Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sharing My Feelings and My Quilts

I took a personal day this week. I needed it. I was low on resources and had a lot on my mind and, because of that combo, I was very emotional. I needed to rest. So I did. And I'm glad.

I couldn't stop my current stressors, but I could give myself a break for a day. The night before I texted my team, arranged for coverage for my classes, and fell asleep at 7:30pm.

I slept an entire 12 hours, waking up at 7:30am. Then I drank coffee and read online. I ate, sewed some, and watched a little tv. I didn't do much else. I was not productive. Despite having things that needed to get done, being productive is not what I needed the most.

I've had a tough week. There have been several different things that have inflamed my infertility-related sadness. I recognize them and they make sense and it's okay, but I still feel my sadness which is also okay and very much real. My sadness doesn't take away from my happiness. I have room for both. But, being low on resources, I needed a day that required nothing from me.

So I took it.

(If that's what you need, I highly recommend doing the same.)

I barely even sewed. I was that depleted. But I did enjoy sewing for a little bit. I've started a new project that I'm excited about. It will be my fifth quilt. I can barely believe it. I took my first quilting class just last spring. But I got it in my head to sew four "get 'em done" quilts, one for each season. So that's what I did. Without regard for perfection whatsoever. If I had stopped for every mistake I made while making my first four quilts, I'd still be working on the first one.

So, without much more introduction, here they are: my Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring quilts.


Monday, February 17, 2020

It's Ongoing

Life is good, but it's been busy. I'm thankful I had a day off from both jobs today.

You know, honestly, I think I'm still sad several times a week about not having kids. A minute here, a moment there. Comments are made; normal experiences that I'll never have are shared. My thoughts and feelings come and go throughout the natural course of the day.

But my moments of sadness are not debilitating like they used to be. They no longer paralyze me or imprison me or completely drain me or rob me of all peace, joy, and contentedness.

However, I think it's still important that I'm aware of when and why I'm sad and to validate my feelings to myself. Because it's been several years, it can be easy to think everything infertility-related is in the past when it still very well shapes my present and my future.

The acute grief period has passed, but recovery is a lifelong thing. A process of healing and adjusting. It is for me anyway. And it's important that I stay open to seeing the various ways that not having kids makes my life very different from most other people I know in real life.

Because what I've survived is significant. And unrecognized. And ongoing.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Social Media: Love It or Leave It?

Mel at the Stirrup Queens got me thinking about social media with her post, Twitter Famous.

I use twitter. I think it's good for niche interests. You can meet other hobby/sports enthusiasts and nerd out about your common interest.

I don't use fb or ig. I deleted both accounts this summer. I've enjoyed not having them. Fb made me feel weird, like it was a collection of people I used to know but didn't really keep in touch with anymore. And I never could get into ig. Too many selfies and filtered food pics. Even though I did follow some craft accounts that posted some cool art.

In general, I think I'm too private for those platforms. Then again, that doesn't make sense because I blog about the most traumatic thing I've gone through and how I'm coping and healing from it. So how private can I claim to be?

The blogging community saved my spirit. Maybe I could've saved myself on my own eventually, but I don't know... Reading other women's thoughts and experiences helped me understand my own alienation from society. Concepts like "disenfranchised grief" told me that I wasn't crazy during a time when it felt like everyone around me was telling me the opposite. So, overall, I am incredibly thankful for social media because it means the international blogging community of infertile women can connect with each other.

I haven't even jumped into the online quilting world yet. The more I learn about my new hobby, the more I learn how huge the community is. So I am sure there is a TON on the internet. All I've done so far is shop online for fabric and look up videos to learn how to do basic quilting skills.

There's a lot of bad about social media, but there's a lot of good too.

I'm glad I grew up without the internet. I'm glad I have the internet now.
It's the best of both worlds.

How about you? What are your social media preferences?


Monday, February 3, 2020

Glad to be Where I Am

I wrote the beginning of this post on Sunday:


It is important to rest. I've been working so hard and today I get to rest and I am so, so thankful.

It's early afternoon and I'm on the couch, watching some tv with an easy meal in the oven.

I'm so glad to be here.

Infertility is still a part of my life. I'm not trying to have kids, and I don't even want to start all of that at this point. But losing motherhood still influences my experiences and perceptions. And still, a few random things over the past several weeks have shown me how the passing of time has lessened its impact.

