Passing Time

Holy shit. I’m blogging. Didn’t know when it would happen again. I figured it would be a momentous occasion or reaction to something either dramatically positive or negative. Nope. Just a really chill realization of the matter-of-fact way we’re finding peace with the journey.

Sometimes it’s frustrating that people around me are moving on in their family building and I feel a little left behind with my mandatory contraception until October 2017 (not that I’m counting down or anything). I find it helpful to focus on the awesomeness that is right now. I’m focusing on how different the world feels without an extra 70+ lbs. How concert seats are more comfortable. How I’m less afraid to trust chairs, roller coaster safety supports, hammocks. Of course, being out of exclusively plus size clothing doesn’t hurt either.

I’m kicking around a sort of Day Zero/bucket list for this time. Not that I don’t think I’ll be able to do these things once the baby making window reopens (I of all people know that nothing is guaranteed) but it’ll give me so much cool stuff to focus on right now. It’s nothing crazy, just small fitness things like trying Soulcycle or things I never thought were possible like running the Falmouth Road Race (still not 100% it is possible but I’ve got 51 weeks or so).

Overall I really do feel more settled than ever. It helps that I have three wonderful godchildren whose cuddles fill the void like no other. My goddaughter (AKA my little BFF and my mini me) is super smart and absorbs everything, even if she doesn’t let me in on it right away. She has given me a glimpse into just how much my infertility had consumed my conversations with people because lately, she has had a lot of questions and statements about me and babies. Not too long ago my mom and I were talking about my goal weight and BFF asks “is that the day they give you a baby?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Over the last few weeks she has had a lot of questions about when/why/how I will have a baby. I had to choose how to handle it. I didn’t want to lie to her or tell her she wouldn’t understand because she shows time and again that she understands so much on her own time. So I chose to be honest with her in the gentlest terms possible about anything and everything she asked.

Today she absolutely floored me with her recall and processing. We were talking about some hypothetical future. She turned to me and said “You can come visit with the baby you had or adopted”. So plain and just accepted as fact in her mind. I think it surprised me not only because this three year old has these concepts kicking around in her head but because her attitude seems to mirror mine without me realizing it. Well, we /do/ call her my mini me.

I swore I’d never be an “everything happens for a reason” kind of person, and I’m still not, because there really is no explanation for some of the devestatingly unfair shit that has happened to people, but I will concede that there have certainly been a few silver linings (not even including the insane summer of concerts we’ve had).

 

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The Blues 

I think I have my first glimpse of what postpartum depression will look like if this all works someday. It’s not pretty.

I had my surgery April 25. They took a pregnancy test that morning and I literally laughed at them like “Good luck with that”. I took a serious nap, so serious that I have no recollection of 7ish hours. “What time is it?” I asked. “6:30 pm” my hero with dilaudid answered. “Holy shit” Yes. I’m so classy. I had been held over in the PACU due to room availability and lousy oxygen saturation. 

The pain was excruciating and the nausea was worse. The first two days of this new way of life were the worst I had ever experienced. Each day gets a little better, or at least that’s my text reply. I’m off the pain pills. Everything is great. Right? I’m smiling, see?!?!? 

I’m full of shit. After the pain went away, I was left with a funk. A crying everyday, lonely but yet don’t feel like talking to anyone funk. Partially this stems from sheer exhaustion at the least effort. Showers are so taxing that I wrap up in towels and lie down for a few minutes so I can get the energy to get dressed. I needed a nap after going to whole foods with Hubby for soup (where I cried because it smelled like food that I couldn’t eat.) The weather didn’t help as my big exciting walk to the mailbox and dog potty breaks were mostly done in pouring rain. 

There was sun today and as soon as I spotted it, my diva dog and I were out on the deck. I’m going to have Hubby home all weekend. I finally drove my car today. I won $100 on a scratch ticket. Today could not have had more ingredients for a good day and yet, Hubby left for the overnight and I cried for a half hour. 

“Uh oh” I thought to myself “Am I relapsing in my depression?” Clearly the best option was to google. As it turns out, there is a legitimate thing called “Post-op depression” that is caused by your brain’s adjusting to anesthesia, weaning off narcotics, and not being able to do what you used to. The good news is it usually improves on its own. I’ll probably have to keep an eye on it and know to call my psychologist. 

