The End of a Journey

We have no more embryos. We’ve known for more than a year now that we would not try to get pregnant again, but we only just got around to taking the final step of disposing of our two remaining embryos. Even though all we had to do was sign a form and have it notarized, it was an intensely emotional moment (at least for me). I didn’t really expect that, to be honest, since I thought I had already done all my crying and grieving. I was so distraught after submitting the form, that I had to take the rest of the day off from work.

So, that’s the (official) end of our family building journey. No more obsessing over TTC. No more reasons to hang on to baby items. While that makes me incredibly sad, I think I’m doing a fairly good job of embracing the silver linings. I’m already devoting more time to “finding” myself again. I’m making the time for the things that I enjoy, like reading and connecting with like-minded people (which is super hard, due to my introversion). I’m more active, taking walks outside or working out at the gym. I’m eating better and losing weight. When I spend time with my daughter, I’m more attentive and in the moment. I’m finally devoting more care and attention to my marriage, which hasn’t been terrible, but has been neglected for far too long. Same with other relationships. Infertility really takes a toll on relationships of all kinds. I’m just overall becoming a better version of myself. And that makes me so happy! Even typing this, I’m smiling and feeling hopeful.

I don’t yet know what I’ll do about this blog. I thought for a while that I would transition into writing about parenting, but that just does not appeal to me. I may one day return to writing about infertility and loss, but as of right now, I need a break from that. I’m in a good place, but reading and talking about infertility and loss are just too triggering for me. So, this is looking like goodbye, at least for a while.


I’ll Probably Get My Period After Posting This

I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.

I’m 11 dpo today. My LP is usually 9 days. All tests have been negative.

I don’t really have any good reason to think we could be pregnant on our own after everything…. Still, here I am, obsessively testing and getting my hopes up. It’s early to be testing, I know, even though I’m technically two days late.

I’m driving myself crazy, willing negative pregnancy tests to JUST. BE. FUCKING. POSITIVE. Or for AF to show her ugly face sooner rather than later, if that’s the end game.

I hate the fucking mind games that come with TTC. But I can’t not try. I’m not ready to be done yet.

UPDATE: The witch showed up bright and early the morning after I wrote this. #toldyouso


Getting Duped By Hope

I know this was only my first full cycle after my loss. I know we didn’t really try to get pregnant. I know it takes time to for one’s cycle to return to “normal” after a loss.

Still, I was devastated to get my period today.

I decided at the start of my cycle to use OPKs to have at least a general idea of what my body was doing or trying to do. I didn’t get a positive until CD 26, and we didn’t have sex until the day after that. Not avoiding trying to get pregnant, but certainly not making a valiant effort. Assuming I ovulated the day after that positive OPK (probably, since I also had fertile cervical fluid at that time), good old Aunt Flow’s arrival today means my luteal phase was a whopping 7 days. Or I didn’t ovulate at all, I suppose. Either way, it’s shit.

I had no right to hope for anything better than that, to be honest. I mean, back when we were TTC the old fashioned way, I always ovulated late-ish, around CD 20. And my LP was only 10 or 11 days long. So, not too far off from this cycle. Expecting my cycle to magically morph into that of a normal fertile person is simply ridiculous. Yet, I think subconsciously maybe I did expect it. Or at least I had hoped for it. You read so many stories about previously infertile women spontaneously conceiving, especially after a loss. Why couldn’t I be one of them? Didn’t I deserve to be one of them? Damn hope, once again reeling me in.

I don’t know where to go next. Maybe I would be happier not testing or tracking my cycle until we decide to really try to get pregnant (as unlikely as it may be). In fact, I know that’s what I should do. I should shut it down and not give it another thought until after the holidays. I should just enjoy Christmas with my family and work on healing my mind and body. Should….

Heavy Heart

heavyheartI’m struggling today. My own grief over our recent loss combined with the grief and fear over the presidential election results are just too much. My heart is just too heavy.

I’ll admit, I haven’t been doing the grief work that I know I need to do in order to heal and move forward. My therapist and I talked about the importance of acknowledging the loss in some way, like a service or ceremony, or some sort of physical memorial, like a tree (or the tattoo I’m planning). She asked if the baby had a name, and I told her no. It’s true – we hadn’t officially decided on anything, though I had pretty much settled on one before we learned of her condition. I hadn’t told my husband, because I was afraid I might change my mind before she was born. I still haven’t told him, but now I think I probably should. I think I would like for her to have a name. And, as much as it hurts, I would like to talk about her more, and giving her a name would help with that.

