Sorry it’s been so long since I updated! There’s really nothing new to report, which is why I haven’t been posting. Well, that, and the fact that I’ve been crazy busy at work. I had an article revision due by March 15, two overlapping batches of papers to grade (poor planning on my part with that one!), and a couple of long novels to reread for my classes. It’s been a little overwhelming, but still better than last month.

Now, thankfully, I just submitted the revised article to my editors today (whew), so that’s a huge load off. Plus, next week will be light on teaching duties, because it’s midterm time for my undergraduates. And the book I need to read for my graduate students? It’s the same book that my recently-submitted article was about! So I feel fairly caught up on that, even though I do plan to reread it quickly this weekend.

Anyway, blah blah blah. There IS one other thing that has changed; I found out that I will be going on sabbatical this fall. Yay! This is good for many reasons–the main one being that no matter what, I will now have uninterrupted time to work on my second book before bringing a new baby into our family. No teaching for basically eight months, all time that I hope to devote to the new manuscript. Which is good, because I have a lot to get done on that project–mostly reading and researching, at this point. Although I hope to get at least one chapter/article written while I am on leave, I probably won’t be ready to produce anything truly substantial, like an introduction, until early 2009. Luckily, the fall of 2009 is when I’m supposed to take the second half of my sabbatical. Ideally, that will be the time to finish up the writing.

Of course, by then we just may have a baby in the house (at least I hope so!). I’m going to try and stay flexible and not freak myself out too much about what that ultimately will mean, career- and bookwise. I know it will all work out. One thing I do NOT want to do is rush this new book, just because I have other things going on in my life, including our IVF plans. This book has the potential to be a major step for me, professionally, if I give it the time it needs to develop, and give myself the time I need really to think through the ideas I’m trying to parse. So I don’t want to rush myself too much–I know I’m not going to be anywhere near finished with the book by December 2008, even if I have a much better sense of where it is going. And that is okay, because I want to give myself the time I need to produce a second book that I can be proud of.

Similarly, I don’t want to constrain or otherwise try to “time” or control our IVF efforts, with any professional obligations in mind. I have realized, since my last post (and thank you all, as always, for your wonderful, reassuring comments) that this process is not in my control. And, further, even if I try to control it, there are many things I simply cannot foresee. I could get pregnant right away and have an easy, uneventful pregnancy that allows me to work happily through my ninth month. I hope that happens. But I know that I also could have bad morning sickness, or just be too exhausted to get much work done, or end up on bed rest, or any number of things that would still mean a healthy baby at the end, but might make the actual pregnancy not so easy and work-friendly. There’s no way to know. Worrying about it now is only going to stress me out and make an emotional process even more difficult.

So instead, I am trying to have faith. Faith in the idea that G and I ARE going to be parents, sometime soon, and that when we do cross that bridge, we ARE going to figure out a healthy and manageable way to handle the details–financial, professional, and personal. I know that the universe wants that for us, and the universe is going to help us make it happen.

I really do think that everything happens for a reason, and that our path to parenthood is ultimately going to work out, as is my path to a second book and, eventually, full professor (not to mention G’s path to a better, less stressful administrative position and/or a better, more lucrative clinical practice). Maybe this odd line I feel myself to be walking, between growing my career via the “birth” of this book and growing our household via IVF and a very much hoped-for future pregnancy, is an early introduction to the tricky process of balancing work and family, something I haven’t really had to deal with much before now. (G is definitely “family” to me, but so far it has not been too much of a challenge prioritizing our marriage and still getting the work done that I needed to get done, since we are both professionals. Adding a baby will definitely take things up a notch).

Right now, I really do believe that even though I can’t see around this particular corner, things are lining up just as they should, and what I must do is be patient, continue in the process of both working on the book and pursuing i/f treatment, and just see how things unfold.

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CD1, again.

January 31, 2008

Hi there! Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I TOLD you the beginning of the semester was going to bring my blog posting to a screeching halt. 

