Civility: The Exception, Not the Rule

What has happened to civility? To treating each other like human beings. I don’t know what it is of late, but it seems that people tend to choose hostility over simple kindness. A couple of examples from yesterday: Since my husband now gets SSDI, we needed to modify child support. No problem, right? My husband’s exwife hires an attorney to represent her. Again, no problem. The attorney she hired went to law school with me. We were acquaintances, we shared a few beers together from time to time, and although we weren’t the best of friends, we always visited when we saw each other. She has even called me with a couple of legal questions in the past that are more in line with my practice than with hers.

Anyway, I sent her an e-mail, asking how she was, and explaining that I was married to her client’s husband, etc., and saying that I was hoping we could come to an agreement that was satisfactory to everyone. Her response was to simply say she could not speak with me unless I entered my appearance on his behalf. Really? No, “hey, how have you been” or “it’s been a long time”? Not even a recognition that she ever knew me. It was the strangest thing. I should probably add here that there is nothing hostile about the child support modification, and actually because of the derivative benefit my husband’s daughter gets, her Mom actually will get more money. So, the way we see it is that it is great news for everyone. Apparently not….

Moving on from that, I was a little irked at her response, and also confused just because no matter the circumstances, why can’t we just be civil? This brings me to the second lawyer of the day. She represents a foreclosing bank, and I represent another entity that holds a mortgage on the property. So, again, this isn’t anything that should cause any tension between us, but I e-mailed her asking for copies of the documents that she had filed with the Court, and had failed to provide to me. Well, she totally flipped out telling me how I need to better control my client, and all this other weird stuff. Come to find out, she got confused and thought that my client was the property owners, who she had been speaking with, and not the other mortgage holder. No apology. She had been swearing and totally going off on me for being unable to control my client, and then when I actually very calmly advised her that she had never talked with my client, she insisted she had. I asked her to pull up the e-mail she claimed to have received from my client to send to me. Her response was simply a statement that she was mistaken, and she had not talked with my client, ever. No apology for totally going off on me.

So, that seemed to set the tone for the day, and it got me thinking about how easy it seems to be now for people to be rude. Is it because of e-mail? Is it because we can type quickly without needing to face the person or speak with them, or even put pen to paper? Is it just because we don’t care about being civil to one another anymore? Or, is it because so many of us are so overwhelmed with life in general that we are just too stressed to be kind? Whatever the reason, I don’t like it.

I am an attorney, but I don’t like conflict. I enjoy helping my clients reach agreements with the opposing parties. I like when mediation works and we all walk away having won something, and often, admittedly, also having lost something. I like when my clients control the outcome, instead of a judge. I have always been civil with opposing counsel, and they are most often civil towards me. We talk about kids and families, and hobbies and idle conversation and then get down to the issues at hand and try to come to an agreement. I desperately hope that this was just an example of two attorneys having bad days. I hope that this is not where we are headed.


Maybe I’m Just Crazy

I had my followup appointment on Friday with my Reproductive Endocrinologist, and I learned that there is nothing wrong with me. Nothing wrong with my blood, with my uterus, with my eggs, with anything. Instead of making me feel relieved, it made me feel like those three miscarriages were my fault. If there was no medical reason for them, then they must have been my fault, right?

I guess this should make me happy, but it is actually more upsetting than if something was wrong. As soon as she finished the 3-D ultrasound, she review all the results of the blood tests and said that there was no medical reason for me to have had 3 miscarriages. I burst into tears. She was awesome and explained that in 50% of cases, there is no cause found, and that it doesn’t mean I did anything wrong, and that it is good news. There is no reason why I can’t have a successful pregnancy.

I need to add here that I am very relieved that I didn’t learn that I can never have a successful pregnancy. That would have been worse than this, and I am not trying to insinuate that I have it worse off than all of those women who receive the news that they will not be able to have a successful pregnancy. I just hate not knowing. I don’t know if this will ever work. I don’t know if it is actually because of something I am doing wrong. I don’t know if there is some quirky medical something or other that actually is wrong.

I was so hoping that I would go in there, and she would tell me that there was something wrong with my thyroid and that I just needed to take a pill a day, and all my problems would vanish and I would be able to have a successful pregnancy. Or, I was hoping that she would find some small cyst in my uterus or on my ovary and that she could remove it and solve all my problems. I feel totally insane for actually wishing that there was something wrong with me!

When I finished the appointment, I just texted my husband and said that all the tests came back fine. I haven’t been able to talk with him anymore about it. I just feel so out of sorts about this. I was desperate for answers, and I didn’t get any. I will do my best to stay positive and hope for the best.

Divorce, Divorce, Everywhere!

