Running On Empty (Empty Uterus)

Yesterday I “failed” yet another pregnancy test.  Another month of early mornings, ultrasounds, blood tests, stomach needles and suppositories for nothing.

The phone call with the negative result always hurts.  It’s happened so often now that I have the conversation memorized.  The doctor’s secretary gently confirms that it’s me on the phone.  She awkwardly asks if I already know the result.  I tell her I didn’t get the blood results but that I have a good idea (read 10 pee sticks).  She apologizes, tells me that it’s negative.  We discuss protocol and she wishes me luck the next time.  Yesterday’s phone call hurt a little more than usual.  Today marks an anniversary.

One year ago today, I was in the hospital for the D&C.  It was “play day “at my school.  The hospital is right across the street from my work.  I heard the music playing and the children laughing as my husband brought me in for the procedure.  The baby shower for one of my “Belly Buddies”, a colleague, was scheduled for that same evening.  The date was very close to my second due date, June 26th.  I couldn’t help but thinking that if things had worked out, I may have been in this same hospital that day having a baby, not waiting to have yet another failed pregnancy removed from my body.  One year ago today was the last day that I had a baby in my belly.

A whole year has gone by and I’ve been empty the whole time.  The previous year I was pregnant 3 times!

When I got pregnant the first time I was 35 years old (just a few weeks away from turning 36).  A few weeks from now,  I turn 38.  I still don’t have my baby.

I’m frustrated, I’m sad and I’m feeling very discouraged.

 

Afraid of The Dentist (seriously…EVERYTHING is about infertility)

800px-Dental_X-ray_73

I had a dentist appointment today.  I didn’t sleep well last night, and I was nervous all afternoon.

A fear of going to the dentist is pretty common.  I’ve admittedly never loved going to the dentist.  My front teeth have no enamel, I’ve always had bonding, crowns or veneers and my gums are generally a mess.  Thanks to dental insurance through work, I make a trip the dentist every three months.

In the past couple of years I have developed a whole new fear of the dentist.  I’m not afraid of the needles, the pain or the condescending reminder to floss.  I’m afraid of the dreaded “x-ray question”.

“Oh, it looks here that you’re due for your dental x-rays!”

The first time this question freaked me out was when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time. This was way before the counting of days and peeing on sticks.  When they asked about the x-rays I said it was probably safer not to because there was that small chance that I was pregnant.  I remember thinking, “Wow, I really wasn’t prepared to share the fact that I’m trying to have a baby.”  In the back of my superstitious mind (although I deny being superstitious), I wondered if announcing it would “jinx” it.

The second time I was asked to get my dental x-rays I confirmed that I couldn’t do it because (yay!) I was 2  months pregnant. My first pregnancy.

When I went back the next time, the hygienist saw my bloated belly and the “pregnant” note in my file and asked, “How far long are you now? How’s it going? You must be so excited!”.  I responded with a solid sob.  She promptly updated my file and kindly moved on to my cleaning.  She didn’t mention the x-rays that day.

Every visit since then I have had to refuse the x-ray (pregnant/might be pregnant).  I’ve had to update my ever evolving medication notes in my file: Ovidrel, Orgalutron, Suprefact, Gonal F, Progesterone, low-dose Asprin (the Asprin and Progesterone of course make bleeding gums even worse).  During every visit I choke back tears.  The hygienist kindly tries to offer support.   She tells me to call and book for my x-ray if I find out I’m not pregnant (sob).  I try to explain that it takes at least two weeks to get an appointment which would put me right back where I started – not knowing, not willing to risk it.  This will likely go on until holding my baby.

My dental x-rays are now 3 years out of date.  I have a whole new fear of the dentist.

 

 

In My Next Life, I Will Be a Construction Worker

Another one!

I just got an email from a close friend and colleague announcing her pregnancy.  I thank her for her tact.  She knew that it was a really sensitive topic and she didn’t want me to hear from someone else.  It’s still hard.  I still spent my morning blubbering.  I’m lucky to have friends to blubber to, having a good cry helps to get it all out of my system.

I say “another one” because this is going to be the 5th pregnant colleague that I will be working with next year.  FIVE pregnant ladies in one building…and that’s just the ones I know about!  This doesn’t include those who just had their babies that will be parading them around the school for a visit this fall.  (I’m really going to have to work on my “pleasant” face and buy plugs for my tear ducts).

In the spirit of gender stereotyping, THIS is why I want to be a construction worker in my next life rather than a teacher.  I love my job but how many construction workers out there right now have FIVE pregnant colleagues?  My guess is very few.

Being a teacher, I work with almost all women (we only have 3 men on staff).  This makes avoiding pregnant ladies VERY difficult.

I’ve got a good team to lean on.  I’ll try to be strong but in reality, I’m just ready for it to be my turn.

“Back to School” is next week.  The ads on TV continue to remind me.  This year, much like last year I have so much more to anticipate (dread) than getting back to my morning routine and meeting a new crop of students.  Once again, I have to prepare myself to watch  bellies of my co-workers grow full of life.  Once again I need to put away the speech that I prepared to tell my students and parents the exciting reason that I won’t be with them for the whole year.

No Staples…it’s not the “most wonderful time of the year”.

The Text Message

Yesterday afternoon, I received a text message with a photo from my Aunt (yes, she’s THAT modern).  The photo was of my cousin’s minutes-old baby and the text was a proud boast from my Aunt about being a grandmother again (this is number 8).

A few years ago, this exact message would have made me jump for joy, run out to buy a present and hop in the car on the way to my cousin’s place to go give that baby a squeeze.

Now things are different.  Instead, I deleted the message and spent the rest of the afternoon in tears.

Not only do I mourn my babies that never were, but I also mourn the ability to enjoy other babies.   I truly wish that I could have looked at that photo and felt joy.  I wish that I could look beyond the fact that I was pregnant at the same time as my cousin and that she got to keep her baby.  I wish that I did not resent her for holding a baby in her arms as I choke back tears.  I wish that I could see, squeeze and cuddle all of my friends’ kids.  I’m still not ready.

I’m trying.  I was very proud of myself for cuddling my friend’s one year old the other day.  That is a huge step for me.  I may have cried on the way home, but I did enjoy it in the moment.  Maybe there’s hope for this lady after all.  I’ll accept the tears when they flow, try to stay positive even when it’s impossible and look forward.  I will have a family.  I can’t choose when.

beware of incoming text messages

And here we were

Very shortly after loss number three (I was still recovering from my D&C the day before), we jumped ahead to the adoption discussion.  It was time to make a move before we went through any more pain, before it becomes a decision that we make out of desperation, before a doctor tells me whether I will or will not ever be able to carry a pregnancy to term. We wanted this adoption to be for the right reasons.

We knew the process would be long and wanted to get moving on it.  It was clear to us now that this would be the way we would start our family.

Having “a light at the end of the tunnel” uplifted my spirits a great deal.  Part of what was so painful about the losses was wondering if anything would ever come out of it, if this pain would ever be worth it, now I felt would be.

“What do we do if it doesn’t work?”

Before “pulling the goalie” the first time, my husband and I had discussed adoption.  He was adopted (from Korea), my dad and aunt were adopted (locally in Toronto) and it was something we had both always had in mind when it came to growing a family.

We decided to put the idea of adoption on hold because of the great expense involved.  We figured, if we could make a baby for free, that’s probably the better way to start.  We can adopt a second child later on.

We also talked about what we would do if we weren’t able to conceive naturally.   The answer was adoption. We were both in favour of adoption over gambling with expensive fertility treatments.