CF Living after IF

Yada Yada … and Then Some

See? I don't think my niece, Kairi is ready for Fall either!

Sad but true … tonight was the first night I stepped outside my house since Labor Day.

It’s a good thing Hubby made it a Dinner & A Movie kind of night, otherwise I would have likely stayed at home in my pajamas as I had done all week long.

What can I say? I love working from home … well, at least when I’m not traveling for my job. And seeing that I’ve spent the past few months “grounded” at home, doing all web-based “virtual training” all day in my home office … sometimes I see no reason to step out of the house.

I guess it’s also a good thing it was a short week.

But seeing that the weather in Metro-Detroit has been pretty much crappy since Monday, it’s probably best I stayed away from the annoying drivers who can’t seem to figure out how to drive in the rain.

I mean … really, people. We live in the Motor City, we should all know how to drive like mail carriers: Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet — yada yada …

As if I don’t have enough to whinge about, here’s my biggest gripe for the day: Today I put on a pair of jeans for the first time since May. Although I was (very) grateful that they still fit (whew!), I was more upset that this meant we were one step further away from summer.

Can you tell I don’t want the warm weather to disappear?

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling like this lately. I mean I truly love Autumn and everything that surrounds the beautiful season … but it’s almost as if this year I’m dreading it.

I’m beginning to think that it’s not that I no longer like the coming season, but rather I don’t like thinking about what comes after the leaves fall from the trees and the bitter cold starts to settle in. After all, I’ve never been much of a Winter person.

Maybe it’s because Autumn means I’m one step closer to Thanksgiving … to the weekend when my beloved Rain passed away. To when my Dad first entered the hospital that first week in December. To when he passed away.

It doesn’t seem possible that it’ll be a year very soon. Yet it almost seems a lifetime apart. There are some days I’m perfectly okay with things; okay with getting on with my life.

But then there are those other days … days like this past week … where the emotions are still so raw; so painful to even think about. And although those moments don’t happen as frequently any more … when they do, they seem so much more intense.

In any case, I know that time doesn’t stop for grief. If there is anything that dealing with the emotions of Infertility has taught me is that life keeps moving on despite the all hurt and pain.

Too bad it only took me ten years to discover this. <smirk>

So here’s what I plan to do to keep moving on: Tomorrow I’m gonna enjoy going to the Big House for the first night-time Michigan Football game. (Woo-hoo! Go Blue!) And Sunday we’ll go watch Hubby’s younger cousin peform with his HS Marching Band at one of the small-town parades. And Monday? I go for my first guitar lessons.

So yeah … maybe getting myself (and keeping myself out of the house) will do me some good.

In the mean time … maybe this video will inspire me to embrace Autumn in Ann Arbor …

Round Peg, Square Hole

I admit … I haven’t been doing much since being back from vacation. Which I suppose is a good thing. I’ve done a lot of reading lately; definitely more than writing.

Which is a shame, because I do have some fun pictures from vacation to share with you. Unless, of course … you’ve seen it on my personal FB page! 🙂

Instead, I’ve been on a reading kick. I finished “The Castaways” while in line at Universal Orlando. And yesterday, I just finished “The Help” … a book I had wanted to read before seeing the movie. Today, I start “The Solitude of Prime Numbers“.

I’ve not felt inspired to write lately, and I’m going through one of my phases where even FB or reading other blogs doesn’t sound appealing to me right now. What I do know is that it likely has to do with those emotional peaks and valleys I’ve been experiencing lately.

I’d elaborate more but … quite frankly, it feels like I’m beating a dead horse.

So instead … to honor the “retirement” of Steve Jobs from Apple, I decided to post one of the company’s older commercials; one that I have always loved. And seeing that there are many times (especially lately) that I feel as if I see things so much more differently than others, I figure that this should be my inspiration for the day.

Holding It Together

The last thing I needed to do was to drop all the keys into the kitchen drawer to the right of the stove. That was the directions given to us by the building manager. Hubby was heading out the front door to the apartment that we had been only partly living in over the past year.

Now the apartment was empty; all the furniture taken apart and stored in the rented Penske truck that caused such a major hassle earlier that morning. All of our belongings since moving to Chicago more that 2.5 years ago were now in boxes, also in the rental truck.

