Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

Funny – I thought every week was Infertility Awareness Week

While I’m painfully aware every week – or rather, every DAY – of my infertility issues, this week is officially Infertility Awareness Week.

I had this grandiose plan to reveal my true identity during Infertility Awareness Week.  To lift the veil on the issue and stop lurking about, crying in my office, into my pillow and in my car when no one could see me.

I was going to share my blog with my friends and family who aren’t already in the Circle of Trust – opening my heart and hopefully, their eyes, to the pain and frustration of this.

Yeah.  Not gonna happen.

I’m ok with it, though.  As much as I don’t want the struggle to be silent anymore, and as much as I hate feeling like I have to hide this from people, I’ve recently come to terms with it.  As I mentioned before, it’s not about talking about it in general.  It’s about talking to the right people about it.  Opening up to people who don’t get it or to well-meaning people who say all the wrong things is just as painful and unhelpful as holding it all in.

So, if you are open to all of those around you about your infertility, I applaud you.  From the bottom of my heart, I am proud of you and support you and hope that it is the release that you need.  But, if you are like me and can only open up to a small number of people, I want you to know you’re not alone, and it’s ok.  You’re not hiding from your problem.  It’s ok.

And you always have the Eggs to turn to.  We’ll always listen, comfort, scream, laugh, cry with you.

But, I do support the cause – and want more folks to be aware of infertility facts, in general.  Because the more folks who are aware, the easier it will be for me to come out of my bathroom and tell my story.

If you want to learn more about Infertility Awareness Week, check out the folks at Resolve.org and even learn how you can help.

 

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[Article Recc] How not to say the wrong thing

Sharing from the LA Times – and it’s brilliant.  I am going to begin sharing this with people who want to help me, but can’t seem to find an appropriate way to do so.  THIS is a resource for everyone.

How not to say the wrong thing

It works in all kinds of crises – medical, legal, even existential. It’s the ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching. The first rule is comfort in, dump out.

The rules of kvetching(Illustration by Wes Bausmith / Los Angeles Times)
Susan Silk and Barry Goldman

When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”

“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie’s husband, Pat. “I wasn’t prepared for this,” she told him. “I don’t know if I can handle it.”

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan’s colleague’s remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, “I’m sorry” or “This must really be hard for you” or “Can I bring you a pot roast?” Don’t say, “You should hear what happened to me” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” And don’t say, “This is really bringing me down.”

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

There was nothing wrong with Katie’s friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn’t think she could handle it. The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn’t do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you’re talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

And don’t worry. You’ll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that.

Susan Silk is a clinical psychologist. Barry Goldman is an arbitrator and mediator and the author of “The Science of Settlement: Ideas for Negotiators.”

Sharing via the LA Times.

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IVF pioneer Robert Edwards dead at 87 [copied from USA Today]

The Nobel prizewinner’s in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby.

LONDON — Robert Edwards, a Nobel prizewinner from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby and has since brought millions of people into the world, died Wednesday at age 87.

The University of Cambridge, where he was a professor, said Edwards passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home just outside Cambridge.

Together with Dr. Patrick Steptoe, Edwards developed in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which resulted in the birth in 1978 of the world’s first test tube baby, Louise Brown. At the time, the two were accused of playing God and interfering with nature.

Since then, more than 4 million babies have been born using the technique, which creates embryos in the laboratory before transferring them into a woman.

“(Edwards) was an extraordinary scientist,” said Dr. Peter Braude, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Kings College London, who was at Cambridge when Edwards and Steptoe were developing IVF.

“There was such hysteria around the kind of work he was doing,” Braude said, noting that Edwards stopped his research for two years after he published details on how he had created embryos in the laboratory. “He wanted to work out what the right thing to do was, whether he should continue or whether he was out on a limb,” Braude said.

