The Chatterbox

I had dinner at a friends place last night. Her fiance and my husband go to school together, and she and I have hung out a few times.

It was…interesting. It was the kind of meal that during the meal I kind of realized it wasn’t that great, and that, upon thought, I realized it was kind of not great at all.

There were a couple of things: They are both incredibly young. Like, really, really young. I mean, my bat mitzvah was 8 years before hers kind of makes-me-feel old. Two of the other people at the meal were around my age, and then the other four – my host, her fiance, and then two others, were in the “senior year of college/first year of graduate school right out of undergrad” club. It was strange. I’m not that old – 28 isn’t – but I felt out of place. There were other awkward aspects – clearly the meal was meat, despite the fact that two people at it were vegetarian – nothing like 2 of 7 people not partaking in a chunk of the meal.

The real kicker, though, was the story of Noah.

No, not the ark, and the flood, and animals going two-by-two.

Apparently, one of their friends has an 18 month old named Noah. I have totally forgotten how they know Noah, mostly because I never cared in the first place. Honestly, how much do I care about someone’s baby whom I have never met and will likely never meet? Really? Life situation aside, some random baby is not interesting. Even when said baby is a total prodigy. Like, really – did you know that Noah can tell the difference between the kind of prayer book that his daddy uses and the kind that his mommy uses? Or that he uses the Hebrew word for praying in context while daddy is praying? Well, I found out last night, and now so did you. Maybe he is a prodigy. I haven’t spent enough time around 18-month-olds to really know. What it sounds more like, to me, is that mommy and daddy either a) spend all their time praying or b) need to vary the kid’s activities a little.

Of course, it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as annoying if it weren’t for our “life situation.” If I had a baby or was pregnant instead of watching warily as our 2-year mark of trying comes up. But I don’t. So, instead, I listened to her gush not once but twice (once during our walk from Friday night services to their place, once at dinner to “thrill” the other guests – although some of them apparently knew Noah so maybe they cared more) – and felt impotent to say anything. There was nothing I could say without it being totally awkward – it wasn’t like my friend (another girl barely out of college, and the wife of a classmate of my husband’s) who joked around about people being pregnant and then was gently told not to do that anymore. This was both an example of general social awkwardness made more awkward by the personal history of the recipient.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air. Nothing to do, just have to move past it – but what a meal!

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A “New” Family Member

So, for the last two years or so, my husband’s brother hasn’t been talking to anyone in the family. Even before that, the relationship was pretty tenuous. He would call when he felt like it. He wouldn’t answer his phone. A couple of times, he got rid of his phone without telling anyone. Etc. Etc. Until contact stopped altogether.

Around Thanksgiving, he suddenly emerged into the land of the living. Or rather, he reached out. He emailed not just his parents but my husband, and it was a really strange experience.

He’s had a rough time – he was kind of an angry kid that played into being kind of a paranoid adult, and he put a lot of blame in weird places. His life got pretty out of control, and he fell into a depression. Now, he’s reaching out to try to find help – he needed immediate assistance, but he also wants to get his life back on track and, it seems, get in touch with family.

It’s so hard – my relationship with him is that he’s been causing people I love – namely my husband and my in-laws – pain, without much benefit to myself. DH and I have been married for 6.5 years and together almost 9. His brother’s been kind of not really an active member of the family for probably 6 of those years. I’m really conflicted. On the one hand, to have a functional relationship with him would be great – I remember liking him before things went bad. But it’s not clear to me how exactly that’s going to come about.

Until we figure it out (or he vanishes back into the woodwork – I don’t trust this reappearance yet), it’s another source of stress in a life that already feels kind of consumed with stress.

(And then selfishly I wonder – do I have to tell him about our struggles? My in-laws know, but do I have to tell this virtual stranger who happens to be my brother-in-law? We haven’t yet and aren’t planning on it…but I think about it.)

CD1. Again.

Well, it wasn’t Wednesday. 

But it is today. All week has been ups and downs. Tuesday I was super emotional, and I was sure yesterday would be it. Yesterday, I felt better on that account, but had brown spotting. My temp was still high, but I didn’t trust it.

Today, my temp is lower, I have cramping. And blood. 

So, onto the next. My acupuncuturist gave me different herbs to try. Hopefully over this cycle I’ll get to actually make my new appointment with my new RE. And then we’ll get this thing moving again. 

Cycle 21. We’re so close to two years I could cry just thinking about that, never mind that it’s CD1. 

Miles to go before I sleep.

Nine things.

Stuff I knew before TTC

1. No one is guaranteed a baby when they want it. And yet, some people are able to plan like that. This makes it ridiculously difficult for them to understand those who can’t plan.

2. I really, really wanted to be among those who could plan for a baby and have it work totally correctly.

3. If you can, waiting to start trying is not the wrong decision. Having a baby is a big deal.

Stuff I realized when we started

1. Sex ed in this country is 99.9% about how not to get pregnant. For a huge percentage of the population, that makes total sense. For the rest of us, it means that not only do we not get the info we need, but it leaves the majority population totally stumped about what’s going on with us.

2. There’s actually a lot that I can know about my body by paying attention. I can figure out if and when I’m ovulating, if my basal body temperature is high or low, if it’s erratic. I can find out what my luteal phase looks like, and predict which day I’m going to get my period.

3. However, pregnancy symptoms and PMS symptoms can be the same. Like seriously. Heartburn, fatigue, being emotional? Yeah, that can all be PMS OR pregnancy symptoms. Really? Who decided that. I mean, it makes sense – your body can’t really tell the difference either until it realizes that nothing burrowed into your uterus, and the luteal corpus dies and you get your period. But still. Totally useless for those of us TTCing. Especially since no chart can ever tell you if you’re really pregnant.

