Friends

Soup for the Soul

When I was little, I would typically spend “sick days” at home with my Dad. Mom would work the day shift, while Dad would work the off shift. Such was the life of a dual-income family.

During those sick days, I’d typically be relegated to my bedroom to sleep off the illness that would’ve plagued me for a day or two. And if I was lucky, I would be allowed to lie on the family room couch and watch daytime TV.

The thing I remember most about those sick days was the soup my Dad would make for my lunch. He’d make this chicken noodle soup that I absolutely loved. And I knew I’d be feeling better if I’d ask for a second bowl.

It was a soup that only my Dad could replicate, much to my Mom’s chagrin. Eventually it became known as “Daddy Soup,” and I’d always request it whenever I got sick.

It was comfort food for me; the warmth of the broth soothing my sore throat. The chicken bits providing nourishment for an otherwise lackluster appetite. The egg added that made the it taste like egg drop soup with chicken and noodles … The “secret ingredient” that made Dad’s soup unique. All of it just reminded me of home. And of being cared for as a child.

I think about this soup at times when I miss my Dad the most. And I know it’s because I’m missing the comfort of my childhood when things seemed so much simpler.

Nowadays life seems much more complicated; so much more complex. While I know that’s just part of normal life, having this memory helps remind me that I was loved by my Dad and that I am still loved by those people who reach out to me … Especially during this particularly difficult time in my life.

I’ll just refer to these reminders as “Daddy Soup for my soul.”

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!

 

A Song From My Favorite Band

Day Eleven – A Song From My Favorite Band:

Uhm. Yeah … INXS is my favorite band. Ever. I’d say that it was all because of Michael Hutchence, but then explain to me why I’m still going to see them in concert at the end of July? (I. Can’t. Wait !!! )

I don’t know … there’s something about their music that makes me smile. It brings up lots of memories for me whenever I hear one of their songs.

Like whenever I hear “The One Thing,” I think of buying Star Hits magazines back in 1983 and watching that video on MTV (again, back when they actually played music videos!) with my cousin.

Or whenever I hear “What You Need” … I think of every single cheesy high school dance I had ever gone to.

“Disappear” is inherently a happy song; both in lyrics and in the music. I’m thinking that’s why, when the album “X” was released during my second year of college, it suddenly became our dorm room floor’s drinking song. Yep; that and the B-52’s “Roam.”

(What is it about reminiscing my college days lately?)

We were SO lucky to meet the band in 1986, before they blew up BIG

This, by no means, is my absolute favorite INXS song. I have waaaay too many favorite INXS songs to choose from. “Disappear” just happens to be a great song.

Besides I like this video. And I can no longer find the original “Don’t Change” video … which would otherwise have been posted for today’s song.

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What is with this 30-day song challenge?

What was yesterday’s song?

Check out this other INXS post. You won’t regret it.

A Song That Makes Me Fall Asleep

Day Ten – A Song That Makes Me Fall Asleep:

I love the Cocteau Twins. I remember first hearing “Carolyn’s Finger” back in the mid-80’s while watching MTV’s “120 Minutes.”

Remember that show? Back when MTV used to be all about music? Matt Pinfield was the host and that show (which technically started at 12am early Monday morning) focused on all the alternative music bands, playing videos and songs you’d never see or hear during the daytime. Or throughout the week, for that matter.

Read more »

Life In Bullet Points

  • I got a speeding ticket this past Saturday. In the past, speeding tickets always came at a time in my life when I literally needed to “slow down.” Except this time, there’s nothing going on in my life that requires me to slow down. So yeah … I’m a little confused.
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  • Hubby & I went to see 30 Seconds to Mars Saturday evening at one of the smaller venues in Detroit. Going to see them reminded me of how  much I wanted to be a rock star back in high school.
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  • It also reminded me of how old I’m getting if I no longer want to be in the general admission area on the ground floor. You know, where all the crowd-surfing happens. And where you could possibly feel the sweat flying off any of the band members.
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  • Speaking of which, Jared Leto has — in my opinion — only gotten hotter since his Jordan Catalano days. And seeing that he’s actually MY age, I wonder how he still has all the energy to keep the crowd on their feet the whole night long.
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  • Met up with a couple of my HS BFF’s on Sunday morning. It was fun to catch up with them and talk about what we’ve been up to lately.
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  • Jordan Catalano all grown up

    Also got to meet one of my HS besties’ 3-yr old son. He reminded me so much of my nephew, Tyler at that age; so precocious and full of energy. And I loved the fact that he wanted us to go home with him..