Braude said that Edwards collected donor eggs from Oldham, where Steptoe worked. Edwards then put them into test tubes which he strapped to his legs to keep them warm before catching the train to Cambridge, where he would attempt to fertilize them in the laboratory.

After Brown was born, Braude recalled a celebration at Cambridge, where scientists toasted Edwards and Steptoe’s achievement by drinking champagne out of plastic cups.

Braude said public opinion has evolved considerably since then.

“I think people now understand that (Edwards) only had the best motivation,” he said. “There are few biologists that have done something so practical and made a huge difference for the entire world.”

In 2010, Edwards was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for the development of IVF. Steptoe had already passed away; the Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously. The Roman Catholic Church denounced the award, arguing that human life should only begin through intercourse and not artificially. The Vatican said Edwards “bore a moral responsibility for all subsequent developments in assisted reproduction technology and for all abuses made possible by IVF.”

In 2011, Edwards was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II “for services to human reproductive biology.”

Other scientists called Edwards a visionary who forever changed the lives of people helped by IVF and the medical community.

“(Edwards’) inspirational work in the early 60s led to a breakthrough that has enhanced the lives of millions of people worldwide,” said Mike Macnamee, chief executive of the IVF clinic that Edwards and Steptoe co-founded, in a statement. “It was a privilege to work with him and his passing is a great loss to us all.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press and copied from USA Today.

THANK YOU to Dr. Edwards.  Though IVF has not worked for us yet, I know his work has helped many miracles happen and allowed many dreams to come true.  Hopefully one day his work will introduce me to my second little miracle.

How as Dr. Edwards’ work helped you?

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How do you know when to stop?

Recognizing personal limitations is one of the hardest things to do.

My husband’s grandmother is elderly and sickly.  She lives alone in a home that needs repair.  She forgets to eat.  She forgets to take her meds.  Yet, she wants to remain in her home.  How can she tell herself it’s time to stop?  Time to stop caring for herself, and let someone else help?

My uncle has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s Disease.  He’s cognizant of most things, but has momentary lapses in memory or presence.  His favorite thing to do is drive his old truck.   It’s too dangerous for him to do this at all, much less alone.   Yet, he feels capable.  How can he make the decision to stop doing the one thing he loves?  To give up his independence?

It’s easy for other people to see when it’s time.  When loved ones have had enough.  When they’ve reached the limits of their capabilities.  When they need to move on, walk away, let go.

It’s not so easy for the person holding on.

This weekend was tough for me.  It was the one year anniversary of my miscarriage.  Last year, on Good Friday, I found myself in the ER at almost 6 weeks pregnant, in excruciating pain.  Last Good Friday I was released from the hospital and told there was nothing to do but wait out the inevitable.  Last Easter, through a painted on smile, I soldiered through Easter celebrations at my home as my uterus shed all evidence of a pregnancy no one knew about.

A year later, the wound has healed, but the emotional scar remains.  A year later, we celebrated Easter with the same family members again.  A year later, on Easter Sunday, I got my period.  A painful, bloody reminder of what I haven’t been able to achieve over the past year; of what I lost a year ago.

A painful reminder of the past 16 months of unsuccessful attempts at having another baby.  Of giving my sweet boy the sibling for which he continues to ask.

How much more can I take?  How many more months do I try, and fail?  How do I know when it’s time to stop?  Every time I think I can let it go, to settle in to the life we have and accept the cards I’ve been dealt, I find that I’m wrong.  I see the signs of ovulation, and think “maybe, maybe this is the month.”

I think it would be easier to let go and move on if I was just harboring the pain.   But, I’m harboring pain mixed with hope.  That’s a strange cocktail to imbibe.  When the bitter pill is wrapped in the sweet coating of hope, you keep swallowing the pill.

How do you know when to stop?

hope3

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My Scarlet Letter

As you may have picked up, I’ve been all over the place lately, bouncing around like a ping-pong ball in a dryer.  Up, down.  Happy, sad.  Rational, irrational.  Gracious, jealousContent, Angry.  I’m the yin to my own yang these days.

