Friday, January 31, 2014

Holy Cow

Hallelujah and Holy Cow you guys!!!  Guess what?!?!  The ultrasound tech said I ovulated this month!?!?
A couple other, more profane, "holy ___"  phrases came to mind after my date with the wand today...but I figured no one would want to see the accompanying images.
I had a follow-up ultrasound today to check on the status of my cyst before moving forward with any Clomid cycles.  Last time the tech hardly said a word, but this time I was with a gal who was a little more talkative.  Our conversation went something like this:
U/S Tech:  Hi, how are you today?
Me: Fine thanks, how are you?
Tech: Good thanks.  So what's going on today, are we just checking up on that cyst?
Me: I think so...blah blah blah.
Tech: Have you been having any pain?
Me: No, not since that last episode...I've had one period since the last appointment and am on Cycle Day 35 of this cycle.
Blah, blah, blah...empty bladder...blah, blah...
Tech: Okay, well, undress from the waist down...blah, blah, blah.
Tech: I'm going to...blah, blah, blah...warm lube...blah, blah, blah...shouldn't hurt, let me know if it does...blah, blah, blah...scoot your butt down to the end of the table (maybe she left out the word butt...toosh maybe??)..Do you have plans for the weekend?
Me:  Superbowl...blah, blah...husband has been sick...blah, blah...might just be us...blah, about you?  
Tech: Don't really care...blah, blah...but husband invited like 8 guys...blah, blah...I'll invite a few of the spouses...blah, blah...there'll be 14 kids between three of us, so it'll be pretty busy!
Me: <Damn, that's a lot of kids.>
Tech: Looks good...let me move this...blah, blah...sorry, your left ovary is way over here...looks good though...cyst is gone...blah, blah...
Me: (attempting to keep the conversation going and avoid awkward silence) I never know how you all tell what you're looking at...
Tech: Ha ha ha...lots of practice...blah, blah, blah...greyscale...blah,'s your right ovary...looks like you ovulated from the right this month...

<SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!>  Woah...really?!  That doesn't normally can tell?
Tech: Yeah, if you've ovulated in the last week or two we can see the little sack that released the egg.
I don't remember the rest because
Ever since I have been off of BC, there has been no sign that I've been ovulating with/without Clomid.  Granted, the first 6 or 7 months I didn't know the signs of ovulation or do anything to check...but once I started charting and getting blood work done it was always the same: no egg.  Looking back at those first 6 or 7 months, knowing what I know now, I can guess with pretty good certainty that I didn't ovulate during them either.
So...holy cow you guys! This feels BIG!!  Egg-specially because this was an organic egg (unless you count Metformin and Nyquil)!!  Unfortunately, between my husband and I being sick since Christmas and feeling like this was "a break", I'm sure we missed this egg.  I have an appointment with my doctor Tuesday to discuss the ultrasound (he was booked today) and will be going in with notes and will be ready to make a plan for what we're doing next.  My hope tank just got filled to the brim!
And now, a couple random questions for people (all too) familiar with the wand:
1.  Are the lights always dimmed when you have an ultrasound?  Last time I went in and the lights were dimmed and at first I was a little creeped out, but then appreciated it because it felt a little more private.  Today, I went in and the awful fluorescent lights were on and I felt immediately more embarrassed to be naked from the waist down.  Luckily, when the tech returned, she dimmed the lights.  
2.  Is privacy a funny thing to even think about when you've got your legs in stirrups and you lady bits out?
3.  They ask you to empty your bladder...can they do I say this without being gross?  Can they tell if the other department has been emptied too?  I'm not saying anything.  I'm just asking.
4.  How much...ummm...grooming should be done before an appointment where you'll have things "out"?  I go crazy brushing and flossing my teeth before a dental appointment...but I don't even shower or style my hair before an appointment at the salon.  So what's the right amount of prep work here?  You don't want it to look like you're trying too you got all vagazzled just for a rendezvous with medical equipment.  I get things spruced up, but not like one might for a hot date.
5.  Both times I've been in the garbage can is needs to be emptied when you throw away your tissues you worry they might topple onto the floor but you don't really want to press them down because you don't want to rub up against someone else's tissues, so you end up doing this dainty little pinch & push thing with your pinky in the air to make sure the tissue is securely in the trash while still avoiding contact with anything else that may be lurking in that receptacle. (Whew, outta breath?)  And you know that the a bunch of it will all come spilling out anyway when some poor soul does come to empty it because it has one of those lids with the hole in it that sticks up a good 5 inches from the top of the actual can.  Has anyone else noted this?  Is this common in ultrasound rooms?
6.  What do you do with the little cover sheet and butt pad they have you sit on after your appointment?  Do you just leave it there --- a crumpled mess?  Do you throw them away in that trash can that is full to the brim?  I folded them up and left them on the table...obviously not like new, but so nobody has to touch the lube that leaked out.  Yeah, I just said that. 
7.  I'll end on a more sentimental note...anyone else spend a good portion of the appointment imagining what it will be like to  be in that room, with your husband in that chair beside you--holding your hand and looking at your baby? 
Holy cow!  Won't that be something?


