Anniversary and updates

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HoorayYesterday was MrBeep’s and my anniversary.  We’ve been married for two years, but we have been together for over fourteen.  We decided to have the ceremony and “make it official” because we were seriously going for help in making our family.  We had our ceremony in the local state park in a grove covered with trees and surrounded by ferns.  Here is a picture of us after the ceremony, walking from the fern grove to the reception building.  My dress was green and the top had gold and copper embroidery.  It was hand made by a local shop in Bellevue, WA.  We are both so glad we got hitched because we have an official day where we enjoyed a big party with a small group of our favorite friends and family.  We both decided amid the planning that we didn’t want a wedding cake because most wedding cake isn’t very good…and really…when it comes right down to it.  Wouldn’t you rather have pie?  We love pie.  We had a wedding pie. 

WeddingPie

A pear and almond tart, it was fun and yummy and topped with Penguins in Love

Last year, I came up with a system for our anniversary.  We both decided was a fun idea.

MrBeep is in charge of odd year anniversary celebrations (1, 3, 5, 7, 9…)
I am in charge of even year anniversary celebrations (2, 4, 6, 8, 10…)

Smootch If the anniversary date falls on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday we make a mini-vacation out of it.  If the date falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday then we have a little evening of dinner or a movie. Last year MrBeep selected a weekend in Portland, OR. This year I chose to go out to a restaurant in Seattle called Bizzarro.  We shared the best risotto I have ever enjoyed.  It was served with a seared duck breast.  We also had some hand-made pasta with Bolognese.  Dessert was strawberry and balsamic vinegar ice-cream.  Mmmmmmmmm.  We both had a really fun time and we love new eating adventures. I’m very lucky to have such a great best friend and love in MrBeep.  I am a better person for meeting and knowing him he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

Cycle status update:  Sorry for the delay in reporting what is going on with me and eggs and the cycle.  I have been swamped with a new cool film project. I promise to write about that another time.  Tuesday we hadn’t quite made it so we waited another day.  Today I went in to see DocO for an ultrasound and blood work.  Ultrasound finally revealed enough follicles over 19mm to go for trigger.  I have 16 follicles measuring above 10mm on with a half dozen smaller ones around for good measure.  DocO thinks we may get 10 or 11 good sized ones out of the bunch given their current size.  My E2 level was 2585 so we have some going on for sure.  MrBeep mixed my trigger shot while I watched and we took it at 9:30 pm.  We are scheduled for egg retrieval on Friday morning.  WOWZER! 

Simply stimulating my dear

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Things are moving along, time is rushing by.  I enjoyed a blood letting and coochie cam extravaganza at 7:45 am on a Saturday morning.  Boy, did I love getting up that early, lemme tell ya.  No coffee, eyes barely open.  I let MrBeep sleep in and keep the bed nice and warm for my return.  DrKAwesome checked me out and declared my endometrium “nice and thick” which I will assume is OK.  Then she checked both ovaries and started measuring follicle sizes.  Lefty was in a funny position and hiding, but we measured 6 follicles at 8 – 12 mm.  Righty measured 8 follicles at 8-12 mm too.  So it looks like the growth is pretty even. There are no cysts or follicles measuring way ahead of the rest of the bunch. My E2 numbers are at 598, so that went up nicely from two days ago (221).  My meds have stayed steady since the beginning of the stim cycle so I think that is good too.  I am nervous about these things because last cycle we ran into drug issues so hopefully that won’t be the case this time.  So far it seems things are working OK.  (Knock on wood) 

MrBeep is so wonderful.  He prepares my meds every morning and evening while I watch (as an added quality assurance check).  Sometimes we mix it up and I mix/prep the injections while he verifies the protocol (I know, we’re wild like that!)  He refuses to ever just prep the meds like last time, he has to double-check the doctor’s website to make sure that none of the medications or dosages have changed.  He’s thorough and very scientific.  I highly recommend having that quality assurance checker, it really helps make you feel like you’ve done everything right and no important steps were forgotten, plus you get the added bonus of hugs and kisses on a job well done.

I was a good girl and finished the rest of my boring work that I was procrastinating on today.  I think writing about it to y’all embarrassed me enough to finally get it done.  Now hopefully I can move on to a few more things that are fun or at least mildly interesting, like cleaning my desk and doing bills…or maybe I will just go for a walk in the sun.