So, I’ve spent the past few weeks re-evaluating things — the TTC process, my relationships (marital, family and friendships), my goals, my dreams, my emotions.  Just trying to get a grip on myself and find some semblance of the person I once knew.  Because this ticking time bomb of a blubbering mess ain’t it.  I used to be so strong, so optimistic, so determined.

Now, I’m just broken.

We’ve previously talked about the Silent Struggle, and questioned why it has to be such a secret; why it’s ok to publicly mourn the death of a loved one, but not the loss of an unborn baby.   So, I recently decided to stop being so silent about it.  I’m not screaming it from the rooftops, or writing, “Hi, My Name is Infertile” on my conference badges, but I’m opening uhello-my-name-is_infertilep to more friends and family about my struggle.

I thought it would help.  I was wrong.

The good news is, these people don’t look at me like I’m a total bitch anymore.  And they don’t look at me and wonder when I became so emotionally unhinged.   Now, they just give me that look.  You know the one.  The pity eyes.  The “I don’t know what to say” look.

And now, I’m a marked woman.  I walk the halls at work with a Scarlett M on my chest.  M for the miscarriages branded in scarlet red – how apropos.

Now, the pregnant women on my hall look at me apologetically, and ask a drawn out, soft spoken “How are you?”

Now, my mother doesn’t ask me how my week has been.  She asks me, “How are you?”

Now, my friends monitor my drink order at dinner and when I order wine or a cocktail, their faces drop. “So, how are you?”

I’m marked.

I’ve decided that being open about it isn’t the answer.  It’s being open about it to the right audience.  Talking to people who will say more than “I’m sorry” or “Just keep trying” or “It’ll get better in time.”  Talking to people who understand the complexity of this; the confusion; the burden.  That it’s more than just not being able to have another baby.  Or a matter of time til I can try again.  It’s so much bigger than that.

My heart has been wound too tightly, trying to suppress my emotions so as not to appear marked, to protect others from their discomfort in talking to me about this.  The pressure has built, and I’m about to explode.

In the words of the oh-so-insightful Britney Spears,  I need to scream and shout and let it all out.

Last week, I met with a counselor at work.

She assessed that my emotional fuse isn’t detonated because of just the inability to get pregnant, or the disappointment of getting my period; rather, it is the grief I never truly dealt with during my miscarriage(s).  She told me to stop differentiating between my “real” miscarriage and the two “chemical pregnancies.”  She told me to stop downplaying it, and to call them what they are – 3 miscarriages – because I downplay it only to make other people feel more comfortable at the risk of my own healing.  She assessed that I never truly grieved for them, and when I get my period every month it’s like revisiting the miscarriage every month.  She also told me that grief has the same symptoms as clinical depression, and if the grief remains untreated it’s like being clinically depressed without getting treatment, which is why I become unhinged.

The best part?  She reminded me that this is temporary.  It’s not Scrambled 2.0.

So, this week, I’m visiting a counselor who specializes in infertility and miscarriage.  And I’m going to talk to someone who won’t give me the look.  Someone who will give me an action plan other than “keep trying” – and maybe, just maybe, help me rip this letter off my shirt.scarlet-m

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Russian Dolls and US Weekly drive me to drink

Sorry folks.  I dropped off the planet.   First of the year is always a little nutty for me in my “day job” – and this year in particular was more crazy than usual.

You see, I got promoted at work (yay, me!).  And that changed my job scope and volume tremendously.  This has become a good distraction for me in this whole baby-making adventure.  It was working wonderfully!

Until last week.

Remember the Jennifers?  The ones who do everything together, including (apparently) ovulating and sexing?  The ones who waddled past my office together to the bathroom every day for 9 months last year, and all went on maternity leave at one time?

Yeah.  They’re pregnant.  Again.  And yes, I said “they.”

