Monday, July 7, 2014

It Became Real When I Called My Mom

"No, Mom," I calmly paused to let the words be taken in and to allow myself to take a patient breath. "My body cannot naturally carry a child.  I should be able to get pregnant, but my body does not produce enough of the right hormone to sustain a pregnancy."

And then my mom sobbed into the phone and the biting sadness of it finally felt real.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to cry, but it just would not come out.  It could have been shock, denial or just plain stuck deep within me.  But I know that pause within myself and know it is only a matter of time before it all comes tumbling out.  And when it does, there is some relief in the release.

It was in May when it was seriously brought to my attention that there could be another reason why it was taking so long for my arm to heal from its injury in September.  It seemed that I had frozen shoulder, which usually occurs in older women and my medical providers were confused because I am younger than the typical onset age for such slowed healing and that I am in good shape and exercise regularly.  It was narrowed down to three possibilities--diabetes, early menopause or hypothyroidism.  So, I did some follow-up with an endocrinologist and my Ob/Gyn in late May and early June.  

Thankfully it is not diabetes or early menopause.  However, I have borderline hypothyroidism.  Right now I do not need medication to treat it as far as daily living goes.  But, the endocrinologist's nurse practitioner warned that if I wanted to get pregnant, I should come in to start medication otherwise I greatly risk losing the baby.  She was getting ready to gently, but firmly, lecture me on why it is important to take this medical advisement into consideration and that the risk is real.  I kindly interrupted her and shared briefly about my past experiences with IF.  While in the past it was related to my previous spouse's health and not mine, I was fully appreciative of the seriousness of the situation.  She paused and backed off some and said usually people do not really get it and she is trying to protect them from getting hurt because they often come in for the medication once they find out they are pregnant, but by then it is often too late to sustain the pregnancy.  She was doing her job.  I'm just glad that she listened to me.

Even though this seems to be a medically manageable situation and there could be worse news, it still has its own heaviness and sadness.  Some of the spontaneity of trying to have a baby feels lost.  If or when that time comes, it will not be as easy as just kind of going for it.  It will have to be planned, an appointment scheduled and then a follow-up before really trying.  It is also another obstacle on top of my age.  It's not turn my world upside down kind of news.  It more like the deflating of a balloon.  

And it is important for me to be able to recognize that feeling.  Just give me a moment.  I am also a little sad because things have been going well with T~ and me.  As I have been allowing myself to daydream about a possible future together, part of that has included the possibility of a child.  Just as I feel like I'm getting to a place in my life that the possibility of having my own family could maybe happen, this news shakes that up.  A tremor, not an earthquake, but still unsettling in its own way.  As the years tick by, I've almost been somewhat preparing myself to accept if I am not to have a child how to have happiness and fulfillment in my life as it is.  Then as things have been unfolding with T~, the dreams of a child, a family awaken again.  Straddling these two worlds is not easy.  And this recent news with my health has a bit of a dampening effect.

However, on the flip side of this news, if I were to try to have a child, at least I can be proactive about it.  Having this information will save some heartache had I been trying and not been successful.  And of the diagnoses out there, this one seems to be a bit more manageable...maybe, I have not tried or done the research, but that is what I am hoping.  Also, there are no antibodies, meaning that I had always had this condition or was predisposed to it.  Sometimes you can not have it, but if a parent does, then your body will create antibodies, which will eventually turn and attack your thyroid and then you develop hypothyroidism.  Long story short, for me I find some comfort knowing this has always been present and it is not like if I had tried getting pregnant when I was younger that would have changed things too much.  I would have been angry if I learned that I could have become pregnant had I not been with my previous spouse for so long.  He made a lot of hurtful claims at the end of our relationship that he was never serious about the marriage and really did not care about having children.

But most of all, I am thankful that I could talk to T~ about it.  We have had conversations in the past about not taking either of our fertility for granted.  He remains positive and said that he is open to adoption, as he has said in the past.  I truly believe him and I think T~ is the kind of man who could love any child and call them one of his own.  As T~ has said before and continues to say it, love is what makes a family.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fighting Sleep

Where did June go?  So much is happening.  It is hard to keep up.  But, I try to take it one day at a time and be thankful for my blessings.

But, recently I find myself fighting sleep.  I am tired, but I just can't seem to go to bed.  I know why.  I am stressed.  There has been a lot of change since the start of the year.

The other part is that I have been avoiding writing about it because if I write about it, then it is real.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Seashells and Sunshine

Sometimes things seem so perfectly timed, but were unplanned to begin with.  I love when spontaneity makes life feel magical and alive.

Last weekend, a college friend of mine invited T~ and I to join her, her husband and their child at the beach.  They were staying at her dad's beach house for a couple of weeks on a private island along the Gulf of Mexico.  Within a few hours we made the plans and the next day T~ and I drove out to the coast.

