Friday, September 26, 2008

Let me be clear

My friend was discharged from the hospital today. I had planned on visiting her today but she called early on to tell me she was sprung and heading home. Let me be clear about my struggle with K's pregnancy. My struggle was NOT about her being pregnant (OK, maybe a little of it was) but instead it was about the fact that she was 9 weeks pregnant, had seen me, talked to me on the phone, and had not told me. The rest of our friends (6 other ladies that meet regularly) all knew and kept it from me. She thought that she was sparing me by waiting to tell me until conditions were right. As I told her today, I don't think there is any possible scenario that could have happened to make her news not hurtful to me (other than me being pregnant at the same time). That's just the way it is. I also told her that just because I am struggling with how things are doesn't mean I'm not happy for her. I am. I am thrilled they are having a baby at this stage in their life. It's a nice little surprise that will really make their family fun. I just wish I could share the experience with her. She asked if we were still getting together at my place next Friday and I said we were but that I might not know how to pray. Right now my whole attitude towards God is WTF? She laughed and agreed she knows how that feels. I still just cannot wrap my head around it though. The woman who has held my hand, believed with all she is, prayed with fervor and heart for something she believes will happen, and has listened to me cry hundreds of times is herself carrying the child we thought would be mine. Well, not exactly mine. I didn't impregnate her. We just thought I would be pregnant...not her.

Let me also be clear about our infertility. Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant for a year without pregnancy. If you are over 35 the definition changes to 6 months without a pregnancy. We've been trying for...well, it will be 7 years on Monday. I've never been pregnant.

We went to the doctor and fixed what we could. I had dye run through my tubes to see if they were stopped up but the dye flowed freely. I had an operation that removed scar tissue and endometriosis. I had another operation that removed a pollyp from my uterus. I had 3 inseminations last year and another 3 this year before my insurance ran out. Bob was tested and while his sperm showed low motility, everything else looked fine. We assumed that the low motility was due to the water weight he'd put on and his heart/respitory issues. Now that those are doing OK, he should be better but he's not been tested for over a year.

We have done all that we can do medically and financially. Now that I'm not employed, we don't have medical insurance (though Bob qualifies and is in the midst of being approved for Medicare.) and we no longer qualify to be foster parents. Needless to say, without my income we don't have a lot of money so at this point, adoption is not an option either. Not that we would necessarily qualify for adoption either. A lot of agencies we looked at have medical, financial, and age qualifiers that we didn't meet.

So at this point we have done all we can do. We still try to get pregnant every month. We still pray for a miracle. But 7 years is a long time to want something, try for something, and be denied at every turn. I have minutes, hours, and sometimes days where I am OK with never being a parent, never having children. But then something like K announcing her pregnancy happens and all of a sudden, I'm torn from my place of acceptance and transported to a place of want, need, and intense desire for a child. I would LOVE to live in a place of a acceptance. I would love to be able to just let go of this and live my life with my husband. I try. I pray. I "give it over". Yet I cannot let go. It is a painful place and I hate it. Now that I'm 40, I am nearing an age where eventually I will just have to accept it is not going to happen and be OK with it. But with every period coming regularly every month there is still hope and because there is hope I seem to be unable to let go completely. It's something I'm still working on.

Oh and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that October is infertility awareness month and the 19th through the 25th is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please check the Resolve website for information on infertility and how it affects nearly 10% of the population.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What People Don't Know About Being Infertile

Being infertile/without children affects every aspect of life. EVERY. ASPECT.

Do you read the Bible? Do you come across verses that make references to future generations? If so, those verses don't apply to you because you haven't produced a new generation. The generation ends with you and your husband.

Do you and your husband enjoy doing things together? Do you enjoy seasonal opportunities? If so, rule out carnivals, parks, petting zoos, pumpkin patches, Disney movies, or other family/children-centric activities unless you wish to address the weird looks and stares from parents carting their children around. Adults in child-centric areas are looked upon as possible pedophiles/weirdos.

Do you and your husband talk about future baby names? Rules and boundaries for future kids? Have you ever caught yourself saying, "when we have kids..."? How long can you go without ever having those hypothetical kids?

Does school start and you don't have anyone to send to school? Does Christmas come and go without your household experiencing the innocence, excitement, and childhood wonder of the season? Are your shopping expeditions devoid of juice boxes, yogo, diapers, and licensed characters? Do you feel negated as a women because you haven't given birth or nurtured another human being?

The pain of infertility isn't just about not having kids while intensely desiring them, it's about living in that pain every single day and trying to come to terms with never seeing those dreams come true in the midst of a world full of children.

