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Just pretend.

30 Jan

Sometimes, I just need to give myself permission to step out of this world for a little while.  After two years of it, it can be quite overwhelming.  When I step away, I try to pretend it never existed.  For a few days – a week – I pretend like my life is normal.  That I’ve never experienced a gut-wrenching loss, never mind four.  I try to pretend that the negatives on the pregnancy tests don’t bother me, that they’re what I want.  That I’m a thousand times joyful for everyone else who has a baby, and don’t care that I haven’t had one yet.  That the last two years have been spent blissfully with my incredible husband, that not a sad tear has been shed.  That come February 11th, the only anniversary it will be is the day after I met my husband, not one where my heart was ripped out of my body with the passing of my baby.

That I’ve never buried a tiny little being, in it’s once-hopeful sac, under an old oak tree in a field nestled between hills.

Sometimes, I want to pretend that my life went as planned.  That it didn’t take a detour down the dark and twisty road of pregnancy loss, that I’ve been on the sun-filled road all along.

And the thing is, sometimes it works.  It works for a few days – a week – and I wake up happy for once.  But the reality always creeps back.  That relentless longing for a child never seems to disappear, no matter how much I pretend it was never there.  I start to miss the people in this little virtual world of mine, the people that I am invested whole-heartedly in their lives and their cycles and their collective uteri.  I can’t turn my back on it now.  I can’t pretend it away.  It’s who I am, it’s who I’ll always be.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say: I can’t wait to be the fuck out of it.

Festive with whine.

14 Dec

I’ve been running around like crazy since Saturday trying to get a bunch of things done for Christmas and for friends visiting this weekend and I’m ready to slow down already.  When I get like this, I get tired and emotional and that combination is never a good thing for someone in my shoes.

You would think running around crazy wouldn’t allow for the baby thoughts to creep in, but they seem to never go away.  This morning as I was cleaning up a bit before I left for work, I opened the trunk in our bedroom and caught a glimpse of the baby blanket my friend made for me two pregnancies ago, and instantly I thought that the chances of wrapping a baby in that incredible gift of love is very slim.  Then moments later as I was getting dressed, I opened a clothes drawer and saw the onesie I bought when I was pregnant for the second time, the one that was just too cute to pass up, even though I knew I was pressing my luck.  It’s red and white striped, and fits exactly into the style Tim swears I possess – that of a pirate (I like to call it romantic).  I love that onesie.  And all I want is to be able to see it on our baby.  Except I realize that it may remain in my drawer, left forever waiting to be filled.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how, at two years, I seem to be becoming an elder in this community.  I know there are a handful of you out there that have been at this for twice that amount of time, and I am awed by your persistence and strength.  Because even though I’m “only” at two years, I’ve started to notice that the majority of women out there don’t usually have to struggle for this long.  I am not by any means saying that their pain or grief or frustration is any less than mine…believe me when I say a month at this is too long.  It’s just that I’m starting to see more and more people succeeding while I remain in the same place.  I’ve begun witnessing a new wave of women come into our community (I’m so sorry you’ve joined us), while the old ones move on to their newfound (and much deserved) families.  How did I get to be a Super* Senior in this shitty-ass high school?  And who can I talk to about the fazing involved for the Freshman?  They don’t deserve this pain.  I’d rather be the welcoming Senior, with an arm-full of babies to hand out than the one handing out blows to the uterus with a paddle.

It’s difficult feeling like you’re being left behind.  And it’s not just in blog world.  Yesterday I saw from a distance a woman that I used to be friends with before all of this crap, pushing a stroller with her 3-month-old in it.  I realized later that day that she has gotten engaged, married, pregnant, and had her baby all in the time I’ve been trying for a successful pregnancy.  Why does she deserve it so much more than I?  I can’t make sense of it.

To those of you that have succeeded or on their way to succeeding, please know that I hold no resentment towards you – in fact, just the opposite – I’m thrilled for you because you give us hope when it feels impossible to find.  Unfortunately though, that excitement doesn’t erase the fact I want so badly to be in your shoes – for all of us left in here to be in your shoes.  And I know you want that, too.  That’s the one thing this infertility school gives us, an uncanny ability to be compassionate to those who know what this is like.

I know this sounds like one big whine-fest, but we’ve hit our two-year anniversary of trying to make a pregnancy work and I can’t believe I’m still here.  As happy as the holidays are for me, the Christmas lights and warm fires are reminding me of a more innocent me that is gone forever.  I miss her spirit, her hope, her naivety.  This is a world I never wanted to be experienced in.

*Super Senior is a phrase my friends and I used when we were all in our 5th year of college.  In that case, it was fun to be a Super Senior because why rush the real world?  In this case: not so fun.  I want back into that Super Senior year…this one sucks.

