Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hey Jealousy

A few nights ago, I had an infertility-related breakdown. I don't do this very often. Infertility is always in the back of my mind, and nearly everything reminds me of it. But the emotions surrounding it--I do a pretty good job of deliberately choosing to not feel them.

Our water heater went out over the weekend, so we had three days of showering at my parent's house or washing our hair in freezing cold water. Once it was finally repaired, I spent Monday night taking an incredibly long, incredibly hot bubble bath. Except, no sooner had I sunk into my lavender heaven and pulled up Facebook on my iPad, there was a pregnant belly staring at me from the very top of my news feed.

Jenna was a few years behind me in high school. We weren't friends, and the only reason I've kept up with her life is that I have coached all three of her younger sisters.

In high school, she was a weird girl, with only a handful of girl friends. I know the boys in her class weren't interested in her and mostly ignored her, and she graduated without going on a single date. From what I can tell, college went similarly.

After finishing college, she moved to Baltimore. About a year ago, she met a guy. He was older, but shared her weird quirks. After a few months of dating, they got engaged. They were married just before Christmas this past December. She's now announcing her pregnancy and that she's due in October. So she conceived in less than two months.

Rationally, I understand that there are not a finite number of pregnancies and babies allowed. Jenna's pregnancy hasn't made it so there is one less available baby. Her baby has absolutely no bearing on whether or not I will ever get pregnant. I know that. But it still makes my blood boil. She's pregnant with a man she's known barely a year, after trying for less than two months. I've been with Bobby for TEN FREAKING YEARS. We've been trying for over two. They live in a tiny studio apartment. They admit they are totally broke, as he only recently started working again after being laid off in the fall. We waited until we were financially stable to stop birth control. We waited until we had a house, with good space for a nursery and playroom.

Bobby and I are going away this weekend. It's spring break here (ha! It's a grand total of 25 degrees. Spring Break Woo-hoo!). Bobby promised that since our Valentine's Day was spent apart at some point we'd go somewhere and get a hotel room just for fun.

I've mentioned this to a few friends, and all of them have responded with some sort of, "Ooh, is this a baby-making weekend?!"

And do you want to know what my first thought was? Do you want to know how much infertility consumes me? My first thought was, "Um, no. I'm not ovulating this weekend."

Many of my friends have gone on "Babymoons" of sorts--vacations with the express intent to conceive. But some of them have gone on these vacations having no idea whether they're ovulating or not. They're still living in the blissful ignorance of "If I have a lot of sex, surely I'll get pregnant!"

What's even more infuriating is that sometimes it works. They just happen to hit their fertile window and like magic -- a baby appears nine months later. Which of course leads to them ignorantly recommending Babymoons to anyone who has issues conceiving.

So after seeing Jenna's obnoxious pregnancy announcement, I cried. If fact, I sobbed loudly and ugly. I questioned God, the universe, my body. I prayed to whoever would listen that if this wasn't going to happen for me, then at least take away the desire to have a baby. If I wasn't meant to be a mom, then don't let me want to be anymore.

I don't want infertility to make me bitter. But in some ways, I think it already has.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Out of Whack

Once again, my body is doing whatever the heck it wants. Which is apparently nothing. I should be ovulating at some point this week, but I have had zero symptoms. My face isn't even breaking out. No sore boobs. No cervical mucous of any kind. Oh, and my bbt chart? I don't have the exact chart on hand, but here's a fairly good artist's representation of it (drawn by me, in Microsoft Paint):
It's out of control. There is no pattern of any kind. Probably because I haven't slept more than a solid hour in weeks. The app on my phone that predicts my ovulation said Sunday was the big day. I spent most of Sunday lying on the couch trying to remember what it felt like to breathe out of my nose. 

Sometimes, I can't believe that infertility is happening to me. Like it's really just a cruel joke. I always imagined I'd have kids--four to be exact. Three boys, one girl. They'd obviously be athletic, and smart like their dad, maybe a few of them would be artistic like me. I'd coach the girl volleyball. We'd play softball as a family together in the backyard. Foursquare in the driveway. 