Not much to report, though, in a no-news-is-good-news way; firstly, my classes are going well so far, and I really love my students this semester. My undergrads are, as usual, a very diverse racial, ethnic, and gender mix, and, for once, so are my graduate students. Everyone seems very smart and engaged, and I have several “repeat offenders” in both classes, which is always nice. The topic, contemporary African American literature, is a lot of fun to teach, too, and I’ve taught the course once before, making preparation much easier because I already have all the notes and handouts ready. So, overall, I’m downright thrilled with my teaching this semester. Now, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the other professional stuff on my plate–two book reviews due, a big article revision that I am behind on, plus two public talks on my new book, one coming up next week, ack!–but I’m trying just to keep plugging away and making it happen.

As far as weight and exercise, and the challenge I extended to myself last post, I have indeed been keeping up with my workouts, although I certainly haven’t been going out daily like I was before. Classes started on Monday, and I went for a jog on Monday morning, followed by some all-over weight training. No working out on Tuesday or Wednesday, although I did get a bunch of incidental walking in on Wednesday. And then I went out for another longish jog this morning (Thursday), but skipped the follow-up weight training. I do plan to do some weights tomorrow, though, especially since it’ll be too rainy here to go out for a jog. And Saturday and Sunday, I hope G and I can get in more exercise of some sort, since it’s supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny both days!

My weight has fluctuated around a bit, but this morning was back to 158, so I’m still maintaining my 40 pound loss. I have to say, though, that even while the numbers on the scale stay static, my body does seem continually to be changing shape. The first day of class, I went to put on some pants that I had JUST worn at my conference at the end of December, and guess what? They were too big. In December they’d been just a smidge loose, but on Monday they were so loose as to be almost unwearable. I know, I know, tough problem to have, but I wish I’d realized that I’d lost a few more inches sometime before I was getting dressed on the first day of class. At least if I ever do get pregnant, I’ll have pants in various waist sizes to transition through before I’m actually in maternity-wear.

(Side note on that: I’ve always been apprehensive about pregnancy at work, and being “on display” physically to colleagues and students as my body changed, but having lost 40 pounds has given me a real taste of what that might be like. My students haven’t said anything, but my colleagues bring up my weight an awful lot. And even though it’s usually in complimentary ways, it’s still sort of weird to feel like “work people,” who in my estimation are only supposed to see me as a walking brain, are looking at my body and noticing its shape. Also, I can forget trying to pass as not-pregnant once I start to show, since everyone seems so aware of how trim I’ve become. I feel like my waistline is being watched like a hawk now!)

Apropos of that, as you can tell from the title of this post, my period started today. Even though that means this month I’m back to a 24-day cycle (oh, and per usual, as un-pregnant as ever), I’m still glad that Aunt Flo showed up early–we’re having brunch with friends on Saturday, and are looking forward to watching the Super Bowl on Sunday (go Giants!), and I’m glad I’ll be done with the worst of the bleeding and cramps for both events. Not to mention, license to drink copiously. Sweet.

This month, though, I’m feeling less ambivalent about ART, and more like I’m ready to get this Clomid + IUI show on the road. Well, you know, a couple of cycles from now. (:eyeroll:) Okay, maybe even next cycle if we can get our ducks in a row fast enough. We’ll see. My smaller goals for this month are to get G’s SA scheduled, finally, hopefully for this very week, and to get myself to the injections class at my clinic, which only happens on Tuesdays, I think. Or Thursdays. I have to check my Big Brown Envelope Full ‘o Infertility Stuff to be sure.

I’m too sleepy to wrap this post up properly, so instead I’ll leave you with one last interesting TTC-related tidbit: my college actually sent out a survey about parental leave policies this week! They were trying to assess how much faculty know about current leave policies, how much those (dismal) policies have affected people’s family planning, and what kinds of changes faculty might like to see. As you can imagine, in the comments section I went to town, explaining that I resented, as an infertile person, the subtle expectation at our institution (and all over academia, really) that all women can schedule their pregnancies around the academic calendar, and that our current policy was inadequate and even discriminatory towards those who could not, for whatever reason, time their infants’ arrivals precisely to the moment following that last final exam in the Spring. I hope it gets through, because if I do end up pregnant in 2008, I’d rather not have to take a semester completely unpaid, and with NO BENEFITS in 2009. Sigh.

Dispatches from grading hell.

November 27, 2007

Well, we’ve come to *that* point in the semester.