The good news is, Mother’s Day feels the easiest it has since we decided to try for children. I don’t know if it’s because so much of me is consumed with recovery, or if I’m moving forward and my spirit finds that suitable. All I really care about is not having to sit and watch people eat, so I think Mom’s getting a private visit. 

Spring Cleaning

I’m 9 days from surgery and I have been recently obsessed with making my house spotless. Mostly because I am blessed to be well loved and know that people will come to visit at a time when cleaning will be difficult. 

Hubby worked in the ER and I decided to let him sleep in while I cleaned the office. I keep saying I’m going to make it into a yoga and meditation room. I conceded to “exercise” room but right now it’s an office that we set aside as a nursery when we bought the house. Being an extra and somewhat empty space, I’ve subconsciously filled it with everything I didn’t have a place for…including a fridge full of IVF drugs I’ll never be able to use before they expire. 

As I’m cleaning, I’m picking up packages of needles, gauze, alcohol, progesterone, estrogen. 4 cycles completed and 1 cancelled has left me with a large amount of stuff I can’t use. And I’m finding myself getting very angry. Irrationally angry. 

I feel a sense of guilt that somewhere someone can’t afford meds and I have a full cycle waiting to expire. I feel a sense of loss that it’s all still siting here waiting for me and I just can’t do it. I feel grief that this room is still a cluttered fucking office and not a nursery. 

I’m kind of a hoarder. I hate letting go of things that seem useful. Clothes that will never fit again, stuffed animals, birthday cards, all stashed somewhere I never see them but to move them. It would do me so much good to take a trash bag and throw everything away and put the fridge out of sight in the basement but I just can’t do it. It’s like $8,000 worth of stuff that someone might need before 2018 and I’m tossing it because I don’t like looking at it? That’s so wasteful. 

I’m kind of feeling that this room isn’t the only thing in need of some spring cleaning. So I’m sitting, paralyzed, in the middle of this room and am just at a loss for how to attack. 

It has been a weird week. I found out that a fellow infertile myrtle is finally pregnant. My joy for her was coupled with a sad realization that there’s a good chance my whole support group will have children before I’m even able to try again. Later that day, I saw a Facebook announcement of a wonderful couple in my life and I was happy for her but the cosmic injustice was felt strongly. I came home and received a baby shower invite in the mail. I texted Hubby “this day is out to get me”. 

It should have motivated me. I should have been like “This is why I’m doing this ridiculous thing” but instead I was immobile on the couch all night. 

I think I read somewhere that problems come equally from what you’re eating and what’s eating you. 

Yep. Definitely thought this was going better before. 

Anywhere But Here

This has been kicking around in my brain for days, though it was a planted months ago, and really it has been my whole life. Even now I’m not fully certain it will come out right. I thought about calling a friend, the priest, my psychologist, and then like the proverbial lightbulb, I remembered I have a blog.

So here goes, last spring, I’m spending a lot of time with my boss. Which is actually a positive because I love my boss. She’s kind of a mentor turned life coach who would cover my ass in a heartbeat and then tell me privately how badly I screwed up. I start pretty much every work day with the goal to not piss off my boss. Anyhow, she and I were discussing IVF and in her matter-of-fact way she said “I think you need to learn to bloom where you’re planted” and goes on to clarify her theory that people make themselves miserable because the life they want keeps them from the life they are supposed to have. Oh the secret eye roll I gave her. “She’s just lucky enough to never have to understand” I told my Mind-Body group. “We have allies and she just isn’t one of them”. 

Nearly a year later, I’ve realized just how right she was. 

I don’t remember a time in my life that I wasn’t always waiting for something more but probably the teenage years started with the big dreams. “If I only had a boy who liked me, I’d be happy” Only I had my first “date” with my first “boyfriend” and wanted no part of it. A week later, I was over it and pining for the next, always assuming the next had the promise of happiness. I was head over heels for Hubby from the day we met  but I couldn’t appreciate that. It was all about when we would get engaged, plan our wedding, and when things get complicated, I consider walking away. 

Work is no different. When the aforementioned best boss ever sends me a litany of nasty-grams, I start thinking about quitting. Not that I have any reason to honestly think anything would be different, just the fact that the answer to job satisfaction is leaving my situation. Sometimes it’s just walking away from management, the thing I did 18 months ago, but usually it’s quitting my job and becoming a yoga teacher (who can’t do downward facing dog). 