But in some ways, I feel like I always knew I would struggle to have kids. It took my parents 14 years to conceive--maybe they passed down some defect to me? It took me several tries to lose my virginity. After a lot of tears, doctor visits, and frustration, I eventually learned I had vaginismus. I've always suffered from UTIs and bladder infections, in addition to the occasional kidney infection (one so severe that when the Urgent Care doc came back after a quick glance at my urine sample, his first words were: "How are you not in more pain? Your urine is disgusting!"). I dealt with irregular periods before going on birth control at 16. I've had more yeast infections than I can count--I got my first one only a few weeks after my first period when I was 12. 

It seems like most of my life there's been something wrong with my hoo-haw. Infertility is just the most recent.

Sometimes I'm convinced one of these days I'll wake up pregnant. It will have worked exactly like it was supposed to, and I'll wonder what I was so worried about. But sometimes, I can feel it deep in my heart--something whispering to me that I'm wasting my time. Despite no medical evidence, I can just feel that there's something wrong with me. I'll never get pregnant. 

Honestly, if I could know that--really, truly know by someone who's looked into my future and seen what happens--I'll never, ever get pregnant, I could be okay. Sure, it'd be a huge blow. I'd grieve for the children I could never have--the smart, athletic children with Bobby's chin dimple and my blue eyes. But I would survive. We'd come up with a Plan B, re-evaluate and re-organize. We'd probably live a little differently. But we would be just as happy.

The worst part is the not knowing. Agonizing over each symptom. The wondering. Analyzing how far should we go to try to conceive. The waiting.

If Future Lilee could just tell me, You never get pregnant. But it all works out anyway. I would be fine. 

But until then...what?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Dentist Chair Realization

Yesterday morning as I reclined in the dentist's chair, staring at a photo of a cat yawning and the words Open Wide in a cute font, I overheard a conversation between the dental hygienist and a patient in the next chair. They seemed to know each other personally, or the patient spends way too much time at the dentist.

With my hygienist's fingers and instruments shoved down my throat, I heard one lady ask the other, "Does your daughter have any children?" They'd been talking about grandchildren for awhile, and it seemed like a safe question.

The patient answered, "No. They'd like to. They've been married for awhile but they're having some problems."

I cringed so hard I nearly bit my hygienist's gloved finger. The lady continued, something about her daughter moving closer, going through some treatments, but that IVF is just so darn expensive. I closed my eyes and tried to stop eavesdropping. I suddenly felt incredibly awkward, even though I wasn't actually in the conversation.

This, I thought, this is exactly why I haven't told my mother about our "problems." She'd tell her dental hygienist, her hairdresser, the stock boy in the produce section of the grocery store! That is so embarrassing!

But then I realized, maybe this lady is so open about her daughter because her daughter is open about her infertility. This mom isn't trying to embarrass her daughter--she's advocating for her. She didn't seem upset about her lack of grandkids, she just wanted to help. I wish I had that.

I know many of you are open about your infertility, and I think that's awesome. I'm sure you get a host of insensitive comments, but you also receive a lot of support. I appreciate that you advocate for us that are still too embarrassed and ashamed to admit our struggle.

I can't share my infertility. It's so outside of my personality.

This is why infertility is such a huge embarrassment to me. There's nothing I can do to just dig in and "fix" it. I can work hard, research, study, and do all of the things I've done to conquer all these other things--but it might not matter. There might be literally nothing I can do. I've worked so hard to accomplish all those things, but working hard doesn't do anything to combat infertility.

And that might be the worst part.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Motivation

It's ovulation week around here, and of course Bobby is a giant mass of phlegm and germs. The big day isn't until this weekend, so HOPEFULLY he can recover soon. But we normally have to do the every-other-day sex since our timing always seems to suck.

So right now we're doing the really steamy "we need to do this, but don't kiss me, I don't want to get sick" sex. He wasn't pleased when I suggested he wear a surgical mask. I tried to play it off like some kind of role playing. But he didn't go for "sexy scrubbed-up surgeon who can't open his mouth, breathe on me, or infect me in any way." I mean, who wouldn't be into that sort of thing?!

