Tuesday, January 31, 2012


So, the joke's on me. A few weeks ago, I answered this question:

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: b) thinner or fatter?

By saying:

b) the same (although I think stronger, as I've been lifting weights)

Um, yeah. No. Not exactly.

When we were in CA, I wore my standard black pants for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. I also noticed that they were, ahem, a bit tight around the waist, moreso than they have been before. I also noticed that my running times have not been improving, or even really staying steady. I've been getting slower and have had to take more breaks during even a 45 minute run, which I should be able to knock out without any issues.

All of this led me, eventually (there was some denial involved...), to the scale. Yeah. 8 pounds heavier than I thought. *sigh*

No matter how much running and working out I do, if I am eating too much, it's not going to make a damn bit of difference. Time to stop using my workout schedule as an excuse for eating SO DARN MUCH, and start paying more attention to what goes in my mouth.

Which means that I am going to attempt a 'lifestyle change', starting now. I signed up for WW online this weekend, and I'm logging my foods religiously. Saturday - the first day I did it - I noticed just *how much* I have been snacking. And, because of my diabetes, I've been eating a lot of protein-rich but also fatty and calorie-heavy foods. I suspect this was not the best choice for my weight. It also hasn't been working so well for my fasting blood sugars.

So, it's back to weighing food, and realizing that a FULL handful of granola in the morning - even homemade! even made with agave syrup instead of sugar! even with olive oil instead of regular oil! - is probably a little too much. Portion control - I have not missed it, but I think my tush has.

Fortunately, my husband has agreed to sign up, too. I've said that I should lose about 18 pounds; he would like to lose 20-30. We'll see how this goes (as of right now, he has not yet signed up...but I do plan to hold him to that promise!).

Here's hoping that the pounds come off, that I feel lighter inside and out, and that I stop obsessing about food soon. (I think it's a natural side effect of cutting back on consumption, that I - and others - tend to think only about foodfoodfood for a period of time after cutting back. I sincerely hope it's only for a period of time.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Busy busy busy

I have been so ridiculously busy the last few weeks, and haven't had time to post. It is the usual beginning-of-the-semester insanity, coupled with a quick trip to California while my husband was there for work. I've never done that before, and we decided that this was the year we were going to take advantage of our childless state and multiple work trips and accompany each other whenever we could.

And boy, was I glad I did, even though I came back last week at least as stressed as when I left...if not more so. :)

His work trip was in southern CA, so while he worked hard on Saturday, I went to DisneyLand for the first time in many, many years. The last time I was there, I was with a friend whose annual work party was held there, which I thought was pretty excellent. This year, I went alone on Saturday and then with my husband on Sunday.

I am quite used to doing things alone - and, obviously, without children - but I did have a few experiences while in CA that made me wish that people could be more understanding / sensitive to people who are alone. Both times I had lunch without my husband - Friday, after I arrived, and Saturday, before I went in the park - I was ignored by the hostess as I approached the stand, until I said "I would like to have lunch." No greeting, no asking if I would like a table. And then, after I said that, BOTH hostesses said "Oh, just for one?" Well, yes - I am alone AND I would like to eat, as odd as that may seem!

Another instance occurred in the line for the last ride I rode by myself on Saturday. The line was loooong and people were restless, and when I got to the front, I was told to stand aside (on the line side of the turnstile) and let through a group of six. So I stood there, being bumped and jostled not only by the 6 people, but by the turnstile. The guy was...not helpful, and not pleasant, and it was so odd to see that at a park famed for its friendliness.

That aside, we had a lovely time on Sunday, despite crowds and insane children running around, and my husband's motion sickness. He rode a few rides with me and did quite well, though, so I have high hopes that he might be able to do other rides at other parks. I did okay with the whole no-kids thing, even though we were SURROUNDED by small children. Which, duh - we were at Disney - I kind of knew that would happen. My husband, apparently, has a soft spot for little girls who go all-out dressing up like their favorite princesses. It made me a little sad to think of the daughters that he won't get to spoil with princess dresses and hats and balloons and movies and... maybe that's okay, too. :>

I have another trip in a week and a half, and have to get moving on a LOT of work stuff this week. He's gone at the same time, again, so we'll have chaos for a week or so. But I do need to get back here and write more often...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kicked to the curb

Despite my talk about living the lives we have, and moving past the pain of infertility and subsequently living childfree, there are still moments that throw me.

