Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's My Party...

...and I'll cry if I want to.

Well, okay, there was no real party. But DH is out of town on business and last night, I thought I'd indulge myself in a little pity-party. You know the kind - sitting around, feeling sorry for oneself, bawling your eyes out. This month has been hard, but only because I think I had built up expectations following my D&C. I thought for sure that after my polyp had been removed, poof! I would get pregnant. But no such luck.

I watched Seasons of Hope and Despair once again, and even though so many of those images make me cry, it also comforts me. It reminds me that I am not alone in this journey - that there are thousands of others who have also experienced the heartbreak, fear, and sorrow. It's such a lovely video.

After watching this, I happened upon another video, a song called I Would Die for That , which also made me cry. It's sung by a lady named Kellie Coffey, and has some interesting images. While some may feel that she is making a strong anti-abortion statement, I don't believe so. I choose to think of this song as a beautiful expression of the yearning that all of us going through IF can relate to; and towards the end of the video, it's clearly a celebration of life and IF success stories. If you watch it, let me know what you think.

Unfortunately, I am feeling a little defeated and pessimistic right now. I guess I'm just tired, you know? Wishing that it didn't have to be so hard.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Do's and Don'ts of Having an Infertile Friend...

This entry is written for family and friends, old and new, who may have a sneaking suspicion that DH and I are having problems. It's not easy to admit that this is happening, nor is it easy to talk about. I would like to share with you my innermost feelings so that our relationship might whether this storm - because at the end of the day, you are important to me.

Infertility is a reality for us right now. Some of you might be shocked at the use of this word, but one in six couples experiences infertility - it's more common than you think. When you are around me, please keep the following thoughts in your heart -

Don't ask me if I'm pregnant, or speculate with others. This hurts me more than you could ever know. Plus, it makes me feel fat. When the time comes, I'll share the blessed news. But being asked all the time if I am pregnant is a constant reminder that I am NOT.

Don't feel compelled to share the latest "get pregnant" trick. Believe me, we've tried them all. Putting my feet up. Simultaneous orgasms. Drinking raspberry leaf tea. OPK sticks. Fertility monitors. Pineapple juice. Vitamin B. Acupuncture. Chinese herbs. Cutting out caffeine. Going on a vacation. If I had a dollar for every trick we've tried, we could afford to travel in Europe for the summer.

Don't tell me to relax. Until you've suffered the sorrow of trying fruitlessly for years, you'll never know the anxiety and the stress that yet another period causes. The fear of not being able to have a child can be all encompassing. There's nothing relaxing about seeing everyone around you get pregnant, or attending the tenth baby shower of the year, after having looked at yet another negative HPT. Relaxing is impossible.

Don't tell me I can always adopt. It's easy for many of you to say; you've likely felt the joy of feeling your baby kick you for the first time, or marveled at the way your baby giggles just like his daddy. Your mother has probably said to you "She has her great-grandma's dimples!", or your father has said "He has his mama's temper!" These are the things that I want to experience. Adoption isn't right for everyone.

If you are pregnant, don't tell me that you're ready for it to be over. Right now, I would kill for the chance to have swollen feet or heartburn. I would love to feel the goo of the ultrasound gel on my big belly. I'd revel at being able to actually wear maternity clothes, not just touch them and wish. Don't take for granted your pregnancy - it really is a miracle.

If you are pregnant, please don't share every detail with me. While I really am happy for you, it doesn't help me to hear all about the things that I fear I will never get to experience. Don't tell me that you could feel your baby being conceived, or that your cravings are getting stronger, or that your prenatal yoga classes are making your baby dance in your tummy. It'll just make me feel guilty that I feel sad about your happiness.

Don't tell me that you feel sorry for me when we are at a baby shower. I don't need your pity. I need your understanding. I need your distraction. I need your love and support. I need your shoulder to cry on, or your ear to bend. I need you to be a friend.

Which brings me to the "Do's" of having an infertile friend...

Do ask me how I'm doing and let me know that you are there to listen.

Do give me the time and space to share when I want to, and if I want to. Respect my privacy and refrain from judging.

Do help me by distracting me with your friendship. Meet me for a coffee. Take me window shopping. Gossip with me on the phone. Do everything you can NOT to avoid me. I need your support.

It's as simple as that. Just help me to feel loved right now, because I really need it. This has been one of the most isolating times in my life. And I'm not sure it'll ever be over...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Here You Come Again...

Okay, so I'm laughing inside my head right now, as I sing the old, old song "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton. Strange? Yes. Weird? Absolutely. And yet, the lyrics are so fitting - "Here you come again/just when I'd begun to get myself together/You walked right in the door/Just like you've done before/And wrapped my heart 'round your little fingers..."

