baby development

Monday, April 25, 2005

Righteous Indignation

Lately, I'm having a problem with anger. Or, more accurately, anger is having a problem with me. It nags me at work, makes me itch in the afternoon, gives me headaches and makes me cry in the car on the way home at 5, keeps me awake at 1 am, and makes me long for revenge. Maybe I still have too much testosterone.

Perhaps it is year "34" about to slap me in the face and tell me that midlife is fast approaching. Perhaps it is doctors and research articles that tell me if only I would have tried to have children earlier in life instead of getting an education and building a career path, that I might not be in the current "subfertility" situation I am now. Perhaps it is me missing my grandmother and remembering her funeral three short years ago. Perhaps it's thinking about my mother having surgery for breast cancer at 57. Perhaps it's an ex-husband who appears to be as happy as a clam with his new fun-loving wife. Perhaps its my raging libido the doctor tells me may go away as we treat my PCOS. Perhaps it's the teaching position I gave up to come to Kentucky and my current job that treats me like a well-paid secretary. Perhaps it is the buildup of the things I think I've been cheated out of in life so far. Either way, anger is not a pleasant state to live in.

I'm reminded of the Linda Rondstadt song written by Phil Everly called "When Will I Be Loved"

It goes:
I've been cheated
Been mistreated
When will I be loved
I've been put down
I've been pushed 'round
When will I be loved

I've always loved that song, even though I imagine I've been loved many times in life. But those who love us inevitably disappoint us. We expect those people who hate us to disappoint us, but not those who truly have our best interest at heart. Sometimes I listen to that song and I think it's the ultimate feminist dilemma. We are hurt, and angry, and frustrated women. We seek comfort in independence and autonomy ("No one will ever hurt me again!") yet feel an overwhelming need in our isolation for someone to love us ("Please let me meet someone special!"). No matter how many letters we tack on after our names - BA, MA, PhD - no matter how many accolades we receive, we still want someone to love us.

So, why isn't God's love enough? I know it should be all I need. My church tells me that, my Bible tells me that, yet I am angry. I know God loves me with more love than I can ever think of using up. Yet I am still pissed off because of what I don't have here on earth. How absurd.

I once read a quote from somebody or other (yeah, I'll give that person credit when I figure it out), that went something like this:

"When I was sitting around singing "Someday My Prince Will Come", someone should have slapped me across the face and screamed "He's not coming! He's never coming!"

I have fantasized about a lot of things my whole life. I fantasized about what my education and career would be like (I was close there), what my husband would be like (way, way off on that one), what my family would be like, what kinds of things I'd do on vacation (what's a vacation?), and what kinds of crazy, spontaneous, and exciting things I would do in life and who I would do them with.

So far, I've not guessed well. I've been to Mexico, tried alcohol when I was 21, got drunk several times in college, tried smoking when I was 21 and gagged so hard I thought I would cough up a lung. I tried pot and was unimpressed. I learned how to make a Cosmopolitan. I've had great sex. I've sung the national anthem at horse racing. I've been married twice now and divorced once. I know how to cook, but not sew. I speak Spanish well enough to get by. I have 2 cats, but no children (I would have thought by now I'd have 1 cat and 2 children - and no ex-husband). I created a blog.

Smoking and drinking are complete bores. And few people want to listen to me sing anymore as I am not thin and pretty anymore, nor is my voice as well-trained as it once was. I can cook, but the things I cook well have made me and everyone I love fatter.

I am disappointed. I wanted far more adventure and excitement out of life, and I wanted a partner who would want those things to. Oh, the adventures I dreamed we would have. Now, our adventure is sitting in front of the television. We do not go out on dates. The movies we watch come from Netflix. Our big adventure this past weekend was going to the mall (1 store in the mall - we never even entered "the" mall itself) and buying my husband 2 pair of dress pants. The weekend prior, our big adventure was going to the farmer's market and the library booksale. This was perhaps the most excitement I have had since Christmas (except my trip to the ER in Georgia with my husband that I wrote about earlier). When I mentioned the farmer's market in Sunday School as being the "high" of my week, the teacher remarked, "Wow, it's a pretty bad week when your biggest high is buying produce." I laughed about that all week.

I guess I need to get out and make some friends and build my own adventures apart from my husband. I guess you really can't sit around singing "Someday my prince will come..." You'll be waiting a long, long time.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

My Workday Prayer

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this job that you graciously provided me with. You have blessed me beyond measure with a job that pays more than any job I have ever held. I am blessed with many good people to work with who are kind and supportive, and you knew I would need that. You blessed me with two jobs in universities where I could learn and have intelligent conversations - you knew I needed that too. You blessed me with students that I care for who are eager to learn - from me. You knew I needed to teach others, and you provided me with a part-time job teaching that paid the bills while you created this job for me. I know, Father, that it took time to create this job out of whole cloth, and set into motion all of the things that had to happen in oder for me to be right where I am today. I praise you! Thank you for loving me enough to care about my little life on this great big planet.

