Defending this Space

When my friend told me she thought I shouldn’t blog here, I didn’t get upset. Of course her email upset me but I didn’t feel that knee-jerk need to defend myself, or my blogging. That was my first clue that she was wrong, just fundamentally off-base, about the whole thing. From the moment I read her words I knew they weren’t true.

And yet she was very articulate in expressing her opinions and she made some interesting points. I have certainly posed some of those questions myself, so I didn’t feel it was right to just ignore her concerns.

Instead of writing my response I turned to all of you. I am forever indebted to you for your insights. You reminded me once again how intelligent, thoughtful and well-written you all are. I am honored that you come here to read my words, to watch me muddle through this thing called life.

So back to the email, and your responses. I already knew that my friend was wrong but hearing your takes on the whole thing just made me feel… understood and validated (a common theme here to be sure). After so many recent attacks by people in real life, on who I am and how I deal with my issues, it was incredibly helpful to know that I’m not deluding myself by coming here for support.

Here is a little bit of what I wrote to her in response to her email:

… I must disagree with your belief that my blog is causing me harm, that it is a detriment to me in some way. Writing about those things that are difficult to me is not indulging my depression or anxiety, it is helping me process and deal with it. Blogging does not make me think more about TTC or anything else that I write about there, it helps me get it out, so I don’t think about it so much.

I hope you realize that my blog is not a reflection of who I am, or how I live my life. It is ONE PART OF ME. I go there to reflect on and let go of aspects of my life that I struggle with. Writing there helps me to move past those things. And if it seems like it only makes me obsess more, it is because I would be obsessing otherwise.

I didn’t even start writing my blog until I was almost done with my first TTC journey. … Not writing during that first year trying, and during my ectopic, did not make either of those things easier, in fact I believe they made them harder. Going though that alone, not having anyone who understood, was terribly difficult. One of the few things that brings me peace when I worry about losing another pergnancy is knowing my blogging community will be there for me to help me through it. It is literally the ONLY thing that brings me comfort.

I really can’t describe to you in words how much my blog, and the people who read it, mean to me. Writing there is the first time in my life I’ve felt wholly and completely accepted and understood. It is the first time I didn’t feel like a freak. …

It’s clear to me that I can’t convince you that my blog does not hinder my ability to navigate these things. I just hope you can understand that my blog is not a representation of who I am, it’s just one part of me. And being able to write about that one part openly, instead of having to hide as I am forced to do with EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON IN MY LIFE (except Mi.Vida) is incredibly healing. It might seem like I think about TTC obsessively, it might seem like I don’t celebrate the happy parts of my life, but that is simply not true. I do those things with everyone else, I celebrate Isa and I speak of all that good that is happening with my friends and colleagues and parents and Mi.Vida. I don’t talk about the stuff on my blog with anyone, except for the people who read my blog. And I assure you that the release I get from saying those things there, from having people understand when it stings a bit for my cousin to so easily get pregnant again, when it takes me I know-not-yet-how-long again, instead of berating me for being selfish or jealous or cruel, is invaluable.

I have taken breaks from my blog, two and three week breaks here and there. Sometimes they are nice, sometimes I’m dying to write. But never have I ever felt it would be in my best interest to walk away. And I won’t walk away now. But I will always know your thoughts on the matter, and I will take them into consideration in the future, if it’s appropriate.

There was more (a lot more) but I want to be respectful to my friend (even though she is no longer reading my blog) so that is all I will include (I’m also saving you all from reading another 800+ words). I think it is a good representation of the points I made and how I feel about the whole thing.

The final installment of our communication was an email from my friend. Things seem to be better between us and she claims to better understand why I blog and what it means to me. The truth is, I don’t need her to understand, because I do and I feel good about my participation in this community. I truly believe it helps, and doesn’t hurt, me and my pursuit for greater happiness.


I’ve had two people in the last week tell me I’m impatient. They were both referring to me trying to get pregnant. (One of these was my grandmother, and I kind of yelled and her, and it was kind of bad.)

I know I’m impatient. I always have been. I’m sure that plays a part in the difficulties of trying to conceive. But honestly, I don’t feel like that simple statement is at all representative of why TTC troubles me so.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, about why I’m having such a hard time with it not happening quickly. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not so much in a hurry to have my second child, I’m not aching to be pregnant or hold a newborn in my arms (I want both of those things very much but I don’t need to have them right now). So why does it bother me so, every time I get a BFN?

