Search Results for: infertility

Yes and no.

But mostly yes, for me at least.

After almost five years of an ugly struggle with infertility, I came to peace with it in late 2009. Nothing could have gotten me there sooner, it was something that had to resolve itself in its own time. I wrote this the day before I found out I was pregnant. It remains one of my most favorite things I’ve ever written as I could only write it after going through what I had experienced..

Within Vivi’s first three months, best friend became pregnant with her fourth by surprise and my only sister became pregnant after a month without any struggles.

The news of both thumped me in the heart pretty hard, but they weren’t the sucker punches they would have been a year earlier.

I am excited to have to new little boys in my life, one in January and one in April.

I can hear pregnancy news and respond to it with the genuine joy it deserves.

I don’t see swollen bellies everywhere I go.

I can still read the words of someone who is stuck in the murky thick of infertility and know the uniquely exquisite pain that envelops their heart.

I can think about getting pregnant again and focus on the end result, not the gut wrenching journey it takes to get there.

This baby has been the best thing to ever happen to me, I just had to go through everything else first to be able to appreciate her.

Cody, Addie and I were good, but with Vivi we’re great. I’m finally to a point in my life where there is so much wonderful the misery has a hard time ever making it to the surface.

I wish every life story could have a chapter in it like the one I’m living right now, or at least give hope to your current story that you will end up happy. I don’t know how, on what timeline, or how long it will last, but it will happen and when it does I wish even more that you are able to recognize and enjoy it.

To those of you who are still fighting for your babies? Keep fighting.

wrists and toes

They are so worth it.

I can never ever forget where I came from that got me to this point.

Jealously that almost ruined my best friendship.

Anger and bitterness that drove people away.

Friendships lost because the hole in my heart was too big to manage.

Nearly alienating my only sister because of one comment.

Almost losing my marriage and my own life to a medical treatment because I was so desperate for a baby.

If I didn’t have my archives to go back and read I may be able to think about the past five years differently. I know a lot of you had hope for me, you knew this would happen for me when I didn’t. There were even a few of you who sent me “I told you so’s.

There are also those of you who have come forward to admit that you stopped reading my words because you felt guilty for having what I longed for so badly.

There have also been some who have pegged all of your hopes on me. “IF YOU CAN DO IT SO CAN I!” or “WHY YOU AND NOT ME?”

And then there are those of you who have lost much longed for babies. I can’t even pretend to know the pain associated with such a loss, I only know the fear, and the fear on its own is crippling.

When a painful five year journey ends in an instant, and suddenly your entire life is about to change in less than 36 weeks? Five years doesn’t seem like such a long time.

I know I was guilty of turning my back on my friends who became pregnant when I couldn’t. I am so deeply remorseful for this. I was so busy licking my own wounds that I lashed out at those who didn’t deserve it. I can’t thank God enough for giving me the last year to realize my mistakes, rectify some of them and come to peace with what may or may not be in store for me.

I feel like a hypocrite writing the following words when I know that I was guilty of doing the same thing. As soon as I announced my pregnancy I could feel a two handed shove, the kind that whips your head back, shoving me out of the classification of infertile and into unfamiliar territory.

I’m not sure I can ever take my rightful place among the other side. It took way too much to get here to ever take this pregnancy for granted. I mingle with the other side. Make jokes about cravings and poop. But I can’t ever truly turn away from that other group, the one I was a part of for so long, the one I spoke up for and the one that supported me when I couldn’t support myself anymore. I feel as though when I look back at them, their backs are all turned to me. “Traitor” they mumble.

But…but! You guys! I get it! I know how you feel!”

They turn for a moment, look at my swollen belly, roll their eyes and turn away.

Maybe I know their mannerisms so well because I did the same thing for so long.

It’s lonely out here in the middle. There’s very few people out here with me. Or maybe there’s more of you, we just haven’t talked about it yet.

I don’t want to be the story someone tells to an infertile friend, “Well there’s this blog I read, she tried for years…surgery…hormone treatments…she had finally given up and then WHAMMY! it happened!

I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that conversation. I know how to mechanically smile and nod in response, not letting on to how frustrated and hurt I am inside.

I am so deliriously happy that I sometimes forget that there are women around me at the grocery store or online that are giving me the same dirty look I’ve given so many women in the past. If I were to catch one of them and hear their story and try to relate I wouldn’t be taken as a credible source, simply because the stars aligned and I was fertile for one magic moment.

I don’t know why this has been so hard for me to write about. Maybe it’s because I can still feel the shove to my back while the sting is still on my hands from shoving others.

I don’t have an answer.

