Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Living and Goal Setting

This past weekend was a study on contradiction. Saturday was overcast and cold, requiring yoga pants and the fireplace. Sunday was sunny and warm, requiring shorts and ice tea.
Saturday was blankets and video games. Sunday was floppy hats and gardening.
You would think that Saturday would have been perfect for chores since we were stuck inside. But you would be wrong. Instead, I was just plain worthless. Didn’t clean, didn’t cook, didn’t even read. Blah. Cold Spring days get me down.
But Sunday was a whole different story. I cleaned, I crafted, I gardened.

Pictured: Crafting (and Snow Globe Collection)

Floors were swept and tables were polished. The Spring banner for the mantel is now complete.

Pictured: Spring has Sprung

Daylilies were divided and wildflowers were planted. Groceries were purchased and dinner was made. Somehow Little K decided to try seven new kinds of fruit while helping me prepare fruit salad.

Pictured: Fruit Salad (and Birdie Plates, Squee!)

I don’t know how it happened but, Lord, please make every day a Sunday.
I have decided to add a new feature on Mondays: Weekly Goals. These goals are to be practical and attainable. They will either be focused on health, parenting, relationships, or housekeeping. I am hoping that setting these goals will help me make small changes that will result in a less stressful life.
My goals for the week are:
Get at least half of Little K’s homework done before Thursday.
Cook the meals that I have planned.
Eat the fruit salad instead of cookies.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

100th Post: Don't Ignore

Today's topic is purely coincidental, but I can't think of a more perfect subject to commemorate my 100th post.
It all began so innocently. (Oh man, that’s how most of my stories start.)
We were talking about the arrangements for the upcoming baby shower. We knew to expect two additional pregnant women that afternoon (IF and WHEN) and we both knew that IF and her husband underwent treatment to become pregnant.
And then she said, “IF must be the complainiest pregnant woman ever.”
I was surprised. This woman is so kind and so caring. She never says a mean word about anyone. Why would she say something like that? And then it hit me: she didn’t know.
So I replied, “Since IF underwent treatment, she may have had multiple treatments. She may have spent tens of thousands of dollars to become pregnant. She may have had multiple losses. When an infertile couple becomes pregnant, they will be worried about every little twinge or cramp or spot. They know too much - enough to know that it’s never a sure thing. IF won’t be secure or calm until the baby is born alive and healthy.”
And do you know what she said?
“Thank you.”
See, that’s what happens. Most of the time, these comments are not made out of malice. I think that the general idea behind them is, “She’s finally pregnant. Why can’t she just be happy?” What the speaker doesn’t realize is that she IS happy. And with happiness comes fear. She’s seen other people be happy -may even have been there herself- only to have happiness replaced by soul crushing loss.
Happiness is dangerous.
But when you explain this, they usually get it. And then they won’t make that comment again. All because you cared enough about that infertile person in your life to educate someone.
So, don’t ignore it.
To those of us who love the ALI community, don’t ignore the comments. If you hear an insensitive comment, educate the speaker. If you read an insensitive post, educate the writer.
We are positioned to be a voice for the hurting. We haven’t experienced the pain that comes with infertility or loss, so these comments don’t hit us with force and break us down. Instead, we can calmly educate the speaker so that they won’t make the same mistake in front of someone who would be hurt by their ignorance.

Be a voice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wipe(d) Out

Good morning! How is everyone? Good? May I offer you tea or coffee before we begin?
The last week has been nuts. Between hormones and pregnancy announcements and baby showers, I am just wiped out. Add to that an onset of cold and rainy here in NC, a quarter cup of crazy workload, and a heavy pinch of adrenaline, and my friends, we have a recipe for getting absolutely nothing accomplished.
I did one and a half loads of laundry over the weekend (the second load is still in the dryer) and called it victory.
The biggest kick came Sunday night when I was offered my dream job. Everything I want, everything I want to do, everything I love. When I talk about long term goals for me, my career, and my family, this job is it. Unfortunately, the job requires that we relocate which is just not possible at this time. I spoke with the owner and we came to a decision that allows me to be involved peripherally for the next few years and readdress remote support and/or relocation as the opportunity presents.
But man oh man, how I wish I could jump in with both feet right now.
The emotional rollercoaster over the last two days has left me completely drained. The only thing that got me out of bed today was knowing that I’m hosting the baby shower for my coworker in two hours and bailing on that would be social suicide. Not to mention that I did some crafting for the event and want to show off my hard work.
I owe you guys a post about National Infertility Awareness Week and my opportunity to share some insight into infertility at the office yesterday. And some pics of the cute baby shower craft. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And one for the road.

