Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year

I joke that I don't make resolutions because they never come to fruition, but that I make goals. I set hopes and dreams. But the truth or what I'm learning with infertility is that hopes and dreams often fail miserably - at least when you are like me and you set a time frame for them. I remember sitting at the computer last year, writing about how 2010 would be different. How this would be the year that I get pregnant. That this would be the year we would resolve our infertility.

Well, here I am. Today is December 31. I am not pregnant. I have never been pregnant. And I certainly don't have a baby in my arms.

I could sit here and write down what I'd like to happen in 2011. I could sit here and type all of the things I hated about this year. I could sit here and write about the breast lump. The surgery for endo. The failed IUIs. How, in this last week of 2010, I experienced the gynecologist appointment from hell, a viral infection, and the arrival of AF - all fitting exclamation points to end this year.

Instead, I am going to sit here and tell you that I don't have hopes and dreams for 2011. I'm just going to live. And instead of wasting this space with misery and sadness about what wasn't or what could have been (because we all know that I write about depressing shit enough), I am going to focus on what was good. So here it is, my "best of" 2010 in review. Enjoy, and I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

video

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

every infertile's worst nightmare

Here's the gist how my appointment went down:

Dr. P: So, tell me - how old are you?
Me: 25
Dr. P: Oh, GREAT! You are so young! (Strike 1)
Me: (fake smile)
Dr. P: Tell me about your history with infertility.
Me: (insert long, boring, sad history here - with a happy ending of "we're adopting!")
Dr. P: Well, you know. I've had at least ten patients with infertility who have adopted. And within six months, all of them have come back and been pregnant! So you should think about that before you seriously consider adoption. (Strike 2)
Me: (not so realistic fake smile)
Dr. P: You know what else about adoption? It's long. It's hard. It's emotionally draining. It's just a big pain in the butt. (Strike 3)
Me: Yeah? So is infertility.

Of course, I'm paraphrasing here. And all of the negatives about adoption continued until he left the room. I quickly dressed, paid my co-pay, and walked out.

But I'm not paraphrasing when I say that I cried the entire way home.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

what is left to break?

I have an appointment with my new gynecologist next week.

My previous gynecologist was located right around the corner from my old job. Since he moved his practice to the Florida Panhandle and how I no longer work at that old job, which was 65 miles away from home, it was time to find a new doctor. I settled on a man I'll call Dr. P.

Dr. P is a member of my regular doctor's practice - Dr. &. I've seen Dr. Y since I was 12 years old, and I take his recommendations very seriously. He knows my entire medical history - depression/anxiety, TMJ, and now infertility. If Dr. P is good enough for him, then he's good enough for me. On top of that, both REs I've seen in the area have recommended Dr. P. I feel confident that I'll be in good hands.

But I don't feel confident about the appointment itself.

I'm nervous for various reasons. For one, I don't like having to explain my entire sordid medical history to a new doctor. I'm worried that he will ask me questions about why we are bailing on infertility treatments before trying IVF when we're "so young" (see previous post). But mostly, I'm not looking forward to the possibility of something being wrong.

Before February 2009, I was FINE with going to the gynecologist. While other women complained about having someone poke and prod their lady bits, it wasn't a big deal for me. It was once a year, and it was harmless. I would get my clean bill of health and went on my merry way.

Everything changed last year when my gynecologist diagnosed me with cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, and infertility - all in one visit.

But even after that and subsequent appointments, even after the referral to an RE, even after numerous tests and infertility treatments, going to the gynecologist still wasn't that bad. I had confidence that my next annual would get me back on track to a clean bill of health - minus the infertility and endo.

Imagine my surprise when instead the doctor found a tumor in my breast. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?, I wondered. I went from being a healthy 23-year-old newlywed in 2008, to a 25-year-old with failing lady parts - talking to my doctor about my chances of needing a pre-menopausal mastectomy and hysterectomy: high.

With all of this, you can guess that I'm not looking forward to Tuesday's appointment. Not that I care about spreading my legs for some new guy. (Because let's face it - I'm pretty confident that the number of people who've seen my vagina at this point is far greater than the number of people who've seen Paris Hilton's bits.) But because I'm scared of the other shoe dropping. Because I don't want another surgery. Because I don't want to be the 25-year-old woman with yet another part of her body dying. Because I am TIRED of being broken.

I already have a broken uterus, broken ovaries, a broken cervix, broken breasts, and a broken heart. Isn't that enough?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

an open letter to the "ageists"

The saying is that "age is nothing but a number" when it comes to romantic relationships. Somehow, this saying never holds true when it comes to a different kind of relationship: the one between a parent and a child.

I have no issues putting my age out there for everyone to analyze. I am 25 years old. My husband is 33. When we tell people we can't have children, almost everyone has the same reaction:

But you're so young!
Go enjoy life!
You have plenty of time!

Why is it that people, when they learn our ages, automatically think we should wait to be parents? I know: this isn't a new debate. In fact, many of you who are reading this probably have strong opinions on when a person is ready to be a parent. I have these same opinions. But my concern is that we pin too much of that opinion on a number and not other factors. My greater concern is that we don't realize that there are people within our own community, like me, who are young and who are hurt by the judgment and generalization about young women and motherhood.

