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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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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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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Liebster Nominations, Baby!!!

liebster blog award

So, punctuality is clearly not one of our strong suits.   I mean, who has time to think of anything else when you’re temping, charting, checking fluid, and peeing on OPKs!

Well, WE have time.  Especially since we’ve both decided to kick off 2013 with a new outlook on PTC (formerly known as TTC).   So, without further ado, we want to extend a big fat THANK YOU to the many bloggers who nominated us for a Liebster Award:

IVFMale, CMDCupcake, Erin, and MyBrokenOven! There are links to each of their blogs below. Please check them out!

We are touched beyond words that you read our crazy antics and don’t log off when you see just how unstable we are.  AND – that you wanted to know even more about us!  Whaaaaat?   You guys are too much!   And, thank you for giving us something else to think about for a little while (and for reminding us that there is more to each of us than our empty wombs and bad eggs).  So, much love to you all!  And, below you will find the answers to all of your questions!

And, we certainly plan to pay it forward.  After our answers you will find our list of  Liebster nominations, and the questions we’re dying to have answered!

Love and double lines,

The Eggs

About the Liebster Award: This award is intended for bloggers with less than 200 followers. In order to accept your nomination, you must answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you, and then create 11 questions of your own for your 11 nominees to answer. It’s all about paying it forward and encouraging your favorite bloggers to continue writing.

Questions from: Cmdcupcake

When did you start your blog & why?

We started our blog in September 2012 because we were in search of similar minds and experiences. We met on a message board on a TTC forum and developed an instant connection. On that message board, we both were beginning to feel somewhat disconnected and discomforted through our struggles on the boards.  So, we thought blogging would not only serve a cathartic purpose for us personally, but would introduce us to a supportive community.   A community where we could not only get the support we were seeking, but we could offer some support to others like us.  And, we were right!

When was your “a-ha” moment on your fertility journey where you decided to get serious?

SS: About six months after my miscarriage and repeated failed attempts at natural conception. I began temping, charting, and acupuncture at that time.  I also swallowed my pride and read my first “fertility/infertility” book.

Scrambled:  About 4 months into the process.  I already have one child (age 4).  We had a little trouble conceiving him due to my irregular cycles.  But, once I read TCOYF and charted my temps and fluid ONE MONTH, I got pregnant – because I pinpointed my late ovulation.  This time around, I totally thought, “I got this.”  So, we waited until we were ready to have another one; when our son was at that “perfect age” for a sibling.  Little did we know it would take us going on two years this time around.  About 4 months after we began TTC #2, I had already experienced a chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage (which left me in the hospital on Good Friday confirming a miscarriage).  At that moment, I realized this is harder this time around.  I’m older.  My body is jacked.  We’re going to have to get help.

If you could start from the beginning, would you change anything during your TTC journey? If so, what?

SS: Yes! I would have started charting much earlier and would have reached out to a fertility specialist sooner.

Scrambled:  Not really this time around.  I was already charting, temping, checking fluids, taking supplements.  Regardless of your drive, most doctors won’t allow you to pursue infertility treatment until you’ve been TTC for X months.  In my case this time, it was 6 months.  That’s when we started the IVF classes, etc.

Favorite coffee drink?

SS: the kind with caffeine. Haha! I’m a hazelnut and Splenda addict.

Scrambled: Ditto SS!!   My go-to is “grande skinny Caramel Macchiato with two splendas”

Pets? Tell me about them.

SS: oh, yes. Dogs: Kaili, Kona, and Blue. All large breeds mix rescues and the loves of my life. Also, two cats, Colbie and Karma. We had a third cat, Grandma, but she decided she liked our neighbor more and ditched us. Beeotch kitty.

Scrambled:  One dog.  A beagled named Scout.  She has been with me since she was 6 weeks old – and she’s almost 15 now.  I know her time with us is becoming limited, and it breaks my heart to think of her gone because my son is at the perfect age to love and annoy her all at once.  He has requested a little couch for her so she can sleep in his room J

What’s one thing that not a lot of people, if any, in the real world know about you? (Don’t worry, cyberspace is safe)

SS: I have anxiety (diagnosed, not just perceived.)

