Category Archives: Life and Family

Word of the day: Subluxation

Subluxation. It’s a pretty word, and it’s one I learned last week at urgent care. It means “partial or incomplete dislocation of a joint,” and it means I’m on a liquid diet for a week.

What happened?

I yawned.

That’s right: I partially dislocated my jaw because I was bored watching The Voice last week. Bedtime was approaching. It had been a long day. I was exhausted, and of course the guy I wanted to hear was last in the show’s lineup. I yawned just a little too wide, and something crackled and popped near my ear. It felt like a punch from a tiny fist to the side of the face.

I tried to tough it out for a few days. I took Advil, trained myself to yawn with my mouth closed (decidedly ineffective) and ate softer foods. By the weekend, though, I’d had enough. I was in tears after eating a chicken nugget. Pureed and reconstituted “chicken” with a breadcrumb coating, and it was too much for me.

The urgent care doctor was kind enough to ask if maybe I’d been in an accident or a fight. Me? I’d have looked a hell of a lot worse after a fight, because I’m not good at fighting. When I confessed to injuring myself with a giant jaw-popping yawn, she smiled and reassured me that “we see that all the time.”  Unlikely, but I appreciated that she waited until I was gone to mock me and laugh with her colleagues. She was able to tell that it wasn’t completely dislocated, thank goodness. The joint was likely jerked out of alignment when I yawned, which upset all the surrounding soft tissues. Those swell up, and the inflammation hurts. Because I’d been trying to eat more-or-less normal foods, I’d been giving the jaw too much work to do, and the inflammation wouldn’t ease up.

So, for a week, I’m keeping my diet as liquid as I can tolerate. I picked up protein shakes for breakfast, applesauce and soups for lunch, and limp saucy noodles for dinner. It’s boring and it’s frustrating, but I guess it’s necessary. The problem is that the Venn diagram of foods I like to eat and foods I’m allowed to eat has a very small intersection.

untitled

I’m hoping to conquer chicken nuggets by the weekend.

Halloween!

It’s Halloween! We get quite a few trick-or-treaters around here, so I try to be ready with the good candy (always chocolate) and enough decorations to signal we’re home and ready to drop candy into pillowcases and pumpkin buckets.

The theme for this year’s pumpkin: goofy.

IMG_1070He’s even cuter when he’s lit up.IMG_1071I love Halloween. 🙂

 

October is coming

October is coming. It used to be my favorite month, but after last year, my mind will always associate it with grief and loss. I expect it to be a difficult month, and I’ve tried to do all I can to build up strength to face it. I’ve heard that gratitude is a good defense against depression, so I’m going to try a little exercise here.

A friend started a Twitter game last week, called #inever, in which we confessed to little things we’ve never done. Inconsequential things, like never watching The Godfather, or never getting detention in school. Things that we felt a little silly about having missed out on, because it seemed like everyone else in the world had been there and done that. After an hour’s worth of responses, the game became something else for me. As we connected over the experiences we’d missed, I started to think about how wonderful and uplifting the opposite game would be.

If I look at my life from the perspective of all the little things I have done, it’s such a beautiful picture.

I’ve earned a gold medal raising money for MS research in a Read-a-Thon. I’ve been featured in my local newspaper (I placed 5th in a province-wide art competition). I have been a teacher’s pet. I have been an elementary school valedictorian. I’ve worn out a VHS tape and a pause button trying to transcribe all the dialogue from The Return of the Jedi. I’ve lost my voice at Backstreet Boys concerts. Plural. I have tried out for sports teams and played badminton and thrown javelin with much more heart than skill. I have gotten a tattoo. I have helped to put together a high school yearbook, and I have had angsty poetry published in my university newsletter. I have traveled miles to surprise friends who went away to college.

I have withdrawn from university, signed back up, and graduated. And been back again for more. I’ve saved lives in the lab. I’ve given blood and I’ve taken it from veins. I’ve learned to give myself injections. I’ve asked for a raise. I’ve quit. I’ve fought for change. I’ve started a blog and used it to promote what I do and what I love.

I’ve made pasta from scratch. I’ve dyed eggs and carved pumpkins and thrown a dried-out Christmas tree from a balcony. I have let babies grip my pinky in their tiny hands. I have hugged family more often than I can count.  I’ve started my own holiday traditions. I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner all by myself. I have moved to a whole new country on faith that the relationship was worth it. I’ve installed a light fixture, assembled bookcases, bought a car, bought a home. I’ve rung in the new year with those I love, and I’ve whispered Happy New Year to myself while driving home alone, watching fireworks in my mirrors.

