facebook

Quick and Dirty

It’s been a long while since I’ve updated so I’m making this one a quick and dirty bullet point list. Sorry, not sorry. Also, it’s basically all pregnancy stuff.

  • I am 15w2d. We are officially out on Facebook. It’s still weird having everyone know about this pregnancy.
  • I created the new blog. If you are interested in following and don’t have the link because you aren’t on Twitter or my Facebook friend, send an email to the email address on my about page. Please let me know who you are. I want my fellow infertiles to be able to follow but it’s a much more personal blog (names and pictures and stuff) and even though it’s technically public I don’t want to share the link with just any random internet person. I am not posting the link here because I don’t want to link it to this blog in any way.
  • My latest OB appointment went well. The midwife was running behind and pretty manic but she still took the time to listen to and respond to all my questions (and I had several). No ultrasound but she found a heartbeat with the Doppler right away. We shared our news on Facebook that day. The biggest thing that came out of the appointment was that I swallowed my pride and asked for a Zoloft prescription. So I’m now back on a very low dose of Zoloft.
  • I’m missing the first group appointment because of our family vacation. Which means I won’t have my next actual OB appointment until September. The midwife did ask that I do a phone consult with her before my trip. I’m really nervous about the group appointment in September. One of my biggest social anxiety triggers is coming into a group where everyone else already knows each other but nobody knows me. But there’s nothing I can do about that now.
  • I had my genetic counselor appointment last week. Long story short they aren’t terribly worried about genetic stuff. They told me a bit more about the inv9 and are going to do a blood test to confirm that I have the standard deviation that is considered benign. There was also a concern about spina bifida because my half-sister’s daughter has it, but because she’s my half-sister’s daughter and not my full niece they said my chances of having a baby with it are the same as anyone’s. I have to go in this week for the second part of the SIS blood test and that inv9 test. If anything is abnormal they’ll call me. Otherwise we wait until August 25 when I have my anatomy scan. Depending on the results of the blood tests and anatomy scan we will determine if further testing such as an amniocentesis is recommended for me. Fingers crossed it’s not.
  • I also met with a social worker but it didn’t go exactly as planned. I had scheduled to meet with the OB social worker after my genetics appointment so I didn’t have to make a second trip to the hospital. She called me that morning and left a voicemail that she was not going to be in because her kid was sick, but I hadn’t listened to the voicemail (I mistakenly thought it was something else, my bad). So when I went to the OB desk to check in and they told me she wasn’t there I was all kinds of confused. I was already feeling really raw from the genetics appointment dredging up some family stuff. They had a back up on call and they called her to come talk to me. I really felt I needed to talk to someone so I waited for her. She was nice (she usually works in L&D and NICU) but not entirely the right fit for me. I still need to call the regular OB social worker and schedule another appointment.
  • Speaking again of swallowing pride, I broke down and asked for help on Facebook last week. Thanks to that a friend of a friend is going to be driving hubby into work for the rest of this week. I still have to pick him up because of his half-day schedule but it cuts my driving in half and allows me to sleep in a bit in the mornings. We are hoping that by next week he’ll be able to drive himself. He’s had some major changes at work that I can’t discuss here but I’ve been doing my best to just be there for him and support him with everything.
  • Hubby also dropped a bomb on me that it is possible that he might get orders to another base before he has the surgery on his other foot. My understanding had always been that they were keeping him here until he’d recovered from both surgeries because we have here one of very few MTFs that do that particular procedure. So now I’m paranoid that he’s going to get orders in the fall and we’re going to PCS when I’m 7 or 8 months pregnant.

// //

Advertisements

Fatigue and Frustration

So I knew pregnancy fatigue was a thing, but I had no idea how awful it could be. Add onto that the fact that the fatigue got bad around the same time as my husband’s foot surgery and it’s been a very stressful month. I don’t know how you women with full-time jobs do it. Just taking care of me is more than enough but also taking care of him and having so little help means I am overwhelmed 24/7. I’m not sleeping well and when I am sleeping at all it’s from like 1am – 11am, intermittently. I know I said I wasn’t going to complain here but I don’t know what else to do with this feeling.

I’m getting very stressed out about Monday. My husband is supposed to go back to work. Aside from the fact that he is not really ready but his shitty clinic hasn’t even scheduled a follow-up appointment and his leave is up, the surgery was on his right foot and he’s still in a cast so he can’t drive. Which means I will have to drive him to and from work every day. At best it’s about 35 minutes in one direction, at worst it’s over an hour. So that’s 140 – 240 minutes of driving every day, mostly in shitty rush hour traffic. Can you tell I’m a little bitter about it?