We haven’t talked about trying again. I’m afraid to open that door, because I have a feeling he will want to slam it closed and weld it shut for good. I keep telling people that we’re not sure if we want to try again, but the truth is that I do want to try. I want to try with our embryos until we don’t have any left. If we don’t, I may grow to resent it. I worry, though, about the strain it may cause. My husband is already working like a maniac to support us. We’re far from poor, but paying for even one more FET would be a stretch. Not to mention the emotional strain. At this moment in time, however, my desire to have another baby is greater than my drive to avoid conflict or discomfort, greater than my fear of having another baby with a neural tube defect.

I used to think people who claimed fear or grief after an election were just being dramatic. I mean, I wasn’t happy when George W. was elected, but I was far from scared or depressed. But this year, I’m among those scared and despondent. Chief among the many reasons for feeling that way is what this means for reproductive rights. It was hard enough for me to get an abortion for medical reasons, I’m legitimately afraid of how much worse things could get not only for people in a similar position, but also for those seeking abortion for any reason. Not only that, I’m dismayed by how many of my loved ones support a president and other elected officials who would take away my right to choose to end my pregnancy. It makes me sick to think that people I love, who are supposed to love me, would force me to carry to term a baby with no chance of living. It hurts. Deeply.

I’m not dealing with all of this emotional turmoil very well. Writing this blog post is the healthiest thing I’ve done in a while. Mostly, I’ve just been eating my feelings, and then feeling terrible for it, and  then eating THOSE feelings. A vicious cycle.

REBLOG: 21 Quotes to Help You Survive Infertility

I love this blog post by Lisa Newton (Amateur Nester) of quotes from real people who have experienced infertility. Many of them reference religion, which isn’t my cup of tea, but I think – I hope – everyone can find some comfort and inspiration in some of these.

A few of my favorites:

“Allow yourself to grieve slowly and passionately. Don’t let anyone tell you to get over it, to move on, or to forget about it. You will evolve into an entirely new version of yourself. You’ll find beauty in things you once overlooked. Embrace your grief and use it to your advantage.” – Chirleen

“Infertility is a disease; don’t be ashamed of it. You do not need to suffer in silence!” –Jenna

“It’s okay to take time to be sad and grieve whatever it is you need to, and it’s okay to tell people that. The best thing someone said to me was, “Right now we just need to be sad about this and we can talk about the other things later.” She was referring to people telling me, “You know you can always adopt and there are plenty of kids out there looking for homes.” – April

Read the rest here.

Reblog: When Postpartum Depression isn’t Depression

This post from Alicia at really resonated with me. While my experience has not been as extreme as hers, I can definitely relate to her fears. Most importantly, I want to draw attention to the fact that postpartum depression isn’t always depression. It can be anxiety, too. It’s called Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder. I think many of us who experienced infertility before having our babies can relate to this.

Our baby had proven herself a fighter every step of the way. But I couldn’t see it like that. In my mind, I imagined a figurative Grim Reaper hiding in the shadows, determined to finally take the baby who wasn’t supposed to be here.

Read her full post “When Postpartum Depression isn’t Depression.”

On “Forgetting” Infertility

In my online infertility network (Twitter), the topic of pregnant or parenting infertiles “forgetting” their infertility roots has cropped up several times in the last few months. A recent comment made me stop and really think about this idea. Do they really forget their roots? What is it about their words and/or actions that make those still in the trenches believe that?

The truth is that infertility is traumatic. No one likes to think about a traumatic experience, and most people try to move on from trauma, don’t they?

The same goes for infertility. Part of moving on may be distancing oneself from those who are still going through it. I know it sounds awful and cruel. You supported your friend through her roughest time, and as soon as she has a baby, she disappears. When you try to talk to her about your recent failed cycle, she ignores you or responds with a classic line from what not to say to an infertile. You find yourself stunned and angry. How could she? Has she forgotten what it’s like to be in my place?

No, she hasn’t. I can’t speak for everyone, but speaking from personal experience: There is an element of PTSD at work. Quite the opposite of forgetting, I vividly remember everything from the day we found out our first baby was gone, through all the infertility tests, surgery, pills, injections, and procedures… month after month of heartbreak with each negative pregnancy test… coming to terms with the fact that I can’t get pregnant without IVF… worry and resentment over the high price tag that comes with IVF. Reliving all of that through another person – even a friend – is sometimes too much. Obviously, my residual pain is nothing compared to the pain of someone actually living through it. But it’s enough to make me step back at times and let others provide the support. From time to time, I know I’ve said the wrong thing. Or worse – nothing at all.

I’m not saying that I or anyone else should be excused from supporting friends who are currently facing infertility head on. What I’m trying to say (not very eloquently or efficiently) is that we are all human with limitations and a tendency to avoid pain. So, when it seems a previously supportive friend has abandoned you and your infertility journey, it may be her way of coping. It’s not fair to you, and you have every right to feel angry and let down, but I hope looking at things from another perspective will help you understand what might be going on within her. Perhaps acknowledgement and validation of her feelings can lead to a better mutually supportive relationship.

Just food for thought.