military life

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.

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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?

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Stuck

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who responded to my post the other day. It seems I really struck a nerve and the post started great conversations both here and on Twitter. It all just reconfirms how much I adore this community.

But now back to me. As usual, much of this will be a repeat for my Tweeps. I’ve had a rough couple of days. Right now I sit at cycle day 31, 18 days past a positive ovulation test, and no period. Also all very clear negative home pregnancy tests. This would be pretty normal for me aside from the fact that I’ve been having cramps off and on for about a week. At times they have been so bad as to make me double over in pain. For the most part they are just constantly there. I’ve never had cramping and no period before except for when I had the ectopic. Wednesday night/Thursday morning my Twitter ladies convinced me to call the clinic and see what they said. I called Thursday morning and spoke to the receptionist. She was pretty dismissive, pretty much said it was probably my period coming, but said she’d put in for a phone consult with one of the doctors for me.

Based on past experience I wasn’t really expecting anyone to call until after hours. Just before my 6pm class my phone finally rang. It was a nurse at the clinic. She asked if anyone had called me. When I told her no she said the receptionist had put my consult in with a doctor who wasn’t there that day. What the hell? I went over my symptoms with the nurse and she suggested it might be a cyst causing the pain. But they didn’t have any appointments the next day (today) and the doctors were all gone so someone would call me back in the morning. Although I was annoyed at the receptionist, I felt better that maybe it was cysts and not another ectopic. I was expecting them to call me this morning and maybe try to squeeze me in for an ultrasound to check for cysts.

This morning the doctor called. He seemed mostly unconcerned. Didn’t say anything about cysts or trying to come in today. But he did said it could be an ectopic, although it’s early for that (they would expect to see symptoms around 5 or 6 weeks, not 4 which is where I’d be if I am pregnant). He said if my period didn’t start in a couple of days to call back and they would get me in for a pregnancy test, still didn’t mention a possible ultrasound. He also said something really insensitive. He was saying that fertility treatments can sometimes increase the risk of an ectopic and I said “yeah, I had one last year” and he just blurts out “Oh, then you’re doubly at risk!” Like, gee, thanks. 1. I knew that. 2. Way to be a dick about it.

So, in light of another couple of frustrating issues with the clinic I’ve been thinking about why I’m still there. Last summer when I was actually going through the ectopic they were amazing. The one doctor who was mostly dealing with my case actually called and left me her personal cell phone number at one point because she was so concerned about me. But outside of that period of time I’ve had a lot of issues with them. However, I feel totally stuck.

Here’s the thing about military healthcare. In many ways it’s great. So far all of my testing and treatments have been totally covered and free. But if we get into “non-coital” treatments like IUI and IVF, they are not covered. However, my clinic is at one of the five military facilities in the whole country that offers subsidized treatment for IUI and IVF as part of a teaching program. So if we get to those steps it’s considerably less expensive than at a private clinic (from what I’ve heard IVF is about half the rate of private clinics and we can’t even really afford that).

There is a local private insurance company that administers a military plan. Many of my friends use it and rave about it. I could switch to it. But if I made that switch I would not be allowed to switch back to my current insurance for at least one year. So while I might get great treatment, if they decide I need IUI or IVF and it’s too expensive with them I would lose so much time before switching back. And I could lose even more time if the military clinic wants to repeat any treatment that the private program tried.

So I’m sticking with the military clinic, even though their care has been pretty sub-par lately. I wish I felt like I had choices in the matter, but I don’t. We just can’t afford the money or time that a private clinic could cost us.

Thanks to everyone who has offered support today, hubby also had a really rough day at work. I don’t think this is an ectopic, based mostly on the glaringly negative home tests, but I just don’t know what it could be.

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Engagement

I promised this story to a couple of ladies on Twitter yesterday. So it here it is in its full glory: our engagement story, complete with guns.

For the purposes of the story I’ll be referring to hubby as B.

Quick background, when B and I first started dating he has having some issues with his sinuses. And by issues I mean that he had a sinus infection so bad that it was pressing on nerves and it got to the point that it made him pass out at work a couple of times. At this point we had maybe been dating six weeks or so. I had gotten a call from his supervisor one day letting me know B was in the ER after passing out at work. His supervisor arranged to escort me on base so I could see him and I took care of him for a couple of hours and then he was on quarters (not allowed to leave his room) for two days. The people in the ER didn’t know what was wrong, they just kept giving him pain meds. At the end of those two days I took him out to dinner. I dressed up a little (this part is important later).