I’m mostly mad at his clinic. He should have had a follow-up this week to clear him to return to duty or extend his leave. They also might have taken off the hard cast and switched it to a walking cast. I’d still have to drive him but he’d be more mobile at home. But honestly both he and I agree that he’s not really ready to go back full time right now. He still gets exhausted really quickly. Even on desk duty he’s going to wear out working full days very quickly. Which means he won’t be working efficiently and will be more prone to mistakes. We are hoping his supervisors allow him to work half days for at least the first week. He called today to talk to them about it but the office was closed early for the holiday.

My worst nightmare is him working full-time right away. Because right now he is able to help out a tiny bit around the house. And that helps so very much. But if he’s working all day he’s going to come home fucking exhausted and probably cranky. And after all the driving I’m going to be cranky. And that’s just a recipe for disaster in this house. His supervisors have been really accommodating in general (and he’s crazy lucky to be in a work center where that’s even possible) so I’m crossing my fingers that he can start with half days for a while.

In the meantime I’ve been having a really difficult time eating. It’s not nausea mostly, although sometimes it is. Food just doesn’t appeal to me most of the time. Until it does and I gorge and make myself feel really sick. This is not good for Blobby and I’m trying to keep eating at least something but the energy issue isn’t helping. I am at least taking my prenatal vitamins, so there’s that.

The really big news, however, is that my sister is also pregnant and due in January. I’ve known for a few weeks but she was very private about it so I’ve been keeping it under wraps. I’m so incredibly happy for her and excited about us having kids around the same time. My sis announced her pregnancy on Facebook last night. I was really glad she did, I want to give her some time to get all the love and attention before we announce. If everything goes well at my next appointment on the 17th I want to do it after that.

Unfortunately a relative almost ruined that and basically outed my pregnancy on Facebook. After my sister made her own post, I made a post about her pregnancy. This relative, who has known about me for over a month and probably assumed it was public by now, commented on my post about me being a mother too. Luckily I saw it right after she posted it and deleted it. The only person I know for sure saw it already knew. But she also posted something on my sister’s post that was more vague (about my dad being a grandpa twice close together). That got deleted after a while (not sure if it was her or my sis) and I’m just crossing my fingers nobody noticed. My sister’s post had so many comments (last I saw over 200 likes and over 100 comments) that it probably got lost in the shuffle. But it still makes me nervous and feel out of control. I really didn’t think this was a person I needed to warn about Facebook etiquette where pregnancy is involved and now I’m concerned I need to make sure other relatives know not to say anything about me yet. Sigh. Life on the internet is so complicated.

Privileging Parents

I mentioned on Twitter today that I was feeling like the people in my “real life” community aren’t supporting me. And that it’s especially hard when I see them seemingly bending over backwards to support others. I think that feeling would be hard regardless, but it stings especially because I feel like it’s happening because we aren’t yet parents and most people don’t yet know about this pregnancy. Allow me to explain.

When I talk about my real life community, right now I am primarily speaking of the local military community. As some of you know I used to volunteer for my husband’s squadron. I’ve worked very hard to give support to the members of his squadron and their families. So it especially stings when I don’t get the same kind back. Again, we have received some support from some lovely friends and I am totally grateful to them. But they have been few and far between.

I know I have said that when my husband first had his surgery I posted on Facebook asking if people could provide meals. Two people did. Two. One of those people reads this blog and knew I was pregnant. The other actually found out I was pregnant around that time because she was giving away all her maternity clothes and I wanted them so I told her. Although she had offered a meal before she knew that.

Today I saw a meal train thing for a woman who I don’t know who had surgery. I don’t know anything about what kind of surgery or why she had it. Just that she had surgery, would be in the hospital for a few days after, and had a kid. And the meal train was full of people bringing meals for like weeks. Including people who are my friends on Facebook who didn’t offer me a meal. And I can’t help but wonder if the disparity has to do with her having a kid. Like, here I am a woman who isn’t working or in school right now and doesn’t have kids, what possible reason could I need help cooking while taking care of my invalid husband? Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to take care of someone after surgery? Even if I wasn’t pregnant it would be significant. The feminist in me also wonders if it had to do with the fact that it was a woman having surgery, not a man, but that’s another issue.

Among middle-class married people, and especially in the military community, being a parent is privileged. It just is. Events are catered to your needs. People drop everything to help you out. I have to be honest, it hurts when someone who used to be a friend who dropped me because she couldn’t handle my depression jumps at the chance to babysit a mutual friend’s kids while her husband has minor surgery. I’m glad someone is helping my friend but damn, she couldn’t even “help” me by staying my friend on Facebook?

