Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Healing Friendship

Shortly after M and I were married M ran into a friend he used to work with.  They made arrangements to hang out and I met M’s friend and his girlfriend (let’s call her T).  T and I hit it off instantly.  I have never made friends easily but I found it so easy to talk to T.  We became good friends.  T and I are the same age.  When we met she already had 2 kids.  Soon after she married M’s friend and had 2 more kids after that.  I love her kids like they are my own nieces and nephews.  We went to birthday parties and they shared their family with us.  T was one of the few people I told when we decided to ttc and the details of our fertility treatments.  I could tell her about my endometriosis.  Her sisters have endo so she actually wanted to talk about it and compare differences.   

T has helped me through some hard things in my life.  When she learned that our invitro didn’t work, and that we had decided to quit trying I could see the hurt in her face.  I wasn’t in a good emotional place and I didn’t think much about it when I didn’t see or hear from her for a few months after that.  I busied myself with long hours of work and didn’t care to see anyone.  About 4 months later M took to me lunch.  He told me that T was pregnant with her 5th kid, he told me how far along she was.  I realized she got pregnant about the time we did invitro.  I couldn’t stop the thoughts of jealousy, envy, and self-pity.  Thoughts about how she can have 5 kids, and I don’t even get 1.  M told me that nobody wanted to tell me because of the timing.  It was a surprise for them.  It was not a planned pregnancy.  I texted her congratulations, I know a text is pretty crappy, I should have called.  I just couldn’t trust my voice.  I only saw her a few times before she had her baby, mostly when she was picking up her husband from my house when the boys were working on cars. 

She had the baby, a perfect little boy, and after they had been home from the hospital for a week we brought our gift over to their house.  This little boy feels the most like what other infertile people have described as a ghost child to me.  I have never been pregnant, but my 2 embryos that were implanted during our invitro were the closest I ever came to being pregnant.  I watched T kissing her baby’s head.  Everyone in the room had taken a turn holding the baby and I realized that I would have to take a turn.  I held him for a short minute before I passed him back to his mom.  All I could think about was if my invitro had worked I would be home kissing my own baby’s head.  I held it together and we didn’t stay long.  I made it into the car before I couldn’t keep back the tears anymore.  M let me cry, and actually took an extra-long drive since we were on our way to his dad’s house.

This little baby turns 1 soon.  My friendship with T has remained strained.  When I see her our conversations remain on her children and what they are doing.  I probably spend more time talking to her kids than her.  Each time I see this little boy I think it gets easier.  He doesn’t look like a child M and I would have had.  His darker skin and hair isn’t a combination that M and I would have made.  If he had features like M’s eyes and my hair I think it would be harder.  He is growing and starting to walk so it is easier to see him and not think of my baby that never was. 

T came over Sunday while the boys were fixing a car.  She had no kids with her.  I was very surprised.  I haven’t seen her without a kid since she had the baby.  That happens when you have 5!   We started to talk and she bought up her pregnancy.  Tears filled her eyes when she told me about the guilt she had when she found out she was pregnant, and how she struggled with these emotions.  We talked about my infertility and she was struggling with our decision to not pursue trying to have a kid in any way (fertility and adoption) right now.  I explained to her how I lost myself and that sometime during our 7 years of ttc I started saving my happiness for a point in my life when it involved having a kid.  M and I are just trying to find our happiness again and discover ourselves.  We talked until the boys were done working on the car and I think we both left understanding more about each other.  I felt relieved after this conversation, and happy that I can talk to my friend again.  I had been hoping our relationship could return to what it was before.  I knew that I needed to work out some things emotionally.  I am so happy to feel like we can mend our friendship.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Comedy Show

