Christmas Heartache

I usually love visiting my in-laws, especially at Christmas. My MIL adores Christmas, and they go all out with decorations, desserts, and presents. But some things happened this year that left a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m glad we don’t have another trip booked anytime soon. Christmas was harder this year, I think because its been so long that we’ve been trying that I was certain we’d have some kiddos by now. A few weeks before Christmas we went to a light festival in our town, and it struck me how much this holiday and the events of the season are geared towards kids. That night didn’t wreck me, it just made me wistful and hopeful that we’ll get to bring our littles one year soon. The mother of a dear friend passed away unexpectedly 10 days before Christmas, and she had been like a mom to me, so that was also heavy on my heart. And Christmas was my grandmother’s favorite holiday, so I always miss her most this time of year. I haven’t been able to make it through a church service without crying because I miss her so, but I decided to join the family at Christmas Eve service since I’d missed last year due to a cold. Of course I cried, but it got really intense when they had all of the children come up to the front for the parable. It was like a non-stop parade of adorable kids dressed in their Christmas outfits, it took several minutes for them all to march up to the altar, and I was torn equally between looking anywhere else and not being able to take my eyes away. It was hard. I was grieving Grandma, my friend’s mom, the children that didn’t stay with me, the children I haven’t met yet, my family the way it used to be – it was all a lot hitting me at once. Continue reading “Christmas Heartache”

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Grief & Joy

I have read so many stories online from ladies lamenting about how awful it is to deal with the seemingly never-ending stream of pregnancy announcements from friends and coworkers. I have many times told myself how grateful I am for that benefit of being older, that all of my friends are pretty much done having children, so I don’t have to deal with pregnancy announcements. I’ve had a couple of distant friends and acquaintances announce, and it has been bittersweet, no doubt. But of my close friends, I was the last to get married, and they’ve all completed their families.  I have been largely spared from announcement hell!

Last weekend we had lunch with our couples “friend group” – four couples that regularly do stuff together. The guys (and most of the girls) take a firearms class every month, and we try to do a movie night monthly as well, on top of birthday dinners for the adults and parties for the kids. So, we see each other regularly. As we were all leaving the restaurant, one of the couples was parked next to us so we walked to our cars together. We stood talking for a few moments and then she said “well, we have some news that we wanted to share with you before we tell everyone else.” I have an awful poker face, so she looked at me and said “well, from the look on your face I can see you’ve figured it out already.” I said “well, it has to be one of 2 things, either you’re getting married or you’re having a baby…” I paused briefly but my brain kept going, almost like time seemed to slow down in my head for a minute, thinking there’s no way they could be having a baby, so surely they’re just announcing that they’re finally getting married, but why on earth would they pull US specifically aside just for that…ohmygod they’re having a baby. I don’t know how long that pause was in real life, but she confirmed that they were pregnant. This couple just started dating shortly before Zach and I got married. He’s 40 and has a 16 year old daughter. She’s 37 and has a 7 year old daughter. They were definitely not trying to have a baby!

The tears that slipped out immediately were legit happy and sad tears at the same time. Of course I’m thrilled for them, they are an amazing couple and we both adore them. And I am so grateful she told us separately before the group, as she knows all about our struggles and was a huge support last year when we started fertility treatments. But damn I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Thank God I had sunglasses on, because although I managed to stop the flow of tears, my eyes were still brimming most of the time. There were a few moments where I just wanted to wrap things up already so I could get to the safety of the car, because I really felt on the verge of a meltdown.

After a few minutes we parted ways and my lip was quivering so bad by the time I got in the car, but I had to keep it together because they were parked right across from us and could still see us. As soon as Zach pulled the car out, the tears just started flowing. He reached for my hand to comfort me and said “someday it will be your turn,” and I just blurted out “how is it even possible that people our age can still get pregnant accidentally, but we spend months and months and thousands of dollars but can’t get pregnant to save our lives???” I cried the entire way home, it was as if once the tears started again there was no turning them off. To add insult to injury, when we arrived home I saw that Amazon was nice enough to deliver my new menstrual cup on a Sunday. In case I needed reminding that I was infertile and my period would certainly be arriving in just days. Yeah, the universe can be a real B sometimes!