This post is all over the place and probably not really making my point. But I’m sad. I feel like people here don’t like me anymore. (And don’t even get me started on the people here I grew up with.) There are people who I know would gladly be doing things to help me right now but they don’t live here anymore. The other day I was having really bad back pain and having trouble just standing up. We didn’t have anything prepared for dinner. I asked for help on Facebook and the only response I got was from someone three states away wishing she was here to help. She is also someone who now knows I’m pregnant (pretty much all our close friends know now). The people who are here ignore us like we don’t need help. I can’t help but ask myself, is it because we aren’t parents?

// //

NIAW Wrap Up

I thought I’d share with you all the posts and links I’ve been sharing all week on Facebook.

Sunday April 20
Today marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). Infertility affects approximately 7.3 million people in the US alone. I am one of them. I’ll be sharing a little of my story throughout the week along with some outside resources. But it’s Easter so I thought I’d start with cats. Because cats.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/flopsie/infertility-explained-by-33-impossibly-adorable-ca-n33f

Monday April 21
Today for National Infertility Awareness Week I’m sharing some great info on infertility etiquette. I’ve heard many of the don’ts, usually from very well-meaning people. I’ve also seen at least a dozen other versions of this list by bloggers. This is a great resource to learn how best to support those with infertility.
http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family–friends/infertility-etiquette.html

Tuesday April 22
Today’s #NIAW post is brought to you by acronyms. Much like the military, the infertility (IF) community loves acronyms. Not everyone gets a diagnosis when they get tested for infertility, many people have “unexplained infertility.” I am one of the lucky ones who at least has a diagnosis: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. PCOS affects different women different ways. For me it means my hormones are wonky and I don’t always ovulate, which obviously impacts fertility. It also means that common tools like ovulation predictor tests (OPKs) don’t necessarily work for me because I have a high baseline level of the hormone (LH) they test for. And PCOS is also linked to insulin resistance and because my father is diabetic I am hyper-aware of this added risk factor to me developing type 2 diabetes. I am also lucky that so far I have not had the issue with weight that many women with PCOS struggle with, although my BMI puts me in the overweight category my doctors don’t consider my weight unhealthy at this point.
http://www.resolve.org/diagnosis-management/infertility-diagnosis/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome.html

Wednesday April 23
Today is hump day so I thought I’d give you a link for #NIAW from a comedy website before shit gets real tomorrow. But I also wanted to talk about taboo and stigma. It’s really significant that sites that Cracked and Buzzfeed are posting about infertility in recent months, because it is a topic that is so often not talked about. I decided to come out about my infertility on Facebook this week because I think we need to break the stigma. We need to be able to have the hard conversations about it. We’ve been trying to conceive for two and a half years and while I’ve spoken with several people one on one I haven’t felt comfortable going public. I am ashamed that my body doesn’t work the way it’s “supposed to.” But like my battles with depression the more I talk about it the more I know I’m not alone and the less shame I feel.
http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-surprisingly-outdated-problems-infertile-couples-face/

Thursday April 24
Let me first get this out there, this post is going to be about loss, so if that’s a trigger for you please go ahead and skip it. I’ve known for a while that it would be important for me to talk about loss during my #NIAW posts. There are a lot of different experiences when it comes to pregnancy loss and infertility. For some couples they have no problem getting pregnant but have been unable to carry to term. For others they go through expensive, invasive treatments, get pregnant, and then suffer a loss. (And some never see a positive pregnancy test and deal with a different grief.) There is no hierarchy of infertility pain. It’s all painful. What some of you know but most of you don’t is that last summer we had a pregnancy loss. The pregnancy was ectopic (tubal) and not viable but I had to take chemotherapy drugs to “resolve” it because of the risk of my tube rupturing. It took about seven weeks to fully resolve. It was, without question, the hardest thing I’ve been through in my life. And feeling like I had to hide it from most people made it even harder. It’s still really difficult to talk about and there is still a lot of grief and guilt and plenty of triggers abound. The link I’m sharing today is the blog of my friend Sarah. Sarah has been through recurrent miscarriage due to genetic abnormalities. She shared this post a couple of weeks ago and I felt like it was a list I almost could have written myself. When I was dealing with the loss, the people who did know wanted to help and I had no idea what to ask for. Now I have this and hopefully I never need it again. But it’s a resource in case any of us know someone going through the pain of pregnancy loss, regardless of their fertility status.
http://one-daybaby.blogspot.com/2014/04/so-do-i-say-sorry-first.html

