Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wrapping Everything Up, Falling Apart

Here we go, seriously off and running. I am stimming like mad, and this time things haven't taken a turn to Crazytown. My estrogen is rising appropriately and not into the stratosphere; I have around 25ish follicles that are growing at about the same rate and within a few millimeters of each other, none at the expense of the others; and while I am VERY VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, I don't feel like I could die. So a big improvement on April's fiasco. I am looking at retrieval next week sometime, although apparently again closer to the end of the week.

This means that I am out of school all next week, because I don't have my own classroom and I am located in just about every corner of the school, the HOT HOT HOT MUGGY AXE-SMELLING school, and so am on my feet all day, carrying binders and books, running the gauntlet of summer-hyped middle schoolers who crowd the hall and whose energy is nearly visible as a cloud of hormones/summer lust above them. I can't do that when my ovaries are this swollen and I am this tired. I need to be resting. I need to be doing right by my eggles. Unfortunately, there are only two weeks left of school. So, my being out next week is a huge loss to me, and then because of transfer the following week I will only be in maybe 2 days the LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL. It is entirely possible that I will miss the VERY LAST day of school with my 8th graders.

I am not going to lie, I am fairly devastated by this.

Yes, I know that I have to put my family-building first, and priorities-priorities, and a host of other cliches that have been thrown my way when I express sadness at missing this capstone moment of a really, really great year. I'd like to think that it's a GOOD THING that I have cried over this loss. You know, maybe that means that I am a dedicated, invested teacher who cares deeply for the well-being of her students and doesn't want to miss these precious last moments before they become high school students?

It makes me angry. Really, really angry...because once again infertility is stealing from me. If I was missing the end of the year because I was bringing a baby into the world I would be sad, but it would be so worth it. And it would be visible to my students why I'm leaving at the end. Instead I have this vague "medical stuff" explanation that some have inferred to be surgery, and egg retrieval is a surgical procedure so that's not entirely misleading, but it sucks. I am missing out and I don't even know if this is going to result in that happiest of happy news and inevitable maternity leave next year. It's hard to imagine that we might actually make it at this point, but we keep at it because we still have hope and this is our final year of this and maybe, just maybe, we'll get lucky. Not that my current students will know.

I spent Thursday and Friday scoring the NYS Science 8 assessment, which was nice because I was sitting in air conditioning and not on my feet (of course it was blissfully cool out the past two days, so it felt a bit like the air conditioning boon was wasted). I've spent the past two weeks getting everything together for the last two weeks of school, madly figuring out my plans and hoping that I can be there for the crucial points. Not feeling optimistic after yesterday's appointement though. Yesterday, after scoring, I went back to my school to print all the materials and make copies and make keys and put post-its on everything denoting any additional information that was probably already on the June Instructional Calendar I made for all my classes and the detailed sub plans. It took FOREVER... but now I'm done. That pile of stress is over.

Yet I still cry when I think about the time I'm missing. I have loved this class so much. And my Special Class Reading and English classes in particular are close to my heart. Mostly because I start the year hoping that I can a) change their minds about reading and open their minds to the wonders of a good reading experience, b) create deeper thinkers, and c) completely blow out the water the presumptions of what these kids, the lowest readers in the school, are truly capable of. Because they are SMART. And they have incredible insights. They are just locked up behind their dyslexia or other learning disabilities or behavioral issues that compound all of the above (or possibly have been magnified by the incredible frustration of not being able to get thoughts out on paper the way they want). I have students who swore I'd fail at finding them books they'd love and that they hated reading and that was that, and now those students are reading further books by Lois Lowry and books by Joseph Bruchac and have found genres and decided that they want to try at this whole reading thing because, yeah, I guess it can be fun. VICTORY! I have students who shut down any time there was reading in class and who shut down any time there was writing, and now they are producing writing pieces that are 2+ pages long and well-crafted with thoughts that frequently blow my mind. I cried on Wednesday when I told my students I wouldn't be back for over a week (I think I hid it decently enough though), and I cried when my most reluctant students shared songs and movie trailers that they'd found that relate to The Giver and then thoughtfully explained exactly why afterwards (Imagine Dragons' Demons, Aviccii's Wake Me Up and Hey Brother for songs, The Island starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson for movie, in case you were interested). They have grown so much. They have matured so much. I will truly, truly miss them.

So in the fervor of getting nearly TWO WEEKS of sub plans together, just in case, because who knows when transfer will be?, I felt simultaneously proud of my students, proud of my work with them, hopeful that the last two weeks will go ok without me, and completely devastated that infertility is stealing this from me. It is what it is, and I am grateful to have the flexibility to take this time off without any issues, and it will hopefully make a big difference in my stress level and my physical well-being as I head towards retrieval of my hopefully awesomesauce eggles. I just wish the timing was different. I wish that April had worked out so that June could have been just a few monitoring appointments and 3 days off for transfer. But it didn't, and I don't have a time machine or magic wand, so I have to be at peace with where we are right now. I have do that whole living in the present thing. It's just so hard when I feel that I have been robbed of so much, not to mention, you know, STILL NOT HAVING A BABY after all this.

