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What if?

I’ve been thinking the last few weeks about something. And the thoughts always get louder in my head after I’ve spent time with my young nieces or friends with little ones. 

What if I’m only “ok” with letting go of my infertility struggle because (unlikely as ever… but) it’s still possible that I could get pregnant. What happens to my zen state when my womanhood enters the phase in life where I couldn’t have children, even if I had been able to conceive previously? Edit

Am I delaying the ultimate downfall of my sanity by admiting defeat now and trying to be ok with things, or will I really be ok, even as my body becomes unable to sustain life within its womb? I’m confused. And concerned that all of the progress I’ve made will come back to haunt me in 10-15 years time. 

I’m trying so hard to accept my life as it is. And I’m making it sound harder than it is because I really do feel happy for the most part. I have so much to be thankful for. And despite all the heartache, Adam and I are strong and dedicated to making our life a happy and fulfilled one. I have my mom and dad. Adams parents are super supportive. 

Yet… I feel twinges of pain when I think too much on things. I try very hard not to focus on them. I am trying to be an optimist. I’m living a positive life. Sure, life gets you down, but you get to choose how you respond to it. My mom has taught me a great deal – positivity being one of them. In every bad/ sad/ negative event, a positive one can be found. And really, what’s the alternative? To wallow in self pity for life not going the way you planned? What a waste. Truly. 

But yet I still worry that the full reality of this outlook of mine, accepting our infertility, is going to blow up in my face eventually.  

Beautiful readers, please tell me it’s ok in the end. 

5

Infertility Fatigue

I was just reading the latest blog post from uncomfortably optimistic where she referred to “infertility fatigue”. I hadn’t heard of this term before, but oh boy, have I experienced it.

The truth is, when our IVF treatment failed last year, I knew I didn’t have it in me to try again. I was DONE. For 5 years I had lived, breathed and nearly died of a broken heart over our inability to have a family. I had a mental breakdown where I became incapable of getting through the day without sobbing uncontrollably or considering drastic ways to end my pain. The infertility struggle was so consuming I lost who I was as a wife, daughter, friend and woman. It makes my eyes well with tears when I think about how desperate those years were. Not to mention the financial strain that I didn’t have the slightest bit of patience to deal with anymore.

Inevitably,this put a strain on our marriage.  If it were up to Adam, he would have tried again right away. But he knew how beat down I was and saw that this was destroying me. He didn’t want to lose “us” and agreed we wouldn’t pursue another treatment. I don’t think his heart was as content with this as mine was. But we picked up and moved on. It’s one of those things where you both don’t get what you want. Which sucks since we both started out wanting the same thing.

A part of me figured that I’d eventually come around to wanting to try again. I think we both thought that. But when I finally let go of my dream of being a mom, I felt so free. I wasn’t chained down to “trying”. I could focus on me again, and it felt incredible. With the support of my husband, I decided to leave a job that I hated and pursued a job in real estate. The details of that adventure are best saved for another post, but it felt so unbelievably intoxicating to take control of my life again. The truth is, I haven’t wanted to head back down that TTC road. I don’t know how I went from the depths of absolute isolation, anger and despair over not being able to conceive, to not wanting to try at all. Is it a defence mechanism? I don’t know. I feel like a fraud sometimes for not wanting it now, knowing all that we went though then.

I still get twinges of sadness sometimes. Sadness when I find baby items saved from that brief moment when we thought our dream was coming true; hearing that I wasn’t invited to “mommy” get togethers with friends, simply because I don’t have any littles of my own to bring; or when someone announces yet another pregnancy.

Overall though, I’m focused on being happy with all that I do have in life. And I’ve mostly accepted that my life wasn’t meant to have children of my own in it. I’m excited to explore this new chapter (book) in life, my new career and pretty soon here, a new home in a new city by the ocean.

This new outlook hasn’t come without it’s costs though. Our marriage has really been challenged by my metamorphosis into the woman I’ve become, post-infertility. I was so frail and relied so heavily on my partner to keep my head above water as we navigated the rough seas of TTC. But I’m swimming on my own now, and maybe even gaining on him. I thought getting through infertility  was going to be the hardest thing our marriage faced. But it’s actually the forming of a new “normal” from the ashes of lost hopes and dreams that has proved most challenging. How do you go forward together when the foundation which your life trajectory was built upon has crumbled beneath your feet? I don’t know the answer to that. And it’s really, really hard. But I know we’ll get through it. I’m a fighter and he is too.

