Microblog Mondays – Funded IVF

I am lucky enough to live where there is funding available for a single cycle of IVF. Amazing thing, right? I know how incredible this is. I know how blessed I am to be somewhere that realizes the immense expense of fertility treatments and offers relief for that. I know there are thousands of couples that would give anything they could to have one single shot at IVF – but just cannot afford it. I know that. But here’s the thing – it’s not quite as wonderful as it sounds…

  • Waitlists are extremely long. Everyone who is considering IVF – regardless of whether or not they can afford it – is getting on the list because, why not? Free IVF is free IVF whether you’re low income or a millionaire. As you can imagine, this means that many desperate, lower income infertile women who have no other option are waiting upwards of 3 years to get to do IVF.
  • The Government controls who gets approved for the list. They pick people who are most likely to succeed – which means anyone with specific diseases, genetic conditions or moderate to high BMI’s are automatically disqualified.
  • The Government controls how many embryos can be transferred to try and limit the number of multiples being born. Basically, you have to go through all of the emotional and physical trauma of IVF for a single embryo transfer – regardless of what you want. I, for one, would love twins as I will likely only get one chance at motherhood, and really want more than one child. However, I know lots who want only one – and that’s OK too. The point is: we get to choose….but not now. Not with this program.

I’m on the waitlist anyway because it’s the only way I can do IVF right now. I am hoping to get to the top before I turn 35…but it’s hard to know. I have to be honest though – this entire program rubs me the wrong way. It feels like just ANOTHER way to control women’s rights, and their rights to their bodies … and it’s cruel because, as infertiles, we *already* know we can’t control our own bodies.

What do you think? How would you feel about this program?

For more on #microblogmondays, click here.

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2018 & 2019

Well hello friends! I hope 2019 has greeted you well.

As for 2018:

All in all – it wasn’t a bad year. There was more growth in 2018 than ever before for both of us – and I really, truly, feel like we’re on the right path. It’s still rocky and uncertain at times – but it’s the right place for us.

I am hoping for only good things in 2019:

  • Finishing the book portion of my Masters (then it will just be my practicum!)
  • Taking another vacation
  • Reading more novels (I used to read until I started my Masters and now I only read text books)
  • Learning my cycles again through fert.ility frie.nd
  • Having more fun

I think these are achievable and mostly joyful experiences – and, at the end of the day, we all need more joy in our lives. 🙂

So there it is…a recap to 2018 and my hopes for 2019.

How were your holidays? Did you greet 2019 warmly, sadly, or like a warrior desperate to turn the page?

Thursday Update

Well hello friends!

Time for an update:

TV. Has anyone else been keeping up with Midnight Texas?? It was a show we stumbled upon accidentally in the first season and fell IN LOVE with…and then there was a delay for the next season so we thought it got cancelled…but it’s back on. So far we do not love it like we did the first season…but we’re still watching and lapping it all up like nobody’s business! I’m also loving all the holiday baking shows, as well as Big Bang and Young Sheldon. Do you have any shows you’re addicted to right now?

School. I’m approaching the halfway point of my Masters…crazy, right??? I can’t believe I’m almost halfway through. It has been such a whirlwind experience and I am learning SO MUCH. Already, I am much more thoughtful and considerate in almost everything I do. It has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made and I am loving it. I’m excited about my future career and already planning for my Practice … as lame as it sounds, I actually have a note on my phone where I jot down ideas for my future office and important things I want to remember – like resources or therapies. I’m sure I won’t forget those things…but I’m learning so much, I am worried some will fall by the wayside. I’m also killing it with my grades (if I do say so myself…)…and hope a scholarship is coming my way.

Marriage. Mr. Big and I are well. We’re enjoying the onset of winter – we’ve already been out snowmobiling twice this year and can’t wait to put our rods in the water. The lakes aren’t frozen enough yet, but will be soon for sure! We’ve also planned a ski trip in March for our 10th anniversary (10  years together!).  We’re definitely winter sport people.

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Fertility. Always present…no matter what! So I thought in doing my Masters, this ache would go away…but it hasn’t.

So I went to my Doctor and she ran the full gamut of “I want to have a baby” tests. For reference – I was diagnosed with PCOS 10 years ago on a whim by a Doctor who didn’t run any tests, and every Doctor since has worked off of her diagnosis. As soon as I started seeing my current Doctor, she flat out told me she wasn’t buying the PCOS thing for me…but then my mental health went sideways and I needed to focus on that instead.

