it’s the most worth it thing.

We’re (obviously) fairly open with our journey and struggle to becoming parents. I don’t feel like it’s anyone’s job to be the voice or the face of infertility– in particular celebrities. It’s great if they choose to share. It raises awareness, education, sensitivity. But infertility sucks. It’s heartbreaking and dream crushing. It’s a personal sadness people shouldn’t have to share if they don’t want to share. 

But this week Jimmy Fallon did. And his wife must be over the moon with her new family– in particular in getting to see, for the first time, her husband become a father. I can’t wait. 

(click the picture for a link to his interview with the Today show).

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happy hope day

There’s really no way anyone can win with an infertile on Mother’s Day.

Don’t acknowledge us on this day? We feel isolated, angry and forgotten.

Acknowledge us? We feel awkward and pitied.

I promise you this- a gentle touch, a sincere message, a quiet recognition of struggle- these things go a long way in validating a woman’s struggle with infertility today.

Some of us have never been pregnant. Others have been parents only to embryos. There are those of us who have been mothers to “gummy bears”. Some of us are mothers to angels. More of us are only moms to furbabies.

Happy “I know what you want to be” Day. Happy “you would have been an amazing mom to those embies” Day. Happy “you tried as hard as you could and you’re a great mom” Day. Happy “you’ll never forget that heartbeat because that gummy bear was your baby” Day. Happy “I hope you get to a place with peace” day.

Happy Mother’s Day.

the feeling of being

I think a lot of times we are fearful of our emotions. They’re so out of our control. We can’t control when we feel them, how long we feel them or their intensity.

Infertility is a head-on collision of emotions. Everyday life is a trigger. Each piece of our marriages and relationships are touched by infertility. Wondering if your husband noticed the little boy wearing a matching football jersey to his father’s and if his heart strings tugged a bit. Anticipating pregnancy announcements on social media sites and wondering whether or not your happiness for your friends will outweigh your sadness.  There isn’t a single thing I can think of that doesn’t somehow remind me of the thing we long to have.

I have found great solace in feeling. Feeling reminds me how bad I want it. It reminds me to not take my husband for granted because I am reminded everyday how badly I want to live with and love him forever. I am reminded how happy I am to have my sister close because I want her to teach my child all kinds of crunchy granola things (except the love of patchouli- please universe, let her leave this part out). I am reminded how desperately I wish to get back to my Midwestern roots because I had a childhood so great that I can’t imagine not sharing all those things with a child. I am reminded that my parents won’t be here forever and that I want more than anything for them to feel the love of their grandchild and to spoil that child rotten, much like they’ve done to their granddog and grandcats. And I am so often reminded of all the amazing aunts and uncles our child will have because my friends are so amazing they are like family to us and will always be honored as such.

I remember a few years ago, before our journey into the world of family creation, I read the blog of a woman who was pregnant with a child with a genetic condition that would not allow the baby to survive outside of her womb. And she wrote so beautifully of how, on the day of her induction, the day her baby was going to die, that she was awoken by the movings of her child inside of her. The kicks, the pokes, the stretches. She wanted sleep. She didn’t want to wake up for that day. She wasn’t ready to say goodbye. But she sat. And she felt.

She felt each one of those kicks, she welcomed more of those pokes, and she rubbed each part of her belly as her baby stretched. It was going to be over but she was going to remember how her baby felt. And she sat in those emotions–sour and bittersweet, but she felt them.

The infertility community is forced to feel. Even in the inopportune moments of real life. When we don’t want to. When we can’t shut our minds off. When we force a smile through a situation that makes us want to pull the covers over our heads.

I will not tell my infertile friends to ever think positive- for that is much harder than you can imagine. I will not tell my infertile friends that modern medicine will fix things- it might not. I will not tell my beautiful friends that they will find a rainbow- not every one is allowed a happy ending. I will not tell them to be patient. They are justified in feelings those things.

What I will tell them is that sometimes a cry feels good. I will tell them that in the tears there is relief. I will tell them that luck does not belong to us but that there is grace in our journey. That we will love harder than most. And that feeling grounds you. It helps you remember each crack in the sidewalk, each helping hand, every moment that meant something.

