A Look Back and a Plan for the New Year

The last few years have been very difficult. Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Mother’s Day even Halloween always remind me of all that I have lost.  For years now I have suffered through “the worst Christmas ever”, only to have it trumped the following year.  On New Year’s Eves I have put the pain of the previous year behind  looking forward to a “fresh start” only to face another difficult series of events.

Christmas was hard.  It’s impossible not to think about what might have been, what Christmas in my home SHOULD be like, the celebrations that are happening  in the homes of my friends and their new families and where we could have gone on vacation if we hadn’t have spent our money on a failed IVF.  I got through it.  There were tears, arguments with my husband and loneliness but I got through it.

I got through New Year’s Eve too.  I thought a lot about last year’s New Year’s Eve reflection.   I knew last year that 2013 wasn’t going to be a good one.  I wasn’t being pessimistic, I was being realistic.  This year is a little different.  This year there is actually a chance.   Not a guarantee, but at least a chance.

My husband and I were approved for adoption over a year ago.  The original estimated wait time was 18 months.  The numbers have gone up and down since then, but it does mean that REALISTICALLY, we could be matched with our child this year.

As frustrating as the fertility treatment fails were, I’m glad that I did them.  I can say with confidence that I tried “all the ways“.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not mourning the loss of that potential biological child, but it does mean that I need to shift my focus towards the adoption.

Unlike fertility treatments, focusing on adoption alone feels much less productive.  There are no calendars or early morning appointments.  I had to consider what “focusing on adoption” meant to me.    I think it’s going to mean the following:

  • getting into shape to prepare to run after a potentially terrified running toddler (I’ve heard stories about this from other adoptive parents)
  • taking care of myself, continuing acupuncture and mourning my losses so that I’m ready to be a happy parent
  • continuing and possibly increasing my involvement with the adoption agency. ( I currently write for the newsletter)
  • saving money so if I get my referral the trip to Vietnam and time off work won’t put me into enormous debt.

That’s a start. If the adoption doesn’t go through this year, none of those actions will be a waste. They’re all positive things.

My husband wants me to start considering that our life may not include children.  I’m not ready to think about that.  For now I have to assume that I will have a child. I just “can’t choose when“.

 

 

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Decisions, decisions

After months of “assistance” (cycle monitoring, injectable drugs, progesterone suppositories) I am yet to see a positive pregnancy test.

We went to the clinic just under a year ago to try to get to the bottom of our three losses.  Why was this happening? Will I ever be able to carry a baby to term? What can we do?

The diagnosis was “immature eggs”.   The solution was to take meds and monitor my cycle to correct the issue.  We’ve been trying this for several months to no avail.

I recently met with the doctor again last week to revisit the issue.  I just can’t understand why I could get pregnant 3 times with broken babies, and now, with help haven’t.

The doctor looked at my monitoring results (blood and ultrasound) from the past several months and let me know the devastating news.

This isn’t going to work.

The doctor, probably wisely, said to continue with what we’re doing is “just not good medicine”.

He gave us one option.  IVF.

This was a hard pill to swallow. When we embarked upon this journey, IVF was our “line”.  IVF was out.  IVF was not an option.

Now that I’ve had three babies in my belly and never been able to meet them, all of a sudden, having a biological child has become more important.  After all of this effort, it’s hard to stop here.

My husband and I have some big decisions to make.  Is it worth the gamble? Is it worth the expense? Is this the way we want to start our family?  We’ve already started the adoption process.  The wait could be long.  Maybe it’s time to just sit and wait.http://www.ivillage.ca/sites/default/files/imagecache/preganancy_article_main/IVF.jpg

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.

 

“Dear Belly Buddy” Volume Two

After much procrastination I did it.  I wrote back to my friend. No turning back now.  I really hope I said all of the right things.  I didn’t edit myself because I really just wanted to get down what I was feeling.  I just went with the flow.

Thanks to “K” for reminding me that it was ok to start with “It’s so hard to explain how I feel without coming across as an awful human being.”

I’ve omitted the names but that’s it.

Dear Belly Buddy,

It’s so hard to explain how I feel without coming across as an awful human being.  But here goes…

 

This last chapter of my life has been really hard.  Harder then anything that life has ever dealt me. There have been some ups (like the wedding) but even that has been tainted because I was pregnant at the wedding.

 

I’ve been in a lot of pain for such a long time now.   I cry almost every day.  I hate feeling like this.  Sometimes I feel ok and then out of the blue, some trigger sets me off and I go several steps back. 

 

Having friends who shared due dates (you, my other belly buddies , half the staff at work – all within a month of my due date) has made things even harder for me.  It’s like I have access to watch some alternate universe where everything turned out ok.  It’s really hard for me to see and think about.  

 

At this point it’s hard for me to be around anyone who is pregnant or has a young family.  I just feel so ripped off.  I feel like I’m a mom with no kids.

I found out about a month a go that my little brother is having a baby.  This kills me.  I’m having a really hard time with it.   I haven’t seen them and I don’t want to.  It hurts too much.   I’m starting to feel like I’ve missed my turn.  I feel left behind.

