Forcing My Hand

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On Tuesday my boss called me from one of our other offices and asked if I would be ok to go on a business trip in late May. She caught me off guard, and I said yes, even though I knew I should be saying no. It’s not that it would be a problem travelling because I was pregnant but I know the company wouldn’t spend the money to send me if they knew I was going to be going on mat. leave. Plus the trip would entail a cruise and cruise lines do not accept passengers after their 24th week of pregnancy. If all goes well, at the time of the trip I will be 26 weeks.

I talked to J about it Tuesday night, and told him I thought I might have to tell my boss what was going on, because otherwise I didn’t really have a good way out of the trip. I could have made something up, but in the end my boss would find out that it was really because I was pregnant and I didn’t really want to have to lie, even for good reason. He agreed that I should just go ahead and tell her, so, I resolved to speak to her Wednesday morning.

Of course she was on a conference call when I got into work yesterday so I couldn’t sneak into her office first thing before all of my coworkers were milling around. I caught her after the call, but just before she was about to go into another one (and she had one more after that). I closed the door to her office (which is in plain view of the rest of the staff) but she has a window looking into her office from the main work area so coworkers could see I was in there if they walked past.

I didn’t love that I was feeling rushed as my bosses next meeting was in 5 minutes. I sat down and told her that she caught me a bit off guard with the work trip she was suggesting and that I actually wouldn’t be able to go. She just said, “Oh, ok.” and didn’t seem like she was going to question it but I wasn’t just going to tell her I wasn’t going and not tell her why. I told her that she was inadvertently forcing my hand a bit, but that I was pregnant and that’s why I couldn’t go. I was really nervous so I don’t remember her exact reaction but I think it was something like “Oh!”. I kind of started blathering on that I hadn’t wanted to tell yet, but the situation kind of put me in a tricky situation. She gave me a hug, and asked how far along I was. I told her I was 9 weeks and somewhere in there I managed to tell her that it was a long time coming, that we had tried for 2 1/2 years and finally had to do IVF.

I don’t know that it fit into the conversation, I kind of just blurted it out. She then responded with, “Oh so there could be more than one in there!”. I told her that we knew it was just one, as we had only transferred one embryo and that we had already had an ultrasound to confirm just one heartbeat. I told her we had done IVF back in July, but hadn’t transferred until December. It then clicked for her some of the time I had taken off around my egg retrieval for a “medical procedure”. I told her I was still really nervous and wasn’t planning on telling anyone else for a little while yet and she said that was fine, and that I could tell whenever I was ready. We chatted briefly about how I was feeling, and she told me a woman from one of our other offices had done IVF and though she had a miscarriage she did end up getting her baby (mind you she was in her 40’s). I appreciated that she knew someone else who had done IVF, and I know her story was to make me feel at ease.

I never thought I’d be telling someone outside of my family so early (besides my best friend), let alone my boss but life gets in the way of plans sometimes.


In a totally different direction, my best friend came over last week to visit, and see me for the first time since I told her we were pregnant. I’m happy she’s here for me, but there still feels like a distinct difference in our relationship. Infertility has definitely driven a wedge between us, particularly because while I was trying to get pregnant she was successfully procreating. I don’t think she’s ever really “got” what I’ve gone through (of course she doesn’t because she hasn’t been through it). And now, though I know she is truly happy for me, I feel like in a small way she is happy for herself as well. It seems to me that now that I am pregnant, she expects everything I went through to fall away, and that we can finally be in the mom club together. I think she wants her friend back, and for things to be how they were before infertility turned my world upside down, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s unfortunate, but people change and grow in times of grief and suffering. Though I’m no longer currently living in infertility, it still follows me like a shadow.

So far, both my boss and my best friend have sort of dismissed my fears and worry of something going wrong by telling me that everyone is paranoid during pregnancy. I get that, clearly it’s not just pregnant infertiles that worry, but what they don’t seem to get is the amplification of my worry due to the back story of how I got here. I’m hardwired to think something, anything and everything is going to go wrong. I don’t know how to handle a successful pregnancy, I’m only familiar with handling failed fertility treatments. I’m sure this will be a recurring theme throughout pregnancy, and it’s going to be tiresome. But when I told my boss that we did IVF it felt good. And I hope to keep doing it, because I am one of millions representing the face of infertility.