 

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BRAVELLE RECALL

Ladies,

I have just learned about a recall on the IVF and IUI drug, Bravelle. Please take a moment and click on the link below to see if you were affected. Thanks to both The Ecofeminist and Uncomfortably Optimistic for posting this. We must get the word out to as many people as we can:

VIP for IVF & IUI folks: Bravelle Recall – http://wp.me/p2mglW-5Hb

I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I first saw this post earlier today. How could they let quality control slip by for so long without checking their product? This medication is used in conjunction with an array of other fertility drugs. Without them all working at full potency, we paid for, and suffered through, a cycle  (or cycles) of inefficient treatments. I’m furious. The dates in question vary slightly between the US and Canada. For the US, the dates are March 27, 2014 to October 2015 and for Canada, any purchases of Bravelle after June 29, 2014 are affected.

There is a lawyer in Halifax named Raymond Wagner who is collecting information to see if a class action lawsuit is warranted. His email is: classaction@wagners.co.

As if this journey isn’t hard enough as it is.

9

Summer Lovin – A late post

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I thought this had been posted a while ago but it has been sitting in my drafts… a little late but still worth putting up. I’ll get a new post up soon. Been really busy with a big life change!

….

Well all has been very quiet on here lately. Again. I seem to have a pattern of rapid fire posts followed by long spans of nothing. Sorry. I guess I should work on that!

Although I haven’t been active myself, I still read all your blog posts and am so thankful to read words written by other women who get it. Often I’ll read something that resonates so deep with me or that I myself have thought or said. It’s comforting to know I’m never alone on the emotional roller coaster.

So thank you for sharing. It’s both therapeutic to write my thoughts down and also read yours.

Our failed IVF treatment is a few months behind us now. I have been able to maintain my calmness and acceptance of the situation, which is a relief and a bit shocking. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and to spiral down to the pits of depression but I think I am truly over that part of this journey now. I find myself thinking every now and then about “those couples” who end up pregnant after failed treatments and wonder if that’ll be us. I try to quiet that voice when it does pop up because I don’t want to be dissapointed anymore. But I also get a bit of comfort from the thought too. I mean, anything is possible right?

It’s funny how infertility becomes a part of who you are. I actually made a joke at work today about it to two friends of mine. They were discussing the pros and cons of IUDs. The cons really freaked my one friend out. I playfully stuck my tongue out and said, you must me jealous of me – I sort of have a natural one in place already!!! It felt good to be able to make a light joke about something that has caused me SO much pain. Laughter is the best medicine, so I’ve been told.

10

The Human Experiment

I have been doing my best at accepting my fate for what it is. Some people just have shit luck in some facets in life. Ours happens to be with having a family.

I watched The Human Experiment tonight. This documentary focuses on over 80,000 approved chemicals that we are exposed to and potentially accumulate in our systems every day.

“Side effects” linked to these chemicals, aside from infertility, are cancer and disabilities such as autism. The numbers of people diagnosed each year are staggering.

I know it’s only one movie showing one agenda.  But I’ve been on the side of skepticism from mainstream products and food sources for years so I’m not a hard sell.  But I also think this movie provides a fair and informative platform of information.

I initially got really mad at what I was watching. It’s disgusting that we are exposed to so many toxins without much choice at all.

And then I got sad. Very, very sad. Why is our world poisoning us? Why was I one of the ones affected? I know that I have hormonal imbalances.  I am continuing to learn how much I have been affected by artificial chemicals that mimic hormones within my body.

I feel defeated. I feel powerless. I feel barren. I feel sad.

When I got up to go to the washroom to blow my nose I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I burst into tears. Why me? I look normal on the outside.

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Why am I so fucked up on the inside?  Why can’t I have a baby? I know I’m not perfect but I think I’d be a good mom. Instead, I stare at my reflection and cry.

2

Where to go from here

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I’ve continued to be really quiet on here lately. I haven’t wanted to say much. Yet my mind hasn’t stopped racing. It’s been about a month now since we found out that our two frozen embabies were genetically abnormal and not viable.  I don’t remember the exact date I got the call from Dr. N with the news. I don’t think it’s important. I don’t want to remember it.

But there’s one date I haven’t forgotten – June 9. That was my due date. If I hasn’t miscarried, we would have an almost 2 year old running around the house. There were no dates before that and there haven’t been any dates after that.

