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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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pregnancy after infertility

You Can’t Beat Me (Joining the Movement – NIAW)

National Infertility Awareness Week is drawing to a close. Yesterday a fellow blogger on Twitter posed a very interesting question (and I am paraphrasing) asking how many of us with infertility who have kids (regardless of how) feel like they beat infertility?

My immediate response (in my head) was ME! YEAH! TAKE THAT INFERTILITY! (admittedly my head response also contained profanity) And then I put down my boxing gloves and thought about it for a minute. The truth is, the answer to that question is not at all cut and dry.

Personally I’ve felt that 1-2 children would be enough to make our family feel complete, and so when our successful IVF turned into a twin pregnancy part of me was VERY relieved that there was a decent possibility that we wouldn’t have to fight this battle again. For most people, though, a child doesn’t signify the end of the struggle. Often, an attempt for a second child, something that is still very easy for most, starts the whole process of emotions and frustration all over again. Whatever the method, it brings up all of the questions you thought the first time: how long is this going to take? How many cycles? How much money? How much heartache? Will it work at all? Can we afford adoption again? Can we afford surrogacy again? Can we afford more donor eggs?

Then my thoughts jump to the place where we all started: those who are still childless and still struggling through round one. The ones that read a blog like this and think to themselves be thankful you have even one child. I know this because I thought it not too terribly long ago. Not because I didn’t get that the struggle continued but because I would have given anything to have even one. Happy for them but still sad for me. Even those who have completed their families or have made their decision to stop treatments and remain child free after months or years of heartbreak- they are often left with unwanted reminders in the form of continued irregular cycles thanks to PCOS ovaries or no ovulation at all,  pain from endo, or whatever dysfunction of the system that caused the issue in the first place.  Without all of that, there are always memories. And Mother’s Days.

Doesn’t make infertility sound very beat-able.

Childhood was a bit awkward for me. I had big poofy hair and until high school when I joined band didn’t really have a group I fit into. I was teased through all of elementary school, some of middle school and even a little into high school because wasn’t I lucky getting a locker next to one of the kids who had teased me all through elementary school. Bullying is not something I have or ever will take lightly. I struggled with body image, disordered eating and depression in college. I’m not saying I blame these kids for that as I was also generally just a very sensitive kid and person. The point is that I pushed through it. I survived. I am living a life that I am proud of. It took awhile, but in the end I didn’t let the bully beat me.

One of the things I admire and respect the most about my fellow infertility sufferers is their strength, their determination, their resilience and refusal to give up. They struggle, their relationships struggle and their finances struggle and regardless of where the path leads them: to a child or a decision to remain childless, they continue to stand strong. They find a way to not only survive, but live.

In the end, do I feel like I have beaten infertility? Do I feel like most of us would feel like we’ve beaten infertility? No.

But we won’t let it beat us.

 

*For more information please visit:

Infertility Overview

About NIAW

 

Been Swimming Lately? (15 weeks)

The Good

  • Getting all kinds of maternity clothes cheap thanks to a local Mom Swap Facebook page. The ones I ordered from Old Navy came in too and thankfully they all fit! Score!
  • I *thought* I might have felt something poking me in there a couple nights ago
  • And even if I didn’t, we can now hear movements with the doppler when listening for the heartbeats – that’s something I didn’t even think about and its pretty cool.
  • People commenting on my growing belly. I love it. And sure, you can touch it if you want to. 🙂

The Bad

  • While my ears have stopped ringing, my left one continues to be clogged on and off. It feels like I’ve been swimming, like, every day. Thanks to Dr. Google, while it appears to not be on the list of most frequently heard of symptoms, it’s also apparently not that uncommon. It seems to have cleared up some today. I’ll take it over vomit any day though, so it really isn’t all that bad. Quite frankly, I’m so excited to be pregnant that a clogged ear is nothing.

The Weird and Amusing

  • I think my underwear is getting smaller.
  • We get our electric bill via email and a hard copy in the mail. About a week ago, I got the email about the bill for this month. It was $324. I freaked out at my husband wondering what the heck we could be doing to make our electric bill so high, A few days later I got the hard copy and opened it so I could see if this was a longer billing cycle, or really to find anything that might explain the ridiculously high bill. Well apparently, I forgot to pay last months bill. So our bill was really two months worth. Oops. My bad.

All in all its been a pretty uneventful week. Time is flying though – just a few more weeks until we can find out the sexes. Most days, I still don’t believe it.

New pic at Bubbles and Squishy 🙂

Week 11 and 12

A brief review of the last couple of weeks (11 and 12):

The Good

  • Hearing the babies’ heartbeats for the first time (and maybe a few many more times after that) after our home doppler arrived in the mail. It helps quell some of the anxieties between appointments, particularly now in the first trimester. Bryan got to hear them as well, and recorded them so we could send them to our parents.
  • Reading the weekly updates comparing our babies to fruit and learning what is growing and forming every week. . It also answers questions like “what the heck is up with these nipple bumps”? and “why did I nearly faint at my choir concert?”
  • We are a mere week away from the 2nd trimester!
  • The babies are moving now! But of course I can’t feel them yet. I do feel quite a bit of gas though….
  • When hubby told me he couldn’t wait for me to start showing so he could walk around like a proud papa.