I’ve had lunch in the crater of Mt Saint Helens, and I’ve tasted the salt of both the Atlantic and Pacific. I have volunteered and I have voted. I’ve been caught in the rain and I’ve been caught in the sun. I’ve been caught singing in my car. I’ve walked in the Blue Ridge, the Adirondacks, the Alps and the Rockies. I’ve seen the Eiffel tower sparkling at night. I’ve seen Salzburg at daybreak and Prague at dusk. I’ve eaten croissants in Paris and gelato in Rome. I’ve been in the same room as a Pope, and I’ve been shushed under the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I’ve snorkeled with turtles on Valentine’s Day, holding my husband’s hand underwater. I’ve ridden a camel, watched whales, and hugged a dolphin. I’ve seen eclipses and transits and Mars landings, and I’ve stood in the cold night to watch the Space Station race across the sky. I’ve been on a giant boat with a thousand friends and I’ve become part of a wonderful community.

I’ve talked people out of suicide. I’ve talked myself out of it, too. I’ve learned when to ask for help. I’ve learned when to fight, when to refuse to accept “no.” I’ve smiled when I was expected to, even when I was sure I didn’t have it in me. I have grown. I have changed. I have survived and accomplished and flourished, and I will continue to do so, whatever may come.

Two Weddings and a Baby

The First Wedding

We sat at the Cuddle Up Pavillion at Glen Echo National Park, alternately peeling our skin from the vinyl chairs and fanning our faces with the wedding programs. The groom paced near the altar, drinking lemonade and accepting hugs from family. His groomsmen scanned the area for signs of the bride.

There was a giggle from my left, and I turned to see a group of guests leaning over a cell phone. “That is SO like her,” said a woman in green, “to be late to her own wedding!”

I took out my own phone to check Facebook, and saw her post:

“I am going to be late to my own wedding. Shocker. Don’t worry, Ryan, I’m coming!!!”

I smiled, and then aimed my phone’s camera at the groom.

CAM00331s

I sent her the photo with the message “He’s still here!”

He stayed, of course, and my good friends were married on a hot and beautiful August day, in front of all the people who love them most. They made fun of me later for the grin on my face through the ceremony, but when you’re that happy for someone, you can’t keep it in.

IMG_0802s

The Second Wedding

Rain on your wedding day is lucky, but not if your ceremony is outdoors. Luckily for my cousin John and his beautiful bride, the threatening skies held back and left the orchard dry.  Huge iridescent dragonflies dipped between the wedding guests as we sat by the apple trees and watched the happy couple promise their lives to one another. When the minister mentioned their son, soon to arrive and make them a family of three, everyone reached for a tissue to dry their eyes.

IMG_0901s

As we found our seats under the big tent for the reception, my little cousin Olivia ran to our table and held up a bag for me to see.

“I picked apples!” She beamed with pride.

“Wow, that’s a lot of apples! Are you going to eat them?”

“Nope!” She bounced away to show others her bag.

It was wonderful to be with the family for a whole evening. It was more like a party than a wedding – casual and comfortable and welcoming. The peaches in the salad were so good that I sneaked back to the serving bowl and played the claw game with the tongs to pull out more peach slices for my plate.

When the music started, I taught Olivia to twist – an essential life skill – and she dominated the dance floor for the rest of the evening. As one adult’s energy ran out, Olivia grabbed another’s hand and demanded they dance. Three years old, and she was already going to the deejay station to request her favorite songs. He was sorry to have to tell her that “Gangnam Style” wasn’t in his playlist, because it’s hard to disappoint someone so adorable.

IMG_0909s

It was a wedding to remember. A reunion and a beginning. It was love and happiness and a gorgeous Massachusetts apple orchard at the start of autumn.

The Baby

I came home on Friday and dropped my keys on the counter.

“Honey, I’m home!”

I heard Tasha laugh from the couch. She’d spent the day hanging out with the cats and the complimentary WiFi, because my vacation days were tapped out, but she’d wanted to visit me in August anyway, for a change of pace. We hadn’t had a chance to hang out and talk in ages.

“Welcome home!” She came up the stairs and motioned to the phone on the counter. “Someone called a few minutes ago,” she said. “I didn’t hear the message, though.”

I pressed the button and my heard father-in-law say “Hi. It’s me. Call us back when you get home.”

