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.