What’s the buzz? Tell me whatsa happenin’

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I’ve been on the micro-dose lupron protocol officially since Sunday.  I took small doses of lupron (.1 cc ) in the morning and evening on Sunday and Monday.  Then I had a quick ultrasound check on Monday to make sure the aspirated cyst was indeed gone and

<drumroll please>

WOOO HOOO it was nice and flat and deflated.  Both ovaries are showing no cysts and 10-15 follicles each, so hopefully I’ll have a “good crop”.  On Tuesday I continued the morning micro-dose of lupron but added a 375 unit dose of gonal-f.  In the evening I take another dose of lupron and 150 units of menopur.  That makes me stimming now for a couple of days.  I had no idea how I was doing until today when I had my first blood draw.  My E2 level is at 225, which I am told is good.  I go back for a (ugh!) 7:45 am appointment on Saturday to get another blood draw and an ultrasound.  Hopefully these eggs are baking along quite nicely.  Every day I take a prenatal vitamin along with a RE recommended low-dose aspirin -- my belly is black and blue from the injections and thin blood.  MrBeep looks at me, sticks out his lower lip and pouts on my behalf.  Then I get kisses and hugs and words of encouragement.  The menopur stings sometimes but other times it doesn’t at all.  I couldn’t tell you why.

On the “other parts of my life” front I am not accomplishing as much daily as I would like, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles around here.  I need to finish a tremendously boring aspect of what I am doing right now and I know I’m procrastinating.  I’m getting just enough done to avoid total embarrassment…but it’s really not good enough.  I need to just get the damned thing out of the way.  Maybe tomorrow I will put my nose to the grindstone and not be distracted by…hey, look a  shiny thing in the corner of my eye <wander>. 

On more creative fronts, I received final copies of four Japanese children’s stories I helped rewrite with my friend and his mother.  My friend’s mother produces and records audiobooks in Japanese for the blind.  This year they decided to do some classic children’s folk tales with readings in both Japanese and English.  I received the first draft of four different stories from the Japanese version and rewrote them to add dialog and fix some of the awkwardness from the original transcripts.  I listened to the finished CDs for the first time on Wednesday and it was really fun.  They have asked me to do four more stories in the next few months.  Yay for fun and creative stuff to do!

Spa goodness & pole dancing partytime

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Just a quick note to thank everyone for their great comments and sense of humor on my posts. The aspiration was quick and I really felt 100% the next day. It sounds much worse than it is.

My girlfriend Alli was having her bachelorette party on Saturday and we started with the local Korean Spa.  For $35 you can hang out in the rooms and sauna and pools all day long.  I decided to get a scrub and a massage.

It was freaking fabulous. 

Really, it was heaven on a plate.   You should check out the spa tour photos.  What a great and relaxing transition to our crazy party evening that included learning to dance on a stripper pole/lingerie house party.  Everything was going along really well when a “police officer” showed up and broke up the party.  He insisted on arresting our lovely bachelorette.  Somehow whilst the handcuffs were applied all of his clothes fell off.  I got it enjoy the whole thing without the advantage of alcohol goggles. I did make sure be the awesome friend who holds your hair back, assures you everything will be OK and tucks you into bed when you are able to crawl back into the house. 

I got home at 4am on Sunday and rolled very tiredly into bed. I started my protocol and took a micro-dose injection of lupron at 8am in the morning and then stumbled back into bed for several more hours. Tomorrow I start stims. All is going well. I don’t seem to have any adverse reactions (knock wood)…well actually my butt hurts from too many hours of dancing in high heels. ;-)

How was YOUR weekend?

Be careful what you wish

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Awhile back, it seems live forever-and-a-day ago, I wrote in a post called, “Are you kidding me?” that I had a cyst on my right ovary and it seemed to be caused (rather than prevented) by the birth control pills I was taking for the start of my IVF #2 protocol. In the post I joked about someone coming over to punch me in the ovary to pop the bastard, but alas…no one came over to try.  So I had to wait it out for the danged thing to disappear on its own.  Next cycle it seemed fine.  Righty had no large follicles. I started birth control pills and again, this time 9 days later, I had a nice juicy cyst on the right ovary. Just big enough to cause problems. After the ultrasound I joked with DocO and said, “OK Doc.  How about you just punch me as hard as you can in the ovary and we’ll see if we can pop it.  Think that will work?”  Honestly he looked a bit surprised, realized I was joking and said back, “Well, there have been no scientific papers published on that method.  We could try to start a study, but I think it would be very difficult to find volunteers.”  We laughed and I agreed to try it their way, all science-y and proven and get the cyst aspirated.

