Sunday, February 27, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about regrets in the last few days, and kind of taking stock of where I am in life, what I have accomplished to this point, and whether I have any regrets about the road I have taken to get here.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't really have any regrets, which kind of fascinates me. I mean, there were certainly different paths I could have taken along the way. But that would mean that I would not be who I am today - and I would not be where I am today, doing what I do.

This was prompted by a gathering last Friday of new faculty members at our university. We met with the new (interim) provost, an introspective engineer, of all things. And he mentioned that every year, after the spring semester raced to a close, he would spend some time reflecting on whether he had enjoyed the last year, including his research, his teaching, his interactions with colleagues, and his interactions with students. He said that if the university was going to put him under the microscope every year for his annual review, then he thought he owed it to himself to do the same kind of examination from his perspective.

I don't do this often, but I have re-evaluated my spot in life over time. Last year, I did it a LOT when I was interviewing for jobs. Now that we are relatively settled, it's less of a 'thing', but it's something that I still do periodically. I find it helpful to have trusted colleagues that I can talk to about these things, too - if I find that there is kind of a sore spot at work (for example, right now I have a colleague who is driving me absolutely bonkers...), then I can examine with my colleagues whether it is me - and my response to the person - or whether they are also being driven bonkers by the same person. It's a nice check on me - I find that I can be kind of mean sometimes - and it's a good way for me to make sure that I, myself, am not going off the deep end. And I trust these colleagues to tell me if I am doing so.

But back to regrets - and reflection - on my personal life. I did think back to our journey with infertility over the last few weeks, again. Would I have done anything differently? I don't think I would have. I had two consults with health care providers (my women's health NP and a different midwife) before we even tried conceiving. They both pronounced me in good health, and told me to have at it. Of course, there were obviously problems, but I don't believe that they could have detected those problems if they had even looked. It's not like the RE's were able to pinpoint a cause for my infertility - or a successful way to treat it.

Would I have waited as long to try for children? Again, no. And that is not because I didn't want kids earlier - it's because of where we were in our lives. I had prioritized graduate school. That got me where I am today - with the job I have today, which I do love (as much as I sometimes complain about it). Before I met my husband, I was at peace with the idea of being single for the majority of my life. Meeting my husband was an unexpected - and joyful - surprise. So - regrets about how old I was when we got married? About waiting a year and a half to try for children? No, definitely not.

I haven't examined *everything* in my life, obviously. But I do think that I am where I am today - and I am *who* I am today - because of everything that has come before. I'm not religious - I don't think there is a plan - but I do think that in the choose your own adventure that is life, I've done pretty darn well so far. And I anticipate that that will continue.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another month, more pregnancies

Seems like everyone (or at least, the people I know) has been conspiring to keep me thinking about my infertility recently.
  • My cousin's wife is due tomorrow with their 'first child'. This is the one that I missed the shower for, thank goodness. I know, that's awful to say. But it really did make it easier. Her mother in law (my aunt) is eagerly anticipating the birth of her first grandchild, and called my mom all excited earlier this week.
  • This makes me wonder whether / how our infertility affects my parents (and even my husband's parents). I've never asked, to be honest. I mean, my mother used to tell me that people were asking when we would have kids. I told her at that point that she could tell them that it wasn't going to happen, if she wanted. But I don't know if she ever did that. Or, if she did, I don't know who she did and didn't tell. I just kind of avoid the subject.
  • A friend from high school is pregnant with baby #2. She informed us on an email thread that was started by a friend getting married this May. That one came out of left field for me.
  • Another friend, this time from my dissertation research, is pregnant with baby #2, and is due in July. She had a miscarriage at 8-10 weeks a couple of years ago, which actually made all of us in that department much closer. And then she had a successful pregnancy - and she has a beautiful daughter. I'm happy for her... but also sad.
  • And yesterday was the oh-so-fun child abuse and neglect lecture in the class that I am sitting in on. I don't think I've ever mentioned that I happen to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, of all things. Being an infertile PNP is like the worst of both worlds. On my side, I haven't experienced parenthood. I've never been up all night with a baby. I've never gone through birth. I've never had to decide about so many things that parents ask about. On the other hand, I know a lot about children and child development and child illness. But, on the parents' side (and on my students' side), there is a lack of credibility, because I haven't *been there*. Anyway. I digress. I hate hate hate hate the abuse / neglect lecture, not only because I've seen it many times over the years, but because it reminds me that there are many people out there who probably should not have children, but who have no difficulty doing so. Many times, it seems as though they have lots of children. And that is so, so hard for me to deal with. It's like the news articles about mothers who kill their children. (Side note: apparently, the word for parental killing of a child is "filicide". When mothers do it, it's "maternal filicide", and, logically, when fathers do it, it is "paternal filicide". And, per wikipedia, filicide is the 3rd leading cause of death of death among children 5-14.)
  • Sorry, that was a very depressing bullet.
  • Oh, and the news anchor on our local news is about to pop. Any second. So every morning, at the gym, I am reminded of this.
It's interesting to me that, while I feel like I have been slammed with all of this news from all sides, I have been doing a much better job of... I guess it might be compartmentalizing? all of it. I have been making a concerted effort not to fall into a funk daily over all the baby-related news. And it seems to be working. But at the same time, it's not like this is ever far from my mind.

I have also decided to give up on the #(%* IUD already. Of course, it's 2 months (!) until I can get an appointment with my primary doc, but I suppose I can live with that. I have cramps, still, > 50% of the time. At times, they are so bad that Advil won't touch them. And I don't want to have to take Advil 2 weeks out of the month. It's just not the right choice for me. At the time I had it inserted, she said that she would still be willing to have me on birth control pills, until I am 40. That would work for me, I think.

So I'll go in in April, and hopefully get the darn thing taken out at the same appointment. It would be just like them to have me make a different appointment for its removal. Gah. I have liked the whole no-period thing, though, which is why I think I'll continue with some form of b.c. for now.

Otherwise, things are busy busy busy but in a good way. I think. :) My job is crazy, my husband is busy and happy, the dog is thriving, and we are having the most random warm day in the middle of February. It's 60 degrees out there! I think we'll go get the mail, and I'll try to forget about all of this for a few minutes. Of course, it's likely that one or more of the neighbors are pregnant. Again. So how successful I'll be is a complete crap shoot.