A family resemblance

(Or: Seeing things through other people’s eyes) 

We had a kind of exhausting weekend, full of the kind of social butterfly activities which remind you that you are too old for this shiz. I always thought of myself as the young one, mainly because all my friends were a few years to a lot of years older, and now I realise I really have no claim on that title given my advanced age and general overall desire to sleep.

On Friday night we went out for dinner with friends so we could celebrate Dog’s birthday in advance and hand him over for the weekend. It’s very comforting to have friends who are almost as crazy about Dog as we are! We went to a really nice pub and had a very civilised meal and Dog actually behaved… Although that was possibly more to do with the fact that he had four humans feeding him burger and fries under the table. Still, it was his birthday weekend so was good to be spoiled! 

For the first time in this IVF round I had to do an off-site injection (where I bring all the injection paraphernalia with me). I was kind of keeping my eye on the clock and when it was due, I just headed off to the bathroom and injected my Menopur. Not too bad! Although obviously no sharps bins in pub bathrooms so I had to repackage the syringe and take it with me. Progress!

We were dropping Dog off with our friends as we were away for the weekend doing a birthday celebration overload. First of all we had T’s aunt’s 70th birthday party. This was about 2.5 hours away which meant we hired a car, which is exciting as we don’t have a car and meant we could pretend to be proper grown ups and whatnot. We had to be at a small village in the middle of nowhere by lunchtime on Saturday, and it being family and “old” people, we couldn’t be late. 

Unfortunately for T, he happened to mention that it was sort of near-ish to an outlet shopping centre I really like, and he wondered if I would like to go en route… Is the pope a Catholic?! So we ended up taking a slight detour to the outlet and eyeing up all the merchandise. Fortunately for T, I am still on austerity until we buy the house, although I did have my eye on handbags in Coach and Kate Spade. I decided not to go for them given we are trying to get this house sorted, which means our bank accounts need to be nicely under control and it makes no sense to spend hundreds of pounds on handbags anyway. (But… They’re so pretty!) It was fun to walk about though and a pleasant detour ahead of a busy birthday weekend. 

The 70th party was really nice. It was all of T’s extended family, some of whom I’d met before and some I hadn’t. I don’t know if this is a personal thing or an adoptee thing but for some reason I always find it fun to meet people’s families. I love big family get togethers. I guess maybe as we lived overseas when we were younger, we didn’t get to see our extended families very often so it sort of felt like a treat. Also, this is probably definitely an adoptee thing, but I find it fascinating when I meet people’s families and can see the family resemblances. It’s like… If you never had that yourself, it’s sort of mesmerising to see it with other people’s families.

It just so turns out that in T’s family, the family resemblance is really strong between the females. Firstly his mum and aunt look really similar. And then one of the aunt’s bio daughters looks the spitting image of them when they were younger. And it struck me that whilst there is probably far less focus on T himself having been adopted – because he’s white, adopted into a white family – it’s still visible that he doesn’t look “the spitting image” of his parents like his cousins do. It made me wonder how that made his mum feel when she looked at her nieces who looked so like her and her sister. It’s just one of those adoptee things that you wonder about.

 

Spot the family resemblance – via Imgur

 
In the end we had a fab time. They put on a great lunch party and everyone was really friendly, including those I hadn’t met before. I think you can sort of see where T’s kindness and friendliness comes from, as his family is very like that. Strangely it also reminded me of my ex’s family, who were sort of my surrogate family as we lived a lot closer to them than to my family. (It’s strange when people split up how you don’t just lose that relationship, but the entire extended family.) 

Being slightly detached too it means that you are reminded how other people see things. Like people are still sort of interested (generally in a kindly way) that I don’t “look” British, and yet I speak “very good English”. Depending on the age of the person I’m usually more or less tolerant of comments like that. To be honest, I see people of my own race and I’m moderately surprised when they speak perfect English. I think it’s a sort of cognitive dissonance that you get as a transracial adoptee – you look one thing but you act like another.

