Time Flies

NewsBaby is 17 weeks old today. That’s 119 days since she was born. I can not believe it’s been that long and yet I can’t imagine what life was without her.

Over the last four months I have started many blog posts, but never found the time to fully write them out and share them. So much has happened I’ve become overwhelmed with how to share it here. I’ve started posts entitled “Sleep…What’s that?”; “Feel like a Woman”; “Torn”; “Reflux”; “The 1st 100 Days”; and “Mommy Boot Camp”.

But the one that seems to cover the most ground was one titled “What No One Tells You.” Because I’ve found over the last 119 days that there is so much no one tells prospective Mommies and Daddies.

Everyone will tell you while you are pregnant how little sleep you will get when baby comes home. I even had people tell me how little sleep I’ll get for “the next 18 years” and for the rest of my life. But no one tells you how the word “exhaustion” doesn’t even come close to covering it in those first few months and that after several days of not sleeping you start to lose yourself a bit.

Everyone will tell you that your life will be forever changed. But no one tells you about the strain it can put on your marriage and every other relationship in your life…if you let it.

Everyone will tell you how much you will love your baby. You will love that baby more than you EVER thought you could love anyone. But no one tells you how there are times when you will not only resent that baby, but question why you wanted her in the first place. And no one tells you how overwhelming that guilt can feel.

Everyone will tell you how you will worry about your child for the rest of your life. But no one tells you how helpless you will feel when you can’t make her feel better when she’s hurting. Or how frustrating it is when you can’t figure out exactly what it is that is wrong so you can fix it.

Everyone will tell you that you will have to make very difficult decisions that will decide the course of your child’s life. And everyone from your friends…to your parents…to your in laws…will have (and share) an opinion on what the correct decisions will be for your baby. But no one tells you that you will have to choose between a nap and a shower some days. I never thought that I would have to choose between having a clean house and being clean myself\.

Everyone will warn you about Postpartum Depression. And as someone who’s struggled with depression for 14 years (probably longer…but I was diagnosed 14 years ago) I was, am, hyper-aware of it. But no one tells you that maybe…just maybe your hormones are SO out of whack that you will cry for no reason even after the “baby blues” go away.

Everyone will tell you how amazing it is to be a parent. Everyone will tell you how hard it is to be a parent. But no one tells you how devastatingly lonely it can be at times.

I’m not going to lie. The last four months have been difficult to say the least. They have also been amazing, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating and inspiring. And while I wouldn’t change a moment that I’ve had with NewsBaby (except for that screaming that happened in the middle of the night…all night…before we knew she had reflux) I would have liked to know some of those things that no one tells you, so I wouldn’t have been so blindsided. So instead…I’ll share it with you.

At a Verbal Loss

So there is quite a bit going on…I’m back at work. YAY!

We had our anatomy scan two weeks ago. That was amazing. I’ve started to write about it several times now, but because of some post scan drama I can’t seem to convey what I want to say. (Before you get too excited…or nervous…I’m okay as is baby. I’ve taken to calling the baby “Monkey”. Don’t ask why…I don’t know.) Newsboy and I…okay I…decided maybe a little to late that we wanted to keep the information to ourselves for a bit. My parents and brother were none too happy about this. And so there was big drama. This drama…that I’m still trying to figure out how to write about without rambling…has really colored the way I look at the entire thing. This scan should have been an amazing and wonderful thing. For a while it was. In the weeks leading up to the scan I had finally somewhat relaxed and begun to enjoy this pregnancy. We learned that all of our genetic testing came back perfectly. So the baby was (is) healthy. But because of the way my family reacted to the scan it is tainted…and I’m leaning towards anxious again.

