Chickenshit, Part 3

November 23, 2017

My non-chickenshit openness about infertility went beyond the opportunities from parts 1 and 2. Not only have I talked about it anytime it came up, but I’ve even volunteered the information when it was optional. For example, recently a woman I’d never met before at synagogue, upon meeting me and hearing that I have twins, noted that there are many sets of twins at our synagogue. I replied, “That’s because infertility is more common in the Jewish community than in most other communities.” Which neither she nor the others around us had heard before. Beyond non-chickenshit, to proactive, perhaps depending on your perspective bordering on oversharing. Maybe not. I’ll stick with proactive.

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Chickenshit, Part 2

November 22, 2017

I ended up having the exact same opportunity to educate a (different) large group of people about infertility, after Burrito and Tamale came along. And being on the other side of things, that time I took the opportunity. It was much less of a big deal than I’d imagined, and there weren’t any “how do you know so much?” questions — but if there had been, I would have been fine with answering. Those babies made all the difference. No more chickenshit.

💪

Chickenshit, Part 1

November 14, 2017

(Taking a break from catching up on bigger life events to change topics for a bit, we’ll catch up with catching up later.)

In 2008, there was a blog post I meant to write, about how chickenshit I was being around infertility. But, I was too chickenshit to write it back then.

An opportunity had presented itself to educate a large group of people about infertility. The whys, the hows, the whos, all of it. A topic I knew better than almost any other.

But it was too raw for me and I didn’t. I just didn’t. I didn’t know if I could get through it without bursting into tears. So I made a choice to protect my (already fragile) emotions and skip it. Which is not actually chickenshit, it’s wise, but it certainly felt chickenshit at the time. It felt like not only could I not make babies, I couldn’t even talk about not making babies. Even though it might genuinely benefit some listeners — based on the odds, there had to be a bunch of infertiles or future infertiles in that audience.

So I didn’t do it, and then I didn’t blog about not doing it. And that felt awful.

But the title of this post says Part 1, so you know there’s more coming.

🐔

The Return

October 23, 2017

Well, I’m back.

First, my deepest apologies for disappearing from the face of the earth for 3 1/2 years. Seriously. Really, truly. And for not even checking my blog email so that friends’ expressions of concern received no reply. Some of you checked in on me through Lori just to know that I was okay, thanks to Lori for that, and sorry to all of you for not answering directly.

There have been so many times I thought of posting about something, because now, even 8 years after the birth of Burrito and Tamale (8! unfathomable!), infertility comes up in my life all. the. time.

I have periodically lurked on the blogs of some of you. The death of Google Reader was really the beginning of the end of my ability to keep track of my bloggy friends.

As for my abrupt end to blogging, I was indeed very busy trying to juggle work and then-4-year olds and managing RA, but my last blog post exactly coincided with my medication starting to fail in April 2014. That medication worked great for a year and a half, then it suddenly didn’t, at all. Not as bad as the first onset of RA with not being able to stand or do anything whatsoever with my hands, but bad enough that I quit my beloved twice weekly yoga because I couldn’t support weight on my wrists, that I couldn’t turn doorknobs, that I couldn’t pick up children, that I sometimes couldn’t hold a fork to eat.

The replacement medicine worked a little better but never well enough — there were fewer eat-with-my-hands days but far from zero. Worse, the side effects were debilitating: I never had a migraine in my life until that second medication, then developed several per week. Blogging is tough when you can barely use your hands and can’t see straight. (After switching off that medication in 2016, I haven’t had a migraine since.)

After a couple of years of white-knuckling it (get it? knuckles?) I switched doctors from the one with the worst bedside manner in history who believed that I’d never achieve full functioning (How do I know that? Because I heard him dictate it into his note in the next room. Asshole.) to a doctor with outstanding bedside manner who is resolved to get me to a point where I can function, and who switched my medication from the ineffective yet migraine-inducing one to one that has no side effects for me and works pretty well. Well enough that I’m afraid to switch again, lest a new medication have some other horrible side effect. My joints are far from perfect, but most days I can do what I need to do. It might bother me, but I function, and people can’t tell. And there are even days when I almost forget I have RA.

Once I could finally both reliably type and see straight, too much time had passed, and it felt overwhelming to come back to an inbox full of worried messages, and I had both too much to say but so much that I couldn’t say. I finally understood what many people had been saying about not being able to tell others’ infertility stories for them. “I interacted with this person and here’s the deal with their infertility that I found interesting but which has nothing to do with me” is not a reasonable long-term blog format.

But I’m back, and I’m going to post more often (certainly more often than once every 3 1/2 years, but also more often than I did before). About infertility, yes, because it still comes up constantly, and because it deeply affects my current life, more right now than it has in years. But also about other things, about me. Frankly, disclosing about myself is very much not my strong suit in real life, and I’m even worse at expressing the deep emotions rather than only the cerebral aspects, but perhaps in expressing real emotion in blog format, I can get better at doing so in my non-blog life too.

Brevity is also not my strong suit as you have just seen, but moving forward I will try to break things down into shorter posts rather than my usual magnum opus style, fewer shorter blog posts rather than occasional huge posts. At least I’ll try.

Why now? There have been some big recent events which have spurred me to come back, finally, after all this time. You’ll hear about those in subsequent posts. Cliffhanger!

It’s so good to be back, and it’s so good to have someone to talk to again. I’ve missed you. And, even if my babies are nowhere near babies anymore, I’ve missed the Baby Smiling version of me.

❤️

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the July/August Intelligentsia.

