A Natural Mother

What happened to me on Clomid is appearing to be happening to me on follistim. I’m sensing a trend, and it’s really the most bizarre thing.

As a recap, when I was on Clomid, it would work (get me to ovulate by growing my follies) the first time I was on a new dose. So, when I started on 50 mg, it worked. But then, the second time I would use Clomid and start on that same dose I finished with last time, it wouldn’t work, and the doctor would have to up my dose. This happened while on Clomid three different times, and my doctor would just let me stair-step my cycles (not get my period and just keep going instead). Out of the six rounds of Clomid I took, three got me to ovulate. And yes, those three were every other time.

The first round of follistim got me to ovulate. They had to play with that dosage a bit because 50 iu’s weren’t working after a while. So, a week and a half into the shots, I was upped to 75 iu and bam, I grew 3 follies and ovulated. Guess what. I’m on my second round of follistim, and the doctor started me off at 75 iu, since that’s what worked last time. It’s been over 2 weeks now – that’s a lot of shots, and I have one, count them, one small follie, barely over 10 mm. Why am I not surprised? It’s like the first time I use a drug, my body hasn’t seen it before and responds appropriately. The second time, my body fights it off like it’s nobody’s business, daring me to try yet another drug or procedure.

That whole, don’t go on vacation because your estrogen is too high not to see us 3 days in a row thing, was crap. It’s been a week and a few days since then and it’s not looking good. That said, the doctor wanted me to continue this cycle. It’s not as if he gave up on it. But this cycle is going to be one follicle strong. Just one.

I’m not begging for multiples here, and I don’t mean to imply that. However, there’s something about going through all of this, both physically and mentally, where I get to this place where my brain says – you know what, if I’m going to ovulate, it better be more than one egg. When only one grows, I just joined the rest of the population who releases that one egg on their own and gets pregnant by having sex. Ha! Clearly these three-times-a-week jaunts down to my clinic and multiple stomach bruises do not put me in the same place as everyone else, and I would appreciate my body providing me with more than one large follie in order to say, “Thanks for putting up with my crap. Here’s two (or three) eggs for your effort and well-being.”

Plus, this is my last IUI. Yes, it really is. We’ve made up our minds, and have the luxury of being able to do that with our wonderful insurance. I can’t believe I’m getting very close to pulling out the big gun, IVF. It’s scary. Terrifying.

The funny thing is, I’ve recently mentioned IVF to a few people, especially those who I’ve not updated in a while. I don’t mind updating them when they ask, I really don’t. Talking about this has never been an issue. But it’s the funniest thing – the way people react. I’ve learned that most people do not know what IVF is. I guess I shouldn’t expect them to. But I feel like I always knew. I suppose that’s not the case. Anyway, the trend in comments is basically a congratulatory one. Yes, good for you. You’re doing IVF. Yay!

No, you don’t understand. This is the next step, yes. But it’s the last step. Not last last, like there’s no other options. But last as in..the last “common” type of fertility treatment. If that doesn’t work, to my knowledge my options are: surrogate, donor egg, adoption. And those will be done, if need be, but I mean – that’s, well, extreme. It just is. But as for IVF – I’m not happy about it. It’s not a “yay”. This is a step I’m not happy about doing. It’s a huge deal, and it’s scary.

Of course, people also don’t know what IVF entails. They seem to realize the severity of it once I get to the part where they go in and suck out the eggs, one by one. (I try to make it graphic for added effect.)

I’m jumping the gun, I know. I can’t help thinking about my next cycle after this one. Surgery, OHSS risks, and what if none of the eggs are viable? What if it doesn’t work?

One cycle at a time, and I’ll find out the progress on my little follie at yet another ultrasound tomorrow morning. I did start Ganirelix and as far as I know, that means ovulation might be..getting close? Or something? Had to order another round of follistim – blew through that first 900 iu pretty quick!

School is starting soon. My main reaction to this is happiness. I have a regret about this summer – I did nothing with it. I told myself I needed to do some projects, or something. Read some good books. I don’t know what the hell I did do this summer, but I know what I didn’t do. Anything. I wasted it. But then, I suppose the whole past year has been somewhat of a waste, and the only thing that got me through it with actual happiness was my last class. They were so wonderful. I laughed every day. Now, it’s back. Granted, I’m just starting to put my room back together again, and I’m getting a whole new round of kids, but having something to focus my mind on is such a relief. I almost forget this pregnancy mess.