What is it about this Spring? Typically, most divorces are filed in January, with another spike in filings in July. For some reason, this year, I am surrounded by people who now suddenly apart after years together, or who are at the very least contemplating divorce. It is an awkward place to be. Most of the people are acquaintances or colleagues, but some aren’t.

We have friends, Andy and Jill who have been married longer than we have been, and who suddenly and dramatically split this weekend. It was dramatic in that the police had to be called to the residence because they were fighting. The kids were there. What happened sucked. We feel the worst for the kids, but we are also in the position of having to choose a side. Whom do we believe? Did he threaten her with a gun, or did she attack him and he take the gun away from her? Was she partying and driving drunk with the kids, or did he show up at an Easter egg dyeing party, cause a scene and take the kids?

I want to stay neutral. I really do. I don’t want to get sucked into their drama. But, we can’t seem to avoid it. We really care the most about the kids throughout this entire process, but we know already that if we spend time with Jill and the kids, that Andy will feel uncomfortable around us, and if we spend time with Andy and the kids, then Jill will feel uncomfortable around us. My husband has been friends with Andy since they were little kids. We really only hang out with Jill when we do couples things, so we are admittedly closer to Andy.

After hearing both sides (reading them actually in the affidavits they each provided to the police), we all realized that neither party is blameless. They fought and things went way too far. They both screwed up, but now, we need to move forward. We have to do all that we can to support the kids through this, whatever it turns out to be. We also have to do whatever we can to support Andy, and to do that, we can’t also support Jill. It sucks that we can’t just support the family through this, but that isn’t the way that this split is working out. It is too tense at this point. It is tough because it is a very small community. We spent Easter with Andy and his kids, and I think that because of that, it is already clear that Andy sees us as his support system. We can’t abandon him.

I just hate all of this drama. I hate choosing sides. I hate that they are screwing everything up and that they are falling apart in front of their kids. I am just so disappointed with them both. But, I also feel bad for them. They are the couple that is from the outside, always perfect. They would never gripe about the other. They were always affectionate and kind to each other in public. They put on the perfect public persona. But, apparently, behind closed doors, there have been problems brewing for a while. It is so frustrating to think that if they had just admitted what was going on, they could have obtained help before it came to this. They could have seen a counselor, or even talked with friends or family.

My husband was previously married and then divorced, and I know that they fell out of love very shortly after they were married, they sought counseling briefly and filed for divorce after being married only a year, and were then done with it. I just wish it could have been the same for Andy and Jill. I just don’t understand how it came to this.

Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Finally, after 4 years of infertility and 3 miscarriages, I met with a specialist. I had met with my OB and midwife many times about my fertility issues, but for some reason, I just could not bring myself to meet with a specialist. Maybe part of it was that I felt that I was cheating on my midwife. I adore her, and she delivered my son, and I really like her as a person and as a midwife. I felt that if I went to a specialist, it was telling her that I didn’t trust her, and all that she was doing for me. She hadn’t really mentioned sending me to a specialist, until after my 3rd miscarriage. She really supported the idea, but I still was nervous about it.

I went in for my appointment, and went through my entire medical history with the nurse, crying when I had to describe to her each of my miscarriages, how they happened, how far along I was, how long from start to finish, etc. Then, the Dr came in. She was absolutely amazing. She was kind and caring, and she actually listened to me. She never tried to dismiss any of my questions or concerns, and she ordered a bunch of blood work and also a 3-D ultrasound. The bloodwork was done right then and there, and I have to call to schedule the ultrasound.

When I walked out of the appointment, I was kicking myself. Why on earth had I not done this sooner?! I just can’t believe it. I then started really overthinking everything wondering if I had gone to see her sooner, if any of my 3 babies would have actually lived. Ugh. But, those thoughts aside, I am so glad that I went in. I feel like I am now going to finally get answers.

No matter that I learn, actually knowing what is going on will be much better than all of this uncertainty. It is as if, just by going to the appointment, this weight has already been lifted off of my shoulders. I am doing everything I can to find out what is wrong and to resolve the issue. If it doesn’t work, I can accept that. I can move on and be happy and content with my life as it is now.

Taking the Plunge

I finally did it. I scheduled my appointment with the infertility specialist to try to figure out why I continue to have miscarriages. I had been dreading it and putting it off, and I finally called today.
The automated message playing almost made me hang up, but this time, I stayed on the line. “If you are in labor, press 1. If you are pregnant and need to speak with a nurse, please press 2.” Ugh. Really? Although the rational part of me understands that it makes sense to have those two options first, it still sucked to have to hear it. Ummm, if I was in labor, I wouldn’t be dealing with you, unconveniently located specialist. It actually surprises me how often those of us struggling with having a child have to deal with this.

