Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Hanging On

I’ve been wanting to write on here for awhile, but graduate school is kicking my butt. This year I am teaching two freshman writing courses so I’m having to learn how to balance being a teacher with being a student because I’m also taking two graduate level courses. In the last two weeks, I’ve graded 46 papers, written a 20 page take-home exam, taken a very difficult in-class exam, written a seven page annotated bibliography, had one of my classes observed, wrote a proposal for the classes I’m teaching next semester, met with multiple students to discuss their plans to revise the first paper, done the regular reading for my classes, done the regular class prep for the classes I teach, attended to a wedding, gone to our first baby shower, and taken a weekend trip to a family reunion where I didn’t have time for any school stuff at all. I feel like I spent so much of last year learning time management and how to prioritize my time between being a student and being a wife, and now I’m having to do that all over again with yet another role added to my plate. Not only that, I’m having to adjust to a new level and schedule of productivity because I really can’t do any intense reading or work after 8:00 or 8:30 anymore because I am so exhausted. By the time I got to the end of the day Wednesday (marking my fall break that I am currently enjoying), I felt like I was just barely hanging on.

So that’s my life right now. It’s hard and pretty stressful, but I am still doing things that I love. I feel behind and I’m not doing as well as I would if I weren’t pregnant and actually felt better and more energetic, but I enjoy learning and I enjoy teaching. I’m just on a pretty steep learning curve this year.

I try not to stress about next semester because I know it will be much harder with me adding another role: mommy. I talked to the head of my department to see if I could defer my last semester to the fall, but that’s not possible. Apparently, taking off just one semester and therefore leaving a funding package unclaimed during that time signals to the graduate school that our department has more money than we need and we could lose it. So I’ll be taking two classes and teaching two classes again in the spring. I’ve worked out my schedule so that I’m only on campus two days a week with an hour and a half break midday to eat and pump, and my MIL is going to watch the baby for us. I just hope it works out. Worse case scenario, I can take an incomplete in my classes and get my degree with I finish them later in the year.

I keep thinking about how this timing is stressful and inconvenient. But then I am honest with myself and admit that I would not change it for anything. Every day I can feel our baby getting stronger and everything is worth it. I am getting everything I want–a degree that will let me do what I want to do and a child. It’s really hard, but it’s also an enormous gift that I refuse to take for granted.

Well, I was going to write more about the pregnancy and the baby, but that looks like enough for one day. Hopefully I’ll have time to give some more updates in the days to come–I miss you all and this space.

2 Comments »

Acceptance

Try not to read too much into my silence. I’m mostly just really busy with school stuff–turns out getting your Masters degree in English literature means you have to do an enormous amount of reading, writing, and teaching. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. As busy as I am and as stressful as school can be, I love it. It feels so good to have forward motion in my life when I spent so long feeling stuck. The rest of our life might still be filled with unknowns, but I know what my next year is going to look like. Class. Teaching. Reading. Writing. The library. I didn’t know I could feel so much comfort from these constants, but I do.

At the moment, I am at the end of the semester and feeling a little overwhelmed with final projects/papers. So I’m taking some time out from all of that to tell you about something that happened last month.

Last month we went to Atlanta to visit some good friends. I was talking to N about the adoption process and about people’s reactions to our choice to move on to adoption. I told her the most frustrating thing is how everyone says “You know what will happen as soon as you adopt.” Everyone I talk to is convinced that I will get pregnant after we adopt–even people who know that getting pregnant is not the problem for us. And they all make it a point to tell me that. After I told her about it, N really surprised me. She looked me straight in the face and told me that she doesn’t think that will happen–that she doesn’t think we will be able to have kids. At first I was really confused because I thought I should be upset or offended, but I wasn’t.

I felt…relieved.

She was the first person to confirm that there is a good chance that I won’t be able to have kids. Seriously, the first person. I felt like the pressure was off–like there was at least one person in the world who didn’t expect the impossible from me. One person who wasn’t setting me up to be devastated all over again when adoption doesn’t magically fix me. The first person to focus on the adoption and the child we will get through adoption instead of glossing over that to the future and the hypothetical babies I will start popping out after we adopt.