I got my favorite ladydoc for this procedure, DrKAwesome. The cyst aspiration prep is similar to egg retrieval.  You undress, get into a gown, booties, hat.  They put yummy warm blankets on you and get an IV going and shoot you full of some happy drugs that are quite similar to having 2 double-martinis. Did I mention that I’m a happy drunk?  When the proper amount of loopyness sets in, they wheel you into the procedure room.  First you scoot onto the fancy mega stirrup table. Then you get a “WHOA good morning!” wake up call from a cold speculum and a special ultrasound wand with a retractable needle attachment is welcomed into the party.  DrKAwesome used the ultrasound image to line up the cyst and

***WHAM!**** punched me in the ovary

…or at least that is what it felt like.  Unluckily for me, stubborn ole righty shifted and rolled a bit during the punch (it was bobbing and weaving like a champ).  DrKAwesome had to do it a total of 3 times to get that bastard popped.  It felt exactly like getting punched multiple times in the ovary.  Luckily it is only uncomfortable for a brief time, there is a minute amount of bleeding (like a 1/2 tsp) and then you are given yummy crackers and sent home.  Afterwards you get to watch as much TV as you want and fall asleep on the couch and have MrBeep take you out for delicious Pho because it’s your pick for dinner.  Mmmmmmmm spicy beefy noodly soupy goodness.

So, um, yeah…being punched in the ovary?  Don’t ask for that and don’t joke about that, OK?

High aspirations

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Sorry I am writing so late.  I swear I am not doing this to build for dramatic tension.  I went in this morning for my blood work and follicle ultra sound and…

flucking
cyst
was
bigger

That’s right folks.  Now that I took a couple of extra days of birth control pills it has made the cyst a tiny bit bigger, by about a millimeter.  Nice huh?   DocO said that they would need to get the labs back and discuss options in their noon meeting.  They said that they would call and let us know whether they recommend delaying or aspirating the cyst.   I waited forever, then fell asleep on the couch when the phone rang at 4:15 p.m.  It was MrBeep wanting to know what the plan was.  I called the RE office and talked to Katie (I was next to call on her list, grumble grumble).  My E2 is even better (staying nice and low).  The plan is that I am going in tomorrow for a cyst aspiration about noon.  It is similar in prep to an egg retrieval and I have to get IV’ed and doped up a bit.  MrBeep will need to drive me home and be there in case I have any bad reactions to the medicine. 

After the aspiration, the plan is for me to start injecting micro-dose lupron starting on Sunday.  Finally, FINALLY I get to do something. 

There is so much going on right now.  mekate is going for egg retrieval tomorrow, K was retrieved today and should get her egg/fert report soon, Megan is holding out for a day 5 transfer hopefully on Friday, Pie is starting MDL a couple of days ahead of me (cycle buddy!), The Infertile Breeder (my friend from resolve boards) just got back a good 2nd beta after a first one that was a little scary.  Mad Hatter has given the finger to doctors who didn’t believe in the power of her ovaries and ovulated on her own.  She is currently in the 2WW.

Sprogblogger got heartbreaking news today, Shannon is remembering a sad anniversary, Sarah had devastating news this week too.  Please go give them all some support and love.

The universe is expanding, galaxies are spinning.  We are all along for the ride.  Love and hugs and magic sending out on the night’s wind and through the Seattle rain to you all.

I have a comment…fluck

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I went in this morning for my suppression check.  I finished the last of my 9 days of birth control pills on Sunday morning and this was The Big Day…and…we found another cyst.  It is borderline in size and may be on its way out.  I told DocO and the nurse I was feeling pains and pangs on my right side for several days about 2-3 days ago but things have quieted down for the most part.  Those pains have gone away, but there was still a cyst on the ultrasound.  I asked, “it’s on the right side, correct?”  Nurse Sara was surprised and said, “That’s right.  You’re just like the princess and the pea, aren’t you?”  “Yeah, I am by now” I told her.  It’s funny how much this ride can make you in tune with your insides.