But now I’m back to healthy again, and she decided to do a full fertility workup like she would do for a new patient…and guess what? Not a single damn thing is off. Not one. She is very considerate that we have been trying-not-trying for 7 years without a single positive…but due to a plethora of things we have also not been having regular sex which means those 7 years, while painful, are not necessarily an ideal example of our fertility. So… based off of that…she has offered this treatment plan:

  • Try naturally for 6 months. Continue exercising and eating well. (It’s usually 1 year, but she reduced it based on the fact that we haven’t used protection in 7 years).

If that doesn’t work:

  • Do up to 3 clo.mid cycles (if needed). Continue exercising and eating well. (At this point, I can choose to try metfo.rmin or fema.ra if I want…we’ll see).

If that doesn’t work:

  • Straight to IVF. Continue exercising and eating well. (This is the likely end goal for me. I don’t want to waste too much time on meds like metf.ormin or fe.mara if Cl.omid doesn’t work after 3 cycles. )

I’m going with it. It works for me…and it lines up nicely with the completion of my Masters. I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of PCOS markers…or why, then, that we haven’t gotten pregnant after all this time? But I’m not going to dwell on the whys because I can’t change them. Instead I am going to focus on these three goals and doing everything I can to make things happen for us.

So that’s what’s up in my world. I’m overall mostly confused, excited, surprised and eager for the next year to pass.

What’s happening with you?

Personalities Are Tricky

I am lucky enough to have a job that I really like most of the time…of course, there are bad days as there are with any job. But overall I feel valued, appreciated and useful. That is what has made this transition to my Masters trickier – I actually enjoy what I do so it was quit a decision to enroll. Now that I’m in school, I wouldn’t change it for anything and I am super excited about my future in it…but having a job I like makes the days go by much easier.

Except for one part… the personalities.

The issues I’m struggling with is how to work with people who are used to getting what they want by intimidating others without losing yourself in the process?

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I don’t want to become bitter and mean – but there are definitely days where the stress of dealing with these difficult people make me want to be bitter and mean. Not at all who I want to be.

I’ve decided to start looking at this as skill building for my future career – learning to navigate these relationships and identify ways to work around them is imperative to my success as a Therapist. I need to be able to handle difficult people, and find a way to not take it personally because that will lead to burnout really quickly.

If I can focus the next year on:

  1. Not taking things personally – they were irritable, demanding and whiny long before they met me and they will be long after.
  2. Being assertive – No means no. Not “no for now but if you keep asking me I will eventually give in” or “no, but complain to enough people and it will happen”.
  3. Not my circus, not my monkeys – Believe it or not … I actually have no ownership over these people. I work with them, but whether or not they are kind, thoughtful and team players is not my problem. I just need to find the best way to work with them as they are … while still getting the work done, and my needs met.

So – here’s hoping in a couple months things will be better! 🙂

How do you work with difficult people? What tricks do you use to keep yourself sane?

The Tire Swing: I am still infertile.

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When I started my Masters degree in May – I was certain that it would fill the void in me. It would give me something to do and a drive for the future. It would make me valuable to the world around me, even if I couldn’t procreate. I was at a rut in our journey to become parents – knowing I was not going to do IVF (possibly ever) … and knowing our chances to conceive naturally were getting smaller and smaller. And, to be honest, I was tired of waiting. I wanted to actually DO something other than wait for two pink lines. So I applied, and then got accepted, and enrolled. I am not sorry I did it, not even a little bit. I have never felt so fulfilled in my life, and I have a new passion that has lit a fire within me. It was absolutely the right thing to do and I am so glad I did it.

But you guys…. I’m still infertile.

My sister thinks she’s pregnant, and she is too afraid to take a test which tells me she REALLY thinks she’s pregnant. She has only felt this way one other time, and he is now 6 years old. Her partner does not want kids, which is why she’s afraid. My other sister had two surprise pregnancies, and they are 5 and 10 now. My cousins/aunts/uncles typically conceive before graduating high school, and all have multiple kids. I am the *only* infertile in all 54 of us. I thought I was over this, but the sting feels sharper this time than ever before.

Damn. Life can be so unfair sometimes. I know this is nothing compared to cancer or chronic illness or loss or poverty or war or starvation. I know that. But I’m all broken up inside just the same, and I need to vent these feelings.

On top of that..Mr. Big wants to take down my tire swing. He’s worried because it has seen better days – the weather has it in pretty rough shape…. but I just can’t bear to part with it. Two years ago, I hung it up because I was tired of arriving to my house and it looking lonely with this massive yard and zero kids toys. I needed something that was usable for my nephews, but still gave the impression kids lived here. I needed to see something that held hope and promise for the future…so I hung the swing.