But then today was a reminder of what is so far away. One of my most dedicated, happy, well-rounded 11-year old students from last year has come back to help me set up my room. He is actually one of a few students helping me out in my room this week, for which I am so grateful. But he was the first. We got a lot done; bulletin boards, attacking the closet, etc. I knew he was coming in advance and I told his mother I’d make him lunch as a thank you. Nothing much – just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, a Gatorade, and chips. Well, he wolfed that sandwich down like it was his first meal on earth, and he raved about how delicious the bread was, how much he just loved the sandwich. He was also grateful for the rest of the food, and it’s not like he doesn’t eat at home! He has a wonderful family. I felt this sense of motherly..I don’t know, pride or something. Longing. That I could do something for him that he appreciated. Because he is coming back later in the week, and because my house is running out of food, I went to the grocery store after I left school. Bought more of that bread he loves (it’s my husband’s – with gluten), more jelly since we were out, Gatorade, etc. It made me happy to buy this food, and I will be even more happy when I go to make his lunch.  I realized how badly, how truly badly I want to be a mom. I want to be that mom in the store, thinking about my kids and remembering their favorite snacks, and bringing them home to make the kids happy. Such a simple little gesture but doing it for this student felt so good, it must be what mothers feel. I won’t go this far because he’s a student, not my kid, but I can’t wait to sneak a few m+m’s into a sandwich, or write a note that s/he finds at the bottom of his/her lunchbox that says “Have a great day. Love, Mom.” That’s what I want. That is the dominant feeling I am lacking most, the one that seems so very natural to me, and I think I do it well, but never have a chance to use it. I really do think I’m a natural mother. I’ve thought that for a very long time. Which is what makes this all the more difficult.

Like I said before, teaching is on the brain a bit now, and I’ll start updating my new teaching blog more often. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so here. I’m a little confused with wordpress – a lot of people who read this blog are reading my new blog and getting the emails, but my new blog doesn’t say I have them as followers. I don’t get it!

I could be a great mother.

I’m back from my little hiatus. How long has it been – two weeks, I think? Maybe a little more. I knew I was going to need the break from blogging, and just about everything else, as I turned all of my attention towards my students for the last two weeks of school.

It was a fun two weeks. We had something going on every day, including:

– Field Day: Not sure if the rest of you teachers out there have field day, but it involves rotating through different activities with the rest of the school, with most of them being outside. There are always a few water activities too, and I always end up soaked myself.

– A trip to our local park, where, similarly to field day, the 5th grade only rotated through a few stations, including rolling around in a giant hamster ball. My personal favorite was kickball and volleyball with my class.

– A game show came to our school. It went by grade level, so again, it was just the 5th grade. This company had everything – the whole setup of a game show, with buzzers and prizes, music, etc. They had some academic-type questions and some physical challenges, like having the kids on the floor, eating pudding off a plate without using their hands. Then of course, the teachers were forced into participation, and though I didn’t answer any academic questions correctly (do you know how many zeros are in a google?), I was able to be the first one to answer, “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

– Bingo, with candy for prizes.

– A kickball tournament.

– Two pizza parties, one for our class only for winning the “Penny Wars” competition (we raised over $450 in my room alone), and one yesterday for the whole 5th grade on the last day.

– The “moving up” ceremony. In my old school, this was always a pretty big deal. This year, we tried to keep a lot of the same characteristics. It went very smoothly, actually, despite the fact that the temperature got to over 100 degrees, and we were packed into the gym 400 people strong, with no ventilation whatsoever.  My five teaching partners and I were very prepared, taking turns reading the names of the award winners, shaking hands, etc. The kids all dressed up, which is one of my favorite parts. They always complain beforehand but love seeing each others’ outfits when the day comes. Teachers dress up too, and in addition, I surprised my class by singing the national anthem with a student.

-And finally, yesterday was the last day. I loved my class this year, probably more than any other, so I was dreading this day. We had Popsicles, a final assembly where we handed out a few more awards, saw a few slideshows, ate pizza, got in one last kickball game at recess, signed yearbooks, and then I had my group huddle. I started it last year, and it was such a nice way to end.  With about 10 minutes left to go in the day, a few parents had made their way into my room, and I asked them (probably rudely, but oh well) to leave so I could have the huddle without anyone else in there. Then we literally got into a huddle, and I thanked them for everything, wished them luck next year, etc.

