Article: Do Mothers Need Time Away from Social Media?

When I’m not obsessing over the state of my empty uterus, I have a real job. And that job is in marketing. (Don’t judge.)

As part of my job, I need to stay up to date on shifts in communication, media, and the like. I truly enjoy this aspect of my job, because humans are crafty when it comes to how we create and consume information.

Which is why I found this article about how mothers interact with social media interesting. In summary, social media is causing some stress for the ladies with little ones. Some interesting facts:

Half of US mother social media users surveyed—those ages 18 to 64 with at least one child under 18 in the household—said they felt pressure to create an image that their lives were perfect on social networks.

All of this stress … had led the majority (53%) of mother social media users to actually consider stopping use of or taking a break from social media.

Now, I’m no mama (yet, damn it) but I totally feel this. I’ve virtually cut out Facebook because I was getting overwhelmed by all the “fabulousness” in my feed. Not that I want to begrudge my friends their happy lives… mostly I don’t believe it. Come on now… we all have good moments, but we also have crappy ones too. There isn’t any place on social media for authenticity– you can’t admit that things aren’t great all the time, or people will start referring you to a suicide prevention hotline.

If you’re interested in the nitty gritty, here is the post: Do Mothers Need Some Time Away from Social Media

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Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Nigeria anymore

Oh Myna… I’m going to have to create a whole tag for you, aren’t I?

For those who don’t remember, Myna is my co worker who does not have a filter. Or empathy. Among many other “Insert Foot In Mouth” moments, she has implied that people who don’t have children shouldn’t inherit and insists that everyone wants a baby. (These are only the baby-making-related atrocities. There are so many more that are equally horrifying, if not topically appropriate.)

Last week, a colleague shared that his wife is pregnant. This is their first pregnancy, so they are excited and a little nervous. They are also first generation Nigerian. (Sadly, this will become a relevant plot point.)

Colleague: You know, my wife wants a natural birth, so we’re exploring that…

Myna: I don’t think that’s a good idea. She does know that having a baby in America isn’t the same as having a baby in Nigeria, right?

Um… actually, YES. Biologically speaking, having a baby in Nigeria IS the same as having a baby in America. As it is the same in Peru or Botswana. It’s not like America waves some magical wand over every womb and we all magically give birth out of eye balls. Human bodies are pretty much the same from one geographical region to the other.

And having a natural birth is not crazy talk! I know a ton of ladies– American-born, white ladies– who have opted for natural childbirth. It’s not like this is an entirely unheard of practice in the US. Because… you know… NATURE kinda invented it.

Yes, there are some differences in medical care across countries. Nor do I wish to downplay the issue of maternal mortality rates in many developing countries. (Though even here, the US has seen a rise in maternal mortality rates.)

There is just something so disgustingly paternalistic about this entire conversation that I applaud my colleague for not hurling a stapler at Myna’s head.

Let’s hear it for restraint!

Lobotomized by Infertility

It may come as no surprise that this isn’t my first blog. I’ve had a few over the years: one about politics, one about my professional industry, another one about books and reading, and then this one here about infertility.

For a few weird reasons, I recently visited two of those blogs. I’m impressed with myself. No, really… I’m a smart, articulate, thoughtful person who has an array of interests. Or at least I used to be.

I have not posted on any other blogs in well over a year. I was reading one particularly good post on The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and I almost didn’t recognize myself. I was making cogent arguments! I linked to smarty pants articles! I used big words!

I honestly can’t imagine writing or thinking anything like this anymore. Because now my life is all IF all the time. I was once really passionate about what I do for a living. I read because it fed my brain and my heart. Now, I work to pass the time between treatments and read to escape from my own heartbreak. Even while trying to be a functioning member of society, I’m still thinking about IF in the back of my mind. 24/7. It’s like I have been lobotomized by infertility.

So… when do I get back to there? Because I liked that part of my life. I liked the time I spent reflecting on art, literature, and the crazy pendulum-swings in my industry. Basically, I miss having that part of my brain and I want it back.

