Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mother Nature Doesn't Read Her Memos

I've had all the physical signs that ovulation happened this week.

Yeah, that seems useful.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Highs and Lows, on an iPhone

I went for a nice long walk/run today. One of my favorite parts of walking, other than zoning out and often clearing out enough fog from my brain to elicit new ideas, is listening to music. I recently discovered the wonders of Pandora radio -- I love choosing an artist based on my mood and listening to the mix of similar music on "their" station.

There's a commercial around here for a fertility clinic that Pandora plays (for those of us who don't cough up the fee for their service) from time to time. It begins, "Are you having trouble getting pregnant?" and I swear to you, every time I hear it, I come this close to throwing my iPhone into the Long Island Sound.

It came on today and almost killed my good mood. Almost.

But then Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" started playing and, just as it does every time I hear it, it gave me the feeling that more good things are coming, right around the corner.

Friday, August 29, 2014

One Good Folder

I'm organizing my office, finally. And part of that is finally, finally addressing the monstrous file folder of tests, procedures and sad outcomes that make up my infertility/miscarriage medical records. The folder was brimming over, and every time I used the drawer I would have to curse, because the papers would hang out and create problems when I tried to close it. So I'm sitting here organizing everything into categories of misery.

But for one. There's one new folder, now exclusively devoted to H's pregnancy, and even though that pregnancy had its own baggage, it makes me happy. In it, there's this photo. One of the embryos here is my H, the most hard-fought win I've ever achieved. My best work. We can all take an educated guess at which one he is, which one looks classically as if it would have stuck. But then again, we all know that in this game, surprises are everywhere.

One of those embryos is my H. I've had a rough week, been feeling emotional about the loss, feeling uncharacteristically whiny. And you know, no matter what people say about infertiles just needing to appreciate what we have, it's really ok to whine when you've lost a baby. Whether it's your first or fourth. Whether it was easy to conceive or not. But in the end, no matter what happens, this photo, this result, this family I have -- it's all that matters. Don't let me forget that, okay?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New World Order

The thing of it is, I think I've done pretty damn well. I haven't missed a beat with work. I've been very present with H and enjoyed so much of the summer. I have moments when I feel carefree, when I almost forget. I really do.

But it's still like a dark shadow. The...angst, I guess. The pain. The fear. I am so afraid of what happened, of what it means. And, maybe more than anything, I'm really fucking angry.

Every time I pay yet another medical bill ($500 for the second surgery paid yesterday...a drop in the bucket), I seethe. We'll finally be free of all these bills, we'd thought. Finally just have a normal year where we're not paying our copay for another D&C or our fee for someone to put our egg and sperm together and make a ball of cells that maybe, just maybe, might be more than wasted.

Every time I see someone with a baby I just want to demand to know why it was all too much to ask that I get my sibling too. That I be done. That I never have to spend another minute wondering about whether H will be an only child. That I close the book and return it to the Library of Sad Stories, satisfied with my hard-earned happy ending. Why.

And then I self-loathe over the sense that I shouldn't be upset about others' babies, that it shouldn't bother me. That I should be more graceful and less envious. But then I feel like I've spent so much time being happy for others, too, genuinely happy, and why can't I just add another baby to our family without having to feel guilty or greedy. I've been a good sport. And around and around it goes.

Today I was going through receipts and found one from a few days before The Bad Ultrasound and I had this odd urge to jump into the story and rescue the heroine from all the doom. Don't look now, but after you pay for those groceries you're about to walk into a total shit storm. Brace yourself accordingly.

And sometimes moments flash before me, like scenes from the battlefield. The moment I stood in the bathroom outside the OR before I went in, my round abdomen propping up the hospital gown like a circus tent, the last time I'd see myself pregnant. How I told him goodbye. And that I was sorry.

These are the things that keep me feeling different. That keep me clenching my teeth so tightly the pain travels up the side of my head and makes my jaw sound like gritty sand when I move it.

Our surrogacy plan is in question. It's not over yet, but there are some hurdles to climb. The future still feels so uncertain, and it's so painful to know I had the answer in me but we just couldn't get to the finish line.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Over the Hump

Would-be delivery day came and went, thank God. I spent it with old friends, wrapped in the comfort of familiarity. I didn't know what I'd feel like doing to commemorate where I should have been, and in the end, what I wanted to do was enjoy the day like any other.

I don't know if that's a betrayal or not.

I do know that I'm glad the phantom pregnancy is over. Now when I see a pregnant woman I don't have to compare where I would have been in mine with hers.

Only thing is, now there's a phantom baby. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sadness still lurks.

Most of the time, I'm okay now.

But I miss him.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hope's Summer Home

My due date approaches. I should be a month out from that baby's arrival. I should be huge, complaining about the heat, going for extra pedicures for my swollen feet.

I'm not. Everywhere I look, I see women who are. And there's always an initial feeling of dread when I see them. There was a woman the other day who embodied a catalog-fantasy version of pregnancy. Her bump was perfect, her skin was glowing, her maternity style impeccable. And I hated her for a second. And then, I just thought, the negative feelings are only hurting me. I'm not good at pregnancy. End of story. No -- correction. I was good at it once, good enough. One out of seven of them had the most amazing outcome. And so I'm coming to a place where it's okay -- all of it. This, for whatever reason, has been my hard thing. And it's over now, or at least almost over. Over for my body. We're good, pregnancy and I. We're good.

The other day, my husband and I had the psychological evaluation required to go forward with our surrogacy plan. The therapist asked me about conflicted feelings I might have about missing out on the pregnancy part -- whether I'd be jealous. There was really no way I could have driven home this point hard enough: I. Am done. With pregnancy. Done. The idea that someone I trust is willing to take this on for me? Is amazing. If by some stroke of Grace it all works out, I can't imagine a lovelier idea. It's sort of like starting a home renovation project yourself, realizing you're in over your head, and having a professional come and finish it for you. Do you really care, in the end, that your hands were not the ones to complete it? I think you're too busy enjoying your fabulous new space to care. Too grateful that there are those out there who know what they're doing.

Sometimes I do worry that someone out there was trying to tell me something -- five consecutive failed pregnancies, one of them a truly traumatic loss. But it's hard for me to reconcile that with the existence of four frozen, screened embryos and a friend generous enough to try to grow one for us. Why would those things not be the "sign?" I don't think I even believe in signs anymore, either way. Nothing amazing would ever be done if people followed signs. Every big thing that's been achieved had some obstacle before it. Otherwise it wouldn't be a big thing.

I have hope. At this stage of the game, it's all I can possibly ask for.

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