We made it! The train departed and carried us safely to our destination with only a 4-hour delay.
The journey was such a new and special experience. Sleeping in a rocking motion, taking a shower while trying to balance ourselves, dining and making fast friends with strangers, and learning to enjoy the slowness of time all proved to be such memorable experiences.
Bob and I got along well without any big fights. I also learned a thing or two about myself. Our luxurious bedroom (vs. riding coach or in the tiny rooms called roomette) allowed us to have a two seater plus an extra seat, a big window, a private toilet with shower, and a sink. Although the room was much more spacious than other rooms, the space was still limited. I found myself having a hyper sense of control of my surroundings and needed order of the environment at all time. Everything had a “regular” place (which is funny because the train ride was only 2.5 days) and things would have to be returned to their spots. In such a tiny space, anything out of order would make it too chaotic for me. This extreme control of environment doesn’t happen as much at home because the space we are allowed to move around is exponentially bigger.
Another thing I learned about myself is my love for drawing. Remember I said in my last post I brought a sketch book to document the journey and an adult coloring book? I did not touch the coloring book at all because I found drawing my own pictures and coloring them is so much more fun than beautifying other people’s work. I hadn’t drawn anything in the last many years, but I have always had a passion for drawing and painting. Thanks to this train journey, I was allowed a lot of time to just focus on this passion. I took my time and just drew whatever I wanted. A creative time that does not involve running my fingers on a keyboard.
Here is one that I did:
I saw an unexpected pregnancy announcement on Facebook during the train trip. I don’t know about you, but I have a few people that I can “count on” keeping me company or being infertile with me while I wait for my turn. It could be kind of like a mean thing to have, but I can’t help but keep track of these people. This person was one of them. I actually mentioned about this former coworker in a previous post that a currently pregnant coworker had a difficult time figuring out how to share her own pregnancy news with. I knew that this former coworker, who got married eight years ago, had been trying to adopt. I don’t know her fertility issues, but I knew that she wanted a baby. So when I saw the pictures of her baby bump online, I was super surprised, but I was actually happy for her. I clicked “like” and then closed the page. Later on I started seeing her taking pictures of her pets on her baby bump, I knew that I had to unfollow her for a while. Even though I am not jealous, I still have to protect myself from triggers. The sense of being left behind is also stronger than ever.
In Chicago, we stayed with one of my high school best friends, his wife, and his daughter. This is my third time being in Chicago. The first time was right after my friend had gotten married and moved there. I went to visit when they had barely been there for two months. The second time was when I went to help take care of his newborn daughter for his wife while he was on a business trip for week. Being my best friend, he knows what has been going on in our fertility journey. He knows all about the previous cycles and our pursuit of egg donation. However, being a guy, he had never told his wife about our struggles. His wife and I get along really well, but afterall, I am his friend. Whenever I see her in California, there never seems to be a good time to bring up these things. So I made a decision to find a time to tell her. It was difficult to find the right moment though because the little five-year-old was always around and always so curious about our topics of conversation. I just didn’t know how to explain to a little girl about the struggles that a couple could have for trying for a baby. One day a chance came. Kimberly from No Good Eggs was traveling to Chicago for a weekend and we were making plans to meet up. I told my friend’s wife about this online friend that I would finally meet in person. Naturally, she inquired about how we met online. I thought it was a great segue to introduce to her this main theme that has been dominant in my life in the last 3.5 years. Bless her heart, she wasn’t fazed by any of this. She just naturally didn’t know much about the assisted reproductive technology world. I brought her up to speed in the next three days about what we went through. We didn’t have a lot of time for any in-depth conversation because little missy was around most of the time. But in passing, she showed enough interest in asking me questions about the IVF process. And I disclosed to her about choosing a donor and our mentality and emotions behind moving towards egg donation. The conversation was fruitful and I was surprised by my openness and ease with talking about this topic with a real life friend. When we were parting at the airport, she gave me a long tight hug and told me to keep them updated. It was great to be able to talk about this freely.
Turning 41 and doing it Chicago style was wonderful. It has always been Bob and me alone to celebrate my birthday. Having my friends and their daughter there with us was so precious. Friendship is wonderful. And although I still don’t have a baby, I decided to celebrate my age the best way I could. I really had a memorable day.
Oh and Kimberly and I did meet up! That was such a highlight of our trip. Fortunately we weren’t leaving town until late afternoon, so Kimberly and I made plans to meet for breakfast. It was worth the effort to get up super early for the twins. I had seen plenty of their pictures but it was something else to see them outside of a picture online and become alive in front of my eyes. Meeting up with a fellow blogger has always been a wonderful experience. She knows what is going on in your life. You don’t have to say much to catch up. You don’t have to explain anything. She knows what you are going through. It is just so refreshing. And those kids… my goodness, they are so so cute! What a treat for us to be able to spend time with them.
Bob got to hold little J.
I will write more about the whole train ride next week some time after I recuperate from all the walking on our trip. What I can say is that I really appreciate the trip because it helps me cherish even more my own home and the routine that I have established. Without a vacation away from home, I would not be as appreciative of my own boring routine and a sense of order that is needed in my life.
Stay tuned next week for some of the highlights on the train and in Chicago!