friends

Babies and Bellies and Meltdowns Oh My!

Today was a rough one. I knew it would be even last night when I couldn’t sleep despite my body feeling exhausted and I tossed and turned because my brain would not shut off. I almost stayed home from my plans today. Maybe I should have.

You should know that I have pretty bad social anxiety. The extent to which it affects me varies. Sometimes I’m anxious for a while but then I get comfortable and do fine. Sometimes I leave an event early in tears. Guess which one today was.

I do volunteer work for my husband’s squadron. The work primarily involves working with/supporting the other spouses in the squadron. I started doing it in part as a way to help me meet people and deal with the social anxiety. But, and here is a big but, when I have to attend a large event full of spouses like the one today, my husband is usually with me to act as a social buffer. He not only knows many of the people who are strangers to me, he is also an extrovert who is happy to strike up conversations. But of course he couldn’t be there today because he is out of town. Had I not been attending as a representative of the volunteer program I would have simply stayed home from the event all-together. But I had an obligation to my team and I didn’t want to let them down.

I arrived at the start of the event in part because I know how parking gets and I wanted to get a good spot. I walked up to the outdoor pavilion where it was being held and saw that there wasn’t a single person there who I knew well enough to talk to or sit with. I sat down at the corner of a table for a moment feeling like the nerdy kid in the cafeteria who has to sit by herself. I walked away to an area near the entrance and texted my team asking if they would mind if I just went home. I fought back tears. But one of them was just arriving pretty much at that moment and so I waited for her and then joined her and her kiddos at the bouncy house. I had another moment where I almost cried and she gave me a big hug. I can’t quite put my finger on why I was so near tears at that point, I just know I was feeling very raw.

We then ventured into the pavilion to find a seat only to discover it was nearly full. She suggested sitting at a table with three ladies who we didn’t know and I said no. I had seen those three arrive and one of them was very pregnant. So we found another seat and I started to realize just how surrounded I was by babies and pregnant women. The babies were pretty much all really small, like still counting their age in weeks, infants. And the pregnant women were all obviously in their third trimester. I became increasingly uncomfortable.

The other members of our team arrived and people kept asking me if I was okay and I kept fighting back tears and telling everyone I was fine. At one point I finally admitted that I might need to just leave. Then one of my team-members/friends looked at me and realized I was on the verge of tears. She suggested we go take a walk. We walked a little ways away and found an empty table to sit down. I pulled a handkerchief out of my purse and fought to not sob. There was no point in fighting the tears entirely, they were just there, but I didn’t want to totally lose it in public. She and I talked about why I was upset. I explained about the social anxiety, especially with my hubby not there, and the pregnant women and babies. Oh, this friend happens to be 8 months pregnant. BUT she knows what’s going on with us and she is awesome and supportive. She’s been there before with her best friend who dealt with years of infertility and is now 8 months pregnant with twins. We talked for a while and then I left the event.

I felt/feel bad and like I let down my team but I was in no place to schmooze spouses today. And they are all really supportive and totally fine with me taking care of myself and leaving. I just wish I wasn’t so sensitive. I wish I wasn’t always the one people have to prop up. I wish I could attend an event full of happy military families and be happy to be there and not resentful of all the young wives with their beautiful babies and bellies.

// //

Advertisements

Really?

I found out tonight that another woman I know is pregnant. Another woman from base who I thought might become a friend but who ultimately did not. The real kicker? I remember when I first met her she had a visceral response to comments about kids and insisted that she absolutely never wanted any. I’m not saying a woman can’t change her mind, but damn. Also, fuck Facebook.

// //

Opportunity

This story is a bit soap opera-y. Indulge me, or don’t. I just need to get it out of my system.

First a little back story. I met a woman on base in the first few months that my husband and I were married. She seemed like a nice enough person but I also thought, pretty much instantly upon meeting her, that she didn’t like me. At the time I knew basically nobody on base and was rather desperate for friends, so I tried to be hers despite thinking she didn’t like me. Not surprisingly, nothing really came of that. Then we ended up working together on some volunteer stuff and butting heads because the two of us had trouble communicating. I don’t know what it was exactly, but we just couldn’t seem to get our points across to each other and lots of confusion resulted.

Then her husband deployed and she moved away to stay with family during his deployment and at some point unfriended me on Facebook and I was like, okay, whatever. We were never really friends and now at least we don’t have to work together. I was honestly worried when she moved back that she would want her old volunteer position back, but she didn’t. Relief! So she was never completely gone from my life, she just existed on the periphery of it and it was no big deal.

Also relevant to this discussion, while her husband was deployed a mutual friend told me out of the blue that this girl had had a miscarriage around the time he left. I felt bad, and I also wondered if this girl would even want me to know that information. I also, honestly, felt a little bitter that she was still getting pregnant with two kids already when we couldn’t seem to have even one.

