Posts Tagged ‘Miscellaneous Rants’

Things that Could Mean Everything,…or Nothing At All.

Things That Could Mean Everything

I had to take a few weeks to myself while nearing the end of our IVF journey because I was battling extreme anxiety and wanted to be as focused as possible.  But have no fear!  I have been documenting all the while, so that all my thoughts would be fresh and that I’ll be able to share with you what has been going on once I was a safe distance from it. The following are my actual thoughts while enduring everyone’s dreaded two week wait between transfer and beta testing.

Regina

 

Because what is infertility without panic and superstition?

Things that could mean everything, or maybe nothing:

  • Going to pee and then after sitting right back down, feeling like I forgot to pee when I was in there.
  • Extreme and relentless boobage somehow.
  • Black person myth-busting necessity: Dreamed of Salmon…though I don’t know what the rules are about the whole “I dreamed of fish” thing.  Do the fish have to be swimming along having a good time?  Or does my dream of perfectly cooked salmon last night not count?
  • Dizziness.  I could have just been tired though.
  • Nauseatingly warm.  Not nauseous. But boiling.

Coincidences that made me smile momentarily and then just creeped me out:

Spiders are supposed to be good luck, right?

  • Spiders in the doctor’s office on the day of transfer
  • Spiders in the bathroom at home the evening after
  • Spiders at work the next day
  • Spider in my CAR the next evening
  • Spider in the hallway of my building the next day

When visiting my doctor’s office for bloodwork and ultrasounds, there was always music playing in the ultrasound room:

  • We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off by Jermaine Stewart
  • If You Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  • Danger Zone (this one actually played the day they found out I was hyper-stimming a little)
  • We Belong Together by Pat Benetar
  • Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics
  • Lady by The Commodores
Times I freaked out and assumed I’d ruined everything:
  • The day after the transfer, Wendy’s under-cooked my chicken sandwich and I almost had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by eating under-cooked meat.
  • Upon returning to work that day, I also moved a piece of furniture in the teen room at work and once again had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by overexerting myself.
  • Bought pineapple to try and do the pineapple diet, but forgot it was in the refrigerator and didn’t eat it.  So of course…I’d ruined everything.
  • Then, I dreamed of fish, but it was cooked. So once again, I had a conniption and believed I’d ruined everything.
  • Oh, then I drank a glass of ice water and took my socks off to fight the aforementioned boiling point…then read a blog about PCOS during the 2ww that said, you should NOT drink ice water and you should have socks on 24/7 to “keep all your energy going to your uterus”. So then I had another conniption and believed I’d ruined everything by taking precious energy from my uterus to warm my water and feet.

Clearly I’m neurotic, and making hellafied mistakes with this whole thing I’m sure, but whatever the case…stick around, kid.  Stick. Around.

2WW Grief & Anxiety

 

2ww Grief 2

I had to take a few weeks to myself while nearing the end of our IVF journey because I was battling extreme anxiety and wanted to be as focused as possible.  But have no fear!  I have been documenting all the while, so that all my thoughts would be fresh and that I’ll be able to share with you what has been going on once I was a safe distance from it. The following are my actual thoughts while enduring everyone’s dreaded two week wait between transfer and beta testing.

Regina

 

The 2WW.  I’ve heard tales of it, but honestly, each person’s experience with it is their own I’m learning.  I have my moments of frustration and confusion, but overall I’m too busy to really focus on it much.  I’m not quite ready to pull my hair out, or prepared to run through the pregnancy test aisles of my nearest convenience store.

To be honest, I’m hopeful, but also cognizant of the fact that this may not work. It’s a fact that we all have to acknowledge when embarking on fertility treatments of any kind.  We have to be honest with ourselves and our partners.

I know his/her name.
I know who I believe they will be.
All I don’t know, is if my thoughts align with God’s will.

And in my moments of doubt, I start to feel very strongly that if this doesn’t work,  I will want and need to apologize.