Sometimes it’s geographic relative homesickness. When I was in college and later lived in Brooklyn, all my misery was that I was too far from my family and every time I went home to visit, I never wanted to go back. Now every visit to NY, I want to move back. I miss my NSLP too much. NYC is “so cool” and “open late” and “Hubby should have more time with his family”. Sometimes it’s somewhere new entirely. The week after my Dad died, I was in negotiations with a recruiter to take a 13 week contract in LA. 

My fertility journey has been no different.   I’ve put it on a pedestal as the thing that would make life immeasurably more satisfying. I just haven’t had the chance to prove myself wrong. I’m having gastric bypass surgery in a little over 3 weeks and as much as I really am doing it for me (and I’m of course assuming that I’ll be healthy and happy and productive when I’m thin) it’s just another hurdle to clear in the race toward motherhood. 

I don’t know why what I am, what I have, where I am is never good enough. A glance at my Pinterest will tell you all you need to know. I have plans to run, cook, be organized, read and crochet…all of which I’m not particularly good at. I lied. I suck at all of those. I don’t know why it’s not good enough to walk, reheat (when Hubby cooks better than anyone else I know),  and cognitive download via trash television. 

I feel compelled to fill up my schedule despite the fact that the more I do, the more worn out I feel. Maybe I fear the downtime because I’m more comfortable with “doing” than “being”. I think about a time that I was asked to describe myself. I immediately stated my job. They said “That’s not who you are. That’s what you do.” I think I’m afraid of just being because deep down, I don’t think I’m good enough. 

I really do have a beautiful life. My marriage is 70% wonderful with 29.9% entirely neutral, leaving only 0.1% sheer torture. I have long friendships and new bonds with great people. I have the most beautiful nieces, nephews, godchildren. All my basic needs are covered without question. I travel. 

I think I know once and for all that my fight or flight response is all flight. 

But how do I even begin to start to bloom where I’m planted? 

Moving Forward

…the awkward moment you start getting emails regarding your “upcoming due date” and caring for your “new baby”. Yeah. About that. I blame myself a little because I put my March 22 due date into the What to Expect App all those weeks ago. At least I’m guessing that’s who sold my info. It was the only way to connect to the infertility treatments board in the app but also, it was fun to dream. 

I’m surprisingly ok. It’s kind of like an emotional fender bender. You take a quick inventory of yourself and nervously get out of your car, expecting a horrifying amount of damage and yet, you and your car are surprisingly unharmed. 

Up until recently I was having a horrendous time at coping, which is kind of sad considering I was mentoring a crop of infertile women and feeling like kind of a fraud. Now we have encountered a number of other triggers not even including the due date emails. And yet, not a scratch. 

Maybe it’s mentoring a new group or maybe I have hope again thanks to feeling like I have a plan in place. My surgery is scheduled. In two months I will be well on my way to a life I have never known. I read a study that had a number of infertile women and 3 years post surgery all of the ones who still wanted to conceive had. So at least there’s that. Maybe it was the stagnation that was killing me. 

I keep thinking about a quote from Angels in America that I had on my Facebook for years:

Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.

I think I can leave it at that. 

A Sweeter Place 

Timehop told me yesterday that I started this blog a year ago. I was a bit preoccupied with meeting my favorite country singer (Mr. Lee Brice who is even sweeter than I imagined he’d be). So happy belated birthday blog. 

That means, though, that my second post “The Bitter Place” was a year ago today. That post is hard to read because I can still feel my heart breaking and despite all my growth I feel like I could still be a breath away from there. Part of me knows this post is colored with yoga-tinted glasses because I’m super relaxed. 

That being said, a lot has changed in the last year. I would have never thought that I could be where I am now without my infertility resolved. Heck, I’ve even sadly had another loss, and somehow, I’m better than ever. How is this even possible? I really do believe it’s a result of getting my head on straight, or should I say finding my way out of my own head. I learned the relaxation response, I started yoga, and I found Jesus (at the risk of being a little facetious). I think it has been really important for me to have all three. I have guided relaxation to settle my mind, yoga to trust my mind and body to move together, and my return to the Catholic Church to guide my spirit. 

