The sundry side of my life….

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So thus far this blog has been pretty much solely infertility-centric.  Infertility has been my biggest hurdle in life, partly just the effort it takes to go through it but mostly because the outcome is so unknown.  It’s also been challenging to not really have a venting outlet as so many people just Don’t. Get. It.  By creating this blog (and also joining an online support group I found through Facebook that my fertility clinic set up for patients) I’ve found people who understand , and reading all your stories has both broken my heart and given me hope.  The “Scrambled Eggs” part of my story has been discussed ad nauseum, and to be sure it will keep being discussed, and often!  But what I’ve come to find out is that the “Sundry” part of my story is just as important, and has proven vital while going through this journey.  All the other aspects of my life have helped me to recharge, refocus, and basically kept me (semi) sane.  So here’s just a little look at my other life interests when I’m not sticking myself with needles, keeping dosage calendars, running to the RE every five seconds, etc., etc……

Yoga

In my 20’s, I was what you would call “deceptively unfit”.  I was thin despite not being very active and eating like total crap.  One of the many advantages of being young!  Well once 30 came knocking on my door things started changing, and I wasn’t very happy about it.  I read in a magazine that Jennifer Aniston did something called Bikram Yoga, so I thought hey, if it’s good enough for her I can surely try it!  So my yoga course was charted.  I practiced Bikram for about 2 years, than moved on to hot vinyasa for a couple years, and am currently incorporating yin and more restorative yoga elements into my practice as well.

Yoga has changed my life.  It’s been a slow change, but when I look back to where I was both mentally and physically when I started practicing and where I am now, the differences are stark.  In the beginning, whatever I was dealing with at a particular moment would get expressed when I was on my mat.  Within the last year or two, I have started to reverse that.  Instead of letting all the other variables in my life affect my yoga practice, I am learning to start at the yoga mat, be present and mindful when I am there, and let that feeling spill over to other aspects of my life.  Coincidence that this change organically started to manifest itself right around the time my infertility challenges were peaking?  You be the judge 😉

Volunteering

I think by virtue of being a woman nurturing comes very naturally to me.  I like to help, I like to be needed.  I like to contribute.  I work for a water utility company that is very active in community events, so every now and then I would volunteer for certain events, a beach clean up here, a Habitat for Humanity building day there.  I found out I loved it so much, I started seeking out ways to help out my community on my own time.  I’ve worked on a domestic violence crisis team, volunteered at a homeless shelter, and taught children’s yoga in underprivileged neighborhoods.  I would love to foster shelter animals until they find their forever homes, but my husband has said we need to wait until we move into a bigger home to do that.  Practicality is such a buzzkill!

Knitting

So I am putting this in the list to hold me accountable to actually do it!  I learned to knit six years ago because my closest cousin who is like a sister to me was having her first baby.  I thought, “I’m going to knit her a blanket; how hard can it be?!”  Word of advice – if you have never knit a stitch in your life, DO NOT make your very first project a full size blanket.  It was a bit ambitious, but I did finish it!  Since then I’ve knit a couple more blankets, hats and golf club covers for my husband, scarves, and countless baby booties, hats, and mittens for friends and family having babies.  I just finished one this past weekend.  Hopefully someday I will be knitting for my own little one (all roads lead back don’t they?).

Myself

I know what you must be thinking – she’s putting HERSELF on this list of interests??  EGO much?!  I know it sounds a bit selfish, but I am starting to realize that making oneself a priority is actually the most SELFLESS thing a person can do.  Learning who I am is helping me become a better wife, friend, employee, and someday hopefully a better mom (foster kittens here I come 😉 !)  I have to say this process has been very hard.  Trust me it hasn’t consisted of me looking in the mirror every day and telling myself what an awesome cool chick I am.  It has consisted of me facing some traits I don’t really like about myself – I can be selfish.  I can be stubborn to the point of getting angry.  I can be very insecure.  I can be a bit of a know it all, which stems from said insecurity.  This hasn’t been easy to admit.  However, I’m also learning to not judge myself.  To be patient with myself.  To listen to myself and my body.  To trust that change occurs organically and at its own pace.  I am at the very beginning of this journey that I know will be a lifelong process.  But hey, I’m stuck with myself for life, so I guess I have the time!

So……that’s probably more sundry than anyone wanted!  There’s definitely more I’m passionate about – my work (the job I actually get paid for!), cooking, wine, coffee, and of course my absolutely AMAZING husband and my littlest love – my ten year old shi tzu Niko.  I hope to discuss all these people/things in time because they all hold an important place in my crazy life.

