Archive for June, 2009

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Ten weeks post miscarriage. Finding my way.

June 28, 2009

If you get hit by a paintball you won’t die but at the time of impact you feel you just might. The bruise aches for days to come.  Last night I went to dinner with some friends and Tricia (who I wrote about here). All the women were either pregnant or new mothers. I knew this was coming and had tried preparing for the onslaught to come. The onslaught came. Sitting at the center of the table the conversations swirled around me like swarming bees threatening to sting. The talks about labor, feeling a child kick inside you, motherhood’s triumphs and burdens and the joy a child brings to your world.

I was fine. I prepared for these conversations. I felt like a soldier standing on the front line. Until. Until, Maria said with a smile the time that you hold your child within your womb is the most magical time . It’s so amazing to know you are sustaining them and that you both share a unique connection. Sting.

I felt in an alternate universe as the conversations continued around me. I held Maria’s ten week old baby and all I could think as I looked at her cherubic face was ten weeks. Ten weeks since I lost you Speck. I lost you for as long as I held you.  I must sit with this smile plastered on my face while my heart crumbles inside my chest as I remember you. I saw you on the ultrasound. I felt the exhaustion and the nausea. You were real but you didn’t make it. You will never know these babies. I will never hold you. Maybe other babies, but not Speck, not my first.

Our friends followed us to our house for dessert and I cried the entire way home. I felt empty. Luckily dessert went much better. We ate chocolate cake and laughed and conversed until three in the morning. She made me smile when she said,  Sometimes I just sit and watch her sleep. Then she said with a dreamy look Labor was amazing. I felt pain but I couldn’t help but think, wow I’m bringing a being into this world. I turned to her, and with a raised eyebrow said, labor was amazing? She laughed and said, Kate, I thought I would never be a mother. I wanted to be one so badly that every minute of pregnancy and now every minute of motherhood is a complete and utter blessing. I love hearing her cry. I love waking up at 2am to feed her. I don’t take a minute for granted. Wow- I got goosebumps.

As they were leaving Maria said to our husbands, Give us a second I need to talk to Kate privately.

Turning to me, she said Are you considering IVF. I did a double take. Was I that obvious? The huge IF stamped on my forehead? Or maybe IF sisters can recognize one another better? They notice the subtle clenching of cheeks or imperceptible sighs. I’m not sure. As we walked to the car she said Kate, consider this time a test from God. Consider yourself singled out to be drawn closer to Him. You have a good life, you met the guy of your dreams young, you went to law school, you have a house and great families, we can get stagnant spiritually when life is going well. Consider this struggle a blessing. It’s a time for you to grow stronger and learn a lot about yourself. Just remember if He wants it to happen, it will. I got pregnant naturally after four failed IVF cycles. He just has to say BE and it is. Consider yourself blessed and grow from your pain.

For the past few years I felt so conflicted about God and spiritual matters that though I believed, I kind of packaged it all away, observing some rituals but not really letting it enter and settle into my heart. But when moments like the one I shared with Maria occur. Those out of the blue moments where someone tells you exactly what you needed to hear . . . seeing Maria after two years and her opening up to me and sharing her infertility struggles and then, just when I reached my emptiest moment to pull me aside and advise me…. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps she came into my life when she did for a purpose.

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Meeting hope incarnate

June 27, 2009

I had not seen my friend Maria since 2007. She just had a baby. Her baby was born the day after my miscarriage. She was in Atlanta with her husband to attend a mutual friend’s wedding. We hugged and chatted and in my most nonchalant voice I said, I hope I’m not prying but I remember you told me in ’07 that you’d been trying for a year. What did you end up doing?

She smiled, I had four failed IVF cycles since we last met. The day after my fourth failed cycle, we began filling out the paperwork to adopt a baby from Morrocco. We were in Paris, en route to Morocco to interview with the agency and I got pregnant naturally.

You must have been so stressed I said shaking my head Four failed IVF cycles, I don’t want to imagine. She shook her head, I promise you, I didn’t stress about it. I trusted this was God’s will. He tests those he wants to draw closer to him.

