Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If I Yawn One More Time...

I am currently in graduate school. After this semester, I have one independent study class to complete in order to finish my master's degree. I plan to do this final course over the summer and officially graduate in June or July. It would seem that I am in the final, home stretch, but I'm not. After the degree is finished, I still need to complete a certification, which requires: 3 additional courses, a portfolio, a practicum, and a national exam. This should take me another year.

This week I am feeling quite overwhelmed (and hence, quite absent from the blogging world). Two weeks ago, I decided to try the low-dose anti-depressant that Dr. C. prescribed for me. It was a battle. The prescription sat on my counter for a few weeks before I finally decided to give it a try. I must say that my depression has subsided a bit (though it might be a little too early to tell), but I am feeling extremely tired. I yawn like crazy. It is quite ridiculous. It is the kind of yawning that makes me wonder how on earth my jaw is still in place, because it totally takes over my body. I had to tell my teacher tonight about the side effect for fear that she would think I was disinterested in her class. It's a good thing I don't make noise when I yawn. That would be a nightmare.

I am also having difficulty with my ability to focus, especially when doing my homework. Even reading is hard for me, and I love to read and usually don't mind reading a textbook. I have forgotten little things, too, and it is making life annoying right now. I am having a hard time remembering what day it even is.

I have a screwy appetite, too. I didn't even eat until 4:45pm today. Anything that requires effort is unappealing to eat---that means pulling the lid off of a yogurt. Too much effort. However, after getting home around 8:30pm tonight, I decided I was ready to eat something more.

It was a hard day. I slept until 11:30am and was late for work. I missed a meeting. Class was long. I screwed up some assessment test homework. I yawned a million times. But at least I can pick myself up off the ground.

And right now, Mr. M. just got home with a chocolate milkshake for me. He is the best.

---Mrs. M.

Monday, March 26, 2012


My half-sister just had her 11th baby on Friday. ELEVENTH. I'm not sure how that happens, but it did.

She didn't tell many people that she was pregnant again because she wanted to avoid unwanted comments. I understand this. Even when someone has 11 children, it is still an intimate decision between husband and wife. It isn't entirely the same, but I don't like it when people comment on my lack of children. However, it makes me wonder how my half-sister, with whom I share DNA, got such fertility genes, while I can't even manage to have one baby.

Anyway, I'm not too upset about it. She is much older than me (her oldest child is only 5 years younger than me) and lives in a different state, so we aren't super close.

One of her daughters (my half-niece) has been pregnant 4 times in the last 3 years. THIS bothers me. I think she is 20 years old.

How does this happen?

---Mrs. M.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Best Friend Say What?

Elle and Mr. Elle cutting their cake.

I have a best friend, and I'll call her Elle. Elle had a baby last spring--her first baby. Two weeks after the baby was born, I flew across the country to help her with him. We had a great time, and it was nice to see her and hold a tiny baby. That was almost a year ago.

In January, Mr. M. and I flew across the country to visit Elle and her family again. At one point, Elle and I were in the car together--alone, finally.

As we went through the Subway drive-thru (because apparently, Subway has a drive-thru out west), she brought up the subject of infertility (specifically mine and Mr. M.'s). As she handed her credit card through the window, she turned to me, and nonchalantly asked, "Are you even trying right now?"

At that moment, a flood of thoughts and emotions went through my mind. For Elle, "trying" to have a baby took one month. No waiting required. Not even one negative pregnancy test. Did she think that because I wasn't pregnant, I must not really be "trying?" I know that she isn't that naive, but the question caught me off guard.

All I could manage to dejectedly answer was, "Well, right now, I'm just trying to pay off my $2,000 blood work bill. When I'm done with that, I'll start saving for the next appointment."

And with that, the conversation was done. Not done because I put her in her place. Not done because she finally understood, but done because we got a distraction in the form of our ham-and-provolone-on-wheat subs and drove home.

Apparently, if I am not forking over thousands of dollars on a monthly basis, I'm not really "trying."

---Mrs. M.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sleep Is A Good Thing

When my nephew was born, Mr. M and I went to visit my sister and help her with her newborn baby. When the baby cried during the night, I got up and helped her so that she could get some sleep, too. It was hard. Especially since I have traditionally not been an early riser. I like my sleep.

So today, I am grateful for sleep. I get it. People with little kids don't. Of course I would trade it for a kid, but I am grateful for it anyway. In fact, I need a nap right now. It has been a rough week!