I couldn’t help but feel sad; feel like, once again, I was a failure. After all, I had moved to the city of Chicago in hopes of forging a new life for me outside of my suburban life in Michigan; outside of our families, who had now been inundated with babies and kids in general. The move came at a time when I needed it most; when the latest birth in the family had proven too much for me to deal with both physically and emotionally. I’m not proud of how I had acted  after the birth of Hubby’s niece, but (as much as I love her to pieces) I felt as if I was spiraling downward into the deep abyss of Infertility depression. Again.

So yes, moving to Chicago was a way to stop me from free-falling. It was a way for me to step back from Infertility and focus on something new. It was a way for me to look at my life from a different perspective without the emotional ties or memories of what had happened in Detroit since the day Hubby & I decided to start our own family. And now, I was moving back to the same place I had “escaped” from back in December of 2008.

Hubby noticed the sadness in my eyes as I headed to the front door after placing the keys in the kitchen drawer. “It’ll be alright,” he told me, placing his arm around my waist.

“Aren’t you even a little sad?,” I asked him knowing how much he loved Chicago. I would have thought that he would have been a bit melancholy over the whole move.

“We’re together,” Hubby told me. “And really, that’s all that matters.”

I knew he was right; after all, wherever Hubby is will always be home. Yet I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I would be moving back to those same emotional ties and memories that I had left behind. To be honest, it felt more like I’d be moving back to even more emotional memories, especially since I had lost my father less than 9 months prior. How would it feel to go home again? To see all the places I had been to while in the throws of Infertility treatments? To see family and friends again, many who still to this day ask us why we don’t have kids? To know that I had failed to give my parents … my Dad especially … any grandchildren? To know that the only grandchild my Mom has lives a thousand miles away?

I reflected on all these thoughts on the long drive east on I-94. As Hubby followed behind me in the Penske truck, I could feel myself slowly sinking into the deep abyss. After all, 2011 was supposed to be less emotionally stressful than last year … Especially since 2010 was far from stellar. Nothing could possibly top the year I got fired, dealt with another pregnancy in the family (this time much better than in 2008), took my career in a different direction, and unexpectedly lost my Dad (and not to mention a beloved fur baby within the same week).

But as easy as it would be to let the abyss swallow me whole, I knew I had to find the positives amongst all the negative. So while listening to the entire INXS back catalogue I tried to reflect on what Hubby & I accomplished in the short time we lived in the Windy City.

“We made it to Chicago,” I thought, knowing that we had always talked about moving there since our days in college. As much as we loved the Detroit area, we wanted to experience true urban living.

“We mastered public transportation.” I added that to list, knowing full well that growing up in the Motor City pretty much meant that everyone drove themselves around in their cars rather than utilize public transportation.

“Learned more about Chicago than just the Magnificent.” I chuckled at that one, since we loved heading into the various neighborhoods and exploring the intricacies of the city.

“Spent more time with my Chicago cousins,” I thought; grateful for this fact, especially since these were my Dad’s nieces … and none of us ever expected that Dad would be taken from all of us so quickly.

Then as my thoughts turned to family, I remembered the biggest positive that came out of Hubby’s and my short stint in Chicago. Of all the things that happened while we were living in this “Second City,” I had actually accomplished the one thing that I had set out to do when we first decided to move out of our hometown. We had finally separated ourselves from all the emotional baggage that came with Infertility and found our resolution to our journey. And while it wasn’t the outcome that either of us had hoped for when we set out to start our family 14 years ago, it was one that the two of us could live with.

“So what if there are days — like today, for example — that I’d still feel like a failure?,” I thought, as the sun finally began to set on that hot August evening. “At least we have each other.”

And all I could think of at that moment was Hubby’s words: “We’re together,” Hubby told me. “And really, that’s all that matters.”

Go Fourth … And Be Happy

First of all, Happy Birthday, USA !!!

And second … Really? It’s July 4th already? When did half the year slip away? It’s been a crazy couple of months here in ApronStringsLand. Busy with work, busy with traveling. And — I’m not gonna deny it — busy in the emotional end of things.

Yesterday marked 7 months since my Dad unexpectedly passed away; a feeling I’m still trying to come to grips with. Everybody has said that it will get better as time passes, but it seems to me that I feel more emotionally drained as the days go by.

This past week, Dr. Bro came into town. Amidst the hectic schedule I’ve had for work, plus the added pressure of being at a local onsite hospital this past week … I had been just a leeetle stressed.

Okay. A lot stressed. Especially given that I knew this was looming over my head this past Tuesday.

