The Infertile Mother 

After our first IVF and subsequent loss, I started to think about how it would be nice to stay at home with our child for the first few years of their life should we ever have one.  

By the time our 3rd transfer and 2 more losses occurred, I no longer was just considering being a stay at home mommy should we have a child, I was set on it. After all the trauma, I couldnt (and wouldnt) even ponder the idea of going back to work after a short maternity leave. 

Note: Im well aware all mothers struggle with going back to work after they have a child. I get it.  But Im going to be brutally honest here and share my inner thoughts on the topic (some might not want to hear them, if thats you, stop reading!) 

I feel like after all the injections, pills, surgeries, procedures, thousands upon thousands of dollars, tests, pregnancies, losses, bloodwork, scans, and appointments that I earned the right to stay at home with our awaited baby longer than the normal amount of time.  I didnt just accidentally get pregnant, I didnt just try a few times, get pregnant and deliver. In fact, I didnt even try for many years, get pregnant and deliver.  I didnt undergo the all mighty IVF and achieve success the first few times either! 

After everything I have given and lost, how could I NOT stay home with this child for a few, measly years??? Come on!

It wasnt until this year, 2016 (1 full year after out 3rd loss), that I have begun seriously considering going back to work after a maternity leave.  I must say I have even surprised myself (and hubby) with this new state of mind.  

Some background on my career-I am a teacher. I have been teaching for 6 years now, 5 years in 4th grade and 1 (this year) in 3rd grade.  I love working with kids and watching them grow, probably one of the reasons I want to be a mommy so bad. I also enjoy working with adults, teaching at the local college. I guess I just enjoy learning and teaching, and teaching and learning! I have my Masters and dream about getting my Doctorate eventually. 

I have always liked to succeed at my job, I dont mind working hard, giving 110%, or putting in extra hours. But infertility and pregnancy loss took a lot from me in 2014 and 2015. It didnt happen overnight, it was sucked out of me little by little, day by day. I didnt want any of my career anymore–I just wanted our baby. These diseases can change so much. Its nuts. 

However, my outlook right now is that I would like our baby, and my career. You know…kind of like a normal person!?! Im not sure if this will change. It very well could. But right now I am getting my self back I think.  I want it to stay that way. I hope it does. The group of adults I work with this year have made it really easy for me. I am blessed with where I am at right now career wise, and I would love to keep my position and have a smiling (sometimes crying!) baby to come home to everyday.

I know juggling a career and a baby wont be easy. But being a stay at home mom sure wont be either. Both deserve all sorts of props if you ask me.  And having a baby wont be all rainbows and unicorns anyway it is sliced, but finally, I feel ready for the challenge of having that family/work balance in my future should I be so fortunate. And for that, I am proud of myself!

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Back to the Grind!

I promised a career update a long time ago and never delivered, so here it is! As many of my followers know, after my 5th year of educating fourth graders, I resigned from teaching this past June.

The 3 IVF miscarriages and years of fertility treatments had taken a toll on me. Leading twenty-four 10 year old kids in the middle of a miscarriage is far from easy.  Forget the hormones, egg retrievals, transfers, and such. I could manage to juggle those. It was the loss that was inexplicably difficult.

Now, don’t get me wrong, even though I resigned, my passion is to teach.  There is no feeling better than watching a child reach a level of success that they never thought they could reach.  The look on their face when they finally “get it” is irreplaceable.  And this goes for all students, not just the academically challenged, but the academically gifted too.  There is always a higher threshold to push them to, regardless of their so-called “level.”

This being said, I continued to work through my first 2 losses, only missing a day here or there (I had already missed days due to the IVF treatments).  I couldn’t stand the thought of letting my students down by not being there.  Plus, I am Type-A to the fullest, and the thought of losing control over my classroom drove me bonkers.  I don’t mean to sound conceited, or whatever you want to call it, but I knew that the person standing in my room just couldn’t deliver it to them the way I could. Yes, there are plenty of amazingly intelligent subs out there, but its not the same when they dont have that ongoing relationship with the child that the classroom teacher does. 

But when the 3rd and latest loss at almost 10 weeks happened, I couldn’t work through it like I had the others.  A.k.a. Game over.  I put in a medical leave for 1 month. I could have taken off 2 months, but that would have meant I would have missed all of their state testing.  I knew they needed the comfort of me and only me watching over them during those tests.  That is the only reason I came back after a month.  

While I was home during my medical leave, I was still working.  I went in before the subs got there in the mornings, made copies, created lesson plans, collected student papers, graded them, entered their grades, sent emails, etc.  It never stopped.  Not for one minute.

After my leave ended, I made it through the remaining 3 months of school left.  I underwent 2 surgeries during that time; it was tough, but my students always gave me purpose.  I knew how much they depended on me.  They brought me joy during such a terrible time, and I had missed them while I was gone.  It was only because of them that those 3 months flew by.

