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Limbo

Wow, I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been cooking up a storm, adapting new recipes, and washing lots of dishes. Yesterday I made my first gluten-free (GF) turkey meatloaf, and today I made GF turkey meatballs, and tomato sauce with produce from our garden. I plan to serve it for dinner on shredded spaghetti squash (also from our garden). Props go to DW for growing me all of these amazingly gorgeous organic vegetables and herbs!

Time seems to be moving at a very strange pace for me. Being home every day means that my sense of time is dictated by my daily chores, appointments, and the return of DW from work. I have been running errands, hiking on the conservation lands with the dogs, preparing elaborate dinners, and probably not cleaning as much as I should be. We have been relaxing at the cottage on weekends, so my routine is kind of messed up in this way too.

Obviously, in many ways I’m glad that I’m not at work. I suffered from an alarming level of anxiety from being dealt a ridiculously unfair schedule, a lack of support from the people that are supposed to be supporting me, as well as doing my best (and failing) at trying to provide meaningful learning moments for kids that are the most challenging in the district. I was not eating. I was not sleeping. I had fleeting thoughts of self-harm. My family doctor insisted that I take a break from all of it to regroup and grieve our loss. I am currently about one third through my leave of absence, and I am terrified of going back.

I feel like I’m just beginning to heal physically. I’m still spotting daily, and I definitely notice my athletic limitations compared to pre-pregnancy: lower cardiovascular endurance, core strength is gone, and my strength has severely decreased. I have been lifting weights again every other day for the past week and a half, and my energy and motivation has been lacking. Pre-pregnancy, working out has always been a treat and a stress-reliever, but now I feel like I’m dragging my heels and my body just won’t do what I want it to do.

Interestingly, my eyesight has significantly changed as well. I had an eye exam two days ago, and my vision, which has been stable since 2007, has gotten worse by almost 2 diopters in both eyes! I suspect that all of the pregnancy hormones have messed up my body in many ways that I am unaware of.

Emotionally, I am really struggling. Part of me wishes that I was back at work (I really enjoy my career- just not at this particular school and schedule), as I miss the kids, routine, and socializing with my colleagues. In particular, I miss the first two schools that I was at. The kids were amazing, and the staff made me feel like family. Even the administration were very personable and supportive. However, my past two schools have been really difficult- due to the administration (lack of support and disciplining of students), and the particular classes that I have been assigned (the classes that nobody wants because it involves teaching the most difficult content to the most poorly behaved students). Unfortunately, being in a union (don’t get me wrong, I am so appreciative of unions) so much of where you teach and what you teach is dependent on seniority, and being a relatively new teacher in a school board that is shrinking, I am at the bottom of the food chain. So the most experienced teachers can choose to teach the easiest students and their first choice of subject, and the new teachers with the least experience get what nobody else wants. Not to mention that I get paid half what they get paid, and end up working extra hours at home prepping every night.Makes sense right? Ugh.

Look at me. Three weeks off from work and I’m still bitching about it. Now and again I have to remind myself that I am so lucky to have job security and benefits, and an (unpaid) summer off.

In happier news, I came home to a gift today:

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A friend of mine sent it with their condolences on our loss, and for a moment I was so touched but also so frustrated that miscarriages are often such a hush-hush secret. I know they are common, but given the lengths that we have gone to make a baby, our repeated losses seem even more tragic. For example, we can’t just have sex a ton more times and get pregnant (though- this should not dissuade anyone from trying this strategy ;)). We apparently can’t even get an IUI to work. Very frustrating.

In the meantime, I will wait for DW to get home before diving into these:

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I saw a new Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine this week. He lectures annually for the acupuncture program that I used to teach for. He is a fertility specialist, and until now, I haven’t been able to see him because he only treats on weekdays (teacher schedule). The appointment went well. He is very thorough and has a three-phase plan for me. The first phase is getting my natural period to come and flush out all of the stagnation in my uterus (and what energetically remains of the pregnancy). Then, we work on building my yin, which is quite depleted in me, and what likely causes my long follicular phases (eggs need more time to mature because my yin is too weak). Lastly, we will work on lengthening my luteal phase, which is super short. He says that even if I were getting pregnant naturally, my luteal phase is so short that proper implantation can’t even occur. Sometimes, regulating the follicular phase also fixes the luteal phase as well. He’s got me on some herbs right now, which are in the form of high potency granules. While I’m very proficient at acupuncture and general TCM principles, I was not trained in the healing properties of herbs, which can have incredible synergy with the acupuncture treatments. I am glad he is healing me through the use of both. He suggests that I sit this next cycle out, and try again the following cycle. So essentially, I’m in limbo for another 9 or so weeks.

