Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Gift of all This Season

I've been trying to focus on others this season and it's true that giving to others has this magical effect of making you feel good. I was on a giving high this week...

Our church has adopted a 17 year old girl and her sister. The 17 year old is a survivor of domestic sex-trafficking - she had been "convinced" by an older man (usually not older than 25!) to 'work' for him. I never knew how much girls in the US are forced into prostitution by merely feeling like they have no other choice because they are too young and oftentimes don't have good support systems at home. And how most of the girls (and boys) being prostituted are under-age. It makes my heart break...

I've learned so much from Courtney's House and from GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services). I've gotten to personally know the Executive Director of Courtney's House, who is a former teenage sex-trafficking survivor. Her story is remarkable and I'm inspired by her.

So, it was a no brainer for me to want to give back to this 17 year old and her sister this year. I organized the church's drive for this.

She had an MP3 player on her list. I knew someone was getting her a computer. She also had digital camera on her list among other electronics, clothes and teenage necessities like make-up. I had also heard some people in the church questioning her 'wants' of these electronics.

To that, I said, why shouldn't she deserve these things? Most typical 17 year olds would get these items, so why not her? And shouldn't our answer be: she's especially deserving of these things? Think of all she's been through and we're questioning why she should get a computer, MP3 player and camera???

So, I thought, I can get her this MP3 player and decided on the i.pod As soon as I clicked 'Confirm Order', I was elated!

This was the best gift I'm giving this season! Joy to the world!

And our present to each other? We're off to the Turks and Caicos... Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And Now... For a Little Positive Infusion

Thanks to you for your support over the last few days as I struggled with my inadequacies at work as a result of sadness over my infertility and having it show at work. Not easy to confront about myself, but such is my story and luckily I have an actual new year ahead to wipe the (sadness) slate clean!

Now onto infusing some positivity...

I was inspired by Katie at From If to When on her post Strength. She admits that it can be hard to focus on positives when we're feeling sad and lonely but she does it anyway and I want to too.

She's motivated me to set up our nursery even though we don't know how that baby will come. It's something she says she has control over and I think I need that now too.

Lily from The Infertile Mind is always someone I know I can count on to have some positive vibes radiating on her blog. More recently, she's been posting a lot of positive quotes that I love getting my fill of every few days!

Rebecca at The Road Less Traveled has seen positive betas from her donor embryo transfer and I am so thrilled for her! She has been through a lot this year and this new news warms my heart.

And... my best friend just had her second baby. I feel so blessed to be such an intimate part of it all - getting calls as she was going through labor and getting to see her baby girl at less than 1 day old after she home-birthed her. It's so rare to get to be part of that type of experience. Sure, I got teary-eyed when I left particularly since she's dark-haired like I imagine mine to be... but I think I was just emotional overall at the gift of life.

Is that some good positivity or what? :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So Glad I Said Something!

After a few days of angst over how to handle my boss's comments on my performance, I decided to have a follow-up talk with him today and am so glad I did. I started out by asking if he had any new performance concerns since we last talked 6 weeks ago. He said no, just that I hadn't seemed to change much.

I then shared with him for context that we've had a difficult past year most recently experiencing a miscarriage over Thanksgiving, so it's just taking me awhile to get back on my toes but that I'm committed to the company, etc. He was suprisingly empathetic and actually shared that he and his wife faced struggles in this area, and that he wishes us success with this. And let's work together to get me back...

Overall, I'm glad I shared (if only at a high-level) and that I also emphasized that I'm committed to the company no matter what happens in this area for us (I was afraid that he'd think I might not be once we got pregnant or had a baby).

Phew, do I feel like a weight off my shoulders! Now, I gotta get crackin' on all that work ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Infertility Can Seem so Cruel

What happened to me being peaceful? Seems like that only lasted a couple of weeks.

I think my boss's comments really struck me on Friday. I plan to have some sort of follow-up with him - just wanting to at least clarify what, if any, performance concerns he may have of me. Earlier this year, he said I was doing amazing and wanted to promote me, so I know I'm not ready for promotion now, but maybe my performance isn't necessarily bad, it's just not outstanding anymore... when we talked in October, he said it was inconsistent.

I just want to know if he was asking me "whether I was happy or not" and "doing what I wanted to be doing" more because he sensed I was unhappy and might leave, or if he also had performance concerns. He's usually straight with me, so I may be reading too much into this and he may have simply been worried about me leaving, which is actually a good sign on my performance... and he did say that while the promotion won't happen now, 'we've just kicked it down the road a bit'.

It bothered me all weekend. I didn't sleep well. Especially last night - I actually turned out my light at 8:30pm because of the lack of sleep all weekend! But then woke up at 1:30am-4:30am. Read about 100 pages of The Go.od Earth by Pea.rl Good book by the way.

My husband and I started again on what our next steps are... he wants biology so badly and I keep feeling like my body is failing us. His heart just isn't open to adoption right now. And honestly, deep down, I think we do still have a little ways to go on biology but I just wish the pressure would come off a bit. If he was the one to say 'let's start a homestudy', then I think I'd say, well, let's do some more tests...

I just want to be happy & peaceful!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Infertility Can Bite!

Just when I thought I was ok... I had my last counseling session - at least for now. I've been feeling much more like 'myself' and not in this constant sad state, like I had been for the last couple of months.

I was even able to get excited about my sister-in-law's sister-in-law's ultrasound appointment to find out what they were having, and was ok with the ultrasound pics on facebook (though I think she took it too far to make her profile pic her ultrasound pic, but anyway). I'm ok with all the holiday cards streaming in with all the kids on them (why can't people also put themselves on the cards? why just the kids??), I'm ok with all the kids postings on facebook. So, I'm generally ok.

