Monday, March 26, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: The Awkward Baby Shower Situation

School has been absolutely insane lately -- the bulk of my IEP review meetings are tomorrow, and spring break starts Friday, and soon I can breathe a giant sigh of relief.

Last week was weird... Tuesday in particular. First, that was the day my district informed 29 teachers that they would no longer be employed after June, which is awful (and more so because 28 teachers were cut last year...we are in a budget crisis). Of those, 8.8 were special education teachers. Things are changing and I am mighty glad to be in my 11th year of teaching, as I have a pretty sizeable cushion below me.

But then there was one of the most awkward moments I've had in a long time, after school.

I walked into the library to chat with my librarian friend, and as I walked in a few of my special ed colleagues were walking out, looking at me a bit oddly. I couldn't understand why until I realized that they were leaving a baby shower...a baby shower for a colleague that I am friends with. Now, I'm not best-friends-friends with this person, we are getting to know each other better this year, but I realized that there was a baby shower...and I wasn't invited.

But a whole bunch of my colleagues, many who don't speak with this teacher directly as much, were.

I knew there was something being planned, but I thought it was small, or outside of school, because a friend of mine had an invitation a while back and I didn't, but I didn't think much of it until I walked in and felt immediately like Maleficent at Aurora's christening.

I asked my friend who I knew had an invitation, later, and she said, "oh no, it was super informal and kept really small, I'm sure it wasn't intentional."

But the spiraling thoughts just kept coming, and I started getting paranoid. Because there were so many other people I associate with at the shower, and maybe I was not invited as an oversight, but MAYBE I was not invited because people felt uncomfortable, or I would be like a dark mark on the whole thing, or people wanted to spare my feelings somehow. (I mean, this is a twin pregnancy, and it's sort of an unplanned twin pregnancy, which makes conversations sometimes a little weird, but I don't begrudge the situation at all, honest).

So I kept stewing on it until Friday, when I decided to stop in to the pregnant teacher and just let her know that I didn't skip out on her shower, I wasn't invited, so that if that was by design she could tell me and then I'd feel like less of a schmoo.

WELL. Apparently, I was "on the list," and it was overlooked, and she was feeling badly like somehow my absence meant that I was hurt and was upset by the whole thing possibly, when in fact her TA didn't give me an invitation as requested for whatever weird reason (and I don't really know her, so I doubt it's related to my bitter barrenness).

This is what I loved: I said, "I just didn't know if you didn't invite me because you didn't want me to be hurt or sensitive or something," and her response was, "NO, I wanted to invite you and then I figured you could make that decision for yourself and it would be fine either way."

What a gem this twinner prego is. So, we cleared that up, I shared some resources with her from friends that I know who had twins locally, and I found out where she's registered so I could send a gift.

All's well that ends well, but awkward.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays, maybe ones that play by the rules and are actually micro? Go here and enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Our New Year's Card

So, March is still within New Year's vicinity, right? We went with that assumption when we FINALLY got our holiday card up and running and mailed out the door.

I really, really wanted there to be a sexy cocktail dress shot of me on the chaise lounge, but due to the tiny-house-like width of my office, that was totally impossible to capture in any way even remotely resembling flattering. So there's A shot of me on the chaise lounge in a party dress with champagne, but I am not lounging luxuriously like I envisioned it in my head.

We were still tongue-in-cheek, and I'm thinking that this is our LAST "explaining where we are in life" card, but not our last tongue-in-cheek, update-y card. I do like that the photo cards give you the option to write a (very small) note on the back.

So, here it is...enjoy the fruits of my labor and my 3-months-off New Year's greeting!

Pardon the glare from the left. The bottom left photo makes me laugh. Also, the top right photo is one of my FAVORITES of Bryce, like, EVER. 

One of my favorite shots from Napa, and a brutally honest "how 2017 went and how we ope to move forward" message.

In case you have a hard time reading the text in the full back shot... :)

Many thanks to Loribeth, whose review of Ariel Levy's The Rules Do Not Apply led me to read that particular book. It really stuck with me (and that's where the "everyone doesn't get everything" quote comes from).

Happy, happy new year, my friends!

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go to, I can't properly link to the post because I got a weird security message that is just an expired certificate but my computer won't let me go there yet... Sigh.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Losing at the Genetic Lottery

Thursday was a rough day.

I was all excited about all the lovely progress that I felt like I'd made, and I had my Fatty Liver checkup appointment with my doctor. I was all ready to be like, "LOOK! Look at how great I'm doing at this losing weight thing!"

The scale had other plans.

I took off my sweater, my booties (I am now the sort of person who wears booties, which is weird), and I waited for the slidey thing to go LEFT. But it kept going RIGHT.

