AngelMom, TTC

Somewhere I belong…

  • Cycle Day: 12
  • Days to fertile window: 5- tick toc man!!!! 
  • Mental state: Amazed 

So, as we’ve previously covered my husband and I have been trying to (or in some cases trying not not avoid) start our family for about 8 years. We began as most couples do, just expecting that it would happen.

I was brought up believing that pregnancy would surely happen if I didn’t keep my lady bits under lock and key! After all, with no skill or plan involved I was conceived by an impressionable teen who had no thoughts of children or family in the immediate plan, so naturally I was terrified of perpetuating this pattern before I was ready to do so.

Here we are, years later still unable to just let this happen to us! It’s heartbreaking to want something so badly, and feel like you’re broken, damaged, unlucky or inept at just making this seemingly simple thing happen for yourself.

It feels so lonely!! No one talks about it!!! Ever!!! The fear, doubts, anger, and isolation I was feeling couldn’t possibly be unique to only me?!! And if not, where the heck were all these women and why weren’t they speaking up, DAMNIT!???

Now, since starting my blog it’s purpose and direction have changed several times – already!!! I’ve only been writing consistently on the topic for about three months! It took a month of writing for me to gain the courage to publish some of it to the internet and even today my focus and direction seem to be an ever evolving animal that I’m getting to know as we all go along together! Now that I’m writing about it, and speaking out I’ve been looking for others that have been doing the same… and what I found is staggering. There are extremely limited choices in the category of relatable books on infertility that focus on humor, intelligence, sharing experiences and helping others to cope, thrive and survive it!

In my research, on this and other topics, and ways to share my own writing I stumbled upon a Facebook group for Infertility and Loss. With one simple (and albeit reluctant click) I fell down into a deep rabbit hole where I would find over 16,000 women, just like me that were looking for answers, friendship, camaraderie, help, and a way to share and discuss their experiences! What!?! How could I have been missing out on this amazing untapped resource!?! I felt like I had stumbled into the bar in Cheers and instantly been accepted as a regular. Everyone there was completely different than me… but yet somehow exactly the same!

That is one thing I will give infertility credit for… diversity. There are women every size, shape, color, ranging in background, lifestyle and location! Yet, every single one of us could relate to the feeling of loneliness, and rejection that is ubiquitous of whatever type of infertility we are facing individually.

We make connections, answer questions for each other- for all I’ve been through, here are women standing on square one of a road that I’ve traveled!?! I actually have legitimate insight and answers for these girls!?! I find myself constantly wishing I could go back and warn myself about things— and I can do that for these people!?? What!?!? We support one another on good days, on bad days, on days where we’re just waiting for future days to happen. We make jokes — yes jokes???!!! Ones only we can relate to! I chuckled with one gal, “Wondering when my Bachelors Degree of Reproductive Sciences would be coming in the mail-we’re all getting those, RIGHT?!?” Because seriously for all the research and development I’ve done on the subject I truly think i should have at least earned a degree of some sort for my troubles!! It felt good to joke… it felt good (and foreign) to know these people would get it without explanation or judgment!

For the first time, in a long time… I belonged somewhere. Among a sea of strangers, I felt like I was accepted and understood.

TTC

Humor and a infertility…

  • Cycle Day: 11
  • Days til fertile window: 6
  • Mental State: Centered

I’m the kind of person that can and  will find humor in any given scenario. It’s a gift, but no matter where I am or what I am doing I can find something hilarious to laugh at! Luckily, I provide myself and others with a ton of hilariously awkward opportunities for laughter. My husband, also has this gift. On more than one occasion we have had to avoid eye contact because a single glance would cause us to tailspin into laughter in a place where it would not be appropriate to do so (these instances are almost always in a church).

So naturally, infertility would be just as hilarious?? Yes?! And also no. This is the only time in my life where I have not been able to just giggle my way out of whatever was troubling me. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of stuff here to laugh at. But there have been times, where even I just can’t seem to find the humor in this bullshit.

