Does anyone else hate starting a new job? I do, big time. In addition to figuring out how to perform your role, you have to meet a million new people and try to remember their names, figure out where the bathroom, the break room, and […]
It’s been over five months since I last posted here. If you asked me what I’ve been up to in that time I could tell you a lot of things. I took a Mediterranean cruise and got to show my favorite travel destination, Italy, to my family for the first time. I went camping with Aurora and Snow in Southern Utah and had an absolute blast reconnecting and doing all the silly things we do when we finally get together, naked dancing under the stars included. I spent a week on a catamaran off the coast of Turkey. I went paragliding. I started another school year. But the one over-arching thing that comes to my mind about the last few months, in fact, about all of 2016, is my struggle with infertility.
I can use the word now—although I joke that I prefer “reproductively challenged”—since it has been almost 11 months since I went off birth control and the oven remains positively bunless.
I’ve tried everything. This spring my cycle was on the short side and my basal body temperature tracking seemed to indicate that I was ovulating late. Since the egg needs 10-14 days after conception to make its way to the uterus and implant, a short cycle or late ovulation can mean that you might be fertilizing an egg every month but it’s getting flushed out with your period before it can implant. I read that taking vitamin B6 can help lengthen your cycle, so I started taking that this summer, along with fertility vitamins that cost me about a dollar per day. Sure enough, July brought with it a 35 day cycle. I kept taking pregnancy tests like mad, but they all came back negative.
In August I put my husband on male fertility vitamins, too, and I started using ovulation prediction tests. That month I ovulated but started my period only 9 days later. Back to square one. In September I never even got a positive ovulation test, indicating that I had either missed the hormone surge or I didn’t ovulate at all. Another period came, another month of disappointment.
I made an appointment with a random gynecologist, just hoping to start the process of fertility treatments. It turned out that he was a fertility specialist, and since my appointment happened to be on day 3 of my cycle, he started me on Clomid that very same day. I took the medicine for four days and came back three times in the next week for hormone injections to encourage the follicles to develop and ultrasounds to see their progress. At the same time, my husband had his sperm tested. We found out they could be better, but they also could be worse.
And now, we wait, again. School starting has taken my mind off of it somewhat, so I’m doing better than I was this summer, when every period brought tears. Each doctor appointment required us to drive over an hour each way to the hospital, so it sort of feels like I’ve done nothing in the last couple of weeks except go back and forth to those appointments. And have sex of course. Lots of sex.
Beyond the frustration of not getting the desire of my heart on my own timeline, the whole journey has started to alter my thinking in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I haven’t gotten to the point of hating pregnant women or throwing things at the wall every time another pregnancy announcement or baby photo comes up on facebook, but I’ll admit that it didn’t feel great to read a post the other day from my cousin who has been on welfare since she got pregnant at 19. She’s now 35 and pregnant again, with her 9th child. 9!
And sex doesn’t appeal to me like it used to. I sometimes wonder if I will ever be able to enjoy it normally again, without the pressure of scrutinizing the calendar. When you try something and fail over and over again, it starts to traumatize you. Well, we’ve probably had sex over 100 times in the last 11 months without conceiving. That’s 100 times of trying and failing.
I used to dream about creative ways to tell my husband I was pregnant, or my parents. I would daydream about crafting the perfect facebook announcement, about buying maternity clothes, and, of course, about meeting that precious little human for the first time.
Now I hardly think about any of that. The only thing occupying my fantasies is the image of two pink lines—a positive pregnancy test. If that happens I think I might just tell everyone I know, because that’s how excited I will be. The hell with the cute announcements.
Then, of course, I’ll have a whole other slew of worries to face. Miscarriage, which would be all the more devastating given how long it has taken us to conceive. Birth, which obviously won’t be fun. A thousand defects and maladies that could afflict my child. And then the ultimate challenge: keeping a kid alive and actually raising him well.
Getting pregnant can happen in an instant, but for me it’s turned out to be one of the most time-consuming tasks I’ve ever attempted. Three months of trying became six months, which became nine months, and regardless of all the wonderful experiences I’ve had this year, many of which were made possible and/or easier and more fun by the fact I was NOT pregnant, I still feel like there’s been a dark cloud over 2016. With two months left to go, I’m wishing with all my heart that I’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel soon.