“Everything okay?” Tasha asked.

“Well,” I said, “it’s either bad news or baby news. With Sarah due in a couple of weeks, it could be any time.”

Happily, it was baby news. My sister-in-law had gone into the hospital that morning with contractions, but she’d been sent home. Not unusual, apparently. As of the time I called my in-laws back, though, she was back in Labor and Delivery and they’d decided to keep her there. Baby on the way! I hung up the phone after extracting a promise from my mother-in-law to call as soon as there was more news, even though it was likely to be in the middle of the night.

Tasha and I went off as planned to the Friday afternoon farmer’s market, looking for some tomatoes and green beans for dinner. Friday’s market is set up in the hospital parking lot, so I turned towards the side of the hospital that I thought might be the Labor and Delivery unit, and waved enthusiastically at the windows. “Go Sarah! You can do it!”

It turns out that my encouragement was appropriate. By the time I pulled into my driveway with my pal and my bags of local produce, I had two missed calls on my cell phone, giving me the good news that my beautiful niece had arrived. I’d like to think my cheers helped a little, but my sister-in-law sure did a hell of a job. So now I’ve got a niece, and she’s the cutest little squeaky thing. I can’t wait to see what she turns into as she grows up.

MS

Multiple sclerosis is a terrible way to die.

Sonya was Dad’s second wife. They married a couple of years after my parents’ divorce. I can’t say that we were very close, really, because of the nature of that relationship and the fact that I moved away soon after they were married. But I never had any reason not to like her. She was loud and silly and kind. To my eyes (and ears) she was the stereotypical Southern American, and I couldn’t help but poke fun at her American flag quilts, gun-totin’ relatives, collectible figurines, and Arkansas accent. She didn’t mind, and sometimes even cranked her drawl up a notch just for me. She seemed to make Dad happy. I’m pretty sure she was the one picking out Christmas presents for me and my siblings the whole time she and Dad were together, and she always chose better than Dad would have on his own.

I never knew her without her wheelchair. Her MS had already knocked her off her feet by the time we met, but she was tough and optimistic and open to new treatments. She made appointments with the best specialists at the Montreal Neurological Institute. She tried pills and injections, and clinical trials for new experimental medications. Both she and Dad kept up on the latest research online so they could point at a new study and ask the doctors if there was any hope there. I saw Sonya puff up from steroid treatments, and then shrink away as eating became difficult. She started visiting the hospital more often as her condition worsened. Despite regular physical therapy, her body got weaker and weaker, until even a wheelchair was too much for her. She spent days and nights in a hospital bed in her living room, watching TV with a pile of cats on her legs. Eventually, she deteriorated enough to need full-time care, and so Dad reluctantly found her a spot in a long-term-care facility.

She died yesterday.

I got to visit her a few weeks before the end. Her pillow, embroidered with “An American Princess Sleeps Here,” was carefully propped up to keep her head from dropping to the sides. She wore new PJs, and hugged a plush cat doll to her side. That is, Dad had placed the cat by her hip and put her arm over it – she no longer had any control of her limbs. She smiled when she saw me, and opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out. Just a hint of breath. It was heartbreaking to see her reduced to a smile and a whisper.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system, and the central nervous system controls everything. That makes MS a progressive, debilitating disease of the whole body.

Your nerve cells need a protective layer around the long axons they use like telephone wires to get messages to their neighbors. MS eats away at that layer, leaving the lines weak, frayed, and full of static. Depending on where the damage begins, your disease may manifest itself in blurred or double vision. You may stumble as you lose your sense of balance and develop involuntary spasms in your legs. You may feel numbness in your hands, and find yourself dropping things as you lose your dexterity. Maybe you need a cane at first, but over the years you may move to a walker as your legs get weaker. Then a wheelchair when they stop working entirely. You might lose conscious control of your bodily functions, depending on a caregiver to keep you comfortable with diapers and catheters. Solid food can become a choking hazard as your throat muscles stop receiving commands, so you may need a liquid diet or a feeding tube. Your voice becomes a whisper as your vocal cords shut down. You’re trapped in a body that can’t hear your brain.

They’re not sure what causes it, or why some people progress so much more rapidly than others. There isn’t a cure yet, and most of the treatments only offer short-term relief of some of the symptoms. MS is a mystery, and it’s terrifying.