Scrambled:  I have shark teeth.  Like, in my mouth, not on a necklace.  My front 5 teeth have a tiny second row of teeth behind them.  You can’t see them, and they serve no purpose.  But I can feel them with my tongue.  If asked, I will let you touch them.  I can tear up a steak.  😀

What is one piece of wisdom you can give to someone who is in your current situation? Whether that is as a mom, a wife, a TTCer, etc?

SS: Don’t lose hope and try to talk about it with someone other than your partner who truly understands.

Scrambled:   Don’t let it define you.  Find ways to cope outside of trying to “fix” your situation.

Celebrity Crush??

SS: Three-way tie: Will Smith, Tiger Woods, and Chelsea Handler.

Scrambled:  Oh man.  Matt.  Damon.   Sigh.   Yes.  Matt Damon.  And, rounding out the Top 3:  James Badge Dale and Zac Efron (I’m a cradle robber)

One thing you love & hate about winter?

SS: Hate: the cold. Love: Christmas music. It’s all I play for a month straight.  My poor husband…

Scrambled:   Love Christmas.  And being able to hide the fat better 🙂    I hate that it gets dark so early.

Favorite holiday/s & why?

SS: Halloween. It’s a chance to escape from reality and be goofy.

Scrambled:  Halloween and Christmas.  I love dressing up and being silly, and I love throwing parties.  Both holidays enable lots of festive activities.

Will you follow and support these other fine bloggers listed?

SS: Abso-fricken-lutely!

Scrambled:  Of course!

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Questions from: Ivfmale  (duplicate questions omitted if previously answered)

Describe one feature you wish WordPress had that it doesn’t.

SS: an “I want your autograph” button. There are some amazing bloggers out there who are destined to make it big, and I’d love to get my hands on those soon-to-be famous John Hancocks.

Scrambled:  I like SS’s answer J   I wish it was a little more intuitive and user-friendly.  It seems very manual at the moment.

What quality about yourself are you most proud of?

SS: my optimism

Scrambled:  my sense of humor

Describe your fondest childhood memory.

SS: My dad took my sister and I to the caves in Hanalei on the island of Kauai. In case you didn’t know, that’s where Puff the Magic Dragon lives. Ten year-olds love that $hit. “…and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Hanalei.”

Scrambled:  I have so many.  I had a pretty awesome childhood.  Great parents (still together, 43 years later), a good sister, a good life.  We grew up going to a summer/weekend lake house – so waterskiing, swimming and taking friends there was just an every weekend activity for us.

Tell me about your first car.

SS: Beater. Bought it in a mall parking lot for $1000. 1989 Nissan Sentra. My sister got it as a hand-me-down. Poor girl.

Scrambled:  I turned 16 in 1991.  My first car was a 1987 Blue Chevy Cavalier.  Two door.  I bought it with money I’d saved from babysitting for 4 years.  I didn’t pick it out.  My parents literally took my money out of my bank account a month before my 16th birthday, went to the car lot WITHOUT ME, and bought my car – with MY money.  And then I continued to make payments on that car until I went to college.  They graciously paid the insurance J

Who inspires you and why?

SS: My mother. She is resilient, hard-working, youthful, funny, loving, and a peace maker. She brags about me sometimes, too, so that’s nice. I guess all moms do though. Haha!

Scrambled:  My mom.  She is tough as nails and fragile as glass all in one.  She had only a high-school education and aspired to be so much more.  Her commitment to adult education, career and family and her ability to balance it all showed me that I could be an awesome mom, but not just a mom.

Tell me the most recent joke you’ve heard that was really funny.

SS: I guess it’s more of a funny line, but whatever. “Halloween is all about being something you’re not, so that’s why most girls go as ‘sexy’.” Cracked me up!

