Saturday, April 28, 2012

Don't Ignore...Yourself!

As you can see, it is the close of National Infertility Awareness Week.  They sponsored a blogging challenge with the theme of "Don't Ignore...", and as I am always up for a challenge...I accept.

Obviously I picked "Don't Ignore...Yourself!"  Of the many things I learned on the crazy hell-ride that is infertility is that it is super easy to get consumed.  Infertility consumes your life, marriage, and happiness.  While undergoing fertility treatments, it is so easy to let your life revolve around your ovaries.  You forget how to enjoy life because all you can think about is am I eating the right things, doing the right things, taking my medication at the right times and hoping against hopes that this is going to be your cycle.  

Through the process, it is easy to ignore all the things that made you happy.  I know I let myself become too miserable to enjoy anything.  I loathed my husband's ability to live his life and enjoy things and people when what we were going through was just so sad.  I allowed myself to wallow in my pain.  I avoided things and activities that made me happy because I just didn't want to be happy for anything but having a child.  Trust me, infertility treatments are sad enough in their own right, you don't need to add to that.

Worse than that, I ignored the things in my life that weren't making me happy in the first place.  Infertility really has been a gift to me in a way, because I am forced to look at the things in my life that were making me miserable, and I am getting a chance to fix them.  I put those things aside, because I thought being a mom would make me care less about them. It wouldn't have, and I risked jeopardizing my entire family's happiness on the shoulders of an infant.  What a terrible burden to place on a child!

So, if you're seeking any advice from a thus far unsuccessful infertile, it is this.  Take a deep breath and seize the moment!  Take the opportunity to examine the current state of your life.  Are you happy? Fulfilled? Are you proud enough of who you are to say that to your child? If you can say yes, then proceed.  No matter what road to a child you take, you will be successful.  It may not look like what you thought or originally wanted, but if you are truly happy with everything else in your life...the details of how your child came to be won't be near as important.

If you can't, then I strongly urge you to take a little extra time.  Work on yourself and resolve those issues or at least figure out a way to be at peace with them without a child in the picture.  Afterall, don't you want to bring a child into a happy home?  I do.

Peace, love, and being otherwise happy despite infertility,
Mary Katherine

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lessons of Emma Grace

Emma playing with her birthday toy!
Emma Grace turned 1 year-old this week, and I cannot imagine what I'd be doing without her wet nose in my face right now.  She has been a blessing to BJ and me.  It's so nice to have something to take care of that makes us laugh, brings us fun and obviously loves us back!  For me, personally, she's been a reminder of some invaluable life lessons.  I thought I'd share...

1. Enjoy the moment, they go fast...
First day home!
It's hard to believe that this cute, little 6 lb. ball of fluff grew into our currently 63 lb Emma. She was and is absolutely adorable, but I can't say that I got enough of this sleepy little fuzzball in my arms.

Sleeping in BJ's arms @ 7 weeks
2. No matter how much you love someone(thing), they screw up.
"The kitty did it."
As much as we try to teach, guide, help our loved ones, they goof up.  I'm sure Emma had her reasons which she has tried to share with us about why this happened, but she knew it was wrong at the time.  She did it anyway...When I took this photo I hadn't stopped laughing to scold her, but she knew it was bad and took refuge in her "shame corner." As much as BJ and I didn't enjoy cleaning this up, we did it anyway, and we love  her just the same...well maybe more...

3. No matter how consumed with yourself you are, you have to remember those that depend on you.
I was an absolute wreck the morning of my blood pregnancy test after the 2nd round of IVF.  In our haste to leave, we left a gate open that allowed Emma to run around freely in our house unsupervised.  It went something like this...
          Oh newspaper...I love tearing you up!!! YAY! 
          Oh yummy smelling candle, do you taste good?  NO, MUST DESTROY!!!
          Oooh shiny blue liquid ink pen! My favorite thing, I will take you upstairs to my bedroom with nice soft carpet!
          Uh-oh ink tastes yucky and got all over the floor and my paws? AHHH!
          Uh-oh, evil kitty saw me and is going to tell...I shall chase kitty!
          Kitty is not in the hall...Kitty is not in the bonus room...Kitty is maybe downstairs?

Suffice it to say we came home to a mess including a trail of blue ink all over our off-white carpet...

I have this spot in my bedroom as a little reminder of the day I was too consumed with my own woes to think about Emma-Grace.

4. Yes, shit happens, but you still gotta clean it up.
Don't worry, no poo pictures!  I know Emma Grace did not mean to have diarrhea in the middle of the night.  She was so ashamed she hid under the covers with daddy...who "slept" through the ordeal. I wondered if we gave her too much canned food. I wondered if we should have made sure she had eaten more before we gave her the medicine.  I wondered if she should not have gotten canned food at all since she was on medicine, maybe it just happened and had nothing to do with anything... Well none of that wondering cleaned up the mess. Good old-fashioned elbow grease did. (Thank you Woolite Pet!!!) So even if we accept that shit happens, you're still stuck with a mess, and nobody is going to clean it up for you. You have to do it yourself, even it's hard.
Evidence that everybody poops...
5.  Cats are evil.
Gaius demonstrating Schadenfreude
Cats are genuinely awful... They have claws.  They pretend to want you to pet them but then they try to amputate your paw/hand.  They knock objects off the counter and what's a poor puppy to do but help get rid of said object. They jump over gates and leave you stuck in the kitchen all by yourself.  They drink your water.  Just when you are questioning your sanity about why the hell you have these vermin around...they head bump you, purr and snuggle in next to you.  They are the yin to our yang, and certainly keep us entertained and make those sweet, snuggly moments that much more special.

6. Anyone(thing) can put their big girl panties on.
Emma and her "Princess Bloomers"
All of us have "stuff" we have to deal with.  All of us have days where the stuff gets to be too overwhelming and we have no idea how we'll get through it, but I've found that every time I've "put my big girl panties on", I've made it through.  Never count yourself out.  Do what you gotta do to get yourself into the panties and then wear them proudly just like Emma. 
Emma tackling her day in her "Big Orange" panties!
7. Be simple.
What you can't see in this photo of the dog bed debacle is her tail wagging back and forth. Even though she's full of guilt and remorse, she's still happy that I was finally home (I was gone for less than 2 hours, but who's counting...).  Those may be conflicting and complicated emotions to express at the same time, but Emma Grace is a dog and she's not trying to hide it. I can deal with complicated if it's presented as complicated in the first place.  Emma is nothing if she's not upfront.  It gets really hard, however, when we try to cover up what we are actually feeling by trying to assume the emotions we think people want to see.  So when I say be simple, I don't mean simple-minded, just be what you are and feel what you feel. Don't complicate the complicated!

8.  There is no such thing as too much happy!
Emma with the minimum two toys in her mouth...she's still working on four at once and getting close!
If happiness comes in a form that isn't damaging to you or your loved ones, then go for it.  By all means have fun, be silly and enjoy the moment.  According to Emma, happiness is wherever you are and there is bound to be something good around every corner.
Emma being herself.
So my dear, Emma Grace, thank you for a wonderful first year.  I can't wait to capture even more moments and to learn even more from you.  You'll never know how much your silly little self has meant to me this past year.  You are a pretty amazing ball of fluff!

Peace, Love and Adorable Puppies!