To my job,

Although I’ve tried so hard not to actually take any days off other than retrieval and transfer, I know that mentally, I just wasn’t there for the past couple of months. Working in a child-heavy environment, I have worked SO hard for soo long to keep my fertility issues out of sight, that even with a sore backside and absolutely no energy after driving 40 miles roundtrip for bloodwork, I’ve been still attempting to keep things quiet.  I worry that when this is all over, if I have nothing to show for it, I’ll feel even worse to see that I’ve let my work fall to the wayside.

To my family,

For taking some of them on this fragmented roller coaster ride that I’ve ridden solo for years previous.  I knew this ride was dangerous, so any stress they’ve taken on for me was clearly my fault.  My mom worries, and I’d just be so sorry to have made her take on so much extra stress.  Because, there isn’t much they can actually do.  The shots, the meds, and everything else falls on me and my husband, so really all I’m doing is giving them (possibly) false hope, and I would hate to have done that.

And even

To myself.

For putting myself through shots everyday for the past 60 or so days, and sometimes twice a day.  For irritating my skin with the adhesive backing of estrogen patches.  For almost choking myself with these oddly circular estrogen pills that get stuck in my esophagus four times a day.  I’ve given myself time to process every piece of this journey, by taking myself out of my normal social circles and isolating myself to the point where people have started messaging me and asking if I’m alive and well.  I’ve had to close myself off so that I can focus on these things I’m doing that are so far outside of my comfort zone, (shots, anyone?), and it’s made me feel awkward and anxious.  If this doesn’t work, I’ll worry that I’ll have to repair those connections, while privately licking my wounds, and I wonder how that will change me.

But, I’m sure this is all normal, right?

All these feelings of trying to protect myself from hoping too much, while trying to keep myself at optimum performance.  Resisting the urge to POAS because I know that if it doesn’t say what I want it to say that I’ll lose the will to keep moving forward.  All of this, from the highest peak to the lowest depth, are all normal feelings.  And hopefully, at the end of this two weeks, they’ll be irrelevant.

Watching Our Words. Why Phrasing Matters.

Phrasing Matters

Famed percussionist and recording artist Sheila E. has released a new memoir.  As an 80’s baby, I’m inclined to love her. LOL  She reminds me of big hair and great music, and really, what’s not to love?  She was killing the game long before Beyonce, and she’d even had Mr. Graffiti Bridge himself, singing her praises on and off the stage.

Well, the New York Daily News did a write-up on Escovedo’s new book, with tons of juicy bits to entice us to check it out, and while for the most part, I was really pleased and excited, my spidey senses perked up unfortunately.  Since I’d seen her “Unsung” episode last year, I was really interested to see what else she was planning to share.  More info on her love affair with The Purple One, her uncomfortable but industry-changing sexual revolution, and then, her feelings on friend Lionel Richie’s adoption of her niece Nicole.

Here’s how it’s written up in Sheila’s book, which is co-authored by Wendy Holden:

“Then Richie’s wife Brenda, who had been hungering for a child, suggested adopting Nicole. “Lionel … would do anything to keep Brenda happy,” Escovedo writes.

The Richies convinced Peter and Karen to give up their child.” 

Come on man.  Stereotype much?  We gotta do better.

Now, it’s not all bad, as Sheila has always been very upfront about how difficult it was for her family when Nicole was adopted.  She generally comes from a place of love about it, I’m sure.  So, assuming that like many, perhaps Holden and Escovedo just don’t realize how the particular phrasing used in their book can be damaging, allow me to share four requests I have from just that short excerpt.

The Richies convinced Peter and Karen to give up their child.

1. PLEASE stop painting adoptive parents as baby-snatchers who want nothing more than to steal children from loving families.

“Lionel … would do anything to keep Brenda happy,

2. PLEASE stop painting WOMEN as the primary offenders, and portraying husbands as well-meaning dopes who move heaven and earth to fill their wives “ridiculous cravings” for children.