One such moment occurred the other day, when I had a series of separate email exchanges with my parents.

My dad emailed about something else, then commented at the end of his email that my mother had mentioned getting another computer and she'd like to put it in my old room; he thought it was a good idea, and what did I think? I responded that we had chatted about it during our visit, and that I thought that room was a good choice, she should get a desktop or a full-function laptop, etc. I even suggested a location within the room - in the corner where, for the last 9 years, my mother has had a crib.

A crib. I'll just let that sink in a minute.

My mother purchased a crib - a very nice crib, mind you - when my SIL was pregnant with my niece. They didn't have much money when we were babies, so my brother and I, while we were obviously well-cared-for, did not sleep in designer cribs with matching sheets and crib (bed?) skirt. So mom indulged herself - and the baby (and later, her brother) had a lovely place to sleep when visiting.

Four years ago, I thought that eventually we'd be putting our own baby to sleep in that crib.

We all know that didn't happen. We didn't even come close. And since we stopped trying - stopped pursuing treatment - it's been harder and harder to visit and see that empty crib in the corner. This last visit, mom was using it as a catch-all for the yard sale stuff that we found throughout the house. I used it as a place to drape some of my clothes. And my husband commented that it sure was weird to sleep in a room with an empty and unused crib.

So, when I suggested that the computer could be placed in that room, in the corner where the crib was located, I never thought I'd get this response from my dad, one day later:

"We took the crib down in your room [side note: I haven't lived at home for more than 18 years; I think it's kind of cute that it's still "my" room.] and put it out on the curb. Hope someone takes it - it's a nice crib and barely used."


My mom said something similar in a later email, then commented that evening that someone had taken the crib after only an hour. "And it was in good shape - barely a tooth mark!"

Ouch, again.

Given my thoughts when seeing the crib in my old room - that they should just take it DOWN, already - I was surprised at how much it hurt to be told that they had disposed of the crib so blithely. It just reminded me that we don't and never will have a child who will sleep at his or her grandparents' houses. We'll never need to sneak the baby off to a quiet room for a nap after a day full of fun times with family and friends. We'll never have to be super duper quiet when going to bed at my parents' house, since the baby would be sleeping in the same room.

I imagine that I'll get over this soon, but for now, it still really hurts.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Incomplete thoughts

After I posted yesterday, I realized that I had not really completed my thoughts about why I prefer to keep a low profile online and in real life, as someone living childfree after infertility.

And it's a reason that I've written about before, here. Because we chose to stop after the IUIs, due to the financial and emotional implications of pursuing further medical treatment. Because there *wasn't* a good explanation for why I wasn't pregnant - why the treatments we had tried weren't successful. Because we didn't go all-out.

Among infertility bloggers, this embarrasses me. I don't know if "embarrasses" is really the RIGHT word, but it's the best I've come up with so far. When I read about others who have been in our shoes, who have gone to the ends of the earth to have their child(ren), who have taken the risks and come out on the other side with what they wanted SO badly... well, then I feel like a failure. Like we didn't want it badly enough. Like my concerns about my emotional and mental health; the health of our marriage; my professional life; and my physical health were tiny hurdles that we could have vaulted if we had only wanted it enough. My parents offered financial assistance. We live near the only infertility treatment center in the state. I had insurance that would have allowed at least one IVF attempt. And we still stepped off and decided this was what we had to do.

And it's funny how that decision skews my perspective sometimes. Whenever I have a long day at work...whenever I am impatient or annoyed by a small child...whenever we have popcorn for dinner... I think, maybe it was for the best that we didn't have children. Then I see my husband playing with a child...I see our niece and nephew...I get to hold a friend's four-month-old and put him to sleep (I have skills in that area, apparently)...and I think, maybe we should have gone one. Maybe we should have just tried that one IVF cycle. Maybe we still could.

But I know that we are not going to do that. At least not now. We're going to live the lives that we have chosen - without biological children. We're going to do our best to make our marriage strong, to have fulfilling jobs and happy lives outside of work. We're going to try to make a difference in the world. And I am going to work on owning our decision - not being embarrassed by it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why *aren't* there more of us?

The inimitable Loribeth posted recently about why there aren't more bloggers who write about living childfree after infertility. (Actual post is here.) And it got me thinking, why *aren't* there more of us?