In October, on the 1st of the month, my birthday, it will have been 3 years since those two pink lines appeared on the home pregnancy test. It doesn’t seem real anymore. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been pregnant. I remember being so fucking happy, but when I remember it, it’s like I’m remembering someone else’s memory. I still have the sonogram pictures from the one ultrasound where our baby’s heart fluttered with life.

But I never got to feel them inside me. Never got to see my tummy grow. We never got to hold our child in our arms. Hear their cry. See their smile. Watch them grow.

I feel like it’s ridiculous that I still think about that baby as much as I do. I cling onto the memory because it reminds me that I almost had it all. Instead I have a home that my husband and I fill with unanswered hopes and dreams. We have two bedrooms that never got turned into a nursery. Or a playroom. We just have two unused rooms that we keep closed off. I sometimes go into what would have been June baby’s nursery and look at the dresser that I painted. I painted it white so that it would match with any colour scheme we chose. I look inside those drawers and I find a little hand painted turtle that we both painted in Mexico when I was pregnant (at least we thought I still was). We painted it for our baby. Our baby that was, for a brief moment, so real. And yet feels like they never existed. I don’t talk about this to anyone. I don’t talk for many reasons. It’s sad. It’s a reminder of all that we don’t have.  But most of all I don’t talk about it because I would be judged. People think I should get over it. It’s in the past they think to themselves. And it’s not like I haven’t moved on. I don’t cry anymore over our loss, but I think about it always. And everyone else has forgotten. Forgotten that for a few brief weeks I too was a mom. At least I think I was. I hope I was. Maybe I never was. Maybe the baby was too small to matter. They never grew very big but I saw them. They lived! A heart inside of me beat along with mine. Doesn’t that count for anything?

The truth is it doesn’t. I can’t talk about this child in present tense. Share funny stories or videos. Our baby’s life was one that didn’t matter to anyone except for Adam and I. Our baby doesn’t count because it was never a tangible thing to the outside world. But God Damnit it’s all we have ever had and may ever have. I wish their life meant more.  It wasn’t enough and it’s certainly not fair but it’s all I was given. All we were given. It makes me really sad to think that’s all we’ll ever get. I’d almost rather have had nothing.  Because “knowing I can at least get pregnant” means jack shit.  I once had a life inside of me that I couldn’t grow.

I don’t know where to go from here. I don’t want to do ivf again. I feel like I got scammed and I’ll be damned if I let myself get fooled again. It was a dirty trick to get our hopes up like that. To tell us we were excellent candidates. To show us chart after chart that “proved” we had great chances of success. I allowed self to dream and I’m angry that I did.

We are both trying to come to terms with all of this still. I’ve been trying to bury my emotions a lot. Trying to minimize the pain. Which is not like me at all. I’m confused by my own reaction.

For now, we will just put one foot in front of the other and keep our eyes on the horizon.

3

The Aftermath

I’ve been quiet on here for the last little while.  I haven’t known what to say because I haven’t even been sure about how I feel.  But above everything else, I feel this absolute need for a fresh start.  I’m almost frenzied about it.  My life has to change, NOW.  We have to move, NOW.  We have to make plans for our new life, NOW.  I want to quit my job, NOW.

I’ve always had wanderlust.  I love immersing myself in new environments.  It’s thrilling and makes life interesting.  I want more than anything to go on an adventure right now.

And another part of me only wants one thing to change. The only thing I have absolutely zero control over.

Since finding out our embabies didn’t make it, I have been doing ok overall. I have little moments here and there where I feel an insurmountable amount of grief creeping up, but I quickly disperse with it and carry on.

I don’t really understand my reaction to all this. I don’t understand why I’m not a complete mess. I don’t understand why I’m not climbing the walls with panicked ferocity. I’m ok. I don’t get it.

I feel guilty for feeling this way. I feel a calmness that I haven’t felt in many, many years. I’ve stopped fighting against my fate. It’s a battle I can’t win, regardless of how hard I’ve pushed against it.

Deep within my soul I don’t feel like this story is over. I don’t feel that it’s the end. But I do feel that this is how life is going to be for now. For a while.

I can’t imagine going through another round of ivf. It was hell. Not to mention that we can’t afford it. I don’t want to go through that all again and end up in the same spot we are now. I just can’t deal with that possibility.

So for now I have accepted that Adam and I are two peas in a pod built just for two. There is no happy ending right now. Because it’s not the end.