I think it's safe to say I don't have a good feeling about this cycle. Which is pretty meaningless, considering I felt REALLY good about last cycle, and we all know how that turned out.

So...plan B for what I need to do this month: It's warming up here, so I really need to get outside and start running. I haven't stepped on a scale in months because I'm terrified of what it would read. When they take my weight at the doctor's office, it automatically displays in kilograms. Then the nurse asks me if I want to know the conversion into pounds. The last few times I have declined. I have no interest in knowing the number (and since I'm dumb, I have no idea the kilograms/pounds conversion). I already know that my clothes aren't fitting well around my middle. My knees have much more pain from the extra weight. My calves have lost their definition, my arms jiggle, and my face has filled out.

It's time to run off some of the extra inches, as well as the the frustration. It's sunny today, and if I can avoid drowning in the puddles from the snow melt, I should be able to get in a good run tonight. I'm still having trouble sleeping at night, and I know a huge part of that is because I'm lacking exercise. I need to start lifting in the mornings, but my motivation evades me.

So...motivate me please. What keeps you motivated to exercise? What healthy recipes should I try? What's a "must have" on your workout playlist? How do I let go of this cycle and let my poor husband get healthy before demanding sexual favors?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chocolate Cake

Some days you just need to eat chocolate cake for breakfast.

Today was one of those days.

I smashed my thumb in a cabinet drawer at work and it's still throbbing. I've developed a horrible twitch in my right eye. Even after sleeping a full eight hours last night, I'm exhausted. I need to put air in my tires, but it's too cold. In a few hours, I'm going to have a serious confrontation with the head of another department at work. I know I'm right and she's wrong, and I'm going to stick to my guns. At least I'm hoping not to cry in front of her.

Because of all this, I refused to let myself feel guilty about eating chocolate cake for breakfast. It was delicious.

I'm on something like cycle day four or five. I don't know. Does it matter? I know I'm in a bad place. Even after going to bed at 9 p.m. last night, I mentioned to Bobby that I'm still exhausted this morning. His first question, "Are you depressed?"

In many ways, yes. Yes I am feeling depressed. I'm seriously suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as is most of the state of Minnesota. It's supposed to be 30 degrees later this week, and let me tell you I will be wearing a mini skirt and flip flops. Heck, I'm going swimming. If I ever see the sun again, I will be laying out and getting a tan.

Is the weather really making me sad, or is it that I failed again on what seemed like a perfect cycle? Is work what's really bothering me, or is it only stressing me out because I'm so distracted by infertility? A friend announced on Sunday that she's pregnant with her second child. It really only confirmed what I already suspected. My pregnancy radar is pretty good. Is her good fortune contributing to my bad mood?

Maybe the start of spring will be enough to pull me out of this gross, lazy depression I've sunk into. Maybe I'll start feeling like a person again instead of feeling how Micky Rourke looks.
Remember when this guy was a real person?
Maybe I should just eat chocolate cake again for lunch.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conundrum

My period arrived on Friday night, just as I was heading down to the hotel pool with all the high school kids. By evening on Saturday, when we were finally through being responsible for nine boys who hadn't stopped talking for three straight days, I let my annoyance with them convince me I was glad I wasn't pregnant. At one point during the weekend, I almost called my doctor to refill my birth control. My patience with those boys was quickly wearing thin. (The PMS certainly didn't help.)

I always thought I wanted boys. Most of my close friends growing up were guys. They were laid back, drama-free, and we seemed to understand each other. Girls confused me.

But now, I love coaching girls. I have never felt the overwhelming need to just get. away. from. them. now like I did about the boys this weekend. They've always been sweet, respectful, and fun. The boys were obnoxious, loud, and annoying. I seriously questioned if I was cut out to ever be a parent.

In fact, I'm still questioning it. I know I'll never be able to handle nine teenage boys, that's for sure.

Anyone else ever question your ability (or desire?) to parent? What makes you doubt?