---Mrs. M.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Girl Scout Cookies

Remember that weekend I had not so long ago? Well, what I didn't tell you was that I could tell it was going to be one of those weekends on Saturday at noon. How did I know?

I had some boxes of GS cookies waiting to be sensibly rationed over a long period of time. Just sitting there. In my pantry. I had even figured out the Weight Watchers points before opening the boxes. On Saturday afternoon, however, I opened a box. And I ate. And ate. And opened another box. And ate. 

The feeding frenzy did not stop until I went to bed on Sunday night. And GS cookies weren't the only thing I ate. I went to a buffet. I made more pizza. I baked some french fries. I drank lots of soda (I rarely do this. Really.). It was ridiculous. 

I can happily say, though, that I ate so many cookies (and other junk food), that I don't feel like eating at all right now. So, perhaps my depressive whirlwind of a weekend is out of my system. 

Why can't I overdo it on broccoli and green peas? Oh, yeah, because I don't LIKE those things.

Thank goodness those cookies only come around once a year.

---Mrs. M.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dr. C.

Warning: I wrote this post a few hours after meeting with Dr. C. I was not feeling my best emotionally or physically that day, and I believe my thoughts were a little dramatic. I do think, however, it is valuable for me to post this. Sometimes in the throes of infertility, the intense emotions we express can get the better of us. In being true to myself and depicting the real feelings I experienced, I have decided to post it. It doesn't do anyone any good (especially myself) to portray dealing with infertility as always a positive and rational experience. 

Dr. C. is not my favorite person. He is a psychiatrist. He is not a psychologist. There is a difference. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are able to prescribe medication. Psychologists have Ph.Ds in Psychology and are usually employed as counselors, therapists, etc. Dr. C. is most certainly a psychiatrist.

The first time I met with him, for an intake interview about the possibility of starting a low-dose anti-depressant, he seemed rather impersonal. In fact, he expected me to come up with the answers AND the questions to illicit those answers. He didn't do much to keep the interview going. It was a good day for me, so I decided to help him out by talking more and anticipating his questions.

This time, I was to meet with him for 15 minutes to tell him what I thought about the possibility of taking medication, since I was somewhere in the middle (between not needing medication and needing it---so helpful, right?). I sit down and Dr. C. doesn't say anything. He just stares at me with giant frog eyes.

So I stare back.

He then asks, rather awkwardly, "so....?" I finally tell him that I am apprehensive about taking the medication because I want to get pregnant and I should probably not be taking medication when pregnant (birth defects, etc.). He tells me there is no good evidence to show that there is a problem with taking medication while pregnant (...did you even read the side effects tab to that particular medication?). He states that millions of women have taken it while pregnant. I rebuttal with a "Millions of women who don't have a hard time getting pregnant." He then states, like I am the dumbest girl in the world, that that "isn't true, since infertility is such a common problem."

I give him the look of death.

It was at this point that I wanted to smack him, and smack him hard. He acts like this is no bid deal---that infertility is so common, and that being pregnant is the unusual case. Dr. C. is no Mr. Sensitivity. I start sobbing in the chair, telling him that I may finally have the opportunity to start fertility treatments again, and I don't want to jeopardize my chances with this medication.

It was the longest 10 minutes of my life, because there was no way I was going to keep up the conversation, by myself, for 15. At the end, as he is writing a script for the medication, he asks what fertility treatments I will be trying soon.

REALLY? You barely talk to me, make insensitive comments about my insecurities with your medication you haven't even personally told me about, and then want to know intimate, medical information not related to the medication you are prescribing for me?

The only thing I can think of that may redeem him in some small, small way would be if he was dealing with infertility, too. I did see him play with his wedding band when the topic of infertility was discussed. So, unless he was trying to get info from me about how to proceed with his own issue, I'm pretty sure I will loathe every time I have to see that man. I guess it doesn't matter whether he has infertility issues or not, though, since he can't seem to carry a conversation with a client for 15 minutes.

Thank goodness for psychologists. They have souls.

In hindsight, as I read this, I am a little embarrassed by my complaints. And especially that I implied psychiatrists don't have souls (hello, dramatic!). I know psychiatrists who are kind, lovely people. I also know psychologists who are mean-spirited and unaccepting. I won't make any excuses for Dr. C.'s lack of people skills, but I will say that I don't "loathe" him (just being with him). Either way, I think it is normal to have intense reactions towards emotionally charged situations. I am grateful I have the good sense to vent in less destructive ways.