Infertility as a test from God to be borne with absolute strength and trust. I read a book recently in with the author, Steven Luxenberg said fear destroys trust. I am so afraid of the path ahead I have no room to trust. I look at Maria and I think, for 2.5 years she endured what I am enduring, and she took it easy and relaxed. The cynic in me shakes my head and wonders if she is looking back with rose colored glasses, I mean who can endure four failed IVF cycles and say Coolios no big deal? Granted she is filthy rich so affording treatment isn’t the issue . . . but regardless, I am sure she remained faithful during her struggles to conceive. I look at her gorgeous little girl. She is ten weeks old. I did not need to ask, because I know, I will always see her and know. She is hope incarnate. She is proof that I can wringe my hands and give up entirely, but its not up to me what the end result will be. I must move my feet and keep on doing what I must, but I do need to accept that despite my best plans, that I must accept when it comes to TTC, I am not behind the wheel. I want to be where she says she was, that good place where you trust completely and as a result remain stress free. I’m trying to get there. It’s an upward climb but hopefully it will get easier the more I climb.

Tomorrow we’re going out to dinner with a group of friends. One of those friends is my ex-friend who is loud and vivacious and quite pregnant. [I wrote about it here] I know it will be an evening of all about Tricia and I feel very uncomfortable about it. What makes it more awkward is we’re having the dinner folks over to our house for dessert after, and I’ve heard Tricia and her hubby may come TO OUR HOUSE. I hope she doesn’t have the nerve but knowing Tricia she just might. I’ll try to adopt Maria’s philosophy. These difficult times are there to make me stronger. I will sit and smile tomorrow, I will make it through, I will look at Maria’s miracle and remember that I am looking at hope incarnate.

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Untangling my fears of childlessness

June 26, 2009

I want to warn anyone feeling fragile about infertility that this post might be a bit strong. I’m going to talk about some beliefs I am trying to untangle, but I just hope it does not tangle anybody else’s thoughts.

I saw my therapist today and we talked about my plan. I told him something I’ve been scared to admit to myself, I am so scared to start the plan. I’m frightened to take Clomid, to do IUIs, etc. Why? Because I’m afraid they won’t work. I’m scared to explore my options because if the doors close I dont know what to do with myself. He told me I sound like someone whose given up before I’ve begun. I told him I’m trying really hard to make peace with the possibility of never having children and then promptly burst into tears. He asked me what made me so afraid of the prospect of never having children:

1. Did you watch Sesame Street? I remember when Maria and Luis got married and found out they were having a child they sang a song about now becoming a family. At four, I remember feeling confused. Weren’t they already a family? I asked my mom who responded, No, once they have a baby, then they are family. This seems to be a common perception to this day. I see people announce pregnancies on twitter with X and Y are becoming a family! So that means that Jack and I alone, we’re just two people, we’re a couple. We are not a family.

2. When we eat dinner together, or watch TV, or sleep in, or go for a bike ride, I think of my friends who remind me oh you’re lucky to go on vacation . . . we have kids and can’t do that! Ha! you’re so lucky you can sleep in, we’re lucky if we can get four hours of sleep. I COULD have worked the corporate lifestyle but I have kids and they are my priority. I can’t speak for all infertiles, but for me, these comments and attitudes make me feel they are better than me by virtue of having a working womb and children to show for it. They are doing important stuff. They can’t sleep! They can’t relax on vaca! Sometimes I feel like they are really doing the important job while  I’m sitting here in never never land flying like Peter Pan.

3. I’m afraid of  ending up alone. I haven’t seen the movie “UP” (and if you haven’t seen it be warned a spoiler is to follow): from what I’ve heard the movie touches on infertility. A husband and wife suffer a pregnancy loss and then never have children. One scene shows the husband old and alone attending his wife’s funeral. I haven’t seen the movie, but that movie touches on a huge raw fear of mine.

4. I know people who are older and never had children and I hear what people I know say about them. The looks of pity. The whispers that they waited too long to start trying. They tsk tsks as they sigh and watch them, who do they have to live for? Their legacy their name ends with them. I already know for a fact certain people do this with me. My mom told me once I got pregnant, I didn’t want to tell you before, but your aunts would always call and say they were so worried and praying for you. My other aunt blatantly told me You are really tired due to pregnancy because you waited too long. Thank God you got pregnant. Now that I’ve miscarried these word haunt me. I am one of those people you look at and tsk.