Why do we do that? Why do we all feel the need to give hope–even if hope is something that can be painful and detrimental? We do it in the blog world, too. I won’t lie–one of the reasons I quit posting about our process to figuring out what is wrong with me is because I kept getting well-meaning suggestions from readers who didn’t even bother reading old posts. I got tired of readers suggesting I take baby aspirin when I have posted multiple times about my severe anaphylactic allergy to aspirin.

My doctor has found something and has suggested a game plan, and we’re going to try it. But we still plan move forward with adoption because the plan might not work. And you know what? That’s ok.

I don’t believe all of the memes and the encouraging phrases about never giving up–that true strength is always picking yourself up and trying again. I think true strength is being able to recognize when you’ve had enough and being able to move on. The truth is that some women can’t carry a child and I might be one of those women. As much as it hurts, I am acknowledging that and looking at options to move on. That’s not weakness. And what I really need right now is for someone to support that and recognize that my choices are ok and that they reflect strength and determination.

9 Comments »

Do you have any kids?

Graduate school is hard. I’m putting in way more hours as a student than I was working a full time job. But it’s also totally worth it because I’m doing something that I love. I love reading, talking about, and writing about literature, and that’s what I do all the time now. Graduate school also has a unforeseen perk: no one asks you if you have kids or if you are trying to have kids. Whenever I met someone new at my job, they would ask me if I have kids. When I would say no, they would ask if I want kids. I’m not really sure why this seems to be the culturally accepted thing to do when you meet someone new, but it is. At least in the area where we live. In graduate school, however, everyone assumes that you don’t have time for kids and even if you do want them, you will wait until after you are done. I’ve never seen a noticeably pregnant woman on campus, and not one of my friends at school has a child, so I don’t have to hear complaints or stories about them. As an infertile, it’s wonderful to not have the constant reminder.

Hubby isn’t so lucky and still has to deal with nosey people at work, as well as a boss whose wife had a baby a month ago. The other day when someone asked him if he has kids and he said no, they told him that he needs to get moving because the clock is ticking. Thankfully, his boss intervened at that moment because he knows our story and how upsetting the situation was for hubby. Plus, he probably didn’t want Kevin to guilt the man by telling him that all of our babies died. It’s the truth and the man probably deserved it, but it’s not really good costumer service.

It’s a problem every infertile has to deal with at some point or another: everyone has an opinion about whether or not you should have kids, and many will voice that opinion without knowing your story. It weird when you think about it. I spent a semester studying abroad in Germany, and I was amazed at how private the Germans are. Questions that are considered small talk in the U.S., like asking someone what they do for a living, were considered personal and rude. Maybe we should take notes.

1 Comment »

Where We Are Now

I feel like such a tease telling you all that I’m going to start writing again and then not immediately writing a bunch of posts. A lot has happened since I quit writing, but instead of playing catch-up with the last couple of months, I’ll tell you where we are now:

  • I’m going to school full time to get my Masters in English literature. I’m not really sure what the long-term plan is (teaching private high school, teaching college, applying to PhD programs, etc.), but I love what I am doing right now. I love reading, discussing, and writing about literature, and that’s basically all I do now. It’s hard, especially since I took time off after undergrad and had to relearn quite a few things, like how to study or write an academic paper, but I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing right now. Well, that’s a lie. I’d rather be a stay-at-home mom, but that isn’t happening right now, so this is the next best thing.
  • Hubby is in the hiring process at the fire department in our town. After he didn’t get the last job because they basically run on the “good ole boy” system, he started putting in applications at different departments. This department is completely different. Instead of hiring from the volunteer list, they have a multiple-step hiring process that takes months. Hubby passed a written exam back in September, and he is taking a physical exam next week. When he passes that, he’ll be able to get an interview. If he does well on his interview, he’ll take a psych evaluation (1 out of 4 fail it). If everything goes well, it will probably be February or March before he starts working, and if it doesn’t go well, we’ll move on to another department. Apparently, he was the only one out of over 100 applicants who showed up for the written exam in a tie, and he had two separate officers tell him that he made a really good impression, so we that’s a good sign. Also, he got one of the highest grades on the written exam, so that doesn’t hurt either.
  • As I mentioned in my last post, Hubby and I are going to start the process for foster adoption if he gets this job. As it is, Hubby gets paid on commission, and I get a small stipend from school so we have a hard time keeping our heads above water sometimes, especially with all of the medical bills from Hubby getting so sick this past winter/spring. The beginning pay at this department, however, would increase our income by almost $1,000 a month, and by that time, the medical bills should be paid off (assuming we don’t create any more), saving us a few hundred dollars a month. So that would leave us with some baby money. And as an extra perk, we could also afford to start eating meat again.
  • We got another dog at the end of August, Jack Jack. Molly was a very high energy dog, and she really needed a buddy to play with so that she wouldn’t be destructive, so we went to the pound and picked out a new best friend for her. Jack Jack was about nine months old when we got him. He was also scary skinny, and he had kennel cough. Looking back, I have no idea why we got this sickly, scrawny dog, but I am so glad we did. He is the best behaved dog I’ve ever had, and he learns very quickly. Plus, he’s the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen, especially now that he’s put on some weight. I’m sure you’ll agree:

Jack1

Jack2

It’s also nice that he matches our house so well, haha. The only problem is that Jack Jack is also a high energy dog and needs someone to play with–that’s why he was a perfect friend for Molly. Maybe we’ll go get him a friend in the spring because we’re not ready for another furbaby yet.

4 Comments »

Forward Motion

For months I wrote about how I was stuck. It felt like we were in a constant state of waiting and facing a huge expanse of unknown, and I didn’t know how much longer I could handle the lack of resolution.

When we lost Tup, I was heartsick and angry, but there was also an unexpected emotion: relief. I felt free. I didn’t understand it, and it made me feel like a terrible person who obviously didn’t deserve the child she lost–like I wasn’t properly honoring him. But I’m finally starting to understand that this feeling of freedom and relief has nothing to do with my grief for Tup, it has to do with the huge weight of the unknowns that I had been carrying for months.

The truth is that my life finally has forward motion, and even if I don’t like the results, even if I hate them, I have found some resolution:

  • Hubby didn’t get the fire job. After months of anticipation and hoping, he was not chosen. It sucks, but he started a new job last week that he really enjoys, and he is content working there while he continues to add to his certifications so that he will be a better candidate next time.
  • I got into graduate school, and I was awarded a teaching assistantship that will allow us to (barely) afford it. After months of sitting on a waitlist and trying to figure out how we could possibly pay for school without the assistantship, I finally got the letter.
  • Hubby is feeling better and will not be having surgery right now. This could technically change any day because Crohn’s is a horrible and unpredictable disease, but we are now sitting on the “well” side of the unknown (which is infinitely better than the “sick” side of it).
  • We lost Tup and my RPL panel came back normal, which means we are stepping back from the TTC world for awhile. There is no timeline on this–we will start trying again when we both feel like it–so there is no pressure and no anxious waiting. No waiting until we are allowed to try again (surprisingly, we weren’t given any restrictions), no waiting to POAS, no waiting for test results, no waiting for appointments, no spending hours each day wondering if it will work this time.

I no longer have panicked moments where I worry about the fact that I have no idea what will happen in the immediate future. I no longer try to stare into the unknown and decipher some sort of answer. Sure, things could change and we still don’t know what things will look like long-term, but at least we know what the next couple of months should look like.

I miss Tup and it makes me sad to think about what could have been, but I’m also excited about the things to come. I feel like I finally have something to look forward to and get excited about. I have goals to work towards, goals that I actually have some control over–having a baby was a goal, but it wasn’t something I could work towards because I couldn’t affect the outcome of my pregnancies. Studying and working hard can get me through graduate school, and training consistently can help me finish the triathlon.