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50/50

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There is a commonly heard statistic that is thrown around, citing that around 50% of marriages end in divorce. This has always concerned me because I see it as myself and J standing next to another couple and thinking, one of us will end up divorced. I know it’s not that cut and dry, and anyways I usually I see J and I coming up as the “victors”, if you will. Obviously this is the way one would hope they view their own marriage, having the ability to withstand the test of time.

My brother-in-law and his wife starting dating very close to the same time and J and I did. They got engaged a few months after us, and then married a few months after us, as well. So we have grown as individual couples, together. On one hand, it is easy to make comparisons because of this side by side timeline. On the other hand, we are quite different. My brother-in-law (let’s call him Trey) and his wife (let’s call her Charlotte)* are very passionate, type A people and my brother in law can be a bit stubborn. (Ok I can relate to the stubborn part). They both have strong ideas of what they want from life, and I sometimes think they don’t necessarily jive together.

My brother-in-law is a doctor in residency, so he has essentially been in school since him and Charlotte started dating. After finishing his BSc, they moved cities for him to attend medical school. Luckily, they did not have to move again when he started his residency, but I’d imagine the situation on the whole has still been rather trying for them. In the time that Trey has completed medical school, and started on his residency they have gotten married and had two children, turning 3 and 1, respectively in August. Charlotte is a stay at home mom, and Trey works on call, and lots of crazy hours. He has also been working extra shifts lately, to provide for his family’s wants.

I can understand that this would be a trying situation for a young couple with two small children, but they seemed to be managing relatively well. Granted I don’t see them very often, but Charlotte is very strong-willed, and I know she tries to do and be everything for her girls. She is also one of the most cheery, and chipper (annoyingly so, sometimes) people I know. But obviously I do not see inside her home life, and I’m sure it is quite different from how I imagine her perky self to be. She tries to be open, and honest about her life, but truly, who would be open about serious turmoil in your marriage (especially with me, a sister-in-law she is not particularly close with)?

Yesterday, J was texting with Trey, who admitted that they were struggling. He told J that they were at a fork in the road, and apparently things have gotten quite bad. I don’t doubt that they have rough times (like anyone), and maybe more so because of Trey’s work situation. But I did not anticipate things being this bad. I don’t know that they’ve uttered the D word, which could easily lead to the beginning of the end, but it’s sounding like a separation may be on the horizon.

Trey might be coming to stay with us next weekend, I’m not entirely sure why, but he does come to visit every once in a while because all of his friends and family still live where we do. He is not seeing eye to eye lately with his parents (my in-laws), which I’m sure has also added stress from another angle, hence why he is staying with us, and not them. Normally him and his whole little family come, but not so this time. I feel badly for him, especially since they have such young children.

Now J and I have had our own issues, and some big ones at that. I considered leaving about 9 months prior to our wedding, when we were forced into dealing with his drinking problem, among other things. Neither of us had ever been in a long-term, mature relationship before and we kept sweeping things under the rug until it finally came to a head. But despite our problems, we still loved each other very much. So we went to counselling, we had lots of fights and arguments (to make up for the 3 previous years that we had just coasted along). We learned how to communicate with each other, and we undoubtedly strengthened our relationship tenfold.

As J and I were discussing Charlotte and Trey, I asked him if they had been to counselling. He said he wasn’t sure, but then J said to me, “Can we talk about things before they get too bad?”. I cannot tell you how much that makes me love this man. Before our counselling, J was very closed and did not like to talk about his feelings, so for him to say that to me just shows how far we’ve come. When we sought help previously, we were very close to being over. Dangerously so. We were saved just in time, and with that experience, plus infertility now, I don’t doubt we will work very hard to make things work when life gets difficult (which it inevitably will). We’ve put so much into each other, I know it would take a lot for us to just call it quits.

