The Truth.

September 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Posted in another cycle! (aka: deja vu), Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), Infertility | 31 Comments

When you’re struggling to have a baby, before you are successful, all you can do is watch other people around you get what you want so badly. Maybe easily. Maybe with varying degrees of struggle.

It doesn’t matter, though. They’re pregnant and you’re not.

And when they tell you, you KNOW your first reaction should be “YAY!” and give them a hug, but instead it’s personal, and you cry, and you secretly hate them a little. It’s no problem, with people you don’t know well. Easy for you to unsubscribe to their Facebook feed, write them off. You’re Stuck and they’re in a different place. And they were the ones, I’m sure, who were full of the assvice too – the ones who figure that relaxing and maybe not wanting it so much will magically work to get you pregnant.

But then it’s your sister in law, or your cousin, or a girlfriend, or your good blogger friend. And you know they not only DESERVE it, but have tried for a while to get pregnant because it didn’t come easy for them. And they’re scared, at first. They’re SO sweet when they tell you. They ask how you feel. They tell you they’ll give you as much or as little information as you want. They downplay the nausea, the pains, the swelling to spare your feelings. They are more than supportive, they bend over backwards, they offer their shoulder when you’re crying over yet another failed cycle.

And you start to think: What’s wrong with me? You WANT to go to their baby shower. You WANT to hear about the happiness of hearing the heartbeat at the OB, how they told the new baby’s sibling, how they told their parents. You want to BE involved.

Except you steel yourself for the announcement. You have to look away at the belly, the glow. You wonder if you should unsubscribe from their feed, too. But you don’t, and every reference to the pregnancy is a kick in the gut.

And you keep doing failed cycles. And they progress in their pregnancy, get a little less scared about miscarriage, but are still super sweet about sparing your feelings.

You can’t hate them, you see. You love them. You want to be happy for them SO much. But you can’t, because every time you see their belly, the scream from the depths of your very being says I WANT THAT. And that’s all you can hear in the hollowness of your heart – that scream.

And you feel so guilty. You love them; they’re your FAMILY.

So you start to beat yourself up about it. Suck it up. Put your big girl panties on. And you end up pushing yourself to do things that maybe aren’t healthy for you. Because you’re telling yourself, hey, DON’T feel that way. They’re more important than you; just push it aside and go to the shower. Go shopping for baby clothes. Take your MIL out to lunch and tell her you’re great, that you really don’t want anyone to tiptoe around you, you want to help PLAN the shower. And hold your new nephew and go home and cry and cry and cry, because god, you want that so badly and you’re so scared it won’t happen.

The thing is. You do that for years, and the hole inside you grows bigger and bigger and bigger. And then it starts to take over. You get in the car in the morning, and it settles onto your shoulders, and you can’t see through the grey murk. And you’ll wonder some mornings why you don’t just steer the car into that tree over there.

You don’t really want to die, you know. You just want the pain to go away.

And it does, for a while. When your IVF cycle finally culminates in bringing this little baby home, you have this sense of relief, like maybe now you can finally be different.

Until you start trying again.

And it starts all over. And soon, you’re right back in the thick of it, and now it’s even worse. Because now you look at your child and you think, why can’t they BE ENOUGH?

_________________________

I had a fight with my best friend this week.

Well, fight is a big word. We didn’t really FIGHT, per se.

She just told me that she was having a hard time knowing how to BE around me. That she was trying so hard to be supportive and understanding and downplaying her pregnancy to spare my feelings, that when I posted about how Labor Day marks the Season of Other People’s babies, she was hurt. Because I am her best friend, her lifeline, and she thought maybe she was reduced to just another fertile. And she hated the idea that when I held her son, I’d look at him as a symbol of what I didn’t have, because she thought of me and Lucky and Charlie as family, and she wanted her new baby to be That Important to me, too. And she wished I would stop ignoring her pregnancy, because it was starting to feel like the elephant in the room, and she wanted to feel like I cared about it. Because it’s a really big thing in her life, and she wants to share it with me, and she doesn’t feel like she can.

She’s right, you know. I HAVE been avoiding talking about her pregnancy. And it really, truly sucks she can’t be open and free with me. If I were in her shoes, I’d feel like I wasn’t important either.

Which isn’t true.

But the fact is, it hurts right now. It hurts so much to be staring the reality of not having another baby ever again in the face. Because Charlie Brown and I can’t do this anymore. We don’t have it in us to keep fighting.

And I can tell you already – I’ve been to three monitoring appointments, and my lining STILL isn’t cooperating. It’s growing, but SO. FUCKING. SLOWLY. I’m not certain, at this point, that we’ll actually make it to transfer. The nurse at my clinic is saying things like, No, your lining is growing, so no danger of cancellation yet. But we are watching it closely.

And the overarching FEELING I have about this?

Fail. Again.

And the hormones and stress when I’m cycling makes it all worse, amplifies these feelings of Fail until it’s all I can hear.

You Fail, Serenity.

______________________

A year a half ago, when I first started seeing my therapist, I didn’t see a way that it would really HELP me. I couldn’t see the direct link to being better from my weekly sessions on her couch.

It’s only been recently that I’m starting to see results.

Because when my best friend told me how she felt, I felt ashamed. I was such a selfish bitch that I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm for her hard-won pregnancy? I couldn’t get excited about meeting her son, ask her about her plans, how she was feeling, whether she was nervous? I couldn’t click “like” on the posts her husband made about how life was good? I couldn’t mention how AWESOME she looked in that hot maternity dress she wore when she was out in Boston that date night?

I thought like this for a bit. Told myself I really should get over this, because I HAD my kid and seriously, it could be so much worse.

But then I stopped.

Fact is, I can’t do those things right now. I’m trying to cope. I’m looking at The End.

And it’s really, REALLY hard. Every time Lucky does something, like write his name, or bring me something he knows I need without me even asking, or having a real conversation with me, all I see is how quickly the time has gone by.

I am grieving, really. I thought I’d have a chance to experience babyhood again.

I might not.

But I will have my nephew, who’s due in November. I’ll have my best friend’s little boy next month. They’re my family, too.

They’re Important.

And this time, instead of hiding it, I told her. I told her how I’ve reached out and connected in the moments where I want to run away and cocoon. How I’m learning that it’s possible to feel pain AND happiness, and that’s what I felt for her. And how I can’t wait to meet her son and see what he’s like and watch her daughter as a big sister. And yes, how that will kill me some days. How there will be nights when I’ll flee her house and sob from the longing on my way home.

But that I was okay with that because she’s my best friend and I love her. And that it was the best I could do. And how I wished I was different, but I’m not. And that the best I can do is what I am doing now.

And it was really, really freeing to say those words.

To acknowledge how I felt. To set boundaries around what I can and can’t do.

I drove home that day, and it was like this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Truth is, infertility can be hard, and ugly, and mean. It steals your breath, kicks you in the chest, stomps on your heart. Every loss, every failed cycle, is yet another stone weighing you down. And, man, that loss is in sharp relief when you see so many others around you starting and completing their families, no matter how long it took.

There’s so much Fail when you’re infertile, that the LAST thing you need to do is tell yourself that you’re a failure. It’s not productive, or fair.

I feel how I feel. And I need to acknowledge it.

The best I can do is cope. Ride out the bad days, reconnect on the good days. Be ME.

It’s all I can expect from myself.

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31 Comments »

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  1. You’re so right. We are full of negative self-talk, fueled by negative results. Can’t. Won’t. And it seeps into every part of our lives. If you can manage to acknowledge how you feel and be OK with it, regardless of what other people say … that is a HUGE success.

  2. It is hard for me to even express how I feel about this post. It is so raw and honest and true. I am glad you were able to tell your friend how you feel and how freeing it was. Even now, I have to steel myself against those types of feelings, even now. I think that pain just never really goes away.

    I hope things do work out for you this cycle. If not for any other reason, but for some type of closure.

    [[Hugs]]

  3. I echo Deleen here. I can’t really articulate wha this post meant for me. I felt both incredible camaraderie, as feel these things too, despite having tried for a lot less time and without having to endure treatments, and incredible guilt that I may one day be the person that inspires that horrible pain.

    I’m so proud of you that you told your friend the truth, because as much as she needs things from you, you also need things from her. And sometimes those things will conflict and friendship is about trying to figure out what you’ll both do if/when that happens. I hope you both come to a place of acceptance about where the other is, though I know it feels impossible.

    Sending love and light and abiding with you.

  4. I don’t have the words to tell you how close to home this post hits. But it does and it resonates very deeply with me. Thank you for writing it. I’m sending thoughts of peace and happiness your way.

  5. Thank you for this. I know I am not alone. You wrote exactly what I feel.

    Even my my friend and cousin who both HAD infertility have had TWO babies since my husband and I have been going through our infertility treatments, words sometime can not express the darkness, sadness, and anger that comes over me. Your blog helps though more than you can know. My thoughts are with you during this cycle.

  6. I really don’t want to ask this to be insensitive, rude, oblivious, nosey, or anything at all like that. I’ve been reading for years and I’ve never seen this mentioned so I’m just going to ask. If its an awful question I sincerely apologize and you of course do not have to answer it. You make such beautiful perfect embryos… Why no surrogate?

    • You know, I don’t know. I think maybe we haven’t, until now, thought that it might be a lining thing. We thought maybe it’s embryonic. But I’ve been thinking about it, too. Something Charlie and I might discuss. Especially if this cycle is cancelled because my lining is too thin.

    • Okay, yeah, just looked into it. The reason we won’t use a surrogate? Cost. From what I read it’s $30,000 – $40,000 for a pregnancy that culminates in a live birth. I want a baby very badly, but not at the expense of taking away from the family I have now to make it happen. That’s money that can be going to Lucky’s college fund.

      • Oh jeez. Had no clue it was that kind of expensive!!! Holy moly 😦

  7. Dang. This was both so awesome and so painful to read. Definitely recognizing a lot of myself here, though I guess I am lucky there’s no one in my close circle of friends or family in danger of having babies right now. But I’ve made some messy mistakes with friends these past few years, not being able to handle their pregnancies. One friend — who has a son my son’s age — I just got tired of always anticipating and anticipating her announcement of the sure-to-come #2 that I pretty much just stopped hanging around her.

    While so many of the old feelings are there for me, cycle failures trying for #2 (after multiple failures to get our #2) bring up a whole new crap-load of feelings that I’m having trouble even understanding. I’m sensitive about different things than I was before. But still, again, lots of the same ol’ stuff. When I see someone planning a baby shower I just want to run and hide.

    Anyway, no magical words here. But I am thinking of you… and also am hormonally saturated and waiting for (like my millionth) transfer too. Hang in there 🙂

  8. I’m really glad you were able to be honest with your friend. If she is your bestie, you will both need each other long after her baby has arrived and you and Charlie have either added to your family, or have closed the door on treatments. And sometimes I think it is easy in the heat of the moment to push people away for self-preservation, but then so very hard afterwards when you can’t reconnect. So I’m so glad you found your voice.

    Hugs and strength.
    xoxo
    T.

  9. Also- how did your friend react?

    • She was awesome, of course. What it boiled down to was that she felt kind of taken for granted lately; and needed the reminder that she WAS important to me. It’s got to be hard for her, too – she’s a couple of weeks from delivering and she’s worried about how *I* am going to do when she has her baby. She hates the idea that she’s going to cause me pain. So my reminder that I’m willing to experience it because I love her and her family I think was a really good thing.

  10. One of the hardest things to do is to acknowledge the truth. Because sometimes the truth is ugly and painful. But the funny thing is, once it is spoken it can becomes less ugly and less painful. xoxo

  11. I am so proud of you.

    And you know, I believe that you will get through this, one way or another. Of course it would be better if you could get through it by achieving what you hope for. But either way.

    If your friend can wait, you will be more than your grief again some day. I believe this because I have seen others come through and you are every bit as strong and capable as these others.

    But just at the moment, as always, I guess, you can only do the best you can. And I’m proud of you for pointing out exactly where and how you’ve been trying.

    Bea

  12. This was a beautiful, honest post that put into words exactly how I feel but could not find the words to express. I will be thinking of you this cycle & sincerely hope this is THE cycle for you. Your words made my anger/guilt/frustration in dealing with infertility a little bit easier to cope with today.

  13. Great great post. You really are a talented writer to be able to express all of that so perfectly. Of course, I read from a perspective that can totally understand it. Whatever happens, I hope that you will find the peace you so desperately desire and deserve.

  14. Wow speechless this is Exactly how I feel, you are writing me life. 8 cycles, 17 embryos later no baby and start Stims next week and I do have two kids why can’t that be enough : (

  15. “You love them. You want to be happy for them SO much.” It’s true. You WANT to be happy for them. And there is a part of you that IS. There’s also the other part that is hurting. Both are valid because they are YOUR feelings. Good for you for responding to your bestie honestly – the truth, both easy and hard. That kind of friendship is hard to find.

  16. This was such a beautiful post. I have a lovely friend like this who is also pregnant and I struggle the same ways that you do. Thank you for expressing this all so beautifully and good for you for handling it so much better than I could.

  17. I saw myself and my situation in this post. So difficult to “be happy for them, yet sad for yourself” and still trying to function somewhat normally around those you love while they are getting what you so desperately want. Thank goodness you have such a great friend (I do too) who is there for you and you for her.

  18. That was a perfect and amazing post. I struggle with this constantly and feel those same emotions. This was just so well said.

  19. Here from CdlC – love love love this post. Breaks my heart, but validates my own sentiments. So hard to be happy when we are breaking inside – one of the hardest parts of infertility, for sure. It robs us of our ability to be 100% happy for the most important people in our lives. Great post.

  20. Creme de la Creme here too, this is beautiful raw and honest and mirrors a lot of the ways I have felt in the last few years. Thank you (although I also acknowledge the utter shiteness of what you have gone through to be able to write this)

  21. You always know how to give words to feelings I can’t verbalize. ❤ you.

  22. Here from Creme. This is a beautiful post. I’m glad that you were able to explain your feelings to your best friend and I hope that she was able to respond in way that validated your feelings.

  23. Here from Creme, what a gorgeous post. There are so many things in this post that will help me and that I will use as I have been drifting further and further from my best friend as her second pregnancy progresses, so thank you.

  24. Hi! I am here from the Creme de la Creme too! Thank you for putting into to words the sheer hurt and loss that comes with infertility. I wish no one would have read these words and understand and I wish no one would ever have to write them….

  25. Rereading since it was your Creme post. You have been through so so so much in the last couple of years. I really hope 2013 gives you some peace.
    xoxo
    T.

  26. Here from the Creme. I’m glad to hear that other people have these same thoughts. But, on the bright side, at least you got a happy ending (partly) through your first child. I never got that lucky.

  27. I found this post on the Creme (yep, I’m still working my way through it), and my goodness! I’m so glad I did! What a wonderful, beautiful, transparent post. I loved reading it and I can SO relate. I’m so sorry that your journey has been so tough. And I’m so sorry that you’re surrounded with reminders of what you don’t have. The piece about “why can’t my child be enough?” really hit home. We’re trying to conceive our second child, just getting started. And it’s starting to feel like round two of baby mania everywhere I look. So again, thanks for this post. I wrote about this topic a while ago as well. Here’e the link, just in case you want to check it out.

    http://teachmetobraid.blogspot.com/2012/12/bellies.html

    Looking forward to following you from now on.


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