Saturday, September 21, 2013
A Shout Out, Answered Prayers, & Distractions
Two posts in one day... look at me go! I knew my update would end up being pretty long, so wanted to make this a separate entry and mesh a few things together.
First, a shout out. Technically, more of a book review, but that doesn't sound as fun. So let's say it's a shout out to the author, Kristine Ireland Waits, for her book Every Drunken Cheerleader: Why Not Me?
I found this book back in January, like the day we found out our infertility sentence. I remember being home by myself when the Doctor gave me the news that we had no swimmer count. Scott was working the late shift that night, so it was me, the devastating news, a box of tissues for my millions of tears, and the Dr. Google for quick solutions of support, research, understanding, and answers. I searched infertility books and this is one of the first I came up with. The first was actually Waiting For Daisy, by Peggy Orenstein, which is another good read. I ordered both and had them a few days later.
With a title like Every Drunken Cheerleader: Why Not Me?, how can you not laugh or say "YUP, that sums it up." I mean, really. The title grabbed me instantly and I'm glad I found it. Kristine's writing is so personable and just flows, as if you were sitting in a room with her and hearing her tell her story. I was hooked from the first page, and after the intro and first chapter, I looked her up and emailed her. I know that sounds weird and stalker-like, but I have actually never done anything like this before. There was just something about her writing style, and her encouraging words, that made me want to reach out and thank her. Up to this point in the early stages of our relationship with infertility, I had only told a very small number of people, and most of them didn't really understand what exactly we were going through... but this author did. I was craving guidance from someone who had been in our shoes before. So I emailed her just to say thank you and to let her know that I truly enjoyed her book. From what I could tell, I had a feeling she would be very appreciative and would want some feedback from readers.
Sure enough, she did, because I was surprised when Kristine wrote back that same day! She was very thankful and glad that I responded positively to her book, felt we both spoke the same language, and asked me to consider contributing to her next book. This book was all about her personal experiences, and she's currently working on one that is a compilation of other people's experiences with infertility. So kind of taking a different spin and publishing a collection of struggles, advice, ways to find support, success stories, etc. I immediately jumped on this because since everything was still so new and fresh, I had been meaning to journal about it all but hadn't had the push to yet. Her request was my push, so I did it and wrote about everything on my mind. I must have spent about 3 hours at the laptop just writing nonstop as it all poured out. I apologized profusely to her and said I didn't even care if she used none of it, but it was so therapeutic for me to get it all out there, so she could take it or leave it, but it was helpful for me to have written. I think the spark to start this blog came out of that, too. I've always tried to keep journals, but it usually ended up wishy washy. Plus it makes my hand hurt. This is a lot easier. So, now I have an author friend. We've emailed back and forth a few times over the last few months, most recently over the summer and she replied saying if we lived closer, she would bring over a kick board to help encourage our swimmers! Ha! She's working on her new book now and I can't wait to see how it turns out. I don't even mind if none of my material was useful (well, I would feel awful for her to have read through it all, but really no hard feelings other than that here), the fact that it helped me say what I needed to say to keep record of our journey for myself is what really counts. Anything more than that would just be kind of fun and neat.
I truly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read, whether you're trying to conceive (TTC) or are close to someone who is. It gives a great picture of all the emotions and other things you encounter on the journey. And needless to say, Kristine and her husband have endured many struggles but in the end have two beautiful children!! Gotta love stories with happy endings. <3
Check out these sites to learn more about Kristine and her books:
Next, some cute prayer stories.
My family is Catholic, we went to church a lot growing up, and I received many sacraments, but I'm not very active in the church anymore. I've honestly had a hard time believing in God at times, but I still consider myself a very spiritual person. I have total faith that things usually happen for a reason and to just stay positive and believe. I believe in a lot of things and have a lot of hope, but it's kind of been my own spiritual journey for a bit until the past year. I've started to pray on my own a lot more in the past year and I have many different tokens of fertility symbols and good luck charms on my dresser. Things from different friends. There's a picture of the triple goddess, which is supposed to be a powerful fertility symbol, a Kokopelli charm/necklace, a fertility bracelet, a prayer for motherhood, and a few other trinkets that I felt I would keep all in one spot when a friend suggested this last year. Can't hurt, I'll try just about anything if it will get us a step or two closer. Anyway, I've somewhat regained my sense of faith over the last year and have kind of found my own spirituality and what I believe in.