After dinner we went back to his dorm room and were snuggling on his little twin size bed watching tv. When we got back I used the bathroom and the zipper on my dress pants broke. So I had taken them off but there was no hanky-panky going on. All of a sudden he started having some pain. I got him some of the prescription painkillers he was on but it didn’t go away, it got worse. We called a different supervisor who was having a BBQ with everyone from work at his house that night and he told us to call 911. B managed to make the call but then basically went into shock and couldn’t do anything. I realized I wasn’t wearing pants and couldn’t put on the ones I had been wearing. B couldn’t help me because of the pain so I grabbed the only thing I could see that would come close to fit me: a pair of pajama pants. So I’m wearing a nice blouse and a pair of men’s pj pants.

There’s a knock on the door. I get up thinking it’s the EMTs. But no, this is on base and the first people to respond to a 911 call are Security Forces. In full gear complete with M-16 rifles. I was so not accustomed to military life at that point and it was shocking. They came in and one of the SF guys actually put his gun down on the bed next to B, which freaked me the fuck out (and turns out to have been a big no no, duh). They asked him some questions and tried to understand the situation but not being medical professionals they were not really getting it. At one point I had gotten out all the medications B had been taking at the time and told them they were the meds he was on and they thought I meant he had taken them all that night.

Then the EMTs show up and start checking him over. At that point he was really going into shock and tells the EMT that he can’t feel his legs. That was scary to hear. So they get him on the stretcher (after first leaning in and whispering to ask if he was decent under the blanket). I grab his ID and room key and ask if I can ride in the ambulance but they say no since I wasn’t his wife. I don’t know the base at all at that point but one of them was nice enough to let me follow him to the hospital. I get there and they need his ID and then I’m basically nothing because I’m just his girlfriend. So I have no idea what is happening.

I step outside and call my mom and tell her I’m not coming home that night (I was living with my parents at the time) and explain why. Then I call my best friend and sob to him about how I just met this amazing guy and it seems like he’s really sick and I don’t know what’s happening and oh my god what do I do? After talking to my friend for a while I went back in the waiting room and eventually they actually let me go back and sit with B. Once again they don’t know what’s wrong and have given him Morphine, which it turns out he is unresponsive to. They release him and I take him back to his dorm and we snuggle up in his tiny twin size bed again to try to sleep.

And then he asked me to marry him.

And I said yes.

Honestly at the time I thought he was thinking more of a long-term someday marriage, not something in like 3 months, but that’s not really important. I knew even then that I didn’t ever want to lose him. And he knew that I would stick by him through anything. A few days later we talked about it somewhat more formally and then we got a ring (which we designed together and it’s amazing) and then eventually told both our families.

So that’s our story. The proposal itself is pretty unromantic but altogether it’s a good story.

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Turning It Around

So, a little background first. A friend of mine was recently nominated as Military Spouse of the Year. When I was reading her profile that she filled out before the voting, one of the questions was about what you would do with the platform if you won. At first I was jealous and wondering why nobody nominated me for the award and generally feeling unseen and unloved, like I do. Then I started asking the question of myself, what would I do with that platform? Well, I would advocate for those experiencing infertility in the military community. And I would advocate for greater recognition that spouses aren’t always parents but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to contribute. And then I thought, well, why wait? I didn’t even get nominated this year so it’s not like I would be able to use such a platform any time soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do something.

I sent a message to a friend of mine who is kind of a big deal in the military spouse community (I won’t say more than that because it would give away some things about me that I’m trying to keep anonymous). And she sent me a really awesome and detailed email with her strategy for getting started. So, I’m thinking this is a thing I’m going to do. Realistically I won’t be able to do much until after I graduate in May, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start planning and researching now.

I want to create a network for people in the military community dealing with infertility, so we can get support and share resources. I also want to advocate for greater coverage from Tricare (but honestly that’s a monumental task). And I want to advocate for greater recognition for military spouses who are not parents.