I am in the middle of a batch of 23 short (3-5pp) papers. I have graded 11 of them so far. The students really must get them back on Thursday, because they have a big research paper due in two weeks, and they really need the feedback on this last short paper before they turn their full attention to the longer one.

On Thursday, I am getting about 18 more, slightly longer (4-6pp), papers from a different class, and then perhaps 6 more on Monday from the people who requested an extended deadline. Those papers ideally will need to be graded by next Monday, but probably won’t be completely finished until Thursday, December 6th. Oh, and I’m sitting on a batch of 20 one-page responses from that class that I should have returned already. Those have fallen to the bottom of the queue, though.

The only good thing about grading the current batch of papers is that many of them are revisions of a prior paper, so they are easy to get through. About two thirds are revisions, and one third address a new topic. Doing the revisions first has allowed me to get through a lot of papers fast, even though I didn’t even begin grading until 11:00am today.

I also do something that many other academics swear by–saving the better papers for last. That way, as you get more exhausted from grading, the grading gets easier, because the papers overall are better towards the end. I grade in sets of three at a time before taking a break (you know, to check email or eat a snack or post to my blog), and I’m at the point, now, where the next set of three contains the last really “bad” papers in the batch. The really GOOD papers are still far away, papers #20, 21, 22, 23 or thereabouts, but papers #12 and 13 are the last of the groan-worthy ones. Paper 14 promises to be decent, as a reward for getting through #12 and #13. And then from there everything should be a bit more bearable.

Is this the most boring post ever? I’m sure it is. Sorry. But here’s something exciting: my RE appointment is tomorrow morning! Expect a full report this weekend, when hopefully I will have more time to blog.

Okay, I’m heading back in to suffer through paper #12, which promises to be just AWFUL. Sigh.

And complicated. I’m not sure it makes me look very good, either. It has a happy ending, though, I promise. (Oh, by the way, Flo abruptly showed her red face this morning, after absolutely zero advance spotting yesterday or last night. This seems to be the new, no-nonsense way that my periods are arriving–and departing–now that I’m 30 lbs thinner and exercising regularly. And if I ovulated when I think I did, I’m back to at least an 11 day luteal phase, if not 12. Which can’t be a bad thing, can it?)

Ok, so on to the actual story–

There is a guy, let’s call him R, that I knew through academic channels many years ago–perhaps the last time I saw him before catching up again recently was in 2002, right around the time I met and started dating G. Back then, R and I were friendly but not friends, had some mutual friends in common, but never spent much real time together, beyond a few intense, thoughtful conversations at conferences. I felt very drawn to him, but not exactly in a sexual way (although not exactly not, either), just something almost mysterious or cosmic, like I’d known him in another life or something. But we lost touch, and stopped running into each other, and I pretty much forgot about him for many years.

Enter my recent trip to Savannah for another related conference, where I saw R (and lots of other old friends) again, after all these years. Turns out, he just got a new job in NYC and is moving here soon with his partner, and is already in and out of the city a lot preparing for that. While we were in Georgia, R and I and a bunch of other folks had a grand old time hanging out and catching up. Then, when I got back, R and I ended up exchanging a few friendly emails, and planned to meet in the city for drinks, and then, well, things took a turn for the flirtatious. Nothing explicit or particularly scandalous, but once we realized in the course of conversation that there had been a mutual attraction many years ago (for some reason we’d each been unaware of the other’s thoughts back then), things got a little complicated.

This might be a good point to interject that I am HAPPILY married. As in, beyond happy, as in, I sincerely believe G is my soul mate, and quite possibly the only person on earth who would put up with me, the real me, and certainly the only person that I could love to this degree. I also feel like my relationship with G was fated to happen (more on that later). Naturally, I felt incredibly guilty about this situation with R, and so I did the only thing I could do–I confessed to G. Given that he is the most incredible, wise, and laid back man on the planet, he responded with something along the lines of: “Oh please, that’s your big confession? It’s natural to feel attracted to other people, and also crazy to think that getting married would mean you never thought about anyone else besides your spouse.” Cue big sigh of relief on my part. G also said that it would be silly to cancel the drinks plans with R, which I had thought maybe I should. He made it very clear that he trusts me, just as I trust him. I feel very lucky to have a relationship that is so solidly built on trust and honesty and mutual respect, and I want to make sure that I continue to merit that trust.