Thursday, January 30, 2014


Today I am going to go on a little rant.  You ready?

So, I mentioned I have been procrastinating about several things.  The list is quite long actually.  But here are some of the items on my list:

1.  Get the mail.
2. Fold the laundry in the dryer. 
3. Do more laundry....including the mounting pile of sheets and towels.
4.  Make a menu for a whole week and try to go to the grocery store only once or twice that week!
5.  Vacuum.  Including the stairs.
6.  Dust.
7. Break down some big boxes and recycle them.
8. Take old clothes to Goodwill.  Take junk to the dump.  Get rid of junk.
9.  Basically, my house seriously needs a good cleaning...the un-tidiness of it is driving me batty! 
11.  I have lesson plans and school projects I should be working on.  
12. I need to prep notes and questions for an upcoming doctor's appointment. 
13. I need to call insurance to discuss an EOB for the ultrasound in December and what, if any, aspects of infertility are covered under my plan. 
And the list keeps going...
So, the other day I got to cross one thing off!  A big thing...that I've been putting off for quite some time.  As a teacher, I have pretty good insurance.  Rate increases were nuts this year, so I had to switch our plan.  And we are still paying more for less coverage.  Blech.

Anyway, I figured it didn't matter that the new plan wasn't as good; even on the old plan, insurance wasn't picking up any percentage of anything with "infertility" attached to it...not office visits, not meds, not lab work.  Zilch.  I assume this is pretty common, but it still stinks.  However, I wasn't giving up just yet.  I had read carefully through the plan and noticed infertility was listed under the "limited coverage" section of the book rather than the "no coverage" section.  So I thought maybe they would do something for people who read the plan and inquired about it.  I figured they'd continue doing nothing as long as I said nothing.  Insurance companies seem slimy like that.

I called.

For the record, the guy I talked to was nice, helpful, accommodating.  Everything he said made sense, but I still got the feeling he was a bit of a slippery fish.  That's beside the point.  Turns out that as part of the Education Association's group-plan negotiations, infertility was completely NOT covered.  To get the rates they did, the group had to take that off the table.  So, other people with this plan (who are not part of the Education Associate Group) may or may not receive varying degrees of coverage when it comes to infertility...hence the "limited coverage." 

And I get it.  From a money stand-point.  Even limited coverage of fertility issues for a State-Wide group whose members include a lot of females of child-bearing years (1 in 8 of whom are probably IF), would be seriously costly!!  Ultimately it is about the dollar.  Do you know what is covered though?  "Voluntary termination of a pregnancy."  What the what?!?!?  

I get why insurance doesn't want to cover IF treatments...I don't want to spend that much money on those odds either. 

I CAN fathom going through whatever it takes physically and emotionally for even a slim chance at having our baby.  And I'd pay a pretty penny for it!  I've already spent something like $1000 in the last few months and we haven't even exhausted the lowest level intervention yet!!  Is it bad to talk money like this?  I've always heard it is rude and bad and don't do it.  Don't ask or tell specifics about $.  Oh well.

Anyway, I can wrap my brain around $100 here, $200 there, $85.61 there.  Even a couple thousand dollars for the big dog, IVF, if it ever got to that.  If insurance backed me up, I would probably do it...any and all of it, provided I could convince my husband that we should (but that's a whole different story). 

What I CAN'T wrap my brain around is paying and paying and paying with no end in sight.  I can't imagine pouring my life savings into something that can't be guaranteed...too risky for my liking.  I can't fathom it.  And surely the stress of it not working out would probably make it not work out. 

Maybe I am putting the cart before the horse.  I hope so.  I hope that low level interventions and time do the trick...but one can never be sure...what IF my road is going to be one of the long ones?  IF it is going to be a long road, shouldn't I think about it and plan for the possibilities so I don't make the waiting game longer for having not prepared??

