Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Grass is Greener

A while ago, I wrote a blog post about how the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. These days, I’m completely going back on that idea. Right now, it is impossibly hard to convince me that there aren’t a lot of people out there with much greener grass than mine.

I know that in some ways, my grass is greener. I have a pretty amazing and supportive husband who I actually like being married to. I have a good job, some financial security, and a loving family. Unlike a lot of people, I really know who my friends are – the people who I know I can count on, who support me and have my back even when it’s not easy to do. But when it comes to expanding our family, my grass could not be less green. And it seems like everyone around me gets to have it so much easier.

I know that I’m not supposed to compare my life to others, but right now I’m a bit trapped in this comparison dynamic. It’s hard not to be. I don’t think anyone could argue that our journey to add children to our family has been incredibly difficult. It seems that we have to fight for it harder than just about anyone else I know, which is hard enough to take. But when I sit back and see it come so easily to so many others, it is a very hard pill for me to swallow.

When something that you’re forced to really truly fight for comes so easily to people around you, it forces you to ask a lot of very uncomfortable questions.

Why them and not me? It is always the first on the list of questions. I have had a lot of times throughout my loss and infertility journey where I’ve seriously battled with my own self-worth. Every time I think I’m past it, I see someone else stumble into parenthood, barely even trying to get there. It’s hard not to start wondering whether you’re just completely unworthy of the privilege.

Why does it get to be so easy for everyone else? I wouldn’t wish my struggle on anyone. I would never want anyone to have as much difficulty as we’ve had in bringing a healthy, living child into this world. At the same time, I have to admit that it really bothers me when people have it so easy. Those people who “try” for a month or just wing it to see if it will work – that’s hard for me to watch unfold. I know that they appreciate their pregnancy and children, but I don’t think they can really appreciate how easily it came to them or how much harder it could have been.

Will it ever finally be my turn? We passed from saying “when we have another child” to “if we have another child” a long time ago. I have to admit that passing into the world of “if” is something that’s still very hard for me to accept.

When will life start balancing out a little more? No one knows more than I do (except maybe Gordon) that life is exceptionally unfair. I keep waiting for the time when things will even out a little – not a lot, just a little. And I always seem to get another round of heartache, so you’d think I’d learn to stop expecting it to happen.

I don’t like comparing my life to others, especially when they are being handed something that I am desperate for, and I certainly don’t like asking myself these uncomfortable questions every time it happens. I avoid it as much as I can, but there is only so much I can do. Sadly, I’m getting kind of used to it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Remembering to Breathe

I’ve commented before that a big part of my new normal is that I have to remember to breathe. Even nearly a year and a half later, there are still moments where I have to sit and tell myself “just breathe.” Some days, that seems like the only thing that I can do. Just keep breathing, and hopefully that horribly difficult moment will pass.

I haven’t breathed deeply in a very long time. I try, in those moments where I remind myself to breathe, but I can’t. When I attempt to take in a deep breath, I can feel something inside of me that stops it short. It’s like I can feel the wall in my lungs and heart that just won’t let it happen.

Yesterday was a big reminder to me in my quest to just breathe. We had a big doctor’s appointment. I kept calling it our “do or die” test because it was. This was the test that would determine whether our surgery in November was successful, and if we could move forward with IVF. If the test showed the scar tissue and adhesions had returned, it would mean that I was unable to carry a child. I probably sound dramatic, but it was the big one as far as tests go. We have come to not expect much in the way of good news from our doctors anymore, so much to our surprise, we got it. Adhesion free and cleared to continue. 

Every time I think about getting that good news, I exhale deeply. It happened all day yesterday, and it’s still happening today (I just did it again as I typed that). Yesterday, I was struck by how odd this deep exhale felt. It was then that I realized that I’ve been holding my breath for months. It hasn’t been a conscious act – just the anxiety of not knowing how things would turn out. Yesterday, I breathed a little lighter and a little fuller. It felt good, but it also felt very strange.

I am, once again, very aware of my breathing. I have my deep exhale in knowing that my dream to carry and bring another child into this world (one we get to raise, please) is still alive. I still can’t take that full breath in that I’d like, but I’m making progress. Little by little, the ability to breathe without telling myself to breathe is coming back.

But I know not to get too comfortable in this state. There will be something that will knock the wind out of me again. It doesn’t have to be more tragedy – it’s as simple as a day when I’m missing my children more than I know what to do with. That day will come again and again over the course of my lifetime. And I will have to remind myself to breathe again. But at least I know I can work my way back.

When I started writing this blog, the topic of breathing was on my mind. But as I finish writing the blog now, I realize that it is January 18. One year ago today, I miscarried our second child. It was a very different experience than losing Vivienne. We got very little time to be hopeful and make plans for this little one. But this child was just as wanted, loved, and wished for as any child, and a part of our family. We gave this baby the symbol of a sun, as we'd just taken a vacation to Florida. So it's no coincidence that the sun was shining strongly all day today.As I looked out into the sunshine, I know that it's our Baby Sunshine telling us hello.

