Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Ink or Not To Ink....Is It a Question??

So, I know I haven't posted in a while. But as most of you know, I work two jobs, take care of a house, a husband, two cats, and a very large Chesapeake. Luckily, in a few days, I will only need to focus on ONE job, which will be very nice.

I would like to take a second to diverge from my usual posts about my struggles with conception to write about another interesting taboo.

Last week, the Morning Call printed a front page article about a college student from East Stroudsburg Univeristy (my alma mater x2), who applied for a job at Dorney Park, but was rejected because she had a tatoo on the back of her neck. This violated policy that stated that employees could not have tattoos on the face, hands, or neck. The girl went on to say that the policy is discrimination, that it is freedom of speech.

Now, as usual, the article wasn't the problem. It was the citizens of the Lehigh Valley and their opinions that made me upset. One poster said that she was a "tramp." Another called all people with tattoos "creatures." Another said that "something needs to be done about these people."

I am not going to write about my personal feelings on this issue. I would like readers to form their own opinions. But honestly, isn't calling someone with a tattoo a "creature" taking things a bit too far?

Of course, as most of you know, I do have three tattoos. When going to a professional interview, my tattoos are unseen. But even if they were, would that make me a bad person? My tattoos are very meaningful to me. One specifically commemorates my baby that I lost through miscarriage a few years ago. It is a celtic knot of remember that even though I did not hold my baby, I am still a mommy. I really don't feel as if that makes me a "tramp."

We all know that in the business world, it's all about how we view people. I would like to think that if my surgeon showed up in the operating room with full-arm ink, that I wouldn't be bothered...but we all know that might not be true.

We teach our children not to judge a book by its cover. But honestly...if I showed up at a bar on the back of my husband's motorcycle, wearing shorty-shorts and a tank showing off my ink, how many individuals would say...oh yea, she MUST have a master's degree?

Point is, we try to be objective when meeting people...but labels do exist. And I don't think that will ever change.

So, in the question of inking...I follow a golden rule. Nothing that can't be covered by a wedding dress.

Now I'm itching for a bike helmet and all...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yipyippy...How Dare You!!!!

Shaking and crying right now...the nerve of some people!!! 

Today, the Morning Call wrote an article about a Slatington couple, Mary and Joel Roberts, who struggled to conceive. The couple won a contest from the SHER Institute for Reproductive Medicine. SIRM is one of the foremost and advanced institutes for reproduction, and is located in the Greater Lehigh Valley. Dr. Albert Peters is an amazing man. I have firsthand experience with Dr. Peters; for over two years, I was his patient. He performed many fertility treatments, including medicine, injections, interuterine inseminations, ultrasounds, and procedures that I can't spell. It is a true gift that this couple will receive the treatment they need and deserve in their quest for a family.

Of course, there are stupid people in the Lehigh Valley. Insensitive, idiotic, ridiculous people who can't KEEP THEIR MOUTH SHUT!

One of these people was a poster called "yipyippy." Allow me to copy what this individual commented to the article (this is word for word, with no editing): 

yipyippy at 10:58 AM January 31, 2012
Maybe there is a valid reason why you can't have babies. Don't push your luck.

yipyippy at 11:11 AM January 31, 2012
Besides, with all the poor babies daily being beaten and abandoned because no one wants them  or their parents are losers, maybe your love could help those already in need. Why have kids when so many can use you as their parents? Why don’t you adopt? They need your help *now*. Or, maybe those poor children don’t matter to you? Or, maybe you couldn’t love someone else’s child? Ok. Well, good luck to you.

yipyippy at 11:55 AM January 31, 2012
I will not keep quiet. Free speech and how dare *you* attack *me*. There are millions of beautiful babies that need loving parents and I told this couple just that. I wish them luck as I said before.
Shame on YOU for not allowing an already born baby have a chance at life. Shame on YOU!


OBVIOUSLY, this individual NEVER went through the emotional struggle of trying to conceive. OBVIOUSLY this person is an ignorant SOB, who feels that all this can be fixed with a simple trip to the foster home. 

Sorry....but adopting a child is not as easy as picking up a puppy from the mill!!! 

Yea, I would LOVE to adopt. I would love to give a child a life, and a home, and LOVE. But I don't have $30,000! I WORK, two jobs, to make ends meet. I am NOT on government assistance, and I am not spending my day trolling around newspaper websites looking for things to comment on that I have NO business commenting on!

Does this person understand the emotional toll infertility brings? The physical pain? The stress on a marriage? The jealously for strangers who are pregnant? The inability to attend showers? The nights spent crying, the days spent hurting? The feelings of worthlessness, the belief that you are not a real woman, and the thoughts that your husband doesn't deserve a wife who can't give him a child? And of course, does this person know the pain of losing a child?????

Probably not. 

You read WebMD...does that make you a doctor? You watch movies...are you a movie star? You like Law and Order....are you a lawyer or police officer? 

If you are not infertile....don't comment to people who are!!!!

