I’ve still got it.

Last night, as I was driving to a friend’s for our monthly game of Bunco, a guy hit on me. While I was in my car. Stopped at a stoplight.

Before I tell the story, in all fairness let me make two things clear:

  1. I was in my car, he was in his car, and I imagine there was no way for him to see my wedding ring or pregnant belly from where he was.
  2. I was not in my usual attire of sweats and a T-shirt and a naked (sans concealor!) face. I had just showered, done my hair and makeup, and I was wearing big, silvery hoop earrings that always make me feel very pretty. I was looking about as best as I can these days, considering that I’m still so exhausted all. the. time.

With that said, as I was sitting at the stoplight just a couple blocks away from my destination, I glanced over to see the relatively good-looking guy in the car next to mine staring at me. He gave me one of those head jerks and half-smiles that you might expect from an 18-year-old (not a grown man) and I blushed and quickly glanced away. I stared straight ahead, determined not to look back, even though I could tell he was still staring my way. Green light, green light, green light, I chanted in my head. I wanted a reason to drive off.

Instead, the light stayed stubbornly red and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this guy roll down his window and start waving at me. So, yes…I glanced at him again. He motioned for me to roll down my window. I hesitated, and then I’m almost embarrassed to admit I did. I was thinking, What do you possibly want, creep-o?, while also being very curious as to what he would say in the few seconds we had left before the light change. And this is how our brief conversation went:

HIM: You’re cute.

ME: What? (because I wasn’t sure if I’d heard him right)

HIM: You’re cute.

ME: Oh. Thank you.

HIM: (while making a little motion with both thumbs) Do you text? (When I told my friend Lillian this bit, she laughed and asked, “How old is he? In junior high?”)

ME: I do, but (raising my left hand to show him my ring) I’m married.

He nodded and shrugged as if to say, What can you do? and I blushed some more. Mercifully, the light changed then and I was able to give him one last smile and make my getaway.

As I drove off, I thought about how odd the experience was, and what kind of weirdo this guy must be. I mean, who does that? (Come to find out, after telling my husband this story, Honey too can join the ranks of weirdos like this…he admitted to once seeing a cute girl walking down the street and pulling over to get her number.) But also…you have to admit, the guy has balls. That takes some pretty awesome nerve and confidence to hit on a girl you know nothing about while waiting at a stop light.

When I later told the story to my friends while playing Bunco, they all laughed their heads (and other body parts) off, but also told me I should be flattered. And you know what? I decided they’re right. I would like to say these kind of things happen to me all the time. But alas, they do not. My husband says I get the eye from guys rather regularly, but I haven’t noticed. And I certainly haven’t had anyone try to pick me up in years. And this guy wasn’t even the scumbag  from down the street. He drove a nice car and looked pretty decent to me. I’m making this assumption based on appearance alone, but that’s something, right???

So it’s nice to know that this pregnant mama who’s been married five years and is about to turn thirty has still got it. Whatever “it” is. You know?

Odds ‘n’ Ends: Clomid, PAs, Grief, My Mama, and Honey

Just a few bits and pieces to talk about today…

First off, I’ve been having daily headaches for the last week or two. Some days are worse than others, but the ache is almost always there. Up until three years ago, that was a chronic problem for me, but that’s not so anymore. It could be stress or lack of sleep (both holiday-related), but I’m thinking it’s from the increased Clomid dosage. I just really hope that having this one side effect isn’t an indication that the Clomid is affecting other parts of my body — like my lining. We’ll see tomorrow, when I go in for my first u/s of this cycle!

