Saturday, June 27, 2009

Book Club: Navigating the Land of IF

The great and fabulous lady Melissa Ford (aka Lollipop Goldstein) who is the glue that bonds this community has written a wonderfully informative book about infertility in all its aspects and complexities. You can read about (and purchase) Navigating the Land of IF by clicking on the title or visiting your local bookstore. (Just be careful when searching as there appears to be another Melissa Ford out there with a lot of, um, exposure...) I highly recommend this book as a reference to anyone journeying through the Land of IF, especially those new to the area.

Each member participating in the book club chose a couple of questions to answer, see my answers below and then click the link at the bottom to see what everyone else is saying!

In the appendix, Melissa volunteers a supportive note to get us through our journeys, particularly those hard times like baby showers. Because there are just as many emotional pitfalls for our partners and spouses that might not be as overt to us, what note would you write to your partner to also support them through their part of this journey?

My love, my dearest E,

You are an amazing person and a better husband than I deserve. You have never once laid any of the blame for this journey at my feet, even though it is my body, my reproductive system, that has failed us time and again. More than that, you stopped me from beating myself up for it.

You have loved and supported me through it all. You have allowed me to be focused entirely on the process because I know you are standing behind me looking out for me and our life.

Even though it may not always be clear to you (especially when I'm in a hormone induced rage) you are the best part of my life. I draw my strength from your strength. I can go forward only because I know that you are going on beside me. I know that one day we will achieve our goals, a baby to hold in our arms, and we will continue to move forward with life and love.

all my love, M

I kept wishing, as I read the book, that certain people could have read certain parts while I was going through IF. To help THEM understand better what I was going through. Which part(s) did you want to show and to whom? Your RE? Your nosy neighbor? Your insensitive co-worker? Maybe even your spouse/partner?

First, I kept wishing that I'd had this as guide from the very beginning of my journey. It would have been so helpful! I've already recommended it to several newbies who are just starting out.

Second, I still wish that my close friends, the ones I've confided in would read it from cover-to-cover. It's so frustrating to me that after 2 1/2 years of my journey, they still don't understand the simplest of terminology or the process of cycles. However, as they have ignored everything else I have sent along to help themselves become informed, I fully expect them to ignore this book suggestion as well.

One of the funniest parts of the book is the Q&A section about how to respond to inappropriate questions. Mel addressed several of the most common questions, but there are plenty more! Give an example of a rude, ignorant, annoying or inappropriate question you’ve been asked during your IF experience, that wasn’t already in the book, and write your own gentle, firm and free-for-all responses to the question.

I fully enjoyed reading that section, and it did give me some new ideas! Although, I'm not 'out' so I encounter fewer of these remarks. However after my loss, I encountered a lot of platitudes. I've now sworn to never utter one to another human being in need of sympathy and compassion. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that these were people who genuinely cared about me and were doing the only thing they knew in the face of a tragic situation. They were not intentional hurts (see Picking Your Battles pg 83) and so I nodded and said "Thank you." But the one platitude that suck in my throat was "Everything happens for a reason." I mean, really?? What possible reason can you come up with that would make sense of babyloss (or really infertility in the first place)? At the time I just would make unintelligible grunting noises and frantically blink to stop the tears... But now, here are my trio of responses:

Gentle: I understand how thinking that can help ease some people's pain, but it doesn't work that way for me.
Firm: No, I don't believe there has to an explanation or reason for everything. Some things are just tragedies.
Free-For-All: Please then, tell me what you think the reason is? Am I just a terrible person and this is retribution? Or were my lovely babies going to grow up into monsters? I'd just love to hear you explain it to me.

If you are a reader of Melissa's blog, did you find the book to be a same or different style and why?

I'm an avid reader of all of Melissa's writings! I'm amazed by the amount of energy she puts into keeping our community running and together. It's a great resource as well as an amazing support system. I'm forever grateful that Stirrup Queens (and everything else!) exists and that I stumbled upon it. It's helped me keep my sanity, introduced me to others who Get It, and has made me feel less alone.

I think it is challenging to keep your 'voice' while writing a non-fiction informational piece. While I definitely hear Lollipop Goldstein throughout (especially in the special 'notes'), I do miss the sharing of personal information that keeps me coming back to Stirrup Queens. I miss the baking, the twins, Josh, and her conversations and the glimpse into her thoughts. However, I suppose that doesn't fit in Navigating the Land of IF... Perhaps she'll write us a memoir next??

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Moose by Stephanie Klein.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Summer

School is out! It seems amazing to me that that statement is true. This was easily my most challenging year. In September, just walking into the building would set me shaking. I think the start of school came too quickly after our loss and I was still suffering from the grief. It was so hard to be around everyone again and have to be the teacher with 19 little ones staring at me for guidance and reassurance. I had to plaster that big smile on my face and dredge up calm when all I wanted was to crawl into bed and cry forever. However, I also think that school saved me. It gave my days a rhythm and a purpose. My mind was occupied with thoughts other then those of my girls and my loss. There were people who depended on me and so I couldn't fall apart.

Now, here it is...summer. School is finally over. And damn, I miss it already. I was counting down the hours until my hellion students were off to second grade. But now I find that I miss them!

