Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tired, but Inspired

It's amazing how this whole IF thing fucks with your mind. One minute, I am cool as a cucumber. Totally well-adjusted, cruising through each day with nary a worry in sight. Okay, that's a bit much, I don't know that I'd go quite that far. But suffice it to say that at those times, I'm not a ball of seething anger mixed with raw nerves topped with painful depression.

Then, there are the other times. There are the bad days when I can't as much as take a single breath without lamenting my fertility woes, the wasted 4+ years trying to make babies, the angst-filled pregnancies that killed my babies, the hundreds of shots, the procedures, yada yada yada. More than anything, I get angry. But then the guilt (about the anger) takes over, and then I get sad, then I get gloomy, then . . . well, you know the drill.

Recently, I had a particularly happy spell. Two of my co-workers had babies (who have children under 2 at home already), my neighbor had a baby, my best friend is enormously pregnant, and there are what seems about 65 million IF bloggers who have managed to get knocked up in the past couple of months. Miraculously, I handled all of this well. I think I actually managed to half-smile at a couple of pregnant people in the mall recently.

Then, something happened. I don't know what it is. I think that part of it is the fact that I never really mourned the failure of our recent IVF. I was angry and shocked, but only cried twice (including that episode in Dr. Chat's office). For the past 2 days, I've been slipping back into my old, sad ways. Ugh. Luckily I've got loads of experience with this particular situation, so I know it's fleeting and will correct itself without any major event. Which is a good thing. But it still sucks. I'm sad, I'm angry, I'm feeling unfairly picked on, I'm confused, and mostly I'm just tired.

Tired of all of it. Tired of the waiting, tired of the failures, tired of the trying, tired of the drugs, tired of the bloodletting, tired of the dildocam, tired of the broken dreams, tired of pretending like I'm okay, tired of pretending like I've got hope, tired of actually having hope, tired of being jealous, tired of being angry at pregnant people. So damn tired. Mostly tired of trying.

It feels like there is no end in sight. This is ridiculous, there is an end in sight. We have a very clear game plan, and I'm 99% certain we'll have a child by the end of it (via donor eggs or adoption or kidnapping ... totally joking about that last one). It's just that when you're down in the pit, there isn't a lot of light and that makes the shadows under the bed really look like monsters. But they aren't monsters, they are dirty socks. And most of the time, dirty socks aren't that scary. Just dirty, and sometimes smelly.

I just want my life to begin again. It feels like I've been holding my breath for half a decade. I'm waaaaay beyond manipulating my plans around the possibility of being pregnant, that's not what I'm talking about. I think I'm just so very ready to find my old self again, to check the box on the family building nonsense, to begin LIVING.

Again, this is ridiculous. I am living. I have a great life. Shit, I'm not even sure what it is I'm trying to say here. I do know that just putting it down in print is already making me feel better. It's cathartic, really, sort of cleansing.

There is always one thing that keeps me going. It's Megan. At the risk of offending my beloved blog friends who don't yet have a child at home, I'm going to elaborate a little. I rarely mention Megan because I don't want to lose my "street cred" with the IF community. But tonight, for whatever reason, I want to.

She makes me feel like I'm drunk. You know how it is when you first start dating someone? You drive a little too fast to their house to see them, you get all swoony when you think about them, you are half-giddy when you are with them. I love the way she smells, I love the way she breathes when she's sleeping, I love the way she looks when she's concentrating. I love that she thoroughly enjoys everything I liked to do as a kid -- play doh, sidewalk chalk, fishing, playing in the sandbox, glitter pictures, fingerpainting, having picnics, digging in the dirt, petting dogs, playing dress up, going to the library, etc. I revel in this stuff like you can't imagine. I really am a big kid trapped in a grown up's body and she helps me let go and just be me.

Often times I feel like I am not thankful enough to God for the miracle he did see fit to give us. But, truly, most of the time I feel like I've hit the lottery. I'm always looking for the silver lining of stuff. As outrageously shitty as the whole IF nonsense has been, there are a few good things that have come of it. It has taught me patience, it has tested my marriage, it has afforded me the opportunity to learn all sorts of new things about biology. The biggest benefit of all, however, is that it has helped me to be a better Mother.

I take nothing for granted with her. Or, very little. I remember a post I read about a year ago that talked about (among many other things) how this woman's heart ached when she was in the food court at the mall, watching the Moms get exasperated with their toddlers. The little girls were eating french fries and twirling around until they got dizzy and generally just being incredibly cute. But the Moms were annoyed. It wasn't a post about how the Moms were bad people, it was about how desperately this woman longed to have that beautiful toddler acting so adorable and carefree. I was moved to tears by this post. I distinctly, painfully remember EXACTLY what those feelings were like. It actually makes me try to play-down some of Megan's cuter antics in public for fear that there's someone watching who is struggling with IF. I never, ever want to be that person who is in your face about what I've got.