Fast forward to now. The book club on base that I’m a member of needed a new admin because the current one a. never really wanted to be one in the first place and b. is moving to a new station in a few months. So I agreed to become admin. It’s a nice distraction and my OCD is helpful for the little bit of work it involves. I didn’t go to the last meeting because we had just gotten back from our vacation and I didn’t feel like driving to base.

Another mutual friend who actually started the book club had been encouraging this girl to start going to meetings. I remember seeing signs of this and thinking Nooooo, book club is a safe, happy place, I don’t want her there. Then getting over myself and thinking that it wasn’t about me and if she wanted to join she should. And apparently she attended the last meeting that I wasn’t at.

Here’s where things come back to this blog. I saw the mutual friend who encouraged her to join book club the day after they met. She told me that during the meeting it had come up that a. this girl is pregnant again and b. she is having a hard time enjoying early pregnancy because she is afraid of another loss. And I was so fucking glad that I wasn’t at that meeting. I think I would have lost it. I would have either started bawling or had to leave, or probably both.

Then, today, I was posting on the Facebook page for the group related to some admin stuff. And then this girl commented confused about something. And I couldn’t really answer her confusion because it was related to the meeting I missed. And then I spent the next couple of hours stressing about me and her not communicating and her not liking me. And when I finally started feeling like I’d gotten over that, I took a nap because of a migraine and had a nightmare about her and book club and talking about miscarriage. Seriously.

Many years ago one of my healers told me about what she called “karmic soul mates.” She said these are souls who keep coming back into our lives, often in a negative way, because we have something we need to work out with them. And they will keep coming back and keep coming back until that is worked out. I’m pretty sure this woman is a karmic soul mate. I think that maybe I need to work out things about communication and not taking it so personally when someone doesn’t like me. I’m trying to see this as an opportunity to grow and learn. I’m trying really hard not to see it as the Universe throwing another pregnant woman in my face.

// //

Revel In It

I was thinking about posting another rant-y post about a certain Onion article that hit a couple nerves, but who needs that kind of negativity? Not me! So instead I will post about making the choice to revel in something.

This post is inspired by three things:

1. A comment I made the other day on another blog about my plan to revel in pregnancy if/when it happens for us again and how that might play out on Facebook (the short version is I don’t plan to be silent but I do plan to be respectful).

2. A really unique and special experience I had the other night that I talked about on Facebook. When one of my friends mentioned being jealous I was afraid people were going to think I shared in order to make people jealous, when that was not it at all.

3. Feelings of jealousy I’ve been having today as one of my friends has posted tons of photos from a work trip he is on in Bora Bora.

As we live out more and more of our lives online through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc we have become the authors of what exactly we want to present to the world as our lives. Some things are out of our control, but really we have so much power to affect how others see us. There has been talk in the Mommy-sphere about some parents only posting the good stuff and never sharing the struggles. And there is a lot of talk from those of us in the infertility community about all the damn talk, of any kind, about pregnancies and babies.

There is a line in all of this between genuine sharing and being obnoxious. How we walk that line and how we interpret how others walk it is different for everyone. Our own interpretations of it can change over time too. I keep thinking about one friend whose son was born before my hubby and I started trying to conceive. I was (and still am) completely in love with her gorgeous child and in the early months of his life she seemed to post new photos of him on Facebook pretty much every single day. And at the time I loved this. Now, I can’t imagine seeing that daily and it not hurting. And my friend who mentioned being jealous of my once in a lifetime experience the other night typically posts one or two photos of her six month old every day, so I could certainly turn it around and tell her that I’m jealous that she has three beautiful kids.

My thoughts are coming out all convoluted but what I’m trying to say is this: every day is a unique experience that we should all revel in, whatever it is. Whether it’s the growing and changing of a woman’s body during pregnancy, the growing and changing of children, a romantic relationship, a job you’re passionate about, an exciting social life, or whatever, fucking revel in it. Live it. Appreciate it for all its beauty and uniqueness. Take a photo if you need or don’t. And when it comes to sharing, know your audience and don’t be a dick.

But really, fucking revel in this life. Right now. Whatever it is. And yes I know that’s easier said than done sometimes, but that won’t stop me from saying it.

Foto “Friday” 10

IMG_1319

Drunk Painting

This past Friday I had a much needed girls night with some friends. We went out for dinner but the real treat was a painting class that came with a half-bottle of wine. This is my painting. You can see above it the source material we were given as well as an indication of how bad the light was at the easel where I was working (not only was my source pic back-lit, there was like zero lighting on my canvas). My friends were all jealous of my work but I was just glad to feel like I’m not a fraud of an art student after all if I can throw together a decent copy of something like this (in less than two hours, while drinking).

The only downside to the girls night was a brief moment when someone asked the one pregnant girl in the group how far along she was and she said 11 weeks, which is about where I would have been. But that’s okay. I need to get used to stuff like that.

In other news, I got the call today that my hcg level dropped last week from 184 to 46. Biggest drop in a while and I’m finally in the double digits. Hopefully just one or two more blood draws left. And then meeting with the docs so we can figure out the next steps to move forward.