Following that very genteel and civilised 70th birthday, we then had to drive another couple of hours to get to a surprise 30-something party. This was the one I was worried about as it was for T’s friend who I’ve never met! We’ve been together a good few years and I’ve met lots of his friends but this was for one from his hometown. When they meet up, it tends to be on boys’ nights out and so I just never met this bunch before. They were all 30-something couples and we surprised the birthday boy by turning up when he thought he was going for a night out with his wife.

The whole evening was weird for a number of reasons – not unenjoyable, but a bit strange. The first is that all the others knew each other. They were long time couples who were married with kids and so the mums knew each other as a result of the dads being old friends (of which T is one, but he moved away). It was sort of strange firstly because I wasn’t drinking, and everyone else was. T and I had discussed tactics and we thought I would order a drink but he would drink most of it and I could just take sips. (The things he does for love!) I think a lot of British culture depends on drinking, so it’s really weird not to drink, as social occasions revolve around it. Because of this, it’s easier just to order and drink and take a few sips than it is to not drink – as soon as you don’t drink, people start asking questions and I really don’t want to have to deal with questions about pregnancy when I’m going through IVF.

Secondly, as a result of going through IVF I think my hormones are probably all over the place. I actually didn’t mind the idea of having a drink or two (I’m in the stims phase) but I don’t think it mixes well with the meds. For the first week or so of stims I’ve had really bad headaches, and now I feel not that bad but the alcohol made me feel sick. We started off in a pub and then went for a meal (the type of meal people assume I like because of my ethnicity… I don’t like that sort of food at all, haha!) and I just sort of spent most of the evening feeling a low level of nausea. I was also very conscious of needing to remember to take my injection and the stress (mild!) of having to get away from the group and inject in the toilet (like a druggie!). 

Thirdly, all of the people in the group – there were three other couples – were parents. And literally the main topic of conversation with the females was about children. They were sort of beside themselves at being on a night out because they don’t get to do it very often. So they wanted to get completely drunk and let their hair down, and they didn’t really have many other topics of conversation than their kids. 

I guess I just felt a bit of an odd (wo)man out, not having kids and not really wanting to get drunk. Really I feel like I am past that stage – I like a drink or two, and I like going out for cocktails with my girlfriends or having wine with T over dinner, or going to the pub – but it’s not a big thing. Most nights I could do it if I wanted to – I just don’t want to. I have Dog to get home to, and I’m tired and old (!) and it just doesn’t seem the draw that it was in my twenties. And it always feels a bit weird if you are the sober one in among all the drinkers!

What I also found was that the men spoke to me a lot more than the women did. I think the women realised that I wasn’t in their gang and didn’t have kids, and I just think based on previous experience that men tend to be a bit less standoffish when deciding whether to be friendly or not. They weren’t unfriendly, the women – they were polite, and nice. But I could tell that we didn’t have many topics in common. At least one of them was a full time mum whereas I am a full time worker (for my dog!). So it was a bit weird I guess. They kept bringing up kids and asking the awkward questions (where they assume we don’t have kids because we don’t want them) and talking about whether they wanted any more, and I just thought wow, it must be nice to have the luxury of assuming you’ll be able to have another child if you want to.

The other thing is, I was the oldest out of all of them. And I probably started trying to have kids around the age that they had theirs… I just didn’t have any due to infertility. If everything had gone according to plan, I would have the two or three that they had. The youngest person there was early 30s and I’m late 30s. And the funny thing is, I really didn’t look like the oldest. T said “That’s what having kids does to you!” – I was sort of in shock! And the way that people moan on about kids, sometimes I do think that they possibly aren’t as great an addition as we think when we are going through fertility treatments!

It probably sounds like I’m being really negative but it wasn’t bad at all – it was fine. But I’d sort of rate it as less enjoyable than the family lunch – chances are, the only time I’d ever see them again would be if T and I got married. Or maybe they’d get more interested in me if I had a kid!