Hopefully that's short lived. Hopefully things work out in such a way that I can be there for the last day of school. Hopefully we end June with a positive test and everything goes the way it is supposed to -- without heartbreak, without loss, without feeling further and further stuck in the mud. Let me unsanitize. Shit. I definitely feel stuck in the shit. But, as an awesome coping card that I found and will send to someone sometime in the next couple of months, "Sometimes the prettiest flowers come out of the biggest pile of shit."

And on that note, I leave you with lupines. Because no one can be sad or frustrated for long when there are gorgeous lupines to look at. And... my count is up to SIXTEEN blooms. Enjoy, and peace to all on this twisty turny road that really, really needs to come to its destination soon.

Pink lupines

"Peach" lupines that turned more yellow-and-violet

Close up on the interesting coloring of the "peach" ones

Both lupines in context of front/side gardens


  1. Ugh. TWO weeks of sub plans is enough to make me run and hide for cover. Actually--probably just run to the cupboard to find some chocolate to share with you.

    I totally get what you mean by not being able to finish out the school year with your class. I would be devastated if I didn't get those last moments, to remind me how wonderful they all are. Not the stressful last two weeks of children who suddenly forgot everything you taught them because summer is coming!!! Hopefully, the timing will work out and you get to make your way in to classes for that sweet goodbye!

    I've got all my crossables crossed for your eggies . Those bad boys better behave this time. :)

    1. Thanks, Aimee! Yeah, two weeks was pretty stressful. It looks like retrieval will be late this week, so I am 99% ready to kiss the last day of school goodbye. The way it looks right now I would be in two days next week, but unless retrieval is Thursday (doubtful) it will be Monday and Tuesday. Maybe Tuesday and Wednesday, possibly Monday depending on how I feel after retrieval. Usually that's pretty crappy. Thanks for your crossables... so far, so good! Let's hope they keep up the good work!

  2. Aw. That is hard! Stupid timing. I worked with learning-disabled third graders in SE Ohio for two years, and I was cheering to hear you describe your students. Matches my experience exactly. My kids were brilliant. Gifted. They just needed attention and patience. I remember this one little guy used to run at full speed down the hallway and slide on his knees to my feet and go, "I'm here!" All totally against the rules, but I couldn't help but laugh. He started the year at a 1st grade reading level, ended at a SIXTH grade reading level. I'm glad your kids have you. I'm hoping hard that this giant sacrifice you are making winds up with a giant payoff. When I read your posts I always hunger for life to give you back control over your time, your schedule. It sounds to me like being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs to hold down while dealing with all of IF's appointments. Hoping for a happy, happy summer for you.

    1. Thanks, lady! yeah, stupid timing for sure. BUT, like you said, here's hoping for a happy happy summer! Wow, that is amazing progress for your student! Holy smokes, you must have been so proud of him. I hope soon life throws us a bone and we can move on to worrying about scheduling of ultrasound appointments (fun ones) and birth plans and maternity leave and all that fun stuff instead. You know, something that isn't 100% empty all the time! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. You're an amazing teacher--what you wrote about how much your kids have changed over the years makes my heart so happy. And it's awful that you can't finish the year with them. IF takes so much and it's hard to know when it's time to take your life back. That said, waiting to move forward can be excruciating, so I understand why you're moving forward now. When we thought we were going to start our cycle at the end of May, B asked for another month and I almost lost it--waiting another month after all the months of waiting was almost more than I could take.

    I'm so glad that your hormones are behaving more appropriately this time--this is good news. And your flowers are gorgeous. We're in zone 7, so I suspect that we can't grow lupine, but it kind of makes me want to more north just so I can!

    1. Why thank you so much! Yup, it is definitely hard not to be there, but as I walked around with my swollen ovaries on a grocery outing (and maybe a little matinee of The Fault in Our Stars, because hey! that's sitting too...) today and every step hurt and I was so slow, I thought "YES. You made the right decision." There's NO WAY I'd make it in school right now. I agree with you that the waiting is the hardest -- there's no easy part of this process, but like you I go nuts if I have to push things back. The anticipation is horrible. Jumping in that cold pool makes it a bit less painful. June is here, hopefully your wait goes quickly.

      Thanks for the flower compliments--yeah, Zone 7 is no go for lupines. Even southern Jersey is difficult for lupines, so I think you'd probably have a tough go of it... But you can grow other fun perennials that barely make it as annuals for me... like ranunculus and lisianthus. And verbascum, which is supposed to grow here but for me dies a horrible death every time. Good luck to you this month!

  4. Your flowers are gorgeous and what you said about your kiddoes moved me to tears. Keep taking care of yourself and best wishes for this cycle!

    1. Thanks, lady! All is going slow and steady but looking really, really good for those follicles. Here's hoping this cycle is a really, really good one all the way through the end.