5. The obvious, I want to be a mother, and even though I am not a mother, it is part of my identity and because I do not have that status yet, I’m in an identity crisis. I never thought it would be this hard to become a mother and I know I would be a good mother. I want the opportunity to try.  I want to feel her kicks in my womb. I want to push through labor. I want to throw her a huge first birthday, and cry as she goes off to Kindergarten.There is a part of the need to be a mother that is a raw human urge that defies logic or human rationale.

I don’t know if I should try to accept that I might never be a mother and thus sit down and tackle all the issues I listed, or if I need to block them all out and try to make myself hope focused and not consider failure as an option. I dont know which is the healthier  perspective. I’ve heard that if you prepare and accept the possibility of the worst you can be at peace and then be pleasantly overjoyed when the worst does not happen. I’ve also read studies that positive thought and visualization can go a long way to helping your dreams come true. I don’t know which way to go. I need to think about it because being in limbo is not an option for me anymore. The biggest issue I am trying to answer is: If I am to not become a mother, who am I? Who will I be?

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If children are a reward from Him, where does that leave me?

June 25, 2009

You probably heard about the recent scandal of the governor of South Carolina. He left town for five days without telling anyone. Turns out he was in Argentina with his mistress. I read the statement his wife Jenny, mother of four, made to the press, and it was fine until I came across this: Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men.

I read the first sentence at least five times. I would be okay if someone said that children are a blessing from God. A gift from God, sure.  But a reward? Those with children are rewarded by God.

Reward: re·ward // (r-wôrd)n.Something given or received in recompense for worthy behavior.

So the crack addict mother I’m representing who has six children was rewarded for worthy behavior by God? God rewarded the kids in the backseat of the car after prom? Do you Jenny, think that you are better than those who cannot conceive since you quote to us that children are a reward from God?

She didn’t mean to say it like that of course and its probably the lawyer in me deconstructing her statement as I did. I don’t mean to offend any Christians who believe in this verse. It just really struck me, the casualness of the statements and the silent implications her simple quote carried for me.

Disclaimer: I’m joking about the title. I don’t really think I’m being punished. I’m just feeling a bit reflective as I considered her words said with such absolute certainty.

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OBGYN Update and advice

June 23, 2009

Thanks for all your well wishes and for your advice. I went to a different location to see my my doctor.  This office is located inside of a bigger building, a pediatrics building. Babies, everywhere. I was seated for my consult and looked out the open door. I was sitting across from the Ultrasound room. 22 weeks is about how far I would’ve been. You can guess the thought that went through my mind as I sat waiting.

The meeting went fine. She gave me  a progesterone  ‘script. She’s running blood work to check on what caused my miscarriage.  She told me to get an HSG done and for Jack to get a sperm analysis. Here’s my question: I got pregnant. So clearly the sperm is swimming and my fallopian tubes are open . . . right? Is this standard operating procedure? This is my tentative time line:

July: Get a period and get HSG test and SA done.

August: Get next period and start Clomid. Three Cycles on Clomid.

November: Clomid +IUI. Three Cycles.

February: Fertility Specialist.

She told me to exercise and watch what I eat. Check, and check. She told me to calm down and not stress too much [don’t you LOVE that nugget of advice] because that can affect when I ovulate.

I got off the phone with Jack and he started whining: I don’t want to get an SA. I almost broke down and started bawling. Really? Jacking off into a cup is too much for you? You want to get the HSG done?!? Then when I explained the process he was like Um, do you really want to do all that to have a baby? What the FUCK? I tried to keep my cool and said You told me you were fine with me seeing an RE. What did you think they were going to do? Read my tarot cards and give me herbs to wear on my head while I danced around a fire pit? He said he didn’t know. We’re supposed to talk about it over dinner tonight but I’m really afraid because I don’t want to fight. We’ve been really strong and together on this IF front and I don’t want to break down.

So I have a few questions to throw into the blogiverse:

1) If I have a chance for insurance to cover more if I stick with my OBGYN, what is the increased benefit that an RE would provide. I know that they’d be more knowledgable but if they’re going to give me clomid, IUI’s etc, then why not stick with the doctor I have and let insurance cover some of it?

2) Did any of you have HSG and SAs done post-miscarriage? I’m confused as to why I’d need this see we can clearly get a baby into my belly.

