Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eternal Sunshine

Sometime after my loss and before my sister's, we had a conversation about denial. I was beating myself up for (theoretically) ignoring signs that should have sent me to the doctor, and she mentioned something about how we learned to be in denial from my mom, who, really, was Cleopatra* about many things.

When she had her loss, my sister's initial reaction, when I tried to be comforting, was to deny. She said all the things you never want to hear when you are grieving, but about her own situation. (I think I wrote about it but I'm not going to go dig out the post.) Later on, she indirectly acknowledged that she had been in that place, right after her loss. That the kinds of things she said, "I'm just going to go out and have fun and be happy!!" at that point were defenses against the outrageous pain. She could acknowledge that.

In a recent phone call, I asked her about being on the other side. Of infertility. Of loss. She referred to it as always being there, like in a rearview mirror, getting smaller and farther away. I mentioned the article on one of those magazines, and they talked about how IF seems to be one of those causes that people don't advocate for once they've reached the other side. My sister told me that for Res0lve, IF is a temporary state, eventually you either have a child or you don't and you go childless/free.

Then she talked about my dad, who has volunteered with the local hospice (almost) since my mother died. She said, it seems like he's not letting go. I responded that it's important work, even if it's not fun, and he gets something out of it. She said something about how it's so painful, so sad, why spend your time focused on that?

She talked about how she has a daughter now, and a life that needs living, and doesn't want to be stuck in the pain of her past. Or something. My words, not hers. That was the essence of it, I think.

So how do you balance it? Does it just fade? A past life? Life does go on, and, honestly, I don't spend a lot of time these days thinking directly about the boys, or what we went through in that horrible 10 days. But I feel it, I think. The IF. The loss. The secondary (?) IF. Next steps. New steps. But it all builds up to where we are, doesn't it?

She doesn't suggest pretending it never happened, but not getting stuck in it, not focusing on advocating for those still in it -- instead, moving forward into today.

I don't know.

I know this question has been asked, and answered, by many, but I'm asking it again. How much do you hold onto? If you could erase that whole period of time -- (IF,) pregnancy, and loss -- would you?

Just now, I said to C, I kind of wish I could just blank on the last 3 years. Or even the last five, as we approach 5 years of trying to have a living child (or working toward it). I don't know if I even meant it. I'm so tired of feeling sad and resentful and hopeful and tired. Tired of working to be hopeful and happy and productive in my work. Working to try to have a child. Depending on others, paying others to build our family. Especially when it seems other people's fertility is in my face -- and will be in my face for the rest of my life.

Sometimes I'm tempted to just chuck it all.

We were at the dog park with Stella today, talking with some of the local dog owner's group (who organized funding and creation of the park) and gushing about her. Stella. Our dog.

It felt a little ridiculous. We are so eager to talk about our sweet pup. We love her so much. She is the lucky recipient, I guess, of the love of frustrated, childless people.

Lately, there has been a very, very small voice inside that says, Wouldn't it be nice to just go on with the rest of your life without trying so hard, working so hard for this?

But I can't imagine it. I would have to run away to the other side of the world. Never see my (aggravating) sibs, never see my nieces/nephews (I assume there are more coming). Never see dear friends and family. I couldn't do that. As it is, I miss them all too much. Even when we live in the same town.

There is no eternal sunshine.

And even though I usually answer those questions with, I would rather have the pain because I get to remember the love and, especially, the joy.

I don't know anymore.

Maybe that's what's making all of this so difficult.

*The Queen of the Nile. Queen of Denial.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So, while I'm pondering, I thought I'd ask you, O Wise Friends in the Computer:

What book/s or website/s about adoption would you recommend? Which do you think is the best? Why?

As you can probably tell, I'm feeling better about broadening our family-building options. We are also sort of considering embryo donation, but more towards adoption or foster-adopt.

I think this new rx combo may be helping in that I can tell a difference in the way I'm thinking, but I am still dragging a lot, lots of anxiety (especially around going to bed for the night and getting into the shower. Maybe it's leftover trauma? We'll see.) Still not getting much work done. It's only been 10 or 11 days, and half that at the full dose. We shall see.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I look forward to your suggestions!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Place In-Between

(Anybody else watch the Dr. Who season finale?)

