Remembrance Day Candles

I never posted your pictures of your Remembrance Day candles! Not that I got a bunch of them. I don’t exactly have a ton of readers, and a large number of my family members who might have done it for me were actually with me and therefore couldn’t for the same reason I couldn’t. But a big thanks to those who did! Next year I’ll see if we can’t make a little bit bigger deal of it.

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Think Before You Speak!

So, I had my first encounter with someone being super insensitive about the trying to have kids issue. No, insensitive isn’t even really the right word. They were just so oblivious to the idea that what they said might be upsetting. Thankfully in my case I was able to brush it off, but if what was said was more applicable, or I was in a different, less hopeful place, it could have been very upsetting. So here’s a little breakdown of what NOT to say, based on my experience.

I was talking to a new coworker, and I mentioned that we were trying to have kids. Apparently I sounded a bit less than thrilled (understandable, IF you know my situation), and he laughed and made some comment about how this was the fun part, and I should sound happier. That was strike one. If you’re discussing trying to have kids and someone seems like it’s a sensitive topic or they’re not cheerful about it, that should be your first clue that you’re dealing with someone who is struggling with infertility or losses. I just forced a laugh and changed the subject.

When the topic came up again (in a different context), and he again made some comment to the effect that this is a fun thing, I opened up a bit further and said that we were having issues. I did not specify that we had had losses, so he assumed I meant that we were having trouble getting pregnant. And, somewhat not surprisingly, after the first comment, he went off down the “you just need to stop trying” road. This is why I say it might have been more hurtful if it were more applicable. I have no issues getting pregnant (knock on wood), and “trying too hard” isn’t likely to be related to miscarriages, so this didn’t bother me personally. However, I have a close relative/friend who IS struggling with infertility, and I know how upsetting hearing this kind of absolute bullshit upsets her. So it did sort of make me mad on behalf of any people he may have said this to that were in her position.

In his defense, he said his sister was one of those fairly rare individuals who did magically manage to get pregnant after they’d finally given up. But those people are the success stories, the good news, so they’re the ones you’re going to hear about! For every couple who turned to adoption only to finally get that little plus sign they’d been waiting for, there are uncounted others who did not. It’s just that infertility is unbelievably painful, so most people aren’t going to be parading around, excitedly announcing that they gave up on getting pregnant, and, guess what, they still aren’t pregnant, yay! Trust me when I say that EVERY couple struggling to have kids is doing everything they can to not let stressing about it lower their chances. They’ve probably all taken breaks from actively trying, hoping that will be the magic solution to their problems. The last thing they need is an unsympathetic, “just stop trying so hard,” from someone who has no concept of what they’re going through.

In fact, the last thing they need is advice from you, period. They’ve done their research, talked to their doctors, talked to other couples in the same boat. They’ve probably tried every old wives’ tale in the book. If someone in your life chooses to open up to you about their struggle with infertility or losses, unless they come to you specifically asking for advice, the best thing you can do is just offer your support. Be there when they need someone to rant to or a shoulder to cry on, especially when they’re having to watch people around them get pregnant with their second or third (or more) child with no issues, and they still haven’t successfully had their first. Don’t add to their pain with thoughtless comments.

Like I said, I wasn’t upset by all of this. He’s a nice guy, older, has no kids, and genuinely didn’t mean anything by it. And I got lucky, he didn’t say anything that was directly hurtful in my situation. I’ll still be actively avoiding the subject with him in the future, but that’s all. But take this opportunity to learn from his mistakes, and seriously THINK before you speak. You don’t know who might be like me, and have had losses I don’t tell most people about, or my cousin who has struggled for years with infertility, and I really don’t think that anyone wants to further hurt people who are already in such a painful situation.

