Monday, December 15, 2014

On deaths and dying

I've had more time to think lately and I've been reminded of the time 3 years ago when we went through that third miscarriage. I also think more about it because we so clearly have a toddler now and not a baby anymore. (Later I think I may discuss my adventure attempting to get to the airport in morning traffic in LA and the hours spent contemplating a very different world, but for now, just the grief.)

The dying part is hard too. My friend who has been dying for some time is now at the end of hospice care waiting to die. She's in so much pain and not really eating any more and it's hard. Obviously not so hard for me as it is for her and her family but it's had me pretty frozen. It's a really good thing I'm not keeping track of how many brain candy books I've read in the past few weeks. I'd say it's about 50% escaping reality and 50% trying to fill the time with more cheerful thoughts rather than the gloom and doom and death hanging around everywhere. Happy Festive Winter Holiday to me?

I guess the two events, aside from both occurring in December, really bring up a lot of survivor's guilt for me. I never feel worthy to be on this side of things with a toddler and no cancer. My friend has the most perfect spouse and four awesome children and I wonder why her and not me. I never feel like I'm enough. It matters that I get these second chances and I'm trying to seize them and do some good in the world but it's a struggle to kick the feelings of unworthiness. I haven't descended into feeling worthless but it's hard to avoid that pitfall. I suppose I might say that grief has me standing at the edge of the pit of worthlessness and I can see how it would be easy to fall but also that the way to whatever is next in life is walking along the edge of the pit and not falling in or going across.

Anyway, the most intriguing thing happened last week. I was feeling mopey about life and how many of my favorite Festive Holiday ornaments have been ruined when yanked off the tree by Little Monster (and/or Fluffinella and/or the Kid) and then I was checking FB yet again (nervous habit I suppose?) and ran into a friend posting about the Mental Illness Happy Hour. It turned out to be the day a new weekly podcast came out and it was the above linked episode... about miscarriage.

I figured that I'd better share it with you all. The guest in that episode is a fellow infertile with multiple miscarriages and she talks about her experience with a full-spectrum doula. So much of what she says is so familiar and wonderfully put. You should go listen. Then maybe if you need it, read what she wrote about the closure ceremony part here as well.

So I feel better now. Still freaked and unworthy of all the amazing things happening in my life and totally unworthy to be applying for residencies but I'm trying to psych myself up and stop putting anything off. Today has awesome parts even if the transition to whatever happens after life is circling in close. On the whole, just getting to breathe is pretty awesome, let alone getting to snuggle a grumpy toddler for 5 hours while she watches the yellow hat dude and some critter wander around a city. Bonus!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baby shower blues

I still hate baby showers. They are a great kick in the guts every time, a reminder of everything that didn't work in our attempt at family building. I've kind of resolved that I will excuse myself from as many of them as possible because there's no sense in me attending and being a glum bunny. It's just a thing and I'm stuck feeling the way I feel until it gets better maybe some day. For special people I am willing to put on a happy face and stuff my feelings briefly. Some people are worth celebrating.

So here we are (I am, actually), with the most recent baby shower invite to an event happening this weekend. This one is for a family friend who's the closest thing to my spouse's sister that exists (closer than my sister-in-law, that's for sure). Based on family relation alone this is one I'm pretty obligated to attend. Then there's the infertile club membership we share. It took a couple years for her to get pregnant with her first (two)and the twins were born at 22 weeks just about a year ago. This baby happened remarkably soon after that and is expected in late January. It hasn't been an easy pregnancy as you might imagine so I feel bad there too. I get it, at least more than the perfectly fertile folks. I want to be there in solidarity.

But. Oh I hate baby showers. I'm also flying to the ASHP meeting (that giant pharmacy conference which is in California this year) that same afternoon so I get to leave the baby shower early at least. But I hate flying so much. Usually I get to the airport 4ish hours early so I have plenty of time to panic before I get on the plane. Attending the baby shower cuts my pre-flight airport loitering time down to only 90 minutes.