How can it possibly be the 25th already? Three weeks left of summer break, and I haven't gotten nearly enough done.

It's been a rough few weeks. Losses. Frustration.

Blah blah blah. I already have one crappy post in my drafts folder.

Anxiety. Guilt. Frustration. Loneliness.

This is going to be a long spewing post, I think. Disorganized. I have so much going on in my head, if I don't get some of it out, well...I need to get some of it out.
Saw the Dr. Shrink on Monday. He changed my rx again. Here's hoping this works. I am beginning to fear that this is my life. Depressed.

(The last couple of weeks were pretty bad. Lots of sitting on the couch because doing something, *anything,* seemed too much like work. Eating, for example. Getting tons of anxiety about school. And so, not doing much. And so, anxiety. Paralysis. Depression.

A year ago, I was recovering from the TAC surgery. Recovering from my visit to see my newborn niece.

I was beginning to really hope. Really want it. I mean, well, duh. I had the TAC surgery before I got pregnant -- how's that for not hedging your bets?

After taking the first or second dose of the new rx, it occurred to me to try on the idea that we have decided for sure on adoption. For a week. To see how it would feel to be settled in with a choice already.

It hasn't been that bad.

I went back to some of the links I'd bookmarked, and bookmarked a few more. Read through homestudy info. Got kinda anxious.

But it was okay.

Kind of a relief, actually, to not be sweating over treatments. Trying to plan for consults and appointments. Wondering how I would do with pg or pg loss again. Dr. Shrink is very much against me cycling again. I don't know that he's wrong.

I am neither here nor there.

I had another session with my regular shrink and she had read that McCracken book. Some of the things that really struck her, or made her say, "I never thought of it like that!" were some pretty basic grief/dbm stuff. Though, it did give me the opportunity to talk about some stuff from the book, and to go back over some of the things that she had said that bothered me. She clarified. Not necessarily to my liking, but at least it's out there.

Dr. Shrink is encouraging me to work with reg Shrink some more, to share my concerns with her. And, honestly, I kind of feel like leaving now would be yet another loss. I need to have difficult conversations, anyway. And if it doesn't work out, then I'll know I did what I could. (Why does that sound familiar?)

Canceled my apt with the fertility shrink and said I would get back to her to reschedule, but I haven't. Haven't even listened to the message she left me more than a week ago.

Had a gm.ail chat with my brother, initially thanking him for his birthday wishes (yes, it was the 15th), and basically making peace. Also spent some time talking about how we can talk about his wife's pregnancy and baby (He said that, for fear of saying something dumb, he hasn't been saying anything to me). Explaining why I was kind of f'd up when we were in NY for the funeral -- wanting to be with my niece, yet wanting to run far away. Yes, I had to explain how and why that split me in two. He did say, though, that they have held back from talking about the pg on FB, specifically in consideration of me. He was very insistent that I should reach out to SIL to let her know I'm thinking about them and the baby. And that I'm looking forward to meeting my new niece or nephew.

This bothered me. Maybe it was just that it was the day after my birthday, but I felt like, WTF? I'm the one with the dead babies, and I have to make THEM feel better? SIL generally feels like we all don't like her (why? that whole conversion I-don't-want-anything-Jewish-in-my-home thing? Hm. Maybe). She has shown considerable growth since then, but still. Really? It's up to me to reassure her?

Well, okay. I reached out. I wished her happy anniversary on Tuesday. I sent her a note saying that I"m thinking about her/them. She responded.

I texted my sister after my convo with my brother to vent my indignation, but her phone was off (you'd think that in the neighborhood where they live, they'd get better cel reception). She called me back in the 5 minutes that she had while she was getting the baby ready for the three of them to go out to dinner. "See, this would be a great thing to talk to an IF shrink about, to try to figure out how to deal with all these things. Okay, gotta go. Talk to you later!"

Yeah. Just like she did after my mom's illness and death, she is putting the pain of IF and baby loss behind her. Like it was an ugly detour in an otherwise perfectly nice walk.

I asked her about Thanksgiving. (SIL is about 25 weeks, due the first week of Nov.) She is likely not going to NY for it, both because BIL will probably want the holiday at the house, but also because she is still pissed at my brother because he didn't show enough excitement about her daughter's arrival. Or something. How about being a grown up and not sinking to that level? I ask. Yeah, well, we'll see. So much for burying the hatchet, huh?