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I Think My Legs Are Going To Fall Off

Well, good news. I got a job! Well, it’s still dependent on me deciding for sure that I like it, but I think I do, so I have a job! It’s with Southern Retail Inventory Service. See, my mom has mentioned more than once that she worked for an inventory company when she was my age, and that it seemed like the sort of job I would enjoy. So I applied for this one a few weeks ago. They totally failed to get in touch with me (they emailed me asking to call, then never answered/returned any calls), so I thought nothing more of it. Then all of a sudden they contacted me and wanted me to meet with them on this past Tuesday (4 days ago). So I drove out to a Mapco in West End (about half an hour away), and talked to this lady for about 10 minutes. At which point she basically said to come in on Thursday (yesterday) for paperwork and training, and I could start Friday (today).

It was very confusing. As I said on FB, If you’re ever in a position where you’re responsible for hiring people, when you get to the part where you’ve decided to hire someone, ACTUALLY OFFER THEM A JOB. Almost every person I interview with just gets to that point, and is all, “so, when can you come fill out your paperwork?” Um, does that mean I’m hired? Have we discussed pay? What if I’m not sure yet that I want this job? I’m not desperate, so I won’t necessarily accept any job that’s offered to me. Oy. I was immensely frustrated with that.

In their defense, everyone there has said that it’s a job that people either love or hate, and you have to work at least one day to be able to tell which it is. So any job accepting that I did would have been dependent on how I felt after my first day (as I sort of mentioned above). Still, they really need to work on that part. I wound up deciding to just go in for the paperwork, and get my questions (like pay rate) answered there. If I was satisfied with everything, I’d stay for the training. If not, I’d leave and that would be that. As it turned out, I was pleased with everything, so I did go ahead with training yesterday. Aside from the fact that I was an idiot and left my wallet and passport at home, and you must have two forms of identification for the paperwork (don’t clean out your purse right before leaving for something like that), it went well. The trainer was even really cool about having to wait an hour for me to drive back home and then back out to their office to get the missing id’s.

Today was my first day in an actual store, though it was still training. Nothing I counted was included in their actual inventory (which is good, cause there’s a pretty big learning curve on this and I sucked quite a bit), but I got to get a good feel for how it works, and practice my 10-keying. I think it went well, but I got very little feedback from the manager who was training me, so I can’t be really sure. I think when she emails me with when she wants me to work next week, I’ll include some questions about how I did in my reply.

As for how I feel about the job, I think I enjoyed it. Like I said, I sorta sucked. I’m pretty sure I was well within the range of normal noob speed and accuracy, but I really hate feeling like I didn’t do well at something. Part of why I wish she’d given me some feedback. Then again, if I really was unusually bad, I guess I don’t want to know that. The main problem is that you really can’t be as obsessively precise as I am. You have to estimate some of the time, or you’ll be incredibly slow. For example, if you’ve got a box of ring pops you need to count, there’s no efficient way to actually count them. But if you know there are 24 in a full box, you can look at it and decide that it looks like there are maybe 3 missing, and put that there are 21 in the inventory. That’s really hard for me, both because I don’t like being that imprecise, and because I just don’t have a feel yet for what a full box looks like and how to guess fairly accurately at how many there are. The other guy I was working with (who actually did 99% of the training today, not the manager lady) gave me some good tips on that though, so I think it’s something I could learn.

He, by the way, is crazy fast at the counting. I couldn’t believe it. He’s been there something like 20 years, so it’s not surprising, but still. It was intimidating. And I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be that fast. I’m smart, but I’m slow. My brain just genuinely doesn’t process information very quickly. Which is why I tend to laugh at jokes a little too late, because it takes me a minute to catch up and get it. And I think that’s a drawback because I’ve got to be able to figure out the price and input it, then count the pieces and input that, and then move to the next one. The constant switching between price and quantity is hard. I will get better, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be super fast. Like I said, watching the other guy going SO fast was intimidating!

