Monday, January 25, 2016

I don't often give advice, but....

So the other day I had an epic meltdown, which isn't advisable when you're trapped in your house with two feet of snow outside.  On the good side, I helped some elderly neighbors shovel their driveway.  On the bad side, it's a day later, my body is achey and I feel just as out of sorts as I did 24 hours ago.

Let's backtrack.  Imagine you're perusing some pictures on facebook.  I know many of my dear readers are smarter than me and have gotten the hell off of the facebooks, but leaving that aside...

You're on facebook and you see a picture posted by an old dear friend whom you rarely see anymore, because she got a new job.  But she still occassionally texts, and likes your limited array of posted social media pictures.  And she sometimes even texts you that she misses you.

And she was one of the few people who knows that in fact, you're a fucking infertility superhero, like batman, except you have no cape and no ears, and no real superpowers actually, but she is one of the few who knows your double life.  Because by day you are the smart chick at work who balances the job and the Niblet, but by night you are the lady who has mourned 5 of Niblet's siblings.  And she knows about Celine.  She may not know about the baby after Celine, but she knows that you have been through hell and back.

And she posts a picture of a beautiful baby, and you catch your breath, wait, actually, you can't breathe, because in all of the light-hearted occassional hellos and texts, she has neglected to tell you that she was pregnant and whoa, had a baby girl in December.

Sometimes I wish that I had fertile readers.  I love you all, my dearest friends who are with me in this pit of hell of loss, but man, it's times like this that I wish I had readers who knew nothing personally about miscarriage, or Asherman's, or partial molar pregnancies or TFMR, because I could try to impress upon this audience that HIDING YOUR BABY is probably the worst thing you can do to people like me.

But God, sweet Jesus, I wish she would have sent a note.  A gentle heads up.  Because bursting into tears when you are checking your phone in front of your one living daughter, isn't a state of being I wish on anyone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

on Bravery

I check out the blog posts of some other sisters in RPL, and I marvel at the bravery.  To be struck with blow after blow, and to continue forging on in a quest to add a/nother baby to their home.... it's well, brave.

My cycle is a mess.  I can't tell when I ovulated, hell, I can't even tell IF I ovulated, and honestly, I have a nagging suspicion that I didn't.  For anyone who cares, I think I am on day 25 of a cycle that has been anywhere from 27 to 32 days. 

I have been down this road enough to know I will eventually get a period.  Once I do, maybe the new mega-powered scary herbs my acupuncturist ordered direct from a chinese dude in NYC will do the trick.  Or maybe the new found commitment to drop the 10 pounds of baby weight accumulated over 5 pregnancies will.  Cutting substantial amounts of sugar will only help.

Whatever that drive was that pushed me to keep going and going and going - towards a road of 53 weeks of pregnancy (who's counting) without taking home an actual living baby - it's depleted.  Maybe it's Niblet's seventh birthday.  Maybe it's my rocking hard at work lately, not surprising given that I am not bursting into tears or running to terrifying ultrasounds on a weekly basis.

My mom and dad recently had me on the phone and not so delicately asked if I was still trying.  And I told them  "No, not really."  And my Dad sounded surprised and my Mom did not.  And they asked if I was still seeing my therapist (they are DEEPLY dubious of therapy) and I  said, "yes, I am, in fact she's awesome."  And they asked if my husband was ok with this, and I firmly noted that all he has ever wanted was for me to be happy, and the decision rests with me.  And I went on to explain,

I won't prevent a pregnancy, because sure, miracles happen.  But I can't do this anymore.  Four years of my life has been insanely painful.  I just can't see a good outcome in sight, so we just can't keep trying to have a baby.  We can be pleasantly surprised, but I suspect we won't be.  We have one beautiful child and she is enough.

Is she really enough? That's a loaded question.  I don't think I will ever wake up in the morning and feel deeply at my core that my family is complete.  But in the past year I have learned to wake up each morning, find the laughs and insanity and frustration that await as I get the privilege of mothering this ridiculously smart, adorable, hilarious kid, make my way to work, do my thing at the office, come home to my viking and niblet, try not to get attacked by the scary monsters of my dreams,  and eventually start it all over again the next day.

I'm not brave, despite all of the crap that has been thrown at me these past few years.  It's just that, as I also explained to my parents, I am not the least bit self-destructive.

I've reached that elusive tipping point that we discuss on RPL boards like, all the time:  where the fear of another loss outweighs the desire to keep trying to have a baby.

Not brave at all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Heavy love

So I have been thinking a lot about my quest for peace and sanity.

Niblet and my husband have been my central tether to functionality, I don't kid myself otherwise.  But I got to thinking in my shower (a long, hot, environmentally wasteful shower if I want to get all confessional about it), about my own parents.  Who generally rock.  But who are also difficult in many ways, because both suffer from a deep-seated depression.  And when I got old enough to understand them - to understand the "IT" that they each individually battled (and they battle IT in different ways), I was dumbstruck with the realization that I was central to making them happy.  Me alone.  This isn't the narcissism of an only child speaking, trust me, God, I wish it was.  No it's just the blunt, honest truth in hearing my dad say stuff like, "the only thing that turned out right in our lives was you"  all the fucking time.

Heavy, right?

And as I basked in the steam, I got to thinking about Niblet, and her life as an only child.  How, yes, OF COURSE she makes me happy, exuberant!, but how I didn't want to put that kind of pressure on her.  If there was ONE thing I could alter in my incredible childhood and adolescence, it would be the knowledge that my parents depended so much upon me for their happiness.  They are really nice people, but neither of them have close friends.  They both have their interests sure: Mom, a former ballerina like me takes two ballet classes a week - impressive at 70, right?  And Dad, now 68, is a tai chi instructor on the side who could kill you with his pinky if you tried to jump him in a dark alley (no seriously, the little dude used to carry nun-chucks - don't ask).

But what I came to learn when I moved away from home and married and settled in my own little piece of Victorian paradise nestled on a hidden woodsy street, is that my moving away really brought them down.  It wasn't empty nest syndrome.  I honestly think it was more like, "the person we enjoy most in the world isn't here with us anymore."

Which returns me to Niblet.  And my own deep deep grief.  And how I don't want her spending time worrying about how to make me happy, because she needs to know she just does.  She needs to know that I will be ok if she decides she wants to (gulp) move to a different city.  She needs to know that I have a world outside of her to protect me from the monsters hiding under our beds at night that prevent us from sleeping. 

The trauma and consequent depression of the past three and a half years have wrecked my friendships.  Not irreparably, but to the extent that I just feel really shitty.  I've been so MIA from people who I used to lean on.  RPL didn't just steal my babies, my dreams of a larger family.  RPL stole my voice.  It's hard to call your BFF since college, who now is a plane ride away in the midwest, when you're not sure whether you're going to burst into tears at any moment...when all you have to offer her is small talk, because if she asks you an innocuous question like "are you ok?" you can only respond in the silence of despair.

So tonight I wrote a letter to my BFF, who is a plane ride away.  Kind of luddite of me I know, I mean hello, there's email, but I used fancy paper and everything and it felt nice.  Cathartic.  And I just wrote and wrote and kept writing in a probably illegible cursive stream of consciousness rant: about my sadness.... about the fog that I am pulling myself out from.... about the formal PTSD diagnosis.... and about how I missed her.  And how I missed myself.  How I want to find the old me, the one who called all the time and giggled on the phone and made her feel better when she needed it.  The one who could muster the emotional strength to do more than send cute text messages.  The one who could climb out of any pit of hell and laugh in yo face about it.

Sending the letter is a start, I think.