But I know I’ll never forget. Especially since I’ll never quite belong here or there.

There isn’t much else out there like infertility. There’s no outward signs of it, it is both isolating and humiliating, many times there’s no logical explanation for it and most of all? Everyone has their own opinions on it.

“Don’t give up hope!”

“You worry about it too much, just relax, it will happen!”

“I had this one friend who couldn’t get pregnant and then…!”

Those of us who are left with no babies have learned to smile through these comments. Or at least stuff the pain in our hearts that results from hearing these comments deep down where they won’t offend those naive enough to say such things. Other times we turn to our most trusted girlfriends or partners and we rant, rave and cry through the reminder that something about our parts doesn’t work right.

It is a right and a priviledge as a woman to bear children. Sure boys can pee standing up, but we? WE CAN MAKE PEOPLE. Well, some of us can. And when that ability to make people is taken away? We’re left feeling like this strange middle gender, with boobs and periods, but no babies and certainly unable to pee standing up.

Knowing that my body worked at least once, that it made a perfect little person adds to the frustration. Imagine banging your head against a wall over and over. Finally a million dollars falls out of the wall. Hooray! Of course you’re going to keep banging your head against the wall, of course it hurts and it’s frustrating and it consumes your every thought, but for the chance at another million dollars? BANG BANG BANG! And no matter how much anyone explains how illogical it is to keep banging, or maybe to try another “get a million dollars” tactic, you’re going to keep banging until YOU are ready to stop.

Although I’m not sure anyone is ever really capable of stopping. The urge to try that wall just one more time…maybe this time it will work…that urge will always nag, somewhere.

Silly little things can set off the deep stabbing hurt of infertility. The swollen belly of a stranger, a facebook status update, filling out Kindergarten admission papers and having to leave the “other siblings” column empty, even buying a new car.

There isn’t much I can say about infertility that hasn’t already been said by other brilliant voices on the topic throughout the Internet.

But I can say this.

I have braved the trenches of the completely hideous emotions that result from the bitterness and anger that I allowed to overtake my heart and mind when I was deep in them. I was blinded by jealousy and anger. Some of the more mild thoughts were “Why her and not me?”  ”She can’t even take care of the other kid she has.” then they became more intense “Another one? Really? Does she even realize her other kids aren’t that great?” to the worst, I was actually happy when someone had a miscarriage.

Me.

Happy about a miscarriage.

That’ll show her! Teach her to talk about her pregnancy so much!

I’m ashamed that I ever allowed a thought like that to pass through my mind. I don’t care how much I hurt at the time, her pain was not about me. It never will be. The Casey who thought those thoughts deserved to lose friends. She was going rotten from the inside out.

Any difficult life situation will cause unavoidable thoughts to pop up in someones head. And just as we can’t keep a bird from landing on our head, we can very well keep it from making a nest while it’s there.

To those of you who have to watch a friend struggle with infertility, the truth is that there isn’t much you can do aside from be a friend. You will never be able to fix her (well, unless you’re a brilliant, brilliant doctor or a genie) but you can listen. Understand that there will be times when your friend is ticked off, but it’s not about you. And there comes a point where if she makes it about you? You need to set her straight. It’s not your fault you can get pregnant and she can’t. You shouldn’t have to change who you are or what your dreams and goals are in life to accommodate the ugly and hurt feelings of another. I can promise you that it’s hard as hell to work through a relationship where this is an issue, but in the end? It’s worth it.

To you others dealing with infertility, especially if you’re in an ugly place, don’t alienate your friends. It’s not their fault if they can and choose to get pregnant. Imagine if your positive test finally came and you called your friend up. How would you want her to react? Angry and distant because you finally got what you wanted? The truth is, your closest friends, and many others around you aren’t afraid of difficult pregnancies or what their insurance will and won’t cover. They aren’t worried about where a baby will fit into their lives and schedules, they are worried about telling you. They are scared to death of hurting you. They are frightened that they are going to lose you as a friend.

So they keep it a secret from you for as long as possible. Sometimes you find out from other sources and the hurt is magnified. But they didn’t keep it a secret from you to hurt you, they kept it a secret because they didn’t want to hurt you.

No matter when you hear it, it is going to hurt. I’m sorry, it is. But the amount of time it hurts will lessen and dull, and eventually jealousy and hurt won’t even be your first reaction. Please don’t take it out on your friend, they will hopefully understand that you may need some time to work through your emotions, work through them as best you can and support her as best you can, you would want (and dare I say expect) the same if the roles were reversed.

