Surgery, sickness and a new gig 

Its been an eventful week and I want to update all of you! First of all, thank you for your feedback on my strengths as a writer! I was selected for the blog opening position and will be one of the new writers for the Quad Cities Moms Blog! I don’t know many details yet, but it is a one year commitment with a one-blog-a-month requirement! There is no salary but many perks, like museum memberships, etc when people want their business promoted on the site! I have my first meeting on Sunday to get the details and meet the other writers! I am nervous because I don’t know any of them personally – I hope they are a down to earth bunch. I am Facebook friends with one of them and she is extreamly conservative and religious and all their meetings are at Chick FiL A (delicious, but also conservative and religious) so now I am worried that I will not fit in. Of course I am also worried about a) getting a monthly blog written and b) putting my writing out into the world with my name on it – but I know I am up for the challenge! I submitted pieces from this blog for my application, but now B and I need to discuss how much of our infertility I will put on the blog. And if we decide to disclose it there we have some people IRL to tell, because they will see it on the blog/FB promos of the blog! We have a long 5.5 hour car ride to and from a wedding this weekend to discuss that! 

So that’s the good news. They annoying news is that I have been sick all week. Well, more like for 10 days. I started having a sore throat two Sundays ago, and it has still not gone away. The back of my throat is swollen and covered with white blogs. And I have been up at night coughing. I finally went to convenient care 5 days later, last Thursday. They told me it was a virus and sent me home. They called on Sunday (icky day 8) to tell me my strep test was negative and they told me to call my primary doc. I spent two days getting ahold of her (another story) and finally got a hard core antibiotic. I am not sure if it is hard or because it’s more compatible with nursing or because I am allergic to one type of penicillin or because they think I have the super plague or because they want me to stop calling their office. Either way, I feel better but not all better (hence being awake and blogging at 4am) 

I have not written about it much here but my dad has a complicated heart situation. Four years ago he had a valve replacement and the surgery went horrible. It was supposed to be a couple hours and it took nearly 12. He had a ton of calcification around his heart that had to be dealt with before the valve replacement, then the doctor dropped a piece of surgical thread and they spent a couple hours trying to find it by flushing out his heart so he wouldn’t throw a clot and die. The hours of flushing basically exhausted the electric activity in his heart and a few days later it became clear that his heart wasn’t working and he needed a pacemaker. He spent 10 days in the hospital. The entire thing was a nightmare. So he has had this pacemaker for 4 years and it is supposed to have a 10 year lifespan. In the last six months he has needed it “turned up” significantly because his heart needs more and more help. Then a couple weeks ago my parents were on vacation in the mountains (high elevation) and his pulse dropped to 40. Scary. So off to the doctor they went and the doctor explained that my dad has scar tissue growing around his leads and interfering with the signal and that is why they need to turn the settings up so often lately. And that is draining the battery of his pacemaker. So yesterday evening my dad had his pacemaker replaced and new leads put it. Thankfully it all went very smoothly. We still don’t know why he had all that scar tissue and if it will happen again. Hopefully he will not need a new one every 4 years! He is only 59 and that would (hopefully) be a lot of surgeries. 

Given all the scary complications from last surgery, we don’t take any procedure with my dad lightly. So the night before the surgery I took my kids over to visit him. Just in case. He showed us where his will and advanced directive are stored. We hugged and exchanged “I love yous”. He told me he was proud of me. I told him he is a great dad and grandpa. He asked me to take care of my mom if anything happened to him. I told him I would. He said he knew I would. It was horrible and wonderful because I knew that if anything did happen to him, we left nothing unsaid. 

He got out of the procedure at 8 last night and besides being hungry and complaining about the pain he was fine. He will spend one night in the hospital and can go to work tomorrow (well, today) if he wants. This is such a 180 from his last surgery it’s hard to wrap my head around, but I am so happy it went according to plan and we will have my dad around for awhile longer! 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

My blogging strengths? 