The other main issue I have is that I’m not sure I’m physically up for it. People tend to look at me and think that because I’m not particularly overweight, I must be in at least semi-decent shape. Not so. I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t morbidly obese who was as out of shape as I am. And picture for a moment, the layout of a standard store set of shelves. Most are below eye level. Sitting or even bending over is frowned upon, so you have to either be on your knees or squatting. Constant up and down, for hours. Hence the title (holy crap, I seriously just spelled that “tital,” wth me?) of this blog post. My legs are so shaky/weak, and I don’t even want to think about what they’ll feel like tomorrow. On the one hand, that’s a big plus, because I really need more exercise. And squatting is supposed to be extra good before/during pregnancy, to help strengthen your pelvic floor. So this is a great opportunity to take better care of myself. On the other hand, I feel like my legs are going to fall off and my knees are probably bruised (I’ll be getting some knee pads) and I am just worn the frak out from doing so much more physical activity than I’m used to. That initial period of getting used to not sitting around all day is going to be really hard. But possibly worth it?

So basically I’m going to give it another few days. The plan is for me to work 3 days a week, Monday through Wednesday, and then just occasional other days as needed. (They’re also apparently pretty short handed, because it has been made VERY clear to me that if I want extra hours I just need to ask.) I figure I’ll do my 3 days next week, and then see where I stand. That should be long enough for me to get a feel for whether I’ll like it, and for them to decide whether I’m gonna be up to par. Fingers crossed that at the very least they want me to stay, whether I do or not. Also, the GameStop manager was out of town this week, so I wasn’t able to check in with them and see if that’s even a possibility. I’ll probably call next week and see. Overall I think this inventory position is a much better fit, but it’d be nice to know that I have other options if it doesn’t work out.

And, you know, yay! I have a job!

 

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I only have a moment, but I just realized today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I haven’t mentioned it here! Actually, the entire month is dedicated to it, but particularly the 15th. One thing that is done is The International Wave of Light, which invites participants from around the world to light a candle at 1900 hours on October 15 in their respective time zones, and to leave the candle burning for at least an hour. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hour period in honor and remembrance of the children who die during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Obviously, this is something I support. Unfortunately, I won’t be home at 7 tonight, and I honestly don’t want to draw a lot of attention by trying to do it at someone else’s house.

So if any of you are able to do it, how about you send me a picture of your candle, and I’ll post them here? Whether it’s in remembrance of your own baby(ies), or to support those of us who have had losses, I think it’s a lovely gesture to be able to make.

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Well, Now I’m Kinda Confused

I had my appointment today with the Maternal-Fetal Specialist. And let me just start by saying that I LOVED her! Can she be my doctor for everything, please? It was at TN Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and I saw Dr. Kang. Hopefully none of you will ever have need to see a specialist, but if you do, I highly recommend her. She was wonderful, explained things well, and was extremely empathetic because she’s had losses in the past as well.

That being said, I wasn’t thrilled with what she had to say. Basically, the doctor who gave me the results of my blood work was wrong. I have no mutations that would predispose me to blood clotting issues. This doctor explained exactly what each of my results were, and what they meant, so I do trust that she’s right on this. (The first doctor was also acting very scatterbrained and being unclear, so honestly it’s not terribly surprising that she misinterpreted the results. I’ll be asking to see a different doctor in that practice in the future.) Which means… I’m back at square one. On the one hand, it really is good news, because I’m much less at risk in future pregnancies. On the other hand, there could still be an underlying problem and it could happen again. She said, based on everything she’s seen in my history, that I have a better than 90% chance of a successful pregnancy in the future. I’m not entirely sure where she gets that statistic, since your odds are around one in four that any given pregnancy will end in miscarriage. (Maybe the odds of 3 successive miscarriages with no established issues causing them are lower than 10%?) But it’s a reassuring thing to hear, even if I don’t quite get it.

