I was racing through Walmart the other day. I had a random list of things to acquire, and I had ping pongged all over the store a few times to get them. I was getting ready to leave and realized I forgot something way at the back of the store, so I doubled back one more time to get the last missing item from my list. I cut across the center of the store and without thinking, I walked right into the baby section of the store and it stoped me dead in my tracks.
Infertility will cause you, sometimes even subconsciously to avoid certain people, places and things just so you don’t have to deal with how they make you feel. The baby section is one of those places for me.
I remember before we lost our baby, the first and only time I got to visit this magical land as an expectant mother. It was right after we found out we were pregnant, and before the ultrasound that ruined it all. I was so happy. A bit overwhelmed as I’m sure every mother to be is, but so thrilled to be there for myself instead of everyone else! I’ve “baked” a gaggle of diaper cakes, gone to a thousand kid birthday parties, baby showers and for once I’d get to feel what this was like!! I remember tearing up and texting my friend what I was doing. It all seems so silly and arbitrary but to me, that moment was everything.
Now, standing in the baby section I felt my knees start to give and I the tears start to swell up in my eyes recalling that special moment in time before things got so complicated. I wondered if I will ever get to have that feeling again… and suddenly felt like all eyes in the store were on the crazy lady about to lose it at a Walmart and I hastily bolted out of there.
These are the moments I try to hide from. It’s not always Walmart… sometimes is people in my life that make it hard for me to live this infertile life. I can’t explain it, and it’s hard to defend myself when it happens because I know it’s not fair, and I feel guilty for even feeling the way I do.
The pain, and grief that is loss and infertility is the most complicated and confusing thing I’ve ever encountered. Chances are, if you’re reading this you know the struggle or if not, you know someone that does. It’s is difficult to know how to handle this very fragile friend. The best thing you can do is to be there, quietly and carefully and without trying to fix anything. Just be here, and be gentle. We are the most broken , fragile and fierce creatures and we just want to be understood and accepted, just like you. Isn’t that what we ALL want, in some way?
I crave acceptance and validation. We all have hidden emotional land mines and try as we might to navigate our lives to avoid them, eventually we’re going to forget where they’re hidden and have to deal with a blowout. As for me, I’m still trying to figure out how to responsibly deal with my issues without emotionally injuring myself or others. Results vary, and that’s is ok too.
I’ve been having a super hard time sharing lately. Some of you may have noticed I’ve been abnormally quiet lately. Trying to figure out my “spin” on some frustrating feelings and it’s a tough thing to pin down.
We’ve made some choices lately, awesome, exciting, selfish and fun choices that are not in any way fertility serving or related. I’ve been having trouble allowing myself to be happy and confident about them. We deserve to have fun and do things that make us feel happy, remind us why we love being together and make our bond stronger…. but in making those choices we removed other opportunities and choices regarding future fertility treatments.
We’ve spent the last 8 years trying to get pregnant- and for the last year of that it has been the primary focus of our lives…. and it’s HARD!!! It’s mentally and physically taxing. We’ve suffered loss, and somehow at the end of that difficult year we are and aren’t closer to reaching the finish line. We know now IT CAN HAPPEN now….. but the questions and challenges still remain and I find myself wondering WILL IT happen more often than I care to admit.
This journey is one of pain, longing, stress, and a lot of telling myself to be stronger and more positive than I may actually be. I want to bring light and positivity to others…. but at the same time there are so many days where I just can’t get it up for the world and I just want to feel frustrated and angry that for some reason the universe continues to withhold the last missing piece and I can’t for the life of me figure out WHY!!!!! Despite so many other amazing things that may be going right— this one missing piece haunts me.
Meanwhile, when I look up from my own journey I feel my heart break wide open for others that are fighting their own battles that are totally different than mine. I tell myself to “suck it up” and shame myself for indulging my feelings because others “have it so much worse”…. and while all of that may be true…. one journey cannot possibly be measured against another.
Every journey is unique and no one else is strong enough to move the mountain that has been assigned to you. It’s grueling…. and all the more laborious if you don’t allow yourself to experience what you’re feeling and constantly suppress and stifle yourself for the sake of putting up a brave face.
- Cycle Day: 15
- Treatments: 3 follicle scans to check egg growth process, IUI scheduled for this week!!
- Meds: 225 IU HMG (7 total), HCG injection to trigger ovulation
- Mental State: Calm, Ready.
This photo was take last November, right after I found out I was pregnant. Weeks before it was all ruined by an ectopic pregnancy resulting in emergency surgery, losing my baby as well as a Fallopian tube.
