Wednesday, March 23, 2016

One year after the IUD

Just over a year ago I got an IUD.  It wasn't an easy decision, and there were a few points where I wondered if I made the right decision to get it, but one year later I'm glad that I did.  As I wrote about a year ago my reason for getting it was twofold.  First, I was having scary heavy/bad periods, and second, I knew that having a small sliver of hope of getting pregnant was roadblock on my path to healing.  I thought I'd write this post to give a little update on the IUD since I feel like having it for one year is long enough to provide a fair review.

My periods are still pretty regular.  They are significantly lighter and I no longer pass large clots.  They don't scare me anymore and I've finally gained the confidence to not sit on towels and I no longer carry a change of clothes with me wherever I go when on my period.  I also don't feel like I'm quite as prone to mood swings.  It's not all rainbows and unicorns though.  My periods are still 10-12 days long, just like they were before the IUD.  There's not a ton of improvement in my cramps and I still have a lot of random spotting.  One particularly unpleasant thing is that I almost always cramp after sex, and this never happened before I got it.  It's not bad.  I'm not doubled over or anything, it's just really annoying. 

I'm not going to lie, I really hoped that my periods would go away altogether, but apparently I'm going to be one of a small percentage of women who still has a period with the IUD.  Lucky me.  I'd also hoped that my hot flashes would improve.  No such luck there either. 

On a more positive front, with the sliver of hope of getting pregnant eliminated, I really, truly began to heal.  I knew a year before I got the IUD that we'd never have children, but I the mind is a tricky thing and you can't suddenly go from being aware from every single thing that your body does to not paying attention to any of it.  The IUD allowed me to put that possibility completely out of my mind, and every single area of my life has improved since.  My relationship with hubs has improved because timing isn't in the back of my mind.  I'm starting to regain my confidence, so much of which I lost during infertility.  I'm starting to think of the future in the context of what we have as opposed to what we'll never have.  Dare I say, I'm even happy most of the time.  I'm not the person that I was a year ago when I got the IUD, and that's a really good thing! 

I don't love it.  I don't hate it.  The good parts make the not so good parts bearable.  Getting it wasn't the an easy decision, but one year later I can honestly say it was the best decision for me, and I'm glad that I did it. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I got to meet my new nephew today

It just so happened that I had a work related meeting today about half way between where I live and where my sister lives (the sister that had the baby in February).  I called my sister and asked if she wanted to meet for lunch.  She gladly accepted the invite.

I was actually excited to meet the baby, and he's just a lovely baby.  Very mellow.  Calm.  Observant.  Content.  Very unlike my nieces or other nephew who were all very high maintenance as babies.

My sister was ok.  I did suggest that she might benefit from talking to someone or going to a support group.  She seems to be struggling with wrapping her head around that this might be her only child.  That she might only get to be pregnant once.  The person who is never going to be pregnant, ever, not even a little bit, really isn't the person to talk to about these things.  But then again all of our other sisters had kids easily, our mom had kids easily, all of her friends had kids easily, etc.  So I think she views me as someone who might understand a bit more than others and as someone safe to talk to about it.  I get that.  But I'm not a good person for those types of conversations.  So I suggested that she talk to someone better able to help her work through those feelings.  On some level I think she got it.

Now that all of the pregnancies are (finally) over, it's starting to hit me that I am forever going to be the only sister who doesn't have a child. It feels lonely.  And sad.  I thought that the hardest part would be the pregnancies.  The next trip to my hometown will be interesting.  I suspect I will feel like a fish out of water.  But I'll deal with that when it comes. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Infertility and buying a house are actually quite similar

Hubs and I are house hunting.  We've saved and sacrificed for a long time to be able to do it.  We're long time renters, mainly as a function of moving so much throughout the course of our relationship (we've lived five places in three states in nine years), but we're finally to the point where we're ready.  If nothing else, I'm ready to paint walls a color of my own choosing.  We're not in a hurry to buy.  We want to find the right house and make a smart investment.  We have a great landlord and are in a ideal renting situation because we've been her for so long that we're on a month to month contract.  So it really doesn't matter if we find a house in six days or six months. 

I was naive enough to believe that it would be like it is on TV.  I thought we'd see three houses, pick one, move in, and everything would be smooth sailing.  But it's been far from smooth sailing. 

To start we're at a very competitive price point.  Nice houses in places where we'd actually like to live go really fast.  Like the listing goes live and the house is under contract in 48 hours fast.  Also complicating things, our availability to go to showings is a bit limited since I teach one night a week and hubs has class two nights a week, though thankfully his last week of class is next week, so availability will improve soon.

After going to see about 10 houses, we found a house that we liked and after several days of tense negotiation we agreed on a price with the seller and were officially under contract.  It wasn't our dream house (that will never be found at our price point), but it was a nice home.  Cute.  Plenty of space without being too much.  A huge, flat yard (a novelty in western Pennsylvania, both the size and being flat).  An amazing neighborhood.  It checked off all of the boxes on our must have list.  We booked the inspection and that's when it all began to fall apart.  Long story short, the inspector found some pretty major issues, the seller wasn't willing to fix the issues, and we walked away.  We made the smart decision.  It sucked.  But had we proceeded with the contract we would have gotten ourselves in over our heads.  We're really glad that we had the inspection contingency in our contract.

I was woefully unprepared for the emotions that came with losing the house.  Not the house itself, the logical, rational part of my brain knows that there are other houses and that eventually we'll find our house, but I was unprepared for how hard it hit me.  It honestly felt like infertility all over again.  Being put through the ringer only to be disappointed.  Needing to make big decisions with a really fast turn around.  Money.  Stepping outside of my comfort zone.  Pressure from all sides.  Arguments with hubs.  All of it felt so familiar, but not in a good way.

The day we officially terminated the contract, Sunday, I had a big ugly cry.  In that moment I felt like such a failure.  All I could see was everything that hasn't gone my way in the past few years.  I lamented that if I couldn't have babies I should at least be able to buy a house easily.  I was not nice to myself.  I haven't had a breakdown like that in quite some time.

Even though I know that walking away was the best decision for us, it hurt.  I guess that sometimes the head and the heart don't always communicate.  I'm actually glad that we lost the house.  Hindsight is 20/20.  We learned a lot from the experience and we know so much more than we did a couple of weeks ago.  This will benefit us going forward.

I'm better now.  We've seen a few more houses and we're going to see a few more over the weekend.  Nothing has felt like home yet but we're confident that we'll find something.  Eventually.  Hubs and I don't do anything the easy way and nothing ever goes according to plans.  Why would this be any different?  Hell, our real estate agent left today to go to Italy for two weeks, so I'm sure we'll find a house while he's gone and have to bother him to write a contract while he's on vacation.  Because that's how our life works.