Stuff I know now, as we’re rounding 20 cycles out

1. How much harder it would get to watch other people be pregnant. And also, how hard it is being different depending on who it is. There’s always jealousy – doesn’t matter what the story is – because they have something that I desperately want. But there’s a difference. It’s easier for that jealousy to be mixed with happiness when it’s someone I know struggled. It’s impossible when I know the baby wasn’t so planned, or the person can’t shut up about it. It has a lot to do with how much I like the individual as well.

2. I keep hope each cycle, but I’ve started planning like it’s not going to work. Early on, I’d think sometimes about “Oh, what if I’m pregnant when X happens?” And sometimes, I’d set my heart on it. And it hurt more than it was worth. So I’ve stopped saying it. Sometimes, it pulls me back in, but I’m better about it. I don’t hang a star on it. It’s just there. Milestones hurt, but there’s nothing to do for that. Going on our annual family vacation, my birthday, our anniversary. Praying that by this time next year, things will be different.

3. The grief and the uncertainty, and that they feed into each other. I feel grief about our family that we wanted. I saw a note I wrote about our ideal family, years and years ago, and I just laughed. All the dates I wrote for starting our family have already passed. So, we sit in the uncertainty, and I grieve for that timeline, and feel that I’m missing something. Not to mention, the Big Fear. The one that says I will always feel like this – that there will never be a baby for me. I can feel the lie in it, but it’s really difficult in the moment to separate it from my daily truth. Still waiting, sad and uncertain.

 

ETA: Expecting AF tomorrow. Think of me if it does turn out to be CD1 again.

Infertility = Disability?

RESOLVE posted this article on their facebook: Is Infertility Fertile Ground for Disability Discrimination Claims? 

Given that I can’t comment on facebook (hi, totally not private at all!), I wanted to talk about it here where it is private.

First, I appreciate the sentiment. As I mentioned previously, I haven’t needed to deal with employers and infertility yet, but I’m worried we’re going to get there soon. In a way, it’s nice to have something in my pocket – if they aren’t accommodating, there’s actually precedent for getting help, if I need it. Not that I imagine that they wouldn’t be accommodating, but because understanding that I have backup is nice.

It definitely makes me feel that there are at least some parts of the establishment that take the ridiculous world of infertility seriously.

But, there is a part of me that is a little squicked out at the idea of being “disabled” – who really wants that as a thing? But at the same time, I keep feeling like I want to explain to everyone how hard this is, how life changing, and how permanently life changing it is. So I guess it makes sense – this is one kind of recognition. Still.

What do you guys think?

The Second Worst

I was actually going to call this the worst time of the month, but that’s not true. The worst, always is CD1. When it is FOR SURE that you’re not pregnant and it’s just miserable. Trying to put yourself together so you can try to try again.

No, I’m thinking about the 2WW. I’m trying to be reasonable. In fact, I wrote somewhere else that I’m expecting AF on Wednesday.

Which I am.

But that never stops me from making fantastical plans.

A friend and I are planning a joint Disney trip in May for our birthdays. I love Disney and so does she, and she’s turning 30. We don’t live near each other anymore, so meeting up somewhere we both love seemed obvious. Today I was reading the guide book I bought (The Unofficial Guide – the holy grail of getting the most out of your trip), even though I honestly could probably plan the entire trip without it without trouble, and imagining how this trip would be different if I’m pregnant.

That although we are currently planning for me to not be pregnant, my friend knows we’re trying and there is a huge part of me that will be glad to miss all kinds of rides if I am pregnant.

That this cycle would put me being due right before our 7th wedding anniversary. And a month before my husband turns 32. That it would be super inconvenient from a work standpoint is fine – I’ve always expected that whenever I would be due would be among the least convenient times. So there’s that.

There’s the part of me that has hope. And the part of me that knows that this hope is probably futile and will make CD1 worse.

But I can’t help it.

Seeing Things

I’ve always thought of myself as intuitive. Or at least, trying to be.

Sometimes, it’s been hideously wrong – but that’s usually when I’ve been trying to intuit someone’s understanding of me rather than just asking like a human.

Most of the time though – I try to notice things.

Infertility brings a level of noticing things that is hard to shut off.

The couple that we had lunch with on Saturday – with a five year old and an extra bedroom in Manhattan.

The single mom by choice with two kids under four.

The friends who just gave birth to boy/girl twins.

The couple that’s five years older than us, got married two weeks before us, and doesn’t have kids.

Obviously, some people are really open, but sometimes I think I see more than I should. The same way that I imagine that people I meet might put two and two together when they figure out that we’ve been married for six and a half years and don’t have kids. Somehow, to me, four or five years still seemed in the realm of the plausibly waiting, but not six and a half. Maybe because I know we’ve been trying for the last two years – but still. Or they decide we just don’t want kids. Which is also plausible, but not applicable in our situation.

The thing is, I don’t say anything to these people. One, I might be reading too much into it. And two, because it means opening myself and it means asking questions that no one wants to ask. It’s the safest, but I wonder sometimes about whether it would open up more alleys for conversation. Still, I don’t see it changing, at least not until we have this more figured out. It’s funny that it seems like the time that everyone “comes out” is after there is already a baby. After it’s already a little bit more moot. But I understand. I don’t want to open up now. So, I just see things.

Do others find themselves wondering about people they meet? Trying to figure out if they are fellow travelers?