Since I’m not sure how to tell you all about it…I’m moving on…

My brother and SIL’s baby will be born any day now. (She was due on April 2nd and there’s no baby yet! She’ll be induced on Friday.) I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m excited for them, and looking forward to having another niece or nephew. My parents are beside themselves they are so excited to greet their first grandchild. But in the back of my head there is this tiny little voice that keeps reminding me that their first grandchild should be seven weeks old today. That just won’t go away. I’m worried I won’t react properly when I’m at the hospital with them because of this.

It’s no longer a constant thought, as it once was, but it is still very much there. And a part of me feels like I’m cheating the child inside me because I can’t let go of the brother or sister my Monkey would have, should have, had.

Then again everything seems like too much to handle lately. I feel scattered. I’m easily irritated. I don’t like being ruled by my emotions. It takes me too long to get past the overwhelming emotional initial reaction that I have to get to the rational thoughts that help me deal with whatever is going on. I’m blaming the lack of Prozac. I suppose the lack of sleep doesn’t help much either. (Thanks to a cold that seems to have transitioned into allergies breathing is difficult.)

Maybe it’s like this for all pregnant women? I don’t know. But because of all of this that is going on in my head and in my life…I’m at a bit of a verbal loss. And as a writer, that is one of the most frustrating things in the world. And for this writer…even more so…because I work things out best when I can write them out and step away from them. And I can’t do that right now.

Updates & Uncertainty

I’ve spent the last few weeks in a bubble that has nothing to do with TTC. It was nice. I focused on my job, the sale of our condo and the purchase of our house. Both sales went through (finally!) and we moved about a week before Thanksgiving. Hooray!!

We’re still settling in…but as of this moment all of our new furniture and our new washer and dryer have all been delivered. Settling in can take as much time as I want. The gig I’m currently on is coming to an end, so things are quieting down at work. I’ll be unemployed after the end of this month. (This is just the way things work with what I do…it was expected.)

So for the first time in I don’t even know how long every single thought in my head wasn’t about TTC. (That’s not to say that I haven’t been thinking about wanting a child of my own with every waking moment.)

I did end up “coming out” to my Uncle and Aunt…but not my cousins. Well, blurted out was more like it. (My poor Uncle had to call my Mom and get clarification on a couple of things.) But my Aunt and Uncle now know the basics…that we’ve been trying for two years and have been going through fertility treatments for over a year and that I’ve had 2 IVF cycles. And as it turns out…their daughter (the cousin who is like my baby sister) took 3 years to conceive. I had a wonderful conversation with my Aunt. She told me a bit about her struggles. She also said that the one things she learned was that you shouldn’t ask why…because you’ll never know. That’s probably really good advice. She also told me that my time was coming. For once that statement didn’t annoy me, because she’s been where I am to some extent. But the lesson was that in coming out to my Aunt and Uncle not only did I find more support but I learned that even within my family I am not alone. That helps…more than I thought it would.

Thanksgiving itself was actually nice. I initiated games on their Wii almost as soon as we got there. It helped to keep me distracted. My SIL is visibly pregnant. That took the air right out of my lungs and sent me straight for the wine. I think I downed two glasses before I felt like I could breathe. There was quite a bit of talk and excitement about her pregnancy, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Having my Aunt and Uncle there in addition to my parents was helpful. All in all it wasn’t horrible and I survived.

I’ve come to realize (just now in fact) that I “survive” things more and more rather than just experiencing and enjoying them. I survived the family reunion over the summer. I survived being told by my baby brother and best friend about pregnancies. I survived my Godson’s 1st birthday party. I survived Thanksgiving. I survived the family dinner that we had on Saturday night to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. How much more will I have to survive before it really is my turn?

Anyway…while I have been living in this non-TTC bubble….the pain, the loss and the abyss of sadness are all still there. I think that maybe I’m just dealing with it better. Or maybe I’m just ignoring it better. Or maybe I’m just medicated.

