On a grey November afternoon, holding hand in hand, strolling the street on our way to have a baby put in me through science and money. Just like in the movies.
And surprise- it worked! We were truly given a gift after 3 years, a baby girl, who in turn we named Ivy F. (JK but I did push hard for it so she'd have great stories for her therapist)
I would also like to say that all your infertility sadness and suspicions are true- there is this magical club of parenthood that I and many other people were missing out on. I used to see my parents with my brothers kids and have resentment that I couldn't provide that kind of happiness. Well F&*@ I was definitely right, I am only the provider, deliverer and caretaker of precious baby for our parents now. I can't help but think about how I could have never had this because of this secret club. How I used to walk the grocery store and not a single person would look at me, but now I have them following me to just catch a glimpse of what's in the stroller.
And I think that's not fair to any of us. But that's life now.
A life in which i thought i could go directly from infertility ---->pregnant-----> mom
Nope. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. (except that last part, I do collect, thank you EI!)
This is more accurate now: infertility --->pregnant from fertility treatments ---> experienced infertile mom
These small changes have a big impact on how you view everything. Right from the beginning I was terrified to say anything, because it's always too good to be true. Once we could announce it, we didn't. I had been dreaming for 3 years for an announcement, and I just couldn't. Seeing every holiday people announce I never wanted anyone else to feel the way I did. People asking if we were going to have more than one was a loaded question. When would I find childcare so I could do treatments, how much do we need to save up to do it again, we only have 3 left, what if they all fail, etc.
I don't want to say the previous 3 years have robbed me of moments in the present, but they have changed the landscape of my view of being a parent. Most of the time I want to rip my heart out and give pieces of it to those suffering the same around me.
I think we all pay a cover charge when our world transforms as such. Maybe it's losing a parent and seeing others make their parents happy or maybe it's having your rainbow baby but thinking about those before.
So though I was welcomed to the club, like most of us, there was a cover charge, I just didn't know what it would be yet.
Now I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I have a pretty amazing gift I've been blessed with. I try to stay humble about it, but it's hard to when it's just so consistent, and I can almost 100% guarantee its effectiveness each time I use it.
I can magically ruin any great moment with one single thought: "But remember that you don't have any kids!".
I know what you're thinking, "That's impossible- EVERY moment you can ruin?"
And yes that's right EVERY AND ANY. It's literally magic that it happens every time, and can completely change my attitude, my day and even my week sometimes in to something completely different.
Infertility has allowed me to carefully hone my abilities to have thoughts I didn't even know I had within me. These thoughts will enter any situation to just add the cherry on top to what are typical things I thought I enjoyed.
Enjoying dinner & date night with my partner: "Remember it's only two of you"
Backpacking through the woods: " You can only do this because you're barren inside"
Having special bedroom time: " Keep trying, we all know you'll be crying over a plastic stick in 2 weeks"
Playing with my doggos: "These dogs will probably be dead before they see your kids"
Having my morning constitutional: " Take your time, you have lots of it, except at infertility; tick tock."
I'm sure you get the point by now. (I'd hate to give away too much about my trick and be banned from the league of unworkable ovaries.) It’s no magicians secret to those reading that infertility takes a toll on your capacity to enjoy any and all things sometimes. We are constantly reminded of things around us that could be enhanced by where we feel we should be in life right now. And not just the stuff we see as “fun”. I find myself occasionally wishing I was tired from staying up all night, or not having showered for 7 days, or overall just being part of the experience of being a parent.
This incredible blessing of a gift does also have a silver lining.
Being open about my infertile illusionist abilities (I’m calling it inferllusions, but hasn't caught yet) and talking about them has been hard, but rewarding.
When I talk about how having a baby is a lot of science of hormones, and showing pictures of injections, some people have a more open mind.
When I explain nicely about how saying "just take a break" can really hurt those going through this, people think twice about how best to support those around them.
When parents see me enjoying being around their kids, I know they will hug their kids a little tighter that night.
And I think that's pretty magical.
As I've wrapped up my first round of IVF (woo-hoo) I've taken some time travelling back home to think about how this whirlwind happened so fast and so slow at the same time. The moment they finished the retrieval it was like a 1000 bricks, or 17 fluid filled sacs was removed off my shoulders (equal in weight).
I felt lighter than ever, and I also felt like I could say a lot of horrible things I had been thinking in my mind, and realized that I told so many lies over the past 2 years.
I want to do IVF
Looking back I don't think I actually ever said these words. I've said variations of "We're doing IVF, IVF is the next step, IVF is the only hope of a baby" but never turned to a doctor or loved one and say "I want to do IVF". And in turn, no one asked me if I wanted to. The Doctors would get the results, and say the next step is this direction, and I agreed. And don't get me wrong- I don't think any woman/couple WANTS to do IVF, and the fact we had the option I am forever grateful for, but the pressure we put on ourself that we feel from society to do whatever we can to have a baby very much so pushed me to IVF. It felt at times that if I don't do everything within my power to have a baby, than we're not worthy. Ironic that up until a certain age you should be doing whatever you can to not have a baby, then flip the switch and emptying your bank account to have a baby.
