Pity Party for One In the Hammock

Cheese, chocolate, wine, and salad. Balanced meal. Right? My husband is at work, only 36 more hours to go. Now, if I had kids, I would have to do a balanced meal, set a good example, yatta, yatta, yatta but I don’t. So this is what I’m fucking eating. Maybe my diet is the reason I can’t get pregnant? Fuck it, this is what I’m having. If people can be morbidly obese, subsist off of meth and Cheetos, and still get pregnant – pretty sure my dinner tonight isn’t going to completely tank my fertility. Something else already has.

After work, I needed tampons (again because I’m not pregnant) so I hit the grocery while hungry and after a run. I also go to the busier grocery store because I wanted the cotton, non-bleached, organic tampons sold only there. My vagina deserves only the best after what she has endured. I go in the store knowing it is busy and full of kids because again, my vagina has earned it.

Right off the bat, I see one of my husband’s good friends. Okay, we are friends too. He is there with his one-year-old. He knows that we are infertile. When he told us he was having a baby, he said we should have one so we can go at this together. I said that would be great but we cannot have kids. Then at one of his court events for custody, another friend of us asks us about kids and again, I’m brutally honest. He also got my IVF laden Christmas card. This guy knows we are infertile.

I debate the avoidance move but suck it up and say hi. I can’t avoid everyone though I do try. I haven’t seen the kid in about a year – we babysat the baby while he was dealing with mama drama and work issues. So we make small talk. It was awkward. He said something about the kid not sitting in the cart so carrying him as he pushed the cart.

He then said, “Ah, the joys of parenting.”

Inner monolog “I wouldn’t fucking know.”

The polite me said, “Okay, I’m going grocery shopping.”

I know he didn’t mean to piss me off or offend me which makes me feel even worse. You know, it is something you say and I’m sure if I was a parent and not infertile, we’d chuckle and that would be that. Like how we say the “joys of home ownership” when shit starts to break. Though you would NEVER say that to a homeless person or at least I wouldn’t. I also wouldn’t ask my friend who is in AA to come over for a few beers or tell them about my stellar dinner consisting primarily of wine.

Yet, my reaction to seeing children and talking to parents, makes me feel as if I’m what is wrong with society. I don’t belong in this space they have created. There is simply no space in the world for the fragility of infertility. It would be easier if we simply did not exist and people could complain about having kids without fear of upsetting the Infertiles.

Now, I’m going to take my wine, my barren uterus, and my bruised heart to my hammock for an evening debriefing. It is a mighty fine night to feel sorry for oneself.

 

 

Turns out I am a mother!

Mother fucking awesome! Damn, my friends are the best and are on a roll! I had this card waiting for me when I got home today.


This got me to thinking of all the support I’ve received from both people I have met physically and those online. I got all kinds of emotional up in here.

EcoFeminist sent me this print this winter representing the support of this online network of amazing women. These friendships and understanding have made this journal bearable. How did women do this before the Internet?!? I owe a lot of my current level of sanity to her.

One of my best friends took the time to fold and mail me 1,000 cranes for good luck. I also have a pillow from her that says “My career plans were more exciting when I was five.” which cracks me up daily and a wooden duck that she hand carried all the way up from California that joined us on a hiking trip through Cordova before winding up in Fairbanks.

Then when my 2nd round of IVF failed back in August 2016 and I was at the lowest I’ve ever been (I was flat on the bottom of rock bottom), another best friend (I have a lot of bests) sent me a feeling journal to record how I feel. She filled in a few pages and allowed room for me to expand. I cried reading it then and cried again today re-reading it.

My husband also restocked the wine fridge today and is currently digging out my hammock! My hero!

I’m feeling very emotional, sentimental, well taken care of, and loved today. Man, my friends are mother fucking awesome! Getting all weepy.

The Power of Thoughtful Friends

I didn’t get on Facebook yesterday, and most of those that follow infertility blogs know exactly why.

Yet because I’m putting off getting work started this Monday, I log on. Yesterday, a good friend sent me this:

Thinking of you

I have some really thoughtful friends in my life that have made infertility a bit more tolerable.