It's ridiculous to say, but I feel like I really do treat each and every moment with her as if it is a gift. Okay, that's extreme. I plop her in front of the TV plenty while I tend to work emails or blog reading. But you still get what I'm talking about. When we are sitting on the floor reading a book, I drink it in like I'm parched. I'm not going through the motions. I gaze at her little hands, I smell her hair, I stroke her back. I think this is what people describe when they talk about being present. I read Dr. Alice Domar's book Conquering.Infertility (I can't recommend it highly enough) and when she talked about mindfulness -- really BEING in the moment, and appreciating it to the hilt -- I totally understood it. I do this with Megan. I'm not so good at doing it with many other aspects of my life, but I am good at it with her.

So, as shitty as everything is, as much as I just bitched about being tired and depressed, as much as I complain that this is all so damned unfair, I know how lucky I am. That helps me pull myself up by the bootstraps and move on. It doesn't fill the hole in my heart, in my life that is created by the longing for another child. But it helps me get through the day.

Sorry for the long post going on and on about how great my daughter is. I'm sure many of you don't want to hear this crap. The sad part is that when I re-read this before publishing it, I cut out two full paragraphs of more crooning about her! But you get the point. And, like I said, I feel much better for just having gotten it down in print.

In closing, I'm posting a picture of my little cutie from yesterday. This is nothing in particular, I just happened to have the camera in my hand (was doing some "before" shots of our kitchen before the remodel starts) and snapped one of her going up the stairs. It's not the cutest picture of her we've got, but it captures her bright, vibrant personality pretty well. If you don't want to see a photo of a kid so cute it will melt your heart, don't scroll down... :-)








Before you ask, she got that crazy curly hair from me. I'm just stupid enough to blow dry it straight most of the time.

Thanks for indulging me if you managed to make it this far down yet another War and Peace post. Having you guys to "talk" to has helped me immeasurably, and I can't thank you all enough.


Tam said...

Oh Leah, I am so sorry that you even have to type all of this, it just sucks big time!!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you all the time and praying that another little miracle comes your way soon.

Hugs xxx

In and Out of Luck said...

I'm sorry that you're going through a hard phase right now. I was thinking too recently, about how it can be a full time job just maintaining faith in life, in the face of infertility. It's exhausting and excrutiating. And thank heavens for your little cutie - she is really, really cute. It's so true how overwhelming gratitude for the child you have can exist side by side with devastating heartache for the child you can't make. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Hugs.

Waiting Amy said...

Leah, I know how ALL of it feels. There are times I feel that way with J. He is truly a blessing. But lately it has been hard for me to be "in the moment". I think mostly this is because 4 is a tough age with a boy, and since I stay at home it can get a little overwhelming. Thanks for your post to help remind me to enjoy it -- that's why I'm at home after all.

Thinking of you lots.

Shelli said...

Leah- new reader to your blog, and you typed exactly what's been in my head lately.... except my joy is my 4 year old son. I am tired already (2 1/2 years of trying, 4 m/c) and I am just starting to head into the serious IF technology. I wonder how much more I can take really. Your post reminds me that my gratitude for my son is probably the one thing that keeps me from going completely crazy. I am sorry there are so many of us in this situation, it just sucks.

Reproductive Jeans said...

Leah she is the CUTEST!!!

Im sorry that you are feeling sad=( Its a MEAN roller coaster we have to be on...I wish I could come up with the magic cure...

Hugs to you!!

LifeHopes said...

She is absolutely adorable and she looks so blissfully happy. I am happy that you have her and that her joy is contagious.

You are right to really live in the moment. Actually, this is how I feel about my husband. Sometimes I realize I can't take him for granted, no matter how much I want a baby. Because God gave him to me and he is a perfect gift in that way. He loves me for me, and is all that I could want or need in a man. There are so many who don't even have that. So look how much we have!!

Grad3 said...

Leah, not going to lie, I did skip the paragraphs where you talked about your daughter (it's hard for me, you get it right?) but I did look at her picture... how cute is she!!!! Too cute, seriously :) It's nice to know how much you appreciate her...

I think all the time when I see women with babies, "they have no idea how lucky they are" Thanks for reminding me that maybe they do! :)

I know what you mean about tired, my favorite line is "I am tired of being tired" I am actually working on a blog titled that...