So, like most things that start out as serious “issues” with G and me, once it was out in the open this became a pretty hilarious joke between us–G would tease me about my “boyfriend” (almost literally a boy; did I mention R is about 4 years younger than I am?) and we plotted together about what kind of sexy-but-not-trashy outfit I should wear on my “date”–and finally yesterday, the day of the big date, arrived. And it was fun! R and I flirted, yes, and had a great conversation, but it was always very clear that I didn’t and don’t intend to do anything that would cross a line. R drove me back to our place, so I even brought him upstairs to meet G.

Ultimately the reason that R and I like each other, I think, is that we are a lot alike. Not only are we both Capricorns, birthdays within a week of one another, but (and probably more importantly) we’re both academics, looking at the world in a certain way, talking and thinking in what G, who is not an academic, calls “parentheses and italics.” R’s partner–whom I haven’t yet met, but hope to, although she’s practically a mewling infant, at eight years younger than I am–is also not an academic, and I wonder whether R and I both like the idea of relating to someone of the opposite sex with whom we can really connect intellectually. Half of our flirtation is philosophical discussions over email of things like Freudian versus Lacanian desire. That is not the kind of conversation I can have with G, and that has always been okay with me. G is an incredibly intelligent person, and that’s not at issue here–he just doesn’t perform intellect the way that we academics sometimes do, with all of the jargon and posturing and unnecessary obfuscation.

I had always, not just with G, but really ever since I started trying to escape the “nerd” label as a 17 year old college freshman, compartmentalized my intellectual performance side and my social side, doing my jargon-y academic thing in the classroom and later, in professional settings, but putting it aside, for the most part, when I was “off the clock.” R made me realize how fun it can be to let Academic-Performance-Cityprof out of her cage in the off-hours too.

But I came away from my platonic date with R feeling even happier about my life with G. The more time I spend talking to/hanging with R, the more clear it is to me that I chose my husband well. One reason of many: R has no sense of humor. Or, well, that’s not entirely accurate. He has a passable sense of humor, meaning he’ll laugh at what’s humorous, but he’s not CRAZY FUNNY, like G is. I could go on for pages about how and why G is so freaking hilarious. He’s an incredible mimic, and can capture almost any accent or pattern of speech in an uncanny way, which makes for amazingly funny impressions of people. He is incredibly observant, and both of us love to people watch and crack jokes on strangers (does this make us mean? we make sure we’re not overheard, though). Plus his wit is sharp, way sharper than mine, which means he can play the dozens like a champ–not so much with the Yo Mama jokes, no, but sweetly barbed Seinfeld-esque quips, oh, yes. And isn’t that the language of love? I cracked one little joke* at R while we were out and he practically fainted, poor thing. Intellect without sarcastic humor is like peanut butter without jelly, as far as I’m concerned. Tasty, but kind of dry and sticky if you get too much of it.

So after R got the tour of our place, chatted for a few, and took his leave, G and I ate a little dinner and hung out, and somehow we ended up pulling out some old photo albums from my college and grad school days. And there, in a series of photos from 1998 or 1999, several years before I’d officially met G, there was a photo of him in my photo album! Maybe this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I was so amazed–I have always claimed that I’d met G once, briefly on the street in front of a famous Brooklyn restaurant a few years before we’d really “met,” and that even then I’d thought he was incredibly cute but also thought he’d seemed unavailable.** But G, of course, had absolutely no recollection of said pre-meeting meeting, and I think always kind of doubted that this random guy I had met was actually him. Even I had some doubts in my mind–was my memory really that good, that some guy I had talked to for fewer than 30 seconds back in 1998 was the same guy that I ended up falling in love with in 2002?

Well, ten years ago I was ALWAYS taking pictures, especially of people I found attractive, and it turns out that while I was hanging out with my girlfriend that day in 1998, the day that we ran into G briefly on the street, I had my camera in tow per usual. And snapped a photo–two, actually! One of G alone, and one of him talking to her. And those photos were right there in my old photo album, which I clearly had not opened since at least 2002, because I had no idea. Isn’t that just bizarre?