So I’m a great IVF patient on paper.  My lab results came back great…again.  I am well suppressed, the cyst doesn’t seem to be causing an estrogen spike.  My E2 is at a nice low 37.  My FSH is 8.1.  I have 10-15 follicles on each ovary (yeah, we’re talking like 20-30 eggs percolating in there gals).  There is so much to raise my hopes, so many good things that hint at a great start, but here come the cysts in to make my princess bed all lumpy and uncomfortable.  <sigh>

So here’s the current plan, I took another birth control pill today and will do so for 2 more days.  I am supposed to go back on Wednesday for another ultrasound, and hopefully the cyst will measure smaller and we can get this show on the road.  If it is unchanged or bigger..well I dunno.  I guess I’ll have to lay on that bed after I make it.  Peas and all.

I was reading and commenting today and I got a word verification that summed up my thoughts on this exactly…

fluck

Yes ladies and germs…fluck, which could mean what we think of first or the optimist in me says it can be a compound word for follicle and luck, which is exactly what I need right now.

Fabulous Fotography Friday

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Status Me:  2 more pills to go.  Getting some mild pangs in righty. 

I’ve been having fun with photography and you get your choice, depending on your mood.  These are formatted for a high-def screen (1920x1080).  Have fun.

Would you like your beauty in technicolor? 

RedDahlia

Would you prefer moody and grainy?

BlackDahlia

About Fabulous Fotography Friday:
As I mentioned in my prior post “
Guess my number, win a prize” I was going to grab the ole Nikon and spend some of my 2 week waits taking and editing pictures. To save any of these photos for your very own, just click on the picture. A new window will open and show you the larger (higher-resolution) version, then right-click on the big image and choose “Save Picture As…” in Internet Explorer (“Save Image As…” in Firefox). They make awesome desktop images.

Patience, reflection and time – Part 4

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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.
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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. 

Patience, reflection and time – Part 3

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Then I did something I have never done before in my life.  I walked back into the house, poured two fingers of scotch and took it back to the chair in the garden.  Every time The Empty and The Ache boiled up trying to engulf me, I took a sip. It is a scary thing to fully realize what turns some people to drink.  The burning sensation of the scotch matched the feeling in my throat, pushing it back.  I needed to calm down, I needed time to process.  Pick them apart -- The Ache and The Empty.  Dissect each one.  They were so unfamiliar, too overwhelming.

Was I angry?  Angry because yet another person came before me?  Angry for being told this way?  Angry for feeling humiliated and crying in public?  Angry for being locked out of my friend’s life?  Angry for not being trusted?  Angry for being told that I wasn’t hopeful enough?

The honest answer is yes. However none of it was strong enough to cause my reaction, my total shutdown.  Anger was there, but it wasn’t the key.

How about Guilt?  Did I feel guilty because I didn’t jump up and down and squeal when I heard her great news?  Guilty because I didn’t tell her sooner how my IVF went?  Guilty because I didn’t push going to the RE sooner?  Guilty because I waited for surgery?  Guilty because I didn’t reveal MY true feelings to save HERS?

I have some guilt, but it’s mostly internal things about what I COULDA SHOULDA done to move things along quicker when I was younger.  But even these arguments break down because the time I waited gave extra time to MrBeep to fully come on board and really want a family with me.  I would rather have his extraordinary 100% support at 37, 38, 39, 40 than have 30% at 35.  So no.  The big empty ache was not guilt.

Shame?   Shame about my situation?  Shame over my reaction?  Shame at feeling this way and not keeping my shit under control? 

I do feel ashamed sometimes.  A bit.  I’m 40, maybe I’m too old to be a good mom.  I never wanted to be some tired old hag.  And there are children starving in remote countries while I am shelling out a fortune that could be feeding them instead.  But we all know the truth is you can’t take the whole weight of the world on your shoulders along with IF.  I have to finish working on this, my heart’s desire before I can give my heart to another cause.  I think overall I reacted well.  I am very, very happy for her – said so, acted so.  The truth is I was very worried she would realize how much she wanted a family when it was too late for her.  She is 39 and for some people it can be tough, if not impossible.  I’m glad she didn’t have any problems conceiving.  Given our earlier conversations, I suspect it took them 1-3 months.  I would never wish the pain, the grief that is infertility on ANYONE.  I was ashamed at being overwhelmed, but I knew it was not the reason for being overwhelmed.

Bitterness?  Oh my god.  Am I bitter?  Have I reached that horrible stage?  Has my heart truly blackened to that degree?

This is a place I fear.  I thought long and hard about this one.  What does bitterness truly feel like?  What precisely is it?  Intense hatred, rancor, resentment.  Feelings of malice and spite so intense as to overcome all of the goodness and joy in my heart.  That is bitterness to me.  I am NOT THAT.  Not now, hopefully not ever.

