Tuesday, June 23, 2009




On top of that, my period started (a real period, not the fake-out one day of spotting I've had once or twice) and of course I don't have anything anywhere because I'm suffering through breastfeeding so I'm not even supposed to be having a freaking period. Then, I just left lunch with my co-workers before my food arrived to make it back for a 1pm meeting, only to find out that not only is the meeting scheduled for 1:30pm, I have it written at that time on my calendar which I'm apparently too scatter-brained to reference. My hamburger and fries are going to taste awesome when they're brought to me in an hour or so. :-(

It's a good thing I'm so well-rested or I might kill someone.

Do you hear that?

That, my dear friends, is the sound of angels singing, and they are singing because we went 10 hours between feedings in our house last night. Ahh, bliss.

I was already feeling pretty lucky because he consistently sleeps 9-10 hours per night, which is to say he goes right back to sleep after the 1-2 feedings during that stretch. But last night? He went down right after his 8pm feeding and I woke HIM up at 6am.

I'm not counting on this as a new normal or anything. He's done this once or twice before and always goes back to his regular sleep pattern the next night, but today, I am well-rested and feeling grateful!

On the flip side, my car self-destructed on the way home from work last night and it's in the shop. We're taking advantage of having it there to get some needed regular maintenance done as well. I am seriously dreading the call with the estimate today. Thanks goodness we paid the home equity line down, just in time to run it up again! Yay!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Any old Sunday

This is going to be quick and stream-of-consciousness because I do not expect the kiddo to continue napping for long and I've got a thousand more productive things I should be doing right now, but I can't pass up the opportunity to comment on our first Father's Day as parents.

The other day, a co-worker who knows the identity of our donor asked me several questions about how he has responded to Elliot. In each question, she referred to KD as Elliot's "biological father." My answer was that he interacted with Elliot exactly as any other uncle should toward a nephew because that is what they are to each other. My answer satisfied her, but her questions totally weirded me out. This is because I never think of KD as Elliot's father in any way. I almost never even think of him as Elliot's donor. I did not know this was how it would be, but it is. Today, his involvement with our family is so peripheral, I completely forget the special connection exists unless someone calls my attention to it.

Because of all of these feelings, or more precisely, the absence of feelings, I want to extend a special gratitude to KD today. I can't actually do this because it would be inappropriate and freak him out, so I'm casting it out into the blogosphere. I want to thank him for the priviledge he has provided us of forgetting the part he played in Elliot's conception. I believe what he did for us may be as close to an ultimate sacrifice as anyone will ever make for me and my family. On this day of celebrating fathers, I want to thank him for giving up any claim to that role so that M and I can enjoy our son and the way he resembles both of us, without conscious awareness of the biological impossibility we represent. This Father's Day means very little to us, and that is because we do not have to physically or emotionally share Elliot with a father. Not all men would be able to give such an amazing gift and then entrust its future to us so completely but he has, and our family is what it is because of him.

So, Happy Non-Father's Day, KD, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

a special anniversary

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on my last post. I am consistently humbled by the insight and support this community has to offer. I agree that writing the birth story is an important part of healing from it. Just writing out my feelings in that last post helped a bit, I think, and then to have the honor of sharing my thoughts with this circle of wise women... I'm just very lucky to have this space, so thank you.

My egg retrieval was exactly one year ago. A year ago today, I walked (very slowly) into the clinic and had twenty-one eggs retrieved. I was so full of fear and hope I could hardly breathe. A year ago today, the cells that would go on to become Elliot's ears and nose and toes met for the first time. Sometimes it feels like the past year has been a long one, but when I look at the human being that was created during that time, it seems impossibly short for so much to have taken place.

I drive past the clinic every day on my way to and from work (and now daycare - what a difference a year makes) and I always look at the cars parked in the section of the parking lot that is reserved for infertility patients, silently wishing them the outcomes they are working so hard for. This morning, I sent them wishes of healthy March babies with sparkly eyes and big smiles.

Friday, June 12, 2009

same soup, different bowl

I don’t know when the birth story is going to come. I’ve written down most of what I can remember, but I seem to be lacking the strength or motivation required to finish it. I gave myself a deadline of Elliot’s three month “birthday” but that’s two days away and it’s not looking good.

The honest truth is that I hate thinking about Elliot’s birth. It makes me feel moody and sad and angry. It wasn’t like that at first. Initially I felt really in touch with that whole “a birth plan is destined to change and you have to be flexible because the only thing that matters at the end is a healthy baby” business, and I was also too consumed by caring for our distinctly unhealthy baby (thanks to the birth from hell) to feel much more than gratitude that he was alive. Now that our lives have settled down and our little family is moving through days and weeks and months together, I’m finding myself stuck. I’m just not getting over it the way I want and need to.

