You know ...
one of those fall days when all pieces fit together and it's peaceful and fulfilling and quiet.
Nothing even really happened worth note.

Shoes took The Rosie on a morning walk, in which she met a 10year old friend, who gave her loves and pets.  And then The Rosie, because she is our sweet natured Rosie, slowly closed her eyes, tipped back onto her hindquarters, smiled and gave the 10year old a hug.
Rosie gives amazing hugs.

We walked to the University for the game.
And met up with dear friends, where, I must admit, the other wife and I hugged each other and shared tears and love about the difficulty of having children and adoption possibilities.
We watched our Hot Mess of fellow Season Ticket Holder Howie (we always end up sitting in Howie's section every year) take his shirt off and almost get asked to leave the game.
Oh, Howie.

On the way home, Shoes and I walked slowly, holding each other carefully.
And spoke softly about our jobs and our dog and how much we truly love our life.
We also talked about Title IX, as we are wont to do after football games, debating good naturedly and sometimes heatedly with laughter and choice words and you know what?  I am so grateful for him.

Today, I'm trying to stay centered in today.  In this.  In right now.
What my brain would like to do is jump to tomorrow and the next day and next week (I am a little intimidated by next week's schedule and the level of crises some of my families are going through right now ...)
But that doesn't help.
And it takes away from the fact that Rosie is snoozing (and snoring) peacefully on my feet.  It takes away from the afternoon plans Shoes and I have.   It even takes away from my own small pleasure of planning our weekly meals and meandering slowly through the grocery store.

This staying present is one of the hardest things, you guys.  Turns out I am really terrible at it.
But it also turns out that I am a more gentle, loving and calm person when I'm practicing at it.
Funny how that works.

No.  It was eight days of vomiting and nausea, but only in the evening, but I did not die.

On Sunday afternoon I wore my Athleta headband directly on my forehead because the stupid thing won't stay where it's supposed to.  Shoes took one look at me and said, "What the *expletive* are you wearing?"  Instead of launching into a soliloquy as to why sports headbands for women could be the stupidest invention imaginable as none of them actually stay on my head, I said instead, "I'm Rambo!  I'm Rambo!  I'm Rambo!" and ran around the house.

Just feeling better I suppose.  Grateful the flu was gone.  Grateful I wasn't nauseous.  Grateful for energy.  I had a feeling, despite what the on call doc had said, that it wasn't the good news we are waiting for.

And it's not.  We are not expecting.

In the middle of the-only-have-the-flu-at-night, I had the first appointment with our fertility doc.  I like this doc, you guys.  A lot.  But we had to talk about some Serious Things.  Namely, I had to talk in detail about the testing Former Husband and I completed when we tried to have a baby, unsuccessfully-but-thank-the -LORD-for-that, in 2007. It brought up a flood of memories I didn't realize I still had.  (None of them all that pleasant, by the way.)

You want to know something?

Even though I knew, really, that what I had was the flu, there was still a part of me that was holding hope against hope that some miracle had happened and I had miraculously developed morning sickness ... at week 3.  (Right.  I know.)

This isn't just Shoes and I trying for 6 months at the age of 36.
THIS is added to the period before which had much more invasive fertility testing.  This is not new for me.    When confirmation came that Shoes and I were not expecting this past week, the lack of pregnancy felt different this time.  I think, due to the long conversation I had with the doc about my previous marriage, this felt ... compounded.  It felt bigger.

So much bigger.
So much deeper.

I had a little breakdown, you guys.  Shoes and I sat on the bed and talked and didn't talk and talked some more while I wept.

But here's the bottom line:  Other than one more test we could do right now, unless we wanted to skip to IUI or IVF, there's nothing more we can do (other than try conventionally.)  (We have decided that IUI and IVF are not the paths for us.)  The doc told me what the acupuncturist told me:  You're doing as much as you can do.

Something shifted this weekend.  Our hearts are still in this, deeply, but I need to make some changes in my spirit.