I truly hope, for Charlotte and Trey, as well as their children, that they are able to work things out. Although, I want to survive the odds of divorce, I hope it’s not at their expense.

*Why yes, you do sense a Sex and the City theme in my blog.

Negativity/Relationship Challenge: Day 5

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So I’m not feeling all rainbows and puppies and positivity towards our next cycle, and life in general. I went to acupuncture today but I just don’t know how I feel about it anymore, plus my acupuncturist is going home to China for a month as of Wednesday so she can’t do anymore treatments for me. She did suggest some Chinese herbs for J and I to take and she gave me her personal email address, she seems to genuinely care. But I just can’t help but not entirely buy into the whole thing. I am a science and facts person and my acupuncturist is always talking about how Western medicine says this and that but really it’s not like that. I mean, I grew up with Western medicine so it’s hard for me to consider other options. I’m trying to be open to it but my patience with this whole situation is growing thin, and I just want to get it all over and done with.

I know that’s not the healthiest attitude going in but I feel so close to some form of respite or resolution, whether it be in a successful pregnancy, or my choice to take a break and take back control over my life (for a time), that I am weary of the waiting. I don’t really think that just because I have negative thoughts, it will bring them to fruition. I choked down the book “The Secret” (actually I listened to the audio version in my car because I couldn’t force myself to read it) and I thought it was the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. Sorry to those that try and live it, but it is not for me.

So I’m not going to force myself to think positive thoughts, and recite mantras to myself, it’s only going to make me crazier. I am going to survive, no matter the outcome. I have another appointment for acupuncture (with a different practitioner) Wednesday, and probably should go one more time either just before, or the day of my IUI. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to go or not, but I have the insurance coverage for it so it’s not costing me anything but my time. I am going to try and continue to exercise more, eat healthier and try and be better for this cycle, but also going forward. Just because IF has pushed me to evaluate my lifestyle, and try and make changes for the better, doesn’t mean I will drop it if we end up taking an extended break from TTC.

I know I’m all over the place, and I’m sort of talking like this cycle isn’t going to work, and honestly I don’t have a ton of hope that it will. It hasn’t worked ever, not naturally in 18 cycles, or with assistance for the previous 2 IUI cycles. So it just makes me wonder if the previous two IUI’s didn’t work, what’s different about this one. But we shall see. It’s really out of my hands, I’ll take my Clomid (started today), I’ll use my OPK’s, pay them to squirt J’s swimmers into my cervix and sit and wait the painful wait. I just want to move up to the next level or drop out all together. I’m tired of being held back. So, that’s that.

Onto the Relationship Challenge: Day 5 Give Warm Greetings and Farewells;

My Sixth Splendid Truth holds: The only person I can change is myself. It’s so tempting to focus on the changes that other people should make—but we don’t get to hand out assignments. So generally, I make resolutions only for myself.

However, in complete contradiction, I did make an exception to my Gretchen-only policy. I asked my family to adopt the resolution to “Give warm greetings and farewells.”

I’d noticed that we’d fallen into a bad habit; when a family member came home or left, we barely looked up from our games or homework or books or newspapers. I wanted to have a more attentive, more loving atmosphere in our home.

“What would you think about us all making a resolution together?” I asked them. “We could resolve that when someone comes home, or is leaving, we all pay attention to that person, to give a warm greeting or farewell.”

Somewhat to my surprise, my husband and two daughters immediately agreed.  But would we remember to do it, without nagging? I didn’t want a resolution meant to boost our feelings of affection to turn into a source of conflict.

In fact, without much effort, we all began to follow the resolution (most of the time). It feels like a natural thing to do, and the more we do it, the more engrained it becomes. 

As a consequence, several times each day, we have moments of real connection among all members of our family. 

Resolve to “Give warm greetings and farewells.” This simple action will make you feel more connected to the members of your family.