But my point is that I didn’t even realize any of that until the RE’s office called yesterday afternoon to pull me right out of my bubble. Because you see it’s CD 33…Aunt Flo should have shown her ugly face by now and she’s no where to be found. So my favorite nurse (Margaret) called to see if I still wanted to go ahead with the PGD and IVF cycle. She has some forms she needs me to sign if we’re going ahead with the PGD.

“Margaret,” I said “What is PGD?”

She went on to explain that this was the testing my RE and I talked about after my last failed cycle. PGD (Preimplantation genetic diagnosis) is basically a test run on the embryos after fertilization and before implantation to see if there are genetic abnormalities. I’m still researching…

The last conversation I had with my RE is honestly a big blur. He told me all about this PGD stuff and how he wanted to integrate it into the protocol for my next IVF Cycle. I can’t remember any of it. I don’t remember the pros. I don’t remember the cons. I just remember that he thinks at this point genetic abnormalities are the reason neither IVF cycle worked for us. (And just so ya know…this added step will, of course, add to the cost of the IVF cycle.)

But I keep coming back to my reaction immediately following my finding out that I wasn’t pregnant.

I just don’t know that I can do this again. I don’t know how I justify spending all this money when I don’t know when my next job starts. I don’t know that I can keep doing this…the highs and lows of having all those hormones in my system…the anxiety and anticipation that just exists with an IVF cycle. I don’t know that I can handle constantly updating the people who know I’m in a cycle and all the questions that come with that. I don’t know that I can survive another negative beta…or worse a miscarriage.

But I don’t know if I can accept a childless life. Hell…just the thought forces the air from my lungs and sends me to the bottom of the abyss.

So I’m feeling a bit (okay a lot) lost. I just don’t know…

Ignoring the Anniversary

So I ignored an anniversary earlier this week. Sue me. This past Sunday was the two year mark of my going off BCP. Can you blame me for wanting to ignore it completely? I have nothing to show for it. (Plus the bulk of my week this week has been all about trying to get a closing date set so we can move.) I knew it was there. All day Sunday when NewsBoy and I were packing I was acutely aware of what the day meant. All week long I was hyper aware of the fact that I am now in my third year of trying to conceive my first child.

I had hoped that I would hit this anniversary knowing I was pregnant. I had hoped this last round of IVF would have worked. It didn’t and I’m not. So I’m now in my third year of trying to have a child, a place I never in my wildest dreams expected I’d be. And yes, I am glossing over a lot of tears and discussions and poking and prodding. But the down and dirty details are as follows: in the last two years I’ve had 12 negative pregnancy tests. In my first year I only had 6 cycles while trying to regulate things….my longest cycle to date is 73 days. I’ve been through four cycles with Clomid…and two IVF cycles. And I haven’t a thing to show for it. All my scars are on the inside…you can’t see them.

No matter what else is going on in my life, (you know, like buying and selling a house…have I mentioned that I’m doing that?) the heaviness that surrounds my heart is constant. Yes, I have learned to live with it…I guess you could say I’ve redefined normal. But not a day goes by when I don’t think about the miscarriage I had in July. I should be 27 weeks today. I’m not. And I don’t know that I will ever get to be pregnant.

The “Negative Nelly” (that’s what my Mom used to call me when I was all negative about things) in me keeps screaming that I should just give up and accept a life without children. The Jewish Mother in me keeps telling me to ignore her because my time will come and I should keep fighting.

I am a fighter. I can’t think of one instance in my life where I didn’t go after something I wanted…when I didn’t fight. (And I’ve never wanted anything this badly.) I was raised to go after whatever it was that I wanted. I was taught that if you wanted something you go after it until you get it. But how much more can I take? How much further can I go? Do I go through a third IVF cycle? A fourth? I just don’t know if I have the fight left in me.

Debating Thanksgiving

NewsBoy and I do an every other year thing for Thanksgiving. (You know, one year with his family, the next with mine.) This year we are with my family.