But then, my boss yesterday has a meeting with me to ask if I'm happy at work and I was caught off-guard. He and I are really not personal so I kept it very high level saying I've been going through something very difficult in my personal life and it's affected my work life as well but I've gotten help and I feel like myself again and am ready to get back to how I was before and am excited about upcoming projects, etc.

Then, I came home and cried and cried. Why is it that just when I feel like everything is ok, infertility comes back to bite me? I feel like infertility is bad enough with this deep sadness, and then it just kicks me even more because it's affected my work performance. It's not fair.

I've always tried to keep the lines between personal and professional separate. Heck, I'm HR - that's what I do. But I also know the human side to HR and that's exactly what this was. And somehow, I froze.

When I told my husband all of this, he thinks that maybe I should have given my boss a bit more context and said that I've gone through 3 miscarriages and a surgery in the last year, with the last miscarriage being over Thanksgiving and then explain how I'm just explaining that for context on the sadness I've had to experience which may be why I haven't been myself even at work. And that maybe even if I am going through something like this in the future to let him know in case I need understanding that I'm not operating at 100%. I definitely don't want his sympathy but simply want to provide context...

But it's not just the miscarriages. And this issue is complicated. And I'm not sure how to talk about it at a high level with someone who I respect and like but where we don't talk much about our personal lives. The reason I've been sad is because of infertility in general but maybe just stating the miscarriages is enough for him to understand? Potentially more tangible and 'understandable' in mainstream life rather than infertility, which people really don't understand at all?

Anyway, if anyone has advice on how to talk at a high-level with someone who isn't very personal (though he's by no means a monster...), please let me know. Maybe what I said is enough? Or is having a follow-up with him a good idea to provide just a tiny bit more context?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Must Read Chapter

I've been a bit quiet lately. I can't tell if it's because I'm not actively going through anything 'trying' related right now. Or if I'm busy at work or busy with holiday stuff. Or maybe I'm still feeling quite peaceful and don't have the need to pour out my feelings as much.

I just read a blog entry by Dr Lisa Rouff, Infertility Therapist on Resilience is the Real Fertility. It really struck me particularly since Eliz.abeth Ed.wards' passing was significant to me this week and I felt she taught us a lot about resilience. And maybe because most of what I've craved this entire time is peace. I know my children will take awhile to get to me, however they do, so all I want in the meantime is peace. A way to better handle the challenge.

I also want to share a chapter of a book that I think is a must-read for anyone facing the 'what's next' in adoption, donor sperm/egg/embryo, surrogacy, childlessness, etc. I would NEVER have picked up this book a year ago and I wish I had. The book is called Af.ter In.fertility by Pat.ricia John.ston.

My counselor recommended it to me when I was telling her that my husband and I are stuck on not necessarily agreeing on adoption vs. continuing treatments. The book was written in the early 90s and there has been no update since but it's still extremely relevant.

The first chapter is called The Challenge of Infertility and focuses on ranking 6 areas that matter most to you and your partner so that you can begin (often difficult) conversations about what you are both willing to explore, or something along those lines.

I'd list the six areas but am afraid I'd be plagiarising... suffice it to say that it's well worth getting on ama.zon or some other place!

It made me realize that I may want to give conceiving more effort before we consider adoption. There's a lot that goes into this but that's what the chapter tells you to do - talk about putting a plan together.

My short-term plan: we leave for Turks & Caicos in 2 weeks!!! :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In a MUCH Better Place, Dare I Say Peaceful?

I AM in a much better place. I don't know how it happened. Maybe it was getting past Thanksgiving. Maybe it was my in-laws finally talking with me. Maybe it's the work I'm doing with a counselor who specializes in infertility. I don't know. But I'm grateful.

I didn't think I could get here. And who knows how long I'll actually stay here. But I want to surrender this bitterness. And I think I have.

I somehow was able to deal with our 3rd miscarriage over Thanksgiving with amazing grace. I think partly it's because I knew what our chances were from our first beta and therefore prepared myself. But I also think a remarkable peacefulness has overtaken me.

It was so nice to finally talk with my in-laws about everything. I especially bonded with my sister-in-law who I really appreciate now that we've talked in depth about a lot of this and what it's also like to be the in-laws in this family. :)

My counselor has been great. We've spent a lot of time talking about my mom and how disappointing it's been for me to feel like I've 'lost' her in not being able to talk with her about this the way I had been about everything else. She explained that people normally have 2 natural reactions when loved ones are in distress - fight or flight.

My in-laws clearly had 'flight' by not talking to me about it at all. And my mother had fight. She wants to make my pain go away so she says all the 'unhelpful' things rather than just acknowledging my pain. It helped to understand that. And it also helped for her to let me know over Thanksgiving that she's understanding that I'm going through a hard time and that she'll wait for me to be me again whenever that may be. She'll be patient with me is basically what she was saying.

I also saw our embryo in the toilet the Friday after Thanksgiving. I really wasn't ready for that and couldn't flush for the longest time. I just kept starring at it wanting to find more meaning in all of this that is happening to us. It was just a very striking moment for me.

And I think back on our fertility journey so far - on what the last 3 years have meant, and what this last 12 months have bee like - 3 miscarriages, starting and ending at Thanksgiving, and a surgery. It's been quite a year. And I'm ready to acknowledge it and move past it.

I know this is going to be a long road for us and I'm prepared to keep at it but equally prepared to enjoy life again and fully embrace it. Much easier said than done and I know I'll have little pangs of sad childlessness but I also know that I don't and won't feel that way most of the time anymore.

And we decided to use our miles and take off for a vacation to the Tu.rks and Cai.cos after Christmas and through New Year's! Yay!