Scrambled:  It’s really really dirty… I’ll think about telling you later J  But it had to do with oral sex and a grandma.  You’re welcome.

What do you want others to remember you by?

SS: Making their day/life/situation a little better.

Scrambled:  Making them smile/laugh amidst their struggles.

Which question above do you wish I hadn’t asked?

SS: Childhood memory. My parents divorced when I was young, so it’s hard to define just one part of the two different lives I experienced.

Scrambled:  Don’t have one… they were all good. J

What question didn’t I ask you wish I had?

SS and Scrambled: Most embarrassing moment. Too bad for you 😉 haha!

Do you think I made up the last two questions because I ran out of questions?

SS and Scrambled:  Well, of course not. (code for YES)

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Questions from: Mybrokenoven

What is the one thing (not person) you can’t live without?

SS: Tank tops. I wear one everyday no matter what.

Scrambled:  my phone.  And mascara.

What is the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

SS: Watch trashy shows in bed after my husband falls asleep. The Housewives, Kardashians, 90210, etc. Gotta get my girly fix. I’m also a closet midnight eater. My nightstand often looks like a crime scene at a 7-11.

Scrambled:  Watch TV in bed with my hubby, or if he falls asleep, I switch it to Friends and play Words with Friends on my iPad.

What is your best trait?

SS: Positive outlook/optimism

Scrambled:  Ability to counsel folks, and my sense of humor.

When was the last time you laughed, and what made you do it?

SS: Good laugh? Two nights ago I spent hours watching this hilarious couple on YouTube prank each other. Prank V. Prank is their channel. I’m now convinced this is my calling, but I giggle far too much to pull off a prank.

Scrambled:  Last night, when I was explaining my depression and frustration about infertility to a friend and how “hopeless” I feel.  She said, “You need to find a counselor to talk to.”  And I replied, “I tried.  She won’t call me back.”  – and the irony of that cracked us both up that we laughed til tears were rolling.

What was your worst year of school and why?

SS: Hmmm. Tough one. I’m going to be less specific and say middle school. It was such an awkward time. So many changes emotionally, physically, and socially. I can imagine it’s only worse nowadays.

Scrambled:  Eesh.  That is tough.  Jr. High was rough for me.  Bad teeth, bad glasses, bad hair.  Ugh.  Stop talking about it

What was the last dream you had that you remember?

SS: I can’t remember but it probably involved my teeth falling out and/or being naked from the waist down. Pretty standard for me (in dreams!) I did have a dream a few nights ago about my little sister giving birth to a baby girl, but just the head. I was awesome taking care of her and had no problem screwing her head onto a plastic body so she looked normal. WTF? And she could talk from day one. Pretty impressive for a body-less baby.

Scrambled:  It involved Brad and Angelina – because of our Inappropriate Elf.  In my dream, I may or may not have been the nanny.  Don’t judge me.

What were you for Halloween (the last time you dressed up)?

SS: A pirate. Yes, cliche. I know. And yes, a slutty one. ~shame~

Scrambled:  Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood.

If you could live anywhere where would it be?

SS: 6 months or less: Las Vegas. Forever: Somewhere Figi-ish as long as my husband and future children could be happy and successful there too.

Scrambled:  6 months or less:  Hawaii.  Forever?  NC.  I love it here.

Have you ever felt an earthquake?

SS: Oh yeah, plenty. I grew up in Southern California. Earthquake drills were as common as fire drills.

Scrambled:  Yes – once.  And I live in NC, so we were all “WTF was that?!”

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Questions from: Erin

What is your absolute favorite meal? What makes it so great?

SS: Frozen burritos or quesadillas and Texas Pete. Like half a bottle of Texas Pete!

Scrambled:   Depends on the day.  If I’m sick/under the weather?  Homemade chicken pastry (chicken and dumplings for all you yankees out there).  Otherwise, just call me Bubba Gump.  Shrimp.  Shrimp.  Shrimp.   I love pasta in cream sauce or olive oil with grilled shrimp.  I love fried shrimp and tartar sauce.  I love shrimp po’boys.  Shrimp kebabs.  Shrimp and grits.  Ohhhhh.  Shrimp and grits.  Be right back.

