Saturday, August 22, 2020

I Asked THAT Question

I started my new job this week. It's interesting. I am grateful to have an income to say the least. And I am glad to have a full-time position in my new career. I'm still working in schools, but my role is no longer as a classroom teacher. I spent all week trying to shift my mindset from teacher to student service provider. I was also adjusting to both wearing a mask all day and hearing co-workers' chatter about their kids and parenting.

I moved to a really small town. This is the kind of place that must be brutal for someone who is going through infertility. Everyone has kids and it seems like they all have a lot of them too. The majority of my co-workers are from here, left for college, and came back after graduation to get married, start working, and have kids. I'm really interested in starting an in-person support group here. I don't know how that would work with covid precautions and also with getting the word out to the community, but it's definitely an idea that's simmering in the back of my mind... Infertile women are everywhere. I would like to be supportive for anyone suffering here.

So far, the best part of my new job happened at new employee orientation. We were all in a gym, sitting two to a table to physically distance, and there were often short activities where you discussed things with the person at your table. I was sitting next to a woman who was very nice and friendly and I enjoyed talking with her. 

When we first introduced ourselves she asked if I had moved to town with my family and, not even thinking, I said, "It's just me and my boyfriend but we're glad to be here." Then later she asked me my age as she shared hers. If I was being more perceptive at the time, I might have realized that she was already scoping out my mother/non-mother status.

The morning session of orientation was several hours long, including a half hour for everyone to go around the gym and introduce themselves to the whole group. As I listened to everyone introduce themselves, I realized there was something unmentioned in both my table partner's introduction to everyone and in all of our table discussions with each other...

I couldn't help myself. I had to know. So, yes, I asked THAT question. (But I apologized first, if that helps.) I said, "I'm sorry, I never ask this, but you haven't said anything about them if you do. Do you have any children?" She said a simple no. I replied, "Me neither." Then we both smiled big smiles (you could tell even though we were both masked) and our excitement was palpable. 

And that is how I met my lovely new co-worker, who also doesn't have kids. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

They Grow Up

Since my last post I've been thinking about how much pregnancy announcements used to upset me and how little they usually do now. Mainly, I've been thinking about why that is. And I think it's because kids grow up. 

I don't want to be pregnant anymore. (Well, truthfully, I was never thrilled about the idea of being pregnant in the first place. The whole thing sounded scary to me. And now I've been through IVF, ha! I'm so brave I don't recognize myself. Except I do. Because I am damn proud of my growth.) But back to pregnancy, I was willing to go through it for the outcome: being a mom and getting to raise that little person. But not now. Not anymore. I resolved to create a life I want to live after surviving infertility without my children.

Had I become a mom through pregnancy or adoption, I would be way past the baby stage now. I love the human lifespan. That may sound weird, but it's true. I am probably the most people-loving, extrovert-presenting introvert you'd ever meet. But out of the entire lifespan, babies interest me the least. They are a little bit fascinating, but at this point in my life I'm not having one and they aren't part of my job so I just really don't care. Sorry not sorry?

I wouldn't even be in the toddler stage anymore. 

If things had gone as planned, I'd have two kids in elementary school. 

My kids would be growing up. 

Kids grow up. It sounds so obvious, but it's easy to forget when you're in the thick of it. Trying to get pregnant, hearing others' pregnancy announcements, watching your friends and sisters and cousins and well, at the time it feels like everyone but you, have babies and then toddlers and then more babies. But then that's it. A decade flies by. They're little kids and then big kids. They're pre-teens and then teenagers. And before you know it, they've become young adults, regardless of whether or not they've achieved financial independence. It's true. They grow up so fast. 

My years spent teaching and then my years spent in agonizing infertility limbo gave me perspective. Time goes on even when it's standing still. It's just like the saying goes: the days are long, but the years are short. I think that's why pregnancy announcements don't usually hurt now. I know how fleeting everything is. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Another Pregnancy Announcement

Pregnancy announcements used to REALLY bother me. It was so hard to manage my feelings of jealousy and sadness. Now that I'm not trying to get pregnant anymore, they bother me less. Usually.

I was texted the news of someone's pregnancy recently. In the past I appreciated being texted this information. That way I could feel my feelings without masking my initial reaction. Then I could set my own feelings aside and express a genuine congratulations. Well, that's how it was for me in the past. Like I said, pregnancy announcements just don't bother me like they used to.

But leave it to my family...

My sister texted my other sister and me to tell us that her oldest stepdaughter is pregnant. Just typing that brought a lump in my throat. Because it's remembering the text. She didn't just tell me privately (which I would've preferred) and she didn't just tell us the news. She sent the cutesy pictures that the couple used to promote, er announce, their pregnancy and she also texted a video. I did not watch the video.


That was my honest first reaction. This totally changes the family dynamics now. This changes all of the holidays. In my jump-to-extremes mind, this changed EVERYTHING.

