April 28, 2009

Facebook plans

Posted in TTC woes at 10:12 am by Erin

I've been ringing in National Infertility Awareness Week by making all my Facebook updates related to infertility.  Yesterday, I said that "Telling an infertile person to "just relax" won't help.  Relaxing won't cure PCOS, endometriosis, azoospermia, etc. that cause infertility."  (I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to go to FB and cut and paste my actual updates.)  Lots of lovely comments–including one from Tertia (am I allowed to feel giddy about that?).  One of my friends commented that he had a corollary–telling someone that they're sure to get pregnant now that they've adopted is only hurtful and stupid.  Thank goodness for smart and understanding friends!

Today's status update was something like "People don't adopt in order to get pregnant; adoption does not cure infertility, it cures childlessness.  People who adopt do it to become parents, not to get pregnant."  A neighbor commented that "Everything happens for a reason" and said that my boys are very special.

Want to know what tomorrow's status update is going to be?  "Infertility does not "happen for a reason".  Infertility is not a punishment for being a bad person (just as fertility is not a reward for being a good person), nor is it G-d's way of leading a person to adoption.  It is a medical condition.  Would you tell a cancer patient that "cancer happens for a reason"?"

It takes a lot to get me pissed off the way I feel right now but by damn, she's done it.  She already announced her pregnancy with her second child at about 5-6 weeks along after repeatedly telling me that she didn't want any more children.  Want to know when I heard that one?  About a week after last year's miscarriage.  That was a hard one to take, especially since I was in a room full of people at the time.  I left my family there, walked back to my house, and cried for a good 10 minutes.

Should I tell her that perhaps her mastitis is "happening for a reason"?  Maybe she just wasn't meant to breastfeed.  Would that get her to figure out how hurtful it is for her to say something like that?

I hope she realizes how incredibly insensitive that is.  And I wonder if she will, or if she'll just think I'm overreacting.  Feel free to add many, many, many comments to that one tomorrow (and if we're not FB friends but you've commented before, just e-mail me at pcosbaby AT gmail dot com and I'll tell you how to find me).

But I am the lucky one

Posted in TTC woes at 7:21 am by Erin

I guess I mostly feel resigned over the latest chemical pregnancy.  Disappointed, yes, but not devastated.  While I'd allowed myself to get hopeful to a certain extent, I kept trying to squash it down–it was protective and I think it worked reasonably well.  After all, my record now stands at 2 confirmed pregnancies (1 son born healthy at 37w4d, 1 miscarriage around 7 weeks) and 3 chemical pregnancies in a total of 5 1/2 years of trying.  Not such great statistics, though that first healthy live birth keeps me going.  Disappointment isn't fun but it's certainly not the first time.

The way I woke up this morning helps, though.  I woke up horribly uncomfortable–shoved to the edge of the bed (we have a waterbed and there are hard sides with a bumper on top), no room to move, cramping, etc.  I turned my head and realized it was 2 1/2 year old K, who must have crawled into our bed at some point last night.  I tried to move him over but he threw his arm over my neck, kissed the tip of my nose, and smiled at me–all without opening his eyes–before starting to snore again.  I'm pretty sure I melted into a big pile of goo, and just lay there staring at him for the next 10 minutes.  I am most certainly blessed with the world's sweetest children.

April 27, 2009

Things that are not fair

Posted in TTC woes at 6:38 am by Erin

1. Having a luteal phase that is 17 days long when my normal is 12-13.

2. Having the same signs of pregnancy for the last 5 days of it that I had at the same point with P.

3. Not spotting until 16dpo when I normally start spotting at 9dpo.

4. Knowing that April has, historically, been a good month for us fertility-wise: I found out that I was pregnant with P in April 2003 and got pregnant last year in April (even though I didn't know it until I miscarried in May).

5. Not testing yet because I was afraid to jinx it.

6. Starting to spot a little yesterday, which led to massive cramping and bleeding today.

7. Knowing that I just had my third chemical pregnancy.

8. Being reminded so strongly of my own infertility at the beginning of National Infertility Awareness Week.

April 24, 2009

I have no idea what’s going on lately

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:51 am by Erin

I feel like I'm walking around in a fog.  Not an unhappy fog; on the contrary, I feel stupid and yet happy.  Little things are passing me by.  Did you know, for example, that it is already April 24th?  That's almost May.  J and I are supposed to go to Costa Rica for our 10th anniversary in June.  Ask me if I've even started planning the trip, beyond picking dates and asking my ILs if they'll watch the kids.  Ask me if I've gotten my passport renewed, since it expired a month ago.  Go on, ask away…but I'll bet you don't need to.