Who, you may ask, am I referring to?

Why, my friend AF, of course. 'Cept she hasn't wrapped my heart around her fingers in a good way - she' s broken it. She wrapped it around her fingers, crumpled it up, and threw it on the ground. Stomped on it for good measure. And here I am today.

Sigh. Yup - no pregnancy for me this month. After being a day late (and after toying with my emotions a bit), AF decided to wreck the start of my long weekend by showing up yesterday. And after taking a hiatus from crying about it (I haven't cried now for about three months), my husband found me in my den with two big, fat tears creeping down my face.

So what does one do? Regroup, I suppose.

I called in AF to the "period hotline" at my clinic, as I am supposed to do each month while on the IVF waitlist. Don't you love that name? "Period Hotline". Like I'm calling in some criminal that I just witnessed breaking into the local convenience store. When you think about it, AF really is a big, fat lowlife criminal, isn't she? Unfortunately, though, I don't get any kind of reward for calling her in...

DH and I are now grappling with timing for our IVF. See, a lot of the girls that attend our clinic and who have started cycling this month were called off the waiting list after calling in their AF four times. This morning's phone call was number four for me. So if we get called this month, I would be starting drugs in June, with an egg retrieval and embryo transfer in early July. Normally, this would be great news - but I am a school principal, and trying to close out a school year is stressful enough without the help of fertility drugs. DH and I are worried that this will not optimize conditions to make IVF successful. Lots to think about. But I suppose, like all other things that we have had to deal with, we'll get through it...

Off to enjoy the sunshine now - perhaps do some reading and snuggle with my DH. Spend some time thinking about all of the good things that I have in life...

Monday, May 12, 2008


Soooo...I haven't posted in a light year, because there really hasn't been much to say. I'm 7dpo right now, having tried with all my might this last cycle to get pregnant naturally (okay, I suppose I didn't do it on my own...DH came along for the ride...pardon the pun! Ha!) I have had twinges and mild cramps all night in my lower left abdomen. This begs the question - is that my uterus twinging? Where exactly is my uterus? Is there a baby burrowing into it right this very moment?

Okay, must distract self...must think happy thoughts...must concentrate on something else...

I must say, in going through all of this IF stuff, I have met some great girls on various boards who have provided me with inspiration, sound advice and the occasional cyber-shoulder to cry on when the going got tough...I'm super grateful for these ladies (some of whom read this little bloggie - so you know who you are!)

A new "cyber-friend", BabyObsessed, has just received the magical call to start her IVF cycle. She's doing her IVF at my clinic, so I can't wait to hear all about it from her. Isn't it great to be able to lean on others, to learn from their experiences, and then to celebrate their victories with them?

Time to sign off, cuddle with DH and catch up on season six of 24.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'm a Sucker for Punishment!

Okay, just finished cleaning up from a big baby shower that I threw for my friend and former teaching partner (whom I herein will refer to as "FTP"). Now, FTP does sympathize with my IF struggles because she had difficulties as well - it took her 19 months to conceive this baby. She had an undiscovered thyroid issue, and got pregnant the month after starting her thyroid meds. Truth be told, I remain jealous of this - at least she knew why she wasn't getting pregnant, and once it got fixed, boom! She got knocked up. Sigh.

Anyway, so her baby boy was born last month and I - being the sucker for punishment that I am - decide to throw her a baby shower. And you know what? I was feeling really good about it. I collected money from our colleagues for a huge group gift; happily shopped for her prezzie at Babies R Us; wrapped the gifts in beautiful paper; and bought pretty decorations for the big day. I cleaned my house from top to bottom, prepared yummy appetizers and treats, and poured drinks for my guests like Isaac Washington. Man - I was the hostess with the mostest...

And then, I heard it....

FTP was chatting in the corner with a colleague of ours, and this woman exclaimed "Oh, holding a brand new baby! There is no feeling like it..." And I felt like my heart had dropped to the soles of my feet. My eyes started to well up, and I had to leave the room.

What if I never get to experience that feeling? Touch the soft downy hair on my newborn baby's head? Smooth his cheek as he sleeps? Hear his hungry cries and feel his little lips nursing hungrily? Oh God - what if this never happens for me? I can't bear the thought.

As stated in one of my earlier entries, the sorrow of infertility creeps up on you when you least expect it. And when it does, it causes such an ache in your heart, you can hardly catch your breath.

I went back out to the party after settling myself down, and picked up her baby for a cuddle. I stroked his little cheek and touched the soft downy hair on his head and kissed him lightly as he slept.

Then I reached for another devilled egg....