Friday, August 18, 2017

Dr. Whittier, the Cure-All Doc of 1900

Sorry, but this ad was cracking me up and I just had to post it.  It's from 1900.  I love some of the maladies it claims to be able to cure:  self distrust, failing powers, unfitting for society or marriage.  And then there's this slightly strange wording:  "Patients at a distance carefully treated as if here."

Epidemic of Insanity

Now this one is a long one.  It's related to my mother's grandfather, Charles F. Martin.  He passed away in the state hospital several years later.  The article addresses the "epidemic of insanity" plaguing our city back in 1895.  I visited this state hospital several times about 10 years ago as a social worker who helped in planning for people to discharge as the state hospital was set to close.  I think the article speaks for itself and provides a glimpse into how society once thought of people and the kind of language they used to describe them.  They were all sent to the state hospital to live there until death.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Troubled Women of Yesteryears

Another article I uncovered was about someone I thought was in my family (or maybe my husband's, as I've been doing his genealogy, too), but it ended up not being the person I was looking for.  Check out the title of this article, as well as the content.  If I were back in my undergrad women's studies class and had to write about something, this would be a perfect topic.  This is from 1902:

I did find a divorce notice from 1910 of someone my great, great grandfather was married to briefly  (Clarence Heaton is not my great, great grandfather - Madeline was married several times, this guy was married to her after my great, great grandfather was), and have concluded that it was quite normal to air people's dirty divorce laundry in the newspapers back around 1900.  I would have to do some research to see if divorce articles were mostly noting what the women did wrong, or if it was balanced where if the guy was a philanderer then his name would be dragged through the mud in the paper.  I haven't solely looked for this type of content, but may do some research to see what I can conclude.

And a third specimen is my 3x great grandfather's first (of three) wives.  Rebecca E. Jackson in this article was my 3x great grandmother, maiden name Holloway.  This notice was written by her second or third husband in her later years of life (she was married to one guy for just a year).  I find it interesting and somewhat hilarious to read this.  It also makes me wonder less about where my debt issues earlier in my adulthood may have come from.  I'll also include a picture of her, and also included a picture of Mr. & Mrs. Jackson.


A few things happened over the last two days that I need to write about.  One, the couple across the street has a 2 year old as a result of IVF.  We knew this early on when we moved here as we ran into them on the way to an OBGYN appointment and they told us of their infertility struggles.  So the other night I saw them sitting outside on their porch.  I had opened a bottle of wine that I got in the Finger Lakes but didn't care for it that much, and I know she drinks wine, so I took it over to them so it wouldn't go to waste.  So then my husband ended up following me over and we ended up drinking a few beers with them on their porch. 

The wife asked us how our attempts were going, and we had a lot to tell them because we only talked to them when we were just starting to become concerned and hadn't gone for any infertility tests, etc.  So we talked, and my husband didn't chime in too much but said he thought if it was meant to happen then it would.  I think it helped my husband to hear that she had been affected greatly by their infertility, that she cried a lot, had stopped talking to her sister when her sister announced she was pregnant, etc.  I felt completely sane talking to her.  I was glad that she had not put that struggle aside now that she has a child.  I felt understood.  I wanted my husband to hear that we weren't alone.  We all talked about the toll it took on our sex lives as well.  They also asked us about adopting, and my husband didn't seem to chime in on that, he was more into another convo with her husband, so I never really heard what his thoughts were on it.

Then yesterday I had a PCP appointment to address my anxiety.  She put me back on the med I was taking before we started TTC.  It was basically more like a counseling session than a medical visit.  I also wanted to ask her about how I get bruises on my legs very easily and mysteriously.  She said she would test for low platelets, iron, and vitamin B, and drew some blood.  She said that if I had a bleeding disorder then it could possibly explain my infertility.  This would be something the infertility specialists wouldn't have checked for in their routine tests.  I will know in about a week if there is something "wrong".  I asked what do you do if you have this, how to reverse it, etc.  She said you really don't do anything, it's just something to live with. 

My PCP also discussed her concern for birth defects due to my age.  I told her it's something I think we've been sort of ignoring because of our struggle, we just have tunnel vision and our only goal was to get pregnant.  But I am more concerned than I have been.  My co-worker on my new team had twins who were born with major problems due to a genetic disorder, to the point that one passed away several years ago, and the other has to have nurses come to the house, etc., etc.  So I do think more about it now than I ever have because I see how it affects her.  I told her how I was basically over trying but am sort of just going through the motions for a couple more months.  Ironically my period started yesterday, too.

I told my husband some of the details in texts because he was at work and wanted to know how my appointment went.  Then we talked about it last evening.  I told him how she suggested we think about whether we would have any regrets for not trying other options like IVF and adoption, and he said he never thought about adoption and started asking questions like costs of IVF.  I was a little taken aback, because I had told him about IVF before after my visits with the infertility docs (and it was discussed somewhat during the visit he attended with me).  I told him before how the doc told me I should decide before the end of this year because of my age.  Yet, he acted like this was the first he's hearing of it, and that he actually wants to think about it.  I was a little upset at this, but I do realize that all of this time he was not ready to hear it.  He was set on the fact that we would succeed on our own and therefor didn't need to think about these options.