But it doesn't. It just means that my sister is becoming a grandmother and my parents will become great-grandparents. Hopefully, all goes well with the pregnancy and delivery (something only fertility-challenged women think about with every single pregnancy announcement we hear) and then life will go on. 

I already vented to my boyfriend, saying I had no interest in spending any holiday this year with a pregnant woman. Then I complained about how googly-eyed my parents get nowadays when they're around a baby or toddler and how it makes me sad and uncomfortable. I got annoyed ahead of time and told him that my sister better not text me any newborn pics. I basically just said every ugly thought I had.

I don't like my feelings. They're not nice. But I accept them. I'm not going to hate myself for having them, which would only make me feel worse. I know these feelings come from a place of deep pain. I can practice having patience and compassion with myself as I continue to heal. I know I am happy for my sister's stepdaughter. I don't wish infertility on anyone.

Also, there is a pandemic and what I'm complaining about already (the holidays and time spent with family) may not even happen this year! So as soon as I complain about a not-even-planned-yet holiday season, I remember how lucky and fortunate we will all be if we can even get together in just three and a half months.


I don't feel like I'm writing very clearly, but there are a couple of points I wanted to make here:

  1. Pregnancy announcements no longer bother me like they used to.

  2. Except sometimes a particular announcement will still catch me off guard apparently.

  3. I don't like that I have not-nice feelings about it all still, but I also don't judge myself for it.

  4. Pregnant family members or no pregnant family members, we should all be so lucky to be able to travel and gather with loved ones again this year.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Back to the Doctor

Since I decided to cancel the hysterectomy surgery I had scheduled for June, I was due back to the doctor for another check-up. I really like this doctor I'd been seeing for the past two years, so yesterday I drove four hours into the city to see her one last time. She prescribed a valium for the procedure so my boyfriend drove us the four hours back home. Does it get more fun than an eight-hour roundtrip to see the gynecologist? ;) Needless to say, it was a long, tiring day after a long, tiring week.

Other than that, it really was fine. We didn't encounter too much traffic. We didn't have any car trouble. The hospital where my doctor works has free parking. We got there on time, everyone was wearing masks, the doctor was running on schedule, and my appointment went smoothly and quickly. I'm still covered by insurance from my previous job, which greatly lowers the cost of the visit. It wasn't a fun errand, but there's just so much to be thankful for. Plus, it's over!

The reason for the check-up is I keep getting bad test results. Combined with my family history and a couple of other risk factors, I need to frequently monitor my health. It's possible that I will need to reschedule the surgery, but my doctor said that if she doesn't see any changes in this sample compared to the others then we'll basically call it my baseline. 

She also gave me the name of a doctor friend in the next town over from where I moved to, so now I have a good recommendation for a new gynecologist nearby! I love this doctor, so I will probably like her colleague as well. I also take an anti-depressant medication and she was able to give me the name of a general practice doctor too. Both doctors are women, which I prefer, so there's just lots to be thankful for.

So, really, I walked away from that appointment (that I'd honestly been dreading) with some good information. And I will continue to monitor and take care of my health and do all I can to stay healthy.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

My Unsolicited Advice ;)

That was an extremely difficult move. All moves are difficult but throw in a pandemic and a rental truck shortage and you've got yourself set up for a very, very not-fun time.

But we made it. Two truck loads and unloads and twelve hours of driving later, my boyfriend and I now live in our new rental place. Absolutely nothing is unpacked. It took us two whole days just to recover from our soreness and exhaustion.

I have been extremely anxious throughout this process. Moves are stressful. Change is hard. The pandemic makes everything harder. In addition to the usual stress of moving, change, and unfamiliarity, there's an added layer of fear for me. Stopping for gas, getting food, stopping for a bathroom break... Every decision made is a calculated risk. It wears on your nerves.

Kind of like... Infertility. Yes, seriously. This is all way too familiar. I recognize that I am living and operating in a compromised, heightened state. Like I've done for years now. I just do the best I can with each moment, balancing rest with productivity, while trying to be patient with myself...

So, no, I did NOT want to do that move. I had anticipatory anxiety for weeks and then the whole thing sucked just like I thought it would. Ha.

But... What was the alternative?

Stay where I was? It wasn't where I wanted to be. None of the last nine years have been where I wanted to be. So I just keep moving away from what I don't want and moving toward what I do want.

And today, while still hot, exhausted, and surrounded by boxes, I know I am on the right track.


So that's my unsolicited advice: move away from what you don't want and you will inevitably head toward what you do want. You don't even have to worry about where you are going. You're on your own timeline and there is no rush. And you don't even have to know what you want. (That would be a tall order!) Just pay attention to when you feel good, when you feel bad, when you feel peaceful, when you feel anxious, when you feel happy/excited, etc. Don't judge your feelings. Just notice them and use them as information as you move toward what feels right for you.