Thanksgiving with my family comes with a caveat. We go to a cousin’s house. Now this cousin has a roommate (LONG STORY SHORT…two women who have been friends for as long as I can remember…own a house together…each adopted a child when they hit 40. But they didn’t adopt together. They are not a couple. Regardless my family refers to this roommate as a “cousin”. I have spoken of this “cousin” here.) So Thanksgiving with my family includes her very large family as well. I admit fully and completely that my family can be very loud, but we’ve got nothing on this “cousin’s” family. They are loud. And obnoxious. They also at this point feel comfortable enough with my family to ask and say whatever it is they want.

For the first time in a very long time my brother and I are on the same Thanksgiving schedule. In addition to this…my Aunt, Uncle and cousins are going to be up from Florida for the holiday weekend. So for the first time in possibly a decade my mother will have not only all of her kids together but her brother and niece and nephew all in the same place.

I honestly don’t know that I can do this. I don’t know that I can go to this house and listen to the, what I’m sure will be incessant, talk of my SIL’s pregnancy. I don’t think I can put on a happy face and pretend to be excited for them when the abyss of sadness goes with me everywhere. I don’t think I can fake it all afternoon and evening. Because while I am happy for them…that’s all I’ve got…I can’t seem to muster excited…and it reminds me of the bitter and angry person I’ve become. I’m also 100% positive that my Uncle will see right through me and I’ll end up having to tell him what we are going through. I don’t know that I want to share this with anyone else. I go back and forth on it constantly. But I’m at the point where I think that no one will know when my next round of IVF will be. I can’t deal with the looks and sounds of pity I get every time my body fails to do what it is supposed to do.

I’ve said as much to my mother. The first time we spoke after I got the last BFN I said that I wasn’t sure I could go to Thanksgiving. Being the saint she is she of course told me to do whatever it is I need to do.

So I’m not sure what to do. Whether or not I go to Thanksgiving I will see my Aunt, Uncle, cousins and the “cousins” who host Thanksgiving. The Saturday after Thanksgiving we will all be getting together for a surprise early birthday dinner for my Mom. So any which way you slice it I will have to deal with my family…but the question is just how much I can handle?

So what do you think? Do I go to Thanksgiving?

What Infertility Takes…

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays…this year I hid from it. To the best of my ability I avoided children in costumes. And I did a really damn good job of it too. I even avoided going into the mall when NewsBoy and I were shopping just so I wouldn’t have to walk past kids in princess and pirate costumes. I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw kids and did an about face. (Much to NewsBoy’s confusion and dismay.) And, who’d have thought I’d say this but, thanks to a cold we didn’t go anywhere that evening. So it’s like Halloween never happened, right?

I’ve become a bitter and angry woman. I’ve taken to avoiding things and people that will remind me of the fact that I don’t have a child. I’m thinking about skipping out on Thanksgiving (where there will be plenty of discussion and excitement of my SIL’s pregnancy) and would certainly have developed a “migraine” for a friends son’s 1st birthday party if IvoryGirl wasn’t going to be there. I get angry when people who have children complain about their child’s behavior. Nearly every one of my friends with young children complained on Facebook about the time change because their kids got up early due to Daylight Savings. I would kill to have a child that could wake me up early for any reason.

In short…I’ve become everything I hate…everything I never wanted to become.

That’s what infertility has done to me. These are the things that infertility takes. It takes the fun out of everything. It takes the joy out of the celebrations for the people you love. It takes you from your ability to enjoy your life and the company of your loved ones. I want to be happy and excited that my friend’s kids are having birthdays and are potty trained and are sleeping through the night and are going to pre-school. I want to be happy and excited that my brother is going to have a baby, that I will have another niece or nephew. But I can’t. All I have is this overwhelming sadness that follows me where ever I go. It permeates every thought I have and every decision I make. There is a gaping hole…an emptiness that is persistent and that emptiness is overwhelming. Because while the sadness of negative Betas do diminish with time, that abyss that tells you there is something missing just gets bigger and bigger with each test result. Every pregnancy announcement…every birth…every birthday party…every milestone… every adorable picture just enlarge the chasm of nothingness that infertility leaves in its wake.