Yeah, I can’t keep doing this shit, can I? I really do have to figure out how to be a whole person again…


Article: Doctors tell all– and it’s bad

I came across this article about what makes being a doctor such a challenge these days.

I know what you’re thinking… Hard to be a doctor, my ass. Initially, I thought I couldn’t feel bad for doctors in light of my dubious IF treatment over the past few years and the down right atrocious care my mother has received.

But this article is a great read because it helped  me understand the larger forces at play that make giving quality care difficult for medical professionals. Don’t get me wrong- I’m still deeply angry about my mother’s medical treatment. Still, it is interesting to see what the other side of the story is. Some quotes from the article:

On the patient-doctor relationship:

How patients feel about their medical interactions really does influence the efficacy of the care they receive, and doctors’ emotions about their work in turn influence the quality of the care they provide. Despite our virtuosic surgical capacities, our cutting-edge technology, and our pharmaceutical advances, the patient-doctor relationship is still the heart of medicine. And it has eroded terribly.

On attitudes doctors have toward their profession and morale:

According to a 2012 survey, nearly eight out of 10 physicians are “somewhat pessimistic or very pessimistic about the future of the medical profession.”[…] In 2008, only 6 percent “described their morale as positive.” Doctors today are more likely to kill themselves than are members of any other professional group.

And this one particularly speaks to me…

Without being fully aware of it, what I really wanted all along was a doctor trained in a different system, who understood that a conversation was as important as a prescription; a doctor to whom healing mattered as much as state-of-the-art surgery did.

I like to think that people who become doctors want to care for people, but at some point a line is crossed. Patients are treated like pieces in an assembly line and doctors are cogs in that machine. It’s in the name of efficency, but comes at the cost of real care.

If you’ve ever felt like you had to fight to get the kind of treatment you need, you should definitely check this out.

Doctors Tell All– And It’s Bad, by Meghan O’Rourke

This is what winning looks like

Years ago, I ran my first half marathon. I trained like a mad woman, followed strict schedules, nutritional guidelines… I did it all “right.” And though I finished, my performance stunk. This was mostly to environmental factors, but it still stung a little at the end. My best efforts did not yield my best results.

Over the past few years, I’ve trained for several half marathons, but didn’t actually complete them. Once I got sick the weekend of. Another time, I injured myself the week before. So I learned to love the process of training, if not the race itself.

With the promise of ARTs looming, I decided to try for a half one more time. But I was so disorganized about it. I staggered my long runs, didn’t do a ton of strength training. I also trained with Mr. O– which I didn’t love (but didn’t really hate either.) When you race, you’re out there alone. So training with another person, I wasn’t sure if I was also building my mental endurance too.

The night before I was nervous– and I have NEVER been nervous for a race. Ever. Other things continued to go wrong, like my phone battery couldn’t hold a charge. This meant that I couldn’t use my running app to gauge my pace and was without Spotify for music. So I loaded up an old iPod with the most random 3 hours of music I own. I had run out of my mid-race fuel of choice, and had to scramble for a back-up. Mr. O announced that he was thinking of taking the morning to run errands, rather than wait the two hours it would take me to finish. (Insert sad face here.)

Things were not looking good.

As I lined up, I honestly didn’t believe that I was about to start. There must be something out there that would smote me. The gun went off, and I started to run. I could hardly believe it. I was finally here. I was doing this thing I’d wanted to do for years. I almost cried.

I held it together, because mile 1 is not a time to lose your shit. I had 12.1 more miles ahead of me, and I was still vaguely convinced that something was going to happen that would prevent me from finishing.

And here is where my luck seemed to turn. It was a beautiful day for a run. A perfect 60 degree day, sunlight bouncing off the fall leaves. I still had no idea how I was pacing– I just ball parked it off the time at each mile marker. And I was making pretty good time, based of my math.

During my training, I had only gotten to 10 miles on my long runs. This is doable, but not ideal. Prevailing thought is that you’ll be able to finish it, but you usually want more from your training. So when I reached mile 10, I went a little bit quiet. At this point, I had to trust my body– not my training.