Jealousy or Envy?  Could I be jealous of my friend?  Have I let my desire to have what I want trump what I feel for another person who I love?  Do I think I deserve it more than her?  Would I have the audacity to believe something like that?

This is an interesting thing to think hard about.  We all say that we are jealous sometimes at a surface level, but if you dig down…are you really?  Does envy mean that you want what they actually have?  Something so strong, if you had the power you would take it away and keep it for yourself? I thought about this and realized…No.  I don’t want what she has.  I don’t want to be Her.  I don’t want Her life.  I don’t want Her husband.  I don’t want Her baby.  I want MY baby, OUR baby.  I want MY life with MY husband to include a family and if it can’t be MINE on MY terms…then I don’t want it at all.  I’m not trying to sound harsh.  I am not speaking for everyone.  I am expressing my own personal truth. 

In my heart, in my head, it has always been impossible for me to be jealous of other pregnant women because babies are not a limited supply item.  We don’t all get to stick our hands in a jar and pull out a marble.  If a girl comes up with a red marble, she gets and baby leaving fewer chances in the jar left for me.  There is no magic being that decides who gets one and who doesn’t.  Anyone’s success in getting pregnant and having a child is completely separate and independent of mine.  I will admit to a feeling of longing, wondering if it will ever happen for me.  That longing is not jealousy or envy and for me it is certainly not The Ache or The Empty.

Fear?  Worry?  Will this ruin my relationship with MrBeep?  What will go wrong next?  How many more months can my sanity take? Will I go through all this only to realize it will NEVER work?  Or that it worked but then having to suffer loss after loss?  When should I give up?  Will I still be here no farther on the journey another year from now?

As I went through the myriad of swirling feelings that accompany fear and worry, admitting just how scared I was to fail in the end, to lose my dream, The Ache started to release it’s strangling grip on my throat.  The fear and worry build up over time, trying to consume.  I want this thing, I do, but I also don’t want it to take away my joy.  I am so scared in the end to live with regret or pain.  I don’t want every friend with a family to avoid me. I don’t want to see families or children and feel a sense of loss each time.  Those tiny little bites will eventually eat away your soul. 

Truth is I can see no way to remove fear from my mind. No magic elixir to make me stop worrying about the future.  All I can do is stand and look fear straight in the eye.  See it for what it is, it’s dark shape, and try my best not to let it steal me away in the night, leaving an empty shell in my place.  I will use them, they will not use me.  I choose to use fear and worry as tools to make smarter choices that either take me to my goal or let me know when it’s clearly time to change the game.  I do not choose to give my life away to fear. I do not choose to be consumed with worry.  With that realization, The Ache faded to something small, still there, but not engulfing me. 

Sorrow?   

The Big Emptiness in my chest was still there as I considered sorrow.  Here was MY truth and I was gripped with an overwhelming sense of sadness.  I thought through it for a long time and finally recognized it’s cause.  It was TIME.  When I looked at M I plainly saw the physical reality of 7 months flash by in a second.  I felt more sorrow from her comments about knowing I was going to be pregnant soon and we would absolutely have our kids play together some day. I had the same conversations with another good friend.  We talked about how wonderful it would be to be pregnant at the same time, have our kids play together, etc.  Her son is now 8 months old.  Add that to her pregnancy and it was over 17 months ago.  I was empty and sad that so much time has flown by.  I have poured out so much of my soul only to have gone no where with less chance of success.  It saddened me more to think another year from now I could be in the same situation, a friend telling me how they knew it would happen for me and how my time was next.  How long must I stay in the recurring nightmare?  I also knew how sad I was to watch every year my statistical chances slipping away.  When I started this at 36, the chances for my clinic/age group for IVF were 49%.  At 38 they slipped to 39%.  At my next birthday (in 4 months) I will be in the group 41-42 where the general population’ chances list at 14%.  Being this age, still in this place is really fucking hard. 

I have heard all the stories from friends of how they knew of a woman who got pregnant at 42, her doctor gave them no chance to get pregnant on their own, etc.  I always tell them, “I know these stories are meant to give me hope, but the TRUTH is you only hear publically the story of the ones that worked.  The ten-people-in-a-hundred.  You don’t hear about the ninety others who wanted the same thing and tried their best but instead endured heartache and problems and sometimes, ultimately the loss of their dreams.  Those people suffer privately.  You don’t get babies because you deserve them or because it makes a good story.  It is largely luck and circumstance and dna.”  I do always end by telling them I appreciate their love, their understanding and all the good thoughts and prayers.  Those mean more than a thousand stories. 