I write about living child free after infertility, but I don't really advertise that I do. I tend not to comment on other peoples' blogs. I have not emailed the Stirrup Queen to add my blog to her roll. I don't allow (at least, I don't think I allow) my blog to be found via Google, etc. Part of this is because of my profession; part of it is because I am a very private person; and part of it is that I do not want people judging me, my husband, and our choices through their own lenses.

I think it is very difficult to go "public" as someone who has chosen to live childfree after infertility. It is still very difficult for me to "come out" to friends / relatives / college classmates (i.e. people I know in real life) as someone who has a) experienced infertility, and b) chosen not to pursue all possible options.

I even find it difficult when my husband answers peoples' questions as if we chose, all along, to be childfree. I don't think I wrote about this here - it occurred this summer, during All The Travel and The Not Blogging. We were with friends from my husband's college - we do this every summer - and taking a picture of all of us. My husband is the designated photographer - he is really fantastic at it. N did something to make the kids laugh and get their focus OFF the picture-taking, and someone commented on "when will you guys have kids?" N's response - point blank - was to say "We aren't going to have kids." Stares and questioning looks all around. Now, everyone was too polite to ask *why*, but the way he said it, it sounded like this was what we had chosen to do. And I'm sitting there thinking, but there's no *context*! None of these people (as far as I know) know about our infertility struggles. None of them know what we did. None of them know the choices we made, the discussions we have, the thoughts I *still* have. But I didn't say anything. Because I didn't want to get into it. I didn't want to have to defend our choices. I didn't want to have to listen to anyone suggesting adoption or foster care or other medical options.

And that is kind of why I keep a low profile online, as well. I like reading other peoples' blogs; I'm less enthused about putting myself and my blog out there. Plus, I don't always focus on living childfree. Sure, it comes up, but less often than it used to. More often, I think I'm writing about living childfree in the context of living the rest of my life.

Anyway. So those are my thoughts. Sorry for the incoherence and rambling -it's what most of my emails have sounded like today, too. Pity the poor people who receive those. ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Going to the movies

Well, we didn't *go* to the movies. We sat on our couch (correction: I was using my foam roller at the time, so I was on the floor and my husband was on the couch) and used Apple TV to watch previews (best part of the movies!) and then watch a movie. We chose One Day, which came out last year and was (if I recall correctly) panned as a vapid chick flick. Side note: I *like* vapid chick flicks. I also like animated movies and kids' movies. I like romantic comedies and comedies in general. I don't like to be depressed when I am watching a movie. We watched something...The American? With George Clooney? Anyway, that was last winter, I believe, and it was ridiculously depressing. Since then I've kind of put a moratorium on depressing movies. Real life is stressful enough - I would like to escape into the movies, thanks.

Anyway, we watched One Day. It has Anne Hathaway in it and some guy. ;) Her accent was interesting to me - I always wonder what those who have the accent in question think of someone putting it on for a movie like they might change their shirts. I was amused by the outfits and hair and GLASSES as the movie brought us forward in time from 1988 until the present. It was reasonably entertaining, and I thought all was good.

Until the last 15 minutes. And it wasn't even the twist (don't worry, no BIG spoilers here) that got me. It was what came before. She has finally met / married the man she is "meant" to be with, who has a child from a previous relationship (okay, a minor spoiler there). There's an emotional shot where she turns to her husband and says "I want a baby with the man I love." And I thought, oh, dear. Sure enough, fast forward a year, and we learn that she is not yet pregnant. We learn this because she storms off from the bathroom, leaving her husband behind, and says "In case you were wondering, I'm not pregnant." All I could think was, I have so totally said that, and in that exact tone of voice. It was the tone of voice I'd get after my period came, again. It was the tone of voice I'd get when another pee-on-a-stick moment turned into a big fat negative. It was the tone of voice I'd get when yet another friend would announce her pregnancy (usually on the very day I got my period).

I don't think my husband noticed. But, much like Up, I felt like the whiff of infertility and (biological) childlessness that infiltrated this movie came completely out of nowhere and slapped me in the face. In some ways, that mirrors my own experience. I was healthy, with no medical conditions*, and no red flags that would indicate an inability to get pregnant**. I was told by three health care providers that I should have "no problems" getting pregnant***. No reason to think that a baby isn't going to follow relatively soon after we start trying. Until it doesn't. And it won't. Despite our (ahem) efforts, and those of others.