At that moment though, I felt so mischievous knowing such an important amazing thing… that I could share with no one…..
Oh who am I kidding. We were bursting at the seems!!!! We didn’t tell everyone– but we did blab our big news to a handful of people. Mostly people we’d been sharing or struggles with. Infertility and treatments are so isolating– all you want is for people to understand what you’re going through and to feel valid and supported in your choices it was so nice to finally have something GOOD to share with those people!!!
We decided not to tell our parents, not yet anyway. We had already sort of planned to get both my husband’s parents here for Christmas and I knew it wouldn’t be TOOOO hard to get my mom here so we’d wait until Christmas to put together some magical way of telling all of our parents at the same time.
Along the way, there were a few people who were surprised at our decision to share so early on “oh it’s too early!! You should wait til after the first trimester” WHY I thought!!??? It did not even occur to me that early loss could be our reality all I knew was that THIS WAS IT…..
And then it wasn’t.
If someone shares with you that they’re pregnant please don’t question why they’ve told you– at whatever point. They’ll probably spend the rest of their lives thinking they jinxed it…. because that’s what you’re saying.
Plus, if the unspeakable should happen— it’s your job to be there for that. In whatever capacity they need you to be.
I wonder daily if I jinxed my baby… and I wonder when I get pregnant (because I will!!) — if I will jinx it again!? I doubt I’ll keep my pregnancy super secret in the future because throughout this journey I have found such comfort in sharing the experiences and growing a cheering squad that would make any sports team green with envious rage— and why wouldn’t I share the good stuff too!!! That, and also because I need support. I need people in my corner. Celebrating, and praying and sending all those good vibes into the world! Live in this world with me, please.
Please recognize that If someone shares their life with you, they’ve picked this time and this place to be truthful, even if it hurts. Even if it doesn’t turn out like it should. Please don’t judge people for craving that connection and letting you in.
For now, we are going into the following week with our insemination scheduled, hoping, praying, and willing for this time to be IT!! I don’t know when I will feel open to sharing more news, but when that time comes I trust you will be there….
- Cycle Day: 42 (17 days past possible late ovulation)
- Pregnancy Tests: Infinity ⛔️
- Mental State: Impatient
This week’s excerpt has been one of the hardest for me to complete. Which, is astounding when you consider the very personal and detailed information I’ve shared over the last few months.
This week not unlike others, I struggled. I was emotional, confused, scared, angry and fearful about nearly everything but mostly the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the future. Being stuck in an extended holding period like I am, causes a lot of anxiety– apparently.
This cycle is lasting a very long time which is both good and bad. It’s good, because there is still a glimmer of hope that I could turn out to be pregnant, but bad in that despite my period being late I have not yielded a positive pregnancy test. This uncertainty tends to unhinge me a bit, and it causes the less rational and destructive parts of my brain to take over the controls.
I have never even realized that this alternative psyche existed until recently. I’m very rough on myself. Far more critical to myself than I would be to anyone in the outside world. I tend to have the highest of expectations, and very little patience for failure or for waiting in general. Not a good thing when your primary goal involves mostly waiting!
I found myself mid meltdown this week trying to figure out what tipped me over the edge…. and I couldn’t! I sat crying in a bathroom stall at work, feeling afraid, sad, and guilty for feeling all of the above! Nothing specifically happened to me, other than this sudden tsunami of emotion, that may have been purely hormonal.
Luckily, since my loss in December I have started seeing a therapist. I have regular appointments set every few weeks and while some times I see her with nothing serious or upsetting to report, others like this week I was able to work through all of these feelings to a constructive end. There is no measure for the benefit I have realized with therapy.
In times like these, the only thing to do is: LABEL the feeing….. “I am anxious because I do not have control of these circumstances”. Then, TAKE AWAY THE POWER, by doing anything that you CAN control. Any distraction is typically GOOD distraction. The last thing to do, is to reaffirm positive statements to yourself. For me, the internal voice comes at a whisper and usually I don’t even realize it’s happening until the damage has been done. It whispers of failure, paralysis, weakness and all at once I am consumed by a deep fog of doubt, fear and sadness. The only way to prevent or reverse the hostile take over is to remind myself that this place is not permanent. My journey is far from over. I am doing everything I can to make my dreams come true– and I am.
- Cycle Day: 29
- Status: Two Week Wait in full effect
- Mental State: Hopeful
I’ve never really told the story of Karate James…. I figure now is a good time. Since, some day around this time he would have been born.