But the real reason Dr. Bro came into town was to surprise the “little” cousins (who aren’t so little any more … they made me a margarita, for Pete’s sake!) who had organized a pre-4th celebration to coincide with the local city’s fireworks. He wanted to be here to be with Dad’s side of the family; to spend time with us, because — if he’s feeling anything like I am — he wanted to feel closer to Dad. Unfortunately, he could only stay for two nights; and the second night had been for the party.

It was a glorious night; spent barbecueing at my Aunts’ backyard … which just happens to be next to a lake.  Oh, and did I mention that they just happen to be located behind the park where the fireworks are held every year? Needless to say, we had the best seat in the city! The family had a blast, especially the cousins who were able to eat (and — ahem — drink) to our hearts’ content.

Afterwards, on the drive home I suddenly felt this wave of sadness take over. The best way I can describe it is the melancholy I would feel in my youth (and even to this day) whenever I had to say good-bye to out-of-town family after spending a wonderful amount of time (a weekend or even an entire vacation) with them. I’d suddenly feel lonely and wish we could stay together forever.

I chalked most it up to the fact that I got to spend such little time with Dr. Bro this time around. He spent his one full day helping Mom search for a new car, while I had to work at an onsite location the entire day. And since I had to work again the next day, we would have no chance to spend any quiet time alone.

The other part I chalked up to missing my Dad. After all, I think he would have totally gotten a kick out of the “cousins” doing the cooking and the serving; would have loved to see us kick back and have such relaxing fun together. Which, of course, had me spilling some tears for a bit.

Flash forward to yesterday … Mom, Hubby & I went to church and then to the cemetery to bring some flowers and visit Dad. I knew that Dr. Bro had visited him the day after our party; which I can only imagine was a toughy. (At least I live closer and can visit Dad more often.)

What I hadn’t expected was to see pictures of my niece, Emilia Grace, taped to my Dad’s gravestone. And the minute I saw the picture of my Dad holding his granddaughter, I fell to tears. I knew how much my Dad loved kids, so seeing that picture broke my heart; especially since we all knew that he’d never be able to physically hold his grandchild and play with her.

And, although these days I try very hard to let my Infertility get the best of me … seeing that picture also reminded me that I was never was able to give him the grandkids that both my parents deserved. And if I did have any kids, he would have had at least a good 13 years to spend with them before he died. But instead, he only got to see and hold his one grandchild a few days after her birth … and then three weeks later, he was gone.

I know that a lot of these emotions are stemming from the fact that my birthday is coming up. And that it follows an unfulfilled wedding anniversary date and yet another major holiday. But really … when does this get better? When can I finally see more bits of happiness than shades of blue?

My Favorite Song This Time Last Year

Day Thirty – My Favorite Song This Time Last Year:

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been 30 days of posting songs and videos on my blog. Okay … so I’ve interspersed a few posts in between the 30-Day Song Challenge, but they were for good reasons. At least I think they were.

Regardless, this now means I get to post another NaBloPoMo badge on my “Badges of Honor” page. Woo-frickin’-hoo!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed following along with my music posts. As you can probably gather by now, music has always played a big part in my life. Somehow, I can’t see my life being complete without having a song in my head and in my heart.

But today, really is about the last song I need to name. I have a hard time remembering what I ate last night, let alone trying to remember what song I liked this time last year. I mean, give me a break … I’m getting senile in my older years. Especially since I have a birthday coming up this week.

So instead, I’m posting my favorite song once again. Except this time, I actually had time to put a video together for myself. So enjoy the slideshow below … as the description I added on YouTube says, this video is:

A photographic tale of my personal relationship with Hubby & with kids … and the fact that we can’t have any of our own. Resolving that part has been hard on us, but now we know … “Apron Strings can be used for other things than what they’re meant for.” But I would like to think that other persons (whether they’re kids or not … ) can still be happily “wrapped in my Apron Strings.”

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What is with this 30-day song challenge?

What was yesterday‘s song?

 

A Song That Reminds Me of Somewhere

Day Six – A Song That Reminds Me of Somewhere:

There’s this highway that hugs the coast of the Pacific Ocean. And on this particular stretch of road, the sun reflects off the water in such a way that it reminds me of all things right in the world.

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Steady As She Comes

It’s no surprise that I consider myself a pre-cursor to a Fangirl.** And I say “pre-cursor” because I certainly am not one that is completely obsessed with my favorite characters or actors; Johnny Depp notwithstanding (of course). And I certainly don’t “role-play” like some fangirls and fanboys do. Call it being a product of growing up as an adolescent and teenager in the early 80’s … but I consider myself more a Pop Culture enthusiast, than a Fangirl. I know more Pop Culture trivia and particular TV shows/movies than I know anything about Manga or RPG characters in the latest PS3 game.