On “giving up.”

27 Oct

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a dramatic change in my spirit.  I’ve begun to feel lighter, even starting to believe that maybe this road moving forward doesn’t have to be so bad.  Maybe I can still find joy along this path my life has taken.  I’ve even felt it in my entire body, this joy starting to creep in.

Until yesterday, that is.

Yesterday, when I started my day with a negative pregnancy test.  It’s safe to say that put a little bit of a temporary damper on my spirit.

The tears I fought back during the day came to the surface with the bitter reminder of just how tired I am of all of this.  I know I’ve said that a thousand times before, but it’s times like this where my exhaustion with this comes rushing back and I just want it be over.  After the fourth loss, the last little bit of fight I had in me dissipated; and for my own sanity, I knew I needed to start becoming more comfortable with accepting I may not have a child of my own.  Yet in order for me to fully accept that that may be my fate, I know I have to give it one more try.

So that’s where I am now….trying to give it one more try.  Except I’m anxious for that try to hurry up and get here, because I can’t keep living in this world of not knowing.  Two years with 4 devastating losses has made that world hell.

I know what you are thinking, especially those of you still in the thick of it, still with some fight left in you:  Don’t give up!  You can’t give up!  That’s what I would have said a loss or two ago, back when I still felt in my heart I couldn’t give up until I had that child in my arms.  I couldn’t even fathom how women could even get to the point where they would stop fighting for that.  I couldn’t understand how they could just give up.

That was all before I knew what devastation four losses would bring to me and my life.  After each of their little hearts stopped beating, a part of mine stopped with it.  The part that would do anything to have a baby.  The part that will be forever left with the four I was forced to leave behind.  I am all of a sudden looking into the face of the women I feared so much of becoming.  The part of my heart that wants to keep fighting for this until I have that baby in my arm…has started to slow to a stop.

I know to a lot of you, this probably sounds incredibly sad.  And to the part of me that mourns for the life I thought I was going to have…is incredibly sad by this.  I also know some of you may be frightened you may have to get to this point yourself.  I know what that feels like, I know how scary that is.  But that’s part of why I’m writing this.  It turns out I was wrong all along.  This isn’t giving up.  This is knowing when you’ve done all that your heart can bear.

It’s me trying to stop the pain I keep experiencing from being inside all of this.  It’s me questioning if the pain still feels worth it, and all of a sudden feeling the desire to fight my way out of it all, instead of fighting for what I have desired all along.

If my last try doesn’t work out, I know the road still won’t be easy, at least not until all of my friends and family get out of the “child-bearing” years.  Even then the pain will still be present at every birth I hear about that isn’t my own; but at least now I have faith it will lesson as time passes.  That’s what this has brought me.  I now believe life can still be wonderful and happy, even if the part of me having my own child doesn’t come true.  The part of me that’s lighter is the part of me that is ready to begin new dreams that can take the place of my old dreams.  I need to move on from this chapter in my life so I can start living it again, because while living in this hell, I’ve lost who I was.  And yet at the same time, I know I’ve uncovered a new me that I’m ready to discover.

Please know I’m not saying this to try and convince those of you out there in the midst of this battle to stop fighting.  The chances you’ll have a baby are very much on your side, especially if you still have the fight.  Don’t give that up until you’ve done absolutely all that your heart can bear.  This is simply my story and what my experience has led me to, not your story or where you’ll end up.  I hope you continue to fight and get what you so badly want.  Even if this chapter of my life closes without a baby in my arms, I’ll still fight for you to get yours.  That fight hasn’t ended.  I’m here until the end for all of you.  And maybe in the meantime, you’ll get to see me fight for something new.

Or maybe you will get to see me with one in mine.  I do still have one more try, after all.  And you never know…maybe if we just relax…

Because they say it so much better.

7 Sep

In case you haven’t heard me say it before, I hate Facebook.  I don’t go on because it instantly makes me feel like I’m missing out on so much; not to mention every time I get coerced into signing on because for some reason people use that as their form of communication (have they not heard of email?!), I have to see someone else who is pregnant that I didn’t know about.  And, well, that’s always a bundle of laughs for me.

It’s because of my detest for Facebook that I guess I didn’t feel a huge pull to write about the Breast Cancer Awareness fiasco because I didn’t experience it firsthand.  But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t upset and confuse me, that I don’t stand behind every word the amazing women in this community of mine are saying.  It was unnecessary and at the expense of so many; I’m left baffled and justified in my decision to stay off of the Book.

Please go read these posts so you can know what I’m talking about.  Take with you that I stand behind them 100%.

