Thursday, May 18, 2017

Out From Under, Mostly

Hi friends...I am so, so grateful for the outpouring of love and support since I wrote last. When you feel so alone in making a decision that you fear will be totally misunderstood, and then have a zillion people holding you in their hearts and feeling for you, it really is amazing.

I have been missing for a little while here because life has been psychotic. Remember how I'm pursuing my National Board certification? Well, ha ha ha, with all the insanity of March and April I really did not get a whole lot done on the, oh, over 70 pages of writing that was required to finish out the second half of that process. I had planned to do a lot over April Break, and then, well, I went a little koo-koo and couldn't quite do that as I was trying to put myself back together again. But, the submission date was May 17th, and I had to get both components in as I have a grant covering the cost and if I don't I have to pay it back (to the tune of nearly $2000), and I wanted to finish SOMETHING that I started, so I worked like a banshee over the past two weeks to get it done. I managed to submit Component 3 on Monday and Component 4 late Tuesday night, after literally writing every day after school until bedtime and all weekend long, minus my mom's graduation ceremony for her graduate certificate at the divinity school and a Mother's Day lunch on Saturday afterwards with my sister and my mom and the guys. SO MUCH TYPING. I wrote and compiled 50 pages for Component 4 over just four days. I sincerely hope I pass.

So, that meant that I wrote and wrote and wrote all Mother's Day. Which is just as well, because this is my first Mother's Day where I have the knowledge that I will never be celebrated on this particular holiday, that it will never be for me. Every year I hoped that THIS would be the year I could be included in Mother's Day, and every year I was left going, "Maybe next year." And this year, it's "Okay, so...never." But, I didn't really get to think too much about it on the day, since I had to type type typity type and edit, from the time I got up to when I went to bed. With the exception of food, which let me tell you, National Board has left me exhausted but also with extra poundage due to the increase in takeout in our household during this time. Because my deadline coincided within days with Bryce's deadline for his course this semester, and so it's been a real house of stress around here. And a real house of non-environment-friendly takeout containers filled with Indian food, BBQ, pizza, Thai... and then sitting for hours. Not the best combo.

And behind all this work is my sadness.

I love on Mother's Day to have a good wallow, and I was denied that this year. So today, I am off on a personal day to celebrate being done and take time to recoup from the insanity that was my push to get my National Board writing done after having my world turned upside down, and also to have my  Mother's Day Wallow. It is now safe to go back on Facebook as most of the Mother's Day posts are below my feed. Well, safe-ish. I am reading Ever Upward by Justine Brooks Froelker and drinking coffee and trying to type even though it hurts, because of yesterday. And in a way it stings to take a personal day. Because those have always been saved in the past few years for my adoption leave, since I get 5 paid days for the adoption of a child, 8 if I tack on my personal days. And so I saved them. Well, I don't have to save them anymore.

What happened yesterday, you might ask?

Well, in a wonderful twist of 2017 being The Year Of Urgent Care, I fell flat on my face walking into school yesterday morning. As in, I was wearing a cute olive green dress and my Dr. Scholl's tan wedges (Dr. SCHOLL'S! Not any stupid wobbly high heel nonsense!), and carrying my bag, and purse, and coffee, and flowers for my TA's birthday, when I hit a seam in the sidewalk going down the hill from the parking lot to the door and my foot teetered and I lost my balance and BAM! I dumped it, hard. Face-first. I am a disaster. I scraped up my knees something awful, chipped my FitBit (although I suspect it took the impact that could have broken my wrist, so thank you, FitBit), and scraped up my left hand. Oh, and my pinky immediately swelled up all purple and raspberry-looking and hurt like a bitch. So I lay there on the ground (did I mention my dress was short? Thank goodness for modest underwear), bleeding, crying, coffee and flower water pouring down the hill, while a coworker who had JUST COMPLIMENTED ME ON HOW CUTE I LOOKED came running to help me. You don't look quite as cute covered in blood and mud with mascara running down your face, let me tell you. I just shook my fist at the sky and was like, "WHY? 2017 has to DIE! WTF!" She ran to get the nurse, and more teachers came out, and the flowers were whisked inside just in time as my TA saw me on the ground as she came in and rushed over, and I took a real fun wheelchair ride through the halls of the first floor to the nurse's office, doing the Queen's wave because I felt so awkward and like a spectacle (although that probably didn't help). Meanwhile, one of the teachers used my phone to call Bryce and tell him that he needed to come pick me up and take me to Urgent Care, and he DIDN'T BELIEVE HER and thought it was a joke, because HOW MANY TIMES IN ONE YEAR CAN YOU GET THAT CALL? Apparently, several. My principal came to see me and told me I needed a bubble. I apologized and said, "This is my second Worker's Comp claim in a few months! [remember the ice skating elbow incident?] I am a LIABILITY now!" and he said, "Well, it's a good thing your assets outweigh your liability." HA HA, yes, but for how long at this point? How embarrassing. I got sent to Urgent Care, told not to come back, and got my bazillionth x-rays of the year. I swear, I should glow by now. Luckily, my pinky is not broken even though it looks terrible, it is just badly sprained, and everything else is just black and blue and scraped up. Oh, and I strained my ribs somehow, so I am in a tremendous amount of pain. I'm never quite sure what movement will cause the excruciating pain, but apparently twisting around is one and putting my arm above my head to do things like shower and get dressed causes it, too. I am a mess.