// //

Inferiority Complex

The doctor called yesterday and my levels dropped by over 20%, so no surgery this week. We are still going to have to take this one week at a time until that magical zero. In the meantime I thought I’d write about something completely different.

I was thinking about this today, a lot. I often feel like I’m not good enough, like I’m not doing enough, like everyone else is accomplishing so much more with their lives than I am. Why is that? Well, because my friends are some pretty damn amazing people. And Facebook isn’t helping. I think that my Facebook friends tend to fall into four categories. There are, of course, outliers, people who don’t fit into any of these categories and some in multiple. But when my feed is full of these four groups day in and day out, it’s easy to feel like I’m not enough.

Parents
This one should be obvious. They are most often moms, although that’s probably because my friends tend to skew heavily towards vaginas, but there are some dads too. Whether they are stay-at-home moms/dads, working parents, in school, or some combination of the above, their posts tend to be about their kids. They tend to be friends mostly with other parents. And I keep wondering if this is a club I will ever be allowed to join.

The Unfettered

These folks are not parents. Most of them are unmarried. And they post about all the crazy, cool stuff they do all the time. Whether it’s traveling the country or the world, starting businesses, throwing and attending elaborate parties, or changing the world, their posts always make me feel old and pathetic as I sit on my sofa in my comfortable suburban home.

Party People

There is a lot of overlap here with the unfettered, but not entirely. Take for instance one friend who has three kids but is also divorced and shares custody so he doesn’t have his kids to worry about all the time. This group also includes the younger people on my list, those in their early twenties who are still partying every night and working or going to school every day. They post about partying, drinking, and generally having the kind of fun I can’t imagine having the energy for anymore.

Brainiacs

I know a lot of smart people. I was in a talented and gifted program until I dropped out of high school. This group contains the hard working and world changing doctors, lawyers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Or those in school to become such people. They post about their jobs or their school. Meanwhile I’m wondering what I’m going to do with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art since a Master’s program won’t be in our budget any time soon.

Who am I? Just a 31 year old married, childless woman working on a Bachelor’s degree that most people think is useless. I don’t travel. I don’t party. I’m invisible.

// //

Everything All At Once

I think I have at least three or four posts worth of stuff in my head, but today I’m just going to give a rundown of some of the highlights. Or lowlights, as they may be.

The pregnancy is definitely ectopic. Yesterday I was given a shot of Methotrexate to finally “resolve” the pregnancy. This is a chemotherapy drug, but in a much smaller dose than given to cancer patients. I’m supposed to avoid foods with folate/folic acid for the next week. Pretty much everything healthy and/or delicious contains folate. Except ice cream. I’m pretty sure this is license to eat as much ice cream as I want. No really, I’m stuck with dairy, fats, meat, sweets, and a limited number of fruits and vegetables. I can’t have any bread products made with enriched flour, which is just about everything. I bought some gluten free bread yesterday so I can try a sandwich later today. On Thursday I get more blood drawn and then again on Sunday. On Sunday the lab isn’t open, so where do I get to go to get blood drawn? Labor and delivery. I wish I was kidding. And then I have to wait around until they have the results before I can go because if my hcg level hasn’t dropped enough I get to have another shot of the Methotrexate and another week of this crap diet. I just want this all to be over.

On Saturday my mom brought my sister over to my house to sort of mediate a conversation. And I found out that my sister has been going through her own very serious fertility journey. I won’t go into details to protect her privacy. I was really saddened to learn that we have become so distant recently that she has gone through something like that without sharing any of it with me. But of course I hadn’t shared my stuff either. Hopefully this will allow us to bridge the gap and come together again. I’d rather build that bridge with something other than infertility, but I miss my sister and I’ll take what I can get.

I’m having a lot of guilt around having to actively “resolve” this pregnancy. (I love that euphemism the doctor kept using, not end, resolve.) I know that it wasn’t viable and for my safety and well-being we made the right choices. And I am and have been strongly pro-choice, so that is not the issue. It’s hard to explain, but simply having to end this much wanted pregnancy rather than being able to let nature take its course is really weighing on me.

I can’t express enough how lucky we are to have military health care. And how lucky we are to be working with the amazing team of doctors at the fertility clinic. Seriously, I don’t know how I could have done this without them. I am definitely going to be posting a full post about military healthcare soon.

My husband is amazing. There aren’t words to describe how much he has done to take care of me. We are both going through the loss emotionally, but the physical toll is mine to bear and he is doing everything he can to ease that.

I’ve felt better after finally opening up and talking to some people about what is going on. I know that is what helps me personally, if not everyone. I can’t express again how blessed I am to be loved by so many wonderful people. We are lucky. Two things that have been recommended by these amazing friends and family include counseling, both individually and as a couple and some sort of ritual to honor the life that was lost. I don’t know what to do for a ritual just yet, but it is definitely on my mind.

Sorry for the scattered thoughts but I just needed to empty my mind today.