I sort of touched on this with the “Give Gold Stars” topic, that J and I always make sure to give each other a kiss hello, or goodbye. We always say “I love you” before we depart from each other or say goodbye on the phone. I sometimes have the habit of coming home and just dumping stress or stuff that’s pissing me off but I try to remember to greet J nicely, and not launch into a tirade as soon as I get home. And sometimes after we greet each other, have a little chat and a kiss hello, I don’t feel like talking about my (usually insignificant) bothers.

This is going to sound totally hypocritical of what I said in the first part of this post, but I feel like negativity begets negativity, at least in relationships. When I am in a bad mood and come home that way it can rub of on J, and vice versa. I am very sensitive to J’s moods and I don’t like it when something is off. So if we start our encounters off on the right foot we should continue in a positive direction!

CD1/Relationship Challenge: Day 3

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So even though I just snuck it in the title there’s no denying it; it is cycle day 1 people. After feeling all day like my period was starting and constantly checking my undies she didn’t really start until I got home from work today. She kindly waited until I came home from possibly one of the hardest/shittiest days of my career to make her presence truly known. So now I’m hanging out on the couch with yucky cramps and a pissy attitude. I did however go out and buy some of my favourite ice cream, coke, chips and we had pizza for dinner. I’m giving the middle finger to being healthy today. I am however going to try and be better and healthier this cycle. After today. Seeing as it will be our last cycle for a long time (I’ll get back to that another day) I am going to throw everything I possibly have at this one. I haven’t wanted to deny myself/force myself to do certain things that may or may not help me in any way and then just become grumpy when another cycle fails anyways but since we are going to take a break I figure I can handle one month with no (ok almost no) soda, more exercise and drinking weird teas my acupuncturist recommends.

Our 3rd and final IUI should be around Jan. 30, so lucky me I’ll have managed to fit two IUIs into one month. Some nice start to 2014. I will start clomid yet again on Sunday. I also have an acupuncture session booked for Sunday and I will continue with it as much as recommended until my IUI. Unfortunately my IUI will fall just before Super Bowl Sunday and we are going to a party but I should be able to play off not drinking with so many people around hopefully no one will notice.

I have a fairly busy weekend planned. I am going bridesmaid dress shopping tomorrow with one of my childhood friends who is getting married in July. I have acupuncture and yoga Sunday, as well as a meeting with our realtor (we might be buying a new condo). Another friend of mine is getting married in Las Vegas in October, so we’ve been working on planning her wedding and are going dress shopping for her in two weeks.

It’s nice to have weddings to focus on right now instead of babies (though there will be plenty of babies this year). My friend getting married in Vegas is in her late 30’s, has never been married and has no kids, nor will she gain any step children and she is happy about it. She does not want kids, and her and I have become close over the years as we are pretty much the only two in our circle without kids (though her by choice, she doesn’t know we’ve been trying). I do fear that my other friend will get pregnant shortly after getting married but at least by that point I will either be pregnant or on birth control and no longer actively ttc so hopefully when it happens it won’t sting as much. Only time will show what the future holds. So that’s my life at the moment.

Now onto the relationship challenge day 3; Make the positive argument.

“I love my husband with all my heart, but sometimes I fall into a spiral of criticism. He annoys me by not answering my emails, and that gets me thinking about how he also annoys me by not mailing an important form, and so on.

I discovered an excellent technique to combat this tendency. In general, people are very skillful at arguing a particular case. When a person takes a position, he or she looks for evidence to support it and then stops, satisfied. This mental process gives the illusion that a position is objective and well justified. However—and this is the useful point—a person can often make the very opposite argument, just as easily. If I tell myself, “I’m a shy person,” I remember examples of my shyness. If I tell myself, “I’m an outgoing person,” I remember times when I was outgoing. I’m able to argue both conclusions quite persuasively.

To make use of this phenomenon, I’ve resolved to “Make the positive argument.”

When I catch myself thinking, “My husband isn’t very thoughtful,” and my mind starts kicking up examples of thoughtlessness, I contradict myself with “He’s very thoughtful”—and sure enough, I’m able to come up with many examples of his thoughtful behavior. “He doesn’t enjoy celebrating holidays”; “He does enjoy celebrating holidays.”