#44: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#38: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#36: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#26: St. Elsewhere
#24: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#19: Sara from Aryanhwy

Thoughtful Thursday

I don’t pry into people’s business, almost to a fault. Perhaps because my mother was so bothered by answering even simple questions about herself, even when asked by her daughter, I don’t tend to ask people about themselves. Unfortunately, it makes many conversations rather one-sided. At the end of meeting a new person, they probably know all about me — because they’ve asked — but I know almost nothing about them — because I haven’t asked. My non-nosiness doesn’t usually do me any favors socially, as most people actually like to talk about themselves.

And so of course I never ask other people about their family building paths, even when I can speculate that their road hasn’t been easy. Tamale’s best pal is a girl named Eve. They’ve been classmates for a year and a half, so almost half their lives (and the only half that they remember). Eve has two mommies, and so it’s reasonable to assume that at least some level of special effort went into bringing her into the world. But, I’ve never asked. We’ve spent a lot of time together at playdates and school functions and school pickup/dropoff, but we’ve never gone there.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago while I was dropping Burrito and Tamale off at school, out of nowhere Eve said to me, “My mommy is trying to give me a baby.” Hmm.

And so, I went out on a limb. I was emailing her moms about something else, and knowing that they have no relatives in the city who could babysit Eve at the last minute, I added an offer. I told them what Eve had said, and just in case giving her a baby involved an RE, they’d be free to call me and drop Eve off if they ever had a last-minute appointment. That I’d spent many years “trying to give myself a baby” and that I knew how the process can involve unpredictability.

The next morning at school I saw one of the moms, the one who had given birth to Eve. She thanked me for my offer and then, on the sidewalk, we got into a long talk about IVF and inconvenient scheduling and working really hard to have a baby.

I haven’t seen them since then, and I don’t know if they’ll ever call, but I still feel good about having made the offer, about having put myself out on a limb. Infertility treatments are such a lonely process; I hope that I made them feel a little less alone.

When was the last time you put yourself out on a limb?

Time Warp Tuesday: Luck

March 13, 2013

For only the second time I’m participating in Time Warp Tuesday, run by Kathy at Four of a Kind. This week’s topic, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day: luck.

For someone who doesn’t believe in luck, I’ve written an awful lot of posts about luck. IN particular, I draw your attention to this one.

Done reading yet? I’ll wait…

Okay.

Most of the post holds up, but the part at the end about my career situation has changed. After so many stomachaches and so many stints as a bridesmaid rather than a bride in job searches, I ended up at a job that’s perfect for me, where I plan to stay long-term, in a fantastic city, where I also plan to stay long-term. I wrote the Bridesmaid post the same week that I didn’t get a dream job and DH didn’t get his beyond-his-wildest-dreams job; instead, a few months later DH landed an even better job: more money, more prestige, better work. Both of us were very lucky not to get the earlier jobs, since it meant that we were available for, and open to, the jobs that we did end up getting. Bad luck became good luck.

Similarly, I might go so far as to say that we were lucky during those 7 years of infertility, since all of the heartache and waiting brought us to our children. Bad luck became good luck.

Will our more recent bad luck — such as my RA diagnosis and our unsold money pit house — end up working out for the best? Wish me luck.

Join the Time Warp!

Thoughtful ThursdayA month ago, the New York Times photography blog posted a series of photos of a place that I am pretty sure I will never visit: the fake old west towns in Spain’s Tabernas Desert. When I go back to Spain, that is not where I want to be. I don’t even want to visit the actual old west towns that are within a few hours driving distance of me; why would I miss out on presumably limited time in Barcelona or Granada or Bilbao to go to Tabernas? The only way I can imagine would be if Burrito or Tamale becomes the world’s biggest Man With No Name fan, but even then, ugh.

Seeing those photos was a bit of a revelation because mostly, there is nowhere that is off my travel list. I have been lots and lots of places, including a few quite rarely visited, and there are a hundred others that I would like to visit. Even those that I’m not rushing to visit are all still possibilities. Australia? As soon as possible. Afghanistan? I hear it was amazing once; hopefully someday it will return to glory. Antarctica? Maybe… penguins are awfully cute.

My other lists in life aren’t quite as limitless as my travel possibilities, but still pretty big. I will never be the president, thank goodness, but it’s not impossible that I could gain wide recognition someday. I will never climb Mt. Everest, and I’m 100% fine with that, but I have climbed a mountain before and can’t rule out another one. But with my recent illness (which still hasn’t been sorted out, by the way), the possibility of true limits has descended. I saw a photo of the mountain that’s next to the one that I climbed in my youth, and instead of, “maybe I will climb that with Burrito and Tamale someday,” my thought was, “I can’t even climb a set of stairs right now; I will never scale anything again.” I don’t plan to run any marathons, but half-marathons have always been a possibility; suddenly when I got sick, walking became a big deal.

We plan not to have more children: DH doesn’t want to go beyond the twins, and most of the time I agree; even if we wanted more children, it would take herculean treatment efforts that would probably fail and cost us six figures and break our hearts. We’re done. It’s something I’ve accepted. But, getting sick made it feel like choice was no longer a consideration. I would forever be absent from the RE’s waiting room not because I chose never to return, but because my body had banned me for life.

At this point, with my health issues not yet resolved, I truly don’t know whether my pre-illness life possibilities remain true or whether a bunch of things have been permanently crossed off the list. Whatever happens, this crisis has cemented the fact that any mountains I climb or marathons I run will be accompanied by two children, but not three.

What have you already eliminated from your life list? Which items have you accepted willingly vs. regretfully?