Over the summer, I knew I was changing grade levels again to teach Kindergarten. I was pretty excited about it, but having only done it once before (2 years ago, so not consecutively), I was nervous to be the only teacher doing it this time. My partner was moving up to 2nd and I was really really nervous about teaching it on my own when I wasn't 100% comfortable with taking it over just yet. It was only set to be one section because the numbers just weren't there for 2 classes. (I teach in a VERY small school~ it's a K-8 district, all in one building, with only 1 or 2 sections of each grade, depending on size.) The K numbers in June were around 18, and we wouldn't typically split unless it was around 24/25. I was in and out a lot over the summer moving classrooms, and when I was in on July 30 before going to Florida for a few weeks, the principal updated me that many new families were moving in and wanted to register their children, and our numbers could be increasing. The potential numbers were enough to put it right on the fence of 24/25. 25 is average anywhere else in the country, but in our small little country town, 25 in one class is A LOT. On my way home that day, I started to panic and run through lots of thoughts. That many kids in one class at my school would be enough to set any of us on edge, but I was more anxious for a few reasons. Kindergarten can be a loose cannon; you don't know their academic needs or behaviors yet, so that's a lot for the lower grades where rules, routines, and other foundations are key. The bigger elephant in the room was that fact that I knew there was a good possibility I would be starting fertility treatments during this school year and would need to be out a lot of days for different doctor appointments. Not ideal in any situation, but worse in a Kinder class, and a class with so many families who just might not understand. So right there, on my drive home, I started to pray out loud. I tried to spin it and think positively. I knew I would only be given what I could handle... or at least I prayed to only be given what I can handle. If it ended up being so many kids, I would have to accept it and know that I would survive, somehow, one way or another. I asked to PLEASE keep in mind the fact that we'd potentially be missing days with RE appointments and treatments, on top of regular germs and sicknesses that any school year brings. If I was meant to go through all of that, a smaller number would be much easier to handle. Fast forward 2 weeks and the last full day of our vacation in Disney (just 2 weeks before school started) I got word that the administrators decided to split the class into 2 smaller classes. I was SO overjoyed and felt an immediate sense that things would start looking up soon and we can start down the path to a baby this school year. I now have 12 children (with 1 or 2 newbies potentially arriving in the next few weeks) and they are such a sweet, fun, and adorable class! I am loving each and every day and I'm very VERY hopeful for the school year ahead. I know I will need to use days for appointments at some point in the year, but having a smaller class makes it so much easier to be gone here and there, and I have to put my family first for once. I know they will be left in good hands and that it won't be chaotic for substitutes with a nice small number. I truly feel that things are starting to fall into place. :)
And finally, some distractions...
Being a teacher married to a retail manager, our schedules are like night and day. Sometimes Scott and I are like two ships passing in the night. I am up at 6:30 and in bed around 10 every weekday, and home on the weekends. Scott works all weekend, every weekend, has 2 weekdays off, and works some mid shifts, some late shifts, and one opening shift. It's safe to say that we spend more time together asleep in the same bed than awake with each other. We can count on 2 dinners a week, maybe 3 together... the days that Scott is off from work (as long as I leave school at a decent time), and the day he opens (as long as he leaves on time). Other than a few hours together on those nights, we have a few hours combined on the weekend mornings too, before he goes to work. So it's never enough to go out and do anything other than run a few errands and maybe go out to eat. Otherwise we are on the couch, catching up, watching TV, and eating din together or having coffee together.
We haven't had a common day off together since August 28th, and we probably wouldn't have one again until Thanksgiving... unless I take off from work. Luckily, my birthday is in October and we usually try to do something either on my birthday or on the weekend nearest. This year it's on a weekend and we're both taking 3 whole days together and going on a weekend getaway!! I'm so excited. It's the big 3-0 and I'm not super excited about that (Dad, I totally get why you always used to pretend you were still 29 every year... I don't want to turn 30!!). Scott asked if I wanted a party, but all I really wanted was a weekend with Scott, some wine, and to be somewhere new for the weekend. So we're headed to wine country, the Finger Lake region of New York. It's about 4 hours northwest of us, but we've been wanting to go for years, and what better reason than a big milestone birthday? Also, if we aren't starting any fertility treatments until December at the earliest, a wine weekend in the fall is perfect. I am so excited for this distraction. Distraction from school, from infertility, from social media, from everything except us. Just us. A Team Ricci getaway. I love our vacations together because it really gives us quality time to reset and reconnect. Our work schedules tire us out so much that even though we have a few hours together on some days, we're like on autopilot and usually stressed, tired, or have something to work on or do. So this trip will be a fun and relaxing adventure to somewhere new. I'm really looking forward to it!! :) :) :)