It was our third attempt at IUI. I was several days late and had already tested negative a few days prior. Feeling some symptoms, I reluctantly bought a “good” pregnancy test – anyone TTC knows there are good ones, and the ones you buy in bulk cause who can afford the “good” ones at the rate we blow through them! I sat there staring at the digital hour glass waiting expectantly for “not pregnant” to appear like it always does… bitter and annoyed that obviously any minute it would pop up and ruin my day…. and then all of a sudden…. the greatest word appeared, “pregnant”. “What!?!?” I audibly asked this thing I just peed on… “WHAT!???”
We’ve always joked and never quite been in agreement about what we’d name our kid some day. At times there were names we both could agree not to hate. In the end we figured that was a problem for “Future Us” to solve so we never really negotiated to completion on the subject. One thing I knew, was that our kid would need a really awesome name…
While watching the Olympic summer games there was an athlete named Karani James. Except, every time the announcer called his name it sounded like Karate. We both laughed and agreed that’d be a badass name for a kid. We’d never actually do that of course… would we??? No of course not that would be ridiculous……
I swear, the minute we knew I was pregnant, even though we didn’t know the baby’s sex we started calling our kid Karate. It was the perfect name for our “pre-kid”. Karate, was obviously awesome and James is my husbands middle name so we’ve covered our basis there with some tradition– BAM!? Perfect! I mean sure, we’d come up with a real, suitable name for him in the next several months, but for now —Karate James was all that mattered.
I got to hold Karate for a grand total of 8 weeks. Thanks to a troubling ultrasound at 5 weeks, half of that time was spent worried that it would all end. Wondering if it was ever even real. And knowing that as fast as it all began it would soon be over. I did consciously decide to enjoy how much time I was granted, but it was really tough being given an open end on something so precious. “Maybe this will work out – and maybe not”.
I have found out a lot about myself since I lost Karate. It’s ever unfolding and evolving, but I persist. In the pursuit of a family, I know in my gut we will have some day.
Every single day, I see something that reminds me of those 8 amazing weeks where I was a mom, and I’m desperate for that feeling again.
I went for a walk the other day, and a breeze kicked up and all around and I felt him there. I closed my eyes and let the wind blow my hair and face, and I felt a powerful peace sweep over me…. I’m thankful for moments like that. Times where I can connect with him somehow, and I feel him nudging my life forward.
- Cycle Day: 13
- Days to fertile window: Brace Yourself…..
- Mental State: Clear, hopeful
I did some decluttering at work today. Just trying to make my outward self match up with my inward one. Cleaning out junk that doesn’t belong. Trying my best to think thoughts independent of infertility and just enjoy whatever is going on RIGHT NOW.
I was relishing this rare moment of clarity, and just as quickly as it began I was jolted back to reality when I stumbled on something that whipped me around and stopped me in my Fung Shui tracks, cold.
It’s been nearly a year since I started treatments with my current specialist. Through each cycle, I buried myself in positive thoughts. Not that I was actually feeling positive or enlightened during this time, but I felt like I could trick myself into feeling that way and it would be better for me and ultimately help me conceive. Not sure exactly where the notion came from, but I was committed to it. Sure, there were times where I couldn’t be fooled and things were just shitty…. but my whole plan was to psyche myself out and end up really believing by accident.
A big part of this plan was written affirmations I left for myself at work. My way to sort of a Jedi Mind Trick myself…. (yes I’m a huge Star Wars geek— and this is only 1 of of the things that makes me awesome). I changed them periodically, always written on a big sticky note and placed on my computer screen. I never cared who saw it or what it would mean if they did. It was my way to own my feelings, the choice to “try” and to remain positive! Also, as a bonus side effect it made me feel like I had a smidge of control- which I desperately needed.
When I lost my baby in December, I was out for about 3 weeks to recover. I came back to work still broken, still teary eyed, still sad… and the first thing I saw was my yellow sticky note….. I shattered.
I was not the same girl that wrote this note.
I felt so betrayed, those words mocked my very existence. Before the tears could spring out, I grabbed the note and shoved it in my drawer under a bunch of nonsense with a dozen others just like it never to be seen or thought of again… until today.
Reading though them, was reminded of a girl that truly wanted to believe that it was all just a case of mind over matter. Believe these wonderful things, and they will be real. In my heart, I do still believe… I felt my body relax and I felt happy. Perhaps my mind trick worked? Clearly I knew then that I was capable of believing again. After all I only stashed the notes. I could have easily thrown them in the trash, but I tucked them away beneath everything else somehow knowing I would need and want those positive words again eventually. Feeling a well of hope bubble up inside, I picked one out of the crowd and proudly displayed it on my screen… it feels good to believe. It feels familiar, and warm.