Do you have any funny nicknames for your significant other? Past significant others?

SS: Not that I can think of. Just the boring, “babe.” Now, I want to come up with one though!

Scrambled:  No.  I call him “Hun” or “babe” a lot.  He doesn’t call me anything – which bugs the hell out of me (in case he’s reading this – ahem).  I love pet names.  They just show that you mean something to somebody.  Anyone can call me “Shannon” (hey – there you go – I just came out of anonymity!  But when you really know someone you have a nickname for them.  All my friends call me “Sha” (pronounced Shay) – and have since college.  I had an old boyfriend who used to call me Pookie.  I used to love it – now it sounds really dumb.  😀

What are your pet peeves? (We all have them…)

SS: Chewing with your mouth open, one-upping, and too many self-portraits on Facebook.

Scrambled:  People who use “I” when “Me” is correct (simply because they want to sound smart).  Correct:  He and I went to high school in North Carolina.   Incorrect:  Please send the email to him and I.   If you remove the “Him” that sentence sounds stupid:  Please send the email to I.  That’s how you know “me” is appropriate.  You’re welcome.

Do you have any funny stories? Name one that sticks out. (Whether about yourself or someone you know)

SS: Years ago DH and I were getting ready for bed and my phone chimed. He grabbed it playfully and said, “Who the hell is ev-int-rem-in-dur?!” I had no idea who that was so I grabbed my phone only to see “Event Reminder: (Someone’s) Birthday” on my screen. It was pretty funny and we still laugh about it to this day. Quick witted guy!

Scrambled:  I have too many to name.  Like the time I flew out of the side of a golf cart and slid down an entire green on my stomach (and face).   Or more recently – when I POAS so many times that a used HPT internet cheapie strip ended up in Sunnyside’s Christmas gift bag and she found it in the bottom of the bag when she got home.

How did you and your partner meet?

SS: We were both really into poker and gambling and had a mutual friend who invited both of us out for a casino cruise. It was the first time we met, I asked for his number, and the rest is history. That was almost seven years ago…geez!

Scrambled:  Online.  By accident.  I was helping a friend set up a Match.com account and saw his profile and snagged him for myself.   My hubby had just moved to the area, was painfully shy and not a club go-er.  He had a profile online but until then hadn’t dated anyone he’d talked to.  🙂

What is your biggest fear?

SS: Failure. I sometimes find myself not trying as hard as I should so I can fall back on “Well, I could’ve done more. It wasn’t a true failure.” Awful trait.

Scrambled:  Getting old.  I’m obsessed with aging.  I look at old movies with actors who were so young, like we are now.  And think, “Wow.. I wonder if they ever thought they’d look like THIS now?” and I wonder what my husband and I will look like when we’re 65.   On a less intense level – I hate eating alone in public.  It makes me anxious.  If I know I have to do it, I’ll bring a book, computer, iPad, phone or something so it looks like I’m insanely busy and important – and not eating alone.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

SS: I’m pretty proud of my degree and the things I accomplished in college (Sports, academics, leadership, etc.) Most recently, I’m proud of taking a risk and giving up my good-paying job to start my own company.

Scrambled:  My 4-year-old son.  He’s the best part of me.  He’s funny, smart, courteous, sweet, curious.  He’s the best thing I’ve ever done.  Professionally, I’m proud of my career.  I work at the best company in the world (literally – just named) and am in charge of corporate communications to tell its story.  I’m proud of everything I do here.

What is one thing that always makes you happy when you are in a miserable mood?

SS: Upbeat music, a kiss or cuddle from the pups, a surprise phone call from a friend, or watching/listening to something comedic.

Scrambled:  90s country music.  boy bands.  a sweet note from a friend.  something funny out of my kiddo’s mouth.

