Tag Archives: thanks

Thanks be to the benevolent witness.

I’m currently listening to The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s so excellent. A million and one times better than stupid The Girl on the Train, which was in no way redeemed even after ignoring the whole “pathetic, fat Rachel” (in a British accent, even! Ray-chul…) thing that set me off initially (I finished it this morning). I knew Sue Monk Kidd wouldn’t let me down though. Not after the beautiful Bees and Mermaids. In fact, early on, I fell completely in love with this line:

“There’s no pain on earth that doesn’t crave a benevolent witness.”

And it’s so appropriate right now that I can barely find the words.

Except words are my thing, so I’ll manage something…


Infertility is a super painful and super personal thing. There’s not a lot I can do about it and certainly nothing that you can do for me. So why talk about it? Why share my story? Why have the conversation at all?

Lots of people have said that it’s because I’m brave and strong (which makes me feel embarrassed and super impostery). That they’re thinking of me and praying for me, sending me positive brain waves and maybe even some pixie dust or something (which makes me feel so unworthy). So many really, really nice things. Really genuine, kind, heart-felt, loving things.

It was all so nice that for a second I let it get dark… because sometimes nice makes me go there. And nice laced with hormones? Yeah…

I’m not brave or strong. I’m just honest. And wordy. And maybe people think I’m only saying it so that they’ll think I am, in fact, brave or strong. But that’s not true. I’m really, really not.

And maybe I’m soaking up too much nice, too much love, too many prayers and positive thoughts, getting high on all the pixie dust. All those things that could be better spent on someone else who really is suffering.

Maybe no one really wants to hear any of it at all and the comments and likes and texts and emails and phone calls and little IG hearts are all just gratuitous — a way of saying FINE. Talk about it enough and we’ll acknowledge you, but only because we feel like we have to. I imagine myself up on my tippy toes, fists balled up at my chest, eyes squeezed shut, screaming “acknowledge meeeeeeeeeee!”

Maybe my mom and dad resent the time, the plane tickets, the boring week of nothing but travel to and from the top of the middle to the bottom of the middle of Wisconsin, over and over again. Nothing but work and tv and movies and whining and injections in between. All without any guarantee of actual, living, breathing, human grandchildren in the end. And they’ve got some of those already. Really cute ones… wouldn’t their time be better spent with them???

God, I’m so annoying. So self-indulgent. Self-pitying. Self, self, self-ish.


But then Sue Monk Kidd said it — said what it really was. Infertility is painful. So painful. Emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically. And when I talked about it, out loud (on the internet), I was really asking for a benevolent witness.

And I got one. I got ten. And so many more. I got so very many benevolent witnesses. I got you. My goodness, I got so lucky.


It’s really hard not to be super emotional right now. Every word, every comment, every like, every text, email, phone call, whatever, has been unreal. So appreciated. All I wanted was a benevolent witness and I got so much more. Benevolence in the extreme. So when my friend Erika offered to wear ugly shoes if only it would help me to be a mom… and my grandma told me that it’s at times like these that she still misses her mom and was so glad my mom was here with me… and my cousin Beth(y) offered up her house for overnight stays in Madison along with best wishes and other nice words… and my in-laws made a special trip to and from Marshfield just to shuttle my mom back to the airport… and so many other big and little things (that all feel like big things to me) in the past couple of weeks… oh the tears. So many tears. Big fat tears of thankfulness and gratitude and what-on-earth-did-I-do-to-deserve-to-be-surrounded-by-so-much-kindness-ness.

I really wish I had brought my mascara with me this morning… could definitely have used a touch up before heading straight into the office.


So, by way of a long and emotional outpouring of gratitude for the insanely generous support you’ve given me, seriously, even just by reading… another quick update.

Today’s appointment at Generations confirmed that my eggy little ovaries are ready for the trigger shot. Seth’s currently setting up a Dexter-style kill room (11% off at Menard’s, perfect time to stock up on plastic sheeting) and at precisely 8:30 pm, we’ll do a big injection of HCG, which will set us up for egg retrieval exactly 36 hours later on Wednesday morning. The best part of it being trigger day: one more injection tonight (as opposed to three) and a completely injection-free day tomorrow. My super sore abdomen is already trembling with relief. (Actually, that’s probably just more fluid on it’s way… but we’ll call it relief for the moment.)

I’m definitely at a peak level of insanity — a state of nervous excitement under hormonal extremes that is entirely novel. (FYI: normal pre-menopausal estradiol levels range from 30 – 400 pg/ml… mine are currently upwards of 2000 pg/ml and on the exponentially upward part of the drug-induced curve, so…) I feel so excited by the possibility, by the fact that my response so far has been “textbook” (oh how I Hermione-ly loved hearing those words come out of Dr. Stanic’s mouth this morning), and that we really are just about to be with our maybe baby. I also feel terrified that it’s only maybe and that I have to have surgery on Wednesday and that there’s nothing I can do to make anything better, but then again, also relieved that there’s nothing I can do to make it worse.