It was a lovely weekend and exactly what I needed at just the right time--time with an old friend, a weekend away from home, time at the beach, sharing my friends with T~ and spending time in good company.  It was just the right amount of time spent with good people, nature and taking it easy with no real plans.  I felt relaxed, rejuvenated and free--things I haven't felt in a long time.  And I loved sharing my friends with T~.

One thing that I enjoyed about the weekend was just being lovey with T~.  We had an opportunity or two to go walking on the beach just the two of us.  We had some meaningful conversations.  I shared with T~ that I am tired of waiting to live my life and that I don't want to put things on hold until the rest of life catches up to be just so.  We talked about us and our future and hoped next steps while collecting shells and walking along the surf.  I felt beautiful, content and happy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Work Life Balance

A large part of my career change was inspired from experiences volunteering in children's hospitals.  It is very humbling, heartfelt work and a privilege to help others in a time of need--to bring comfort, confidence or everyday living.  There were many small steps that all seemed to fall into place and fit very well with the wisdom that everything happens for a reason.  I loved teaching, but I am also blessed for this new direction and still being able to use my educational background to help children and families.

However, another benefit was that I was searching for a career that may lend itself better to work life balance for me.  Teaching is an art, and like many artists, the work does not leave you when you go home.  It is ever evolving and ideas crop up at anytime.  I loved and thrived on the creativity.  Sometimes it felt like I was ever problem solving in how to better teach children, help them figure it out and build a community, or at least that was how it was for me.  Summer was a time to recharge from the grind of the school year in its marathon style to prepare kids for the next step, the next grade level.  But, of course summer was not always "off," as there were classes to keep up on certification or the draw would come back and I would find myself doing some research or a mental homework of sorts in how the next year would be different.  I was very invested in my teaching and I cared a great deal for my students.  I always knew I would say good-bye at the end of the year.  And kids and families have a way of touching your heart.

Some people said that it would be different when I had kids of my own, that your priorities change.  Sometimes that left me with a bad feeling, like I cared too much about my work or that what I was doing wasn't really that important.  But one teacher told me, it is not that you care less about what you do, but that over time you figure out how to do it faster, be selective in your tasks and make room for your own children.  That seemed more reasonable and sensitive.

Then IF and divorce entered my life.  At the time I was substitute teaching after relocating for my former husband's work.  I was not sure how I was going to be able to continue teaching.  Going into the classroom broke my heart.  I was still very good at it, but there was a shift.  I realized that teaching was somehow integrated into my life dreams that were slipping away.  There was a hollow feeling of sorts, and that I was a shell of myself.  I almost felt like I was just going through the motions, which I was not so much really because I was very attuned and in the moment with my students.  But, everywhere I looked was a reminder of what was gone...a marriage, family and a dream of children.  I needed a change to give myself the space and time to heal.  It was difficult to imagine re-entering the regular classroom.  What if I never had a child of my own?  What would happen then?  Would teaching consume me?  I felt there was a slippery slope for me that I would risk becoming one-dimensional, single and alone with only dedication to my career as my life and that I would get lost.  Teaching is a noble profession, but I did not want to risk losing myself, my happiness and potential to expand as a person at a time in my life when I felt vulnerable.  Fortunately, I was self-aware to know that it would be easy for me to get lost in my work instead of true self-care.  Some people did not understand, but I was fortunate that I was able to go to graduate school full-time.  Many of the small pieces along the way pointed me towards my new career and I decided to take a chance.

While I am still finding my footing in my new career, I think I made the correct choice.  It is nice to be able to end the work day and not bring home additional work on a regular basis.  As with many jobs, there may be times that you bring work home.  But, it is considerably less and allows me to really spend more time with loved ones and friends.

Over the last several months, I have lost some of that work life balance.  Looking for new career opportunities and starting a new part-time job can kind of do that.  I has been frustrating for me because I want loved ones, family and joy in living to be important.  Sometimes it has felt like I have been in survivor mode and trying to take care of basic needs.  It is important, but after awhile there is a longing for normalcy--to be able to better enjoy free time, make plans for the future and just be.  It is one reason why I have not been writing as much in my blog.  I think that is understandable. 

Slowly, things are getting back on track to a degree.  I have had more to write about, too--actually a lot to write about.  But, I have not had the time to do so.  During the month of May, I kept a post for myself with a running list of things to blog.  So, that is what I have been doing during the first part of June, going back and writing the posts that I wanted to write.  I felt it was important for me to go back and add them in as a way to document my life and thoughts so they better reflected the timeline of them.  So, if you are now coming across this post and really want to catch up on my blog, I suggest you taking a look at May.  Hopefully, I can also get back some of that work life balance that I was in the process of learning when I left Pittsburgh and beginning to enjoy when I came to Florida.