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No one has ever used it. The boys would rather traipse through the woods on adventures than swing on it. I’m OK with that because the swing is more a symbolic gesture for me – a promise that one day, some how, there will be a child here to swing on this. So it will remain: forlorn, weathered and full of hope.

I am surprised to realize that while I love my school work, and am so passionate about it and looking forward to working in this field: my heart still belongs to the dream of motherhood.

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Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

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This is one of my favourite holidays! Not only does it fall during my mostfavouriteseasonEVER….but it’s also one holiday that I find is easy to appreciate without children. I mean…don’t get me wrong. The sting of no children is sharp. I still have to take a moment or two to breath…but for the most part, I can cope with this holiday.

I love to fill my October with Halloween-y things like:

  • Haunted barns (SUPER SCARY)
  • Pumpkin Festivals
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Decorating
  • Halloween Parties (for grownups)
  • Haunted Villages (Kid-Scary)
  • Costume shopping
  • Halloween baking
  • Trick-or-treating with the Trio (my nephews)

All of these things were a blast this year. I think the boys are finally at an age where they are all cognizant of what’s going on and fully into it – so it makes it that much more fun. Also the two younger boys are thick as thieves these days – and it is hilarious (less for their Mom, but SO FUNNY for their Aunt 😉 ). The 5 year old is really small and …. “spicy” … while the 6 year old is 3x his size and a giddy follower – so there is nothing but trouble with the two of them…and Halloween was no exception. It made it both lively and fun!

Over all it was a really good Halloween. I enjoyed the festivities and kept busy enough to avoid wallowing in my childlessness. 🙂

How was your Halloween? Do you do any special Halloween traditions?

Family Dynamics – Canadian Thanksgiving

First of all… Happy Thanksgiving fellow Canadians!

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I have a love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving. I love it because I love turkey, and I love to see my nephews together. I hate it because its stressful…and there are always at least a few hurt feelings.

A lot of times it’s me who gets hurt. Not intentionally, but because I am the only person in 45 of us who can’t have kids…and since everyone else got pregnant from sitting beside boys on the school bus back in high school, that’s all they ever want to talk about. They also love to point out how lucky I am. It doesn’t seem to matter what I say/do – they will find a way to tie it back to my childlessness.

Got a pedicure? Oh, we wish we had time for pedicures…but, you know, kids!

I’m exhausted? You think you’re exhausted now, you can’t imagine what it’s like being exhausted with two kids to take care of!

Long work day? Just imagine how WE feel – coming home from a long work day and having to parent our children.

New thing I love? You think you know what love is, but you don’t. Just wait until you have children one day, THEN you will know what love is.

Saw a new movie/show? I wish I had time for TV. All we ever watch is Bubble Guppies and The Wiggles. 

Taking a vacation? It must be SO NICE to have the time, money and energy for vacation. After caring for my children, I have none of that to spend on a frivolous vacation.

You get the idea. I try to make small talk, but almost everything I say is met with comments like that. I think it is, in part, because it’s all they have to talk about. I’m a quiet person, and when I’m upset I get quieter – which makes it easy for people to treat me like shit over and over again. This is something I’m working on…but it is what it is right now.

Of the 45 of us, I am the only one to attend University let alone graduate school. The rest of my cousins all work entry level jobs because they had kids so young. There is NOTHING wrong with that, it’s just not the path I took because … well… having kids didn’t work out for me so I may as well do something else. However, because I DID do it, I think some of them feel insecure about it and so we just never discuss it so no one gets upset.

…but it’s hard when I’m doing my Masters – and LOVING it – and not being able to share about it. Especially when they’re all sharing about the things in their lives, and all I can do is sit quietly.

Anyway … today out our family dinner… my one cousin (who is currently completing a 2 year college diploma in social services) was dishing out counseling advice to anyone who would listen because she took an intro to psych course, and is now an expert.

This is what I’m doing my Masters in – and in the end, I will be a Registered Therapist which is exactly what my program is preparing me for. Meaning, I have slightly more knowledge about the mind and counseling practices than she does. As I always do though, I bit my tongue and let her ramble incorrectly about things for a while and then… well, I think I just snapped.

I don’t remember the exact words I said – but I know they were completely unlike me – and something intended to point out that if anyone could give out counseling advice it’s me, not her, and I wouldn’t do that because this is not a counseling session.

Whatever the exact words were, she looked like I’d slapped her and then said “Wow, that was arrogant” and walked away. As always, I quietly finished my meal and no one else noticed what had happened between us. As soon as I could, I excused myself and left. The entire way home I tossed around the conversation – trying to decide what I was trying to prove and why I felt so shitty about it.