I keep saying “we’re almost there,” but honestly, every step of the way has been a choice. A conscious decision to do this thing, despite all the different varieties of tough, because it’s something that we think will be worth it in the end. That our end is as a family of more than two humans, one puppy girl, and several semi-sentient plants that hate me just a little bit for not being watered quite as often as they ought to be. As such, we’re never really “almost there”… we’re just there. In the thick of it. Choice or not, though, it has been painful.

For this pain, my soul has craved a benevolent witness. I so appreciated those words, that sentiment, and that I have absolutely not been disappointed. Thanks. Seriously. Thank you.

Rach and the Dino Hat

It’s so sad for me to sit down at my computer and to log in to Under the Tapestry only to realize that all those ingenious blog posts I wrote in my head never actually made it onto the computer. Fevers’ll do that to you, I suppose. I don’t know what I had and I feel terrible for spreading it (so sorry, my darling, Michele!!) (not sorry for licking the door handle), but I’m finally feeling considerably better. With the exception of the bits of liquefied brain that are clearly trying to leak out of my head through my sinuses, I’m feeling pretty good and my grossness is significantly diminished (P < 0.05).

So onward and upword! First things first: you guys are SO freaking awesome for giving me such a positive response to my STD news. I mean… STDs, right? Ew and stuff. But you totally clapped for the clap anyway and it was awesome! Thanks for that!

But today, what I’d really like to talk about is dinosaurs.

I don’t have enough material for a real dino-focused post at the moment, but I did see a seriously sweet dinosaur hat on a little boy last week and it got me thinking…

At what age do you become “too old” to dance in and out of buildings wearing a dinosaur hat?

I passed a family headed into a building one day last week. It was a family of three. A mom and two sons– one a sullen teen or pre-teen, tall, gangly, peach-fuzz mustache, and permanent scowl. The mom looked beat. But the younger boy? He was grinning and spinning! He was dancing and flailing his arms and having a good old time on his way to the building.

He’s the one who made me light up. It was adorable!

But then I came to my question above. Because had the older boy been doing the same thing, I probably would have affixed my scowl and thought something rude about his immaturity or whatevs. Could he have done anything right? I mean, I was annoyed with him for his scowl in the face of his brother busting a move… but I’d have been annoyed if he’d busted a move himself. He couldn’t win! I was being too much a judge-y jerk!


And I thought about how that made me a total Rachel… like Rachel from Friends. And not in a good way. Rather, in the way she was in the episode where she and Phoebe go running together– Rachel taking little perfect strides, breathing in time, while Phoebe ran all arms and legs akimbo, just having fun with it.


I’m such a Rachel sometimes! (Not in the enviable hairstyle kind of way, more the stick up her backside kind of way.) It would probably suit me to loosen up a bit (I know you’ve been saying that since I was like 8, mom, I know)… perhaps to drop the -el… yes, I think it’s the -el that’s weighing me down.


More Rach! More dinosaur hats! More fun! Less judgement!


But baby steps. Because I am not ready to rock a dinosaur hat on my head any more than I’m ready to bust a move on the skywalk between the Lawton and the Laird. (Busting a move in the office hallway? Maybe… so long as I’m not doing it alone.) It is something important to think about though.

Because, clearly, there’s no doing right by me when you’re an awkward teen. The thing that should probably change? My attitude. Less -el.  More blog posts 🙂


Fun fact: I went through a brief period from approximately consciousness through about 8 or so where I hated, hated, hated anyone calling me Rach. And I would totally correct people. Now I totally love it and consider it a sign of natural and unforced intimacy. My sister calls me Rach. My big in grad school (because I sometimes pretend grad school is like a really effed-up sorority) calls me Rach. Some of my super sweet new Marshfield friends call me Rach. I just love it! Granted, I cannot fault those who have known me much longer for not as, to be fair, I would have ripped their heads off over it once upon a time. But now you know.


Not-so-fun fact: I had the same two teachers for sixth and seventh grade– Ms. Fisher and Mrs. Johnson. I adored those two and they had nicknames for everybody, probably because they were absolutely brilliant at making you feeling like you were welcome and loved in their classrooms. They used to call me “Ra-cha-cha” (got to admit, I didn’t love it) and sometimes it would get shortened to just “Cha” (better because my friend Em always called me Racha from the time we were like 2 and 3). One day in science class, we were reading from the textbook out loud in class and Mrs. Johnson was announcing the next reader by name. I heard her say “Chaaaaaa” so I started reading. Loudly. Confidently. Like the nerd I was then and am now.