More to come...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wanting to Know the Secret

As I believe I have mentioned before, there are times when I am drawn towards articles about relationships, especially after having been through divorce.  At first, I read them to try to glean reasons why my past relationship ended in divorce.  Then I read them when I began dating to learn more about beginning new relationships and to reset my expectations as I embraced dating as an adventure.  But, eventually I wanted to come to a place in my life that I would be ready and wanting marriage with that right special person.  I am hopeful for that with T~.

So, now the relationship articles that catch my eye are more about how to have loving, fulfilling long-term relationships.  There was one, which of course I cannot find now, that was about the secrets of older couples and the common characteristics their relationships had.  I want be married again, and when I do, I want it to last.  But, as I read this article, I could not help but be reminded of my relationship with my previous husband.  I felt sad because at some point I thought he was my best friend.  Briefly, my feelings of grief returned with a faint longing of having hoped it would have worked.  It is not at all that I want it back or him, it was more of a feeling of mourning something lost.  I did not like these feelings or that I thought about my previous husband when reading the article.

After a few weeks, I decided that feelings get stirred up now and again.  And more importantly, it takes time to build a foundation for a solid relationship with depth.  It is more about knowing that I want that with T~, and that it will take time to get there.  Life is not a race, but a journey and one that I want to share with T~.  I have decided to focus on what I am thankful for in my relationship with T~ now and what I appreciate about him.  He is loving, patient and kind.  He pays attention and is thoughtful and sensitive.  He makes me laugh and loves to surprise me.  I am so thankful he is in my life!  I hope I am doing the same for him so that he feels loved and supported, too.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Leading into Mother's Day

As the years pass, Mother's Day does get easier for me.  I am still in that space in my life that a child could be a possibility.  The acute pain is not as it was when I was actively trying to be a mother.  The sorrow is more distant, somewhat of denial and somewhat of acceptance.

However, it feel like there is a greater presence in advertising for Mother's Day during the week leading into it this year.  I could be wrong.  But, there seems to be more news stories, advertisements on web pages, FB memes and pictures of Mother's Day teas.  My plan is to avoid social media and the internet on Mother's Day, but I am finding myself having to ramp back earlier because the celebrating feels like it is extending into a week.  It is good for people to express true gratitude for their moms.  I just have mixed feelings.  I am trying to balance protecting myself and not hiding from the world.  It seems silly, selfish and sad to feel pain from expressions of love.  I want to be happy for others, but I also don't want it all so much in my face.

I had a few tears when I picked out the card for my mom this year.  She has been so supportive, loving and patient and I am so grateful for so wholly feeling her love.  As the years pass, I become increasingly aware of my parents' mortality.  They have some health issues, but they are managed for now.  I cannot help but think that time is limited.  It is limited just as much for me as much as it is for them, or more.  If I ever get to a place of motherhood, will they be able to enjoy it?  It is a question that lingers in my mind, especially as I see friends who are experiencing ill health and death with their parents.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Twin Quiz

I confess, I am a junky when it comes to taking the personality quizzes you find on facebook.  I rarely post my results, but I love taking them!  Yes, I want to know what kind of house I should live in or which Disney princess I would be or which two words describe me.  And just when I think, I am done with this silly, mindless time suck, there appears the next quiz to fill the hole of gaining more personal insights.  Haha!  I am such a sucker.  :)

But, there was a quiz that gave me pause.  At first, I was just going to pass on it.  But, then I saw a guy friend post his results and thought what the heck?  The quiz was called, "How Many Kids Are You Going to Have?"

I wasn't sure if I wanted to know the answer because I was a little afraid it would say "zero."  Then, I went back to my friend's results and his comment.  He is single and got "one" and made a hopeful remark that sounds about right and that he hopes to meet a good woman someday.  It struck me as simple, honest and sweet.  So, I took the quiz.

My result was "twins."  The blurb said something about two for the price of one--in maybe wanting one pregnancy, but being blessed with two.  It made me smile.

As I am getting older, I find that I am changing my thoughts on family building.  When I was younger and in my twenties, I daydreamed of having four to six kids.  Over time, that number is decreasing.  It is in part because of practical reasons, time and managing expectations.  But, it is also in part with wanting less, to simplify things in life--like having a smaller home, less things.  My mind has been shifting towards thinking that maybe one child is all that I would want--to be able to devote more attention, time and resources towards them.  But, getting the result of twins makes me happy because maybe deep down I still do want more than one child.  There is also something very special about twins.  It speaks to me somehow.

The quiz gives me hope.  It is not too late.  It is validating in that it is okay to still playfully dream of a child.  That I am still deserving to be a mother, maybe someday.