I just picked up a book at Barnes and Noble the other day (while drinking my mocha) called 'Whereever you go there you are- Mindfulness meditation in everyday life'. I wanted help focusing on what I have and can do before becoming and earthly mom (knock on wood). Gl hun, I hope miracle 2 is on his or her way soon! Hugs...

Ann said...

I know exactly what it feels like--to want something so much it hurts, but at the same time, you're so grateful for what you have. Your daughter is adorable!

Inconceivable said...

OMG .. those curls are too die FOR - she is better than a piece of yellow cake with chocolate icing ;) WHat an adorably sweet lil blessing you have as a daily reminder. I can understand that IF can still SUCK - even if you get to look at her beautiful lil face all day - I hope it does, at times, make it a lil easier. Good luck on the very laid out plan - farah

Kate said...

OMG! She IS the cutest thing in the world. Those curls!! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

Gabby said...

Leah, I am sorry for the pain you are facing right now. I know I can't even begin to understand it. I do want to say though, that you have an absolutely beautiful daughter! I LOVE her hair! :] She must be amazing to have in your life.

Delenn said...

Your post really got to the heart of how it feels to be going through infertility in general and secondary infertility in specific. I often feel guilty to have feelings about my current infertility issues as we do have our son, when so many people don't even have that. And being that he is 8 now, those precious times with him are not as often as I would like (too busy with play dates etc.). Thanks for reminding me to enjoy him even more.

Schatzi said...

I am sorry you are back in a rough place. I also have found the "being in the moment" to be very helpful for me, and I am pleased to hear about the times you spend with your daughter. She is darling!

Artblog said...

I made it down to the end and I HUG you, lots and lots. Hugs don't make babies but i hope it helps XXX

Hez said...

I get it, all the way down to thanking my lucky stars we have an only, and I'm sorry. It stinks to be that tired of everything. It just pulls at you, and I know how easy it is to get sucked into that feeling.

Your daughter is absolutely beautiful.

FattyPants said...

I came over here from stirrup queens. I understand the hesitation to bring up kids in your blog. I have a 7 year old who is rarely mentioned but is on my mind every second of every day. Your daughter is beautiful!

The Town Criers said...

She is so cute. So so cute.

When you talk about that mood--the one that comes without warning and stays for days and then leaves on its own without notice (though you can't get rid of it until it's ready to leave)--I just nodded my head. I'm so with you.

shazz said...

Sending you Hugs sweety!!

Portia P said...


I can't imagine how it must feel to have even one child, but i CAN imagine that the pain of IF is EVERY bit as bad when you're struggilng to have more.

I'm sorry you're hurting - i'm hurting with you - but we know we'll get through it and will be back up for more!

I did a MindBody course developed by Dr Alice Domar - its been really helpful but i'm still not great at the whole mindfulness and being in the moment stuff.

I couldn't read all your para's on Megan but I did stare at her gorgeous smiling face for a while - she's lovely and must reallly be a tonic


Changing Expectations said...

IF just sucks! The mood swings seem to to go along with it. I have been where you are so many times. Hang in there.

Your daughter is beautiful!

Malky B. said...

I think you did a great job describing what secondary infertility feels like. You love and appreciate the child you have and yet the yearning for another is just a painful as someone who has no children. I also liked Dr. Alice Domars book - we reviewed it on our podcast! I also have a girl and had a miscarriage in March and now had a failed cycle as well! May things turn around for both of us soon.

Imogen and David said...

Even with the warning, my heart just melted :)

TeamWinks said...

She's really...truly beautiful.

Infertility messes with us complety... mind, body, and soul. I wish I could just come on over and join you for a cup of coffee, tea, know, whatever helps! Hang in there. I've been thinking about you lately.

Pamela Jeanne said...

"There are the bad days when I can't as much as take a single breath without lamenting my fertility woes, the wasted ... years trying to make babies...the hundreds of shots, the procedures, yada yada yada. More than anything, I get angry. But then the guilt (about the anger) takes over, and then I get sad, then I get gloomy, then . . . well, you know the drill."

I see you've been hanging out in my head. It's almost downright weird how common those thoughts and emotions are, isn't it? Hope the vacation brought you some goodness.

Kami said...

It's actually nice to hear about your daughter. Sure, I skipped the vast majority of the paragraph about her (I am sure you won't take that personally) but I got the idea and it is refreshing to hear that you gain such pleasure from it. From your other posts, I never believed you didn't fully appreciate having at least one child, but it is nice to see it in writing just the same.

Sorry you were feeling so worn out. As you mentioned, it will pass. We do get good at this.