Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just do it

A woman I met who now has donor egg twins told a story of how during her infertility journey she woke up one morning and said to herself, "if I can't have the dream of a baby, I will fulfill another dream." She got on a plane from Australia and flew to Chicago, stood in line overnight, and got tickets to see the Oprah Winfrey Show. It had always been a dream of hers to see the show live and she just went and did it. She explained that you spend so much time obsessing over the dream of having a child you just don't feel like anything else is possible because the baby is not happening. But she proclaimed that no matter how big or small your other dreams may be, just do one. It will make you feel better and it will break some of the chains that keep you feeling like a slave to infertility.

So when I was gearing up for my donor egg cycle, I said to my husband, "I need to fulfill another dream this year." If this donor egg cycle didn't work I wanted 2009 to include a dream come true. The only highlights I remember from 2006, 2007, and 2008 was loss, loss, loss. So when I looked at the other realms of myself, I remembered I have always dreamed of going to Prague. It always had this cool allure to me and I imagined myself walking around the historic city and hanging out at cafes and getting into the vibe of that place. I've traveled a lot in my life, but never yet made it to Prague. My husband has taken a couple European bike trips before meeting me and it's been his dream to do it again. Our friend happened to be getting married in Germany this July and so the universe gave us an opportunity to jump on our dreams. So, in order to fulfill both of our dreams, we are leaving this Friday for a 5 day bike tour from Prague to Vienna.

I am not a big biker or athlete but this seemed like a perfect way to fulfill a dream and to tackle a challenge. We have been biking outside the city as much as possible to train for the ride. Every time I had to pedal up a hard hill, I would say to myself "I am pedaling toward a baby. You will make it! You will make it!" I could grit and bear the pain in my legs and I realized what mental strength I have gained by waiting for this baby. No pain can really compare to what we all have been through and it's given me a sort of inner strength to muscle through pain - physical and emotional.

So I will take this two and a half week pause from blogging and enjoy this wonderful dream. I highly recommend anyone who can fulfill another dream this year, besides a baby, to just do it. If you can't tackle a big dream, tackle a little one. Just give yourself that. Now I have the pleasure of perhaps having two dreams come true - Prague and a baby. It's too good to be true. But I'll take it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Road to Repair

In my tunnel vision toward babyland, it's been easy to justify a certain amount of isolation and space from my social world. I have always felt that creating boundaries of what I share, who I share it with, and when I interact with the outside world was my prerogative. I am the one suffering, therefore it's my call who, when, where, and how I let people in. My reproductive life is my business and anyone who expects to be privy to more than what I am willing to give is simply out of line. It's my choice how much I share.

My last post was about how to mend myself and come to terms with pregnancy after infertility. I am trying to "recover" and allow myself joy, but not forget what I have been through. I really thank you for your comments and advice as I sift through that internal mess. But yesterday a phone call from a friend made me realize it's not just a road to recovery for myself, but it's also a hard road to recovering and mending and redefining friendships I've left behind.

My comfort level of disclosure has been limited to family and 2 very close friends and all of you. The bloggers and IVF buddies have been a life line and the foundation for sanity. Family has been family- they love, they try to understand, they blunder and misstep, they push my buttons, but they support in the best way then can. My two close friends I chose because we share everything with each other and I can see them regularly which makes a big difference to me. But outside of that, a few friends know generally we've had loss and that we are "doing fertility treatments." For those people I've put up the road signs saying "detour," "temporarily closed," "under construction." I have relegated them to stay off the main road toward me and even turn around and go the other direction.

Again, I have felt justified in that I simply don't have any energy to update several people of what's going on when there are moments I can barely stop crying, I can barely feel my heart beating. Depression leaves me feeling non conversational and burdened by social pressure. I also find it upsetting to have to recount loss and grief to multiple people over and over again. It becomes exhausting having to say, "It didn't work again." It's also daunting that I might not get a reaction I want, or worse, a reaction that might make me hate them. So I do none of it. I leave them out.

Yesterday I called an out of town friend who knows we are going through infertility. I hadn't been in touch for a couple months and she's a friend who demands a lot of attention, which I can't give to her right now. So I tried to call and catch up and she was cold, mean, distant, and withholding. I asked her why and she said she feels "awkward,"cut out, and I've been out of touch and that effects our friendship. I became irritated. I could have predicted that reaction from her, but even knowing this, still doesn't compel me yet to change my behavior. I know I have to be aware of the people who need more from me, but it still comes down to how much water is in the well. I know people are thirsty but if I barely have any water, I can only ration out what I can.

So I do feel overburdened by dealing with my own feelings about what I have been through and then feeling like certain friends may resent me for not sharing or being there for them. It's a vicious cycle. Some people really do take it personally as if by not sharing with them about this I am not trusting, or they are not worthy, or I don't value their friendship. I never saw it that way. I always felt like it was obvious that when people go through shitty things that they may not want to share every detail. The best you can do is tell them you are there for them and leave it to them to decide.