Thankfully, I was surrounded with supportive people throughout all of this.  The administration at my school encouraged me to take the time I needed to heal physically and mentally.  My RE gave me no trouble at all with filling out the needed paperwork so I could get approval by the school board.  Aflac also approved the leave and I actually got paid during it (not what I would have had I been working, but still something).

When the year ended and I put in my resignation, I really had no idea where God would lead me.  All I knew at that time was that I needed a change.  

I started looking for some employment here and there.  I knew I would continue to teach at the college come fall semester (I am signed up to teach two fall classes by the way!), but wasn’t sure what else I would do, if anything.  I went for a few interviews, and the day that I was offered a part-time gig at one of them my phone rang.

I was informed that one of the third grade teachers at the school I had taught at for 5 years had resigned during summer.  I was asked if I would be interested in taking the position.  Until that phone call, I had never considered going back.  Not once. But all of sudden, I was thinking.  And sooner rather than later, I realized I was thinking hard (remember my passion is to teach!).

I started talking with my family about the possibility.  If they didn’t think it was a good idea, I knew it couldn’t be.  That would make the decision very easy for me. But surprisingly, they were not against it at all. So, we started praying about it.  We made a list of the pros and cons.  I began talking to some of 3rd grade teachers that I would be working with.  I talked with my team of administrators.  I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page…God forbid this could all happen again. I didn’t want any secrets about where we were in our so-called journey.

And lo and behold, I accepted the position! I signed on for this upcoming school year as a 3rd grade teacher, and I must tell you, I am so very excited about it.

God is simply amazing in how he works.  If I hadn’t resigned in June, I would not have ended up with this fresh start in my comfort zone.  It’s not everyday that you find bosses who want you back, even after all you have gone through. Most would probably be glad to see you go (keeping it real).

My new team is wonderful in every way.  Everyone knows our story, and is rooting us on.  My classroom is pretty much all put together now (thanks to my hubby and my mom) and I received my class list.  We only have 1 week until the students return (August 17th), but us teachers will be there for the entire week prior, starting tomorrow.  Yep, summer is officially over!

I wanted to update all of my fellow bloggers for a few reasons…1.) To share the great news of course! and 2.) In case I start to fall a little behind in responding to posts, or you don’t see posts from me as often, you will know why, and 3.) For lots of prayers for a SMOOTH school year (we will be doing a FET in October).

It will most likely be a busy few weeks as we start out the school year in 3rd grade, plus teaching the 2 college courses. Wish me luck!  I will post pics of my room soon 🙂

P.S. This is our last FB connected post (if you follow us only through FB).  Our page will still appear on FB, but no new posts will run through it!

Turning Over a New Leaf 

Starting fresh.  Taking a leap of faith.  Believing in the unknown.  

I officially put in my resignation a little over a week ago.  It’s not a secret. Most of those close to us who are reading this already know I did. 

This post isn’t about getting approval, or backlash, it is simply about what it says…turning over a new leaf, and I think the image at the bottom says it all (I won’t get into all the details again as to why I have decided to leave teaching for now, but please feel free to read our previous post, “the time has come”).

I will tell you that we made sure we were in the right frame of mind when we made this decision. We didn’t want to make any major decisions based solely on the hurt we have endured. This is why I continued working through the remainder of this year, rather than simply resigning before, or after my medical leave ended. 

After many heart to hearts with each other and with the Big Guy upstairs, I am happy to report that there was, and still isn’t even 1 doubt in our minds that it is the best choice for us and our lives right now. 

When I gave my letter, I literally felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  Not only are we at total peace, we also have the full support of those around us. Does this mean I will never teach littles again? Not at all! That’s the wonderful thing about teaching-it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It will be right where I left it.

So, what will I be doing come the fall then? Will I just be sitting around blogging all day? Ha! I wish! Wouldn’t that be perfect? I do know that I will not be obtaining a full-time job for the time being (one of the main reasons I am leaving teaching right now).  I also know that I will continue to be a professor at the college, teaching classes online as I currently am.

In addition, I have been offered a pretty cool opportunity at the college to become an “observer.” What this means is, as a professor, I will get paid to observe students teach lessons who are pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in education.  So excited for this!

On top of these part-time gigs, I hope to do some writing where I actually do get paid! There are a few possibilities currently awaiting, and I honestly cannot wait to pursue them.  This blog has really brought out my passion and love for writing more than ever. I always knew there was a spark, it was just a matter of igniting it.  Another blessing in disguise.

Again, thanks to God, and “Surviving Infertility”  we are ready for another new path. Faith, hope, and trust are truly amazing things!

The Time Has Come 

I’ve officially been back to work for exactly 1 month now.  It’s hard to believe that I was out on my medical leave for an even longer amount of time than what I have been back to work.  Today is also the 1 year anniversary of our first positive pregnancy test. 