What’s the best and worst thing that could happen to you this year? Surely that question has crossed all our minds at some point during January, the month of resolutions, hopes, and dreams. Let’s see what we all came up with! We’ve purposely excluded a long list of actually terrible things that could befall us, like death and cancer, because, well it’s still the beginning of a new year and we ain’t got time for that kind of negativity.
For me, as a forever student, years are structured around the fall and spring. When I think of next year, I automatically think of the fall. But even though it is still pretty far away, I am still thinking every day about ‘next year’. I think that the coming year will be a strange one for me. I will be (God willing) finished with my PhD by sometime this summer, but I don’t know what the next step after that is yet. I would like to have some sort of neat tidy plan for the coming year— for me, this would mean something like having a job offer of some sort, or a post doctoral position, or the like. I suppose we could put that in the category of ‘good’ things that could happen to me. But somehow I doubt things will be quite so clear cut and tidy. I have a feeling that the next year will be kind of liminal. I will have finished my degree but I won’t be out of Oxford quite yet and I won’t have any type of real job (although I probably will be able to keep my low-paying piece-meal teaching job). It will probably be a time of applications and thinking seriously about where I want the next few years of my life to take me. What would I like? I would really like to get an academic position that will pay my bills in an exciting new place. Ireland, Germany, Iceland, Canada? I have the travel bug and I would want to try a new place full of new experiences. More than anything, it is stressful to not have anything sorted. I so look forward to getting the letter that says ‘Congratulations. You have been accepted. Come join us.’ On the side what I don’t want to happen… well that is hard to say. I worry about fizzling out as an academic.. finding out that there probably won’t be any job.. or feeling like I missed my opportunities at getting one. I guess what I am most worried about is feeling too late— as though there were things I needed to be doing, right now, that I didn’t do and somehow I missed my chance. But really, although I don’t want that to happen, I also want to be open to changes in my life. I believe that sometimes what we think we want is not what God has planned. Sometimes the ‘worst thing that can happen’ ends up being the best. So I try not to worry. Even if sometimes I forget it.. I do have faith that it will all be okay in end.
For Christmas this year one of my housemates bought us all wish bracelets, little pieces of string with a small charm that we wear until they break off. The wish we made as we tied them on is said to come true when the string breaks, and as my friend tied mine on I really struggled with what to wish for. How do you choose one thing? Do you go for realistic or ideal?
In terms of things I can change, I really want to work on being more joyful this year and I’d love to find ways to appreciate the people around me more instead of faulting them for being themselves.
In a perfect world, our country would find a way to talk about our different opinions in positive and understanding ways – I’m tired of insults and threats instead of growth and progress.
If I focus on my career, the best thing that could happen would be for our little company to be bought for a few million dollars. I’d pocket a decent chunk of change and could choose whether to stay on and help it grow or bail and start a new project. The worst thing that could happen for my social life would be to lose my confidence – I’ll never keep friends or meet people if I’m not secure in who I am.
Bah, this is hard, I’m just going to pick one. The worst thing that could happen to me this year would be to not change at all and be in the same place I am now. The best thing would be to be handed a free trip to see Hamilton on Broadway with the original cast.
Best and worst. Well, ignoring all the obviously amazing and terrible things that could happen to us, my thoughts on the idea right now are consistent with my last post—starting a family. I feel like we got the ball rolling this January by going off birth control, and now it’s a waiting game. Waiting for the right time to actually try, waiting to see if and when we are successful, and then waiting for the great adventure of parenthood to begin. The best thing that could happen would be that I got pregnant. And, if we’re talking about perfection, a due date next March or April would be nice. The worst would be if the end of the year came and we still weren’t pregnant. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to let go of an idea once I’ve got it in my head, so now that I’ve made up my mind to have a baby, it needs to happen. Being thwarted in that through all of 2016 would leave me feeling helpless. I mean, I know I am when it comes to things like this, but experiencing infertility would definitely challenge me in a way I’ve never been challenged before. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!