I do realize that in losing myself to infertility, others have lost me too. That's a loss for them. They miss me. I miss me too. I am not sure where that person went. There are some friendships that need special time to repair and there are others who don't expect me to explain myself. Most people don't hold this against me. But some do. It's hard because I am tired. I have no brain power to worry about other people's reactions to my tragedy and how it effects them. But I know I will have to think about that and try to make amends.

When the signs come down, and my road is open again, by nature the road is different. People who've been on that road before may want it to be exactly the same. They might have missed certain things it provided for them that maybe harder to find along this new repaired road. Trees were cut down, new pavement was put down, certain scenery along the road is different so they might get disoriented, cranky, and say, "I want the old road." Others will immediately see improvements, appreciate the change, appreciate just the fact that it is open.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Straight from the heart

In one of my favorite Woody Allen movies, Hannah and Her Sisters, his character says, "The heart is a resilient little muscle." I can't even begin to articulate how true this is, but I will try. How many times has my heart been broken, punched, and almost annihilated? How many times did I long for a prescription for heartache? How many times did I think my heart might actually die? It's hard to even imagine that I climbed my way out of those basement moments and can live to see this tiny little heartbeat flutter. We have reached a point in this pregnancy I never got to with my eggs and my body - the heartbeat. Last week I traveled out to see A. and to witness the 2nd ultrasound and there it was - a tiny little flicker. Today was the 3rd ultrasound at 8 weeks and amazingly it is still blinking on that screen, stronger than ever. Shit, that is cool.

But I have to admit, in the past couple weeks letting this all sink in (that I actually might have a baby in January 2010), I did have a spell of emotional disorientation. What I mean by this is that I am elated by the success of this pregnancy. It's a long awaited dream and we are so blessed. But on the other hand, using donor egg and a surrogate leaves you still feeling detached during a pregnancy in ways I never wanted to be and have worried won't go away. All these great milestones of a pregnancy are wonderful but I am watching them as a spectator. I am not feeling it in my body nor am I wondering if this child will look like me. Part of the joy of telling people is somewhat daunted by the fact that I then have to explain we are using a surrogate and then toil over who is worthy of knowing about the donor egg. It makes these very simple joyous announcements not quite the same. In some ways, out of solidarity to myself and other women who have suffered through this, I feel like baby showers and announcements and mass emails are counter to myself. Why would I do things that other people have done that have hurt me so much? Will I ever send one of those Christmas cards with my kid on it? Right now, I don't think so. Will I put a photo of my baby as my facebook picture? Never. But what does this all mean? Am I robbing myself of joys and having a chip on my shoulder or perhaps this experience has just made it feel better not contradicting myself by doing annoying things fertile people do around me? It's all loaded with this baggage that I have to sift through and make sense of before this child is born so there isn't an iota of weirdness this child could feel from me. My heart has to be resilient as I watch this new beating heart. It's tough. It can't be a simple ending to a very complicated story.

I was trying to think about how this blog will evolve now that things are swinging in the right direction. I don't really need to report every pregnancy milestone to you all, though I know you would be excited for me. How can a blog named "The Art of Being Infertile" be talking about pregnancy? But then I realized, I am still infertile. By extension I am not, but technically I am. I've come to accept that my infertility will not be physically cured and therefore I still think there is an "art" to handling this. I realized that my situation is quite unusual and probably worth still writing about. As much as I would like to ride off into the sunset and feel like all will be normal and happy now, I know I have a crazy unique future that will have it's own twists and turns. 

So I begin this next chapter by standing up and saying, "My name is T.A.B.I. and I am an infertile. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get another woman pregnant."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One Singular Sensation

We've got one bun in the oven! Today was the first ultrasound. Though a part of me was greedy and wanted twins, one beautiful yolk sac and fetal pole is all I need. Next week I fly out to see A. and we hope to hear heartbeat. I feel like kicking my legs up in a Chorus line. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

So far, so good

We're at the point of the process where ingredients have been added, everything is mixed and  poured, and now the buns are cooking up. All we know for sure is that the oven is industrial strength, the batter was of the finest ingredients, and the intended mother is peering through the oven window hoping to see the dough rise. 

So far, so good. The beta is still more than doubling with last week's beta at 2471. Now the real test of how things are cooking- the ultrasound. The first one is this Wed and we may or may not hear the heartbeat but hopefully all will look good. We'll also know if we have multiple buns or just one single soft puff of heaven. 

I am at a loss in terms of what to write. I am so use to things going wrong that it seems odd to talk about things going right. I also don't want this necessarily to be a pregnancy blog all of a sudden. So I will think about this as I await the next set of news. All I can say with absolute certainly is a heartfelt THANK YOU for all your comments and support. It means the world to me and I just don't know what I would do without you ladies.