the reason for the attacks and frankly I don't care.  There is no good reason for this.  There is no logical explanation for this.

So many people will go to bed tonight knowing that a family member or friend perished.  For those people my heart hurts.  This isn't fair and it isn't ok.

I hope that in the coming days we see the best in people, not the worst.  That we see love and tolerance, not hate and divisiveness.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

That time I forgot for a minute

We started Christmas shopping over the weekend.  Between Hubs' family and mine we have a lot of people to buy for, and we like to get shopping done and over with before the mad rush.  I wanted to go to a specific store to get something for my sister (the pregnant one) that I knew was on sale and while I was there I decided to look at some clothes for my youngest niece.  I wouldn't say that browsing the baby section is something I enjoy, but when I have a specific objective, it's not so bad.  Except yesterday it was bad.

I am a crazy dog lady.  I love my dog to pieces and I spoil him rotten.  So when I was in the store yesterday and found an adorable little onesie shirt thing with my dog all over it (well, my dog's breed), I got excited.  My first thought was to buy it and stock it away for my someday baby.  Almost as fast I remembered that there would be no someday baby.  As I stood there in the middle of the store, tears rolling down my cheeks and looking like a fool, I put it back on the shelf.  There was never going to be a someday baby to buy it for.  And I couldn't bear the though of buying it for someone else, because seeing their baby in it would just be too much.  I sucked it up enough to purchase what I went there for and made it out of the store to my car where I had an ugly cry.  Then I let it go and moved on.

So now I guess I can add dog onesies to my list of triggers.  Ugh.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Something I can give advice about!

Confession time.  When we were trying to conceive I was one of those women who tested early.  Like really early.  Like 6 days past ovulation early.  A friend told me that I was addicted to peeing on things.  I guess I thought it would change something if I found out earlier.  I guess I was just a glutton for punishment.  Spoiler alert: I never saw a second line on any test, ever, no matter how many days past ovulation I took it.  As the months turned in to a year and then years early testing led to anxiety heartbreak, with each month worse than the last.  Sometime late into the second year I stopped because it just wasn't worth it.  Anyway, as a result of my (embarrassing) early testing, I'm somewhat of an expert on pregnancy tests.  I can tell you which are the most sensitive, which are the best deal, debate the merits of pink dye versus blue dye, etc.

Sunday I was in my local big box store doing some shopping.  I was standing in the razor aisle trying to remember which kind of blades that hubs uses (I am strongly encouraging him not to participate in No Shave Novembeard....).  As I'm standing there, I'm cursing under my breath, at myself because I didn't write down what kind before I left the house, and also because those darn things are expensive. In my peripheral vision I see a early 20s woman standing directly across the aisle staring at the pregnancy tests looking confused.  I wanted to be anywhere else.  So I sent hubs a quick text asking him to reply with the type of blades he needed and then tried to get out of that aisle quick to continue with my shopping.

But before I could get out of there I hear "I'm really sorry to bother you, but....".  Full stop.  I wasn't fast enough.  Fuck.  I turn around to face her and she shyly asks me which pregnancy test is best.  I asked her how early she was testing.  She looked at me like I had three heads.  I asked her if she had missed her period.  Looking at me like I was completely crazy, she give me an exasperated "yes, I was supposed to get it last weekend!" So I told her that any of them would work.  At this point I thought the conversation would be over.  But no, she asked me which one I would pick.  So I told her that if I were picking out a pregnancy test and I had already missed my period that I would just grab the cheapest one and be done with it.  So she grabbed the cheapest test and thanked me for my help. I told her that I hoped it turned out like she wanted (based on her anxiety level, I predict that she was hoping to see one line, but I have a feeling there were two).

On the drive home a couple of things occurred to me.  First, that it is the norm to assume that every 30something woman would have knowledge of pregnancy tests, likely because they are a parent.  And second, how different the infertility experience is from the normal experience and that most people don't even begin to think that they're pregnant until they've missed a period and would never dream of testing before a missed period.

It was a difficult weekend with reminders all over the place of the life that will never be mine.  Trick-or-treat, my pregnant sister's baby shower planning party (which I did not go to!), because apparently that's a thing now, and a family friend and his wife had their baby (cue throw-up-in-my-mouth worthy Facebook posts about parenting being the most perfect thing ever).  I'm ok.  I handled it.  These days I'm having an easier time dealing with these things as they come up, even if a bunch comes up at once.  I seem to be able to separate the randomness of fertility, meaning that I can accept that their children/babies/pregnancies have nothing to do with me not being able to have kids.  This isn't to say that I didn't shed a tear or feel sorry for myself, because I did have a moment, but these things didn't ruin my day, weekend, or the next week, and that's something.  I don't think I'll ever get over not having kids, but it does get a little easier to deal with as time passes.