Friday, May 30, 2008


I'm going to be MIA from my blog for a couple of weeks.  I'll be following all your blogs, but I probably won't get to comment much.  I'm in the final push at the end of the school year and I need to spend lots and lots of time at school.  After June 18, I will be back to normal, except I'll be on vacation.  Woohoo!  Now back to work.  

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Campfire Reflections

There's something about a campfire that inspires soul sharing.  Maybe it's just the absence of other distractions or the alcohol often imbibed around said campfire.  DH and I are camping this weekend.  We spent last night sitting around a campfire talking about the past few years. We talked about how I'm feeling, how DH is feeling, our hopes for the future. We talked more than we have in a long time.  I think we've spent so much time lately just getting through procedures and appointments and making medical decisions that we haven't taken any time to reflect.  

I'm feeling better than I was last week.  I think I'm doing well considering the situation.  I don't think doing well means I'm never sad or angry or (gasp) bitter.  I think it means that I can feel all of these things and not get stuck in those feelings.  I can feel those emotions and let them move on.  I do find myself able to look forward for the first time in a long time.  I've even caught myself thinking that by next summer DH and I will likely, probably, maybe have a child. It's hard to even write it because I start feeling superstitious, like it's possible to jinx it. I've also learned in the past 3 years that life often doesn't work out just the way you plan it, so I'm reluctant to presume anything will ever work out.  Even so, it looks like there's a possibility that we will be parents by next summer. So I've decided that if we can't take adoption classes until this fall, I'm going to try to make the most of this summer.  I plan to visit friends in other states, read lots of books, and do projects around the house. I always hear people advise pregnant women that they should enjoy the months before they give birth because that will be their last selfish or alone time for a while.  I think I'm going to treat myself the same way. After all, I keep telling myself, I am an expectant mom in some ways.  

By the fire, DH actually shared how he's been feeling, which is unusual.  He is the type of guy who tries to focus on the positive so he tends to avoid talking about what bugs him.  He said that at first, when it was clear that IVF wasn't going to work for us, he felt cheated.  He wasn't sure he would ever have a child, due to horrible motorcycle accident several years ago. He had massive pelvic injuries, including to his testicles, and doctors told him he might never father children.  Then when his semen analysis came back normal and our first RE was so positive about our chances, he started to feel hope for a biological child again.  When we tried so hard and nothing worked, he felt like it was worse than just knowing from the start that it wasn't possible. Our whole TTC journey was a big tease.

DH is a po.lice off.icer in a drug-ridden city and has the misfortune of working with many adults who neglect their children.  He has to face the unfairness all the time. Here we've been struggling to have a child who would be the center of our lives and some of his "clients" take their children so for granted. Their children should be a priority for them, but they're visibly NOT. He shared with me how angry and upset he gets when he's dealing with people who find money to buy W.ii and plasma TVs, but there's not a single toy in their apartments for their kids.   He sees mothers and father fighting about having no money for diapers when there's two new cartons of cigarettes on the kitchen counter. Last night, he told me that every once is a while he lets another offi.cer take over a call because he gets too angry to be impartial.  It's one of the reasons he wants so badly to adopt from the foster care system.  He sees neglected and abused kids all the time and he wants to give them another life. 

Talking about all of this helps us move forward, I think.  And it does feel like we're moving forward, ever so slowly.  I'm expecting ups and downs-that's why it's called a roller coaster after all.  I'm starting to have the sense that this ride will actually end with us being parents.  Last week,  DH and I were in our spare bedroom, putting some things away, and he looked at me and said, "Hey, this is the baby's room."  And you know what? It finally feels like it is.  

Thank you for all the kind responses to my last post.  I can't tell you how much all your support means to me. 

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big Fat Tears

Hurt is like a big wave washing over me tonight. It came out of nowhere and has me crying nonstop--the big fat slow-rolling type of tears crying. I made the mistake of checking out the IF Grads section of an online board I'm part of. I like to check in on the women there when I'm in a good place emotionally; I've known many of them a long time and I wish them only happiness. I felt like I was doing well enough to handle it. I guess I was wrong. Now I can't stop imagining being a rightful member of that group. Talk of NT scans, scheduling ultrasounds, celebrating my last PIO shot, dealing with morning sickness, deciding whether to rent a doppler, calculating my due date, all the rituals of pregnancy-I so long to be a part of that. I just feel so empty and sad.

