This is a public service announcement, of sorts.
The holidays are upon us – it’s October which means it’s officially time for our families to want to start sorting out the “holiday plans” for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time of year takes a toll on me – I tend to get rather pissy and difficult to be around (just ask B). Because I’m an “over-sharer,” if you ask me how I’m doing between October 1 and December 31, I’ll tell you all about my family holiday drama and craziness (I give myself 6 days after Christmas to get the bitching out of my system but then try to have it behind me by January 1).
With that said, I have no idea who reads my blog. I get quite a few hits for someone who has a handful of loyal (and awesome) commenters. WordPress says I have about 10 followers (small potatoes, my friends, small potatoes!), but my stats tell me otherwise. No biggie – keep reading, keep reading, keep reading!
However, I will likely need to be posting some frustrations over this upcoming holiday season. I think my holidays from the past would have been much more tolerable if I had been blogging. I’m hoping that writing about things will let me release them even sooner than my annual 12/31 deadline. HA!
I will be introducing some password protected (PWP) posts. I am doing this to “protect the innocent” from reading about themselves on my blog. HA HA! Seriously though, if you’re not a family member, I’m happy to share the password*. If you’re a family member, please don’t ask for the PW because it will be rather awkward when I tell you, “sorry, but no.”
It’s either this, or get a therapist. I don’t have time for a therapist (or maybe I do – because you know – I am a SAHM with nothing but time), so it’s this.
The first post will be going up as soon as I have something to get off my chest. So far, so good. No one has asked yet what our plan is for Thanksgiving… but it’s coming. I can feel it!
* You can comment here or email me at allthesunforyou-at-live-dot-com for the PW if you’d like it. No pressure – I won’t be offended if no one is interested in these posts 😉
I registered for a half marathon in Duluth (the much-loved “Grandma’s Marathon”) and found out today that I didn’t get in. They run it as a random lottery and there were 8,200 registrants for 6,300 spots. I’m disappointed. I ran this half two years ago in 2010 when we were between cycles. It was my sanity during such a crazy time – running was the one thing in my life that I had control over. I didn’t run while we were cycling because – well – I don’t really know. I know there was my unfounded concern about my ovaries getting all twisted up because they were the size of grapefruits (because I was quite the little hen) and quite honestly – I think I was just plain depressed. No – I know I was just plain depressed. But the bottom line is that when I did run, those runs were the happiest moments of my days, weeks, and months. Running the half at Grandma’s gave me something to focus on (besides getting pregnant) – something to train for – SOMETHING TO CONTROL – and it made me HAPPY.
This year, I clearly do not have control over getting into the best half marathon in the Midwest. This pains me just a little 😉
This all reminds me of the most important thing I learned from our IF struggle. I am a control freak (no – I did not learn that while dealing with IF. I already knew that!). I.must.control.EVERYTHING. I very vividly remember our wonderful RE talking to us from behind his desk, saying, “Courtney, I get the feeling that you need to be in control. You’re not in control here.” Whoa! I knew he was right, but I was a little thrown off by this. No one had ever said that to me before about something so important, or at least that I could remember. And honestly, when he said that, I thought to myself, “well, I’m going to control what I can.”
I need a plan for everything. I need a road-map. I kept asking our RE, “but what if this cycle doesn’t work – what then? I need to know what the plan is.” He was very obliging to my craziness and did work out a very, very detailed plan for us and made promises I held him to after our FET cycle didn’t work (and thank goodness I did because that plan then led to our baby boy!). Nothing we hoped would work worked – and this is hard for a controlling person to accept. If I put my mind to something, and I KNOW I can do it, then I succeed. It’s that simple. I don’t put my mind to things I know I can’t be successful at because I think that’s a waste of my time. Well – I thought I would be successful at getting pregnant – so I put my mind to it. And I failed. Time and time again – I failed.
All of those failures made me a better person – a less controlling person. I learned very quickly to accept the fact that I can’t control everything in my life, no matter how hard I try. I apply this to my everyday life, and this is a huge development (improvement) for me. I went from pretty much controlling everything I possibly could, to not even having a desire to control the types of things I used to crave control of.
So today when I got rejected by Grandma’s, I let it roll off my back. I mean – I did know there was a chance I wouldn’t get in and that it would have nothing to do with how hard I tried. I didn’t even pre-book a hotel room like I did back in 2010 because I figured I probably wouldn’t get in since I’d been successful (lucky) already once before. The odds, like IVF, were in my favor, but not strongly in my favor. I accepted that and just hoped and waited. I even found another half marathon in MSP to run just in case I didn’t get into Grandma’s. I had a backup plan because I knew I had no control over my primary plan. This type of behavior would not have occurred prior to my IF struggle.
Today, I registered for the MSP half marathon and I’m really excited about it! It won’t be Grandma’s, but it will be fun and who knows, it may be better! The one problem is that it’s two weeks before Grandma’s, so I’m already behind on my training. I have some work to do – and it starts tomorrow.
Ahhhhh…. good old control…. welcome back, my friend! Please keep your distance unless it has to do with my running schedule!