It’s hard for me to think of the best and worst things that could happen this year. First of all, I don’t want to imagine the worst, and second, I almost have too many things that would be the best and that I’m hoping will happen.
I would love to be able to buy our own place and start a family (I know, you think I’m just jumping on Cindy’s bandwagon). However, reality tells me that is not likely. I can’t convince my husband to be ready to start a family until he feels we are financially stable enough. But he’s been saying that for the past two years and I’m tired of the argument. Because personally I’ve been starting to create a vision of having our own kid and working up to be a foster parent. I even asked my husband if he would consider it. I don’t know where the idea started exactly but it’s been on my heart. Unfortunately, he is getting ready to start a two year school program, which I fear will push my dreams back even more.
As for the worst that could happen, as I said I don’t really want to theorize on that. So I’ll just say that I want to make this year count, so the worst would be if I just let it pass by without any passion on my part.
The last thing I like to do is go to large parties where I don’t know many people. Another thing I dislike is encountering people with whom I’ve had an embarrassing interaction in the past. But those two things are precisely what is happening this […]
Recently one of my high school basketball teammates posted a photo of the team from our senior year, 2007, with a nostalgic caption about how much she missed “the best team/friends ever” and all the great times we had back then. I clicked “like” on the photo and took a moment to smile at it, but it struck me how I would have never thought to post a picture like that. Certainly not of my basketball team, and probably not even of my actual high school friend group.
Unlike Aurora, who I know was actually good friends with a lot of people from her high school basketball team, I never fit in with my teammates, at least not as much as I would have liked. Back in high school I was extremely shy and insecure, so these confident, pretty, athletic girls with their over-the-top attitudes made me feel like some kind of alien. None of them were in any of my classes and many came from backgrounds pretty different from mine. As a result, there was a central clique on the team and I just wasn’t in it. My insecurities about my basketball skills didn’t help either; I didn’t make varsity until my senior year, while several of the girls had played together on varsity already. I started almost every game that year and got tons of playing time, but that was mostly because the girl who would have had that spot tore her ACL a few weeks before the season started. All this to say, I never felt secure in my role on the team, I never felt like part of the group, so I pretty much stayed out of the way and didn’t speak unless spoken to.
It wasn’t an antagonistic thing, though. I don’t think any of the girls disliked me, they just didn’t really notice me. I loved the game, so I was happy to be there participating and playing, even though we were a very mediocre team compared to others in our league. I have some fun memories from basketball, but they tend to be on the court, not in the locker room or the back of the bus. But when Micha, our star player and the only one to go on to play ball in college, posted this throwback photo, I know she was reliving amazing times with her best friends. From what she’s said on facebook, I can tell that life hasn’t gone up for her since senior year—in fact, it might be worse now than it was then, when she was a star player and one of the most popular girls in school.
A lot of my other teammates commented on the post echoing her sentiments, saying things like, “those were the best days!” and “I wish I could go back!” For me, those weren’t bad days, but they weren’t my best days. I’ve made better friends and had more fun experiences since high school than I ever did in those four years. I don’t wish that I could go back, and it makes me a little sad to know that being a high school basketball player is still a top highlight from the last ten years of some of those women’s lives.
The twenty-something condition. It all seems to come back to that—as much as we enjoy blogging about anything and everything here, the posts that resonate with me the most, and the real inspiration behind this blog, are the questions about growing up. The transition from […]
High school friends, college friends, work friends, family–have you ever wished two people from separate spheres of your life would meet? Just because both of them like you doesn’t necessarily mean they would like each other, but it’s kind of fun to think about, right?