I can improve and grow. I can work towards something tangible. My life can finally move forward.

4 Comments »

Counting the Blessings

My mind is in a million places right now. I’m worried about the baby–even more worried than I was before the ultrasound which I didn’t think was possible. Now that I’ve seen our little one up on that screen, I want so badly for him or her to grow up to be big and strong and healthy. In order to keep my sanity, I’ve decided to make a list of the blessings:

  • We saw a heartbeat. Our child is living inside of me right now and has a beating heart. Hubby got a little upset with me last night because I was so busy worrying that I never really stopped to be amazed and grateful for that tiny beating miracle, and he was right. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
  • Even if the baby is measuring behind my calculations, this pregnancy has lasted longer than any of my other ones.
  • There is still plenty of room for hope. Thank you for all of the encouraging stories. I did venture into Google only to find more stories of healthy babies who had a shaky start like ours. Yes, the statistics might be against us at this point and we usually fall on the negative side of those statistics when it comes to pregnancy, but there is hope. And I’m going to hold on to that hope for as long as I can.
  • I found out on Wednesday that I am being offered an assistantship to the grad school program I’m entering in the fall. This includes full tuition (even for summer classes), a sizable stipend ($8,500 the first year),  health insurance coverage, and some major resume-building experience. This is a huge answer to prayer and I am so excited about it. Maybe hubby was right. Maybe all of the good things will happen at once. It also makes me think that this pregnancy is going to work out because I’ve always said that we will get pregnant when it is least convenient and the baby is due the second day of spring semester which is pretty darn inconvenient.

So that’s all I’ve got. And it’s a lot. Yesterday, I started calling the baby “Tup” which is an abbreviation of our last name. I tried to think of a nickname earlier, but nothing seemed right until now. I think the problem was I felt no real connection and couldn’t call the baby by a name, but now that we’ve formally met, it just feels right.

The bottom line is I’m choosing to believe that Tup will be ok. I’m choosing faith, hope, and love.

8 Comments »

Catching up

First of all, thank you so much for your support on my last post. Although I’m a little ashamed of just how bitter I sounded, I appreciate all of you validating my feelings. I guess it just goes to show that people say dumb things no matter what you are going through, whether it be infertility, loss, or even Crohn’s disease. Life lesson learned.

I have a few things I wanted to post, so I’m going to go with bullet points today:

  • Hubby has been doing much better since the ER trip. I’m learning that this pattern of feeling good one day, then having the worst pain of your life the next day, then going back to feeling better the next is fairly typical for Crohn’s. I’m also learning that the frustration, helplessness, and anger that I am feeling is normal, and it is ok to break down every once in awhile. I called a good friend on Friday and cried over the phone with her, and it helped me realize that it’s ok to be emotional and upset–that I don’t have to be an unwavering tower of strength for my husband. You would think that I would have figured this out a little sooner because I have been saying that hubby is allowed to be upset about the IF/loss that we have experienced, but I guess I’m a slow learner.
  • I got into grad school. I’m really excited and proud of myself, but I’m not doing a celebration dance just yet because I was put on a wait list for an assistantship. Which means that my school may or may not be paid for, and I may or may not get the resume-boosting experience. Right now, hubby is of the opinion that where there is a will, there is a way, but I’m not sure how we are going to make it happen without that assistance. Especially when we have medical bills piling up (just when we are almost done paying the bills from my miscarriage). It’s actually looking like we will reach our 2013 out-of-pocket limit this month, which I think is fairly impressive.
  • It’s been awhile since I’ve done an update on my lady parts, so here it is (disclaimer, in-depth period talk ahead): I had a normal period for the first time since I was on BC, and I’m freaking out about it. Ok, freaking out is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I am quite perplexed. On day 29, AF started. It just started, which I thought was weird because I usually have three to five days of spotting before it actually arrives. Then it lasted four days. This is unheard of. Mine usually last a week to a week and a half–and that isn’t counting the spotting that happens before it actually starts. I mentioned to hubby that it was over and he looked at me like I had grown another head and said, “But didn’t it just start a few days ago?” Also, it was blissfully light–it only filled my diva cup about a third of the way every twelve hours (as opposed to completely filling it every six to eight hours). Apparently, this is what “normal” periods look like, and I would be ecstatic if I wasn’t so weirded out by it. Maybe it’s a sign of good things to come?