     

  • Still working on taxes, as I type. Well, okay … so Hubby’s working on the taxes while I help file things away. Gotta work on a better system so that we’re not always doing our taxes at the last possible minute. You’d think after 14 years of doing taxes together we’d get our act together.
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  • And that’s about all the bullet points I can come up with for now. Perhaps I’ll write a more proper post before Easter. Until then, this is all I’ve got.

The Whole Nine Yards

Nine days ago, at approximately 7:30 pm that night, a pretty significant hole had formed in my heart. What had been there for the past 38 years of my life was the physical presence of my Dad on this world. And even though (by this time) we had been expecting his “last breath” for a couple of days, it still didn’t help the sudden onset of emptiness I felt in my chest.

I didn’t know what to expect … or how it would feel to lose someone so significant in my life. I didn’t know  that my emotions could swing from one spectrum to another in the blink of an eye. After all, how can I have gone from laughing hysterically about a particularly funny incident involving my Dad … to crying inconsolably about that hole in my heart.

Except now, after nine whole days of gathering with family and friends … of praying the traditional Filipino-Catholic Novena following the departure of a loved one … I can finally say that the hole in my heart has begun to fill. And it’s because of all those family members and friends that have come out in droves to celebrate my Dad’s life.

Although not quite to back to capacity, the emptiness that once occupied that hole is now filled with the memories I have of my Dad … of all those special Daddy-Daughter moments. I know that I can look back at those moments and feel my Dad’s presence enveloping me.

But more importantly, that hole is now filled with all the stories about my Dad that were shared with me these past two weeks. It’s been filled with the incredible support I’ve felt from old friends and even older friends … whether it was driving clear across the State just to spend 5 minutes crying with me minutes before the Funeral Mass. Or making an extra trip to Mickey Dee’s to pick up a sweet iced tea and iced latte for me and Hubby. Or even just being there to hug me; knowing that was exactly what I needed at that moment.

So thank you, all my family and friends … I hope you know how much every single kind word** you’ve said and every single kind gesture you’ve done has meant the world to me.

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** Special thanks to my cousins … from both sides of my family. You’ve been my my saving grace during those dark, dark moments.

*** An extra-special thanks to my incredibly awesome husband. We joke about me having a thing for “The Rock” … but rest assured, you are my one and only Rock. You are my constant in the midst of chaos.

Unforgettable ... That's what you are to me.



Cloaked in Kindness

Palliative care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure. The goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to improve quality of life for people facing serious, complex illness.”

— Definition taken from Wikipedia

It’s just after midnight, early Thursday morning. I have to say that I feel like I’ve aged a whole month over the past few days … and probably three of those “weeks” were as a result of the last 36 hours.

Meeting Emila for the first time ... wish it was under better circumstances

First of all, I swear … I think between Hubby & I, we’ve had a combined total of 6 hours of sleep since Sunday night. Pure exhaustion has taken over at this time and auto-pilot mode kicked in by Tuesday evening.

First off, it’s a sad state of affairs when … getting into our car Tuesday evening for a quick jaunt out of the hospital for a much-needed shower and some fresh air … I actually commented that the car seat had been the most comfortable thing I had sat in all day long.

Secondly, squishing yourself (well, actually my big bootie) onto a small cushioned foot stool just so that I can feel as if I was laying horizontally on a bed is not very comfortable. So much for that awesome full-body massage Hubby and I had this past Saturday …

But mostly, I think the sleep deprivation was more because of the constant anxiety of having my Dad in the ICU and not knowing exactly what could happen next. It was the constant worry that Dad’s prognosis was not (ever) going to functionally improve. It was the fear that we wouldn’t know exactly how my Dad wanted us to proceed in his care … especially because he wasn’t “awake” to tell us. And even moreso, because my Dad did not have any Advanced Directives. He had not written down any of his wishes for us.

By Tuesday afternoon Mom, Dr. Bro and I had a very frank discussion about what we all felt should happen next. We discussed, as his immediate next of kins, what we all believed Dad would have wanted us to do. The good thing was that he had had the same discussion with all of us at one time or another. The sad thing was knowing that if we respected his wishes, we would run the risk of losing him sooner than we were ready to let him go.