I pray for this wonderful couple. I pray for all women who go through the pain of miscarriage and infertility. And yes, I pray for ignorant people like yipyappy. That one day they will see that "free speech" doesn't give you the right to make innocent people cry. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What NOT to Say to A Woman Trying to Conceive

Yes, I have heard 'em all in my time. Here is a list of things NOT to say to woman trying to conceive:

1. Just relax! You're trying too hard! It will happen!

    Trust me, when you are trying to have a baby, relaxing is the hardest thing to do! This goes with the same people who tell you to go on vacation. As long as you plan that vacation around the two days that you are fertile, which is stressful, which causes you to surprise! do anything but relax. Ah, the vicious cycle.

2. Maybe you're doing it wrong.

    I know I went to Catholic school, and no one talked about sex, but I kinda think I'm doing it somewhat right. I mean, you get pregnant by holding hands, right?

3. It's God's plan....everything happens for a reason.

    I have a hard time with this one. You mean, God thinks I'll be a bad mommy? I need to sit down and have a conversation with this God-guy.

4. There are worse things that could happen....

     Of course, right not I can't think of much that surpass the emotional and physical pain I feel every least things I have no control over. Gimmie a few seconds on this one.....

5. At least you're having fun trying!

    Yes, every month that I pee on a stick and check my mucus for viscosity, I think, "Woo-hoo! I get to do the baby dance again!!" 50% of women experience a loss in sexual activity during infertility. Of course, I think my husband might be having fun with this one....

6. My kids drive me crazy, you can have them!

     Sure, rub my lack of fertility in my face. And yes, if you don't want or can't provide for your children, I will take them. Happily.

7. Why don't you just adopt?

    Guess what? It's really not that easy. It is long, expensive, and emotionally draining. I would be happy to adopt, can someone loan me $22,000? Same with people who say, "just do IVF!" Dude, I'm a teacher. I'm poor.

8. My husband just looks at me and I get pregnant!

    Da-da-da-da! It's super-fertile woman! You know, that could be a serious problem...get that looked at. And while we're at it, let's have a talk about how NOT to make every conversation about you!

So what do you say to a women trying to conceive?

Oh, honey. I love you. You will be such an amazing mommy. What can I do for you?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Beginning

So, I asked if starting this blog would be a good idea, or if some people would think it was just me looking for attention. And you know what? Screw it. If people want to think that, then they don't have to read it.

But if I can help one woman understand the pain, the solitude, the emotions, the depression, the silent-suffering...well, then I think it might be worth it. So here goes nothing.

My name is Christina, or Stina to my friends. I have endometriosis. And I am infertile.

Now, we got that out of the way.

I guess I should give a bit more detail. But, in the interest of time (meaning, I don't want to waste yours), I will be brief...

Married. No baby. Tried three fertility treatments. Spent $5000. Failed. Got pregnant naturally. Lost baby. Lost 25 pounds. Had surgery. Husband said things were "getting too hard, and didn't want kids anymore." Husband left and knocked up another woman. Divorced. Met wonderful man. Married. Still no baby.

Following? Well, of course there is more detail, but as Spaceballs would say, this is the short-short version.

So here I am. 31 years old, married, working two jobs, living in a great house with my menagerie of animals (husband included), and from the outside, I have everything I could ever dream of.

Except a baby.

6 years ago, I was diagnosed with a condition called endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition that affects 5-10% of women, or about 176 million women worldwide. It is when cells from the lining of the uterus grow in other places in the abdomen, such as the ovaries. Ok, so have I lost the men yet?

The problem is that endometriosis causes infertility. It also causes extreme pain. When I say extreme, I mean...imagine someone stabbing you in the stomach with a hot poker. Personally, I can't get up, walk, drive, work, eat, is excrutiating. I cry, scream; basically want to die. And there is nothing I can do.

It's a double whammy every month..."Hey! Guess what? Not only are you not pregnant, but here's days of debilitating pain on top of it! Enjoy!"

You can't see endometriosis. Most women think that painful monthly cycles are just a part of being a woman. Suck it up, it's not that bad, all women go through it. But it's not normal. And since so many women have it, there is a good chance you know someone who has it.

Ok, so what's the solution? Unfortunately it is not easy. There is no cure. There are short-term fixes. So....

Valentine's Day this year will, in essence, suck. I am having a laporoscopy and a cytoscopy. A laporoscopy is surgery when a long probe and camera is inserted into my abdomen and the areas of endometriosis are cut from each side of my belly. Also, a probe is going to be inserted into my bladder, because the endo might be the cause of a disease called IC, or interstitial cystitis. This is in inflammation of the bladder, causing overactive bladder. Again, there is no cure for this.

I am not telling you all this because I want you to feel bad for me. I don't want sympathy. But please, think before you ask women if they are pregnant (I usually wait until I physically see the baby coming out of the woman before I ask, just to be safe!) because they might start crying uncontrollably. Think before you tell someone that your child is a "burden" or a "mistake" or your conception was "an accident." Because there are women who would do ANYTHING to be in your shoes.

Thank you to all my friends and family for their support. I love each and every one of you. And who knows? Maybe in the course of my blog, I'll have some good news to share!

I'll keep you posted!!