I know you recall my Christmas Party from Hell where they’re non-Jennifer friend announced her pregnancy just before Christmas (and the same day I got my period).  Well, a month later, one of the Jennifers announced she was pregnant again (after only being back from maternity leave 3 months).  She sent it out in a weird “thumbprint” email announcement– her thumbprint, her husband’s thumbprint, her baby’s thumbprint making a little flower.  And, yes, I got my period the same day she announced.

The good news is, when the next pregnancy announcement came, I didn’t get my period.  Not because I didn’t get my period at all – THAT would be absurd.  It was because the next one came a mere TWO weeks later.    Another Jennifer.  Pregnant again.    She told us by way of an email depicting three little Russian dolls decreasing in size – Lindsay Beth (due in July!!), Jennifer 1 (due in August!!) and Jennifer 2 (Due in September!!!).

I came home and turned into the girl from the Exorcist – screaming, throwing up pea soup on anyone who came near me.  I get on Facebook (with wine in hand) to try to distract myself from the day’s announcement, when what do I see?

ANOTHER teammate announcing her pregnancy on Facebook.  Except SHE created a personal US Weekly cover to announce the news.  What IS IT with these people?  When did pregnancy announcements become the new birth announcements?

Next thing I know we’ll be getting professionally designed cards in the mail proclaiming, “WE OVULATED!”  or “WE UNFROZE THE SPERM!”  or simply “WE SCREWED LAST NIGHT!”

For those keeping score at home, that’s FOUR women on my team (of only 20 people) who are all pregnant and due between July and September.  FOUR.  THREE of whom announced within 2 weeks of one another; TWO of whom announced the same.damn.day.  People.  I can’t make this shit up if I tried.

Remember when I said I was getting better at dealing with it?

Yeah.  Just kidding.

cant_stand_other_pregnant_pm-thumb-270x270

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It’s Sunnyside’s Birthday, y’all!!!

Y’all – show some birthday love to my girl, Sunnyside!

Sunnyside is one of THE:

people I’ve ever met.

I honestly think that my personal TTC journey and detours were part of a larger plan to introduce me to this wonderful woman and insert her permanently into my life.

Happy Birthday, Sunnyside.  I love you, girl!

goodeggbday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you could describe Sunnyside in ONE word, what would it be?

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I held a baby, and I liked it.

Folks, I’ve turned a corner.

I held a baby.  On purpose.  And I liked it.

I didn’t cry.  I didn’t mentally calculate how many weeks I’ve been trying to get another one of my own.  I didn’t try to smuggle him into my purse while his mama was in the bathroom.  And, most importantly – I didn’t begrudge his mama.  Instead,  I snuggled his little neck and remembered when my 4 year old was that small and how good he used to smell.  I looked at my friend and was so proud of her – for being a great mama.

Maybe it’s because I know my friend went through an infertility scare herself when trying to conceive this sweet little man.  Maybe it’s because I knew she had tried for a year to get pregnant – after having a miscarriage – and was one week away from filling her Femara prescription when she found out she was pregnant.

Maybe it’s because I realized that by sulking in my own disappointment and heartache I was indirectly wishing someone else pain.

I’d never wish someone unhappiness or ill-will.  I’d never intentionally want someone to feel the emptiness, frustration, disappointment, anger and uncertainty that I have felt for the past 18 months.  But, by rolling my eyes at every pregnant woman to walk past me, or cringing at the sight of a new mama with her snuggle-bug, I realized that I was indirectly wishing that she didn’t have that happiness.  To me, I thought I was wishing that I could have that.  But, the reality was, I was wishing these women didn’t have it if I couldn’t.

So, I was inadvertently wishing them the same pain and sadness that I was feeling.

Whoa.  Reality check.