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20 thoughts on “Limbo

  1. DW is incredibly fortune that you are waiting before jumping into that super thoughtful gift. I can promise you, my husband would come home to the left overs, or possibly just an empty box and a picture of what was. šŸ™‚
    Also, after my 4th loss, I listened to my doctors and took time off work. And, I never went back! While at times I do miss the routine that my career offered, I do not miss the stress of my profession and i do not miss my last place of employment. And, I still have a lot f fears regarding attempting to return to the profession eventually, but I will cross that bridge when we get there. But, honestly, just to be able to manage all the medical appointments I’ve had to go to, it’s been great not working. And, it really did help me. So, I hope your break from work is also good for you!
    I do hope that you continue to feel better!

    • Thank you for sharing! I feel like society is so unempathetic when people take leaves from work. One of the things I really struggle with is the judgement from others that I’m not at work right now- especially my colleagues- 99% of whom don’t know why I’m off. I do feel so much less stress not being there. I’m eating, sleeping a bit better, I’m taking full breaths.

      • Taking full breaths is critical šŸ™‚
        I ended up having to tell a few people what was going on, and eventually decided to tell everyone in my professional life. For me, it seemed easier to acknowledge our RPL publicly then to stop working without any explanation. I felt that if people wanted to judge me, then they might as well know what we’ve actually been through. So, now, pretty much everyone professionally knows, and I’ll deal with the consequences of that eventually when I try to return. But for now, I’m happy with our decision.
        Wishing you the best as you work through all of this! And, I’m so happy you have a bit more time off, I think it will be good for you in the end šŸ™‚

  2. I totally get this.. I was a teacher for 7 years and I had to call it quits at the end of 2013. I was given a class with the most challenging students year after year because ‘my test scores were fabulous’ and I did really well with them. I did love the kids, the people I worked with, and the daily routine but I would find myself at school until 8-9 every night, tons of meetings, work on the weekends, and behavioral problems. It is so difficult, but honestly I cannot see myself ever going back. I always thought being away would be challenging, but I would rather waitress somewhere than go back to that high-stress environment. I thought I’d miss it, but I just don’t. I know your stress and understand that why 3 weeks later you’re still bitching about it šŸ™‚ Also, I’m sorry you’re in limbo for another 9 weeks. šŸ˜¦ So frustrating.

    (Btw- I wouldn’t have waited to eat those either. I’m with MPB on this one)

    • Thanks for the support. It really is a challenging role when people have pegged you as a good teacher. They just keep loading on the responsibilities because “somehow” you’ll drop everything else in your life to make it work for the kids. I’m glad that you found the courage to move on from it. It’s funny though how society’s perception of teaching is that it’s “easy work”. Little do they realize how much of ourselves we have to sacrifice for other people’s kids. Damnit, I want to have my own kids first!

      • No.. it’s not easy even though everyone thinks that it is. I hate society’s perception of teaching too. When I left I decided that I was choosing me, my husband and our future children. I know some people probably thought it was selfish or stupid, but I didn’t care. It’s what I needed to do.

  3. You are a true saint for waiting for DW to eat those, they look wonderful!

    I’m sorry the work situation is tough. :-/ Can you see a career counselor? Maybe you would do better in a smaller school or something?

    • Yeah, they were good! Unfortunately, I can only apply to be moved at the end of the school year. And since our school board is shrinking, there are very few vacant positions for me to apply to.

  4. Reading about those tasty dishes made me salivate on my way home for dinner! I love having my own veggie garden and hope I improve at the gardening thing to get more out of it in the coming years. šŸ™‚ It’s good to hear that you’re able to take some time to focus on you. Your doc sounds pretty great. Time helps. Give yourself time.