We had plans to go out with friends last Saturday night, and after my good news and bad news week I was ready for a night out.  We decided to go to Ogden for dinner and a Comedy show.  On a usual Saturday night we stay in our area and have a drink and hang out with friends at a local watering hole or one of our houses.  We decided to do a little more than normal since a friend of M’s was changing shifts at work and we would no longer see him on weekend evenings.  Our group that went was 3 couples including ourselves.  We even borrowed my little sister’s car so that we could all fit in one vehicle.  My baby sister (14 years younger than me) has been living with us for about the last year and a half while she attends the college in our town.  Baby sister drives my Grandma’s Lincoln town car.  The thing is huge, and has 6 seat belts!
Dinner was great.  I had pepper jack pasta with shrimp and chicken.  I don’t even remember what M had since my food was so good!  The comedy club was just about a block from the restaurant so we walked down to it, which was a good idea because I ate too much pasta.  Everyone was in a good mood joking and having a good time.  The comedy show was really good.  I laughed so hard, which was nice after having a final earlier that morning and having the stress from my endo results.  There were 4 comedians and it was great until about half way through the last comedian's show.  He started talking about how great it is to be a parent and making jokes about parents.  I think my endo results made some of my emotions about not being a parent more raw than normal, or maybe it was just a stressful week.  I didn’t find these jokes funny, and I realized that everyone else did.  The room was bursting with laughter.  He was definitely winning the audience over.   The room is dark except for the spot light on the comedian and some lights around the exits so you can’t see very much of the audience.  I turned and looked at M, just when the comedian said something about there is nothing better than being a dad.  Something started to break inside me as I looked at M and thought how he isn’t a dad.  I was looking at M’s face when he cut the next joke.  I could see his silhouette holding still not laughing, while all the people around him were doubled over in laughter.  All this movement and laughter around us, and I felt that M and I were so isolated.  Obviously M didn’t find the dad joke funny either.  I’m glad it was dark in the room because I couldn’t keep the tears back.  I’m embarrassed to say a couple of fat tears made their way down my cheeks.  It just felt so odd to be the couple in the room that didn’t find the parent jokes funny.  M must have sensed me looking at him cause then he turned and looked at me and put his arm around me.  Luckily the parent jokes didn’t last for long as the comedian moved onto another subject and my eyes dried.  When I could tell he was almost done with his segment I made a quick exit to the bathroom to freshen up, check my makeup, and put a smile back on. 
The drive back to our town was nice and we hung out at our friend’s house a little after we were back, swapping old stories and sharing more laughs.  I really was a good night, I just never know when one of my infertility scars is going to open up and catch me off guard.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good News and Bad News

This has been a very busy week for me.  Good news is I finished my first class for my graduate program taking the final early Saturday morning.  Yay!  Now for the bad news, my new Dr that I mentioned in my last post sent me for a rectal/pelvic MRI on Tuesday.  He called me with the results Friday.  Not good news.  My endometriosis is inside of my bowels.  Apparently my endo is very aggressive.  It is not normal for endo to get inside a person’s bowels like it has with mine.  Lucky me!  This news explains the painful bloody bowel movements I have been having during my periods the last couple of years.  This is the reason I sought out a new Dr.  My old Dr didn’t believe the problems I was having.  Even knowing I have advanced endo.  She kept trying to tell me that I had a hemorrhoid and to take laxatives, even though I wasn’t having constipation problems.  She never even checked to see if I really had a hemorrhoid.  I was embarrassed that she didn’t believe so I just suffered with this problem in silence.  I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I went to the new Dr and he believed me and sent me for the MRI to check out what is going on inside me.  I was planning on having surgery on my endo in April, but now it will include surgery on my bowels.  Hopefully they can remove the endo without having to take a section of my colon out.  Dr said that they won’t know until they get inside for the surgery and try to remove it.  I have a pre-op appointment end of March where we will go over in detail what the surgery will entail.   He said we will talk about my reproductive organs during this visit also.  I have known a hysterectomy will probably be in my future because I have advanced endo, but I hope that I don’t have to have one yet, but at the same time I am tired of living with endo and the problems it brings with it.  I want to feel normal again.  The good news about the surgery is that they will also remove a breast cyst thas decided to show up recently.  One surgery to take out all the crap inside me.

I have a lot of anger about my endo.  I know lots of other people that have endo in real life.  Everyone else was able to have children.  Some had to try a little harder than others and have surgery, but I am the only one that wasn’t ever able.  I don’t know why mine is more aggressive, and I don’t know why it decided to live inside a non-reproductive organ, other than to hurt me in other places.  I do have a dark secret, where I wish for a hysterectomy and an end to my endo.  I know that a hysterectomy doesn’t always rid a person of endo, and that’s a scary thought.  I also know that having a hysterectomy also comes with a whole other ball park of things to deal with.  Want to know an even darker secret?  Sometimes I think about if I have a hysterectomy then other people will stop trying to tell me about every person that had an unexpected pregnancy when they thought they couldn’t have another child.  I have accepted that I will not have a miracle pregnancy.  I just wish other people would accept it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Presidents Day

I am a little slow at writing this post.  I know Presidents day is tomorrow, but this is more about the events leading up to Presidents Day, but between working and grad school I hadn’t found time to write it down yet.