It’s also not a good time for you, [anyone other than me] to make a joke. Most of the jokes that can be made by someone who’s never faced infertility are straight up rage triggers. It’s never ever funny to tell us “you can have my kids”, or “oh you’re lucky you don’t have to deal with [insert idiot bullshit nonsense here]” or anything that starts with the words “at least”. Last of the terrible things that isn’t funny is fake pregnancy announcements. I know a handful of people that have done it, and I don’t hold it against them, but it’s just a bad “joke” in my opinion. I could really do without it. Real pregnancy announcements are hard enough, now I have to deal with being psyched out and feel like an idiot for falling for some dumb joke on top of it!?? Really???

As a sidebar to that, pregnant people… a little kindness goes a long way. Please understand that every pregnancy announcement is another blow to an already painful existence. We want so much to be happy for you and to take joy in your miracle. But every single time I see one, I die a little inside. I can’t speak for the entire populous of women trying their hearts out to have a baby, but it really is kind to warn your infertile friend in a quiet respectful manner so she can have her reaction privately and later she will pull it together and congratulate you properly. It really does work better for everyone involved. Be kind, if they’re brave enough to let you in on their struggle the least you can do is not ruin their day by dropping a social media bomb on them unexpectedly– or worse slapping it on them in public in front of people! Please please please don’t put us on the spot like that, it’s so cruel!

I also know it’s kind of lame we even have to ask for this courtesy. But please understand I want to be happy for you, I really do. But it’s not my first reaction. My first reaction is sadness for me. I tried explaining it to my husband, he didn’t understand why these announcements hit me so hard… until…. one day he came home from work. He’d been going through a grueling interview process for a promotion for which he did not get. He came into work shortly after getting rejected to find a buddy of his had gotten a promotion in another department. He came home that day with his head slumped, “I think I finally get it” he mumbled to me. It was one of the most validating moments of our journey to conceive. So hard to communicate to people- even my own husband what I feel on a day to day basis!

The good news, is if I find something here in infertility to make a joke about, it’s totally ok, for you to laugh. In fact, please laugh it’s one of the only things you actually can do to help!

AngelMom

Shockingly obvious observations and other things I know

  • Cycle Day: 7
  • Fertility Treatments: none
  • Mind blowing epiphanies: Infinity
  • Emotional State: Calm

One really gross thing you may not know, when beginning an IUI Cycle, the first order of business, alongside blood work is a very graphic and intrusive transvaginal ultrasound on the 2nd or 3rd day of your cycle. I mean, of course it is! I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do on the 2nd day of my period that have a dude jam a 12 inch rod up there and poke around a bit!! — Said no one ever! It really is terrible – and I’m sorry if that was more than you bargained for, but its reality man, deal with it! So it’s really no wonder why I wasn’t rushing to start a new cycle after the completely brutal failure from IUI #5. 

Leading up to the start of this cycle, I was running away from some very strange feelings. I tried to brush them off has hormonal nothings, and ignored some pretty clear messages I was trying to send myself. At that point the only message or feeling I was into was submission. I felt like I was being shoved into a locker by a bully and just decided it was easier to stay in there hidden in the locker instead of facing my bully. Just do whatever Infertility says, go along and somehow this will all be ok. The bully will go away and I’ll get through this! 

Finally the voice inside had enough, got irritated, spoke louder, and all of a sudden it was clear to me. “Stop. You just needed to stop. You need rest. You need to recover. You are not ready for more hormones, and everything that comes with treatments. And, all of that is totally ok.” Whoaaa!?! Voice in my head, that’s a lot to take in! The concept here is really scary and foreign to me! Anyone who knows me, knows if I’m in-I’m all in!!!! It’s been the same with fertility treatments, we’ve gone head first into this world and I just expected that if I just keep plunging forward everything will be ok. It’s not. Apparently, there is a breaking point and I had finally reached it. Fighting against it only made everything worse. 