Back to my rant...

"Insurance should help me pay for this! This is a medical condition!" she screams as she throws herself to the ground, fists and feet flailing. 

This is tantrum worthy stuff, I think.  Much more worthy of a tantrum than that stupid biology project in college...  

What is insurance if not a system that you pay a bunch of money into, that you may hardly ever need, just to insure that in the event of unforeseen medical circumstances &/or something you cannot help, you will not be left up a creek without a paddle?  Apparently I am digging idioms today.  But if the shoe that idiom!  So here I am.  Up creek.  No paddle.

I've wracked my brain for analogies, but have trouble coming up with something comparable.  What if modern medicine could help someone who was deaf to gain or restore their hearing?  Oh wait!  Modern medicine can do that in many cases.  Isn't that incredible!!  And what if insurance said, "No, hearing is elective.  Bummer dude."  (Actually, maybe insurance companies do say that.  I don't know.  I haven't researched it.  Wouldn't surprise me.)  But, darn it!  Anyone who can't hear, who wants to hear, should be afforded the chance!!!  Sure you can have a full and wonderful life without being able to hear, but there are bound to be obstacles no matter how great your attitude.  No matter how you slice it, living without being able to hear is not the same experience that most people get to have without thinking twice!! 

That's how this feels.  Not being able (*yet*) to get pregnant and have a baby feels like my body is failing to perform a basic, human function.  Like seeing, or hearing, or breathing, or pumping blood, or fighting infection, or getting out of bed in the morning.  I am not trying to make light of the plight of anyone else's journey.  So please don't be offended.  I am just trying to point out that anyone who has ever witnessed someone or had their body fail at a basic function can probably imagine the frustration and sense of bewilderment.  It's not fair that that man had a heart attack.  She was too young to succumb to cancer.  The NICU...look at the NICU!  Where's the justice in that?!? 

When bodies fail to do things they are supposed to do, insurance is supposed to have your back, right?  I mean, at least sort of.  A serious medical issue could financially ruin any one of us. (Wah, waah).

I know now why I was putting off that phone call to the insurance company for so long.  I was expecting, but afraid of the answer.  I know that there are options between here and the completely exhaust-your-savings options.  But, darn it anyway!  Errr!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Procasti....ah, I'll finish that later

I've been chipping away at this post for a little over a week now and am finally ready to publish, I think.  Normally I just type and post in one sitting before I have time to edit or talk myself out of saying something.  I don't know why this post took me so long...I've been procrastinating about some other things too...maybe I'll post about that next.  Maybe.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that I had been nominated by Rice Cakes and Redemption for a Liebster Award!  She is a fellow IFer who has been through a lot, including severe endometriosis, surgeries, diets, lots of IVF attempts, and foster adoption in her family-building efforts.  Currently she has one daughter and is in the process of expanding her family through another foster adoption.  From what I have gathered, she is one strong woman with a unique perspective.  I am so honored she found my blog and am happy to accept the award. 

So, the rules for the award seem pretty straight forward:

1. Recognize the blogger who nominated you.
2. Nominate 5 (or more) bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to receive the award.
3. Answer the 10 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Give your nominees 10 questions to answer.

If nominated, don't feel obligated to play along...."It's an honor just to be nominated," they say.  But, it can be a great way to expand your cyber-circle!

Now, I'm not sure if you can nominate someone for this award even if they've already received it...but I might.  I mean, if you had a sticker on your blog that shows you received the "Liebster Award," then I left you alone, but if not, I figured you were fair game!  I'm nominating the following ladies (in no particular order)...

Stuck in the Waiting Room

Waiting and Wishing 

Our Journey to the School Bus 

I Can Do This

I Should B

Though these women are all at different places in their journeys...whether it be just beginning the journey (like yours truly), in the throws of years of IF, parenting, pregnant, or facing secondary infertility...their archives have helped me immensely as they tell their tales of waiting, hoping, being let down, and trying again.  

So, now on to my questions from Rice Cakes:

1. What is your #1 Pet Peeve?
That probably depends on the day you ask me and what I am doing.  I am not proud of it, but I have a lot of little pet peeves and most of them have to do with tidiness.  I feel more calm when things are tidy and when someone leaves a cap off of a glue stick, or throws the games into the cupboard after a rainy-day recess (instead of putting them back in a neat pile like they found them), or my husband doesn't rinse an oatmeal bowl...I get kind of peeved. 