The kids were balling. Of course, partly it’s the concept of mass hysteria, which works for any age group. A few people get crying, and it spreads like wildfire. It started with one student, who began crying a good half hour before the end of school, watching a slideshow. He’s been at the school since kindergarten and I think the realization of moving forward to a new school kind of hit him all at once. Then, back in my room, kid after kid started becoming upset, until I’d say a good 20 out of 23 kids were crying. Even my toughest boys were wiping their eyes. I hate that. I don’t cry, not in front of them, because I just don’t feel like I should be making them more upset. I gave out lots of hugs, and said goodbye, which I don’t do well.

And here we are, the next morning. I received the most awesome present a few days ago from the girl whose mother was the one we raised money for:

Her father came in and said, “We wanted to fill it with chocolate but ____ said we should use peppers instead!” It was very cute. I cut them all up and brought them into school the next day, and my students were ecstatic to eat a ton of peppers. I also got this wonderful note from another student:

You know that you have an amazing teacher when you call her mom  by accident, look up to her, and walk in the class feeling great when you see your teacher and all those things are true to me .You make me feel like a better person .

These are the things that make this job worth it. I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to teaching – I’m only five years in. But this class in particular I am grateful for, for allowing me to care for them, and give as much as myself as I could. I have always opened myself up to my students, as I feel it’s important in making those connections. This year, though, was different. I started playing at recess (kickball mostly, but racing and basketball prior to that) on Friday afternoons, and in the last few weeks, it turned into almost every day. I did something with them last week I’ve never done with any class – I took them to the piano in the cafeteria, and they all gathered around it, and I played them some classical music. I took lessons for 11 years but stopped, and just picked it up again. Together, the students and I created this safe, family-type community atmosphere in my room, and it was so nice, every single day.

I know I was doing this partially for selfish reasons, but because it was beneficial for the kids as well as myself, I’d call it a win-win. I was filling that void, the void of not being pregnant when just about everyone in my age group is. The void of meaningless thoughts – thoughts about not even being close to getting pregnant, when instead, I could think about my kids. That student who called me “mom” was one out of, I’d say 10 or so students who accidentally called me “mom” on a regular basis. I’m not their mom, and I reminded them of that every time, as they would blush with embarrassment. But deep inside, of course, I take it as a compliment. My students are proving it – I could be a mother. I could be a great mother.

I know it will take me a few days to get my class out of my head, but it will happen. I will adjust, I always do. I just need to be sure to fill my summer with a lot of activities – I must keep busy or I will go crazy. Besides, I do have something to look forward to on Monday – my appointment with my RE. You know, the one I’ve been waiting over a month for.

As a recap, because it’s been a while, I didn’t ovulate on the 150 dose of Clomid, and it did crazy things with my emotions, and I refused to stair-step up to 200 mg. Therefore, the nurse recommended I move on to injectables, which I’ll happily do, but they wouldn’t let me until I meet with the RE first, and he had no appointments until Monday. Monday, for the record, will be CD 46. I have tried not to think much about this waste of 46 days, except to remind myself that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any school the last few weeks, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

Hopefully by Monday my thoughts will be swimming with questions about injectables and no longer my amazing students, but until then, it’s a bittersweet weekend.

 

Summer is coming.

Once again, I am brought back to blogging with inspiration from another blogger.

Once again, that blogger is Lindsay from Tiny Bits of Hope.

First, I want to say that I have many blog posts spinning around in my head, and I’ve been trying to make a mental note of what they are, in order to write them later. Also, the same applies to my blog comments I’ve received. I’ve been an awful blogger and haven’t responded to them in a more timely fashion, for no other reason than after I write a post, I want to walk away and avoid the computer for a good week. I love to blog, but I don’t like the feelings it brings up – so I need to do it, but it hurts. Damned either way. Regardless, I want to respond to your comments, so this weekend, I will.

Lindsay says:

“Being a teacher I probably get asked this question at least a few times a day this time of year: How many more days until school gets out, you must be so excited??”