According to the evil doctor scale, I'd only lost ONE pound. ONE.

Now, I know it was afternoon and I typically weigh myself in my skivvies in the bathroom when I get up, after peeing. So that could account for something. Also, to get all TMI on you, I had to use the bathroom and I've been having issues with regularity, and so I could not vacate my colon before the appointment and so that had to account for some poundage, right? (Sorry, that's gross. But also I was like, COLON, why can't you be ON MY SIDE, just this once?)

It was beyond frustrating.

I let my doctor know that my scale told a different story (although truth be told I weighed myself the day before in my skivvies in the morning after peeing and it was up a couple pounds, making the number more like 4 pounds of success). Thankfully he is not a weight shamer. He was like, "This must be really frustrating."

Which is when I went into a bit of a tirade about PCOS. I said, "I've been doing some research and it appears that PCOS and Fatty Liver are buddies. They go together. And PCOS makes it really hard for me to lose weight, so I'm not really sure how this is going to work..."

He agreed. He said, "Yes. PCOS and Fatty Liver are definitely related, and it is a difficult thing because the thing that is making you in need of losing weight is the thing that makes that hard. Maybe we should shift the target, maybe 20 pounds is too much to aim for. Maybe 10-15 would be better."

And then he told me a whole bunch of information about how my body hates me and conspires against me that I REALLY COULD HAVE USED WHEN I WAS FIRST DIAGNOSED WITH PCOS.

Did you know: 
- Women with PCOS tend to carry their weight in their middle (knew that one).
- When you carry your weight in your middle, it's not just under the skin. You can also store it IN YOUR ORGANS, notably the liver, and around the intestines, causing all kinds of mayhem.
- PCOS in general makes you more prone to diabetes (knew that) but Fatty Liver is sort of the precursor there.
- I always thought I wasn't insulin resistant, but apparently I am.
- My PCOS plagued body takes carbs and converts them into harmful things for my body, exacerbating my Fatty Liver situation.
- Because I have celiac, I don't eat a lot of carbs, but when I do they are REALLY carb-y (gluten free bread products are notoriously high in carbs and low in fiber).
- If I was a woman of the same weight or even much higher who carried my fat in my hips, thighs, and ass, I would not have these issues. It's the middle fat that is the problem.
- If I can't get my weight under control, I will need to go on a diabetes management drug like Metformin to help me out with the insulin resistance piece.
- So many women I know who have PCOS were put on Metformin as part of their IVF protocols. I WAS NOT. IT WAS ALWAYS POOH-POOHed.

I started to feel both sadness and rage building up inside me.

And then, he said, "Well, one thing we could do to help you out is take you off your anxiety medication if you are feeling better and think you could regulate better on your own. People on SSRIs typically have a very, very difficult time losing weight. If anything, I see people who put on about 10 pounds each time I see them and then they've gained as much as 100 pounds in not much time at all."

This is about where my eyes started leaking and I couldn't stop my lip from trembling.

"I don't think that's a very good idea," I managed to get out without totally bawling. "This time of year is the worst. Because, you know, March-April-May last year were sort of a shitstorm of awfulness and I'm feeling all that pretty hard right now." And then more feelings ran down my face and he passed me tissues. 

I mean, WHAT THE HELL? I would love to not be on meds, but I sort of think that anxiety medication is my friend. Bryce said "It is SHOCKING to me that you weren't on anxiety medication before last year. SHOCKING." Which I had conflicting feelings about, but it's true.

This is when I detailed all the things in my Plan that I've been doing, and how frustrating it is to make so many changes and not see the change in the doctor's office, and how PCOS is just sucky and evil.

And then he said, "Your genetics are really working against you here. PCOS is going to impact you your whole life. You will need to be very conscious about losing weight and maintaining a lower weight, because you are at a higher risk not only for diabetes but for cardiovascular disease, particularly blocked arteries. But it also makes it so much harder for you to do what you need to to be healthy. I mean, I'd call you pretty healthy -- your vitals are good [although my blood pressure was up, probably from the moment I saw the disappointing scale report] and you have healthy habits. Keep going and see me in 3 months, when the weather is nice you'll probably have better results."

That was when I couldn't stop crying. I mean, PCOS is one of many pieces that robbed me of having children, but it couldn't stop there, apparently. And I received very little counseling about how it would affect me longterm. Only how it affected my reproductive life. And when that ended, I didn't think much about it other than the face fur and the pudgy middle and the thinning hair. I wasn't like, "hmmmm, gotta watch for the diabetes and blocked arteries!" Because I didn't think that I was heavy enough to worry about that. I guess I was wrong. And I feel just a tad failed by traditional medicine. I mean, my doctor is great and he was very compassionate and gave me a bunch of information, but it's irritating to me that it took me developing a complication related to my PCOS for it to come up as an issue.