2. Why did you start blogging?
I had been wanting to start a teaching blog for a few months when my teaching partner so bravely jumped into blog-land last summer.  I feel like I work a lot already though, and I wasn't sure if I could keep up with the creative minds and expectations of all the teacher-bloggers out there.  So, I didn't start blogging until I hit a place with infertility when I felt like I seriously needed an outlet.  I thought between teaching and infertility, surely I would have enough to talk about on a blog.  Since I started, my blog has been much more of the IF variety than it has been about teaching, but I say that's okay.

3. Biggest blogging-related fear?
I'll just go ahead and quote myself here because I talked about this in my first post. 
When I started this blog "I was thinking that maybe I didn’t have what it took to blogmaybe I won’t be funny or creative or maybe I’ll run out of things to say or people won’t like the things I say or people won’t even read the things I say."  I was, and still am, afraid of judgment from friends and strangers...and that what I say might upset someone.

4. Best advice you ever got?
When facing an obstacle, it's best to take things one step at a's like climbing a mountain, just put one foot in front of the other, and eventually you'll make it to the top.  Try not to get too ahead of yourself.  My husband told me this over and over again while I was working on my Master's Degree, but I think it applies to many of life's obstacles.

5. First job?
Babysitting, I guess??  Although, even before that, my grandpa used to pay me a quarter on Christmas Eve to wrap presents. Working at Dairy Queen was my first, official job though.

6. Secret dream job?
I've always thought cake decorating looked like fun...but funny thing is I hardly ever bake!  In another life, maybe I'll star on Broadway.  For this life, it would be beyond a dream to be a mom!

7. Favorite house-hold chore? Least favorite house-hold chore? (That's a two-fer)
Doing the dishes and vacuuming seem like the quickest way to make things look sooo much cleaner, so I like those chores best.  Cleaning the bathroom, especially the tub, is the worst!  Unless weeding counts as "house-hold," because I can't stand weeding!!

8. Biggest risk you ever took and would you do it again?  
I'm not much of a risk-taker...I guess I've done a few crazy things...but I don't have any regrets.  Perhaps my biggest risk is yet to come.

9. Best vacation EVER (or one you have already taken)?
My parents always took us on vacation (normally road-trip, camping, national parks types of vacations) every summer and there were lots of good ones.  I also went to Ireland with my husband a couple of years ago, which is pretty hard to top.  But I think the best vacation was our honeymoon to Kauai, Hawaii.  I sigh just thinking about how happy I felt.

10. All time favorite movie?
Oh boy.  Has there been one single question that I was able to give a direct and definitive answer to??  No genre guidelines or anything to help me narrow it down?  It would have to be Dodgeball if we are talking comedies, and Forrest Gump if we want to get serious.    

So, there you have it...a little bit of random information about me.  Here are my questions for my nominees:

1. What is a little known fact about you? 
2. What are your favorite hobbies?
3. What bores you to tears?
4. Favorite genre or type of reading?
5. Book recommendations?
6. Most annoying thing to hear as an infertile woman?
7. Do you have pets? Tell me about them!
8. Are you an Early Bird or Night Owl?  By choice or by circumstance?
9. Guilty pleasure/s?
10. Best piece of advice/encouragement for others on the IF journey? AND/OR Please share any infertility-related, Oprah-style "Aha Moments."

Alright ladies, have fun...and congratulations!
Thanks again, Rice Cakes!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's your lens?

So I decided that being diagnosed as IF has changed the way I think about, well, most things.  Commonplace conversations and occurrences get filtered through a different lens.  I guess it wasn't a decision as much as a realization I came to...and I suppose it's not much of an epiphany: we are all shaped by our experiences.

It's just interesting (and at times, annoying) how things that would have never phased me before are suddenly cast in a new light.  I have a couple specific examples from the past week that I am going to ramble about...

1. Do you watch Biggest Loser?  I do.  And I love that show.  I get teary almost every episode (surprised?) and my husband makes fun of me for getting sucked into the "sappy" moments.  But, I feel for these people...I may not be overweight, but I know what it is like to have mental and physical road-blocks, pain, and coping mechanisms. 

