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Lights out and Visit to the Vet

Posted Jul 21 2007 12:00am

Last night was not a ton of fun. About 11:00pm the electricity went out. There was a lightning storm and for about two hours, there was no electricity. In Minnesota, this was never a big deal. So the electricity goes out. My heat still works! But here, well, my air goes out too and it gets hot! I was thinking, "What will happen if JB comes home and needs to go to sleep in this heat?" I was thinking we'd have to call a classmate to let him sleep at their house. At least for me, it was evening and a bit cooler than it would be during the day.

The electricity going out also meant it got very quiet. I didn't realize how much noise our air conditioning and fan made until they weren't going anymore. Not only did it wake me up when it went out, but it kept me up as it was so quiet, and then woke me up again when it came back on and everything started up again.

In addition, I just miss JB. Thank goodness tonight was his last night for the weekend. He will be home until Monday at 11am when he goes in for his clinic. Of course, his sleep is still going to be a bit screwed up, however, he can't keep it completely flipped because he has clinic on Monday. He said something about trying to sleep from 3am until 11am for the next two days and go with a "mid day" sleep.

In other news . . .

On Friday, JB and I took our little Scrubs to "The Vet."

We found this Vet's office from an advertisement on the Christian radio station. There is a Vet on base, but we've heard it's incredibly busy. We really liked this Vet. For one thing, they encourage us to come back in periodically just to get treats and say "hi" so that Scrubs doesn't think every time we pull in there it means bad things! What a great idea is that?! They also support the Christian radio station which we really respect. The doctor also gave us a bunch of great advice for training our new little pup including the fact that I could give him carrots for treats. Dalmatians have a very tight diet as they are extremely prone to UTIs and kidney stones. But carrots are fair game! There's a lot of things that new dogs mean. A woman in the waiting room told us, "You're going to spend a lot of money." JB has made it a point to not fill me in on the money related to this dog as I can be a little bit of a "tight-wad". So he paid the Vet bill without me peeking and quickly blew off the woman's comment.

Everyone in the office kept saying how calm Scrubs was. What a joke that is. This dog is a crazy man! I've never seen him as calm and quiet as he was in the Vet's office, especially when we ran into a Great Dane in the waiting room -- that is one HUGE dog. Scrubs sat right next to JB or me the whole time and didn't use the bathroom one time! I think he was too scared to go.

Ever since Scrubs has arrived, my infertility has been the most removed from my mind that it has EVER been. He has been here for a week as of today, and in that week, I have not had even one bad "moment" ... until yesterday that is.

Those "moments" come on without warning. It can be a well-intentioned comment, an email from an old friend, or a commercial on TV. I'll be doing great, and then, suddenly, I'll be crying or overcome with grief. It was actually a TV show that sent me into a spiral the day JB decided to reveal to me that he had bought me a dog!

The grief is hard to explain. Usually it has to do with the thought of things I may never be able to do. These may seem like "trivial" moments, but to me, they are huge instances that I can't get back. Finding out I'm pregnant, telling my husband, telling our families, being pregnant, delivering a baby, nursing a baby ... We still pray daily that someday we will have a biological child, but hearing people say, "Having my child was the best thing that ever happened to me," is difficult to stomach mostly because I know it is true.

Scrubs has helped with that. I know it sounds dumb because he is just a dog, but I've been so busy with him and watching his every move, that I haven't had time to feel infertile. I also haven't had a desire for a baby staying up all night when I have a dog who is staying up all night.

But during our visit to the vet, I was faced with one of those "moments" again. It's a moment when, all of a sudden, you go from feeling perfectly happy, to remembering that you are barren and you don't have children.

It was my favorite "Do you guys have kids?" question in the waiting room by a very sweet lady. JB jumped in before I could try to fumble for an answer and just said, "Not yet."

I guess part of my frustration with that question is: What do I say. If I say "no", I feel like people assume things about me. This may not make sense to many of you, but to those of you are infertile or have been infertile, please back me up on this.

When I answer that I do not have kids, I inevitably feel like people are saying, "Aaaah, a doctor's wife." I just have this bad feeling, like they are looking at me like some rich, snobby, stay-at-home wife who is choosing other, selfish things, over children. I know people probably don't really think this, but for some reason, answering "No" makes me feel this way. Instead I feel like I need to explain my "no".