The Art of Providing Comfort

The week after I finished Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, her husband died. This book held personal details of her loving marriage to her husband, Dave Goldberg and I was devastated for her.

Recently, I received my TIME magazine with Sheryl on the cover. She is promoting her new book on grief and how to behave when someone you know is grieving. I almost put handle instead of behave, but we do not need to be handled. I have been in a state of grieving for about three years. I grieve about my husband’s illness. I grieve about the inability to have children naturally, or if I’ll ever have children. Talking to a friend about the loss of her sister to suicide, she said it hurt that people avoided the topic and her. Our response to grief and other’s pain seems universal. We avoid it and them. We don’t know what to say so we say nothing. Or if we say anything, it is a quick line we have heard from movie and TV, “I’m sorry for you loss”, “It is going to be okay.” etc.

When you are grieving, you see it so clearly how humans simply do not know what to do with someone that is grieving. Those that have been through it seem to handle it the best. They know what comforted them and what deepened their sadness. They know that a question inquiring at their well-being with the honest intent to listen to the response no matter how uncomfortable it makes them is the best medicine. Then after listening to not give uneducated advice or more of those cliché sayings “Time heals all wounds.” One of the worst thing someone has ever said to a friend, “It was just a dog.” Do not put a value or judge someone’s pain. Do not put a time limit on someone’s grief. Sometimes stupid stuff comes out of our mouths, it happens, apologize instead of thinking it didn’t bother them or hear it.

I will not proclaim myself an expert, and I know I’ve said some stuff that I later regretted. It is something I’m working on, and I’m striving to do it better because I hate seeing those I love in pain. I know nothing I can say will make that pain go away, but I hope my presence will lessen the emotional burden and suffering.

I will read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Option B.

I recommend reading her interview in TIME. Sheryl Sandberg’s interview: http://time.com/sheryl-sandberg-option-b/

I read this post at the start of April. It sums up why we need to stop saying “I’m sorry for your loss” and alternatives.

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/04/why-we-need-to-stop-saying-im-sorry-for-your-loss/

Here is probably the best action list I have ever read on being a good friend to someone that is grieving.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-devine/death-and-dying_b_4329830.html

Becoming better support for those in a state of grief is something we could all use a bit of practice on. As we get older and wiser, we will inevitability be on both sides of it.

I feel ya, sista!

Today was my niece’s 5th birthday, and she got this plastic pooping puppy. It came with instructions on how to load the poop, how to make the dog go poop, how to wind up the dog to get it ready to walk, and how to make the dog walk. She was merely interested in loading the poop and dumping it out. Everyone else at the table felt the need to tell her how to do it. No, you have to push the tail to make it poop, don’t just dump it out. You can’t pull the leash off, it has to be attached to it like this. It ended with her screaming at a few of the adults because she sincerely wanted to be left to play with her dog the way she felt fit. There was no right way to play with it. Where did the adults get off instructing her how to use her toy?

That is exactly why people undergoing fertility treatment do not tell others about any of it. We are fucking going to do it the way we feel fit, and we don’t need you to tell us we are doing it wrong because we aren’t. I very much understood my niece’s frustration. I may resort to her tactics to get people to back off because it worked pretty damn well.

Accepting Childlessness?

As I sit in the recliner with a cat in my lap and unable to move, the dogs are excited. I wonder if the fox is back or it is simply a squirrel. Last night, I went to bed early to read. My husband came downstairs recounting how he chased off a fox that was sniffing around the duck coop. I stared at him blankly. You have to be kidding me – he didn’t think to call downstairs, “Fox!” so I could check him out. We see foxes often, not as much as moose, but they are still neat to watch. He has been instructed in the future to notify me of neat critters in the yard.

