Thursday, May 27, 2010

Letting It Roll Off My Back

In the three years that I have been struggling to conceive I have heard so many comments about relaxing and opinions on how to become a parent that, for the most part, they really have started rolling off my back. I know that these pieces of advice or consolation while sometimes misguided, are almost always meant with the best of intentions. I still do not enjoy hearing them, and I always try to politely explain this position when I can, but these things don't sit rattling away in my brain for hours after I've heard them as they once did.

But there are still some exceptions to the rolling off the back thing.
Not that I am angry with anyone, just feeling kind of defeated by what someone said recently and in all fairness to her she is not the first, and will probably not be the last. A friend, in the midst of empathizing with my struggle and recent loss proclaimed that she just knew I would be a mother someday "whether it was my own biological child or not".

Of course, one of the first feelings I have is that even if I do adopt one day, that child will still be "my own". I hate how diminished the relationships of an adopted family seem to be in other people's eyes sometimes and it makes me hurt for all those who have to contend with these views everyday.

But the thing that hurts the most when people say this to me is the implication of failure on my part. I am in no way opposed to the possibility of adoption as a way to expand my family and have seriously considered it even before I knew of my infertility, but no one else really knows that. It is not something I am actively pursing right now, nor is it something I have ever discussed with this friend or many people at all for that matter. Her saying that, when it was completely unprompted and never previously discussed, felt like a small stab into my heart. When someone says that, it's as if they are saying they don't believe I will give birth to a child, that my IVF and FET attempts won't work, especially when it is my IVF attempts being discussed and there is no mention from me of adoption. Or that, the fact that I have had to use these methods at all is some sort of failure. Adoption is not off the table for me, but it is for now. I am focused on my treatments and my frozen embryos right now, my future maybe-babies. And it hurts that they are so easily disregarded.

The other thing about this conversation that hurts is that this friend is dealing with infertility issue
s of her own. Although, she is nowhere near the point of using ART treatments and may never be, nothing hurts more than a non-comforting statement coming from someone else that is struggling and you feel should better understand. The statement coupled with the fact that she still is able to TTC the old-fashioned way, makes me feel like she sees my path as a loss in itself. I am almost always so proud of my journey, and my future IVF miracle baby, but on days like this I feel like I am wearing a scarlet "I". "I" for infertile, for IVF, for inadequate.

But, as I said earlier she is not the first to say this exact thing, nor will she be the last, so I don't want to pick on her or make it seem that she specifically has upset me. Just as with the other well-meaning offers of advice or support that hurt more than they help, I know that this too is meant to be encouraging. I know that people are just trying to let me know they believe I will be a mother no matter what and that I will be a good one. I just wish they wouldn't bring up issues of biology or other things unless I do it first. I know it sounds silly but I often doubt whether I will EVER be a mom and when someone else tells me they believe that it will work, that my frozen embies will grow and live and become my babies, it gives me strength. I sometimes need to be allowed to feel fear or doubt but I don't want anyone else to join me in my uncertainty. I need the people in my life to be my cheerleaders, to believe wholeheartedly that it WILL work. It's what keeps me going on the days I can't see any hope.

I am trying not to let this get me down, but I have to admit feeling a bit bluer today than yesterday because of it. I was a mommy to a 'biological child', even if it was only for a few short weeks my baby was alive inside me and I feel like that has been made to be unimportant. I am hoping that by getting this out I can get to that same place I've gotten with "just relax" and be able to keep it from affecting me as deeply as it has today, and instead focus on the positive words and support I receive from so many every day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Regression is Progression

I have been working very hard at putting one foot in front of the other each day, at moving forward and finding hope amongst all the pain. But this past weekend I lived what I already knew, and that is that, even as I begin to heal emotionally there will be backwards steps, and wow did I backstep!

As I mentioned in a previous post, once Chad and I found out about the miscarriage, we called off our trip to Florida to visit friends and family. A mutual friend of ours who has been very close throughout the process wanted to visit us instead and we thought it was a great idea. It seemed like the perfect way to get some in person support and positivity. It was a short trip and started out with lots of fun and laughter but on the second day I had kind of a break down.

The day started out pleasantly. The three of us made plans to get out of the house and enjoy the great Saturday ahead of us, but after a little while I found myself getting easily irritated for no real reason. I couldn't really understand why I was so moody all of the sudden. The guys tried to help and truly were being nice about it, but my emotions kept snowballing and before I knew it I was a crazy mix of sad, mad and confused. I became a crying mess and the worst part was I couldn't really understand why. I felt like a prisoner in my own head. Inside I knew there was nothing to be upset about, I knew I was being overly emotional and irrational but I couldn't stop myself from feeling what I felt. And then the tears suddenly gained a focus and a meaning and that's when I really cried it out.