Found out today that another coworker is pregnant, due in November.
For those of you keeping score, that makes four total IRL.

And I'm hostessing a surprise baby shower this coming Tuesday for the one who is due in June.


I feel like my comment in bible study Monday night about being at peace about the baby situation was heard as a challenge. Like the Enemy heard it and said, "Peace, huh? We'll see about that."

Trying to hang on and focus on the positive things. Like the awesome week R and I spent without the kids, just being married and focusing on each other. No way we could do that with another little one.

Am I supposed to learn something here? Am I supposed to have some great AH-HA that settles everything once and for all?

The only thing I have right now is an excess of tired; I can't remember the last time I was so exhausted. So, rather than stay up and torture myself, I'm going to pour myself a drink and crawl into bed.

Goodnight, all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tricks, Not Treats

Just a few random things to remind me that I am a work in progress:
I have been sucking on the mommy front the past 24 hours. Little K came home over the weekend with a completely messed up sleep schedule, resulting in a very tired (read: grumpy) little girl. Who requires extra encouragement to get things accomplished. Things like speaking to her father or getting off the toilet. I tickle, I encourage, I prompt… And then I snap and make her cry. *sigh* Tonight’s plan involves dinner, bath, and then bed with a well-watched movie so that she gets back on the proper schedule.
Two women at my office are pregnant. I have known one for about 18 months; she is super sweet and conceived within one month of ditching BCPs. She is due in June. The other is new to me but has been at the company for several years. I learned (by accident) that she and her husband conceived via IVF. She is due in September. They are on the same team at the office and have a good working relationship. I am lucky enough to work with, and genuinely enjoy, them both.
The blow came last night at bible study. One of the questions in our lesson was about praying for things that God doesn’t give us/aligning our desires with God’s will: have we been in a situation where God doesn’t give us what we want and how did we handle it. I offered my answer, sharing just a little bit about my desire for another child and God’s firm “no” to that plan, my prayer for Him to take away the desire and the peace I have felt the past few months.
I learned -literally minutes later- that one of our group members is newly pregnant.
I am happy for her, truly. She is a very sweet person and has gone through a lot in months since our group started. Once I realized what was going on, it became so obvious. All smiles and giggles… We prayed for health (hers and the baby’s) and peace about the upcoming changes.
To make it just a little bit harder, she and her husband are Chinese.
I don’t remember if I’ve shared with you that my husband is Japanese. One of the things that made me so excited to consider TTC with R was thinking about a dark beauty next to my blonde Little K. I could picture these two girls together perfectly.
Now, in a few months, our group will have a beautiful Asian baby.
And it won’t be mine.
I’m sorry to say that this development has brought out just a bit of the crazy. I am exhausted and bloated today: is it early pregnancy symptoms or the fact that Little K had me up three times before midnight? I have increased discharge (ewwwww): is it a sign of implantation or my normal ovulation? I am weepy: is it hormones or stress?
OMG. It is literally impossible for me to be pregnant. WHY IS MY MIND DOING THIS?
It’s not even that I want to be pregnant or have another child anymore. It’s that I know it’s a missed opportunity.
I’m not thinking about a newborn coming into our lives. I’m thinking about the toddler that would be with us now.
Little K would be drawing on the sidewalk with her, showing her how to blow away the dust. Little K would be pushing her on the swing and helping her climb the ladder to the slide. They would cuddle and watch movies on the couch.
Is resignation better than hope? Can it lead to acceptance and resolution?
I hope so, because it’s all I’ve got.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Week on the Wild Side: In Words and Pictures

Little K and SSA spent Spring Break with their other parents, leaving R and I home.
For eight days.
Ya’ll, it was awesome!
Little K and I flew to Florida to spend time with my parents before she joined her father for the rest of her vacation. I love being with my mom and dad! We spent four days talking about the big stuff and the fun stuff, lounging by the pool, and indulging in some truly delicious food.
And they gifted me with these birthday treasures:

Hand Sewn Coasters from Hawaii, Toffee Chocolate Macadamia Nuts, Blooming Tea and Carafe, “Then Sings My Soul”: A book of hymns and devotions/history for each.
(I have to mention the birthday card they gave me: “The beautiful one who stole our hearts from the minute we first saw you, the little girl who knew how to make us smile, who’s growing up into a woman who makes us proud. We’re even more thankful to God for you today than that first day He let us finally meet you face to face.” ALL OF THE TEARS.)