And it’s probably ridiculous, but that was a crazy kind of confirmation for me of how fated G and me are. We were meant to meet when we did, and probably not before. And we are SO good together, and there was some part of me even in 1998, when I was very far from being ready for him, or he for me, that recognized him and wanted to capture his image for posterity. I think that’s pretty cool. Not to mention cool, finally, to have documented proof that I DID meet him way back in the day, and wasn’t just imagining it to have a romantic/funny story to tell.

So that’s my happy ending. R is a swell guy, and I actually hope we can be good friends, but G is my true home in life. I have the photographic evidence!

*totally a garden-variety tease of the type that G and I trade back and forth all day and night. R had black mitten-gloves on on Wednesday, those gloves that are mostly fingerless but have a mitten top that folds over to cover your fingers in the cold–MITTENS! on a grown man!–and it was 60 degrees out that day, by the way. He also had on a hoodie and leather jacket. (whaa???). Me, joke voice: “What are you, a hobo? You’re wearing fingerless gloves?” Him, smiling, but slightly wounded voice: “Well, I was cold.” Me: “Yeah, I can see that.” (Cue surreptitious eyeroll. I mean, really. Step it up, man, if you want to hang with me. I can’t have a pretend-boyfriend who can’t take a joke!)

**full disclosure: “unavailable”=gay, which he obviously turned out not to be.

First of all, for those of you who were waiting on pins and needles to hear, we managed to “follow doctor’s orders” one more time last night, on CD14. Actually, it was late enough that it was practically the wee hours of CD15, so I’m hoping that’ll basically cover us, and we won’t have to feel too guilty about skipping the prescribed session on CD16.

This is the only thing I hate about not charting–not knowing when, exactly, I ovulated. It makes the two week wait way more suspenseful than it has to be, since I don’t know exactly when my LP starts, and so I don’t know when it’s gotten longer than “normal” and I should do a pg test. Which means I test early and get crushed early, only to be crushed again when Aunt Flo shows up. Sigh.

I have a feeling that I’m ovulating today, though, based on CM changes, ovulation pain, and other physical symptoms like that–plus, I’ve ovulated around CD15 for most of the cycles that I did chart this year–so I probably will go ahead and count tomorrow as the first dpo (day past ovulation). That means my period should be here by August 7th at the VERY latest, and that’s giving my typical LP a few days cushion, just in case I’m wrong about the timing. We’re supposed to go see the in-laws on the 10th, so maybe I’ll try to hold out on testing until the trip is imminent. (yeah, right, like I’ve ever had that much self-control)

Guess what else? I did yoga today! Don’t laugh, but I used this ridiculously ancient book, because I’ve done the 28-day plan twice before, once in college and once in graduate school, and found it really easy to follow, especially when at a point of complete physical stagnation and stiffness (ahem, like now). Both times I lost weight, and yoga served as a “gateway exercise,” if you will, to other healthy activity–including healthier eating. My acupuncturist friend suggested some videos, but I think I’ll do Hittleman first and then get videos or take a class once I’ve gotten in the yoga habit. We had such a lovely, active vacation–swimming, biking, tennis–I just don’t want to slip too far back into my couch-potato ways. Maybe I’ll get on the elliptical machine tonight, too, for the first time in ages. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, today I’m supposed to be working on a reader’s report–I was asked to review an article submission for an interdisciplinary journal in my broader field. It’s weird reviewing for a journal that accepts work from multiple disciplines, because since the article is clearly written by someone in another discipline than my own, it’s hard for me to evaluate it. Are the things I perceive as weaknesses or oversights merely differences in disciplinary style?

Ah well. I should be working on my report right now, but instead I’m finishing this blog entry, after which I will likely get back to the novel I’m currently reading. No, it’s not Harry Potter 7 (that’s not meant to sound defiant–more power to all of the giddy HP readers! For some reason I just never started reading the books, although I have seen all of the movies). I’ve come to the point in Russell’s novel that I like to call the point of no return–close enough to the book’s big reveal/climax that I’m not going to be able to put it down until I finish. Which means I might as well read more now, rather than waiting until I’m ready for bed and staying up half the night.

More on Cape Cod very soon, I promise!