I'm debating the merits of skipping the thing so I can go hide at the airport. I asked weeks ago if it was ok for the girls to come so I can pawn them off on my MIL while the spouse drops me off at the airport. This week the sister of mom-to-be has been discouraging everyone else from bringing kids and their mom was doing the same. If the answer was no children, why on earth did you say they could come? I hate passive aggressive baloney. Ugh.

I don't know what to make of my selfish motivations. I suppose that means I make an appearance and pretend I hate it less than I am likely to. It's possible it might not be awful. Maybe my motivations will straighten out and I'll figure out whether I can go or whether it's better to send my regrets.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Relocation Shuffle


I'm in a place where I mostly think I am totally capable of not only getting an interview but getting a residency and yet I wake up from dreams where I am counting by 5 and the phone is ringing and the printer is beeping about a paper jam and someone is yelling at my tech about something that the tech has no control over and it is 2pm and I haven't had a break and I won't get one. So I guess I could say my confidence is not high all the time but is high enough that I'm getting along with applying to residencies.

And jobs. Also applying for jobs. I have had 7 interviews so far and one "forget this, we aren't hiring you" response, so overall not bad.

In all things, we are free to relocate if my job dictates. I think we can move the kid to one new city between now and when she's grown so this is actually a very big choice. There's some consideration that I will go during the week for a job and the family will stay here so we can move after a residency. One of the local pharmacies (we had 1 in a grocery store, 3 at big box stores, 1 chain, 2 independents, 2 at the hospital) just closed and another shrank its hours so I worry that working in town won't be an option.

When I'm not debating which of the zillion residencies to focus on applying for, I'm considering how on earth we could leap and move for a job. One of the considerations is that we have a lot of great things in place for the kid now and that's hard to find. She has a tiny class (that is 25% Caucasian, a bit less than our neighborhood but not too far out from the under 12 population demographics) and a small school that supports her with all the quirky services she needs to thrive. I don't think it would be impossible to find this again but we got really lucky to live in a neighborhood that has an elementary that exactly meets her particular needs.

The other big thing on my mind is respite care. It's hard to manage a kid who is challenging all of the time. It's hard to find anyone willing to take care of her for any length of time if her label is known. We aren't stupid so we haven't told our usual respite care friends around town her diagnosis and they are still happy to have her for a few hours. She behaves like a saint at someone else's house right now so that's helpful. I don't expect it to last. Overnights we have mostly been relying on family but they live far enough away that we can only do that maybe 3 times a year. If we move farther away we lose that help. Maybe. We could move closer to a big chunk of family too. Maybe. There's some discussion that my in-laws would visit us more if we lived somewhere more interesting/near their vacation home, even if it were the same distance from their vacation home that we live at now where they come down twice a year at best.

We've also been discussing if we really want to move for good reasons or if we want to move because we just aren't used to staying put this long. This is our third year here and the longest we've lived anywhere since we got married. I really found this video over at Rage Against The Minivan an interesting discussion. Does where you live shape your life? Tremendously so, yes. In my experience it does. Are there communities around you can join or are they all closed (or nonexistent)? [By communities, I mean things like churches or book groups or scouts or community service groups or the PTA.] Are there things you want to do nearby? What about shopping and restaurants? Do you want to do either of those in town or would you rather take a weekend trip somewhere?

My criteria for a place to live is as follows:
  • Must have pizza restaurant, preferably delivery
  • Must have a community of faith I'm comfortable being a part of
  • Must have a job for me and accessibility to a job for the spouse
  • Must have schools with support for the kid or that are willing to figure out how to support her
  • Must have childcare available
  • Strongly prefer a red big box store be within 90 minutes
  • Strongly prefer it is possible to get package delivery beyond the mail
  • Strongly prefer interesting outdoor recreational opportunities be readily available
  • Prefer limited constant wind
That doesn't actually narrow things down one bit. I'm feeling like caution is warranted rather than jumping at the perfect job, but at the same time, I'd rather go somewhere and have a great job than stay here with ho-hum options and no real reason to be here aside from "we already are" and pretty good schools.