These two will never get along, they will never forgive each other. And guess who is stuck in the middle?

Oh, it just makes me want to scream.

I feel different. Maybe it's the drugs working already, but, I feel like I'm moving in a different direction. Or, similar direction, but a different route?

I don't know. If we are going to adopt, I would like to get started on that. But we will be leaving this town, likely this state, in a year or so. In the meantime, we can find workshops, read books, I guess.

I don't know where I'm going with my work. I think that's part of the anxiety. I need to know why I'm doing something, where it's going, so I can apply myself appropriately.

I also feel less sharp. Like I've lost some of the spark, the intellectual sharpness that may have been there (or that I imagine was there).

Maybe I'll write a book. Maybe I'll present my narrative at a conference. Maybe I"ll do work for an IF or DB org. Advocate for them with Congress. Get more research, more resources. Or try to.

One of those magazines had an article talking about the silence around IF and followed the plight of a couple spending $20K on their last ditch effort to get pregnant by going to that famous clinic in NY. It ended with her pregnant with twins of course. But there were some good points about getting the word out. Making ourselves heard. Last year, when I still had hope of a pregnancy, I talked a lot about being infertile. About losing my pregnancy. It made me feel powerful. But I wonder if that's not because I felt like.... Hm. Like I was almost done being IF. Like I could reclaim life after IF, after DB, by being positive. And all that would result in getting pg. Magical thinking anyone?

I don't know where I'm going. Or where I should be. I'm neither here, nor there.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Poem about Grief

This post by bon at cribchronicles just popped up on my reader. Like the rest of her writing, it's beautiful.

Monday, July 19, 2010


C has a new post up, talking about one of our coping mechanisms. Thought I'd share the link here.

(Sorry, no linkage on the b.berry.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010


is okay.

It's 90-something degrees, blue skies with puffy white clouds. I'm out on a field trip by myself to try to do some work, or at least some writing, and to treat myself to something, be it a pedicure or something purchased with a gift card from my dad from March.

There were a couple of good clips about aging/turning 40 that I wanted to post, but our internet is out. Again. Maybe later.

So, yeah. Getting fb love. C is being very sweet. Feeling philosophical for now.

Thanks for being here, folks. You are a great gift to me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

just shut up already

Shut up and get over it.

Time to let it go. Honestly, people are getting tired of hearing about it, and there's really nothing to say in response anyway.

Suck it up.

Compartmentalize, already.

One foot after the other.

Move on.


Connected by phone with local IF shrink who works with the local REs. After I talked to her about my concerns, issues and choices, she warned me that REs around here won't go near a woman any where close to 40 for IVF. "They feel like it's just taking your money for nothing."

I know some other clinics (c0rnell, NYU, CC.RM and some in LA) will see women my age as a regular part of their practice, and told her so. But know I know where she's coming from. Which may or may not be helpful.

I feel like if I had enough of the right support, I could get through IVF, but am already doubting the is the right support and am dreading the search for it.

I'll write about my appt w my reg shrink later. Def need diff kind of shrink, maybe grief counselor instead of IF? I'm so tired of all this.


Monday, July 12, 2010

does it ever go away?

Feeling so lonely, so alone. Such a failure?

How do you forgive your body, yourself?

Is it time and distance? Carrying or caring for your own (adoptive) child? Does that help you to block out all the IF and loss pain and grief?

Somewhere (forgive me, I forget) someone wrote about always carrying this, the IF, the grief.

Emotionally, I am all over the placen every single day. All. Over. The. Place.

I'm so tired of being sad. And hopeful. And frustrated. And guilty. And forgiving. And optimistic. And angry. And envious. And sad. And tired.

And lonely.

There is no one in my place. I know some have weathered this and come out on the other side, in various ways.

I don't know how to do this.

And I'm so tired..

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What would you say?

I'm going to try to have a conversation with my shrink about how I've been feeling about our sessions lately. May prove to be a challenge, since I can't quite articulate it for myself yet.

