Monday, April 28, 2014

Resolve to Know More

Yes, yes, I'm late. I had a good excuse. :)

A few weeks ago I spent an evening with a friend who I haven't really spent much time with before. She and I knew each other from choir, and then she moved out of the city awhile back and haven't spoken much since. But when she read a post about my infertility that I'd posted on Facebook, she connected with me and spoke about her own struggles, and we arranged a dinner date. (This is why I speak out about my infertility publicly. We could have been living side by side, not knowing that we had this connection, had I not said anything. And now we're closer because of it!)

It was a beautiful night, if a little cold, so after dinner with her and her husband in their gorgeous house the two of us took a blanket out to the backyard and watched the moon come up and talked about infertility. I talked about my experiences thus far, including what IVF was like, and she worked through a lot of her feelings from a not-yet-diagnosed but worried-about-her-future perspective. It was a really good conversation, and I realized I'd never been on this side of the table before, being the more experienced person giving encouragement and support to someone who's just starting out on the infertility journey. (I mean, I comment on new IF bloggers' posts often but I don't usually find myself in this position as a person-to-person connection, without a screen and keyboard between us.)

As I walked out to my car at the end of the evening and began to drive home, something about our conversation was bugging me, and it took me quite awhile to figure out what it was. I realized it was the way she kept saying that she felt selfish for thinking about her options to build a family, other than the old-fashioned way that hasn't worked for them yet. That if it didn't work this one particular way, maybe she just wasn't meant to have children and it would be too selfish of her to spend money on having a baby. And that made me mad. How did we get to this place, as a society, where women who have children naturally and easily are selfless, but women who want so badly to be mothers that they use IVF or adoption or another alternative method are selfish?

Infertility is a DISEASE. Yeah, it isn't life-threatening, so I'm not upset that we're not publicly racing for a cure the way we are for cancer or HIV or anything, but that doesn't change the fact that the WHO classifies it as a DISEASE. And as victims of this disease, we are sometimes treated like children who want a puppy, not like women who have a disease and deserve a chance to move past it. As victims of this disease, we are sometimes chastised for "selfishly" wanting to try IVF, or try embryo adoption, or try donor gametes, instead of "just adopting." In an unrelated conversation with an unrelated person, I got that advice. "Why are you trying IVF, when there are so many parentless children that you could be helping? I want to adopt, but I wanted my own children first and then I'm sure I'll adopt a dozen more once my own are a little older..." It was just fine, of course, for her to have "her own" children first, but because I'm infertile it's suddenly my lot in life to "help others," which means I'm considered selfish because I'd first like to try IVF? Adoption, like every other infertility treatment, isn't for everyone, and we all deserve to choose our path without the stigma.

So my contribution to RESOLVE's 2014 NIAW is Resolve to Know More about the DISEASE. Remember that infertility is a disease, and all women deserve to make a family in whatever way they can without judgment or stigma from those who haven't walked in their shoes.

ICLW, NIAW, CNF2014, &c.

Phew, what a week! International Comment Leaving Week and National Infertility Awareness Week both came at a rather inopportune time, and in my rush to sign up for ICLW I neglected to use my brain. ILCW (and NIAW) both came during my work's annual conference, the biggest event of the year for us. So on Easter morning Cory and I boarded a plane to Nashville and we spent the entire week working 12-14 hour days, setting up the event and working it and putting out fires and tearing it down at the end. We'd fall into bed late and get up early, with almost no time for anything. We had over 3000 attendees, it was nuts. But a good kind of nuts. I love Conference.

Then yesterday, since we were there and we didn't know when we'd ever get back, we spent the day sightseeing. We made it out to The Hermitage, and also wandered around downtown Nashville. But we were pretty tired from the week, so we came back by dinnertime. It ended up being a good thing,too, 'cause thunderstorms started and now there are flash flood warnings and there was a huge tornado in Arkansas that's supposed to move into central Tennessee today. So I'm glad we made it out this morning with no problems.