Infertility can make me forget about all these things sometimes.  It consumes me, as it does for many people going through the struggle.  Each day on this Earth I feel different than the day before.  However I am learning that the best days are when I let myself acknowledge that my life is already full; already has meaning.  It’s not easy to get to these realizations; it takes work and conscious effort.  I am putting in the work, and hopefully there will be many of those days to come ❤

Thoughts for National Infertility Awareness Week

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I can’t believe it’s been two and a half years since I was officially diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve.  30 months of living with it.  When I think back to that time in October of 2013, sometimes I just laugh and miss how innocent I was.  Like I said in my last post, I didn’t know anything about infertility.  I was like the people who drive me crazy today – optimistic, ignorant, diminishing, naive.  National Infertility Awareness Week is an awesome platform because in this community that is exactly what we are missing the most – Awareness.

I can go on Social Media and find out what people are eating for breakfast, or what products they use to clean their bathrooms, or what deodorant they are currently sampling (true story.).  We are living in a society that overshares, I get it.  Heck, obviously I even participate in it (sans deodorant stories).  However, when it comes to infertility, I have come to realize it makes some people very uncomfortable.  It’s still some sort of taboo to talk about, and it’s absurd.  Maybe it’s because people feel badly and don’t know what to say.  Maybe it’s because they have popped out four kids in as many years and this is a problem that never even crossed their minds.  But maybe they are just like I was – blissfully ignorant.  I think my false sense of security stemmed from seeing so many older people having children and all the success stories I heard.  I never gave it a second thought that maybe these women getting pregnant at 47 were using donor eggs, or maybe they had frozen their eggs 10 years ago and were finally experiencing a successful transfer.  Maybe they had spent thousands of dollars and suffered terrible losses.  We don’t see that side of things.  We only see the successes.  And the blissful ignorance for me came from not yet knowing that behind all those amazing successes were many, many heartbreaking failures.  This is the reality we don’t see.  This is where we really have the need for awareness.  Not pity, not false optimism.  Just awareness.  From there, maybe some acknowledgement and empathy could emerge.

I know we all have a list for how our lives changed in not so positive ways since infertility.  I dedicated an entire post last week on how it turned me into a raging one upping pity monster.  On some days, I am still that person and I think that’s perfectly allowed!  But today I think I just want to make a brief list of ways infertility has unexpectedly benefited my life.  I would like to think I would have been evolved enough to learn these lessons in a less cruel way, but that is out of my control.  Anyway, here it is:

  1. I learned about my infertility in a very random way.  I hadn’t even been trying to conceive at that point.  I take this as a positive because if I hadn’t found out my diagnosis when I did, when I finally did learn about it two, three years later it would have been after trying (and failing) to conceive naturally and far too late to even have a chance at a biological child.  As it is, I have one chance, my little frozen embryo.
  2. Selfish moments notwithstanding, infertility has made me more compassionate and understanding.  It’s made me realize that outwardly a person may look like a million bucks, but no one really knows what is going on in that person’s body, heart, and mind.  On the contrary, I’ve found often it’s the people that complain the least that have the most to deal with.  We are all fighting our own battles.
  3. Infertility is such a shit show.  Life in general is just so tough.  So now, when a moment is good, I try to embrace it and enjoy it.  It may not last very long, and it will most certainly change.  This is something I struggle with, but I’m working on it.
  4. I’m mindful.  I really try to be self aware and feel whatever I’m feeling, be it good or bad.  Sometimes, this had lead to facing some harsh realizations about myself, and others.  Sometimes I don’t really know what to do with my feeling or emotions, or I feel ashamed of them.  But at least I acknowledge them.  That’s a step.
  5. I’ve become a lot more interested in physical fitness and wellness in general.  A recent hobby of mine is “rehabbing” recipes.  Instead of just baking cookies I will look for a “healthy” cookie recipe that doesn’t require butter and sugar, or instead of eating pasta I will substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.  It’s actually been fun and believe it or not some of my rehabbed recipes are even easier to make than the originals and taste fabulous!
  6. Probably the best thing that has come out of my infertility diagnosis and the one thing I would never give up is my unbelievably strong bond with M.  Since being diagnosed up to now, M and I have officially moved in together, gotten engaged, and are getting married in June.  Infertility pretty much took over our lives, but through it all he has been a source of strength, positivity, and light around me.  I think about previous relationships I had and what would happen if I had to endure infertility with those partners, and very flatly it wouldn’t have worked out.  In the past, my relationships were very adversarial; we always seemed to be on opposing sides for some reason.  With M, I truly feel we are a team.  We love each other, we respect each other and we are each other’s biggest fan.  Our relationship has changed, but it is just as strong as ever.

So yeah.  I’m one in eight.  This is what infertility looks like.  It’s not always pretty, it’s not always good.  It’s not for the weak.  To all my infertility sisters, all I can say is that you are all bad asses!  You are all strong, beautiful women in all your messy, angry, heartbreaking, happy, caring, selfish, INSPIRING glory.  I am proud to stand with you.  I am proud to fight with you and for you.  You all rock!