*****

Now I'm finishing the post today. So back to those random things:


  • During one of my shifts at the hospital, I had a patient who had her husband and six-month old in the room and another patient whose wife was by his side and 34 weeks pregnant. In both cases, I smiled and was conversational on the related topics of their new/upcoming baby without a second thought. In fact, I didn't think much of it until the end of my shift when I reflected on the day and realized I'd had interactions that I wasn't capable of managing in the past.

  • Another work baby shower came up. I didn't go. I was fine, it was fine, everything was perfectly fine.

  • My closest friend from college and I don't talk often like we used to, but she recently texted me to say she is pregnant again and due soon. I felt happy for her and nothing bad for me.


I'm glad to be where I am. It required me to do a shitload of work though. It demanded a willingness to carry a very deep pain for a very long time. But the load has gotten lighter.




Saturday, January 18, 2020

Skipped a Work Shower

Going back to teaching, I was surprised to not encounter anything pregnancy-related first semester. Schools always seem to be full of pregnant staff members and pregnant parents. But the majority of my co-workers are very young and not yet thinking about raising children at all.

I'm not going to lie: it has been refreshing. No questions, no comments, no stories dominating our thirty minute respite period, a.k.a. our lunch time. ;)

However, I came back to work from winter break to read a rather presumptive email. The director of my district's department emailed everyone informing us of a baby shower she was throwing for someone who works for the district. The director told us when it would be, where it would be, and what we all could bring (a small gift or $10 to contribute, she was bringing cake and snacks). The way she wrote it, attendance sounded mandatory. What the hell?? I do not go to baby showers. (Well, unless I'm throwing the shower haha.) I stressed about this email, what to do, and how to respond until I saw my department chair.

Thankfully, my department chair shot the idea down. I asked him about it and he immediately said, "Oh, I am not going to that." I said, "Really? What did you write back?" He said, "I didn't write anything. I'm just not going."

So I followed his lead. I didn't write back. I didn't go. Nothing was ever said and life went on.

I think I often feel like everything needs a reply. I learned an important lesson with this experience. I don't have to respond to everything. I can just let some things go.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Body Remembers

I fell apart on Sunday. I woke up feeling off and was soon unexplainably crying.

I felt hollow, defeated, and just so sad.

So I just sat with my feelings. Well, I sat with them as they poured out of my tear ducts. And came out with my shallow breaths. And I realized that my body was remembering a bad anniversary.

It's been five years since my first IVF did not result in pregnancy.

Five years since I got that phone call.
Five years since I hung up the phone,
collapsed on the floor,
and
howled from a place deep inside me,
feeling the worst pain and trauma
that could only be caused by
the most devastating loss of my life.


And this past Sunday I felt a fraction of that pain and sadness again. To say the least, it sucked.

So, Sunday sucked. I cried. I felt sad. I cried some more. Pretty hard.

Then I got out of the house and followed through with some plans I'd been looking forward to and I was really glad I did. It wasn't a very good day, but I did the best I could with it. Then it passed.

And I'm still left with a bit of an "exhaustion hangover" but that's fine.

It's all a part of the grief and recovery process.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

5 Years Ago & Now


January 1, 2015       I went to the hospital for my first embryo transfer after my first IVF cycle.
January 1, 2020       I went to the hospital for my scheduled shift for my new job/career.

I would have never considered a career in healthcare had I not been through the most invasive of procedures with some of the most devastating results. I hate hospitals. I can be squeamish and anxious in medical settings. While in school, I was nervous about the clinical rotations because I didn't know if I'd be able to handle all of the medical stuff.

But I was fine. Because it's my patients' pain and anxiety that call to me. I tell them it's fine to cry or complain and that I'm sorry for the interruption this injury or illness has caused in their life.

*****

Five years ago I hadn't even considered a second career. I was going to be a stay at home mom.
Now I'm working two careers. Obviously, I'm not a stay at home mom. Also, I'm no longer married.

*****

On Friday I left the hospital after another shift. I had a good day. I still have a lot to learn, but I know I am helping my patients. I walked to my car. I stopped, took a deep breath, and looked around. It was so beautiful where I was. In all of my loss and devastation, I am still determined and grateful.