Friday April 25
Today for #NIAW I’m going to talk about another uncomfortable infertility topic: money. Fertility treatment is expensive. Few insurance plans cover it and when they do they often don’t cover much. We have been lucky. Tricare has covered all the testing and treatment that we have needed up to this point. But they don’t cover everything and we are getting close to the place of having to pay for treatment out of pocket. Yet we are still lucky because [local military hospital] is one of a whopping FIVE military hospitals in the country that subsidizes IUI and IVF as part of their teaching hospital program. Even subsidized, IVF is still not really in the budget for us anytime soon so fingers crossed we don’t get to that point.
Not everyone is so lucky. A single cycle of IVF, which is not guaranteed to work, costs an average of $12,000 out of pocket in the US. How many couples do you know that can afford even one cycle at that price?
The photo I’m sharing here is of me wearing a necklace that a friend of mine custom made for me as part of her efforts to raise money for IVF. You can read more about her story here: http://crowdfundingamiracle.wordpress.com/ And you can order some of her lovely jewelry here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SoDamnCharming (She’s having a big 50% off sale right now in honor of NIAW, check it out!)

IMG_0217_neck

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday April 26
This is my last post for #NIAW. Thank you for reading, liking, commenting and generally being awesome people. I promise tomorrow I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled bitching about how stressful school is, but I reserve the right to bring the topic of infertility back up at any time.
There are about a million more points I want to make but I’m just going to hit some of the big ones here and now.
-There is this perception among some that infertiles are bitter, jealous, humorless, and angry with the world. And I definitely am sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not also happy for my friends and family when they are pregnant or that I don’t love their kids. I am and I do. But there is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in which I am happy for you and sad for me. Read the attached link. I think this blogger does a beautiful job of capturing much of that feeling.
-I do sometimes have to hide some of you from my feed. It’s not personal but every ultrasound pic, baby bump photo, pregnancy symptom complaint, and infant pic is capable of cutting like a knife. I still love you and I’m still happy for you, but sometimes I also have to protect my heart. I still check in on you when I feel strong enough.
-I was so happy this year on April Fools when not only did I not see a single fake pregnancy joke post, but several of you shared this link: http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2014/03/28/the-joke-is-over-why-i-hope-not-to-see-pretend-pregnancy-announcements-on-april-1st/ Those “jokes” are never funny.
-The infertility community is amazeballs. All this time when I haven’t felt comfortable talking to my friends and family about this stuff, I’ve found some seriously incredible friends in my computer who just get it. I wouldn’t have gotten through this time without the support of that community and for that I am crazy grateful. I try to give back to them as much as I can (I spent this morning anxiously awaiting a friend’s test results and Googling what time it was in Hawaii).
-Infertility is a part of me but it’s not all of me.
-I love you all.

http://theunexpectedtrip.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/its-not-envy-its-absence/

In the end I got a pretty good amount of response, especially on the loss post. I’m really glad I did this.

// //

Sensitivity

My whole life I’ve been told I’m too sensitive. Maybe I am, I dunno, is there such a thing? But that’s not the point.

I had a rather difficult evening and night last night. I was at the thesis show for the honors art program at my school when I found out that a guy I know, who I guess I consider a friend but it’s hard to say it’s not like we communicate outside of seeing each other on campus, had won the art competition I entered a couple of weeks ago. A lot like when friends get pregnant I was struck with immediate strong feelings of happy for him, sad for me. He wasn’t sure who had come in second, I checked my email just in case but it was just a rejection letter. No prize here. I was really disappointed. Way more so than I thought I would be. I hadn’t really expected to win (the piece I entered was figurative and they have never selected figurative work for this prize) but I was crushed. I’ve dealt with loss/rejection of art stuff before. It’s always disappointing, but for some reason this was just really bad. I was so upset I left the show before even getting a chance to say congratulations on the show to the people in the honors program that I know. Then I felt like a selfish dick

After that I had class during which I was upset and distracted the whole time. The whole damn time. I went home and cried a little to my husband and he comforted me and I thought I was better. I went upstairs to get something to eat, pulled out my phone, opened up Facebook, and saw a pregnancy announcement from the couple we went to NYC with. And I lost it. Completely and utterly lost it. Dropped my bag, threw down my phone, collapsed on the floor and started sobbing hysterically. My husband came upstairs thinking I was still upset about the art show loss. We went upstairs to snuggle in bed and I proceeded to have a complete breakdown. All the crying that hasn’t been happening over the past few months came out. Beyond ugly cry. And then I had an existential crisis about art and oh my god what if I’m not good enough, what if this isn’t the right career for me, what if I’ve made the wrong choice again? Which morphed into I’m invisible at school, nobody supports me, nobody acknowledges me or my work except for the one teacher I TA for. I just utterly lost my shit. And my poor husband tried to comfort me but kept saying things that only made it worse.