In other news, I went to a Mom’s Night Out Christmas Party for my mom’s group last Thursday. It was fun. After about two hours. Because those first 120 minutes consisted of one of the moms (a friend, but not a close one) announcing a pregnancy (which I’m now calling a PA because I’m too lazy to type “pregnancy announcement” more than once…or twice). She is now 8 weeks pregnant with her fourth baby. She did use IVF to conceive her first one, but got knocked up without trying for the next three. When she made her PA, I started crying. Quietly, and I don’t think anyone saw. Yes, I’m one of those infertiles who cries over someone else’s pregnancy. I just hate being blind-sided. I don’t blame her because, again, she’s not a close friend and she doesn’t know the extent of our TTC issues, but it hurt to hear about her getting a fourth baby because that’s what I want. She has everything I want.  Except I don’t want her kids (though they are exceptionally adorable and well-behaved), I want mine. I want my babies that have my mannerisms and look like me and emerged from my groin.  I went home that night bemoaning the unfairness of it all and cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up feeling better, only to hear about the  shooting at Sandy Hook. Why, why, why?  And again I was struck by how unfair so much of life is. Not just for us infertiles, but for oh-so-many, all over the world. Life can be very cruel. I do believe in God and I don’t believe He had a hand in any of this (a topic worthy of its own post perhaps),  but it still angers me and frightens me to see what human beings are capable of doing to one another, especially those smaller and weaker than themselves. Those poor, poor babies…and the poor families left behind. I can only pray for their peace and comfort in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

On a much lighter note, my mom arrives tomorrow! I’m very excited for this. I haven’t talked about her a lot on this blog, but my mom and I are very close and have always been this way, even through adolescence. We talk every night on the phone and she comes for a long weekend every couple months. This time, she will be here for two-and-a-half weeks and I couldn’t be more tickled by it. Not only do I have lots of fun things planned for us, including a local holiday festival, going to a new cupcake shop, and two date nights with Honey while we have a babysitter, but this means that I will finally get a break after all this Christmas craziness. When my mom is here, I don’t have to do practically anything. She insists on doing laundry, doing dishes, bathing Cupcake, cleaning, all of it… It really is like a small vacation when she visits. But even more than that, I’m just excited to have her company…and to know that for a full ten days, while Honey is at work, I don’t have to be alone (as in, the only adult in the house). It will be a very welcome change of pace!

And speaking of Honey, the other day I opened one of the books I’m reading to find a Post-it note with this written on it: “I would like to thank you for the 1000 ways you’ve improved my life. Every moment with you is a blessing.” This guy is just too sweet. Only one more reason why I love him so.

Old Wounds Reopened

I’ve been having a hard time lately. In the last few days, I have faced sadness, disappointment, and this pervasive feeling of worthlessness. And strangely, none of it has to do with infertility or loss.

Instead it’s because of two relatively minor things that took place last week:

  • I am a part of a mom’s group here in our suburban town, a group filled with mothers of all ages with kids of all ages (but mostly under 5). While it took everything I had as a shy, new mom to seek this group out, over the last year and a half, they have become my friends. All of them, but two in particular. They are the only local friends I have. But while at a playdate last week, I learned that many of these moms are going “cabining” together on November 17 — that is, they’ve rented a bunch of cabins in a nearby forest and will be spending the weekend away, moms, dads, kids, and all. I was never invited. Many other moms weren’t either, but I am one of them, and I’m a group regular. I can only assume this is because I declined their offer over the summer to go camping and they thought (probably rightly so) that we would say no again. Or perhaps they don’t even realize I wasn’t invited. I don’t know. All I know is that I never will know exactly why I was excluded.
  • I am in the process of planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. We have invited a large handful of close friends and family to our home for cake and ice cream and fun. So far, more people than not have declined. Many more. So many more, in fact, that our party is turning out to be quite, quite small. Nearly everyone who came to her party last year will not be there this year. They already have plans — a play to go to, a baby shower to throw — things that have been in the works for months. See the first bullet point for why a few of my daughter’s friends (and mine) won’t be coming either. And while Cupcake probably couldn’t care less who comes to her party, I do care. I want to celebrate the life of my girl, a child I once believed would never exist. I want everyone in my life to celebrate with me and to believe that she is worth it. I am immensely grateful to those (including my sister) who will be at her party, but it still hurts that others will not.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am ultra-sensitive and it does not take much to hurt my feelings. If you cross your eyes at me, I will somehow convince myself that you are making fun of my (improving) acne. If you ask if I’d like a glass of water, I will believe that you are trying to usher me out of your home because, otherwise, you would have offered me a cup of coffee so I could stay and linger for a while. It’s pathetic and pitiful.

