Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What If...I Just Don't Think About It

We're just a week away from National Infertility Awareness Week and whenever I sit myself down to write a post I find myself filled with one thought:

I don't want to. I just don't want to talk about this right now.

I'm sorry if my timing is off. But there you have it.

I don't want to talk about how it feels to be four years into a journey with nothing to show for it but a raging, gaping, gasping hole. I don't want to talk about how I feel when I read about someone who's pregnant, how someone is experiencing their first (or second or third) loss, how someone's trying again for the nth time, how someone's navigating pregnancy after a loss, how someone is realizing that parenting is what makes their life complete, how someone is coming to the realization they will never ever be pregnant.

It rips me apart right now. All of it. The highs, the lows, the waiting, the resolve. The pragmatism, the hopefulness, the foolishness, again, the resolve. I need to close my eyes from it for a little bit. I'm feeling a little singed.

There is no hotter fire, no stronger crucible than a body living through infertility. Except perhaps loss. If you don't know what you're made of before you start trying, by god you'll figure it out. Or you'll keep testing yourself with hotter temps, greater risks, all driven by a blinding hope - one of the two.

Don't worry, I'm not going to roll into any what doesn't kill me.....Nietzsche bullshit here. That quote posted on my dorm room wall as a rationale for staying in a ridiculous abusive addictive relationship did me little good then. It doesn't work here either.

I don't feel stronger. I feel more vulnerable. I don't feel more assured. I question everything.

I wince even thinking about breaking down the costs of our attempts through IVFs, donor egg cycles (two), all of it. Luckily, they occurred when we actually had multiple credit cards with high debt limits and we were used to carrying them. The climate has changed a bit since then. These days, banks are a little edgy if you have a balance that is higher than what one of you makes in a year. Those jerks.

I will tell you that the sum total is five digits long and probably starts with a 5 or a 6. I lost track after a while. I will tell you that surrogacy through an agency is absolutely cost prohibitive right now. There, now I'm dizzy.

I will tell you that for the most part I (and I am going to stretch way out here and say we) we are generally pretty happy these days. We love each other wholeheartedly and without reserve. We cherish our time together. We make excuses and skip functions just to have more time on the couch or making dinner or whatever. We are finally feeling emotionally able to handle some risks again - job hunts? relocation? thinking about a vacation? purchasing a new piece of furniture?

Don't laugh. After our daughters died, we were so risk-averse that leaving the apartment for anyplace other than a location we could get to with our eyes closed or meeting a person outside of a very select circle was panic-inducing. We seem to have cleared that hurdle now. An email from cousins who just returned from Paris made me think, hmmm....we ARE due for a vacation. An invite to a family event next month (featuring a baby) had me thinking hmmmm....maybe we'll surprise everyone and show up.

I just might be venturing back to pieces of the person I once was. I can handle being wise-cracking, mouthy, irreverent, impetuous. I can't handle being bitter.

The only thing that pulls me back and wraps me tight into a cocoon is thinking about infertility. About the daughters that should be running our lives right now. About the abject failure one feels after a failed cycle and how no amount of wordplay or positive imagery or reshaping the conversation really dulls that. About how far behind we feel when everyone around us is immersed in their children's lives.

We are being left behind.

That's how it feels.

And dammit, as a type-A, socially-needy kid who's biggest fear was that there was something going on someplace that she wasn't aware of, that is one hell of an OUCH.

But I'll get over it. I'm getting over it. As long as I don't think about it.

I know this is probably not what you had expected from one of last year's Blogs of Hope finalists. I wasn't expecting our struggle to pull us well into 2011 either. I'm finding myself working through some of my bigger What Ifs while that last mystical one dangles. Just out of reach.

I was reading a post over at My Infertility Woes a week or so ago and it is sticking with me. I can't get it out of my head:

I've got plenty of people who do exist that I can love. With my whole heart. I have children in my life that I can influence, that I can spend time with, and that I can support and care about. That may be enough for me. That may be more than enough for me.

I'm also not ready to say this is it, I'm done. Not yet. This journey has been a long one and I know I need to sit with this idea for awhile longer. But right now, right this second, I can say wholeheartedly that it's not worth it. There's more to life than this one thing. There's so much more.
There is so much more. This year, as I turn 37 (dizzy again) I want to spend some time on the More.

Now, I have five days to figure out how to make my birthday (birthday week?) fabulous. Suggestions?


Sue said...

Oh, m, I wish I had some suggestions, but the coffee hasn't set in and it was a rough night. Perhaps a fabulous dinner and a couple of nights in a really fancy hotel in a fabulous, warmish city? Spa day (massage, mani-pedi in your room at the fancy hotel?)

As I read your post, all I could do was nod in recognition. We used grad school financial aid instead of credit cards and may be looking at our one and only IVF this year -- if anyone will treat me at almost 41.

But everything you said, all the feelings, even your quotes, all I could think was, "yup. yeah. uh huh." I haven't been posting lately because the therapy I've been getting has been helping some, and I'm processing so much it's hard to get down. Despite my age, despite my extraordinary skepticism of the medical profession, I still want it. Despite my nieces and nephews, and the one who holds my heart especially, somehow there is hope. Even when I'm not aware of it. Even when I don't want it anymore.

And feeling so left behind. Virtually everyone I know is in a different place -- not ready yet, or done already, or not even considering.