It made me think back to the moment I was told I was having my first miscarriage. Looking at my midwife, and the photos of happy parents and babies all around us. Going in to the lab to have my blood drawn and seeing the photos of happy babies on the walls, and reminders about folic acid. Having my ultrasound done while looking up at the picture on the ceiling of the healthy baby while being told that my baby’s heart had stopped. Sitting in the waiting room surrounded by images of (and actual) pregnant women and babies. I wonder how many of us put off these appointments in part because of how painful it is to be exposed to all of that. I am not saying that things should be done differently, just that it is very painful for those of us who are there not because we are actually having a baby, but because we are losing a baby. Or because we have been trying for years to have a baby without success.

When I started writing this blog, I didn’t think I would ever write about my struggles to have another child, but it appears that I just can’t help myself!

Due Date without a Baby

Yesterday, I should have been welcoming my baby into the world. Instead, of dealing with the physical pain of childbirth, I was dealing with something much more excruciating. The emotional pain of losing a baby. I think that this is one of those things that one can never get used to. No matter how many miscarriages one has, I just can’t imagine that it would get any easier. This is my second due date that has passed without a baby, and I have a third coming up in August.

No one else realized that it was my due date, so I was totally alone in my pain. So many times, I wanted to remind my husband what day it was, but I didn’t want him to feel the way that I was feeling. Last night, shortly before bed, my husband caught me crying. He just looked at me, and his jaw dropped, and he said “today is the day, isn’t it?” I just nodded and he hugged me and told me he loved me and he cried as well. He said that he hadn’t realized the exact date, but that he had been thinking of our baby too since he had known we were due sometime in late February.

It felt good to cry with him, but it was then that I realized that maybe the reason that I didn’t want to bring it to his attention was that I didn’t want to have to console someone else. I wanted to be able to just be sad. To not have to take care of someone else in pain, but to just be sad for a little while. I constantly feel the need to make people feel better if they are upset, so by reminding him about the day, I would have been putting myself in a position where I would have felt the need to comfort him, and I really didn’t want that to be my role.

I was 10 weeks pregnant and I had already seen my baby’s tiny little heart beating, so I had been absolutely shocked when the heart stopped beating and I then needed to get a D&C. I try to just focus on all of the good in my life. I was happy before I got pregnant with this baby, and I was and am happy again, although I miscarried, but it can be difficult, or impossible, to remain positive all of the time, although I always try. Yesterday, for just a little while, I let myself mourn. And, that was just what I needed.

Walking the Tightrope Called Life

How do we best balance our responsibilities in our busy lives? The Principal at one of the nearby schools has taken a leave of absence for a while for personal reasons. This has tongues wagging in my district, as well as those in surrounding districts. The reason being given for his leave is that he has young kids and he needs time off to focus on his family. This obviously leaves the school in a bit of a lurch, so they are scrambling to figure out what to do.
Anyway, with all of this going on, many people comment about how they don’t understand how he can do this when we all have busy lives and would love more time with our families, and they seem to resent that he gets this time with his kids while they can’t even take a sick day without fear of being fired. I try to stay neutral and say that if he can’t be at school, it is best if he is home, and that maybe his replacement will do an even better job as s/he will be able to focus 100% on the school instead of always being pulled in two directions.
I understand that maybe it is not a good thing that he just took this time off, but I also think about how petty it feels to resent what he is doing simply because we can’t do the same thing. It has my friends and I talking about how overwhelmed we all are and how we never have enough time for anything. It seems that we are all in the same boat.
We leave work at the end of the day with unanswered e-mails in our in-boxes, unopened mail on our desks, and deadlines that we fear we will not make. We get home already feeling behind and scramble to make supper, help with homework, get the kids bathed and in bed, read stories, tuck them in and then try to get the house into a bit of order while also packing everything into backpacks to do it again. We feel that we had no time with our kids. To just enjoy them, to totally focus on them. Then, we finally have a few precious minutes that we could spend with our spouse, the only problem is that we spend those moments planning out the rest of the week, discussing bills and the kids and then suddenly, we are exhausted and we fall into bed, with or without having sex.
It has me thinking a lot about balance. In this day and age, we are expected to be on-call for our jobs all of the time. We bring home laptops, i-phones and any other devices we have and we are forced to address work while at home. This happens even on vacation. Why do we all seem to live this way? Not one of my friends felt that they had any one area of their life under control. We all felt that we weren’t doing enough at work, we weren’t doing enough with our kids, and we weren’t doing enough for our spouse. We didn’t even get a chance to talk about how little we do for ourselves.