Anyway, this week was makeover week.  A chance for the contestants to celebrate their progress and embrace the new life ahead of them.  One lady on the show this season came because she wants to have a family...she's been trying for four years I think...and she finally decided that it was time to do something about her weight because it is probably playing a big role in her infertility.  She ended up having to go home after the weigh in, but left in great spirits excited about the fabulous life ahead of her.  She said something along the lines of "See you at the finale where I'll be smaller...unless I am pregnant (wink)!"  She had this little sparkle in her eye and it looked to me like someone who had found hope again after a long, painful journey.  And all I could think, through the lens of IF, is "God, I hope she's right. I hope this is the ticket for her.  I hope the pain of IF doesn't continue to plague her...but, it might...her weight loss doesn't guarantee fertility." 

Infertility has caused me to approach hope with trepidation.  Brene Brown would call it "foreboding joy."  After reading countless blogs, I can tell it is a common occurrence for women who have experienced infertility, failed treatments, miscarriages, and infant loss.  Even if/when a woman with IF finally achieves that pregnancy she's been longing for, the hope and joy comes with caution and doubt.

Another thing happened on the episode that most people probably didn't even notice.  But I did.  One of the men, who lost his first wife to cancer and promised her that he would always take care of their two daughters, said, "Now I can really be there for my girls.  For everything...the weddings and the grandbabies..."  A totally normal thing to say, right?  But of course, I had this philosophical conversation with myself about how comments like this from parents, grandparents, people in general, are part of what makes IF so surprising and difficult to deal with.  Society has this trajectory for life with assumed milestones. Growing up, my trajectory was school, college, job, marriage, babies, graduations, weddings, grandkids, and if I get lucky...maybe some great-grandkids eventually.  It didn't seem like too much to ask.  It's how life is supposed to go and everyone knows it.  But nothing in this life is guaranteed.  College isn't an option (or the best option) for everyone.  Weddings don't just happen.  Marriages don't always last.  Babies don't get delivered by storks.  Kids don't always get to have full lives. Etc. Etc.  Sometimes we can't live the life we had planned for ourselves.        
2.  The second situation happened in the staffroom at lunch time one day.  We have a few staff members who are pregnant, and many who are moms and grandmas, so babies are bound to be the subject of conversation often.  I know some of my co-workers read this blog, so PLEASE don't change your conversation on my behalf or feel guilty if you talk about kids or being pregnant.  I want to know about my friends' kids and experiences.  I can handle it.  I only mention it here, because like I said, being infertile has changed my perspective so much.

The other day one of our pregnant staff members was sharing about her most recent ultrasound and wondering about the baby's gender and people were chiming in with their own ultrasound tales and little methods for gender prediction and saying things like "New babies are so exciting," and yatta, yatta, yatta.  None of that really phased me.  But somehow, big age gaps between siblings came up in the how some students have much older siblings.  And it was at this unlikely point in the conversation that my IF defenses shot up.  The common prediction might be that the siblings have different mothers or fathers or that the parents got "surprised" by the arrival of the younger child or got pregnant with the older one when they themselves were very young.  Nobody ever mentions that maybe the couple faced secondary infertility.  But I didn't say anything...because "Waaah, waaah."   

3. I also ran across these little gems on facebook this week:

My thought, "Umm, or maybe you'll have to settle for diamonds."

First thought, "That doesn't even make grammatical sense...they are my and everything??  Don't people proofread before they share this stuff?  Unless you are supposed to read the heart, then it says they are my heart and everything.  I guess it makes sense.  But if you read the heart, are you supposed to read that leaf thing too?  What the heck is that there for?"  (I guess sometimes I am still a teacher first...except when it comes to this blog because I don't always proofread before sharing a as I say, not as I do).

Second thought, "You and your partner-in-crime were also blessed with cooperating reproductive systems...why don't you post about that?"  Guess that doesn't sound as sweet...

So those are just a few specific ways that infertility has changed the way I see/hear things.  But there are plenty of other things that happen day to day that could be added to the list.  Like when you see that pregnant lady in the grocery store or at the airport.  Do most people just see a pregnant lady?  Do they wonder when she's due?  Do they ask if she's having a boy/girl?  Because they first thing I think, is "I wonder where that baby came from?  Did that just happen naturally according to her anticipated life-timeline?  Did she even mean for this to happen? Or is she the 1 in 8 that went through hell to get to this point?"  I get that this is probably totally inappropriate to think about a complete stranger, but it does help keep the jealousy at bay.  I always allow a little room for the chance that she is a fellow IFer.

Is my infertility lens tainting me?  Maybe.  But I'd rather think that this is part of the growing and becoming-a-better-person process.  I'd like to think that my lens is helping me be more compassionate about the journeys and struggles that we all face as humans.