Those are the biggest things happening in our life right now. The most important thing is that in the midst of everything that is going on, I’m still feeling very hopeful. I just know that things are going to work out, even though I don’t know what it will look like. I’m frustrated, tired, and impatient, but I’m hopeful. I think a lot of that has to do with the beautiful weather we’ve been having–it just lifts my spirits. Spring is trying its very best to settle into East Tennessee, and I am beyond ready for it! It also has to do with the amazing amount of love, prayer, and support we have received from our new church. I hope to post a little more on that soon, so stay tuned!

10 Comments »

Waiting

If you can’t tell from my lack of posts, I’ve been struggling with this space lately. I’ve felt a definite shift on my reader, and I’m not sure where I fit in. Most of the women I follow are now pregnant or officially moving on to some form of adoption. The ones who don’t fit into either of those categories are like me: posting sporadically and sometimes half-heartedly.

This isn’t a post against pregnant infertile bloggers. I love you all. When I read happy posts about your pregnancies–heartbeats, movement, viability, acceptance–I literally do a little happy dance. I look forward to those posts, and I pray for you all and your little ones.  I talk about you in everyday life (“My friend Belle felt her baby move the other day, I’m so excited for her” “My friend Theresa is having twins and trying to avoid buying a minivan. I totally feel her–I hate minivans” “My friend Steph just found out she’s pregnant after five miscarriages. I really hope this is her take home baby”). I’m sure people wonder how I know so many pregnant women, but that is how I think of you in my mind and my heart–as my friends that I think about and hope for and celebrate with.

I also really enjoy reading the blogs of women who are going through the foster adoption process because I am learning so much. If we end up going down that path, I have a good idea of what to expect–not just the paperwork and classes but also the emotions. I truly appreciate you all for documenting the process for the rest of us who may be there one day.

I’ve spoken before about feeling stuck, and that feeling just won’t go away. I am grateful for the healing I have had in the months since my last mc, but I feel like something has to give. Hopefully, we will start actually TTC again this month because hubby is feeling significantly better (thank goodness!!!!!), and that will give me some forward motion. The thing is, I feel like our whole life is stuck on pause. I’m working at a  job I hate until I hear back from the Masters program I applied to because it seems silly to go job hunting if I’m going to be quitting to go to school in the fall anyway. But, to be completely honest, I really don’t know if I’m going to get in or not–the program only accepts sixteen students a year with an assistantship, so it is a fairly competitive program. Hubby has applied to be a professional fire fighter in our community after he finishes fire academy, but it will probably be months before we know anything. If he does get the job, he will be making quite a bit more money–which means even if I don’t get into school, I can still possibly quit my job and work somewhere part-time. Combine all of this uncertainty with the question of whether or not we will be able to have children, and I am left feeling stuck. Even our back-up plan of foster adoption is up in the air right now (if I don’t get into school, we will go ahead with the plan, but it will be on hold if I get into school).

I’m surprisingly more comfortable with all of this than I would have ever imagined myself capable of being, and maybe the hope that is filling my heart is a testament to the growth that I have experienced during the last year and a half of TTC. Being unsure of life and where it is heading, however, leaves me at a complete loss when it comes to this place. Everyone in this community seems to be either moving forward (pregnancies, adoptions, further treatments) or fading out, and I am feeling more and more like I am in the second group because I am sitting still. Waiting. As my good friend Rose says, I am a seed. I am waiting in the dark surrounded by pressure, but I have the assurance that at some point, my life will bloom–although I have no idea when that will be or what it will look like.

