Thursday, December 29, 2016

Update: When Someone Else Goes Through Treatment

I have been loving these past couple of weeks, meeting up with friends I hadn't seen since I started school in the fall. It's been great to see everyone and catch up. Two of the people my husband and I met up with were the couple that I posted about previously, the ones going through fertility treatment. Although she's been open on social media, I did not know the details. Well, in just a few words I was able to figure out exactly their situation. They've already had retrieval, did genetic testing, and have three fertilized embryos to transfer.

(Even though the husband is one of my husband's best friends, they never knew what all we did. I had only previously shared with the wife that we had tried some things if she needed someone to listen who had actually been through it. Despite having this blog and putting my most private thoughts and feelings on the internet, my husband and I are actually extremely private people.)

Anyway, since she had been open on social media, I asked her how she was doing and if everything was going well. She shared a few surface details, and I don't think she was expecting me to be so familiar with the terminology because I immediately knew what all she was talking about- no explanation necessary. So since I understood so well and so quickly, it became quite obvious that my husband and I had been through IVF. Soon, we were all complaining about how the process seems to take over your life. Turns out her husband loved giving her the trigger shot about as much as mine did. (They didn't. At all.) 

They seemed a little bit surprised that we were so well versed in the process, so they quickly realized we had been through it all and we obviously don't have any children. That was my only concern in being open with them. I didn't want our results to discourage them. I really, really hope it works for them. I want everyone who wants a child to have a child but especially this friend. She is one of those truly special, exceptional women.

She seemed concerned that they only had three embryos and I told her that was a lot, to ignore the women who were complaining they only got 15 eggs or only 5 fertilized or whatever. She said they were going to transfer them one at a time and hope for the best.

In a quiet moment in the conversation when our husbands were talking about something else, the wife looked at me and asked, "Are you done?" And I said, "Yes." She took a minute to kind of take that in. 

I told her, "You will get through this. Whatever happens, you will get through this." I nodded toward her husband and told her, "You are not going through this alone and you are not going through this with a dumbass." Her eyes got big for a second and then she laughed and said, "You're right. I'm not going through this with a dumbass." (Her husband is an amazing guy, very fun, kind, and sensitive.)

And then the conversation moved on to much lighter, easier topics. 

My biggest concern was the fact that now she knows we tried IVF and it obviously didn't work for us. I want her to stay hopeful for as long as possible, as long as that hope is healthy for her. But, since it didn't work for us, I hope she sees me as someone who is surviving. Not only surviving, but I am also living. She has watched me try to rebuild my life over the last several years and she has been very supportive of me. She even gave me a Back To School present this fall, a bucket full of school supplies and candy with a very sweet card. So she knows that I've almost completely changed my life.

I just hope my experience doesn't make her sad, anxious, or even more worried. I hope I am showing her that life can still be good even after dealing with one of the worst things ever.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Space In Between

I really love the space in between Christmas and New Year's. I feel like the world finally slows down, if only for just a little bit.

I normally don't like the spaces in between. I hate commuting. I'm actually not very fond of traveling. I just want to be there, wherever I am. Home, work, vacation. I want to be there. Not getting there.

I didn't really like being engaged either. I mean, it was fine. But I liked both dating and being married more than being engaged. Being engaged was just an intermediary stage.

Even though everything is temporary, including our destinations, the spaces in between have just never been my favorite.

Of course my least favorite "in between space" that I've ever felt was trying to conceive. Not a mom and not even pregnant, I hated the space in between being a newlywed and becoming a family with children. All the waiting, waiting, waiting while I wasn't even looking forward to being pregnant. Pregnancy was just something I was going to get through to get what I ultimately wanted. But the heartbreak on top of the waiting... And then the ugly feelings like jealousy and devastation when months turned into years... And then all the spaces in between once we started medical intervention. Waiting for cycle day 1. Waiting for follicle growth. Waiting for my lining to thicken. Waiting for the insemination, retrieval, transfer... Waiting for the phone call that said how many fertilized or whether or not I was pregnant... Blah. It sucked. I'm halfway sorry I just typed all that out just now. So glad all of that is in my past.

But the spaces in between, though not my favorite, are also valuable. Not to get too "out there," but the spaces in between are just as important as where we begin and where we end up. It is often where we are in the present moment and it's important to accept wherever we are. It's where we learn about ourselves. And others. It's where we breathe. In and out, in and out, in and out.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Me & Technology

So I was wondering if people stopped reading or just stopped commenting since my blog hadn't received any comments in over a month... And then today I found where everyone's comments are awaiting moderation! Hahaha. I'm telling you, technology is not my strength. If I could, I'd insert the crying laughing emoji here. I will now enjoy reading through and replying to everyone's comments from the last month. Sorry for my confusion hahaha. Happy fRidAy everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Doing Things Differently

This holiday season has been very different.

I remember after last year's Christmas I was just going to skip the whole thing this year and take a beach vacation with my husband. Well, unfortunately, the beach trip didn't happen, but I've still done things very differently and I've enjoyed the changes.

It started with Thanksgiving. Actually, it started with a cousin's wife getting pregnant in their first month of marriage. We had just started celebrating Thanksgiving with this side of the family at my mom's house in the last 5 or so years. As soon as I heard she was pregnant and as I remembered how she was while planning her wedding (very nice but very self-involved), I knew I wanted no part of her pregnancy.