3. PLEASE stop painting birth-parents who choose to place their children for adoption, as idiots who are taken advantage of. The decision to place a child for adoption is not a light one, and it is a BRAVE one. Don’t belittle their bravery by wording things in a way which implies that they were basically tricked into doing what other people convinced them was best. This, I’m sure has been the case for some, especially as we go back a couple of decades, but it is NOT the case for all, and when you report on it that way, you perpetuate a stereotype that can hinder more than help.

4. PLEASE stop deciding that someone else’s story should be yours. No matter the auntie heartstrings she may have been feeling pulled from, or how she perceived the situation to play out, Nicole Richie’s adoption story belongs to HER, her parents, and her BIRTH parents. Your feelings about it, your momma’s feelings, the teacher’s feelings, the postman’s feelings, do not matter at the end of the day. No matter how old she is, this is HER story, and it should be respected and treated with a certain amount of care.  

Now to be clear, LOL I’m a fan, so I’ll still probably read the book, and I’m not encouraging anyone else not to.  All I’m asking, is that we start to pay closer attention to HOW we say things, and how those seemingly simple comments/statements can have dire implications for others.  For every one person who read that excerpt and said, “Oh, that’s interesting”, and moved on with their day, five more were just as likely to say, “Oh, see, I knew our people didn’t adopt, I knew there had to be a story there”.

While adoption is difficult for birth families, there is a time and a place to deal with it, and in my opinion, your memoir may not be that place, especially if you are still feeling some kinda way.  What we should take from this, is that there is definitely a need to do more in terms of supporting the relatives of adopted children.  There is obviously a wound there that should be receiving far more salve. I found ONE study that stated as much.

When you know better, you do better.  We need to get more people in the know.

What If…I Could JUST Stop Caring About This.

What IF - I Could Stop Caring About This

In a moment of devastation recently, I found myself saying out loud that I wished I just didn’t care about this.

I wish I was content to live a life without children in my home that didn’t get “returned to sender” at the close of the weekend or workday. I reckon that would be a peaceful way of life for my husband and I.

But try as I might, I can’t turn this off.

And I’m not sure why.
Could it be the primal instincts of all animals that drives us to procreate? Or perhaps my know-it-all-ness getting the better of me and my assuming that I could do this well if only given the chance? Or in that same vein, maybe it’s my logical mind that is angry that something that SHOULD have worked, has not.

I would very much like to not feel like every baby that doesn’t give that comfortable and knowing reach when I reach out to them isn’t personally casting their vote on my not being suitable.
I would also like to not feel so personally attacked by influxes of mom-driven marketing.
I don’t WANT to feel sad.
I don’t WANT to be insecure.
I don’t WANT to over-think every.little.thing.
But I do.

Last night, around 3am, I was texting with my husband, who was at work, and rattling off things that were driving me crazy.
Finally, he went, “Hey, you shouldn’t be thinking about that right now. There’s nothing that will come of it.”
And it incensed me.
Like, I could FEEL myself become enraged.
Not at him personally, but at the THOUGHT that there was an alternative to thinking about this. As though I’d CHOSEN to be up at 3am pondering the complexities of parental purgatory. Who would do this to THEMSELVES?

I told him as much.

He told me to go ahead and drive myself crazy, but to think about whether he felt like going on the trip before yammering on at him about it.

Sigh.
What do people think about in their lives when they aren’t consumed with this worry and anxiety?
How does one go through life without this constant nag in the background of every decision?
I wonder what it’s like to not CARE about this.

 

Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard

What IF - This Weren't So Hard

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the ridiculous changes the both of us have had to endure over the past year or so regarding our infertility. We droned on and on about most of it, but then in a brief moment of clarity, one of us finally went, “This is HARD!”, and the other of us replied with, “RIGHT?!”

It really, truly is hard.

There are no “right” answers.
Life doesn’t stop and give you the opportunity to catch up to yourself.
You can’t call in “infertile and devastated” to work.
It just keeps moving.

What IF infertility wasn’t so hard, though? What IF I didn’t have to fight for every single inch? What IF this had come easy for me like it has for so many others? Who would I be, and what would infertility mean to me?

