Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Still Counting

On Saturday Hubby and I went on a road trip with his mom to the Ikea in Atlanta to buy a crib. We weren’t originally planning on buying a crib because his sister gave us our nephew’s crib, but that didn’t work out. When we were putting it together, we realized there was a piece missing, but the piece was part of the drop-side. I figured we could just call the company and see if they had a conversion kit we could buy to make the side stationary, and then it wouldn’t matter if we didn’t have that piece. When we called the company, however, the number was disconnected. At this point, hubby got on Consumer Reports to get some info about the company and the crib. I am not exaggerating, this is what it said: “Case for case, this is the deadliest crib on the market.” Then it talked about the company mysteriously disappearing in December. Needless to say, we aren’t using that crib. We checked and the recall was too old for us to return it somewhere, so we went to Ikea to buy a new crib.

Whenever we go to Ikea, we play a game where we count the pregnant ladies. We usually get around 15 obviously pregnant women, and before we left Saturday, hubby pointed out that we didn’t have to play our game. We no longer had to take note of each pregnant woman and think ugly, bitter thoughts at her because I was one of those pregnant women. In fact, I actually ovulated on our last trip to Ikea. Looking back to where we were then–only seven months ago, and where we are now is staggering.

The truth is that I still struggle with pregnant women. Like a girl at our church who is due two days after me. They weren’t trying and didn’t even know she was pregnant until she went to the doctor with a lot of cramping and found out she was eight weeks along. She keeps talking about how she doesn’t know anything about pregnancy and babies and how this was totally unexpected (even now when we’re over 30 weeks). It just seems so unfair that this gift just dropped in their laps while we had to work so hard for it. I haven’t forgotten where we came from. I still feel the pain of what we’ve been through. I very openly inform people that this baby is a miracle–one we didn’t think we would ever have. Hubby and I have talked about it, and we both confessed that we sincerely believed that this pregnancy wouldn’t work–that I would never be able to carry a child.

Infertility leaves a mark that never leaves. Even now, I still count the pregnant women.

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The Truth

I have a lot of practical reasons why I’ve been so absent from this space. When I first started this blog, I was working a desk job with a lot of down time so I would write blog posts when I was waiting for the phones to ring at work. Since I started school, however, I am no longer in the position where I am stuck in front of a computer with nothing to do. Also, I spend so much of my time reading and writing now that at the end of the day, I just don’t want to write anymore. These are all good excuses for not being present in the blog world anymore. They are also just that: excuses.

The truth is that this space has been too painful for me ever since Tup died because it is much too lonely. For the longest time, this space gave me hope. I loved reading about my infertile bloggie friends’ pregnancies and watching IVF and rainbow babies grow up because I knew that one day, after I did my time, I would join those ranks. I thought about it, worried about it, even feared it, but I never truly believed that I wouldn’t be able to carry and birth children. I always saw our struggles as a season that we had to pass before emerging on the other side with a baby in our arms. But after two and a half years and five losses, I’m having to face the very real possibility that we may never have biological children. Even as we are filling out our adoption application, I’ve realized that I still believe that we will adopt a child and then I will have a successful pregnancy, but that is not realistic. Unless there is some change in medication, procedure, something, I don’t think that I will ever make it out of the first trimester–we can’t keep trying the same thing and expect different results. I’ve always heard that part of the adoption process is grieving the biological children that you will not have, but that is something that you cannot truly understand until you face it.

So as I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I may never carry and give birth to my children, I have reached a new level of intolerance for pregnant women. I feel nothing but anger and resentment when I see them, and I have no sympathy for the struggles that come with pregnancy. This means that not only am I having to deal with the anger I feel towards myself and my body for failing to protect my children, I’m also having to deal with the guilt that I feel about some of the hateful bitterness I feel towards others–some of whom I love dearly. Like our good friend who is an adoption lawyer and is helping us through this process in every way she can. She has been such a wonderful friend and support, but I can barely stand to look at her because she has a beautiful baby bump.