And it was awkward… super, crazy awkward… because she said “Chaaaaaaad”, which is not even kind of my name, and rather, the name of the boy I’d been crushing on since the moment I’d walked into the Miss Dimitroff’s fourth grade. The horror! I remember the mortification distinctly, the desperation of my hurried explanations in a tiny voice (I thought you said Cha…?) and the extreme desire to disappear.


Fun-ny fact: Chad was not worth the crush. The more you know 😉

A Creepy Ode to My Friend Krystal and a Reminder to Keep Trying

This morning a beautiful e-card full of hummingbirds and flowers popped up in my inbox. It was from that crazy nice security guard who gave me a ride on Friday– he was thanking me for the doughnuts! All I wanted to do was thank him for being so kind on so many yucky days! Goodness gracious, do I ever love living in Wisconsin. The kindness in this place, it’s nearly overwhelming!

A Jacquie Lawson e-card. A huge smile on my face.
A Jacquie Lawson e-card. A huge smile on my face.

It’s the littlest things, isn’t it?

This is the reward for trying.

I was reminded of that all weekend. How important it is to try, even when you’re scared or shy or nervous or anxious. Trying makes all the difference.

You see, my friend Krystal came over this weekend (and she brought her husband and daughter with her– also kind of cool!) and I was stressing before hand. Why? I don’t know… but I always do. Krystal is super happy and kind and fun and pretty like you wouldn’t believe. She’s an amazing mom and crafty and hilarious and has excellent taste in movies and gorgeous, super long, curly hair. Every time I see Krystal I get nervous all over again that she’s not going to like me.

Except the first time I really met her, she proved me wrong right away.

Seth was one of Krystal’s husband’s groomsmen and I flew to Green Bay from DC for the wedding. I didn’t know them much at all– I just knew that they were cool (perhaps a little too cool for a nerdy girl like me) and that Seth loved them. I had to go to the rehearsal with Seth since he was in the wedding and what else was I going to do in GB (in January!) while he was busy with wedding stuff. I thought it would be awkward and I’d be out of place, but I wasn’t! At all! Krystal was so warm and kind and actually excited to meet me. Krystal’s one of those people who attracts people just like her too– her family was warm and kind, her friends were warm and kind, everyone there was just welcoming and happy and all around good to an overwhelming degree.

In my warped mind I kept thinking… but, she’s pretty!! how can this be? and yet it was, and my warped mind was w-r-o-n-g wrong. My second track tries to get it’s punches in every time I am going to see Krystal again, but when she gets out of her truck, smiles big, gives me a hug, squats down to pet my overly-excited pup and then gets excited that Curly still pees for her (Krystal is literally the only person who still gets excited pee from Curls, quite the compliment), I’m instantly at ease.

I don’t have any babies, but Krystal trusts me with hers. My dog is a maniac, but Krystal loves on her anyway. I’m not an exciting person, but Krystal is content to chill on the couch and watch movies. I make a lot of Harry Potter jokes, but Krystal always laughs at them. I tell Krystal a story about eating an entire can of Pringles, and Krystal tells me that not only did she eat an entire can of Pringles, but she did it laying down and got so many crumbs all over her chest that her husband threatened to take pictures.

The best part is that Krystal does all of this even though she’s seen me at my worst. I remember going to their house in GB one time when I was in the midst of a pretty deep depressive episode. I could barely force a smile and I was horrible, horrible company the whole weekend. Another time I had a migraine like you wouldn’t believe and all I wanted to do was lay down on a cold pillow in the quiet dark and pop a couple Excedrin every couple hours. They took me to the drugstore for Excedrin (sweet relief!) and made sure we had enough puppy chow (mmmmm… puppy chow…) to get through the weekend. (I really, really like puppy chow.)

It’s true that things don’t always work out as you’d hope, but trying is always worth it because it just might. My sister-friend* Melissa told me one time that while she’d prefer never to see me hurt, she would always prefer that I get hurt for trying rather than for not. (And FYI, she told me this on a phone call from the freaking Ritz-Carlton Laguna Beach while she was celebrating her birthday with her husband. Taking the time out to call me– crazy woman, and crazy good friend!!!!) Even though it’s scary and the prospect of not being well-received is difficult, it’s worth it for those instances in which you befriend a Krystal or make someone’s day with doughnut holes.


*On vacation, Melissa and I automatically become sister-wives and it’s awesome. Our husbands joke then that they are brother-husbands, but that’s ridiculous and doesn’t make any sense (obvs). We are sister-wives in that we cook together and hang out together and take care of the (Melissa’s) kids together… and all those things are more fun because of it. It’s so awesome! I’m pretty sure I would not dig the polygamy aspect of sister-wifery,** but the companionship part? Totally!


**Pronounced WHIFF-ery, not WIFE-ery… like the brothers Deslaurier on The Mindy Project.