I have a good friend that I’ve known since High School. We’ve drifted apart over the years but we keep in touch. This is the one friend that was always my measuring stick when it came to bitterness because of my infertility. She’s one of those women who went to college intending to find a husband and didn’t even come close. When NewsBoy and I got engaged she said “What do you need to get married for? You don’t want kids.” When we would get drunk she’d break down in tears because she’s single and will never be a Mom. When we turned 25 she was convinced she was too old to be a mother. Everything about her was about her becoming a mother. It’s all she has ever wanted. She never really wanted a husband…just kids. But every time we would hear about someone getting married or someone having a child. She would get upset, angry and eventually bitter about it. On the scale of bitterness I have become her. While I didn’t understand that desperate need then, I most certainly do now. And it’s the realization that I have become this bitter, angry, childless woman that makes that abyss even larger and more prevalent.

I want to find a way back to the happy person I was before the abyss that is infertility infected every aspect of my life. I just don’t know how to get there.

The Morning After

So while I’m still overwhelmingly sad that this cycle didn’t work I am feeling a bit better about things. (Okay so there were 2 glasses of wine, 2 Xanex and a Prozac in there somewhere…sue me.) I’ve even realized a few things. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1) This BFN is, in a way, better (easier) then my last failed cycle. Last cycle I got pregnant and miscarried. For a while there…however brief it was…I was going to have a baby. I even (stupidly) went online and found out what my due date would have been. (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!) For those of you playing at home…I’ll be needing a lot of extra love on February 16th.

2) I CAN breathe. After finding out in June that my pregnancy wasn’t going to go the distance breathing was hard. Smiling was hard. Everything was hard. I felt like a zombie most of the time. It was like there was this weight on my heart. Hell, I’m not sure that it’s gone even now. I’m not sure that it will ever go away. But I don’t have that this time. This is more sad and feeling sorry for myself that we went through everything that goes with an IVF cycle for nothing. So that’s something…right?

3) I am not in any way ready to give up on having our child. I gave that some serious thought. It’s pretty much all I’ve thought about since I typed it last night. Since I found out I wasn’t pregnant really. Could I live my life childless? I’m sure I could…if I had to. And that I think is the key. I’m not ready to give up on our child. Which leads me to…

4) IVF # 3…I have called my clinic and scheduled my follow up appointment. Now we have to wait until 2010 because we are out of insurance but come January we will do this again. But I think there will be a few changes. I’m going to switch doctors within my practice. I started with a doctor who has since left the practice. When she left the other two (male) doctors split up her patients. They have since hired a new female doctor. I adore her and have asked for her to be my doctor. I also will discuss with her at length my staying on the Prozac while going through IVF and pregnancy. I’ve read the studies and after two cycles of living on the edge of tears and not being able to focus…I think it’s time I just accept that I need this medication no matter what.

5) I’m a very lucky woman. (Okay so I knew that but stay with me…) I have several amazing support groups. My ladies on my message boards, who continue to amaze me with their strength and compassion. The friends and family who do know what NewsBoy and I are going through have been wonderful in their support of us. My WorkWives make it easier to go to work and deal with the insanity every single day. Without them I’m not sure what I would do, their friendship is like air to me. And last, but certainly not least, I have NewsBoy. This man seems to have infinite amounts of love and patience for me. When I said that I knew I wasn’t pregnant yesterday morning without even pausing he said “so we try again.” And last night when I said I wasn’t sure I could do this again without even pausing he said “so we stop.” even though at this point he wants a child (or our spawn as he lovingly refers to our future child) as much as I do. I love him more and more every day.

And now…I think I will just go sit on the couch and watch some really bad daytime TV. I mean what’s a mental health day without Susan Lucci right?