Other than my partner, I don't think I told anyone how scared I was of all of this. We planned on only doing one round of IVF then figuring it out from there depending on results. I was scared of it all, almost every second of it. From the week of anxiety before my first shot, to then doing 3 a day, the first appointment, getting blood drawn on bruises over and over, and finally the overarching fear of the retrieval. And those are only the physical ones. The fear that it wouldn't work, or that I would doing something wrong to not make this happen, and to the fact that every day I wonder if the place where they store our blastocysts has proper emergency procedures if there were a fire or power outage. If I were to do it again, I would tell myself to be scared and embrace it, because my telling myself for 2 months not to be scared, did not work.
Maybe I'm not fit to be a mother
Looking back I should have said this out loud to myself to realize how ridiculous it really does sound. But I didn't. And I kept it inside. Some days I felt as though it was a sign to cut my losses and move on to my next chapter. I would recount the times I spent with children. We didn't have a large family, all our cousins are the same age, so there was never that opportunity to spend time with babies ( though I'm sure I could raise any animal wonderfully). I just changed my nephew's diaper for the first time last year! These run through my head and all of the other reasons it's not happening, because it's not meant to be.
And thats a lie.
We're all worthy. We are. We are fighting a big fight, and you may not feel like you're worthy, and that's fine. Because today this woman on the other side of these words will feel worthy for you until you can.
Inspired by a delightful instagrammer account by the name of @mattsurlee, I present to you my graph of interfility.
As I spent much needed time with my niece and nephew over some vacation days, my always wonderful sister in law took some candid pics. I hadn't noticed them until they were posted, and I realized I didn't even recognize the person in the picture. The woman giggling with her niece, a beyond big smile on her face and practically glowing to hear about how she colored the mermaid pink because it was her favorite color.
I began to well up. This was not the person who I thought I was over the past year. I pictured myself as sad, broken, unable to be around children person, whose soul had turned grey. I couldn't believe that I appeared this way to others and that without knowing there was still this hope and love inside me that could shine without my knowledge.
I felt that I couldn't recognize myself, but this picture gave me hope that maybe I could again one day. I could match what my body was saying, with what my mind could think. It's the smallest boost that I can keep taking those every day steps to make the best out of this entire infertile journey.
To the woman who has taken a break from trying.
The other day I was given some unsolicited advice* of taking a break from trying as I mentioned we had been for 2 years. As every miracle birth that people know of around them happens when a person stops trying or ends up adopting. I believe everyone thinks this is great news (which it is) but the journey to that moment is an excruciating one. This couple, or individual, just mentally gave up all hope of a dream that has been with them most of their lives. They have spent the last 1,3,5,10 years being poked, prodded, hopes brought up and dreams crushed every month, to let go of an idea that would never be. Please realize that you saying the words "just take a break" belittle the everyday struggle that they have gone through.
* Please note before giving advice or telling stories, would you do the same to a person with a disease where the outcome is unknown. I'm not equating the two, but am simply mentioning that suggesting to them to just do a juice cleanse and they'll be fine, seems silly no?
Ah yes, looking for something to say for that person who is close to you (or not even) who are going through infertility? Follow the guide below no matter the situation!
You're having troubles getting pregnant? That's so stressful, you should try to take a break for ______(amount of time). My _______(relatives name) did that and they were pregnant right after! Or even __________(someone you barely know) adopted after _________(number of years) and they got pregnant within _______ (number of months). Or even I read ______________(obscure facebook article) that if you try _____________(medically unsupported procedure) you can have a kid within _________ (number of months). I know you'll want to give ________________(insert grandparents name) a grandchild soon, they are waiting!
Then, and this is the MOST important part when you finish. Just throw it out and tell the person "if you need anything I'm here".
**These are all things that have been said to my face.
The number 24 has been raging in my head over the holidays. The 24th month of being barren people and baby-less. Once you get that number in your head it’s hard to make it disappear. Then I thought, ‘this is the mother-lovin’ advent calendar of infertility!’ I laughed to myself how dark this was, and how some of the best moments with my husband are those very dark humorous jokes about how depressed, sad, and messed up we are. And some of the worst are when we have to quietly sit at parties, knowing I just got my period, or quietly watch pregnancy announcements happen. The social stigma of infertility and just plain being in it and feeling like a failure has sucked the fun out of infertility! Essentially talking>being quiet about infertility (most days). I would like to put the #funbackininfertility . Without any adieu, here is my advent calendar of infertility! (On a side please laugh and enjoy the read.)
January: Honeymoon baby- let’s do it!
February: I'm sure it doesn’t happen at the first try, plus so much rum on honeymoon baby try.
March: Downloads the Ovia App.
April: A birthday baby would be nice!
May: Buy ovulation sticks for first time. $$
June: Finally looks up what BBT and TTC mean.
July: look online for help support groups, but ensure yourself you won’t need them.
August: The first time you hear a pregnancy announcement and you have all the feels.
September: Researches the entire internet.
October: Secretly spend $60 on pregnancy tests.
November: First Gyno Appointment.
December: LATE PERIOD. CHRISTMAS BABY?? Nope.
January: First true breakdown.
February: Second Gyno Appointment
March: Vow to not buy pregnancy tests any more.
April: Spend $40 on pregnancy tests.
May: Take an honest break for a little.
June: Referral to specialist
July: Take a soul searching vacation.
August: Breakdown with a friend.
September: Argue with your partner about absolutely nothing.
October: Work on your marriage,because you can get through this together.
November: talk to someone else going through infertility and be amazed how good you feel.
December: CHRISTMAS BABY THE SEQUEL??? Nope.
Why write something about myself when I can give testimonials!