Child-Free Infertility

Thanks-IF-ing

Going through Infertility has brought me many things in my life; both good and bad. But seeing that today is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share with you what I’m actually thankful that Infertility has given me. So here’s my list:

  1. The Weight: With all those pills and shots taken over the years, I can thank IF for all that added weight gain. Of course, it’s also my un-doing that I refuse to eat any healthier or exercise any more than needed to get rid of my “not-so-pregnant” belly! On an upswing? Bigger boobs. 😛
  2. Speaking of shots … oh, those wonderful shots! I can thank IF for all the bruised areas on my thighs and abdomen I had when going through those medicated cycles. It’s not so much that I don’t know how to give a shot — I *am* a Registered Nut — I mean Nurse. It’s more the fact that I can proudly poke myself like a human pin cushion and not be scared about it anymore. In fact, if I had to do it again … Nah, nevermind.
  3. Speaking of needles … I’d like to thank my body for producing enough blood so that those vampires — I mean Phlebotomists — can take all the vials of blood they need to run their tests. But I also want to thank those blood-suckers — I mean Phlebotomists — for being so kind and patients; especially when I was having a particularly rough day.
  4. In fact, I’m thankful for all those health care workers (from the nurses, to the receptionist … even the Ultrasound tech) for being so wonderful. In the throes of IF, I may have shot imaginary daggers at your back or given you dirty looks when you weren’t looking … but reflecting back on those moments, you have all been so kind to me.
  5. In fact, there have been lots of kind folks out there that I should be thankful for. Many of them are you, as readers of my humble blog. I’ve “met” the most compassionate women out in the blogosphere that “get me” sometimes more than the people I know IRL (in real life). So to you … my readers and commenters, both past, present and future … I’m grateful that you’ve graced my life.
  6. For those folks that I know IRL that have been willing to listen to my stories of Infertility … I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me. For so long, I did not have anybody (but Hubby, of course) to listen to our “War Stories” … so for anyone IRL that has lent me their ears or provided me with the empathy I so desperately needed, I am forever in you debt.
  7. I’m also indebted to Infertility for giving me back the gift of writing. It’s something I’ve always loved to do as a young kid, but something that I could never take on as a “career.” So I’m thankful for my tiny space in the Cyberworld where I can continue to write (as often or as seldom as I’d like) about my world; about my feelings. And about my thoughts, as crazy as they can be.
  8. And to be honest, if it wasn’t for writing about my Infertility, I wouldn’t have been able to come to some sort of closure with my Infertility journey … even if it wasn’t the outcome I expected. So there. I’m thankful that writing about IF has opened up a new path to my “new” future.
  9. Not only am I thankful for my blog and the ability to write … I will always be thankful for those IRL family and friends that read and acknowledge my blog. For the longest time, this blog was the only way that I could tell people about my Infertility so that I could “save face” in my culture. Knowing that I could still tell my story and yet not feel ostracized in the presence of my family and those Filipino family friends has been an absolute Godsend. It has given me strength in the midst of adversity.
  10. But the most important thing I’m grateful that Infertility gave me is my relationship with my husband. Nothing more has tested our wedding vows more than Infertility has. It brings new meaning to the words “In sickness and in health” and “For better or worse.” I know many couples that can say the same thing and have gone through adversities (even those who had gone through other crises other than Infertility) that know exactly what I mean. My marriage is stronger because of Infertility and my love for Hubby has grown deeper than I ever thought it would. It’s thanks to Infertility that I know the meaning of unconditional love; one that will last through the test of time … with or without children in our lives.

So those are the things that I’m grateful that Infertility has given me. I’m sure I can come up with more things to be thankful about … and not necessarily good things, but I’m trying to stay  on the positive side these days. So I think I’ll leave those parts out.

How about you, oh IF internet peeps? What are you thankful that Infertility has given you?

And for those non-IF folks … it is Thanksgiving, after all. Tell me what you’re thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

 

One Year Old

A year ago today, I was traveling from Chicago to to have a “Wicked” cousin weekend. The three US cousins joined up with the three Canadian cousins on my Dad’s side to watch the musical “Wicked” at the Canon Theatre in Downtown Toronto.

While on the stretch of 401 that connects Windsor to Toronto, I received a phone call from Dr. Bro. “We’re in L&D,” he told me. “Dr. SIL will be delivering Baby Em tonight.”

It was a shock for everyone, since Baby Em was technically not due for another week. But due to pre-eclampsia, Baby Em would be born that night. So shortly before midnight, a year ago today, Emilia Grace … my first blood-related niece … was born.

