Monday, January 21, 2019

The Greatest Compliment

I'm back to my blogging roots--blogging as procrastination hahaha. I started this blog when I was deep into the first semester of graduate school and had absolutely no time or energy. Yet I was also drowning in grief and loneliness and desperately needed an outlet. Who cares about assignments and grades when you're grieving the loss of your children?? So while all of my classmates spent their time reading and studying, I started an infertility blog.

A lot has happened in my life over the last several months while I wasn't blogging. One of those major events was graduating. I did it! I completed my coursework and clinical rotations and walked across the stage to receive my degree. I am proud of myself and my current self thanks my past self for not dropping out. I love the profession I've been studying for the past 2.5 years. Now I just have to study (that's what I'm currently procrastinating by blogging right now) and pass my board exam and I will get to start my new career!

As I progress in my recovery from infertility (three steps forward, two steps back is still progress), I'm able to talk about things or overhear things or just be around things a little more easily. I'm relieved. Living in a heightened, traumatized state is no way to live. It is exhausting.

My last clinical rotation was in a pediatric setting. I'll probably write more about that experience, working in pediatrics as an infertile woman whose lifelong dream was to be a mother, but for now I'd just like to say how much I loved and appreciated my clinical instructor. I got really lucky. All of my clinical instructors were awesome--knowledgeable, experienced, good teachers, and also overall all around cool people.

I got along well with my instructor and we worked very closely together every day. I don't remember how it came up, but I told her that I wanted children and couldn't have them and that's what triggered my whole going back to school venture. Over the semester, I even shared that I had failed treatments and spent years dealing with major depression. It was never awkward and whenever I disclosed any personal information it was always organic, in the moment, and non-dramatic. She was an amazing fertile woman who never said anything insensitive (shocker!!). She'd had her own unexpected life and was very wise. I learned so much from her.

It was a challenging rotation. It would've been for anyone but especially for someone dealing with infertility. I spent five to eight hours a day working directly with children, many of whom experienced abuse, neglect, food insecurity, and homelessness. It was both rewarding and heartbreaking, and I could not have done it at any point earlier in my recovery. I wasn't ready yet. But by the fall of 2018, I had worked hard on my grieving process, worked hard in school, and had mentally prepared myself as best I could for a semester working with children. I chose to do a pediatrics rotation. I needed to know if I could do it or not before committing to a job.

There is no dramatic conclusion to this post. I just woke up, showed up, and did what I could while maximizing my learning for twelve weeks. But at the end of the semester, I received one of the greatest compliments of my life. My clinical instructor told me I did an incredible job. It felt good to hear her say that. But she continued. "No, I mean it. This is a difficult experience for anyone. All of my students have had a hard time. But for you to do as well as you did, especially after everything you've been through with infertility... It's amazing. You have a gift in working with people and I am so proud of you for working so hard to create a new life for yourself."

Damn... Who knew a little recognition of my pain, loss, and hard work could feel so good?


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tough Anniversaries

It happened again.

My mind forgot, but my body remembered. I felt emotional all day yesterday, not really knowing why. I felt foggy, lethargic, and disenchanted. I felt like crying but tears never came. The tears came this morning. In the shower. And all of a sudden. It was relieving but it also kind of sucked.

Four years and several days ago my first IVF did not result in pregnancy. I haven't thought about that day in awhile, and, quite honestly, I don't really feel like thinking about it now. But I know I was devastated. I remember hanging up the phone, collapsing to my knees on the floor, and letting out a gutteral howl as my dog came running to check on me. Even she knew it was extremely bad and nothing could be done as she lay down on the floor, not moving a muscle while keeping her eyes on me.

And now around this time every year, I feel all out of sorts and have a seemingly random emotional breakdown. It seems random until my mind remembers what my body has yet to (will ever?) forget.

I'm scrapping my plans for the day. Everyone and everything can wait. Today I think I'll indulge in doing whatever I freaking feel like doing. I'm going to feel my feelings and think my thoughts, while simultaneously giving myself a break from them both. Today I'm going to enjoy the life that I've worked so hard to create. All the stuff and things can wait until tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Home Sweet Home

Where do you feel alive? Where do you feel most connected? Where do you feel at peace? Where is home? Depending on where you are in your recovery, the answers to these questions are probably somewhere between difficult and impossible to come by.

Last week I went skiing for the first time in 5 years. If you know me in real life, you know this is crazy talk. I LOVE to ski. And that's an understatement. How in the world did I miss FIVE ski seasons in a row?? Oh yeah... Infertility... First crippling anxiety, then failed treatments, then debilitating depression. What an awful period of my life. And that's another understatement.

(Side note: If any reader wants to start a blog called Infertile Ski Bum if only for the purpose of commenting on others' blogs, please let me know because we can be friends for sure.)

So I finally went skiing. My heart and soul were bursting with happiness and gratitude. I couldn't help but be reflective on the mountain. I definitely felt like I was home for the first time in a very long time. I thought about everything I've been through over the last 8 years in particular. I thought about how I'd hurt, what I'd learned, and how I'd grown and changed. I thought about how I've been looking forward to ski season 2019 for freaking YEARS. All of the grief and hard work SUUUCKED, but it was worth it. It was all part of the plan and I had arrived.

Last week I went home to the mountains.
I felt at peace. I felt connected to what really matters in this world. I felt alive.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A Year To Come Alive

I have never anticipated a year like I anticipated 2019.

I worked my ass off to get where I am today. My life was blood, sweat, tears, and years of trauma and debilitating depression, followed by years of hard work doing dumb shit that I didn't want to do (aka going back to school). And now here I am: 2019, living where I always dreamed of living, and getting ready to start a new career that I am very passionate about. Thank God.

You could not pay me a billion dollars to relive the last 8 years of my life. But I also wouldn't change any of it. Yeah I know, it doesn't make much sense. So much pain--physical, emotional, and existential. So much trauma. Every relationship changed. My lifelong dream of being a mother never realized.

And yet here I am. Happy.
Probably happier than I've ever been.

I can't totally unpack it all just yet...
But I'll take it.

Today I am content about the present and excited about the future, two things I thought would never be possible again.

Today I feel alive, something I will never ever take for granted.

It's a new year. It's 2019. Here we are. It's time to live again.