As I sit around today, waiting for news about funeral arrangements for Sonya and consoling Dad over the phone, I’m making a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Sonya’s memory. I can’t stop MS from squeezing the life out of people. But someone out there will find a way someday, and I want to help them get there.

Canada Day

People ask me all the time: “What’s Canada like?”

I can answer that it’s a lot like America but with different healthcare, and you press 2 for French instead of for Spanish. Or that it’s cold in the winter – sorry about that, eh? I can tell you that we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and we’ve got the Queen on our money. All of that is true. But it’s not the whole story, at least not for me.

Canada is my history. I grew up there and it will always be an important part of who I am and how I think. Canada is my memories.

Canada is a Tim Hortons coffee warming my hands through my gloves. It’s biting into a toasted and buttered Saint-Viateur bagel and getting sesame seeds stuck in my braces.  It’s braving the Drummond ice sheets to get to my classes at the Stewart Biology buildings. It’s breakfast Chez Cora and a pint at Hurley’s. It’s “sorry” and it’s “câlisse.” It’s the green line and the orange line and the three note salute from the trains as they pull away. It’s potholes and orange cones and jerks speeding down Decarie in souped-up Civics. It’s Christmas lights on McGill College Avenue and the world’s greatest fireworks all summer long at LaRonde.

Canada is my genes and my soul. It’s Grandmaman and Matante Gigi trash-talking each other over dice games. It’s Momo’s big house with the lions out front. It’s my parents and siblings and aunts and great-aunts and cousins. It’s emphatic French cursing and hand-waving and hugging. It’s my opinions and my voice, grown from twenty-five of my most malleable years, living in the Great White North.

It’s my history. It’s my heart. It’s my home.

I miss you, Canada. Happy birthday.

I don’t even HAVE an Auntie Em.

My coworkers were gathered around the windows, watching the sky. My boss pulled off his lab coat and moved towards the door.

“I’m outta here,” he said. He looked at me. “It would be wise for you to do the same.”

I nodded.

“Yeah, I don’t want to get caught in that.”

At 3:30, half an hour before I normally leave work, I got into my car, pulled out of the parking lot, and headed for home. It was still light out.

When I turned onto the main road, my rearview mirror was crowded with thick black clouds. I switched off my podcast and tuned into a local station, just in case. It was classic rock, one of the few stations I still get in my car after I broke the antenna years ago.

At 3:45, it started to rain. I switched on my wipers and my lights. A radio ad for a local bank ended, and the announcer put on something from The Who. The sky was layers on layers of heavy dark clouds. The storm was spreading out, dividing into cells, moving fast. I wasn’t outrunning it.

Image of June 13, 2013 Derecho storm. Credit: Martin MacPhee via EarthSky.org

At 4:00, the sun went out. Traffic stopped. I inched forward, holding the steering wheel tight and focusing on brake lights ahead of me. I couldn’t see further. The Emergency Broadcast Signal chirped on my phone, muted by the rain on the roof. I grabbed it and fumbled to see the screen.

CRITICAL WARNING. TORNADO WARNING IN YOUR IMMEDIATE AREA. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.

Suddenly, I was in a car wash. A wall of water and wind came at me from the right. I shrieked and stabbed at the radio, screaming at Supertramp to shut up and tell me if I needed to abandon my car and huddle in a ditch. But all the stations were playing music or static. I called home with one hand. It took three tries, because I couldn’t watch the screen and the road, and I couldn’t keep my hand steady enough to find the numbers.

twister

Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, Toto! It’s a twister! It’s a twister!

“You need to help me! I can’t see!” My voice and my hands were shaking. “God, I’m so scared, I can’t see! Where is it? There’s a tornado but I don’t know where – what do I do?” My husband told me the warning was for Howard and Montgomery counties. He told me I should pull over, but there was no shoulder, nowhere to go.

“Go check the TV, please, PLEASE! Tell me where it is, where it’s going, tell me what to do!” I fought back tears.

“Colesville,” he told me. “Moving towards Laurel. They’re saying you should get off the road.”

“That’s here!” I panicked. “Oh my God, that’s like right here!”

Screenshot-1

A line between Colesville and Laurel, and my approximate position at the time. Eek!

I should have pulled off, found a house, and asked them to let me in. But it was 4:05pm. People were at work. I couldn’t risk being trapped outside. I kept moving, at 10 miles an hour, looking for shelter. The road broke into two lanes as it passed the commercial strip, but the right lane was flooded, and there was too much traffic coming the other way for me to turn left.