So, I decided to write an open letter about my feelings on the topic. Love it or hate it, I'm annoyed and this is what I have to say:

Dear Ageist,

Thank you for weighing in on my mothering capabilities. First, yes: I am young. But I am an adult. I've graduated from college once, and I will do it again in about a year and four months. I'm happily married to a man that I've known for almost 10 years. I realize that turning 18 and becoming an adult may not make someone capable of being a mom. I know I never could have properly cared for another person at age 18. I know that other people may not be ready for motherhood at age 25. But it's wrong to assume that I haven't lived or experienced enough to be a good mom.

I have enjoyed life. I spent a majority of my college years drinking heavily in bars with friends. I still go out with my friends now, even while we wait to adopt. But what makes you think I wouldn't enjoy life as a mom? What makes you think that having children is so un-enjoyable? Better yet, what makes you think I should party like it's 1999 until I'm 30 years old and my liver is dying? I get it. I'm in my 20s, and that somehow equates to me having the time of my life. I am having the time of my life - as a wife. I've lived through the "taking shots until I pass out and vomit" stage of my life. It's time to move on.

Speaking of time: while it appears I may have plenty of time left in front of me to have children, I don't. I certainly have zero time to produce biological children. My lady parts are failing, and they have been for a while now - longer than I've known there were issues. So why are we choosing to adopt now rather than adopt later? I lost my grandmother when I was in 8th grade. It was devastating. She was so young, and she missed so much of our lives. My mom has already beaten cancer once. My greatest fear is that some day it will return and she will miss my child's milestones because of it. Joey has his own reasons that are family related.

But neither of us are doing this for our families. We are doing it for ourselves. I've always wanted to be a mom young. Always. And whether it happens now or five years from now, I'll be ready. My husband is beyond ready. It hurts me to think that people question what kind of mother I'll be at my age, when there are women in their 30s who have never once held a baby until they've given birth. It's infuriating that people have this preset notion of what I should be doing with my life at my age.

The bottom line is you are not me. My birth certificate may say I'm young, but it doesn't have a place for a stamp of motherhood approval. Every day that I get older and I still don't have a baby, a part of me dies inside. While I'm grateful for the experiences our journey with infertility has given me, I would trade in these experiences in a second for a chance to hold my baby. I would trade in every night of drinking in college and partying with friends. When it's all said and done and my life is coming to a close, I guarantee that none of the "fun" experiences of my teens and 20s will make the top ten list of best moments of my life. But I bet that there will be plenty of moments on that list, if not all of them, that involve being a parent.

So please, think before you speak or type. Think about the women who ARE young and who hurt because they can't be a mom or make their partner a parent. Think about the people who are mature enough to become parents but will never get that opportunity. And for those in this community, think about your infertile sisters - the women who are going through the exact same thing you are. Don't look at their age. Look at their experience: what they are going through, what they have been through, and their support for you. We are too close, too special to divide ourselves with meaningless numbers.

Sincerely,
Me

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

four things that are on my mind

1. Do you all remember my whole "peace about the holidays" mentality? Yeah, well I think that went out the window at the beginning of my funk. I actually think that might be the reason FOR my funk. While I'm feeling a little bit better than I was last week, I'm still feeling anxious for Christmas to be over and for 2011 to begin. Though I'm not anxious for my vacation to go by quickly: I leave work early on Thursday and don't come back in until January 3. I absolutely love my semi-new job, but I can't wait for a week of relaxation.

2. Danica has been sick. Very sick. She started having explosive diarrhea on Saturday. I'll spare you the gory details; but, I will say that I have to buy a pair of new black flats for work while I'm on vacation. I think it's finally settling down. She's on two prescription medications, and she's lost about a pound. On top of all of this, she also got bit by a bug and it created a hot spot on her neck that we've had to Neosporin and wrap up nightly. My poor baby is falling apart! I keep telling her she needs to feel better before Santa Puppy visits.

3. I keep sitting down to write an actual blog post, and I keep getting sidetracked. I promise one is coming. This week, even. And I will publish it. I won't just let it sit there and float for three weeks and then delete it. (This point is more of a personal note/promise to myself. I'm trying to get motivated, because there are things I want to write about.)

4. The walls at work are thin, and they don't quite go up to the ceiling. Today, I heard an interesting conversation. Someone was telling a coworker about how her husband has a child with another woman - and that child is 17 days younger than her child. Yes, you read that right: 17 DAYS. Of course, the coworker asked how that was possible, and she said (matter-of-factly), "He cheated on me." Aside from the obvious question of, Would you stay with the bastard?, I'd also like to ask, Is this something you would discuss with your coworkers? or How much information is too much information? This coming from a person who has openly told people about her infertility at work after receiving questions regarding if and when Joey and I will have children.

And there you have it: the most random collection of what is going through my head at this moment.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

strength

A little over a month ago, while we were up in Knoxville visiting my awesome SIL and her boyfriend, Joey bought me a necklace that reads "Strength."