In the end, I realized a couple things.

#1) I am exhausted and need a break. The constant attack on my childlessness is breaking me, and if I can’t stand up to them and say something then I need to give myself some space to sort it out.

#2) I need to find a way to stop being ashamed of my infertility, and a way to be proud of the things I DO have – like an awesome opportunity to get my MA in something I truly love. I need to figure out how to talk about it more – so I can share with others, but also so I can feel valuable, too.

#3) I need to stop allowing other people to treat me like garbage. I do it because I feel like I deserve it since I’m infertile (ya’ll know what I’m talking about). I know that is unhealthy and I need to stop punishing myself for this. I don’t deserve to be treated like I’m nothing because I can’t have a child. Having a child is not everything. I AM something, and I am someone who has accomplished so much, and I have a right to be proud of it.

#4) They talk about children and pregnancies because that’s what they know. They’re proud of it, and they have a right to share about the things they’re proud of too. I can’t and don’t expect them to stop, and I certainly recognize how hard parenting is, and how rewarding parenting is, and how when you’re in the thick of it – it’s everything to you. I get all of that…I just want them to stop making me feel bad so they can feel good. Ultimately, maybe they feel insecure because I do have a career I love, and I make a good income, and I seem happy – so they want to show me they’re happy too? Regardless, I fully recognize there is more to it on their side too. However, that doesn’t make this OK.

So…while I’m not proud of myself for how I shut her down, I am not sorry I did it. Maybe it was enough to emphasize to her that I am done being walked all over, belittled, and used as a stepping stone to make her feel like a better person. I realize that it is ME who needs to change this dynamic, or it will never change. I will begin with making sure they realize that I’m a person. I count…and my feelings and dreams and experiences are important too.

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Blah. Family holidays can be so hard sometimes…we are not yellers or fighters – but my family is a master at snide comments that peck away at your self esteem…and I’m starting to think it might be time to take a little break.

Do you find holidays difficult? How do you cope with difficult family?

Updates – Plugging Away

Yesterday I got an email from WordPress asking me where I’d been…so I figured it might be time for an update!

I am plugging away at grad school and loving every minute of it. It’s so interesting, fun and I cannot wait for it be my full time career. I’m finally getting the hang of balancing my life, work and school, which makes it even more rewarding. 🙂

Mr. Big and I are good. We just finished a week long vacation with my in-laws which was wonderful…but we’re ready to go back to our own space!

I turned 32. I’m not sure where the time went, but here I am. 32. My birthday didn’t go quite as planned…and I really only have myself to blame. Despite the 7 years of infertility, I allowed myself to get all excited over a late period – certain that my birthday combined with the inlaws visit (they live a province away and we rarely see them) meant it was FOR SURE going to be positive. I laughed to myself over the irony how, now when I’m part way through grad school and doing other things, this would finally happen naturally. I refused to POAS until my birthday because HOW FUN to find out we’re FINALLY expecting on my birthday, with the inlaws here in person to celebrate! I was so sure it would FINALLY be positive.

…….yeah, you know where this is going…(probably because you’ve all done this too). Despite my best intentions, I got a big, fat negative. Womp, womp. So then I cried, tore apart the stupid test into tiny pieces and then spent the rest of the day trying to shake the cloud that was hanging over me. The worst part is, I know I did this to myself. I got excited, I assumed (with absolutely no reason to assume since I know pregnancy is almost impossible without IVF for me)…and I let myself dream. Sigh. When is infertility going to get easier?

So that’s really it. I’m plugging away at school, getting older, loving Mr. Big and trying to remain sane despite the always present “what if it’s THIS month?” of IF. I’m still reading…every chance I get I check your blogs and see whats happening even if I’m not writing. 🙂

I’ve outgrown Harry Potter

It’s a sad day today…I mean…sad as in first-world-problems kind of sad day…

You see, today I realized that I’ve outgrown Harry Potter. Or, rather, MY use of Harry Potter as a safe place (because no one can really outgrow HP…<3).

When I first discovered HP…it was at a particularly challenging part of my life. I sought refuge in those pages, and I remember praying at night that I would wake up the next morning in HP’s world. I readily devoured each book … and painfully awaited the final three to be released. I cried when I was done reading them, and then re-read them more times than I am willing to admit over the next 10 years…

They *literally* got me through high school and my undergrad. My world was cruel and unforgiving, and I sought solace and comfort in those pages (and movies). I carried this coping skill right into my marriage and through our battle with infertility. I escaped from my world into Harry Potter’s – more times than I could ever count.