In high school, what clique were you in? Do you feel if you were back there now you would be in that same clique?

SS: I pretty much only hung out with the cross country and track team members, a few close girlfriends, and my long-term boyfriend. I was not in the “cool crowd,” but I wasn’t completely ostracized either. I came out of my shell in college, so I think if I were to go back now, things would be different. I’m not scared and shy anymore. That being said, I’ll pass on going back 🙂

Scrambled:  I was in every clique.  I was in all the advanced placement classes, so I was friends with the nerds.   I played softball and went to all the football games, so I was friends with the athletes, cheerleaders, etc.  I was in a lot of social clubs, so I was friends with the popular kids.  I was on student council committees, homecoming committees, etc., so my friends spanned all groups.  And I am pretty proud of that – that I never flocked to one or alienated another.

What is your New Years Resolution?

SS: Stop letting TTC rule my life, start running again, and consider others and their feelings more often.

Scrambled:  What she said 😉    Plus, lose some weight.  Focus on my marriage and not just TTC.

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Expecting to be Expecting (expectingtobeexpecting.wordpress.com)
Fill My Nest (fillmynest.wordpress.com)
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Yet Another Bitter Infertile (yetanotherbitterinfertile.wordpress.com)
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Please check out these wonderful, entertaining blogs! 🙂                                                      

Our Questions: 

1. What was your worst job and why?
2. What do you notice first when meeting someone?
3. What is your favorite condiment? What do you put it on?
4. What’s your favorite sexual position?
5. Why did the chicken cross the road?
6. What was your worst idea ever? Did you act on it?
7. What do you most often forget to do that you should do?
8. What is your favorite movie quote?
9. Where was the worst placed you visited? What made it so bad?
10. Do you poop while talking on the phone?
11. What is your personal mantra?
Bonus Question: Do you own pajama jeans? If so, where do you where them?

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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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A few good infertility resources

Apologies for the lack of witty and/or helpful posts lately, folks.  Tis the season to actually be able to focus on something other than infertility (though we all know it’s really always on our minds).  It’ s just a smidge easier to get distracted from it for a bit this time of year.

But, last week I was reminded of it harshly.  AF arrived with a vengeance at THE most insulting time possible (more on that later, because let me tell you – it’s a good story.  STILL pisses me off, but I have a feeling a few of it will find the humor in it.  I promise to post that story soon.  And yes, it was worse than this).

As a result, though, I was left in a bumbling heap of tears and alcohol (and fortunately, in the arms of Sunnyside, who drove 7.5 hours to come visit me last week – you may have seen some of the antics we got into).  For the first time since my miscarriage in April, I fell into a really dark place.  Not just sad or disappointed – but panic-stricken, hopeless, faithless depression.

You may have heard me mention that I work at a pretty phenomenal company.  In fact, we were just ranked the #1 workplace in the world (no lie).  We have amazing benefits and resources, of which I have only barely scratched the surface.

So, this week I reached out to our “Work/Life” contact to find out if there are any infertility resources available to employees (because they have marriage counselors, parenting counselors, financial advisers, fitness planners, grief counselors, etc).  She promptly sent me a long list of resources that I’m happy to share with you.  Your list isn’t as long as the one I received because some of the links, articles, videos, seminars are internal to employees and you can’t access them, unfortunately.  But here are some she recommended that aren’t behind our firewall:

Support Groups:

 This one is NC-based, but I think you can go into this site and find something closer to you.

Web pages:

Books:

Don’t worry – I vow not to recommend any “no shit, sherlock” book that tells you to have sex missionary style, raise your legs over your head, check cervical mucous or insert a thermometer into any bodily orifice.  We got that shit locked.  Here are a few resources about handling the insanity and emotional roller coaster, though:

  • Our bodies, our selves – highly-rated health-related book.  Description:  Our Bodies, Ourselves is the resource that women of all ages turn to for information about their bodies, sexuality, and reproductive health. Completely revised and updated, these pages provide women with the information and tools they need to make key health decisions—accurate, evidence-based information, input from leading experts, and personal stories from women who share their experiences. This new edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves includes the latest vital information on:

Changes in the health care system — especially how health care reform affects women and how to get the care you need.