In the end, after a Sunday lunch with T’s parents we got home and we picked up Dog and it was his birthday. Every time I’m away from him I’m super excited to see him! It’s probably a bit pathetic but I really do miss him when he’s away. It always seems very quiet at night when he isn’t snoring his little head off!

The IVF update:

Stims: I’m finishing up Week 1 of stims with 250 of Menopur with the Buserelin down to 0.25. Over the week I have had a few headaches but they seem to be calming down. My boobs are now swelling up like gigantic humungaboobs, which T is very happy about. On the plus side they aren’t sore any more like they were during my period and down regulation, but they do make me feel self conscious and fat. It took me ages to find something to wear for the weekend parties as both my boobs and stomach are all swollen. My belly feels like it’s all swollen too, and I can sort of feel what I imagine to be my ovaries, but I feel generally better than I did earlier in the week.

Next scan: My first scan is on Wednesday instead of today (Monday) based on the fact that I was a slow responder last time and they think it would be pointless to scan me today. I don’t feel like I’m in any danger of OHSS as I have swollen up but I feel sort of okay. It actually worries me as it makes me think maybe I’m not responding to the stims. We will have to see on Wednesday.

Immune stuff: I’m still taking the supplements (baby aspirin, Omega 3, Pregnacare, Vitamin D) that Dr S recommended. Once they have an idea when my transfer will be, based on when egg collection is likely to be, he wants me to go get an intralipids infusion and also start heparin injections and prednisolone for the NK reaction. I won’t really have much of an idea until Wednesday as to whether my ovaries are responding. In the first scan I only had 6 + 3 follicles, which sounds a bit rubbish. I’m hoping there will be more than that.

Head stuff: Aside from the constant reminders of childlessness (which I’ve sort of gotten used to), I’m feeling generally okay. From memory, Gonal F seemed worse than Menopur is now, but it is probably a result of being very chilled out at work due to working my notice! I have some work to do for a guy I like working for, but there’s really not much pressure so it’s quite enjoyable. I’m due to start my new job in June which will mean more money and a bit of a change, which I think is positive! 

IVF makes you think. I’ve already been pondering adoption stuff a lot, I suppose as a result of this process because you have to face up to the fact that you may never have a biological child. One of the things I’ve had to try and wrap my head around is the sheer number of people who seem to be pregnant, both at work and in my personal life. Not to mention blogspace where many of my fellow bloggers are now pregnant. I’m happy for them and it gives me hope that it will one day be me, but I still have days where I feel like everyone else is moving ahead whilst I’m still in the trenches. I have to keep reminding myself that infertility and loss is painful whether it’s 1 year or 3 (or in my case, over 10). But generally I’m sort of philosophical about it because there’s not much I can change about it.

T and I are getting on well and he is super supportive which is great. We talk a lot about our future child, who already has a name, and we’re also planning to move into our new place in the next month or so, which is really exciting. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have such a great partner – he is just the best human I’ve ever met, and I always feel happy that we don’t appear to be sick of each other so far! We have a vague Plan B if this doesn’t work, and we will probably try and focus on doing some nice things like getting the house nice and going on holiday before paying for a private cycle. I kind of think that I’ve lucked out with T and Dog and that maybe that is as much luck as anyone can have. 

So hopefully this will be our lucky cycle, but otherwise, I keep reminding myself… Everything will be okay.

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27 comments

  1. Amy M.

    Good luck with your scan on Wednesday! My next appt is that day too, so hopefully it’s a great day for us both! Glad that your busy weekend went well, and happy birthday to Dog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MrsD

    Oh I have been in that situation SO many times- where every other couple has kids except us and not only do they just assume we don’t have them by choice, they are totally unable to talk about anything BUT their kids. Plus then when you’re not drinking and everyone else is (I live in a state where drinking is a HUGE part of the culture), you get all kinds of awkward questions and people looking at you with weird little smiles because they just assume it’s because you’re pregnant. I think my husband and I ended up really starting to avoid a lot of social situations because of those situations. Infertility is incredibly isolating.