Followed by:

“This group of students has been with me through all the tests, procedures, medications, and month after month of failed pregnancy tests.  And each morning, it was them, that got me through everything.  Yes, I have a supportive husband and we both have wonderful families, but it has been my students, and their undeniable need for me, the pure love they have for me, that has given me the strength to get through this year.  There is nothing like walking into a classroom after you have missed a day of work and seeing the look of joy on your students faces when they realize you are back. I can’t help but see them leaving me in a few weeks as a representation of the time that has gone by and the things that I have gone through, and the fact that I am still not pregnant.  It should have been this class that found out I was pregnant.  It deserved to be this class, they are the ones I wanted to share the good news with.  But it’s not, and there is no good news to share, and it is really hitting me hard.”

Sometimes I don’t know how to explain the rush of emotions I have been feeling on any given day, or how I am replacing my sadness over lack of a pregnancy with sadness over losing a great group of students in two weeks. I can sense what I am doing, and I also understand why I am doing it. Grieving over students leaving my safe haven of a classroom is manageable – it will go away soon, once summer is in full-swing. Grieving over troubles conceiving, or coming up on the year mark – those aren’t so manageable. So I put 150% of myself into my students, because dammit, I’ve got two weeks left to enjoy something that makes me feel normal. An empty summer is an indication of what I’m supposed to be, and what I’m not.

The part of Lindsay’s post I feel most strongly about is the line regarding the class that should’ve been celebrating my pregnancy. That is exactly how I feel! This would have been the best class to share that news with; as they are always so happy, up-beat, and supportive. Instead, my co-worker is pregnant, and her class is celebrating, along with kids in my class. It hurts, and I can’t deny it. At the same time, selfishness is not a good quality. I am trying..I’m working on it. I am happy for everyone out there who is pregnant – and a lot of you are – and I don’t mean to sound selfish. But it should’ve been me, and it should’ve been this year, with this class.

It’s not. And while I’m out of my Clomid funk, feeling much more like myself – summer is coming, and there is absolutely no reason to celebrate. What is there to look forward to, when 23 of the people that make me the happiest walk out of my classroom and don’t need me anymore?

 

And in a quick switch of glass-empty to glass-full – maybe the summer is a celebration. I’m celebrating starting injectables, and (hopefully) being one step closer to baby.

 

One day, when my children are older, I will tell them again and again and again how badly their parents wanted them, how hard it was to wait, and how grateful they are to have them in their lives.

 

A Teacher Story

Let me tell you the story about the 5th grade teaching position I almost didn’t have.

Right around a year ago, knowing that my elementary school was being closed down, and my town was switching from a K-6 to a K-2, 3-5 model, I was impatiently waiting to find out my new position. I knew all the 6th grade teachers would be heading up to the middle school, but unfortunately, they only had room for 16 of them – and I, on the hierarchy of 6th grade teachers, was the youngest, at #18.

One Thursday afternoon, word spread like wildfire in my building that the placements had arrived. The whole staff gathered in the main office (it was the end of the school day), shut the door, and mourned the loss of our building. In particular, a 4th grade teacher (who, after 17 years, was being moved to 5th grade) and I were balling our eyes out. Now – I’m not a crier in front of anyone – if I cry in front of you, it must be really bad. And I was balling/hyperventilating.

They were putting me in a kindergarten support position – not even classroom teacher. Now, I had spent the past four years as a 6th grade teacher, including my final year at my old school, where I was the only 6th grade teacher in the building and started the year out with 29 kids. Those students were awesome – such leaders – and I took such pride in having them be role models for the rest of the building. This new job, this support position, would involve me sharing a room with a few other support people, and pulling kindergarteners who were struggling with math or reading to work in a small group with me for a half hour. That’s it. There’s nothing wrong with having this as a job, mind you, but it’s not for me. I had just finished my 2nd Master’s degree, and I wanted to put what I learned to good use. With 6th graders. Not struggling kindergarteners. Worst of all, what I loved most about teaching – connecting with the students – would be virtually impossible, not only with that age of student, but for the amount of time I’d see them a day. I would not have my own room, I wouldn’t be able to put smiley faces on papers, I wouldn’t be able to talk about college and life plans with the kids…etc. Gosh, a year ago I was one hot mess. I was freaking out.

In those last few months of school, one year ago, I was sad. My school was closing, my staff was going to be spread out all over town, I would miss my students whom I grew close to, and I was heading into, for me, what would have been the worst job of all time.