I work for a large corporation that has businesses in countries all over the world.  Because of the size and structure of the corporation the holiday schedule of the division I work for sometimes has a few days different a year than the corporate holiday schedule.  For the most part this isn’t a big deal, except for the fact that I work in accounting and there is a holiday difference for year end.  My division had scheduled the first Monday of the New Year as a holiday.  Corporate did not have this day as a holiday and had an accounting deadline on this day.  Some of us in my department had to work the holiday.  This again isn’t a big deal.  It was expected and I was told that by working the division holiday I could exchange it for another day off.  The problem with working in accounting and having year end deadlines is that the majority of us don’t take a day off during the first few months of the year.  I actually had a day in mind I was going to use, and it was a day last week.  I have been having some problems with my endometriosis and I had scheduled an appointment with a new specialist that I had been hearing a lot of good things about.  This specialist is in a city, a little over an hour away from where I live and work, so I would need to take some time off for this appointment.  I received an email from my boss 3 weeks ago concerning those of us that had worked the holiday.  He asked those of us that had worked the holiday to take Presidents Day as our substitute holiday.  He said knew the first of the year was hard for my department to take days off, but he thought it would be a good substitute since the schools in our area would be out and we could have the day off with our children.
Ok, to anyone else this email went out to they would not have been bothered by it.  They were probably relieved that this was suggested or planning to take the day off anyways.  If he would have left off the part of school being out and spending the day with our children I don’t think I would have thought twice about taking Presidents Day off and would have scheduled some paid time off for my appointment last week.  But it bothered me, and I sat and stewed about it for days.  I kept thinking how I didn’t want that day off.  The old me would have sat in silence, taken tomorrow off, and spent the day miserable at home because I was reminded that I didn’t have any children at home to take care of.  Maybe it was because my endo pains are making me really grumpy, maybe it was because I am tired of feeling invisible, but after stewing over the email for a few days I went to talk to my boss.  I told him that I had made an appointment out of town that I would like to use my exchanged holiday for.  My boss told me that they want us to use our day soon so they do not have to keep track of who has and hasn't used their exchanged holiday.  I told him my appointment was the week before Presidents Day and that Presidents Day would not be a benefit for me to take off because I didn’t have children out of school to take care of.  And then I held my breath, I couldn’t believe that I had actually spoken those words out loud.  They just tumbled out of my mouth.  I kind of wanted to run out of his office and hide in the bathroom that is just down the hall.  My boss gave me a curious look and said “OK, take the day off for your appointment.”  So I thanked him and walked out of his office.
I couldn’t believe I did it. I couldn’t believe I had said what I did.  It felt so freeing to stand up for myself, and to anyone else this probably sounds like a silly thing to get so stressed out about because a day off is a day off.  But I was stressed and annoyed by what the email said.  To me it felt like a small victory.
I had my day off last week with my new Dr.  I really like him so far and he really listened to my problems and took me seriously.  He actually showed empathy!  I am so used to my old Dr that gave up on my endo problems when I told her I didn’t want to pursue having a child anymore that my eyes welled up with tears in his office (I wasn’t expecting to have those emotions).  I have some follow up procedures and appointments to determine what needs to be done about my pain and problems, but I feel really positive about getting help for my endo.  I will be at work tomorrow, not sitting at home being depressed because the other people in the email took the day off to spend with their children.  I’ll be holding the fort down at work happily.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I mentioned in this post that M and my past time in the winter is snowboarding.  It is something that we have been able to do together since we started dating, and I hope that we can continue this activity for many more years.
Snowboarding has been a little bittersweet for me the last few years.  I remember in the first years that we were married M telling me how he couldn’t wait for our kids to be old enough so that he could teach them how to snowboard and how we would be one of those families that are up there every weekend snowboarding all weekend and grilling in the parking lot for lunch.  It’s a picture perfect dream for a young couple.
Many of our friends have children old enough to snowboard now.  I am happy to see that they can bring their whole family and enjoy the day together.  It makes me long for M’s dream.
We do get to share part of this with our family and friends.  M took his nephew snowboarding for the first time this year he is 6.  I love this picture and how they have the same stance.  Our nephew had a great day and begs to go again.  I only wish he lived closer (5 hours away) so that we could do this together more.  My friend has asked me to take her 14 year old daughter up snowboarding one day this winter.  Her daughter is a beginner but loves to go and as my friend has 5 kids and doesn’t know how to snowboard herself she has asked me to take her for a day.  I am excited to be able to do this with my friends daughter, hopefully we can schedule a day this month together.
Even though M’s dream of teaching our children to snowboard didn’t happen, we are able to share this activity with other special children in our lives.  And a benefit, we get to drop the tired and wet kids off to their parents!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Night

I did have a post all made up to post today.  But I decided that I will save it.  I am just enjoying my life in the moment too much tonight to post it.  So instead, I drank a glass of wine to all my new friends tonight as I am learning some benefits of this path in life, such as not having to find a baby sitter on Valentines;)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pregnancy Radar