At 4:10, I sat in a left-turn lane outside a strip mall, hitting my steering wheel and screaming at the SUV ahead of me to go go GO. The wind was throwing branches the thickness of my wrist across the road as though they were leaves.

I drove through a river six inches deep to get into the parking lot. I put my car in an empty space, grabbed my purse, and ran. I’m glad I don’t wear heels to work.

I wasn’t outside for more than twenty seconds, but I was soaked through to my bra. I stood, dripping, in the center aisle of the pharmacy with a dozen other people who were shaking as hard as I was. We watched out the store windows as trees bent in the gale.

I called my husband back to tell him I was inside, I was safe, and I loved him.

Then I bought a bag of pretzels and put my chattering teeth to good use while I waited for the all-clear.

 

Mediocrity

A friend sent me a link to a contest. To enter, people write blog posts about their greatest fears and submit them to a published author, who will choose the best story and give the winning writer a trip to anywhere. How could I ever enter such a thing? My piece would be compared to hundreds of others. It would likely come up short.

I am afraid that my writing isn’t good enough. That I’m not good enough. That when I think I’m going to be a great writer someday, I’m wrong.

I am afraid that the voice inside my head that says I’m silly to want to be a writer, the voice that says I should give up and just keep a little journal for myself, might be right.

I am terrified of my own mediocrity.

I grew up nerdy, awkward, and quiet. I never had many friends, and my family didn’t have money for music lessons or sports teams. Instead of popularity, I comforted myself with my brain. I could read at three, write sentences at four, and I was so bored by the A-B-C of kindergarten that I was skipped through to second grade the next year. My parents praised my grades, so I kept bringing them quizzes adorned with gold stars and smiley faces. My teachers told me I was smart, told me I was talented, told me I should be a writer. Daily, I was praised for my brain. I was a very smart kid.

Then I got older, and I met more people. Smart people. People who were better than me at so many things, and so much more confident. People who inspired and intimidated me. I attended medical conferences and heard scientists speak excitedly about their work. After every conference, I wished I had gone on to grad school so that I could stand up there with those amazing people. But I doubt I’m smart enough to get through it. I went on a special cruise with hundreds of other geeks and was blown away by their guts and creativity. Singers, comics, writers and artists – I want so badly to be like them and to share myself with the world, but I don’t know how. Deep inside, I feel that my efforts would never compare to theirs, so I am afraid to try.

I am afraid that my brain has failed me. I used to feel so smart, and now I feel so… stupid. Is my pond bigger and more crowded now than it was when I was young, or has insecurity shrunk me into a smaller fish? I have grown into a woman who surrounds herself with intelligent and engaging people – why does this intimidate more than it inspires? In comparing myself to these people, my sense of self has begun to crack. If I’m not as smart as everyone’s been telling me I am, then what is left of me?

Here, on my blog, I feel safe. I write more for myself than for anyone else, and nobody is judging me. If readers don’t enjoy what they see, they don’t come back, and without a statistics counter embedded in my code, I’ll never know. It’s comfortable and isolated, and I can pretend here that I’m a wonderful writer who just hasn’t been discovered yet. Because, truth be told, I might not be all that good, and that’s a reality that I don’t want to face.

I am afraid to expose myself to criticism. I know it’s the only way to grow, but doing so may force me to admit I’m mediocre, and not the writer I wish I were. I fear that rejection will break me. It will reinforce the negative voices that whisper to me at night and prompt my retreat.

By entering this contest, I am choosing to face that fear. I’m handing in my assignment for some very talented and intimidating people to read and criticize. The little girl in me hopes desperately for a gold star. The insecure adult in me worries that putting my post in a pile with those of better writers than me is a mistake, and I shouldn’t try. They’re both wrong. What I need is not empty praise to puff my ego. I need to improve, both in skill and in guts, and the only way to do that is to take a deep breath and ask for criticism from people who are qualified to hand it out.

 

 


Love with a Chance of Drowning – A Memoir by Torre DeRocheThis post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.

“Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow.” Australian Associated Press

“… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams.” Nomadicmatt.com

“In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction.” Courier Mail

Find out more…


Where Do Babies Come From?

