Well THAT was awful

First I’m going to start out by saying that I’m facing a personal and professional dilemma, one that, surprisingly enough, hasn’t been of much issue until now.

I’ve been incredibly blessed in that the trajectory of my career has seen me take the personal to the professional, combining the things that I love into a paycheck in ways I wouldn’t have dreamed. Sadly, though, I’m beginning to take stock in what it all means to have this happen. When I began having a real, tangible presence online, people just weren’t online in the capacity that they are today. Facebook, primarily, has changed that. It’s meant that what once was the domain of people, well, like me, is now open to everyone. And that’s great. I knew it was only a matter of time before everyone else embraced what many of us already had, and nothing makes me happier than to know of the goings-on of people I have known since I was a little kid. There is comfort in being able to reach out to people, to join the shared experience of life.

But then. Then there is being careful of what you wish for. People with whom I work know about this blog, and it’s been standard operating procedure to be open about my blogging and online habits. I’ve never behaved, written or done anything online that I felt would cause me professional problems, and I never wanted any employer to think I was ashamed of this blog. After all, it’s been somewhat of a personal cause of mine for years to get the companies I worked for to embrace what was happening online.

The sort of writing I do here is vastly different from the sort of blogging my colleagues in the space do. I don’t talk shop here, and yet it’s the existence of this blog that brought me to a certain place professionally. So while I don’t hide what I do, I know the content of my blog is awfully personal in nature. But it always, always has been. That’s why most of us started writing online in the first place. To write about our lives. Just the same, the lines are crossing.

My discussion with HR, for example, was interesting. The kind, repeated instructions about the fertility coverage of one plan over another, just in case it was something that interested me, was telling. And it didn’t bother me, but everyone is reading now, in a way they hadn’t before, and I need to figure out how to not only preserve my own personal brand (Brand! Hi! I work at a huge, global agency now!) but also not turn-off scads of people within my professional space.

I mean, some of you really still want to read about our struggles to get pregnant, and I like having a place to keep that dialog going. But just the same, the account executive I just met at work three weeks ago may not have been prepared to read that much about her new coworker, and maybe thinks it’s weird that I reveal so much. It isn’t, for the record, because that’s always been the nature of ejshea.com, and consistency at a blog is key to keeping your audience.

Anyway, I’m still petering around with what to do. I might take the professional stuff to Posterous or Tumblr, or I might not. I probably won’t change the candor of ejshea.com for now, especially considering it’s not a problem at the moment, but I may do some shifting around.

On that note, yesterday was my HSG. It was, in a word, awful.

I know some women have undergone this procedure with little-to-no problem, but I am not one those women. I have never experienced pain like that before in my life, and I once had the door of an Oldsmobile the size of an Army tank slammed on my leg. I screamed out in pain and begged the doctor to stop. That is how bad the pain was. The school of thought is that the sort of pain I experienced is indicative of a problem, but no one seemed to express any. Well, let me amend that: I had been experiencing such a surge of adrenaline in order to cope with the horrendous amount of pain that I was completely and utterly out of it after they were done. I saw the doctor and the radiologist hurriedly discuss the results, and I remember something about the dye not making its way to one of my tubes, but the doctor seemed to think it was because it all pooled so quickly to one side. I think. I could be making this up.

I had the nicest nurse and the nicest doctor imaginable. It did not help that my own OB-GYN couldn’t be there (she’s pregnant, so no X-rays), and that in her place was one of the partnering doctors in the practice who happens to be a man, but I did OK. Realizing that a strange man was about to be near my nether regions doubled my anxiety, but the pain was so intense that I stopped giving a hoot who was down there, but that maybe I could convince that person to KNOCK IT OFF RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD YOU NEED TO STOP YOU JERK.

Anyway, he was so, so kind, and afterward, when I apologized for screaming, as I am wont to do because I of course don’t want to disappoint any authority figure, armed with a speculum and inflicting pain on me or not, he patted my shoulder, looked straight into my eyes and said, “No, I’m sorry. I know that was really difficult.” And the nurse reminded me of all of the great nuns who taught at my high school. I couldn’t have been in better hands.

But if I never have to experience that again, it’ll be only too soon. I mentioned to the nurse that I was going to be a trooper, that if I was signing on to have a baby, I ought to just suck it up and move along. She and the doctor joked that a lot of people say the HSG is a taste of “what’s to come” for some women. So, yeah. Exciting! Especially since I plan to have as natural a childbirth as humanly possible and I am not kidding whatsoever so please save your comments. I research everything, people. I certainly made the decision to research birthing methods as we decided to get pregnant in the first place.

I have already watched The Business of Being Born.

Here is what I’ll tell you: I was on the verge of tears leading up to yesterday. I am not unfeeling or uncaring. I know how incredibly blessed I am. I have a loving, wonderful husband – one, I should point out, who insisted on going with me to the hospital, stood outside the entrance, waiting for me, with a bouquet of my favorite flowers in hand, and anxiously paced outside radiology until the nurses, enamored with him for being there with flowers in the first place, snuck him back in the patients-only hall there to wait with me. I have a great job, so does my husband. We just bought a new home, in a lovely neighborhood, and we go and see and do and live a charmed life. Just so everyone understands: I know. I do.

All of these blessings, sadly, don’t make it easier to hear how another friend is pregnant (because this week I learned another friend of mine, excitedly and joyfully and wonderfully, is, and I am genuinely thrilled for her). To have to spend the extra money for the insurance to cover all of this. To have to join this sad little fraternity of people who really know what a teeth-grinding nightmare it is to have a doctor perform invasive, kind of humiliating, tests on you that leave you in pain and reaching, without guilt or shame or hesitation, for a rocky road brownie at Au Bon Pain as soon as it’s all over.

I have never had the bakery goods at Au Bon Pain but they aren’t bad. I happily and greedily brought that sucker back up to my office and polished off every crumb.

But it is what it is. Scott thanked me last night for going through that for our family, and I knew that I had to suck it up and not feel too sorry for myself. After all, we have the luxury of finding out what’s wrong, and doing something about it. A lot of people don’t have that. We do. And in a week or so I’ll have more tests done, and so will Scott, and maybe we’ll have an answer. Maybe the HSG will do for us what it’s done for a lot of people and get us pregnant. Or maybe not. Either way, we’re on our way and that’s a good thing.

But holy crap on a cracker do I understand why women have always been told to bite down on things during labor. If they’re right, and labor is anything like what I experienced yesterday, Glin and I will be fighting over rawhides.