Also, in doing all my PCOS research, I wonder why I didn't do more of that when we were TTC, and wonder if some of the things I'm trying might have made a difference. The answer is no, because it's totally unproductive to think that way, and we had WAYYYY more than PCOS against us. BUT. It is interesting to find out so much about how my body works NOW.

It sucks to find that your infertility diagnosis is sort of trying to kill you. That you've known for sure about it since 2009, but not known just how awful it could be to the rest of your body until now. That looking back it was totally obvious that you had this from the time you had your period, and it was totally missed. That going on the Pill helped with the irregularity, but masked what was truly an endocrine disorder that is so much more than weird periods and infertility.

Grrrr. I went home and did my school work and started to cry. I was listening to sappy instrumental music while I worked, which didn't help, but the crying just wouldn't stop. It was gut-wrenching, grief-stricken crying that I haven't done in a very, very long time. My eyes were puffy and my voice was raw. I talked to Bryce on his layover as he was coming back from his business trip, and he was lovely, but I was just SO SAD. I did buck up and get myself off to the first half of the high school's production of "Hello, Dolly" before picking Bryce up at the airport, but in the morning I had to do creative eye makeup because I totally had frog eyes.

It is so frustrating to find that things totally not within my control or doing are influencing my life in such pervasive ways. I didn't ask for freaking PCOS. Are there worse things you could have? Sure. But right now I definitely feel like I'm losing the genetic lottery, and everything is just going to continue to be more difficult than it has to be.

PS - weighed myself this morning in my skivvies after peeing and my scale was back down... SEVEN pounds down from the starting point. So WTF? Is it just the morning versus the afternoon? I don't get it. And I don't fully trust it. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018


I am not exactly feeling like it's anything to shout to the rooftops, but I've lost 6 pounds. So, if we're going with the 15 pound number and not the 20, that means I'm around 30% of the way to my goal.

My plan has been working out pretty well:

- I have been going to the gym 3 times per week, religiously. I have added in that 4th day of yoga/pilates for three weeks now. I did get some walks in, but then it got all icy/snowy again and that slowed. But spring has to come soon, right? RIGHT?
- My lunches are overwhelmingly plant-based, high fiber jobbies.
- I am not eating bagels for weekday breakfasts anymore. Maybe once in 4 weeks.
- Okay, I tried with the celery. I did so well for a while. It is crunchy, and I could fool myself into thinking it was a real watery chip. Sort of. But the strings...the strings are the worst. So I just don't eat as much of other things.
- The fish oil and probiotic have been a consistent thing. I feel like the fish oil is having all kinds of positive effects. I'm not so sure about the probiotic. But, it can't hurt.
- Definitely eating more fruits. Not so much more vegetables, but I do love me some roasted brussel sprouts, and I eat those several times a week.
- I'm doing okay with the water... some days better than others. I drink a fair amount after school.
- I'm not having as much sugary things. But you know, there are gluten free Girl Scout Cookies. So there's that. The ToffeeTastic cookies are damn tasty.
- The food diary.

Yes, the food diary really does work -- it is so powerful to write down what you eat and hold yourself accountable. I have the food diary as part of my bullet journal, and it definitely keeps me from mindless eating. Because if I DO mindlessly shovel food in my mouth, I don't have space to write it all down, and then the shame is DOUBLED. Self shame is a pretty good tool for me.

I am really enjoying my bullet journal, and feel like it is giving me a creative outlet and encouraging me to be somewhat artsy, and also it is helping me organize my life. The food diary is helping the stupid liver. The trackers are helpful, and I love the gratitude journaling.

So, progress -- 6 pounds down (around 2 pounds per week with one week only going down .4, but that was a somewhat decadent "fuckit" week, so I forgive myself. I gotta live, too, right?); and a beautiful bullet journal that I am STILL DOING in March with fidelity, and getting right fancy with.

I will leave you with some fun spreads and doodles. I do not consider myself a good draw-er, and my students will attest to that fact (I often need to label things to make them recognizable) so these things make me feel quite accomplished:

My lettering needs some work but I'm having fun experimenting. Those snowdrops...ridiculously proud of those! They are based on a picture of a stencil I found on Pinterest, but I did draw them.

It's lovely to see progress, with my whole liver plan and my bullet journalling. One of these will likely result in a good followup doctor's appointment this week...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

March: Let the PTSD Begin

I think I have learned to dislike March. It's a rough time of year, for a lot of different reasons.

