Badges of Belonging

We all have a chip or two on our shoulder.  It seems in the infertilty world that chip is also your sad badge of honour.

For every IVF cycle you have had, someone has had at least one more.  For all your cysts and surgeries, someone has had worse news and more surgeries.  It isn’t a competition, but sometimes it feels like it it is all you have.  All that defines you.  It’s not like we have pictures of our kiddies at dance recitals anyway.

  

Waiting

For the last four years my life has become a series of waiting. Waiting to conceive, waiting to find out, waiting to heal. Waiting is not moving and not progressing. Waiting is quicksand. 

Waiting in a doctor’s office. 

Canadians cling to their universal health care so dearly but I am fed up. I want a doctor to run the tests I want. I don’t want to be constrained by rules built to manage cost and not what is best for the patient. I want the ability to pay for what I want. When I die I want to know I did everything I could. 

Resurfacing

I couldn’t decide if this post should be called resurfacing or floating. Some days I think I have my head above water and I am resurfacing and some days I feel like I am just bobbing below the surface, coming up only every now and then. It has been a terrible month. Five babies and five pregnancy announcements – three of those babies and two of those announcements in the last week. I thought I was ok until a few days when I had (another) meltdown and felt like my recovery was going nowhere.

Then I had a bath. A hot bubble bath. And I thought for a while.

I am trying and that is all I can do. I am trying my best and there will be days that I am consumed with sadness, with rage, with jealously and with despair. All I can do it try and make it to the next day.

This weekend we participated in the Walk to Remember. It was a powerful and emotional event. There were stories, a long walk with signs up for each baby lost. Watching couples stop along the way, hug each other and cry was heartbreaking. Even though our little ones had names, we chose not to have signs up, which is something I regret. They should have been honored too. There were also stations for healing: one to write a message, one with rocks with the babies names and one to pick up a candle to light in October for Pregnancy Loss Awareness month. At the end a beautiful couple sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and they released doves. It was very powerful. Even my husband cried and in our 11 years together I think this was the third time I have seen him cry. It was a chance to release and to begin to heal.

Healing.

What does healing look like? After three miscarriages (two of those and their corresponding D&Cs within four months of each other) and four years of unexplained infertility, healing and recovery have taken many forms. Here is what is working for us right now:

Psychologist: I have tried this before and it didn’t work because I didn’t feel like they really understood what I was experiencing. This time I sought out someone who has experience with infertility both professionally and personally. She works with the fertility program here and she is amazing. This has been by far the best thing I have done. Depression is common, if not a given, after fertility issues and pregnancy loss. Not only can I talk honestly but she is helping me work through the depression.

Exercise: exercising 4 times a week, preferably with another person and outside can boost your endorphins better than medication. I have joined a small group training program twice a week and try to walk the dog at least twice a week as well. It helps although at this point it does feel like a chore still.

Eating: Losing a baby you feel out of control. I decided to find some control in our lives by signing us up for a registered dietitian. This particular program gives you recipes, shopping lists and meal plans and took a lot of the stress of meal planning out of our lives. I was so overwhelmed by the day-to-day chores, this was a big relief for me.

Socializing: seeing your friends and going out, even when you really, really don’t want to, is important. My psychologist told me that listening to the little voice telling you to “stay in” is feeding it. Feeding the depression monster. Even though I leave the house already counting down to when I can come home and be alone again…I am trying.

Journaling: I have a lot of negativity and anger. It is ugly and seeping out of me these days. I am trying to funnel it into the journal to keep it out of my day-to-day life.

Reading: I have started “Empty Arms: Emotional Support for Those Who Have Suffered Miscarriage or Stillbirth” and I have ordered “Miscarriage After Infertility: A Woman’s Guide to Coping”.   Finding books on miscarriage is harder when you have already experienced infertility. I don’t need a book to tell me when to try again or what to do differently because for me it means going back into the medical system and going into the unknown. Back to a world where it isn’t “when” it is “if”.

That’s what is helping me these days, what about you?

Left Out and Left Behind

4 babies in the last week and one due any day now.  Add 2 pregnancy announcements and well, I feel like a bag of sh*t.   Not only do we not get to participate in pregnancy announcements and birth announcements, every time it happens the voice my head goes “what if it is never you…”.

On bad days, days like today, I give in to that voice.  It’s right. What if it isn’t me? What if we never get to have and hold a baby of our own? What if we are left in the cold and on the sidelines forever? Our friends move on with their lives and their babies and we are stuck forever in limbo, the couple that doesn’t belong.

This post sums up the feelings well: Babies Everywhere by Maybe Baby.  She gets it.

https://maybebabyivfjourney.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/fet1-day-3-babies-everywhere/

That Look

That patronizing “it happened to you but of course it won’t to me” followed by that look of “really, it won’t happen to me”. Of course why wouldn’t statistics apply only to me and not you?!

I don’t know if it’s superiority complex, denial or a lack of real life experience. 

But the end result is that sometimes part of me wants it to happen to you. 

The tiniest grain of angry fire in my soul which I mentally extinguish because I wouldn’t wish infertility or pregnancy loss on anyone. Not even my enemies. 

But that ember does smolder before it dies…