I cried most of the evening, and had a terrible time getting to sleep because I was so devastated. Now I absolutely feel for the younger ladies who deal with this on a regular basis. This absolutely sucks. Again, I’m so glad they told us first so we can process it privately, but it feels supremely crummy to be the infertile couple that has to be handled with care.  I dread the day when they tell the rest of the group, and imagine the sad looks we’ll get from the rest of them when they look at me to see if I’m okay. Is this what it’s like out there for the younger ladies?  Anyway, I gave myself a good couple of days to wallow at my pity party, but then I really did start to feel better, and eventually my eyes didn’t well up every damn time I thought about it. Then the other night as I was washing dishes, it randomly hit me that her due date was almost exactly the same as mine would have been if our IVF embryo transfer would have worked. Literally two days apart. I almost dropped the plate I was washing, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach again. I melted into an inconsolable mess of tears. But I was also pissed off.

Seriously, Universe – eff you.

We all have NFL season tickets, so now I’ll get to see her at every home game and watch her belly grow, even though I spent countless daydreams picturing ME waddling up the stadium steps with a growing belly. How am I supposed to hang out with her in pre-game tailgating festivities? I’ll be expected to go to her baby shower, how on earth could I possibly do that? I don’t care what weekend she schedules that for, I am going to be “out of town” that day no matter what. I would love to be a strong enough person to suck it up and celebrate her shower with her, but I will be so sad that it’s not me that I know I will end up sobbing in a bathroom, and I’m simply not going to do that to myself, or to her.

I talked (and cried) about this with my acupuncturist at my appointment this week, which is really a therapy session as much as it is for acupuncture, she is such a wonderful human being. She reminded me that it is possible, and that I’m absolutely capable of experiencing grief and joy simultaneously. I’m still feeling much more on the grief side of things, but I really hope that I can drum up some more joy for this couple. I can’t be focusing on what “could have been me” watching her pregnancy grow when I really need to focus on growing some healthy eggs for IVF round 2. Right now that just seems like an overwhelming prospect, like it might be easier to just sell off all our football tickets and find new friends!

I can do this. I can do hard things. I can carry grief and joy at the same time. Someday it will be my turn.grief&joy

Failure

ivf meme 2Wow, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve written anything! I’ve been in a bit of a funk for the last few months. Long story short, my first transfer didn’t work. My prep cycle went great, no cysts, lining was “beautiful” and all my tests came back fine. We had 3 embryos on ice, 2 “good” and 1 “fair/poor”, and we planned to transfer 1 “good” and the 1 “fair/poor” so that if our first transfer didn’t work we’d have a higher rated one left for our second attempt. On transfer day, I woke up early to do some yoga stretches for blood flow, Zach made me a hearty breakfast with exactly 2 eggs, I wore my pink & blue striped shirt, had a pink & blue pedicure for good luck, I was so positive and hopeful. As we waited to head into the procedure room, someone from the lab came in to let us know that our “fair/poor” embryo wasn’t looking good during the thaw, so we all agreed to go ahead and put in both of the “good” embryos instead. Literally all of our “eggs” in one basket, as they say. But we were confident that all the hard work we’d put into getting to this point would pay off, and followed all of our post-procedure instructions. I am not an early tester, so I dutifully came in for my blood draw on beta day, wearing my pink & blue shirt again. But I wasn’t feeling it. I know most ladies don’t “feel” anything physical that early in pregnancy, but I just had a gut feeling that we weren’t successful. Zach wasn’t able to work from home that day, so our nurse knew to leave the news on my voicemail if I didn’t pick up. I was a nervous wreck all day, especially once that voicemail was burning a hole on my phone. Zach rushed home as soon as he could and we listened to the message together on speaker, but I could tell from our nurse’s voice right away that the news wasn’t good. Continue reading “Failure”

Thanks, Facebook.

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See how happy?!? Big black blob inserted to protect the identity of my poor innocent friend.

