NIAW: Join the Movement

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Each year, every year…  

…since I don’t know for how long because the years keep flying by.

What else could I say that hasn’t been said already?

Just go read this post, because it’s everything that ever floated around in my brain.  It was magically and beautifully penned by a wonderful blogging sister who has stood on the edge with me and thousands of others.

And it’s still perfection.

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Understand infertility: Visit Resolve.

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 21st through April 27th: Join the Movement.

Avoiding the Obvious

The message for National Infertility Awareness Week is “not to ignore infertility” and instead of preaching the message, I am here to tell you I am guilty of doing just that.

I came here on Monday ready to write a sun-shiny post (like I do every year) to support the message. But nothing came. I just stared at the keys on the keyboard…. unable to find any words.

The words did not come because of sadness– that my infertility journey was a long, wasted effort into the depths of hell and back with no success.

The words did not come because of anger– for myself and my sisters, that our journeys are sometimes dismissed by our fertile friends, or worse, ignored completely because Infertility happens “to other people” or “for reasons we are not supposed to know…”. Hmmmmmm.

The words did not come when the fifth fish died in our new fish tank yesterday. Yes, a fish tank. It appears that I experienced a nuclear meltdown when I reminded my husband that we lost five humans via miscarriage, and GOD DAMMIT we had five fish we couldn’t keep alive in a tank.

The words, very simply, did not come until about an hour ago… when I realized that my journey came to an end a few years ago, and I’ve been avoiding thinking about it.

Avoiding.

I am thinking about it now, and the feeling I feel….  is emptiness.

I pray that anyone reading this never, ever walks my path. I hope to God that I have taken the statistical bullet for you.

Because I could never bear to know and love a friend and have this ending be a reality for them too.

For you.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Not a Fairytale: National Infertility Awareness Week

“You have plenty of time to try to get pregnant!”

That statement still makes me shudder and quiver with anger and regret.

This time last year, I was in a very dark place when I penned my thoughts surrounding Infertility Awareness Week. I was six months out from my last failed donor IVF cycle- THE last cycle I would ever embark on.

I wondered if I could ever capture happiness again.

Looking back, I am still mired in regret. Let’s be honest here… when you are in the muck of infertility’s grip it’s very hard to see forward into the future or assess the past. It’s hard enough to live in the present.  The difference for me between this year and last year is time.  Time and space to think about the actions I’ve taken on my own infertility journey with a fresh perspective.

Did I do enough? Yes, I would say I did. I exhausted every medical procedure from IUI to IVF to IVF with donor eggs. I drained my savings.  I had five miscarriages along the seven years, countless medical procedures to attempt to diagnose and “fix” what was wrong only to end with no success and a still “unexplained” diagnosis.

But I tried.

My biggest regret is that I did not educate myself early enough around the concept of fertility.
The biggest myth that still haunts me?
That I thought I had time.
…that I could put off having children to grow my career and invest in individual pursuits. That there was no expiration date on my fertility.
This myth sadly perpetuated by well-meaning (but unfounded) opinions from our own social circles that it was okay to wait to build a family.
…from the Media, that carried the same message that “older” moms are becoming the”new normal”.
…even our own doctors often failed us by not stressing the time clock was indeed limited. That female fertility starts a precipitous decline after age 27. That eggs have a “shelf-life”.

My body failed me… not on purpose but rather by nature.

I am the ugly side of infertility.

I am not the happy-ending to the fairytale.

But it’s not all bad.

Ironically, I now consider myself a self-taught expert on the subject of fertility, or lack of it. Because the journey did not end in the way I imagined, I share my knowledge with anyone that will listen.  I bust the myths around fertility every day to at least save another from walking a similar path.  There is no sugar-coating the truth.
 
This is the only positive way I’ve found to channel the emotions I still have, and always will carry with me.

Fertility is NOT forever.

But we can make a difference in understanding and acknowledging it.

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Understand infertility: Visit Resolve.

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 24th through April 30th: Take Charge.

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What If

What if…

I can never be happy again?

Before the days of infertility, there were great days, excitement, opportunity, blue skies, and hope.

Today I am mired in a web of not-so-great days, anger, hopelessness, and jealousy.

It has been 6 months since I ended infertility treatment for good. That sounds a little freeing saying that. Because until recently, I didn’t know if I was REALLY done, or just standing at the crossroads biding my time. But I AM… it seems.

I am done.

Five years later, five miscarriages later, I wake up in the morning with the same thought, each and every day… just around the time I am staring into a mirror and putting on my makeup…

“Is this sadness ever going to leave me?”

I stare at the circles under my eyes that I never had before. I make peace with the fact that my face has aged ten years in five. I put down my mascara and walk into the third bedroom upstairs with an empty crib. The crib now better served as a storage space for junk. Just like my body.

Junk.

I navigate though the work day as my island of peace. A  place where I can work, and work, and work and completely avoid personal conversations. It’s all business. I can put on a good face almost as if I did not have a care in the world. That, is, until a pregnancy announcement from a co-worker sets me over the edge…

I attend school functions with my only son. My “only”. I listen to the Moms with half an ear because I am not interested in the conversations of fitting in manicures between carpooling their multitudes of children.  I don’t want to see the look of pity on their faces when I answer “that” question…  “do you have any more children?”

My son asks why he doesn’t have a brother or sister. On a regular basis. I try very hard to explain the truth that an (almost) seven year old would understand.

It kills me a little more each time I say it.

I wonder if I can ever get back to that place before I became one of the millions of women affected by infertility.

I wonder if any of us will truly recover from the disappointment that plagues us. Even the lucky few that conquer the beast are never really the same.

Never the same.

I WANT to be happy again. I want to lie down at the end of a great day with that fuzzy feeling that all is right with the world.  I still can build my family in other ways.  Or, I can choose not to.  The reality is infertility cannot be the sum and total of me, or my decisions.  It cannot define any of us.

I can choose how to move on from this.

I want to enjoy life. I want to use what I learned through my experience to help others.

The aftermath cannot dictate that the journey was pointless.
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Understand infertility: Visit Resolve.

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 24th through May 1st: Take Charge.

Want to read about others “What if’s?”:  Connect @ Project IF.

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