I know you can quickly rattle off a list of my blogging weaknesses… infrequent blogger after parenthood…use of bullet points…too many pictures of her adorable children… But what are my blogging strengths? What type of posts best show my voice and point of view? Can anyone remember specific excellent blogs I have written? 

I am considering applying to be a “City Moms Blog” writer! They just posted an opening for September 2015. One of the requirements is to submit two of your own blog posts and I am hoping you ladies can help me pick the best two for submission! 

Any ideas?  

    
    
    
   

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Never say never 

 Because today I did something I NEVER thought I would do! A mud run! It was messy and fun and empowering and I can’t wait till next year! 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Who am I?

I am going through something that I suspect many new moms do. I had been mulling it over in my mind for a month or so, but my friend’s visit and my funk after her departure, brought it to the surface. I have been wondering, who am I? What are the important parts of ME and my identity since I had two kids? Does everyone experience this? Here is a (very stream of consciousness) list of what I have come up with so far and how I need to work on it, thanks for your patience with this post!

– Mom. Overall, I feel pretty good about this. My kids are happy and learning and developing and thriving.

– SAHM. My biggest challenge here is the constant pull between interacting with my kids and completing my to-do list around the house. No complaints, I love this gig, but I get a lot less of both done than I ever thought I would!  I am struggling with the question of “am I engaging them enough?” Additionally, most important SAHM tasks are on an hourly or daily or weekly repetition cycle, so nothing ever feels “done” and I miss that sense of checking something off the to-do list.

– Wife. This would be one I am not excelling at. My husband and I have not been out on a date in…months, I guess. I don’t remember. Thankfully, we have a date tonight! Hopefully it will give us an opportunity to connect. Our biggest challenge is not appreciating the work that the other one does. I don’t feel appreciated for the things I do at home and with our kids and he does not feel appreciated for how hard he works. I think the biggest reason is that we both feel jealous many days – he is jealous that I get to stay home with our kids and I am jealous he gets to leave the house and engage with adults. When you feel jealous of how the other person spends their days, its hard to appreciate that their gig is hard too. I think simply being aware of this is going to help us, in fact, it has already.