I have had people insinuate that I am choosing a "career" or "things" over children, and I think this is where that fear comes from. Before we admitted to people that in fact, we had been trying, I had a few people remind me "not to wait too long" or "you can go back and work later" as if that was the reason we were still without children. JB and I kept our "secret" private for a year before deciding that it wasn't working. It was actually at a function for his class. I had been wanting to tell people but John wanted to keep it quiet. At that class function, eleven different people said something about us having kids, the pitter patter of little feet, what are we waiting for etc. I left the party exasperated and in tears. Once in the car, JB said that he was done with secrets. We were going to tell people so we didn't have to face a firing squad for the rest of medical school.

The other night, I was talking to a new friend, and she asked me what types of things were the most difficult for me. I discuss this here to help educate people. Please know that I do not take any commenst that hurt me, personally! I don't ever blame the person saying them because they are not bad comments in and of themselves. I recognize that my sadness is because I am overly sensitive about this issue. However, I do know that I am not alone in these feelings. My counselor in Minnesota asked me how I thought I was doing in comparison to other infertile women I had met. I had to be honest that I thought I was in the upper percentage of women as far as how sensitive I was to comments. So, instead, as always, know that I talk about this here to educate people. I do not get my feelings personally hurt by comments. However, those comments can cause me to get down.

I realized there are three things that just cause me to spiral. The first is the "Do you have kids question?" This question is one of the most difficult for me. It just seems I can't escape this question. I really want to encourage everyone out there: Don't ask strangers this! Another friend here is the result of parents who tried for nine years! She told me that she never asks this question. (She also said that when she told her mom of my story, her mom told her to move a statue of a pregnant woman in her home into her bedroom. I thought this was so kind!) If a couple does not have children and has been married more than a few years, the odds are great that they haven't been able to have them, and this question just stinks. You can probably find the answer to this question fairly easily if you just wait. It'll become quickly obvious.

The second thing that is difficult for me to deal with is when people complain about their children. When my new friend asked me what conversation she could avoid around me I said, "Complaining." I recognize parents need to complain, and I think they have every right to complain, but I feel like that conversation could be reserved for another day when I'm not around. There are tons of other parents to complain to! The infertile gal probably isn't the best choice. Complaining is hard because I would give anything to be able to complain.

The only other thing I asked her was that if she found out she was pregnant, to tell me via email, a card, or through JB. Telling me in person is difficult. I am so happy for the person and don't want to start crying out of my own selfishness in front of someone who is so happy. I have had a few times where someone gave me their news in person. Inevitably, here comes this lump in my throat and the scratchy eyes. I feel horrible. Here is this awesome moment in my friend's life, and I'm crying because I'm jealous! Since I have told people this, I have been so blessed by the nice cards and emails I have received giving me the news. My cousin Sarah sent me a card and just said, "Call me when you are ready." Some days, I handle these fine. Some days, they cause me a few minutes of a pity-party. But at least I can have these privately and the next time I see you, I am prepared to celebrate properly. Some of my infertile friends don't feel the same way. They want to be told in person. So I advise you to ask the husband what would be best if you don't know, or ask the person before you get pregnant.

Tara, who has been doing an REI (reproductive endocrinology) rotation, wrote on her blog the other day about how everything has to work together so perfectly for people to get pregnant. I know that is so true! I have learned so much during my four years of "living" at the REI in Minnesota. Life truly is a miracle. However, sometimes it doesn't feel that way. It feels like the rest of the world gets pregnant as easily as they get groceries. Thursday: haircut; Friday: get groceries; Saturday: get pregnant. Sigh ... okay, so that's not true, obviously, but somedays it does feel like I'm the only one in the world feeling this way.

I definitely don't want people walking on egg shells with me or any other infertile woman in their life. However, I think it is very important that as human beings, we are aware of other people's suffering. If someone has just lost their parent, you don't want to complain about your own parent in front of them. That just makes sense. It isn't just infertility I am talking about here. We all have things in our life that are painful, and if we communicate those feelings to others, they are able to help us deal appropriately. People don't know how to help unless you tell them what you need. So I tell people and keep things very real. If you have another infertile friend and need advice, ask me! I'll help!

I have a link on the right on this blog entitled "How to Help Your Infertile Friend". This has other advice as well. However, please know that with me, you can just ask me what I need and I will tell you. Or ask JB. We are extremely honest. We don't mind any questions about adoption or infertility. We want people to know.

All right, this post about lights and the vet went in a completely different direction, but as always, I'm just sharing my heart. I'm so excited for JB to come home this morning and be home for the whole weekend! Yay!!! I'm also excited to have some help with this dog.

I also want to wish my mom a happy 29th birthday! Okay, so that's a lie. Actually she is 52. Pretty young to have a 30 year old! I think her mother is 72 or 73. That's pretty young to have a 30 year old granddaughter. Happy day mom!
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