I’ve been ready to have a family for so long.  At the beginning, I was able to find some peace with it and be positive.  I thought then that I just had to wait for my turn. Now that I have been so close to it so many times it has become intolerable.  It consumes me.  I think about it all the time.  Almost everything I do revolves around it.

I spend so much time at doctors’ offices. Just trying to find out what went wrong and how we can make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

Going into a clinic several mornings a month for diagnostic blood and ultrasound makes it really difficult to “get it off my mind”.  

 

Moving forward with the adoption process has been positive and exciting. But what’s hard now is that the wait will be so long (some people I have spoken to have been waiting over three years).  There’s also always the chance that it won’t work.  Laws are constantly changing. There’s no guarantee that this is going to happen.

I’m coping with the wait by writing for the newsletter and trying to connect with other waiting moms.  This is a way that makes me at least feel like I’m being proactive, but it’s not really making the hurt go away.

I’ve also been writing a blog about all of this (thanks for the inspiration – I loved your dating blog), which has proved to be a good release when there’s something I need to let out.  It’s also, to my surprise, connected me with other people who are going through the same thing.

 

The thought of another 3 years without a child kills me. I wish I could explain better how it feels.   I just feel empty.  I feel stupid living in this big family home without a family.  I hate looking at the spare rooms and I don’t like going in them.

 

The desperation to have a child has and added pressure as I really feel that that’s what it’s going to take to start picking up the pieces of my life.  I’m never going to be “over it”, but I’m hoping I’ll be “ok”.  

 

I miss you so much.  We really got each other and we have had so much fun and made it though some tough times. But right now the pain of seeing you and your family trumps the pain of staying away. 

I just need to cocoon and stay in a place that limits triggers and makes me feel safe.  It’s the only way at this point that I can function.  This is why I’m staying away from some social events and parties.  It’s hard for me to be there and public bursts of sobbing are getting embarrassing.  I just don’t feel like my regular, fun self.

 

I’ve talked to some other people who have gone through similar things and some of them have been able to get their lives back with time, even before they have kids.  I really hope that I get there but I’m not there yet.

 

Please don’t give up on me.  Please do keep checking up on me.  Please do accept me as a friend again when I’m ready to come back.

 

Thanks for being so understanding all this time. I had no idea; I never could have predicted how long the sadness would go on for. I never could have predicted that it would happen again and again.

 

I don’t expect you to understand.  I don’t think I would have really understood if I wasn’t going through it.   I just really don’t want you to think I’m awful.  I don’t want you to think it’s because of anything you’ve done.  I just want you to keep caring.

“Nothing” to fear

In just over a week, I go back to the clinic to get the results of this last round of poking and prodding.  This is the clinic that SPECIALIZES in multiple pregnancy loss. If someone is going to find an answer, it’s going to be them.

Usually, when getting results from a doctor, the answer “nothing is wrong” is exactly what one wants to hear.  In this case, it’s my biggest fear.

The best-case scenario for me would be to sit down and have the doctor tell me that they’ve figured out what has been causing the losses.  That “pill A” or “procedure B” should take care of the problem and yes, I will be able to carry a baby to term.

Another scenario would be to be told that something is wrong.  That I will never be able to carry a baby to term and that I need to stop trying or I will suffer losses again and again.   This scenario would be heartbreaking.  I would mourn the loss of my chance to have biological children. The only positive is that at least a line would be drawn, I would have my answer, and I could focus on the adoption and maybe even future adoptions for an even bigger family.

If they find “nothing” there are just so many unknowns.  Will I keep trying (I know already the answer is yes)?  How many losses will I have to suffer before I’d want to stop trying?  How many losses would be my husband’s limit?  I hear so many stories of multiple losses: 8, 10, 13 and more.  Where is my line?  How much emotional and physical energy can I give to this? If I stop trying, how will I get it out of my head that “the next one” would have been the one that made it.

All of this is hypothetical.  I know I shouldn’t worry until I have something to worry about.  I don’t know how I’ll really react until I really get the news.

My friend wished for me that I could “fast forward”.  This is exactly what I want.  Limbo is a difficult place to live.

 

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The Test

Yesterday, my husband had to go into the clinic’s Audio Visual room to provide a “sample”.  It’s all part of the process of finding out why we keep losing our babies.  I’ve already had several sonohysterograms, internal and external ultrasounds and blood tests.  There are more to come and we’re hoping to have some answers by the end of next month.  The dreaded answer is, “no answer”.

I’ve ALWAYS known that I wanted children.  For me to go through any kind of testing is a no brainer.  I will do whatever it takes.

For my husband it’s different.  Before meeting me (like many men) he hadn’t even thought about having children.  It meant a lot to me when he told me a few years ago that he wanted to have children with me.  It meant that I could keep him.

For him to go to the clinic and provide a “sample” was a big deal in my eyes.  I know it’s difficult, awkward and inconvenient.  Maybe that doesn’t compare to the poking and prodding that I’ve endured but things don’t always compare.

I think this test serves more than one purpose.  It will rule out or bring light to any sperm related issues connected to our losses.  It also put my husband’ dedication to the test.  Considering the efforts we’ve gone through to conceive and try to carry a baby, the efforts and finances that we’ve put forward towards the adoption I had no doubt that my husband wanted a family.  This “test” confirmed that even further.   A+!