As I closed in on the last 800 meters, I was on auto pilot. My legs knew what they were here to do. I had closed out the rest of the world. Which is why I hardly noticed Mr. O cheering me on from the sidelines. I was over the moon when I saw him, and those last few strides felt like flying.

As I hobbled over to Mr. O at the finisher’s tent, he delivered the great news. I hadn’t just beat my previous record, I had CRUSHED IT. I literally shaved an entire minute off my pace time, finishing well ahead of my previous time. I screamed. I jumped up and down. Then I ate a hamburger. And a protein shake. And a banana.

Running has taught me so much about patience, endurance, and mental toughness. I am so profoundly grateful that I found this sport 7 years ago.

There is a part of me that feels like this is my swan song. If all goes well, I will be pregnant soon. Running will become harder and harder- let alone running 13.1 miles. This half marathon couldn’t have happened at any other time. Or at a better time.

Even though thousands of other people finished before me that day, it still feels like winning.

Quelle Surprise!

CD1.  You know how I know? I got my period.

I did not, however, get any of the usual accompanying PMS drama. Okay, some sore boobs, but that was it. I was genuinely surprised when I got my period this morning because my body usually makes much ado about the situation. Nausea, acne, crying, tons of painful cramping… this month, I literally did not feel this coming. It is also a few days early, which I’m a wee bit happy about. I’m that much closer to my next cycle when I start IVF.

Is this what it is like to be a normal person? To function like an actual human for the last 1.5 weeks of my cycle?! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!

Ridiculousness aside, is it possible that my polyps were the culprits of my PMS? Is that crazy? Seriously, any ladies out there who had polyps– did you notice any difference in your period post op?

November can’t come soon enough

I just got back from my post op with Dr. Petrel.

Things are looking good! My uterus is all clear. Polyps were tested and aren’t malignant (a low chance, but she wanted to test them to be sure.) And my genetic tests came back with no abnormalities.

Now that it is done (and they are fine) I will admit to being a little nervous about the Fragile X test. Thanks to my frenemy Dr. Google, I became convinced that my people must be carriers of some kind. Why? Because in milder forms, Fragile X can manifest itself in learning disabilities and ADD. My brother has both. I have mild ADD, as does my sister.

Just before a full-blown freak out, I stopped myself. Oh, dear sweet logic… Learning disabilities are caused by any number of things. Genetics can be one of them, but so can premature birth. (My brother was born 4 weeks early.)  Worse case, we could do genetic screening on the embryos before transferring.

I also realized that if this was the case, it was DONE. It wasn’t like I was going to be changing my genetic code by eating tons of kale or exercising more. So I decided to “que sera, sera” that shit.

And with good reason, as it turns out there wasn’t anything to worry about. Petrel ordered the Fragile X test because this can be linked to higher FSH levels (which I have.) I asked her if she knew why my levels would be high then, she said she didn’t know but that she wasn’t worried. My AMH levels are good, and that’s what matters. I suppose some things will just remain a mystery.

As with all my meetings with Dr. Petrel, this was really great. She is by far the best doctor I’ve dealt with throughout all this– because she takes us seriously. Crazy idea, I know!

After our consult, we were handed off to Nurse Wren* who went over all the fabulous injections that are in store for me. Not looking forward to this part. But after two years of infertility, I think I can handle two stinking weeks of injections.

With all that done, we’re on our way to IVF. Dr. Petrel’s office will put through the request with my insurance company. That should take two weeks to clear, which means we can’t get a round in this cycle. I’m a little bummed, but I also had set this expectation with myself. I was thinking an October/November timeframe. So November it is! Which means, I have yet another cycle to over-google everything. Yippie.

Mostly, I’m just impatient. I’ve even allowed myself to be optimistic. This could actually work! And when I start seeing that promise in the distance– no matter how far off– I just. can’t. take it.

*Not her real name. But I like her so I gave her a nice bird name…

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