So tell me, what things have shaped your perspective?  Is there some experience (even if it is "being a parent") that has forever changed the way you see/hear things? Empathy is about trying a walk a mile in someone else's shoes...or trying on their glasses, if you will.  So, what's your lens?  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

From the Mouths of Firsties...

Anyone who has spent any time with small children (or has seen the show with the same title), knows that Kids Say the Darnedest Things!
Ever since I've been teaching I've thought I should be writing down some of the crazy, confusing, comical, and profound stuff that comes out of those little toothless wonders.
Well, now I have the perfect place to keep a record of the best darned things I hear.  So, be looking for "From the Mouths" posts to be a staple around here.
The first quotable moment was just cute...
Kids were working on their entry task.  Normally I meander through the room giving stamps and praise for effort/neatness/accuracy/etc. while also handing out pointers for things that need fixed.  "Can you make that a lowercase b?"  "Right number! Wrong direction. Can you turn around your 5?" "What goes at the end of a sentence?"  "Check this equation."  You know...stuff like that.
Well, today, because I was feeling a little lazy had a sudden stroke of genius, I thought, "Why not have the kids check each others' work.  That way they are the ones spotting the errors...and therefore, learning more." 
They ate it up too.  They love being the teacher and putting a start on someone else's paper and coaching each other.  I still kept an eye out, but they spotted almost everything that needed fixing.  It was awesome.
So now, the cute quote you've been waiting they were looking over one another's papers I heard one little guy say, "That needs to be a downercase D."
His neighbor, with a befuddled look on his face responds, "There is no such thing as a downercase."
Another student pipes in, "I think he means lowercase."

They all giggle.
Uppercase/downercase makes a little more sense, don't you think?  Or highercase/ lowercase even?  But really, uppercase/lowercase?  I guess it works too...but first grade logic is sometimes dead on.
Oh, and on a side note.  Yes there is such a thing as a "Downer Case."  
Okay, so the "downercase" things was cute.  The second quotable moment could be described as "comical" or "me, failing at my job."  (Wah wah...yeah, I know).  I am going to call it funny and look past the fact that it illustrates how much I bombed this lesson.
Anyway, with MLK day coming up, the kids spent a lot of time this week learning about MLK...where he came from, who he was, what he stood for.  In addition, they did several activities and heard stories about fairness and other civil rights icons, like Ruby Bridges and Rosa Parks.
I wasn't around for the better part of the week, but I know what they did with the guest teachers...and I know what they heard/did when I was back at school.  I thought by the end of the week they would have a pretty good grasp on civil rights, segregation, and equality.
So Friday, we did this little egg thingy as a culminating activity.  I got the idea from my teaching partner who must have got it from TPT or a blog.  Well, it's a perfect primary analogy.

You get a brown egg and a white egg.  You look at the outside.  You discuss the similarities and differences.  The kids say funny things like, "They must have come from different chickens!"  and "Maybe from a brown chicken and a white chicken."  You have kids predict what we will find inside when we crack the eggs open.  Kids say funny things like, "I hope it's a baby chick and we can keep him."  Many students think the eggs will be different on the inside too.  You crack the eggs. HOLD THE PHONE!  They are the SAME inside!?!  What?!?!  Oh, the shock.  Oh, the awe.  

You get it...a perfect visual for how we may be different on the outside, but we are the same on the inside.  Eggs are eggs.  People are people.  We are all people and deserve to be treated as such.

"How could you bomb such a simple activity?" you ask.

Well, you see, we are supposed to discuss and post the learning target (goal, objective, whatever you want to call it) before, during, and after each lesson we teach so that students know what they are learning...and hopefully why too.

Generally speaking, I do.  Sometimes I forget.  Sometimes I don't really have one.  Sometimes the target is "We can stay busy so our teacher can catch her breath."  Just kidding, but seriously.  Sometimes, ON PURPOSE, I don't say the target right away because I want the kids to try to figure out why we are doing something and how it connects to other things we've learned.

That's what I decided to do with the egg thing.  I was sure that this little group of geniuses would get it after all they had done with MLK this week.

Ummm. wrong.  I asked, "Why do you think we did this activity with the eggs?  We haven't been learning about eggs...try to think of other things we have been focusing on this week and how the eggs remind you of something else we've learned."