So… I’m a little torn on how I’m feeling. I do feel optimistic, based on having talked to her. She was very encouraging. But, unfortunately, I will be more worried next time since now I don’t have any preventative measures I can take. She said to wait till this cycle is over, and then we can start trying again next month. I was rather hoping she’d give us the go ahead immediately (I’d like to be pregnant and as far along as possible when my original due date, Jan 11, gets here), but at the same time I’m still definitely not where I need to be on eating healthily and exercising, so the extra time to get on track is a good thing. And thus far, we’ve had zero problems with getting pregnant quickly, so fingers crossed that that continues to be the case. Ultimately, for now, the optimism is winning. I’m feeling very hopeful!

Anyway, that’s where things stand. Time to really put in some effort on changing my eating habits and exercise some more, so we can make us a healthy baby!

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Okay, I Guess I AM Weird

One of the big pieces of parenting advice circulating these days is to be sure not to label your kids. And I can testify that this is good advice. To some degree I think it’s inevitable, but it can leave kids feeling pigeon-holed, or overwhelmed with trying to live up to their label. At some point I may write a bit about how being “the smart one” growing up caused me some troubles. Not today though.

I wasn’t just the smart one. I was also the WEIRD one. Granted, my whole family takes quite a bit of pride in being weird, so that’s not a huge deal, but I was the really weird one. Still am. And mostly that was such an accurate label that it wasn’t an issue. It’s really never occurred to me to be offended by it (probably because of the aforementioned fact that my whole family was weird and proud of it). But somewhere along the way, I accepted the label so much so that I felt like there was some pressure on me to be weird enough. Let me be clear- there wasn’t any such pressure coming from anyone. It was all me, nothing that anyone expected of me. And I’m not just talking about as a kid. This is an on-going issue for me. Especially when I read the Bloggess. I abso-freaking-lutely love her. Everyone should read her blog and her book, because she is amazing. However, she is weird on a level that I will never match. And sometimes reading her stuff, or other things in life, can make me feel like my weirdness is inadequate.

But then there are days like last Tuesday. Christopher got tickets to the Predators game. So we were walking downtown, from the parking garage to the arena, me in my beloved neon shoes-

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when I noticed that across the street there was a little cluster of trees, and the trees were just FULL of birds. Hundreds of them! And they were super loud, all chattering at each other. So I did what anyone who knows me well would probably expect, and dragged Christopher across the street (at the crosswalk!). And I made him stand there with me listening to the birds talk, trying to get him to discuss with me what they might be talking to each other about. Every few seconds one would fly up a foot or two and come back down, so I was picturing something along the lines of the “she said I’m cute!” scene from Rudolph. And maybe some of the girl birds were whispering to each other about that cute boy bird from behind their wing. And it was at that moment, standing under trees FULL of birds, probably at great risk of getting pooped on, trying to get my exasperated husband who just wanted to go to the hockey game to discuss birdy flirtation with me, that I realized that when it comes to being weird “enough,” I probably don’t have anything to worry about.

 

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What I’m Up To

Since I still don’t have a job (interview with gamestop went very well, so I’m expecting that phone call in the next couple weeks!), I’ve been finding all sorts of other things to keep myself busy. To start with, as I mentioned before I’m one of the admins for a FB page called Naturally Crunchy Moms. It’s probably a little strange that I’m an admin for a “mom” page and I don’t actually have any kids (and I wasn’t even trying yet when I started), but no one takes issue with it. I started out only doing one post every day or two on there, but I’ve started looking more at what successful pages do, and they usually post more often. I’m limiting it so people don’t get annoyed, but I’ve still upped things over there a bit. I’m also looking to post a bit more on the “crunchy” side, since most of what I post is related to parenting. It’s seeing slow but steady growth.