I realized that although it didn't seem like it at first, it was still all about losing Sprout. Our friend was supposed to be visiting later, once the baby was born, and although his visit was great it was a also a reminder of what I had lost, what should have been but wasn't. Not knowing why I was upset at first also contributed to the intense emotions because I really started to wonder if I was losing my mind. Luckily, I was the only one that thought that and not only did I get amazing support from Chad and our friend, but as always my Twitter girls came to the rescue and assured me that even though it didn't feel like it, what I was going through is completely normal.

And that's the truth, it is completely normal. I am healing and feeling more hopeful and at peace everyday, but that doesn't mean I don't also still feel pain. And although it felt like a giant step backwards to lose it like that, I realize that I was actually accessing and getting out some of the pain I hadn't felt yet. Getting it out is the only true way for me to heal, so I even though it felt like I was regressing I know that it was really progress instead. The big myth is that healing of any kind is linear, that you just keep going through the stages of grief one by one until you're all better, but the truth is, the path is bumpy and there are many twists and turns along the way. I have to give myself permission to have the bad days as well as the good. I am still putting one foot in front of the other every day and I am lucky enough to have an amazing support system to help me through on the days I step in muddy water. If I need to cry I will cry, but if I want to laugh I can do that too, even at the same time!
I know I'm not completely restored or emotionally healed yet but that's OK, I don't need to be, I just need to be true to me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: In My Hands

p.s. If you haven't already please check out my previous blog post and watch the amazing video my husband made for Mother's Day. I just love it so much and want to share it with everyone. Thank you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Bittersweet Mother's Day

It's official, I have crossed over from distracted blogger to complete slacker. In my defense though it really has been an incredibly busy couple of weeks for me since the D&C. I will spare you the boring details about work and errands and just tell you all about my impulsive, amazing and bittersweet Mother's Day.

Before learning whether or not I was even pregnant, Chad and I had discussed going home to Florida to visit friends and family this May. We were waiting to buy plane tickets until we knew our fate and knew whether travel would be a good and/or feasible idea. When the pregnancy test came back positive we began planning a trip for Mother's Day to last through the following week so that we would have plenty of time to spend with the people that mattered most. And since I'd be about 11 weeks along by then we thought it might be a good time to share the news. We were thrilled at the idea of celebrating with my mom and grandmother as well as our closest friends.

Then the ultrasound that changed everything came and we immediately knew we were too emotional, too sad and too drained to spend a week visiting with everyone. The trip was beyond overwhelming, so we canceled and planned to see everyone in August when we would be in town for a friend's wedding.

It has been difficult these past few weeks not to be able to really cry with the people I cared about, especially my mom. I know it has been killing her to have her baby girl going through so much pain and to be thousands of miles away. So when I got an email last week offering a great deal on flights out of LA to Orlando for Mother's Day weekend I jumped at the deal. And I didn't tell anyone I was coming!

It was so wonderful to see my mom and my some of my closest friends but it was even better to see the looks of shock on their faces when I knocked on their doors. I even got to surprise my grandparents which meant the world to me, because they won't be in Florida when I come back this August. And even though the weekend was still very emotional and oftentimes painful for me, it was beyond amazing to get a real life hug from my mom when I was crying. I try to be so strong and positive all the time but sometimes I really just want my mommy, and it was great to have that at a time when I really needed it.

Secretly flying in to see my mom, grandparents and best friends this weekend was a great way to surprise them for Mother's Day but Chad came up with a beautiful surprise for me as well. While I was sitting at the table catching up with my best friend Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) he called and asked me to check my Facebook messages. Everyone in the TTC community knows how scary FB can be, especially during a holiday specifically set aside to celebrate something we all want but don't yet have, so I admit I was a bit nervous, but he insisted so I did. And what I found when I did was moving in so many ways. I cried, I laughed and then I cried some more. And I thanked my wonderful husband for all the time and thought he put into expressing how he felt to me on a day that was very difficult for us both. I can't adequately describe it so I have posted his creation here for you to see. Just a warning, you may need a tissue or two.

I can't say this was the Mother's Day I had dreamed of but it was certainly better than hiding under my covers and sobbing all day as I had originally planned. And although there still was some sobbing involved, I am happy that I went and even happier that some of those tears weren't painful ones. And of course I am beyond happy to be married to the most amazing and wonderful man I have ever known. I am still in pain but this past weekend I realized more than ever how truly blessed I am by the incredible people in my life and I am so glad that my future children will be lucky enough to have such caring people in their lives too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Almost Empty

Empty Womb, Empty Arms but a Hopeful Heart