Ever since I read “Love and Infertility,” my perspective has been shifting slowly.  Sex has been more about sex and less about the expected result.   The BBT thermometer hasn’t come out of the medicine cabinet in 3 weeks.   I’ve found myself using words like “When” instead of “IF” and am just overall a happier, less-stressed person.

And, I invited my friend to come to my work and eat lunch with me.  Hell – I even bought her lunch.  I found myself inhaling my lunch so I could get that sweet young’n out of his stroller and love on his little 5 month old cheeks.  And, not once did I find myself feeling sad or bitter.  I found myself happy and hopeful.

No, I am not a subscriber to the “hold a baby and you’ll get pregnant” philosophy.  But, I’m now a subscriber to the “holding a baby won’t break you” philosophy.

And that’s good enough for me.

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Book Review: “Love and Infertility: Survival strategies for balancing infertility, marriage and life”

I recently provided a few infertility support resources that were made available to me through my company’s awesome work/life center and promised you a review of a couple of the books.

This weekend, I cracked open the first one.  I have admittedly become smitten with the e-reader craze.  I had no real allegiance to turning the pages of a book – words are words to me, generally speaking.  I haven’t read a real “book” in at least two years.  But, the first book:  “Love and Infertility:  Survival strategies for balancing infertility, marriage and life” came to me free from my company’s library, so I reluctantly reverted back to doing it old school.   Quickly, I became engrossed in holding my finger in between pages that resonated with me.  I tapped my fingers on the back of the book as I read.  I was… comforted… to be reading a real book.

Then it hit me.  This book was like me.

A little old.  A little used.  A little less than perfect.  Slightly cracked and bent.  Not quite broken.

book2

With my Kindle, I tend to skim pages faster; skip ahead a little.  As a writer and English major, I am often guilty of skipping ahead and skimming because I can surmise the plot direction without having to invest in every word.  I realized as I read this old-ish book that I was taking my time, slowly turning the pages and reading every word.

I’m not as young as I used to be.  My pages are dog-eared and they don’t turn as quickly.  Maybe I need to stop pressing “next page” on this TTC journey and concentrate on each page a little longer.

Hmmmm.

Ok – so onto the review.

This book?  Awesome.  For me, anyway.  It was the perfect balance of humor, relate-ability, common sense and faith.  I didn’t want a “Let Go and Let God” devotional.  I didn’t want a book full of sad stories to let me know how “it could always be worse.”  I needed something more.  Kristen Magnacca gave me exactly what I needed.

You see, I have felt myself pulling away from life.  I felt as though I was forcing myself to be unhappy, disappointed and sad.  I pulled away from intimacy with my husband – unless, of course, it was Day 16-20 of my cycle.  TTC was not about intimacy at all.  It had become methodical and scientific.  And, as such, any time sex was presented during non-optimal baby-making time, it was a turn off.  Because it just came wrapped in a blanket of anxiety and doubt.  I let myself go – all I cared about was getting pregnant.  I became unhappy with my appearance, my attitude.  Then, I became self-conscious that I was unattractive (inside and out) to my husband, which in turn led me to push non-essential sex away.  I found myself in a downward spiral.

I have been yearning for a way to feel happy.  Allow myself to feel happy.  Remind myself why I love my husband (and not just his sperm).  Remind myself why I was loveable.

In a matter of two hours, this book helped me find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Written from the perspective of a woman who struggled for 10 years to have her 2 children, this book quickly showed me that a) I’m not alone; b) it’s ok to get angry; c) I need to focus on ME, as well as my marriage.  AND – I read it in two hours.  Without putting it down.

Each chapter ends in an exercise you can do alone or with your partner.  It’s not deep breathing or meditation.  It’s writing things down and holding yourself accountable.  And, the kicker:  My husband agreed to read it and do these exercises with me.

From the inside flap of the book:

How can you balance life, your marriage and the process of creating your family?When trying to create a family, a couple’s normal life can be immediately and radically changed. Overwhelming feelings of confusion, hopelessness, and loss of control can leave couples working to overcome infertility unable to communicate with each other or proceed calmly with their daily lives. The effort to create a baby overrides all other activities, and after a while, making love can turn into making work!