I don’t really know what happened after that, besides my principal speaking, multiple times, with the HR director. She put in a good word for me, and I think he contacted other people about me as well. I left him messages…trying to put a bug in his ear without flat-out harassing him. Rumors were swirling that another 6th grade position had opened up at the middle school, and either I might get it, or #17 on the list. If she took that job, her newly-appointed 5th grade position would open up. I’d happily take either one, hence the phone calls. In my head, I was begging – please, please, I cannot have this as my job – I just can’t. I’ll be stuck in this position forever and I’ll never get out.

You know what people said, in an effort to try and get me to feel better? “Oh, don’t worry. You won’t have to correct papers or deal with parents; you’ll be so free that you can put all your effort into getting pregnant.” Ha!

Anyway, on the second to last day of school last year, with my room full of packed boxes, and in the middle of our “graduation” awards ceremony, I got a phone call from the HR director. “We found you a position,” he said, “in the office building. You don’t have any windows or anything but it’s not that bad.” I sort of choked on the phone, and he said, “I’m kidding! You got the 5th grade position. Over 15 people asked me to switch into that position, but I gave it to you.”

One year later, and I am wrapping up  my 5th year of teaching, but my first year teaching 5th grade. Had I been stuck in that support job, not pregnant, not connecting with the kids, I would’ve been a horrible wreck all year. Instead, I was handed the funniest, happiest class I’ve ever had. Well-rounded, helpful, and outgoing, these are students I enjoy being around every day. Friday afternoon kickball games are the best part of the week. And as this school year winds down, with 20 days left, I am reminded just how lucky I am to have been given this 5th grade spot, with wonderful teaching partners (including the 4th grade teacher from my previous school who was moved to 5th 🙂 ) and wonderful kids.I will be sad to see this year end, as I am every year.

This is why I was especially delighted to read this paragraph from Lindsay over at Tiny Bits of Hope:

Only 20 days left of school.  This is always a tough time of year for me.  I grow too attached to my students, I think that is why they respond so well to me, because they know how much I truly care for them.  I almost always cry on the last day of school, every year has gotten a little easier, but no ending to a year is easy. 

This is exactly how I feel! Everyone is happy for the end of school year except me, and I don’t think I handle the change well. I also grow too attached to my students, knowing how well they respond to me, and I learn this lesson the hard way every year – with this year being one of the hardest.I have no doubt tears will be shed after my students file out the door for the last time.

I guess the easiest way to describe what a good class is like for a teacher, especially in this black cloud of infertility, is to say that they make you feel like a superhero; a rock star. Like you can do no wrong, as they shriek and jump for joy when you walk into the room as if you are a celebrity; like showing up to work every day makes them happy and excited. I only hope in a given school year to inspire and guide them into becoming successful, kind, and happy pre-teens. But I can never count on what they do for me – build me up and carry me through whatever I am going through.

I’m sure that when I have kids, someday, I will lose a little bit of this closeness I build with my students every year, because instead of giving all 150% of me that I currently give, it will probably be more like 70%. Until then, these are my kids from 8:30-3:00, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.

Every September you are given a group of children of whom you try to mold, shape, and guide all year long. Every June, you say goodbye, feeling as if your own actual children have just left you for good.

Teaching is the hardest, yet most rewarding job around, I think, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In fertility news, I spoke with my nurse yesterday after having my second blood test done this week. “Wow,” she exclaimed, “I cannot believe you didn’t respond to 150 mg of Clomid! I was sure you would!” After describing my serious depression last weekend to her, and wondering aloud if I lost my mind, she said, no, I didn’t – and that what I was describing was extremely common. That did make me feel a bit better, and I told her I don’t want to go up to 200 mg of Clomid, or even stay at 150. She said I’d be probably moving on to injectables (thank you for the information, everyone, about that in my last post), but I would need to make an appointment with the doctor before changing up the plan.

I called today to make the appointment – and they have nothing until a month from now. Seriously. A month. So, the month of June, in blog-land, won’t have much news in it. I’ll be in limbo until I call to get Provera and induce a period, right before I meet with the doctor. I haven’t had to wait around like this since before Christmas – it will be a bit weird.

However, it’s my last month with my students. Hopefully, putting Clomid hormones aside, I will be able to enjoy every minute I have left with them before they are off to middle school and I’ll be left with an empty classroom until September.

By the way, we won the fundraiser for the first week of Penny Wars ($216 raised in a week) – and will be rewarded with a fancy doughnut and juice breakfast 🙂

 

I’m having a quarter-life crisis.