I can actually feel my opinion shift. It’s almost uncanny.

Resolve to “Make the positive argument.” You’ll be amazed at how convincing you can be—to yourself.”

Ok, I’ll admit I’m not very good at this one. It’s true when J does something to piss me off it reminds me of other times, other things that have made me mad in the past. This is a terrible thought process that can get me all wound up over something stupid and trivial. And then I might flip out for something as simple as not taking out the trash or leaving a mess in the kitchen. Also, this is me being a hypocrite. I know it will be hard to think of nice things J has done when I just want to wring his neck. But I can see it making me feel more kind and patient towards him. So let’s give it a try!

Sidenote/question; does your significant other read your blog?  I mentioned to J that I started a blog but he doesn’t read and I don’t really want him to…

21 Day Relationship Challenge: Day 2

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Yes, I know I missed yesterday, but apparently I signed up too late in the evening on Tuesday so they skipped sending me day 2 until this morning instead of yesterday. So getting right down to it; today’s “step” is Give Gold Stars. I’ve decided I’ll post each except from the email so you can read it yourself and it’s not just me paraphrasing it to what I’ve gleaned from it;

“No surprise, studies show that receiving a partner’s “affective affirmation”—psych-speak for one person’s actions or words to make the other person feel loved, appreciated, desired, and supported—is very important to happiness. Who doesn’t love to get a gold star?
As a gold-star junkie myself, I was intrigued by researchers’ arguments that men need more gold stars from their partners than women do, because women get much more positive support outside marriage. Family members, colleagues, friends of both genders, and even strangers give more frequent affirmation to women than to men. Men, by contrast, depend much more on their partners for empathy and intimacy.
This prompted me to adopt the resolution to “Give gold stars.”
How? I tell my husband “I love you” more often. I try to be helpful even when he hasn’t asked for help—say, by bringing him aspirin if he has a headache. I thank him even for something that’s “his” job. I email him sweet photos of the girls. I try to be accommodating if he wants to go to the gym, leave a party early, work over the weekend, or when he asks me the same question over and over.
Resolve to “Give gold stars”—you make your partner feel more beloved, and at the same time, you make yourself feel more loving”

I felt like this was another one that I am fairly proficient at. I try and show appreciation for the things J does for me, to let him know I appreciate him (and also to reaffirm the things I would like him to continue doing, so shoot me, I may be using it as a dual purpose). When J cooks dinner I always thank him for the meal, if he cleans the house I thank him for his work (even if he doesn’t do it the way I like). I don’t give J a hard time if he wants to go out with his friends, or do something that is “for him”. He will call me to “ask” if he can do something, but really he’s just making sure we don’t have plans and letting me know he’s making plans, he doesn’t think he has to get my permission to do something. And I take pride in being a fairly chill wife.

Sometimes it’s hard to be appreciative if I am in a particular mood, or if he’s doing other things that are pissing me off. But it is something good to be mindful of. So I will continue to dole out the gold stars.

Now onto another matter, what we’re really all here to talk about. My uterus. Or your uterus. Our collective uteri (yup that’s the plural of uterus). Mine is doing nothing so far, AF has not arrived but neither has a BFP. I tested again this morning. I wasn’t going to but then J asked me last night if I was and I said no, I didn’t want to waste a test and he said “well what about the one you did on Tuesday?”. Touche. And he doesn’t know about the one on Monday. Or yesterday. So I did it just to see, and still nothing. I have a  requisition for bloodwork to test for hCG on Saturday so if AF is still a no show I will go, but I am banking on her Royal Red Highness showing tomorrow.

I was feeling pretty strong today, but then a client chewed me out (for something that I had already explained to him, but he didn’t understand it at the time and then when he looked it over he was mad). And then I felt crappy, like I might want to have a little cry. I hate when people ruin my day like that. I am moving past it now but I just took it too personally at the time. So I’m going to be keeping a watchful eye on my undies in the coming days, but I have a busy weekend planned so even if CD1 is imminent I will be well distracted. Happy Thursday!