I am trying not to take these two things — the cabining and the lackluster birthday party — too personally. I am failing. While I am less broken up about it than I was over the weekend (when I cried, many times a day), I’m still crushed.  I feel discouraged and let down. I know some of you may be rolling your eyes. I know, in the big scheme of life and with infertility weighing on all of us, that these are two very insignificant things. I know I need to buck up and get over it…or thicken my skin.

But that is not me. I have been this way most of my life and, while I have matured and grown, I have not stopped feeling pain, however small it is, very deeply. And so my most recent happenings have done nothing but make old insecurities resurface. Once again, I feel “less than,” undeserving, unworthy, inadequate, and rejected. It makes me want to curl into myself and hide. To stop putting myself out there and risking my heart. To stop giving others the opportunity to hurt me.

But that is not me either. I may be timid, shy, reserved, quiet, and a wallflower, but I do not hide. I do not run away if there is a chance I should take. I don’t stop loving, or letting myself be loved. So I will go on. I will still meet with my mommy group. I will still try to build upon the friendships I have made. I will throw my daughter a fantastic party and thoroughly appreciate those who care enough to come. And next year, I will do it all over again. And hopefully, along the way, there will be other moments that build my confidence, strengthen me, and show me that others believe I am a person worth knowing, and a friend worth having. And I will hope that it’s true.

Random Musings Because I Have No Ovulation or Other Good News To Talk About

Last night was Bunco with my mama’s group, my first one since The One That Made Me Cry. Though I walked away with $10 less in my pocket (rather than the $70 I won last time!), this Bunco went smoothly for the most part. No tears. I am in a much better place now than I was two months ago, of course. And though there is still a sort of sadness when I see Lady N, whose daughter is three weeks older than mine and who is due about three weeks before I would have been, I was able to talk to her about her pregnancy and do so without feeling the irresistible desire to punch something. She’s having another girl and I am happy for her. Today, when I say that, I actually mean it. That’s progress, people!

Another friend, Lady A, did ask about when we will be expanding our family again and I told her about my loss. I am finding it easier to talk about now, and often I want to. I want people to know about Teddy Graham, that he existed and that I’m not completely barren — that we tried and succeeded, then failed. Somehow, that is better to me than all those months that I tried to conceive Cupcake with nothing at all, no ovulation and no BFP. (However, it must also be said that I have found this experience more painful…but I will talk about that some other time.)

So while I did not walk away from Bunco with any extra heartache or money, I did come home feeling extra fat. That is the real problem with Bunco: the food. Everyone brings the yummiest, most indulgent food and the biggest problem is that I eat it. In fact, I eat it like I haven’t eaten for a week. So I spent a good half hour tossing and turning in bed last night, unable to sleep thanks to a sugar-high and feeling the jiggle of my belly each time I rolled over. And this is what I have come to realize:

1) My stomach will never again be the same. While I cannot claim to have had a flat stomach in my B.C. (Before Cupcake) years, it is now a stomach I miss. I weigh just four pounds more than I did when I conceived my daughter and yet my stomach has transformed completely. It has stretch marks (I call them my “badge of honor”) and it’s softer and rounder and I imagine it will only get worse with each new pregnancy if I ever get pregnant again. I’m not complaining…it has all been worth it. I will take this jiggly tummy any day, over the alternative! But I’m pretty sure I will never be able to change it. So instead, I’m trying to accept it. Yes, perhaps it’s time to retire the bikini and graduate to something more mom-ish.

2) I’m trying to be healthy, to make all nutritional decisions based on its effect on my fertility, but I am failing miserably. I am not dieting like I was anymore, but I still try to shoot for a calorie range (1500-1800 cals/day) and yet I do not always use those calories wisely. Sometimes, they are consumed by things like cookies and chocolate and ice cream. You can eat just 1500 calories per day, but if you use them all on sugary treats, it does not make you any healthier than someone who eats 2500 calories. And worst of all, I will sometimes have a no-count day and then I become a bit of a Wild Child. A rebel, if you will. There’s no stopping me from stuffing my face like there’s about to be a famine. After dieting for so long, that’s all I know. Either starve or stuff…there is no middle ground for me. So that’s what I need to work on. That is going to be my new goal: eat in moderation. Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Sounds easy enough. But I know too well that it won’t be. Not for me.