I know this sounds very ... therapist-y ... but I wrote myself a little love letter.  And I wept the entire gosh darned time.  In it, I gave myself permission to let go.  I told myself my life means more that constant data checking and symptom checking and symptom OVER ANALYZING.   I reminded myself that while I put all of my energy and spare time into pouring over Google Forums and threads and whatever the *&*(%$# else is on the Internet, I get almost nothing in return.  No peace of mind.  No sound advice.   Just more worry.

I am missing out on the wholeness that is my life.
Even my OB told me to quit charting.  Full disclosure:  I'm not going to do that.  But I wrote a note to myself and posted it on the computer that read, "NO FORUMS."  And I wrote myself out a little plan for when I feel tempted to over analyze and would most likely sucked into the Hell that is Google.  There's a lot of things on that list.
Worrying about this is not one of them.

And while this is all good and healthy and practices faith and trust, and loving kindness to myself, something else happens with that too.  The hurt becomes a little more protected and a little more private.  I'm not sure that's something I can explain, but I feel myself moving into a place of reluctance to talk about this when people ask outright.

After having to talk again about the full extent of this journey, ranging back to 2007, I do not want to talk about it anymore.  In person, anyway.

I used to take people's questions and (let's be honest - ridiculous) advice in love.  I'm reluctant right now, especially after some less than understanding exchanges this weekend, to talk about it with people face to face at all.  Logically, I know people don't understand what it's like to just not have this happen over and over again.  Logically, I know that *this* is not the world's biggest struggle.  However, in this moment, it is *my* struggle.  And it is scary.  And exhausting.  And the safest thing right now to me feels like to keep it, at least in regards to face to face conversations with others, to Shoes and myself.  (But the Internet offers alllllll kinds of fake anonymity, right? Suffice it to say there will be more posts about this as the Internet is not quite real life in many aspects.)

So this past week?
I did not die from the flu.
I watched too much daytime TV.
I received all the Rosie snuggles.
And I started to look fear in the eye a little bit.
And I realized, or at least started to realize, how much I have not been honoring the wholeness of this life.

(I have not read a forum or thread in three days.  It feels better.  No amount of pineapple core / bromelain is going to make me feel better about this process anyway ... it will always be something else.  I don't want to miss out on what's right here, right now as we move forward to what might be.)
I have been down for the count for 7 days.
I have no idea what's going on in this body.  I do know it's not a baby.
That just makes it a bug without a purpose, as far as I'm concerned.
Also, because this weekend is the Coug's bye weekend, Shoes and I had planned to go back to Portland for the weekend and see friends we miss dearly and visit the city we kind of maybe wish we hadn't left.
That, of course, is no longer the plan.
Stupid stomach bug without a purpose.

I've yo yo'd in between home and work this past week.    I feel good in the mornings, by mid afternoon by stomach starts hurting and by late night I'm in severe pain with other symptoms.  I thought my supervisor yesterday was going to lose it when I kept telling her I had just one more thing to do before I went home.  (Really, my work boundaries are getting much better.  I have a few families in crisis right now, though, with little coverage options, which makes not being at work a  little difficult.)

I went to Urgent Care on Tuesday, because, even though I'm 36 and we've lived here for 2 years I'm slightly juvenile and irresponsible and still haven't established care with a PCP.  The doc on call said, "Eh, you're either pregnant or you have The Bug.  You're fine to go back to work."

Extremely helpful.

I'm tired of home.  Tired of my bed.  Tired of reading.  Tired of social media.  Tired of daytime TV.  (When I watch TV, I catch myself thinking things like, "What do you mean Jwoww and Snookie and Janelle and Kim K can have babies and I can't; That makes zero sense ...."   Then I have to remind myself that those thoughts help nobody and it doesn't matter who's having babies and who isn't.)

Tired of my stomach hurting.