The worst part is how alone I feel. Especially in blogland. The place where I once I found comfort, camaraderie, and hope is now extremely painful. I’m fairly certain I can count on one hand how many of the blogs I’ve followed through this struggle that are still active and childless. Even the RPL blogs I follow are all carrying seemingly healthy pregnancies. And the number of pregnancies among my friends is almost unbearable. We started early trying to have children, so for most of our struggle, we only had a handful of friends have kids. Now I am facing pregnancy announcements on almost a weekly basis, and some of my friends are even having their second child. And where do I go to escape? Where do I go to vent and commiserate? This place doesn’t provide that for me anymore. I cheered on so many blog friends and celebrated their victories, and at some point, I was left behind.

So that’s why I don’t really write anymore. That’s why I don’t comment. Coming here is a chore. A reminder of all of my loss. I thought about starting an adoption blog, about creating a clean slate, but I’m still unsure. The truth is I would just like to feel less alone. Filling out all of this paperwork is daunting. And it’s hard. I’m having to dig up a lot of emotional baggage at a time that I’m already pretty fragile. And while I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I may never have biological children and filling out paperwork with tough questions where I have to write about things like the sexual abuse that I endured as a child, people just keep popping out babies and making cutesy announcements and I keep feeling more and more isolated.

That is the truth.

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Sour Lemonade

I’m not sure if my last two posts have given a true sense of how I’ve been doing. It’s been rough. First, I’m pretty sure I can’t look at Facebook anymore. Seriously, the number of pregnancy announcements, gender announcements, and birth announcements seems to have increased. Maybe it’s because it was Thanksgiving, “We’re so thankful to announce that we will have a new member of the family.” Maybe it’s because I’m getting older so all of my friends are getting to the age that they reproduce. But it’s hard. Then last night, all of the girls in our church group had a girls night and one of them told us she’s 16 weeks. I’ve been waiting for this, for someone in our group to get pregnant. Someone that I see all the time and someone that I love dearly so I will be full of guilt when it makes me cry because I’m so sad. She even told us that they had been trying for two years and had just given up, so I feel even worse because I’m jealous of someone who is one of us.

The truth is that I’m sad and jealous because she’s 16 weeks. I’ve never made it that long. Tup was my longest pregnancy and that lasted 8 weeks. I know from being in this community that there is never a guarantee, but I feel like if I could just make it that long, we could have a baby. It’s been over two years and we’ve had four losses (that we know of), and I’m feeling broken, like my spirit is just beat down. I used to dream of being pregnant and giving birth and having our beautiful child, but now the thought of pregnancy terrifies me. Pregnancy only leads to heartbreak. We’re NTNP right now and whenever I think I feel some sort of pregnancy symptom or can’t remember how long it’s been since my last period, I get nervous. Not, “oh my gosh, I could be pregnant and we might actually have a baby” nervous, more like “Oh no, if I’m pregnant, that means I’m going to have another mc in the next month and I just can’t handle that right now” nervous. I guess you can call it a loss of hope, but I’m basically at the point where I honestly don’t think I will ever be able to carry a child. And that hurts. A lot.

I told you all that we’re talking about adoption and hope to start the process if hubby gets this job. We actually are going to have a consultation with my pregnant friend because she works for a law firm that does adoption and she’s going to go through our different options with us. If hubby doesn’t get this job, however, we’ll have to wait until I’m done with school. That’s another year and a half. For those keeping count, that’s a full four years after we started trying to have a baby before we even start the process. Hubby said that two of his friends got phone calls to come in for a interview last Wednesday, and he hasn’t heard anything. That doesn’t mean things are over and he’s not getting the job, but it doesn’t look too good either–especially since we’ve had the optimists beaten out of us the past two years. Last night we sat together and cried. Hubby said he feels like he let me down because he wasn’t good enough to get this job. I told him that I feel like I let him down because my body apparently doesn’t grow babies. It was rough. Yes, all of this is bringing us closer, but I wouldn’t recommend marriage-strengthening-through-loss.

So that’s where I really am. I’m sad and broken and a little resentful. Things may look good from the outside because we are trying our very best to make lemonade. But to be honest, the lemonade still tastes awfully sour.