I am new to this blogging world and I am wondering if there is such a thing as pregnancy radar.  I know that during my 7 years of ttc I watched my friends, relatives, coworkers, and acquaintances get pregnant in groups.  It seems like if I found out one person was pregnant there would be at least 2 others that I knew that would get pregnant.  Seems this pregnancy stuff happens in 3’s around me.  When I was trying to conceive I would watch myself for any sign of pregnancy, hoping I would be able to join the group of mothers to be, but it was never me.  I would watch others become pregnant.  I began to recognize signs, and it turned into a game/thing I would play in my head.  Guess who is pregnant. 

Even though I am no longer ttc I still do this in my head.  As soon as I hear of one person being pregnant it seems like I go on alert.  I start watching for ladies to be sick, longer than a flu cycle sick, or if they start covering themselves up more with clothing or covering their abdomens with their arms. This and other pregnancy sings that I have noticed from people in my past.   I think I still do it as a sort of self-preservation technique.  If I can guess they are pregnant before they make their big announcement I can have my happy face ready and not try to cover the shocked look that tends to be my first reaction. 

I guess what has me thinking of this is that my pregnancy radar is on right now.  M’s SIL announced perfectly over Christmas that they were expecting another baby.  This really wasn’t a surprise for me.  She has made it very clear that she wants a big family, so I knew it would be coming sooner or later.  This turned the radar on.  Lately I have been watching a coworker.  She is one of the few people at work that actually asked about my infertility and had honest open questions.  She was very candid and didn’t try to slide underhand comments about the fact that I am childless.  It was refreshing to have someone not shrink from me when they found out about my situation.  She started to withdraw from me a couple of months ago, and has been exhibiting signs that have perked my radar.  She told me the end of last week that she was pregnant.  I guess her withdrawing from me does have to do with the fact that she is pregnant.  It does make me a little sad when my friends do that.  I am happy for people that can get pregnant.  I wouldn’t wish my situation on anyone that wants to have a family.  My feelings of my infertility and my feelings for other people growing their families are two separate emotional entities now.  How do you act so people don’t withdraw from you when they are able to get pregnant?  Am I doing something wrong?

Anyways, I am on the lookout for pregnancy number 3.  I have an idea who number 3 is, but we will have to see if it really is that relative.  Hopefully I can find out soon so I can let my guard back down and feel normal again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Paternal Grandmother

OK, this is a long one, but it really does have meaning for me.

M (my husband) snowboards every chance he can get.  He has had a season pass to our local ski mountain ever since he was 16 when he became old enough to get a job to make the money to buy one.   He taught me how to snowboard when we started dating.  We had a lot of arguments up on the mountain during my first years of learning.  His style of teaching and my slow learning of this skill did not always coincide.  But now I love this activity and it makes me happy that we can spend time together doing it.
On a recent day when M was snowboarding with his friends, the conversation turned to the news that M’s friend is expecting his first child, a daughter in fact.  M told me how congratulations were passed around and the friend started to talk about how he wished he was having a son.  M told him not to say that and to be happy to be able to have a daughter.  His friend promptly agreed that M was right, and that was all that was said on the subject.  Now, this might not seem like a very interesting conversation to most people.   M doesn’t really tell me a lot of what is said between him and his friends concerning children.  The few conversations he does tell me about usually leave me thinking about things I would normally pass off if someone else were to tell me the same thing.  This conversation made me think of my father’s mother, of my relationship with her, and of a conversation we had a long time ago.
I consider myself very lucky to have the kind of relationship that I did with my grandma.  It was a story book relationship in that it was the very best kind.  I grew up next to her.  The only things between the houses were our field and my dad’s shop.  When I was really young and my grandma still worked, I knew that when my favorite TV show was over in the late afternoon my grandma would be home from work.  I visited my grandma almost every day.  After the show was over (I was too young to tell time and to be in school) I would run through the field, past my dad’s shop, and over to my grandma’s house.  She always welcomed me into her home.  We would spend the afternoon doing a few chores, working in the garden, and making dinner.  When my grandpa came home for dinner she would send me back to my house to have my own dinner.  I cherish that I was able to spend these hours with my Grandma.  We would talk and tell stories while I hung out with her at her house.  My grandma paid for the first few years of my older sister’s and my ballet classes, because my parents couldn’t afford to pay for them.  My grandma was our biggest fan.  She came to many practices and all my dance performances and recitals all the way through high school.   It wasn’t only dance functions.  She came to everything to watch her granddaughters.  We could always count on Grandma being there.
OK, my ramblings have a point.  I just have so many fond memories of her that they are all finding their way out.  I remember one afternoon sitting on her back porch with her while I was still young.  I asked her why she only had sons.  She had 4 sons in fact, my father being the youngest.  She looked at me with loving eyes and told me her story which I have never forgotten.  She did have a daughter.   She gave birth to a daughter before my father was born.   She was stillborn.   Grandma expressed her grief as best she could to me, since I was so young.  I remember her eyes filling with tears as she told me about the daughter she didn’t get to raise and how she was always sad that she didn’t get to raise this girl.  Then she gave me a bright smile and told me how lucky she was.  How lucky she was to have 4 wonderful sons that gave her 4 daughters when they married and she loved them very much.  She told me how she became even luckier and had granddaughters, and how happy we made her life.  She didn’t get to raise her daughter, but she had so many daughters in her life.
This left an impression on me since I was a young girl.  I remember when I was younger and people would ask me if I would want a daughter or a son.  I truly didn’t care.  I would remember my grandma and think that if I wasn’t able to have a boy or a girl, I would be able to share in the lives of others. I did forget about this lesson as M and I made the decision to quit trying to have our own child.  I was angry, jealous, and miserable.   As I am finding happiness in my life again after struggling with infertility I am becoming able to feel the joy in this story from my grandma again.  I have many nieces and nephews.  I have friends that have children that I love dearly, and I am becoming able to see their faces in a new light and joy.  I know I will never be their mother, but I am grateful for this message my grandma shared with me, that I can share in part of their lives.  I only wish she was still here to thank her and have one more conversation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Path in Life