Not tired of the Rosie snuggles.  She's been a steady, constant companion, often choosing to lay her 75lb dog fluff directly on me, or choosing to snuggle her dog nose into my neck.   Every time I'm really not feeling well she brings me her favorite stuffed octopus, which is extremely endearing and also disgusting because that octopus is really very extremely dirty.

Not tired of Shoes, who has gone out to buy Saltines and more Saltine and Gatorade and more Gatorade and lies down next to me and continually asks me what I need.  How did I get so lucky to have him, you guys?  I look at him and I remember just two years ago when all I could think was, "Our long distance is going to end soon and then we get to have a normal relationship where we see each other every day."  He's a good one.

So today I'm at home, orders of my outpatient clinic, who are alarmed by my pasty pallor.  (look guys, it's just a product of having no food energy for several days ...)  I'm going to crack open "Play Therapy With Children in Crisis" (which I really have been wanting to read.)  I'm going to start planning next Spring's garden (when else am I going to have this kind of time?)  Shoes and I are re-arranging / redecorating the bedrooms in our house to make symbolic / spiritual / metaphorical room for a child; I'll probably start looking for paint colors.

And just continue to believe that whatever this stupid bug is it's not serious and will leave soon.
(I did schedule a real appointment with a doctor for next Tuesday to talk about the stomach issues and to establish care with a PCP.  I am a grown up, in the end.  I'm just a grown up who's tired of Super Bug.)


Because I'm sick.  At home.  Probably not with Ebola, but oh man.  Whatever this is has a powerful punch.  Somewhere around 8:00 I rolled out of my bed and onto my couch and thought to myself, "This would be a good morning to try to watch The Shining all the way through."  (Don't ask - I'm blaming the fever.)  I haven't yet watched it entirely, despite many years of trying, because I am truly terrible with scary movies.

It didn't work.  Eyes shielded.  I can't stand the woman in the bathtub or the last portion of the movie where Danny is silent screaming constantly.  Also, in the book, didn't the head chef LIVE?  Why would you kill off that character??

Around 10:00 my best friend texted me pictures from the pumpkin patch with my goddaughter.  That made me a little sad that we live so far away and I can't be part of those things in person.

And around 11:00, the OB's office called to remind me that my first fertility appointment is this Tuesday.

All the thoughts about that.  That phone call lead me down a spiral of thinking about the path we've taken so far to start our family and how many things we do during the month to try to make this as successful as possible.

It has taken over our lives.

It's worth it, don't get me wrong, but good night.  It's a lot.

From the charting to the 15 supplements a day to the teas to the massage therapy to the acupuncture to the eating pineapple cores to the over analyzing everything and falling down the awful hell that is Google to the limiting drinking wine to 5 specific days to the full 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to the keeping my feet warm always (one of my closest friends is Chinese and says I have to do this) to the fertility yoga to the daily foot soaks to open my meridians .... It doesn't really stop.

My acupuncturist fired me this week, you guys.  It was kind of a jolt to my ego and my first thought was, "Why would you fire me?  I'm like, the world's BEST PATIENT.  I DO ALL OF MY HOMEWORK!!!"  And that's basically what she said.  Actually, here's what she said:  Usually she asks fertility patients to do acupuncture and TCM for two months before trying to conceive, but she make an "exception" with me because we have been trying for awhile and charting for awhile.  Then she said, "You're doing everything right.  You need to rest in that and keep doing that and just go to your upcoming appt. with the OB.  If you want to keep coming in, we'll work on your shoulder and allergies."

So we have this upcoming appointment, and I'm nervous.  I'm nervous about what he's going to say.  Nervous about the testing.  Getting triggered from when I did this before with the Former Husband.   We're hoping for some answers and some direction in these upcoming weeks.

Also, I'm really hoping this fever goes away soon.
I'm also hoping the Cougs win tonight.
One of these things is more likely than the others.
I wish I could drink a glass of wine tonight.

... Maybe this second part should be titled, instead, "Why therapy might not be working...."