If you had the chance, what would you want you shrink/doctor/friend to know about what infertility after loss is like. Even if you've finally gotten pg? What was pregnancy like for you? What was/is it like between the time you decided you were ready to try and the arrival of the bfp? The baby? What was it like to go through treatments and/or other losses?

What if you decided to stop IF treatments and pursue adoption? Or to choose to remain without living children?

How did any/all of this feel? What emotions were dominant? What emotional or intellectual processes did you need to go through to get to where you are today? Even if you are not quite there yet?

I'm sorry. This is all so personal and huge. I think I need to feel validated in some way, or have some sense knocked into my angry, self-pitying head before and as I begin this conversation. If you have anything to share, I hope you will. Feel free to stay anonymous or email me directly.

I got a call back from the IF shrink I emailed, so I will be in touch with her soon, too, probably.

Thanks, folks, for anything you can share, and, of course thanks for being there.


Thursday, July 8, 2010


I seem to be afraid to settle down. Or, rather, to focus.

Crying is good. Eating, sometimes.

Tired. Resisting focus.

My advisor/mentor is helping me, and very patiently. I seem to be failing him, too.

Couples therapist says that in pursuing a phd, I need to need it. To know I won't be complete without finishing it, contributing in some way.

My regular therapist seems to imply that I am far too focused on the pregnancy part, what about motherhood? I am coming to understand that there seems to be part of me that wants a do-over. To do it right. As if that will somehow undo all that has happened.

I failed at the most important thing I could ever try to do. Even if it's not true, it feels true.

Am I punishing myself, still? Is that why I can't let go? Why I don't push school as much? It feels so good, when I get into my work. When I am caught up in a thoughtful conversation about ideas I care about, with people whom I respect. When I can get the ideas down. Help a student learn something.

The only other time I felt as connected and hopeful was when I was pregnant. Yes, puking and miserable a lot. But good, too. Is it punishment or fear?

Jesus christ, how many times have I typed this? It's ridiculous. Christ.

The couples counselor says I'm experiencing complicated grief. If I want to change shrinks, I need to find someone who specializes in this. In addition to infertility/loss/adoption issues.

I asked my shrink last week if she had been to, thinking perhaps she might do a little research about a condition her client has been dealing with for 5 years.


I also had to explain the diff between IUI and IVF, and she used the dreaded "implant" instead of "transfer" in part of our discussion. I corrected her. She didn't like that.

My sister suggested at least the shrink at the big local clinic to at least begin my search. Couples therapist suggests really discussing this with current shrink before making any moves. I know she's right, but I'm apprehensive about confrontation. Not a great sign.

I gave my shrink my copy of the McCracken book. She thanked me and tossed it in her bag. Still, even with the beautiful, eloquence of the book, her experience subsequently was so different from mine.

Yesterday was my niece's first birthday. I put together a slideshow of my pics, some from A's oldest friend, some from A. I told her I was working on something and asked for specific kinds of recent pics, some of which were done by a professional. I made the soundtrack S.arah McLa.chlan's "0rdinary Mirac1es." Turned out to be a good choice.

God, I cried so much putting it together. Pics of the baby from birth to as recent as last week, with her mom and dad, my dad, Grandma, me, my brother and his wife, A and friend... The pictures were of varying quality, but the prof ones especially with A and BIL interacting w the baby were just beautiful.

A looks so beautiful, especially when she's with the baby. And SO much like my mother. Especially with the baby.

I texted with A after she got it (BIL was on the phone). She liked it. Loved it. "Ugly crying," she said. I taked to her yesterday and told her I didn't know what I could get for her birthday that would be special. "This is priceless," she said.

It makes me glad to know. I have such complicated feelings. With her, with her and the baby...where do my eyes go when I watch? What is it that makes me cry?

If I ever get steady internet again (posting via Bb), I might post it. (Anonymity and all,) but, if you get a chance, listen to the song, and you'll probably get what I mean about some of this.

Two of my dear friends have left our small college town for good. Trying to re-orient.

In a week, I turn 40. Not *quite* the dead end mentioned in WHMS), but it feels very, very significant, ad my body does seem to be changing against my will. (This is fodder for another post.*)

Things with my brother are non-existent. Total radio silence.

About 6 weeks til school starts again for the semester.
Life goes on, I guess.

(*Sorry this post was sooo looong. Thanks for reading.)