3) Have any of you had to convince your significant other to go through with procedures, etc? I hope I don’t have to go through any convincing, but if I do, do you have any advice for me? I think he’s just overwhelmed. He also doesn’t want it as bad as I do. He’s point blank told me: If we never have kids I’m okay with it though having a child will be wonderful. Some say this should comfort me, one person needs to be the rock. I don’t know, sometimes I agree, sometimes it makes me feel alone.

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My upcoming OBGYN visit

June 23, 2009

3:15 today I go to see my OBGYN. I’m nervous. Why are you nervous? Jack asked me this morning. I’ve thought about it. Why am I nervous. I don’t get any test results today.  It’s a consult. We’re just talking. I’ve thought about it and these are some of my reasons:

1. I’m afraid she won’t give me progesterone to induce my period. I’m on CD43. My longest cycle to date. In December when my period was delayed and I called to ask for it, she said no, that because I have PCOS I needed to just wait it out.

2. I’m afraid she’s going to tell me to wait three more cycles before giving me Clomid.

3. I’m afraid I’m not going to like her timeline for me in general.

4. I’m afraid she will retract her promise to test me for auto-immune issues, etc to determine a possible cause for my miscarriage.

5. I’m afraid that even if she agrees to work with me her time line is going to be very very long. It’s difficult to get fit in for appointments with her.

6. I have been having the weirdest things happening. Lower back pain. Things rumbling in my ovaries. My boobs swell from time to time. I’m afraid she will dismiss this all and give me no explanation.

7. I’m afraid I will break down seeing pregnant women around me, and remembering I’d be in my fifth month right now.

and . . .

8. I’ll  POAS and she’ll likely do a blood test to make sure I’m not pregnant. I know I’m not. I can tell myself this until I’m chanting like a Buddhist monk saying nothing but these words as my mantra, yet still, when she tells me: Negative. It’s going to sting like a slap. Am I the only one who not only feels sad when they see the BFN, but also embarrassed?

I am trying to accept my infertility, and the feeling of no control. The doctor has the control. She is my key to the one thing I want most in this world. I stare at her, a prisonor in my own body, asking for her help. We are so vulnerable at the doctor’s office. I know I will see an RE but today, its just a little stressful.

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Accepting Infertility

June 22, 2009

My posts reflect I reached a low point last week. I felt like my infertility had trapped me into a corner and I could not find my way out. When I sat with my therapist I blurted out in tears I can’t keep going on like this. If I continue feeling this way the results could be bad. He looked up with concern asking me what that meant. I hastened to tell him, I didn’t think suicidal thoughts, but the future seemed so frightening and bleak from where I stood in my journey that this blank space terrifed me to the point of emotional paralysis.

Friday, I decided I needed to do some soul searching. I took the day off work. I worked out. It felt good to sweat away the adrenaline. Each step on the pavement felt like I was pounding away my demons. I showered and then I lit some candles and prayed. Through my tears, I asked for a child. More importantly, I asked for peace. I warned God that my infertility has shaken my concept of Him. That though I prayed, my faith remained weaker than it once was. Then I meditated. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply and breathed out. I focused on my breath, the sound of the fan in the distance. The candles burned in the distance casting a beautiful glow in my shady afternoon bedroom.

Then, I felt it. Peace. A stillness in my heart that has eluded me for months. I felt no pain, no grief, just peace.

Later that evening as I read a book, a thought struck me with the force of a hammer thrown across the room. I saw my path. Yes, I thought, I am on the fourth week of my two week wait.  Yes, the pregnancy test Jack asked me to take this morning still says negative. But- I *will* get a period eventually. I will see my OBGYN Tuesday. Then I’m going to see an RE. I’m going to get a plan. I need to get out of the moment. The now in which my reality is: no period,  a missed month of trying, hormones that are not helping my emotions.

I think that this past year of TTC I have not accepted my condition. I have PCOS. I am not normal. I want children and my condition, without the right treatment, precludes that. I have been angry about my diagnosis. I have grieved each monthly cycle and the loss of hope it brought. I have felt like less of a woman. Less of a wife. Less of a daughter. I feel I have failed everyone around me. I have lamented my condition, but I did not accept that for better or worse PCOS is my condition to own. My doctor indirectly tries to put the blame of PCOS on me telling I should lose weight and it will magically disappear. But I’m only 10 pounds from my ideal BMI. I’m sick of carrying this guilt. I’m ready to let it go.

Coping with infertility is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I’m sure along the way I will fall. Thanks for reading and being there to lift me up.