This doesn't do justice to the way I grated my knees...

My right knee hit harder and is pretty purple today.

My poor hand. Luckily I'm right-handed. My pinky is purple all the way around that first segment. Amazing how much you need your pinky, small as it is...

Swanky new blue splint.

So basically, I finish National Board and my celebration is halted by yet another injury. Sigh.

When it comes to adoption, I have been slowly rolling out the news that we are done. It has been interesting. My principal literally started to cry (a silent man cry) and said he was just so sorry for this, and so sorry that there's a child who won't get to have us as parents. Which made me cry, because it was a beautiful way to put it. He understood, but it is very sad. He was one of our biggest cheerleaders through this process. I told a family friend I've known since childhood who called to check in, as she asked how "The Baby Hunt" was going, and when I said we were done and it was hard and we were sad but looking forward to a new life without the limbo and striving and near misses, she got really upset and then interrupted me and said, "I just want to SCREAM! I'm just so mad on your behalf, it should have worked out, you'd be such amazing parents! You'd be a wonderful mother! Argh!" I told her I appreciated her fury and sense of injustice on our behalf. I have gotten that reaction a few times. Some people ask if we think we'll ever return to the process. I can't think of that right now. Throughout our whole journey I was bad at breaks. Some people are able to put this aside and enjoy life without being in the thick of it as they take a break for a few months, six months, even a year. I envy that ability. I could never do it because I obsessed about wasted time, the clock ticking away, and I just wanted to keep my head down and just keep moving doggedly forward, so certain that working hard would result in achieving our goal. And now, to think of being like, "We'll just take a break and come back to it," well, that's not resolution, is it? You never know what life can bring, and I can't promise that we wouldn't consider something different later if we feel a push to do so, but I hate to disappoint's not likely. If we are going to embrace our life as a family of two and move forward, we have to do it without any What Ifs, without keeping a nursery JUST IN CASE, because otherwise it's not a real resolution. It's just more limbo. And I have had my fill of limbo. We. Are. Done. We need to move forward without any caveat. And that is hard for people to hear, but it is necessary for our survival.

Sometimes, I can't bring myself to tell people. Twice someone has asked me about adoption and I can't do it, I can't tell them that we're done. I don't want to in that moment. And that's okay. I usually tell them it's been hard, and we've had 6 opportunities in nearly 2 years but nothing ever quite works out, and then they say something like, "Well, I just KNOW it's going to work out for you. I PROMISE. You are both just so deserving of parenthood." And I know that if I tell them now it will probably go poorly (and I usually say, "I wish deserving had anything to do with it, but it doesn't..." and don't address the futility of making promises like that) and so I just hint that we won't always have the stamina to keep going, and how very long we've been at this quest, and plant the seed so that it's not a shocker when I do reveal that we are done. Whenever that may be. I haven't really decided how to share that beyond this space and the 1:1 conversations we've been having with people. Which is okay, but at some point I'll have to rip the bandaid off. Because there's a lot of people who fall in that in-between space.

In the meantime, Bryce and I are planning our summer vacation, the extravagant one, to be a honeymoon of sorts. We never did take one, as I signed for my first delivery of Ovidrel in my wedding dress. So now, we start a new life together, knowing that it will be us and the cats and maybe a dog after we take a couple years to be free. We haven't yet decided what to do about our house yet. That's for another time. Right now we lick our wounds and feed our sadness with vacation plans and celebrating THE LAST DAY OF PREDNISONE (which is today! Finally!) with a fancy dinner this weekend.

Thank you again, for all the love and support as we wade through the suck (as Mel put it) to get to the other side, to slowly reach acceptance and look forward to the joy that awaits in our new life together. Of being free of the albatross that was trying to make something come to fruition that just refused to materialize, no matter how we approached it, at least in carrying it so heavily. It will always be with us, but more as a specter and less as a physical load around our necks. And now with my National Board over (and scores not coming out until DECEMBER), and Bryce's class over, we can go into the warmer months with time to rediscover who we are without the quest for a baby, who we are just us two, and what our life can look like in this new reality.