Love and Infertility provides a lifeline for couples struggling with infertility. Author Kristen Magnacca shares twenty-eight simple yet powerful strategies to help couples open lines of communication, maintain a sense of control over their lives, and help them deal with the changes they’ll face while working to become parents.

Divided into three sections—Creating Your Destiny, Communicating as One, and Rolling with the Changes—Love and Infertility offers insight and direction to help couples navigate the swamp of infertility. Kristen introduces each strategy with a true experience from her own long struggle with infertility and then provides a step-by-step system to implement the recommendation into daily life.

In Love and Infertility, you’ll find:

  • Twenty-eight effective strategies that correspond to the average twenty-eight day fertility cycle
  • Useful tips for couples in all stages of conceiving—from those just starting out to those who have been trying for years
  • Interactive exercises for men, for women, and for both partners together: goals lists, talking points, “red-flag” phrases, and the patented “Elevator Speech” to rescue you from any situation

Though this time of your life may be emotional and strenuous, Kristen’s words of wisdom can help you regain control of your life, your marriage, and your happiness. You don’t have to go through this alone!

Early in the book, she challenges the reader to write down 3-5 dreams they want to accomplish in the next year.  Write it on a colorful index card and keep it with you all the time – in your planner, your wallet, whatever.  Ask your husband to do the same.  Help each other fulfill those dreams.

I think mine are going to be:

  1. Lose 20 lbs.
  2. Be pregnant before I’m 39.
  3. Take a photography class.

It’s ok if one of them says “Get Pregnant.”  Because one of the other chapters talks about the power of positive thinking.  For 17 months, we’ve been “trying” to have a baby.  “Trying” sets you up for “failing” – whereas, “planning” sets you up for achieving.  Subtle difference in writing – but a big difference to your subconscious.

This book gives funny anecdotes about not being able to face another round of questions regarding your baby making plans, or another pregnant belly, but quickly follows up with smart ways to escape those situations (and give your partner signals that you need to escape).  It provides easy ways to rekindle the spark with your spouse and remember why you want a family with them in the first place.

For me, it just gave me hope.  And renewed faith in the process.  Something I haven’t felt in a year.

This book isn’t rocket science.  You’re not going to find the crazy secret post-sex position you haven’t heard of before, or a new way to check cervical fluid.  You’re going to find real ways to cope with your baby-making struggles, while  finding yourself and renewing the strength of your marriage in the process.  Oh, and yeah, God is in there a time or two.  But, for me, it was just the right amount.

Which brings me to the other book I was going to read:  “When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden.”

After reading “Love & Infertility” in two hours, I picked up “When Empty Arms” and immediately felt annoyed and disinterested.  This book was stuffy, laden with spiritual references and had an immediate sense of “Poor You!  Poor, poor you!”

I put it down after two pages and won’t be going back to it.  It may be helpful to some; but for me, I have been sad long enough.  I needed something to help me focus on what matters.

Kristen’s “Love and Infertility” got me out of my elastic-waist pants and actually motivated me to shave my legs.

Now THAT is a miracle.

//

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Are you there, God? It’s me, Scrambled.

Previously, I wrote about how I must be on this Earth solely to be comic relief for God.  And while I do enjoy making people laugh, I’m kind of over being His punching bag.

It ain’t funny anymore.

Ok, it sort of is.  A little.  But only 3 weeks after it happens, and a lot of wine has been imbibed.

Before Christmas, I promised to tell you how AF arrived in the worst possible way.  Well, here goes.

First, I need to set the stage.  I once told you about all the many pregnant women around me at work.  Last year, three women on my hall had a baby.   No lie – the mothers were all named some variation of Jennifer (Jennifer, Jenny and Jen).  They all sat next to one another, and always – repeat, always – walked waddled to the bathroom together.  Always right past my office.

