Patience, reflection and time – Part 4

Cycle Update: I’ve had my period and baseline u/s. 15 follicles on one side and about 8 on the other. DocO put me on BCP (for 9 days).  Today is cycle day 7. I have 5 more pills to go before the next monitoring appointment. If all goes well, then I’ll start IVF #2 officially in a week or so.

I had planned an evening out with friends weeks in advance. I couldn’t easily cancel. One of those friends I introduced to M and they have become friends (she learned of M’s pregnancy two weeks earlier). If I lost it and started crying, I knew she would tell M all about it. I was panicked. This was great stress and the reason why I needed to work through my feelings before I was out in public again. I had to keep myself together but people would be on my doorstep in 3 hours. 

When I finished my glass of scotch, I did not got back for more. Instead, I picked up the phone. I needed to talk to someone who loved me, who would listen and not judge, let me vent and perhaps offer a different perspective.  MrBeep was not available, and also he is a guy and doesn’t always appreciate the need to just talk it out. I called my friend Lindsay, just to talk for a few minutes.  I didn’t get out more than a few words, something about it being a bad day when the wave finally hit, the flood came and I broke down. “Can you come over?” I said, my voice cracking, the tears beginning to pour out of me. “I’m leaving now. I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” she said. What felt like a heartbeat later, she was there and sat in the garden next to me, held my hand, comforted me.  She listened with patience and offered empathy.  She let me cry and rage. 

When people arrived to pick me up, I was cried out, my rage gone.  The Ache and The Empty were still ghosts in the back of my mind, but they would not overwhelm me.  I went out in public that evening, and was asked by MrBeep at the table full of people about my day with M.  I told him her news. My smile was genuine, my happiness for her true and no tears came to my eyes. 

It is because of Lindsay’s kindness and offer to listen that I got through the day. Being comforted with her and by spending time with myself -- in quiet contemplation that day and for the next few days -- I have come back to a place that is ME. 

Now on to a comments…

Part 1:  I wish I could respond to each and every comment, but it would make this post so much longer than it already is.  Know that if I didn’t mention you directly, I love and really appreciate all of your heartfelt sympathy and warmth. I gratefully accepted your hugs and love. I needed them.

Beautiful Mess said “I hope your friend understand that you are not mad at HER, just sad about your situation.”  Absolutely right.  Some people think that strong feelings are directed toward them rather than just being strong, and hard.  I consciously chose not to direct my feelings at her.  I think she knew this.  I hope she realized and appreciated it.

Meinsideout said, “I get really angry about how IF, loss and all that we have to go through really isolates us. I am sorry that you feel alone sometimes.”  It is a very difficult thing to feel alone while surrounded by people. If I didn’t have you wonderful YOU, I wouldn’t just feel sorry for myself and FEEL ALONE sometimes, I would actually BE ALONE.  That is a scary and dark place.  I hope that anyone who is feeling sad and depressed about infertility can find us, even if they are not a blogger, just joining in on reading and commenting can help. It is why I love the ALI community. 

Darkblack said, “Understanding is not the right word. That's the problem. Our friends and family mean to say that they empathize with our situation, which is fair. Others may not have gone through what you have, but everyone has felt heartbreak, loneliness, helplessness, and pain. They may not understand the journey, but they can empathize with where you are at. Heartbreak is universal, the cause is secondary. I think we can take our friends and family at their word, they do understand on a fundamentally human level.”  He is absolutely right. It is largely the reason why I held fast to my patience. She was reaching out and happened to use the wrong word and I broke down, to a certain degree I failed her. My difficulty wasn’t just WHAT she said, but WHERE and HOW she said it.  She was in a no-win situation and I was so overcome with the sense that my friend had no regard for my feelings, no consideration for my situation. I felt ambushed. Like Sprogblogger said in her comment, “sometimes - a lot of the time these days, it seems - there just isn't anything that anyone can say that I want to hear. No matter how well-intentioned.”  She is absolutely right too.  This is was makes it difficult, that both sides of the same debate are equally correct and true.

Part 2:  It was difficult to understand the feelings I was going through until I gave them names, The Ache and The Empty.

One who understands said, “I think one of the hardest things for me to get people to understand is that I do hope, but I have to be realistic. Happy endings are great, but they are not a guarantee. Sometimes all we need is for people to get that it is hard. It is really stinkin hard.”   YES!  You my dear, are wise beyond your years. It is always a balance of Hope and Optimism vs. Reality.  If you don’t achieve that balance as much as you can, you will walk away from this battle truly scarred beyond recognition.  You also have to recognize when you’ve hit the wall and it’s time to change your outlook and maybe your dreams.