Anyway, we are home and the dog has been picked up from the kennel and the laundry is being washed and I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow. But first, I'm going to comment on all my fellow ILCWers and post an NIAW post, to catch up. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

Five days until Cory and I leave for Nashville to work our annual conference. Life has been pretty rough this week! I was telling my coworker today that I've been riding this roller coaster alternating between panic and thinking everything is hilarious. I'm totally not firing on all cylinders and I've stuck my foot in my mouth a few times this week. Good thing I get all of this panic out of the way the week before the actual conference. When I get there it's always just fine. I'm just alternately curious and terrified about what I'm going to forget this year. (It's the rules, one always have to forget something.) And really, I'm kind of OK with the panic/hilarity roller coaster because it's much more interesting (and makes the time go by much more quickly) than the stuck-behind-a-Sunday-driver feeling of restlessness that I'd have otherwise. (27 days left until our consultation!) I emailed the clinic the other day to ask if there were any other tests they recommended we get out of the way, besides a pap (which will happen on the 5th as long as my cycle doesn't start until the 6th like it's supposed to), but they didn't have any suggestions. They prefer to wait until the consult to recommend anything. And it's not like I'm hurting for something to do between now and then, so I suppose it's for the best not to clutter up my schedule. I also had a chance to chat with our executive director this afternoon (a rarity, as she's always so busy!) and I mentioned that we were planning on trying IVF again this summer. I wanted her to know because it'll mean we're out of the office a bunch, since the clinic is an hour and a half away, and she was very sweet and said she'd light a candle for us. (She's Catholic.) On top of our conference, next week is also ILCW AND National Infertility Awareness Week. I'm glad that I have wifi in my hotel room, or I'd never be able to keep up! I'd love to hear if any of you are planning on writing a post for Resolve, and what you're thinking of writing about. I haven't had time to think much about it yet so maybe one of your ideas will spark one for me!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A 40th Birthday Party

Cory turned 40 on Friday.

The Birthday Boy and his cake whiskey.

I had to work half the day, so we held off on most of our celebrations until Saturday, when we got the dog nice and tired and left him in the care of the cats while we went up to McMinnville.

McMenamins is a really well-known Oregon business, with over 50 pubs and hotels. We've been going to McMenamins for years - in fact, our first meal together was at their pub in Lincoln City, Oregon. Both of our 30th birthday celebrations were at McMenamins. So I thought I'd continue the tradition this year at the Hotel Oregon.

We checked into the James McBride room, up on the 4th floor. If you're not from Oregon, I'm not sure what to compare the decor to - it's eclectic and vintage and artistic. Even if you don't stay at one of their hotels, it's worth it to visit, grab a beer, and walk the halls to look at all the murals and artwork. The rooms are usually named after someone local and historically significant - Mr. McBride was the ambassador to the Kingdom of Hawaii back in the 1860s. There were little tidbits about him painted on the wall, as well as his portrait.

He watched us sleep.

My coworker came for a late dinner in the pub. She was running late, so we had a nice long chat by ourselves over some sweet potato fries. We talked for a little bit about how he's been feeling about being a 40-year-old, from a hopeful parent perspective. I'm sure it's something a lot of older potential dads feel - he's worried that the older he gets, the less he'll be able to be active and able to do all those strenuous things that dads do. He remembers his friend's dad, who was about 50 when Cory met him, the kind of dad who sat in his easy chair reading the paper in the background, present but not participatory, as his son did his own thing. Cory doesn't want to be that way. And he won't. But that doesn't stop him from being worried. Guess we need to find some more contemporaries who are in our boat, rather than the ones who are grandparents (a classmate or two - seriously) or have kids in high school.

As we were finishing dinner, my cousin and her boyfriend joined us, and then we all visited the two bars in the hotel for drinks and snacks until midnight. I have to say, one of the best parts of the whole night was when we all said goodbye and then Cory and I just ran up the stairs and were in bed before our visitors had been able to drive out of McMinnville. That was fantastic. I hate having to drive home after a late night of socializing.

The next morning we had breakfast with Cory's best friend and his fiancee, and then we headed back for home.

It was a pretty nice way to spend a birthday weekend, I think, even if that birthday was the big four-oh.