It's a sticky situation I'm about to describe.  And when I tell you this, please know that there's no judgment on part.  Things just are what they are.

Sometimes we think therapy is a good idea.  Sometimes we recognize our own distress and make that initial phone call to a counselor, complete our first session, and get started.   But therapy is a funny thing.  Therapy can be validating, affirming, life changing and challenging in all the best ways.

Therapy is also a lot of work.  We usually don't go to therapy because things are going swimmingly well.    There's discomfort.  Dis-ease.  Something isn't working.

And maybe for some people, the simple act of sitting down and talking to somebody helps.  Eases distressing thoughts and emotions.  Is enough.  That's not usually the case though.   Therapists have different views on this, but my own is that therapy is a place where we come to be validated (yes and absolutely), but it is also a place where we come to change.  Change takes work. We learn new skills.  New ways of being.  New thoughts and new ways of thinking.  New coping strategies.  Change requires we are vulnerable enough to talk about what is going well ... and what it is not.  Change requires practice during the week.  It requires therapeutic homework.  It requires being in an emotional place where you're ready to try something new ....

It is work.
(Good work, and it does work, but still work.)

I once had a very, very, very irate client tell me that this "Bullshit therapy isn't working at all."  (There were more choice words than that, but you get the idea.)  This client had come to three therapy sessions.

Change usually takes more time than three weeks, loves.

So we can say we need therapy, right?  We can make that call, come to counseling, and sit in the chair. But sometimes we're just not ready to do the work - sometimes for very understandable reasons.  (And there is no prescription for that.  That's up to clients and their providers.  It might work to keep going.  It also might work to break for awhile.  That's not my place to decide.)

Look.  A little bit of self disclosure and honesty here?  After the Big Divorce in 2007 I saw a counselor for about a year and a half.  And it helped some.  But I held back.  A lot.  I held back a lot because this counselor and I were part of the same faith community and I was having some very big faith doubts I didn't feel like I could be honest about.  It's not that counseling in that season of my life wasn't helpful, but it really was nowhere near as helpful as I could have made it.  (My own answer should have been to probably establish care with a different clinician.  I was afraid of hurting the counselor's feelings.  It wasn't a very healthy person / clinician relationship.)  All this to say, I've been there.  Counseling seemed like a good idea, but I wasn't as invested as would have been most helpful.


Your comments in the last post were lovely reminders that sometimes we need friends.  Sometimes we need people who are going to sit with us, laugh with us and cry with us.  Sometimes we don't need a professional's clinical tools .... we need somebody who, as Eliz! put it, has been where we've been.  I've been there, too.  The fluttery feeling of solidarity and recognition that happens when we find someone who really understands us ... is gold.  It's not that counselors cannot provide that, but counselors should probably not engage in high levels of self disclosure.  Right now, in this season, I am more replenished from talking to someone who has been through a divorce, or grad school, or fertility problems (my own examples.)

So.  Where does that leave us?
Counseling can be amazing.  It truly can.  I wish I could go into detail about the almost spiritual moments that have happened in my office.   I've seen it work many, many, many times (and "working" by the client's definition.)  Sometimes it really doesn't ever take off.  And that can be ok, too.

I guess my ending for these last two posts would be this:
An admonishment in love to take care of yourself.
If you take care of yourself in therapy, then fantastic.  (I love being a therapist; it can be magical; I get it.)
And if there are other ways to take care of yourself, ok.  Do coffee with your friends.  Do yoga.  Do roller derby.  Do your poetry group.  Do Crossfit.  Do it.  But do something.

(Additionally, as I'm wrapping this up, as a community outpatient mental health provider, I'm having reminder thoughts that some of us are mandated to therapy through different court systems.   As a reminder to us all, I am not giving clinical advice to anybody in this moment; rather, I am exploring thoughts on therapeutic possibilities.   If you have a court order to attend therapy, take medication, etc, or are currently in care with a clinician and these things are part of your treatment recommendation, please follow through.   Please take care of yourself in these ways.)