If this weren’t so hard:
I probably wouldn’t know as much about my body as I do now.
I can admit to being rather flighty about it when I was younger and thought that all bodies were created equal. I track everything about myself now to the point where there is a separate section in my google calendar just for monitoring. I’m my own obsession now.

I would be one of the ones who didn’t get it.
As a teen, I can remember asking my mother why some family members didn’t have children, and my FIRST thought was always that they must not have wanted any. Because if you wanted kids, you had them, right? So to be an adult, with a job and a house, and still no children of your own, you must have decided that kids just weren’t for you, and that you didn’t want to be bothered. The millisecond that this thing gets real for you, all that ignorance falls away like leaves.

I wouldn’t be so aware of how much my community is lacking in reproductive health information.
You really never know what’s missing until you’re looking for it. In my years of haphazard pap smears and birth control pills thrown in my direction, I never even knew there was something else I should have been asking about. All I knew about fibroids was taught through the radio commercials that proclaimed loudly about how there was a “NEW procedure that would only require outpatient surgery and no hysterectomy!”. These commercials usually aired midday on V103, right after an Anita Baker song, and just before Luther Vandross.
I can remember no pamphlet or discussion with any doctor of mine which explained fibroids themselves OR hysterectomies.
I never knew to ask why my periods lasted so long, or what kind of effects my birth control pills could have on my future reproductive health. I did whatever my doctors told me was best. They said hypothyroid, and I stopped at hypothyroid.
Which brings me to my next revelation…

I wouldn’t know how to advocate for myself medically.
I never questioned a doctor in my life prior to fighting for my infertility choices.
I never willingly CHANGED doctors in my life prior to fighting for my infertility choices.
I never brought a pen and pad, or researched before an appointment, prior to fighting for my infertility choices.
I never mapped out my medical choices so extensively.
I never checked my doctor’s “report cards”.
I never got to know the nurses at my doctor’s offices, or even thought much about the office itself after my appointments.
But now?
I have conversations. I recognize that while that doctor is in the room with me, they are on MY dime and MY time, and neither of us is leaving until I’M satisfied.

I wouldn’t know how to advocate for and with YOU.
In learning to speak up for myself, or at least get some of this really difficultness off of my chest, I’ve been able to interact and support hundreds of others who found themselves in very similar positions. Together, we’ve cried, yelled, laughed, and pushed through to our own resolutions. Some have gone to become parents, others have decided enough was enough, but each of us have grown just a little more. I owe those friendships to this struggle. As hard as it has been.

I wouldn’t know my own strength.
I have learned a lot about myself in these past years, but some things I’ve always known. I know that when I’m hurting, I tend to shut down and deflect. I know that when I’m afraid, I roll into a ball and try to protect myself. I know that I scare pretty easily, overall, and that my pain threshold is meek.
BUT.
I have learned that when I’m afraid, I will go anyway, and do whatever is needed.
I have learned that when I’m hurting, I find peace in helping others, and in speaking out.
I have learned that trying to protect myself is secondary for me when others are in danger, or uninformed.
I have learned that while many things scare me, never having tried, is my most frightening thought.
I have learned that when it matters, my pain threshold is far higher than I ever would have imagined.
I have learned that I can be stronger than I ever thought possible, because it’s often all I have left.
I have learned that I DO NOT GIVE UP.

 

Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…I Were A Mom…

What IF - I were a mom

If I were a mom, we’d start our morning’s with prayer, and listen to “Happy”, as we got dressed and ate our breakfast.

We’d walk to school and leave early enough to stop and observe the morning leaves, and the birds as they went about their business.
We’d have a number hunt on the way to school, and see which of us could find a number 4 along our path, or see the letter B.
We’d say a prayer at the gate of the school for a good day, and good friends, and a happy recess, and promise to tell each other something new when we saw each other in the afternoon!