As for the friend facing that phone call to tell someone that you’re pregnant? You’re going to have to take a Band-Aid approach. Do it quick. Yes. Your friend is going to feel it. Sorry about that. Remember it’s not your fault. But trust me when I say writing that email or making that call when you think about it is much better than her finding out weeks later through a friend of a friend, because that’s the equivalent of pulling that bandage off millimeter by millimeter, hair by hair.

Infertility is just another thing that we’re all going to have to learn to get along on. Rarely, if ever, is anyone ever going to understand both sides. Love, patience, understanding and forgiveness are all going to have to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Cupcakes, fruity drinks with umbrellas and stupid movies with vampires don’t hurt either.

I have felt so much peace since arriving at some sort of closure with my infertility.

However, visiting Utah last weekend was a punch in the gut.

Those of you who live there? You get what I’m saying. Those of you who don’t? Let’s hope you live in a football/college town so you understand my little story here.

Utah takes The Big House

Almost all of us like football in some way. At some point in our lives we are invested in the sport whether it’s our dads watching it every Sunday or holding season tickets year after year. We tend to pick a team and stay fiercely loyal to that team through thick and thin. Sometimes your team does really well and you don’t even have to think about how much work goes into being a team that is that good. They just are, whether it be natural talent, coaching or all the money in the world.

Other times you’re loyal to a so called “nobody” of a team but you cheer them on anyway, and sometimes? Miracles happen.

And when those miracles do happen? They are celebrated. Even if they don’t last or happen year after year, we always remember “that one good season.” And we stand behind our team, because we know what they are capable of, we knew it all along.

Other people are loyal to teams that, well, stink. They’ve always stunk and chances are the stink will continue. But they keep coming back.

Other times our team gets so close to victory and blows it, for whatever reason. What you’re left with is a long road back to a championship. It may happen next year, it may happen in 20 years or there’s the reality that it may never happen. But that sting of the last loss stays with us, especially when we’re reminded of it with an innocuous t shirt.

(Sorry Indy. I know it still hurts.)

My uterus had its chance at a Superbowl victory (pregnancy) last year after a surgery and hormone treatments. I was hopeful. But it’s been a year (added to the four failed years before) and sadly my uterus is back on the injured list (endo and PCOS have returned in full force.)

It won’t be playing in any championship games anytime soon, I’ve known this for awhile and it’s okay.

Going to Utah for me is like a Colts fan seeing a 2010 Saints Superbowl victory shirt. Only instead of a t-shirt there’s pregnant bellies. Just as a Saints fan has every right to wear a shirt they are proud of, a pregnant women have every right to flaunt their bumps. Neither of them are doing it to intentionally hurt those Colts fans out there who can still feel the disappointment of their loss. And no Colts fan should ever take it personally.

But it still hurts a little to be reminded.

(I know a lot of you have miraculous stories of pregnancy. I know for myself I am not one of those miraculous stories. I am the rule, and I am okay with that. I’m really okay. Just trying to put words to my feelings, maybe help explain it a little better.)

The Lupron is gone.

I’m back to being a good old fashioned wench one regular week out of the month just like the stereotype dictates.

This past week has been the week of babies 2010. Four of my friends had them, one of them had two at once. I look at their pictures, those snuzzly little babies wrapped up in white cotton all yawny and warm. I found out four more of my friends are pregnant with them and one of them has two where she thought there was only one. All four of the friends are darlings with whom I have discussed the crappy road of infertility and miscarriage.

I am so relieved they got their babies.

I am even more relieved that I am at peace with not getting mine.

Now I’m not saying it’s never going to happen or that I’m immune to the smell of new babies. But I have spent the last two months oblivious to pregnancy math and it’s been WONDERFUL.

I’m happy being the moosh family three. I’m happy to wake up on Wednesday and know that it’s just Wednesday. Not three days before I ovulate and seven days after LMP and nine months from now is November.

I like it just being Wednesday.

I like our playroom being the playroom. Not the playroom that will someday be the nursery.

I liked telling the girl who did my hair last night that Addie is my sidekick and that she’s everything I could have ever wanted in something that popped out from my nether regions.

love this little kid.

What I haven’t told anyone about the picture I took of Emily when she first held her baby was that in that moment I realized that if that moment never happened for me again? I would be okay with it.

100%.

I tried to fight it, a natural reaction after fighting so hard for a baby for years. But instead I let it wash over me and appreciated being there with Emily in that moment even more.

I like that when I hear of a new pregnancy I get excited, the way people should get when they hear of a new pregnancy. With hushed whispers and squees, maybe even some jumping up and down. I don’t get angry or bitter or immediately start thinking “WHY HER AND NOT ME?”