It was supposed to bring me strength during a time when I needed it most. But lately, I don't feel strong. I just feel weak, lonely, and sad. I'm trying my best to pour my heart and energy (what's left of it, anyway) into positive things:

A few weeks ago, we started - slowly - clearing out to closet to what will be the nursery. We think that putting together the nursery in the first half of 2011 will be a good way for us to work on something that's actually within our control. It's strange for me to be starting a nursery with no idea as to when or how a baby will get to us. But I feel like this is the one positive thing we can do right now that relates to our infertility (that and save money for the adoption, of course).

We also picked a country: we are 100% decided on domestic adoption.

I am now the Education Coordinator for our local RESOLVE chapter, and I agreed to organize two speaker meetings this year. One will be a men's panel and the other will be an adoption panel. I'm excited for the opportunity to organize both, and I hope we have a good turnout.

And do you remember my post a few weeks ago about my fear with Danica and a new baby in the house? Well, on Sunday we had the chance to host one of my best friends and her husband, their little doggy, and their 4-month-old baby boy. We couldn't keep Danica away from the baby. She LOVED him. She wanted to lay next to him constantly and give him kisses. It was amazing. The few times he fussed, she was so concerned and went to check on him. She impressed (and relieved) me with her behavior. She'll have another "test" next weekend when our nephew comes to stay with us. This might be a little different because our nephew is old enough to walk and is more vocal - and, if you'll remember, her main fear is of toddlers. But, I hope that the training and her recent exposure to little people will help her with her fears.

So, that's it. Those are my positives. That's all I've got.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

until next time

My goal this week was to leave behind the bitterness and anger. I'm not going to lie: it's why I haven't posted up until this point. I wrote and erased, wrote and erased. For someone who usually is not afraid to hold back her negative feelings, I censored myself for the first time ever. Writing alone helped me; I didn't need to share those feelings with anyone else for them to become valid.

So here I am. While I think it's safe to say that the peace I felt about the holidays a few weeks ago has worn off, I truly do feel better than I did last year at this time. (Or maybe I'm just getting better at masking my emotions.)

I don't know where I'm going with this.

***

This week I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a wonderful person to share my life with.

I take my husband for granted sometimes. The fact that he's there. The fact that he's wonderful. I know I do. I know we all have moments where we don't truly appreciate our significant other. We're busy and distracted. But this week I've had a chance to step back and truly admire my husband. We've been through so much in almost three years of marriage. But we never miss a beat.

No, I don't have a baby in my arms or my belly. But I do have him. And I am grateful for that.

***

Sometimes, I wonder why I'm still here - writing. I feel like I'm saying the same things over and over again. Going through the same motions. Blogging here can be therapeutic, but it's also a painful reminder of the fact that I am still here. Perpetually waiting, as I like to think of it, while others move forward.

There's a good chance I won't post again this week. I can't bring myself to write down everything I want to say and press publish. Except for this.

I think, right now, I am simply going to sign off, enjoy time with my husband, and reflect on myself.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

warning: "woe is me" post ahead

Thank you to those of you who commented on my post about Danica with positive stories and affirmations. Your words put my mind at ease. Obviously, we have some time to get her used to children, but I'm feeling more confident that she'll adjust fine when we do bring the little one home.

And thank you for the comments on my sadness post, as well. It was hard for me to admit that here. It's not a constant sadness, nor do I regret our decision, but I feel selfish because of it. I feel jealous because of it. And I have to remind myself that this - all of this - is not about getting pregnant. It's about becoming a mother. When I named this blog, I named it From IF to When: My Journey from Infertility to Motherhood, not My Journey from Infertility to Pregnancy. Pregnancy was never my ultimate goal. But it still hurts, and I know that I still have to mourn that loss. It's just going to take time. I will get over it. Right? I don't know. I just can't find it in me right now to read/get overly enthusiastic about anything regarding pregnancy, because I'm feeling a bit burned by the fact that I've been completely left behind by just about all of my infertile friends. Not that I realistically thought (or wanted) us to all be infertile together, but it still fucking sucks. I feel like the kid on the playground who is never picked for the kickball team.

Okay, ending my rant now. Please forgive me for my icy mood. I'm sure it's only temporary. I'm feeling a bit weary and worn down this week. Finals are taking a lot out of me, of course. Danica has been fighting some stomach issues. And our neighbor (yes, Carl . . . you remember him, don't you?) is continuing to rain on our first home bliss. I know I've mentioned this on Twitter, but he was arrested a few months ago for domestic violence. One would think he'd be cautious about playing his music loudly and drawing attention to himself. Carl doesn't give a damn.

In my attempt to end things on a positive note, this week is my last week of the semester. I have one more final paper due at midnight on Saturday, then I am DONE with my first semester of grad school. I'm looking forward to having a few weeks of normal before spring semester begins. I did make a decision regarding how many classes to take. I've signed up for three, and my plan is to take two in the summer, three in the fall, then two in my final semester. I feel like going 2, 3, 2, 3, 2 is better than going 2, 2, 2, 3, 3.

That's pretty much all I can muster up on 2.5 hours of sleep. I'm a barrel of joy this week, aren't I?