Or as Cee Lo Green might say, “I guess (s)he’s more XBox. And I’m more Atari.”

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, last night I was on the couch watching Spiderman 2 in HD and reading the Wolverine & Jubilee*** comic at the same time. After all, my number one Fanboy (aka Hubby) was also on the couch next to me reading his entire pile of comics and was the one responsible for choosing our TV selection.

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Infertility Myth: NIAW 2011

Since 2009, the last week of April has been designated as National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).** That means that yesterday, on Easter Sunday, marked the beginning of a week dedicated to bringing attention and providing much-needed education about the disease of infertility.

My blog has primarily been about my journey through infertility (and now the child-free life I’m living after infertility). Every year during NIAW, I have always found a way to dedicate at least one blog post to help educate my family and friends. Two years ago, it started as one long post that ended up being divided into six daily posts (yes, it was that long).

And last year, RESOLVE partnered with long-time IF blogger, Mel to come up with an overall theme for NIAW. What resulted was Project IF which challenged those IF bloggers to answer the question, “What IF?” My post for 2010, if you’re interested can be found here.

For NIAW 2011, RESOLVE issued another “Call To Action” for IF bloggers. This year, we’ve been asked to properly “Bust an Infertility Myth.” So that’s what I’ll be doing today.

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Knot Envious of IF

I’ve been having the worst knots on my neck and shoulder muscles lately.

Okay, so that isn’t really anything new. Truth be told, I’ve always been tense in shoulders and neck; that’s where my stressors manifest itself in a physical form.

I compare it much as to how all the unhealthy foods I eat physically manifest onto my butt. After all, a moment on the lips …

See, the thing is … no matter if Hubby does manage to find the knot on my back and attempts to massage it away (he’s good to me like that), the knot always manages to find its way back within a day or two. It’s not until we manage to go to a licensed massage therapist (or hey, you physical therapists are great for this, too!), who can get all the muscle knots out in a short 1-hr session, that all the tension is released from my neck and shoulders for a longer period of time.

As a Registered Nurse, I logically know that it’s because the pain I feel on one knot is likely related to another knot elsewhere on my neck or shoulders. And in order to get rid of one knot, I need to find the original source of the pain.

In the medical world, the type of pain I feel in this situation is called referred pain. It’s much like a person who is having a heart attack can have jaw/neck/left arm pain rather than actually feeling pain in the chest, where the source of the pain originates from.  In order to “fix” the pain in the arm or neck or jaw, the physician needs to treat the problems going on with the person’s heart.

As I sat in front of my laptop today, mentally complaining about a particularly painful knot in my shoulder, I thought about referred pain can relate not only to physical pain but emotional pain, as well. In my case, I thought about the emotional pain that I’ve endured throughout my Infertility journey; of which ultimately ended in our decision to live child-free.

Contrary to popular belief, Hubby and I did not just give up on our quest to have children. In a way, the option to live child-free after infertility was much like one of those knots on my back. It was an area that needed to be (and, at time still needs to be) massaged over and over again.

Next to that Child-Free Knot was the Adoption Knot … Again, another knot that kept returning despite all efforts to release that muscle tension. In a way, the Adoption Knot was the one that frequently resurfaced time and time again; especially when well-meaning friends and family would elicit their advice on how Hubby & I should “just adopt” to “cure” us from infertility. Yes … that knot was a particularly stubborn knot.

On top of the Adoption Knot (because you know how knots can have knots as well?) was the Medical Treatment Knot.” This particular knot … although not the “sharpest” pain (at least not in my situation**) … was the most chronic knot. It was the knot that had lasted with me for well over 8 years, until Hubby & I consciously decided to untie that knot. Or at least massage the h*ll out of it until the Adoption Knot bubbled to the surface.

Underneath all those knots was the original knot; the reason why I kept having “knots” to begin with. You see, those knots were just “symptoms” of the underlying problem; the reason for all that referred emotional pain. Deep inside of me, I knew I had to treat all the sadness and anger that came with my diagnosis of Infertility.