Now, it was all starting to come together. I heard the voice, clearly and leaned into those feelings instead of pulling away. I was amazed, how easily I was able to own these words once I said them out loud. I expected them to be rough and poisonous as they left my tongue- I expected to feel ashamed, but instead l, felt a freedom and peace I have not felt in months- maybe years!?? 

That internal conversation has caused me to question everything I’ve felt for the last several months and years of my life. I’ve been consumed with making a baby that I have completely neglected to listen to even the most basic messages coming from inside for fear I would be judged, fear I would fail, and fear that I would miss my chance. 

Trying to make a baby has made me so frantic!!! It’s more than the cliche internal ticking clock. I had bullied myself into thinking that time is my enemy and it was quickly running out! “Can’t waste a single cycle!” “Try harder, you’re not trying hard enough!” “This is all your fault, you could have done this better” — jeez I’m such a jerk to myself!!! I would never talk to any of my friends like that?! Why was I being such a jerkface to myself!!?? 

When I really stop to think of all the times when I am depressed, saddened, lost, or confused it’s horrifying to realize that the reason is because the bully inside me has been saying these awful judgey things and I’m just going along believing them all!!!! 

Sure, going through this struggle with infertility makes me hyper aware and sensitive to shit most people don’t even think of, and that’s tough. But this whole time I’ve been made to feel like there is a whole suite of exterior pressure coming from others when in reality the only one applying any pressure is me

AngelMom

These eyes….

Current Status

  • Cycle Day: 1
  • Fertility Treatments: None… and likely will go natural this cycle
  • Emotional state: Contemplative

Shout out to these eyes… they’ve been working over time for the last year. They’ve cried an awful lot of tears in this very hard time in my life. They also have to work extremely hard to not look as tired as I truly am. They have to put in over time to hide all the feelings that are not suitable for any given situation I find myself in. It’s not always a good time to let someone know you’re struggling– it’s the eyes’ job to convince them “there’s nothing to see here folks!”.

They hide my pain, my struggle, my jealousy, my rage and my fear. These eyes have a tough gig, for sure. 

Living in this skin, managing the pain from loss, and lack of offspring is tough. Sprinkle in fertility hormones, which not only magnify my own feelings, but additionally cause outbreaks of synthetic emotional turbulence. These eyes really never had a chance! 

Some days I cry over real things that are bothering me. Sometimes I cry over nothing, and everything. Sometimes it’s caused by restraining many things over time to a point where it all bubbles up, over and out. These eyes, have it rough believe me. 

Like every other part of me that has to work hard to keep pushing on, I make promises to my eyes. Just a little farther. Just once more. It will be worth the price of those tears! We are almost there… I promise these eyes, I lie to them to keep them from giving out on me. Hopefully they don’t get wise…. I promise them that if we can just get through this, the beautiful things we will see will outweigh all this pain we have to endure now. 

Perhaps, someday these eyes will gaze upon a chubby screaming baby with eyes like mine…. and I will wipe those tears and have to strain to remember how much it hurt to wait for that moment. Perhaps. 

TTC

Why do you want this so bad anyway???

Current status

  • Cycle Day: 33
  • Fertility Treatments: None
  • Pregnancy Tests: 2, both 👎🏼 
  • Emotional Status: Ambivalence

Lately, I’ve been asking myself WHY a lot. Why do I want this so bad? Why is it not happening for me? Why can’t I seem to feel better about the waiting, and the trying!? Why why why!! That feeling of unknown helplessness is really hard to shake.