Then it came to me.  My Big Emptiness represented the loss of hope.  I thought through the pain and sorrow.  Was I overcome?  Was I too sad at my prospects?  Was it time to give up?  Hope starts out as a bright shimmering light that slowly, eventually dulls and finally fades until it is gone.  Was it entirely gone?  Sitting in my garden, the wind beginning to blow the wind chimes from our wedding sang to me.  The sound hit my ears and woke me from my contemplation.  I knew I was not done on my path.  I knew I still have reasons to be optimistic, I still want to TRY.  I am not giving up yet.  I choose to SEE HOPE still in my journey.

To be completed in the next post, including my views on your comments - in Part 4.

Patience, reflection and time – Part 2

16 comments

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments.  They deserve a post of their own and will  get it in Part 3. This is continued where I left off from my prior post “Patience, reflection and time – Part 1.”  

As I started to cry down in the field, my dear friend M tried to comfort me.  She put her arms around me and held me tight.  She cried too and offered many words of encouragement.  “I know that we were destined to have families together.  Just think about it, we went back to school at the same time, we were laid off from our boring jobs at almost the same time – me first and then you a few months later, and I know you will be right behind me with your family.”  I nodded my head, dried my eyes (swearing to myself I wouldn’t cry that day in public again), put on a smile and said, “We’ll see.  I hope so too, that would make an amusing story to tell, wouldn’t it?”  We continued picking and talking for another thirty minutes.  I turned the conversation back to her, their baby and plans for the house and the future.  Eventually our little buckets were full, the blueberries weighed and paid for, then we headed out for lunch.

While eating lunch we talked about many things.  Eventually, she expressed how worried she was about telling me her news.  I gently admitted it was kind of hard for me to have a good friend who I confided in over the years suddenly show up 7 months along.  I understood why she waited but I thought it would have been easier knowing that she was at least trying.  She seemed slightly annoyed and upset at my confession (sting).  She admitted that they didn’t try for very long (another sting).  Then she started to tell me how I would be pregnant soon anyway and how we were going to have our kids play together, take day trips, go to the zoo, etc. 

I told M I wished she would be right, but I didn’t know.  The odds over the years were starting to creep against me and this was making me terribly afraid.  She became a little frustrated, but smiled anyway and hugged me as she was leaving.  She encouraged me to stop being pessimistic, stop being so scientific, looking at odds and statistics.  I needed to have a little more faith in the magic that it would happen.  She knew because she has a great feeling about this and that I’ll see.  “That’s not quite fair” I told her, “I was very much full of hope in the beginning, but realistic expectations must have a place too.  After a while, if you don’t do that, you will absolutely break down.  The potential lifts you up and every month, then the failure crashes you down.  You have not watched your chances slip as each birthday passes.  You have not walked the years and years in my shoes, on my path.  I appreciate the prayers, good hopes, faith and optimism of all my friends.  Wish very very hard for me.  I do too, but respect also my need to protect my heart.” 

She nodded as she got into her car, but she did not understand, and that’s OK.  She doesn’t need to.  I knew I had a cadre of people who unfortunately do understand.  Who appreciate my situation in a unique way and in that I NEVER feel alone.  If if weren’t for this blog, the ALI community, I wouldn’t have made it through that day with a shred of integrity or grace.  So many of you are my heroes, for your kindness, your perseverance, your intelligence, your wit.

I drove home in utter silence, playing the day over in my mind.  No tears hit my eyes.  All I felt was a load of cotton in my throat and a big ball of empty in my chest.  I needed to be home.  I was tired of being in public.  I wanted the opportunity to process all this in solitude. I finally got home, walked down to my garden, sat right next to my wind chimes and waited for the wave of emotion to crash over me.  The tears to come.  The understanding to begin.

It didn’t crash.  No tears came.  I didn’t understand.

All I felt was The Ache.  The Big Empty.  My throat jammed with cotton, each swallow like razorblades. I sat there, unmoving for two hours, trying to understand what The Ache was.  Exactly how and what I truly felt.  I didn’t know.  I searched my mind, my heart, my soul.  The puzzle didn’t fit. What was this empty, cold feeling in my chest?  Anger? Guilt? Worry?  Shame?  Fear?  Bitterness? Jealously? Sorrow? I truly didn’t know.

continued in Part 3…

 

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