I keep trying to pinpoint a reason for feeling this way at this moment in time. I thought I was doing so well with ending our efforts for a biological child and now I'm falling apart. In my mind, I've gone through all the possible reasons that I'm having such a hard time tonight: it's been a week since our BFN; our social worker just told us we probably can't take our required adoption classes until the fall; DH and I are starting to spend weekends in NH again and I was so sure that the next summer I was up there I would be pregnant; I got a letter from my health insurer reminding me yet again that they only approved me for one IVF cycle (obviously the RE's office hasn't billed them yet).

But I think I'm just wasting my time trying to find a reason. Grief is grief. It doesn't follow a straight line and it often shows up unexpectedly. There is no logic to it. My only personal experience with grief is the loss of my grandparents. My grandmother died when I was 4 years old and my grandfather died when I was 16. That was 34 and 22 years ago, respectively, and I still miss them, sometimes at the most surprising times. I missed them at my wedding of course, but I also miss them when I see an elderly couple holding hands in the mall. I remember the intensity of the emotions I felt when I first lost each of my grandparents. Now when I miss them, it feels more like a dull ache than a sharp pain but it's still feels like something. That's another thing I've learned about grief: it doesn't end, but it does get less intense with time.

I know losing a flesh and blood person isn't the same as what DH and I are experiencing. But we are losing the biological children we will never get to have together, our might-have-been children. I used to wonder if my Irish ancestry and DH's red highlights would bring us a redhead-- now I'll never know. I wondered if our biological child would be an early bird like DH or a night owl like me--I'll never know. I wondered if our biological child would have his long classic nose or my button one--I'll never know. Would our child blush easily like me? Have DH's smile, including the dimples? Inherit a thick head of hair from both of us? I'll never know. Never.

I plan to let myself mourn my might-have-been children tonight. I worry that this implies that I'll love my meant-to-be children less, but I don't believe that. I think that I need to let go of what might have been in order to fully embrace what's meant to be. This grief I feel is part of that letting go. I know that I'll be a mom through adoption, and I will love my children with all my heart. My life will hold joy again in the future. But that doesn't mean it isn't hard to let go or that it doesn't hurt like hell right now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I had already been dreading Mother's Day for a year and started dreading it even more once I realized that my beta for my last IVF cycle would take place a couple of days before it.  I guess I really didn't expect a BFP and I wondered how I would get through the day.  Last year was really bad.  I was facing our first IVF cycle and I couldn't believe we had got to that point.  I had been so sure we would get pregnant before then.  I mean, damn my RE actually had me do a couple of natural IUIs because she thought we would get pregnant easily, too.  It was just a matter of timing.  Then every month my prognosis got progressively worse. . .a cyst, a bigger cyst, suspicion of an endometrioma, a lap, a nasty benign tumor, an ovary removed, elevated FSH, poor response, possible DOR, definite DOR, and so on.  And now this Mother's Day, I would either be pregnant from our last IVF or done with trying to conceive a biological child.  

On Thursday we got the word that IVF#4 had failed and now we're officially done with TTC. But this Mother's Day was not nearly as bad as I expected.  I don't really understand why.  Maybe it's because I know with certainty that adoption is our path.  There's no more "maybe I could be," "I hope I will be," "could it be?"  I'm done with hoping for a biological child.  There will not be a pregnancy, but there will be a child.  I'm sure of it now.  Perhaps moving forward down the path less-traveled is better than being stuck in one place. 

My mother gave me a card for Mother's Day.  It told how special I am to her. Then she wrote that she knows DH and I will be great parents, and that when we adopt our child she and my family will be ready to welcome our child into their hearts and their homes.  The card made me cry, but in a good way.  This is actually the best Mother's Day I've had in years.  May next year be even better.  

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What I have to get used to

I went to a bridal shower today and saw a glimpse of my future.  I figured a bridal shower would be pretty safe.  After all, it's not a baby shower.  Of course, when I got there I was surrounded by pregnant bellies. There were at least 5 enormously pregnant women present. I should have known.  The bride is 30 years old which seems to be the age of fertility around these parts.  The shower was a reminder of what I'll have to get used to now that I've put an end to TTC and decided to move on with adoption.