Today, my Mom and I are in Dallas, celebrating Emilia’s first birthday. It’s been a wonderful day filled with love and laughter, and sounds of children’s excited little voices. We’ve also heard the sounds of Emilia’s little feet as she crosses the room, walking on her own for only the 6th day of her life.

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I’ve had the chance to watch her “blow out” her candles and devour her birthday cake with such “finesse.” I’ve even had the chance to watch her “open” her gifts and be surprised with what she found. And it has been an absolute joy to be around her; surrounded by those who adore her unabashedly.

As the night winded down, Emilia’s family — her Mom & Dad, her Grammy & Great-Grammy, and her Lola & Auntie Em — found themselves around the coffee table, feet up and relaxing after such an activity-filled day. At one moment, we all sat quietly, relishing the serenity that descended unto the house. I, myself, felt content with the world; happy in the moment.

It was at that moment I knew that Lolo Medi had come to wish Emilia a Happy Birthday.

Happy 1st Birthday, Emilia Grace. You are loved and cherished by those who surround you.

Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage

There’s this phone commercial on TV that makes me sick every time I watch it.

I mean, yeah … it makes me so mad, but it really produces this awful awful lump in my throat.

Well here. Let me know what you think:

I swear … I get so angry that it makes me want to smack the living daylights out of this woman!

Okay, so the guy does appear to look rather — ahem — nerdy. But as I look at the other things surrounding the commercial, it appears to me that he is a guy that would do anything for his family. And his wife.

For example, unless the woman is a self-made millionaire who can afford a greenhouse separate from the house … who do you think agreed have one built on their property? The husband.

Who apparently encourages her to enjoy her own gardening past time? The husband.

And yet, this wife apparently has no respect for him.

I don’t know about you … but I could never be that disrespectful to the person I vowed to love and honor for the rest of my life.

Hubby & I arrive at Hogwarts!

But maybe that’s exactly it. Maybe there are couples out there that act like that around each other. And maybe that’s why watching this commercial makes me sick; because I would hate knowing that there are people out there that may be married (or may stay married) and treat each other with such disrespect.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that people can “fall out of love” with one another. And I can understand that there are certain circumstances in a person’s life that would make a person marry (or stay in an unhappy marriage) for something other than love. I can also understand why certain circumstances can lead a couple to divorce.

What I don’t understand is how a person can just be downright disrespectful to someone else; circumstances or none. You can hate the situation you currently find yourself in, but don’t blame (or hate) anyone else for your current situation but your own self. And certainly don’t disrespect someone just to spite them.

I guess this commercial gets me so riled up because I can’t see myself ever acting that way with my Husband. Okay, I admit that I may have occasional disrespectful thoughts, but: 1) I would never ever say them out loud and in front of him, and 2) they’re literally fleeting thoughts that quickly get dismissed when I realize exactly how much Hubby means to me.

If there’s one thing that Hubby & I have gotten right in our life together is that we have a good solid marriage. While I don’t mean to be arrogant by making that statement, I do know that we’ve heard from other couples … other friends, that the two of us together are a great couple.

But here’s the thing. Although we appear to be such a great couple to people we come in contact with … keeping our marriage together is not an easy task.

Marriage is hard. And it’s definitely not something you can dismiss lightly with a passive-aggressive statement like, “Mother was right. I should have married John Clark.” It takes a lot of patience, understanding and mutual respect for one another to make things work. And it especially takes honest and open communication / open dialogue to keep the marriage working.

15 Years of Marriage and still in love ...

I can’t dismiss the fact that Hubby & I (as college sweethearts) have grown into our marriage together; and therefore haven’t experienced some of the things that a couple married later in life (and likely with more “dating” experience) has. But I do know that past experiences can affect how one may react while in current and/or future relationships.

But I also can’t dismiss that Hubby & I have also gone through our own experiences that have challenged our marriage in many ways.

Think about how we found out that we couldn’t have children the “traditional” way.

Think of the risks we took trying to finance infertility treatments that only had a certain percentage of working.

Think about the decision we made to move to Chicago and now the decision to move back to Detroit.

Think of the roller-coaster of emotions it took to finally come to the decision to live child-free. Or the emotions of having to deal with the unexpected death of a parent.

Now imagine what our marriage would be like if we didn’t love and respect one another. If we didn’t have honest and open dialogues. Think of how hard it would be to go through everything we did without having each other’s back.

So yeah, I think that’s why that commercial makes me sick. And I hope that I’m not the only one out there that feels the same way …

So what do you have to say, oh Internets? What do you think of this commercial? What are your thoughts about marriage?

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.”

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

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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Today, Of All Days …

I may not have children, but I’m still a Mom.

Read more »

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