* Of course, during all of the infertility crap, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Dammit. I still waffle on my attitude towards that. Option A (a.k.a., the good health care provider perspective): Gee, I'm glad I was diagnosed, so I can take good care of myself and prevent future problems! Option B (a.k.a., the whiny perspective): Really? Seriously? A chronic condition that I don't want, and that I can't control well no matter what I do? Dammit.

** No history of endometriosis, PCOS, irregular periods, etc. My mother was on Clomid when she got pregnant with my brother, but she got pregnant with me without really trying.

*** First, my GYN NP. Next, the midwife (!) I consulted the month we started trying, since I was trying to be a good patient and follow the rules for pre-conception care. And finally, the department head who did my surgery and said everything looked fine, my tubes were in good shape, and I should have no problems getting pregnant.

It just reminded me that this is never far from my consciousness, at least not yet. I sincerely doubt it affected my husband as it affected me. But it got me thinking about it, yet again, and reminded me that I am still working through all of the ramifications of living childfree not-by-choice.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 in review

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Traveled to Japan; attained premier status as a frequent flyer (flier?); taught a class solo; took on chairmanship of a small group in one of my professional organizations.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Um, I don't usually make new year's resolutions. In general, I like to start the new year as I mean to go on. Moderation in (most) things, enjoying my life, and striving to become a better person.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, classmates from high school and friends of my husband's from college. And all of the babies are appropriately adorable.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Just before New Year's, my childhood best friend's grandmother died. That may seem like a stretch, but we didn't have involved grandparents growing up, and she was a wonderful role model. Also, a former patient of mine died unexpectedly at age 22.

5. What countries did you visit?
Japan and Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn’t have in 2011?
Skin that behaves; regular massages; and peace with the decisions I make.

7. What dates from 2011 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

I don't have any particular dates etched in memory, although the end of May was memorable for our vacation.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
At least partially managing to keep all of the balls in the air as I learn to juggle the multiple responsibilities of my job. It's a constant challenge, and I am desperately seeking ways to help me stay organized an on top of all of the different facets of "what I do". I also think that I've lost some of my defensiveness at being childless, but I'm not sure that's permanent (or even obvious to others).

9. What was your biggest failure?
Hm. I did not lose weight, as I have hoped to do for the past several years. I lost my patience more than I should. And I got frustrated more easily, perhaps due to sleep deprivation and stress.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Normal colds, for the most part.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
E-books, by far. Well, I guess the iPad that facilitated those purchases, as well.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Zach Wahls.


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Jerry Sandusky. Bernie Fields. Anyone and everyone who abuses others, particularly children.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Apparently, cell phones (per my husband's comment the other day). That and the mortgage. We did get rid of one car payment in 2011 by selling his car, so that helped.

15. What did you get really excited about?

My work trips; presentations at national and international conferences; possibilities for work and home life.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
The goofy songs I heard at the gym, which is the only place where I hear "current" songs. "Raise your Glass" is one of them. Also anything by Adele.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) happier

b) the same (although I think stronger, as I've been lifting weights)

c) richer, I think

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
RELAXING. For the love of god, I need to learn to take some time for myself, my husband, and our dog.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stressing out about things I can't control. It's a chronic problem, though.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas Eve and Day with my in-laws. Then we spent New Year's with my side of the family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I still love my husband. And I fell in love with my iPad. :)

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Big Bang Theory. Any show that makes me laugh til I snort on a consistent basis is a keeper. Also, college basketball and football, and the NFL.

23. What was the best book you read?
Um...I'm in the middle of the Game of Thrones series, and those are pretty much the ONLY books I've read this year. *hangs head in shame*

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
My husband tends to make these for me. I can't really remember what he found for me this year. Adele was on several compilations.

25. What did you want and get?
I wanted an iPad, I got an iPad. I also got several grants at work, so that's all good.

26. What did you want and not get?

Hm. I've been pretty lucky. Maybe casual boots that can be worn with jeans or slacks? I'm still on the hunt.

27. What was your favorite film of 2011?
(Ahem, nerd alert.) Note by Note - a documentary on the making of a Steinway concert grand. Seriously. It's awesome. Also, Up (I think we saw that this year) and Cars. (What? I like movies with minimal drama.)