Sometimes I wish people in my life now could meet someone from my past—usually mostly because that person from the past is nigh impossible to describe in words. For example, all of my fellow princesses here have had the “pleasure” of meeting Snow’s and my psychotic college roommate, but many people I’ve met since will never meet her, and that’s a bit of a shame, because she really was the kind of crazy you can’t fathom until you experience it. Another iconic figure from my past has to be Michael, the first guy (to my knowledge) to ever have a crush on me. After three years of tense teenage flirtation I finally came around to liking him too, and voila—my first kiss! The relationship flamed out immediately after that kiss, but still, I wish my friends could meet Michael and understand the depths of his pasty nerdiness—I think it would benefit their understanding of high school me. Specifically, I actually wish Ariel could meet Michael, because their lives have taken similar paths. Both standout students in high school, they hopped across the pond after undergrad to pursue graduate degrees in history. They don’t study the same era (she’s Medieval, he’s Ancient), but I have to think that two people with a passion for the past and the common experience of living in the U.K. for so many years could have one heck of a conversation, even without swapping first kiss stories. This imaginary relationship would be purely platonic and intellectual…but since I haven’t spoken to Michael since college myself, the chances of hooking them up are slim. I guess I’ll have to cross my fingers and hope they run into each other on the tube someday, or end up sitting next to each other on a flight back home.
When I read this question, for some reason the people that came to mind were my sister and my friend Sheri. They might not be a good answer for the question, because I am not so sure that they would be friends, even if they knew each other. However, I have often felt to myself that they had somehow had some real similarities and things in common. I wonder if they would get on? It is kind of funny because I don’t really get on too well with my sister (at least currently), and Sheri is my good friend. But somehow I feel they have something in common. It is hard to say exactly what it is. I mean, there are superficial things— like the fact that both of them are strict (very strict) vegetarians who eat cheese but not eggs. But I think that one of the deeper connections is their relationship to their family. My sister is somehow not good at maintaining relationships with her family members. This is even perhaps a bit of an overstatement… if one wanted to be harsh you might say that she was systematically isolating herself from every member of the family. It’s all pretty crazy— at least that is how it seems to me. But when I’ve talked to Sheri about it, she always somehow sees my sister’s side of the issue. Maybe that is because in Sheri’s family, she is the loner. She is the one on the outside— everyone else in the family is tight, but she feels like she doesn’t fit. Or, more accurately, she feels like they have rejected her. Probably exactly how my sister feels. I am not sure how my sister and Sheri would get along, but I almost think they would have fun.
Great question Cindy! I tend to think everyone I love should always get along, and it has gotten me into trouble when I try to force people who aren’t really friends to hangout. A lot of trouble actually, so much so that this question feels a bit impossible because I’ve either already introduced people who I thought would get along or have a very strong feeling that it won’t work out with the other people I know. But I’ll never stop trying, because the more the merrier, and it is hard work to juggle friends and feuds. I could go with the obvious and say that I would be a great match with any of my friends’ brothers, but this isn’t about me and I have already met said brothers, so I’ll have to go with my high school friend Sarah and my college friend Ann. Similar personalities are always risky to put together, and it is even more likely to not work out when those personalities are strong ones, but these two opinionated girls both have hearts of gold solidly under their sarcasm and jokes. I think 5 years ago they would have never gotten along, and ten years ago they would have been mortal enemies, but now they’re at similar places in life with similar ways of handling it and I genuinely think they’d be fast and strong friends. Both of them are not for everyone, and both of them can be a handful for their friends and loved ones, but both of them connect with people in a way only a few can. They leave lasting impressions and a part of you will never be the same after being their friend.
Whenever I think about two people who should meet, I always think of the ill-fated attempt to hook up Aurora with a crazy kid that graduated high school with me. All the princesses were in mine and Ariel’s hometown going through my old yearbook. Suddenly Aurora points to a guy and says “who’s that?” After describing all the antics of this individual, she decides they are soulmates. We tell her that he still lives in the area, which excites her even more. In order to make herself known to him, she tacks up a notice in his favorite coffee shop with her phone number on it. We think he actually did try to call her, but didn’t leave a message. Alas, it seems it wasn’t meant to be, but it will forever be one of my favorite stories. Because wouldn’t that be the best how we met story ever!
I’m sure there are other examples of people in my life who I really want to meet each other, but this one will always stick out. I’m still hoping that someday in the future I’ll be with Aurora, and we’ll see this guy across the room. I’ll excitedly whisper “that’s him!” Then she’ll go up to him all confident and say “Remember that time years ago when a girl left you her number on a coffee shop bulletin board?” And the rest is history.