To those of you who are left without your babies? My heart knows the ache your heart feels when you get that negative on a pregnancy test. I hope you get your babies, even if it’s not your body that gives them to you.

I am done being bitter. I am done being angry.

All these new babies need to come into a world where love outshines jealousy. And gratitude squelches bitterness and anger.

I am finally there.

And I like it.

It kind of changes things when you tell someone you’re close with that you’re leaving your husband. Maybe it doesn’t change things, but it certainly shows you how invested and in what ways a person is invested in you when you tell them a bit about what’s going on.

To be fair, no one really knew. It wasn’t supposed to be a big to-do or anything, keep things as normal as possible. Which means in the aftermath a lot of people around me were probably left going “But wait, what?” You see, I’ve made a very conscious effort to not write or speak ill of Cody or air our grievances for the world to see. It’s just how I operate and it works well, except when things go wrong — because that’s when people come back and say “But everything is going so well! You two seem like such a happy couple!” to which I say “HA HA! It worked then! I had you all fooled!”

Kidding. But in all honesty it is hard to come clean on something that is deep and ugly — be it marital struggles, an addiction, depression or some other foible.

What’s cool is there will be some people who will be all “Care to talk about it over burritos?” while other people will say some pretty stupid garbage that will show their true character more than it will say anything about your own.

It’s those people who don’t bat an eye (and then don’t betray your trust) that are worth holding onto. The ones with the judgmental opinions? Keep those guys at arms length, it’s not that they necessarily think you’re a bad person — they just maybe have a very narrow range of experience and opinions in life. (I’m learning this to be quite polarizing when it comes to church related relationships. The “clearly you’re not praying hard enough” people are just as active in regards to marital issues as they are with infertility and mental illness. Huzzah!)

I’ve learned I’m much more willing to take marital and relationship advice from friends and strangers alike because unlike parenting issues, there aren’t really “MARRIAGE WARS!” broadcast across the Internet in the same way the gag-inducing mommy wars are. I’ve learned most everyone takes their marriage, and it’s subsequent shortfalls and misgivings, much more personal than almost all parenting issues — which is why I’m more open to marital advice, there seems to be more hushed solidarity and strength when someone suggests a book or therapy rather than the demanding “THIS IS HOW I DID IT AND MY WAY WAS RIGHT AND I’M RIGHT AND WOE BE UNTO THOSE WHO DO NOT DO THINGS MY WAY” attitude some people can have with parenting.

First off is the Five Love Languages, we received it as a wedding gift and I read it immediately. I suggested that Cody read it early on in our marriage but being Cody, he didn’t. This is one book that both partners need to read for it to really make sense. And I’m sorry, but you also have to do the silly quiz towards the back. It can make a huge difference in your relationship if used correctly. Cody read it last month and it’s as though the sky parted and the angels sang for both of us.

Second is Hold Me Tight, a book that was suggested by several people, and people? THANK YOU. You know the attachment parenting theory that some parents are so willing to heap upon others? This book argues that attachment bonds, much like those between parent and child, are just as important (if not more important) in an adult relationship as they are to children. But what are we told? “You’re an adult, grow up and deal with your own problems.”  If you yell at your spouse because yelling has become the only way to get their attention — or  have taken to not talking to them because not talking is so much easier than feeling emotions? THIS BOOK.

In summary, going through marital issues has been SO. MUCH. HARDER. emotionally and mentally than anything I’ve had to deal with in regards to parenting, from infertility to present day. BUT, it seems easier to map out and stick to a long term course of healing because we are two grown adults who ultimately want the same thing. (If one or the other of us was one foot out the door? I would be in an entirely different head space than I am right now.)

One of the first mistakes I made was turning my heart and mind off to Cody when what I should have done was turn to him and say “Hey, I’m not happy.” The second (and very important part) of this is that I needed to trust that he would listen to me (which was hard for me because five years ago he didn’t listen until I threatened to leave.)

This afternoon dreams were reignited over chicken salad wraps and spinach salad.

Trust, vitally important yet wickedly scary stuff.

Years ago I heard one of my favorite authors speak about her writing process, and one thing she said that stuck with me was “I like to write about things with a resolution.” At the time it didn’t make sense to me, I was in the midst of law school, infertility and being thousands of miles away from everything I had grown up with.

Had I only stuck to writing about things with resolutions I would have had nothing to write about.

Last week at Disneyland (because you’ve been around long enough to know if I’m not here, I’m at Disneyland) I went on Space Mountain with a friend, and as I described my writer’s block crisis he said “I don’t like to write about things when I don’t know how they’ll end.”

So that’s why I haven’t been here much, for the first time I’m not sure how this part is going to end.