Thanks for reminding me how bitter I’ve become since this time last year. You guys get those “On This Day” memory reminders on Facebook, right? I’ve been loving them lately, because of the pictures from our wedding and honeymoon just one short year ago. But it hit me the other day that it just highlights how unhappy I am today in the here and now. Sure, I was riding that newlywed high and just-back-from-the-Caribbean glow, so I get that it’s an entirely unfair comparison. When I look at those pictures, I see someone totally content with her life. Happily tied to the love of her life and anxious to start the next chapter. Sure of herself. Relaxed and confident. But when I look in the mirror now, I see a different person. I see more fine lines, deep circles from the not quite restful sleep of a stressed out woman. Jaw set in a semi-scowl. Bitter. Hardened by the constant “what if’s” of infertility and its treatment. And my God, I’ve only been at this a year! When did I become so unhappy? I’m honestly a bit disappointed in myself, because I have so damn much to be happy about. It just hit me – I’m Eeyore! Continue reading “Thanks, Facebook.”

Happy (???) Mother’s Day

I’ve been in a really bad mood the last couple of days, but yesterday was the worst.  I had already noticed it, figured it was stress about finances and looking for a new job. I haaaaaaate job searching! But as I was scrolling through Facebook and Instagram while I ate my lunch, I noticed I was making lots of mean and snarky comments in my head…about people I know. People I like, even! That’s just not me. I asked myself “what the heck is wrong with you?” I don’t know how it became so clear so fast, but it immediately hit me: Mother’s Day. I mean, it’s not like the holiday surprised me or anything, I’ve heard it mentioned on the radio and TV at every commercial break. I’d already picked out and mailed cards to my mother in law, the wonderful human being that I call “Mom” these days. But when I realized the importance of the day, not just that it’s Mother’s Day, but that it’s THIS particular Mother’s Day, this year, it made perfect sense that I was out of sorts. Continue reading “Happy (???) Mother’s Day”

The Three Amigos

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Ready to make some babies!

I have been meaning to write about my IVF egg retrieval experience, I really have! But I didn’t realize how nice it would be to take a break from everything related to the baby-making and IVF experience. I have enjoyed the break! Plus, there was that trip to Florida for a family wedding one week post retrieval. I was still quite bloated, but nobody asked if I was pregnant – woo hoo! And…got eaten alive by bugs. But just the no-see-ums, not Zika-carrying mosquitos! Oh, and then there’s that whole adopting a rescue dog situation. I didn’t think I was ready less than 2 months after losing my 11 year old Penny girl, but The New Girl was special, and I fell hard! Anyway, more on that situation later, I’m getting back to retrieval news for this post!

Continue reading “The Three Amigos”

C’mon, Retrieval Day!

stimsAfter being at the clinic five out of the last six days, I’m a little pooped out. The ladies at my clinic are lovely, but I’m tired of seeing them every day! I don’t mind the ultrasounds, I find them really fascinating and love seeing how much my follicles grow each day. It’s that poke in the arm that I’m really friggin’ tired of. I only have one good vein, and it’s gotten a workout for sure. So I was thrilled to get the call today that my retrieval will be bright and early Tuesday morning! It is so exciting to finally have it on the books, and to know exactly how many more injections I need to give myself – eight more including my trigger, if you’re interested!  I haven’t had a difficult cycle by any means, but today is Day 11 of stims and I am tired. I’m not a napper, and in the last couple of days I have felt like I NEEEEED to take a nap. And I’m tired of poking myself with 2-3 injections every night. I’ve done so well with my super clean diet for months, but all I want to do is say eff it and eat carbs. All the carbs. I’m tired. I’m having food aversions…to everything except carbs, naturally. Slight periodic nausea. I already mentioned that I’m tired, right? I’m ready to be done. Except this is of course just phase 1…I still have to tackle transfer next cycle! Maybe my “naïve IVF newbie” is showing, but I am SO hoping I get enough good embryos that I don’t have to do another retrieval cycle. I feel for you ladies that have powered through this multiple times. This stuff is no fun!

EIGHT. MORE. SHOTS…

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