I guess for now I will just keep reading and when I feel the need, I will post. I promise to update you ladies of any motion in our lives…

12 Comments »

A much needed and fun vacation, and a new life plan

Hello! I’m sorry I haven’t written in awhile–I’ve just been so distracted. I know I have a bunch of October writing prompts to catch up on, but I want to tell you all about what has been going on first. I’ll start by telling you about my wonderful weekend! I took a vacation day from work on Friday and spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Nashville at the Southern Festival of Books. It was wonderful. I was surrounded by authors and people who truly care about books and reading, and it really reminded me about what is important to me and my passion. I also got to feel very strong and self-sufficient because I went alone, and I didn’t have hubby to lean on for directions or anything. Solitary travel isn’t something I have gotten to experience since I was in Germany, and I had forgotten how much I actually enjoy it. I stayed with a friend from college who lives in Murfreesboro, and it was so much fun to hang out and catch up–plus we went to a beer fest on Saturday night which was really fun. The best part? I got to meet Katherine Paterson, who is my favorite children’s author! For those of you who don’t know who she is, she wrote The Bridge to TerabithaThe Great Gilly HopkinsJacob Have I Loved, and loads of other awesome books. She is basically amazing.

Another great thing about going to this festival is that it really motivated me. I remember now just how much I love literature, and how much I love to learn. I always wanted to work in a college as a professor, and my original plan was to go the grad school and get my doctorate in order to teach at the collegiate level. Life, however, got in the way of that plan. This trip was just the kick start that I needed, and while I can’t give up 5-7 years of my life to a doctoral program right now, I have decided that I am going to go back to school. I’m applying to the Masters program at the local university! I’m so excited that we are finally in a place where this can happen because I love going to school: class discussions, reading books I would have never thought to read, learning about things that matter to me, I could go on for quite awhile.

So now I am spending my time working on my application, asking for letters of recommendation, studying for the GRE, editing out an excerpt from my thesis for my writing sample, working on my statement of purpose, etc. The deadline is January 15th, which seems like a long time from now, but it doesn’t leave me a lot of time to study for and take to GRE. I’m still too excited to start freaking out, but I’m sure that will come soon :o)

On an IF/loss note: I have officially finished my first AF post-miscarriage. I has definitely given me a feeling of “moving on” which is great in some ways and very sad in others. Today I saw a picture of the girl who found out she was pregnant at the same time I  found out about my first pregnancy. She’s 27 weeks. Broke. My. Heart. I’m excited about where my life is going right now, but I’m homesick for my children that I will never meet. I’ve accepted it, but I am still so sad. At the book festival, there was someone dressed up as Clifford to celebrate his “birthday,” and some kids were singing happy birthday to him with their moms. I had to walk by very quickly because it made me cry. One day at a time.

I promise I will catch up with you some more soon!

Also, the posts for the IF Bloggers Book Club is “due” Friday. Is that ok with everyone, or do you need another week?

3 Comments »

Bit of Earth Farm

Raising plants and animals in simple partnership with nature.

Laura Grace Weldon

Free Range Learning, Creative Living, Gentle Encouragement, Big Questions, Poetry, Occasional Drollery

The Crunchy Dungeon

Life with a Crunchy Wife

A Woman Like That

...I have been her kind.

Our Egg, Her Nest?

My journey to Motherhood through gestational surrogacy

Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Stepping Stones

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Sabine Daily

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

My Perfect Breakdown

-- Surviving. Living. Hoping. -- Recurrent Pregnancy Loss & Adoption

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Recurrently Lost

My honest account of life with recurrent pregnancy loss

Caring for Crohn's & UC

Caring for a loved one with Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

my german life:

an american girl in hamburg

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Stories of a Son

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Eighteenyears's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

IBDaily

The tales of a girl with unruly guts.

SocialJerk

Because writing about social work can be funny, too! (Sorry Precious)

No Air Radio

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Growing Globe

"I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness." - Carl Sandburg

lamenting the lentil

unexplained infertility, twin pregnancy, and me

tales from the waiting room

Just another IF blog

The Moon on a Stick

Infertility and all that jazz.