When a man and a woman love each other very much and want to have a baby, they share a special hug that puts a baby into the woman’s belly.
We tell children variations on this story, adding levels of scientific complexity and biological grossness as they get old enough to need the details.
For 1 in 8 couples, though, this story isn’t true.
Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough to make a baby, no matter how enthusiastic the special hugging.
Sometimes, a man and a woman love each other very much and want to start a family. They throw away all the protection that they’ve been using since their parents taught them about the mechanics of sex, and they “try”. It’s fun and it’s exciting and they hold their breaths every month as they check pregnancy tests to see if they made it.
And they wait.
Friends and family ask them when they’re going to have kids. Soon, they say, and look at each other with knowing smiles.
They start to wonder why it’s taking so long. They do some research. She buys tests to check her urine every day so she can find out when she’s ovulating so they can have better timing. She buys a thermometer to take her temperature every morning before getting out of bed, to can keep track of her cycles. She drinks green tea and eats pineapples; someone on the internet said it helps. He takes vitamins and tries to eat healthier. She cuts out caffeine and pushes through the headaches. He avoids hot tubs on vacation. Every month, they wait two weeks after ovulation to see if they’ll get a pink line on a pregnancy test.
And they wait.
Friends and family ask them when they’re going to have kids. Soon, they say, and squeeze each other’s hand for support under the table.
Someone tells her to just relax. Someone asks him if they’ve tried a different position.
They see doctors. They give medical histories. They have blood drawn. How are their hormone levels? Do they have any STDs? They send blood out to see if they’re carriers for genetic diseases. He holds her hand as she lies back and tries not to faint while a tech squeezes thick gel into her uterus and fallopian tubes to see if the paths are clear.
And they wait: for the phone calls, the follow-up visits, the medical bills. They wait for answers.
Friends and family ask them when they’re going to have kids. The silence is awkward.
Someone says they should try adopting, because their cousin got pregnant right after she got that girl from the Philippines.
Sometimes the problem is obvious, once the test results come back. Bad sperm, blocked tubes, hormone imbalances blocking ovulation. Sometimes it can be fixed with medication or surgery. But sometimes the doctors shrug and say there’s nothing wrong that they can find, but that if pregnancy hasn’t happened yet without intervention, it probably won’t. They give the couple odds. They’re bad. They cry.
There are options, of course, but they’re expensive. Many insurance plans have little to no coverage for fertility drugs or procedures. Intrauterine insemination, usually the first step, can cost over $1000, and you’re only buying a 15-20% chance at a viable pregnancy for your money. In-vitro fertilization has better odds (40-60%) but is much more invasive and expensive – approximately $10,000 per round. It’s a whirlwind of tears and hormones, injections and blood draws, medical bills and invasive ultrasounds, and time taken off work for medical appointments. And it’s waiting. Always, always waiting.
Babies come from love. Sometimes they come from science, too. Sometimes they come from donor eggs or sperm or from adoption. And sometimes, they never come.
Last week was National Infertility Awareness Week. Many people are reluctant to talk about infertility. Maybe they’re ashamed of their issues, feeling like there’s something wrong with them. Maybe they’ve heard one too many “helpful” comments and are afraid to tell anyone else about what they’re living. Maybe it’s too hard to talk about without crying.
Please take a moment to read this page from RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. This is information that everyone needs to know in order to create a better support network for the infertile couples in their lives. Read it. Absorb it. Share it. 1 in 8 couples out there could really use your support.
That’s why I’m walking in RESOLVE’s 2013 Walk of Hope in Washington DC this June. Funds raised from the Walk support local RESOLVE programming, including support groups and educational events, public awareness initiatives, and advocacy efforts to ensure family building options are available to all. Because they should be.

If you’d like to contribute to the cause, my fundraising page is here. But just the act of you reading this post has helped the cause, too, so thank you.

Cookies

After a long, emotionally-draining day, I sat with my husband on the couch, glad for his company but too wrapped up in my own mind to notice what we were watching on TV.
“You know what, honey?” I asked him. I probably waited until a car commercial, because even when I’m distracted, I’m good like that.
“What?” He hit the mute button on the remote and turned to me.
I sat up a little straighter.
“I’m a tough goddamn cookie.”
He smiled at me. 
“Yes. Yes you are.”
“I’m… I’m one of those oatmeal cookies so hard you’ve gotta dip them in milk first so you don’t break a tooth. Tough.” I may or may not have flexed a bicep to demonstrate my toughitude.
He considered my statement for a moment.
“No, those are too brittle. You’d just fall to pieces. You’re a Chewy Chips Ahoy. You bend but you don’t break.”
He kissed me, and I cried just a little. Then I wondered if maybe I was awesome enough to be the kind with the rainbow chips.