Monday, May 7, 2018

MRKH Conference


Here’s the thing… Since I was 16, I’ve known that I am different than most women. I like to talk about poop and farts, I like beer, chicken wings, football and I really like to burp.  Just kidding (kinda, but not really). I’ve known I am different because I cant join in the following conversations with other women:
1)      Do you have a tampon?
2)      Are you worried about getting pregnant?
3)      Does your uterus hurt? (ok, so maybe I’ve never actually heard anyone ask another woman this, I just assume this is something they say)

But although I am different, I’ve never felt not supported, loved or cared for. If anything, I have felt more of those things than most people. So, I never really thought I needed to meet other woman with MRKH for support. BOY WAS I WRONG!

Last month, I had the opportunity to go to Michigan to an MRKH conference, and I still haven’t quite figured out the right words to describe my time there.  Was it awkward? 100% YES!  The word vagina was said 57 times in 1 hour!  I knew one person. That was it.  So, I had a few glasses of beer to get to know some people better, and that helped. The conference was super informative! The University of Michigan’s research team did an outstanding job of presenting the most recent MRKH information (and obvious shout out to the Beautiful You team). This was great. But I think the thing that was most impactful to me, was meeting other woman who ar
e like me. They were all ages! I could see myself in each and every one of them. They lived normal lives. They had inappropriate humor. They liked to drink. They were skinny, chubby, tall, short… Normal looking woman from the outside, but on the inside they are the only ones who truly understand the daily struggle of someone who has MRKH. This was not something I knew I needed. Why do I care so much if someone understands me? I actually don’t know the answer to that. So, I guess, if I had to come up with a way to describe my experience to Michigan for the MRKH conference, it would simply be – Life Changing.

Side note:  This condition may seem rare… But it is not THAT rare.  It effect 1-4,500 women. And if I am doing my math correctly, that means there are maybe 8 woman in my medium sized town of about 77,000 people who have MRKH. When a woman is first diagnosed with MRKH, it is scary. Doctors don’t know what it is, parents don’t know, and certainly friends and family don’t know.  The more we talk about it, the more normal it can become, and the less alone these woman will feel. Talk about it.

Erin




Life is a funny thing. Its crazy to think about one decision effecting your whole life, especially when that decision never really seemed like that big of a deal. One decision that I think about all the time is the day I said “yes” to working at Disney World. Besides the obvious experience of working at the “happiest place on earth” and moving across the Country by myself, I had the experience of working with 3,000 other college students from around the world. But in addition to that, I made some great friends. One of them has been on my mind a lot lately. Erin.
I first met Erin when we became roommates at Disney world. I definitely won the roommate lottery (to be fair, so did she). Erin and I became instant friends. We met in line at check in and found out we were roommates! Her sense of humor and personality instantly drew me close to her. We had two other roommates, but I could barely tell you their names right now.  We made each other laugh and kept each other sane during a really crazy yet fun time in our lives. We did EVERYTHING together.
We were having such a great time that Erin convinced me that we should stay just a little longer and continue to make $6 an hour. I don’t think either of us were ready to go back to real life, so, we extended our stay at Disney for a few more months.
Erin taught me about Faygo Red pop, Euchre, the Red Wings, girls who drink beer (specifically green beer) are cool, and how to show people where you are from using the Michigan mitt on your hand. She shared her love of St. Patrick’s day with me and her passion for all Michigan sports (even though when we went to a mariners game, she wore and cheered for the mariners). She made fun of me for saying I’m from “Washington State” because I was the only person she had ever met who had to say “state” at the end of where they are from. Then we made fun of people together who still thought it was Washington DC. We took a road trip from Michigan to Florida, that was my first and last time staying at a Red Roof Inn. It was a memorable trip and we had a lot of laughs a long the way.
We used to see who could get more tan...she would always say she was so tan, and by “tan” she meant she had a lot more freckles than normal.
She was there for me the first time I got my heart broken.
I could, and did tell her everything.
We over used the word basically
We argued with people and each other about if it’s called pop or soda, top Raman or Raman noodles.
She also thought it was unreasonable that our other roommate would cut her toenails on our kitchen table.
When we got home from Disney, my life seemed empty without her in it everyday. She came out to Seattle and spent the summer with me.
But I knew Erin was going to have a special place in my heart forever when I was going through a period of my life where I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I hadn’t really opened up to many people about having MRKH, and one night, I told her. I cannot remember exactly how I told her, or what she said, but what I do remember is her not acting weird around me.  She always treated me like a normal person. She asked questions, she made fun of me (in an appropriate way), we laughed about it, she let me cry, she hugged me and told me she thought I was a strong person. I felt like she really understood me, and knew what I was going through. She thought it was the worst thing anyone could go through (she was definitely wrong on that one).   My point is, that Erin came in to my life when I needed someone like her the most, and as years went by, we stayed in touch, but grew apart as time went on. Its hard keeping relationships across the Country when you are both leading separate lives, and she was raising 3 kids. Erin never treated me different, as people often times do. She could always make me laugh when I wanted to cry.  I will NEVER forget our relationship, and the important and special role that she had in my life.
When I spoke to her a few weeks before she passed away, she ended our conversation with “everything is relative my friend”.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Save The Adoption Tax Credit