And I may have stumbled upon at least part of the answer the other day in the shower. While flushing away the day, and contemplating the meaning of it all…. the following thought popped into my brain. It went something like this:

“You’ve been telling yourself not to give up, and to see this through. At all costs…. but, why is it so important to have kids after all?” …. I paused for a moment…. and answered myself with the following:

I think of my childhood sometimes. My mom was a teen mom, before MTV  made it a reality show- it was our reality. She did the very best she could – and miraculously I grew up into a real live functioning adult woman. I love her so much, appreciate everything she did and sacrificed to keep me and to raise me. There was however, a lot that I missed out on as a kid and even then I was at least somewhat aware of it.  There was no father in the picture, so just on a very basic level there were things I yearned for that were just not within reach.

So, fast forward to today, I seem to have an invisible list in my head of all the things I ever wanted as a child and I’m in a position to give all of those things to my own children—now! I think there’s a part of me that feels like if I could do that, then any lingering feelings about my own childhood would be resolved.

Whoa??? Hmmmm….. could it be that simple??? Does everyone that decides to have kids already know and feel this way? I feel like I’m late to the party having just come to this realization… better late than never I suppose. 

Now, I’m aware that the concept is flawed…. I think everyone has bits of their childhood they wish they could change, erase, supplement or alter, but those are the things that makeus who we are! Accepting your own journey is important. For me, I need to accept that if we never have kids I’ve still managed to give my adult self a pretty awesome life !!

So, in the end this thought process did manage to ease the tension a bit on my own shoulders. I’m trying to give myself a break, and some room to just be. 

(And Mom, if you’re reading this… thank you for my childhood, no one’s is perfect, but I know how hard you worked to give me the one I had. Hopefully some day, we can spoil the hell out of your grandkids and make their lives way better than our own!) 

AngelMom, TTC

A good day…

Lately just getting out of my bed, and going to work has been a STRUGGLE for me!! They don’t give out participation trophies for adults but I’ve felt like I needed that kind of admiration just for being a part of my own life!

But today, was good. I woke up early, thanks to my lil Bub who’s decided lately that sleeping in is for the birds and he’d rather be outside, or on an adventure to Home Depot. I got the idea to build a cinderblock succulent planter off Pinterest and like all things from Pinterest you can never tell the actual difficulty level from the completion photo… and boy did I ever underestimate that project – like many I’ve attempted in the garden or in life.
You never know just what someone has gone through to achieve an “after photo” – a hard concept to grasp for this infertile friend. I see all of my friends and relatives happy and complete with their perfect families grinning on my Facebook and it’s so difficult to just remember that these after photos may be hiding something I do not see.
I do hope some day I am blessed with an “after photo”… but for today, I decided to make something. I acquired all the tools and supplies, and I built that thing. Simple as that. Completion, no matter how much of a sweaty 112 degree struggle it was, I made the choice to start and finish something and that is a beautiful thing.

AngelMom

The meantime 

Funny thing about the “meantime”… is that most of our lives are spent waiting. Counting down to the next bigger, better thing.

I feel like I’ve been counting this thing down most of my life!! We’ve managed to put together a pretty sweet situation while waiting to become parents. I mean as far as shit being together goes, we are as close as anyone can hope to be!!!
So what gives???? I get why the universe withheld my wishes until now, I can look back and go “yah ok I guess I get it” we needed to be in the right place (AZ) and have really good jobs, enough money to pay our bills and manage to have excess, we needed time to be just US…. but now!?? I mean what else am I not seeing here!!?

Have I wasted my life just counting down and waiting around for something that’s never going to happen!!?? I’m trying my hardest to be here, in the now, and appreciate and be open to life’s possibilities… and also remain hopeful, and not stress….and FOR FUCKS SAKE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THAT WHEN IM SO BUSY TRYING TO KEEP IT TOGETHER IN EVERY OTHER CATEGORY?!????

panting from exhaustion (and not in a good way)

I worry… more often than I can admit that I’m pouring all of my hope into this just to be let down… and to find that the “meantime” was my whole life….

And now that, that grownup outburst of random emotions is over…. I guess I’ll just shut it down. Not much else to do for now.
Dear Tomorrow, please be kind to me, I’m doing the best I can.