Yolk: Pretending you’re pregnant isn’t cute (the original post); and her incredible follow-up posts that leave me speechless in their wake – The breast cancer game continues, Shame on you and So what’s a fertile to do?  I feel like she is able to give words to how I so often feel but fail to be able to express myself – not just with this, but with so much of this battle.

Too Many Fish to Fry:  On “That” Facebook Meme and Coming Out of the Infertility Closet  Goosebumps.

Mommy Odyssey: More Facebook Acton – In Defense of Infertiles  A good explanation of why Facebook is so hard for those of us in the trenches of this hell.

Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed: I’m 0 Weeks and Craving a Baby  Keiko offers a great alternative for a status update.  If it didn’t require me to go on Facebook and see all those pregnant women, I’d totally make it mine.

I often find that my voice in this fight against infertility and repeat pregnancy loss comes out more like a whisper among some incredibly powerful fighters.  It is times like these that I feel honored to be a part of this group.  I get shivers from your words, feel empowered by your fight, and pride overwhelms.

Thank you for being our collective voice.  Because of you, someday no one will have to feel alone when faced with this because people will be talking about it and not hiding it.  You’ve made all of this worth it.

Attempting to bake away my sadness.

6 Sep

I had a hard weekend.  It started out with a party on Friday night for  the neighbor’s 5-year old that was full of pregnant bellies and babies, not to mention uncomfortable interactions with “friends” that have chosen to back out of my life while I go through what I am.  I try my hardest to be strong at these things, but I always end up having to step aside to let some tears fall before I can join back into the crowd.  I’m not sure I ever joined back in on Friday night, though.  The emotions lingered throughout the next day, even spilling into the remaining days of my three-day weekend.

fougasse

When I went home after my D&C in June, I spent time with my best friend who was going through a major life transition of her own, and we talked a lot about passions and life lists.  It helped energize us amidst our struggles and focus us at a time when we were seemingly grasping for air.  I’ve spent a good majority of my life trying to find a passion to call my own, often times feeling like I may always be left searching.  But in the last few years, my love of cooking – and now baking – have flourished.  I didn’t hesitate when I answered that as my passion, it’s the one thing I absolutely love doing.  When I returned home from that trip, I checked out every baking cookbook (shouldn’t it be called a bakebook?) I could out of the library and decided I wanted to hone my craft of making pastries and desserts and so I started creating.

banana cream pie

Through the pain of the last loss, all of my emotions have been put into baking.  I’ve made tarts, breads, cakes, pies, caramels, custards and finally last night, my first galette.  Up until last weekend when I made Tim the banana cream pie for his birthday, I had never made my own pie crust.  I had heard horror stories of how hard it was and that it just wasn’t worth all the trouble when you could so easily just buy one at the store.  But that wasn’t good enough for me.  I’m a bit of perfectionist with a whole lot of competitiveness mixed in (I’m even competitive with myself), so I knew I had to learn how to make my own crust.  And although it wasn’t aesthetically the best looking pie crust ever made, I am proud to say I rocked it.  I then knew I needed more of a challenge so I decided I wanted to attempt a galette, which is essentially a free-form pie sans pan.  After the allotted wait time of 2-hours once it came out of the oven, I bit into a flaky, buttery, heavenly pie crust and had to stop myself from running a victory lap around the house I was so damn proud of myself.

baked peach galette

It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’m having, if I step into that kitchen and lose myself for a few hours (or days) in a recipe book and some flour, I come out feeling a bit more ready to face the world.  I guess you could say the kitchen is my “happy place.”  Yesterday not only did I make a peach galette, I made cinnamon brown sugar ice cream to go on top of it.  And since you shouldn’t really eat pie for dinner, I cooked black beans from my parent’s garden all day in order to make a spicy spread for chicken tacos topped with a chipotle-lime sauce.  I can’t just saute some chicken and put it on a tortilla…no, I have to make my own taco seasoning and spicy sauce and black beans.  Because just throwing some chicken on a plate just wouldn’t be satisfying enough for me – give me a challenge in the kitchen and I’ll gladly tackle it.

pie and ice cream

Cooking and baking is one of the few things I absolutely love doing and can even say I’m pretty good at.  From very early on I was in the kitchen learning from my mom, holding the hand mixer and blasting powdered sugar or egg whites all over the kitchen table as I learned to keep it in the batter.  I’ve come a long way and I’m anxious to get even better.  I’ve needed something like this for a long time, something to put all of my energy into when things aren’t going the way I’d prefer them to be going.  Or something that I can put my love into for someone I love, giving them my version of art as appreciation for them being in my life.  Something to take my mind off of all those things I’m tired of thinking of.

raspberry tart

Of course, it never escapes me that I’d give anything for a little boy to be at my feet while I attempt to bake and watch him at the same time, or to catch the expression of my daughter as she bites into a cupcake made specifically for her.  Those desires I can’t escape.  Those dreams don’t bake away.