Why do I care about the adoption credit so much?  Because since I was 16 years old, I have been involved in a community of women who cannot carry their own children.  And although there are several ways we can still have children, adoption is a popular, yet expensive route.  Many families depend on this tax credit to HELP supplement the cost of adoption, but many children depend on it even more.  If this tax credit goes away, there will be so many families that will not be able to afford to adopt, which will mean more children will be left in our foster care system.  Isn’t it our responsibility to do what’s right for kids, and for their futures?  

When I was 16 years old, I found out I had MRKH.  I was lucky enough to have an amazing doctor who encouraged me to look on the bright side of things, and to look beyond the “why me”.  As soon as I left that doctors appointment, I knew I was put on this earth to make a difference, I left that appointment knowing that I not only wanted to adopt, but that was what I was meant to do.  I consider myself lucky that if this adoption credit goes away, I will still be able to adopt a child. I have an amazing family and support system who will make sure this happens, but not everyone is this lucky.


So, why do I care about the adoption credit so much? I care because I care about kids, I care about their futures and I care about making families complete. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I'm In A Magazine!!

It has been forever since I've posted! Do people still blog? I plan on continuing because it is a good way for me to talk about my feelings and hope that people have a better understanding of me and people who are a little different.

So here's the thing...I did an interview with Woman's Health magazine a while ago and got a crazy amount of positive feedback from my friends, family, strangers and other people who have MRKH. Then, a week or so after the article got published in the magazine, my article somehow made the front page of yahoo news! My article was right above some story about Rob  Kardashian!  I had no idea that would happen, and when it did, I felt a nervous feeling in my stomach...I wasn't sure If I was ready for it to hit the freaking home page of  YAHOO NEWS! However, I learned a very important lesson...NEVER read the comments! They were hurtful! I cried. Some made me laugh, but mostly they upset me. I thought I had pretty thick skin, but not this time. But then, I had people reach out to me that didn't know they had MRKH, and been living with this misterous condition. I felt better about things.

So, in case you haven't read the article, here it is!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bucket List

Jason and I would like to take the next 6 months - year to mark things off our “Child-free Life Bucket List.”   So, what kind of things should we do?


We have already done a lot.  I feel like if we had a kid tomorrow, we would be completely satisfied with what we have done in our “child-free” life, but since we have the time, what should we do?  All suggestions welcome!

It's The Small Things

Here is the situation.... I work in a department of about 15 people, and a couple months ago two girls who are about my age announced they were pregnant on the same day.  It was of course a little hard for me because everyone was so excited and I knew that will never be me announcing I am pregnant...And two of them in one day?!?  That can be a little overwhelming for anyone.  BUT, I am genuinely happy for these two girls.  They are both wonderful people and I love them!  A couple days later, another co-worker left this card on my desk.

In case you cannot read what it says, "Dear Jen, I just want you to know how incredible I think you are!  I know it must be very hard to listen to all of the baby talk, yet you seem so genuinely happy for both girls.  Your wonderful demeanor is incredible and I admire you very very much!  P.S Ill still buy you a baby when I can." 

This was probably one of the most thoughtful things that someone has done for me.  To have an outsider understand / sympathize what I go through on a somewhat daily basis was a great feeling. It made my heart happy, so thank you kind co-worker!  And although she probably thought this was a small gesture, it meant everything to me!  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Uterus Transplants For Everyone!

If you haven’t already read the article about the uterus transplants coming to the United States, you absolutely should!  Read it here!  Although, I will not personally be contacting the Cleveland Doctors because I already have my heart set on adoption, I am super excited for the MRKH community.  I have never had a strong desire to carry my own child, maybe because I have known about my condition for so long, or maybe because it’s not important to me.  BUT, I do know there are woman out there who would love nothing more than to be able to carry their own children, and I am so thrilled about the future of the uterus transplant.  I would love to be part of this ground breaking medical experiment, but I just don’t think it’s for me.  However, I do know a girl who will be meeting with the Cleveland Doctors, and I cannot wait to hear how it goes for her!