The Bad

  • Catching a stomach bug. I called in a sick day for the first time in over 2 years and spent a day dealing with vomiting and stomach cramps. It took literally a week to get my appetite back and I lost all three pounds I had gained (but I’ve since gained them back)

The Weird and Amusing

  • Apparently I had the “week” thing all wrong. For example, I thought 10 weeks meant I was in week 10, but apparently it really means you’re starting week 11 because you can’t be considered 10 weeks pregnant  until the 10th week is over. It makes sense now that this was explained to me but I’ve been doing it wrong.
  • I feel like I smell farts, like, often. Bryan and the dog both deny it, but I can’t be imagining it….can I?
  • I’m a fairly healthy eater and haven’t eaten at McDonalds in I can’t even remember how long. Now suddenly I’m craving McDonalds nuggets and have eaten them twice this week.
  • I grew out of my first bra. That was bizarre. Technically my sports bras are too small too but I’m squeezing into them anyway because I’m too lazy and cheap to  buy new ones yet
  • I did the “hair tie to keep my pants up but still allow them to be unbuttoned trick” for the first time
  • On weekends I like to take long walks but need to eat before I go. Regardless of whether I go to the bathroom before I go or not, since I’ve eaten breakfast I end up getting 20 minutes into the walk and I have to pee.

I decided to create a separate tab for pictures, so if you’re interested you can see a 12 week pic at Bubbles and Squishy

On Pregnancy After Infertility

I like metaphors. And I’ve used many and seen many to describe what infertility is like.

Its a marathon. It’s like being placed on hold. A rollercoaster.  A maze. (source) Like being lost in the desert without water. (source) Like trying to get your car fixed without knowing what’s wrong with it. (source) Like a tornado that destroys. (source) Ok, I used more similies there, but you get the point. I’ve said before that infertility changes you as a person. It tests your faith, your marriage and your finances.

3 years is the length of time our journey took us. Over a thousand days. A thousand days of questions without concrete answers. A thousand days of fear and hope mixed together in such a way that was often hurtful rather than helpful.

A fellow blog friend recently wrote a post about those of us who are pregnant after infertility. About the influx of pregnancies in the blogosphere lately (there have been a TON!) and how our blogs change once this happens. Because they do change. They change to reflect the change in our lives, as they should.

Pregnancy after infertility becomes its own journey. While I am always infertile, I’m not currently fighting to get pregnant. But I don’t feel as though I really belong with those who haven’t taken a path like mine – not because I’m trying to separate myself, but because the journey is simply not the same. The entire course looks different. It bothered me at first because I couldn’t figure out which “side” I belonged to. The fact of the matter, though, is that no two marathon courses are the same. No two journeys to build a family will be the same.

I’ve written about fear more times than I can remember. That we would go broke trying, or that it would destroy our marriage. The fear that I would never be a mother. That we would never be parents. Our blogs change from journey to celebration,  but with it still comes fear: a fear of loss (and I am sure this is even more so for those who have experienced a prior loss), of complications, of things like an incompetent cervix and premature labor. There is no such thing as a “normal” pregnancy after going through infertility treatments. A physically normal pregnancy sure, but not mentally. Because while we are so grateful to finally be here, we know how long it took, and how there are no guarantees that one pregnancy means another will follow. The kicker is the fact that those still in the trenches would give just about anything to be worrying about a viable pregnancy – because at if you’re worrying about that, you’re pregnant. And that our updates, even with fear laced within them, are a reminder that you are still stuck.

Being stuck sucks.

The paragraph I wrote above about fear that we would never be parents – I originally wrote it in present tense without realizing it. I’m guessing partially because both consciously and unconsciously I know we aren’t out of the woods yet. While writing that paragraph, though, I was back there. I did it because we never forget. We never forget what it’s like. We never forget what we’ve been through, and we never forget about those who are still struggling through it. Infertility and its’ effects are permanently a part of us. It changes us as people, it changes our relationships.

Our future path changes, but we don’t forget the one we took.

Calendars and Countdowns

Despite the fact that I am a huge technology fan,  I buy a calendar every year. I look forward to writing plans neatly in the dates and crossing off each day with a slash in the same direction. (Strangely, I am bad about writing in birthdays). Sometimes I flip through the old pages from earlier in the year. Sometimes I keep calendars and find them months or years later, reminiscing about past celebrations and troubles. I like calendars because I like countdowns- I find a small thrill in x’ing off each day until something important.

Particularly since infertility made its way into my life, I find myself thinking during days of significance about where I was the year before – what I was doing, thinking, feeling. Much of the time I can’t remember too many specific details. Sometimes I think about where I am and wonder where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in a years’ time. And most importantly, whether we will still be fighting this battle.

A year ago today I created this blog that I had considered doing for weeks’ prior.  Many days of significance passed while I thought “here I am a year later and I still have no children….I wonder if I will a year from now”. It saddened me even in my attempts to live despite it.

Today, one year after typing my very first words of wisdom to the world, I am pregnant. And for that I am so grateful. But I still find myself wondering sometimes if I will have children a year from now.

A successful cycle does not take away the worry. It just turns it into a different kind – Googling symptoms or lack thereof, miscarriage rates and beta numbers. Looking up perfectly normal symptoms (or a lack of) and comparing numbers to women whose pregnancies will and do vary greatly from my own.

As my friend Tiffany put it:  “so you went from crazy because you couldn’t get pregnant to crazy because you are”.

I swore to take this one day at a time and the last few days have been a miserable failure. I have no control over the outcome – it is out of my hands. The logical part of me understands this – the emotional part coming up with all kinds of scenarios, none of which are particularly positive.

She said a poster in her classroom says “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow , it empties today of its strength”. (source)

Today I am thankful to be where I am, to have this blog and this community. Starting tomorrow, I am back to one day at a time. One strong day at at time.

But that won’t keep me from counting down until the next event: Friday’s final blood test.

2 days. I’m going to cross today off my calendar.

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