Eventually I calmed down and decided I would try to sleep. I pulled out my phone wanting to make a quick Facebook post and saw another post from our friend. Apparently the pregnancy post was a joke. The wife was logged into the husband’s account and thought it would be funny to make a post saying they were expecting.

I’m not sure if I was more angry at them/her when I thought it was real or when I learned it was a “prank.”

When I thought it was real I was upset because:
a. They’ve been married all of about seven months.
b. She’s about to go on a deployment and getting pregnant right before would be really irresponsible of her. (I’m assuming it would cancel her deployment?)
c. They didn’t tell my husband and/or I before announcing it on Facebook despite being really close to my hubby and knowing about our infertility struggles.
d. They were either announcing stupid early, like first positive test early, or they were pregnant in NYC and didn’t tell us (although now that I think about it she was drinking a lot so that wouldn’t have made sense, anyway).

When I learned it was fake I was upset because:
a. Fake pregnancy posts are fucking hurtful.
b. They can’t claim ignorance. They knew about our stuff before and she has been liking several of my National Infertility Awareness Week posts this week.

I just don’t understand how she/they could think this joke is okay, especially this week. It’s not okay. It’s not funny. It’s not “just a joke.” It’s hurtful. I’m angry. I don’t know if I should send her a private message or just leave it alone. I’m going to address the issue of fake pregnancy jokes without naming names in my last NIAW post on Saturday. Maybe that will get the point through. Or maybe some people are just so oblivious it will change nothing.

But I am NOT too fucking sensitive about this.

// //

Awareness

This week in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week I officially came out on Facebook as infertile. It was and still is scary. I’m honestly shocked by how little response I have so far gotten. I’ve gotten a small handful of likes on each post and zero comments or messages. I’m going to be posting something new each day this week about different facets of infertility. I’m extra curious to see what happens when I post about loss. Whatever, it’s not about that. I just honestly expected more of my friends and family but whatever. People suck I guess. (Did anyone else take that Buzzfeed quiz about how much you hate people? Jenn?) I am also absolutely NOT out about this blog. So if you’re my Facebook friend and read the blog, please don’t mention it. I still need this space to vent. But if you’re my Twitter friend, now that it’s private, I’ve been sharing a whole lot more about myself. The anonymity is less about you lovely people not knowing who I am and more about not wanting people who already know me to find the blog. So there’s been pictures and my name and talk about where I live on Twitter. That has been absolutely freeing.

Whatever happens I hope that my posts inspire even the smallest change in just one person. That alone would be worth it. That is why I’m posting. To increase awareness. To fight the stigma. To encourage empathy. We’ll see how it goes. At some point this week I will be posting for the blogger challenge, but I have a feeling that might not happen until Saturday.

Keep fighting the good fight, y’all.

// //

The Hardest Job

If you haven’t yet seen the video about motherhood being the hardest job, don’t watch it if you’re infertile. Just don’t.

You can, however, read this article in which the author takes issue with the video.

I posted that article yesterday on Facebook and pissed off a bunch of moms and was told it was a feminist attack on motherhood. I was not in the headspace yesterday to respond to everyone’s comments but I was this morning. This is what I wrote:

First, before anyone says it, no, I’m not a mom. So no, I can’t make a statement based on my lived experience that motherhood is or is not harder than anything else in my life.
Second, I have no doubt that it’s hard. Like incredibly indescribably hard. I can’t speak for the author but in sharing this article I was in no way trying to imply that it’s not.
I don’t agree with every single thing the author said but I’m not here to parse her words.
I don’t consider parenting, regardless of gender, to be a job because in American society it is not treated as one. There are plenty of arguments to make that it should be, and lots of feminists have made those arguments, but that’s not the point.
I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad about enjoying that video. I would imagine that as a mother seeing something like that would be incredibly reaffirming.
But what I can do is speak to the larger cultural script and my lived experience. There is a cultural script in the 21st century US, at least among middle income married couples, that privileges parenthood and especially motherhood. It is a script that is relentless. And if you are a parent you might not see it, but as someone who is not this script is hurtful.
L, one of the quotes you pulled that you took issue with is what resonated with me more than anything else the author wrote. “And I don’t appreciate messages that seem to build women up while essentially telling them that nothing they can achieve in life matters more than having babies.” Because that right there is my lived experience. That society believes nothing else I do matters because I don’t have kids.
Parenting is a hard and often thankless job, yes. We should all appreciate the sacrifices our parents made for us. But this video is over the top, manipulative, and heavy handed. And it is part of a broader cultural script that hurts those of us who aren’t moms. And I’m sick of hearing it.

// //