Well the most obvious reason is, TTC is hard. Despite what those who’ve never experienced it would like us to believe, despite what they believe themselves, for most people, TTC is difficult. It requires a change of lifestyle, it requires work, it requires navigating stressful relationship issues, it requires a ton of unpleasantness, even when someone is not suffering from TTC related PTSD.

So there is definitely that, and maybe that is enough to explain why I have such a hard time with all this. But I think there is something more.

I’ve mentioned before that almost everyone I know in real life gets pregnant incredibly fast, like predernaturally fast, like, it happened before we even started trying fast! I know 15 couples who got pregnant that way, four of them got pregnant that way twice. (I even have a friend who got pregnant on an IUD!) Not one of them had a miscarriage. I know one couple who got pregnant after six months or trying and one miscarriage. Just one. And I know (through my blog, and some in real life) dozens who suffered for years, and through multiple daunting experiences with ART, to have their children. Many haven’t even had them yet.

(And of course there are about six or so couples I know whose reproductive histories I am entirely ignorant of. I have no idea what their experiences were, so I can’t really include them in my understanding of TTC as a whole.)

I think this dichotomy, this you-either-get-pregnant-immediately-or-you-suffer-from-infertility split  is really messing with me. When everyone whose story I know fits into one of those two categories, the farther I get from the one (über-fertility) the closer I get to the other (infertility). There is no in between for me. If I can’t get pregnant in the first three months, I’m automatically infertile, because I have no one to look to as an example of the middle ground.

You might think, well that is silly: surely you know that a very small percentage of people get pregnant the first month (about 10%), and an only slightly larger percentage is still not pregnant after a year (about 15%). Surely you know the statistics. And I do, probably better than the majority of the population. In fact my own story mirrors these statistics. But I still don’t trust it. From what I see my story is the anomaly and so is the story of 80% of the population (none of whom I seem to know).

I think that is what is going on here, why I get so scared when it starts to take a while, when I pass the three month mark (which I know is no time at all, really). For me, after you’ve pasted three months the next stop is 1+ years, with probable medical intervention.   When I say, but everyone I know gets pregnant so easily, I’m not saying that to show how easy they have it, I’m saying, THAT IS HOW IT HAPPENS FOR PEOPLE. And if it’s not happening that way for me, it means it’s going to not just a little harder, but infinitely so.

I don’t know how to let go of this mentality, to look past what I see and embrace what I am told, what makes sense. After four months of trying only about 24% of couples will be pregnant. At six months only 40% will have achieved pregnancy. That means it takes more than half of couples trying to get pregnant over half a year to do so. IT IS TOTALLY NORMAL. Yet I can’t seem to believe it as such. I can’t seem to embrace it as truth.

Every month I don’t get pregnant brings me one month closer to reproductive hardship. I just can’t seem to look at it any other way. I don’t know if it’s my mom’s story or the dozens (sometimes it feels like hundreds) of stories I’ve heard on blogs I read or Twitter, but I just can’t seem to see the middle ground, what’s normal. When I say I wish I knew people who took a few months to get pregnant it’s not just because I want to feel less alone, it’s because I want examples of that reality. I can’t believe it until I see it.

And I just don’t see it anywhere.

So I think that plays a big role in shaping my mindset, which can look, to others, like impatience. But it’s not impatience really, it’s fear. It’s fear of it taking far longer than the standard year. It’s fear of the losses I might endure along the way. It’s fear that by missing the über-fertile boat there is no other boat to catch but the infertile one. It’s fear that I will never achieve another pregnancy, I will never give my daughter a sibling.

That is what drives me to despair each failed month, not impatience. And I wish I could get some people in my life to understand that.


My temperature plummeted today, which means my hormones levels are readjusting themselves at an alarming rate, which means there is a biological reason for me feeling as out of control as I do. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

This cycle was a total mindfuck. I’m not saying that to complain, I’m just stating a fact. I really truly thought I was pregnant, so much so that even after all the BFNs I still held out hope. And yet this morning I wasn’t surprised to the see the low temp. And yet I was still a little devastated. Hope is an endlessly tiring thing.