I see a need in my community and I want to help fill it. I’m tired of always just complaining.

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Twisted

This week. I don’t even have words. And our story has a new twist.

The good news is that my cycle started yesterday putting me (just barely) in the window to have the saline ultrasound on the 3rd. So at least I can get that test done and out of the way. Of course, now there might not be such a rush anymore. We might have to stop trying for a while.

Wednesday night I was on my way home from school and called my hubby to talk about what we were having for dinner. At the end of the conversation he tells me that he has something to tell me about work when I get home. Are you kidding me? Why do men do this? (I hate to generalize with gender but I have seriously never seen a woman pull shit like this.) So I spent the next 40 minutes driving home going over every possible worst-case scenario in my head. The real one, of course, never even occurred to me.

The really short version is that my husband is probably going to be having surgery on his feet. Surgery that could potentially get him discharged from the military, although his doctor says it’s unlikely. Surgery with a 3-6 month recovery period per foot. During which time he will be basically an invalid. And the first surgery is pretty much guaranteed to take place during my last semester at school.

I told him we should probably stop trying to get pregnant until at least after the first surgery because otherwise we chance me giving birth while he’s still recovering. I’m pretty sure taking care of him post-surgery and taking care of an infant at the same time would kill me.

Plus this means we probably won’t be leaving this area as soon as we hoped because they definitely will want to do the surgery here. We’re in the area with one of the few military facilities in the country that does this procedure (same big hospital where the RE clinic is). At first I was thinking it would be good because we would have more time being in the area with the clinic but then I realized we might have to take 6+ months off from trying. I haven’t actually cried about it yet, but I’ve been on the verge several times. It’s coming. I’m exhausted from school so I anticipate a major emotional breakdown at some point. Probably on Thursday when I’m trying to cook dinner for my parents since I’m insane and agreed to host Thanksgiving at our house this year.

The irony? He’s had five previous surgeries since we’ve been married. And he told me after the last couple of them how he was going to take such great care of me when I get pregnant because of how much I’ve had to do to take care of him. And now there’s a chance I’ll be pregnant and still taking care of him.

He told me not to get too ahead of myself and at least wait until he meets with the surgeon before I freak out about not being able to try to conceive for a while. Too late, love. Too late.

Resurfacing

School has had me really underwater this semester. I’m taking some rather challenging classes and a full load and it’s just a lot. So this blog is getting rather neglected. I’m only posting today because I’m skipping my morning class due to waking up in pain (sciatica and migraine). I should be using this time to do homework for tomorrow, but I thought I’d give you all an update.

The saline ultrasound did not happen this cycle. When I finally got back in touch with the clinic last week they said they didn’t have any appointments this month. So she asked when my next cycle would start. I told her I don’t know because they aren’t regular but I could guess. So we scheduled an appointment for next month which may or may not fall in the window of when I need this done. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to be out of town visiting my husband’s family during the next likely window. And then we’re looking at February. For just this one test so we can decide what treatments to pursue. I want to pull my hair out. Fingers and toes are crossed that my cycle cooperates and I can go ahead with the December appointment.

We have a house guest right now. One of my husband’s coworkers returned from a deployment and needed a place to stay. And since we are the only married couple without kids, aka the people with a spare bedroom, he’s been staying with us. It’s fine, it’s just kind of awkward because my husband doesn’t even know him well (my husband started working in the same office like a month before this guy left for his deployment) and I had only met him once before he started staying here. He should be leaving in a day or two to move in with another coworker from what I understand. Which is good because I should be ovulating any day now and his presence has put a hold on the sexy time.

I have a bit of a confession. I really lucked out with some timing. Every year the group I volunteer with throws a holiday party for the kids in my husband’s squadron. This year due to some circumstances out of our control, it is scheduled the weekend before my finals. So I have already told the ladies that I will not be at the event because I am really going to need the time that weekend to write papers and study for exams. That is the truth. But I was also really not looking forward to the event. Don’t get me wrong, supporting the squadron families is important. I wouldn’t do the work I do if I didn’t believe that. But it’s getting increasingly hard for me to be around big groups of happy families, especially when it’s for holiday stuff. So thank you Universe for letting me gracefully bow out of this particular event.