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Not a Resolution

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl. Throughout the year, I try to be more mindful of stuff or improve on things, but I rarely set hard “goals” because I beat myself up so much and I have so much anxiety when I don’t achieve them.

Having said that, I have come to a realization that I have to stop comparing myself to other people. I know that this seems so obvious, but I really struggle with this. I compare myself to people who have more than me–women who are fertile and have no problems in pregnancy, people who make more money than me and don’t struggle to pay their bills, people who seem to have endless patience and compassion (or other enviable qualities), people who get to travel the world while I’m stuck in small town East Tennessee, etc. I also compare myself to people who are facing hardships that I am not facing (the “Oh my gosh, if it happened to them it could happen to me and I should panic about it” comparison). Either way, it makes me feel bad about myself, and if I would just stop comparing myself to others, I would see that my life is actually pretty great and I’m a good person who is worth knowing.

Today, one of the girls I work with came in our office and announced that she is pregnant. She actually announced it by grabbing my hand and putting it on her belly and beaming about having a baby. She went on to say the she got “fixed” three years ago because they were done having children, and she only has a .03% chance of getting pregnant. I just smiled weakly because I was so shocked and luckily she was too excited to notice that I wasn’t jumping for joy. After she told everyone in the office, one of my co-workers told her congratulations, and she responded with, “Yeah, I guess you could say that!” (because, you know, this wasn’t planned and was as prevented as you can get). My mind immediately went to a pity party–she has a .03% chance of getting pregnant because she had invasive surgery to prevent pregnancy and yet she is having a baby and I’m looking at adoption options. How unfair is that? It makes me want to scream and cry and throw a legit temper tantrum because I am just so angry at the unfairness of it.

Yet I can’t compare myself to her. I will make myself crazy and miserable if I compare myself to all of the people having babies. I have to just concentrate on myself–my health, my sanity, my marriage, and the options that are available to me. What can I do with what I have been given? Because no amount of envy or wishing or anger or longing or comparing is going to change what I have been given and make me like someone else.

So it’s not a New Year’s Resolution (because it’s almost February and I don’t do those anyway), but it is something I am going to try to work on. I’m going to concentrate on me and try to not feel like a failure when I am not accomplishing the same things as those around me or go into panic mode and live in fear when something terrible happens to someone else. I know that is easier said than done, but I think awareness is a good first step.

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There is Healing Here

Hello beautiful ladies :o)

I apologize for my absence lately, hubby has been sickly. You all don’t know this, but when the hubby is sickly, it is a big deal because is very rarely sick. I think he has thrown up three times since I met him seven and a half years ago: once he was drunk, once he had a ruptured appendix, and once he had a stomach bug. He is one of those people that can somehow suppress it, put his sickness in the back of his mind, and continue to do what needs to be done. So when he called me Friday and told me that he left work to go to the doctor and they were not allowing him to drive himself home because he is too ill, I knew he felt like death. Apparently, he had some sort of stomach bug and was severely dehydrated (to the point that he almost passed out at the doctor office). So I’ve been playing nurse since Friday, and I am happy to report that as of yesterday, he is feeling much better and participating in his normal activities again. I know he’s not 100% yet, but he definitely looks and acts like he feels a lot better.

I have so much to tell you ladies. First, I have finally started listening to the Bitter Infertiles Podcast. I feel like I have been living under a rock because it took me so long to start listening, but every time I would read a post about it, I would be at work where I couldn’t listen. So I finally started listening at home, and I love listening to these women because I feel like they really verbalize everything that is on my heart. I started at the beginning and I’m about that start episode six. The podcasts are fairly lengthy and they can get heavy, so it’s taking me some time to catch up. Listening to these women has helped me realize and confront some stuff, like my husband’s grief and my need for someone to acknowledge that I am a mother who suffered a terrible loss. They have also inspired some good conversations between hubby and me, and we have made some important decisions:

First, we want to have some sort of service to say goodbye to our children. One thing that is so terrible about miscarriage is the lack of closure. Normally when you lose a child, you have a funeral and grieve with friends and family, but we never got that. So we are going to have a small service, light some candles, say a few prayers, and say goodbye. There are a few people we want to invite, but it’s going to be very small and intimate because this is really about hubby and me healing and moving forward with our lives. We need to honor our children before we can talk about trying again.