Being back to work has been bittersweet for me.  I missed my students very much while I was away, and I know how much they missed me, too.  They have a way of uplifting me when I am down.  They make me forget all of my problems just looking at them because of how care free they are.  They make me realize what a gift life is.  They have given me the opportunity to better prepare myself for motherhood.  They give me a chance to instill a love for learning in them, and make a lasting impression on their lives. They make me want to go to work everyday because I know they are counting on me.  They have made me a more responsible person. 

Then there’s the bitter part of the sweet. When you are yearning to become a parent, being around children all day can be tough at times.  It’s even harder when parents ask you if you have children of your own.  Many of them act as if they cannot trust you when you tell them you don’t.  Many of them say, “when you have children you will understand what I mean.” 

 When told this, I have had to bite my tongue.  Shane has told me I shouldn’t bite my tongue. That instead, I should tell them what we have been through, and challenge them with “but, what if I don’t ever have children of my own? Will that make me less of a person in your eyes?” I want to tell them how their kids are really my kids, too. Even if its just for that 1 year we spend together. 

I want to tell them how I run a classroom of 23 diverse children, that are fully engaged in learning, 7 hours a day, 180 days a year, smoothly.  Just because I do not physically have one of our babies here on this Earth with me, doesn’t mean I don’t understand what it is like to teach a child the right way.   

There’s the things you see that pull at your heartstrings everyday as a teacher.  The things that you see people with children taking for granted.  The things that you promise yourself you will do differently if God blesses you with a child. 

You promise to make sure your young child goes to bed at a decent time so they don’t fall asleep in class.  You swear that you will always find a way to provide them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  You vow to help them with every homework assignment they have.  You won’t forget to send in permission slips or other important forms.  You won’t forget to pick them up from school on time, or let them sleep in frequently, so they are late.  You are already thinking about the books, and school supplies you will get for them.  You make an oath to never miss one of their games. 

Surviving infertility and being a teacher has not been easy to say the least.  For me, missing work during our miscarriages has been the worst part of it all.  It’s not like you can just call in, say you will be out for the day when you are sick, and go back to bed.  You have 23 little people depending on you.  You have to plan for them.   

Many mornings, as I was miscarrying, I would get up super early, before any students were at school, go in, and create sub plans.  I’d make copies. I’d email parents.  I’d write notes to my students to remind them I still cared. I’d put the homework on the board.  I did this for 2 weeks straight, every morning, during our last loss.  

Looking back, those mornings are truly a blur to me now.  I don’t even know how I did it.  And thats because I didnt do it. Only God could have done it.  He made it easy enough for me to handle just what I had to those early mornings right after our 3rd loss.  

 

Finally, after 2 weeks, I got the same, permanent sub for the remainder of the time I was out.  This was much easier than planning for a different sub everyday, especially since I did not have to go in the mornings anymore.  I still had a co-worker bring papers home for me to grade from time to time, and the sub would call me when she needed the extra help. 

The team of administrators and teachers I work with helped her as much as possible, too.  Everyone stepped up in many ways to keep things going.  I have been very blessed to work with a group of caring and supportive individuals. 

Any good teacher will tell you that good teaching is all about reflecting.  Infertility involves quite a bit of reflecting as well. So it’s fair to say that Ive had some time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly for both. 

I can confidently say that I have given 100% to my students the past 5 years.  Ive also been trying to give 100% to IVF the last year.  Trying to give 100% to both is utterly impossible now. 

When we started IVF, I knew I was taking a risk.  Not just an emotional, financial, & physical risk, but a career risk as well. We hoped we would luck out, get pregnant & stay pregnant after 1 IVF. But we also knew that might not be the case. 

If things didnt go as planned, I knew there could be things like unplanned appointments & missed work, boat loads of hormones, possible miscarriages, overwhelming anxiety & stress, unexpected surgeries, failed procedures, referrals to new doctors, and so on that could arise. Unfortunately for us, all of the above plus more happened. 

What does this all mean? It means we are at a time in my career where we need to decide which I will continue to give 100% to-pursuing our dream of having a family, or continuing with my demanding career.  Trust me, this in no way will be a hasty decision on our part. It has involved much prayer, time, and discussion. 

Before we go any further, make sure you understand that I am in NO way implying that a woman cant have her family and a career, and give her all to both. Our situation is NO where near a normal one.  In fact, it is entirely a different situation from that of a typical working mom (and kuddos to them by the way), or even a typical IVF patient.  

In all honesty, if you still dont understand what I am saying about the balancing act not being possible here any longer, theres a pretty good chance you arent going to anyways.  

It all boils down to this. I am at a crossroads, and I don’t know where the path will lead me, but I do know I have learned so very much along the way. I also know that I will forever be grateful for all of the little people who have touched my life in so many ways; I could never repay them. 

And I am 100% positive that no matter what the future holds, my love for teaching will never die.  

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