Holding Little Em for the first time

In the end … and after discussion with the rest of my Dad’s siblings, we decided that we would respect my Dad’s wishes. We would remove the G*d-awfulBreathing Tube” and see how he did without the respirator. We would not … other than provide comfort measures only … perform any extraordinary measures to extend his life.

So today, just before noon, we removed the breathing tube. And the entire family stood around him praying … saying our good-byes to the incredible man we all loved so fiercely. And we waited … and waited.

And as of right now … we’re continuing to wait. Except we’re no longer in the ICU … we’re in the hospital’s Palliative Care/Hospice floor. Which is where we’ll continue to be until Dad’s finally at rest … where I hope his grand-furbaby Rain is waiting patiently to cuddle next to him.

Thank you all for for “cloaking” us with your kind prayers and positive vibes .. it means the world to me and my family.

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Related Posts:

It’s Hard To Be Brave

No More Rain

Deep Breaths

Up In Smoke

Who’s Your Daddy?

The proud Auntie & Uncle ... Don't we ALL look exhausted in this photo?

Light the World, Little Ones

It’s been a crazy-hectic few weeks since last posting. This new career, though challenging and rewarding, has been pushing me to exhaustion.

As with any major change in life, my level of stress and anxiety has increased accordingly. But what the Type-A Registered Nurse in me needs to remember is that it’s only natural to feel this way. I just need to remember to breathe and  channel my inner-Zen.

I’ve had some blog posts in draft-form for quite a while now; including my experiences as a Catholic Infertile dealing with the options of family building. Except I don’t feel that it’s polished enough to be published at the moment.

However, today I wanted to come out of my seclusion to remember my nephew, Liam. He was a fighter for the four months of his life. And even though it’s been more than three years now … there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t somehow enter into my thoughts.

October 15th is recognized as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Today is a day to remember those who have suffered a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a still birth, or the loss of an infant.

And today I remember the loss our family felt three years ago.

But today, I also remember all those friends I’ve met over the many years of blogging about my infertility journey. I remember their loss and heartaches as well.

In fact, I remember all of those who have suffered miscarriages and stillbirths on their quest to build their families.

And even though it’s not quite the same … I remember those who have gone through the heartache of a negative pregnancy test, despite knowing that a beautiful embryo (or more than one) was implanted into a warm inviting womb, with the hopes that their “embies” will continue to grow into reality.

I remember the two beautiful “would-be babies” that I welcomed into my womb, but — for some reason — weren’t meant to stick around.

I remember the one beautiful “would-be baby” that Hubby & I reluctantly let go.

So today, I ask that you take a moment to say a little prayer or send some positive karma (or whatever you’d like to provide) for those who have suffered any loss in family building.

And at 7 pm tonite — if you have a spare moment — light a candle to remember those little ones that may not have grown up to be big babies … but grew into our hearts and our souls.

Light the world, Little Ones … Light the world.

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Related Posts:

The one where Emily remembers

The one where Emily lets go

The Official National Pregnancy and
Infancy Loss Remembrance website


Revertigo

There’s this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” that Hubby & I recently watched. It’s the episode in which Robin meets up with her Canadian High School boyfriend; a boy who broke her teenage heart in his van after playing a gig with his band, The Foreskins**.  She confesses to her friends that the minute she set eyes on him, she suddenly felt like she was sixteen again; complete with the excitement and butterflies that a “first love” could only elicit. But not only that, Robin found herself acting exactly like she did at that age. 

Marshall, in his wise ways, had developed a term for this type of behavior. He called it “Revertigo” … a phenomenon in which a person reverts back to his or her former self when around certain individuals from their past. In this episode, he uses Lily as an example; having her invite her old high school friend, Michelle, who brings out the “gangsta” in her whenever they’re together. But once separated from one another, they revert back to their normal selves. 

Hubby and I could not stop laughing during the entire episode.*** It was something that we both know happens to me when I get together with my Canadian cousins. When we get together I somehow slip back into this version of myself that I can only call “The American Cousin” — all brash and outspoken with a hint of arrogance (not intentional, of course). But not only that … for some strange insane reason, I also find myself speaking in a Canadian accent; complete with long O’s (as in “sooorry”) and unconsciously adding “eh?” to the end of all my sentences. 

Seriously. We could be in the heart of the continental U.S. and I could suddenly be mistaken for a Canadian! 