I struggled with naming this blog.  I am not very creative when it comes to things like names.  But, I want to write about my life now.  This will be about where I am currently in life.  It will probably include a lot of memories while I try to figure out this path.  Which got me thinking about this path my life has taken.  It's not a path I chose for myself, but I am learning to embrace it.

Why is it not the path I chose? 

I remember the day I got married.  I was 22 and my husband was 21.  Yes, we were young!  It was a bright sunny day in Las Vegas.  I still love that city.  It is so alive.  Now, you are thinking we eloped since we were so young and married in Vegas.  Nope, we thought about it.  We seriously thought about it, about as serious as you think of things when you are that young.  We had a small wedding in a garden with a handful of family members.  It was lovely, and I would do it the same way again.  We were in love, happy, WILD, carefree, and we were excited that our paths had merged into one.  I remember thinking that we could make anything happen.

The funny thing is, since we got married in Vegas on pretty short notice, most of our family members thought we were pregnant!  We were both raised with strong religious backgrounds where you were supposed to get married in a Church setting.  The fact of the matter is, my husband and I are just not very religious.  We like to do things our own way.  We thought it was funny that relatives assumed we were pregnant.  We would make light of situations such as when a random aunt would ask us "So, when are you having your baby?"  our answer would be "Not for a few years" and they would get this strange look on their face.  It took them a few seconds to realize that our wedding was by choice and not from being in a "family way".

It's ironic that we are infertile.  Here are the numbers.  10:  the number of years we have been married.  7:  the number of years that we were ttc.  0:  the number of pregnancies that we had.  We thought it might take us a little longer than most to get pregnant since I have endometriosis.  I know of others that have endometriosis in my family and in my friends.  I am the only one that I know in real life that wasn't able to get pregnant with endometriosis.  My mother has this disease but she had 6 kids, and 7 pregnancies.  I really didn't think that it would not happen for us.  I think that is why we waited so long to try fertility treatments after several years of trying to conceive.  That and we were so young.  I thought for sure it would happen.  We came to the end of trying to have our own baby when I was 31, been trying for 7 years, and ended an IVF cycle without a pregnancy and no embryos to freeze.  I find that I have to defend myself to people when they find out that we did IVF 1 time.  First, they want to know why we would even take it that far.  Second, they want to know why we didn't try more attempts.  It's a conversation you just can't win.  The ultimate truth is that it is a decision that my husband and I made together, and we don't have regrets.

Here is where I came to the name of this little blog.  This is the path in life that my husband and I are on.  We got on this path about a year and a half ago with our decision to live childfree.  I have a busy little life.  I am an accountant for a large corporation.  I am going to school part time to get my master's degree in business.  I love my crafts in the little spare time I have.  I am an aunt to 10 nieces and nephews (and more on the way).  This is our path to living childless.  It has been a little bumpy, riddled with pot holes so far, but it is smoothing out.  I am beginning to embrace this path and I am excited to see what is ahead.