You will feel loved by those who supported you and those who continued to support you even if they got a rainbow–especially the ones who remembered what advice and happy stories felt like on the darker side of that rainbow. Those are the ones worth spending feelings on. Feel love. Feel sadness. Feel dispair. It’s yours to feel. You are right to feel them and it is okay to stall over them– it is okay. Remember to let someone else help you feel them if their weight is too much for you. They are there. We are here.

we’re not broken, just bent

Every single time this song comes on, I can feel it reaching into my bones.

Every single day I am reminded that my husband and I are struggling with something that is so profoundly life changing and out of our grasp that the only thing we can do is hang on until things fall in place.

Hanging on to one another during this process is so … abstract. We don’t know how. We have been married for 5 years. We have struggled with infertility for 4 years. Infertility is our normal. Disappointment is our normal. Roller coasters of hope are our normal. Grief, dreamless and indecision are our normal.

But we know that we can find a new normal.

We’re not destroyed, we’re just a little damaged. Just a little bent. And we can be fixed.

We have come to the fork in the road of decision and we have chosen a path. We are going to carry every. single. thing that brought us to this path with us. Our friends, my community of infertility support, our family and our son. It sounds like a lot of luggage, right? But we need it all. Because when we get to the end of our road and we are finally a family of four, we need all of those things to make our family feel at home. Each one of these people helped carry us a step along this path and our family belongs to them.

National Infertility Week Awareness is an opportunity to share our story with others so that they might get a glimpse into our journey. So that perhaps one more person realizes that being vocal about this isn’t as scary as it seems. Or even that the person who remains silent on their journey feels comforted by the words here because they echo the thoughts they live with each day.

But even more than that, National Infertility Awareness week is an opportunity for me to be thankful for the friends we have surrounded ourselves with. People we’ve never met,  people I went to high school with and haven’t seen in 10 years, people we see once a year, people we see a handful of times a year and people we see everyday– we love you. You belong to our family. You have helped us grieve. You have helped us live. You have helped us find love. We are forever grateful to you and your support.  Because of you, we can learn to love again. You’ve made it possible and you’ve given us a reason.

Thank You.

a dedication to the infertile

Things that are really hard with a baby:
-middle of the night feedings
diaper blowouts
-getting the minimum required hours of sleep for a functioning human
-eating with one hand
-running out of crib sheets in the middle of the night
-leaving the house
-going to the bathroom alone

Things that are really hard when you can’t have a baby:
-every season’s family-focused holiday celebrations and traditions
-every failed cycle
-every public encounter of a pregnant woman & families
-marriage
-everyday

Each infertile woman reasonably understands that raising children is difficult, for a variety of reasons. But those that have not experienced infertility are simply unable to understand how hard it is to not to have the opportunity to do those things. It is sincerely difficult to not parent if it’s all you have wished to do.

I’ve wished for a happy moment in a hospital bed. A loving peck on the forehead as an acknowledgment for a job well done as a strong, healthy cry leaves the lungs of something we made together first sees the world. I’ve wanted to explore all of the features of my child in order to find the pieces of my husband in a laugh or a facial expression.

We find ourselves here, though. In a perpetual land of ‘wants but can’t haves’. At a fork in the road of happiness and heartache, where the directions are determined largely by finances and how much fight you have left.

Of those two conditions, finances and fight, here I want to focus on the fight. I want to dedicate this post to the resilency of infertile women (and couples) everywhere.

Some of the best people I have had the pleasure of calling a friend are infertile. I have watched them fight for weight loss in order to have an opportunity to do IVF. To wipe the savings accounts set aside for responsibility in order to try. To walk away when heartache becomes too tough to handle. These, my friends, take fight.

As National Infertilty Awareness begins, I want to recognize the Aimees, the Stephanies, the Emilys, Abbys, Anitas and Amandas of this world and say “I see you. I recognize you and your daily struggle and I am here to help you fight when you can’t do it alone.” I want to say there is beauty and grace in this strength that is impossible to see from the inside, but it is there. Happy endings are too far and few between in this community. You all deserve happiness and I wish it for you, but I want to honor the pieces of you that feel both realistic and unrealistic, hopeful yet careful, and wishful but grounded.

Lastly, I wish for peace at the end of your journey. Peace in not just the outcome, but in the decisions that bring you to the end and in moving forward once decisions are made.