Our readoption hearing for K was rescheduled from Monday because the judge's assistant was too busy to read our paperwork until the Friday before the hearing.  Have I called her to reschedule?  No.  At first it was because I was angry with her for scheduling it 2 months ago and then rescheduling it at the last minute, but now it just keeps slipping my mind.

Ask me if I've gotten the forms to get P registered for kindergarten yet.  He gets registered 2 weeks from yesterday.  Have I called the pediatrician's office yet?  Have I found out about any open houses yet?  Not a whit.  Actually, I think I may just be in denial that my oldest baby is starting kindergarten.

I was brilliant this semester and had students turn in their research papers a month before the end of the semester.  The semester ends in 10 days.  Guess what I've just started grading?  Guess how many tests I gave this week that also need to be graded?  Three!  Three tests and a pile of research papers!  Not to mention writing finals and grading lab reports and all other things.  Am I working on them now?  No, I'm blogging.  I seriously have this mental block about everything teaching related right now.  I keep reminding myself that it all gets done somehow at the end of the semester, therefore it will all get done.  But I can't seem to connect the fact that it all gets done with the fact that I GET it all done.  It doesn't get done without my help.

I hope to break through it this weekend.  But it's going to be gorgeous outside, we have lots of plans, and my garden is simply begging to be planted more extensively.  I guess I'll just stay in my happy little fog until it breaks!

April 19, 2009

What I did while I was sick: 10-10-10

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:10 am by Erin

Thankfully, the wonderful women at Mom Central sent me a copy of Suzy Welch's new book 10-10-10  for my reading and blogging enjoyment!  It was billed as "A Life-Transforming Idea" on the cover, which seemed ideal for me personally and us as a family since we may be dealing with some life-transforming events soon.

The book is about the concept of taking decisions and applying a 10-10-10 rubric to them: the consequences of the decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years.  The times, as Suzy Welch points out, are mostly flexible–what will be the consequences in the near future, the intermediate future, and the far future.  This is something I struggle with frequently.  I usually make decisions based on either my gut instincts or my past experiences.  While those aren't bad, they don't always have the intended results after they've played themselves out.

I will admit that at first, I was a little put-off by the book.  The first few chapters talk about several women (Suzy Welch included) who made 10-10-10 decisions that showed them that their professional careers were in direct conflict with their mothering, so they made decisions to change careers or stop working entirely in order to be there for their kids.  I WOHM full-time for 8 months a year, and there is definitely a lot of guilt associated with that when I miss things.  For the other 4 months a year, I am a SAHM but feel some guilt that I'm not bringing in money (especially when finances are difficult).  Since J is not working right now and I am the only source of income for the family, reading that 10-10-10 always led to the decision to cut back on working wasn't making me too happy.

I'm really glad to admit that I was wrong about the tone of the book and that I kept reading.  Mrs. Welch points out later that 10-10-10 doesn't always mean giving up your career and putting it second, but it did show that there are consequences to doing all of them.  THAT I knew.  You CAN'T have it all, and there are a lot of decisions to be made that go along with trying to work and mother.  Since I struggle with having to work sometimes when I would much rather be with the family, it helped me see that while I'll feel guilt in 10 minutes about making the decision to finish some work, in 10 months or 10 years, my kids will remember more that I was around for them the overwhelming majority of the time during their childhood and that the rare occasion (very rare, maybe once every month or two) when I get home after they go to bed will be forgotten.  It also helped me see that since they're with J during that time, they'll also have memories of fun times when Daddy took them out to McDonald's or Cici's during "Guy Time" that Mama doesn't want to do.  In short, when I 10-10-10 the decision (hypothetically, since I was too sick to work late last week even if I'd wanted to), the only part that has negative consequences is the short-term guilt I feel.  But the short-term consequence of not getting the work done sometimes means that I will be paying for a week in terms of sleep-deprivation and feeling stressed and overwhelmed with work.

I also learned some really good ways to apply it to our marriage.  J and I have our 10th anniversary coming up in 2 months, and we've got his parents coming to our house to watch the kids for 5 days while we go to Costa Rica.  I've had some very mixed feelings about doing this: leaving the kids for the first time and leaving them with my ILs, primarily so I decided to 10-10-10 the whole thing.