I also miss the routine in my days... Already time is hanging heavy on my hands. My fellow teachers and friends have claimed big plans, but somehow I don't have faith that they will come to fruition. It will just be me and my computer for the next two months. *sigh* I guess I'm just feeling lonely... and I'm terrified about slipping back into that dark place of last summer where I didn't leave my house and I didn't speak to anyone and I didn't do or feel anything because it all was too much.

Friday, June 19, 2009

All set for next year!

WHEW! They handed out the rehire notices today and I am ALL SET!

This especially rocks as it means that I will be getting professional status and won't be in a situation like this again!

Yippee! Off to celebrate!

Monday, June 15, 2009


So awhile back I wrote this, describing how I could possibly loose my job. Since then a lot of crazy shit has gone down. I wrote earlier that while I was concerned, I was feeling okay since I had tenure. I have since come to learn that my tenure was never granted this year due to a change in policy. It no longer matters your start date, tenure will only be counted under contract years. I've been in the system for 5 years, but this is only my 3rd contract year... Hence, no tenure. So when my system gave out pink slips to all non-tenured staff, I received one too. We since been hanging out in limbo land. We know that most of us will be rehired, but that approximately 30 of us will not be. It's all a matter of the shakedown of tenured staff who have had positions cut, and then principal discretion. (Fortunately, my principal likes me.)

Last Wednesday I attended the craziest School Committee meeting where they FIRED our Director of HR... WHILE HE SAT IN THE AUDIENCE!! They also got all snippy with each other, but that is nothing new with our committee. Supposedly, this coming Wednesday at the next meeting, it will be announced who is staying and who will not be rehired.

This month has not been without some nervousness... but I've done a good job keeping it in check. Staying calm, floating above. Today I crashed down to the ground. I don't think that I'll be jobless... But nothing is guaranteed. Last time I had to go through this insanely intense job search, it killed me. I went into a huge depression. I'm not sure that I'm strong enough to face this summer knowing that I have to start looking all over again.

Please send some positive calming thoughts my way if you have any to spare. I could sure use them right about now.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Date is looming

Yesterday my girls would have been 11 months.

Wow. That was amazingly hard to type. There is something about seeing it in black and white that was a huge shock to me. I need a break to get my fingers back under control... I've just started shaking like a leaf.


Okay, I think I've got it back under control. I was talking to E about how different our lives would (should) be. I would be planning a birthday party! My girls would just be starting to babble those first precious words. My home would look like a toy store. I would be so proud of their new tricks such as pulling themselves upright. I would be exhausted from chasing them around all day. I would be looking forward to spending two wonderful amazing months where the only thing I had to do was spend time with my babies. They would be on their way to beautiful blond-headed toddlers... And I would be sighing sadly, "Where does the time go?"

Instead, I have a silent home and free time. I have morning lupron shots and evening BCP. I'm in the middle of 8 different craft projects just so I can keep my hands busy and my mind occupied. I'm rereading the Tom Clancy books because I thought they would be safe and instead find myself cursing Jack Ryan for his damn fertile wife. I cry on the way to work and not because I'm sad that I had to leave the girls at daycare.

OH! I miss what my life SHOULD HAVE BEEN! But mostly, I just miss my precious babies. My memories of their birth is fading... As memories do, even such important ones. The memories of our hour together is there, but getting hazy around the edges. Sometimes it's almost like the whole thing was a dream...

Girls, I miss you so much. Rebecca, Maria, I miss you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Started lupron

10 units every morning... Started on Monday. I've been lucky so far (last cycle and this) in that I haven't really experienced the Lupron side effects, well, except headaches, but as I'm prone to migraines I feel that doesn't really count. However, a friend just posted this article written by a man on Lupron which gave me a good chuckle. My favorite part was at the end, when he finally understands what insanity is caused by raging horomones:

And, guys, when your significant female other bursts into tears at the drop of a dinner plate or turns on you like a rabid pit bull — whether she’s pregnant, having her period or in the throes of menopause — believe her when she blames it on the hormones.

Finally, a man who understands...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Weekend Wedding

E and I are off to The City this weekend. (For all who are unaware...there is apparently only ONE city in the nation that exists: NYC, or at least that is the case to those who live there. Haha)

We are going for a wedding of an old dear friend of mine... A friend who is, in fact, the only ex-boyfriend I ever managed to stay friends with. I'm sure the wedding will be beautiful. And the weather this weekend is supposed to be perfect. I'm very much looking forward to packing everything (stress, worries, all negative emotions) away in a little box, leaving it here, and just ENJOYING the weekend.

I think I will actually be able to do that because we now (FINALLY) have a plan. Monday I'll start Lupron for a FET. We'll be transferring over the one little embie so it will be hanging out with the other frozen ones, giving us a choice of 3. Of course as nothing in my life is uncomplicated, the two are day 3 while the one is day 6. This could mean a possible double transfer depending on the thaw quality. It's like this huge ridiculous matrix of possibilities (which I can go into later) but the bottom line is that I can sleep easy again for two months because every possible scenario is mapped out! Man am I Type A or what?

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm pretty sure mine will be excellent!