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was (sigh) 36. We didn't do a lot - I don't care to make my birthday a big celebration. But I was a bit sad because neither my college roommate nor my childhood best friend called me ON my birthday.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm not sure. More patience on my part. The ability to take 3 deep breaths and THEN react. Better time management. Better organization.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?
"Trying to wear pants that fit." I succeed about 33% of the time. Let's just say that I have been threatened with "What Not to Wear" nominations by more than one individual.

31. What kept you sane?
Our puppy. My husband. Living in a place I love, with minimal stress related to the nitty-gritty of living life.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
For the love of Pete, any issue on which someone wants to dictate how others live their lives. My marriage is certainly not threatened by two women or two men who want to get married. And seriously? Keep your hands off of my reproductive organs and my choices in that area.

33. Who did you miss?
My family. We only see them 2-3 times a year.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Things are never as bad as they seem. Sometimes jumping in and trying is better than overthinking. And we all need to slow down sometimes.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I am super terrible at song lyrics. I am going to take a bye on this one.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Home again, home again

Jiggity jig!

I love visiting my parents, but my goodness, was it nice to come home yesterday. As a bonus, we have been having unseasonably warm temperatures and NO SNOW as yet (this is very odd) so we had a beautiful sunny day to fly, and no travel issues. I think we have used up our good travel karma, though, so I anticipate major issues when we head to CA in a few weeks.

We had a good visit, although it's hard to see my parents getting older. They are not *old*, in my opinion, but they are definitely slowing down a bit. My dad will be going down to 4 days/week at work this year, and my mom is having some major sciatica issues. She has always been one of those moms who never stops moving, and to see her having pain primarily when she gets up in the morning is really hard. They still live in their three-story-with-a-basement house, though, and I saw no reason to be concerned about their ability to get around the house and get things done. And my mother still throws a really excellent party. We had a good time - saw family, friends, and just hung out most of the time.

It was better than the last few years, too, because hardly anyone mentioned children and why we don't have them. I had mentioned to my mother and my childhood best friend (whose mother is my mother's best friend...I know, convoluted and connected) that they could and should tell people that we are not able to have children. And I think they might have, as very few people brought it up (ahem, maternal aunt). But the weird thing is, I hate to bring up our infertility issues even with my mom and CBF. So I have never *asked* them whether they have shared that information with anyone, and if so, with whom. This leaves me wondering a) who knows, b) whether the additional communication (assuming it has happened) has led to a decrease in the number of people nosily asking about our reproductive status, or c) whether people have just given up as we get older and our childless state becomes more a function of our age.

Holding a friend's 4 month old (I love ages 4-9 months), the mom mentioned that I should freak out another friend by not telling her the baby was friend #1's. Friend #2 (the freak-out-ee) mentioned that "everyone" (as in our HS friends, I assume) thought I'd be the first to marry and have kids. And, no. Definitely not. I did not bring up our childless state with anyone, and it was rather pleasant to avoid any indepth or emotional conversations about it. Avoidance? Or moving on? I don't really know.

We had dinner with friends who are expecting their second baby - they had not intended to have more than one, but apparently decided shortly after #1 was born to go for #2. She had gotten pregnant with #1 on the first go-round (this was when I was just figuring out that something. wasn't. right.), and getting #2 going was apparently just as easy. It's interesting - she is very short of patience (IMO) and seems to not really enjoy taking care of small people. It will be interesting to see how that evolves as her kids get older. Anyway - I was surprised they decided to have a 2nd, and a bit sad to see how short she can sometimes be with her 2.5 year old (admittedly, one of THE most challenging ages for most kids).

We also enjoyed seeing our niece & nephew a few times - they are now 9 (!) and 7 (!!) and are morphing into really fun kids. They're still silly, of course, but they are a lot of fun to hang out with. I had a good time asking them about school and friends and football and scouts and everything else. One of my favorites was when our niece said that something was "odd" (funny word choice for a 9 year old) and also when she used the word "peculiar" in a sentence. :)

I now have 1.5 weeks left in winter break, and...let's just say my to-do list was a bit ambitious. I'm revisiting my goals this morning, as I ease back in to work, and I hope to at least get some things started so it is easier to finish them once the semester starts.

It's good to be home - the shower has more elbow room, the mugs for coffee are much bigger, and the house is definitely better-insulated. But it was also a bit sad to leave my parents - even though we'll be back in April (yay, work trips). Time to get back into the swing of things...