I have come to an important conclusion in the past few days: Depression and being home with a toddler do not mix well. They can be a panic inducing combination. The summer, something I used to look forward to with such enthusiasm, is suddenly an infinite stretch of time I can’t fathom surviving. And it’s not that I don’t want to be with my daughter, I do, but this depression, and the anxiety that comes with it, are making it hard for me to see what’s real and what’s not. I keep telling myself that I can get through this, and when I’m in the middle of the days it is doable, but the mornings, the waking up and the getting out of bed, is so hard. I find myself hyperventilating a little, just at the thought of it. I’m fairly certain Mi.Vida thinks I’ve lost my mind.

But being outside, and being with Isa (when she’s not melting down), do good things for me. I’m hoping that, as I move away from this mindfuck of a cycle, as I move toward the next try, as I start my writing classes, as I visit my friends, as I spend time in the sun, as I invest small moments in myself, as I read some good books, as I just slow down and take stock, I will get better. And if I don’t by my birthday, I will take more concrete steps to remedy this situation. I don’t deserve to be this miserable. I deserve to enjoy the life I have, and I will do what I need to do to achieve that.

Wrapping my head around it

We went to the family orientation at Isa’s school today. It was a lot of fun; Isa LOVED the room and played happily there for over an hour. It’s clear she is going to be the loudest and most energetic kid in the classroom, taking after her mom for sure.

All the other parents and kids seemed really nice. There will be 13 or 14 kids in the room next year with four teachers. I never did a formal count but it definitely looks like there will be more girls than boys, which will probably makes things a bit more manageable. Who knows though, if the girls are like Isa, it will be crazy in there.

I spent the first thirty minutes with Mi.Vida and Isa, not really meeting anyone. Finally I pushed out of my shell and started shaking hands. Everyone was very open and kind, I didn’t get a standoffish vibe from anyone. From what I can tell there is at least one lesbian couple and maybe a polyamorous threesome. I’m really not sure about the group of three, at first I thought she was a solo mom, then I thought she was a nanny, then I got confused later and, forgetting that I had met the (biological) mom with a man earlier, thought she was the partner of the biological mom. But then the dad showed up again and I was reminded of his existence and I figured they were a polyamorous group. Later, in the car, Mi.Vida admitted he had come to the same conclusion. I have to admit, I have never been friends with anyone involved in polyamory, let alone a family with kids. I love that it’s so excepted here in San Francisco.

After the hour orientation, which was just the kids playing in the room and the parents meeting and greeting, we stayed for two hours of the Fiesta Latina. There was a bouncy house and “jugo de melón” (cantaloupe juice) so Isa was pretty much in heaven. Seriously, she could not have been happier.  Mi.Vida and I didn’t mind the yummy tacos and pan dulce either.

I, of course, signed up for the Parents Association and marked that I would be willing to be a classroom representative. I also grabbed the contact info for the blog, because hey, why not put something more on my plate?

I have to admit, going to Isa’s school today was bittersweet. I am struggling greatly with my daughter’s full and complete departure from babyhood. I mean, she hasn’t been a baby for a long time but turning two means she really is on her way to becoming a little girl. The other day I was searching for khaki pants and dark blue shirts (the school’s uniform) on Old Navy’s site and when I couldn’t find any in her size under the toddler tab I clicked over to the baby tab. Then I realized, I can’t shop for her there any more – she is 24 months, the high end of that section. I know it’s a stupid qualifier, but this past year I’ve taken solace is knowing that I could shop for her in either section. Sure, she’s a toddler, but she’s still my baby girl. Not anymore.

I’m really surprised by how hard this milestone is hitting me. I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that Isa is turning two, even though I’ve been calling her a two year old for a good month already. I mean, I knew this was coming and yet now that it’s here I don’t feel ready for it.

I was reading a post the other day about how personal the choice of sibling spacing is, how the only ones who can decide what is right for a family are the family members themselves. In the comment section many mothers were talking about how they couldn’t imagine adding another child into the mix, how they wanted to cherish the time they had with their first child and didn’t want to change the dynamic by introducing such a huge unknown. I never feel that way when I think about having another kid. Am I missing out on these moments, this time, with my daughter because I have my gaze forever fixed on the future? Do I really not know how to be, to really be, in the now? And if I did, would I feel the same? Unwilling to alter the perfection of our relationship by adding a totally unpredictable element? I know we’re all different but sometimes I wonder if I’m getting this whole mothering thing wrong.

This summer with Isa, might be the last I spend alone with her. Probably it won’t be, but there is a chance it will. I sincerely hope I’ll at least be pregnant next summer and if that is the case things will be different enough from how they are now. I can’t figure out how that should make me feel. Wistful? Nostalgic? Sad? Excited? I just can’t seem to wrap my head around any of it, so I just keep muddling through.