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s 9:00 at night (which, as a teacher, is basically my bedtime), or the fact that I got up this morning at 4:45 to go to spinning class – maybe I’m just tired.

But really, honestly, I’m miserable.

Driving home from watching one of N’s men’s league softball games (we took two cars) I formed this post in my mind, and I decided I wasn’t sure that I wanted to even share it with you. Mostly because I don’t – know what I want from it. I don’t want pity (I have enough of my own), I don’t want to become the whispers of gossip that spread like wildfire (not that I’m saying you all would…but it just seems to happen sometimes), and I don’t even know what the hell is wrong with me.

But then I decided that if anyone out there can sort of pull me through all this, it’s you. And at the very least, writing it down does seem to help. This is kind of long, I’m warning you.

Here’s the problem: Besides the obvious, I just don’t feel like myself. I’m not happy with my life, let’s face it. I’m of course happy with my husband, my dogs….but not content, not fulfilled. I’m just living and breathing every day, but I’m not experiencing anything. Something is missing. In addition, I feel like I can’t – connect to people like I once could. I have this dark cloud hanging above me, and I can usually fake it, but those who know me know it’s there – and I hate that they know it, that I’m not myself. I feel like I’m letting myself down, because others who once knew me as happy-go-lucky (if not slightly high-strung), now might see me as this negative ball of dust.

So not only am I not happy with my home life, in that it’s all work and no play, the connections I have with people I care about IRL, but also, I don’t want school to end.

It’s pathetic to even say that – what teacher doesn’t want summer?

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. And I’m starting to notice a trend. My first class ever, 5 years ago, was beyond amazing. They were just – wonderful, supportive, helpful kids. And we all formed a tight bond – there was crying and hugging on the last day and nice notes shared. That summer, which was when I was in limbo – not married, living in a tiny apartment, hoping to keep  my job and get engaged soon, going through the motions – I had a hard time getting over that class. I couldn’t wait to get to school, to see these kids, who made me so happy because they were full of life and energy, jokes and laughter, and I wasn’t, and it helped. But then, when summer came, it sucked.

The following year, my second year, I was engaged and planning a wedding. That class was fine enough, but they did nothing for me. I was excited for summer. They all cried on the last day and I was grinning. I wasn’t in limbo anymore. I had a solid plan (getting married that July) in a house of our own with two dogs. The plan was in place and everything felt perfect. Interestingly enough, I also had no hives or autoimmune issues this wedding planning year. I was stress-free.

So, after that second year, I told myself, the way I emotionally handled the leaving of my first class was just because they were my first, and every year after that, I’ve never gone back to that weird place.

Until now. This is my first year all over again, in a way. I’m in a new school, new teachers, new grade level, new curriculum. My kids are awesome. They make me laugh, a lot, every day, and they are kind and helpful. They are also hyper and messy, but that’s another story. I can already feel the emotions of this school year ending deep inside, just like that first year, except maybe worse this time. I dread summer. I don’t want to be home, cleaning or doing random house projects. I want to be with kids, with my kids, kids who make me forget about this lack of a pregnancy and make me feel important, needed, and in control.

This class is seriously doing more for me, I fear, than I am for them. They are filling a void. And it has hit me all of a sudden. I suppose it’s not just my class – it’s children in general. Not too young, because then I’m reminded that I don’t have a baby. But a little older, when they are funny and amazing, and have baseball games and piano lessons. I want to attend those games, and those lessons.I want to BE their mom. And I’m not – not even close.

I feel odd saying this, but I have never dreaded summer more than I do right now. And there are 5 weeks until that day comes. It also doesn’t help that my students always go to the junior high the following year, so the majority of them, I never see again. It’s very sad. I’m already sad about losing them and we still have 5 weeks.

Again – I don’t even know if I want to post this rambling nonsense. I feel foolish, idiotic, and slightly insane. I’m attached to my students because they fill a void in my life, and that’s just weird. My only hope is that my life follows some type of a pattern (highly unlikely), and this year, the limbo year, is followed by a year of stress-free, pregnancy life. No need to be attached to other people’s children if I’ve got my own.

