Saturday 21 December 2013

December thoughts

So, this will probably be my last entry of 2013.

I wish everyone the best for the rest of the year and for the new year, bearing in mind that "the holiday season" is a difficult time for many people.

I have been easily irritated by the Christmas schmaltz this year and find myself unable to identify with most of it. But, I remind myself that it's not the cliches that matter, but the caring words and gestures. I hope everyone can find a personally meaningful way to mark the passing of the year. I hope you can acknowledge and honour the experiences and lessons of this past year, whatever they were.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who reads the blog and to those who leave comments, and I'm grateful to all the bloggers I read, for telling your stories with such courage, honesty and even humour.

I'm very grateful for my "rest cycle." I'm SO HAPPY to not have to try to conceive this month. It's perfect timing, I tell ya. Although I was so clueless yesterday evening that I accidentally threw my birth control pills in the recycling bin. At least it wasn't the garbage (which happened to be particularly stinky and slimy that day.) More wine, please.  I'm grateful that we will get to try IVF next month, and I'm trying to live by Ariel's advice to have zero expectations.

This is the shortest day of the year. Now, we are on the upswing - a little more light with every day.

Merry Christmas, and to all a good night.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Keep Calm and crochet tiny Christmas balls

That's the best title I could come up with for events of the past few days.

So, my period decided to show up about 6 days sooner than expected/hoped. I started spotting on day 19. Hoped  against hope that it was just some mid cycle spotting, which I can get occasionally. But no. By today it was definitely full flow.  19 day cycle = depressing. Even though I have known my POF diagnosis for several months, such a short cycle just makes me relive the feelings of defeat and hopelessness over again, at least for a few hours. I feel like the acupuncture sessions have been useless, that my eggs are all gone, menopause is imminent, IVF will fail, and genetic/biological motherhood is just a stupid fantasy I'm indulging in.

Apart from all that, I started worrying about my IVF timeline. Several months ago Mr. Turtle and I planned a trip to Michigan to spend Christmas with his mother and brother and sister-in-law. We were both looking forward to this trip. Mr. Turtle is of course happy to spend time with his mother and brother. I am also happy to see them (I have lovely in-laws) but also because it is an excuse for me to not do much for Christmas at home. Last year we went all out; tree, Christmas lights, full dinner for family. It was fun, but I'm completely uninterested in doing any of that this year. The infertility probably has something to do with it; it's certainly not helping me get in the mood. This is the first year I can recall that the rampant Christmas music, commercialism and chatter is grating on me. A lot.

Anyway, when I sat down with my calendar and started to add up the numbers for IVF, I got worried. This cycle is a "rest cycle" where I take BCP. Easy enough, but 18 days after starting the pill, I have to go in for the baseline ultrasound. And of course, I calculated that the scan would be scheduled during our trip to Michigan. 

In hindsight, I'm not sure why this was so holy upsetting to me, but it was. My mind was going a mile a minute: do we have to cancel IVF? or cancel the trip? I'm so disappointed! Mr. Turtle will be so upset! Nobody understands how disruptive IVF/infertility is to life except me!! I can't bear to have plans put off again. Can I get an ultrasound in the US? Can I drive to Windsor and get an ultrasound at an Ontario clinic? What clinic would take me in if I'm not a patient? What clinic is going to be open on Sunday December 29th (that's when I calculated I would need to have the scan). If we cancel this cycle, then the rescheduled one will interfere with the other planned  family trip in March.! Why did I have to have a wonky cycle now? Why couldn't it be a long wonky cycle instead of a short one? And many variations on said themes.

Now, what actually happened. I told Mr. Turtle over breakfast, with a very long face, that I was worried about the IVF schedule. He is working on the final paper for his graduate course this weekend, and I felt awfully guilty about putting more stress on him, and especially about threatening (I felt) to cut short his time with his family at Christmas.  Mr. Turtle, because he is awesome, quickly dissipated my anxiety. No, he assured me, we are not going to cancel the cycle. We decided that if the scan had to be done during our trip, we would simply reschedule my flight. And that is what we did. The clinic helpfully called me back today to give me the dates. My baseline ultrasound scan is for December 30th. My flight home is rescheduled for December 29th. Yes, we had to pay a few hundred to reschedule it, but that's OK, IVF is a priority. It's all OK.

And there is a silver lining. My brother, who lives in Ontario, will be in Alberta for Christmas for the first time in a few years. Because of our trip to Michigan, I wouldn't have seen him at all this Christmas. Because I am back early, I will get to see him. Only for a day, but it's better than nothing.

So. Deep breath. OK.

I guess the lesson here is to take this IVF stuff one day at a time, talk it over together, and not freak out over the what-ifs. Hopefully I can remember this lesson, because it is all just beginning.

Now, I haven't been a total Scrooge about Christmas. I may not care about the music or traditions or the schmaltz this year, but I do care about the people in my life, and I have enjoyed planning/buying for them. And I am involved in a couple of fun events, which are Christmas-themed but enjoyable for their own sake. Here's a run-down of what has been keeping me happy:

First, my step dance class performed a routine at a farmer's market. The teacher wanted us to wear plaid skirts if at all possible. I don't own one and was unable to find one, so on an evening we had a wild blizzard and there was nowhere to go and nothing to do, I created my own. 

I'm not really into sewing, and don't even own a machine, but I hand-sewed this using a pair of dance shorts, a plaid scarf I found at a discount store, a bit of ribbon, a couple of snaps, and some buttons. It is sewn to the dance shorts on  one edge and then wraps around. Very simple but it got quite a few compliments and I could probably take on a commission or two if I wanted!

The dance routine was lots of fun to perform. Here is an blurry and therefore conveniently anonymous photo of me (in the back) dancing - you can see I am happy in a blurry sort of way.

In addition, tomorrow my band is performing with the other adult community bands and choirs in the annual Christmas concert. This should be fun too, and I will post pictures or video if anybody gets any. I have an enjoyably challenging part on one song playing chimes, bells, and marimba, and on the song Sleigh Ride I get to play the part (on percussion) of the clippety-cloppety horse. Wish me luck.

My Christmas shopping is done. Although I dislike the commercialism associated with Christmas, and positively despise the fear-based marketing that goes with it, I do enjoy finding presents for people. Some of the final presents were donations to charity, which I  make a part of every Christmas.

I also had a pile of credit card reward points that I keep forgetting about, so this morning I got to have fun doing some shopping without spending any money. Bonus.

And one more crafty piece. This was a great nerve-calmer this morning while I was waiting for the clinic to return my call. I had bought these cute animal decorations for my colleagues at the Chapters. But after I got home,  I noticed the squirrel one was missing the nut he was supposed to be holding. Somehow I had bought a damaged piece. I could have gone back and exchanged it, but that felt like more trouble than it was worth. So I decided to make a tiny Christmas ball for the squirrel to hold. Check it out:

Aw, he's so cute! And I feel so much better now.