Next, we are going to look into counseling. Hubby seemed surprised and uncomfortable when I first mentioned this, but we decided to try it. I think he’s only agreeing because he wants to help me, but I also think he will still benefit from being there.

Needless to say, we have had some difficult and significant conversations in the past week. While it has been emotionally exhausting and uncomfortable, I feel like we are more open with each other now and more aware of each other’s feelings. For example, hubby and I have started becoming friends with another couple in the fire department who got married last month, and I was excited to be friends with another fireman’s wife. Yesterday, hubby told me that she is pregnant, and I just broke down and cried. Hubby acted like this was a totally normal and expected reaction to that news, and I knew that he understood how I felt. I knew he felt that way too.

So that is where we are right now. It’s not a very pleasant place to be, but I think there is healing here.

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Feeling a little Horrible

Three posts in one day. I feel a little like an over achiever–like I should be quiet and let the other kids talk. Anyway, my first two posts were prompted, and I wanted to let loose a little and tell you ladies about my day:

Today was a bit of a rough day. It wasn’t positively horrible, but it was a little rough. I work in the office of an EMS service and my office (which is shared with one other girl) is essentially a hallway, so we always have EMTs and medics walking through. We have two chairs we have deemed the “therapy chairs” because so many of the crews will come in and visit with us. Most of the people who work in the office can be a little hateful and the crews avoid them, so it makes me happy that they like us enough to visit. Today one of the EMTs came into my office very excited and looking a little freaked out, and when I asked him what was up, he exclaimed that he is going to be a dad. Exact words: “I’m going to be a dad.” When I asked him how far along she was, he said she was only a few weeks, that she had just found out that day. My heart skipped a beat and it took all of the self control I possess not to shout, “Wait! No! Don’t tell anyone! You still have no idea if she is going to have a baby!” I couldn’t bring myself to pop his bubble and bring him into my world. I couldn’t tell him that a positive pregnancy test isn’t a guarantee of a child. I couldn’t tell him the one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. I couldn’t tell him that he may have to go back and tell every one of those people that he is no longer going to be a dad. He doesn’t understand, and I know that because I didn’t understand either. My mind went to two different places, and neither of them were very nice. First, I thought that he will understand one day when his wife has a miscarriage and he has to deal with all of the crap that we’ve dealt with–when he sees that he’s not really going to be a dad and the universe is just playing a cruel joke on him. Then I felt really horrible. Could I really think that? Automatically assume that the pregnancy won’t last and he’ll be in the same babyless boat I’m in? I felt a little disgusted with myself, and then I thought, “No, he’s going to have a baby. Why would anyone else have problems carrying children? Just me. I’m the only one who has to keep my pregnancies a secret and be filled with fear when I get a BFP. He’s going to have a baby just like all the rest of those stupid, smug fertile people that have no idea how amazing of a feat they are accomplishing. I hate them all.” This is what my loss has done to me. I am a horrible person.

I can’t remember where I read it (I think it was survivingbabydreams), but a few months ago, I read a blog post where she talked about automatically judging whether someone was “worthy” when you hear they are pregnant. How long did they try? Did they have to do any treatments? Did they suffer any mc’s in the process? Or are they one of the annoying fertiles who just decide they want a baby, have sex, have a positive test, then have a baby–all in a ten month time span? The thing is, I don’t even know this EMTs TTC story. I just assumed that they hadn’t had any trouble or suffering at all because if they did, he wouldn’t be announcing her 3 week pregnancy. I just assumed that they did not meet the standards of being “worthy” of having kids.

I am one of those people who is genuinely happy for others when they announce something exciting. At least, I was. I’m upset because I feel like this journey has stolen that from me. Now when I learn someone is pregnant, I either pity her because she could have a mc like me or I feel bitter towards her because she can have children when I can’t, and I always resent her for reminding me of my pain. Ugh, this post is turning out to be even more bitter than I thought it would. I just feel like a horrible person sometimes, and I wish it would stop. I wish I could just be innocently happy for people again.

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