My first good cry

What you are about to see may tell you more than you need to know about me. Namely, I laugh at the expense of other people. I do. I admit it. I am not ashamed of it. It’s just part of who I am. So when my husband showed me this video, I laughed so hard I cried. And then I cried some more. And then I made lemon bars.

Thanks again for all the love and support. It has propped me up in significant ways. Puppies are not here just yet, but last night I did feel two moving around in my dog’s belly. It was amazing and scary like some alien was going to burst forth from her stomach and hold my hand. Promise puppy pics when they arrive. I figure puppy love is best when shared.

dfb

PS: this one is another video I watched about 25 times today. If you like 80s stuff (Journey) and baseball (the Yankees), this is awesome. Even if you hate the 80s and baseball, this is a pretty solid parody. Go on and jam out with your bad self. I did.

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Being Tested

I am a teacher and I am well aware of what a test means. It’s meant to assess my skills, my knowledge, my ability to move forward with what I’ve learned. Of course, with all tests come anxiety and uneasiness. No matter the student. No matter the preparation. Everyone dreads tests. I still remember the bio test I failed junior year of high school. And the motorcycle test I failed while trying to get a new license. But as a teacher, I do believe we have lots to learn from tests. If we are open-minded and willing to embrace where we went wrong, research shows we can move forward not only more quickly but also with great success. So it is with this mindset that I am moving through this IVF. I am on a different protocol. I am going to acupuncture like it’s my job. I am just more at ease with it all. But … there’s always a but …

Sometimes I feel like I am just being tested. Not for my ability to follow directions or shoot medication into my stomach or relax. I am being tested as a human. As a woman. Does anyone else feel like this?

When my mother first had her stroke when I was 23, life as I knew it (within my family) changed. The mother I had up until that point died and I was gifted another similar yet very different mother. Don’t get me wrong, we still had adventures and lots of good fun together, but physically and mentally my mom wasn’t the same. Her left side was paralyzed. She couldn’t work. She required near round the clock care. At the ripe old age of 23, I felt like I was handed a shit deal for I didn’t want a new mom. I liked my old one. But my mother always said, it happens for a reason. I learned to be a good caretaker. I learned patience. I learned to keep things in perspective. I learned that saying I love you at every opportunity is the only way to operate.

When my mother died 3 1/2 years ago, I felt like I was being tested again, but her death tested me in new and different ways. I was 32, married, settled into a job, just thinking about starting my own family. Her death tested my resolve. My ability to move forward in the face of tragedy. I realized that little matters outside of your loved ones. And I realized that nothing short of the death of a dear loved one hurts as bad as losing your mom.

Rightfully so, I feel I have been tested enough. There are times when I think that my mom died before I went through IVF so I would always think … it’s not as bad as when my mom died. But then I also think that going through IVF without your mom just sucks. It’s a whole other kind of test because I am striving to be the one thing I no longer have.

So what’s the come of all this testing? A fellow IVF survivor said it will make me a better mother. It will teach me patience. It will teach me to see the larger picture. And while I agree with her in terms of motherhood, I really think it comes down to one simple thing: I can do anything. Now, I don’t mean to say I’ll be in the Olympics in a few weeks or running for president in the fall, but throw me a challenge, ask me to rise to an occasion, test my ability to persevere, and I will. With a strong body, mind and spirit, I will.

Ultrasound #2 showed eleven follicles growing. There is a leader and two stragglers, but I am responding better than the last time. Phew. I head back on Friday for ultrasound #3, and the doc thinks retrieval will be on Sunday. I will be on stims some two days longer than last time, so let’s hope that helps my wee little eggs ripen up.

**A small, additional note: I re-read my older posts and realized that in my first IVF cycle I only had FOUR follicles in the works. Holy shitballs! I’ve got more than double. I would shout out loud right now, but Hubs is napping on the couch.

dfb

Imagination Cul-de-sac

I am not crazy, but today I heard something profound. It didn’t come in yoga or in some great piece of literature. Rather, it came from a 45 second clip I heard on NPR. Some musician was talking about the power of the imagination and how we can imagine the path before us. The problem with most of us, he said, is that we’re in an imagination cul-de-sac. This got me thinking. I don’t believe that everything I want is out there. I’m not pessimistic; I’m just a pragmatist. I also don’t believe I can “call in” everything I want if I focus hard enough. I’m not lazy; I just know that bad shit does happen to good people … like me and all the other infertile girls I know. So why did this idea of an imagination cul-de-sac strike a cord? Well, I think it did because I’ve been in an infertility cul-de-sac for more than two years. And I’m ready to break out. I know that this desire to break out comes with some risk. My breakout might include kids or it might not. Both options come with their own pros and cons, but, regardless, I’m just tired of where I am. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for our baby-making efforts. We’ve put a lot of time and energy and money into it, too, and we’re ready to move. (Not to go all English teacher on my readers, but this is what James Joyce focused most of his work: stuckness.) We’re ready to be somewhere else. Aren’t you?