I think I’m having a quarter-life crisis. Seriously.  Call it an identity crisis, if you will. I’ve said this before, and this is a big issue as well, but I either want to be my age or a little older, with children I’m driving around town, or I want to be young – really young. Like, high school. Or even elementary school. Those years were the best – carefree, mom’s got dinner covered, all you have to do is your homework and clean your room. The innocence of those years is what I think I really miss most of all, and I try to remember my days as a 5th grader. It’s hard to do, and that’s sad, too. I only remember quick little moments, but not the fun and excitement that I see in my own students.

So, either 30 with kids, or 10. There is no in-between, but unfortunately, that’s where I find myself. Hence being in limbo. Hence why I find myself, on Friday afternoons, playing kickball, basketball, or running races with my students. And loving every minute of it.

I feel like a total nut. Completely out of character, definitely not my old self. N used to call me naive, but I preferred optimistic and innocent. I am so not that person anymore, and I really, truly wish I was.

As usual, I do feel better after writing this down. And a new thought – perhaps it’s the Clomid that’s causing my emotions to totally whack out.

I’m on 150 mg, though it’s only the third day of taking the pills this round. Anyone else experience weird emotions while on Clomid?

Hey, thanks for reading. I post this to the internet because I know somewhere, someone can relate, and that makes me feel better.

 

 

A Natural Teacher

Double-post Saturday! As much as I enjoyed posting my minestrone soup recipe, I have other things on my mind I want to share. This one has been on my brain for a few weeks.

To all you teachers/guidance counselors/anyone who works in a school out there – do you find this job different now from the one you signed up for? Let me explain.

I love teaching. I’m great with kids and always have been. One of my strengths in working with kids is the ability to read them, figure out relatively quickly who they are as people, and tailor the way I teach and what I teach to their strengths, abilities, and interests. That skill greatly contributed to my success in the school I worked at in the first four years of my teaching career, which was a wonderful school in a very low-income neighborhood, with students who really were put through the ringer at home. They came to that school to feel safe and secure, and the majority of them were always upset when the school year was over. All of the teachers in that building had their heads together, and were on the same page. I was really on my game. I also wasn’t trying to get pregnant.

This year, I have been moved to a new school. In fact, we all were, because they closed down my old school, and spread those kids out into the middle-class schools around the rest of the town. It was very sad and emotional. I also switched grades, from 6th to 5th. However, in my new school, where the kids are much happier at home and have access to many more resources, I have fit in relatively well. I love the women I teach with (I went from no teaching partner last year to five this year) and we all work really well together.

Here’s the problem. I’m not on my game.

I actually think the problem is two-fold. First of all, my head isn’t in it like it always has been. In past years, I would go home and my students would be on my brain all night. I went above and beyond for them, making them all hand-made cards at the end of the year, and caring for them as if they were my own children. Talk about motherly instincts – I’ve been acting motherly for five years now. My first year, my class was so wonderful and supportive and I couldn’t wait to go to school. I was the first or second teacher there, and one of the last to leave. I was dedicated, plain and simple.

I’m still dedicated, I would say, and I’m still teaching well. I have a nice class, and I care about their well-beings. I am meeting every requirement and doing what I have to do. But my head isn’t in it. As I said, one part of the problem is what’s on my brain. I’ve been using my brain space for thinking about getting pregnant, and all that has happened with it. I’ve been blogging, which I love. I read more, I drink tea. I take my time at home. Now, I get to school on time, but barely, and I try to leave as soon as I can. I want to be home, with N. I want to be trying for a kid. I want to POAS, watch for ovulation, chart it on my phone. I want to be a mother, and not just use my motherly instincts at my job.

There’s another problem. Teaching in the United States, or at least in my state, isn’t what it used to be. I’m only a five-year teacher, and it’s different from what it was when I started. It’s drastically different from what it was when I student-taught seven years ago, and from what I learned in college.

I’m not going to get all political – it’s not appropriate and I suck at interpreting politics, anyway. But I do know it is partly a political issue. In my state, collecting and analyzing data has been the main focus the last two years or so. Forget developing wonderful hands-on projects, test, test, test! Of course, I knew getting into this job that standardized tests were important, and were something students had to go through. I’m fine with that. I was tested as a child, too. But teaching is starting to feel more like a factory, churning out students who can do well on a test. Data collection has become slightly obsessive. At the same time, we’re stuck in a rut in this bad economy, and towns are losing money like crazy, including my own. Towns in my state are laying off teachers and counselors, but are raising the stakes on our students passing tests. We have to do more with less resources. People are being spread very thin, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I can see the stress and worry on everyone’s face. I know I’m not the only one thinking this. I have seen more teachers cry and lose their confidence in the last few years than ever before. The pressure – it’s mounting, and it’s unbelievable.