  1. Screaming loudly about your accident. Why, oh why?!?! I'm so sorry you got hurt again. Glad it was not as serious as it initially appeared, but still.

    I've been thinking about you so much recently. None of this is fair or right. And yet, I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for you and Bryce as you proceed down this road of resolution. Its hard to say you're done (harder than most people will ever begin to realize), but this decision is about preserving your family and reclaiming your life.

    I'm so glad you found Justine's book. Like you, she's truly an amazing person. May healing continue.

    And my fingers are crossed for the National Boards and Bryce's final marks. Wishing you both a wonderful upcoming summer vacation.

    1. And congratulations on being done with Predinisone!!!!

    2. Thank you, thank you -- for the love, for the finger crossing, for the congratulations. I am SO GLAD to be done with Prednisone! It fixed my eye, but man, what a cost. And yeah, insult to injury (upon injury upon injury, apparently. I with there was a loyalty points program at Urgent Care, because surely I'd get something free by now). I loved Justine's book. Thank you for including me in a sentence with her! I feel that she's a lot more positive than I am, but maybe I'm more uplifting than I perceive myself? Hard to say. :) Thanks and I look forward to revealing more about our vacation!

  2. I'm so glad you wrote because I was thinking about the fact that you have been radio-silent for a while (and how that is unlike you) and wondering how you have been. And now here is a post to catch us up!

    I'm sorry that it takes half a year to get your results back from the National Boards- that's crazy! And I thought that my bar exam results took a long time!

    I'm glad that you are finally DONE with the prednisone and that you guys are planning a big honeymoon. I think that you guys are overdue for a big vacation and can't wait to see where you guys go.

    I imagine that it is very difficult to tell others of your decision- is there any way you can use friends to tell people so that you don't have to do it every single time?

    Sorry about the latest Urgent Care visit, but hopefully this is the last one for a while. Sending you all kinds of good and healthy vibes.

    1. Isn't that nuts? I feel like it's crazy, because they score them over the summer. So why wait until the end of the year? It's torture. I am going to do my best to not think about it. Oh, and bar exams...that's hardcore!

      I just didn't know what to write for a while after the last post, and I had so much to do for the National Board, so it was insanely crazy and I really never opened up my non-work laptop at all in the past week until today. I wanted to respond to the comments too, but it made me so sad, and also everyone was so supportive and loving, and so it was perfect to take a chunk of today for that.

      I am totally counting on the gossip mill to get my story around, but apparently people are being real respectful of my privacy, and I do want to tell some people myself, so I guess at some point I'll just make it clear en masse. I need a little space from the wound though before I do that.

      THanks for vacation wishes and also condolences for Urgent Care...what a crazy thing. I really do need a bubble. :)

  3. I have been in and out so every time I do I scroll through everything a couple times to make sure I haven't missed an updated from you. I was happy when I randomly logged in today that I saw your name right on top.

    Your summer vacation plans sound like a wonderful idea. I'm sure you will both find something peaceful, fun, and interesting to do that will allow you to have some really nice quality time together.

    I adore you and Bryce, and your love for one another. It shows so much in your blogs. I concur with the other reactions of pure frustration and irritation at the injustice of you two not getting the child you rightfully deserve.

    As always sending hugs your way and hoping your bangs and bruises from the decision and the fall heal quickly <3

    1. Oh thank you. Isn't that funny, now my outside looks kind of like my insides! I didn't even think of that. :) I'm glad to see everyone again and be out from under everything in the past week and a half. Such a super stressful time. We are totally choosing a vacation where we can have space for quiet time and doing all the things we love -- hiking, seeing interesting, off-the-beaten path things, eating amazing food, and drinking amazing wine. And reading. A bathing suit may be required, but not daily. It will be amazing. Thank you for the compliments and frustration. I think one of my greatest successes is our marriage, and I am so grateful that we are such a team and can weather all this and come out stronger for it. I wish we didn't have to, but that's life. Thank you!

  4. First, we congratulate/celebrate:

    Now more prednisone!

    Yay on all that typity typing for the Boards!

    Now the other stuff. Love this, and totally get this: "I have had my fill of limbo. We. Are. Done. We need to move forward without any caveat."

    I'm really excited to hear more about your trip.

    Heal up! I smile thinking of you doing the Queen's wave from a wheelchair...

  5. Congratulations on finishing that mammoth writing project. That is worthy of celebration!....and sorry to hear about yet another injury. Goodness, can you catch a break already?! Vacation planning sounds like a great distraction, and a concrete start to envisioning a new life. Thanks for updating. Still so disappointed how your adoption journey ended, but looking forward to reading and learning about your new goals and dreams.