  • I have other roles that I think are important, but strong…sister, daughter, grand daughter, daughter and sister in law, cousin, niece, etc. I think I am doing fine in these departments, not that there isn’t always room for improvement!
  • Small business owner/dentist spouse – this is a big part of my identity because it is so engrained in our everyday life. I can easily relate to other dental practice owners and spouses of dentists. We should probably make the time to spend more (double date!) time with other people in this situation – I think talking about work and business CAN be a stress reliever for B, if it is with the right people and the right circumstances, and I like talking things out with people who can relate as well. For example, last week B had to fire an employee for a HIPPA violation. Most of his 28 year old friends are not the boss, have never fired someone, and just cannot relate to the stress that that brought to our house for a week.
  • All the mom identities…When taking with my friend last week I realized that my identity as a DE mom does not feel at the forefront anymore because it is just one of many new mom groups I identify strongly with. Being a DE mom is just one piece of the puzzle, and I like how that feels! I hope my kids will feel the same – that DE is just one small part of their large personal identity!
    • DE mom (unfortunately I don’t know anyone IRL who can relate, so thank goodness for the blog community!)
    • General IVF/infertile mom – I have a fabulous tribe both on the blogs and IRL, thank goodness. We just experience motherhood differently and that profound sense of appreciation for parenthood sets us apart
    • NICU mom – again, I have a wonderful support community consisting of a few IRL mom friends and a large Facebook support group, so I always know who I can go to with questions or concerns and I feel that our family is exceptional and normal at the same time!
    • Nursing mom – same story! I have some fabulous IRL friends nursing toddlers as well as an active FB group and my trusty lactation consultant, who are always reliable!
    • Twin mom – same! Wow! Just typing this out is making me realize how lucky I am to have so many mom friends who can relate to me! Likewise for social media: moms must have felt so isolated before it!
  • Stroller Strides Mom – When I started going to this workout class a year ago, I never imagined it would become such a huge part of my daily life, my social life, my identity…but here I am a year later! I go to class three times a week, playgroup once a week and Moms Night Out once a month. With this group I did an Inflatible 5K last month and will be doing a Mudrun 5K on Saturday. These are things I never would have had the motivation or guts to do before I met these women! I just started a 9-week 5K training program last Saturday with the Stroller Strides company, and at the end of it I will be JOGGING(!) a 5K in September and another in October. I started out hating running, and now I actually look forward to getting out of the house, listening to my podcasts, and getting in a quick job after the kids go to sleep. Who am I? (That is the question!)
  • Resolve Support Group Leader. Last night was the second meeting of the new support group that I started. Wow. Each new meeting and new member makes me happy that I re-started this group. These women have been through unimaginable struggles and, in some cases, trauma, trying to build their families and I feel so proud that I am providing them an opportunity to connect and support each other. I had forgotten what a tremendous sense of purpose I feel while facilitating these meetings.
  • Community School Foundation Member – the best man at our wedding’s mom was the Executive Director of this group (until a month ago) and recruited me to join. This is a good opportunity for me to get out of the house, interact with adults, and volunteer my time back to the school district that educated me and my husband and will educate our children. So far, I have found the my committee work to be rewarding (we provide grants for low income kids to participate in extra curricular activities) but my committee chair to be disorganized and a poor communicator, and I have found the general board meetings to be dull.  Hmm, sounds a lot like the working world…I signed up for a 3 year term, so lets hope the meetings improve when the school year begins in September. If not, at least I get to put on makeup at noon on a weekday…
  • Unitarian Universalism – this is a big part of my identity but not a big part of my life, and I need to work on that! We joined the local congregation and had our kids dedicated in March. Since then I have been to a few services, but we have been traveling so much on weekends that it is hard to get there even one Sunday a month. On top of that, I find the minister here to be much less engaging that our old one in Iowa City. I should check the calender and figure out which week every month he is not leading services, and then prioritize those! Additionally, I have attended a couple meetings on Reproductive Justice, but the group seems to have slowed considerable and I have not been invited to a meeting in a few months. I told the Religious Education leader that I would like to teach the sex ed program Our Whole Lives next time it is offered, and she was thrilled! The biggest reason we joined this community is our desire to raise our kids around diverse and like-minded families, and I know the UU community will provide that when our kids are older!
  • Hard core liberal. Man, I am so out of touch with this identity. The occasional Facebook post does not equate with walking the walk. Perhaps this upcoming election will give me the opportunity to get some political activism back in my life! I imagine my husband feels the same, since he used to be a great political volunteer. Maybe this is something we can get involved in together, because I know we would benefit from doing something together that we are both passionate about!
  • Blogger – how did this identity fall to the bottom of the list? I need to spend more time in this space, because it feels good. I benefit from the self-reflection and infertility connection that come with this blog community. But my posts are too few and far between. Hell, I still have 2 more DE children’s books to review, and I must have started that “series” 6 months ago!
  • My newest identity: editor. As of Sunday, I am doing some “freelance editing” for my FIL. He has about 6(!) field books in the pipeline about using LEAN (a manufacturing philosophy) in healthcare. I understand just enough about this (between my MPH and my communication with him) to be a reliable editor (I hope!). So, I will be spending many Wednesday afternoons (B’s half day off) and Sundays reading, editing, and generally trying to keep my FIL on-track with getting these books done (yes, he is paying me to pressure him!). I initially decided to do this (he asked me to over a year ago) last month becuase I was sick of bickering with B about money and wanted some of “my own.” But now that I have started I see the bigger benefit: getting shit done. As I mentioned above, my biggest mental challenge as a SAHM mom is that nothing is every “done.” It is just “done for now” and starts again in an hour. Working on these books give me an opportunity to work on something, complete it, and check it off my list! I now realize how much I need that sense of accomplishment to feel sane. I have worked for about 2 hours so far on this project and I feel better already!

If you are still reading, I am shocked. This blog was probably boring to everyone but me, but I really needed to write it in order to work through how I am feeling about my identity as a wife, mom, person. I plan to revisit this in a few months so I can be accountable regarding the facets that need improvement!

