Seismic Shift.

May 9, 2011 at 5:00 am | Posted in Heartbreak, Infertility | 18 Comments

It’s like my entire world cracked and fell apart on Friday.

I thought I had prepared myself for the outcome. I asked myself SO MANY TIMES.

Am I REALLY okay with being done?

So many times.

And always, the answer was YES.

Truth is, I was long done with treatments back in November.

But nothing prepared me for the ACTUALITY of realizing that we were done.

The dream of the family I wanted, ever since I was a KID, is gone.

I never expected this would be the outcome, even as I prepared for what I thought was the inevitable end.

On Friday, when J couldn’t answer the question Why SHOULDN’T I just sign up for this? I went ahead and did it. I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30.

And on Saturday, I was consumed with excitement and nerves and planning. I ran 5 miles – 2 on my own and three with my running buddy. And we made plans for races during the season and chatted. And a good blogger friend decided to sign up for it, too. So now I have a partner.

Saturday night J and I went out to dinner and we talked about our new life, how we wanted to show O the world, and how this gave us more flexibility now, how we’d only take up ONE row on a plane, how we’d be able to really focus on living our life together, the three of us.

When I went to bed on Saturday night, I felt OKAY. Like I had so much good stuff in my life, that I would weather this storm pretty well.

And then I woke up on Sunday.

Mother’s Day.

I was cramping and bleeding.

I made the best of it. The day was actually a really good one, weather-wise. O and J and I went for a 2 mile hike in the morning, then headed out to the family gathering for Mother’s Day. I played with my niece and nephew and chatted with the family members and drank beer and ate bad chinese food.

And then I got my fortune.

When I opened the bag with the cookie in it, the cookie skittered from my hands under the table. I joked that maybe I should open another, that it was trying to get away from me. But I opened it anyway.

Old dreams never die, they just get filed away.

I nearly started crying at the table when I read it. I couldn’t talk, even when the others were swapping their fortunes and joking that they didn’t understand what it was trying to say.

Mine was meant for me.

It’s so odd to be ME right now. Outwardly nothing’s changed. Nothing about our day to day life is different. We still laugh, kiss, hug, tell O we love him, deal with tantrums, play, eat, run, sleep.

It’s just on the inside.

I’m full of shattered glass.

I didn’t really KNOW much when I was a kid. I knew my grandfather and I were kindreds. I knew I was going to get married someday. And I knew that two kids was the perfect number.

And I don’t want to sound selfish, or ungrateful. Because I KNOW, especially now, that we are so very lucky to have O in our lives in the first place.

It’s just that now there’s also a grief for the little one that will never be.

Old dreams never die.

They just get filed away.

And maybe, with time, I’ll forge the sharp edges of this pain into my identity, knitting me into a stronger woman.

That’s about all I can manage right now. Hope that someday it won’t hurt so much.



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  1. This is so painful. I’m so sorry. (((((((((big hugs)))))))))))

  2. There’s nothing easy about this, time will help. I’m sorry it’s so horrible right now.

  3. one day, one step at a time. It’s all we can do in this f*ed up crazy world.

  4. I am so sorry for your pain… I was facing the same dilemma of one more time or not.. If our FET doesn’t work I feel like I HAVE to do this just one more time.. I said this was it before I had my egg retrieval, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t.. I got hubby to agree to just one more.. I know financially that’s all we can do, but it doesn’t make the hurt any less if that “one more” isn’t successful.. I am keeping you in my prayers and hope that peace with your decision and healing of your pain come to you soon.. BIG HUGS!

  5. Sounds like you’re doing the best you can. You are probably right, time will make it easier, although the old dream will never die. So sorry for your pain, though.

  6. I have no words that can heal, though I wish I did. But, wanted to let you know that this post made my heart ache. And I hope that you don’t feel like shattered glass forever.

  7. “And maybe, with time, I’ll forge the sharp edges of this pain into my identity, knitting me into a stronger woman”

    Serenity, there is much more truth to what you wrote above than you can see right now. I relate with this in many ways. With my divorce my dreams of my family with 3 kids died and it was a long process. I was “full of shattered glass” for a long time and the edges were so sharp and the pain so raw. I went through Lyla’s baby stuff and sobbed thinking about the second baby that was meant to use all these baby gear again. I held on to it for as long and I could and last week I had to let it go. I gave it all (except a few special things) away for somebody who needs it. I cried remembering when I was first putting Lyla’s nursery together; it seems that it was yesterday. I filed away that dream, at least for now, and it was painful, but necessary. What helped me with the healing process was the realization that though this is not my ideal family, it is Lyla’s, she won’t miss having a sibling because she does know otherwise. It is okay to want more, I want so much more. I lived for 7 years planning around on what could have been. Waiting for the real life to begin. When I was TTCing I did not buy new clothes because I might get pregnant, and then I did not buy much baby stuff in the beginning of my pregnant because it might not work. I got divorced and moved into a tiny place with mixed matched furniture. I did not buy new things because I might not stay in the country… you get the picture… I said enough to that. The truth is that life is unexpected I can only make plans based on what I know now. Last week I furnish my new “bachelorette pad” and embraced my new life. I rearranged things to accommodate my preschooler. No more changing table, instead a big girl’s barbie bike, no more high chair, instead a craft center for my little artist…
    I’ve had filed away many dreams and with that came new ones. Maybe someday I will revisit the old ones , maybe not!
    HUGS dear, you will be okay

  8. “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Churchill ~ That is a quote that I kept repeating to myself in the days and weeks after we decided to quit treatments. To say that I know what you are going through is an understatement. I GET IT. It sucks and there are no words that I can say to convey that or help. This is something that you have to work through on your own. Just know that you are not alone. And here I am…7 months post “quitting” and I am going strong. Is that dream of more babies filed away? Yes, I guess it is. But I am better than I was 7 months ago, that is the only comfort I can give you. It won’t go away but it will get better in time.

    As far as the baby stuff – leave it be. There is no hurry. I am just now starting to sort through things. I’m keeping all my favorite items, ones that I have special memories of. I’m keeping them and I am going to make them into a quilt someday. Just an idea for you too. I have no idea how to make a quilt but I am going to save all my favorite items from Keegan’s baby, toddler, and childhood and stitch them together to give to him when he goes off to college. That way I never have to give those things up and can do something special with them.

    Keep running girl, you’ll find yourself. It will just take time.

    • Your fortune makes me feel like crying too, but just remember that old dreams can be replaced by new dreams. Things will get better in time, and you’re going to rock that marathon!

  9. I know. That’s all I can say. I’m trying to grasp on to different dreams, but the unfulfilled still lurks around every corner. (((hugs)))

  10. Thinking of you and your filed-away dreams… hoping that in the future it will be a little easier to take a look in that file cabinet. You have such a way with words, Serenity.

  11. Grieving a child that has never actually existed is a tough one. It’s not like other people can tell you how sorry they are for your loss. It’s not like what you have lost is at all tangible to anyone else. This person that we grieve is just an idea, but it is such a real and vivid one. With time the acute pain recedes, but it will never completely go away. There will be occasional reminders here and there as time goes on. But it will also help you appreciate what you have so much more.

  12. I’m so sorry this cycle did not result in a positive. It’s such a tough decision to stop trying to build your family when you wanted so desperately to add to it. I really love Cibele’s comment above and it rings true with me as well. In time, you will be ready to really move forward. It just takes time to heal. You’ve been involved in this process for so long and even when you weren’t trying for #2, you always had that hope that you’d get to do it all over again and give O a sibling. Things will still be wonderful and as you start to heal, you’ll gain a new perspective. I know it will be raw for a while and that’s ok because it won’t always be. Wishing you peace as you adjust to the new reality.

  13. Dreams filed away. I think that fortune cookie hit it perfectly.

    Yes, time will make things better, but the time that has to pass to make things better? Well, it can still suck and be painful. As you know I’m only recently going through the same things and although I’m in a better place than a month ago there are still moments when those filed away dreams pop up and remind me that they are there.

    I was talking to a friend of mine about the sadness. This friend also has one child and by choice will not be having any more. She said to me that although she is sure of her decision there are still times when she looks at her daughter and there is a little ache in her heart that bubbles up. Her comment made me realize that I will likely always hold a little bit of that sadness with me inside. But, hopefully it will only be sadness that sticks and not the pain.

    Thinking of you…

  14. Your first sentence took me right back to the day of our IF diagnosis.

    Our circumstances are so different, but I, too, have grieved a child that never existed. And I agree with everything Rachel said about how that feels.

    In my experience, old dreams never die. But you experience them differently once life has been filled in with the richness of beautiful adventures that wouldn’t have happened if your initial dream had come true.

  15. Reading that fortune made me burst into tears. Sending big love as your heart opens to your now. Your strength is always inspiring.

  16. oh my heart hurts, esp after reading you getting that fortune, OMG.

    I can’t give you enough love through this screen, but I do hope you can feel it.

  17. that is a visceral reaction, but I understand, sometimes it hits you so hard, your breath catches…

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