Safer sex – how to engage in pleasurable, satisfying sexual experiences while protecting your health and the health of your partner.

Environmental health risks – including minimizing exposure to everyday pollutants that endanger reproductive health.

Body image – resisting negative media stereotypes and embracing healthier approaches to looking and feeling good.

Local and global activism – using social media and organizing tactics to build community and advocate for policies that improve women’s lives.

I hope these help you.  I’ve already requested the first two books from our campus library (yes, I know… my company rocks).  I’ll write a review of them when I get through them and let you know what I think – but, please tell me what you think if you read it first!
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Just when I thought I’d heard it all…

Tis the season for Christmas cards, holiday parties and seeing family you haven’t seen in a while.  The loving, caring, interested, nosy, entitled, uncensored family.

We’ve posted several times about the ridiculous things people say to you about having a baby.  Whether it’s the “helpful” advice about how to get past your infertility issues or the Spanish inquisition about why you haven’t had a baby (or another baby), one thing is for sure.  Most people are annoying.

Last weekend, I went to our annual extended family Christmas gathering.  I’m the youngest grandchild of a litter of kiddos.  I came from the youngest of seven siblings – so my aunts and uncles range from 85 on down to 60.  The older they are, the more ridiculous things they say.

I hugged the neck of my oldest aunt, and said, “Merry Christmas!”

She replied in her squeaky, nasally tone, “Are you done?”

“Done?  Done with… work?  My company is closed from Christmas Eve to the New Year – so, just a few more weeks.”

She looked confused.  “No.  Done having babies.”

Sigh. Queue canned answer that is only half true, but is the safest one I have:   “I don’t know… we’re just enjoying life, and enjoying [kiddo] while he’s small.  Maybe one day.”

She now looked confused, and annoyed.  “He’s too old!!  You’re waiting too long.  Don’t wait too long – or I’ll be dead before you have another one and I’ll never see it.”

I’ll.  Be.  Dead.

And as I try to digest this ridiculous conversation, her eyes fill up with tears.  She’s truly upset by the fact that she may die before I have another baby.  At which point, I just had to walk away, because guess what.  SO AM I.  I’m afraid I may die before I have another baby, too. 

So then, I sit down to eat dinner and am just glad to be away from that conversation.  I’m approached by one of my many first cousins – this one is in her early 50s, never married and living with her twin sister (also never married).  She asks, “Are you going to have any more babies?”

WHY THE HELL do people think it’s ok to ask this?  Why don’t they ask, “How’s work?” or “Do you like your new house?” or “Are you traveling for the holidays?”  Shit – I’d rather you ask, “Why’d you cut your hair?” or “What’s hanging out of your nose?” than to ask me if I’m having another baby.

I sigh, and reply again, “Maybe one day… we’re just enjoying him while he’s still young.  He’s so much fun, and we want to devote our time to him right now.”  To which she said, “But, he’s FOUR already.”     OH SHIT – really????  He’s FOUR?  How the HELL did I not know this?  Let me throw DH down next to the Christmas Ham and get things rolling NOW.

At this point, I’d had it, and I snapped, “Well, sometimes it’s not as easy to do as you may think.”

Her eyes got big and I saw the “Oh shit” flash through her head.   VICTORY!

She then softened and said, “I’m sorry.”  And then I felt it.  The prick of tears behind my eyes.  DON’T DO IT.  DON’T DO IT!

Damn it.  I did it.  I cried.  Fuck me.

And then she began asking sweet questions, and pointedly asked me if I’d miscarried.  So, I didn’t lie.  And she was kind.  It actually felt kind of good to talk about it.  The more I talk about it, the easier it seems to process it all.

It was in that moment that I realized something.  I don’t mind if people inquire… as long as they don’t do it like an asshole.

Progress.

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