I'm sorry this comment is so long. You touched on a lot of what's been rattling around in this old head of mine. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, m. Here's wishing you a fabulous birthday.

(p.s. my word verificaton? decome. hm.)

dana said...

Oy. I won’t pretend to have been where you and M have been, or where you are. That being said, I found myself nodding along with so much of your post. Especially: I can’t handle being bitter. There are a lot of different emotions that IF forces on me, bitter is what I bite back at; I just can’t.

And as I prepare to drop another baby shower gift in the mail, packed all adorably with tissue balls and ‘congratulations on baby’ confetti, I am reminded of this as well: We are being left behind.


(I just typed out a really annoying self-projecting comment...haha, I'll save it for my own space.)

As for your birthday, I say fuckitall and meet us out in Vegas this weekend! What could possibly be more fun than being in Sin City over Easter weekend?! LOL. Hmm...maybe bust out your list of things-you-want-to-do-but-haven't-done and cross something off the list? Wishing you nothing short of an awesomely fabulous birthday, m.

(word verification: hokiner. a little sad it wasn't 'honkie-r')

Mo said...

your post is difficult to read - and spot on, as usual. I'm right there with you - just can't process still the situation we're in. Can't figure out how to get out of it. How to move beyond. How to stop being left behind. Can barely bring myself to post anymore - because words just fail to convey our reality right now. Keep hoping it will be different in time, but so far, no such luck.

Thinking of you.


Danielle said...

This post made me want to pick up the phone and call you and say "right there with you- let's go take a walk or get a drink". And I feel so deeply what you wrote here, right along with you, that it actually took me a minute to remember that we live 2 states apart and I don't have your phone number.

And boy, do I hear you about the crucible. When we were about to start IVF#1, my motto was "all right, kiddo- show me what you got." And I was proud of myself for being what I though of as resilient. Now, down the line in a place we thought we'd never be, I realize that sometimes resilience has absolutely nothing with being stronger, better, wiser, or more courageous. Sometimes it means just continuing to be, scars, bruises, and all.

As to your birthday- I would say to think of the thing you would want to do if you were, right now, living in the more, and then do the crap out of that thing. And if that should happen to include a roll through NYC, drinks are on me.

jill said...

I feel so similarly to this. It's very hard to think about all this stuff so I try not to.

I don't have any suggestions for your bday but I hope whatever you decide ends up being a blast :)

Sue said...

Have a wonderful birthday with all the more you can cram into it - that's my advice.

tireegal68 said...

I'm a follower who has not been through any of what you have, so I feel a bit shy commenting. But I think your post is a winner, even though that's probably the last thing you care about. You describe your here and now so painfully and so aptly. My heart goes out to you. I wish this awful endless IF / LOSS train would shunt into the sidings and stay there quietly forever and not bother any of the beautiful human beings it has touched any more.
Happy go somewhere fabulous birthday to you:)
(( hugs ))
Word verification
Bealov. Say it outloud!

Lori Lavender Luz said...

My younger sisters both got married before I even met a steady guy. I know that left-behind feeling and its bitter aftertaste.

I'm not sure what else to say except that I'm here, I'm reading, I have faith in your resilience.

And happy early birthday :-)

luna said...

that's exactly what it felt like for years, for me, being left behind, watching it all pass us by, unable to jump in, participate, enjoy life. it's a crappy feeling, to say the least.

despite not being where you imagined, it does sound like you're in a pretty decent place right now. a vacation sounds wonderful. pampering yourselves. enjoying each other. living life.

still life angie said...

I couldn't read and not comment, yet not sure how to say what I want to say. I lost my daughter at 38 weeks, but don't suffer with infertility. I can only say that this post helps me get it. I know you didn't want to talk about it, but you did. And it aches and oozes love and want and nods at where you are now, while acknowledging that it was a long road there. I am in the school of thought that owning those feelings of vulnerability is true strength. Anyway, I love you. For your birthday, run. drink fancy coffee. soak in a tub with a magazine that has is pure schlock about how to do girly things. eat cheese and bread for lunch. go to a spa and get something weird done, like seaweed wraps. eat a package of chocolate while sipping on an espresso. eat a fancy dinner. make out with m. on the street. see a band you love. cuddle on the couch. drink tea. know that all of us love you.

m said...

Boy your comments matter. They really do. Thank you. I was touched to see how many of you resonated with this post, especially since I've been struggling with how exactly to put it down into words for a while now. Thank you.

As for the birthday plans, I decided around 9 am Friday morning to take the day off. There are no official plans for b-day weekend, and that feels truly wonderful. I LOVE your suggestions and I know several of them are going to find their way on to the agenda.


Smiling said...

I'm just reading this now, so i suspect and hope you already have had a great birthday.

I also agree with the commenter above... your post is spot on and hard to read. I too hate the feeling of being left behind. The worry of it. I really hope that as time passes you have more of those wonderful magic moments life occasional passes out. Those moments where there is no 'ahead' or 'behind' just alive. In the meantime and the in between times, we are here. We know it can suck based on our own unique life experiences. We can't know your pain personally, but we are here for you. Take care. Thinking of ya!

PS your posts always resonate. Particularly lately when I can't find words to my own story anymore... Thank you for your words

Holly said...

Just wanted to let you know that I had you on my mind today, and Isobel & Jovita on my drive to the March of Dimes March for babies. Hugs.