    What a sweet gesture from your friend! Those look tasty indeed.

    Great news on the herbs & acupuncture. I had done it fairly regularly in the past, but switched to one that specializes in fertility a couple months back and have been religious about their treatments and suggested diet changes. I feel great and my cycle definitely has improved. I don’t get cold feet anymore! The herbs apparently are even more beneficial than acu, so together they’re a powerhouse. Since my mc, my cycle had been off…my periods finally feel like they should again. And I don’t get much of any pms symptoms. I’m a believer!

    Be well. Xx

      • Likewise! I was living in Victoria for a few years before moving east, and there is a tcm school there. I was always intrigued, but at the time (19 yrs old) I didn’t know much about it at all. I kept on with my already chosen studies instead.

  5. What a thoughtful gift from your friend! I wish more people spoke openly about loss/miscarriage. My sister had a miscarriage an on the “anniversary” over it every year, I send her a card. I want her to know that she’s not the only one who remembers that baby/pregnancy. But so many people are afraid to mention it, for fear of upsetting a mom who has lost her pregnancy or…just feeling awkward? I don’t know. I’m glad you have someone in your life who isn’t afraid to send you love and acknowledge all you’ve gone through.

    My luteal phases were dangerously short, too. In fact, many of them were only 5-7 days long. Progesterone was my (evil) friend.

    I really hope you can find work in a different school after this year. You need to get out of there ASAP.

    • It’s so true. Miscarriage is a touchy subject that people don’t know how to broach. I’m learning to talk about it more because I am finding that my friends want to be supportive, which is what I need right now. I have one friend that texts me everyday, asking how I’m doing. She does it just so that I know she’s there, thinking of me.

      So did you supplement with progesterone after you inseminated? Did you have long follicular phases too? I would love to hear about how you conceived the adorable EJ.

      • Yes, I started progesterone immediately after ovulation and stayed on it to 12 weeks. I was also on Clomid to help lengthen my luteal phase as well. It’s been so long since I’ve thought about my TTC journey to parenthood. It was full of anxiety and stress, I’ll have to share my story with you some time! Over lunch whenever we can make that happen.

  6. I was wondering how you were doing…Glad you’ve been cooking a lot, but not so glad that I can’t come over and eat some because it sounds AMAZING! I’m also glad that you finally got to see this doctor. It sounds like we can really help you and hopefully, all of the things that he found can be easily corrected so that your yin will be improved and those little babies can stay and meet the world. As far as work is concerned, I hate that feeling of being “stuck” somewhere even though you don’t want to be there and it’s emotionally and physically not healthy for you. I argue with Callie about this all the time. She HATES her job and it’s so stressful and she is ready to leave, although she loves what she does. Unfortunately, I’m not at a place in my job where I am making the amount of money necessary to solely support my family and have us live comfortably, so for now, she’s stuck there, but she probably won’t go back after leave,and i don’t plan on forcing her to. I guess we’ll figure out, and I’m almost certain you will too…

    • It’s funny you know, how much different life and careers were even a generation ago. It seems like work stress has increased so much, work conditions have slipped a bit, and so many people are in positions that they aren’t happy with but continue to work in because jobs are scarce these days and we all need the money. When I think back to the eighties, I don’t remember people bitching about their work like I have been doing so regularly. Is Callie’s job stressful because of the way it’s run, or is it the kids? Would she be happier in a different position or a different location? I hope that she finds a place that she likes when she has to go back to work. Life is ridiculously stressful when you have lots of kids + a job that you hate, even if you’re awesome like you girls are.

      • You’re right! It used to be totally different! She actually loves what she does as the director, but lately (past 2 years) it’s gone from really family oriented to very corporate with tons of numbers and deadlines and newly implemented programs. She has a new system that calculates how much a prospective employee with make (peanuts!) and that’s all they can pay them, which isn’t nearly enough, so she she’s struggling hiring folks, and then because they don’t get raises and all of the unjust rule changes, ever her girls with high seniority are leaving, so it’s just been ridiculously stressful. She needs a new center where she will be happier…

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