    Congrats on making it through the weekend!! As someone also in my later thirties, it sounds exhausting to me!

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    • Nara

      Really! I found that when we were in the US, everyone drank a lot less than in the UK! I think British people are obsessed with drinking. And it’s a pain when you’re female in your thirties and everyone assumes you must be pregnant if you’re not. I think I’m just getting old as I can’t drink as much as I used to! I’m decrepit all round! 😂

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      • MrsD

        That’s true for a lot of the US, but I live in Wisconsin, where alcohol is a major part of everything. I actually teach alcohol and drug prevention as part of my job and a big topic we cover is how alcohol is so much a part of the culture here. The kids are completely baffled when I try to explain that other states do not drink the way we do here!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Haha, thanks re the drug taking! (I’m thinking I might make quite a good junkie! Although I do prefer sleeping!) I got the photo off imgur so can’t take credit. I thought it was funny!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ourgreatestdesire

    That first time meeting the childhood friends is always a little nerve-wracking! All J’s friends have kids also but because I do daycare, I seem to find a way to converse, even when it revolves around kids. I tend to have more experience with children than most parents do anyways. Luckily, his friends wives are all wonderful and I love getting together with them now when we all have the chance.

    I also totally get where you’re coming from on feeling a bit left behind. I think almost everyone I’ve followed since I very first started my blog has had children or are pregnant now. I think most of the rest are in some state of IVF. Either gearing up for it, in the middle of stims or the 2 week wait. I do try to remind myself often that I live a blessed life with or without kids and I try to frequently remind myself of the pros of not having them. It’s much easier to do after a rough day like J and I both had last week, lol.

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    • Nara

      That’s a good point! I do have quite a lot of experience with kids for someone who doesn’t have them. Not as much as you do though! I can talk about kids however I do find that a lot of mums aren’t interested in your opinion if you don’t have them.

      Re being left behind… I think there are a few of us still going. But not many. I guess it seems like “progress” doing IVF but for me it doesn’t seem that much as I’m still a long way off any kind of success. It’s taken a year for me to get to IVF round 2 and that includes operations, investigations, waiting lists etc… It seems like ages. I’m sorry any of us are still in the trenches and I just hope we manage to progress eventually! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. silentmiscarriageloudthoughts

    Good luck for your scan!
    I get you with the drinking thing. Whenever my friends with kids get to have a night out- they want to go hard. And I’m so uninterested in big drinking sessions now, I can’t be bothered with the hangovers. I guess it’s because (apart from my short-lived pregnancies) I’ve been able to drink whenever I want. Whereas for them it was cut short by having children- mostly unplanned.

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    • Nara

      Exactly! That’s it! I didn’t entirely think of it that way. To me it’s not exciting any more to get completely drunk, because I could do it any day of the week. It’s sad really! And trying to be healthy enough to try and sustain a pregnancy.

      I feel like those people in my age range who have kids are a completely different generation / species to me. I get to lie in at the weekend, I go to work every day and I am devoted to my dog. And can go on date night any night at short notice! It’s a completely different life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Babyscienceproject

    Use the sanitary bin as an impromptu sharps bin! That’s what I used to do. Apparently they incinerate the contents so I think it’s fine. Now you can think of me every time you’re in a pub toilet. You’re welcome 😎

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    • Nara

      Hahaha! I didn’t think of that. I would worry about sharps as I’ve seen people emptying the sanitary bin before and I think they just binbag it. Also I don’t think this pub had a sanitary bin… And the ones I do see are usually stuffed full! My injections all have a cap on the needle though (just the Gonal F pen didn’t use to but I have Menopur now) so in theory I guess you could even throw them in a normal bin… I would worry about doing that though! I’ll have to use the sanitary bin if I can’t dispose of it next time, thanks!