In regards to my friend K. We are not on the outs. I am hurt that she didn't tell me she was pregnant when everyone else in our group knew. I was stunned at the news she is pregnant but I am working through that. What continues to haunt me is that she felt she couldn't tell me she was pregnant and that everyone else kept it from me too. That's what hurts me. I am most likely, probably going to see her in the hospital tomorrow and we will talk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I got a call today from my friend H. She told me our mutual friend K is in the hospital. K has some kind of severe abdominal pain. The doctors think it might be her appendix but they weren't sure. I asked if they were going to operate and H said that there were complications. I asked what kind of complications and H told me that K is 9 weeks pregnant. ?????? !!!!!

I was shocked. I had talked to K just last week. I had seen her weeks before that. K is the one person I can always go to when I am struggling with my own inability to get pregnant. K is the one who prays for and with me. K is the one I turn to in my struggle with infertility and she's...pregnant?

H told me that it was an unexpected surprise. I guess it must have been since all 3 of K's kids are in their teens and as far as I know they weren't trying to get pregnant. Anyway, in shock I told H that I would visit K at the hospital today since I don't have school.

On the way to the hospital I stopped to get some flowers and a card. When I got to the hospital I realized I could not see K today. I filled out the card explaining why I couldn't see her today but that I'd be praying for her.

On my way home K called my cell phone and left a voicemail apologizing for not telling me. She kept saying she was sorry and hoped I be OK. I got home and cried. Another of our mutual friends called to check on me and I found out that all the friends in our circle knew about K's pregnancy except me. She didn't know how to tell me and was waiting to tell me in person next week when we all got together for prayer.

This is so not fair. K wasn't even trying to get pregnant. K didn't want to get pregnant that I know of. In the 2 1/2 years we've been meeting together for prayer it never once came up. Yet every time it was my prayer to get pregnant and have a baby. I'm not sure how to deal with this right now. So far I've dealt with it by crying and telling God how unfair it is. I'm sure that's the mature thing to do, right?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three Weeks In

I am well into my third week of photography classes and I am learning a lot. Mostly I am learning that I don't know diddly. In class I am feeling overwhelmed and out of my league but when I am out shooting photos for assignments, I find myself having a lot of fun and looking forward to turning it all in. I am also finding that not working right now is pretty awesome as far as having time to work on my assignments goes. Monday I was able to have coffee with a friend and then go on a shoot downtown for stuff for school. Today I am able to work on/tweak assignments due tomorrow. It's also been good for me and Bob since we are spending more time together and rebuilding what was torn down during my horrible work experience. It looks like I'm learning more than just about photography.

Interestingly, I've been trying to pick up assignments from the temp agency but so far it's been for naught. I've thrown my hat into the ring on several job postings but haven't even been called. Equally as interesting, we are doing OK financially so far. We have cut back on going out and on extraneous spending and driving. Still, we lack for nothing. We won Twins tickets through our apartment management office so Bob is taking his brother to the noon game tomorrow. We also have been given a great gift for our anniversary that I can't yet talk about but came at a time when I thought we'd have to abandon any plans of celebrating in a special way. All our bills are paid for this month and we have a full pantry and freezer so we are good to least for the next few weeks.

I do have to say that I have to fight my impulse to hoard. Not cats or collectibles but food and household items. When money comes in, I really have to fight running to the store to get stuff to stock in our pantry and freezer. We are good. We have all that we need and more and yet I find myself wondering, what if? So far I've been good about keeping the hoarding at bay but the urge is still pretty strong.

Spending time with Bob has been good. Last week we took a picnic lunch to a local park and had a good time eating, laughing, playing, and exploring. We found the park by just randomly driving around a lake and it was a lovely place to hang out on a breezy sunny day. Bob hunted and chased frogs while I took pictures and sat in the sun. We also played on the playground equipment and just generally goofed off. Yesterday we walked to our local polling place to vote in our primary. The day was warm and sunny and the walk was lovely. We have really enjoyed all the new time we've been able to spend together. It's been a great big gift.

The one big thing that still concerns me and has me struggling is health care. I got my COBRA letter yesterday and if we want to continue our health coverage as it was when I was working it would cost us about $900 a month! That's more than our rent. It would be like coming up with another mortgage or rent payment a month just for health care. Bob really has to get on the stick in talking to the social worker who is supposed to help him find a health care solution.

It is obvious that fall is upon us. Our temps have been chilly, the sun not quite as strong and warm as a month ago, and frost warnings and advisories permeate the local news weather reports. I'm not ready for winter but I do like autumn. I can only hope that our autumn lingers pushing winter back a few weeks or months. I don't have confidence in that happening but I can hope.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Week Unemployed

So I've been officially unemployed for a week now and I have to say that it agrees with me. So far, any way.