And there’s that deep exhale again, but for a very different reason.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I feel like the last year and a half of my life has been a series of waiting. It seems that we’re always waiting on something – a test to be done, test results, the green light to try again. I have to say that over the 52 weeks of 2012, I spent each one of them waiting on something. I’m tired of waiting, but it seems I have no choice.

Have you ever been forced to wait for something you wanted? I mean something you really, really wanted? I’ve had to do that every day, and there isn’t anything I can do about it. Timing is everything when it comes to my situation – tests and procedures can only be done at certain points in my cycle. Even on fertility medication, you only get 1 chance a month to try to make a baby. And it seems like every time we get that once a month shot, we have to wait on something else.

I think a lot about all of those quotes to “seize the day” or “make today count.” I recognize that our time in this life is short, and we’re here to make the most of it. And I have to admit, I feel really conflicted about that. In one sense, I am making the most of my life by organizing it around the thing I want most in the world. In another sense, I’m waiting for something that may never come. Will I look back someday on this time as wasted time – time and effort that I should have put towards something else?

Gordon and I have, in my ways, put our lives at a standstill over the past year. Big decisions get put off or pushed to the side because we have to focus on this 1 big goal in front of us – to have another child. We can’t move, change jobs, or even plan a big vacation 6 months down the line. It’s important that we are here, with our doctors who know us, and that we’re available and ready when our once a month shot comes up.

We talk a lot about how that can make us feel stuck. We can’t move forward on other things we want to do, because this is our primary #1 goal. And goals 2, 3, and 4 fall WAY behind this one. And so we stand still, and we wait. We don’t often feel progress or forward momentum. Every time we do, it seems like there is a “wait and see” right behind it.

And so here we are again, waiting. My hope is that a year from now, we have the living child we have wanted and worked so hard for. I hope that this year is spent on waiting out the 40 weeks of pregnancy, and not on more procedures, tests, or my worst case scenario, giving up the dream. As much as I hate the waiting, I guess I’ll take it as long as it comes with the possibility that this can still happen for our family. But I can’t help but constantly feel like I want to be doing something to move us toward our goal. But that’s not my reality. My reality is that I wait. And then I wait some more.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Not So Happy Announcements

Nothing can ruin my day quite like a pregnancy or birth announcement. It’s something I’m not proud of, and quite frankly, an aspect of my new normal that I downright hate. I’ve had to endure many of them over the past year and a half, and each one comes with pain, shame, guilt, anger, jealousy, and a feeling of defeat. Very rarely does happiness enter that emotional equation, which leads to a type of self-loathing that I have never experienced before in my life.

Celebrity announcements are the worst. You don’t even want to know my reaction to Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian. I don’t even know these women, and yet I can feel the bile rise in my throat every time I see a story about them. I don’t wish for bad things to happen to them or their babies (I’m not that terrible). I just want them to go away. I don’t want to hear about how easy it is for them or monitor their baby bumps and cravings. I like my celebrity gossip and read People and US Weekly online every day. Lately, I have to scroll quickly through their newsfeeds to skip the multitude of stories about them each day. You really have no idea how many celebrities are procreating until you’re trying to avoid news about it.

Then there are the strangers on Facebook. The ones where I have to see their announcements, comments, ultrasound pictures, and new baby photos because my friends comment on them, and Facebook thinks I want to know about that (oh how little you know me, Facebook). More people that I don’t know, but can cause tears to flow seemingly from nowhere.

And then there are my poor friends. I have a couple of friends who have had the misfortune of having to tell me in person that they are expecting. Bless their hearts, they tried to do the right thing and tell me privately (which, by the way, is the right thing to do). I remember one friend who had to tell me her good news just weeks after Vivienne died. I can still see the fear in her face at having to tell me she was pregnant. It was the happiest time of her life, but you’d never know it by how she felt having to tell me.

It’s no one’s fault that this happens. I certainly don’t expect people not to get pregnant, or to not be happy about expecting a baby. I don’t expect people not to share their joy in welcoming their child to the world. This is a situation without a good resolution. Unfortunately, some people’s happiness causes me pain. It doesn’t make their happiness wrong, and it doesn’t make my pain wrong. It just is. It’s an unfortunate aspect of how I live my life now, and one that I wish more than I can say I could make go away.

I have to admit that I had a lot of hesitation in writing this post. It’s not an easy thing to admit that you can’t be happy for people when they have good news, but unfortunately, it’s true. I really wish that I could find happiness for them, but if I’m being honest (which I vowed to be when I started this blog), I only feel bitter. And that bitterness cycles into me feeling like a bad person because I SHOULD be happy for them, but I can’t. It’s a spiraling of bad emotions that I really can’t do anything to prevent or stop. Another aspect of this “new normal” that I completely despise.