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  6. The EcoFeminist

    I feel you around not really caring about drinking all that much anymore and about the stupid things people say who happen to be parents. definitely plan to have something for you and your partner to do on results day so good or bad news, it will be something that will either help you celebrate or deal with it. After our first failed transfer we had tickets to Paris but unfortunately that’s not something we can afford now that we’re trying our fourth most likely next month.

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    • Nara

      Yes, we went out for dinner on results day (positive so no wine) and then off on a mini break after the miscarriage, with the big Orlando trip a few months after that. It definitely helped. Sorry you can’t make it to Paris. I love Disneyland Paris! I’ll be starting a new job so don’t think I’ll be able to go on holiday for a while. Although if we get a failed transfer it will be in May, so I’ll be able to take some time off before starting my job in June. Hope your next cycle goes well!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My Perfect Breakdown

    So the kid thing, and all the parents talking about them, I still hate it! Seriously, we were at a thing this weekend with mom’s and kid’s and the entire time I felt like a giant fake who didn’t belong. And then I thought about all the parties we skipped because we didn’t want to be around parents with little kids and I was thinking about how I still feel like I shouldn’t be there. (Note, no-one said anything negative or made me feel unwelcome, it was just a feeling that came from within me). I dunno, maybe I’m just not one of those mom’s?
    As for your thought about T’s mom and looking at the cousins who resemble parents, not once have I had that thought in a negative way (I do realize i’m still relatively new to the adoptive mom club so that could change with time). But, I do know that people seem to love to comment on how amazing it is that Baby MPB looks like Mr. MPB just a little. We get it from people who don’t know he’s adopted sometimes, and we get it from family all the time. The family actually bothers me because I always wonder if the thought comes from their desire to have him “look” like them? Clearly Mr. MPB and i could care less, we happen to think Baby MPB is the cutest baby ever, but it’s been interesting to observe that others seem to care about how he looks like Mr. MPB.
    Wishing you the best on Wednesday!! 🙂

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    • Nara

      I can imagine it’s strange being new to motherhood. I don’t think you’d be alone in feeling like that, but I assume it will fade as you become more accustomed to being a parent? I don’t know. I don’t think people would think you were fake at all. I think if you have a kid then you are in the club! Though maybe it takes a while to make friends with other parents.

      Oh I don’t really think of the family resemblance thing in a negative way. It’s more that they looked SO alike, that it made me think that T and his sibling don’t look like their parents. Even though it is far less noticeable generally – as in, I definitely don’t look like the rest of my family because I’m a whole different race. But even for same race adoptees, they don’t look like the rest of their family. It’s hard to explain… When you don’t have something (a family resemblance) maybe you notice it more in others.

      I think people want to say the baby looks like one or other of the parents all the time. It’s somehow important. I had a friend who used to get upset that people would say that her baby looked like her, because she wanted them to acknowledge the father. (The baby still looks mainly like her!)

      I have had loads of people throughout my life tell me that my non-bio also adopted (from same country, same race) sibling and I look alike. As an adoptee it is really quite irritating to be told you look alike with your sibling considering your only commonality is race. Equally I feel like it would be a huge thing for me to give birth to a child who looks a bit like me and a bit like T – because I have never seen my features in anyone. I’ve never seen a photo of either of my first parents so I’ve no idea if I look alike. I can only go on what my parents tell me which is that I apparently look like my first mother who they met prior to my adoption. I’m almost double the age she was when I was adopted so it’s weird to imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jein

    Sometimes the family resemblance doesn’t come from the looks brought by genes. Children tend to mimic the facial expressions and other gestures from their parents, and that way “look” like their parents too. My friend and her non-biological daughter have this kind of family resemblance.