He kept asking me if I'm ok, and I told him I was already preparing for a life without kids, and I asked him if he was.  He said he hadn't been preparing but that he would figure it out.  This was the most rational, calm conversation I think we've had on the topic.  I don't think he's going to suddenly say, hey, let's try IVF.  He knows the cost and knows that the chances are low.  I've already talked myself out of it anyway, and frankly I feel it's too late.  I don't see him wanting to adopt, either, and again, I don't know that it's something I could go through.  The process is stressful in and of itself, and there are still high costs to it from what I hear.  Frankly I'm not sure our marriage could endure some of what it entails, either.  We've been on an emotional roller coaster for 3 years, and I am ready to get off.  Trying IVF or adoption would be another roller coaster and I am not tempted enough to get on either of those rides.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Have an Idea

I've wanted to take a turn in another direction with this blog due to my recent realization that I may be ready to move on, at least now more than I've ever been before.  So, I had this idea when I was doing my genealogy online.  You can access old newspapers online now, going way back into the 1800's.  I've needless to say found some very intriguing articles about my ancestors, as well as just weird/interesting articles in general.  I feel like making some commentary on them.  And I may post about some articles that don't even have anything to do with my ancestors, but I may just find interesting ads, articles, etc.  My 3x great grandmother was quoted in some ad about a cure for rheumatism back around 1900.  I find this so entertaining to read. 

I came across a variety of ads of the same nature for the same cure with my ancestor's name as a testimonial.  Here is one such ad, which actually has her pic, so if it is her, I guess I'm grateful to have a pic at least.

And here's another that's sort of a more legible "direct quote" from Susan herself in 1903, although this time she is not from Malvern, OH (you can't see it in the above ad, but she is said to be "of Malvern, OH, which is where my ancestor was from), but Canton, OH (which aren't too far away from each other):

I need to find out what was in Life sounds like I could use some for my back pain!

Monday, August 7, 2017

I've Finally Managed to Annoy Myself

I realized that yes, this blog is all about infertility struggles, but I've finally gotten to a point where I'm sick of hearing myself pick out all of the ways being childless has reared its ugly head in my life.  I'm tired of harping on the unfairness, the anger, and the sadness.  I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to write about this topic.  I think this writing has fulfilled its purpose in getting me to a better place.  Am I in a truly better place?  I don't know, but I do know that I'm tired of living my life around the idea that I'm struggling with infertility.  Or, rather, I'm struggling with the grief that infertility has caused me.  I think I'm just so sick of this topic I could scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Family Reunion

Yesterday I attended a family reunion/picnic.  It's my dad's mother's side of the family.  This reunion is unlike most because there is a formality to it.  There are actually minutes for each year, and someone is in charge of the reunion each year to read the minutes, take minutes, discuss new/old business, etc.  Most of it's around who will rent the pavilion, taking a collection for the pavilion rental, etc.

There are also formal announcements for each family or cousin.  So they go around the pavilion and the head of each family stands up and gives updates as to how their family is doing.  My dad will stand up to tell them all about our family.  This method of updates is part bragging session, part sympathy session.  People talk about promotions, marriages, acceptance to colleges, births of babies, etc., and they also manage to talk about some of the "debbie downer" topics like ailments, deaths, etc.

My dad's cousin announced that her son and his wife are trying for a child, to keep them in your prayers because this is the second time they are going through "this step to try to have a child".  So basically it sounded to me like they are undergoing fertility treatments.   I don't know that I would want my parent to announce that to all of those people.  I felt embarrassed for her son and daughter-in-law (even though they weren't at the reunion and I have no clue who they are).

I also felt kind of sad because so many of those people seem to be able to freely procreate.  There seem to be people of all ages with tons of children at this reunion.  I don't know if there were any adults there that weren't actually parents.  I felt very alone or something to that effect.  I also was a little jealous specifically because my dad's cousin's daughter was there...with her four children.  When we were younger we actually were friends, even if we didn't see each other that much.  We played together at the reunions, and a few times our families did things together.  She is one year younger than me.  Then her sister (who wasn't there) was two years younger than me.  They both have FOUR kids.

My dad stood up, told them how I got a promotion and he's putting my promotion to use by having me taking the minutes for the reunion.  He told them my brother's and his wife's update about their careers.  He almost didn't mention anything about my husband until he looked at me to think of other things to say and I said my husband works blah blah blah and he said it to the group.  I know my husband sometimes feels less than because he didn't go to college and doesn't necessarily have a "career", but I wanted him to feel important and included.  Then my dad had nothing else to say.  None of us have children, so no bragging about new grand kids was necessary.  I often wonder if my parents are hurt or sad, too.  My mom is not the type to ask me when I'm giving them grand kids...she never has, even before we had our struggles with it.  She's not that type of mom.

It's times like these, and when I do my genealogy, that I feel so sad that I won't have traditions and stories to carry on with anyone.  Memorabilia I've saved will never be shared with anyone.  Showing my child what a cassette tape was, showing them my sports letters from high school, etc., I won't get to do that.  I won't even get to drag them to this stupid reunion.