  6. Hooray to no more prednisone! And I think you made the best of a bad situation with the Queen's wave! As someone who once visited the urgent care to have three different appendages stitched up (seriously) I can relate to injuring myself in ways that seem to defy physics.

    Can't wait to hear more about the upcoming vacation!

    I'm glad that you're enjoying Justine's book! She's such an important voice in our little community.

    I'm glad for you that you were eyeballs deep in National Board Certification stuff for M****** Day. Distractions are always a good approach for dealing with the day! And congrats on submitting everything! Now I'm curious if we mutually know someone who is deeply involved in the national board certification stuff.

    Finally, I owe you an email! I HOPE to catch up on all of those

  7. Well, fudge. Boo hiss about the fall, glad you weren't more seriously hurt.

    Congratulations on getting the boards done.

    Yay for vacation/honeymoon planning.

    Looking forward to adventure tales.

  8. I've been thinking of you often Jess, hoping you've been doing ok. Sorry about the fall! That sounded awful and embarrassing. Now that you've already reached rock bottom, the only way from here is up! I hope that comes across ok. Now that you have made the decision I hope you will be able to keep moving on with your lives. Planning a great holiday is a really good idea! That is sweet that so many people are upset and angry on your behalf. Hugs

  9. Jess, I love you dearly and am so glad that you now can begin a new life with Bryce that is free of constant expectation and disappointment, of high hopes and crushed dreams of parenthood. I'm so grateful that you and Bryce found each other. The stress you have both lived under for so long would have destroyed many marriages, but not yours. As you plan your grand adventure this summer, may you take wings and fly like eagles, high above the rocks below. Enjoy life! Stay safe from harm...and enjoy the beautiful life you have together. You two are amazing. ❤️

  10. You are an awesome writer! I can relate to so much of what you wrote:

    "so certain that working hard would result in achieving our goal"

    "We. Are. Done. We need to move forward without any caveat. And that is hard for people to hear, but it is necessary for survival."

    "We can... rediscover who we are without the quest for a baby, who we are just us two, and what our life can look like in this new reality."

    My husband and I stopped fertility treatments two years ago and we stopped pursuing parenthood about ten months ago. It's an interesting process. It's hard. It's sad. It's relieving. It's a long, varied grieving process. But the process is so very much worth it.

    It sounds like you have a lot of support. Please add me in that group. :) I'll be thinking about you and looking forward to reading more of your writing. <3

  11. I was thinking about you between your post and thought you may be taking some time for yourself. Which it sounds like you have on top of getting some major work accomplished. Awesome for getting everything turned in for national board certification! Sending lots of positive vibes now and through to the end of the year. Such a long time!

    Sorry to hear about your fall and injuries. It is so embarrassing to fall down as an adult! I took a tumble a few years ago the day before my sister's high school graduation. I had two scraped knees and an elbow. Fortunately, I had a longish skirt that covered most of it. But, my first thought after falling was, "I'm too old for this sh*t." My second thought was, "I don't remember it hurting this badly as a kid." But, I guess as we get older, we may have a longer way to go and gravity is not so kind. When people are under a lot of stress, it can sometimes make it easier to get hurt. Hope you heal up quickly! And hope you are on your way to feeling peace and healing in your heart. Hugs!!

  12. Good to hear from you, Jess -- although I am sorry you've been so busy at a time when (I think) you need to take it easy & be extra-kind to yourself...! I hope the bruises are fading by now, and that you are having fun planning your trip! (Last summer, dh stumbled over his flipflops while playing with some kids on my parents' cement patio -- down he went, broke his glasses & gave himself quite the shiner! Thankfully, he thought to bring an old (but still adequate) pair of glasses on our trip, because he was driving!!)

    Sending (((hugs))) as you start this new phase of your life together. <3

  13. Congratulations on finishing your National Board certification writing - wow, that sounds like an ENORMOUS amount of work in such a short time!

    I'm so sorry to hear about the fall and injuries. Hope you are healing quickly and getting better. That's so much to deal with on top of dealing with all the emotions surrounding M- Day and your transition. Sending a hug and thoughts for healing (on all counts, emotional and physical).

    Hope the vacation planning goes well and you and Bryce can find some place truly lovely and restful. And yay for no more prednisone!!!

  14. Aw Jess you've had a bumpy ride. I hope things will start to smooth out for you two. 'Albatross' is a great way to describe the situation you've been mired in. Hopefully once you're free of it you can start to really live. Take care

  15. Yikes, Jess! You really do need a bubble! You poor thing!
    Fingers crossed on the National Board Cert. So unfair that it takes 6 months to get results. Maybe that will be a great Christmas present!