UPDATE: I met with my psychologist/counselor (the pregnant one), and I relayed this experience to her. She told me that she knows Dr. C. doesn't have any children, and perhaps he felt infertility was "common" because he has experienced it, too. She definitely agrees about the social skills, though.

---Mrs. M.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Don't Have to Be Friends With Everyone

I am learning something important: I don't have to be friends with everyone.

I listened to a webinar this week about running counseling groups for girls in a K-12 setting. The presenter was Julia V. Taylor, and she stated that as girls get older, they don't learn how to socialize well with one another. In elementary school, it is sometimes customary to invite everyone from your class to your birthday party. However, as time passes, girls create closer friendships with others and not being invited to the birthday party or sleepover causes hurt feelings. Sometimes instead of talking about these feelings, girls talk about each other. We are expected to be nice, and sometimes this is difficult if we don't really like others (as we are expected to).

In my own life, I have felt that it is necessary for me to try to be friends with everyone. My philosophy is that "everyone needs a friend." I stand by that mantra. However, I don't always have to be that friend. 

There is a woman who I met at church (which is where I feel especially pressured to be friends with everyone) who I am having a difficult time liking. On paper, it seems like we could be great friends: same church, similar undergraduate experiences, artistic and musical interests, same values, both married. However, something is not clicking. At all. 

At first I thought it was her pregnancy. She was very pregnant and not even married for a full year yet. She flaunted it. She complained about it. She made a spectacle of herself and how "miserable" she was. Then she had the baby and I thought, "Great! She can stop, and we can be friends." Not so. She made comments about her "superhuman" qualities for giving birth without an epidural and complained about her baby (crying, not sleeping, having a faux-hawk at only 2 weeks old).

It was too much for me and I did the ultimate friend-cleansing ritual: I blocked her from my facebook feed (so significant, right?). I also stopped going to an activity that she helps to run because I can't take the baby-ness. Mr. M still goes, and that is fine with me. I just know where my emotional limits are.

I also still see her at church where I am friendly in every way, and I don't feel guilty. I feel relieved. I have wanted to be friends for 8 months, but mostly because my feelings for her were negative and I didn't want to feel that way. However, I now feel quite freed. She can be herself, and I can be myself, and it is OK. 

Goodbye, Baby-Flaunter. 

---Mrs. M.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Rough Weekend

This past weekend started out well, with some homemade pizza and a movie on the couch on Friday evening. On Saturday, though, things got worse, and by Sunday, out of control.

I could feel myself loosing control of my emotions on Saturday afternoon, so Mr. M. took me out to dinner ar a local resort's restaurant. We then went to see a movie at a cheap theater, and I had a good time. When we got home, there was a message on the answering machine asking me to teach the lesson in church the next day. I got the message well after 9pm, and church starts at 9am. I immediately became so stressed it was ridiculous. Luckily, Mr. M. called the person back and discovered that the lesson was already taken care of. However, the night was then shot. All I could think about was how I don't have any kids (crazy process of thought, I know). I had thoughts like, "If I had kids, would she still be calling me at the last minute to do this? Does she call me because I must have a bunch of free time?" To be quite honest, this probably wasn't one of the reasons I got called (since I teach on the third Sunday of every month), but that's where my mind went.

This then escalated to how I don't want to go to Mr. M.'s family reunion this summer because I don't want to be around all my brothers and sisters-in-law who have kids (this, too, is a little irrational since I am normally looking forward to the reunion). I do get sad sometimes about being around all those people and not really fitting in. I just try to be the crazy, favorite aunt so that I am good for something. I've got the "crazy" part down, but I have a little competition from my other sister-in-law for "favorite."

Anyway, I guess it just makes me a little insane how much this can debilitate me. The key is to learn how to live with this and not let it upset me so much. I have a few other issues to work through, too, but I know I can only do one thing at a time.

Thanks for giving me the space to right my thoughts, even though they weren't super uplifting.

---Mrs. M.

Friday, March 9, 2012

You're So Young

I have been dealing with infertility for well over three years now. Because I am in my late twenties and also in graduate school, I often have people say to me, "You're so young! You have plenty of time for kids!"

I hate this.

I know that all around the world people get married much later in life than they used to. Women have careers and couples wait to have children much more than they did in the 50s. My grandmother got married at the age of 17--this rarely happens nowadays (and aren't we all rightfully aghast when it does happen?). However, I have been married for almost six years, and the last time I checked, infertility gets worse with age.

So the comment about me being "so young?"

Not. Helping.

Has anyone ever said this to you? How do you respond?