You also knew that in order to mould me, you had to break me. I pray that you would allow me to discover, in days like today, the value and meaning of my place here in this office, on this campus, and in this city.

Father, I pray for my boss who does not know you. Please guide me as I struggle to be in her presence as she curses, complains, and conveys negativity to those around her. Let me and others in this office continue to show your love to her, desptite how she treats us. Let me show her your love. I pray for my co-workers who do not know you. Help me be strong as I strive to share you with them. Help me find the best ways to talk to them about you. Keep me protected from the temptation to buy into her negativity, or to react in kind. Deliver me from this evil.

I pray that you lead me to stay in this job as long as you would have me here. Help me not be a quitter, Father, but help me also know when (or if) my time here is through. If you would have me leave, let me have faith and courage to step out. If you would have me stay, help me seek the strength from you to wake up every morning ready to face what is here in the office, and help me come home happier and more at peace at the end of each day. Help me to see the blessing in the job I'm instead of wishing for the job that could have been.

And lastly, Father, I pray that your will would be done in my life, and in my career - and in my husband's as well. If we are to move to North Dakota, we submit to your will. If we are to stay here, we will be grateful for what you have provided. It is your will we want, not our own.

Thank you again, Father, for providing me with this job. May I consider my trials here to be pure joy as they test my faith and develop perseverance.


Thursday, April 14, 2005


"Most people who succeed in the face of seemingly impossible conditions are people who simply don't know how to quit." Robert Schuller

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it." W. C. Fields

"A man is not finished when he's defeated; he's finished when he quits." Richard Nixon

I almost quit my job this week - well, I actually did - verbally that is. I stayed home from work on Monday of this week, and contemplated my navel, and washed and chopped vegetables for the South Beach Diet we just started (fodder for another blog, I'm sure). I did no job-related work on Monday at home, despite having toted vast amounts of it home in a tote bag. Tuesday morning I was up at 5 am, and intended to go to the office and get work done before the boss came in. But as I checked e-mail I realized I would never finish everything in the hour or so extra I had given myself. I sat in my chair, sweaty and shaking and nauseus. Megan IMed me, and I cut the conversation short. I then packed up my sack of work, and went back home. My husband was shocked to see me, and knew something was wrong. I'd been crying about work off and on for months now, and lamenting about how stupid and worthless I felt. I burst into tears as soon as I stepped into the kitchen. Michael hugged me and told me it would all be OK, and to go back to bed, then call work when I felt like I could, and that I could quit if I wanted to.

I tried to go back to bed, but instead I found my immediate supervisor's phone number and called her. I told her that I thought it was time for me to resign, and that I would give them as much notice as they needed, and that I was sorry it had not worked out. She asked if I was OK - she's a mother of two as well as a PhD and JD - so she has an amazing way of cranking out the work while being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. I said I was, but I had already started to cry again. We talked for a while, and she agreed to talk to her boss (and mine) who is the director. We agreed to talk on Wed. with the director.

The meeting went as good as could be expected. I was able to calmly articulate my perspectives, they listened and offered honest timelines for when I might expect my job responsibilities to shift. In sum, my director said she liked me and didn't want me to quit, and advised me that quitting wouldn't look good for my vitae anyway. I thought to myself, "I don't suppose time in a mental institution would look too hot either." But I bit my tongue. I agreed to stay and see how things looked by the end of the year. By that point, I will have worked here one year - not long by any standard (except that of my ex-husband, who held 10 jobs in 9 years of marriage), but long enough to see honestly how I am living with the place and the work. My director urged me to tell her if I still wanted to leave, and if that was still the case, that she would write me letters of recommendation and even help me find another more suitable position. She did not sugar-coat, but she was kind. I agreed to stick it out through the accreditation process. Our human subjects protection program here is up for accreditation, and our initial application goes in on July 1. Less than 3 months of what will likely be a crazy time here at work filled with fretting and frustration and working as fast as we can on certian things. And here I blog...

I hate the idea that I might me a quitter in lots of areas of my life. I think about all the things that I have started over the years, and not finished. I have taken piano, guitar, and clarinet lessons, yet to this day I cannot play the piano or guitar, and would probably sound like a dying duck if I attempted the clarinet (that I still own). I have taken dance lessons as a kid, and am about as uncoordinated as a 3-legged hippo. I took baton-twirling lessons (which obviously proved quite valuable later in life). I have lost and gained weight so many times from diets I quit before I got much of anywhere. I have gone through phases where I thought I would paint, take up photography, or learn to sew. None of those amounted to much. I have pages of unpublished research because I fizzled out near the end of the process. I never finished my PhD. I was "all but dissertation" and let my time run out. I am divorced - I quit by choice. I filed. I went to the attorney's office. He agreed it was necessary, but the final decision was mine.

I don't want to be a quitter, but like W. C. Fields said, I don't want to be a damn fool, either. Shouldn't some quitting be a good thing? Isn't it good when we get ourselves out of a bad situation or a bad relationship and say, "You know, I've had enough. I outta here." There have to be some relationships that simply are not worth saving. There must be some jobs that are not worth staying in.