Stress is something that sort of runs in my family, and I try very hard to eliminate it from my life. It’s not healthy, and it makes me over-eat. I used to feel relatively stress-free at work. I love teaching a skill to my students and watching them practice and master it. I love sitting down with them at snack time and talking about college and their futures. But now I’m stressed at school. My work load is unreal, honestly, and papers are stacked sky-high. We all seem to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to make sure we cross our t’s and dot our i’s, and the children lose in the process. We are losing in this process.

I knew after my first year of teaching that there is no other job I’m better suited for. I was born a teacher. But I would be lying if I said I haven’t been daydreaming this year about being a stay-home mom, when that day finally arrives. Or staying home and blogging for a living. Writing children’s books. Traveling, taking photographs. Anything where I can make my own decisions, I can decrease my stress level, and tailor what I do to my strengths. This sounds awful. I’m not leaving teaching; I’m really a natural teacher. I’m just a little nervous for the future. If this is what it’s going to be like for the next 30 years, could I handle that? Teaching requires you to put in 110%, every day. When I have children, am I going to be able to give teaching/data collection my best?

In the next few years, either something in our eduction system will change, or I am going to have to change, in order to allow this career to feel like who I am again.

 

Monday Mind Dump, Round 2

It’s Monday again. While I’m really not a fan of Mondays, it does mean I get to try out the “Monday Mind Dump” once again. I borrowed the idea from Rachel on her blog, and after trying it for the first time last week, I received a lot of positive responses.

If you’re thinking of trying out Monday Mind Dump on your blog, you just let the thoughts flow. They do not need to be IF-related; in fact, it’s nice to take a break from that topic once in a while. Here’s what’s been on my mind today:

1) I had a dream last night that really spoke to who I feel I’ve been as a person lately. In the dream, a friend of mine had a baby, a girl, and because I was so wrapped up in my own IF issues, I completely missed the birth. I realized weeks later that not only did I miss it, but I never tried to find out her name or say “Congratulations”. And I felt really, horribly guilty. I woke up with this thought – “It’s not all about me.” Sometimes in this jungle of IF stuff, I think you can get yourself lost. Who were you, before you started TTC? What did your friends like about you as a person? Are you keeping your old values and goals close by, or have they been replaced? Today I feel as if I want/need to be there for my friends. I’m excited for all the steps through life they have taken, or will take, including getting married, buying homes, and having kids. Whether or not I’ve shown this caring side of myself to my friends in the last six months – well, that’s to be debated, but I wouldn’t argue if they said I hadn’t. There are many dreams in life people strive for, and I happen to be reaching towards one right now. But so are my friends. And I need to make sure I’m around to put my own life aside, and be supportive to other people. I’ve always been bad about calling/texting/making plans with other people, including those I care about. So it’s an ongoing goal to reach out more and make those connections.

2) A friend of mine gave me the book The Hunger Games today. I’ve heard nothing but good things, but I have no idea what it’s about. I’m super-excited to give it a read. Anyone out there read it? Don’t tell me too much, but what did you think of it?

3) My teacher brain is on. There are a lot of teachers out there who are reading this blog. Some of you, I’m sure, are better than others at turning off your brain once you get home. I could use a few words of advice on how to do that. As is, I came home, excited to write this post, but the things that were immediately on my brain were all teaching-related. Not because I’m dying to continue thinking about my long day, but because I can’t shut my brain off. My kids really did  not do well on that math test today. Where should I keep the money they are raising in the fundraiser? What am I teaching in science tomorrow? It’s an endless stream  of thoughts – the ultimate Monday Mind Dump. Unfortunately, they are not interesting thoughts.  They’re boring; slightly high-strung. When I get home, I want to stop thinking about school. Any suggestions?

4) CD 5, and the first Clomid pill is down the hatch. Here we go, Round 2. I have high hopes, and I’ll try not to let myself fall too hard if it doesn’t happen. 50 mg worked last time, at least with ovulation. I just hope I catch ovulation, because I’m wondering if it might happen on a completely different day. Last cycle it was CD 24, very late.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll be back Thursday, for my first ever Thankful Thursday, courtesy of Belle‘s blog. Have a good week everyone!