The thing is, when experiencing “Revertigo,” every fiber of you begins to revert back to that place and time. All the good and the bad. All the excitement of being at the age that you were and all the insecurities you may have experienced at that time. 

Proof that I was a GleeK in high school

This Saturday is my 20th High School Reunion. And while I debated for a verrrry long time about whether I’d attend, I finally decided that I would skip out on the festivities. I can say that I did it for a number of reasons. The easiest being that I didn’t feel like shelling out the money to see people I really didn’t know that well twenty years ago. Or that I only wanted to see certain people from my graduating class; ones that I’m not even sure will be in attendance. 

I’ll admit that both of those reasons are indeed true; and — in my eyes — valid, as well. But the primary reason is this: I’m just not at the best place that I want to be in my life at this exact moment. I don’t (nor will I likely ever have) the children that I know most of my classmates already have. I don’t have that beautifully maintained home with a well-manicured lawn that my suburban counterparts will also likely have. And I certainly don’t have the job / degree / success in my life that I thought I’d have by this time in my life. 

But I was also a HS Hottie (along with future-SIL), too!

And seeing that this past spring and summer were beyond stressful**** I’m feeling just a leeetle insecure with myself. 

If the phenomenon known as “Revertigo” is true; then all those insecurities and lack of self-confidence I currently have at this point in my life will be twenty-times magnified … like everything tends to be during those “puberty years.” 

Oh, I’m not naive enough to know that my classmates likely feel the same way about themselves in some capacity or another. If anything, I certainly believe that most of us, in our late-thirties, feel like we haven’t accomplished everything that we thought we would have over the last twenty years. 

No, really. I simply don’t want to attend for this simple reason: I’m trying to avoid feeling and acting as if I’m in high school again. And seeing that I’ve had a few major curveballs thrown at me over the past six months, I don’t know if I’d have the strength to combat this bout of “Revertigo.” 

Class of 1990

 One more thing and I’ll go back to being a 38 year old Gen-X slacker … my lack of desire to attend my high school reunion, by no means indicates that I don’t want to see those people I considered close friends during my teenage years.

The way that I look at it is this: If I hadn’t already found you via Facebook (or any other means of communication) … this simply means that you don’t want to be found. And I can respect that need for privacy. And if we were meant to find our way back to one another, then we’ll find each other when the time is right.

To me, friendship is all about every day life; and there shouldn’t be a need to make a big formal deal about it. 

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Related Posts:  

Emily gets “Donald Trump’d” 

Emily gets a phone call 

Emily gets her a$$ “U’Hauled” 

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** “There were four of us. And we didn’t wear any shirts.” At least that’s how the band name was explained. LOL!  

*** Mainly because Robin’s ex-boyfriend was played by James Van der Beek of “Dawson’s Creek” fame.  

**** A quick recap:

  • I got fired from the job I moved to Chicago for; the one that I hoped would help heal me gain some of that self-confidence that Infertility robbed me of.
  • I found out that Dr. Bro and Dr. SIL have finally made the decision to (successfully) procreate.
  • I recently started and am currently training for a new job that will take my career in a different direction.
  • And in the midst of job-hunting, debated on a move back to Detroit only to decide to stay in Chicago (but move to a smaller apartment); much to the chagrin of family members that wanted us to move back “home.”
  • Oh … and being unemployed certainly didn’t help our financial situation, either.

Fickle Facebook

Oh, Facebook … why do you tease me so? You are a fickle friend who loves to simultaneously bring me closer to family and friends I haven’t seen in ages … and make me feel insanely alone. Especially when seeing “First Day of School” pics or status updates from everyone.

Okay, so I exaggerate a bit. What can I say? I was in the Drama Club in high school.

And truth be told, I love seeing all the cute pictures of the kids; especially as I get to see how much bigger and older they’ve gotten since the last pictures of them were posted.

But yet, there’s the little part of me that feels those tiny daggers stabbing away at my core. The sad thing is … well, I’m not quite sure if my “core” is my barren uterus. Or my heart.

Bit by bit, those daggers are disappearing from my heart … and I’m feeling less envious of those family & friends who have become parents. Rather, I’m beginning to be more accepting of where I am in my life and which path my life is taking me.

What an enormous leap from where I was two years ago, eh?

Anyway, I figured since most people are posting pics of their kids on this first day of school, I should post some of mine. Well, my furbabies anyway!

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