Distinguishing between that which is worth keeping, and that which warrants throwing in the towel is tougher than it seems. Maybe I'm not so much a quitter, but I was smart enough to know I wasn't cut out to play clarinet in the symphony.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Diagnosis: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It sounds worse than it is. All the irregular menstrual cycles, adult acne, steady weight gain, skin tags, excess body hair, elevated testosterone levels, and depression - all symptoms of PCOS. You'd have thought that a doctor at some point before now would have put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4. Now after blood tests and an ovarian ultrasound, I have a firm diagnosis. Immature eggs in my ovaries never fully developed and formed cysts. I have most likely had this since puberty, but no one will ever know.

"Normal" women have testosterone levels between 14 and 74. My first blood test revealed I had a testosterone level of 89. I went around joking to my husband and friends that I was a manly woman. But inside I was really scared. My physician asked if I'd ever thought of myself as having a (and I quote him here) "raging libido". "Oh, hell yeah", I thought. "Absolutely", I answered. He said that might change with medication to help possibly restore my cycles to normal.

My physician, God bless him, has had me on Metformin (glucophage) for about 2 months now. So far, so good. I hadn't had a cycle since Christmas 2004, and in March I had my first of the year. It was a celebration. My complexion is better - not perfect by any means, but the acne treatment stays in the medicine cabinet far more often than in did. The excess hair is still there, so the tweezers still have their prominent location on my vanity countertop. My last blood test revealed a significant drop in my testosterone levels - I am now a 63.

As for my "raging libido", it is not raging anymore. It's there, but now it sits patiently like a well-behaved child, not speaking unless spoken to. I am sure my husband is relieved to not be perstered so much anymore, and to actually go to bed to sleep. I don't get as angry anymore thanks to less testosterone. But I'm tired a lot, and the Metformin sometimes upsets my stomach enough to stay close to a bathroom on really bad days. Overall, I feel different. I don't necessarily feel "better", just different. What used to make me mad now just brings me to tears. That does not relieve my husband, who in that regard has no earthly idea what is going on with me. I've wondered about trying to put it into words, but every time I try, I fail.

I think what's making me cry the most is that now that the dust has cleared, I'm left with a final prognosis - likely infertility. If I don't ovulate regularly, I'll likely never be able to conceive. And women with PCOS are about twice as likely to have a miscarriage if they do conceive. Infertility. Infertility and I have to come to terms here, and soon.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Best "Girls Weekend" Ever

Going back to work the Monday following a girl's weekend syphens. This past weekend, my friend Megan came up to visit while my husband was out of town for a conference. Folks at work seemed to think I would regale them with stories of our drinking and dancing and picking up men. But what we DID do was so much better than that could have ever been.

Thursday night we had dinner at home - "Big A" salads and veggie lasagna in front of the TV. Friday (after working half a day) we had lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and made what might have been the biggest "Wal-Mart run" we've ever made together. We admired new spring colors of clothes, and found a deal on bath towels. We laughed about how I could not make up my mind about what color of towels to buy. Friday night was dinner at home again - with the best darn chicken salad ever from the Yogurt Shop back in Columbus, GA. To top it off, Megan created a work of art - the biggest Strawberry shortcake I'd ever eaten. The two bowls held nearly 2 boxes of strawberries, 2 pound cakes, 1 pint of Hagen Daz, and whipped ("ssssshhhh") cream. It was heavenly. And we laughed and laughed. We watched the movie "Happy Accidents" and laughed together on the sofa at what turned out to be a truly great movie in unexpected ways.

Saturday we slept in, watched TV, made yet another Wal-Mart run for things I'd forgotten in the last run, and made bacon and chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. Oooooh, it was good. We watched Trading Spaces on TV and did next-to-nothing. We gave ourselves manicures - got out the entire Mary Kay Satin Hands set, cuticle treatments, all my nail polishes, and vitamin E oil. We played around on our laptops and she chatted with her boyfriend. I took some photos of her to e-mail to him while he is overseas. As if we really needed more food, we drove out into the mountain to Ward's Landing for fried fish and chicken on the buffet. We ate fish, and chicken, and pork, mashed and scalloped potatoes, and corn, biscuits, and chocolate cake and coconut cream pie for dessert. We laughed like idiots about how we couldn't breathe, and came home and took tums.

I was so sad to see her go on Sunday morning. We hadn't laughed like that together for a long time. Neither of us was depressed or frantically working out issues. She put up with my talk about fertility issues like a true friend, even though I'm sure in countless ways it was hard to listen to. She's the only person I've talked to about it, and she listens in ways my husband simply can't.

I'm so glad God sent me this sister. She's prayed with me and for me, helped me clean my nasty house, held me when I cried and screamed, and took care of me when the doctor wouldn't release me into my own care. But this weekend was great for what wasn't there - no trauma, no tears, just us - true, unadulterated, pressure-free. Maybe we're both growing up a little and getting healthier. I know this much - we're good for each other. She puts up with my crap, without letting me get away with it. She accepts me as I am - fatally flawed yet forgiven.

Thank God for sending Megan to be my friend.