Tonight besides thinking about critters in the yard, I’ve been tallying up our finances which has me thinking, would it be so bad if we opted to be childless? Not so much as opting, but simply stopping treatments. To take the money we have earmarked for IVF and live. To not pursue adoption. To live a little more financially loose. Forever. The financial freedoms of stopping infertility treatments and not having kids are quite enticing. We could travel more. We could focus on our hobbies. As I type this, I received this text message from husband, “Gloucestershire old spot pigs!!! Err ma gawd!!!” Okay, even without kids, I say no to pigs. I may relent on my long standing no to goats though.

pig

It is one thing to have sex, get pregnant, and have a kid. The costs don’t come until it is too late to back out. For the infertile opting to become parents either through fertility treatments or adoption, we are required to fork out large sums of money before we even get to the expenses associated with having an actual child. Even if you have some insurance coverage, it isn’t free. The time, the heartache, and still some out of pocket expenses. We do not have any insurance coverage. We refuse to do a gofundme kind of account because we can afford fertility treatments if we simply tighten our financial belt. A lot. Plus, I cannot ask someone for money when we have trips to Germany and Hawaii planned. These are our own financial choices, and we are carrying this burden ourselves. Though I wonder if we should be punished because we are infertile and would like to become parents. I feel punished sometimes. You have to choose between children or a vacation? We have to choose between children and a gasket to fix our freezer. Our dryer stopped working, but I’ve refused to deal with it. Our house will remain unfinished and our appliances broken because we are tucking money away for IVF and travel (our current priorities).

I can hear people saying it now that if we have kids, we’d have to make similar financial choices. However, we do not have kids, we may never have kids, and we may blow another $18,000 to be told again, nope. If we do the third round of IVF, we are looking at a total of over $50,000 spent on treatment alone. That is not including time off work, critter sitters, airfare, lodging, and a therapist. Imagine those with or without children could do with $50,000? Imagine you had a baby and $50,000 in the bank instead of shooting it into your ass?

I’m also aware that we can make more money. We could also work less and enjoy our life instead of living in infertility purgatory. I think if money were not a concern, I’d continue to do IVF treatments until it was successful. However, money is a legitimate concern in both adoption and infertility treatments.

So take the money and run? Do our last round of IVF and hope for the best then move on? Kick the can down the road for awhile and try again in a year so we could be a bit more relaxed in our saving? I have a hard time kicking the can farther down the road. I want to move forward with my life whether it includes more IVF, children, or childlessness.

Our Splendid Stories

I have two hours before my last flight home. I’m heading home from a week workshop in Washington D.C. The workshop was good, but it was what happened after hours that really made my week. The past three years have been hard between trying to build a family and my husband’s disorder. That is putting it mildly. My heart had hardened and became more guarded than Fort Knox.

A combination of time, some degree of acceptance, the kindness of others, and overwhelming support from loved ones have helped heal my heart and to let my guard down.

While in D.C., after dinners, I would walk with workshop attendees. One told me of that her husband of 20 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was dead six weeks later. She never thought she’d ever marry again or this was how her life would be. Her new husband brought kids into her life, which was another twist in her life story.

The following night, another gal talked about how her Mr. Right had gotten hit by a bus (figuratively), and if she ever did meet him, they would never be able to have kids due to an emergency hysterectomy.

Also while in D.C., I visited a good friend that is on bed rest at the hospital with preeclampsia for her second donor egg IVF (deIVF) baby. Everything is going well minus going stir crazy on bedrest. In a few weeks, she’ll have a second daughter. She looked so beautiful and pregnant.

Then all of the stories I follow through blogs.

The splendid stories you hear if you pause and listen. All of our stories are as unique as we are. More importantly, the triumph over these hardships is simply incredible. No matter how tragic life can be, there is still a lot of joy and hope to be had.

My next chapter may not be the one I wanted or expected. Life is always coming up with new twists and turns. I’m coming to terms with that and re-learning to enjoy the ride. I spent the last six-hour flight next to a bright-eyed one-year-old baby girl, and it was a delight instead of hours of sadness. It is refreshing to look at a baby as a positive rather than a reminder of what we cannot have. You don’t know you are okay until you are there*. And as my Cinnabon box said, life needs frosting.

*Quote from the movie The Hollars that I watched one of my many flights in the midst of many of movies.