And 3) I have no idea what I weigh right now. For the first time in maybe, oh, ten years. I have not stepped on the scale since I stopped dieting. I’ve been too scared. But I do know this: my clothes still fit! In fact, I recently realized that it’s time to go jeans-shopping when my jeans were so loose that I could grab a healthy fistful of fabric in the thigh area and had to keep pulling them up all day long.  I haven’t shopped for jeans in years. I mean, years. This is kind of exciting. And good news, right? Right???

On an even sweeter note, I have spent all morning opening cupboards, drawers, boxes, and books, only to discover little post-it love notes that declare “God made you for me” and “You are so pretty.” Apparently, my husband got a little bored while I was at Bunco last night. 🙂 You know, my Honey and I have been through a whole lot in our six years of being together, but our marriage is rock-solid because of it. I am so lucky to have this man to take this journey with me, and so lucky that he feels so lucky to have me too.

Okay, well, I realize this is a long post, highly uninteresting, and really about nothing at all, but that’s what happens when you’re on CD19 with no positive OPK and nothing new to report. I will try for something more exciting in my next post.

Before I go, I want to leave you with the link for a recipe for Spiced Cocktail Nuts. I brought them to Bunco last night and they were well-loved and well-eaten. I have also made them for my husband’s graduation party and my sister’s housewarming party and they are always a big hit. I mean, they are amazing. Truly. Whenever I make them, I make extra to enjoy at home and keep them in the freezer so they don’t spoil before I have the chance to eat them all. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients — they are easy-peasy to make and well worth it. Trust me, you will not regret it. I may even become your new best friend. 🙂

Bumming at Bunco

About a year ago, when my daughter was just five months old, I joined a local mom’s group. Every month, 12-16 members of this group get together (without the kiddos!) to play Bunco. If you’ve never played, or never even heard of it, you can read the rules here and I highly recommend giving it a try. For us moms, it’s really just a convenient excuse to get away for the evening and indulge in some laughter and tasty snacks. But you don’t need to know the rules to read my story. Just know it’s a brainless game and easy-peasy!

Except, it wasn’t easy when I played last week. It wasn’t easy at all. One of the problems with being part of a mom’s group is that there is always someone expecting another bundle of joy and there is always a newborn in someone’s arms. And one of the problems with losing a baby is that it hurts (I mean, it really, really HURTS!) to be around them and yet there is no escape. They are everywhere. Guaranteed, if you are trying to conceive or have just lost a baby, you will cross the path of three new babies and five pregnant women just on your trip to the neighborhood convenience store.

But I had prepared myself for this, because I knew one of my fellow Bunco players would be there and she is seven months along. I was prepared to see her big belly and to hear all about the woes of being in her third trimester. (Ugh, gag me — embrace those woes, woman! Embrace them!!) But what I was not prepared for is for another friend, Lady N, to announce she, too, is expecting. Her daughter is two weeks older than mine and she is now 14 weeks into her pregnancy, just three weeks ahead of where I would have been. Should have been.

When she told me the news, my first thought was, “Are you kidding me, God? Are you KIDDING me?!?!” Instead, I smiled and said to her with all the pleasantry I could muster, “Oh, when are you due?”

But what I wanted to say is this: “Congrats. Did you know I was pregnant too but my baby died?”

What I wanted to scream is this: “I had a baby too! I’m just like all the rest of you…I’m a mother of two! But my baby is dead! Dead, dammit!”

I wanted to scream in that minute because I was filled with rage over the unfairness of it all, and because I wanted to shock everyone so they could see how much I was hurting, but mostly because I wanted everyone to know that they are not welcome to tell me about their pregnancies, to show me their ultrasound photos, to complain about backaches and morning sickness. I don’t want to hear it! So please shut up in my presence.

But of course I didn’t say that. I couldn’t. Instead, my tears fell silently and I swore I was fine to those who asked, and I cried the whole way home and I cried myself to sleep that night, and I kept asking God, “Why? Why? Why?” And my only consolation prize was that I paid $10 and brought home $70 that night. But it wasn’t enough. I’d rather have a baby.