This is dedicated to all those rightly bittered by infertility.

numbers

I mentioned in a previous post how I remembered all the numbers. First heartbeat, first beta draw, all the dates. The family making process is largely a numbers game for most of us infertiles. What can we afford, how many times, what are the odds. It’s so far beyond saving for baby. How do we afford baby after he/she is here is nearly an afterthought. Getting to the point where you’ve got a baby takes the front seat in this process.

We were lucky enough to have $15,000 worth of fertility coverage in our insurance policy. Sounds like a lot, right? We spent $14,282.00 of that money on our first cycle. We spent nearly $5,000 on the insurance policy to get us there and another $6,000 on co-pays & hospital bills out-of-pocket. It just feels like the universe should hand you a baby after that. $25,000 and empty-handed is such a slap in the face. $25,000 and a urn and memory box feels like the universe is trying to kill you.

We have decided to no longer pursue biological options for children. We had a 1% chance of losing our son that late in my pregnancy, and we did. We have a 40% chance of pregnancy with our frozen embryo. If we get pregnant, a 40% chance that it will result in a live-birth. And I must have a surgery that enables me to carry a child to term that has an 80% success rate. To an optimist, those numbers sound great. We’ve been on the losing side, though. I can not mentally handle anything less than 100%. Some days I really can’t explain to you how I lived through this ordeal. I can not imagine attempting to mentally survive this twice.

For much of the same reasons, we chose adoption over surrogacy. We have better chances to be Mommy and Daddy here. We want to parent. Biology isn’t a factor. Family is.

Our domestic adoption will cost us $27,000. We have no idea how we’re ever going to pull this off. My husband, the most positive person in the world, believes. And he believes it so much, its contagious.

The outpouring of support we’ve receieved here since launching this blog is insane. We appreciate each and every comment, and read and share. We continue to be amazed by the amazing people we know and are blessed to have in our lives. I hope you all never get tired of the thank yous, because I never stop being grateful.

We will be launching a Facebook page soon that will help everyone follow our journey through the blog, as well as the updates with our fundraising. We currectly have a Give Forward page set-up for donations (link at the top!), but we will soon update you all with other ways you can help!

Our first goal is to reach $2,000. This will allow us to file our application, conduct the home-study and complete an educational course for adoptive parents through our agency.

Thanks for helping us build our family!

365 days of finding hope

It really is amazing the difference a year can make. A year ago today, we were on the eve of beginning our first and only IVF cycle. We had a fridge full of medicine, boxes full of needles and brains full of nervousness. Today, though, we walked into the agency’s office with hearts full of grief and brains full of questions. I left, however, feeling hopeful for the first time in 8 months.

It really is quite hard to put into words the emotions associated with the loss of a child. And although there are several that have been in our very unfortunate shoes, it still feels like no one will ever know the pain we went through. I don’t know how to explain the sadness that comes with loss of a child after several sorrowful years of infertility. We love him and we miss him every single day. Those words seem so plain to read. I miss my baby. I miss the way he moved. The way he looked so much like his daddy. His eyelids. His long legs. The way I took care of myself in order to take care of him. He was so very much a part of me.

I heard someone say something recently that really resonated with me. Most people will try to assuage the sadness with sentiments religious in nature. Like, “God has a reason for everything.” And while these statements are by no means malicious in nature (quite the opposite really, religion is comforting for the faithful)– they are not comforting to a parent who has lost a child. What this person said in response to those comments was this– “it was simply not worth the lesson”. Nothing that will happen, no path in life, no reward in journey will ever be worth the loss of our son. I would give every single thing I could to have him with me. To hear his voice, to kiss his head, to teach him things and to laugh with him.

Today I felt like the universe helped me settle my mind. Adoption seems very overwhelming. There are so many steps and so much paperwork and fundraising…it’s overwhelming. It’s frustrating. But we want to be parents together. We are ready to be Mom and Dad. To teach our child all the things we love in this world and help them to find the things that they love. To watch each other as husband and wife learn how to become Mom and Dad. We’re ready.

We left the agency’s office holding hands. We hugged in the parking lot and decided that things felt right– even more than right, they felt doable. They felt less overwhelming and more possible. And possible isn’t a feeling I’ve felt in a long while. We’ll take it.