One is that March has become the new Month Of Much Snow -- for a couple years in a row March has been particularly harsh, with snowstorms and cold weather and definitely no hints of lasting spring to be found. Maybe little hints, like the snowdrops that came up briefly before getting totally entombed by more than a foot of heavy wet snow, but then BAM! Reminders that it's still winter. I hope those snowdrops have a Lazarus moment when this all melts.

This is the view out my classroom window Friday, on what was NOT a snow day. 

Another is that I usually have my annual review meetings in March, and so it is filled with writing IEPs and having meetings with parents and meetings with students and parent phone calls and getting reports from service providers and assembling a giant packet of documentation in preparation for a day of meetings. My packets are due Tuesday. My meetings are 3/27. I LOVE having my meetings on the early side because it takes them off my plate and allows me to truly enjoy both April Break and fourth quarter, but it makes the first two weeks of March pretty hectic. I can see the light, though. The end is nigh.

Lastly, just the fact that it is March is reminding me of last March, and 2017 was awful in general but March, April, and May were particularly heinous. Luckily I didn't put a whole lot up on facebook while going through the worst days of my life, so  that"On This Day" feature will not be super triggering. However, I know EXACTLY what happened on particular days in March. And I am feeling just a little anxious and blech about these particular anniversaries.

I've already started the clock -- I had the ice skating trip already where I fell and hurt my elbow and spent February Break in a sling, and miraculously this year I did not injure myself. I did fall all the way at the end because a hockey player cut in front of me and I went "Nononononononono... FUUUUUUDDDGE" and ACTUALLY SAID "fudge," thank goodness. I landed on my butt, which all things considered is one of the better places to take a hit. That was actually the SECOND unfortunate event last year. The kickoff was breaking my crown on SALAD and deciding to have it just smoothed out since the gold cap part was intact so it was just cosmetic, and it's my very last molar so who's going to see it? Not even me. But I was reminded of that when I went to the dentist over February Break. I mean, I obsessively run my tongue over it daily, but I don't think about how it came to be. That was truly the beginning.

Now we're coming up on Bryce's birthday, and that was a day we spent entirely in the Emergency Room and it was no fun at all, as it was snowing, and my eye was all gross and red, and it took FOREVER to be seen. Which was okay because other people had more emergent issues, but it was a pretty sucky birthday for Bryce.

Not a happy birthday boy. I'll spare you gross eye redux.

It's just hard to think about all that came after that. All the physical and emotional pain, the complete and utter slamming into a wall of "ENOUGH," a period of time where I enjoyed lying facedown on the floor.

Occasionally I've found myself wanting to lie on the floor, facedown, again...but I'm consciously choosing not to. It does make me nervous that just the timing of things is bringing that back to the surface. And the pull to the floor is strong.

It's a weird set of anniversaries, and it is very, very hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it's been almost a year since everything went so very wrong. That the series of unfortunate events had already begun this time last year.

But, I am stronger than the pull to the floor. I have truly found happiness after profound loss. I carry that loss with me. It never goes away. Sometimes it burbles up to the surface like sulfur in a hot spring, and spreads its stink about what was initially a beautiful, relaxing scene. Sometimes it is just like another thing in my purse (my purse that can hold a HARDCOVER, by the way!) -- I know it's there, like the mini altoids and more lipsticks than any one person should carry daily, but I don't think about it much.

Somewhere in there is my grief. But more clearly visible is a fun hardcover book that FITS IN MY PURSE! The lipsticks are in that zippered part. I would be ashamed to show you just how many there are in there. 

So, March is tricky. April is trickier. April 5th is when the shit hit the fan and I went to the emergency room AGAIN because it sure seemed like I might be dying, and then had a semi-public breakdown that has had the lingering effect of reducing me to tears when someone says "we can always put you on Prednisone," and was out of work for a little bit scooping up all my gooey parts and trying to reassemble into a functioning human. And May. May is when our dream of parenting officially ended. May is when we officially made the decision, May is when we called the agency and pulled the plug, May is when we dismantled a nursery, packed it up, and donated it to someone else who needed it. But then after May, the onslaught of remembrances ends. The "On This Day" will get me in June, as that's when I went "facebook public" with our decision. But otherwise, anniversaries become planning our trip, taking our trip, building up my office, redoing our spaces for our new life.

So that will be something to look forward to.

And this year, I know how it all turns out, so far at least. So that's something.

Someday this will not be quite so hard, will not be so fresh and raw and easily reopened. But for now, I am not loving March, and absolutely dreading April and May. I have to make a plan for self-care, for making new memories to smooth out those incredibly painful ones. Wish me luck.