When you go through infertility for years, there is a very real chance that you may become a “bitter infertile,” and there’s an even bigger chance that once you become one, you won’t recognize it and will insist that you’re not one! I certainly didn’t want to become a “bitter infertile” – but it happened. I won’t lie – and I won’t sugar-coat it. I was bitter – so very, very bitter. Pregnancy announcements would completely ruin my week, I took every FB pregnancy post personally, and I about lost it in the parking lot of Sears when my husband informed me of an acquaintance’s easily acquired pregnancy. I was in the trenches, and I was miserable. Misery turned into bitterness. What else can I say?
I always thought that once I finally got pregnant, that the bitterness would go away. It didn’t. While pregnant, I would read others’ blogs and would be so happy for them when they’d finally get their BFPs. However, if a person wasn’t infertile and I heard of their pregnancy, I would feel those old feelings of jealousy creep up. What in the world was wrong with me? There I would be, with the grand prize kicking up a storm in my uterus, and I was still hung up on other people’s easily acquired pregnancies. These are not my proudest memories of myself.
Even after my son was born, I couldn’t shake those feelings of jealousy and bitterness. I wondered if I was always going to feel this way, even after we were done building our family. And then… then my younger sister had a surprise pregnancy. The woman who birthed two children in less time than it took me to get pregnant with ONE was pregnant again and standing in front of me in tears (holding her 8.5 month old daughter at the time). Really? REALLY?? How could this be happening to ME?
And that’s when the bitterness ended. Her pregnancy wasn’t about ME. Her fertility had nothing to do with my infertility (I believe it was my mother who actually said that to me). She didn’t get pregnant AT ME. She got pregnant. End of story. I used to always say, “I see no humor in, and have no sympathy for, people who accidentally get pregnant.” That all changed when my baby sister had an unexpected pregnancy and was worried about what it would do to her relationship with her current baby. I got to hear about all the things that this pregnancy was going to rock and I realized that as much as I wish I could accidentally get pregnant, that it could be a pretty hard thing to deal with if it actually happened. (My sister is just fine now – and very excited about her new baby due next month!)
I was over the hump.
But was I? I have always thought about blogging, because it’s important to me to track my experiences as a mother and a wife, and most importantly, as a member of this wonderful team that I am privileged to call my family. But I never started a blog because I wasn’t sure where I fit in. I certainly wasn’t still in the trenches of IF (even though I’ll likely be in them again soon), but I also wasn’t one of those new mothers who is lucky enough to think that baby-making and family building is all flowers and sunshine. So I just dreamt of blogging and never did it. Until now.
There is a new blogroll/community called PAIL – which stands for “Pregnant or Parenting After Infertility and/or Loss.” Ahhhh… a place where I fit in! It’s amazing how quickly the blogroll grew and how easy it is for me to now find others with similar experiences. I think I’m going to enjoy it a lot!
So here I am – writing my thoughts and experiences on the internet.
And I think I’m finally over the hump!
It’s pre-spring – not quite spring, but definitely moving out of winter. Living in Iowa, you usually brace yourself for an awful winter full of cold, wind, and snow. This year has been different – it’s been warm, it’s been sunny, and it’s not been snowy. I usually find my mind wandering to happy spring planning around early March, but given our mild (and I dare say, pleasant!) winter, I couldn’t help but start my spring planning in early February when I was out walking with my son in 65 degree temps.
This is the most hopeful time of the year for me. I am a gal who laments the winter months because I don’t like darkness. I crave sunshine and I need bright lights on wherever I go. We burn through a lot of light bulbs at our house during the winter months. It can be 0 degrees outside, but if it’s sunny, I’m a happy gal! When the winter months show signs of fading away, I start planning – and I plan big! I think of all the things I’m going to do during the spring, summer, and fall months. I plan my race schedule, I plan our weekend trips, I plan a big vacation, and I plan outdoor activities for my family. I’m a planner – and pre-spring is my busiest and most hopeful time of year!
My family used to consist of just my husband and me. We were two peas in a pod who were extremely physically active. We ran countless races together, did adventure races together as a co-ed team (and won one!), hiked, traveled, etc. All of it, we did together. Then we decided to have a baby. For a couple who persevered at everything we tried, the family building process was hard on us. It didn’t work. We fought through a couple of years of infertility and after 2 IUI’s (both BFN’s), an IVF cycle (BFN), a FET cycle (very early miscarriage), and another fresh IVF cycle, we were finally pregnant. Whew! Two years and 3 months of hard, emotional work paid off and we were on our way – and we were blessed with an easy pregnancy and an even easier baby boy. So now? Now I plan activities for three!
I love this time of year, and I love it even more now that we have a baby. My son, M, is 8 months old and is the happiest baby I’ve ever known. Wherever he goes, he’s happy and engaging everyone around him. He does not fuss and his attention is easily diverted if he gets a little squirmy. He goes easily to strangers and loves to interact with everyone. He’s EASY – and he’s FUN! And now I’m planning our life and activities around him, and I LOVE it! I get to plan activities for our family that involve other kids, the outdoors, and laughter!
Let the planning begin!