My bitterness about my birth experience seems to have picked up right where my bitterness about my infertility left off and the cumulative effect is killing me. First, I couldn’t get pregnant on my own and I had to find a place for all of the shame and anger associated with that, all the while watching others around me sail right through without a hitch. (I know there isn’t supposed to be shame in infertility. Whatever. If you’re reading this blog, I suspect you understand that – right or wrong – that is one of infertility’s core contributions to the human spirit.) Then, in the space of a couple of days, I had everything I dreamed and hoped and planned for in a birth experience taken away from me, one chip at a time until there was nothing left except for that healthy baby, and I didn’t get that right away either. Elliot was born at 4:48am and I didn’t even get to see him (for more than 30 seconds and without a post-surgical haze) until that afternoon, and then he was so covered with tubes and wires I couldn’t even tell what he looked like. Just writing about that day has me tearing up right now.

Reading others’ birth stories brings about a physical response not unlike the one I used to have when reading about someone else’s BFP. My chest tightens and I’m flooded with the same mixture of sadness and jealousy. When I was off work waiting for Elliot to come, I watched 2-3 hours of those silly TLC and Discovery birth shows a day. I haven’t watched a single one since he was born. Not one. Just seeing their titles as I’m scrolling through the program guide causes my blood pressure to increase. I feel like my own birth experience has robbed me of the joy of celebrating others’ in the same way my infertility prevented me from feeling unqualified joy at others’ pregnancy announcements. One of my closest friends is pregnant and due in a couple of months and I’m already bracing myself for the hurt I’ll feel when she has the uncomplicated, unmedicated, vaginal birth I’m positive she’s destined for. And once again, I’m mad that I can’t simply be happy for someone I care so much about. Once again, I’m mad that a past experience holds so much power over my emotions and keeps me from being the person I want to be.

I know I’m supposed to be able to let go of the route and be grateful for the outcome but I just can’t do it. Not yet, at least. I’m the girl with the horror story. Again. Always. I was a TTCer long enough that I should know not to expect fairness but I’m going to say it anyway: It’s just not fair. M and I took the hypn.obirthing classes, handpicked birth companions and a doula, and reserved a birthing tub. I dutifully practiced the relaxations every night and we did perineal massage. I spent days crafting my perfect iPod playlist and packed the most well-equipped hospital bag this side of the Mississippi. And you know how much all of that mattered? I ended up with a 52 hour labor, every intervention under the sun, a uterine infection, and a frigging C-se.ction at the end of it all. No wait, there’s more: I can’t even remember the second half of my labor because I was delirious from pain, hunger and exhaustion, and our baby still spent the first week of his life in the special care nursery due to birth injuries. I’ll be grateful for my amazing son, but I’m also claiming my right to be mad as hell about the rest of it.

*Deep breath.*

I’m going to finish the birth story. It may have been a complete disaster, but it’s my disaster and it’s all I have. I don’t know when it will happen. I’m still flirting with the idea of getting my medical records and maybe that will help, if I do. I’d like to finish it sooner rather than later. I just don’t know how to do it at the moment.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

always something there to remind me

There has been a very exciting explosion of BFPs on my blogroll lately. Every BFP is a miracle, but it's always extra-super-exciting when they visit women who have been trying for an especially long time. Congratulations to the women at inlocoparentis, two hot mamas and Amy and Melissa. It was with no small amount of pleasure that I relocated you on my sidebar. I hope to move everyone else sooner rather than later. Whenever there is a burst of good luck in the ttc blogosphere, my heart hurts a bit for those still waiting. I think the BFNs carry an extra sting when so many others around you are celebrating. One time, I had five cycle buddies - the most I ever had on a single cycle - and out of the six of us, there were five BFPs. Guess who got the BFN? It was around my eighth or ninth try and I was destroyed. To anyone who wasn't able to catch the latest train out of the madness, I am so, so sorry. I remember the terrible left-behind feeling like it was yesterday. You may or may not want to read this post. It's honest and I hope it will be reassuring because it comes from an emotional place I feared I'd never get to, but it also may be a frustrating read for someone still in the trenches. Please skip it if you're not in the mood.

Elliot has been here for almost three months. I know this is a mere moment in the grand scheme of things and I probably shouldn't be drawing any conclusions yet, but I'm pretty sure that I will always think of myself as infertile. His presence may have taken some of the sharpness out of the pain, but I don't think the dull ache will ever go away. What has changed is that I now have more positive feelings and experiences to add to the balance sheet. Don't get me wrong, they haven't replaced the yucky ones, but at least they are in the mix now. (This is a subject of another post in the jumble of my mind, so more on this later, I hope.) The reason for this shift is simple and his name is Elliot. His presence makes the whole experience more palatable in the most obvious way - the ultimate prize is in hand - but also in a subtler, finer way: He literally is who he is because of what we went through. Had our road to pregnancy taken a single different step than it did, we would not have had HIM and knowing him as I do now, that matters to me.