I had the kids share with their neighbors first...most said, "I don't know why we looked at the eggs." But after a few minutes of discussion I had a couple really eager hands waving frantically in the air; these were kids I could count on to provide a quality response...the kids I would probably call on if the principal was in the room.  Just kidding, but seriously.

So, I call on one student and he says, "I know!  We did it because when we go to high school in science we will cut frogs open."

Ummm...okay...I'm getting them ready for high school science by looking inside of stuff.  Gotta appreciate the creativity of that response, but no.

I can't remember what the little girl said, but it was equally off-base.

So, I decided to give them a hint.  I said it really didn't have much to do with the eggs, but was connected to why we wouldn't be coming to school on Monday.  I then pointed to our calendar and a picture of MLK.  Surely they'd put the pieces together now.

Some of the responses I got were:

"The brown eggs are for the brown people and the white eggs are for the white people." <Cringe>  No!

"You wanted us to know that Martin Luther King loved eggs!"
OMG!  Really?  Ever seen the AT&T commercials with the guy asking kids "What's better?" questions?

But, we kept at it...I wasn't going to just tell them...I wanted them to get there.  I said, "Hmmm, they were so different on the outside!  That was amazing how they were just the same on the inside!"

I can't recall all the crazy things I heard before we finally got to a student who said, "It's like how we should treat each other equally because of what's on the inside and not how we look on the outside."

Finally!  We had a good conversation after that about how the egg activity represented what MLK stood for and I could see little light bulbs going off, but goodness sake!  Next year, I think I'll state the target first...or at least give them a hint beforehand. 

Anyway, that was a long post to say a couple little things.  But, happy MLK Jr. day.  Have some eggs for breakfast to celebrate, because don't you know?  That was MLK's favorite!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Be the Bear

In my last post I mentioned watching a bunch of Brene Brown youtube videos.  Below is one that I think we all can relate to.  Fertility issues aside.  Life's highs and lows are part of the human experience.  I'm guessing we've all had those moments when we are down in the dumps and some well-meaning person says something asinine.  And hopefully, we've all been able to experience compassion and empathy when we are down...when someone just meets us where we are and says, "Hey, let me pull up a chair and I'll sit in this $*#! with you."

And if we are perfectly honest with ourselves, we've been on the other side.   Someone we know is down and we have an opportunity to react.  What do you do? Do you sit in the $*#! or say something asinine?  I know, neither is easy or fun but...

I say be the bear.  Have a look:  
Lucky for me, I have a lot of bears in my corner.  If you are here, reading this, you are likely one of them. 

Of course, I've encountered the deers too who say things like, "Good thing you're only 28, you have lots of time," or "At least you get to sleep through the night," or "I wish it would have taken us longer to get should just have fun trying!" or "Are you putting a pillow under your hips?  That'll do the trick!" 

It stings when I hear stuff like that, but I don't blame people. I know I've been a deer too...deer in the headlights, really.  When someone drops something heavy on you it can take you by surprise.  Sometimes trying to provide a positive spin in that situation seems like the helpful thing to do, but trust self-talk can come up with all the "At leasts..." in the world. 

Ever heard the saying, "the best thing I can do for my friend is be his friend," or something like that?  Well, I get it.  Now more than ever.  And I just want to say thank you to all my friends who have just been my really means more than you know! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I'm Baaack...

"Where did you go?" you ask.

Well, the short answer is that I have been sick.  And tired.  And writing a blog post seemed like too much exertion.

And no.  Let me just save you the trouble.  I am not "knocked up."  I promise.

Funny thing about that though is that when you are a certain age, especially without kids, one of the first things people ask when you get sick is, "Are you pregnant?"

This happened to me just last night...I went to work to print out some sub plans and gather a few materials for today's guest teacher.  As any teacher knows, being sick does not mean you don't have to just means you don't have to be at work while the kids are there.  Anyway, I was just dropping by to get things ready and of course, our custodian was there.  You remember??  The one who asked if I had gained weight over Thanksgiving Break.  Well, her social graces continue to leave much to be desired...

Custodian: Hey, where you come from? You at meeting?
Me: No, I was at home sick today.  I am just getting some things ready because I will be gone tomorrow too.
C: Oh, you have baby? Baby make you sick!
Me: baby, just some virus that has moved into my eyes and ears.  It's no fun at all.  I've been sick for three weeks.
C: Oh, I thought you pregnant.  When I was pregnant, I soooo sick.  I sit by toilet all day! You sure you not pregnant?
Me: Nope, not pregnant.
C:  Oh, I thought you have baby make you sick.  You look pregnant.
C:  Hahaha <Sigh>
Me: <GO AWAY!>

Really?????  A.) I don't look pregnant!  If anything, I have lost weight due to all the sweating, sleeping, and not-eating-very-much-because-I-have-been-so-sick-ness that has been going on.  B.) You think she would have stopped after the first "no." C.) You don't say stuff like "You look pregnant" to people....especially if they just told you TWICE that they are not.