Here’s to a new road map, a new street, a new neighborhood. Here’s to a road that doesn’t involve a turnaround or a dead end. Here’s to the certainty that anything, everything is better than being stuck in the land of if. Here’s to using the word when.

dfb

 

An epiphany

It has been more than two weeks since my last post (I like to call this period Radio Silence) and while not much has changed, so much has. Really. I can’t really pinpoint when this change happened, but here’s what led to my little epiphany …

1. I did a guided meditation with my therapist about facing my fears around infertility. It was a practice focused on letting go and stepping into myself more fully. Now, I feel a bit funny talking about this as I like to think of myself as a fairly self-aware woman. I’ve had my share of tragedy and glory, joy and sadness, and with each day I know myself even more. But this process, this 45-minute guided meditation was amazing. I woke up more relaxed and more at ease.

fast forward three days …

2. At my school I’m required to partake in an end-of-the-year project, and my husband and I take a small group of seniors backpacking. The other adults in my group are new to the program, so initially my husband and I were asked to split up and go with other leaders. That wasn’t going to work because we were going to try an IVF cycle this month, and I couldn’t administer the meds myself. We shared some basic info with the other adult leaders, which led one of the other teachers to send me this email: “I don’t want to pry, but are you and hunny going through fertility treatments? That’s how I conceived M, and if I can be of any support to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. It’s not a pleasant experience, and it’s not to be experienced alone. And you must remember that regardless of the outcome, you will live a fabulous and full life.”

For the first time in more than two years, since before we started aggressive fertility treatments, I actually believed what my colleague said. I know that no matter what happens in June and July and beyond, we’ll be ok. I feel silly that it took two things as simple as guided meditation and an email from a colleague, but ever since those few days there has been a clarity to my thought and a balance to my emotion surrounding IVF and infertility. It’s like I let go of something enormous, something that has been plaguing my life. Don’t get me wrong, things are not all peachy in the land of baby … I am not pregnant and we have an IVF cycle looming in the distance. But I feel like I can see the other side regardless.

If I become a mother, I am ready. If I do not, I will be ok.

Here’s a poem that was also a part of the process for me. So fitting as I’m an English teacher. So fitting as I’ve taught this poet so many times but had never read this one until last week.

I Worried
by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.
Here’s to giving up the worry. Here’s to singing each and every day!
dfb

A swirl of emotions

First off, I read this post and then headed over to what was posted about infertility etiquette. What a great website. What a great piece that I’d love to share with many people. Who knew it was Infertility Awareness Week? I’m aware of my own issues, and definitely have been struggling with them over the last few days. Here’s what I’m feeling:

1. Talked with the IVf coordinator who works with my doctor. She is super nice. She gave me the briefing, all of which is not new the second time around. I have this great sense of confidence in myself because I know what’s coming. My hubby knows how to give injections like a pro. I know what meds go where and when and why. But …

2. Talked with the financial lady. Again, she was super nice, but this is where my confidence and my positive outlook started to fade. I still cannot, not even a little bit, get over the upcoming cost. What an impact this will have on our life. I do wish we lived in a state that mandates coverage for IVF, but we do not. We have nothing. Not even office visits are covered, so as the financial gal rattled off the details and the numbers added up, I felt myself doubting this cycle, doubting our desire to become parents, doubting my faith in myself. It’s an awful feeling. My hubby has said we just need to embrace the cost. It is something we cannot control, but IVF is something we’re committed to one more time. But still. When all is said and done, we’ll be in close to $16k. Mix in the $14k we’ve already spent this calendar year and I feel horrible. Like make myself sick. Throw-up. Cry at random times. Horrible.

3. In the midst of all of this shit came some pretty wild news: the students at the high school where I teach voted me as the graduation speaker. My school does not invite outside speakers to graduation, rather one graduating student and one faculty member address the students and parents and friends. I got the news last Friday and at first I was in such a grey mood from previously mentioned thoughts that it didn’t really sink in. But then I saw some students who were excited and eager to hear me speak, and I thought — this is pretty fucking cool! That’s when I realized that I am hormonal without the help of meds, I am emotional as we head into IVF #2, but I cannot let this cloud every aspect of my life. I must compartmentalize all that I am feeling about my infertility, deal with those feelings, and then let the other parts of my life shine through. It is those other parts, those parts that are pretty fantastic, that will carry me during my times of doubt and dismay.

4. So it was in yoga, this evening, that I had this clarity. (ding! ding! ding! I get it why my BFF has fallen head-over-heels for yoga and dedicated much of the last decade to mastering it and teaching it.) As my teacher said — Embrace who you are. Accept where you are. I let out a HUGE sigh as I recommitted to both of those ideas. I am not good at this right now. I want to fast forward five months, maybe even just two, so I know how this all turns out. But, seeing as Doc from Back to the Future is nowhere to be found in my life, such a feat is not possible. So instead, I will continue to breathe into what I’m feeling and figure out how to let it all go …

dfb