On the same vein, Sunny wrote, “Your dear friend, who is no doubt a lovely person if she's your friend, obviously doesn't even have a hint of insight into the rollercoaster of IF -- the need to be hopeful but CAUTIOUS and REALISTIC. That is a good thing for her. I wouldn't wish the heartache on anyone.”  Thank you Sunny for your nice comment on my friend. She is, like you, a wonderful person.  I was nodding my head while reading the comments and saying Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes.  The perfect words. Cautious. Realistic.

K commented, “I GET your emotion and pain. I get it when I read it. I feel it. It makes me cry too and I don't know M or really you, either...sort of.”  I know you get it, K.  I’m so sorry that any of you have to know this and  I’m sorry that telling my story has stirred up many old wounds and pain.

Wiseguy expressed, “But I would have been equally shocked to find somebody I am extremely intimate with to suddenly come out and tell me that they are expecting...and not at six weeks, but almost shy of giving birth.”  Yes. Exactly. I realized afterwards that I had seen her twice during the time she knew she was pregnant. I dropped everything and spent a day with her when she found out one of her dogs has terminal cancer. I held her while she cried and comforted her…she never said anything to me (she was probably at 12-14 weeks).  I’m not sure how my heart feels about this.

Clare wrote, “She doesn't get it and she won't. It was an intense day for you - the way she revealed her pregnancy to you was quite an ambush, usually when people tell you they're pg you can't see anything, it's not so in your face but at 7 months - there was no escaping it at any point in the day.
You must have felt totally drained when you got home. But i understand the support you feel from the ALI community, without this, I hate to think what emotional wreck I'd be by now.”
  See?  I knew you, my bloggidy friends, would understand it all.  You use all the right words, expressed all of my emotions and even knew exactly where I was at the end of the day because you all have BEEN THERE.  No matter what age, not matter what continent, you GET IT and that comforts me.

mekate offered a wholly different perspective, “and she is right too-- we lose site of the magic. We lose sight of it in the flood of other crapola, the stats, our experiences, our rises and falls, but the magic, it really is there. I have to believe it. I have to.” This comment floated with me for days until I realized and accepted that both M and mekate are Absolutely Right, I did lose sight of the magic. You DO have to believe in that magic to truly keep hope in your heart.  The next line, “It will not necessarily be *my* magic, and that perhaps is one of the hardest things to deal with.” broke my heart because I get that too.  There is so much profound truth in that comment.  I am still haunted by it. 

Part 3:  I was actually quite afraid of putting my feelings - the honest, the contemplative, the good, the ugly, the nasty - out to the world to read.  It’s scary to do this, but I felt it necessary.  I have heard so many stories of fertiles and infertiles alike behaving badly when the news of pregnancy appears.  Afterwards there is regret and hurt.  Overall I think I handled it well and wanted to use my pain to help just one person not blow it, no feelings shattered, perhaps a friendship saved. 

Phoebe wrote, “This pretty much sums up the whole gamut of feelings. I think you have managed to summarize all I've been feeling as well! The loss of hope is the worst. How do you move forward when there is no hope? Or how do you have hope when the hopelessness keeps nagging at you? I'd like to think that it comes down to more than hope. I think for me, what it comes down to is love. If it was about hope for me, I think I would give up. The love I have for a child is what keeps moving me forward.”  Thank you to Phoebe, the beautiful phoenix, showing us how to rise from the ashes of despair and fly toward Love and Hope.

Thank you all so much for walking through this ordeal with me.  I am sorry for the length, your time is valuable to me.  The truth is it took me a handful of days to work through it all, but much longer to write about it. I really appreciate you all were so respectful of me and my friend. I didn’t want a bitchfest, filled with vitriol and nastiness, I wanted understanding.  I needed community and I received more than I could have imagined with a full and grateful heart.  Your kind words about my writing truly humble me. Your comments and advice are a solace.  Sending back waves of the same love and hugs you sent to me.  The simple words “Thank You” cannot fully express my gratitude. 

11 comments on "Patience, reflection and time – Part 4"

Sprogblogger on September 9, 2009 at 2:06 PM said...

It is amazing to me - constantly, humblingly amazing - what an astonishingly powerful resource our blogging companions are during these crappy times. Sorry we're in this at all, because honestly? it sucks. But so very happy to have company for the clamber out of the pit of despair & back toward the daylit world of normalcy and happiness. Thinking of you and of your remarkable honesty and general goodness during this whole 4 part post.