The View from my Desk: Lots of Love!
My parents, by the way, are too cute! I drifted off on the chaise one evening only to wake up a few minutes later to them punning, quipping, and generally teasing each other mercilessly. I loved listening to them still cracking each other up after almost 40 years of marriage!
I flew back Sunday afternoon to R, birthday boy extraordinaire. Our birthdays are only eight days apart and, this year, R’s landed on Easter. After picking me up from the airport, we grabbed a late lunch, went home to unpack and unwind, and then headed out to Easter/Birthday dinner. Like, on a date! Without kids or anything!
When you bring children into a new marriage, alone time becomes a foreign concept.
(OH! And the very next day, a dear friend in Florida announced the birth of a baby girl. Happy Birthday, Emma Beth! I love you too much to post the minutes-old picture. You’re welcome.)
We have been doing all of the things one can’t do (or at least, I struggle to do) with young children in the house. We have been trying new recipes, going out in the evening, armchair traveling, and luxuriating in long baths.
And then R goes and builds this in less than 72 hours:

I tell you, I am the luckiest girl in the world! Who else has a husband who builds his wife a pergola, just because??
Oh, right – my mother.
Which brings me right back to…
While I was in Florida, I was sitting on the counter in my folks’ kitchen having a conversation about marriage. My dad asked how things were going and I replied, “Before, I didn’t think that a marriage like yours and mom’s was even possible. Now I have it and I still can’t believe how blessed I am.”
Thank you, mom and dad, for showing me what marriage is supposed to look like. Sorry it took me so long to figure it out.

I love you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Donor Over

I am so proud of my time as an egg donor and the families I was able to help. I am still searching for the next chapter of my support of the ALI community. What do I do next? How can I help? How can I stay involved?
Before I move forward, I’m taking a moment to look back over my journey as an egg donor. I may be shooting blind and maybe what I am about to share stems from my own insecurities. Even so, I want voice this reminder:
Your egg donor isn’t perfect.
Weird, right? I’m not sure if I’m trying to humanize the donor (she is, after all, more than her ovaries) or comfort the recipient (your donor isn’t better -or more- because of her ovaries). And I am not trying to bring you down or discourage anyone from considering donor gametes. It is more of a reminder that the recipient and the donor have common ground. Her scars aren’t from infertility but they are scars all the same.
An egg donor isn’t just the girl in the profile.
I am (well, was) an egg donor and I’m far from perfect. I look at my profile and sometimes all I can see is the gaps.
I started my journey as a donor six years ago at the age of 25. My first donation was at the age 27 and my last donation was at age 30. I am so different than the girl who originally completed the application. The main stats have stayed the same (genealogy, height, hair/eye color, talents, hobbies) but the other stats, the stats that define life and growth, are miles away.
Between my application and my first donation I became divorced, remarried, and a step-mother. My daughter grew from a newborn into a Kindergartner. I was an employee, a SAHM, a WAHM, and an employee again. I broke and rebuilt relationships; learned how to communicate, listen, and apologize; realigned with and grew in my faith.
It may be just a paragraph when I type it all up but those six years represent the journey from a girl to a woman, a child to an adult.
Looking back over everything that has transpired, if I had the chance to share one thing with my recipients and their children, what would it be?
There is hope.
When you face brokenness, there is hope. When it seems impossible, there is hope. When you feel alone, there is hope. When you are at the end, there is hope.
This process -infertility, IVF, donor gametes- is all about hope. And hope is what brings the resulting children into being.
Believe in hope.
(Just a note: This isn't a farewell post!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy (Belated) Birthday to Me

Just a blurb and a photo dump this morning. My bestie, W, came up for birthday festivities and we all had a blast together! More to follow tomorrow - too much food and too much fun has me running slow today. Happy Monday!

Balsamic-Rosemary-Lemon Chicken, Lemon-Pea Risotto, Roasted Asparagus

Pink Lady Cake, Homemade Lemon Curd, White Chocolate Buttercream

Beautiful Branches: Cherry Blossom, Dogwood, Wisteria; Arranged by W

Little K and the Cherry Blossoms