---Mrs. M.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In This Economy

Cutting up that credit card. Penny-pinching in this economy is hard enough without incurring more debt
 (or children, according to some).

This past weekend, a friend from graduate school called to schedule a time to meet about an assignment. This woman is lovely. She has two kids of her own, and after an abusive marriage of 20+ years, she left her husband several months ago. Times are rough with her working 3 jobs and taking night classes. Right now, she is very stressed about her many responsibilities, and rightfully so. As we were talking, she expressed feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of buying a house. The conversation was about her the whole time (which I was fine with), until the following exchange:

Classmate: "I know you want kids, but in this economy....maybe you should be counting your blessings that you don't have any."

Me: Silence.

Classmate: "You know? this economy...count your blessings..."

Me: Silence. "Well, just keep doing your best, and you will make it. School can be rough."

Let it be known: I would rather have kids and be poor than not have kids and be rich. Right now, I neither have kids, nor am I rich. Talk about your hands being tied! I want kids. For me, I need to have money to pursue that route, as infertility treatments are ex-pen-sive! However, I have no money. Really. Mr. M. & I are in school, and he has been unemployed for well over a year (he JUST got a new job).

No Money = No Treatments = No Children.

I told Mr. M that the conversation was a little crazy to me because it wasn't as if I wanted to buy a brand new car "in this economy." I want to have children--I want a family. This is my future, not a means of transportation.

When I told Mr. M  this, he stated that "some people have it so backwards." He meant that some people think it is only good to have kids after finding massive financial security. Let me tell you--I will probably never have total financial security. As soon as I feel like I have a little money set aside for emergencies, an emergency happens--surgery, car repairs, travel to a funeral. There is never a "good financial time" to have a baby, because you will always find something else to spend your money on.

I get it, Classmate---you are stressed. You need to provide for your children. You need to be physically and emotionally present for them. It would be easier for you if you were a twenty-something college student with no children, but please do not mistake what would be easier for you with what would be easier for me. They are not the same, and that's ok.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Parking Rebel

Have you seen these parking signs? They have them at the grocery store where we get our prescriptions. The sign there also includes "new mothers" as those allowed to park in those exclusive spots (hey---what about new fathers?).

I don't like to be excluded from things because we can't get pregnant, so I break the "rules." Normally, I would not do something like this---I've never even been pulled over (yet). I am not a rule-breaker. I don't even cut in lines. Not even when a friend is "saving my spot." But last Friday, I did it. I parked in that spot. I was quite the rebel.

Then, while I was in the store, I saw a pregnant woman and then right after, a woman with a baby carrier in her cart. And you know what? I should have felt guilty. I should have committed to never do that again because there were people who needed that spot. Instead, though, the thought running through my mind was: "Ha-Ha, SUCKERS!"

I need some serious help.

Friday, March 2, 2012

25 Years

Sometimes I feel like this tree: alone and barren, while everything else glows around me. But I can still enjoy the sunset.

I heard a story six months ago about a man and woman who could not have children on their own. In fact, they couldn't have children at all. Finally, after 25 years of marriage, the couple adopted a two-year-old. Shortly thereafter, they adopted an infant. The story continued, stating that when the husband and wife are in public with their children, others often ask, "Are these your grandchildren?" Of course, the couple laughs and says, "Oh, no--these are our children."

When I first heard this story, I thought to myself, "25 years!? That is NOT a comforting story. I don't want to be mistaken for my child's grandmother!" When dealing with infertility, it is sometimes difficult to remain hopeful. I have tried to remain optimistic about my chances of having a baby, but in the throes of infertility, it can be hard. Hearing about a couple who had to wait until they were in their fifties to have children adds to my feeling of defeat.

In speaking with a church member about this story, he told me that he knew the man in the story personally while they were about 20 years old. He never knew that the man and his wife had struggled with infertility, but he told me that for them, it must have seemed like all hope was gone. But it wasn't. Their roles as parents in this life were delayed, but not lost.

I still don't think that this is a comforting story, but it is a story that puts some things in perspective, like patience. What did they do with their lives those long, 25 years? I am sure they experienced much sadness, but I believe they still went about doing good and leading fulfilling lives. I want to do that. What if I never do have a baby? What if I don't have the opportunity to adopt? I can't sit at home for the rest of my life, crying over what I "should have had" but never got. I think it is ok to be sad. And to experience grief and truly mourn the losses that come with infertility. But after awhile, I am going to have to choose to be happy--happy with the life I have been given, and happy with what I choose to do with it.

And I hope it doesn't take me 25 years to do just that.

---Mrs. M.