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

A visit from my BFF

  My college roommie and bestest friend visited this week in route of her move from CA to NC. This was the first time she met my children! We had a blast! Stroller Strides, playgroup, a trip to a flower farm, Miracle Day at Dairy Queen, bubbles in the backyard, and a dinner, drinks and painting night out just for me and her! I miss her already and I know my kids will too – they got comfortable with her very quickly! For once, i already know when i will see her again and it’s soon! We are going to Maine for a friends wedding in less than two months! But saying goodbye is so hard when it’s a friend who gets you so well but lives so far away. Lisa has been with me through college, my thesis, my wedding, Grad school, years of infertility, a pregnancy, premature birth and motherhood to twins. And I have been with her through college, a thesis, grad school rejections, grad school, three moves, a devastating breakup, egg freezing, and a massive career/life plan change as she now finishes her PhD and applies to medical school. 

Spending time with a friend who has known you this long brings an opportunity to relflect on what you have been through. Lisa reminds me of the worst days…three failed IVFs, just a few remaining embryos, considering surrogacy and wondering if we should “just adopt” and making plans to try just one more time. she reminds me of that time in my life that I have just glossed over, now that I have my redemption. It makes me feel proud of my perseverance and like a strong momma warrior. 

She also asks tough and thought provoking questions…what’s the most surprising thing about motherhood? For the good and the bad? How are you feeling about the donor? How do you like staying home? So you want to go back to work? How is your kids/friends/social/intellectual balance? How has motherhood effected your marriage? What do you think about having more kids? Do you want to move into a bigger house or use your money for other things? Having her around and genuinely interested in catching up on my life caused some much needed reflection for me. But more on that later…here are some adorable picture of my kids taking baths and a photo of me, my best friends friend and my kiddos. We had an amazing visit and I am mourning the end of it! 

    
 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

someone elses wise words

This was one of those posts where I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t try! 

#Microblog Mondays: Family ResemblancesBefore having my daughter, or at least at some uncertain but fairly recent time in my past, I was fascinated by family resemblances.I loved to look at photographs and pick out shared features. One thing I found quite entertaining at parent-teacher interviews was to observe the resemblances between children and parents, both in looks and…
http://torthuiljourney.blogspot.com/2015/07/microblog-mondays-family-resemblances.html

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

My first blogger meetup!

I am a week late on this post, so you probably already read the news, but I had my first blogger meetup! Last weekend we were headed to Chicago (yes, again! you generally have to leave Iowa when in search of adventures) to celebrate my Mother in Laws birthday at a Cubs game. I noticed on Facebook that Isabelle was on vacation in Chicago, and I messaged her to see if we could plan a spontaneous get together! It worked! She and Bob made the trip to our hotel (at the crack of dawn on her time!) and we all had breakfast together! We chatted about Chicago and traveling and, of course, donor eggs! It was so lovely to be able to easily slip into conversation with someone you have never met before! She and Bob doted on my kids and by the end of breakfast they realized she was not a babysitter and let them hold them for a few minutes! Thank you so much Isabelle for getting up early and shlepping downtown to get together! (Isabelle does not show her face on her blog, so you will have to FB friend me to see the photo evidence!)

This was my first blogger meetup and now I cannot wait to plan more! Isabelle was a perfect “first” because I was 99% sure she was definitely not a serial killer. :-) I have trips planned to St. Paul, Chicago, Orlando, San Diego and Maine in 2015 (yes we travel with our kids a lot! Hello wedding season!)  I am hoping 2016 will bring trips to San Fran and Boston! And I need to get back to Georgia (for more than 36 hours this time!)! Who wants to get together!? Isabelle can vouch for the fact that I am not a serial killer :-)

P.S. One of my IRL friends, D, is currently cycling at CCRM and utilizing the forums for support. In a post about allergic reactions during IVF, someone recommended my blog. Awesome! Then, someone called me “such a wonderful soul” and D swears it wasn’t her. So, if that was you, please let me know so I can send you thank-you-flowers for this wonderful PR! ;-)

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments