Monday, December 31, 2007

Thank you. And I do mean YOU.

I was catching up on my Bloglines reading this morning, and had 6 or so posts to read. Some of them are from people who recently had babies (including a set of quads), and some are from people who are still in the trenches. Coincidentally, all of the posts today included pictures of the blogger and/or their babies. None of this is all that amazing, it's what happened next that shocked me. Megan strolled into the office to see what I was doing. As I clicked through the posts, she greeted each and every person -- including the quads -- by name. I knew that every time I visited a blog when she was around, she loved to look at the pictures and always asked me people's names. It just didn't dawn on me how many people she knows.

That's when it hit me. I don't even know most of these people. We've never met, and we never will. Yet I truly do feel like we are friends, and I genuinely care about them. I would think that it's some romantic version of "caring" about people that you can easily reserve for folks you'll never, ever meet. But since I've had the privledge of meeting over a dozen of the DC Metro ladies, I know that it's the case that I really do like them. There is something special about the IF bond, and I'm not sure I can put it into words. Even if I could, those words would never do justice to the richness that my blog friends have brought to my life.

Two years ago today, I was going in for my first D&C. One year ago today, I was still reeling from 4 pregnancy announcements (including my best friend), and a cancelled IVF cycle. I felt alone. Very, very alone. I have Kevin -- who is amazing and patient and tries so hard that he deserves a medal -- but that's different. I also have a wonderful, wonderful group of IRL friends who have worked hard to educate themselves and figure out the right way to be supportive through our IF journey. But that's different too. My sister has endured 3 IVFs and 2 miscarriages, but she is somewhat bitter about it, and I suspect that she's always thought we should stop this nonsense and move straight to adoption. So, as much as she did actually understand, her support was different as well (plus it was almost 10 years ago that she rode the IVF rollercoaster). The only person I had that truly, truly got what I was going through was Rho. And boy, did we lean on each other hard during our first few cycles. (Especially because her IVF cycle got cancelled last December shortly before mine did.) Without a shadow of a doubt, I would not have made it through this journey without her.

I remember like it was yesterday, when I wrote this in a previous post:

"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."

This year is different. This December 31st, I'm not checking in for another D&C. This year, I'm not crying that yet another year has passed with nothing to show for it except a big, fat helping of debt and sadness. This year, I have all of you.

It's amazing that after just 7 months of blogging (although I've been reading much longer), and almost 100 posts, I feel like I have known some of you for such a long, long time. I suppose this is what it feels like to have a support group. Whatever it is, I love it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not so dense that I don't realize this December 31st is also quite different because I've got Spidey on the way. But I genuinely feel that even if we hadn't been blessed with our little miracle (hey, the 7th time's the charm, right?), I would still be in a better place. Thanks to the magic of blogging and the support of our community.

I already wrote a gushy post about how much I love you guys, so I don't need to go into it all again. Just know that as I am counting my blessings, the IF blogging community -- and specifically every one of you who have ever showed me kindness or support or empathy -- are near the very top of my list. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.


Sunny said...

It is because of you that this IF community truly is a community. You make everyone feel loved and included.

I am so glad Dec. 31st is VERY different for you. You deserve the best!

Meghan said...

I 2nd Sunny!

And boy did that paragraph on being tired hit me. I was just trying to explain that very same feeling to Mr H this morning, but I wasn't quite as eloquent...and he totally didn't get since he told me to take a nap!

I am so glad 08 is going to bring you your Spidey!

Kathy V said...

Even though this Dec 31, I am sad for what could have been this year, I have to agree that it is so much better going through it with our blogging buddies. I really appreciate that we can talk freely and people understand what we are saying. Even if we are not all at the same part in our journey, we just know. After having kind of a rough day yesterday, reading people's positively spun blogs today has put me in a better place. I am still ready to say goodbye to 2007 but looking forward to good things in 2008. Thanks for putting up this kind of post to help us get back on track.

Fertilize Me said...

Leah- you rock! Happy 2008 to you and family!

This morning (i know it's unfair for me to admit this) but i had a bit of a meltdown myslef about the unfairness of it all. I am still unsure if we will get a baby out of this. I pleaded with god, the universe or what ever supernatural powers to please please please let me keep this baby. I know i should just be "happy" and relish in what I have now, but i want it to end well too. I don't think that is selfish or unfair of a request. Thinking of you and family and wishing you all your pipedreams

Waiting Amy said...

Indeed, it is bloggers like YOU that make this a wonderful community. Thanks for initiating me and welcoming me to the fold.

And I'm so happy for you that 2008 is looking up!

Samantha said...

I love the blogging community!

Changing Expectations said...

I understand exactly where you are coming from. It is hard for the IRL people to actually get it - for most though it's not for lack of trying. But it is not the same as being able to relate to real people that are in the trenches.

I am so happy that this 12/31 is a good one for you and your family.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that this community has done so much for all of us. It let me know I am not alone.

Thank you for your support through my journey and I am thankful to be a part of your joy.

passingwindows said...

I am so glad that this year is different. You tell things so well in that post you quoted, that's exactly how I feel - the anger/guilt/gloom drill. And the blogging community has helped me more than I would have thought possible as well. You are so lucky to have met some of bloggers. I agree that the IF bond is a very special one, someone understands and is not saying, "Well, you know, my neighbour tried and tried and then she gave up and what do you know? She fell pregnant straight away!"

sltbee69 said...

Even though I have never been through or will never go through the lengths that many of you have, your post about being tired hit me so very close to home in so many ways. My IRL friends and family have no clue just how much my heart aches so it is so nice to have IF blogs to turn to when I'm at my lowest. Thank YOU!

Baby Step said...

Happy New Year Leah.

In and Out of Luck said...

I'm glad 2008 is beginning differently. I hope you'll be there on Sunday? Happy New Year.

Dreamer4agift said...

I don't ever leave many comments, but I just thought I'd put my 2 cents in. I, too, love the IF community. It's a life saver.

Thank you for your strength and proof that miracles happen. So glad this year is ending on a pos. one for you:)

Cibele said...

Sorry that I havent been here in so long. I am so so happy to read about yout perfect little boy!!!! how exciting. I feel so blessed to have met such fantastic women like you... we are part of a true sisterhood

Gabby said...

I know what you mean! I wish I had at least one of two of my blogger friends in my hometown. I wouldn't be so lonely then...