(And, keeping my fingers crossed that this cycle is the one that lifts you out of here, because I'm really looking forward to reading your pregnancy blog. Really & truly looking forward to that. Because that? That's gonna be awesome.)

darkblack on September 9, 2009 at 2:39 PM said...

It's great that blogging helps you, and others. Venting to friends and family can be healing, as you know.

My wife and I saw a counselor for this round, which I would recommend to people as well. Not only a trained professional, but someone that had personal experience with her own fertility issues. There is no need to go this alone, and when you look at the costs of a few hours speaking to someone vs. the costs of things like IVF (not to mention your mental health) it makes sense.

I wish you the best of luck.

Sunny on September 9, 2009 at 3:47 PM said...

Thank goodness for the Lindsay's of the world. And for the IF Optimists and the other wonderful bloggers that keep us going when we need a hand.

A thousand prayers for this IVF. Sitting with you as you wait.

Anonymous said...

First - you had a great baseline - woo hoo!!!

I know that I would be lost without all of you.

And IRL, I too have a few Lindsays - very, very few but so, so precious to me.

Mrs. Gamgee on September 9, 2009 at 9:58 PM said...

This community is so special. I despise that we all need this kind of support, but I'm so glad that it's here.

I think that it took incredible courage to process all of that emotion, to put it out there, and not just sweep it under the proverbial rug. And I am so glad that there you have someone like Lindsay who you can call on when you need more than a virtual hug!

Sending prayers and good thoughts for your cycle...

K on September 10, 2009 at 10:03 AM said...

First: Holy shit Batman! What an amazing follicle count. It's going to happen for you. It's totally going to happen.

Second: I am so glad you have a friend like Lindsay. She is a gem. What I found was so amazing (to me anyway) is that YOU knew what you needed to get through that difficult night. I honestly don't think I could figure that out for myself, aside from throwing down several glasses of wine right before hand or calling out sick at the last minute. (Which I have done, more than once.)

Third: All of the comments were amazing to read, and so spot on, no matter what the opinion. What troubled me this time was that you had seen M before, and in fact, had seen her during a time of her own distress. That's such a difficult position to be in. I could see feeling like the friendship/support mechanism is one-sided. (I could go on about this issue for days.) It puts you in a difficult spot now probably to decide how you want to manage that friendship with M? I'm sorry about this. I've been going through this too. My best advice is...let any concerns you have about the friendship go. For now. There will be time to deal with it later. You need to focus on the next cycle and the great things your body is doing now.

Sorry this turned in to a book of a comment. Wasn't intending that. And wasn't intending to lecture about the friendship either.

IF Optimist, then... on September 10, 2009 at 1:38 PM said...

No worries on your mega-comment K. I love them. You've hit it on the nose a little with how I feel about her not telling me, but honestly, she was also in a place of great fear. She had no idea if the pregnancy was going to last or if there were genetic issues. She didn't want anyone to judge her if she had to make an impossible decision.

They wanted to keep it quiet until they were sure. I respect that. She told her mother at 5 months after amnio results came back (she was completely unaware of CVS testing). She called me somewhere in the 6th month to have lunch, but I was out of town. I have decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. She is a good person, she deserves my understanding. I hope I am given the same consideration in the future world of karma if I ever happen to do anything unaware and trespass unknowingly on the feelings of others. I am certainly not perfect and my big mouth has been known to need a censor.

Clare on September 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM said...

Wow - what an emotional rollercoaster. But you dealt with it so well, analyzing your feelings, talking it out with a friend and of course getting it all out there in cyberspace. We will all be stronger wiser women for this IF experience I'm sure. Hugs.

Beautiful Mess on September 11, 2009 at 9:16 AM said...

I'm late on commenting, I'm sorry! I had chills the whole time reading this. Your friend coming to you in your time of need and allowing you to just get it all out. Then seeing you answer the question at the table with TRUE happiness for M. It's just a heartbreaking but beautiful journey.

I'm glad you wrote all of this out and you got the feedback and comfort you were looking for. This community of people are truly amazing. I've been pulled out of a dark place many times by these women.

one-hit_wonder on September 12, 2009 at 10:11 AM said...

Wow, I can finally post on your blog! (For whatever reason, I wasn't able to do so before whenever I checked in.) My fingers are crossed for you.

Ann on September 14, 2009 at 8:00 PM said...

I too hate that we need each other during this journey. But I'm very grateful that we can be here for each other. You've been such a support for others, I'm glad to know that you have Lindsey who will come over in an instant. What a blessing!

Excitedly watching this IVF cycle with you and sending many good vibes. It will happen. It will. We're all right beside you.


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