What has been also helpful is actually the void this blog needed to fill. I had nobody I felt could understand me so I vented into the blogosphere. The support network I have formed between my own group and two groups as a peer leader has been invaluable. I’ve gotten to know women of phenomenal strength and who I can relate to. 

So here I am, all happy and feeling like I’m okay. I was actually really proud of myself. There is couple whose pregnancy I had been struggling with for myriad reasons, and last week it was as though a cloud lifted when I saw a gift that would be perfect for their baby. So I mailed it to them, kind of as a “forgive me for being dramatic”. I can’t and won’t apologize for how I felt because my experiences shaped it but I can own that I unintentionally made things pretty awkward. But thankfully that seemed to be subsiding. 

Total settled and zen and totally cool with my spot in my infertility journey. Yes. No? What? 

Hubby and I joined a gun club today which is a long story in and of itself but at the risk of getting off track we’ll skip it. Despite their multiple female members, I was certainly a minority in the orientation today. That’s why it’s a little understandable that they read a man’s name when calling me up to get my membership card and keycard. 

Only problem is they literally said the name of what we planned to name our son. It was pretty much “Baby Rafkap, uh, Realname Rafkap” It took me a beat to even move and I was like, “Yeah, I’m definitely not a “Babyname” I saw it in Hubby’s eyes. His Daddy senses were tingling.

We moved on from it and went about our day. As we got home, a cardinal flew across our yard. They always remind me of my Dad and a medium told my best friend that he’s visiting me when I see a red bird. Automatically I said “aw! Daddy’s visiting me!” Hubby indulged it and pointed out that there were a number of cardinals in the tree. “Very special visit” I said. Then I remembered that the same medium told my friend that I’ll conceive when I least expect it and that he is being coy about it. 

COME ON! Not now. I’m doing so well. I just got cleared for surgery. It’s like 6 weeks away. I’m living my life for me! Don’t mess with me! I keep thinking of a sermon Judah Smith did (the first of his I listened to) and he talks about Elisha and the Shunamite woman and because she was such a nice woman, he promises a son within a year. Her response? Don’t mess with me. 

I honestly don’t even know what manner of mixed emotions I would have over a spontaneous miracle like that. I’d be thankful and joyous but probably a little bummed for missing out on seeing my surgery through. 

What I do know is that as screwy as my head feels right now, it’s still a million miles away from the bitter place. 

Distance

Maybe the lack of posting is indicative of feeling better. Nothing has made me seethe enough to feel the need to vent or be profound. 

I’ve just been living I guess. But now I find myself signing a long term lease with In-Between Land. I’m a little of everything all at once. Clearly I haven’t given up hope of having a biological child, be it genetic or merely epigenetic. Otherwise I would have all the time in the world to lose weight and try again. I played this game before. I never lost all the weight and I never had the baby. I don’t really think these rapidly dying eggs have 5 more years of messing around. That, and the surgeon again advised me to use contraception and warned me of “hyperfertility” being a side effect. 

And yet, I find myself continually being drawn to adoption. I think the 40K price tag initially pushed it far out of my mind, but the more I learn, the more I feel like it’s a great choice. Still not something we can do for quite some time anyway because to be as successful as I want and need to be, it’s going to require a level of self-preservation that I have never attempted. I’ll have to prioritize my time, resources, and goals to get there and I think emotionally it will be a struggle. Wouldn’t leave too much room for the process of adopting. 

And then of course there’s the pesky question mark over my fertility. Is it selfish to adopt when I could still conceive and others can’t? I heard there are 10 couples waiting for every available infant. Is it possible to be selfish as an adoptive parent?

I just don’t know where it leaves this blog. My infertility stress isn’t totally gone. Recently I was told the sex of a friend’s baby and I cried and in total asshole form said “I don’t want to know anything else. I’ll ask if I want to know” to the person who told me. A coworker is pregnant and people talked about it throughout my facility and I spent a lot of time doing deep breathing exercises. But it feels weird because I feel like I gave up my privileges by walking away for now. It’s a little Ross and Rachel (“We were on a break!”).

So now what? Do I hold onto it for the occasional overindulgent ponderance? Maybe start a new one for my weight loss journey?