I'll have to get used to hearing conversations about pregnancy "It's another girl. We found out last week," "My labor went so fast when I had my youngest," "Oh my God, I had the worst heartburn with Addison. It was awful,". . .and knowing that I have absolutely nothing to offer to the conversation.   All I have to offer are stories of my sister's and friends' pregnancies. How pathetic is that?   It's better just to smile and keep my mouth shut.  I'll have to get used to being silent.

I'll have to get used to smiling benignly at comments like "There are so many pregnant women here. If I were the bride I'd be running in the other direction". . .all the while thinking that if fertility were catchy I'd be rubbing up against all those preggos right now.  And if infertility were catchy, my friend the bride would be running as far and fast from me as she possibly can. As a matter of fact, if infertility were catchy, I'd be standing by myself in a corner of the room. 

I'll have to get used to realizing how much others take their fertility for granted and always worrying about that. There's a tradition at bridal showers that for every ribbon you break when opening a present you'll have a child.  At this shower the attendants were cutting the ribbons for the bride and guests told the bride she has to break some ribbons.  She called over to our friend who was sitting next to me and asked how many she should break.  My friend, who has two children still in diapers, replied that she would definitely recommend that she break only two ribbons.  I remember being so naive as to think babies would come easily and that I could start and stop having them whenever I wanted.  Whenever I hear someone I care about assuming they'll get pregnant, I feel a twinge of anxiety.  I say a quick prayer: Please God don't let her be like me.

I'll have to get used to being happy for others when I'm feeling like I'm on the verge of falling apart. The bathroom was my refuge at this bridal shower and I expect it will be at many future events. My friend the bride wants to get pregnant immediately, ideally on her honeymoon. And I know that she will, I just know it.  So I'll have a baby shower to attend next year and I will go because she's a wonderful person and I care about her.   Actually I'll have at least two showers to attend because one of my best friends is already pregnant.  So I'll have to get used to plastering a smile on my face and just crying quietly in the bathroom when it gets too hard.  

Something about this shower made me realize that adjusting to never being pregnant is going to be a lifelong task.  I could picture myself at age 68 attending my friends' daughters bridal showers and struggling with the same issues.  I will never have a pregnancy story or a birth story.  I will never connect with other women over those events.  Some conversations will always sting. What gives me hope is that I have heard adoptive mothers say that the hurt does get better, less intense once they adopt.  It does not go away, but it hurts less.  I'm putting my trust in them.  

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It's official

My RE's office called today with the negative beta results, as expected.  I haven't had a total emotional breakdown yet, but I am throwing a little pity party for myself tonight.  I just keep asking myself the same question-why couldn't it be me?  Why wasn't I the one to win the infertility lottery?  

Why couldn't I have been the one who got pregnant. . .  

on my honeymoon

before the six month mark

on my first cycle charting

after preseed and Fertility Blend

in the first year

on the cycle before going to the RE

after my HSG

from a natural IUI

after my lap

on clomid

on injects

on a break cycle

on IVF#1

on an IUI converted from IVF #2 or #3

on IVF#4

Why the hell couldn't it have been me?  

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It didn't work

I started spotting two days ago and it became AF last night.  There is no doubt that it's AF.  It's not implantation bleeding.  It's not cervical irritation from the progesterone gel.  It's too heavy for either of those.  I'm not pregnant.  My RE is letting me do the beta tomorrow, instead of Friday, so I don't have to drag it out any longer than necessary.  I'm kind of numb right now.  I think it will all hit me tomorrow when I get the negative beta results and it's official.  I guess my little embryo that could, just couldn't.  

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I've been tagged

Thanks Lizzybo for tagging me.  I totally needed this distraction.  Thinking about God and stuffing my face are just not doing it for me during this 2ww. Here goes:

4 Things I Did 10 Years Ago (1998) 
1. I was living in Pawtucket, RI.  I had just moved from an apartment in a run-down Victorian to a real, grown-up apartment above a law office.  My former landlord was pissed that I'd left.  He said I didn't give him a chance to convince me to stay.  I'd only been asking him to fix the hallway light, the door, the sink, etc. for 3 years.  It probably didn't make him feel better that m new apartment was right across the street from my old one.  It was an easy move.  
2. I was in the first year of my Master's Program in Special Needs. I went one to two weekends a month for almost 2 years.  I actually loved it.  It felt good to be doing academic work again.
3. In 1998, I went to Ireland with one of my best friends, M.  M. was born in the Azores and had never been back to Europe since she came to the US when she was 2 years old.  She and I both have the same nerdy interest in history and culture so we had a blast together.  
4. I still had my good boy Monty, my 20 lb. cat.  He was just a huge cuddle bug. We had to have him put to sleep last September and I miss him.