Just as I muddle through this stagnant time, trying to breath through the stuckness I’m feeling. Trying to make it through the days.

A Return to My Roots

It’s Monday evening after the long weekend that kicks off the summer. I should be rejuvenated, ready to start the week but the opposite is true. These past four days have been incredibly intense. We hosted a family of four (my friends from London) at my parents house (my parents stayed at our apartment in the city). I thought it was going to be a collaborative weekend where we all pitched in and made things happen but instead Mi.Vida and I ended up buying and preparing food for–and then cleaning up after–four adults and three kids for four days. The almost five year old kept wetting the bed and my friends didn’t want him in pull-ups because they’re “trying to potty train him”. Um, that’s great but I have to clean and launder his whole sleeping set up EVERY MORNING and it takes forever and is a huge drain on resources. Finally I basically demanded they put him in pull-ups and bought a pack for them (SO EXPENSIVE!). The last night he peed so much he still got everything wet, even through the pull-up! I can’t believe they are/were planning on just letting him wet every bed he’ll be sleeping in for the next two weeks. I also let them borrow the brand new car seat from my mom’s car not knowing their daughter gets motion sickness. She’s already puked all over it three times. It will be wrecked by the time they get back from the next two week road trip and I’ll have to get my mom a whole new car seat. So much for being generous, welcoming and kind.

It was a fun weekend, but it’s always hard to share limited space with other parents who deal with their children very differently than you do. It was incredibly challenging but a good time.

So I spent my whole weekend having my period and dealing with that emotional fallout of that, while putting on a brave face for my friends. It was a really rough period too, I was passing a lot of tissue, which I never do. This whole cycle was so wonky, with the weird temps in the first half, my shorter than usual LP and my really crampy, heavy (for me) menstrual cycle. Needless to say I’m glad it’s over and I’m ready to just get on with the next one.

I know I said I wouldn’t be writing about my cycle this go around but I don’t think I can do it. What I can do is minimize my TTC-related posts to once a week. Once a week I can come on here and vent about my cycle, my temperatures, my CM (or lack thereof). I’m not limiting myself to once a week for you all (more on that in a minute) but for myself. My sincere hope is that if I write about it less here, I’ll think about it less in real life. Not sure if that is how it will work but I want to give it a try.

I was writing recently to a bloggy friend who told me she stopped reading my blog because of my current focus on TTC. I totally understand her doing this, in the past eight months I have stopped reading many a blog that turned TTC (or, the ever popular: surprise, I randomly got pregnant without even trying!) I just couldn’t read those posts when I wanted to be trying but was instead sitting on a counselor’s couch trying to mend my relationship. And I totally understand anyone who doesn’t want to read about it here. I mean, let’s face it, even if you aren’t bothered by a TTC blog, they are boring as all hell (no disrespect to anyone, but they are – it’s the same thing every month and none of it is positive). No one should have to subject themselves to that shit day in and day out, possibly for months. Especially if the whole subject triggers PTSD of some kind. I mean, I get it. I REALLY DO.

It’s funny, I was excited to blog during TTC this time, as I missed that chance my last go around. The only place I could rely on for support were the Fertiliy Friend boards but they just didn’t cut it for me. By the time I ended up here, almost a year after I’d started trying and months after my ectopic, I was pregnant within a month. This time I was going to have people to help me through it. This time I wouldn’t feel so alone.

But it’s not turning out that way, and I totally understand why. I was naive to think it would happen differently. Being TTC#2 in this community is hard enough. Being TTC#2 when you’re not even infertile is a whole other über-complicated issue. And being TTC when none of your readers are, well, it’s isolating.

For a while there I tried to leave because I didn’t want to focus on how alone I felt here. But then I realized that I needed to write, for me, to get it out, to exorcise that shit. I don’t think about TTC all the time (although I’m sure it seems that way) but it does consume a significant portion of my thoughts and I need a place to process how I’m feeling. This will be that place, and I’ve accepted that I am blogging for myself again, just like I was back when I was TTC after my loss, when hardly anyone read and very, very few commented. I kept writing then and I’ll keep writing now. But my focus has changed. This place is primarily for me again. I feel very differently about this space now than I did six months ago.