I’ve written a lot of things in my head and it’s all scatterbrained nonsense, better if I keep it to myself than smear the messy stuff all over the place.

I want to write more, I miss it. I miss my camera too. Now that the sun is out with some sense of regularity I feel like I can finally breathe a sigh of relief that I won’t be cold again until November.

I was so tired of being cold.

Addie got bronchitis a couple of weeks ago, that was kind of terrible. Vivi will be three in in two weeks, I will be 32 in one week and I cannot believe it is almost May. 2014 hasn’t been the best, but that it is flying by makes things slightly more bearable.

Baby steps back to writing.

Hope you’re well.

Bless.

Vivi and I are figuring out a system.

One element of that system is that she now showers with me, strange, but kind of a must given that her favorite thing to do in my room when left unattended is turn the volume dial on the stereo all the way up, then turn the stereo on. Addie did the same thing once at Vivi’s age and literally scared the crap out of herself, Vivi just thinks it’s hysterical.

After breakfast we head upstairs, she runs to the side of the tub tearing at her clothes while simultaneously trying to dive head first into the tub. Once she’s undressed, she sits down and splashes in the water by my feet. Occasionally she’ll take a pouf and scrub my leg and I can always count on getting poked in my bellybutton at least once. Once I’m all clean I rinse out the bubbles, put in the stopper and fill the tub with a few inches of water so I can get ready and she can stay entertained and contained. Oh master bathroom, you’re the best.

Fresh and clean piggies.

We take a little walk everyday after lunch, they’ve become shorter as it has become colder but they maintain the same pattern: wave at the planes, bark at the dogs, poke mom with all the sticks, throw all the rocks, tweet at all the birds and scream “BYE!” to all the cars.

If we were to have kids close in age like my sister and I are I would need to be 6 months pregnant right now.

(Can you hear the hysterical voices laughing in my head?)

We still call Vivi the baby, and far as all of us are concerned? She is a baby. While we’re certainly not throwing our hands up in the air and saying NO MORE BABIES FOR US! but we are in agreement that we’ll let Vivi be our baby for as long as possible, even if that means forever.

After Addie there was so much to worry about when it came to having a second baby beyond the stress of simply getting and staying pregnant. Vomiting through pregnancy, antenatal depression, postpartum depression and all that other stuff that comes with newborns. With Vivi all those problems were there, except for the postpartum depression. Sure, secondary infertility was a fat stupid blowhole, but Vivi came exactly when she was supposed to. I earned a big old gold sticker in patience and trusting in the will of God when it comes to babies with that little six year trial.

Vomiting through pregnancy? Pretty darn horrible. But I had (and continue to have) an amazing support system around me and generic Zofran for $12, amen.

Antenatal depression? Look, if there is any argument or debate I’m willing to go all in on it’s the one about depression medication while pregnant. Something in my brain is wired completely wrong and it will never be fixed with surgery or lots of good, happy thoughts. When the risk to me and my unborn baby outweigh the possible side effects of medication while pregnant? I’ll take the pill and thank modern medicine, thank you very much.

My labors are easy (thanks wide hips!) my babies come out healthy (thanks God, genetics, modern medicine, and body for working in unison on that one!) and while postpartum depression nearly did me in with Addie, it didn’t even touch me with Vivi, meaning that I have been able to spend the last 18 months fully immersed in my own life and it has been wonderful.

Funny how when something terrible ends on a good note it can shift our whole perception of an event if we let it.

Take Cody and me for example, we had an awful three years that culminated in what I call the horrible ugly. We stuck it out, fought for us and now ours is a true love story better than most anything Hollywood could come up with. If you were to ask me in the thick of the horrible ugly if marriage was worth it? I would have thrown things just to watch them break. But if you ask me now? I will say that marriage, even with all of its crap, growing pains and potential garbage is the very best thing I have done with my life.

Ask me how much I’m looking forward to another baby as I’m barfing in aisle 8 at noon on a Tuesday? I’ll punch you.

Ask me after the last 18 months of magic with this little face?

miss vivi on a wednesday.

I’ll scream “BABIES FOR EVERYONE!”

We can’t lie about the ugly when we tell others about our sweet, that isn’t fair. And when we find ourselves envying the position of others we must take into consideration how much gunk they’ve waded through to get where they are at.

In order to distinguish light, we have to have darkness.

In order to have any frame of reference or gratitude for true happiness? We have to know absolute misery.

I am happier than I have ever been at this point not because I fit in a certain size, have great hair, a great family or a great job.

I am happy because I have gone through so much to get here, I can accept that great won’t last forever, but it will always come back if I’m willing to acknowledge it when it does.