But at least I have pie, right?

1.  Roasted Garlic and Jack fougasse (recipe based on Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America)

2.  Tim’s Banana Cream Pie (recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

3.  Drunken Peach galette (recipe courtesy of Not Without Salt)

4.  Peach galette and Cinnamon Brown Sugar Ice Cream (I made this one up)

5.  Raspberry Tart (recipe courtesy of Bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking by Nick Malgieri)

I need to get all of this out.

25 Aug

I haven’t been able to blog much this month besides the photos, and it’s been frustrating because the things swimming around in my head haven’t been able to get out and that doesn’t make for a very settled feeling inside.  I keep trying to find time to get on here and it doesn’t come, and it’s been very disappointing.

Today I’m meeting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist at one of the top reproductive clinics in the country and I can’t figure out how I feel.  I can’t remember if I’ve admitted this yet on here, but I honestly feel like I’m not going to be able to do this.  That I’ll have one more loss and that will be it.  I can’t do this for much more.  This sadness and grief that is ever-present is just so tiring and to think about prolonging that for another 2 years…it’s too much to bear.  I’ve felt a weight pulling me down for two years now that I can’t even remember what it feels like to be truly happy.

If I can’t do this, I need to move on.  I need to find a way to get my happiness back and I honestly know that won’t be possible until this chapter has been closed.  I’m scared to death that the last page will turn and there will still be no baby there to fill this hole.  I’m scared to live with that hole that will undoubtedly never go away for the rest of my life.

I feel like the only other option for us will be surrogacy.  But the cost of that is frightening; the only way for us to do be able to afford it would be to find someone we know – friend or family – to do it for us.  But how do you ever ask someone that?  How would you ever repay that person for giving you the biggest gift imaginable?  I would forever feel indebted, unable to show them how incredibly grateful I am.  I wonder how I would handle it.  I’m the type of person who thinks about others before myself, to the point where I will do whatever it takes to keep them happy, at the cost of my own happiness….how would I ever be able to handle the pressure I’d put on myself to show my appreciation?  I don’t see it being possible.

Yet I don’t see another way to do this.  Adoption is out of the question, and I would most likely just miscarry an embryo through IVF, so it’s down to these two options – trying one more time and most likely miscarrying, or surrogacy.  What the hell.  Do you know how shitty that is?  I’m supposed to be able to do this.  I’m supposed to be able to procreate, and yet I’m failing.  I know it’s not me or my fault or blah blah blah….but ultimately, how can you deny that my body has failed to what it’s supposed to do?  How can people honestly see a way around that explanation?

I’m excited for the appointment only because I’ll finally be able to talk to a specialist, except my excitement stops there because my gut is telling me they won’t be able to tell me anything new.  That they’ll say I just need to try again while we cross our fingers.  How long will they tell me that?  How many more losses will result in that very same approach?  I think I have one more in me, then I’ve reached my limit.  I just can’t do this to myself any more.  4 losses are more than any one should ever have to go through and 5 is an even more overwhelming number.

I realize this has been just one long release of emotions…but they’ve been bottled up in me for a while now because I’ve been working so much I’ve had no time to get it out and that’s what this blog is supposed to be for.  I’m afraid the RE is in for an emotional meeting with a very upset patient in a few hours.  I can’t believe I’m at this point where I need help doing this.  How did I get here?

The parade.

7 Aug

If you’re freshly off a loss (or four), I don’t recommend going to a parade.  Did you know parades are filled with happy families and smiling babies?  Apparently I had forgotten this because I went to one this morning and I didn’t handle it very well.  It started out okay, I even had a mocha in my hands as a special treat.  But the longer I sat there waiting for the parade to start, the more I looked around, and the more I was hit with visions of what I may never be able to have, but want with every bone in my body.  I tried to keep the tears away for as long as I could.  They were filling my eyes, threatening to fall.  When they finally did, I couldn’t get them to stop.  I told Tim we’d have to leave as soon as it was over (there was a fair and music afterward), and he happily obliged.  As soon as the last horse passed, we squeezed through the crowds and walked towards home.  It took all I had to make it to the house before I broke down.

This is the part I hate.  The part where I can’t be a part of society without being reminded of my losses and what I could have had.  I wonder how long this will last….when the time will come that I can handle being around families and babies and not feel as if my heart is being ripped out of my chest.  I wonder when the tears will stop falling and I’ll be okay.

It feels like it’s not even on the horizon.