Our Labor Day weekend was uneventful to start. We didn't do much on Friday or Saturday. I cleaned and did laundry and...yeah that's about it. However, once Sunday rolled around we got busier.

Sunday afternoon we left home for Treasure Island Resort and Casino, the new home of the MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon. On the way we stopped by my friend and former co-worker's house to say hi. She was having an open house later in the day but because we couldn't make it then, we at least wanted to stop by and drop off a housewarming gift of a bottle of wine. Her house is cute and we liked seeing her and her fiance at their home.

We got to the casino around 2 and walked into the hotel to check in. There was a giant line of other people waiting to check in as well. When it was finally our turn, we were told there wasn't a handicapped room yet available but we said we would take whatever was ready. We were given a double queen room that was quite lovely. The room had a flat screen TV mounted to the wall. This was my first time in a hotel room with a flat screen and I felt quite fancy.

The telethon began Sunday night at 8 so after we checked in we had time to chill and to eat. We were given a free buffet coupon so we partook of a lovely meal of buffet food. I ate too much and had no room for dessert. They should give out coupons so you can go back later and get your pie!

The telethon was...a lot of things. I am thankful for the work Jerry Lewis does to raise money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy diseases but I think the telethon needs to be revamped. I think bringing in younger and hipper acts, celebs, and spokespeople would make the event more relevant to today. Still, the telethon managed to raise over $50 million nationally and about $1.2 million here locally, so that's pretty good.

I was the official event photographer and I had a blast. I had an official name tag identifying me as the event photographer and I was given free reign to capture the event as it unfolded and I think I did a pretty good job. It was a lot of time on my feet and they were killing me by the end of the event but I felt in my element and had so much fun with it. Some of my photos were featured on Twin Cities Live yesterday afternoon. It was really weird in a good way to see photos I took on popular local TV.

Bob met the president of the casino. Bob told him that he usually goes to Hinkley to play cards but now that he sees how funds are donated to MDA, he will change and come to Prairie Island. The president gave Bob his card and said he should call him directly when the card bug bites and he will take care of him personally. Bob said our anniversary is coming up and could he do something for us then? The president said to call him and he would personally see to our comfort. Whoo hoo! I wish they had a spa. I guess it's in the plan for the coming year but right now there is no spa. There is a pool/sauna/whirlpool area and a bowling alley so there is more to do than gamble. We could end up having a really nice anniversary at Treasure Island.

I had class again last night. It's weird to talk photography with my classmates, get all excited, share commonalities and frustrations and then find out that the girls you are talking to are 18 and just graduated from high school. I like it though. I like it because our passion is bringing us together to learn and grow and it's very exciting to me.

One thing that is weird is that I take pictures every day of different things like my flowers, my cats, my husband, our neighborhood. However I have one class assignment to take 24 photos of anything in the way I normally shoot and it's the hardest assignment I've had so far. I am being super picky and nothing is feeling good to me. The assignment is due Monday and so far I only have 12 of the 24 shots needed. I think I need more people shots. I am debating waiting for the school bus this afternoon and getting some shots of our neighbor kids getting home from school. Now that school has started, people are few and far between around here.

Monday's weather was hazy, hot, and humid. It felt like you could squeeze the air in front of you and get water dripping. Then yesterday was cloudy, rainy, and cold! I started the day in shorts but changed to jeans and a long-sleeved shirt soon after. Today is beautiful...sunny and breezy and not a cloud in the sky but it's only 65 degrees outside. Bob and I drove to the local MDA office to drop off a photo CD of the telethon pictures and then we picked up a pizza and drove to a local lake to have a picnic. The wind off the lake was chilly but the sun was warm and wonderful. We had a great time. I love spending time with my husband like that. I am glad that I am able to do so at this time.

My anxiety breathing is finally getting better. I believe it is because I am getting more and better rest, I am eating better, and I am getting exercise. I walk a bit every day...sometimes more than others. I am still feeling poorly about myself and my ability to do good work but I am hoping that will get better as I am away from the toxic workplace...I hope. I don't miss work. I don't miss Big Bank Co. I don't miss always worrying about the job I'm doing and what mistakes I might be making and who will catch them and when. I don't miss hearing gossip and slander and negative remarks spoken under the breath. I don't miss feeling like no matter what I did, I could do no right or good. I don't miss having a boss that didn't like me. I don't miss never knowing when the next shoe was going to drop. It was scary to quit, but it was the right thing to do. In the coming weeks, Bob and I will be formulating a plan for the future. I hope it turns out alright.