I also notice I feel differently about the other blogs I read. I’m not as inclined to comment now that I feel this piece of my life isn’t (currently) about community or support. I don’t find myself wanting to reach out as much. I’m kind of pulling back, keeping my distance, protecting myself, as it were. And that is fine. Our reasons for blogging grow and change. I’ve accepted that.

I’ll continue to blog at my new space. I’m chronicling our house search there, for better or worse. I might have another project in my sights–I just need to make sure I have the resources to pull it off.

Right now I have a lot of things looming, the final weeks of the school year, packing my classroom, surviving another cycle, accepting that one after is most likely a bust, giving Mi.Vida space to work on his issues and hoping when he’s done we can work on ours, losing some weight (my jeans suddenly don’t button anymore), not completely succumbing to the encroaching depression. You know, fun stuff, all of it.

And this space will get me through it. It’s nice to have this space be for me again. It really is.

The Plunge

The plunge happened. Two days ago. One day early actually (this concerns me slightly). Today’s temp confirmed that it wasn’t just a fluke. After some nice triphasal patterning, (and continued heavy-feeling, sore breasts) I have to admit I was surprised. I guess we didn’t make the winning goal in this game.

I’ll be honest: It hit me harder than I expected. Being stuck in a bedroom with my daughter, both of us exhausted but awake, not willing to get up for over two hours, didn’t help. Neither did getting something in the mail, something I hoped to use to tell Mi.Vida the good news (if there were any good news to share), didn’t help either.

But there were no tears, just some pricklies behind my eyes. And now I’m just waiting for the final blow so I can get on with it and start again.

Thank goodness for another chance, right?

I’m actually spending these days stressing on the timing of these next two cycles because if I ovulate early for either of them, we’ll miss our chance in July, as I’ll be away with some girl friends for four days–right at the worst time. So I just want to ovulate on day 13 for the next to cycles. I’m really focusing on having all the chances I can.

Counting out like that, realizing how little time there is left before we start getting into
the “later than we would have like” territory, thinking about possible losses and set backs and how far apart my children will likely be, I get panicky. I get scared. Really scared.

But then I remind myself that it will be okay. Ultimately, even if NOTHING goes according to plan, it will be okay.

I mean, my sister and I have seven years between us and our lives turned out alright. I can do this, whatever “this” ends up being. I have to.

So with a somewhat heavy heart and some definite melancholy I go into this long weekend. I also go in with a case of Diet Coke, two six packs of beer and some out-of-town friends. Needless to say I will be taking advantage of not being pregnant. Frequent and whole-hearted advantage.

And frankly, having friends here with two perfectly spaced (three years apart) kids does more to humble me than inspire jealousy. Having two kids looks like some hard fucking work. Neither gets a moment of alone time all day. It is a good reminder of what we’re working towards, that it’s not all unicorn farts and fairy queefs. Not at all.

I mean, I know that, but a tangible reminder never hurts.

Oh, and after some drama on my other site I put up a post about what I learned. It was definitely an eye opening experience.

Not in the game

I guess I’m not in the game.

My temperature sang back down to 97.1 today. It’s been doing that, swinging by 5-7 degrees, or more, most days. I keep think the dip is “the dip” and the rise is “the rise”. Yesterday morning, when I finally broke 98.0 I was good to go. I never have a temp in the 98s before I’ve ovulated.

I’ve also never ovulated past CD14 before. Heck, I’ve never had a chart like this. It looks anovulatory. Maybe this is what the charts would have looked like if I had temped during the years and years I never menstruated. Maybe I’m right back where I’ve spent the last four years being terrified I’d return to.

Disappointed doesn’t even begin to cut it. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, “You’re probably just ovulating late,” is what you want to tell me. Maybe I am. All I know is that for four cycles, when I couldn’t try, everything looked textbook. Perfect. Even when I ovulated early last month, everything looked textbook, perfect.

This month is a shit show. I can finally play the game, and there is no game to play. So I just run around desperately, trying to figure out what the rules are.

I feel broken, betrayed. I feel regret and anger.

I’m so done. I’ve given up. On pretty much every front, I have no hope. I’m never going to get a job, I’m never going to sell my book, we’re never going to buy a house and we’re certainly never going to get pregnant.

I know it sounds defeatist but it’s exactly how I feel.

Now I have to go and get ready for my hardest day of the week, after which I have to meet with a realtor. Won’t that be fun?

I wonder if I’ll make Mi.Vida have dispassionate sex with me. I guess we’ll see.