So I decided back in the fall that I was going to give myself the gift of a pregnancy- and baby-free holiday season this year. And can you believe it? I am succeeding!

So, Thanksgiving was easy to skip because it was out of town and I couldn't travel because of my school assignments. (However, even if it was in town, I still would have skipped.)

Next was Christmas. My husband and I have been traveling every holiday season for... Well, I don't remember the last time I didn't travel to see family for Christmas. We used to alternate among the cities we all live in but that dropped off awhile ago. When I suggested celebrating in our city this year. I was told, "It is just so hard to travel with small children." To which I replied, "It's just as hard to not be able to have children and have to accommodate everyone else's lives." I was met with slightly awkward silence.

Well, honestly, I was tired. Completely wiped out, exhausted from school all semester. Plus, my beach trip wasn't happening. So I just decided we weren't going. I love my family and I definitely missed them this year, but... I have no regrets!!! :) Instead of running myself ragged, I am fully rested and perfectly content with my quiet holiday this year.

Two years ago I was going through IVF and *still* traveled during the holiday season. I was stressed and terrified and traveling with hormone injections in an ice cooler was not fun for me at all. I always regretted traveling that year. So this year felt a little like I got to balance out that experience.

The interesting thing is two years ago I would not have dreamed of skipping Christmas. In fact, my counselor at the time suggested it and I remember being mildly horrified at the idea.

How things change...

And here I am, enjoying my holiday season without any painful reminders of what my life isn't.

I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Getting Through

I always seem to forget that grief isn't linear.

I was feeling pretty good about a lot of things for several months, and that was pretty cool. But I've really been missing my children these last couple of weeks.

Some things you don't get over; you just get through.


In other news, I finished my first semester of school! I started getting really into it at the end haha. Then I totally ran out of steam and just did the best I could to get through finals.

And now I'm done. And I'm pretty sure I passed!!!

I almost can't believe it. I honestly didn't believe I could do it. I thought the material was too much, too hard, not the kind of stuff that comes easily for me. And it was too much, too hard, and not the kind of stuff that comes easily for me hahaha, but I just kept getting up every day and doing it. I thought, what else am I going to do? Might as well do this.

And I did. And I'm glad. And I feel good about it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tears out of Nowhere

I cried yesterday. I didn't know it was coming. I didn't even know I was sad. I was just telling my husband about my day and all of a sudden the holidays and babies and family stuff hit me out of seemingly nowhere. I found myself telling him, "I'm back interacting in the world again. And I have to deal with other people's pregnancies. And other people's constant talk about their children. And it's hard. And it just sucks. And it's not fair."

The next thing I knew I was crying. And I thought I was doing so well. But I am doing so well. This is all just a part of it.

Every holiday season gets a little bit easier. I tried everything I wanted to try to try and get pregnant. Last holiday season was my first year knowing that I probably wouldn't be having children in this lifetime, so I thought this holiday season would be easy. But it's not. Because life goes on. My cousin's kids, who are the same age that mine would have been, are growing up. Another cousin is pregnant. The next generation is here and growing up and it will always be a bit of a reminder of what I don't have.

It's so important to be kind to ourselves. We experience life in a totally different way than fertile people do. I stopped expecting people to understand my reality a long time ago. Now I just do what I need to do to take care of myself.

I'm thinking of everyone this month. People dealing with infertility, people living life after infertility, people going through the holiday season after experiencing a profound loss... It's not easy, but we are not alone.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Good Distraction

Well, the semester is coming to a close. I have a couple of projects and then final exams left. As I've shared, the whole thing has been much more difficult than I anticipated it to be. I honestly could not picture myself making it this far, but here I am. Then again, that last sentence could be used to describe my experience with infertility also.

I have been through a roller coaster of emotions throughout this semester. I felt overwhelmed academically and I am still grieving the loss of my children. It was so hard to get up every day and go through the motions. But it wouldn't have been any easier to stay in bed all day either. For the first time in years, I was around people who weren't my doctors and nurses at the fertility clinic and I had important due dates and deadlines that had nothing to do with ultrasounds and egg retrieval. I had to wear pants and a bra for longer than a couple of hours at a time. I had to be engaged in the outside world. And you know what's in the outside world: fertile people. Everywhere.

I think I've done pretty well. I had some good support. My husband is awesome. And I met a new friend in school that I really got along with. We have since added a third member to our study group and the three of us "waste" just as much time laughing as we do working. It has been so many years since I have laughed this much. They have no idea...

All of my classmates have hated this semester. The program is grueling. But, as I confided in my friend that knows I came to school after infertility and debilitating depression, I'm having the best time I've had in a long time. Hahaha! That's how much my life sucked! I had to go to a demanding, all-consuming, aggravating, frustrating, extremely difficult professional program to improve the quality of my life. Ha!!!!!

It's been a good distraction. It definitely got me out of my rut. And I met new people that I enjoy being around. And I am stoking the fire of a new passion- a new profession that I fall more in love with with each passing day.

It was during the second week of school I think that I texted my best friend and said something like, "I can't do this. It's too hard and I'm still too deep in grief. I think I went back to school too soon." And she texted me back, "So what if you did?" Hahahaha. I love her. So what if I did. Hahaha. I did the work to apply, applied, got in, moved, sold our house, registered, bought books, and started going to class. So what if it was too soon. I did it anyway. :)))