    Happy belated birthday to Dog! 🙂

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    • Nara

      I think there is definitely a family thing of having similar expressions and gestures. However there is no substitute for facially and bodily resembling a person… If you have that you probably take it for granted. But I’ve never met a person I looked like, other than on a superficial “same race… All look the same” kind of way.

      If anything I look most like my dog! 🙂

      Like

  9. Ash

    I love that you celebrate dog’s birthday, sounds like he lives a totally blissful life!
    Great photo choice re: family resemblance. You are right, people love pointing out family resemblances. On my dad’s side, my nan and pop had 11 kids (yes 11!) you’d think I’d have strong genes for reproducing but apparently not! All my uncles and aunts look eerily similar, it’s quite strange really! My Nana actually adopted out her ninth child and no one really knows why, mainly because she went on to have two more babies which threw any theories out the window. I think it would have been super hard for my Aunty when she finally tracked them down after 30 + years. Adoption would be hard at the best of times let alone discovering that your mum and dad kept all 11 children except you.
    In Australia the drinking culture is pretty crazy too, I feel like when I go out and don’t drink people assume a) I’m pregnant or b) I’m boring. Drinking and fun times go hand in hand here, with a massive binge drinking culture, we are the nation of bogans after all! My father was (most likely still is) an alcoholic and after so many scary experiences I no longer keep in contact with him. Families sure are complicated aren’t they?!
    Good luck for this cycle, positive things seem to be happening in your life (new job & house) I hope there is much more happiness to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thanks so much! I hadn’t thought that about Australia, but now I think of it, a lot of Australians are descended from Brits and also there are soooo many Australian bars in the UK and there’s definitely a reputation there! (We also have some funny ads for Aussie beer over here that play on that reputation.) I can imagine that you get those questions if you don’t drink! I find it a bit of a grind tbh as you then feel duty bound to make excuses for not drinking. That said, a few of my friends don’t drink / rarely drink and it doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem! I try and meet up and do a non drinking activity like the cinema or something.

      That sounds really tough about the 11 kids. I bet that would feel weird. I don’t know how I’d feel if my bio mum had had a load more kids. I like to think I’m not bothered, but I think it would feel a bit weird. That said, I feel a definite part of my family and it’s not like I would want to go back to my birth country and try and take back that life. I’m quite assimilated to the idea that the part of me that would have been [my birth country nationality] is gone.

      Sorry to hear about your dad. I have had some pretty close experience with alcoholism and it is really difficult to deal with. You just have to hope that person will eventually choose other stuff over alcohol.

      As for me, I feel so tired right now that I don’t even have the energy to drink!! Which is possibly a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Oh and re Dog, he had a special birthday dinner of the most expensive sausages they had in the supermarket! After being spoiled rotten by our dog loving friends all weekend (who don’t have a good idea of portion size, haha). So he was very happy! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. flatwhitetogo85

    Glad you survived the weekend! Perhaps “survived” is a bit harsh, but some of it does sound quite challenging. The whole British-drinking-culture thing really annoys me. Before all of this, when I was really into fitness and health, it frustrated me that people thought I was some sort of weirdo for not drinking. I usually ended up drinking just to fit in and because other people just wouldn’t accept me not drinking (which is obviously their way of trying to offload their guilt or whatever about drinking, because my not drinking has nothing to do with them!). When we started TTC and when we were really struggling we pretty much quit all over again, because why would we reduce our chances for the sake of a few drinks?! Like you said though, people then assumed it was because I was pregnant and I had no end of insensitive, painful comments (especially as I gained so much weight during this time). I really do feel for you.

    I also feel for you with the awkward baby/child-focussed conversations. So many parents seem incapable of talking about anything else, or acknowledging that anything else is important. I’m really sorry it made you feel left out (which I can completely understand!). Again, it is their problem if they can’t find the small talk unless it involves children!

    Anyway, the most important thing is that Dog had a good birthday! I hope he enjoyed himself and loved the sausages, ha ha!

    Hopefully next weekend will be slightly more relaxed x x x

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