I knew I had to get to the root of the problem. But when you’re in the throes of pain, the last thing you want to think of is fixing the “cause” of the pain. You just want the pain to go away – whether it’s by jumping right into the next medical treatment … or even blindly heading into the adoption process before you’re emotionally ready to do so. OR you ask for pain medication to help treat the immediate problem and leave it at that – perhaps thinking that the immediate hurt is gone so you don’t have to deal with the real issues that are actually causing the pain.

I’m here to tell you that “fixing” the immediate problem without delving deeper into the root cause of your emotional pain does NOT work … at least in the long run.

This is why it took Hubby & I years to decide to live child-free.

I won’t go into detail about how I got rid of those knots … well, at least the most intense pain that’s associated with the knots. I think you’ve all heard my story before (and if not, click here). However, know this:

It’s up to you to decide how you’ll deal with that referred pain – those knots, if you may … BUT in order to completely deal with the pain, you will have to address the underlying reason for that pain. Otherwise those d*mn knots will resurface whether you like it or not.

…..

Oh, and one more thing. Those knots won’t ever completely go away. There are those days when some “surface knots” can appear; for example: birthdays, anniversaries, other pregnancies, etc. But just so you know … the pain won’t be nearly as sharp as they were before.

You’ll just need to get one H*LL of a massage therapist to get rid of them on an ongoing basis.

As if I need another reason to go for a full-body massage …

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** I know many IF friends who went through multiple and varied medical treatments, whose “knot” may have been the sharpest pain they’ve ever felt.

Blog O’Versary

Four years. That’s how long I’ve been blogging.

It doesn’t seem like it’s been that many years. In that span of time, I’ve come to terms with my inability to have children. And Hubby & I have come to the decision to live child-free after infertility.

Wow, writing that last paragraph appears as if I’ve reduced the past four years into two simple sentences. Except I have 423 posts that say otherwise.

So either I’m too wordy … or I have a lot of issues.

I’m betting on the latter.

Anyway, I figured the best way for me to celebrate my 4th Blog O’Versary (my little ode to St. Patty’s Day) is to do that (in)famous “Meme of Four.”

Of course there are variations of this particular meme, so since it’s my blogoversary … I decided to pick the ones I wanted to answer. So without further ado …

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Four Jobs I’ve Had

  • Whopper-Maker for “The King” (and I’m not talking about Elvis, either)
  • Broke Music Store Employee, who spent most of her paycheck on things called “tapes” and “records.”
  • Rockin’ Teacher’s Assistant at my University
  • Registered Nurse working for the “dreaded” HMO (actually, it was a rewarding job … )

.

Four places I’ve lived
(Yeah, this one was easy)

  • Metro Detroit
  • Metro Detroit
  • Chicago
  • Metro Detroit

.

Four shows I like to watch
(I have many, but these are my current faves)

  • Glee
  • The Good Wife
  • Criminal Minds
  • Fringe

.

Four movies I can watch over and over

  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Love, Actually
  • Notting Hill
  • Goonies

.

Four things I get cross about

  • Texting while driving
  • Selfish, self-centered people
  • Uninformed and ignorant statements
  • The lack of problem-solving skills in the world today

.

Four words/phrases I use a lot

  • Seriously?
  • Y’all (I blame it on all the time I’ve spent in the South for work lately)
  • Naughty!
  • Sorry …

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Four websites I visit daily

  • Facebook (admittedly addicted)
  • New York Times
  • Amazon (I like to “window” shop)
  • Multiple Blogs

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Four things I am looking forward to

  • Our 15th Wedding Anniversary (in August)
  • Traveling the world with Hubby (someday)
  • Retirement (maybe someday)
  • Growing old with Hubby (definitely … )

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Four things I’ve learned from the past

  • There are things in this world that are waaay beyond our control …
    no matter what science or medicine can provide
  • It really does take a huge leap of faith in order to move forward from loss
  • As Mick says, “You can’t always get what you want”
  • FAMILY:
    • can include every single aunt, uncle, and cousin you’ve become close to
    • It can also include those people that have touched your life in some way or another
    • AND most importantly, it can also mean just Hubby and me

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Four things I want to do before I die

  • Spend a month traveling Europe
  • Write a novel and publish it
  • Move to the Pacific Northwest
  • Spend an entire week somewhere on any tropical beach, reading and soaking up the sun

.

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Thank you to all who’ve still kept me on your blog reader. Even though I haven’t been the best of bloggers lately. Your words and your support (both here on my blog and on Facebook) mean the world to me … and have certainly been my light during those times of darkness. You guys rock!

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