If we leave the kids for 5 days, I'll feel a lot of short-term guilt.  K has been very clingy with me lately and I worry that this will damage his trust in me.  I don't think it will but it might.  But I'll also feel happy about having a fun vacation with my husband, about the two of us getting away together in a way that we haven't since our honeymoon.  We've never left the kids for more than a night before, which probably plays into my guilt–not KNOWING how they'll do.  In 10 months, they might or might not remember it.  P will remember it but I'm not actually worried about P's reaction–he's old enough to know that we'll be back, and he's excited about his grandparents coming.  K might remember it and we might still be dealing with repercussions to our having left.  But J and I will have had a lot of fun and be stronger in our marriage for having had some time to focus on just each other.  We'll also know how the kids will have reacted to it.  In 10 years J and I will still have memories of having had a wonderful vacation, the kids will have forgotten it, and hopefully we'll be planning a trip to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

In terms of my ILs coming, it's mostly that they have some different views from us.  In 10 minutes, I'll still be slightly uncomfortable with the decision.  I'll know that things will be different while they're here, that our rules will be suspended, that the kids won't be eating the things that I like them to eat, that they may say some things that we're not thrilled with them saying.  I'm comforted that they'll be at our house, though, with their own beds and toys and friends.  In 10 months the kids will have had a great time having "grandparents' rules" and playing together.  My ILs will love that they got to spend a full week with the kids, which they've wanted to do since P was small, and they'll all have good memories of the week.  The kids will have been with J and I the rest of the time; in fact, they'll have another 6 weeks with me home with them full-time to get used to the rules of the house again.  There may be some adjustment again after we get home, but it will quickly go back to normal.  And the 10 year point really doesn't matter after that!

So I've already put 10-10-10 to use in several ways.  While the decisions to do those things had already been made, using 10-10-10 put them in perspective and allowed me to focus on some of the longer-term benefits that there would be, even if I felt short-term discomfort.  It actually took away some of the discomfort over the decisions to look at them in a longer time frame.

The book was very good at giving lots of practical examples of 10-10-10 in use, which I appreciated very much.  I also appreciated that not all of the decisions that are made end up the same way.  For example, I chose my career in college teaching based partly on wanting to be home a lot with my kids–but I still sometimes make decisions with my job that take time away from my family.  The book helped put those values into place in my decision-making.  Do I choose to work over the summers?  No, I want that time home with my kids.  Do I choose to take evening classes sometimes?  Yes, because it's part of my responsibility as a community college professor.  They aren't contradictory but they are about making choices.  In 10 years, I hope my kids will look back and see that their mama was there for them and that she also has a successful career that she loves.  That's how I look back on my mom, after all.

10-10-10 helped me remember that taking a little extra time to make a decision may be very useful to making a good decision, one that is well supported and stands up to arguments.  I can imagine that I'll probably be using this technique in the future for all sorts of decisions, from the right time to pursue IVF to my job responsibilities to my children's actions as they grow.  Thanks again to Mom Central and Suzy Welch for giving me the opportunity to read and review the book!

April 15, 2009

Strep throat

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:58 am by Erin

Urgh.  I had forgotten how miserable strep throat is.  I spent all day yesterday either exhausted or feeling like I'd been hit by a bus, or both.  I didn't remember all the achiness that went with strep.  I had a fever most of the day.  Ty.lenol took care of the fever and a lot of the achiness, thankfully.  I went to the dr first thing this morning to get my antibiotics and hope to be feeling much better soon.

According to the PA, my throat "looks horrible.  Horrible, horrible, horrible."  And that's a direct quote.

Later, I will take the kids to the dr since they're both complaining, and J will go to the dr.  Maybe then our family will be less grumpy.

April 14, 2009

So freaking tired

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:50 am by Erin

I am so exhausted and I'm not sure why.  It's probably just from bad sleep over the last couple of days.  But I'm so tired that I actually laid down on my office floor a little while ago–if I could have fallen asleep, I would have.  My eyes tear up every time I yawn.  My class doesn't start for 2 hours, but then goes for almost 3 hours.  I'm going to fall asleep while looking into a microscope, I know it.

I was going to say I don't know when the last time was that I was so tired, but then I figured it out.  I get this tired while pregnant…both of my confirmed pregnancies have left me so tired that I couldn't function.  But since I only ovulated 2 days ago, and I'm not entirely sure I actually did ovulate then, it's just wishful thinking that that could be the reason.  Alas.

This is the kind of tiredness that makes you worry about driving home.  That makes you worry about having to do any sort of work involving thinking.  That makes you worry that you'll slam a finger in a drawer because you simply can't make your brain work fast enough to pull it out in time (I actually did that once).  I have no idea how I'm going to make it through the rest of the day, then to our plans tonight after work.

I wish I were a better napper.  I could so easily curl up on my floor and sleep.  I wish I drank coffee so that I could have a hit of caffeine.  I desperately need it.  Any suggestions?