I’d go to work, and recommend books to mom’s, and not fumble for the wording when I explained who I’d read the book to myself.
“I read this to MY son/daughter”, I’d be able to say, and not “I read this to my cousin/goddaughter/godson/niece/friend’s daughter”…
And they’d take my word immediately, because mom’s are faster to take advice from other mom’s than they are from people who don’t have children.

There would be no more awkward pauses when someone asks “How many kids do YOU have?”, because I wouldn’t have to think of a soft way to let THEM down about MY misfortune. No one would tiptoe around me when they discussed babies and pregnancies, because they would assume that I’m over all those icky sensitive infertile feelings. I would be able to request Mother’s Day off, because people would know that my family was obviously going to need me home that day.

Leading storytime at work would be fun, and I wouldn’t wish I could take the crafts home to do at my own kitchen table. When new books came in, I’d order my own copies so that I could add them to our bedtime collection. We would play library at home, because what I do at work every day would be something my children would aspire to.

I’d leave work on time, because there was someone waiting for me, with their something new to tell me. Dinner would be a recipe from Pinterest, prepped and in the fridge, ready for the oven. We would finish up homework and share our something new’s while we waited for it to cook.

My husband would get home just in time for a little bit of tv.
And there would be laughter.
Lots of laughter.
And even more laughter.
And a few more giggles, as we picked out our clothes for tomorrow.
And we’d each have our baths, and then all tell a story that we’d make up piece by piece, and then we’d pray for everyone near and far, before we turned out the lights.

And when little eyes were closed, I’d clean up the evening’s fun from the floor, and put everything away. I’d finish up any work that I hadn’t done, and I’d plan our next fun day. The zoo, or the museum, or the children’s play room. And I would be able to invite nieces/cousins/godkids, etc., rather than collecting them.

And I would feel STABLE.
In my life.
In my position.
In my future.
Because I’d know that no matter what else fell away, I was THEIR mom, and that it was something no one could take away from me.
I would know that I had the final say, in their care, and their education, and their diet, and their activities, and that no agency could dictate those choices based on any arbitrary guidelines.

I would feel like a whole person.
I would feel like a whole woman.
I would be confident.
I would be happy, on more days than I’m sad.
I wouldn’t have an undercurrent of rage.
I would be blessed to know that I was doing my part for the world by raising an intelligent, empathetic, thoughtful, caring, well-mannered, and creative person to contribute to society.
I would be proud.

I would be at peace.
Real peace.
Not the shroud of peace that comes from numbness.
But real peace.

I would be grateful to God for hearing me and answering me.
I would be thankful that my prayers were effective.
I wouldn’t hesitate opening my Bible because doubt was eating away at me.
I wouldn’t question my faith, or whether I’d offended God, and no one else would either.

I would attend baby showers.
I would buy baby gifts.
I would CARE.
I wouldn’t feel so incredibly defeated.
Or so immensely sad.
Or so devastatingly stupid.
Or so cheated.

I would go to sleep with excitement on my face, knowing that in a few short hours, I’d get to see those little faces all over again, and that we’d have new adventures to share.

But,…
I’m not a mom.
And at times, I truly doubt, against my highest of hopes,
That I will ever be one.
Despite my TWO journeys towards adoption.
And my TWO corrective surgeries.
Or my five dosage changes.
And my 8 years of “trying”.
Or my thousands of dollars spent.

But man, even without the frills, what a mom I’d be.


This post is a part of my “What IF” series for National Infertility Awareness Week.  It is my hope that these words will help someone who doesn’t understand why we can’t just “let it go”, or why we “care so much” about becoming parents, will somehow begin to see where the pain lies, and empathize with the 7.4 million others who feel just as I do.  Resolve to know more about infertility, for yourself, and those around you.  We need your support and your love, and your empathy.

For more information on Infertility and Infertility Resources, check out Resolve: The National Infertility Association.

To read the other posts in this series:
A Week of What IF’s.
What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.
What IF…I Were A Mom.
What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard.
What IF…I Could Just Stop Caring About This.
What IF…Infertility Were Acknowledged.
Featured image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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