Finally, they all had their damn babies, went on maternity leave and I had 12 weeks of unpregnant bellies crowding me in the bathroom.

Fast-forward – now, it’s Christmas and time for our annual department Christmas lunch.  I’m officially three days late for my period and somewhat hopeful that maybe, just maybe, this month we nailed it (so to speak).   I live by the motto “Drink til it’s pink” – so I was enjoying a few vodka tonics with my friends while we awaited the beginning of the party.   My three girlfriends/coworkers and my “work husband” were all standing around shooting the shit.  The convo went something like this:

Friend A:  wait… I thought that was Jennifer?

Friend B:  No, that is Jenny.

Work Husband:  Which one is the red head and looks about 12 years old?

Me:  That’s Jen.

Work Husband:  Well, which one is the really skinny one?

Friend A:  That’s Jenny.

Friend C:  Shit.  I thought the one with the curly hair was Jenny?

Me:  No, that’s Lindsay Beth.

Work Husband:  Oh yeah… she’s the hot one.

[silence as we all stare at him]

Friends A, B, C and me:  You think SHE is hot?

Work Husband:  Well, she’s got a nice ass.

Me:  I thought MY ass was the only one you’re allowed to look at (noting that his wife gives him permission to be my work husband, and occasionally Friend B’s work husband, too).

Work Husband:  Have you SEEN her in a pair of jeans?

Just when we’re all about to tear into him about his admiration of Lindsey Beth’s denim ass, we hear the *ting ting ting* of a knife on a wine glass as our department head kicks off our Christmas lunch with a poem she wrote about our department getting bigger this year with the addition of two new groups, and then she slowly added, “Annnnnd, speaking of GROWING…”

People – I kid you not.  I became short of breath.  I started to sweat.  The room shrank.  The sides went dark.  I was in a tunnel of DON’T FUCKING SAY IT, WOMAN!

And, in what sounded like whale-speak, in slow motion she said, “We’re about to have another baby in the group!  Congratulations…. LINDSEY BETH.”

are you KIDDING ME?  Are.  You.  Kidding.  Me.  First, her ass trumps mine, and now her uterus does, too?!

BITCHASS.

In that moment, I hear work husband let out a long, slow, SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH of an exhale and he muttered, “Well, THAT was the worst.  possible. cosmic.  timing.  EVER.”

I turned and said, “YOU DID THIS!  YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN!”

Work Husband:  I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

Me:  Well, I hope you enjoy her ass as it gets big as hell.    And I stormed to the bar.

When I returned to the table, work husband looked sheepish and sad and truly sorry.  It became laughable at that moment, because he was acting like maybe he DID do it… which made me giggle.  But only a little.

So, I soldiered on through the party.  But when it was over, I was near my breaking point.  I desperately needed to go scream, cry, punch something.  I needed to be alone.   I said my goodbyes, polished off my drink, and headed to the parking lot.

En route to my car, I STARTED MY PERIOD.

Kids, I can’t make this shit up.

I let it all out.  Sobbed in public stumbling to my car through tear-filled eyes and didn’t care who saw.  I sat behind the wheel before cranking the car and just let out a big ol’ rebel yell.  Except, unlike Billy Idol, I cried, “NO MORE, NO MORE, NO MORE.”

And from there, I screamed til I was hoarse.  I begged God to answer me:

WHY DO YOU HATE ME?

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING FROM THIS?

TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

By the time I got home, I was all cried out and without a voice.  In a sick, mental way, it was cathartic to just let it all out.  It also helped that two days later, Sunnyside came to visit and we put all this behind me.

Over the holiday, I let go of some anger, let in some perspective and just tried to be happy in my current life.  I have no idea what 2013 is going to hold, but I’m hoping that God will allow me a little hiatus from his Comedy Troupe, at the very least.

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