I actually entered Christmas Break (back at the time of my last post) in pretty good health and head-space.  I was feeling joyful about having a new niece, relieved to know a little bit more about the state of my ovaries, free from the pressures of TTC during a treatment cycle, and excited to see and spend some quality time with my family over the next couple of weeks.

I was proud of myself.  I'd had a lot on my mind and my plate in 2013 and even though it hadn't been easy, I felt like I was coping pretty well.  You might disagree when you remember some of my earlier posts, but honestly, for me, I was doing great.  And remember, this is my outlet...not my existence.  It's a place for the ugly stuff.  Anyway, I was managing. Less stressful problems in my past have had more severe responses and depressive's part of how I'm wired I think...but maybe, just maybe, I was figuring out how to reroute some of the circuits.

I even had this moment when calm washed over me and I knew I would come out the other side of this whole fertility journey okay.  And just when things were looking up and I was feeling half-way normal, the rollercoaster that is life took a turn...and plunged down.  And that's where I spent most of my break...down in that pit.  And I've spent the past week or so trying to will myself out of it.  Again, I know I will be okay...but I'm not so proud as I think I was building some sort of immunity for life's lows.

Christmas was not what I expected. It was not good.  And getting sick the next day and being forced by my body to stay home ALONE while everyone was together was like adding salt to a wound.  I have decided that being left with only myself for extended periods of time is a recipe for disaster.  If I am alone too long I just think...and think...and read stuff about what I am thinking...and watch stuff about what I am thinking...and think some more...and wind up entrenched in thoughts that have spiraled out of control. 

Let me be more specific:

I spent lots of my downtime catching up on blogs, reading fertility-related articles, rereading Waiting for Daisy,  watching documentaries and vlogs about TTC, miscarriage, and adoption.  I watched a couple dozen you-tube videos of Brene Brown (who has some amazing things to say about shame and gratitude and sympathy vs. empathy and more) and some make-yourself-a-better-person with this one simple tip TED talk videos on Netflix.  In doing all this, a few things happened: 

*I had read and watched some inspiring and hopeful things, but the SADNESS I encountered was overwhelming and prevailing.  I had identified with and internalized the sadness.

*I felt like a crummy person that was making a mess of my life....not living it the best that I could, but unsure how to remedy the situation because I felt like so much needed to change.

*I blamed my body for letting me down yet again.  My body hasn't been able to get pregnant and now, my body was sick...forcing me to be alone and stuck with my thoughts.  If my body had just stayed well then I wouldn't be in this sorry state!   

At one point, while perusing facebook with all my downtime, I noticed one of my friends had shared THIS with an invitation "To all my mommy friends and future mommies."  She is pregnant right now with her second, so I am thinking the "future mommies" meant "if you are pregnant too."  I'm pretty sure I wasn't invited, but I decided to click on the link anyway.
The author did a beautiful job expressing how powerful and amazing her body is and how her heart beat not so far from her daughter's heart and how she is an undefeated  and incredible vessel and how she has marks to prove she was once too small to hold all the love that filled her...etc.
I am so happy for her and for all mommies out there who can shout a resounding "AMEN!" sarcasm or nothin'!  Truly happy.  I so badly want the experience she describes!  I don't want my thoughts to detract from the empowerment that anyone derives/d in the process of growing a human.  It is incredible.  In.cred.i.ble!
But, I'm just left wondering, if the bodies that make people mommies are "strong, able, well, undefeated, full of life, and powerful," than what am I?  The inverse of these things?  Weak? Disabled? Sickly? Defeated? Powerless?
It's kind of how I feel right now.  I recently told one of my best friends that I am a beautiful wreck...and told her she may even encounter a blog post with that title.  Consider this that post.  I am an absolute mess of emotions right now.  I don't pretend to know how to navigate them.  But I am starting to see that in the midst of my mess is a message.  I realize that this is a defining time in my life and that I will come out the other end a better, stronger person.

Until then, I'm back here, to wade through the muck with you all as my witnesses.