I now present Exhibit A, demonstrating how I am a happier-but-still-infertile-minded individual: Two love songs have been getting extra airtime on my iPod lately and it's because I've reimagined them both as being written about surviving infertility. Listening to them makes me daydream in photo montages from our first BFN all the way through to the smiling boy I gave eskimo kisses to this morning. They help me to make peace with our journey and feel proud of all we endured. I hope the lyrics can inspire the same warm fuzzies for some of you, if not now, then soon. Please, soon.

First, from Ben F.olds:

I don't get many things right the first time.
In fact, I am told that a lot.
Now I know all the wrong turns,
the stumbles and falls brought me here.
And where was I before the day
that I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it every day. And I know,
that I am, I am, I am the luckiest.

And from Ras.cal Flatts, with a few minor edits :-):

There's a place I've been lookin' for
that took me in and out of buildings,
behind windows, walls and doors.
And I thought I found it,
a couple times even settled down.
Then I'd hang around just long enough
to find my way back out.
I know now, the place that I was tryin' to reach
was you right here in front of me.

And I wouldn't change a thing.
I'd walk right back through the rain;
back to every broken heart on the day that it was breakin'.
And I'd relive all the years, and be thankful for the tears
I cried through every stumbled step that led to you,
and brought me here.

It's amazin', what I let my heart go through,
just to get me where it got me:
In this moment here with you.
And it passed me by, God knows how many times.
I was so caught up in holding what I never thought I'd find.
I know now, there's a million roads I had to take
to get [you in my] arms this way.

And I wouldn't change a thing.
I'd walk right back through the rain;
back to every broken heart on the day that it was breakin'.
And I'd relive all the years, and be thankful for the tears
I cried through every stumbled step that led to you,
and brought me here.

In a love I never thought I'd get to get to,
and if that's the road [I had to take] to be with you,

Then I wouldn't change a thing.
I'd walk right back through the rain;
back to every broken heart on the day that it was breakin'.
And I'd relive all the years, and be thankful for the tears
I cried through every stumbled step that led to you,
and brought me here.

The majority of the images in my mental slide show are still pretty dismal, but I'm adding more happy ones by the day and I know the balance will only continue to shift. Of course I would have loved it if he could have been our cycle #1 baby, but he wasn't. He was our cycle #15 baby, and with hindsight (and a generous helping of cheesiness), it's not that I think the journey wasn't beyond terrible, it's just that he was worth it.

I've been doing a lot of reckoning of the last few years lately - bet you couldn't tell. ;-) As I alluded to before, I have many more thoughts to share on this business of honoring both the light and the shadows of the infertility quagmire, but I've taken up enough of your time with my mental meanderings for today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Elliot is on day four of a low but persistent fever and I've got a nasty case of mastitis. Our house is in survival mode at the moment, which is unfortunate because I've got no less than a dozen blog posts bouncing around in my head and I'm itching to get back on here and work through some things.

Soon, I hope.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hi-ho, hi-ho...

I’ve been back at work for two and a half days and so far, Elliot and I are both adjusting pretty well. His daycare is small and he’s the only teeny-tiny one there right now so he’s quite the celebrity. Other than him, there is one 6 month old and the rest are 9+ months old. The first day was no big deal. I had a pit in my stomach on the drive but once I got there, I relaxed a lot. It’s a great place and I know they’ll take good care of him. Coming to work was actually fun: Wearing real clothes! Having adult conversations! Showing off baby pictures!

That was Monday. Yesterday was a different story.

On day two, it hit me that Monday was the first day of our new routine, not just a fun little diversion to brought variety to our lives. From here on out, I will pack us up each morning and drop him off on my way to a less meaningful job where I am underpaid but make just enough to pay someone else even less to raise my child while I’m looking the other direction. (I should note that most days, I am pretty pro-daycare. I think it can be good for kids, good for parents, good for the world, etc. I just wasn’t feeling it right then.) I held it together until I talked to M on the phone, but no longer than that. I moped around my office until noon when a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived on my desk, sent by M in an effort to turn my day around. They had the sweetest card attached that successfully brightened my mood, and also reduced me (and two co-workers) to tears.

Today I’m feeling pretty good. The pendulum seems to have come to rest in the middle. I’m still not happy about having to spend so much time away from him but I’m trying to focus on other things, like how nice it is to have health insurance. There are several upsides, really. Working outside the home is good for my self-esteem (not to mention my personal hygiene) and Elliot will be getting so much more stimulation and socialization during the day. Maybe someday our situation will be different, but for now, we’re all where we have to be. I’m grateful that we found a daycare we love. This would be impossible if I didn’t feel good about where he was spending his days.