Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ending Rituals

There are rituals for every beginning and ending in life. We have baby showers, christenings, graduations, weddings, funerals, and countless other events to mark the passage from one stage or life to another. I've noticed lately that I've created my own rituals for the beginning and end of fertility treatments.

When I began treatments, in particular IVF, I made an injection space for myself in our spare bedroom. I made space for my meds in the fridge. I set up a folder with my instructions and bookmarked the Vill.age Ph.ar.ma.cy website. I bought pregnancy tests. Everything in my life was prepared for the cycle. I set my cellphone alarm every day and evening so I would never forget to do an injection at the correct time. I put a bottle of water by my bed every night before blood work so I would remember to drink it first thing in the morning. It made it easier for the blood techs to draw blood from my little veins. I put my phone on vibrate every afternoon so I could know when the nurse was calling with instructions without disturbing the peace. And then, before we knew it, all this structure wasn't necessary anymore and it was time to move on with life. And it was hard because I knew how to do IVF. I'd done it four times. Moving on was new to me.

Ending treatments has led to rituals all its own. I cleared off the bureau that was my injection space. I packed up the sharps container that I hadn't discarded because it still had room to be filled and asked DH to bring it to the hospital for me. I got rid of my old meds: no more follistim or cetrocide in my fridge next to the tomatoes. I planned a vacation for the first time in two years without checking FF to see when I might be ovulating. I have started filling up my wine rack again. I stopped taking prenatals and stocked up on feminine hygiene supplies. I started drinking caffeinated coffee again a few times a week..

All these little rituals have been performed with a sense of purpose. They haven't just happened. I've made myself do them. Why? I guess for the same reason we have christenings, weddings, and funerals. They mark the moment when one part of life ends and another begins. Without that mark, I think we would be less able to move on, more likely to get stuck where we are. I feel like my end-of-treatment rituals are helping me to let go. Each one brings me a step further away from our last devastating IVF result and closer to finding peace with all of this.


Me said...

I think I understand. Some people tell me I'm strong or otherwise compliment my current enthusiasm for life. I appreciate the applause but really, what other choice was there?

Torina said...

I felt like it a very liberating feeling, being done with the whole infertility battle. It felt so good to bring back the ovulation monitor thing to the doctor and tell them that I didn't need it anymore. To throw away the checklists and the calendar and the reminders. It is like you get your body back. I was looking forward to not being sad EVERY single month.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I followed a similar sort of ritual at the end of our IVFs. It was a way to mark the end of one very difficult part of my life, and allowed me to move on to a new chapter, and to find the peace that comes with it.

Barb said...

I understand.

Lost in Space said...

You are making big strides and I know that no part of it can be easy. I hope each new ritual brings you peace in time.

Hugs, my friend.

Shelby said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love the act of rituals to move from one point of life to another and feel that I've neglected it, until now. As things have become more complicated and less clear in my journey to parenthood, I had to define the movement with something more tangible. We have memorial services to mark the ending of a loved one's life-shouldn't we have something similar when we must close the door on one dream as we open the door to another?

This will be especially true if/when I must move on from treatment as you have. As 'me' said, it must be liberating, but at the same time, bittersweet. And when your new beautiful child does arrive, having an adoption party will be the best welcoming ritual of all, hopefully a beginning path to healing.