4 Things I Did 5 Years Ago (2003) 
1. I was preparing to become an auntie.  My younger sister was pregnant with my niece, Erin.  She was born in December 2003.
2.  In November of that year, I met my DH at a mutual friend's wedding.  He was the smart ass sitting next to me.  He was to shy to ask for my number so I had to wait for my friend to come back from her honeymoon to hook us up.  We had out first date the night before my niece was born.  He was so nervous he did two shots of Jack Daniels before I got to the restaurant.  He didn't seem nervous to me-----'cause he was drunk.  
3.  I found a lump in my breast.  I had a scary few weeks of biopsies and worrying.  My mom had breast cancer at 47 so it wasn't baseless worry.  Luckily, it turned out to be a benign tumor, but I go for regular mammograms now as a result.  
4.  I passed up the chance to get a mini-season package to the Red Sox.  My friend, K, and I had been going for years.  We always bought a handful of single game tickets.  We decided not to buy a package because we couldn't both make all the games.  The next year they won the World Series and tickets are now impossible to get.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  

4 Things I Did Yesterday 
1. I spoke with M. (my companion to Ireland in 1998) about her pregnancy.  I was actually able to hold it together while she talked about symptoms, sharing the news with her family, her worries, her excitement about her upcoming u/s.  I see it as a testament to our long friendship that I didn't even cry after we hung up.  I am truly happy for her and I know she's rooting for me. 
2. I played with my nieces. Erin is now 4 and her little sister is 2 1/2.  We pretended to go to sleep, wake up, and walk to school over and over and over and over again.  Until Erin got a hold of her dad's deodorant and wiped it all over her arms and her knees.  Why her knees?  I have no idea. She reeked of manly deodorant smell. Then I helped my sister give her a bath.  We threw her sister in the tub for good measure. 
3. DH and I went for fried clams in Maine.  It's not really far at all.  They were goooood.  One of my favorite things about living near the coast in the summer is the seafood, especially the clams.  Yum!  
4. I made cookies when we got home.  Yes, we ate fried clams and I still baked cookies.  Like I said, stuffing my face is a favorite 2ww distraction.   

4 Shows I Love to Watch 
1. Adoption Stories
2. Top Chef
3. Barefoot Contessa
4. Dogtown

4 Things That Make Me Happy 
1. My DH-He can make me laugh even at my grumpiest.
2. My family-I don't know how I would make it through my life without them.  They are always looking out for me.
3. My pets-How can 2 goofy, slobbery, cuddly bulldogs and one neurotic cat with a heart of gold not make me smile?
4. Wh.ol.e F.oo.ds-I love going in that store lately.  There's just so much possibility.  I would sleep there if they would let me.  

Apparently I now have to tag 4 people, but I need to think about who would enjoy doing this.  I'll have to add on to this post later.  

ETA: I've tagged Allison  and Brenda but only if they want to play of course.  I can't think of two more blog friends who haven't been tagged and who might like this.  I'll keep thinking.  

God and BFPs

I recently saw a post on a online fertility forum by a woman who got a BFP and she praised God.  It struck me that the only time I hear someone singing God's praises on online fertility forums is in a BFP post when prayers are answered.  You rarely see someone saying how great God is when she gets BFN after BFN after BFN. I'll admit that I'm not a religious person so I'm not someone who goes around praising God at any time.  I'm not sure what I believe about God, but I know I would be more willing to listen to the point of view of someone who sings Hosanna whatever the HPT result than to someone who only praises God when she gets what she wants. Personally, I don't believe that God's greatness should be measured in BFPs or BFNs, but if you truly believe God is great and all-powerful then don't you have to accept that even your BFN is a sign of His greatness? 

See what my mind does during the 2ww.  I need a hobby to distract me.