A lot has happened this last year. Some good, some bad. Through that time I have developed a lot of really healthy coping skills… playing violin (my one skill from before), learning the guitar, breathing exercises, meditating, exercise, healthy eating, talking, journalling… I do these things daily – whether I’m good or not – to maintain wellness.

Then, yesterday, they were playing an HP marathon so I turned it on and I felt joy, happiness, humour and love….but that was it. No comfort. No solace. Just enjoyment.

And it dawned on me – somehow, somewhere, my soul has healed and grown enough that I actually no longer need to escape into Harry Potter. It happened so quickly, so subtlety, that I didn’t even notice it happening. It just happened.

It’s amazing. The mind is a truly amazing thing, and it’s ability to heal to develop new neural pathways is incredible.

I mean – I still LOVE Harry Potter. Watching the movies or re-reading the books is like slipping into my favourite jammies…and it feels like home. But it’s not the lifeblood it was before – I don’t need it to survive.

I am finally at a place where I can choose to watch it – not because I need it – but because I enjoy it.

Do you have a movie/book/place that you seek solace in? Have you ever outgrown a comfort?

Money. Life Update. Growing.

One of the biggest lessons Mr. Big and I have learned about our marriage is that we need to live more. Take the trips, buy the things, go to the places, spend the money. I am super frugal…and have never allowed us to buy or do anything. While Mr. Big did not blame me… I knew it was my fault. I am the one who controls the money, and I am the one who says no every time he suggests a vacation or activity.

I feel good when I work hard and see my bank account growing. Mr. Big feels good when he works hard and has something fun to do after work. This was a hard compromise for us…because I get anxious about not having enough saved up…but I also knew it was important to Mr. Big’s health to be able to spend a little of the money he works so hard to earn.

Our counselor challenged us to come up with big things we wanted and make a list. My list consisted of things like my Masters Degree, having a percentage of income in savings and a hobby farm. Mr. Big’s list included outdoor recreational toys and a vacation. We each came up with 5 big things, and then sat down and decided what we could/would do…the key was that it needed to benefit both of us.

What I realized in this process was that Mr. Big didn’t want to spend every penny we made…he just wanted to buy things that we would use together and have fun using. So I agreed it was time to purchase some of these things.

We started with a set of old but working skidoos. Mr. Big was considerate enough to keep them relatively inexpensive, and I surprised him with expensive and cool helmets like I knew he was eyeing up. We had so much fun on them this past winter, and are already looking forward to next year.

Next came a vacation to Las Vegas…one of our bucket list locations. We stayed in an almost-off-the-strip hotel to save costs (for my anxiety), but still we were on vacation in Vegas (for Mr. Big). And I have to be honest, it was the best time we’ve ever had. He was absolutely right on this – we need to take the trips.

Mr. Big began talking about my Masters, even though it was one item we didn’t think we could afford. He encouraged me to apply, so I did to appease him…expecting to be rejected. I wasn’t though – and now I am two semesters in and loving every second. I am SO GLAD we did it anyway, found the money…I have never been so sure about anything as I am about this career.

All three of these things were Mr. Big’s ideas, and he was careful to be considerate of my need to be frugal…and all three items have worked out to be better for us than I could have ever imagined. We are so much happier and healthier now than we were this time last year – I am almost thankful for the shitty thing that happened last fall. It has truly brought so much good.

So when Mr. Big and I were struggling to find something fun to do this summer, and the notion of a boat kept coming up I jumped on it. We could afford it, and it would be something fun that we can use over and over. I found us this amazing old boat, a bow rider that seats 10 people (so, pretty big for a bow rider) in excellent condition. Mr. Big and the seller negotiated a more-than-reasonable price, and we bought it last week. Since then, we’ve been in it more than we haven’t. It was worth every penny!

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(See the vinyl back rests there ^ ? That’s the ONLY thing that needs replacing. WOOT!)

We’re constantly looking at this:

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While doing some of this:

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And catching some of this:

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We’re also getting a whole lot of relaxing in, combined with sunshine, a nice breeze and a ton of fun. It is so what we needed, and I don’t regret the expense – not one bit.

Over all … these expenses have given us so much joy. I am kicking myself for waiting this long to finally spend the money I’ve been sitting on. It doesn’t mean we spend it ALL…just enough to enjoy our lives while still being fiscally responsible. This compromise has made all the difference in our overall happiness (we have way more fun!)…and I am so glad we did it. We’ve been together 10 years, and yet…I still feel like we have so much more to learn – about each other, and marriage as a whole. 🙂

What do you do, that you need to do more or less of? Can you relate to balancing “spend-every-penny” with “save-every-penny”?