Tip for any FB page admins out there- FB’s new “formula” to determine what shows up in people’s news feeds means that even if they’ve selected to see EVERY post from a page, every post won’t show in their news feed. It’s really dumb. They just want pages to pay to “promote” their posts, which I am so not doing. But one thing I have noticed is that it prioritizes pictures over text only posts. So include a picture in ANY post. That means not including the preview image if it’s a link. Upload your own image, even if it’s the same one that the preview would have shown, and you’ll get more views. Also, if you’re posting a link to an article, people are more likely to pay attention to it and even click the link if you include an excerpt of the text so they have a better idea whether it’s something they’d find interesting.

Anyway, sorry for that random tidbit, but FB is really annoying me with pushing for you to pay for views, so I want to encourage everyone to outsmart them wherever possible.

The next thing I’ve started working on is making some miscarriage remembrance necklaces to sell. If you search miscarriage on Etsy, you get quite a few hits, so I wanted to do something a little different. I’m terrible with pictures, especially that close up, so I have no finished products I can show on here. (I’m going to have my cousin, who is an excellent photographer, do the pictures for listing them on Etsy.) But the first one is a combination of these two charms (I swapped the red jewel for a clear one), and one pink and one blue bead.

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The second design I haven’t finished yet, because I ordered the pendants online and they’re not here. They’ll be the same “love” charm, and the pink and blue bead, with this pendant. The circle next to the footprint is for a rhinestone, and I’m hoping I can find something for each month so I can do birthstones. I’ll also offer to swap the pink and blue beads for beads in the color of the appropriate birthstone on either necklace.

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The first one, with the heart, is pretty neutral. No one looking at it is likely to ask any awkward questions that lead to having to explain that it’s about miscarriage. You could even wear it just because it’s pretty or what have you. The second one is a little more specific, but since the remember is on the back, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. If you look at the miscarriage jewelry on Etsy, most of it is VERY specific and likely to start conversations. And for some that’s fine, but I wanted to offer some options that are more along the lines of what I would want. I don’t mind writing about my miscarriages on here (obviously) but I don’t want to talk about them, especially not with strangers. So I prefer more subtle jewelry to wear in remembrance.

Also, a month or so ago a woman posted on some message boards I follow about how her family was being kinda crappy towards her during her pregnancy. For some reason it really bothered me, and I wanted to do something. So I sent her a private message explaining to her that I sell baby hats, and asking if she’d be willing to trust that I’m not some crazy internet stalker and give me her address so I could send her some for free, since I felt so sad about how her family was acting. Thankfully she decided to trust me and I was able to send her several. Because of the move, I only sent them last week, so I’m hoping she gets them soon!

All that to say, I’d like to be able to do things like that more. But it’s not that easy to search message boards for people who could use some baby hats to cheer them up. Enter the miscarriage necklaces. When there’s a whole board just for miscarriage, it’s pretty easy to find women who might appreciate being sent a free remembrance necklace. Some may not want any physical reminder, and some may not be willing to trust me enough to give me their address, but hopefully I can find a few who are willing and interested. I’ll sell them as well (if nothing else, to bolster my legitimacy when I’m offering to send one to someone), but I’ll keep the price low. I’m not looking to make a profit off of other women’s grief.

And that’s not all I’m working on right now! I’m apparently very ambitious when I get too bored, so I ALSO started a new FB page/group. It’s called Made With Love Auctions, and will hold bimonthly auctions to raise money for charitable causes. Right now I’m in the “spread the word” phase, trying to find vendors to donate and start establishing a fan base of people to bid on the auctions. Part of me is feeling a bit intimidated by the whole thing, and sort of what the heck was I thinking?! But I’ve already had friends messaging me asking how they can help, so I’m also feeling pretty excited. Hopefully this will be a worthwhile venture! 🙂 I used to be a part of a group that did exactly the same thing, but they’ve since stopped operating. That’s where I got the idea, and a lot of the “business model” that I’ll be following with it. Fingers crossed that we’ll be successful!

Anyway, apparently my minion hats make great Halloween costume accessories, because I’ve suddenly sold two that customers need asap, and I’m heading to Memphis first thing tomorrow! So off to work on hats!